Tag Archives: vegan pizza

Sunday 1st October 2023 – HAVING SAID YESTERDAY …

… that I am no longer going to drive, it took me just about 20 minutes to break my promise.

After I’d finished my notes last night I decided to go to bed so I went to put my phone on charge.

However, I wasn’t able to find it. It certainly wasn’t in the apartment. I imagined that it had fallen out of my pocket into Caliburn during my gymnastics on the car park at LeClerc so I staggered out to Caliburn to see.

Sure enough, I found it on the driver’s seat. What I also found was that my little parking space just outside the building was now free so I took advantage of the opportunity and moved Caliburn accordingly.

And the moving wasn’t half painful, but not half as painful as the climb back up the stairs to my apartment – especially as I had taken advantage of the situation by bringing some more stuff up here in my backpack.

As a result of all of these manoeuvres, it was 03:00 or thereabouts when I went to bed.

What was so surprising about all of this is that by 09:00 I was actually up and about. And I can’t usually manage that on a Sunday morning when I’ve been to bed before midnight on the Saturday

So once I was up and about I eased myself gently into the day.

It doesn’t sound as if I’ve done much but I’ve not been totally idle. First task was to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. At the hospital there was some kind of monster than got inside me and was attacking all my blood. I could feel that this was reaching a crisis. Suddenly one of my blood vessels burst. It sprayed the hospital with blood everywhere. At first no-one was in a rush to do anything about it because it was happening to several patients. In the end they managed to staunch the bleeding in my leg. Gradually it subsided and the panic died down but for those few moments it was really a horrifying experience.

And then I’d been invited to someone’s party so I’d been put on the train to go to the stop where I’d have to alight and some people would welcome me. It was dark so no-one knew exactly where we were. We pulled in for a long time and alighted. A scout suddenly came over to speak to me and confirmed what was actually said. But then I slipped back into where I’d been earlier. When I was at the station waiting for the people to come for me the room erupted like a volcano. There was blood etc everywhere. They had these two nurses looking after me trying to staunch the flow of blood. In the end the bleeding closed down and the help slipped away but for that minute or so everything felt like death. It was absolutely horrifying.

Finally I was on a Paris railway station and all of my strength was just ebbing away. I didn’t know how or when I was going to be able to proceed. I was just standing there waiting for something to happen

All of that is of course extremely topical – it’s a pretty good description of what’s going on with me right now. And I actually can feel my strength ebbing away. There’s no doubt that driving and climbing the stairs is much more difficult than it was even a week ago, and strange as it is to say it, I’m actually struggling to find the force to rise up from the saddle of the porcelain horse.

While I was at it, I transcribed a few more days’ worth of arrears from when I was in hospital last Autumn.

Something else that I did was to sort through a pile of paperwork. I have the nurse coming round tomorrow morning but he’s not going to inject me. I’ve had a letter from the hospital telling me to pause the injections for now. But I’ve been sent a voucher to have a flu injection and a Covid injection and I need the nurse to carry it out.

As well as that, I’ve received from the hospital a “prescription” relating to my lack of mobility and I need to know what to do with it. I’m sure that I’ll have much better advice from the nurse than I would if I were to ask you lot.

As well as sorting out the paperwork I’ve had something of a correspondence day today. Several people sent me best wishes for my stay in hospital, to which I’m extremely grateful. However, if you are writing to me using Gmail, I can’t reply to you. Google wants me to insert a few lines of its code into my server and if anyone thinks that I’m going to be putting someone else’s code on my server if they aren’t prepared to tell me why and what it does is totally mistaken.

There’s tons of music that needs editing too – various soundtracks that need cutting up and editing so I’ve been doing a few of those too during the day.

Finally, I went through the notes that I’d recorded for a radio programme last weekend. All this – and the one I edited last weekend – needs now is a final track and the words to go with it and I can finish them of and then start on the next batch.

Tea tonight was another delicious pizza and I’ll just nip downstairs to bring up another few bits and pieces from my Saturday shop before I do to bed. A good shower tomorrow morning, the visit on the nurse, and then I’ll have plenty of things to do.

But will I feel like doing them? I just can’t find any enthusiasm right now for anything.

Sunday 24th September 2023 – I WAS THINKING …

… and that’s always dangerous of course, about how much things have changed.

6 years ago to the day, I was in South Carolina visiting Rhys. I was at the end of a mega-voyage where I went to say goodbye to everyone whom I knew in North America and to cross off a few more things from my bucket list.

That voyage was because I felt that I was coming to the end of the road and didn’t want to forget anyone whom I knew.

However 6 years of living here in peace and quiet and comparative luxury gave me a new lease of life but tomorrow I shall be off to Paris for what will be a make-or-break hospital examination. During the next few days they’ll be examining me and it’ll either be good news or bad news. There’s nothing in between.

It’s a pity really that the decline in health over the last 18 months has happened at this time. I was having a lengthy chat on the internet today with one of the daughters of my niece currently in the USA. She’s getting married in November and, having followed her adventures quite closely, how I would love to be there to celebrate it with her.

However, as my trip to Leuven went to prove, I simply can’t make it. I even went to the lengths of costing how much it would cost to invite a friend to come with me for a week to hold my luggage and my hand. However there are few people whose company I would enjoy for that period of time and every one of them is either too ill to travel, otherwise occupied, or with other responsibilities.

My responsibility last night was to have a decent night’s sleep and for some reason, despite not going to bed until after 02:30, I was up and about by 09:45. That’s something that I don’t understand. It’s not like me at all on a Sunday.

For the morning I didn’t do very much – just a nice quiet relaxing morning, and then I had a listen to the dictaphone. I was back at home going through my record collection. There were some records there, some of this death-metal stuff. My brother decided that he didn’t particularly like it and this led to a huge argument between us. This argument turned violent. He started to attack me. At one point he was on my shoulders beating me so I took him to the top of the stairs and quite simply dropped my head forward. He fell off and went right down the stairs onto the floor of the hall below. I thought that this was really only a temporary solution. It’s just going to lead to yet more trouble and I really don’t know how I’m going to get myself out of this. It was another one of these occasions where I actually awoke with quite a start as if it was something that was extremely real.

And you really don’t want to know the rest of that, especially if you are eating your tea or something.

