Tag Archives: vegan curry

Wednesday 22nd May 2024 – I HAVE GONE …

… would you believe, for a whole day without falling asleep even once. And when was the last time that that happened?

It has to be said that I did waver for about 10 minutes round about 17:45 but Rosemary sending me a few text messages soon snapped me out of it.

The interesting thing will be to see how I manage tomorrow. Is this just a flash in the pan? Or is it a renaissance? My money is of course on the former because as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, nothing is so bad that it cannot deteriorate any further, but you never know.

That was the last thing that I was imagining when I finally crawled into bed last night, later than I would have liked it to be but earlier than some just recently.

It was another turbulent night too. I don’t think that I had all that much sleep. But I was definitely asleep when the alarm went off. No phantom alarms during the night – at least, not that I recall.

There was the usual morning routine with the nurse helping me put on my new slippers, and then I had a leisurely few hours while I slowly came round into the Land of the Living.

After my coffee and fruit bun I had things to do. I’m going for a check-up in Paris on 10th June and I needed a bon de transport – a transport voucher – as my journey is more than 150 km

You’ve no idea how many times and how many different numbers I had to dial in order to find the Secretariat of the doctor. In the end I managed to contact them and they’ll send me one.

Next step was the taxi company to book the car to take me. As the journey is over 150 kms I need “prior authorisation” from the Social Security. No problem there because it seems that the doctor has asked for – and been given – “prior authorisation” for 15 trips. And so I invited the receptionist out to hit the high spots with me one night.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes. There were six of us living in a house all together. We had a few things to do, one of which was to play in some kind of cup final. The following day the film that had been taken of the match was shown to us. We could see the penalty shootout at the end where we’d scored penalties. They wanted us to do this again and then go to see a famous footballer to talk to him about the match. This meant leaving the bed and dressing. Someone had brought everything into the room for us to make our own sandwiches to eat on the trip. I was going to make a sort of burger, I suppose, with a burger and crudities on top but while I was cutting the cabbage or cauliflower or something like that, the cabbage or cauliflower fell onto the floor. No-one knew where it was. I couldn’t see it. In the end after several minutes someone pointed it out to me. By this time my quilt had fallen off the bed and had landed on top of it. I thought to myself that I would never ever have this sandwich like this. In the end I abandoned the attempt for the moment and chose other crudités to go on the pile. Then we slowly began to set off. I had the preferential place on the transport but I couldn’t think why because my goal to me was no more different than anyone else’s goal during this match

Later on I had a similar type of dream. A girl I knew in Brussels was there with me. We ended up driving to some kind of city and we were discussing a few things that had taken place over the last couple of days. I jokingly said to her “if you aren’t very careful I’ll be offering you a job”. Her eyes lit up at that and she wanted to know more about what I meant. Of course I meant it in fun but for some reason or other I felt like sharing my life with someone and she was there. We had a chat. It turned out that she wasn’t really all that interested. She asked what was involved so I talked about my future plans for next holiday, which was to go on a driving tour of places in Italy. She didn’t fancy that. She wanted to go to Borth in mid-Wales. I asked why and she replied that it’s handy for the airport if she wants to go somewhere else. I made a joke about “was it you, that person on the bicycle”? There had been some talk about a person on a bicycle. She was rather offended by that. She reminded me of a holiday that she’d done on a motor cycle previously. I explained that a motor cycle is far easier than going on a bike in any case. The discussion continued as we climbed into my car, the red Cortina. There was a guy loitering around. He had a really strange beard. I asked him if he wanted a lift. He replied “yes” but didn’t climb into the car as if he was waiting for someone else. I pulled forward out of the parking spot but he just shook his head then and walked away so I drove off and continued my discussion with the girl.

She was a strange girl too. Assistant to the Editor of the Brussels edition of “Time” magazine, she did have a short fuse if you touched one of her sacred cows. And she came to stay with me – for 12 months too – in 2003 while her apartment was rented out when she was short of money. And I never saw her again after she left

And so that dream continued. We walked mile after mile after mile all the way through South Cheshire, through Crewe. I was there with my youngest sister, leading her on trying to encourage her but with her little legs, it must have been a nightmare this trip. We just kept on going. Nothing distracted us all the way up Edleston Road past all of these cheap shops selling sweets and things, through a kind of market hall at the top and out onto Nantwich Road. We carried on walking towards Nantwich for whatever reason – I had no idea at all. Poor little sister. She must have been in hell trying to walk this journey with us with her small legs.

Why I said “so that dream continued” I have no idea. There’s probably something missing somewhere that I didn’t record and that’s a shame, especially if it includes Zero, Castor or TOTGA. They didn’t make it last night but it’s nice to see a couple of other people whom I know.

While the cleaner was here I finished off the radio notes for the programme on which I’ve been working, and I made a start on choosing the music for the next one. We have to push on.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry with naan bread. That’s the last of the naan bread dough so I’ll have to make some more on Sunday along with the pizza dough and the biscuits. I’m running short of those.

But that’s for Sunday. Now I’m off to bed.

But the gist of Rosemary’s discussion was the UK General Election which will take place on 4th July and which will figure in these pages in fuller detail over the next few weeks when a whole variety of MPs will be preparing to head for the hills with their ill-gotten gains from the Covid scandal.

But that’s nothing to laugh at. A Chinese guy was taunting me about the state of the UK. I told him "at least the UK can change its Government every five years. When was the last time you had an election?"
"Just before blekfast" he retorted.

Wednesday 15th May 2024 – AFTER YESTERDAY’S LITTLE …

… outburst, I’m still here. Alive and while I’m not quite kicking there’s been further improvement in my right hip. The pain’s not so bad and I’m raising my leg a little more. Getting dressed and undressed is not quite as complicated a struggle as it was.

But going back to my … errr … somewhat intemperate outburst last night, new readers of this rubbish, of which there are more than just a few these days, will be wondering why I don’t come along later and edit them out.

The fact is, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that my mental health is as important as my physical health and it needs monitoring just the same. These remarks are an important gauge of how my mental health is doing and I need to make a note of it so that I can look back later and compare notes, to see how I’m doing over the long-term.

But despite how bad things were looking last night, "When your back’s against the wall it’s time to turn round and fight" as John Major once famously said. "Better counsel comes overnight" Said Gotthold Lessing and so I eventually wandered off to bed, nothing like as early as I was hoping.

It was however yet again another turbulent night with a phantom alarm call which I managed to almost ignore, and stayed in bed until the real alarm went off at 07:00.

At the time that it went off I was in Thailand living with a Thai family. Apparently I’d been extremely ill and was living there for some kind of rest and recuperation although I’ve no idea about any more than that. And what kind of rest and recuperation I’d get with a Thai family in Thailand is anyone’s guess

And despite having had a drink with my medication before retiring, I had a thirst that you could photograph this morning. My pint of flavoured water with the morning’s medication didn’t last long, I’ll tell you

The nurse came round as usual just as I was watching yesterday’s game in one of the English play-offs and we sorted out the dressing on my right foot followed by my puttees.

He’s not impressed at all with the condition of my lower legs and frankly, neither am I. I don’t think that this problem is going to be resolved quickly if at all.

After he left I finished off watching my football match . When I had time, good health and good rail connections, like when I lived in Leuven, I’d go ground-hopping around various football matches all over that area of Europe, but these days I have to go virtual ground-hopping on the internet.

It’s not an ideal situation but as Frank Harris said in his controversial biography MY LIFE AND LOVES, "all human beings took what pleasure they could get whenever they could get it"

Once the match had finished and I’d had my coffee and (last) slice of flapjack I actually started work. And with a leisurely stroll through what I had to do, and a sleep of an hour between 11:00 and 12:00 I’d actually finished it by mid-afternoon.

This morning’s sleep was rather different than it has been for the last few weeks in that I actually felt myself falling asleep and so simply let myself go with it. I drifted off quietly and gently into never-land rather than the brutal and abrupt way that it has been just recently.

While the cleaner was here I transcribed the dictaphone notes from the night. There was a phantom alarm at 03:45 again this morning. At that time I was doing something with a girls’ football team from Florida, maybe training them or something like that but as soon as I awoke everything that I was dreaming evaporated. I can hardly remember a thing about it now.

