Tag Archives: welsh cup

Sunday 28th April 2024 – IT WAS THE …

… Welsh Cup Final earlier this evening and so I’m running horribly late.

Not that I’m complaining because it was one of the best matches that I’ve seen for several years, I reckon, and I’m glad that I watched it.

Other glad tidings are that I was in bed at a reasonable time so that I was able to profit by my extra hour in bed, with the alarm not being set until 08:00. And once again it was another peaceful, tranquil night where I can’t remember awakening at all.

A few more nights like this will do me the world of good, I reckon.

When the alarm went off I fell out of bed as usual and crawled across to switch it off. Then I staggered into the bathroom to have a wash and so on.

While I was taking my tablets the doorbell buzzed to say that the nurse was in the building and when she’d finished with my neighbour she’d be here, so I had to quickly arrange the room how she likes it.

When she came in she told me that she’d been back to the office to check for this prescription but it still wasn’t there. I told her that I’d rung the number and it was definitely the Health Centre in Granville that had rung so she promised to talk to the secretary on Monday to find out more.

Then she dealt with my foot, put on my puttees and left to deal with her next lot of clients elsewhere.

Once she’d gone I had come instant coffee and cornflakes for breakfast, and then came in here to watch yesterday’s game where Forfar Athletic beat a very poor Stranraer side 2-0 in a game that has stuck Stranraer at the foot of Scottish League 2 and in danger of being relegated out of the league.

Searching through the directories on the big computer I came across some radio notes that I’d dictated but hadn’t yet edited so this afternoon’s task was to do that.

Despite a variety of interruptions, including falling asleep a couple of times, that’s all edited and the programme is assembled as far as I can. The final track has been chosen but I need to write, dictate and then edit down some notes for it so that I can finish it off As I said yesterday, there’s now quite a backlog of stuff that needs dictating.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night too. I was dreaming about an election for Prime Minister. Everyone thought that the situation was pretty much cut and dried so I decided that I’d throw my hat into the ring. That upset everyone. They couldn’t even remember the password for the coffee machine for me so that I could have some coffee. When we went to a meeting they had to pick me up. They weren’t sure what to do with me, where to put me. We encountered Boris Johnson on the way. He was driving a double-decker bus. He was going to stand for election too. They were quoting the odds on who was going to have the job. It was evidently their preferred candidate and someone else to pretend to challenge them. The whole idea that there would be a third realistic candidate such as me completely upset their whole apparatus. They had to begin too frame questions to ask me to make it appear that they were giving me a fair crack of the whip. This involved an incredible amount of work for them that they didn’t really want to do and didn’t really see why they had to do it but millions of people were expecting it and of course that’s how it should be done anyway so I upset the whole apple cart with this standing for President or whatever but I was determined to see it through, simply to expose their lazy and corrupt practices

Any election process that can elect people like Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Donald Trump to high office needs to be confronted and challenged. Anyone who remembers MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL and laughed at the scene about STRANGE WOMEN LYING IN PONDS DISTRIBUTING SWORDS will have to admit today that it’s a far better system than the one that elects Johnson, Truss or Trump.

And then we had the football. The Welsh Cup Final between Connah’s Quay Nomads and TNS, with TNS aiming to complete the treble and be the first club to go through an entire season of competitive matches without being beaten.

Last week the two teams met in the league with TNS winning 2-0 and Connah’s Quay lucky to get nil, and we were expecting something similar today.

It’s been shown though that TNS’s defence is not as solid as it might be and teams that have been brave enough to take the game to them rather than sitting back defending the rampant attackers have had some kind of success, and that’s precisely what Connah’s Quay did.

They were 2-1 up at half-time and then during the second half weathered the inevitable storm with some desperate last-ditch tackles to deservedly lay their hands on the cup.

You can see the highlights HERE but they only show about a quarter of what I would have included. But at least you’ll get to see one of the best goals scored this season.

Tea tonight was a lovely vegan pizza. Another one of the interruptions was to make the pizza dough as I’d run out so I whipped up a batch this afternoon. Two lumps are in the freezer for another time and the third lump was rolled out and put on its tray to proof.

After the football I assembled it, baked it and ate it. And it was delicious too.

So, much later than I hoped, I’m going to bed to have some pleasant dreams, I hope, before I do battle with the nurse again. And then there’s plenty of work to do like radio stuff and all of that. And I need to catch up on the Welsh that I’ve missed these last two weeks

While I’ve been in hospital there’s been quite a lot of stuff that I’ve let slide away out of sight that I need to catch up. We know the old saying that “work expands to fill the time available” but I wish that the reverse were true and that the time would expand to fit all of the work that needs to be done.

It reminds me of one of the people with whom I used to work years ago. "He does the work of two men, him" his colleagues would say
"Is that so?" I asked
"That’s right" they would reply. "Laurel and Hardy"

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 17th February 2024 – I DON’T THINK …

… that i’ll be sleeping too much tonight, given the amount of sleeping that I have done today.

There have been at least two occasions when I’ve been stark out of it today. I really don’t know what’s the matter with me these days.

It’s not as if I was in bed all that late last night. Later than some, it’s true but not so late as to work about it. And then I had a relatively peaceful night.

The alarm went off at 06:40 and I thought “that can’t be right”. I must have dreamed the alarm yet again. Not that I could go back to sleep even though I was in the middle of an interesting dream. Instead I just lay there half-awake, half asleep until 07:00.

And how I didn’t want to leave the bed at that moment but nevertheless I forced myself out of bed and took the blood pressure. Last night was 17.8/10.3 but this morning’s was 16.0/9.6. I suppose that that’s a slight improvement over how it has been. It’ll be interesting to see what it’ll be like in a few weeks.

Next stop was the medication. And I had to sort out some of the stuff that the cleaner had brought for me. There’s tons of it and I feel so sorry for the cleaner who has to haul it all back for me.

Back in here I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There were three of us, two guys and a girl called Deakin or Deacon. We’d somehow gone behind enemy lines and infiltrated into this person’s body. We’d eventually been caught but had managed to make our escape and pass down the bloodstream of thi person and eventually find our way out through the eyes. But then we had to go back in to look for this Deakin girl because we couldn’t find her anywhere. We eventually came across her and managed to bring her back to the area behind the eyes but had to wait for the correct moment to try to come through onto the other side but there was some kind of machine gun battle going on on the outside of this human being so we had to wait for the best moment there too

There was something about two girls who had been appointed to become Prime Minister and lead the country. This had happened after the present Prime Minister had resigned. These girls tried to do a couple of things but it didn’t work so in the end they resigned. It meant a whole overhaul of Government and Civil Service and almost everything had to be undergone before these girls would take power again. This brought a whole raft of changes everywhere that many people found difficult to understand

Later on, whoever was Prime Minister of the UK had been making a big mess of things for a while and had resigned. Someone else had taken over and things were not going too well at all. The Far Right organisations were slowly rebuilding. All of a sudden this guy abandoned power. There was a huge power vacuum as people tried to jostle to fill it. Government was being done by decree because there was no-one in the Palace of Westminster. The Far Right made a sudden surge so people started to move out of certain areas where the Far Right was likely to take control. This led to a mass exodus of population around the UK as people were going to different rural places. The future was looking really totally bleak. The only mainly civil, normal people had lost control and there were very few of them left standing for election at the end of all of this. It looked as if the UK was heading for total disaster

Choosing a couple of girls at random to run the country sounds like a much better way of doing it than the way they have gone about things in the UK and the USA over the last 8 years or so when you look at some of the people who have been chosen over that period by their peers. You have the feeling that what has happened in those countries over that period, and one day they are going to wake up and say “April Fools” and return to normality.

Back in PREVIOUS YEARS when Dennis says to King Arthur STRANGE WOMEN LYING IN PONDS, DISTRIBUTING SWORDS IS NO BASIS FOR A SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, I wonder what he would have said after he had seen the election to power of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Thick Lizzy?

The Far Right has certainly risen to the top these days in the UK, the USA and Russia and these countries are all the same. I’m hoping that we don’t end up with a Far-Right Government here.

If you ask me, I blame the left wing myself. As soon as a Government is elected they begin to attack it. It never proposes any other solution though but simply sows the seeds of discontentment. And then along comes the Far Right with a “solution” and job done

The Far Left doesn’t realise just how much it’s been infiltrated and being manipulated by the Far Right, but it’s been the case for over 100 years and they still can’t see it.

When the “alarm went off” there was also something about a female footballer who was putting up some outstanding performances, so much so that one or two people were wondering whether “she” was actually a “he”. The President of one Football Association called for an investigation and threatened that next time he encountered her, he would strip her to verify his beliefs. She then published a notice warning people that in any attempt to remove her clothing by anyone else, she would not be responsible for the violence that followed. The other girls too made similar declarations and they began to prepare for a confrontation. This started a similar movement among some members of the crowd too.

