Tag Archives: vegan salad

Friday 24th May 2024 – “THERE’S NONE AS THICK …

… as them as wants to be” as my old grandfather used to say in his old Maelor-border accent

And so for the past few days finding it more and more difficult to rise up from my chair in here? I’ve been thinking about buying one of these chairs where there’s some kind of pump-action that raises and lowers the sear.

The last couple of days or so I’ve been discussing it with my cleaner but when she’s been in here this afternoon she asked me “what’s this handle for underneath the seat of your chair?”

You really couldn’t make it up, could you?

It’s a shame that there’s not one on the bed though. It’s all very well “going to bed” but that’s no earthly good if it takes 20 minutes to actually climb on. Honestly, I ache in so many different places it’s simply not true. There’s my groin, and my back, and regular readers will recall the stabbing pain in the sole of my right foot that goes all the way through my body. Well, that’s back too, as if I don’t have enough.

So last night was absolutely wretched. If there hadn’t been stuff on the dictaphone I’d have sworn that I hadn’t slept a wink all night

When the alarm went off I was a little quicker out of the blocks and not needing to dress saved me some time, so after I’d had my medication I began to make the weekend’s bread

After the nurse had been I carried on with my bread and I do have to say that it was perfection itself, which is nice. However it took a lot longer than it ought and so breakfast was quite late today.

Once breakfast was over I set to and made a mountain of hummus. One lot is chili flavoured and the other is olive and dried tomato, and most of it is in the freezer

Having done that I came back in here were I didn’t actually crash out but I was in some kind of vapid daze, not able to function at all but fully conscious of my surroundings.

The cleaner came round and awoke me from my reverie, and we had this chat about my chair. And then I transcribed the dictaphone notes. Someone was following the trail of her father at work. He had died and she had been following in his footsteps to find out more about his life. She went to his factory and found that he was given certain things. They gave her two of them. Then they all went for a meal at the restaurant where he used to go. They proposed soup, which was what he always had but mine was white creamy stuff like cottage cheese yet they insisted that it was soup, the soup that this guy always had though it looked nothing like soup to me. I was just on the point of tasting it when I awoke

It beats me as to why I would be there, but things sound right about the soup. No-one seems to care about my diet here.

A roll of insulation had fallen off a lorry on the M50 and had completely blocked the motorway for several miles so the whole motorway was closed while they thought of what they would do to roll this back up. There was a group of kids camping near there. The police wanted them moved on but when I saw the girl’s rucksack was absolutely full to the point of bulging yet weighed as light as a stone as if there were just bags of air inside it made me wonder what on earth was going on with these kids. What did their choice have to do with anything and why were they being pushed around like this

And young girls being pushed around by the police. Would you believe it?

While we were discussing the closing of the road by this insulation and how they were going to move me the engine on a cabin cruiser than was being towed and had stopped because of the police suddenly burst into flames. There was smoke and fumes everywhere while this happened.

There was also a good old-fashioned knock at the door at 06:00 but there was no chance of my opening it at all. Probably phantom knockers now, I reckon.

Then I paired off the music for the next radio programme but was interrupted by a ‘phone call. It was the hospital giving me appointments for Tuesday 11th. It looks as if I’ll be staying over when I go on the 10th. But apparently they’ve found an issue with my heart

They want a blood test too so I had to print off a pile of stuff including the prescription

Tea tonight was vegan nuggets with chips and vegan salad, and now I’m off to bed, if I can manage to climb onto it. But at least it’s not as bad as when I was married and I swapped our bed for a trampoline. Nerina hit the roof!

Saturday 18th May 2024 – THEY’VE DONE IT!

After all of this bad news and negativity that’s been going around and about just recently, it’s nice to have some good news to report for a change

But anyway it’s a pleasure to report that in the close season this year it will be the turn of the Cofi Army to hit the road out Europe way as Caernarfon Town swept aside Penybont for that discretional place in European club competition in front of a massive crowd that must in modern times at least be a club record

Last night I’d gone to bed, later than I would have liked of course, full of eager anticipation for this game.

Wales has traditionally three spots in European competition, one spot in the Champions League and two spots in the Europa League.

These spots are traditionally won by TNS, COnnah’s Quay Nomads and Bala Town but every so often there’s a fourth discretionary place awarded and then there’s a play-off between clubs between 4th and 7th

This is the “real” cup final because it gives the lesser clubs something to play for and an opportunity to sample the delights of European football

But for me, for some reason last night was quite turbulent. I went to bed in the “old” way which caused me no pain at all which was nice, but I kept tossing and turning, and couldn’t really settle down to sleep.

Nevertheless I must have gone to sleep at some point because I was dead to the world when the alarm went off. I fell out of bed, switched off the alarm and headed for the bathroom

One good wash and change of clothes later I was in the dining area taking my medication and then setting out the room as the nurse likes it.

He didn’t have much to say when he came and was soon gone. But then I had a problem – I couldn’t rise out of the chair on which I was sitting. I knew that it was going to be a bad day today.

Once I managed to rise to my feet, after a great battle, I began to make my broccoli stalk soup. I put a great deal of effort, not to mention a pot of soya yoghurt, into it and it was really delicious today with freshly ground black pepper and fresh home-made bread.

Nevertheless, I still fell asleep drinking a mug of strong coffee. It must be one of the pills that I’m taking that’s doing this.

Eventually I pulled myself around and went into the bedroom to check my messages and mails. And it seems that I have to go to the hospital in Paris on June 12 for a check-up and hopefully receive he results of my stay there the other week. They’ll have loads of news for me, and I bet that it’ll all be bad

Judging by the amount of stuff on the dictaphone the night must have been disturbed. In my version of “The Horror of War” or whatever it was called, when the Americans tried to make good their getaway in World War I from the prison camp they would actually succeed. Some would go to ground amongst the native population and some would head west looking for a front line to dodge behind. I don’t think that they would be still there sitting there in bed and waiting for something to happen to them if they had already broken out and made arrangements for where to go. It would be most unlikely that they would be just sitting there. They would be up there somewhere doing something and trying to be involved in the action and get away from their captivity.

And then I’d been doing something in Brussels. That involved staying in someone’s house while all this was done. It was some kind of work in the street but on the last day I decided that this would be it and I’d go home on the last train so I had to do what I was doing then come back to where I was living, change and then go back in the rain to give the final orders and then go straight to the station to catch the train home. As I was washing and putting on my clean clothes there were all kinds of disturbances. The girl who lived there came in to me to ask me if I’d show the owner of the house how to make an apple pie. I thought that this was the last thing that I needed at this time of night. I wanted to be off but the quicker that I did it, the quicker I’d be finished so I went over to see what he’d done. He’d done the pastry in a strange way. He’s cut it into eighths but in the circular way round do there wasn’t a bottom or top, just like eight slices of pie crust. Of course they had all to be joined together and the filling had to go in, the top had to go on. I thought to myself that the people were making this thing much more complicated than it ought to be but that was just how things used to go. No-one seemed to know just how to do anything ordinary and straightforward. It all had to be so complicated.

And that’s another story of my life, isn’t it? If there’s a simple way of doing something and a complicated way of doing it, you can bet your life which one anyone would choose when I’m involved. Even I’m not immune from this myself

I was in this big German prisoner-of-war camp in Russia weeding the garden and the band suddenly began to play the national anthem. It took me a few minutes to cotton on to what was happening nut suddenly I realised that it was the German national anthem and that meant that they were planning an escape. I wasn’t sure who was escaping but I learnt later on that 20 guys from hut two had escaped. For some reason I was held responsible for it. Whilst no real punitive action was taken against me I was treated like a prisoner, being shackled, by being … indistinct … I felt in the end it probably wouldn’t have ended up better for me had I tried to escape with the others rather than stay behind. I certainly couldn’t have been worse-treated once they left. And then one of the members playing the second time, I was supposed to either sing some songs or write some songs, the songs that shouldn’t have music and they turned out to be tracks off the album that were played to basically accompany the escape. Most of them were not good at all

Back in this dream again, the composer was well-known but he was not in the camp, he was dead so I took it that this was the signal for an escape. I was puzzled why I hadn’t been told about it seeing that I was one of the leaders of the camp from the prisoners’ point of view. Anyway everyone was immediately confined to bed. I saw my moment and escaped. Schopenhauser or whoever wrote it originally had chosen a different moment to escape but I chose that one. In the end I ended up down in the south of Germany where this girl tried to persuade me to help her paint her toenails red but I was unable to do so … fell asleep here …

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I don’t actually “fall asleep” because I’m already asleep when I’m dictating. What happens is that the disctaphone goes silent and eventually you hear deep rhythmic breahinf and occasional snoring.

But what’s going on with this obsession with prison camps tonight then?

Our nurse went to the local council tip during the night to throw away all of her incriminating paperwork. On the way her little brown Clio was involved in an accident with a couple of guys. It wasn’t particularly badly damaged or anything like that but it made her reflect for a couple of minutes and led to something of an argument before she agreed to invite the guys to her house one day when she wouldn’t be there. So she went there and threw away all of her paperwork. Then she was talking about this and that as if she’d already spoken to the female guards about it. They’d had some kind of friendly interaction but it didn’t sound right by the way that this dream was going. I think that she was trying to avoid all kinds of interaction while she disposed of this incriminating … fell asleep here …

“Si” is the French way of contradicting someone so this dentist woman or whatever she was started to use it to correct members of her team and then their team had been exposed to the Germans and they should make ready for a rather rapid flight before the Germans came along to arrest them.

Some of the stuff about which I dream really is bizarre for sure and quite often there’s no logical explanation for it. I often wonder what goes on in the depths of my subconscious.

Rosemary had left a message for me to call her so I gave her a “quick” ring – “quick’ being 56 minutes this afternoon while we put the World to rights as usual

And then it was the football.

For a town with a population of less than 10,000, a crowd of over 2,000 is immense but they were there singing away and cheering on their team

And their team rewarded them by roaring into a three-goal lead in the first 35 minutes with some beautiful play down the wings that tore the Penybont defence to shreds

Penybont pulled one back right at the death and quite right too as they played the more classy football. We had the usual chaos in the Caernarfon defence that we have had for several seasons too but they rode their luck

At the end of the game the fans flooded onto the pitch and the party began. For a club that was on the verge of extinction and in the third tier of football 15 years ago, the devotion of the fans, the most passionate in Europe, saved the club and they now have their reward

If you want to see the highlights of the game THEY ARE HERE

But as I said earlier, it’s this discretionary fourth place that has permitted all kinds of Welsh Clubs to sample European football, even Cefn Druids from the second tier one year.