There was something else about me being involved in a girls’ football or rugby team again. I was negotiating with High Schools or maybe other colleges to fetch girls to the college to train them for either football or rugby. This seemed to go on for hours. I had a really good team at the end – I built a tank whereby the weight of clothes would dry yourself afterwards was quite complicated but much more rapid than the normal way so it might even become a household word by the time that our team stopped doing it when I was badly injured

But what is all this about me being involved in girls football and rugby teams? There is no conceivable way that I would ever be involved in a rugby team. A girls’ football team is slightly more likely, but only slightly. And why should it suddenly have become a recurring theme?

After my cleaner had left and I’d had my hot chocolate I had the usual call from the hospital asking how I was so I gave them both barrels. I don’t expect to hear anything back from them but we shall see.

What I did was to come in here and start the next radio programme. Well, “start” is a big word because much of the time was spent looking for music that I need that I don’t actually have

However I did end up having a Southern Rock-fest that ended with Neil Young playing ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m a big fan of Southern Rock, with lead guitar solos that can last sometimes several weeks. There was the Three Rivers Festival in Columbia, South Carolina where I managed to blag a way in with my little female Mexican friend to see Widespread Panic in 2005 which was exceptional, and for several reasons too.

Tea tonight was a delicious leftover curry that I really enjoyed, especially the naan bread that went with it. It’s a really good way to clear out the left-over food in the fridge

But right now I’m off to bed and hope for an even better day tomorrow. "dawn is ever the hope of men" said Aragorn in LORD OF THE RINGS and as long as I can get out of bed I’ll be OK.

Not like the guy who turned p two hours late for work
"What’s the meaning of this?" asked his boss
"It’s that new travelling alarm clock that the wife bought" he replied
"What about it"
"I left it on the bedside table last night" replied the man "but it must have set off on its travels during the night. It’s nowhere to be found this morning"

9th May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… horrible day today.

And I’ll tell you how bad it’s been when I say that I actually took painkillers this morning and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, that is not something that I usually do at all.

Last night there wasn’t all that much wrong with me, apart from the usual, of course, and apart from the fact that I’d twisted my back a little sitting in an unnatural way on the arm of the settee

It was extremely late when I went to bed and I didn’t have very much sleep at all. But what I did have was some really deep satisfying sleep where nothing whatever disturbed me until the alarm went off and Billy Cotton gave HIS RAUCOUS RATTLE – and how I would have liked a good eight hours plus of that.

When I awoke and moved my right hip I had this searing pain that nearly sent me through the ceiling. I couldn’t move my leg at all, walking was almost impossible and washing and dressing were a nightmare

With a great deal of effort I made it into the dining area where I gave up nd took two painkillers with my medication. And then I set out the dining area as the nurse likes it, to keep her happy.

She was on time today but I made her late. I couldn’t pick my leg up and put it on the second chair for her to treat and bandage, the pain was far too much for that. She had to do it down on the floor which was extremely uncomfortable for her.

After she left I made myself a coffee and then made it back into here and went to transcribe the dictaphone notes, but all I found was the dreaded “this folder is empty” on the machine. My sleep was deeper than I thought during the night.

Later on I went for breakfast. Now that I have a loaf of bread I made myself coffee and toast with loads of vegan butter, and how delicious was all of that? The coffee was beautiful and the toast and butter even nicer.

One other thing that I needed to do was to make some more garlic butter as I’ve run out. I chopped up a few garlic cloves and mixed them with about 150 grammes of vegan butter, put it all in a special jar and then put it in the fridge ready to use.

Back in here the painkillers kicked in. They didn’t numb the pain – not at all – they simply sent me to sleep and I was asleep until about 14:00.

It was a really groggy, incoherent me who tried to continue after that. I managed my lunchtime fruit and that was about it as far as I was concerned. I came back in here and I was gone away with the fairies again.

While I was asleep at some point in the afternoon I was reading a book on the War poets. But onr of them appeared and came into my room. He took the book from me, saw what it was that I was reading, and then dropped it contemptuously into my lap.

That’s not really a surprise because before I crashed out I was reading something about Charles Sorley, he who wrote –
"When You See Millions Of The Mouthless Dead
Across Your Dreams In Pale Battalions Go"

– and was killed in the Great War

We had to study the War poets for our English Literature ‘O’ Level and quite frankly having the sentimental, flowery and melodramatic verse of people like Wilfred Owen, Sorley and Siegfried Sassoon rammed down our throats totally destroyed any love that I might have had for poetry.

If we had to learn War poetry why couldn’t it have been interesting stuff like “The Battle of Maldon” or “The Battle of Maldon”? The stuff we had to learn was like listening to Jimi Hendrix when Malcolm Morley could produce the same effect WITH JUST THREE NOTES.

Give me the simple, naïve poetry of AE Housman and A SHROPSHIRE LAD any day of the week.

But eventually I awoke and managed even to write some of the notes for the next radio programme. Not many, because I was labouring under a great difficulty.

Tea tonight was the leftover curry and naan bread that I usually have on a Wednesday night but it’s so good and as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t “do” sharing. In our house as children, when it was “first up, best dressed” we never ever really had anything of our own and a childhood like that can scar someone for life, something that many more lucky people don’t understand.

So right now I’m going off to bed and to try my best to sleep. But it’s late, I’m in pain, and I’ve had some very bad news. The partner of my friend in Munich, who has been battling with ill-health for several years, has been taken into palliative care this evening.

This is not the time for frivolity.

Wednesday 1st May 2024 – IT’S HARD TO ..

… believe that it’s the First of May already.

We’ve had fog and mist all day, it’s been raining and it’s flaming cold to such an extent that I’m seriously considering switching the heating back on. I don’t think that I can ever remember a Spring quite like this one.

Winter may well have been one of the warmest on record but we’re certainly making up for it now with this weather. We’ve not had a really warm day yet.

Mind you, it makes little difference to me, this weather. It’s not as if I’m going out anywhere just now. The next time that I need to be somewhere is 26th June when I have an appointment here in Granville as a follow-up to my stay in hospital at Avranches.

There’s no news on the horizon about any visit to Paris. In a sense that’s good news because it would suggest that they aren’t really so worried about how things are developing. On the other hand, it would be nice if they were to conduct regular checks on what’s going on with me.

But right now, the important thing for me to do is to take more care of myself, like going to bed early for a start.

Last night was earlier than some just recently but still later than I would like. And even so, it makes no sense when I wake up thinking that the alarm is going off so I need to get up, only to find that it’s 04:00, it’s still dark and it’s not the alarm going off at all.

So what was it then? I wish that I knew. It certainly sounded like the alarm in my sleep.

Luckily I was able to go back to sleep and I was dead to the World when the alarm finally did go off at 07:00. It’s a Bank Holiday here today and how I wish that I could have had a decent lie-in as I would normally do, but not when I have the nurse coming round.

Falling out of bed as usual, I switched off the alarm and headed for the bathroom, and then for the dining area and my medication

The nurse came round later to sort me out. He thinks that my foot is improving, which is good news. But the prescription about my puttees seems to be going on for ever. I can’t remember how long it was for but it must be close to expiry.

After he left I vegetated for a while trying to summon up the enthusiasm to do something, but instead I seemed to have drifted off into the Land of Nod for a while. Obviously my body is still in the Bank Holiday spirit even if I’m not.

After my coffee and flapjack I transcribed the notes from the dictaphone. There was something going on about a car repair last night that was under investigation. When we went to check on it we found that the car, an Austin 1800, was suspended in mid-air. It was attached to a machine called a “Kibble”. The machine rotated the car rather like a rotisserie so that the car would be much easier to work on. I talked to the owner about the machine. He told me that it cost £10,000, it was portable and he would take it with him when he was going out to repair because it saved him a lot of time and energy. He’d even change the chassis on certain vehicles using this machine.

Actually I’ve seen a real rotisserie being used for welding cars and having spent mush of my life crawling underneath cars to weld them up, one of them was at the top of my list for the farm, along with a two-post lift and a tyre changer. They are nothing like as expensive as £10,000, not even a tenth of that, and the time and back-breaking effort that they would save is enormous.

