Tag Archives: tidying up

Wednesday 20th September 2023 – APPARENTLY THINGS ARE …

… hotting up around here.

My cleaner actually works for an association called APA – the Allocation Personnalisée d’autonomie, an association of which the aim is to help people in difficulty maintain their autonomy.

She’s recommended that I contact them with the details of my difficulties and see whether or not they may have something on offer that might be of help to me.

Consequently I’ve had an extremely busy day today doing all kinds of things.

For a change I had a nice deep sleep and awoke about 15 minutes before the alarm was due to go off. I was actually planning a dramatic raising from the dead but instead I fell asleep again and the alarm had to awaken me.

After the mails and medication I began to sort out the paperwork.

You have no idea the hoops through which I have to jump in order to go to this perishing hospital. As well as being admitted, I’ve been notified of several tests and I have to ring up to confirm each one.

And then there’s a form that I need to fill in in order to be admitted, with details of my health insurance, medication, all kinds of stuff like that.

Interestingly, one thing of which you don’t have to notify them is your dietary requirements. You are served a standard meal on the day of your arrival. That’s not much use to me, and probably many other people too, so I would have expected it to have been a priority.

Anyway, that took up a whole age of my time.

But there is some good news, and it just goes to underline why I like living here so much – and that’s the solidarity amongst the inhabitants that you don’t find in many other countries these days.

The president of the Residents’ Committee who helped me with the purchase of the apartment downstairs is in Paris next week. She wants to come to the station in Paris on Monday morning and help me on my way to the hospital.

That’s something that I found to be really sweet. It’s not really necessary because I will have the railway company’s personnel helping me, but I’m not going to discourage the best intentions and willingness of someone who is so keen to help

This afternoon I made a big batch of hummus. It’s been ages since I last made some, and this time I regrettably put too much salt in in. That’s not like me because I rarely use salt. But there’s plenty of garlic gone into it and I won’t have too much trouble with passing vampires once I start to eat it.

While the cleaner was here I made a start on writing the notes for the next radio programme, then after she left I had a listen to the dictaphone. We were going somewhere on a works outing from Crewe. We all piled into a coach and set out. We were supposed to be going to Stoke on Trent but we ended up round the Warmingham Road area. We went past the bit where they had straightened out the road. That would have been possible to go to Stoke on Trent that way. I thought that the road was too narrow so we carried on with the intention of going to the roundabout by the railway station and going down there. The guy in charge of the party came over and told me that we can’t go that way. There are all kinds of roadworks. I then suggested that we go to near Kidsgrove and drive down the A34 and took the A500 that way which he agreed. Then something happened and we ended up with not enough places on the bus or something. There was a motor bike there so I went on it and took someone as a passenger. I ended up being tangled up in a group of other motorcyclists. One one particular bend a woman fell off her motor bike. We carried on riding. We eventually ended up at our destination. Then I had a bad attack of cramp and awoke.

I was somewhere in the Philippines last night. There was a young boy doing some kind of DiY project to make some kind of really basic kitchen, basically no more than the size of a large tray. I could see immediately that there were several ways in which he could make things go better. We ended up having a talk about everything. I ended up giving him some help. He was pointing out a few things that I was doing that weren’t correct from his point of view. I was pointing out a few things that weren’t correct from mine. We were talking about all kinds of different things as we were assembling this kitchen arrangement that he was making out of scrap material

While I was at it I did another day’s worth of arrears from when I was at Alison’s just now. Just a couple more days of those to do and then I can attack the ones from when I was in hospital last year. I wish that I could organise myself better these days.

There were other things that I was hoping to do but instead I crashed out on the chair here in the office. Miles away I was too and I don’t understand that because it wasn’t as if I’d had a bad night. I’d been doing quite well just recently too.

Tea tonight was a chili sin carné, the leftovers in the fridge lengthened with a tin of kidney beans. It was actually quite nice too. The freezer is slowly emptying nowand if I’m not careful I might even be able to put the bag of carrots in there – the ones that are currently languishing in the fridge’s icebox.

With a bit of time left I went through another batch of music on the computer to weed out the duplicates, the live albums and to edit the metadata, now I know how to batch-edit it.

But now that I’ve finished the notes I’m off to bed. I’ve put all the clothes away that were loitering around here and it’s looking just a little more tidy. There’s still a lot to do but I’ll worry about that another time. I’ve done enough for one day.

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.

Thursday 7th September 2023 – BY THE TIME …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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.

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.

Saturday 12th August 2023 – HAVE YOU EVER …

… had one of those days when you have been half-way through doing something and suddenly realised that you should be something different?

This afternoon I was halfway through my third programme of the week when I suddenly realised the date on which it would be broadcast (if we stick to the plan) and that led to a rather rapid rethink and I started again with something different.

All of that work from yesterday and part of today has now been filed under CS because it can’t be used again – at least, not for another seven years, and I’ll be pushing up the daisies a long time before then.

Mind you, the way I felt today, I reckon that I’ll be pushing up the daisies by the end of the week because it’s been another difficult day.

The night was a slightly better night than in the recent past, and I managed once more to be up and about before the alarm went off, but that’s not to say that I was awake.

As the early part of the morning rolled on I gradually came round into the Land of the Living and then headed off to Noz.

My usual parking place was already taken even though the place wasn’t yet open, but there was another place at the front which involved a longer walk but was still a little more convenient than going around the back where I have a tendency to fall over.