After this I fell asleep for a while until tea time, and then baked potatoes, salad and one of my favourite quorn fillets.

But I broke another plate when I dropped a jar of pickled onions onto it. Luckily not one of my dinner service plates, but it’s still very bad news. I don’t know what’s the matter with me right now.

Right now though I’m off to bed. Tomorrow is another day and, I hope, a better one

And just be glad that Penybont didn’t play Their new signing. That guy who is half man, half horse
"and who is he" – ed
Why, their new centaur-forward of course.

Friday 17th May 2025 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… to defrost the freezer.

The build-up of ice in there was so much that the doors wouldn’t close correctly, which was making the freezer freeze up even more.

So, armed with the electric kettle and a saucepan with a heavy, thick base I went to work. It’s not perfectly defrosted, because the time that it would take, the frozen food wood melt, but at least the drawers fit better and the doors close, which was the aim of the whole exercise.

Mind you, it’s just about the only productive work that I’ve done all day. The other day, I mentioned that the partner of my friend in Munich had gone into palliative care. Unfortunately she didn’t pull through and just after midnight she left us to join the angels.
"Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee"

as John Donne wrote 400 years ago. I remember the delight that she felt when she came out of hospital a few years ago after just having her catheter port removed. For her it signified the end of the cancer treatment that she was having, that she was now fit and rehabilitated.

The removal of the catheter port was a symbol of victory back then. But how rapidly and wickedly fate can turn upon you. Rest in Peace, Ulli. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you.

As for myself, I’m not doing much better. My body is swelling up with all of these water retention issues that I’m having. And when I say “all” my body, I do mean “every bit of it”. I shall be looking like Bibendum, the Michelin Man, before too long

But last night anyway I managed to make it to bed and although it was a late night again, it was a decent sleep for a change and I can’t remember being interrupted at all, not even by a phantom alarm call. It was the Sleep of the Dead.

When the real alarm went off I fell out of bed to switch it off and then made my way to the bathroom for a clean-up, not that it did much good, I reckon.

Once I’d had my medication I set out the dining area for the nurse. My right leg is much better now, with the pain having diminished even more. But as I mentioned earlier, I have other issues with which to deal now that are causing me greater problems

While I was waiting I made a start on the bread dough for the weekend, mixing it, giving it a knead and then leaving it to proof for a while.

The nurs didn’t have much to say for himself today and was in and out quite rapidly After he’d gone I gave the bread its second working-over and divided into three lumps, one for each day.

Just for a change it went up like a lift, the best that I have ever made I reckon, and it baked really nicely too. My breakfast cheese-on-toast, which was almost lunchtime cheese-on-toast by the time that I’d finished, was delicious.

Back in here I crashed straight out despite the strong black coffee, and it was 13:00 when I finally rejoined the Land of the … well, perhaps not.

First thing was to check the dictaphone to see if there was anything on it from the night. And to my complete surprise, there was. This was before the Fall of France and we had a bomber aeroplane in Normandy. We’d given it a name. First of all we’d called it “Billy Jones” after the boy who was a dancer … "That was Billy Elliott. Billy Jones was guitarist with the Outlaws who committed suicide" – ed … but then we gave it some other name later but I can’t remember what it was. However the ‘plane was shot down on a flight over to the Channel Islands before the Channel Islands were invaded and unfortunately we lost it and the crew

Just a little reminder for the British people who criticised the French for not resisting the Occupier in World War II, the Channel Islands were occupied in June 1940 and no effort at all was made to free them until after the end of the War, never mind at D-Day or when the battle for Normandy had passed them by.

Of the eight ‘planes two were shot down taking off and the other six were shot down along the route but this dream continued lots of things – there was a young lad who was a store person who was enamoured of this girl who volunteered to sing a requiem but was not very good at at, dozens of things like that all through this dream that seemed to go on for ages

And if you are thinking that the one dream leads straight on to the other there was a three-hour gap between the two, according to the timestamps.

Having had my lunchtime fruit I checked over my order from LeClerc and then sent it off. It’s an expensive one this weekend but there’s stuff like coffee, olive oil and champagne on it.

Champagne, yes. It’s a neighbour’s 80th birthday on Sunday and I’m invited, not that I’ll be drinking any of it of course. Last time I had any alcohol was in Bulgaria in 1994, and that was due to force majeure.

Back in here again I was reading something on the internet when the next thing that I remember were the dulcet tones of my cleaner awakening me. I’d had another one of these crashings-out where the light simply goes off and I can’t remember a thing.

She came round this afternoon to do her stuff again and it was a good job that she was here because the delivery came early.

The frozen food went into the freezer (which was when I noticed the door issues) and the rest I put away after she had left. Well, most of it anyway. There’s still some to do

But after I’d had my hot chocolate I blanched the florets of the broccoli that I’d bought ready for freezing and saved the stalk and the water for a broccoli stalk soup tomorrow

Back in here and the light went off again just as dramatically as earlier, and how I am sick of all of this. It was 18:38 when I awoke, but at least that gave me some more time to work on the next radio programme.

Tea this evening was a vegan salad with chips and some of those vegan nuggets done in the air fryer, and it was delicious as usual. My salads are works of art, and I really do seem to have the knack about these air-fryer chips now

So tonight there’s one more extra star in the sky looking down on us from above. It just goes to show that there’s no escape for any of us. The Grim Reaper will get us all sooner or later. I just hope that those who have gone on ahead have paved the way for the rest of us.

And as I said the other night, this is not the time for levity

11th May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… footfest this afternoon. It’s the semi-finals of the play-offs to decide which Welsh team will take the fourth place allotted to Wales in European Club competition in the forthcoming season.

TNS will go into the Champions League, hoping to qualify for the group stages at long last

Connah’s Quay and Y Bala will go into the Europa League by virtue of finishing second and third, and another place in the Europa League due to Wales will be awarded to the winner of the playoffs

And so we started off with Y Drenewydd v Penybont followed by Caernarfon v Cardiff Metro.

As you might expect, I was quite looking forward to it all. And for the first time since I can’t remember, I was actually in bed before 23:00. And that’s not something that happens all that often these days. I could have been in bed much earlier than I was too but with all of the aches and pains that I was carrying, it was really difficult to actually get into bed.

With having this early night, I was looking forward to a long, undisturbed sleep but it wasn’t to be. It was a really disturbed, turbulent night.

There was another phantom alarm call and I forget how many of these we’ve had just recently. I’ve no idea what’s going on with them – where they are coming from and what they are doing – but it’s certainly confusing.

When the real alarm went off I found that it was easier to move out of bed. Many of the aches and pains had gone and the pain in my hip had reduced a little and I could lift my leg more.

So now that I was out of bed I went to the bathroom and then into the dining area for my medication.

Having done that I set out the room for the nurse and came in here to see what’s happening in the big wide world. But as any student of history will tell you, the news today is just the same things happening to different people in different places at different times.

After the nurse had gone, having given me a shopping list of items needed, I came in here for a relax. And then I listened to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. I had another niece last night. It was a non-existent niece, someone small and petite. She sat and we chatted for ages about her course and the future. When she was ready to go I asked her where she was staying. She hadn’t booked anywhere so I told her that my settee was really comfortable and she was welcome to stay on it. She wondered how any other person was going to stay there because there were two nieces wandering around and how I was going to distinguish which was which too. That was easy because one had a tie with a small emblem on it. The other one had a tie with a big emblem on it so I could distinguish them by that. I could see that this was going to be complicated but it didn’t seem to bother me on the ground that it’s all going to work out normally anyway. Then we had someone coming, brandishing a gun and being obnoxious. I don’t know what he wanted or anything like that but he totally disrupted everything that we were trying to do.

That’s nothing new. Whenever I was trying to do something back in the old days, there would always be someone coming along being obnoxious and trying to disrupt whatever it was that I was doing. And if there was a young girl involved anywhere, you could bet your life that they’d be down in droves to put le baton dans la roue as they say around here.

Then at one point a girl was pouring some new information into my travelling laptop. I was very concerned so I awoke to try to stop her but just at the point where it became liquid memory she began to pour the liquid memory I had to shout at her to make her stop and I really did shout as well. I washed hem and got ready and ended up back in bed until the alarm

Yes, I really did shout in the middle of my sleep. It’s a good job that these walls are 1m20 of solid granite or whatever would the neighbours have said?

Then we finished off with this complicated story about addition and subtraction over the numbers. I had quite a batch to do which I did mainly right and managed to ensure my team’s presence in the Scottish League 2 next season

And that reminds me – we have the first leg of the playoffs between Stranraer of Scottish League 2 and East Kilbride of the Scottish Lowland League at some point this weekend.

And then I had a message. There’s an “issue” simmering in the UK that’s been simmering away for almost 30 years. I think that I’ve mentioned this before. It’s now erupted and like Pandora’s Box, once the lid is off then that’s it.

There’s a considerable amount of work that needs to be done that should really have been done 40 years ago but it wasn’t, and the events of the last 28 years haven’t helped. So if you see me loitering on Boots Corner any time, you’ll know why I’m there.

After this I crashed out – from 10:00 until 11:50. Dead to the World as well. But not that I’m complaining this time because I saw Zero. While I was asleep this morning I was with a former friend. I’d finally managed to persuade him to come to see me with the intentions of thrashing out some programme about repairing all these cars that I have. I’d walked down this track through this forest and encountered Zero playing in a school playground so we’d chatted but that was all. I pushed on and came across my former friend and we began to chat. I was going to tell him that I had £90:000 for the programme but we never reached that far in the discussion. We had several bikes ad had to move them by moving two, dropping them down, running back for two more and advancing lie this. At one point I had to run back miles because the exhaust had dropped off a motor bike we were moving. While I was up on top of this grassy bank my former friend came back to see what I was doing so I showed him. He was furious. “this is jus attention to detail” he raged and urged me to hurry up. By now this grassy bank had changed into a roof with a chimney and some dormer windows and I couldn’t work out how to descend. I thought that manoeuvring by holding on to the chimney and pivoting round by hanging on to the edge of the dormer window would be my best bet but the window opened and I was left dangling in thin air with no prospect whatever of improving my position.

It was really nice to see Zero of course but this “no prospect of improving my position” sounds like how my finances will be in a few months after the news that I received earlier.

By now, breakfast had become lunch so I fuelled up with food and then settled down to watch the football.