Later on, Alison had gone off to see some friends. I was at home having to get ready to go to Paris where someone was going to meet me to take me to the hospital. Rather than rush around I thought that I’d have a nice lie-in and then make myself ready to go. Then I realised that trains are only every three hours to Paris. If I didn’t catch the one that I intended I would be 3 hours late, no-one would be waiting for me, the hospital would have closed its admissions and I’d be left high and dry. I had to start to hurry. It took me a couple of minutes to realise that the best thing to do would be to just take what I could carry and leave everything here, hope that Alison won’t mind, come back for it when I’m out of hospital and then move on back home. I couldn’t see how I was going to do that either. I was just in a state of total confusion. I’d written to Alison previously about a couple of special offers on things. She’d been impressed by an offer on cheese and had taken a pile of tickets with her. She had written to tell me that the cheese was a great success and she wished that she had some more. Was there any way that I could obtain some before I left? Of course it was far too late to do it now. She was talking about another type of cheese she’d had but I didn’t understand the message. Of course all the time I was sitting there worrying about my train. Would it go? Will I miss it? What am I going to do? in a total state of confusion.

Feeling energetic at that moment, which is not like me at all, especially on a Sunday, I transcribed a couple of entries from my hospital stay last November. There’s still plenty that need to be done but if I do a couple each day, it won’t take long.

Having had a lengthy chat with my niece’s daughter in the USA, I finished off the afternoon by dealing with one of the sets of notes that I’d dictated for those radio programmes. It was a miserable attempt at dictating and took a great deal of editing. One of them is now almost completed and I’ll deal with the other in due course.

Earlier on I’d taken out a lump of dough from the freezer and I made another pizza for tea, just as delicious as usual.

So now I’m off to bed. I have to be up at 04;30 and that’s not going to be nice. But once I reach the hospital, if I ever do, I can crash out and sleep for several days until they throw me out. But at least I’ll know what’s going on and what, if anything, they can do about it.

Sunday 17th September 2023 – MY NICE LONG …

… lie-in came to a grinding halt at 08:44 this morning exactly.

Surprisingly, it was simply because I awoke – no noise, no phone calls, no nothing. And that was after something of a turbulent night as well. So I’ve absolutely no idea about what happened this morning.

Regardless of the early start, I have had my usual Sunday daytime activity of emulating my namesake the mathematician and doing three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

That’s not exactly true. I made a large batch of pizza dough and managed to make enough room in the freezer to squeeze in a couple of lumps of it. And then I’ve been going through the music on my computer sorting it out. This is another one of these long weary projects that will take for ever and probably won’t ever be finished.

There was a pile of stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. There was another one of these spy thriller film dreams that went on for absolutely ages about disappearing people. There was a parrot who always walked his treadmill extremely slowly as I remember. People wondered what the reason was for all of this. This was another one of these dreams that went on for hours and hours and I forgot almost all of it when I grabbed hold of the dictaphone.

And then I was in Canada last night talking to a couple of guys about my experiences on the road while I was there. I seem to remember. They seemed to be fairly impressed. I was talking about the time that I had to be suspended towed for some reason and the driver drove it so close to the front of my Explorer that it left a scratch all down the vehicle. He showed me a Mercedes that was up on blocks with just two blemishes on the front valance. He said that the same had happened here. His friend asked him about the Mercedes and he said that it was up for sale for $500. My ears immediately pricked up. He said that it had a German engine in it that won’t run. I said “that’s not a problem. We can soon deal with that”. I began to be really interested in the idea of this Canadian Mercedes diesel saloon

There had also been a children’s party somewhere. One of the girls attending had been killed. There were some people who really wanted the party to go ahead, which one woman there thought was extremely indecent with the girl still lying there dead on the floor. When people were talking about it all, one or two people just thought that she’d died and hadn’t realised that she’d been murdered. That changed their attitude somewhat but there was still a couple who wanted to carry on enjoying themselves.

I was in Birmingham later on. I had to tow something away so I had to change the towbar on Caliburn. I was busy fitting a new tow ball on the back. A man came past and told me that I needed planning permission to do that. I asked him what was his problem. He explained that he was from the local Council and in Birmingham you had to have planning permission to work on your house yourself. Of course I was totally amazed by this. This led to quite a lengthy discussion. She was asking me all sorts of questions about what I was doing etc. I kept on asking why. She kept on talking about planning permission. Although I was in a rush I was rather enjoying this because it wasn’t my house so there wasn’t anything he could really do about it. She began to talk about “do you make your own jams? Do you make your own bread?”. She was asking me in great detail about doing this. In the end she decided that she was going to leave this guy. Just before she left I asked her specifically “do you seriously intend to tell me that you need planning permission for working on your own house yourself?”. She replied “yes. We need to make sure that houses are properly tidy, well-maintained and repaired properly”. I replied “what you’re going to have in that case is exactly the opposite, isn’t it? Loads of these little old people with plenty of time on their hands to do jobs but won’t have the funds or the means to apply for planning permission to have the work done by a tradesman. What you’re actually doing is to defeat the whole purpose”.

As well as that I made a start on dealing with the backlog of dictaphone notes. That will take a good while too but the sooner you start, the sooner you finish.

Tonight’s pizza was thoroughly excellent as usual. The pizza base that I had made contributed quite a great deal to that. In fact, the dough shot up like a mushroom while it was proofing.

So now I’m off to bed. The nurse is coming around to inject me tomorrow, and I’m expecting to hear something from the hospital about the dosage at some point too. If not, I’ll have to order some more later in the week.

I’ve also been invited out for coffee in the afternoon, an I have to book my rail ticket for next Monday when I have to go to Paris again. This is all going to keep me out of mischief for a while.

Sunday 3rd September 2023 – NOW THAT’S WHAT …

… I call a good night’s sleep.

More than that too because although I didn’t go to bed until about 01:30 this morning, I didn’t awaken until … errr … 12:03.

Apart from once or twice tossing and turning around, I didn’t feel a thing either.

Even more surprisingly, I was out of bed quite quickly too. That made me think that if I’m going to awaken as quickly and as well as that, maybe I ought to try a few more days of staying in bed like that.

With it being a Sunday I’ve not done very much at all today. I’ve been doing some more tidying up on the computer although I didn’t create anything like as much free space as I did yesterday.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night, despite how well I must have slept. My two friends from the Shropshire Marches came to see me last night. There had been some kind of play or performance in a theatre involving a couple of people and how they were being attacked by another group who might have been pirates. They had fallen off and ended up down on the stage again after climbing through the rigging of a ship which was the backdrop of the theatre. There were dead bodies everywhere, all over every vantage point that you could see in the scenery of this play. On the uppermost, the person was only stunned because he began to move again. Gradually he disappeared from where he was lying. I noticed that he’d gone and I’d noticed a fleeting glimpse of someone but that was all. This guy made his way down past all these bodies etc to the ground and then attacked these two people who were in the party that had survived who had attacked everyone earlier and killed everyone. They managed to fight them off after a really desperate battle. As the pirates were regrouping ready for a second attack having brought the pirates from underneath these schoolchildren’s clothes, that was when my friends appeared on the scene for a chat

And later I’d started back to school. We were on the school bus heading into Nantwich. We were basically chatting. School had been going for several weeks but for some reason I hadn’t been. I was away doing something. Now it was my first day back so I was on board this bus. It was quite late. I reckoned that lessons had already started. This group of boys and girls and I were talking about nothing in particular. I was having the idea that I would write some kind of satirical letter and send it to the school every week. I was busy working on a plan to do something like that. We came to the top of a hill and began to go down the other side. I remarked that when I come this way in Caliburn, when I reach this point I’m only 15 minutes from the school. The bus put its foot down. He was driving as fast and as recklessly as I would. It was a good drive from this point of view. Suddenly the bus ground to a halt. Something had broken off. Eventually we limped into school. I was trying to find out which room the music room is because that’s where my first lesson would be. Different people were giving me directions because the school had changed since I was last there. Then I realised that I’m not even sure that my first lesson today is music now. I wish that I could actually lay my hands on a timetable to look at, to give me a much better idea of where Music was. The people who were here milling around would just reverse around to drive off to the appropriate room and drop me off.