There wasn’t much in there of any interest today, but I grabbed another couple of those jars of curry. They did however have some vegan ice cream made with oat milk and cookie dough. I had to grab a small tub of that.

At LeClerc I didn’t spend very much at all, but I’m still glad that I went because they had coffee on special offer (and about time too) so I grabbed a bag of 6 packets that cost less than 4 otherwise would have done.

Back here, the ice cream and I fought our way into the freezer and then I put everything away. I made my coffee and cheese on toast but regrettably I drifted off with the fairies and awoke several hours later (and I DO mean several hours later) to a mug of very cold coffee.

Once I was back on the same wavelength as everyone else I had a listen to the dictaphone. Not as much stuff on there as there has been just recently. There was someone dressed up as a King last night making some kind of exaggerated speech putting the emphasis on the pronouns in it. Some woman was calling him out saying that he didn’t really know his pronouns anyway and what he was saying was all wrong. She had the air of a schoolmaster or school woman-type of person

And then a new girl joined our office. She was very pleasant, chatty young girl but was covered from head to foot in tattoos. We had quite a few discussions about tattoos. She had a good sense of humour so it was fine. There was another guy in the office in a wheelchair who also had tattoos and in fact owned a parrot. In the relationship between the guy and the parrot it was the parrot that was in charge which caused some mirth. We suggested that the girl and the guy put on an Art exhibition of their bodies which she thought was quite funny. We had quite a chat about that too.

Finally, I was up at some kind of castle with a ginger cat and 2 kittens. The kittens were quite high up in the roof somewhere so I had to climb up a stone column all the way to the top. The cat and kittens crawled all over me. I gradually climbed down the column one of the scariest things I’d ever done. When I was near the bottom the cats began to climb back up so I had to climb back up after them. Again they climbed on top of me but for some reason or other I kept on going up. I went right to the top of the column. You could see that the cats were trying to work out how they would go down. If I were to drop them it’s a long way. I was worried about dropping them off. I was having to sit there to work out how. The first thing I needed to do was to turn round and face the column but I couldn’t do that with the cats all over me so I had to persuade them somehow to climb back onto a window ledge in the roof which was extremely complicated. I could see that they were not very happy about doing this but eventually I managed to persuade them. Then I had to deal with the 2 kittens. I was probably 200 feet up in the air clinging to this column with my back and a couple of kittens clambering all over me with no way whatever to move in any direction at all. This was a really frightening dream, which was quite surprising because heights don’t usually bother me at all.

Having done all that I had a tidy up of the stock of supplies under the shelf unit. There’s all kinds of stuff in there that has accumulated – herbs, spices, stuff like that picked up when I come across it and which I’ll never be able to find when I need it.

And then I made a start (and a finish) with the next radio programme.

Tea tonight was chips, salad and one of these breaded quorn fillets, delicious as usual, and then I tracked down the highlights of today’s football.

Tomorrow we have a live football game on the internet. Colwyn Bay making their debut in the Welsh Premier League against Caernarfon Town.

Caernarfon had a flaky defence and non-existent attack last season, but the best midfield unit that I’ve seen. However, a few significant changes have altered the team considerably and I’ll be watching them closely.

As for Colwyn Bay, the gap between the First and the Second Division is enormous, as Flint and Airbus will testify over the last couple of seasons. But a couple of canny signings and a team well-marshalled by former Wales international central defender Steve Evans should give them at least a fighting chance.

Their stadium was rebuilt over the summer and apparently it’s a full house, completely sold out, for the game tomorrow. So at least there will be a good atmosphere.

That’s tomorrow anyway. Tonight I’m going to dictate the radio notes so far and then go to bed. A nice lie-in, I hope and then I’ll be fighting fit for next week and the second week of my summer school.

And then I have other things to worry about.

Friday 28th July 2023 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about what was going to happen this afternoon.

Flat out on my chair, not once but twice, and for quite a while too.

But really that was no surprise the way that things are right now.

As it happens, I’d had a good night’s sleep for a change too. In bed early and I can’t remember very much of anything at all until the alarm went off.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I went and had a shower to clean myself up and make myself look pretty ready for my bus to the town

It was early when I went out too. I decided that the sooner I start the sooner I finish and so I was on the bus at 09:10. I just went to the little Carrefour and then came straight back. I didn’t really want to hand around and I didn’t want to buy very much anyway.

Back here I made myself some coffee and cheese on toast and then came back in here where I crashed out – for the first time.

And in between then and crashing out later on, I was out in Canada back in 2017.

Out on the Trans-Labrador Highway I went to visit my favourite spot on Otter Brook, a tributary of the Eagle River, and then dealt with the knotty problem of the Labrador Border Dispute

The border between Labrador and Québec wasn’t officially delineated until 1927 and while Québec is quite happy to incorporate into its territory a couple of areas of land that it never claimed, it refuses to acknowledge the territory that was awarded to Labrador that Labrador didn’t claim.

Of course, the reason why Labrador never claimed that territory was because it didn’t need to – the border in that area having been decided by a Letter Patent of 1876 – but we mustn’t let facts get in the way of a good Qhébecois rant, of course.

As well as that, I’ve been exploring a couple or peri-Arctic meadows.

When William Munn proposed in 1914 that the Norse voyagers’ settlement was in Newfoundland he was ridiculed by many people. In the Norse sagas they talk about meadows and grassland and taking cattle with them to feed on the grass.

“As if that is ever going to be likely in the region of Newfoundland and Labrador” was the cry.