Y Drenewydd finished 4th in the league and Penybont 7th so the game was held at Drenewydd. But home advantage counted for nothing as they were swept aside by what can only be described as a Penybont masterclass.

The game finished 5-0 for Penybont and believe me – Y Drenewydd were lucky to get nil. They were awful. It wasn’t just that Penybont were so good but that Y Drenewydd offered nothing at all

The other game between 5th and 6th and played at Caernarfon in front of a massive crowd was much more exciting.

Caernarfon roared down the left flank with a combination of Louis LLoyd and Morgan Owen more times than you can mention but the final ball was always either too short of too long.

On the other hand the Met soaked up the pressure and tried to hit on the breakaway and had three excellent chances to score but couldn’t find the target.

The game was drifting to a 0-0 draw and penalties when Marc Williams drilled a powerful shot through a crowd of players into the net

And as Cardiff Metro were throwing everything forward to try to equalise in the closing stages a breakaway involving Sion Bradley and Adam Davies saw Davies score a second for the Cofis

So the final next weekend will be between Caernarfon and Penybont and played at Caernarfon.

And then, dear reader, I crashed out again. And for an hour or so too.

Tea tonight was one of my breaded quorn fillets with baked potato and salad. I know that it’s monotonous, but it’s also delicious.

So that’s all that I’m doing tonight. I’m going to try to be in bed early and see if Zero will come back into my dreams.

And I’ll tell her "I dreamed about you this morning"
"Did you?" she’ll reply.
"No" I’ll answer. "You wouldn’t let me".

Friday 10th May 2024 – ON TOP OF SPAGHETTI …

… all covered in cheese
I lost my poor meatball
when somebody sneezed
It rolled onto the table
then onto the floor
and then my poor meatball
went out of the door

Well, I didn’t have spaghetti and cheese, and no-one sneezed but one of my vegan meatballs did make a break for freedom this evening and I intercepted it as it was heading for the door.

But what kind of state am I in that I can throw half of my dinner onto the floor like that? Things are not looking so good.

And indeed they aren’t. I was late going to bed last night and because of all my aches and pains it took me an absolute age to find a comfortable position to go to sleep

It was rather a turbulent night too and I really didn’t like the idea of hauling myself out of bed when the alarm went off.

Still, nevertheless I did and having switched it off I headed for the bathroom and then the dining area to take my medication and to sort out everything ready for the nurse.

As I can’t seem to move my hip right now she had to grovel on the floor at my feet in order to change my dressing and put on my puttees. I’m sure that she’s not too happy about the idea but then again neither am I.

After she left I came in here to vegetate for a while and then went for breakfast – cheese on toast and hot strong coffee

Back in here after my delicious food I crashed out for an hour or so – well away with the fairies I was – before having a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I was during the night.

I was with a group of people last night. We were driving around the town visiting all kinds of different places. There was a girl in this group who I really liked but most of the time some other guy insisted on sitting in the front passenger seat. I was beginning to become annoyed by this because it was obvious what I was doing and what I was after. I was after this girl but he wouldn’t understand and this carried on and on and on. One day we were in the centre of Nantwich. We parked up on the Swine Market and all swarmed out of the car. Just then a group of motorcycles turned up. This girl crossed over the road and went straight to one of these motorcyclists. She said to me in passing “isn’t it wonderful ; (… so and so…) is back. He’s been away in the Isle of Man doing 23 teenagers. I replied sarcastically “so he says”. She was insistent that it was true. Then she began to describe her relationship with him in the most intimate of details but of course I had no interest in hearing it at all but she did carry on and on. I wondered whether her aim was to make me aware of the fact that she wasn’t as interested in me as I was in her.

Thinking on, it’s been a while since we’ve been to Nantwich on a nocturnal ramble. At one time we would be there all the time. But this story about me being more interested in some girls than they are of me – that’s the story of my life too.

Later on we were playing a game of football against a team wearing dark blue shirts with numbers on them. The font was a short, fat one and knew immediately who the team was because of the colour of the shirt and the font that they used but I just couldn’t think of it as the game went on. It was really annoying me that my memory had gone.

And I di know who wears navy blue shorts with numbers done in a font like that but can I think of it while I’m awake, up and about?

There were all kinds of things going through my head later on. I dreamed that I was asleep, up and about, and there was the possibility to swap this illness for a different type of illness that I needed to think and consider. They were talking about making a drink but I thought that I’d have it instead of my morning hot chocolate at 10:00 or maybe I’d have it at some other time. I couldn’t believe that I was actually in bed and hadn’t arisen yet. There were lots more things like that in the dream but they must just have evaporated just as soon as I awoke.

It’s quite true that I dreamed that I was awake, up and about and had a shock (in my sleep) to find out (in my sleep) that I was still in bed.

There was something else about a girl who was going to have a visit. They wondered what language the visit was going to be in but in the end they decided that it would be in French. The girl set to to clean out her room but when she moved the chest of drawers that was in the corner she found a cockroach nest. She was horrified and ran off, searching for some boiling water to pour on them

Then I was going for an exam level 3 to decide whether I was capable of living on my own or whether I’d still need a chaperone. It included a romantic assignment with a girl or woman which was worrying me because I’m not the sort of person who would do that anyway. I wouldn’t know where to begin but that was how it is. I found when I opened the zip file that all the names of the files in there were all confused. It wasn’t easy to work out which file I wanted. I began to make some kind of list myself. I thought that it would be much better if I could write to the organisers, tell them what a mess they’d made of this and explain a better way of doing it to them, where all the files for each exam were all in a different folder and all clearly labelled with the correct name on it instead of being some haphazard jungle like it was.

Of course I’m not fit to live on my own and ought to have a chaperone. I’d certainly never pass this romantic assignment test, that’s for sure. But it would be just like me to spend my time sorting out their filing system rather than doing anything positive for this test.

This afternoon I had a leisurely saunter through the remaining radio notes for this latest programme. Fighting off (not always successfully) wave after wave of sleep I managed to complete them all, so that’s another good job done. I really must find some quiet time to dictate them one of these days, if only all the tourists would go home

Tea tonight was a vegan salad with chips done in the air fryer with a few vegan meatballs – not as many as I planned. And now I’m off to bed. Every bone in my body is aching right now and I’m feeling awful. A good night’s sleep flat-out in bed might do me good.

At least all of these aches and pains aren’t like the guy who came into my office with a stiff neck once
"How did you get that?" I enquired
"It’s my own fault" he replied. "I didn’t swallow the viagra quickly enough last night"

4th May 2024 – HAPPY STAR WARS DAY …

.. to all of my readers. May the fourth be with you!

What I hope is that you have had a good day today. As for me, I’ve had a better day, but then again that’s not saying all that much.

After I’d finished my notes last night I had a rush around and was actually in bed by 23:03. That’s quite early for recent times but still later than I would like it to be, with an alarm call at 07:00.

Once in bed I didn’t remember anything at all – I certainly can’t remember any phantom alarm calls going off that would awaken me

When the real alarm did actually go off I was a little boy in bed with a little girl. My mother came in and said that she was glad to see me awake and glad to see me and that the two of us had got on so well together and she was going to sing a song to awaken both of us. Just at that moment BILLY COTTON roared his “wakey waaaa….key” and I didn’t find it funny in the least.

It’s very strange but the number of times something in real life has synchronised with something in a dream, such as my mother about to sing to wake me up and we have the alarm going off just at that moment. It’s not every time, of course, but it’s an unusual percentage of times that’s higher than you might think.

Anyway I wandered off for a wash and for my medication.

Having set out the room as the nurse likes it to be, he came down after seeing to my neighbour upstairs, changed the dressing on my foot and put on my puttees. And the wound on my foot is certainly looking much better than it did several weeks ago. That’s good news.

After he left I came back in here where I crashed out – the first of several times today. I’m not doing too well from that point of view.

As for my breakfast, I did manage to stay awake long enough to make and eat my cheese on toast and coffee. And the bread that I made yesterday is really good too. I was quite impressed with that lot of baking – almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin all those years ago.

Once I’d finally awoken I went for a wash and a shave and sure enough, at 14:00 I had a visitor. One of my fellow students on my Welsh course is retired and spends months driving around Europe in his caravanette. He’s turned up in Granville this morning so he came for a coffee and a chat.

And wasn’t it lovely to see him? I don’t have enough visits, which is a shame

After he left I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I was with Nerina last night. She’d come back home and we were together, but it wasn’t at all what she was expecting. She realised that my routine had changed so what she decided was that some time during the following day we’d both sit down and thrash out some rules for some kind of co-existence. I was willing to listen but obviously I wasn’t going to agree to any of the rules that might change my life drastically from how it is. Nevertheless I was interested to see exactly what her proposals might be. Of course they might affect other people like the district nurse coming round but that was something that we’d have to see about and have to negotiate anyway so that we could have some kind of life in common rather than living as two individuals in the same house

The biggest change would be that I can’t walk anywhere these days. I’m stuck inside this building and not able to go out. I’m not sure what other changes there would be after 30-odd years but there would bound to be some. The fact that I don’t have to go to work and so can have a more regulated lifestyle would be a big change for a start

There was also something else going on too about living together. A young mother named Maggie had moved in with a guy called Bill in the suburbs of Glasgow because it seemed like the best opportunity she was going to find to escape the kind of squalor in which she’d been living. His lifestyle didn’t conform to what she was expecting either so it was necessary to get together and thrash out rules between him and her but she was far less optimistic that some kind of arrangement suiting both parties would be found and considered it a great challenge to try to persuade him to conform to certain ideals of communal life in the middle of all of this Glasgow gang warfare that was going on around these tenements

There are several people whom I know who can’t bear to be on their own and have to be with someone else regardless of how it turns out. For one or two of them, it’s turned out really well but for the most part it’s been something of a disaster and they just move on to the next, with predictable results.

The res of the day, when I’ve not been asleep, has been dealing with the blog entries from when I was in Canada in 2022. The photos and the corresponding text needs to be added in so I’ve been working on that.

There’s only a handful of photos left to do but they won’t be done tomorrow as I’ll be baking biscuits. I’m running right out of those at the moment. I’m just trying to think about what kind of biscuits I should make. The last lot were chocolate biscuits and the ones before that were honey biscuits.

Tea tonight was one of my breaded quorn fillets with a salad and a baked potato. Quite delicious as usual, especially the potato cooked for 5 minutes in the microwave and then 15 minutes in the air fryer.

Pudding was delicious too. Some of the strawberries that I bought the other day soaked in a vegan cream. And there are more strawberries and cream for tomorrow after the pizza.