Not that I’m a big fan of women’s football, I’ve seen a few women players who would be quite at home in the Premier League. I hadn’t seen a women’s game for years and then I STUMBLED BY ACCIDENT ON A GIRL’S GAME at that High School in Burlington when I was in Vermont and was totally taken aback by how standards had improved.

And they’ve improved considerably since.

There were several radio notes that needed completing and so for the rest of the morning I completed tham. So that’s another one all ready to be dictated tonight. There’s quite a pile of them building up now, dictated but not edited and completed, but that will give me something to do, I suppose, during my week in hospital at the end of April.

And it’s a good job that I completed them this morning because I crashed out completely and definitively round about lunchtime. I’d done a few tidying up bits and pieces, put a few things away, had a really good wash and change of clothes, and that, dear reader, was that. I came in here, sat down and wad gone completely.

The football had already started when I awoke but it was on a recorded stream so it was just a case of going back to the start of the recording.

Y Bala of the Premier League against Mynydd Y Fflint in the North-West Ardal League, or 3rd Division North-West (even though Mynydd y Fflint is actually Halkin, on Deeside in North-East Wales.

The result of a match like this is pretty much a foregone conclusion, although Mynydd y Fflint have four players with Premier League experience, centre-back Aaron Simpson and three players who I would pick for any side in the Premier League today – keeper John Danby, winger Rob Hughes and striker Mike Hayes.

Rob Hughes is the mercurial type with that little touch of magic that can turn a game in an instant and he showed some beautiful touches today. But his problem always has been his self-control and managers have a hard time keeping him on the pitch for 90 minutes.

And so it proved today. I don’t know what he said to the referee after 60 minutes but it was worth a red card.

Not that it really mattered though. They were already 2-0 down and ended up conceding another later in the game. However, they did have their moments. They hit the woodwork once or twice and had another shot cleared off the line.

When the game was over I prepared a quick buffet of home-made hummus, some crackers, olives and pickles as my neighbour was coming round to see me.

As well as finding out how we were doing, she had a few suggestions that might help me and she told me something that she had learned about my apartment downstairs.

Once she left I came back in here and would you believe it, I crashed out again

However, I awoke in time for tea – baked potatoes with salad and breaded quorn fillets. I do love those and I hope that I can keep on getting them.

So now I’m going to loiter around until later at night when hopefully everyone has gone to bed and I can dictate my radio notes. And then add them to the pile that need editing. Frederick the Great once said "we are made for action, and activity is the sovereign remedy for all physical ills"

However he said that 200 or so years before I was born. I prefer the counsel of Matt Dillon’s girlfriend in “Gunsmoke” – "Sunday is the one day of the week a man can get up at noon and sit around with his boots off without anybody hollering at him about it"

That’s much more in my line of country.

Saturday 11th November 2023 – THINGS TODAY WERE …

… somewhat different from yesterday.

in fact it was the morning when I was crashed out on my chair. And I was totally out of it too. I find it very hard to believe that yesterday took so much out of me.

Admittedly I was later in bed that I would have liked to be, but I was determined to dictate the notes that I’d been preparing for a future radio programme. They were all done and dusted and I crawled into bed.

When the alarm went off this morning I have to say that I have never felt less like moving – at least, not for a good while anyway. But I did make it to my feet before the second alarm went off and I staggered into the kitchen for my medication.

Back in here I settled down to do some work but ended up drifting in and out of sleep for much of the morning and I really didn’t feel like anything at all.

There was some stuff on the dictaphone from the night. I’d been invited to a wedding in Nantwich so I set off. As I pulled up outside the church there were all these people milling around with huge banners and floral decorations etc. It looked like a really sumptuous wedding. All the people with the banners went inside and I hung around outside. I had a good look round but didn’t recognise anyone. After a while I mentioned to someone “I hope that I’m attending the correct wedding”. They didn’t really say anything. Just at that moment a group of people appeared carrying a huge tray above their heads, full of beer. They swooped down onto the outside of the church and began to put the tray down so that everyone outside could have a drink. I thought that this is not like the kind of wedding that I would ordinarily attend, that’s for sure.

I didn’t mention that going to that wedding I actually walked some of the way, and walked some of the way without crutches. That astonished me, even in the dream.

There was a story about two people, a man and a woman, working in a kitchen. For some reason the man misunderstood a comment made by the woman. As a result the situation in that kitchen became extremely uncomfortable for a while. There was a lot more to it than this but it was another one of these dreams that disappeared the moment that I reached for the dictaphone.

However I don’t need to know how this ended. I know all about misunderstandings like this

Finally last night I was with a girl whom I knew for a while in Brussels, living in an apartment somewhere. She had go out out to sell some kind of Employee Management software database to a company. I tagged along with her. When she began her discussion the elderly woman in charge of the situation was extremely aggressive. My friend was talking about this product and the woman said “it’s not something that you have to use every day, is it?”. My friend was there patiently explaining “it’s a dispute-management system, yes, but it has lots of underlying parts to it. You only need the disputes part infrequently but everything else is important”. She replied “we’ll strip that out for a start”. The discussion continued and the woman found that it was based on Word-Perfect. “We can strip that out too”. I remembered smiling at 2 girls sitting at a nearby desk looking as horrified as I was. I whispered to them “I think that I’d have been long gone from here at this point”. My friend kept going patiently and the woman kept interrupting her. Every time Nicole tried to insist on speaking the woman went “interrupting me! How rude!” even though she was the one doing al the interrupting. I thought that I would never ever make a career in sales because I wouldn’t have put up with this kind of comment for a minute.

Following that I made a start on editing the radio notes that I’d dictated last night. It was a very slow process, for reasons that I mentioned a little earlier, but the programme is now finished and ready for broadcast on … errr … 7th June 2024.

With plenty of time on hand despite the fatigue I carried on editing the blog entries from last autumn. I managed to do a pile of them, and I’m now having a good drive around various Ford agents in Eastern Canada trying to find a sunroof to fit the only Ford Flex that was ever imported into Europe.

It’s quite true that I sometimes end up with doing some most unusual tasks.

There was some football on the internet later. It’s Welsh Cup weekend and the match that was featured for live commentary was Llanelli v Penybont.

Llanelli have a good history in Welsh club football but unfortunately it is nothing but history. There have been some very hard times down in South West Wales but the club is slowly rising back up the pyramid and is currently leading the Southern pool of the Second Division

Penybont on the other hand is a fully-established Premier League club that qualified for Europe this season.

The gap between the Premier League and the Second Division is immense under any circumstances, as clubs like Flint, Airbus and Afan Lido will testify over the past few years so no-one was under any illusions.

And that was how the game started, with Penybont rampaging forward. Consequently everyone was taken completely by surprised when Ethan Cann’s brilliant finish out of nothing from the edge of the penalty area put Llanelli ahead.

By half-time however Penybont had restored sanity and were 2-1 to the good.

A brilliant point-blank save by Scott Coughlin in the Llanelli goad right from the second-half kick-off kept them in the game and then up popped Ethan Cann again with one of the best goals that you’ll ever see from a Second-Division player.

Even more surprisingly, Llanelli went ahead later, only for Penybont to equalise in the dying seconds of normal time.

We ended up with a penalty shot-out in which Scott Coughlin was once again the hero as a couple of excellent saves saw the Second Division side through to the next round, totally against the run of play and totally against the odds.

Tea tonight was a baked potato cooked in the air fryer, with a vegan salad and one of those breaded quorn fillets that I like so much.

And it seems that I’ve cracked the system of baking potatoes with the air fryer. First, give them a couple of minutes in the microwave to cook the interior. That worked really well

So tomorrow I can have a day off. I’ve done all of my work.

All that remains to be done is to make my fruit buns for the next fortnight. For a change I have everything that I need so they should turn out really well, I hope.

But in the meantime I’ve been reading up on what I need to make my Christmas cake and Christmas pudding. The Christmas cake that I made 2 years ago turned out really well and I’m keen to make another one.

A Christmas pudding will be a new experience but Jackie told me what steamer to buy and sent me a recipe for a vegan pudding. One or two things I’m short of but I’ll order what I can and invent the rest.

When I was in Canada last year I was lucky because I found some brandy and some rum essence and that should give my Christmas baking a lift. I’ve no mixed spice but my friend in Munich thinks that he might be able to find some German gingerbread spice and that might actually work too.

One thing that I mustn’t forget to do though it to check my marzipan and make sure that that works too. I didn’t use it last year, with recovering from my hospital efforts so I hope that it’s still good.

if not, I shall have to think of a Plan B.

Saturday 29th April 2023 – THAT WAS EMBARRASSING

It’s cup final weekend in Wales at the moment. The Welsh Cup is being played tomorrow between TNS and Y Bala, but today at lunchtime we had the final of the Welsh Amateur Cup between Trethomas Bluebirds and Denbigh Town and this evening, the 2nd Division Cup between Barry Town and Colwyn Bay.