However the critics failed to take into account a few things – such as

  • There’s plenty of contemporary evidence of cattle in Labrador – the census of 1911 actually counts them
  • When Munn suggested that “maybe the climate in those days was different” he was roundly criticised. “There is no evidence whatever that the climate was different 900 years ago” said various people. That aged well, didn’t it?
  • Any comparison between any two places is merely relative. An agriculturalist from the Temperate Zone might not think much of the peri-Arctic meadows out here in Labrador, but the Norse voyagers came from Greenland and I’ve seen meadows in Greenland, and these meadows here in Labrador are relatively luxurious by comparison

So as well as falling asleep yet again, I had a bash at the dictaphone notes from the night. I was trying to do some tidying up at home (as if that is ever likely to happen). I’d set out to clean the kitchen floor. I’d brushed it and had it ready for the mop. The woman who helped my mother seemed to criticise it so I asked her if it wasn’t good enough. She said it wasn’t so I asked her to point out to me a few things where it was wrong. She pointed to some glue or something on the floor. It turned out that the kids had put sticky labels on the soles of their shoes for some reason. These sticky labels had in time worn off their shoes and stuck to the lino. I had to go through and scrape it all off before I could wash the floor. While I was washing it with the mop I went and rubbed the damp mop over my bedding too thinking that this would clean it and make it really nice. Everyone looked at me strangely but I carried on doing it. On one occasion I didn’t even squeeze the mop after I’d dipped it in the bucket of water before giving the bedclothes a good scrub with the mop. My mother said that my bed would be terribly wet tonight. I told her that it would soon dry. She replied “yes but it will have a strange odour for a while”.

There was another long, rambling dream about being with my niece and her husband, them dealing in cars at night, going up and down into the cellar for things – that was quite complicated and difficult. We were finishing off the erection of a wind turbine at the side of the barn. I was given the job to do that. They had a huge pneumatic drill that had been drilling holes everywhere. It was my job to tighten up the bolts with a big electric impact driver thing. I drove in a couple that I wasn’t very happy with but the final bolt was just spinning round. I eventually managed to fit the proper head on it and drove it straight into the wood. I told my niece’s husband that I wasn’t very happy at all with this mounting. When I stepped back to have a look I could see that it was a really complicated system and there were strains and stresses everywhere there shouldn’t be. The wind turbine itself was actually in the shadow of the house mounted on the wall. I didn’t think that it would be a particularly successful installation. In any case I was thinking that it would come down in the first strong wind. There was lots more to it in this dream. It went on for hours but I can’t remember very much of it now.

At one point we were in Middlewich driving a bus. I’d dropped off a couple of people to go to fetch some chips from somewhere. I went back and parked at the side of a house, just sitting there in a car. 2 people turned up, one waving a pair of drumsticks asking where the others were. I told them that they were in the chip shop. he made some kind of sarcastic comment. There were tons to this dream but I can only remember a fraction of it.

For tea tonight I was planning on having my chips but the potatoes weren’t so good and I hadn’t bought any this morning. So with my salad and quorn nuggets I had a handful of pasta and tomato sauce with some vegan cheese. And that was quite nice as well for a change.

So tonight I’m off to bed. Shopping tomorrow morning so I suppose that that’s going to be another afternoon crashed out on the chair in the bedroom. I hope that there are some interesting things in the shops to make up for the discomfort.

Wednesday 26th July 2023 – I WAS WELL AWAY …

… with the fairies when the alarm went off this morning.

Mind you, it didn’t seem as if I’d had any sleep at all. I know that it took me a while to go off to sleep again once I finally went to bed and I suppose that that’s the reason.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too so it must have been a restless night. My parents had gone out for the evening. I was at home with my sister. I was working on the computer and she was doing something. Later in the evening I noticed that it had all gone quiet. There was only me. It seemed that she had gone off to bed and not said anything. I carried on working. All of a sudden the door burst open. It was my parents back. They had brought with them another couple and 6 or 7 children aged from about 9 to about late teenage. I was watching Connah’s Quay play on the internet against another Welsh club. A couple of boys sat down and started to watch it. One of them made a suggestion about who it might be so I said that it was Connah’s Quay. he said “I have a season ticket for them” so we began to watch the football. But I was much more interested in watching the 2 girls who had come with these boys and their parents who I thought were quite nice. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t heard about these girls beforehand

Then I was at the airport waiting to pass through Immigration or Boarding or whatever it is to go down to where the planes are. We all had forms to fill in. I filled in mine and handed it immediately to the guy at the small desk place. So did a few others. We weren’t allowed to pass through yet. Then they called the flight so everyone else formed a queue there. All their documents were read and stamped etc. I was wondering why there were a couple of agents standing round doing nothing and why people were just forming a queue with one guy and not going to the others. Eventually the others began to call people to them and we were all through. I was expecting that he’d give me back all these papers so I’d take them on to the next stage. The first thing that he said was “I’d better go to fetch the ones that are filled in” which for some unknown reason had found themselves back on the table where we started. They were all in envelopes so we had to go through the envelopes again. I was still hanging around there in limbo waiting for something to happen which didn’t happen, thinking that I would have these back but he didn’t seem to want to give them back to me. We were just standing there looking at each other.