But right now, that’s it. My eyesight has deteriorated rapidly since yesterday and I can’t really see what I’m doing.

And that’s a problem. Not like when I lived down on the farm. It was such a small village that even though I might not have had a clue what I was doing, all the neighbours knew

Friday 3rd May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… bad day today.

Actually, it was a bad afternoon, to be honest. In the morning I was extremely busy, as you’ll find out in a moment or two.

But it’s no surprise that the afternoon wasn’t very good. It was yet another night where I ended up in bed much later than I would have liked, and the night was somewhat turbulent too. There was a huge pile of stuff on the dictaphone.

When the alarm went off though I was fast asleep so I fell out of bed and switched it off before staggering off to the bathroom

After I’d had the medication I made a start and began to prepare the dough for the weekend’s bread

While the bread was busy proofing the nurse came round to see me, to change the dressing on the foot and to put on my puttees. He was actually born in Flanders and so we spent some time talking about Belgium and in particular the linguistic war between the Flemish and the French

After he left I gave the bread its second kneading and then baked it. And for once I have some perfect bread rolls, exactly as they ought to be and I’m well-impressed. They are without doubt the best bread rolls I have ever made.

While the bread was baking I was busy making some broccoli stalk soup with the aid of a couple of small potatoes, a large onion, some garlic, herbs and, when it was almost finished cooking, a tub of soya yoghurt.

The soup with some nice fresh bread was absolutely delicious. There’s nothing quite like it, except of course my carrot and ginger soup. I’ve not made one of those for ages though, and maybe perhaps I ought to have another go at that in due course

That was when my problems began because I fell asleep at the table while drinking my coffee. Yes, don’t let anyone tell you that coffee keeps you awake. There have been many times when I’ve fallen asleep with a mug of coffee in my hand, half drunk.

And that, regrettably, is how it’s been for most of the afternoon, fighting off wave after wave of sleep, sometimes not successfully. And I’m really fed up of it. I can’t do anything at all when this kind of thing happens and there’s so much to do

My cleaner came down for a whizz through the apartment and while she was doing her stuff I transcribed the dictaphone notes -all of them. There was something going on with our Welsh group. We’d formed a band of some description and were being led by someone. We ended up somewhere in the countryside and had to go somewhere so everyone set off. They were going at a much more rapid pace than I could keep up but that didn’t seem to matter. I was just falling behind all the time carrying these two huge cymbals. They went down a hill at one point and then climbed up the side of a bank. I thought that I’m never ever going to climb that bank at all but in the end I worked out that if I began to climb the bank at a much earlier point I could traverse my way across and make it to the top and even save a little time that way. I managed to get very close to them but they went off down this farm track at a really rapid rate of knots. I was staggering on behind, tangled in barbed wire and other kinds of wire etc. The we eventually arrived at a stadium-type of place. I had no idea what was happening or what we were supposed to be doing, how we were going to be doing it, but they’d come here in such a determined fashion that they obviously knew about it but I didn’t. I was having a feeling that I was being somehow squeezed out

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I have in fact fallen way behind the rest of my group and that’s how it’s been for a while – since I went to Canada in 2022 in fact. One month there and then two months in hospital knocked a big hole in my learning and not being able to concentrate afterwards hasn’t helped in the slightest. I wish I knew what I was doing but at the moment I’m just stumbling along

Later on we were doing some kind of disco. We were all there and the music was playing. One or two people were dancing on the stage but not many people were there at all really. They asked me why I wasn’t dancing but I didn’t really have a reply. In the end I climbed up on the stage and began to dance about which seemed to satisfy them. There were still not very many people there. Just as another girl began to climb onto the stage the record ended and they switched to a waltz. I grabbed hold of the girl and waltzed with her. At first it was complicated as I tried to remember the steps and I tripped on her feet but eventually it all came back. I began to waltz with her and it was really quite a good dance. But then the record ended and I thought “what’s going to happen now? How are things going to pan out? Who’s going to do what, when and where?” It seemed that the evening wss just being left hanging in the air like that

That reminds me of a night on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR. Someone struck up a waltz so I picked one of the females (it wasn’t Castor) and waltzed off with her down the deck. I don’t know who was more surprised – she who didn’t think that I would be the type of person to waltz or me that I could actually remember how to do it without stepping on her toes.

Then it was necessary to change my clothes. I’m not sure why even though I was dressed in a convicts uniform type of thig I was still quite comfortable but gradually people were changing out of their uniforms into civilian clothes, plain clothes so I thought that I would too but there was really no possibility of escape. All I wanted to do was to sit down and have a great big relaxation somehow but it wasn’t going to happen with all of this going on. I was still going to be quite wound up going in towards breakfast

Then the alarm went off and I was about to haul myself out of bed when it suddenly cut out. We had the “ladies and …” bit it stopped before it said “… gentlemen”. Then I realised that everyone was helping the children in the nursery which was probably why they didn’t want any men about the premises so I went outside. I couldn’t see anything happening. It didn’t look to me as if the children were leaving the school but it was all about the statistics so I’ve no idea what had gone off and awoken us if it wasn’t this alarm

As you can imagine, it wasn’t my alarm at all. For a start, mine doesn’t go “Ladies and gentlemen …” but it’s the good old Billy Cotton WAKEY WAAAA…. KEY that wakes up not just me but the rest of the building and half the street.

Then a voice was crying “a third! A third!”. I’ve no idea what was going on but there were a couple of empty banana-flavoured Alpro cartons lying around. For some reason I wasn’t allowed to drink anything so I started to look for a pair of scissors to cut into them so that the patients who were in the ward that I was controlling could drink them themselves.

At 05:20 I had to work out which woman had lost her bloomers in one of the dances because the bloomers fell to the floor and you could see them in the middle of the dance floor but no-one seemed to own up and accept responsibility for it so I thought that I’d go to have a look to see if I could work out whose they were. They’d obviously want them back and of course if they could actually find them.

It beats me why I noted the time here, but it’s certainly interesting that someone should lose her bloomers and then ignore the fact. It brings insouciance to a whole new level.

The whole thing dissolved into a St Trinians-type of farce with the buses pulling up in Gresty Road and all the kids streaming out and going off down Claughton Avenue towards the school. There were several new teachers there, one of whom was clearly disorientated so he’d have to sort himself out but another one seemed to be at least vaguely interested, a big, heavy guy so in a group we all swarmed down with the children. At the corner of the street where there was a turn-off for the hall there was some person who was a kind-of teacher, a male organiser who was taking everyone’s name and finding out which alternative subjects they wanted to do, being friendly and cheerful, chatting to everyone. The big, heavy new guy turned up and the light-hearted teacher-type of person said “I can see that you have a great big frame. You’re obviously right for the rugby team”. The fellow admitted that he played rugby so he was immediately signed up. On the way down the avenue these new teachers were extremely perplexed because they couldn’t work out why we were going down there and couldn’t work out why the school would be down there. Of course they clearly had no idea what kind of school it was and why it should be situated in such a very poor area and that so they were going to be in for a dreadful shock when they finally arrived there and met the other teachers and the children.

My opinion is that if they were to have a girls’ school in Claughton Avenue in Crewe it would make St Trinians look like a kindergarten. And it wouldn’t need teachers either but wardens. It’s not exactly the calmest and most peaceful street in Crewe.

Later on, after another wave of sleep, I went for tea. Some of those delicious vegan nuggets with salad and chips thanks to my cleaner who brought me some potatoes today. It really did go down well and I was good and ready for it too. At least I have my appetite back.

So now I’m going to make a really big effort to go to bed early. I might have visitors tomorrow so I need to be on form.

But talking to the nurse about the linguistic wars reminds me of an incident that took place on the linguistic border between Waterloo and St Genesius-Rode.
As you drive into Waterloo there’s a sign that says the town name. Underneath it they fixed a plaque "You are now in Wallonie. Here we speak French"
On the other side of the sign it said “Sint Genesius-Rode” and following the posting of the Wallonie plaque the citizens of Sint Genesius Rode put up a plaque that said "You are now in Flanders. Here we work"

Saturday 27th April 2024 – THIS STORY ABOUT …

… this failed blood test rumbled on and on (and on and on) just as I expected.

Apparently after I hung up the ‘phone call last night the nurse went straight round to the office (although no-one had asked her to do so) but she couldn’t find the prescription anywhere pinned on anyone’s noticeboard.

She believes that it doesn’t exist in Granville despite what I told her and if it’s anywhere it’s pinned on the noticeboard of this doctor at the hospital in Avranches.

That is of course highly unlikely because how would I be able to make my way there to pick it up?

But she can’t find it and that is that.

Of course, I knew nothing about that when I went to bed. It was going to be an early night last night but by the time that I’d finished everything that needed finishing I’d over-run as usual.

It was another comparatively tranquil night about which I remember practically nothing at all. I must have been really comfortable in bed. I know that I certainly didn’t want to leave the bed when the alarm went off this morning.

Anyway I hauled myself out and went for a wash and so on, and then went for today’s helping of medication.

Next step was to set out the dining area ready for the nurse so that I don’t incur her wrath. She came and did the necessary, and had a good moan about this story about the failed blood test. I was all ready to believe that she didn’t believe a single word that I said.

After she left I rang up the number. It was an automatic answerphone that replied bidding me “welcome to the Pole Santé du Port” – that’s the building in Granville where my doctor – and the nurse – are based so the ‘phone call must have come from there despite what anyone else thinks.

The plot sickens.

I was another late breakfast, due almost entirely to the fact that I was stuck to my chair and couldn’t move. But when I did, my cheese on toast and hot, strong coffee were delicious

But don’t let anyone tell you that strong coffee keeps you awake. I came back in here and promptly crashed out, and for a couple of hours too, absolutely and completely.

This afternoon I worked on another radio programme. At a nice, leisurely pace I paired off all of the music that I’d previously chosen and then wrote out all of the notes for it.

There’s quite a pile building up now that need dictating but I need a long, quiet moment for that without any traffic passing by. There’s a Bank Holiday coming ip next week and I might have a go then, hoping that no-one will e driving by to go to the High School across the car park.

Later on, I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. They decided to have some kind of mini-Olympic competition. It was a multi-language setting with a lot of young people like a Youth Hostel or something. They decided that they’d give equal points for good behaviour, that kind of thing, and take points away for bad behaviour, and show people cards for what they were doing as in a football match with points taken away from them, and so work out their own little Olympic Games and be able to see it every few days. Several people thought that it was a pretty stupid idea and didn’t really want to have anything to do with it but the people in charge decided that they were going to persist.