However, like almost everything now, it’s all water under the bridge. I’ll never have any cause to want to go crawling around under any other car under any circumstance again.

Then I was dreaming about a ladies football team. One of the players on the team had committed a very serious foul which didn’t look much when you saw it live but when you saw the video later on it was horrific so some consequences were going to have to happen about this. My job first of all was to take the player aside and have a really good word with her about what had happened and why it had happened to make sure that she was ready for any kind of cross-examination from the appropriate Football Association.

And my opinion of ladies’ football matches has changed considerably. I can still remember the first few matches years ago that were very amateurish to say the least but in 2015 I was in Burlington in Vermont when I came across A GIRLS’ FOOTBALL MATCH at the local High School, and wasn’t I impressed? Ladies’ football has improved dramatically and quickly over the last 20 years

If ever you have the chance, look out for a game in the Mexican female competitions. It’s not just the skill, they go at it hammer and tongs with a level of aggression that you wouldn’t find in the men’s game.

After that I started to edit the last lot of radio notes that were recorded a while back but I was rather disillusioned with the miserable quality and after a good while I decided to scrap it and re-dictate it. So that’s added to the big pile of stuff.

And I didn’t dictate anything today. Things were simply not quiet enough. I’m really going to have to find some quiet time, even if it means missing out on a few hours of sleep somewhere.

This afternoon I changed a few plans and junked the radio programme that I’d started earlier in the week.

The reason for that is that the date of the broadcast falls on the birthday of someone who had no connection with rock music but nevertheless was the inspiration for dozens of rock songs in a sort-of roundabout way.

Consequently I thought that it would be a good idea to have a programme dedicated to him featuring some of the songs that he inspired and so I’ve been hunting down a few here and there to make up enough for a programme. It’ll certainly be different.

Tea tonight was the same though, a leftover curry with a naan bread. And I’ve finished the last of my garlic butter so I need to make some more at some point. Can’t have a garlic naan without garlic butter

But as for the curry, it was delicious as usual. Adding soya yoghurt to it right near the end is definitely the way to go.

And while we’re on the subject of the way to go … "well, one of us is" – ed … I’m going to find the way to go to bed. I’ve done enough for today, especially as it was a Bank Holiday and by rights I shouldn’t have done anything at all.

But before I go, I’ll leave you with A SONG to celebrate today, another one that’s on my acoustic guitar playlist. It brings back all kinds of nostalgic memories from my teenage years and the girlfriends to whom I probably sang this song.

And to one night on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR.

We sang many songs that night, and one passenger was overheard to remark to another "I don’t like that Eric Hall. He knows too many dirty songs"
"Did he sing them to you?"
"No. He whistled them."

Wednesday 10th April 2024 – TODAY HASN’T BEEN …

… any easier today than it was yesterday. I fact it was probably a darn sight worse.*

And that’s a shame because I was actually in bed earlier than I usually am and earlier than I would like to be For a change it didn’t take long to finish off what I need to do, and I was wracking my brains thinking of things that I might have forgotten to do.

But one thing about it was that I was doped up to the eyebrows with painkillers.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I usually eschew painkillers but I really was in so much agony that I just couldn’t carry on any longer.

It’s not my style, I agree. I think that painkillers do more harm than good, but in bed, I’m not likely to find myself in any mischief, especially as TOTGA, Castor and Zero have stopped coming to visit me during the night.

So doped up to the eyebrows … "you’ve said that once" – ed … I went to bed. And that probably explains why I went to sleep, didn’t awaken until 06:15 and left nothing on the dictaphone except a rambling account of how grateful I was.

It really was for once a good night’s sleep because I felt absolutely nothing at all. When the alarm went off I staggered out of bed, dressed myself and checked my blood pressure – 16.3/10.5, which compares with last night’s figure of 17.4/10.2. I’m not surprised that the pressure has gone down after last night’s chemically-induced sleep.

Next thing was to take the medication, the usual piles of it too. My friendly neighbourhood cleaner will be along at some point to verify the medication that I have.

Having arranged the room, the nurse came along to give me my rabies shot, or whatever it is. And then to bandage me up with the putties so that I look like something out of Ancient Egypt

On Sunday I shall have to make another one as nice as that. It will be really nice if that one is so good.

Don’t let anyone tell you that strong black coffee keeps you awake by the way because back in here I really was gone with the fairies. I had the guitar out for a short while to have a play but didn’t go far with it.

It was 13:35 when I finally awoke and then I had lunch and a good wash with change of clothes to make myself look pretty.

To my surprise I’d been away with the fairies during the morning. I was involved in some kind of crazy science fiction dream involving some mad scientists and a chemical. But there were two of me and one of them was dishonest and ready to fall in with the plans of the scientist and the other one of me was more honest and was intent on thwarting his plans

And that4s a story with a little history behind it that deserves to be told one of these days but will have to wait until the expiry of certain periods of Statute of Limitations in the UK.

There was also something else about the Welsh Premier League and attendances. I was actually out on my way to a ground to watch a game and was driving through Whitchurch although it was no Whitchurch that I ever knew and a discussion on attendances began. Someone had seen a paper with a figure given of 4,000 and whoever it was couldn’t believe it but I replied that until their current problems Aberystwyth could easily have that kind of figure as their support.

Not that that’s ever likely to happen either. The record crowd in the Welsh Premier League is 3250 at Porthmadog who came to see them play Bangor City, but where are those clubs now?

Mind you, at a second-tier match at Old Road in Llansawel there were 1201 spectators who packed into the ground to watch them beat Rhydaman, lift the Championship and prepare for their first season in the top flight for almost 30 years.

Wouldn’t it be nice though if 4,000 could pack into Park Avenue to watch Aberystwyth? However, with a League with no money, no real publicity, no real budget and operating under a mainstream media blackout thanks to the rugby clubs who pull all the media strings in Wales, It’s no surprise.

While my cleaner was here I carried on with yet more radio notes and then after she left my favourite Auvergnats turned up again for more cake and chat. This is becoming a habit. I don’t like sharing my cake, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

Tea tonight was another delicious leftover curry with naan bread, rive and vegetables. I’m really spoiling myself these days

So having done all of that, I’m off to bed. The pains have come back to some extent but I’ll try without painkillers tonight and hope that I’ll be OK

But talking about mummies and my puttees reminds me of the tomb that archaeologists discovered next to the Dead Sea in the Middle East.
"I wonder what it was for" asked one of the archaeologists
"That’s easy" replied another. "Being next to the Dead Sea, it’s probably a deceased Pharaoh’s weekend retreat"
"What do you mean by that?#34; asked the first
"It’s easy" said the second one. "This is where they’d all come to unwind after a busy week in the pyramid"

Wednesday 3rd April 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… “correspondence” day today. Anyone who has been expecting a reply from me over the last couple of days should either have had one (electronic) or will have one within the next few days.

If you are expecting one and don’t receive it at some point, write and let me know because it will mean that I have overlooked it in the confusion.

And as my hero the Irish politician Boyle Roche once said at the bottom of all the correspondence that he initiated, "If you do not receive this, of course it must have been miscarried; therefore I beg you to write and let me know".

That’s how I felt last night actually – like a load of miscarried correspondence. I fell asleep twice (or was it three times?) typing out the notes from yesterday and the fact that I managed to complete them, that shows determination if nothing else.

Even though there was the usual stuff to do, I was actually in bed by 23:00 and that shows what I can do when I really try. And I wasn’t sorry to hit the sack, I can tell you.

It was a really peaceful night but I did have another one of those “false awakenings” that we talked about the other day, where I’m convinced that I’m awake but I’m actually not, and it’s a really strange feeling when the alarm goes off and I’m convinced that I’m already awake.

In the past I’ve been awake when the alarm goes off but that’s a completely different sensation of course.

First thing to do was to check the blood pressure this morning, and I don’t know why because they don’t seem all that interested at hospital. It’s 14.9/92, quite a drop on last night’s 17.7/10.2. Whatever must have been winding me up completely must have disappeared

There was the medication to deal with of course, and that takes a lot longer than it ought. And then I had to arrange the room ready for the nurse.

The blood sample thing was an absolute farce again, and there are now more holes in me than in a hedgehog’s trousers. I’d printed off the form and had it ready for him, and I’d called him last night to say that it was here so that he could bring his stuff, but that didn’t mean that he could find a vein.