Tea tonight was another perfect pizza. I really seem to have found the knack of making these now. The base was absolute perfection too and the topping was cooked just right.

Tomorrow the nurse is coming and then I might have some visitors too. It’s not like me to be sociable but it looks as if I’ll be breaking the habits of a lifetime. I’ll need another good sleep and then a shower in the morning to make myself ready. And then we’ll see what happens.

Sunday 27th August 2023 – TODAY I HAVE …

… emulated my namesake the mathematician and done three fifths of five eights of … errr … nothing.

As usual, on a Saturday night, I was late going to bed. It doesn’t make much of a difference really on a Saturday if I’m having a lie-in on a Sunday. But this morning I kept on waking up and by 10:00 I’d given up comple tely the whole idea of going back to sleep.

However, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, being up and about is one thing. Being wide awake, fighting fit and raring to go is something else completely and I didn’t even have the energy to go and take my medication for quite a while.

After my midday cereal and cheese on toast I made a start on the next batch of fruit bread. It’s basically a load of bread buns but with all kinds of things in it like ground-up brazil nuts, mashed banana, desiccated coconut, sultanas, almonds, sunflower seeds and anything else that’s lying around.

It takes quite a lot of kneading but when it all goes together it makes a really nice dough.

While I was waiting for the dough to proof, I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was back in the good old days of OUSA again. A few of us were hanging around together. For some reason I came across an absolutely enormous pile of money, notes, that could have been worth a fortune, and some letters which on the face of it had been written by one of our group. I didn’t know what to do with these things – I didn’t want to return them to the person to whom I thought they belonged because he’d want to know how I’d managed to find them. So there I was with this huge pile of money in my hand and someone noticed it – the girlfriend of the guy concerned. She asked me from where all this stuff had come. I replied that I didn’t know. I’d just come across it while I was doing some clearing up. I was as confused as everyone else about from where all this had come. She immediately took possession of it and came across the letters that had been written. She immediately associated them with her boyfriend, as I did and anyone else would have done too. She accosted him. At first this led to some very unpleasant minutes but then when she was reading some bits out of these letters to him there was a mention about going to the Eisteddfod. That rang a bell with me because when the Eisteddfod was on that year we were all at the students’ Annual General Meeting so I said “it can’t possibly have been him because he wasn’t at the Eisteddfod but at the Annual meeting”. Then I remembered that I actually had photographs of him speaking from the stage with the backdrop etc making it perfectly clear that we were there. I could remember talking about the Eisteddfod at the meeting so I went to find my information. At first I thought that it was this guy playing fast and loose with someone else but when I remembered talking about the Eisteddfod it couldn’t possibly have been him so I’d no idea what this was about at all.

And then I was in Edleston Road in Crewe, by the Imperial. My youngest sister and her husband were there. He was riding around on what looked like an old moped or something. One thing that we noticed was that in the street were a load of people going past on some of the weirdest pushbikes you’d ever seen, all kinds of strange, ridiculous equipment. One or two of them were totally unable to ride and kept on falling off, making fools of themselves. We wondered what was going on. It turned out that somewhere in town was a display of unusual cycles. At that point I happened to look at the moped thing that my brother in law was riding. It had a strange number-plate on it that I didn’t recognise. I asked him about it. He said that it was his father’s old bike, an old Rover from 1964 and there’s only 20-odd miles on the clock. he was trying to sell it but had no idea of what it was worth but it must be worth thousands. I asked him if I could look at it, which surprised him but eventually he let me have a look. It was something similar to an old Triumph Tiger Cub or something. I thought that I’d like to go for a ride on this but then firstly I couldn’t afford the kind of price that ha was thinking of asking for it and secondly a bike like this doesn’t belong on the road but in a museum. It shouldn’t be run about any old how, spoiling its value by running up the miles on it.

Later on there was another group of us this time having a chat. One of us was talking about programs on the computer, saying that there were some programs that link the computer up to the internet without you even knowing about it and anything could be happening. You could be downloading files from there or your own personal files could be uploaded to the internet and anyone could then really have a look at them. This sounded interesting so I was hoping that he’d say some more about it but as usual in this crowd he had quite a few girls and was more interested in seeing the girls that I was. But at that point I fell asleep.

Well, what I mean is that I’m always asleep when I dictate my notes but what does happen sometimes is that my dictating just tails off into nothingness and occasionally I begin to snore or, like last night, I dropped the dictaphone and it fell on my head.

Finally I was out in the countryside last night somewhere in North Shropshire. I had to take a little girl to school but there was really thick fog so you couldn’t actually see anything. We piled into the van anyway and set off, doing our best in this freezing fog. Gradually as we came to the tops of hills we could see that the tops were clear. When we reached the top of the hills we could see that there was a couple of other people with children walking that way. It was so dangerous to try to go past them that we ended up at walking pace behind them. It wasn’t until they’d stopped to look at something in the hedgerow that we could actually go past and drive on. We then came in to Whitchurch. The first thing that we noticed was a huge supermarket at a place called Crewe Square by a roundabout where the by-pass was, around Whitchurch. But this was nowhere that I recognised at all. We continued and found ourselves going down the hill past the old Grammar School into the town. I was really bewildered as to how I’d actually managed to come this way because it was a really strange way to come. I really couldn’t understand the route that I’d taken.

That wasn’t everything either, but you really don’t want to know about the rest, especially if you are eating your meal or something.

And at some point during the night I was definitely joined by Nerina, my friend from Congleton and also by Zero for a brief moment. It seems that I’m quite popular just at present.

While the fruit buns were baking I assembled my pizza. I’d taken some frozen dough out of the freezer earlier on and it had been defrosting during the afternoon. I’d rolled it out a while back and had left it to proof so I assembled it while I was waiting for the fruit buns.