And can’t you just imagine Eddie Waring and Stuart Hall doing the commentary for whatever was going on? There would definitely have to be “three points for Wiiiiiii….. gannnnnnn” in there somewhere, but at least Waring died with his reputation still intact which is more than will be said for his colleague.

Tea was, as usual, a lovely baked potato with a lovely salad and a lovely breaded quorn fillet – totally delicious and I can eat that every night, I reckon.

So if I’m lucky I’ll have an extra hour in bed tonight as the alarm won’t be going off until 08:00. That’s a far cry from the good old days when I could lie in until lunchtime and beyond.

But tomorrow I have pizza dough to make as I’ve run out now. And then I’ll need to try to sort out the chaos about this missing prescription and blood test. I’ll probably have to talk to my faithful cleaner and set her a task to prove that she is worthy. She has far more initiative about her than the nurse, I reckon.

But after all, the nurse has her own problems. The dwarf she treats after me once rang her up to ask why she was late. She replied "I’ll get there as soon as I can You’ll just have to be a little patient."

Friday 26th April 2024 – IT’S FLAMING DIFFICULT …

… trying to explain something to someone who doesn’t want to listen but only wants to speak.

The doctor’s surgery rang me up at the end of the afternoon to tell me that the blood test this morning had failed and needs to be done again, so he’s prepared a prescription and it’s stuck on his noticeboard to be picked up.

Ordinarily what would now happen is that I would ask my faithful cleaner to pick it up tomorrow. I’d then show it to the nurse on Sunday and she’d have to go away to fetch the equipment and come back on Monday to take it

However I had an idea.

The nurse’s office is in the same building so I rang her up to see if she was going into her office before coming here. If so she could pick up the prescription, fetch what she needed from her office and the blood test would be done on Saturday morning, two days earlier.

Simple enough?

You have absolutely no idea how complicated and involved the whole procedure came once the nurse answered the ‘phone. A simple “yes I am going into the office first” or “no, I’m not going into the office first” was all that was required.

Instead it turned out to be more like “War and Peace” and I’m still not convinced that my message was understood. We’ll find out in the morning, I suppose.

Last night I was in bed early for a change, which was very nice, but once more it took an age to go off to sleep which was a shame.

Once I was asleep though I didn’t move an inch. Not even to reach for the dictaphone because there’s nothing recorded on there from during the night. No-one came to join me on any nocturnal ramble, which is a pity.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed, switched it off and then staggered off to perform the usual morning routine.

More medication than before, of course. I swear that you can hear me rattle as I walk with all of the pills that I’m taking.

Once I’d washed down everything I laid out the dining area as she likes it and then made the dough for the batch of bread for the weekend. Very important, that.

For once, the nurse missed her aim with the blood test and had to have a second go. She’s usually quite good at finding the vein compared to her colleague who struggles. She then dressed my wound and put on my puttees.

Next stop was to prepare a shopping list for my cleaner. Mushrooms, cucumber and one or two supplies from the chemist’s. The nurse told me that we were running low of certain things

When the bread was ready and baked I made myself some cheese on toast in the air fryer and had it for a late breakfast / early lunch along with a nice, hot, strong coffee. That ought to cheer me up.

This afternoon I’ve been going through my shopping list because at some point next week I need a delivery and I’ve forgotten half of the stuff that I need. I bet that there will be a few items missing too when I finally send off the order because I’m really confusing myself these days.

Fighting off (sometimes unsuccessfully) several waves of sleep, I finally wrote the blog entries for last week when I was in hospital and didn’t have the travelling laptop with me. Thanks to what’s available at ARCHIVE.ORG and various other similar sites. I have a huge library of films and books on the computer and what with all of the music, I’m never short of things to pass the time, apart from all of the work that I need to do.

While I was doing all of that, the cleaner came round and whizzed through the apartment. Now it looks as if someone respectable lives here, and we can’t go having that.

Tea was a vegan salad with chips and some of these vegan nugget things. Really nice it was too There’s nothing like a good salad

So if I’m lucky I might have an early night tonight ready for the battle with the nurse tomorrow. She’s not going to be too happy, but I can’t help that.

But nurses are never very happy anyway. I remember once seeing a nurse walking down the corridor of a hospital with … errr … part of her upper body uncovered
"What’s going on here?" I asked
"It’s the trouble with these Junior Doctors" she said. "They never put anything away when they’ve finished with it"

Saturday 20th April 2024 – THERE’S NOTHING ON …

… the dictaphone from last night to transcribe today.

That’s not actually a surprise, really. Last night, or, rather, this morning, I was still up and about at 02:30. And at 05:00 I was up and about again, after having had probably about 2 hours sleep, if that. And if “sleep” is the correct word to use in these cases.

It really was a bad night.

It’s not strictly true to say that there was nothing to transcribe but I promise you, you really don’t want to know anything about what I could be typing, especially if you are eating your meal right now.

So once I’d finished typing out the notes from last night it was 23:35 and I could feel that it was going to be a late night because once again, I couldn’t find the energy to heave myself up and out of my comfortable chair and into bed.

It’s surprising actually, because it’s probably a distance of not even two feet, but that’s two feet more than I seem to have right now So for a couple of hours I just loitered around not doing very much at all, just stirring a few papers around.

That’s another mystery, if you ask me. I wouldn’t mind being stuck in my chair at the desk if I were actually doing something even remotely useful but I can’t even seem to find the energy for that either. All the things that I need to do and I just can’t seem to do anything.

However I did manage to drag myself off to bed eventually, but not for long. And then I just lay there waiting for the dawn and for the alarm to ring.

And that reminded me – how about switching on the alarm? It’s a good job that I suddenly remembered – and that I was awake.

When they alarm went off I fell out of bed and went off for my medication. I’ve given up with the idea of the blood pressure because what I learnt at the hospital is that
1) my machine is just too inaccurate
2) my blood pressure is up and down anyway
3) no-one has ever told me anything about what use the measurements are and what to do about them

Having arranged the living room I waited for the nurse to come. He didn’t seem to be too interested in the new prescription so I decided not to change anything.

Can you imagine it – sending my faithful cleaner to order a new lot of medication as per Avranches at considerable expense, and then only for Paris to declare it all redundant on Monday.

After he left I came back in here and slowly vegetated. Not much chance of doing anything at all in the state in which I was after just 2 hours of sleep.

However, I had a surprise visitor who disturbed me. A local taxi driver who had heard (from the nurse, apparently) that I go to Paris frequently, and would I be interested in a better, cheaper service?

Well, apart from anything else, the advantage of a company with 50 cars and several ambulances is that if they can’t fit me in, it would be even more unlikely that one man on his own with one car would.

In any case, the current taxi company negotiates directly with the Securité Sociale and is paid direct rather than me paying and claiming reimbursement. So why would I change that?

However, I kept the card that he gave me. It may come in handy for something.

Eventually I warmed up enough to update the big desktop machine with the changed files on the travelling portable only to find that half of the dictaphone files from earlier in the week were missing so I had to transcribe them again

Once I’d finished that I set the washing machine off to do a load of clothes, and didn’t they need it? While they were on the go I had a brief half-hour in the arms of Morpheus. I was surprised that it was only half an hour too.

Tonight I managed a salad, baked potato and a quorn whatsit and now I’m off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep

I need it too after last night. It’s like the time in 2014 when I was in Rennes les Bains on the trail of the Cathars and stumbled across that Health Spa with its bargain offers.

The mudbath there worked wonders and made me look 10 years younger.

It was such a shame that the mud wore off the next day though.

Saturday 13th April 2024 – I’VE NOT BEEN …

… feeling too much better today.

Hardly at all, in fact. It’s probably a very good example of the old “same stuff, different day” with just a few of the times being changed around to suit different circumstances.

What’s surprising about this – or maybe it isn’t, I dunno – is that I raced around last night doing things as quickly as possible and actually ended up in bed at 22:40 and anyone would have thought that that extra 20 minutes asleep would have made a difference, but apparently not.

Nevertheless there I was in bed and ready for sleep quite quickly. There was still the occasional stabbing pain in my right foot going right the way up my right leg – in fact, there still is even now, but I suppose that I shall just have to learn to live with it.

There were a few times during the night when I awoke but it wasn’t until the alarm went off (correctly at 07:00) that I managed to drag my reluctant self out of bed and take the blood pressure. 16.8/9.4, compared with a figure of 14.2/9.8 last night.

So what had upset me and raised my blood pressure during the night then? We’ll have to find out.

Having checked the blood pressure I dragged myself off to take the usual morning pile of medication and then set out the dining room as the nurse likes it to be.

While she was here I told her that she has to give a decent amount of notice about stuff that she needs. This is only a small pharmacy here and some of the stuff is quite specialised so it needs to be ordered if we run out. There’s usually a rupture de stock for the more complicated items.

After she left I came back in here and that’s the last thing that I remember until about 11:00. Crashed out completely, like a light, I was.

In the kitchen I slowly began to assemble the stuff for my coffee ad cheese on toast but a crowd of Auvergnats interrupted me. They had come to the market for some local stuff to take back and had at the same time come to say “goodbye”. Their week is over – already! Doesn’t time fly? and tomorrow they’ll be heading home.

It really was nice to see them all and I hope that they come back again at some point. I can’t have enough visitors..

After they left there was football on the internet. Hwlffordd, pushing for the Europa League playoffs, against Colwyn Bay, fighting to avoid relegation.

But when your luck is down, it’s really down. And you can’t be 2-0 down after just 9 minutes and hope to fight until the end.

But seriously, Colwyn Bay have been down and out for a few months now. I thought that being managed by veteran Welsh International defender Steve Evans and having made a few marquee signings, they would have had enough to stay up. But their marquee signings disappeared a long time ago and the rest of the team has been playing like they disappeared a long time ago too.

The final score WAS 3-1 TO HWLFFORDD which means that only a mathematical miracle can save Colwyn Bay now. They must win their final match and hope that both Pontypridd and Aberystwyth are defeated.