We also had a couple of cats. My partner and I went for a walk and the cats came with us. One of them found a potato so it picked up the potato in its mouth and began to carry it around as if it was a kitten. Then it came to another one so it tried to carry both but they were far too heavy. In the end I was carrying these 2 potatoes for the cat. We set out to return home through Nantwich. It was early in the morning so there wasn’t much traffic about so we were lucky that we could do this. I didn’t fancy the cats running around on the side of the road in Hospital Street when there was plenty of traffic. We managed to shepherd them along even through the busy interchange at the roundabout outside Churche’s Mansions. A policeman in an American car gave us some strange looks. At one stage one of these cats was a duck waddling along but then it became a cat again a little later on. It was a really weird situation with these 2 cats that had come with us for a walk and these potatoes that they were trying to nurse.

Later on there was someone with a big van pulling a mobile home which they were using as a caravan. They’d parked at this camp site blocking everyone’s view so that they could see the lake while they had lunch. I was trying to have them move to a more convenient space because this wasn’t very good. In the end they agreed to move but the area to where I wanted them to move, there was no access to vehicles so they were there blocked with this vehicle somewhere. The guy got out to go for a look around on foot. He ended up being stranded somewhere. We were left with this mobile home blocking just about everyone with loads of people wandering around.

Finally I was somewhere else with a group of people, one of whom was my friend from North Wales. We were staying in digs somewhere. I’d had a wash and a shower. They decided that they wanted to go to the pub called “The Great Eastern”. It was quite late at night but we set off to walk. Halfway through it I realised that I didn’t have my watch. I wondered if I’d left it back at my room or whether it had fallen off my hand somewhere. We ended up on a main road. I joked with my friend that the pub she wanted to visit had closed down and was now a night club. I found that on this particular corner there was the pub, some kind of café and a night club too. All the people with me, including my friend waltzed off into the night club. I supposed that I had to follow but I really had no interest at all in going to a night club but that was what everyone wanted to do.

It’s no surprise that after all of that I was flat out at 07:00.

Not that I could do all that much either once I was up and about. It took me an age to get going yet again. Eventually I gave up trying and went for a shower to try to wake myself up and to make myself smell nice for the cleaner when she comes.

And then I transcribed the dictaphone notes that you read just now.

After lunch I did some tidying up and sorted out the clothes that I’d washed last week, and then while the cleaner was here I finished off the notes for the next radio programme.

There was also some time to carry on with my notes from Canada 2017. Not much though because firstly, regrettably, I fell asleep again.

Secondly, I’ve been trying, rather unsuccessfully, to track down the details of the supposed settlements of Salome’s Point and Crooked House Point on Earl Island.

What would really help would be if the Newfoundland Museum Antiquities Department would publish an itemised list of all known or suspected archaeological sites instead of having to pick through the theses of various researchers.

Tea tonight was a chili sin carné with the leftovers in the fridge with a small tin of kidney beans added in. It was delicious as usual, and then regrettably I crashed out again once I came back here to sit down.

But right now even though it’s early I’m going to bed. I really need a decent night’s sleep and I know that I won’t get it, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t make an effort.

Wednesday 19th July 2023 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… day today that’s best forgotten. In fact, I’m actually so surprised that I’ve accomplished as much as I have.

But start as you mean to go on. I was actually up and about (well, sort-of) before the alarm went off. I’d had such a disturbing dream that it actually awoke me and I ended up sitting bolt-upright.

After the medication and checking my mails and messages it took me a while to come to my senses – after all, I have so few left these days that it takes a while to find them, I suppose.

Anyway, once I was there or thereabouts I pushed on with the medical receipts. It was quite a struggle because there were so many, but eventually they were all done and dusted. Just one more lot to send off but I’ll wait until Friday when I’ll have bought this next month’s batch of Aranesp.

The next thing that needed doing was to fill in this form about my disability. That was a whole rainforest of paperwork that I needed to complete, and as well as that, I had to print off some stuff from the computer, like copies of Identity cards and electricity bills and the like.

But going through these forms, I’m surprised at what I’m entitled to claim. There’s no doubt that the elderly and infirm are much better off here than in the UK.

However, it goes without saying that I’m not claiming for much because I don’t really need it. If I can have a parking pass and a public transport ticket that will suit me fine. My medical expenses are taken care of because I’m classed as long-term permanently seriously ill

Ending up with a pile of paperwork like this, that led to some tidying up in here. And that’s not like me at all, is it? I suppose that I ought to be more focused on things like this but it isn’t easy.

A little later I had a shower, and then while the cleaner was here I organised the music for the next radio programme, paired it all off and then actually wrote out all of the notes. And that took me an age because I fell asleep in the middle of doing it. And fell asleep definitively too.

At some point or other I managed to transcribe the dictaphone notes. There were a couple of people who were being besieged, rather like Murdoch and Lamb (I actually mean Murdoch and Guyler) of the Men From The Ministry. When they began to run away from their hiding place they found that their enemy’s ship was anchored no more than a couple of feet away. They tried to dodge into a building just as the ship opened fire. It practically obliterated the building in which they were trying to hide but they managed to go inside what was left of it. another point-blank broadside brought them back out of the building again and they were obliged to surrender.