It was the latter game to which I’m referring right now. Barry had won the southern division and Colwyn Bay the northern, having had some really impressive runs all the way to the league titles. Colwyn Bay for example had only lost once this season and Barry twice, and they have both been promoted to the Welsh Premier League next season.

They both had reached the final of the cup competition at something of a canter and so we were all expecting a real humdinger of a match this evening.

However, for reasons that have no place being discussed here, Colwyn Bay sent out their youth team to face a Barry Town team in full cry. And the result was rather predictable. Even strolling around at a leisurely pace with no sense of urgency at all, they still had far, far too much in the tank for Colwyn Bay.

The other match finished 2-1 for Trethomas and the scoreline was an understatement because in all honesty Trethomas should have been down the road and out of sight a long time before the final whistle. But at least it was entertainment and not punishment.

While we’re on the subject of punishment … “” – ed … I actually had a better night last night for a while. I was fast asleep quite quickly, and doesn’t that make a change? However, I was back wide awake again at 04:20 and I spent the next couple of hours tossing and turning about.

Mind you, I didn’t beat the alarm this morning. At some point after 06:30 I must have dropped off to sleep because I was flat out asleep when the alarm went off at 07:00 and I had a struggle to beat the second alarm.

Anyway, once I organised myself Caliburn and I set sail for the shops.

First port of call was at Noz where I didn’t buy anything special. I did however buy a new pizza tray. I had to butcher my old one to make it fit into this little oven and I’ll need a proper one for the new oven, whenever I might actually install it. So seeing as they had a stock at a silly price I bought one.

That’s the thing with a shop like Noz. It sells all kinds of end-of-ranges, bankrupt stock, that kind of thing, so if you see something you buy it, even if you don’t need it yet because when you do need it, they won’t have it.

Leclerc came up with nothing at all of any interest so I headed for home, where I had a chat with a neighbour on the doorstep. I seem to be flavour of the month right now.

After a coffee and a cheese on toast there was time to transcribe the dictaphone notes. This is only part of a dream last night . I had to do something about my family and this involved involving my brother. I had to go to find him. I knew where he was, in his dormitory, so I crossed over the road and stood at the bottom of the stairs. I looked up to the dormitory and shouted. There were a few people walking around there but he didn’t come. I shouted again but he still didn’t come. In the end I gave up and decided to do something different on my own and walked away. As I walked down the stairs to go out of the building I bumped into him. he asked about something or other. I replied that I’d shouted twice and he hadn’t come so I was just going to leave it. The dream carried on from there but I can’t remember any more now

There was something else about me having a couple of cats as well. I’d built some play activities for them, one of which was something extremely tall. Someone made a pun about it saying “that’s a bit over the top isn’t it, that one?”.

And finally there was a cricket or football match taking place somewhere outside town one afternoon. I set out to walk there to see what was happening. As I drew closer I could see a group of people there wearing crash helmets. I thought “this is strange”. I suddenly realised that I didn’t have my camera with me. I thought “that’s disappointing but I don’t have time to go home to pick it up and come back again”. When I arrived at this field, a while before this match was due to start, there were these kids playing a kind of ice hockey. There was someone there who bore a strong resemblance to Nigel Garbage throwing a puck up in the air. These kids were practising hitting it. One kid hit the puck and it flew past me. I put out my hand instinctively and almost caught it. I thought “I wonder if they are looking for a goalkeeper … “net minder” – ed. We made ourselves ready for what was going to happen. One thing was quite strange – all through this dream I had a feeling that Zero was there. I couldn’t see her and had no evidence to suppose that she was. There was just this really uncomfortable feeling that she was there in this dream somewhere and I think it was that that awoke me

Earlier on I mentioned the Welsh Amateur Cup. This is for clubs who don’t qualify for the professional cup. There were 250 clubs who participated and in the end it came down to two clubs from the 3rd tier – Denbigh from the 3rd tier north-west and Trethomas from – I think – the 3rd tier south-west.

Both clubs are third in their respective leagues so we were expecting a tough match. However it was nothing like it. As I side, the score might have been close but the play wasn’t and Trethomas made really heavy weather of what should have been a simple task.

As for the second match, well, I’m not going to say anything because I imagine that there will be quite enough said about that elsewhere.

The rest of the day has been spent, would you believe, working on the photos from 2019. It’s been ages since I’ve edited those so I carried on with a few more today. We’re still in Peel Sound right now somewhere in between Somerset Island and Prince of Wales Island heading for my Appointment with Destiny on one of the days that is missing from my blog .

One day I’ll have to write up those missing days.

Tea tonight was chips – not frozen chips because they were quite expensive and they had normal potatoes at a good price. Plenty of rather elderly burgers in breadcrumbs in the freezer so two small ones bit the dust today with the chips and a delicious salad. Over the next few weeks I’ll have to dispose of a pile more, and then give serious consideration to make a start on making them.

But it’s late now – early morning in fact – and I can’t sleep. I’ll feel like death in the morning but having done my radio programme for next week I’m not bothered if I sleep all day really.

As long as I don’t miss TNS v Y Bala. I know what the score will be already but we have to go through the motions, I suppose.

Saturday 4th March 2023 – MY CURRIED LEEK …

… and potato soup today was delicious.

In a large saucepan I fried an onion in olive oil until it was almost black, and then tipped in some minced garlic, two chopped small leeks, four small diced potatoes, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, half a teaspoon of cumin and a good dollop of ground black pepper, and fried all of that.

Then I covered it with water, added a vegetable stock cube and left it to simmer for twenty minutes.

Finally, I added some soya cream and whizzed it all up into a purée.

Totally delicious and furthermore, there’s enough left over for tomorrow lunchtime too. I’ll have it with the other half of the crusty baguette that I bought this morning.

While we’re on the subject of this morning … “well, one of us is” – ed … this was another morning when I arose from the dead before the alarm went off. I forget how many consecutive days this is now.

Mind you, it was another miserable night when I had a lot of difficulty going to sleep. My sleeping issues are really causing me a few problems right now.

But anyway, after my medication I went off to the shops – LIDL in fact this morning – and did a rather complete shop. It worked out to be quite expensive too, and for no good reason. There wasn’t much that I bought that wasn’t on the “usual” list.

Back here I made myself a nice strong coffee and then made my soup. Delicious as I said previously.

That gave me time to listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been during the night. There was quite a lot of stuff on there going back to when I was in Belgium just now and one of these days I’ll transcribe it. But last night there was something going on about some photos. It led to doing some green-screening overlaps with a girl of about 5 years old

Later on I was watching the football again tonight while I was asleep. The Man of the Match was awarded to a player who didn’t even play in the real game.

Finally, we’d demolished part of an old building and had gone to rebuild it. We suddenly realised that certain key elements were missing. We had to scavenge through the pile of rubbish to try to find these missing bricks and special tiles etc. We found 1 or 2 but a couple were eluding us and this pile was enormous. There was a small girl there jumping up and down insisting that something particular was exactly what we wanted. We couldn’t understand what it was she was meaning. We were actually looking for some roofing tiles that had on them pictures of girls who had been martyrs for some reason or other and been sanctified. This girl insisted so much that in the end someone picked up this tube and unrolled it. Sure enough it was a picture of a girl on a lead tile. It wasn’t the girl we wanted but it was from the right place and the right era so the one that we wanted had to be somewhere in the immediate vicinity unless we’d scattered them much further than we thought. We had to carry on searching. It was strange that she had tried to insist that where we were was what we wanted yet for some reason or other we hadn’t paid any attention at all and she turned out to be although not right, pretty close to it.

That wasn’t all that went on last night either, but whatever else there is, you really don’t want to hear it. Not if you’re eating a meal right now.

And we’re on the subject of football … “well, one of us is” – ed … there was more football on the internet after lunch. The other Welsh Cup semi-final between TNS and Penybont.

This was actually a better game than last nights, with much more skill and not quite as much thunder. TNS were always on top in this game but Penybont kept them at bay for most of the game. However two moments of madness leading to two defensive errors in the Penybont defence just before half-time and that was regrettably that.

It’s hard enough to get a result against TNS as it is, without handing them two goals on a plate.

Later on this afternoon I went back out to Caliburn to bring in some more shopping. I tried an experiment by going out with just one crutch instead of two.

It was easier to carry the shopping but I was quite unsteady on my feet and I can understand now why the physiotherapist insists on me using both crutches. However I had been moving around so much easier this morning after all of the exercise I’ve just had, so it was worthwhile having a try.

Tea tonight was a breaded quorn fillet with a delicious salad and some potatoes baked in the air fryer. And once again the air fryer came up with the goods. I’m now toying with the idea of trying to find some kind of container that I can put into is to that I can roast vegetables in there. I’m really getting the hang of this, I think.

As I said a few days ago, I’m determined to have a try at baking a cake in there too when I can find a cake mould that will fit in there. Exciting times ahead, I reckon.