After that I transcribed the dictaphone notes. I had two dreams quite quickly, one after the other, about a group of people who were quite well-placed something like Rosemary and her friends, but were going down a place where one could gamble, the kind of place where I was. You needed invitations to go in there and of course you needed a machine to work. There, you could gamble as much as you liked. There were certain limits on normal play but they could be negotiated away with the consent of all the parties playing. It was very much like a typical place about which you’d hear in the Auvergne. But in the third part the person who suggested that it was the Auvergne was correct and the machine had guested itself into there which meant that everyone could spend more time travelling to it and spend much more time sorting themselves out while they were there to have a play on it and to try to defeat the … fell asleep here …

Wherever this might be, I’ve no idea. The only place that comes to my mind is the Casino in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic where I was a few years ago, but Rosemary and her friends have certainly never been there. However it’s a shame that I fell asleep in the middle of it as I would have liked to have found out so much more about it.

Then, the girls had all gone off to play one of these casino games involving pirates and pirate ships and they’d left me behind. What they hadn’t realised was that one of the alarms was still set and that awoke me for a short while. They were talking about this pirate game and an old German guy overheard them. He went immediately to have his hair cut. While he was having it cut he talked to the people in the hairdresser’s about the game, where you had to go to etc. so that he could make up a party too. I was in bed and, as I said, the alarm went off all of a sudden but it was a different alarm to the usual. Nevertheless it awoke me and made me quite disappointed that I’d not had a good lie-in, but had to make myself ready for the day

And that sounds like an interesting moment too, and I don’t have a clue what was going on here.

Il y a le musicien Eric Bell qui jouait pendant un certain moment avec Thin Lizzy et qui a accompagné Rosemary et ses amis avec son expedition. Il a en réalité chanté son chanson controversée dans la Halle des Bouddhistes sans être interpellé. Pour lui c’est son travail “bien fait, bien fini” et qu’il va avancer sur les autres choses

So I’m dreaming in French again. And about Eric Bell. I remember going to see him in London one night just after he’d left Thin Lizzy and was playing in his own band. But his PA had broken down and there were no vocals to accompany his music and it was something of a washout.

That night I remember sleeping on Hampstead Heath in the back of BILL BADGER, my old Austin A60 van. But I’ve no idea why I was actually in London in the first place.

He’s not however the kind of person to accompany Rosemary on any expedition but since when did reality have anything to do with what goes on at night?

After this I fell asleep again and awoke just in time for tea – another one of my delicious breaded quorn fillets with baked potato and salad.

So now I’m off to bed, with an extra hour to sleep (I hope) before the alarm goes off seeing as it’s a Sunday. But I really can’t do with all of this disruption to my routine. Staying in bed until 11:00 on a Sunday was much more like my line.

It beats me though why it(‘s of any interest My psychiatrist once asked me "what do you dream of in bed?"
I replied "I dreamed that I was in bed with Kate Bush"
"What happened?" he asked.
"Nothing" I replied. "She was dreaming that she was in bed with Roger Moore so I had to get out."

Saturday 6th April 2024 – TODAY WAS ONE …

… of the worst days that I have had for quite a while.

In fact, it’s a day that harks back to the bad old days of winter 2015-16 when I was struggling to come to terms with this illness, or over the summer of 2015 when I’d moved to live in Leuven

It’s a combination of two factors really.
Firstly those stabbing pains that I have nin the sole of the foot returned yesterday and gradually worsened as the day wore on and accelerated through the night.
Secondly I was wide-awake at about 04:30 and there was no hope whatever of going back to sleep.

It totally beats me as to what would have awaken me, and awoken me to such an extent that I couldn’t go back to sleep, even at that time. It must be something quite considerable and important, so I’m surprised that I don’t know what it is.

What I was going to say was that I didn’t have a clue, but I doubt whether there would be many people who would disagree with that diagnosis.

And as it happens, I do have a clue about what time I went to bed last night, and it was late yet again, which is even more surprising considering how early I awoke.

But doing all this paperwork and making all these notes really does take its time and I’m surprised that I’m ever ready to go to bed.

So having settled down to go to sleep I was soon awake again, drifting into alternate fits of wakefulness and sleepiness, but always being awake nevertheless.

And that didn’t stop my imagination working because even though I was in this semi-wakefulness I was still off on my travels.

When the alarm went off at 07:00 I’d already been up and about for 15 minutes and was on the point of finishing dressing and going for a wash.

Not before checking the blood pressure though. 16.1/9.9, which compares with last night’s figure of 16.4/10.1 – pretty much the same by the looks of things.

After shovelling down the piles of medication I arranged the room for the nurse and then tidied up the knives and forks etc from the previous evening. If I’m having house guests, which looks pretty much like it in the near future, I need to learn some new habits.

Rather like the man in church praying to God – "Oh God give me patience! And hurry!"

When the nurse came round he plastered me up again but said that this will be the last of them as the foot has healed so well.

As it happens, I think that the foot has certainly healed but not as well as he thinks. Still, he’s the nurse, I’m not.

After he left I made a start on the dictaphone notes from the night and from the morning when I was half-awake. And apart from what seems to be the usual fact these days of getting up, getting dressed and ready to leave the bed but only in my subconscious mind (as far as I know), also later on there was a phantom doorbell to say that the nurse had arrived. That was at 03:00 and so it was extremely unlikely, but nevertheless I found myself getting out of bed for that as well. I’ve no idea what’s going on with me at the moment. This is crazy.

What this next dream was about was a woman who was visiting the doctor’s for some reason. He gave her an examination . Then someone like Ingrid came along. Because she was more ill he gave her the more profound examination and had to make sure that she was supported by enough orderlies but she could withstand the pressure that he was going to apply. It was all to do with rolling balls Up and down the body to find weak points. Obviously he’d roll them quite hard and then feel the resistance, to see where the body was in need of reinforcement

And before anyone says anything about it, I shall say myself that that particular dream sounds like a right load of balls. It’s an interesting concept though and I bet that there’s plenty of mileage in an idea like that if I were to take it to some of the more obscure clubs in Soho

In fact I could probably make a small fortune from clubs like that for the rights to the unexpurgated version of this blog

And then while I was lying there half-asleep Nerina and I were at a port somewhere on our way to cross the Channel to go to a party at a friend’s house. We didn’t have any preparations at all – we didn’t have a GPS to find out where it was, we didn’t have any accommodation booked for Nerina or anything like that. We were going to simply improvise and make it all up on the spot. So we boarded the ferry and I went to look out of the window but they were all misty and steamy so I asked the purser if he had any car windscreen wipers. He chuntered but had a really good search, chuntering all the time. Eventually he came up with a pair and handed them to me, which I thought was nice. I could sit down then and look out of the window to admire the shipping like I usually do.

And this brings back many happy memories of me being invited to a party and setting out to go there, and suddenly realising that I had no idea of the address or where the person lived. I drove around in circles for quite a while before in the end I gave up and went home.

As Kenneth Williams once so famously said, "I’m often taken aback by my own brilliance". It’s the kind of thing that only I can do.

Meanwhile back at the ran … errr … bed, this thing about Normandy involved the Normandy group on Social Network. In the end we’d sacked all of our advisers and dealt with everything on a question and answer basis amongst ourselves. That even included the vets. Everything there on the group seemed to be going much better since we no longer had advisers and people were resolving their own problems like this

In my case though I’ve simply sacked my Social Network. It’s becoming less and less of a Social Network and more and more a vehicle for adverts and publicity. If I wanted to see “sponsored links” and “suggested for you” articles I’d look for them. I don’t want them thrust into my face at the expense of stuff that I want to see.

So I went for my coffee and cheese on toast for breakfast and despite two really strong mugs full of coffee I crashed out quite completely and absolutely, and for a good couple of hours too.

And Nerina came to visit me again, but it wasn’t a very pleasant meeting so I’m not going to transcribe the notes. With all of these problems I’ve been told to do all that I can to avoid unpleasantness.

In fact, this illness has made a whole new person of me.

What I can say about it though was that the dream was building up to a ‘phone call, and sure enough, I had one too, and a real one. It was the delivery man with the rest of my Amazon order.

This afternoon, I really felt like death. It was the worst that I have felt for quite some considerable time.

Margaret Thatcher once famously said something like "anyone can do a good day’s work when they want to. To be successful, you have to do a good day’s work when you don’t want to" and I’ve ploughed nevertheless through some radio notes and a pile of Welsh homework when all that I wanted to do was to go back to sleep.

There was football on the Internet later, Aberystwyth v Penybont. Penybont are far too good a team to be involved in a relegation scrap where they are right now, but Aberystwyth are down near the bottom for a good reason.

And that was how it went on. Aberystwyth started well and had a couple of chances but faded quite quickly and Penybont took control.

A 3-0 win was probably about right but Aberystwyth will rue the errors that they made. However it’s not easy playing football in a monsoon like they had this afternoon during the game.

Tea was baked potato and salad with one of the delicious breaded quorn fillets that I like, and that’s it for the day. I’m off to bed, with an alarm for tomorrow as the nurse will be round.

And tomorrow afternoon I have biscuits to make as I have now run out of supplies.

But before I go, talking about obscure clubs in Soho and unexpurgated versions of writings reminds me of a former girlfriend who worked at the local library on Saturdays and who has featured on these pages on more than just a few occasions.
She was asked to order a pile of books so she was going through the list, and one title caught her eye
"What’s this book here?" she asked
"It’s called ‘Ferry across the River Kwai’" explained her supervisor
"But is that title right?" she asked. "I’m sure that it should be called something else"
"It’s all right" said the supervisor. "Don’t worry. It’s simply the unabridged version of the story"

Saturday 30th March 2024 – MY BROCCOLI STALK …

… soup was absolutely delicious at lunchtime.

  1. chop up an onion and fry it in a heavy duty saucepan
  2. dice your broccoli stalk and a potato into very small pieces and add them to the fried onion, and fry them
  3. add your herbs – I used coriander, chervil, marjoram and chives – a stock cube and some garlic, and fry them with everything else
  4. when you’re satisfied that all is going well, add enough of the water that you saved yesterday from blanching the carrots and broccoli florets – make sure that the stuff above is covered and remains so throughout the entire process
  5. simmer away on a low heat for about 20 minutes
  6. add a tub of soya yoghurt and whizz it all up with your whizzer
  7. serve with fresh black pepper and fresh-baked bread

That’s what I call a really decent meal for a lunchtime.

When I blanch my broccoli for freezing I only blanch the florets. But one of these 99 cents special offers of broccoli is usually more stalk than florets so you have to be inventive, and broccoli stalk soup is the way forward

However I wish that I knew the way forward out of my current sleep issues because they reared their ugly head today, and in spades too.

Last night was a late night again. Once more I couldn’t seem to have my tasks completed in anything like a reasonable time. They do seem to drag me down these days and like anything else around here, it’s never-ending.