Once again, it was an excellent pizza. This cheese that I can buy now seems to be doing the job and the cherry tomatoes that I cut in half and stick right on top of everything add the finishing touch

Tomorrow I’m going to have to start to gather up my paperwork ready for Wednesday and to order some stuff off the internet, like my new course book for the forthcoming year. High time that I organised myself.

After all, I’m not going to be here on Wednesday and I hope that, if I have the results that I would like to have, I won’t be here for a while either while they hack me to bits.

But I can’t see that happening very much. It’s not as if it will make much of a difference. As soon as they sort one thing out, something else goes wrong. I’m getting to the stage where I’m afraid to go to the toilet these days in case something else drops off.

Sunday 20th August 2023 – THESE DAYS THE DAY …

… is dawning round about 06:30 in the morning. Ask me how I know.

Sometimes I don’t understand what’s going on (not that that’s anything new, of course) but last night I sat and watched the clock go round and round and wasn’t at all tired enough to go to bed.

It was just after 06:30 when I finally hauled myself off, but that was more by force of habit than anything else because it took me an absolute age to drift off into the Land of Nod.

What made things even worse was that I was awake again by 11:30 and after having tried valiantly to go back to sleep, by about 12:30 I gave it up as a bad job and raised myself from the dead.

After having had something to eat, the night’s efforts caught up with me and that was that for a while unfortunately.

It took me quite a while to come to my senses, which is a surprise given how few senses I have these days, and then I made a slow (and I DO mean “slow”) start on the radio programme.

It’s taking a total age to finish it because I’m not in any kind of state do do any work right now after everything else that has (or hasn’t) happened.

There was time to listen to whatever there was on the dictaphone. In fact it was a real surprise that there was something on there from the very short period when I must have drifted away into Neverland during the morning while I was in bed. We were talking about football in the Welsh class discussing bits of vocabulary etc that are important to know. I explained how much the lessons have helped me understand a lot more about what’s happening. A couple of people listened to the soundtrack of the game, the commentary. They seemed to think that it was easy to follow. I explained that that was because they already know some Welsh and had learnt some Welsh. When I first started listening to it years ago I hardly understood anything at all. I think that we’ve made enormous strides with what we’ve done today

Meanwhile, in other news, my pizzas are getting better and better.

Last weekend I’d used the last of the pizza dough in the freezer so I had to make some more today. a couple of lumps went into the freezer and I assembled the pizza for tonight’s tea on the third one which I had already rolled out

The vegan cheese from LeClerc and the cherry tomatoes on top make all of the difference. This new cheese melts quite nicely and the cherry tomatoes give it a certain je ne sais quoi and I wish that I knew what it was because I would make use of it more often.

So if I can summon up the energy and enthusiasm I’ll carry on with the radio programme and then crawl into bed. And I can’t say that I’ll regret it either because I’m exhausted, as you might expect.

The last week of my Welsh course starts tomorrow and then the following week I have to think about going to that hospital in Paris.

It’s never-ending, isn’t it?

Sunday 6th August 2023 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened today but despite not having gone to bed until about 01:00 I was wide-awake at 08:45 this morning.

And not being able to go back to sleep, I was up and about by 09:30.

Imagine that happening on a Sunday. It’s not like me at all, is it?

Even more bizarrely, I didn’t crash out at all today. From that point of view, it was a really good day.

There was plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too from during the night, as I found out later on in the morning. I was back living in Shavington. I was in my bedroom when my telephone beeped to say that it had received a message. I didn’t pay any attention for a couple of minutes. Then I went to look. It was from my friend in Munich saying “I’m here”. I looked at the previous message which was something about him coming round. I stuck my head out of the bedroom window. I could see an olive-green W123 Mercedes saloon down on the street. I put my hand out to wave. He put his hand out of his car and waved so I went downstairs to open the door to let him in and make a coffee

Then we had a small kitten biting the arm of a big man. The mother of the kitten came up and took it away and jumped down to the floor with it.

Did I dictate the one that I was somewhere or other? … “no you didn’t” – ed …. There was a pub nearby. One of the guys came out and began to intimidate one of my employees. I went into the pub to find out who it was. He was the bodyguard of some well-known local hood or similar. I went over to him and told him in no uncertain terms to leave my staff alone. His response was to ask me what I was going to do about it. In response I came out with some kind of date like 19th August 2015 – a date that I’d picked randomly from nowhere. I said “I know all about that date and so will the police if you keep on threatening my employees”. It obviously struck a chord with him because he sat down and kept quiet after that. I’d love to know what happened on that particular date that I’d picked at random.

Did I dictate the dream where I had a little corner of a workshop garage somewhere? … “And you didn’t dictate this one either” – ed …I went there one day after work and spend a few minutes in the sink as soon as I arrived cleaning some potatoes and a plate. While they were around there, the people who owned it, their boy came over to talk to me. We chatted about this and that. he wasn’t so young – he was a teenager. I went and found some bread but it was quite rubbish. Some more people came in, sat down next to me and began to eat. I put a slice of bread in the toaster to toast so that I could eat it while I was making cheese on toast with beans and mashed potato. I had to scavenge around for the food and it all looked quite depressing. It had seen much better days. The place was absolutely filthy. I don’t know how I managed to keep it clean. Oil and dust etc everywhere.

Did I dictate the one about the hotel fire? … “not this one either as well” – ed …I was in my hotel room doing something. Something caught alight. I just sat there watching the fire spread and spread until suddenly I realised that everyone else would notice it as well and would wonder why I didn’t call the alarm. I pressed the alarm button and began to dress. At least I wanted to be dressed and have STRAWBERRY MOOSE with me but the fire spread so quickly that I was soon overwhelmed. I could hear everyone in the corridor panicking around after I’d pressed the button but I was still trying my best to dress in the middle of this huge conflagration.

Later on I’d picked up a train somewhere in the Balkans. I’d only booked on for a couple of stops. It was a slow, rambling train that went just about everywhere. I ended up being wedged into a compartment with a bunch of 7 or 8 girls. They were all speaking in a variety of languages so they ended up speaking English together. They seemed to be really interesting people. The train rattled on. In the end I decided that I didn’t want to alight but stay on and listen to all the conversation. Eventually I asked one of the girls where the train went to. She mentioned some small town in some obscure corner of the Balkans up Macedonia, Kosovo or Albania way. I asked where it came from. She told me some other small town way down in the south. She said “you’ll have a lot of trouble finding a place to stay at the destination you choose when the train ends because the authorities there aren’t very well disposed to foreigners. I can’t even take you home to lodge at my house for the night because everyone will ask questions”. Then she mentioned that somehow there is somewhere where I might have a room. I suddenly found myself involved in this deep conversation with this girl. All the other girls there were chatting away quite happily. I began to think that this was probably one of the most enjoyable train journeys that I’ve ever had, wedged in this crowded train with no food, not ticket, nothing. For some reason this trip felt as if it was something that I really ought to do. I was really disappointed when I found out that this was only a dream

My walk took me to another place where there was a 5-star hotel. I went in and managed to book a room very well known for very suspicious foreigners. It was in this room that the fire began. A little spark, and within 30 seconds there was a raging inferno. I had to press the fire button … fell asleep here …

Well, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, when I say that I fell asleep, I’m actually asleep while I’m dictating. I have this thing off to a fine art. But what actually happens is that suddenly everything on the dictaphone goes silent and then a few seconds later you can hear me snoring.