But that’s for later. Tonight I’m off to bed and hoping for a good lie-in to recover from my exertions. There’s some pizza dough to make tomorrow as well as some fruit buns for the rest of the week. And so it’s not going to be a relaxing day tomorrow. I’ll be busy.

Still, high time I did some work.

Friday 3rd March 2023 – HERE I ALL AM ..

… not sitting in a rainbow but sitting on my comfy seat in my bedroom. I’ve made it back home.

With just the usual problems, such as losing my keys on the train and having to rouse the staff that was asleep in the office at the station. A good job that it was at the terminus and there was still another train to come in otherwise I would have been well and truly snookered.

And that reminds me of the old French joke –
“Frappe! Frappe!”
“Qui est là?”
“Lost”
“Lost qui?”
“Oui”

Anyway, after another miserable night’s sleep, I was awake yet again before the alarm went off. And after the previous night there was nevertheless plenty of stuff on the dictaphone to be going on with

I was out with an American policeman last night driving around California. he was showing me all these mountainous areas where people had moved in and put cabins. These were in some of the routes taken by wolves during their migration and the cabins were blocking the routes. I awoke quickly after that.

Later on I was at one of these competitions on TV about 2 items. There was an explosive shell. For some reason I began to look inside the shell casing. I dropped it and all of the gunpowder went everywhere all over the film set. We tried washing it away with water but of course that didn’t work. It froze immediately. Some girl was about to skate off and go right through it

I took a girl to the airport last night in a taxi. I don’t know who she was but I ought to. We were discussing the airport, saying how handy it was for us. She said that her father ran some kind of taxi service in the airport area. He’d bought a couple of limousines, a black one and a silver one with the idea of trying to get hold of some high-quality airport work. The chat went on for quite a while. We arrived at the vicinity of the airport. I grossly undercharged her for going and I’ve no idea why that would be. I only ended up charging her £6:00 or something like that. Going to the airport cost a lot more than that back in the day. It was an extremely interesting chat about her father and his 2 silver K135 cars

We were in Walsh class last night reading a paper on changing roles in society. It listed probably 10 roles like mending a fence, mending your roof, taking money to the bank etc. The discussion was about how modern people are now changing their way of thinking. The key word here was “remuneration”. We’re all older in our Welsh class. I was saying that I was up on my roof in August. Someone else said that they’d fixed their own fence the other week. It seemed that we were bucking a trend about this question of changing DiY into paid remuneration.

And so I was up and about and ready to go out of the door at 07:00. The train that came in at 07:10 was another push-me-pull-you double decker and I have a hard time climbing on board them. Someone having chained his folding pushbike to the disabled handrail didn’t help matters at all.

At Brussels Gare du Nord I left the train and found my way onto the concourse but the lift downstairs was out of order so I had a very delicate walk down the stairs. I’ll tell you something for nothing and that is that no matter how much better I’m feeling, it’s a totally different kettle of fish with a backpack on my back.

My bus was due to leave at 08:20 but there was no sign of it. All the others were in and gone, and ours finally staggered into the loading bay 40 minutes late. But there’s one thing about being a disabled passenger and that is that even though it’s difficult to climb up the steps into the bus, they let me on first so I can have the pick of the seats.

Between Brussels and Lille I had a very charming young lady sitting next to me and we had a lengthy chat all the way. It’s a long time since I’ve had such an erudite companion so if you read this, Pauline, un grand bonjour.

She alighted at Lille and I had another companion as far as Rouen. He didn’t have much to say for himself but he picked up my phone for me when it fell to the floor.

From Rouen to Caen I was on my own but we did have a moment of excitement when we were stopped in a police barrage and the bus was searched for drugs. Two people were taken off the bus to be interviewed but they were allowed back on afterwards.

It’s no surprise to anyone that I missed the 16:10 train to Granville. But there’s another one at 17:10 so I was able to grab a nice hot coffee. I hadn’t had too much to drink on board the bus, on the basis that what doesn’t go in won’t want to come out. 8 hours on a bus is a long time and the toilets are really inconvenient for people with mobility issues.

As we pulled into the station at Granville I checked my keys and put them into the outside pocket of my coat so that they were handy. When I reached Caliburn on the car park I no longer had them. In the confusion of organising myself to leave they must have fallen out.

It took a while to awaken the people in the station. Presumably they had gone off for a coffee before the next train comes in, but eventually they arrived and we did the necessary so that I could collect my keys. Serves me right for being disorganised.

Back at Ice Station Zebra I made a drink because I had a thirst that you could photograph. And then I watched the football. Connah’s Quay Nomads v Y Bala in the Welsh Cup semi-Final.

The Quay took the lead after just 35 seconds and from them on we had a right full-blooded cup-tie that was played with an extraordinary amount of skill. A really good advert for the Welsh Premier League.

In the second half Bala scored 2 quick goals to take the lead but with 10 minutes left the Quay equalised. We were heading for penalties when Bala popped up with a third and despite Connah’s Quay throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Bala in the dying seconds of the game they couldn’t find an equaliser.

They did actually have the ball in the net right at the end but with Jack Kenny holding down Alex Ramsey in the Bala goal, there was no way that the goal would be allowed.

And how I wish that Jack Kenny, who is one of my favourite players in the WPL, would stop moaning and protesting every time a decision is given against him. He’d be a really good player, one of the best in the league, if only he would stop being so petulant.

On the bus I’d eaten some of my butties so at half-time I fetched the leftovers and demolished them with a pear and a banana. And now I’m off to bed.

Tomorrow I’m shopping, and as I missed my St David’s Day, when I return I’m going to make some leek and potato soup for the weekend to vary my diet a little. I’m quite looking forward to that.

And I’m looking forward to my own bed as well. The hotel bed was comfortable, but it’s not mine.

And just a word before I go. Travelling everywhere on crutches is difficult, yet it would have been much more difficult without all of the help that I received from all kinds of people who showed me some extraordinary kindness as I went around on my travels.

It’s the kind of thing that restores my jaundiced faith in humanity and I am really grateful to everyone who helped me along the way.

Sunday 5th February 2023 – I’VE ACTUALLY BEEN …

… out for a walk this afternoon.

Well, after a fashion and as much as I can anyway.

It was such a beautiful afternoon with the sun streaming down as it did so I couldn’t resist it. I grabbed the crutches and set off down the stairs. I did a lap around the car park and then walked down to the viewpoint that overlooked the fish processing plant and then came back.

It was quite windy and cold, but the sun made it look quite beautiful and I was glad that I made it outside.

On the way downstairs, I managed to go left-leg first down some of the stairs. That’s important because it means that I have to bend the right knee, and that’s something that I find to be quite difficult.

Much more difficult than going to sleep last night, as it happened. For once I was in bed at something like a realistic time. I fell asleep quite quickly too and slept all the way through until about 10:50. And I felt so much better for it. Especially as I stayed in bed for another 20 minutes doing my exercises.

There wasn’t a great deal of stuff on the dictaphone either so it must have been quite a quiet, relaxing night. There was a whole group of us, a couple of families, all staying in one house so it meant that we were all crammed up sharing a bed etc among several kids. I was sharing a bed with my brother. On one occasion he left the bed and went off because there was some noise or something going on. I took my teddy bear and another toy and put them down the bed with me and tried to go to sleep. I was distracted by all this noise too. I thought that I heard the voice of one of the young boys who was about 7. eventually my brother came back to bed. He was annoyed about the teddy etc being in his way. We started to chat.

Later on we’d been somewhere, a group of us again. I was coming home with a woman and her daughter – it might have been Laurence and Roxanne, I dunno. While we’d been away she’d told some people that there was a James Bond film that they could watch at their house. When we arrived back it was really late at night. We walked in and there was 1 girl still watching it with her mother. We still had a few things to do so for the moment we left them there. Then she said that she wanted to go to check up on another woman to whom she’d mentioned it about her daughter to see if they were still watching it at their house. We ended up driving up Dodd’s Bank. As we were at the foot of the bank I said to her “on the way back drop me here with my little suitcase and I’ll walk through the alley to home”. She asked me to repeat it so I did. In the end I had to repeat it about 3 or 4 times. My aim was to take the short cut through the alley with the small suitcase, leave the bigger suitcase in the car and return for that another time. That would save her a lot of time without having to drive round the housing estate to drop me off. But it was so difficult to try to make her understand what I was intending. She was short-tempered anyway with us being so late and with everyone still being around. And we had work tomorrow as well, of course.

There was rather more to it than all of this but you don’t really want to read it especially if you are eating your meal right now.

This morning I didn’t really do all that much but things began to liven up after I’d had lunch.

There was football on the internet this afternoon, a match in the quarter-final of the Welsh Cup between Penybont and Treffynnon.

Treffynnon spent a few years in the Welsh Premier League back in the 1990s when they were known as Holywell Town but in recent years they have been bouncing up and down between Division 2 and Division 3. At the moment they are doing well in Division 2 but they weren’t expected to do much playing away against a team riding high in the First Division.