It’s obviously because I’m all assembled wrongly. Anyway, according to him, it’s my fault that he can’t find a vein.

Once he’d gone (and left his blood testing kit behind) I could relax and have a listen to find out where I’d been during the night. Only one sound file on the dictaphone, one that I can’t remember at all. There was something going on with regard to stolen cars in Crewe. There was a big investigation. I was out with a girlfriend of mine and we went past one of the side streets on the industrial estate at the back of where we lived as kids. A police car was pulling up behind a tatty old blue Ford Capri so we stayed to watch. 2 policemen left the car followed by a civilian. The policemen began to interrogate this civilian about this Capri and then suddenly they began to push him around. I said in a loud voice “you can’t push him around” but my partner was quite agitated, wanting me to keep quiet. They knocked him onto the floor so I said something then but they still took no notice. My girlfriend was even more agitated. Then they had a second person there and they began to give that person a rough time. I ended up thinking to myself “I wish that I had a video camera. I’d have made a fortune taping this and selling it”.

There’s more than just an element of truth in this one too. My girlfriend from school (who appears on these pages every now and again – she’s the one who still looked exactly the same 40 years later) was rather a naïve girl and had little experience of life. I soon changed all that.

We were coming back from the pub towards her home one night when we encountered a police car and two constables parked on private property. They were watching the crowds but I was much more interested in where they were parked, so I made a caustic comment.

That led to an encounter that can only be described as “confrontational” and it certainly opened up her eyes to what happens in the real World. She was never quite the same again after that.

We once had a debate or discussion about people living on the streets, something that never existed in the early 1970s in South Cheshire when we had real Socialists, and she didn’t believe that they existed at all. So I piled her into my car and we drove to London – 180 miles in the days before motorways – through the night to find some homeless people to prove their existence – and then drove back again as dawn was breaking.

What her parents had to say about the matter of their daughter being out all night is unrecorded.

It’s like the time when I was angling for that job in New York but Laurence told me that a medium had told her once that she’d never leave Europe.

Never?

So a couple of days later, having dropped Roxanne off at a colonie de vacances where she could pet horses and goats for a week, Laurence and I were at Heathrow Airport and the rest is history.

When we came back, Laurence said to Roxanne "You’ll never guess where mummy has been"
"You’ve been to America" said Roxanne, because she was in on the joke. She was always good to take part in a joke was Roxanne, the bigger the better.

So, the correspondence.

Having already printed off the prescription for the nurse, I printed off the bon de transport and wrote out my application for authorisation for a journey to Paris

And while I was at it, I sent off a huge pile of other stuff including letters to the UK, letters to Canada and all that kind of thing in an attempt to bring everything up-to-date.

Some hopes though because there is bound to be stuff that I’ve forgotten to do, or stuff that’s going to overwhelm me in due course.

The cleaner came round today so I kept out of her way for a while but had to go in there to pay her for last month and then to talk about these injections.

They wouldn’t let me have them because of the lack of blood test reports but now that they have started up, we need to organise something so that I can have them.

The nurse said that he would become involved in this and telephone the chemists, so that’s going to be guaranteed chaos for the near future until someone sensible sorts them all out.

But it’s really sad that I’ve arrived in this state.

There was time left for another batch of Welsh homework from a previous unit, interrupted by making a batch of dough for naan breads. Most of that is now freezing, except for one ball that became my naan bread for this evening along with my delicious leftover curry

And that’s the end of the notes as well. Tomorrow there are no interruptions planned and nothing outstanding to do so I might write a batch of radio notes.

But no doubt, someone or something will come along to disrupt me. It’s like “Bomber” Harris who always said, to members of the Air Ministry whom he encountered on the streets "good morning. And what are you doing to disrupt the war effort today then?".

Now HE was someone who emphasised the definition of “unpopular”, just like me in my day. I was about as unpopular as a bank manager in the middle of a recession.

The other day I mentioned that we’d all play hide-and-seek as kids – I’d hide and the other kids wouldn’t come and look for me.

In school I was in fact known as “batteries
"why was that?" – ed
That was because I was never included in anything.

Wednesday 27th March 2024 – A LITTLE EARLIER …

… this evening I was lying slumped over the edge of my desk, forehead leaning on the top, totally out of it altogether. Miles away from what was going on in the real world.

Since all of these problems began I’ve been having some weird sleeping fits to be sure, but this one totally beat anything that I have had to date. “Out like a light” was hardly the word.

Whatever is going on with me and my body right now totally defies all comprehension. There’s no logical reason for it at all, except to say that it must be one of the pills that I take.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that at first I thought that it was that horrible anti-potassium stuff. It certainly seems to be that which was making me have those hallucinations, but this crashing-out is carrying on nevertheless, so it must be one of the others

The hospital knows about it because I’ve mentioned it, but as yet they have taken no action. and I know what their response will be, because we’ve been here before. They’ll just give me another tablet to counter the problem, and then I’ll need yet another tablet to counter the side-effects of that one.

And so we’ll continue on … "and on, and on, and on etc" – ed

It wouldn’t have done me much good last night either because once more I was hours late going to bed. There’s far too much to be doing here these days. Most of it just seems to be administration too and I’m beginning to think that “never mind a cleaner – I need a secretary”.

Still, I don’t think that I could pay a secretary to take my blood tests for me.

In bed, for what there was of it, was relatively relaxed and I wasn’t disturbed at all as far as I remember. But I would have loved an extra few hours in bed.

When the alarm went off I was in the middle of a really interesting journey but I immediately forgot all of it which was a shame, instead, I fell out of bed (literally) and went off to take the blood pressure. 15.9/9.0, which might sound high but nothing like as high as 19.4/11.2 which it was last night. What on earth was going on to make it so high?

The nurse came round later and I was lucky that I’d finished my wash and brush up by the time that she arrived. I’ve managed to persuade her to give a ring on the doorbell as she arrives so I’ll have a few minutes to prepare everything while she’s attending to my neighbour rather than just bursting in when I am incommunicado – and in somewhere else as well.

She almost forgot my injection this morning too. Apparently this “injection of the last resort” goes on for another three months and I’ve no idea what happens then. Anyway she remembered just in time (it’s no use asking me to remember anything these days) and so I’m like a dartboard again.

Checking my mails and messages I found a mail from an old friend of mine, someone with whom I’ve had no contact for almost 50 years.

He was a friend at school and we hung around together for a few years but then, like the Knights of the Round Table,WE WENT OUR SEPARATE WAYS. We do have a mutual contact and it seems that news about my condition is slowly circulating around.

It’s really nice to speak to people from the past like that. There’s a lot of catching up to do as our time draws slowly on to its conclusion. I say that because he’s not doing too well either.

Then I had to prepare for my Welsh lesson which didn’t take long.

And the lesson passed much better today than it has done over the previous two days and despite the fact that I can’t remember anything, I feel so much better about it. And that’s progress too.

The cleaner came round today too in order to make the place look pretty, and we went through the medication and made another list. She’ll go to the chemist’s tomorrow to order what I need, including some new injections, and pick it all up on Friday.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. I’d started up in business again. I had a radio operator and driver for the daytime. And I did things a little on the way, like I made a little snack, something like baked beans on toast or mushrooms on toast or something, not very appetising or anything but at least I made sure that they had something to eat at lunchtime. I was sitting down doing a summary of everything and I asked how things were going. The subject of this food came up. They admitted that the food wasn’t particularly substantial but it was nice that I’d thought of them. They were really pleased about that but one girl had something of a moan about it. I’m not saying that she was wrong but I’m saying that there were limits as to what I could do during the daytime when I was supposed to be sleeping and that way they were lucky that they were receiving something.

And that would be a horror show if I started up in business again. I’ve had my fill of working hard for a living and the only kind of working in which I’m interested in doing is work where I’m sitting here at my desk within easy reach of the bathroom and the coffee machine.

That way, there’s only one person whose interests I have to look out for, and it’s not anyone else’s, that’s for sure. I’ve done enough of that, especially when its usually been the interests of the wrong people and not the interests of those who really matter.

But talking about food not being substantial, the thought of a good plate of beans on toast made my mouth water and had I had a loaf of bread here instead of baking it to order, I would have been really tempted.