So my apologies to Percy Penguin (who doesn’t appear in these pages half as often as she deserves) for doubting her word.

For the rest of the day I’ve been dealing firstly with a couple of radio programmes.

Having dictated the notes for two radio programmes last night just before going to bed, I worked my way right through them and ended up with two completed programmes. So that’s something else out of the way.

Secondly, I made a big batch of fruit buns for the next couple of weeks. They look quite good too and I’ll tell you tomorrow what they are like.

Tonight’s pizza was another candidate for the best one ever. What helped, I reckon, was that the oven was stinking hot, having just been baking the fruit buns. It really did come out well.

Tomorrow is the start of my three-week Welsh crash course. I need to knuckle down and do some serious work and stop letting things slip away from me like this all the time.

What I need is another day like today, although that’s probably a bit too much to expect. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

Sunday 30th July 2023 – LOOKING AT THE …

… timestamps on the dictaphone, the time of the first recording was at 07:05 this morning.

And having been in bed at 01:00 this morning, it looks as if I might have actually had 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that.

Of course, it all depends on whether I was asleep quite quickly. And I can’t remember lying awake very long.

What actually made a change was that I actually felt better when I awoke too. I might have actually left my bed at 10:30 this morning but I was awake long before that so I made the most of a nice relax.

Having dictated the radio notes last night before going to bed, I edited them today and assembled the radio programme, found a final track, dictated the notes for that, edited them, and in the end finished with the usual hour-long programme.

It won’t be broadcast for several months yet because I’m a considerable way ahead of where I am right now, but when it’s broadcast it will be more of a folk-rock type of programme. We have all sorts of rock in our broadcasts.

And not just Anglo-Saxon either. Many people believe that rock music is merely an Anglo-Saxon phenomenon but we’ve had rock music from all around the world. The programme that I prepared last week had some African rock musicians, the one this week has a Greek rock group and in the past we’ve had amongst our many trans-continental musicians Maoris from New Zealand, Japanese from Yokohama, Danes from Aarhus and, probably the most surprising, Inuit from Greenland singing rock music in Inuktitut.

You can’t have it more cosmopolitan than that.

A little earlier, I mentioned the dictaphone. I’d been to see my doctor, the nerve specialist. After that i’d gone back to work. My boss was a new boss and didn’t know Brussels very well. he asked me where I’d been so I told him that I’d been to the doctor’s. He asked me which one I’d used. I explained, and he asked me how he could contact him. I gave him a form with the contact details on it. My boss was confused and was going to ring the wrong number so I had to point out to him the correct one. He telephoned. At first it was the case that someone said something about Lisieux on the telephone. He replied “no, it’s not there” so someone connected him and he talked. The subject of his eyes came up. The conversation finished by saying “I’ll send a cheque round for my glasses”. I wondered what that was about. His wife came over and began to talk to me. She said “you know it’s Ramadan, don’t you?”. I replied “it would be, wouldn’t it?”. Then she began to talk about things that people had given up for Lent. This conversation was becoming terribly confusing. I was half-expecting to have to go to take the cheque round to the doctor for these spectacles or whatever it was but by now he’d gone back to his work and he didn’t mention anything about the doctor or the spectacles so I’d no idea about what was happening or what would happen.

And then a whole group of us had been somewhere and were coming back on a ship. The ship got into distress and they had to send a Royal Navy destroyer to rescue us. It turned up and we all clambered aboard. I ended up sitting next to a girl and we began to talk. We found that we had a fair amount in common so the conversation went on for quite some time. When we docked we boarded a bus that took us as far as Gresty and we had to alight and walk from there to Shavington. I began to walk next to this girl. For some reason I held her hand. She didn’t take it away. We carried on walking. Each time we crossed the road I put her on the inside and held her other hand. She didn’t say a thing. We just carried on talking as if it was normal. We ended up walking through a narrow deserted street like a run-down area of a French village. There was some rock music pounding out from someone’s back garden. I said that that’s one thing that I like about areas like this. With all different alternative people who have moved in you’d walk down a place like this and find rock music. You’d never ever find anything like this in the UK. I ended up back at this girl’s house and found out that she had a boyfriend which really upset me. The group conversation went on. We ended up talking about English humour and Carry On films. By now I had one of my cards in my hand. I was going to give it to this girl and make some excuse that she could call me back to continue this chat sometime. But I never came round to that because there wasn’t a break in the conversation. We were all chatting away. It was a really lively evening, but once again I can’t even get the girl when I get the girl.

But it was true what I said about France. The flight to the towns in the 50s and 60s as France industrialised left a deserted and abandoned rural interior where abandoned houses and land could be bought for next to nothing. Consequently loads of people seeking a change of lifestyle, whether early-retired Brits and Dutch or young marginalised people dropping out, could buy a house and land and go back to their roots.

That period in the early years of the 21st Century when I was out there was one of the most exciting times that I’ve ever had and how I miss it. But with the nearest shop being 16kms away, no neighbours around for when I was ill, all of that, it was impossible once my health gave way.

But back to the dictaphone, I was off on another dream that had a connection with the previous one, about Christmas presents and wrapping packages but the church bells began to ring and it awoke me. Everything immediately evaporated from my head.

With having no pizza dough left I made another batch. 2 balls went into the freezer and the third went in the oven and as usual, it ended up being a really nice pizza. That grated vegan cheese is really nice.

So tomorrow, having finished the radio programme I’ll make a start on the next one. I might even have an early night and hope that I can have another good sleep like today. That will do me the world of good.

But I’ll have to have a shower in the morning quite early. The nurse is coming to give me my injection so I need to smell my best.

Sunday 23rd July 2023 – I WAS HOPING …

… to have had a really good night’s sleep last night.

Just by way of a change, I was in bed shortly after midnight and although it took me an age to go to sleep it was about 10:00 or so when I finally awoke.

And I didn’t leave the bed straight away either. It was more like 11:00 when my feet finally saw the light of day.

What was really, really depressing though was that despite all of that, I still couldn’t go beyond 14:00 without crashing out. Not just for 5 minutes either but for quite a considerable while. I could understand it if I’d had a bad night or if I’d actually done something to merit it.

