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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then it was the football.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 16th May 2024 – WELL, WASN’T THAT …

… a really strange night last night?

There have been some strange nights taking place here and there but the one that I had last night certainly seems to have beaten about everything.

As is usually the case these days I was quite late going to bed which annoyed me intensely, but my new method of going to bed which I mentioned briefly the other day, namely getting into bed face-down instead of as I used to do, on my back, certainly seems to be working

And as is also usual these days I was asleep quite quickly. And then it all headed south from there.

We had another phantom alarm during the night too, just to add to the confusion, but after that I’m not at all sure what happened.

It was a very distant alarm that awoke me at 07:00, if I wasn’t already awake. It seems that I’d left my phone in the pocket of my trousers which I’d left in the bathroom, and the alarm was ringing from there. I had to drag myself out of bed and stagger off in that direction before I could switch it off.

In the dining area I had my morning medication and then set out the room for the nurse so that it is how he likes it. Lifting my foot up onto the stool was easier yet and it’s feeling much better now.

However, I think that he’s becoming rather fed up of coming here every morning, and I can’t say that I blame him. But then again, he only does seven days on and seven days off. I have to do this thing every day.

My cleaner is neither help nor encouragement. She’s convinced that once the puttees were prescribed, they would be on my legs for life. Mind you, that’s not necessarily going to be a long time, is it?

After the nurse left I had a listen to the dictaphone. And this was where the fun began. One of the kings of Scotland died and left his son and heir as the new ruler-to-be. Unfortunately he had a very undesirable companion. The nobles made it clear that he would be an unacceptable monarch because of this. Consequently a plan was hatched to kill him. In the end they succeeded in murdering him and his lover and the two of them were burnt under pseudonyms in the middle of oe of the big squares in Edinburgh as a public warning

The phantom alarm this morning was at 03:35 and it was definitely a phantom alarm in my imagination because I happened to be awake at the time and was fully conscious of all the events that surrounded its ringing

But then again I’m not convinced that I was awake because I was actually continuing this dream about Scottish rulers. The daughter now was proving to be difficult so a plan had been instigated to remove her and replace her with someone else. The next couple of hours “asleep” were spent trying to prevent people visiting the daughter from encountering the new King as they would expose the plot, and the same about people visiting the King – keeping them well away from the daughter for the same reason, and that proved to be the more complicated of the two. This “dream” went on like this for hours and was still going on when the alarm went off. I had the genuine feeling that I was awake, but I wouldn’t have been behaving or thinking like this if I had been.

It really was a strange situation to be in, thinking that I was actually awake when in fact really I must have been asleep. I can see all kinds of problems and eventualities in a situation like this.

But never mind that – can you imagine just how relaxing it is to be half-asleep on a comfy chair with your head slowly drifting away into a NEIL YOUNG ACOUSTIC SOLO CONCERT?

There really is nothing quite like it

There was really nothing prepared for breakfast either so I had a bowl of porridge with my morning coffee which was delicious

The rest of the day has been spent tracking down some music. Finding stuff which Billy Jones, the poor guitarist/singer of “The Outlaws” who shot himself after being sacked from the group, wrote and sang wasn’t too difficult.

But then we had John “Pugwash” Weathers. It’s not every day that a drummer writes and sings stuff, but he did in fact write and sing a song on the Gentle Giant “Giant For A Day” album. And so have a guess which is the only Gentle Giant album I don’t own?

You couldn’t make it up.

So over the past few weeks I’ve been collecting and saving all kinds of different music that I’ll need for radio programmes in the near future. However it all needs reformatting into a useable format for the radio and remixing so I can have some kind of equalised volume, so that was this afternoon’s task.

Tea tonight was rather late so I didn’t do too much, just pasta and veg with cheese, olive oil and fresh-ground black pepper. It’s surprising, but it always seems to be the simple meals that taste the best

So I’m off to bed, late again, to dream of who knows what – or maybe I’m not dreaming at all.

It’s just like Tommy Cooper – "I knew a man who dreamed that he was awake" he said. "And when he awoke, he was!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 14th May 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… yet another candidate for “worst day ever of my life”.