Finally, hours later than intended, I managed to find my way into bed.

Once in though, I slept right the way through until the alarm went off without the slightest interruption, which is quite strange these days. Usually, the slightest noise awakens me, so I wonder if it’s something to do with one of the pills that I take just before going to bed.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed again and went to check the blood pressure. 15.5/8.9 compared to last evening’s 15.9/10.1. So not a great deal of difference.

After the medication I tidied up in the kitchen and arranged everything for the nurse to come. She was her usual cheerful self today and it didn’t take her long to sort me out. I told her about the issues with the pharmacy and she thinks that I ought to see my GP about the blood tests.

My opinion is that they are called for by the hospital so it’s up to the hospital to decide whether I need them or not, and as for my injections, I’m in the hospital in 3 weeks time and if I don’t have them for 3 weeks, there’s plenty of time for the hospital to catch up

Back in here, there was nothing on the dictaphone yet again from the night, and even though that usually signifies a decent sleep it’s still disappointing because, as I have said before… "and on many occasions too" – ed … going on my travels is the only fun that I have these days.

Back in the old days before my health finally gave out, I’d always be travelling. And not just in vehicles either, but on foot. I’ve roamed miles over places like the Long Mynd in Shropshire, moors in Scotland, Arctic tundra in Greenland and Northern Canada and so on.

Who will ever forget my famous journey when I nipped out for a couple of hours in 2014 and ended up roaming for miles through the Pyrenees in Southern France, Spain and Andorra for several weeks?

But returning to last night, even though there was nothing on the dictaphone I do have a recollection of something else to do with Ford Cortinas scattered all over Crewe and that’s a regular, recurring dream.

Apart from making broccoli stalk soup, most of the day has been dealing with radio stuff, sorting out music for the next few programmes. Time to restart work after being away on a course for a week. and I’m still thinking and talking in Welsh when I talk to myself.

There was a lot of progress made with the radio stuff but I would have done more had I not crashed out.

And I crashed out good and proper for a couple of hours too, the deepest that I have ever been too and it was really uncomfortable too, really, really uncomfortable. I was so far out that I wouldn’t have come back for a week.

Nevertheless I came round and wandered off for my hot chocolate. And there was something on the dictaphone from when I’d crashed out, and that doesn’t happen too often either. I was on my way to see my sister and my brother. They had given me directions but the closer I came to where they were supposed to be, the less sense the directions made. I ended up on an island, a long narrow sandspit that was completely built up with a big apartment building. As I approached the front door there was a man there so I hurried and he held the door for me to enter. Inside I went into the lift and came out on the first floor. I asked on the radio which apartment they were in but their answer was garbled so I asked which floor and they said “top”. I went back into the lift and came out at the top and was now in the open air countryside, still heavily built up. I asked if they were on the water side or the inside but the reply was “down here” so I went down the road. There was still no trace of them so I asked which house they were in. They replied that there was nothing near them but a pub. There was nothing whatever like that where I was but searching around I came across a village name something like Rhydymwyn (but wasn’t) so I asked if that name meant anything to them. There was no reply to that – I’d gone out of range obviously and lost radio contact, so I must have been miles away, so I gave it up zs a bad job.

The likelihood of me ever wanting to meet my brother and sister would be so remote that they wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of giving me false directions to keep me away.

But the island, the long thin sandspit, reminds me very much of Long Beach Island in New Jersey. That was where I went to celebrate the Millennium. I flew from Brussels Airport, where I was interviewed by Flemish TV – in Flemish – to New York and hired a car, then just drifted around until I found somewhere nice.

And LONG BEACH ISLAND REALLY IS NICE TOO. I had a wonderful time out there.

TOTGA had just been abandoned by her husband and was left alone with a small baby. I invited her to join me on the trip
"Where would be staying?" she asked
"We’ll work that out when we arrive. Just drive and find somewhere nice"
"Actually, it’s not really convenient"

A few years later we were talking and she said "I’d have come with you if you’d had a place booked to stay, you know."

It was then that I realised what a lucky escape she’d had. In 2015 I slept out on the trail every night in Northern Labrador and Northern Québec, timber wolves howling in the distance and something or other scratching at Strider’s truck cap, wanting to come in and share the sleeping bag with me.

TOTGA would have had a heart attack a long time before that if she’d had to share a lifetime with me. Nerina was the adventurous type and would have been fine, but I’m sure that I tried her spirit a few times

But just in case you are wondering, these people who figure quite often in my dreams, like TOTGA, Castor and Zero and so on, they are actually real people whom I’ve encountered, or even had a close encounter, at some time or other and who have obviously left a very great impression on me.

There was football on the internet later – TNS v Cardiff Metropolitan in the other Welsh Cup semi-final.

To everyone’s surprise, the Met raced into a 2-0 lead but of course it couldn’t last. TNS changed out of first gear and off they roared.

TNS’s overwhelming dominance of the Welsh domestic game wouldn’t bother me all that much if they could take it further. But they are knocked out of European competition at the first hurdle and they really ought to be doing much better than

It would really be nice if they could make it to a European group stage for once and have a real stab at something worthwhile.

And it would be nice if other clubs could do well too, emulating Hwlffordd who actually made it through to a second round last season.

Tea tonight was baked potato with vegan salad and one of these breaded quorn fillets that I like. But aren’t plates heavy when they fall on your foot? I’m glad that there was just a quorn fillet on it at that moment and nothing else.

But now I’m off to bed. We lose an hour tonight of course with the change of calendar, and I have the nurse coming which is a pain. I need to be up early and have everything ready so I hope that the alarm works.

Not like back in the old days when I was always late for school
"And why are you always late?" asked the exasperated schoolmaster
"Please sir" I explained "there’s eight in our family but the alarm was only set for seven so I had to miss out."

Saturday 23rd March 2023 – A FEW MONTHS AGO …

… I bought a cheap hamburger press, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall. It was rather like an old flat iron made of plastic, with all kinds of sizes that fit inside each other like a Russian doll

It was rather cheap, both in price and quality, so I didn’t think that it would be all that much good. However I have to say that despite all that, I really am impressed with it. Almost as impressed as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin, and that will stir a few memories from times long-gone.

Actually my friend in Munich sent me ages ago a packet of dried stuff that he’d found in a vegan shop down there and posted it to me. So today I added water and mixed it, left it alone to do its thing and then out came the hamburger press

It actually made a nice, professional job of the rehydrated stuff and I now have four big, really solid burgers and as I said just now, I’m almost as impressed with them as I was with my galvanised steel dustbin.

“Whatever happened to that?” I asked myself. The last time that I saw it, it was being used as a brazier to burn a pile of weeds down the garden when I used to have my raised beds and vegetable plots. It’s probably now thoroughly and completely overwhelmed with weeds and been pulled into the soil.

It’s 10 years ago since I last planted any veg down on the farm. I had quite a lot of stuff there that year too. The following year I cracked on with the bedroom all the way through the spring and summer ad finished it – and actually moved in.

But we all know what happened in the autumn that year, don’t we?

It was almost 10 years that I lived full-time down on the farm and despite the primitive conditions I really enjoyed it. I keep on thinking – and hoping – that I’ll go back to live down there once more but I doubt that I’ll ever see it again.

For a start, I can no longer drive, and that’s always going to be a serious consideration. And then regular readers of this rubbish will recall the photos of when I was last there and it was overwhelmed by brambles. I no longer have the energy to fight my way to the front door.

Last time it took three of us – Rosemary, Ingrid and Yours Truly – a whole afternoon to reach the front door, and the time before that it was with Terry and he had brought his industrial-scale equipment to clear the path.

Still, as Dan Quayle once famously said, "It’s a question of whether we’re going to go forward into the future, or past to the back"

So I shall go past into the back and say that for a change I was in something of a hurry to go to bed last night. I didn’t hang about at all.

It was another good sleep as well and I was fighting fit (well, sort-of) when the alarm aronsed me from my slumbers.

First thing was, as usual, to check the blood pressure. 15.1/9.0 this morning, up from 14.5/9.3 last night. So something must have annoyed me last night. And if you want to know what it was, you’ll have to read on.

After the medication I came back in here, but not for long. The nurse, having been late yesterday, was early today. Today’s moan was that the plastic bag I’d put out for him wasn’t big enough and that I need to wash my puttees. I wonder what tomorrow’s will be

The bread for my cheese on toast was delicious. I had a really nice breakfast later this morning. And then I had a pleasant relax and watched a film.

Another film that has come out of copyright is HELLZAPOPPIN’ so I spent a very pleasant 85 minutes watching it, and it was nice to relax for a change.

It’s not a film to everyone’s taste because it’s partly a musical and "YOU’RE NOT GOING INTO THE SONG WHILE I’M HERE" but where its interest lies is that if ever you want to know where all of the humourists of the 1960s and early 70s like Monty Python and Marty Feldman obtained their ideas, it’s all here, everything and much more besides, and it was done in 1941.

As far as comedy and humour goes, it was light years ahead of its time and will still run the course today.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. We’d all gone out as a family together. We all had lifts with various different people so we were all spread out amongst the cars etc. A guy in a mobile home, the type that’s a shell that fits onto the back of your vehicle, took a fancy to one of my sisters. He persuaded her to travel with him. They disappeared but the rest of us kept going in a kind of convoy. We ended up stopping for the night somewhere at the side of a river. Just then this guy appeared with his camper. He wound down his window and said that he was terribly sorry but something had happened to our sister – some other people had come along, taken her, kidnapped her and carried her off. My mother said “I bet that she’s in the back of your camper”, just strode over there and wrenched open the door. My sister was in there on the bed lying down. She began to tell her tale of woe about everything that had happened to her, with my mother and brother becoming more and more angry as the story unfolded about this kidnap.

So there you are – that’s the reason that my blood pressure was up. I had the family round last night. I don’t ask them to come to visit me during the night but they always seem to, far too often for my liking. Why can’t I have Zero, TOTGA and Castor round as often as them?

But kidnapping my family members one by one sounds like a good idea. But you can all think of an idea for the ransom note – "pay us £5,000 or we’ll send them back".