There was also a film about 2 guys who were playing cricket. Their team wasn’t particularly good but they were doing really well. There was a break and these 2 guys disappeared and no-one knew where they had gone. The people who ran the club were devastated because they were the only 2 who were doing any good. Then it turned out that someone checked the contents of a dustbin lorry. There had been a film that had taken place there about some dwarf warning the population about the dangers of eating when there were seagulls about. One of the guys missing from this group was a dwarf as well. There were 2 people talking about the perils of being in a boat who resembled 2 of the persons from this group who were missing so speculation was that they’d all been caught out doing something that they shouldn’t be doing and were arrested. They were now having part of their punishment which was to talk out loud on the radio about these things that they shouldn’t do

I was in bed last night really hot and felt the urge to spread myself right out to make the greatest surface possible so that I could transpire better but for some unknown reason I was really worried about disturbing whoever it was who was asleep on the other half of the bed. Eventually after quite a while I realised that there wasn’t anyone asleep there and that I’d just imagined there being someone else there in bed with me at the time

Finally, I’d been staying in an Air B&B somewhere and was due to leave. The final account had been e-mailed to me to pay. Someone looked at it and told me “do you know that you have to pay 11,000 (whatever the local currency is) for your stay in that place? That works out at £2,000 per week”. It was only a single room in a small house. I was astonished by that, so much so that I actually awoke

And after last night’s escapades I managed to have some food tonight. Plenty of stuffing left so I had a taco roll, the one that I should have had last night. I know that my meals are all very samey but they are all very nice regardless.

Tomorrow, with all of my work done, I can finally have a day working on Canada 2017. But as usual, something will be bound to crop up to disturb me. I mustn’t forget to order the Aranesp either. When I go into town on Friday to pick it up I can post all of my letters.

There’s enough there to keep me out of mischief for a while.

Monday 17th July 2023 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… miserable day today. I’ve spent most of the afternoon flat out fast asleep on the chair in the office.

What’s even worse about this today is that I haven’t actually done anything or been anywhere. I have difficulty understanding why it would be when I’ve been out for a walk, but crashing out definitively like this when nothing at all is going on is even more of a mystery.

The night was rather turbulent though and I spent a lot of time tossing and turning around. When the alarm went off though I was flat out in the Land of Nod, away on a really interesting voyage but as soon as the alarm went off it evaporated completely and I can remember nothing at all about it.

Staggering out of bed I had my medication and then checked my mails and messages until the nurse arrived.

She gave me my injection and after she left I came in here to see what had been going on during the night. I was on some kind of school expedition to the South Pole. I had to tell everyone about it. When I began to talk the first thing that I noticed was that the chair on which I’d been putting my legs had disappeared so I had nowhere for them to be. I had to have a look and someone had moved them across my cabin to somewhere else

Some children had then gone into a maze and had somehow come between a mother bear and her babies. The Mother bear was naturally upset and was advancing towards the children who were retreating but of course coming closer to the bear cubs. In the end someone lifted up the children and put them on top of the maze so that the bear could go past to its baby. When the bear reached its cub it took the cub in its mouth and jumped up on top of the maze to where the children were. Everyone was fearing the worst but the bear was actually quite polite and pleased and made it known that it was really just thanking people for their consideration in getting out of the way.

When I awoke I found that I’d been doing something with an empty house that we’d taken over on behalf of the University. We’d been brushing out the stuff and cleaning it getting ready for an exhibition of the planets. My colleague went and had STRAWBERRY MOOSE involved, his handling was such as to stop him becoming dirty in case he soiled the seats or something. We had to put everyone into hand pumps to have this job finished because the quarry and doesn’t, or things like that. You never knew what was going to happen next.

And if you can make any sense at all out of that final note then please let me know because I can’t understand it at all.

Much of the day has been spent dealing with paperwork.

With having lost my physiotherapist I need to recruit another one so I have to find the prescription. I gave it to the previous guy but wondered if I’d kept a copy.

Despite having a good search around on the computer I couldn’t find one so I started to go through the paperwork in the Medical folder.

There were tons of stuff in there that I really ought to send off in order to claim my expenses, so I started to sort it all out into date order. Once I’d done that (and that took longer than it ought to have done too) I began to scan it in to the computer.

That’s a project that is going to take a while too. There were the usual breaks for my morning coffee and fruit bun (which is delicious by the way) and lunchtime fruit, and then of course I crashed out definitively for several hours

Tea tonight was a stuffed pepper – the last one from out of the freezer. And it cooked really well too, 20 minutes at 160°C in the air fryer.

There’s plenty of stuffing left so it may well be another chili sin carné on Wednesday.

With the bedroom looking like a total tip wit al of these papers floating around, I’m going to bed and leaving everything in a mess.

Tomorrow, if I wake up, I’ll be finishing off my scanning and then maybe submitting my claim for reimbursement. I’ve run out of Aranesp too so I mustn’t forgt on Thursday to phone up the chemist and order some more. That’ll mean that I’ll have to go into town on friday and that will probably do me good.

But I’ll worry about that tomorrow. I have enough to worry about right now.

Thursday 29th June 2023 – I’D BEEN OUT …

… last night walking in the countryside and seen a car that was being pushed about by this enormous ginger cat, really enormous, probably bigger than the car. I watched it for a while then carried on walking. I came across a grey tabby, a normal-sized one. I began to stroke it and it seemed quite friendly so I asked it where its food was. It led me round to someone’s front door where there were a couple of empty bowls. I said “that’s why you’re friendly then is it? You have no food out”. I was giving it a good stroke when the alarm went off and awoke me.

As it happens, i’m surprised that I was in such a deep sleep because for some of the night I was in total agony.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that when I was out at the hops the other week I had a searing pain in my left leg followed by a heavy fall. While I was in bed I had exactly the same thing, and not once but twice. That was what I call agony.

When the physio came round this afternoon I told him about it but he was at something of a loss to explain it. But that’s no surprise really, I suppose.

But meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bedroom I fell out of the bed when the alarm went off and went to perform my ablutions. And after the medication I came back in here to carry on with some work.

And I’ve been a very busy boy today and accomplished tons of stuff.

First thing was to go through and sort out the European Paper Mountain that has been building up, and file everything away. Not before time either because some of this stuff really did have whiskers on it.

Next thing was to do the accounts. Not only do I have to pay the cleaner but I have to do the paperwork that goes with it. I forgot last month so there was two months worth of that to do.

Next step was to fill in a form that my Belgian bank needed, and then to scan it and send it off. While I was at it I came across a couple of e-mails that I’d received and hadn’t answered so that was the next task.

While we’re on the subject of forms filling in … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was a form that the French Government needed. I could do it by going into my “personal space” but I don’t have an access key so I had to telephone them.

And when I finally made contact I was number 24 in the queue so I sat down to read “War and Peace”.

Eventually I spoke to a human and we did the necessary on the telephone. He reminded me that there was a payment outstanding so that was the next task, followed by a shower as the physiotherapist would be coming.

There was probably much more than that too, but I finished off by enrolling on my Welsh course for next year. Level one of the “Advanced” course, although it doesn’t seem much like it. I hope that all this stuff for which I’ve signed up throughout the Summer actually does me some good.

Right now I really don’t have any idea about what’s going on. I’m working on the principle that if you throw enough whatsit onto a wherever, some of it might stick. But that’s no way to run a business.

There was some more stuff on the dictaphone too from during the night. I was driving a coach for a local coach firm in Crewe for whom I did some work at one time during the winter when there was no work at SHearings. It’s the first time that I’ve driven a coach for nearly 30 years. I had to do a whole series of pickups around different places in Crewe. I suddenly realised that it’s 30 years since I’ve lived in Crewe. I don’t know where one or two places are and all the road layouts changed so what I might possibly have done years ago in order to go to the various places will all be different now. I don’t have a clue how I was going to do it. I got into the coach and drove it through the Flag Lane area and down Broad Street. When I reached the top of broad Street I had to do a right-left shunt into one of the streets there but I suddenly realised that it probably would have been better if I’d gone the other way but it’s a bit too late now. In the middle of all of this the owner’s wife called me up on the radio to ask me how long I’d be before I arrived at the pickup point. I was obviously later than I should have been. I just told her “a couple of minutes” but this was starting to become extremely uncomfortable one way or another with all of this that I didn’t know and hadn’t done for years.

After that I was in Brussels last night with a couple of people. One of them had a friend who worked for the European institutions. We were driving around the city. On the way back I pointed down the street towards the Parc Leopold, explaining that that was where the Parc Leopold was and where her friend worked. As we drove a little further on we went over into an area that was supposed to be Schaerbeek but wasn’t. I pointed out the beautiful Town Hall, which amazed them. We headed on back for my apartment.

At some point or other I’d become an MP and theyw ere discussing the thing that I’d done in my constituency. I explained that I’d been away for a couple of weeks but before I went I ordered a pile of tickets for some of them to visit the Parliament. I’d been to the bank to organise some money. I should really go to pick it up but at the moment I’ve only just come back and need to regroup my strength before I go out to do something like that.

Later on I was walking down a street somewhere last night. There were shops and everything, a new parade of shops set at 45° on to the road further down towards the end. I was on my way down there and noticed that one of these shops was full of old motorcycles that had been recovered from barns etc and were up for sale. I was just about to stop for a good look when I had a really bad attack of cramp in the left calf again that awoke me. Yes, fancy that! Just as I get to the interesting bit.

As it happens, I miss my motorbike. When I came to Belgium I had a little Honda Vision scooter and at one time a big Honda CX500. I enjoyed driving that around the countryside in Northern Europe and one thing going through my mind was to buy another one at some time.

I have a CZ 175 down on the farm but it’s not really suitable for what I had in mind. But now even that is out of the question.

While I was rummaging around in the Land That Time Forg … errr … the fridge, I noticed some soya, carrot and lentil burgers that the dinosaurs must have left behind. One of those with some rice, veg and a pile of very thick onion gravy made a lovely tea tonight.

That’s one thing that you can say about round here – no matter how tough things might be, there’s always some good food to eat.

Tomorrow if I’m feeling better I’ll walk into town for a bit of food and post off the cheque that I wrote out today. And then in the afternoon I have the meeting of the owners of this building. I must make sure that my 250/10,000th of this building is adequately represented.

So I’d better have an early night. Here’s hoping that I can actually have a good night’s sleep for a change.

Tuesday 23rd May 2023 – REMEMBER YESTERDAY …

… when I said that I was feeling that my injections weren’t doing what they used to do?

You probably won’t believe this, but I promise you that it happened. But this afternoon I had a phone call from the hospital in Leuven.
“Over the last two weeks we’ve been examining your medical results from your last visit to the hospital. We’ve noticed several anomalies in the tests and so we want you to have your Aranesp injections every week instead of every fortnight starting from next Monday, and for your doctor at home to have blood tests taken every four weeks to control the results”

Things are obviously heating up around here now. So whatever will happen next?

Actually, I know what didn’t happen. And that was that it was today, not Thursday, that I should have had my appointment with the nerve specialist but I mixed up the dates. So I’ll have to contact him tomorrow too and rearrange the appointment.

It’s been one of those days where not all that much has gone right. For a start, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. I’d had a late night but even so, it’s not very often that I sleep right through until the alarm. But at least, I awoke in bed rather than on top of it.