What I have done during the day, when I’ve been awake, is to prepare another radio programme. I’d dictated the text last night before going to bed so this afternoon I edited it and assembled everything. That’s really just about everything.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone as well. Not much, so it must have been a good night from a sleep point of view. I was with a group of people. We were all in a bedroom somewhere in a big country house. We were having a good look round to see what was happening and found that we were actually in bed in a row of cots like small babies would be. Of course we couldn’t work out what was happening. Someone suggested that we wait until everything became clear and people begin to come down to see us and tell us what is happening.

There was also some kind of building project going on. I’d been asked to address people about the history of the area. They found me a place to stand and talk but it was from a window or demolished part of a house on the first floor on the corner with all the workmen working a little further down the street. I had to climb up a scaffolding to stand on the corner to address the crowd but when I stood there the floor gave way underneath me. I fell down to the ground level. I wasn’t hurt so I pretended that it was a joke or something and climbed back up the scaffolding. I began to address them but no-one could hear me over the noise. I had to look around to see if there was another place where I could stand that might possibly be a little better. There was a place on the opposite corner where I’d actually be on the street. We were thinking about maybe I could go to stand there but that wasn’t idea either.

Tea was another vegan pizza – just as good as usual.

So after yet another in a long line of dismal days, I’m going to bed. There are no plans at all for next week so I’m hoping that I can have a good crack at Canada 2017.

That is, if I can manage to stay awake long enough.

Sunday 16th July 2023 – IF I EVER LAY …

… my hands on whoever rang my doorbell at 07:09 this morning they won’t ever do it again. I can’t even imagine why anyone would want to do that.

There I was, in the middle of an interesting dream too. That’s what was so disappointing about it all.

Even worse, I hadn’t gone to bed until late. After I’d finished my notes I dictated the dictaphone notes for the next radio programme and then loitered around for a while trying to tire myself out. It’s not easy to be tired when you’ve spent most of the afternoon fast asleep.

Regardless of the rude awakening I managed to go back to sleep again and it was a much more realistic and reasonable 10:30 when I finally saw the light of day.

After the medication and checking the mails and messages I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. And to my surprise we were going through talking about people and describing people -in Welsh. I was describing someone and somehow I made them to be 500 years old. Someone asked me if that was what I really meant. Then someone rang the doorbell of the apartment so I awoke at that point.

Later on I was with my friend from Holywell in North Wales. We were in a city somewhere. She had a list of places to visit to do various thinks like pay her taxes etc. I took her to a place where she could see every building. I pointed them out to her one by one but she must have been confused. When she saw that the Rates Office was a ruin she had a panic attack. In the end I took hold of her and brought her down to the rates Office. I helped her through the rubble and steps. There was a young guy there who made a few light-hearted comments about his building. My friend began to thaw. I told him that I thought that the building was magnificent but that my wife didn’t like it one bit. I didn’t realise that I’d said it until I said it. I expected her to throw a fit on hearing that but she didn’t. In the end we organised her rate payments for her then I set out to take her to the next building on the list. I thought that if I go with her to all of them it’ll be dome much quicker than her standing on a street corner panicking.

Actually, a similar thing happened to me when I went with Marianne to Rome. She didn’t speak Italian so it made no difference when I referred to her as mia moglia to whoever we met, but I was talking to an Indian guy and forgot myself so much as to mention “My Wife” to him.

And then there was the time that I took my Greek friend to the airport in Brussels. Standing by the gate seeing her off and she was telling me “make sure you eat decent meals” and stuff like that, and a woman standing behind her said to her “that’s right – we have to make sure that our husbands look after themselves when we aren’t there”

She was another lovely girl whom I liked very much and I even went to learn some Greek so that I could speak to her family, but she was another one who had far too much sense to be involved with me

Meanwhile, back at the ran …errr … bed I went back to a ship carrying my duffle bag and a pile of other stuff. I met a girl who was going in the same direction so we walked together for a while. We came to the traffic lights to cross the road into the port. She said that she was just going to run across regardless of traffic. I explained that that was rather a strange thing to do because for a start I was heavily laden down and I wouldn’t be able to cross. We waited for the lights. I told her that they change quickly so we couldn’t dawdle but we crossed with plenty of time to spare and walked down to the docks. We ended up on a cliff top quite high up looking at the sea. There was a large group of us there waiting for the ship. We could see all the way up and down the coast. The tide was well in and the promenade was under water but there was no sign of the ship. She began to organise the passengers. Someone asked “how come you’re doing that,” She said “I’m going to see the Captain about having this job”. They laughed and said that that would be most unlikely. She reminded them that someone had been taken on to do a job simply because he’d enjoyed doing it before he’d been appointed. I said “it seems to be the only qualification around here”. That made everyone laugh. But we were up there on this cliff in the dark. We couldn’t see our ship at all the entire way up and down the coast. We began to wonder what on earth had happened to it

Much of the rest of the day has been spent in a desultory kind of fashion making a radio programme and that’s all now finished, up and running and ready to go sometime at the start of next year.

There was some time off to make some fruit buns. And they actually came out really well which is a nice surprise. I’ve not tasted them yet but I’ll tell you all about them tomorrow.

On the subject of baking, tonight’s pizza was as good as usual. They seem to be doing OK now. The dough in the base didn’t rise quite as high as it has done in the past and that was surprising but it didn’t change the taste at all.

So in a few minutes I’m off to bed. An early night will do me good and tomorrow I can crack on with Canada. I have a whole two weeks to back something out before my next Welsh course and I have to make the most of it.

Sunday 9th July 2023 – I DON’T KNOW …

… what happened during the night but for once in my life I seem to have had a good night’s sleep. I was in bed by about 00:30 too, and slept until 10:30. By about 11:00 I was actually up and about.

For much of the day I’d been working on a radio programme. I’d dictated the text before going to bed and so today I edited it, joined everything up, chose a final track, wrote, dictated and edited the text that went with it and joined it all up.

There’s also been a baking session. I’ve prepared a batch of dough for a few pizzas and also a batch of biscuits too.