While I was rummaging around looking for something or other I came across my collection of EAST OF EDEN albums.

Now that’s a blast from the past. They were a group from Bristol who buzzed around the festivals and concert circuits for years.

Apart from their hit single, JIJ A JIG that is nothing whatsoever like the rest of their music – they are a typical late-60’s rock band – their claim to fame is that violinist Dave Arbus was the musician who played violin on the Who’s BABA O’RILEY, one of the greatest singles of all time.

Once everything had calmed down I made a start on the next radio programme but regrettably I didn’t get very far, for reasons that I explained earlier. I can see this being a continual story.

Tea tonight was a delicious leftover curry, lengthened with some lentils, quinoa and peanuts, and accompanied by rice, veg and naan bread. And there’s no better meal than one of my leftover curries.

However I’ve now run out of dough for my naan breads so I’ll have to make some more for next week. We can’t be doing without that. Luckily I still have some soya yoghurt left.

But that reminds me – my biscuit-making operation (and delicious they are too) has meant that I’m running perilously low on vegan butter. I need to place an order for the food from LeClerc. I can’t be doing without my butter for my hot cross buns either.

It’s a surprise that I’m not putting on any weight with all of this food that I seem to be shifting. It’s rather like the little girl who noticed that her mummy’s stomach seemed to be growing bigger and bigger, so she asked her mummy about it.
"Well dear" said mummy "Daddy’s given me a baby"
"but hat’s that got to do with your tummy?"
"Because the baby’s in there dear" said mummy
So the little girl goes off to her daddy
"You know that baby you gave mummy?" she asked
"Yes dear?" asked her father
"Well" replied the little girl "SHE’S EATEN IT!"

Wednesday 20th March 2024 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… night where I ended up not going to bed until after 02:30 or so. And this is becoming ridiculous.

As usual, it’s just that I can’t seem to find the effort to carry out the simplest of tasks, like going to bed. Everything really is churned up at the moment.

Some of the side-effects of some of these pills and tablets that I take are frightening. Eyesight issues is of course one of them, and a state of confusion and disorientation is another. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that they are correct.

The burning question of the day is not O’Rafferty’s Motor Car but that if they are right about those effects, what about the others? And if so, why haven’t I noticed them? And if I haven’t noticed them, has anyone else?

It reminds me of the story that Dr Keith Simpson, the Home Office Pathologist used to tell after he’d retired
"I’m not going to sit around and become old, decrepit, doddery and senile" he said. "If ever I get like that I’ve told the wife to have an “accident” cleaning the shotgun"
"Blimey!" piped up a voice from the crowd. "She’s leaving it rather late, isn’t she?"

Another one of the side effects of one of the tablets is “impotence”. And by that I don’t mean that you have your own article in Who’s Who, or even like some famous animals who have their own article in Who’s Zoo.

But that side-effect probably explains why TOTGA, Castor and Zero haven’t been around for a while. It tells me everything that I need to know.

Every cloud though has a silver lining. And while I was trying to find the motivation to go to bed I came across a couple of albums from a Hungarian rock group called Karpàtia, about which I’d completely forgotten. There isn’t half a pile of all kinds of obscure stuff around here.

Anyway I eventually found my way into bed, fully-clothed because there was no point undressing for such a short period of time in bed.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed and you’ve no idea how much effort that was – or maybe you can imagine it. It was all of about 10 minutes before I could manage to open my eyes and find the blood pressure machine. 14.6/8.6 so the night can’t have been all that bad.

And to my surprise, I noticed that I had taken it before hitting the hay earlier. 15.1/8.5, and that’s not all that unreasonable either, compared to how things have been in the past.

Sticking my head under the cold tap didn’t help much but I went off and took my tablets, hoping that one of them had a side-effect of insomnia.

While I was waiting for the nurse I had another go at re-arranging the medical stuff, which he promptly re-re-arranged into a state of disorder just a few seconds after arrival.

He didn’t realise that he had to do these puttees every day, and then there wasn’t enough room in my apartment, and I didn’t have any disposable gloves, and my veins aren’t good enough for home-sampling, etc. etc. etc und so weiter.

In the end he abandoned the attempt at the blood test and he’ll do it tomorrow when he has more time. That’s what I call “famous last words”, isn’t it?

After all of that I was in no state whatever to start any work this morning and it wasn’t until this afternoon that things set off under way. I reviewed and dispatched the radio programme for this weekend and then started on another one. I’ve chosen the music, remixed it for broadcast, paired it off and joined up the pairs, and even written some of the notes. That was quite an effort, the way that I’m feeling.

The cleaner came round as well, so I have a nice, clean apartment. And we had a good moan at each other too, putting the world to rights. Not that it’ll do much good, but there you are.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night, which was a surprise. There was some kind of convention with a lot of guys from work etc. attending. I had my list of keep fit exercises that I do in bed and I’d brought it with me. For some reason or other I ended up in a real tangle doing one set of exercises and had to call in the stewards or something to help me untangle myself. I can’t remember all that much about it.

That’s actually a real issue. With not having sufficient force to raise my legs when I’m lying down in bed, they do have a tendency to become tangled up in each other on occasions and I have to use my hands to pull on a leg to free it off from the other. What I’m going to do when I no longer have the force in my arms, I haven’t decided yet.

Tea was lovely. A beautiful leftover curry with rice, vegetables and a naan bread. A leftover curry may not sound exciting but the way that I cook it, it really is.

And that reminds me – while we’re on the subject of curries … "well, one of us is" – ed … I shall have to make certain arrangements about acquiring some more spices from the Asian supermarket in Leuven now that I can no longer go. I’m not running out yet, but I don’t want to take any chances and I need to make sure that I have a good stock on hand.

So that’s my notes written up, and I’ve only crashed out twice, I’m off to do what I need to do before going to bed. As Gandalf said in LORD OF THE RINGS, "Go where you must go, and hope".

And as Shakespeare wrote in “Henry VI” – "Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.". But I can’t remember now whether he said that in Henry VI part I, part II or part III.

One thing that I always wondered about when Shakespeare wrote those three parts of the play, did he run adverts in between the parts or was it just the News?

Wednesday 13th March 2024 – THE DEED IS …

… done and I’m now registered for an Easter Welsh course with … errr … Caefyrddyn

Enrolling on a Welsh course rather like Macbeth and the murder of Duncan actually and "If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly". Caerfyrddyn was the only centre that had any spaces left on its Easter revision course when I went to sign up.

It’s a symbol of how popular learning Welsh became at Covid. When the courses were face-to-face (or wyneb-wyneb for regular readers of this rubbish who recall a dream a week or so ago) they had about 100 applicants each year. When Covid hit and the courses went over to video-conferencing, they had 1031 applicants.

That’s not the kind of thing for which infrastructure exists and they had to be quite inventive to fit everyone in

With my class, I’m quite lucky because already being involved and registered, my place is assured. However, for this revision course, I’m dropping down two levels and so I have had to re-register

So with studying a course down in the south, I’ll be saying things like gyda-gylid instead of efo-gylid and caeth e instead of cafodd o. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago why it was that the Welsh language evolved differently in the south and in in the north.

If I had had any sense, not that that is likely of course, I should have enrolled last night while I was talking about it and maybe I would have found something more convenient. But instead I had a little relax to unwind before going to bed.

Once in bed though I felt nothing at all. Nothing whatever and it was as if I’d slept all the way through the night undisturbed.

When the alarm went off though I was already awake and it didn’t take much to have me out of bed.

First stop as usual was the blood pressure. 16.0/10.0 this morning, compared to 17.4/10.6 last night. It really MUST have been a calm, comfortable night.

Second stop was to go to take my medication for the moment, half a tonne of it as usual. And then some tidying up ready for the nurse to come round. I’d like her to think that people actually lived here.

We had a good chat about the things that the hospital wants the local nursing staff to do. Some of the things don’t come within their remit, so it’s tough luck on me but the rest is going to start tomorrow at 08:45 and how I’m not looking forward to that, especially on a Sunday

She took the blood sample and gave me my weekly injection of the Last Resort and then wandered off while I organised some breakfast.