It was pretty obvious to most people how this game was going to end but Treffynon put up quite a fight and even took the lead after 15 minutes with A GOAL OUT OF NOTHING but they couldn’t hang on to the lead.

Penybont equalised after 55 minutes and then scored a second from a penalty deep into injury time as a Treffynnon player who had just that minute come on the field as a substitute brought down an attacker in the penalty area with his first attempt to kick the ball.

It just wasn’t that substitute’s day either. 30 seconds later in a scramble to win the ball he ended up kicking an opponent and was sent off.

After I’d been for a walk I had a play about with the pizza dough that I’d taken out of the freezer earlier. And the pizza that I made with it was delicious too. One of my better ones.

And at some point the owner of the apartment that I’m trying to buy rang me up to ask me if I’d heard anything from the solicitor. It looks as if I’m not the only one who is being disturbed by the lack of action from him.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing the two radio programmes and then chasing up to see what news about Caliburn. I’m itching to get back on the road and do some shopping. Supplies of certain items are starting to run low again and I need to go out and about and do some stocking up.

Saturday 28th January 2023 – THERE WAS NO …

… danger of sleeping through the alarm this morning. This new phone has the loudest alarm that i’ve ever heard – loud to the point of being uncomfortable. But at least I know that it works which is good news. The way I am these days, I’d be totally lost without an alarm.

So when the alarms went off this morning, I was actually up and about for the second alarm and that makes quite a change. And after the medication and checking my mails and messages I had a quiet morning without doing all that much. Plenty of stuff on the dictaphone though. I must have had quite an active night. I can’t remember much about this first one though, except that I dropped a pile of spaghetti down on my trousers while I was eating my evening meal. That’s about everything unfortunately

And then I was out last night looking at apartments. Not for myself – I was with someone else. We’d been employed as investigators by some kind of TV company to go to look at apartments that were to let and look at the condition, examine them closely, find out what regulations were being broken, how the landlords were getting round the rules etc. It was quite interesting. There were plenty of landlords who refused even to be seen and conducted everything by phone or standing behind a door etc showing us these places. We said that we were questioning them but trying to make it sound that we were interested tenants. One actually said that I should be in politics, something that brought a guffaw of laughter from me and whoever I was with. Then Jimmy Clitheroe went out to look at an apartment and made a report on it too. It was all something extremely interesting.

There was something else going on last night of which I can only remember a little bit. It was to do with money and receipts, whether I was receiving money from being self-employed etc. This was the last time that I was receiving the money so I had to finish off my account book. That meant drawing a few vertical lines in it which I tried to do with a ruler and pencil but for some unknown reason it wouldn’t follow the line of the ruler and going off at slight diagonals somewhere making the whole thing look untidy when I’d been doing my best to try to keep it neat. One of the things was a payment that had been made to Nerina that needed to be included. Again, where her entry had to go was this problem with making these vertical lines for the columns. There was a lot more to it than this but it all evaporated away.

Later on I had to go out into the suburbs of the extreme south of London. I was in the north of London at the time so it meant catching a local train into Euston station, a metro down into the centre and then I could walk the rest of the way. I reached the underground station but I couldn’t find a money-changing machine. In the end I had to negotiate with a woman who was keeping one of the bars there. She gave me 4x50cents for a £2:00 coin. I worked out how to get onto the station. There were 5 platforms here. I had to work out which platform I wanted. As I approached the first platform a train to Kings Cross pulled in so there was a huge stampede of people for that train. It was amazing how quickly the station cleared. They all clambered aboard and their train went. She started to announce the next one, the announcer did, which I hoped would be mine.

And then Nerina turned up. She was in bed so I made breakfast in bed but I’d left it rather late. We had to be in church for 11:00 which meant leaving here at about 10:00 but that would be impossible as she would only have 15 minutes to eat her breakfast and prepare herself. I had a look round and found that there was a service at 12:00 because it was Pentecost so I told her to take her time. When we went out we had to go right the way across London on foot all the way out to the suburbs at the extreme south of the city. That meant catching a train from the north into Euston station, a metro on the Northern Line so far and then walking the rest of the way. We reached the station and had to hunt around to find out where our train was, which was on Platform 5. Something cropped up and as a result we were late and missed our train. We had to catch another one. This was right towards the end of the service. I went down to Platform 5 with Nerina. Of course I wasn’t even sure now that the next train we wanted would be at Platform 5. 2 TGVs went past then a couple of local trains. None of them stopped. A couple of buses pulled in so we went to find out about these buses. One was packed and the other was going somewhere that I didn’t recognise. I thought “if we’re not careful we’ll end up having to walk all the way from where we are. That’s going to take us another couple of hours to reach our destination in the end than it would do if we’d caught the train, the metro and then walked and that was long enough

It’s quite strange really how the second part of the fifth one is quite similar to all of the fourth one. I’m not sure whether or not that classes as stepping back into a dream or not.

After lunch there was football. Connah’s Quay against Y Bala in the Welsh League Cup Final. For a game that finished 0-0 after 90 minutes it was actually quite exciting. In fact both sides were unlucky to finish with 0 necause Jack Kenny up front for the Nomads and George Newell up front for Bala each missed a bagful of chances

Both sides finished with 10 men too, Bala after one of their players had thrown a ball at a spectator. and there was a little 10-minute period where on another day a couple of other players could have joined them in the dressing room for an early bath.

We ended up with penalties, which Bala won 4-3.

But some of the substitutions that Neil Gibson made from the Nomads bench were bewildering to say the least. I’d have played the last half-hour completely differently than he did.

The rest of the day has been writing notes for the radio programmes and one day I’ll have them finished, whenever that may be.

Tea tonight was one of those breadcrumbed tofu slices with baked potato and salad. I’m getting quite into these salads to make a change from vegetables, and tonight’s meal was totally delicious. I’m not sure what I’m going to do though when I run out of this vegan mayonnaise with garlic. I shall have to find a good recipe and give it a good go.

Tomorrow I have a couple of things to do which shouldn’t take me all that long on a good day, but I’m not having too many of those right now. In that case it will probably take me all day and then some more. But I want to finish these 2 radio programmes on Monday no matter what so the more I do tomorrow the less I have to do on Monday.

That of arrangement would suit me fine.

Saturday 14th January 2023 – THAT WAS A …

… rather quiet day today.

Despite everything that I said yesterday about going out for a walk today, it’s been pouring down with rain all day and so I’ve not set foot out of the building at all.

However, I have set foot outside the apartment, and a couple of times too. Round about 17:00 we had a series of power cuts in the building and I had to go downstairs to see what was happening. Mind you, someone beat me to it each time so I may just as well have stayed in here.

When I awoke this morning, I was in agony. My knees were hurting in a couple of places, presumably as a result of my efforts yesterday. However, once I was actually up and about and moving around, not only did the pain ease up but I could move around a little easier too. I think that it did me some good to go for a walk yesterday and I wish that the weather would brighten up a little so that I could go for another one.

Apart from that I’ve had a very quiet day today. All I’ve done is to pair up the music and write a few notes for the radio programme that I’ll be preparing on Monday. I might even do some more tomorrow but I have other fish to fry, like making some fruit buns. I was going to make a loaf but I’ll do that later in the week, I reckon, if I have time. I can’t believe how busy my week is going to be next week.

There was football on the Internet this afternoon too, Llanelli third in the Second Division at home to Connah’s Quay Nomads, second in the First Division in a Welsh Cup match. There was only ever going to be one winner in this game but hats off to Llanelli who made the Nomads work hard and kept them down to just 2 goals.

And how different might things have been had Llanelli scored the penalty that they were given in the second half when they were just 1-0 down?

But it goes to show how wide the gulf is between the First and Second Division, as Airbus UK Broughton and Pontypridd United are finding this season after having been promoted at the end of last season.

Tea tonight was some of those small burgers with baked potato and a salad. I’m really getting the hang of these salads now and not only do they taste nice, they look nice too with lettuce, tomato, mushroom, sweet corn and vegan mayonnaise.

Later on, I had a listen to the dictaphone. I pulled up at this huge, expensive hotel. I was in something big like a Rolls-Royce. There was all kinds of confusion where you park the cars. I had to shout at someone who was continually getting in my way while I was trying to park. Then I had to walk into the reception and fillin a card. It asked for my father’s details and my mother’s details too but the writing was so small that there wasn’t any space to write the answers so I just wrote anything down. Nothing of it was accurate which was just as well because my writing was so small that you couldn’t read it anyway. I was thinking to myself that it would have been far simpler to have handed over at least a passport of my father because my mother was dead. At some point it occurred to me that instead of giving my mother’s details I was giving them Aunt Mary’s details. I don’t know what was happening about that.