The biscuits are delicious, I’ll tell you that because I’ve sampled them. They are a standard biscuit mix with honey oats, ginger and a variety of spices and flavours. They should keep me out of mischief for a while once I finish the chocolate ones. There’s a couple of days’ worth of those still to do.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. Not very much but I’m sure there was much more than this. It was about 03:00 or 04:00 and I had Caliburn backed up in the drive at Les Guis. I was busy doing something inside the load compartment. I heard a noise – it was 2 people that might have been Claude and Françoise. I stuck my head out of the van and said “what do you want?”. They were shocked to see me at that time of the day. They pointed to the house and asked “any chance we can get something out of your mate?”. I replied “not at this time of the morning”. I knew that he owed them some money but this was a strange time to call. I didn’t believe that this was the reason. After much discussion we arranged that they’d come back at 10:00. Another group of people turned up. One was an enormous fat woman. She was asking me all kinds of questions “how long did it take to do this? How long did something else take to do that?”. All the time, I watched her. I could see her eyes roaming around. It was obvious that she was sizing up the place. I told her that I didn’t want to answer any questions at the moment. I was too busy and too tired. She could come back later too. I ushered her off the premises. There were 1 or 2 things outside there including a metal chair. She picked it up and said “it’ll be OK if I take this. I told her immediately to put it down and go on her way and don’t touch anything else around here. She became quite belligerent so I became quite belligerent in my turn. It looked as if we were heading towards a dramatic incident but they moved on. a couple of people standing around watching were quite pleased to see the back of them. I thought that all these strange goings-on at 03:00 and 04:00 – is it like this usually when i’m fast asleep?

Tonight’s pizza was delicious as usual. I really have found the method for those now. But the cheese that I used is a different type of cheese and it doesn’t melt quite as well. But it still tastes good though.

So now I’m off to bed ready for my week of Summer School starting tomorrow. But it won’t be as good a night’s sleep as last night because those stabbing pains in the sole of my foot are back, and back with a vengeance too. I’ve even had to take a painkiller, and that’s not like me at all, is it?

That won’t do me much good for tonight so I hope that the pain will go away.

We shall see.

Sunday 2nd July 2023 – IT’S BEEN ANOTHER …

… miserable day today. One of those days that are best written off and we start again.

In fact I’ve spent most of the afternoon in a cataleptic fit on my chair – not asleep and totally aware of what was going on around me, but totally unable to function.

Things started off quite well too. Despite not going to bed until about 02:30 this morning I was actually up and about by 10:00 and that’s quite unusual for a Sunday.

There wasn’t very much on the dictaphone either so it must have been a fairly decent sleep. I had a group of children with me at one point. I can’t remember exactly the circumstances now but I remember saying to them that whatever happens you have to be like big boys and girls. Secretly I was thinking to myself “that’s extremely ironic because I know that I’ll be running around like a headless chicken in panic if that kind of thing were to happen to me” and I wish that I knew what it was now.

And later we were out last night on a sea wall above a beach. There were loads of people wandering up and down the wall but there was a gate halfway across it with a couple of people patrolling the gate. One of them was a friend from the radio. I was there taking photos of the people who were coming through the gate. Someone was complaining about the gate being there so my friend sent for someone from the local Council. He said “this is Councillor So-and-so. Does anyone have any complaints? If so would they like to speak to the Councillor?”. No-one said anything. Some guy said to me “I don’t understand why your friend is doing this”. I replied “it’s dead easy. No-one will say anything to the Councillor so he’ll go away. My friend will carry on, people will complain but now he’ll tell them ‘well there’s no point complaining. You had your chance to speak to the Councillor but no-one said anything to him so tough luck’ “. At that point someone came round with some sandwiches. There didn’t seem to be anything for me so I was going to take a cheese and tomato one and take off the cheese but I couldn’t find one of those.

Finally, for some unknown reason,we were in a bakery. Someone said something about a recipe for something they’d baked for someone. She opened a drawer and there were all things like wooden tablets in there like small chopping boards. She was rummaging through them. Apparently when someone asked for a special recipe they wrote it down on one of these boards then filed the board away for future reference in case someone wanted it again.

When I’ve not been out of it all, I’ve been having a look at my Canada 2017 voyage. I’ve not been doing very much with it today – in fact I’ve not been doing very much of anything – but I’m just sailing up to the beach that I believe is the Furdustrandir and am on the point of stepping ashore.

And once there I shall be checking a rumour that was started by Vaino Tanner when he was there in the late 1930s and which was subsequently denied by almost everyone else

The pizza tonight was as good as it usually is these days since I started putting the tomatoes on top of the cheese, and now I’ve run out of dough. Next weekend I’ll have to make some more

But that’s all something about which I can worry some other time. I really am feeling quite dreadful at the moment. I’ve had enough of today and I’m going to bed. Here’s hoping that I’ll feel better tomorrow.

Sunday 25th June 2023 – HAVING AWOKEN THIS …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So today I’ve had a cookery session.

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

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

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

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

High time that I got myself into gear.

Sunday 18th June 2023 – TONIGHT’S PIZZA …

… was another excellent one and I seem to have got the hang of it now. The batch of pizza dough that I made was exceptionally good and if it’ll turn out like that every time I shall be more than pleased.

Just like my night last night, in fact. That was a much better night. And although I didn’t go to bed until after midnight I was awake again at 09:30 and I actually did for once feel much better.

Not that i’ve done very much today though. I’ve found it hard to get going today for some reason.

Whatever work that I’ve done has been done on the Canada 2017 voyage. And I’m still stuck in the cemetery at Cartwright.

Apart from having to track down some details for a couple of the original traders on the coast, Like Samuel Fequet and George Bird, the latter who died in 1869 aged 91 years for example

But I also came across the grave of Elizabeth Learning, known as Lizzie to her friends. When the orphanage burnt down in 1928 she had been confined to bed with an illness and was lucky to escape with her life. She wasn’t so lucky when the boarding school caught fire in 1934 though, poor girl

Tomorrow though, if ever I get out of this blasted cemetery, I’ll be going to look at the remains of George Cartwright’s house. He founded the town in the 1770s but once he settled in, he was attacked by American pirates from Boston who stole £14,000 worth of his goods.

And to look for Samuel Fequet’s shop, which was still standing although it had long closed down.

We’ve actually met Fequet before when we were at AT OLD FORT IN QUEBEC a few years ago.

The other day I mentioned that there were people in Sandwich Bay who were dismayed by the arrival of the Hudsons Bay Company. The Fequets were already well-established further south down the coast and could come to Sandwich Bay and withstand the fierce competition with the support of the rebellious locals.

They ended up with stores at Paradise River and Pack’s Harbour as well as at Cartwright.

As well as making the pizza dough I transcribed the notes on the dictaphone too. I was with a group of pseudo-Irish people like the Pogues last night. I was round at their house hoping to leave quite quickly but they were the type of people who weren’t in a hurry. They made me a coffee and a few of us had had something to drink. I went to wash my cup trying to chivvy them along a little but they didn’t really want to go I suppose. One of them said that he had a cough. I told him that he’d better take some cough mixture. they said that they had some. I made a mistake saying that they didn’t want to take it much before midnight. They replied “no? We’d better wait then”. I thought to myself that at this rate we just aren’t going to get away from here. Whatever it is that I have to do won’t be done. That’s the story of my life at the moment isn’t it?