The coffee is really nice around here, and my flapjack is definitely a success. I’ll make some more of that another time if I can remember the ingredients that I used. They biscuits that I made on Sunday are overcooked, but not so much as they are in-edible. I’ll make more of those too at some point.

Next step was to listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night. And I must have been stark out last night as I remember nothing at all of these. Did I dictate the dream about the person that I’d killed in that motel room? … "no, you didn’t" – ed … He was beaten quite badly and I was about to finish him off when someone began to come into his room. I quickly had to clean him up, tidy him up and remove as many visible marks a possible to make it look as if he was treating himself for his wounds before they came in, which was difficult. Somehow I managed it and he passed by quite normally without having any suspicions. Then I had to restart these videos, all three of them, to find out exactly where the secret place was where you had to puncture the skin in order to kill someone – someone had worked out that you could leave very minimal marks by just putting something long and pointed in through these three places. He’d prepared a video of it, that I’d been watching but of course with this other guy coming into the motel room to see what was happening I actually lost the place in the video and couldn’t find it again on all three tapes for all three points on the body

That’s the stuff that dreams are made of, isn’t it? If videos like that really did exist and I really did have access to them, there would be far fewer people on this planet than there are today. I can think of quite a few who would shuffle off this mortal coil with my assistance, if I had any say in the matter.

But I di have some gruesome dreams; don’t I? And many have been far more gruesome than this. It reminds me of Dr Cameron in Tannochbrae in the good old days of Dr Finlay’s Casebook – or Dr Kenley’s Feesbook
"And what’s the matter, Janet?" asked Dr Cameron
"Och Dr Cameron, it’s gruesome" she replied
"Well, look again Janet" he said. "It’s gruesome more"

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed I was going on a flight somewhere so I had to walk through the airport and look for my train to London. I eventually arrived at the station part and the next train to London was 22:02. It was only 21:00 so I thought that it was going to be cutting it a little too fine. I’d better go to find something to eat. I found what looked like a bakery or hot food stand and asked if they had a pâté végétale. She replied “no, no” and pointed to half a dozen things that she had on the shelves, the usual mainstream type of normal kind of food. She did have some large fruit bread. I thought that I could buy one of those but that would be quite a waste because I wouldn’t be able to eat all of that.

Not that anything like that would normally bother me, especially if I’m going on a flight somewhere. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I always take food with me on a plane. I’ve learnt from bitter experience that you can’t rely on airlines to always respect special diets on their planes, and it’s a long way and a long time across the Atlantic with nothing to eat.

Yes, my spicy or fruit bread has saved me from a fate worse than death on many occasions, as have my Subway sandwiches from the airport at Montreal. Consequently a large fruit bread would have been a gift from Heaven on a flight from an airport

Back in here and surfing around on the internet looking for something, I made a fantastic discovery. Carol Reed’s famous and spectacular film THE THIRD MAN starring Orson Cart and Joseph Cotton is now out of copyright and is available to download

What a film that is, too. It’s not so much the acting and the dialogue but the way that it’s directed that makes it a classic – with all these cuts of ordinary, old people filtered into the scenes that really give it the kind of panic-stricken atmosphere that must have existed in the immediate post-war Vienna.

My acquaintance with Vienna is somewhat more recent than that. And the last time I was there, actually in the city, was 1998 when I took a 15-tonne lorry there from Brussels.

It’s a film that in my opinion is on a par with THE MALTESE FALCON as one of the greatest films of all time.

The cleaner came round with my missing pieces today, and it’s a shame but she’ll have to be going back because the nurse needs some stuff to treat me, so she’ll write out a prescription tomorrow morning. We’ll go through the medication tomorrow too and see where I’m short, as one or two things are running out.

But poor cleaner. She’s not had much of a rest on her week off, has she?

The rest of the day has been spent finishing off the notes for the radio programme that I began the other day. They are done and ready for dictation sometime, but I’m not sure when. It won’t be at 01:00 on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, I’ll tell you that, not it I’m having to be up and about by 08:45.

After a session on the guitar I went for tea – another one of my delicious leftover curries with naan bread.

But while I was in the freezer I noticed that I seem to be running low on frozen vegetables again. It looks as if my last pre-Easter order from the supermarket will be going off on Monday.

That means that I’d better check my hot cross bun recipe and make sure that I have everything that I need. And then work out how to make the dough rise properly.

Hot cross buns are made with milk, not water, and that makes the issue far more complicated. I tell you – it’s not easy baking and being a master-chef when your oven only works when it wants to and you don’t have a clue what you’re doing anyway.

But you can’t have an Easter without hot-cross buns so I’d better learn quite quickly. It’ll give me something to eat while I’m taking part in my Welsh lesson, I suppose

At least I don’t have to worry about the Easter bunny coming to visit me. It’s not like the time years ago, when I had that part-time job just before Easter looking after these small bunny-like creatures just after they were born and making sure that they grew into responsible adults.

That was what I would call a hare-raising experience.

Wednesday 6th March 2024 – GUESS WHERE …

… I’ll be this time tomorrow night.

That’s right. I had the blood sample taken this morning, it’s been analysed, the reports are in and so I have a taxi coming to pick me up at 11:00. “And bring your things”. So there!

It’s no surprise that I’m not a happy bunny. Not at all. I can’t keep on doing this. I have things to do, places to go, people to see and all that lark. There’s no room in my timetable for trips to Paris, whether by taxi, train, bus, bicycle or gaslight

So tonight I’ll have to go to bed early, in contrast to last night where it was quite a late night. But at least, once in bed I didn’t move around much

When the alarm went off next morning I crawled out of bed and checked the blood pressure. 14.5/8.5 this morning so clearly I had a quiet night. Before retiring last night it was 15.0/8.1 so there’s not a great deal of difference

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. Well, at this stage of this World Cup match tickets were £97:00 per ticket. There were huge complaints from people first of all about why it was only rich people who were attending the matches, not the average supporter, and secondly, why protesting hasn’t been allowed against the football matches. In the meantime some agreement has been made that everyone who bought a ticket for the opening match will have to give their next ticket away to another customer but whether that’s a good idea or not remains to be seen. The coaches brought the two teams down. There was plenty of late team news – one team had managed with just two injuries and would play a couple of replacements and the other team had wholesale replacements because of various problems, even signing someone on the last minute but who should be able to take part in the match. They looked as if they would have difficulties to coalesce for a while. It was up to the other side to take the play to them and try their best to go ahead while they would be outgunned but not coalescing together to get them to play like a team

I should have added that the only thing that I really had to worry about was to make sure that no-one pinched my van because we’d transformed it into a mobile home and office for me during the period of the World Cup. I’d to totally lost if someone stole that.

It looks as if I have an obsession right now with being a football coach. Not of course in the same vein as in the good old days of Malcolm Allison who, upon being told that he had been appointed team coach of Kuwait, he’d be having his teeth out and seats fitted next morning.

But my football coaching experience runs, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, to the Pionsat FC’s 3rd XI who played in the lowest league of Puy-de-Dome football all those years ago and were always at or near the bottom. It’s nothing to write home about.

My favourite position in those days was either left back in the dressing toom or right back behind the touchline

Being an all-inclusive football club we had a couple of gay footballers there. They would always be happy to change ends at half-time

While we’re on the subject of the Auvergne … "well, one of us is" – ed …Rosemary rang me up for a chat. Just a short one today – 1 hour and 22 minutes during which, as usual, we put the World to rights.

If only politicians would listen to Rosemary and me the World wouldn’t be in a mess like this. We would solve all of the problems immediately without all of this nonsense

And then the cleaner sailed in. "The hospital’s been trying to contact you" she said, so I had to phone them back.

It was quite complicated too. I had to check that there was a taxi available, find out what time, book the vehicle, ring the hospital back and they would then send me a bon de transport which I’d print off and give to the driver when he or she came to pick me up.

It’s a good job that the doctor at the hospital demanded 10 authorisations otherwise I’d be struggling with this kind of thing. It’s quite a complicated system but as I’m classed as a maladie grave it’s covered in principle by the Social Security.

Quite frankly, having a few taxi-ambulances that are conventionné by the Social Security is a little goldmine

This afternoon the cleaner came round to clean so I stayed in my room, chose my music for another radio show, paired it off, joined the tracks together and wrote out half of the notes.