And later on I’d gone on a walking tour again with some people camping in the forest and going for a walk along this path. The first morning that we awoke the guy in charge said that we were going to rehearse one of the longer routes that we’d be taking. We started off by the tents. He told me that I didn’t need to come if I didn’t want to but I was there so I said that I would. He was very pernickety about his equipment and about his ownership of all kinds of maps and everything with him and photos, how we would align himself when he was walking through the forest – walk towards this cabin then off towards this rock etc which I thought was probably overdoing everything. We eventually started and I ended up with 2 girls whom I didn’t know. We were in this sports ground, an old type of pre-Taylor-Report football ground type of thing. We ended up in a queue. They said that they wanted a bun or something and did I want one? I replied “no” because there was nothing there that I could eat. But when they came away from this queue they had cups of tea etc with them. I thought that if I knew that they were going to have a drink I’d have had a coffee. Then we had to go to find a place to sit down but there was all this grass seed blowing around everywhere. You couldn’t really sit down because it would all be in your drink etc.

It looks as if I have the subject of holidays running around in my subconscious mind right now. But I can forget all about them until at least I’m mobile again. I can’t go anywhere right now as I am.

However, that’s for later. Right now I’m going to bed as I reckon that i’ve had enough of today. Tomorrow is another day and next week is another week. With an appointment basically every day next week, I need to extricate my digit.

Saturday 12th November 2022 – WITH IT BEING …

… Saturday today it’s been very quiet.

No examinations or specialists or technicians around in the hospital over the weekend so I’ve spent most of my time in my bed here in my room.

One person who did put in an appearance was the young female doctor who has been following my case to a certain degree. She’d seen the letter that I had written the other day.

She asked what had happened so I explained and she was full of profuse apologies. I reassured her that she had no reason to apologise as what had happened was nothing whatever to do with her and she had played no role in the events that took place on that shameful afternoon.

But anyway, last night I had another deep comfortable sleep right through until the alarm went off at 06:30.

There’s some stuff on the dictaphone too from the night. There was a woman in Stoke on Trent, a young woman who worked on the buses and was known for being something of a flighty piece. She was a single mother and had a new partner which weemed to be a weekly thing. One morning she just didn’t turn up for work at all. There was all kinds of speculation about whether she’d had a row with this new lover and had thrown him out or, more to the point, had he done away with her. There was talk about sending someone round to her address to see whether her house was riddled with flies or similar as an indication of a dead body being present. Why they hadn’t sent anyone before this I really don’t know.

Someone in a railway carriage on a train who basically had a rerun of the Foxcote railway accident about which I’d been reading in the evening prior to going to sleep

After breakfast much of the morning was spent falling asleep and being shaken awake by various nurses, the odd doctor and so on. But there was no washing supplies, towels and clean clothes delivered. Trust it to be at the moment that I’m wearing a bedgown that’s falling apart and that I’ll have to try to wear for yet another day.

After lunch, there was football on the inernet. Despite the news blackout imposed by the Rugby-supporting and sponsoring Welsh media on the domestic football scene, it’s Welsh Cup day today.

The live match was Connah’s Quay Nomads, second in the Welsh Premier League, against Colwyn Bay, currently leading a pack of clubs at the head of the second tier.

The scoreline of 4-0 to the Nomads suggests a very one-sided game but that’s far from the case. Colwyn Bay played some nice, attractive football but couldn’t break through a skilled and experienced Nomads defence. On the other hand the Nomads attacking pair of Mike Hayes and Michael Wilde were just too much of a handful for the Colwyn Bay defence.

Nothing much else has happened today. On the afternoon shift today is a first-year student nurse but despite her inexperience, she has exactly the right kind of touch. She put in all of the eye drops perfectly and the injection that she gave me was painless.

The nurse who was mentoring her asked me how I was feeling after her apprentice had given me the injection so I told them both that I think that I’ll survive. That made them both laugh.

Now it’s bedtime. Tomorrow will be a quiet day again, I hope. I won’t be doing much and I don’t think that they will either.

But of course, anything unexpected can happen. And wouldn’t that be nice?

Sunday 20th March 2022 – WHILE I’VE BEEN …

people on footpath pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… basking in glorious sunshine out on my rock this afternoon, other people have been suffering.

Alison sent me a lovely video to show me that the region of Leuven in Belgium was hit by a snowstorm this morning. It didn’t last long apparently, but a snowstorm it was nevertheless.

And back here, while I turned off the heating and even had the windows in the living room opened this afternoon, everything is closed and the heating is back on again. It looks as if the brief glimpse of an early summer that we have been having has now ended.

But I bet that we won’t be seeing snow though.

Last night I saw quite a lot of my bed. 00:30 when I finally retired for the night, and it was 10:30 when I finally crawled out of bed.

But I didn’t have much sleep though. There are tons of stuff on the dictaphone and to my dismay I could only decipher less than half of it. Much less in fact. apparently the settings on this new machine are different from the old one that I had.

That’ll teach me to check the manual … “PERSONual” – ed … next time .

After the medication I came back in here to do my best to find out where I’d been during the night. I was with a former friend of mine last night out somewhere in the countryside and there were these two Harley Davidson motorbikes being chased down the road by a bulldozer. When they went past, when they came to a tight corner one of them fell off on the bend

There was also a big meeting taking place of a group of people. It might have been the students’ union, I dunno. It was taking place in a big sports centre somewhere outside a town. It might have been in the Netherlands or Flemish Belgium. At the town where Iw as, I was on a bus that was going to where the Sports Centre was. There was a couple of people on there and we were all speaking to the driver. She was telling us that she was shortly leaving her job and going off touring around New Zealand. I was talking about Canada and the pick-up that I had out there. In the end I was the only one left on the bus and we came to the Sports Centre but she told me that she couldn’t drop me off there because it was on a bad bend so she took me on to the terminus and I had to walk back. I had Strawberry Moose with me. I walked into the hall and saw all kinds of people whom I knew but they didn’t want to talk to me and all moved away. I saw the group from Northern Europe who were all sitting there. One of my sisters was there too and I thought “what is she doing?”. I had to use the bathroom but it was filthy and disgusting and there wasn’t much toilet paper there but I had to go all the same. Someone else came in and shouted “I have a tape for you”. I replied “you’ll have to hang on to it for a minute”. He replied “no, it’s here”. I replied “I can’t come out and do anything right now”. he said that he would have to leave it. I asked him where he was leaving it and he replied “underneath your Bible” and that took me by surprise because I didn’t have a Bible.

With the tons of stuff that I have yet to decipher, nevertheless a connection of Zero put in an appearance. If he was there, it probably means that she wasn’t far behind and so I’m picturing a night of unbridled passion with Zero, TOTGA, Castor and several other young ladies from the dim and distant past putting in all kinds of appearances during the night and I will never ever find out anything about it.

Just my luck.

There was enough time before brunch to sort out the music for one of the radio programmes that I’ll be preparing tomorrow. The joins didn’t work out as well as they have been doing just recently but that’s due to the fact that the tracks are all completely different from each other and there’s no natural flow.

people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022After lunch I went out for a very early afternoon walk, for reasons which will become apparent in due course.

First stop was the wall at the end of the car park where I could look down onto the beach.

And see the crowds of people who were milling around down there. As you saw in the photo of the path along the clifftop, people were out in droves today taking advantage of the really nice weather.

No-one out at sea, as far as I could see. The haze that we had yesterday had lifted somewhat – only somewhat. The Ile de Chausey was quite clearly visible but there wasn’t much to see beyond that kind of range.

diagonal window in house rue du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having strolled down the path to the lighthouse and having looked back down the path to see the crowds, this house in the Rue du Roc caught my eye.

We have seen this house before and I’ve probably photographed it too but it’s still quite interesting. Most builders and designers seem to lack any imagination but whoever designed this house had plenty to spare

If people are going to put windows in gable ends, they usually make them perpendicular in either the vertical or the horizontal plane, but to see a window in the diagonal to match the pitch of the roof and the pitch of the roof of the neighbouring house is certainly different.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Being out for my afternoon walk so early, the tide was well out, as you saw earlier.

And that means that the practitioners of the pèche à pied are finding that the water level is now below the parts of the beach and rocks that are leased commercially. Consequently it’s a free-for-all for everyone down there this afternoon.

And there were the crowds too out there on the rocks looking for the oysters, lobsters, eels and other delicacies. And I hope that they share them with their friends and neighbours because as I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … one mustn’t be selfish with one’s shellfish.

people cabanon vauban pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the pècheurs à pied, we also had interested spectators too.

Down there on the bench by the cabanon vauban we had a couple of people sitting down and watching the fishermen and women at their work. But they had obviously heard all about me because as soon as I pointed the camera down there, they stood up to leave.

And so I left them to it too and headed off down the path on the other side of the headland towards the port to see what was going on there this afternoon.

pecheur de lys chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022And the short answer was “nothing”. There had been no change whatever of any importance or significance in the outer harbour since yesterday.