And then I couldn’t get going. It took an age to finally come round into the Land of the Living and start to prepare for my Welsh lesson.

And then we had a tragedy. The college at Mold doesn’t have much money so we’ve been making do with whatever on-line video conferencing has been available. And the one that we used until recently revoked all of the free licences so we had to go elsewhere.

The only free video-conferencing that they could find is one that’s very resource-hungry and it won’t run on any of the portable computers around here (there are, for various reasons, five of those that work at the moment, including the one that I bought in desperation in North Dakota in 2019).

However, luckily, ages ago I’d bought a cheap webcam so I had to configure all of that and run it off the big desktop machine, something that I didn’t want to do.

And then to configure a microphone to run directly off the computer because everything here usually runs through various mixer desks

In the end I missed half of the lesson with all of this messing around but at least it worked. And once the lesson was up and running it passed off quite well too.

This afternoon, sorting out a few things that I needed to do, I came across a football match that I’d missed from 2 years ago, Caernarfon Town v Barry Town in a Europa Cup playoff match. So despite everything else going on, I took a couple of hours off to watch it.

And in news that will surprise almost everyone (because it certainly surprised me) I carried on with what I started last week and did some more rearranging of the bedroom. It’s starting to look a bit more like home now, which is always nice.

After a good session on the guitars, I had a listen to the dictaphone. Despite being stark out during the night there was some stuff on there from a little voyage. There was some kind of case going on about a large company where there was some manipulation about to take place with the shareholding in respect of a battle over who had control. Whilst I didn’t fully understand the implications of what was happening, it all sounded extremely suspicious to me. When I was looking through some paperwork I found that the company had been brought to the attention of the authorities on another occasion in respect of something or other underhand and was undergoing investigation. I thought that I should make a report of this conversation and pass it through to whoever it was who was investigating it but as I couldn’t grasp the implications of it and couldn’t really understand much of what was taking place, it was very difficult to write a note. I thought that the more I keep it waiting while I make up my mind what to write, the more distant this is going to be and the more I’m going to forget. It’s not going to help anyone by me waiting for too long. I need to pull myself together and write something down immediately

After the ‘phone call from the hospital and missing my nerve specialist, the physiotherapist came round. He gave me a really good workout – the longest session that we have had so far and I was exhausted at the end of it.

Tea was a taco roll with rice and veg, but the cooking session isn’t over by any means. There’s not very much in the way of leftovers for a curry tomorrow night so as I have plenty of tofu and some lentils, I’ve set the slow cooker on the go.

The lentils are being cleaned right now and as soon as I’ve finished this, I’ll take them out of the slow cooker and rinse them, and then put them back in with the spinach-flavoured tofu that I have and a load of spices, and leave it all to marinade in the slow cooker until tomorrow evening

That should make a really good curry, and I do have to admit that I’m in the right kind of mood for one of those.

In fact, anything to distract me because I’m not very happy about the idea of doubling the dose of Aranesp. It’s the medicine of last resort and there’s a warning that it is “recommended for patients with chronic kidney failure or cancer to use the lowest possible dose”.

Over the last year or so I’ve gone from 20mg a week to 60mg a week to keep me going and I’m not sure where you can go after all of this.

Friday 19th May 2023 – AT LONG LAST …

… the internet is back up and running, as you might have noticed.

What has apparently happened, as the technician who came round just after lunch told me, was that there was a short-circuit in one of the apartments that had fused the main installation in the building.

They had repaired the installation but the short circuit persisted so they had to disconnect the circuit and gradually reinstate it apartment by apartment until they could find out which one it was.

Of course, it was in one of the apartments that is a “second home” for someone from Paris who wasn’t here so it couldn’t be fixed until they’d contacted the apartment owner and found a keyholder so they could go in, and of course it was in the circuit before mine which meant that I was disconnected while all of this was going on.

Whether that’s the case or not, I don’t know. But it will explain why the connection flickered on a couple of times quite briefly during all of this.

But every cloud has a silver lining, and it’s a real ill wind that doesn’t blow anyone any good. It gave me an opportunity to catch up on a mountain of outstanding work, which isn’t all done but it’s still progress, and also, because the technicians were coming to check my installation, it meant that I had to tidy up the bedroom. I even had the vacuum cleaner going for a while.

And while I was tidying up, I found the missing spare battery for the NIKON D3000 that I lost a long time (as in several years) ago. It had fallen underneath one of my bookcase units.

So how did I celebrate everything? Well, while I was in town this afternoon I treated myself to an ice cream. I felt that I deserved it.

Especially after last night. I was so engrossed in a couple of tasks that it was long after midnight when I finally crawled into bed. And when the alarm went off at 07:00 I was stark out. It was an effort to haul myself up out of bed before the second alarm went off five minutes later.