One thing that I’ve learned following the debacle last weekend is that once it’s completed, I’ll read through it to make sure that it makes sense and that I don’t have to re-write it or anything.

Tea tonight was a leftover curry with rice, veg and a naan bread and I do have to say that everything – the naan bread included – was cooked to perfection and it was the best leftover curry meal that I have ever made

And it’s just as well because I shudder to think of what I’ll be eating for the next few days.

Tomorrow morning first thing I’ll be baking some bread. If I’m going to hospital for a few days I’ll need some supplies to sustain me so cheese and hummus salad sandwiches are on the agenda. I might look into making flapjacks too or something like that as a pleasant dessert.

If anyone else has any suggestions, then provided that they are physically possible they’ll be welcome

The food in these places really is bad, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. And, as you’ve probably noticed, I love my food. It’s the only luxury that I have left these days. And in the hospital it’s not even possible to go to a café or order a pizza.

Add to that the fact that my neighbour, who usually smuggles supplies in to me, won’t be in Paris while I’m there – I checked of course.

So all in all it’s going to be a depressing stay there, something that will become even worse I suppose when I discover what they intend to do with me.

And if it’s something nasty, these days I can’t run fast to escape at all – not like the time after one of my car accidents when I was going hell for leather down the corridor until the doctor saved the day by shouting to the nurse who was pursuing me "I said remove his SPECTACLES".

Wednesday 28th February 2024 – TWENTY YEARS AGO TODAY …

… Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play. But it was also when I retired from full-time employment.

For the first time, that is.

At 50 years of age we were pulled out of the front line at work. They considered that we no longer had the speed, the fitness and the reflexes to cope with the conditions.

That, of course, is nonsense. There’s nothing wrong with my reflexes even today and, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I was still running every night up until two years ago

But anyway, there we were.

For the following 15 years life would be driving around Brussels in one of the fleet of Berlingos delivering parcels between the various buildings or, in my case seeing as I had a PSV licence, driving the shuttle bus.

But badger that for a game of cowboys. If you ask me which is more stressful – driving 4.5 tonnes of armoured Open Omega down a German autobahn at 260 kph at 04:00 or driving a shuttle bus around Brussels during the rush hour – I know which one I’d say.

With redeployment looming, my boss having retired and with “early retirement” being bandied about with all these hordes of Bulgarians and Romanians queueing up to join at half the salary we were receiving, I made sure that my pancreas flared up again.

A spell of sick leave, and then that was that

What followed was a lovely year of rest and then, after going to South Carolina for Rhys’s wedding, I picked up the threads.

A spell on a CDI working for General Electric’s training school to cover for maternity leave followed by 11 months at that bizarre American company where I met Alison, and then I set out for the Auvergne to seek my fortune, and the rest is history.

It wasn’t an early retirement last night though. In fact, what with one thing and another – and once you make a start you’ll be surprised how many other things there are – it was later than usual, and that’s saying something considering how late things have been just recently.

And when the alarm went off, I was totally wasted. I never felt less like leaving the bed but I had to make an effort.

First thing was to check the blood pressure – 13.8/8.7. That’s low. Below the target figure in fact. And much better than last night’s 17.2/10.5. I wonder what happened during the night to bring down my blood pressure.

After the medication I came back in here to listen to the dictaphone to see what had gone on during the night. With the fall in blood pressure I didn’t expect that one of my favourite young ladies had been to visit me, but you never know. I was back in school at the start of last night with a group of people. We noticed that there was a girl standing not too far away from us looking at what was going on. I knew the girl – she lived in Shavington. I was just on the point of shouting to her to be friendly when I awoke.

Awoke – yet again, just as I’m about to speak to a girl. There’s something strange going on these days about this.

Then there was a football tournament taking place with all of the big clubs taking part. Almost everyone was having a go at refereeing matches. When it was my turn I drew Tottenham Hotspurs against someone else, I can’t remember. I took the ball and walked down to the pitch. On the touchline was an old friend of mine so I said “hello” to him and talked about another adventure. I tossed a coin and called to Spurs to ask what colour they wanted. They guessed correctly “yellow” so I set the board out because the pitch was something like a chessboard. They complained that the board had been set out incorrectly. It should have been set out the other way round. I didn’t think that it made very much difference so I told them to shut up and get on with it. In the end they went to complain to the FA. Someone from the FA came down. He agreed that the pitch had been incorrectly laid out and as kick-off hadn’t taken place we could reset the board the correct way round and start the match. This was a decision that completely disappointed me. I thought that the FA would have at least tried to uphold my authority as referee instead of behaving like this.

And did I dictate the story about the little girl who was born? … "no you didn’t" – ed … It was Alison Something. She had a very sad life and died as barely a teenager. The Doors wrote a song about her which became famous.

If they did, I can’t think of the song. Plenty of “Alison” songs, but none by the Doors as far as I can tell.

So anyway I stepped back into this football match. As I went in Tottenham Hotspurs were playing and they won the toss for kick-off so set the board out for them to start to play but they thought that I’d set it out incorrectly – that the point should be on the row that started on the second row. I measured it al and it would be the same distance so there’s no problem so … fell asleep here

When the alarm went off, I wondered why the dictaphone wasn’t in its usual place on the corner of the chest of drawers. It was down the bed still ticking over showing 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’ll teach me to fall asleep again with it in my hand.

One thing that I can tell you is that it’s not very interesting listening to myself sleeping. And I remember a couple of times when Percy Penguin elbowed me in the ribs and said “stop snoring!”.

“I never snore” I would reply. “You must be dreaming it”. And now having heard myself sleeping, I’m sorry for doubting you.

The nurse came round, gave me my injection and took a blood sample.

The results are back now. My haemoglobin is slowly rising, which is good news, but so is my carcinogenic protein, which is bad news. It should be between 59 and 106 units, and it’s gone up from 270.3 to 276.4 in a week. The active enzymes, which should be between 6.7 and 11.8 are actually 31.2

In other words, things are slowly deteriorating, which is what I expect so there’s no big issue there. However, it is the first time that I’ve seen the word “terminal” written on the results of my blood test.

With the cleaner coming round I tidied up somewhat as best as I could in order to give her the impression that I cared, and then wrote out some cheques to pay a few bills here and there. She’ll post the letters for me while she’s on her travels

And then regrettably I crashed out for a while, which is no surprise after my late night.

But it wasn’t the usual kind of “crashed-out” – it was more like a cataleptic fit of some description where I’m perfectly aware of my surroundings, such as the radio playing on the computer, but I’m totally unable to move or to react to anything

It’s not the first time that I’ve had one of these either, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

This afternoon I finished my radio notes ready for dictation and then after the cleaner had left I made the dough for my next lot of naan bread and left it to fester.

Back in here I had more things to do but crashed out yet again, properly and really deeply too. I remember absolutely nothing at all of anything. I was so deeply in that I almost missed my tea.

But my leftover curry and fresh naan bread were delicious yet again, especially after I remembered to put the garlic in the naan dough. It was all cooked to absolute perfection too.

But now I think that I’ll go and have an early night. Right now, Tom Petty is telling me "I await the day
Good fortune comes our way
And we’ll ride down the King’s Highway"

But I’m going to have a pretty long wait. Having driven down the King’s Highway, along the Carolina coast, once or twice, I can’t see me ever having the possibility of doing it again.

He also says a little later " don’t want to end up
In a room all alone"

But it looks as if that’s exactly how I’m going to end up, the way these blood test results are going.

But never mind. He goes on to sing "Sometimes I get discouraged
Sometimes I feel so down
Sometimes I get so worried
And I don’t know what about
But it works out in the long run
It always goes away
I’ve come now to accept it
As a reoccurring phase"

That’s certainly true too. if something else crops up now, it’ll have to wait for a couple of weeks until I can find the time to worry about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things had obviously not gone well.

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

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

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

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

It reminds me of one particular time in Montreal.

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

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

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

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

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

That was quite embarrassing.

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

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

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

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

And doesn’t that sound just like me?

Wednesday 14th February 2024 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… I’ll be back in Paris at the end of April, despite what I said yesterday.