Everything was exactly as it had been, including the old wooden Pecheur de Lys, who hasn’t moved for a considerable period of time.

We saw her in the water for a short while a couple of years ago after a brief overhaul on the blocks in the chantier naval, but that was about it. She was only afloat for a couple of days and then she was hauled back in and that was that.

With nothing else changed in the inner harbour I hurried on back home because there was something important going on that I didn’t want to miss – hence my early afternoon walk.

On Friday evening we saw the first Welsh Cup semi-final between Y Bala and Penybont. This afternoon it was the second semi-final between TNS and Colwyn Bay.

TNS are runaway leaders of the Welsh Premier League, having already won the Championship, and Colwyn Bay are in fourth place in the second tier so the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion.

However TNS were made to work hard for their victory and the goal that they scored to win the tie was the type that you only ever score when lady luck is shining on you. A corner swerved in, hit the post, bounced out about a foot, hit a TNS attacker in the face and rebounded into the net. And he knew nothing at all about it.

It might have been a different story too if the referee had awarded Colwyn Bay a penalty when Connor Roberts in the TNS goal wrestled an attacking Colwyn Bay attacker to the ground after the ball had been played.

During the football match I found to my surprise that I was drifting off to sleep and when the game finished, rather depressingly I dropped off to sleep more-or-less straight away. And for a good half-hour too

vegan pizza place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Having taken out a lump of dough out of the freezer immediately after lunch, it was now defrosted so I kneaded it and rolled it out.

After it had proofed I assembled the pizza. I remembered the olives this evening too. and then it went into the oven to bake.

It turned out to be one of the best pizzas that I have ever made as well. This last few that I have made seem to have worked out quite well and I wish that my technique for the rest of my baking activities would develop like this.

Anyway now that tea and the washing up is over and I’ve had a spell on the guitar too today, I’m going to bed. It’s an early start tomorrow as I have a radio show to prepare and I hope that now that I’ve set up the new dictaphone in accordance with the instructions, I’ll be able to listen to where I go during the night.

Fancy going on all of those voyages last night and hardly understanding anything at all of what I was up to.

Friday 18th March 2022 – AFTER ALL …

filming at civic rooms place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022… the excitement of yesterday, there’s been even more today.

Unfortunately not quite of the same calibre, but nevertheless it beats the monotony. Especially when they lay down a red carpet at the Communal Rooms at the back of my apartment and set up a film camera to film whatever was going to make use of it.

Whatever or whoever it was, though, I’m not able to say. I had to go out to the Post Office before it closed and so I missed it.

If we’re lucky, there will be something in the newspapers tomorrow, but I’m not all that hopeful. There wasn’t a word about what the Dassault Falcon was doing yesterday.

fire brigade rue des juifs burnt out house rue du midi Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022At that wasn’t everything either.

This afternoon it looked as if it was the local Fire Brigade’s annual outing. There they were, complete with vehicles, standing around and chatting, looking up at the ruins of the houses that were devastated in the fire.

While we’re on the subject of “devastated” … “well, one of us is” – ed … I was pretty devastated this morning.

It ended up being a much later night than I was expecting or hoping, and when the alarm went off at 07:30 I switched it off and … err .. went back to sleep. But it wasn’t as bad as yesterday. I managed to make it out of bed a good few minutes before the second alarm.

Not all that much on the dictaphone through the night either. I must have had something of a decent sleep. I was out somewhere last night on the road that runs between Newcastle and Shrewsbury. I don’t know where I’d been but I ended up down some kind of side road somewhere. I stopped and I’d had a piece of cake and a coffee, standing in the middle of this farm track drinking it and eating the cake while the farmer was driving around in his tractor somewhere. Something had gone wrong but I can’t remember what it was. I looked at the time and I thought “God! I only have 20 minutes to get to work!”. I thought that I’d never reach work on time at all from here because I’m on foot. I put down my mug and plate down in the middle of this track and walked down to the main road thinking that I’d hitch a lift. I walked back towards the road junction that would take me to Crewe which was 4 miles away. First of all a bunch of school kids went past, then an old Austin A40 Somerset followed by an old BMC lorry. I then found myself in this village As I walked through this village I thought that I’d never seen such a village. I didn’t know that there was a village like this on this road and I know it so well. By now I was in Caliburn and. There was some road work in the town centre. Everything was being dug up. There were rocks being cut up with a disc cutter. They were even dynamiting small small rocks. I was just driving over everything, machinery, the lot in Caliburn. Some guy was even putting his feet against the glass windows to stop them vibrating when the dynamite went off.. There was this really sharp U-bend by an expensive estate agent’s. I thought that things were becoming really bad. Some woman went past and said “you’re going to be terribly late for work. It’s 2 days running for me that I’ve had to call in with car problems”. I was back in Caliburn again and came across an auto-electrician. I drove into his workshop. I had to straighten a carpet. A guy came over so I asked him to go to listen to the starter while I turned the engine so he could see if there was a problem with the starter.

Later on I was out near Tarporley in a small village … “Tiverton;” – ed. I bumped into a girl whom I knew but I can’t remember who she was. She had curly ginger hair and I don’t know a girl like that in real life. She was telling me about a family whom I knew who lived by the traffic lights at the Rising Sun. She was saying that they’d all cashed in their chips, sold up and moved on. I asked if she knew where they had gone. She told me of a couple of them but there was one whom she didn’t know. She mentioned his name and I knew the name. He’d gone to Toronto. She said “yes, I remember now. He’s bought a racehorse”. I looked surprised and asked “what’s he doing with a racehorse?”. She didn’t actually know. In the end she said something like “if you’re going to take a chance on buying an unknown racehorse for £1:00 or something you’d buy it from a member of your own family rather than from a complete stranger” but she couldn’t see the purpose of this racehorse. I asked her if it was identical to any others that he owned because there’s always the old “run a slower identical horse in a few races to build up a bad reputation then switch the real one in for an important race once the other one has a bad name”. She said “no, it’s not at all like (she mentioned the name of another horse)” so I thought that perhaps it might be an identical horse or something where in this case this one might be slower. I was about to ask her the question when the alarm went off.

After the medication and transcribing the dictaphone notes, I spent most of the rest of the morning working on the photos from the High Arctic in August 2019. We’re now back on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR after our little walk around Qikiqtarjuaq.

That was where Dennis Minty and I bumped into a local Royal Canadian Mounted Police “Mountie” who gave us a lift in his pickup up to the top of a mountain on the island where we took some superb photos which you will see in due course.

After lunch I had a letter to write. It’s the reply to one that’s been hanging around here for quite a few months and someone somewhere is probably wondering if I’ve died.

“Snail mail” has all but died out for personal purposes but I still have the odd (and I use the term advisedly) technophobe friend who writes letters. Unfortunately, just like me, she has had a hand injury and so I have a great deal of difficulty reading her writing just like people have difficulty in reading mine, and it’s not easy to decipher it.

But anyway, it was eventually ready and in a mad fit of enthusiasm which has sprung up from heaven alone knows where, I actually set off to post it.

joly france ferry terminal port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As usual, I stopped at the corner of the Boulevard Vaufleury and the Boulevard des 2E et 202E de Ligne to check the camera and see what was happening down below.

As you can see, the tide is right out at the moment. It’ll be a while before it’s back in today. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone taking advantage of it and going for a bit of the peche à pied.

And if there’s anything going on at the Ile de Chausey this afternoon, they aren’t doing it aboard the Joly France ferries.

There’s one moored up over there at the ferry terminal in the NAABSA (Not Always Afloat But Safely Aground) position, and the other two are moored up in the inner harbour along with Chausiaise

charles marie port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022As well as the Ile de Chausey boats in the inner harbour, there’s plenty of other stuff too.

One of the boats here is Charles Marie. We’ve been keeping an eye on her over the last couple of weeks while she was being serviced in the chantier naval but now she must be ready for the sea.

There was a trawler parked in the chantier naval where she was, but I couldn’t see who she was. I’ll go for a wander out that way tomorrow and find out more about her.

And by the looks of things, La Granvillaise wasn’t there either. She must have gone back into the water but she isn’t around in the harbour so I wonder where she’s gone.

There are tons of the containers in which they stack the sacks of shellfish over there on the quayside. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so many.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Dodging the pompiers who were having their meeting on the pavement, I carried on down the hill to the viewpoint overlooking the inner harbour.

The freight was still there but what caught my eye was the lorry and the digger over there on the track of the old abandoned railway.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that the other day we saw them working on the far end of that track in the town centre. They seem to have made rapid progress.

Down in the town I made rapid progress to the Post Office to post my letter. And then I went off to the Credit Agricole. I’ve received a cheque in respect of my Belgian State Pension but I dont now why. Anyway it has to be paid in to my account.

Now what can I do with €60:45? Spend! Spend! Spend! I suppose.

road works abandoned railway line Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Walking back into the town centre on my way home I had a quick peek down where the old abandoned railway ran to see how they were doing.