It really has too. In fact I’ve spent almost all the afternoon fast asleep on my chair in the office and I’m totally fed up of all of this. I haven’t done a stroke of work.

Last night I actually made a really good effort and tried my best to be in bed early. Not that I succeeded but I did find a much better way of getting into bed that didn’t hurt my painful hip anything at all like it has been doing.

Once I was in bed I settled down for a nice, comfortable sleep but there wasn’t much hope of that. Although I fell asleep quite quickly we had another phantom alarm call in the middle of the night

When the real alarm went off I staggered off into the bathroom and then into the dining area for my medication. But the bathroom was hilarious from the point of view of dressing myself. I’m beginning to lose all of the basic skills. However, the pain in my hip has lessened a little.

The nurse came round later. He helped me put my leg up on the stool and when he did it, it didn’t hurt at all. I wish that I knew what his secret is.

After he left I began to revise for my Welsh lesson. And having collected a slice of flapjack and made myself a pot of strong coffee I joined in later.

The lesson actually passed quite well today but there again we weren’t actually stretched. We had to talk about our home and then about music. Of course, I can do both those things for hours.

As i’ve said before … "and on many occasions too" – ed … in all the places in which I’ve ever lived, this is the only place for which I’ve ever felt homesick when I’ve been away. It’s the first place that I’ve ever called “home”.

By the end of the lesson though, I was flagging quite badly and once it was over I crashed out completely Totally and absolutely, and for ninety minutes too. I felt totally awful too when I awoke

Once I’d come back round into the Land of the Living (and that took longer than it ought) I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I’d been just recently. So I was there with some young girl, a member of our family, and were taking it in turns to be treated by the opposition, one team at a time, about something or other. I was putting my feet up on a stool in front of me but suddenly there was no stool there and the table cloth with cups of coffee etc set out began to fall to the floor. I had to grab hold of it and hold it. I had no idea what I was going to do next because I couldn’t move and there I was, holding this table cloth with all of the crockery and cutlery all set out for tea etc. There was absolutely nothing whatever holding the table cloth except my two arms.

Later on at Cardiff we put the ball up there but elected to push on because that was our strength but Cardiff also relied on our strength to defend. They managed to hold out and push us backwards out of a decent range Our players were young and inexperienced and weren’t able to take the ball in a way that they might have been if they’d had more experience. In the end that left the field open for Cardiff to come on and score the winning try.

That was just like in the previous match where they’d waited until I’d replaced Findi (whoever Findi is or was) and they took advantage of that change of line-up to swarm all over our front line and push it back down out of range again and into their own half

For the final couple of minutes and we had possession but weren’t able to advance. We didn’t have our kicker on the field so we couldn’t kick, so it was a case of having to persevere with the attack by running as much as we can. In the end we ran for miles, it seemed, just to make a small amount of ground to find a crack in the defence and swarm through for that goal in the final two minutes. We scored a touch-down but it was so lucky and we did so well to win it

A phantom alarm at 04:10 this morning. At the time I was busy instructing my girls’ rugby team about how to advance that final yard to have a pushover try if it were to become necessary in the match against Cardiff.

So what am I doing involved in a rugby team? And a girls’ rugby team at that? Rugby is a game that holds no interest at all for me. It’s just a silly game played by men with odd-shaped balls

It’s true however that one of the daughters of my niece in Canada played for a girls’ rugby team at school, and at school they tried to make us play rugby instead of football but we were having none of it. Our tactic was that our scrum would win the ball, pass it to me and, because I could kick with either feet, I’d kick for a drop goal from just about anywhere on the field within range.

"You don’t play rugby like that!" bellowed our new games master

Well, we did. And in the end, he gave up, went back to the staff room for a coffee, we began to play football and that was the last we ever heard about playing rugby. And quite right too.