There’s a heart test already arranged for 24th April, so the doctor said “we’ll make it a stay for a few days and run a pile of tests on you”. Ahh well, can’t be helped, I suppose

All that way there and back and I was only with him for about 15 minutes, and even then he spent much of the time being interrupted on the phone by other people.

At least, it’s good practice, I suppose. Especially for me having to organise myself ready to travel.

Having had a good wash yesterday I still had plenty of things to do before I could go to bed so it was rather late when I finally crawled under my covers.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then to take my blood pressure. A mere 16.6/9.5 this morning – quite a change from the 18:8/10.9 of the night before.

Once I was up I dressed and then went to make my sandwiches for lunch – nice thick slices of home-made bread that had been stored in the freezer and left to defrost overnight, and filled with cheese, hummus, lettuce and tomato with garlic mayonnaise.

The taxi driver was someone who had run me round to the Centre de Re-education once so I knew her. We had a very interesting chat during which I learnt that she is on good terms with one of the guys off the radio. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" … – ed, the World is becoming far too small for my liking.

She’s not been taxi-driving long so she didn’t know the way very well, but I helped as well as I could and we arrived at the reception desk bang on time. And then I was called for the interview.

When I’d been there last time his office was right at the far end of the corridor and round the corner so I went to sit there. Today, his office was right next to the reception desk so he had to come to find me.
"Walk this way" he said, beckoning me in his direction
"If I could walk that way" I thought to myself "I wouldn’t be in this flaming hospital having this blasted treatment in the first place"

He went through all of my results with me, and everything seems to be an improvement (that’s not how it looks to me, but never mind) so he’s pleased with the progress of his cocktail of medication.

He thinks that an in-depth examination will be called for after a few weeks, and so he reckons transforming this day visit into a hospitalisation for several days.

One of the things that he suggested was another lumbar puncture – and I went cold at the thought.

As for all of my detailed and comprehensive notes about my blood pressure, he scarcely gave them a glance. So much for those then, I suppose.

Finding a nice quiet corner I ate my butties, went for a visit down the corridor and then found my taxi driver, and we set off for home.

Shame as it is to say it, I slept almost all of the way back and I’ve no idea why. But both the outward and the return journey were the most trouble-free that I have ever had. The traffic was slow-moving on the Prif but we weren’t ever held up, either on the outward or the return journey.

My cleaner was waiting for me when we arrived. She’d volunteered to help me up the stairs but strangely, I didn’t need it today. I could climb up all 25 steps without any help. So maybe there really IS progress after all. I must admit that last night, for the first time since my bad fall, I’d felt well enough to restart my musculation process with my elastic strap around my legs.

Back in the apartment I made myself a nice mug of boiling hot chocolate and then came in here to transcribe the dictaphone notes. And there were tons of them. No wonder I was tired. I’d travelled miles during the night.

We were managing a rock group last night. The drummer in this group was only very young but was a prodigy, extremely good at his job so one of the other teams in the league decided that they wanted to sign him. I said that he’d only go if they made a ridiculous offer and we had another drummer to replace him. My team in the transfer window arranged a few more transfers in, a defender, an attacker and one player whom I didn’t know. I didn’t recognise his name so I wondered where he came from and what he did, thinking that he might be a replacement drummer to replace the one whom we were about to lose but it wasn’t. In fact he was another outfield player. So I explained to the club that it doesn’t matter how much money they offer, they can offer as much as you like but if he’s still under contract with us and we don’t have a replacement then he can’t leave for another club.

And that really does make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

Mr Teale, our geography teacher at school was telling our class about the Midwest USA. He was talking briefly about the Oregon and California Trail that they took. So when he finished I told him about the time that I’d visited there and seen it. I had my photos that I showed everyone. I mentioned the big baskets at the top of the hill where the descent into California starts, where back in the past they went through and found all old bits of wood lying along the trail. They picked them up and stuck them in this basket. It’s extremely likely that much of the wood in there comes from these crashed Pioneer wagons that failed to make the descent correctly and came to grief somewhere along there on towards the end of the trail on this downhill slope

Regular readers of this rubbish in another format will recall that we have spent a considerable time on the Oregon and California Trail. in 2002 I went to see the famous trail ruts and Register Cliff IN GUERNSEY, WYOMINGand then went back there IN 2019, and one day I’ll finish editing the … gulp! … 6,000 photos from my famous trip

Then I put some knock-out drops into the air when our Geography teacher and one of the other teachers were talking about the summit of the Oregon and California Trail. I’d been there of course and knew all about it but it seemed appropriate for the class to have a break and go to sleep so that the rest of the room could occupy ourselves for a bit

As for the summit of the trail, it’s not easy to know what is meant by it. Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we have been TO SOUTH PASS which is the watershed, where rivers to the east drain either into the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, and to the west where rivers drain into the Pacific, so I suppose that that might be described as the summit.

However you’ll never lose a wagon down the descent there. Edwin Bryant, in his book WHAT I SAW IN CALIFORNIA described the slope either side as being so gentle that you’d hardly know that it was there, and that was my opinion too.

I also started later on talking about my Will, where I was going to leave money and to who. Actually finding it is a bit of a struggle but it was above the treeline on the route that these Oregon Trails took. But I found it sure enough and opened it to read. It’s different from the one that I have at home. My property will just be left to my heritee whoever that will be, with no mention of sorting it out amongst the people who ought to benefit so I hope that other people will understand, if they find this document, exactly what I want to do. I’ll have other ideas but I probably won’t get them down

That’s something that I really need to do – to write my will. It will be pretty straightforward and simple, and won’t take long. But that won’t be the end of the story because there will be a lot of work to be done in its respect and also in the respect of carrying out my wishes.

Apart from a few bits and pieces, it’s all going to be dropped into the lap of one person, and that person will certainly earn their share of the inheritance at the end of it. Mind you, they’ll deserve it

So who will that person be? The answer is that even though there’s a lot of ground between us, there’s really only one person honest and reliable enough in my entourage upon whom I could in theory rely.

And if that person doesn’t carry out my wishes? Well, there’s not much I can do about it, except to come back and haunt them, rather like the two gay ghosts who really gave each other the willies one night.

But that reminds me of Liz (not “this Liz” but “that Liz” who died in 2009) going in for a serious operation, and writing down a list of names
"Is this the list of people you want us to tell how it went, mum?" asked Kathryn?
"No, dear" replied Liz. "This is the list of people whom I’m going to come back and haunt if it all goes wrong".

Liz would have known about all of this, though. Having served on many University committees she’s had plenty of experience of holding hands sitting around a table and trying to contact the living.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed – as I said … "when?" – ed … but didn’t record, the people making this programme … "which programme?" – ed … presented her … "who?" – ed … with a teddy bear afterwards as a kind of memento of a trip that she’d made. Of course no-one from that voyage is with us these days except of course the teddy bear. That’s the only survivor of that first 1840s voyage across from East to West

That looks like an awful mess, doesn’t it? It looks as if it’s related to the Oregon and California Trail, but what’s the rest of it all about?

And then I was back at my little house in Winsford as well last night, wondering how things would have been if I’d actually stayed in Winsford and not taken the opportunity to move to Gainsborough Road in Crewe.

That’s a really good question. I quite liked my little house in Winsford but for some reason I felt really uncomfortable there.

Nevertheless, even though it was a Barratt House, I won’t ever hear a bad word against them as they helped me onto the property ladder. I went in three years from living in a van to owning (with a mortgage of course) a brand-new semi-detached house and I wouldn’t ever have done it without them.

While I was writing out my dictaphone notes I fell asleep again. It’s one of those days, I reckon, so in the end I went and made my leftover curry. It was delicious and the naan bread was cooked to absolute perfection. I’d eat all of this again and again if I could.

But now I’m off to bed. And I go, as Joachim du Bellay said, "heureux qui comme Ulysse a fait un beau voyage" “happy is he who like Ulysses has had a good journey”.

What I’ll be hoping is for more pleasant dreams like I used to have when TOTGA, Castor and Zero used to come to see me. It’s all very well giving me medication that has a side-effect of blanking them all out but as Tennessee Williams said, "If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels"

Monday 7th February 2024 – THERE WAS NOTHING …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday 31st January 2024 – AS I SAID …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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