And then there was a young girl. She wasn’t all that young but a very small, petite girl, somewhat on the wild side. i’d been working with her at one time. We’d met up by accident in Crewe and ended up walking around together. She was certainly not my type of girl but we had a lot of things in common when it all came down to it. We started to see each other much more. It was another one of these extremely nice, comfortable dreams roaming around Crewe, the two of us, all through the town centre and down West Street and everywhere. On one occasion we were in a shop and met a girl with whom we’d worked. The way she was behaving and acting she didn’t recognise us which was probably a good thing. She had a few things to say and we had a few things to say. Then we carried on again with our walk. It was one of these very nice warm comfortable satisfying dreams.

There was a restructuring of properties in Edleston Road in Crewe reallocating families. Some families were too big for the houses that they’d been allocated. There were all kinds of problems and the rent commissioners had been involved. They examined the site and found that several houses had hanging basements – the houses were built above ground and there were basements hanging down underneath the floor. They found that in some of them they could install a kind of window to let light into the basements. That way it would be possible for people to use the rooms as living accommodation. They made a ruling that half a dozen families would benefit from this although none of them were very happy at all. It certainly looked to me to be a strange, dark, gloomy situation for anyone but the Commissioners agreed. They authorised the improvements, authorised funds available for the owners to improve their properties. It looked as if it was ready to proceed despite most people’s feeling that it was completely inappropriate.

Finally I was with my old drummer last night. We’d got together after a few months and were in a sauna somewhere. He had his drum kit set up and I had my bass and we were supposed to be practising but he didn’t feel in the mood bearing in mind how things had finished the last time we were together so we just sat and talked for ages about things. I decided that I’d go for a walk around the grounds. He said that he’d join me. I went off first and had a wander around. I saw someone with a cigar enter the property. A security guy grabbed hold of him and took his cigar from him. While I was sitting down in the café taking a rest my friend came up carrying a cigar. I asked him what he was doing with it knowing that he didn’t smoke. He replied that the guy at the reception had given it to him and told him to go and deal with it. He’d brought it into the restaurant to put in an ashtray. We had a little chat about things like that too. He told me that he’d joined Weightwatchers in an attempt to lose some weight. Not that he needed to but he’d lost 2 kilos over the last few weeks since he’s been with them studying whatever it is that you do.

Having finished my notes, I’m going to bed. I’ve had enough of today. It’s not been a very good one. I’ll start again tomorrow when I hope that I’ll have much luck. That burst of energy that I had 10 or so days ago seems to have evaporated again and I’m really dismayed by that.

Sunday 11th June 2023 – I’VE NOT HAD …

… a very good day today.

In fact I’ve spend much of it asleep on my chair.

It was a very late night last night. I was still going on at 03:30 and I was still working last night.

Whatever time it was that I went to bed I really don’t know but I was up and about at 11:00, wide-awake and unable to go back to sleep.

It had been a bad night during the night too, one of those occasions where I kept on waking up in the middle of it all. I had something of a nightmare too during the night, about some kind of secret that was circulating. People became aware of it and used it in a bad way to compromise a few other people. There was some kind of investigation and found the culprit, a girl who was a service clerk at a Volkswagen garage. They caught her, brought her in and began to interrogate her. It was absolutely the most violent interrogation that I’d ever seen. There was one interrogator and a couple of witnesses. It was probably the most violent thing I’ve ever witnessed. In the end the girl admitted that she hadn’t actually told anyone in the general public. She’d simply told a few other people, one of whom was my brother. The team of interrogators and the girl then left to go down the corridor to begin dealing with those three to find out who it was who had spread the rumour around in the outside world. But it really was the most violent thing that I’ve ever witnessed, asleep or awake.

We’ll go back to that dream because it wasn’t quite as I just dictated. It was near enough but there was one main interrogator, a couple of senior interrogators and a few witnesses. They all stormed off down the corridor to these rooms trying to find out from the people there who had spread this report where it shouldn’t have been.

I was also going on a boat trip to Russia, into the centre. I had to pack everything and go to the airport. When I reached the security desk they took my backpack from me and said that they would look after it and put a label on it. This left me with next to nothing about me. There was another couple there as well. They were going, and seemed to be quite friendly so I was talking to them. They were allowed to take their bags through security so they said that they would go and dump their bags and catch up with me later. By now we were on board the ship and set sail down this magnificent river. We turned off into a tributary which meant going through some lock gates, up some rapids and into a big, wide river. It was really beautiful. By now we were on the road on a coach driving through a gorgeous countryside. I thought to myself “wouldn’t I like to come here in Strider on my own for a look around. We estimated to reach our destination by 21:00 that evening. When we pulled in and sorting ourselves out there was a guy we were talking to who was living in either a tent or a mobile home or something on wheels. You couldn’t actually see him but you could see the mobile home. He was us that he was so deep in debt that he didn’t know where to turn. The reason why he was deep in debt was … but he never answered his own question. he said the statement again and left us all on tenterhooks wondering what on earth it was that he meant.

During the day when I’ve not been asleep on my chair I’ve been dealing with my Canada 2017 trip. I’ve been around Forteau looking at Valard’s new port facilities as at the moment I’ve just gone through L’Anse au Loup on my way north up the Labrador Coast towards Red Bay and the shipwrecks on the rocks there.

My pizza tonight was not a success.

I probably overcooked the base when I tried to save it the other day. It had bubbled up and during the freezing and defrosting process one of the bubbles had burst and there was a hole in it.

What I did was to roll out a small piece of dough to patch the hole ready for when I assembled it but then we had the problems about the different cooking times.

The toppings were really good though and they tasted OK. And if I have learnt anything at all from my efforts today, it’s that it was my own fault for not putting the dough back in the freezer the other night and I ought to be more careful.

The way that I’m feeling right now I shall be going to bed very soon and hoping for a good sleep. Tomorrow I have the nurse coming to inject me and then i’ll be carrying on with my notes from Canada 2017.

If I manage to have a good day I should have reached Red Bay and carried on northwards towards Cartwright

Cartwright is one of the most interesting towns in Labrador, and for many reasons too as you will all find out in due course.

But years ago when I was small I saw one of these wildlife programmes on the TV where a film crew in a small town out on the Labrador coast in the middle of winter in the filming of a nature programme came round a corner and ended up nose-to-nose with a polar bear

When I was in Cartwright for the first time I mentioned that to someone with whom I was talking.
“Ohh yes” she replied. “I remember that. It was just here around the corner”.
I had no idea.

It’s still not as interesting as the events that took place a few years ago in St Anthony across on the other side of the Strait of Belle Isle. There were two headlines on the front page of the newspaper, side by side –
“Polar bear seen in town”
and right next to it
“Mr (whatever) missing from home”

It reminds me of the time that they had a few bicycles on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR and they announced that anyone could borrow them

And I immediately thought of one polar bear saying to another one “high time there was a meals on wheels service around here”.