Mind you, after the distance that I travelled durning the night, I was surprised that I made it back in time for the alarm. At one point I was living with a group of Mexicans from 100 or so years ago, the time of the Revolution. We were living on the margins. We weren’t actually revolutionaries or criminals. I can’t remember most of this but there was one part where we were in a cave and there was some kind of event taking place concerning someone who had made a promise that he’d pay to have his wine crop blessed and fruitful but hadn’t done so. And so they held him to submitting his youngest daughter, who was 10, to be sacrificed. He had to fill in all this form to state about her etc and that he was willing for her to go and that he recognised that he was in default for not having thanked whoever it was properly for promoting the fruitfulness of his crops

Did I mention the story … “no you didn’t” – ed … about the 2 girls who had tried to buy some wine from an off-licence to get a teacher at school into trouble? The server recognised them and wouldn’t sell it to them. He had his revenge quite accidentally. It was the school outing and he’d forgotten to tell the parents of one of these girls. She hadn’t gone to school that day – she was paying truant. She thought that everyone else would be at school and cover for her but of course not being there on a day when there were so few students her absence was noticed and someone complained to her parents. When this all came out, the shopkeeper had forgotten to tell the parents about the trip as well, he said “don’t forget that I remember you from the day when you were in my shop so be careful not to make a fuss. You can see why karma has caught up with you”.

And then I had to go to meet someone in the centre of London so Aunt Mary had given me a book, an ancient book about Civil Engineering that she wanted to sell and have some money. All of the booksellers were around Angel Bridge Railway Station. I arrived at the Metro and the guy in the ticket office saw me coming. He had a ticket all ready. I asked for a return too but he replied “no. This is a weekend ticket and you can use it any time like but you’ll have to hurry. The train is in”. I took the ticket, paid for it and dashed downstairs but missed the train, found that I was on the wrong platform, walk back up halfway and enquire of the guard or look at the sign to find myself on the correct platform ready to go. But there was something else in this dream about someone being pregnant. They were discussing the pregnancy and talking about gifts that they should buy. One of the girls was very upset that someone else had been chosen to buy the nappies etc because she said that she didn’t have all that much money. That would have been an ideal present for her bearing in mind her shortage of money.

And we’ve had quite a few dreams when I’ve been wandering around the Underground in London, haven’t we?

Finally I had to go to do some research on Emerson Lake and Palmer. I found someone who had some information on them who lived in London so I went down. She was a bus conductor on the buses. Rummaging around in her office I came across a book that was an assembly of photocopied press cuttings going back all the way to 1967, news articles and everything. It was an absolute goldmine and I was enthralled reading it. It mentioned a whole load of clubs and places in London that you could see from the window of this woman’s house. I was there making notes. When she came up onto the top deck of the bus to show someone some damage that needed to be repaired I told her about the book and told her that on no account was she to let it out of her sight. It’s something that she really ought to keep for posterity. When I finished I was going back downstairs to her house. They were talking about a car going for an MoT. I thought “I’m not doing anything this afternoon so I can take it”. I put the book in my rucksack hoping that no-one noticed and went round to see about this car. It turned out to be a pedal car for children. I thought “this is strange” but I’d already offered now so I’ll have to go. I asked her where I’d go. She replied “turn out of here, go up the hill to the roundabout and it’s the 5th street on the right down there”. I was trying to make a mental note of this but it sounded like more than 5 minutes away but I was already committed now so I’d have to go and do it. This book of press cuttings is a little gold mine. I’ve never seen anything quite like this, especially in a dream.

After the medication I came here and slowly unwound myself and then attacked another project. A while ago I’d found the soundtrack of an obscure German rock band that had performed at one of the Hawkfests some time ago.

Back in those days technology wasn’t what it is today and this was full of holes from a worn recording tape. Using the techniques that I’d been practising just recently about “cutting in” pieces of music from elsewhere in the track, I set about repairing the holes. It wasn’t easy, but I managed in the end to make something quite presentable and you’d never find the joins. Even I was impressed.

There was a break for coffee and a fruit bun and I do have to say that the fruit buns that I made in the week are excellent. And as for the biscuits, that I have yet to mention, they have really worked and are even better than the chocolate ones that I made a while back

By now it wasn’t far off lunchtime so seeing as I was expecting visitors I started to prepare for a shower but bang on the dot Rosemary rang me for one of our marathon chats.

Just as she finished, Christian from the radio came round for the radio programme that will be broadcast this weekend. We had a drink and chat, and he told me about a local musician who is looking for a bassist. That piqued my interest, as you can imagine. It’s quite lonely here sitting in my bedroom playing with myself.

As soon as he left, the technician came round and checked that everything was working properly, and once he’d gone I could finally have my shower.

It was a painful walk into town to find some mushrooms for my salad tonight, and whet there were were pretty grim. Mind you they had some of those small peppers so I bought a couple for future use.

Next stop was the estate agent to drop off this paperwork, and then the long painful walk back up the hill to home, punctuated by a call at the new ice cream parlour that’s just opened

Back here I cleaned the peppers and put them in the freezer, and finally the physiotherapist turned up. His “marathon session” turned out to be 20 minutes but he had me working quite hard. I was glad when he left and I could have my hot chocolate and delicious ginger oatmeal biscuits.

And then , regrettably, I crashed out for about an hour.

Liz awoke me and we had a chat on the internet (now that I have an internet on which to chat) for a while and then I ended up with a late tea. Chips and mini sausage rolls cooked in the air fryer with a salad.

The mini sausage rolls are starting to run out now so I’m going to have to search for a vegan savoury stuffing so that I can make my own. Puff pastry is quite time-consuming and difficult to make so I might have to by a roll of ready-made stuff and use that.

So shopping to morrow, so I’d better have an early night. I’ll pop into Noz and see what there is there on offer. I could do with a change of diet. I’m still wading my way through the asparagus tips that they had but there are bound to be other exciting things.

Mustn’t forget the vegan yoghurt either. I’ve run out of that and it makes a lovely addition to my leftover curries. Things are definitely looking up around here.