And by the looks of things, they don’t seem to be doing a great deal. They have a compactor down there (which was more than they had on the 1800 miles of the TRANS LABRADOR HIGHWAY IN 2010 but the road surface doesn’t look much different than it did before they started.

And I’m half-expecting one of those boys to end up like an Austin Powers henchman if he isn’t careful. I suppose that the other boy there would refer to his friend as his “flatmate”.

I’ll get my coat.

So having dome my tasks for the day I set off up the hill for home, feeling rather pleased that I’d actually finished a couple of tasks.

Maybe it is these pills that are giving me energy, I dunno, but sometimes I really think that they could give you absolutely anything, tell you what the imaginary effects will be, and then you psyche yourself up to believe them.

kite surfers people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo March 2022Before I went back inside I went to see what was happening down on the beach outside my building.

Today was a really glorious May day today, really warm, but with a strong wind. And so while there were no Nazguls about, there were a couple of people down there kitesurfing. And having a really good time doing it by the looks of things.

Plenty of people walking around on the beach too having a good time. I don’t know where they have all come from.

One of my neighbours was outside the building too, soaking up the rays. he and I had a good chat before I came in for a coffee.

Later on, I had another session on the guitar. I seem to have rekindled my enthusiasm, having done very little since I fell into this depression several months ago. I quite enjoyed it too, although i’m dismayed at how much of my technique I’ve lost.

Tea was a quick falafel from out of the freezer with pasta and veg because there was football on the internet. Y Bala v Penybont in the first of the Welsh Cup Semi-finals.

And for a match then ended 0-0, this was probably one of the best and most exciting that I’ve seen in a long while. Both teams have star players but they managed to checkmate each other at every turn as the game roared from end to end for the whole 90 minutes. It’s a shame that there aren’t more games like this.

So bedtime now. I’m shopping tomorrow and then I’m going to try to do some exciting stuff. What, I’m not quite sure yet.

Who knows? I might do something wild, like take more rubbish out to the bins.

Saturday 19th February 2022 – HAVING SPENT ABOUT …

prego air fryer place d'armes Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022… a week or so trying to fry some chips in the oven earlier this week, I walked into Noz this morning and Lo! And behold! They had some air fryers in stock, at just €29:99 too.

This is a kind of technology that has passed me by up until now so I’ve not really very much idea about how well they work, but at that kind of price it’s well-worth a try.

Bearing in mind the price of oven chips and the electricity that it takes to cook them, I don’t think that it will take too long to recoup my outlay, and they can’t be any worse that what I’ve been eating for chips so far.

One thing that hasn’t convinced me though is the trade-name of the article. I have a feeling that nine months after making my first batch of chips, I’ll be making medical history.

Trying to awaken this morning nearly wrote my name in the history books too. I didn’t quite go back to sleep after the alarm went off but it was pretty close and I only just managed to make it to my feet before the second alarm went off.

After the medication and a shower to clean myself up, I headed off to the shops. Apart from the air fryer, Noz didn’t come up with very much but at leClerc I spent something like a small fortune.

And for two reasons too

  1. Stocks were pretty low seeing as I haven’t been to the shops for a fortnight
  2. They were having one of their special “multiple offers” again and things like orange juice, soya milk, ginger beer and the like I can always use and the bathroom is a fairly cool room in which to store things.

Back here I put away the frozen stuff and then made myself a coffee. The slice of fruit bread was delicious too.

Next task was to transcribe the dictaphone notes from last night. And talking about dreaming in French – last night I was with my Welsh class but last night we were speaking Flemish. We’d been on board a ship and it had set sail. I had stayed behind for the next leg of the journey. We carried on having our discussion on line. At one point the discussion became very difficult. One of the girls on board this ship said that it was very late. I had a look at what time it was and I could see that it was a certain time where I was so I said “it must be twintig voor negen where they are. That means that it’s probably late and is getting too late for them”. There was then some discussion about whether we should stop or carry on.

And dreaming in Flemish is a totally new departure, isn’t it?

Later on we were out in the Far East and I stepped back into that dream where I’d left off. We were all getting our radio programmes together but this team there was a team of radio presenters who had to guess whose programme was whose. We did all that we had to do and then our programme was revealed to the public one by one. It came down to the last 3 and there was me, another girl and Liz. They presented their radio programmes and then it came to presenting mine. Mine was about a lake so I presented mine. Then the audience had to award prizes to what they considered to be the best and they also had to guess whose was whose. They were doing pretty well until they reached the last 3, the girl, Liz and me, They had me presenting someone else’s programme but I can’t remember which one – it might have been Liz’s. Then it came to mine which was about the lake but they couldn’t decide who presented it so they gave up. I started off singing the title entry to it, waiting on the podium with this little girl and Liz. I said to the little girl “what do you think? Didn’t we do well?” and we started to sing down the microphone which wasn’t actually picked up by the podcast. They asked me what had inspired me to do this programme. I was beginning some talk about how I had a lorry here and I was on my way to do something else and I just happened to notice the lake in a certain situation, state or colour.

After lunch there was football on the internet – Penybont against Ffynnon Taf in the quarter-final of the Welsh Cup.

Playing football in a hurricane is always a lottery. Even though Penybont are one division and quite a bit above their opponents and played with much more skill, the wind was a great leveller and at one stage Ffynnon Taf were actually leading 2-1.

But almost every second of the last 15 minutes was played in the Ffynnon Taff half and 2 goals in a minute near the end after the Wellmen had gone down to 10 players ensured that Penybont went through.

windsurfer people on beach rue du nord Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022By now it was time to go out for my afternoon walk. I mustn’t forget that.

There were quite a few people walking around down on the beach this afternoon, including a windsurfer who looks as if he’s been making the most of the weather today. The sea might not be as rough as it was yesterday but there was quite a wind still.

And you can see what a mess the sea yesterday has made of the beach, with all of the ripples in the sand caused by the force of the waves as they slammed into it at the height of the storm yesterday.

peche a pied pointe du roc Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Another thing that the storm will have done is to have ripped a load of shellfish from their beds and cast them onto the rocks.

naturally, the seagulls will have made pretty short work of those but there were plenty of people down there scavenging around to see what they can find while the tide is right out. Let’s hope that they don’t find anything that they wouldn’t want to find

Not too many people up here on the path though today. The wind was quite strong and that was keeping them indoors.

The view out to sea and down the coast was quite clear today too but I wasn’t going to stand on top of a bunker to take a photo in this wind. I’ll leave that for another time when the wind calms down.

cancale brittany Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022The clear sky though meant that the view across the bay to Cancale was really good this afternoon.

In the lee of another bunker and the lighthouse I could take a photo without being bowled over by the wind.

The church over there is 18 kms away from where I was standing and I know that from bitter experience. I was once looking for a hotel in the vicinity of Granville and one in Cancale – “18kms away” – was recommended. That was of course 18 kms as the crow flies but to drive it was about 70 kms down to the head to the bay and then back up the other side.

yacht tiberiade le roc a la mauve 3 chantier naval port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022With nothing else going on around the end of the headland I walked on down the path to the viewpoint overlooking the chantier naval.

The other day I talked about the new props on which the yacht down there had been posed, but while I was out in Caliburn this morning I had a closer look and saw that in fact it’s a wooden framework that has been knocked up quite quickly and doesn’t look all that strong.

And as you can see, there are no nets on board Tiberiade. That’s what makes me think that the nets on which they have been working in the inner harbour belong to her.

By the way, Joly France wasn’t at the ferry terminal. So hats off to any travellers who have gone out to the Ile de Chausey this morning in this weather.

philcathane les bouchots de chausey fishing boats port de Granville harbour Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022Here though are quite a few people who haven’t gone out to sea today.

As you can see, most of the fishing fleet is in port today, just as it was yesterday. Over on the far side of the harbour are Philcathane and Les Bouchots de Chausey and everyone else is moored up at the pontoon.

On the extreme right is Calean, with Suzanga moored behind her. In front of Calean is Galean, and then Yann Frederic and in front of her is L’Arc en Ciel.

peche a pied baie de mont st michel Granville Manche Normandy France Eric Hall photo February 2022There are people out in the Baie de Mont St Michel having a look at what the storm might have turned up.

But that would be the last place where I would look. That’s right at the entrance to the harbour and all kinds of boats have probably been doing all kinds of things just there.

And so I left them to it and went back home for a hot coffee. But I didn’t have one because I’d had one at half-time during the football and I need to cut down on my coffee consumption. Instead I came in here and …errr … fell asleep for a few minutes.

Tea was a baked potato with veg and a handful of those tiny breaded soya burger things that are really nice when cooked in the microwave in vegan butter.

Tomorrow I’m going to have my long-awaited lie-in and see if I can’t recharge my batteries. They have been run down flat over the last few weeks and I ought to see what I can do about rectifying the situation.

But not tomorrow. I’ll be in bed.