That reminds me of the time when I fuelled up in Stoke on Trent only to find that I’d left my wallet behind at home. I had to leave my friend at the petrol station as hostage while I went to his house to fetch some money

When I told his wife what was the problem she told me not to bother going back, and to leave him there for good

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed we had a taxi job to do, to drive someone up to Newcastle upon Tyne for a meeting and then take them on to Edinburgh later. There was only one daytime driver and me about. The receptionist left a note for the daytime driver “be in the office 04:40 ready for a long trip”. I thought that long trips and office workers all on account etc don’t pay very much in tips if anything so I’d go to do that and let the driver carry on doing normal jobs. The only car we had was an old two-door Japanese thing from the late 1960s or early 1970s. It made something of a racket but I’d been out a few times in it and it seemed to do the job. A good long run like that would probably do it good. Of course Edinburgh – I had my niece in Edinburgh so I could go to see her. I tried to contact her but there was no luck. I thought “should I just turn up at the University there and speak to her?”. I thought that that’s probably not a good idea. But I was impressed that we had this job, going all that way but I was really disappointed that we didn’t have a better car available other than this old Japanese thing.

And that was an age-old problem too. We’d occasionally have some really high-quality work to do but never seemed to have a decent car available to do it, and when we did have a really decent car we’d never have the work. At times I despaired.

This afternoon I went a food-making.

Firstly, as I said, my friend in Munich had sent me some burger mix so I added the water, stirred it all in and then left it to fester for 20 minutes as according to the instructions

There was a box of do-it-yourself falafel powder on the shelves as I discovered when I did some tidying up a few weeks ago. So I added some water to that and left that to fester as per the instructions.

While that was doing its stuff the first lot was ready so with the hamburger press I made four really good and solid burger-types of things. They are busy freezing even as we speak.

As for the falafel, I divided that up into little balls and they are busy freezing too, along with a couple of balls that I made from the left-over stuff from the first mix.

But I’m pleased with this hamburger press as I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … It’s really simple and cheap but it made some really solid burgers and it gives me much more confidence about making more burgers from ad-hoc ingredients.

Finally there was the home-made mayonnaise. And once again, that seemed to work in spades. I made it rather more liquidy than before so we’ll see how that works out. It ended up making quite a lot more than I can use in its shelf-life, so I’ve sealed to top on the jars quite tightly.

Yes, having learned my lesson, I’ve put the mayonnaise in a better container or two.

Then we had the football – Y Bala V Connah’s Quay Nomads in one if the Welsh Cup semi-finals, played at Llandudno’s picturesque ground. And it was actually being broadcast on foreign carriers too after the disappointments of the last few games.

The first 75 minutes of the match were nothing to write home about, but it’s really hard to play creative football in a tornado.

However both sides made a couple of substitutions with 15 minutes to go and that kickstarted the game dramatically. Those last 15 minutes wee much more like the football we’d expect to see and Aron Williams scored a late winner to push the Nomads into the finals.

But spare a thought for Josh Ukek of Y Bala, who will probably go down in the record books as being on the field for the shortest period of time ever.

He came on as a substitute for Bala late in the game but almost immediately Kieran Smith, a central defender, was sent off for two bookings. Now a central defender down, Colin Caton, the Bala manager, now wanted to send on a central defender off the bench to shore up the defence.

And Ukek, who had only just come onto the field, was the man who was withdrawn to make way.

Tea was as usual a salad, baked potato and breaded quorn fillet. I know that it all seems to be the same, but I happen to like it so I don’t care.

And now rather late this evening, I’m off to bed. There’s an alarm in the morning for the nurse is coming (so I’ve washed my puttees already) so I’ll feel like death for the rest of the day. Today, I actually fell asleep for five minutes during the football.

But before I go, that story about tightly closing the lid on the mayonnaise jar did remind me of the guy who rang up his doctor
"You know those pills that you gave me to give me strength?"
"Yes" said the doctor. "How are they going?"
"I don’t know" replied the man. "I can’t get the top off the bottle".

Saturday 16th March 2024 – AFTER I’D FINISHED …

… doing what I have to do in the evening I didn’t hang about and was in bed quite shortly thereafter. I don’t seem to be able to last the pace like I used to, especially if I didn’t have any sleep the previous evening.

But of course I have to admit that my bed is extremely comfortable. Seeing as I spend about a third of my life in it it went through some pretty rigorous tests, as in me lying down on every combination of bed and mattress that was on display in the IKEA in Caen.

The sofa too is extremely comfortable. That underwent the same series of tests and has been put to good use on several occasions when I have company, but that’s another story.

So last night I climbed into bed and that was that until the alarm went off at 07:00.

At that point I fell out of bed and went off in search of medication – the usual morning round of things designed to keep me going until we have the night-time’s helpings. 10 different types, and each one presumably treating the side-effects of the one that was prescribed immediately before.

In fact, as I take all of this medicine I’m singing to myself THERE’S A HOLE IN MY BUCKET because that’s exactly how I feel.

Having dealt with the medication I made the bread rolls for today and tomorrow and left them there to fester while I went and took down the puttees and rolled them up ready for the nurse. They are still wet but that can’t be helped.

When she came round she burst the blisters on my feet, put all the cream on everywhere and wrapped the puttees around my feet and legs. She’s told me that there’s no need to wash them tonight as they don’t seem to be soiling any, which is good news.

After she had left I checked the bread rolls. And for once in my life they had actually risen as I hoped that they might. I’m not sure what I did correctly today – I can’t recall doing anything any more different than I usually do and which up to now has proved to be singularly ineffective.

But anyway I had a lovely cheese on toast for breakfast which was really nice.

Back in here I checked the dictaphone and to my surprise there was actually some stuff on there. “Surprise” because for the first two dreams I remember nothing at all, which quite possibly explains why they seem to be a pile of gibberish. Anyway, There was something about being in a rock group in North Wales called Achmarchnad – “Supermarket”. We all spoke to each other in Welsh and I introduced the songs in Welsh too. We climbed up onto the stage and there was applause but when I began to announce what we were about to play plenty of people dashed off as though they were heading for the bathroom. I made some kind of comment about everyone going to the bathroom. They also turned off all of the microphones so I had to wait for someone to restart everything again before I could actually carry on. But I was dreaming in Welsh as I had to wait for these people to go as we all sit around here, phrases like that to the other members of the group.

Yes, there I was, dreaming in Welsh and presenting the music of a rock band. I’d give all that I own, and more besides, to be able to do that in real life. But as I have mentioned before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … dreaming in a foreign language is nothing new. Besides Welsh (which isn’t a foreign language of course) we’ve had dreams in French, Flemish and Spanish in the past.

It’s actually quite ironic really. Here I am, learning a language that I probably won’t ever speak, in practical terms, and yet during the night I’m speaking it quite fluently and can’t even remember a word of what I’ve said and could certainly never repeat what I said when I’m awake.

There was a story once about this – about some guy who had had a knock on the head and came back to consciousness speaking a language fluently that he had never learned or even heard before. I wonder if it’s some kind of similar phenomenon.

It’s a shame though that I’m no longer going to Leuven though. I enjoyed revitalising the Flemish that I learned when I lived in Brussels and was glad that I was able to put it to some use after all these years. I just speak it now sometimes with Ingrid.

Meanwhile, back at the ran … errr … bed – when we had fully loaded our ambulance we were ready to leave and go back to current times but the ambulance hit a stone causing injury to Orly and someone in the back and we haul up and treat our injuries etc before we could head back and try to cross the border. Rooms were booked for us in a hotel a a place on the Welsh side of the river just before you cross the river into the English part …fell asleep here

The above two dreams I have absolutely no recollection whatever of them. As I have said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … although I’m asleep when I’m dictating my notes, when I’m transcribing them I usually have some kind of very vague recollection of them.

But not those two. They mean absolutely nothing to me

Finally, I was doing something about the radio last night, recording all my programmes. I needed a tenth track. After much messing about I actually chose the track but when it came to using it to join up the rest of the music I couldn’t find it. I was searching everywhere but it just wasn’t there. The last time that I remember, it was still attached to a set of stereo headphones with the wires dangling everywhere but I couldn’t find it at all. When I awoke I was actually searching the bed for it.

But can you imagine it – searching for a digitalised audio file in the bed last night. Sometimes I really do shake my head.

This afternoon I’ve been a busy boy. Firstly, Rosemary rang me and we had a chat. Just a short one today – only one hour and three minutes. We’re losing our touch, that’s for sure. Whatever happened to the ones that used to go on for several weeks?

Then I’ve been working on my photos from Canada 2022, writing the notes for another big pile of stuff. I hadn’t yet fallen ill so I was still getting about and doing things, like ordering the sunroof for the only Ford Flex ever imported into Europe, and having fun with STRAWBERRY MOOSE.

The dramatic collapse in health is yet to come, and it will be interesting to see how the events of that period unfolded and led to a two-months stay in hospital and totally wrecked my health.

The stuff for a couple more days was completed and I could have done so much more except for a major crashing-out – another one of these total black-outs that last for several hours where it’s as if I just switch off without any warning.

Finally there was the football – Pontypridd United v Barry Town. Both teams are languishing near the foot of the table – Pontypridd due more to administrative errors than standard of play – but they will basically safe from relegation as heaps more woe and misery pile on Colwyn Bay and Aberystwyth below them in the table.

The league position of the teams was reflected in the play – scrappy and at times rather agricultural – but playing football in a tropical monsoon as they had this afternoon down in Pontypridd can’t have been easy.

The game seemed to go in spells. Firstly, Pontypridd would have a good five minutes and then Barry, and then Pontypridd again and so on. The result, a 1-1 draw, was probably about right.

If you want to see the rather one-sided highlights of the match, they ARE HERE

You don’t need me to tell you what I had for tea tonight.

That’s right – breaded quorn fillet with baked potato and salad. Those fillets really are nice and I’m glad that, at the moment at least, they are available in LeClerc’s on-line shop

“At the moment” because even over the short time that I’ve been using the service, I’ve noticed a few things that I would buy that have been withdrawn from the range and that is more than just a pity. It’s a tragedy

So now I’m off to bed, ready for my … gulp … 08:00 start so that i’m ready for when the nurse comes. Can you imagine that too – me having an alarm call at 08:00 on a Sunday? But I need to show willing

It reminds me of the time when a girl who I knew once said to me "will you awaken me at 08:00?"
To which I replied "What should I do? Knock on your door or give you a nudge?"
There were times when I wasn’t very popular.

But as yet an alarm call might be unnecessary. Where the nurse burst my blisters, every now and again (more “again” than “now”, as it happens) there’s a stabbing pain that goes right through me and if it doesn’t subside I can’t see me sleeping tonight.

However, I’m away to finish off what I need to do before going to bed. The last task for today will be to cover myself in boot polish and eat several packets of yeast. That way I’ll rise and shine in the morning