Finally it was the final day of this end-of-season sale in this camping and sports shop. The whole world was in there looking for stuff. I found one or two things that I liked. As the evening drew to a close I was hovering by the till waiting. When they announced the closing of the store we all stampeded to the tills. I reached a till. The girl said something to me that I didn’t understand but it carried on until the person in front of me was served. Then she just switched off her till and walked away at that point. I found the people with whom I’d come and told them – I said “you won’t believe it but they’ve done it again, switched off the till right in front of me when I’m ready, willing and able to buy stuff. There’s absolutely no accounting for British people these days. Turn down a pile of work just so that they can be away from work five minutes earlier and not have to deal with any particular work.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that that has happened to me either, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

When I was asleep in the afternoon I had another one of these series of hallucinations with all kinds of stuff briefly flitting through my mind. One of the things that I do remember from when I was asleep in the afternoon was taking a girl out in one of my old vans. We went for a walk in a field and then back at the van to go somewhere else she put her hand through the flap to open her door but her hand became stuck in the aperture.

What with all of this I was rather late going for my nice hot chocolate drink. Something simple but it really does cheer me up. And I would probably have been even later had the cleaner not awoken me bringing in yet more medical supplies

But than back in my chair I crashed out again, and that’s how I stayed until, would you believe, 19:10. I’d missed a whole afternoon with being asleep. But while I was asleep this time it was the school dance. I was asked to take everyone home by train at 16:00 so was warned to have nothing to eat or drink beforehand. But the dance rolled on and on, a long time past 16:00. I was starving hungry and thirsty so I went to look for the headmaster to complain. I couldn’t find him but instead came across my Geography teacher. I told her of my difficulties but she dismissed me rather unpleasantly. I wandered back into the building and found a group of people, including a good friend of mine, taking my PA mixer board from my room. I told them to put it back but they carried on taking it out with a laugh and a joke, but I grabbed it from them, put it back into my room and closed the door, using a few very choice words to describe my anger. My friend called me “a miserable old fart” but I didn’t care. I was incandescent with rage by this time.

And “incandescent with rage” was quite right too. Incandescent with rage that I’d missed out a whole afternoon flat-out like this for no good reason.

That was really disappointing too because I’ve spent all these years and all this effort and made all these sacrifices to bring my anger issues under control and to try to make myself a nicer person, and here I am being undermined by something as stupid as falling asleep

My whole life is falling apart right now with having to fight these health issues and I’m at the stage where I can’t fight any more. I just don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going.

It’s making me feel like Gwyneth Glyn and

My rice and veg to accompany my taco roll were cooked by the steam coming out of my ears tonight, not by electricity. I really need to get a grip of myself but I can’t believe that I have to do it all again. I don’t even know why I’m bothering to struggle. It’s not as if my health will ever improve and I’ll get better.

Many years in Belgium a solicitor who had been trying to contact me made the remark "Mr Hall! We all thought that you were dead!"
"Not at all" I replied. "I just smell like it"

Monday 13th May 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a somewhat better day than yesterday, which is good news as far as I am concerned

And so it should be because yesterday was a pretty miserable one.

At least today I’ve managed to be able to leave my comfortable chair (up to present anyway) which is more than can be said on one occasion yesterday

At the end of the evening last night I did actually manage it again and was able to haul myself off to do whatever I need to do around the apartment before going to bed.

But going to bed was another adventure and I really felt at one moment as if I’d be sleeping for the night on my chair. And no joke – I actually know a lady in Canada who does just that. But her own chair of course, not mine.

After something of a considerable effort I managed to find my way into bed where I had another really turbulent night. God knows what it would be like if I had to share my bed with another person.

The night was completed by a couple of false alarm calls and I’m really bewildered as to what it might be that I’m hearing that’s awakening me like this under pretext that it’s my alarm.

Eventually though the 07:00 alarm went off and I had to fight the good fight to make my way out of bed to switch the alarm calls off, cutting off BILLY COTTON in his prime.

And I awoke to vision problems. The illness is spreading through my nervous system and so it’s bound to reach the eyes sooner or later, and one of the side effects of one of the pills that I’m taking is “disturbed vision”. I suppose that if it had to look at me for all this time, no wonder that it’s disturbed.

After the bathroom I went to the dining area for all of my medication and then to lay out the room for Isabelle the nurse. This is her last visit for a week so she’s off tomorrow – for 5 days in Lisbon. It’s all right for some, isn’t it?

She instructed me to wash my puttees for the boss, with whom she alternates, so I’ll do that this evening. Lucky that I have a spare set.

When she left I came back in here to see what was going on. First of all, if you want to see (some of) the highlights of the game between Y Drenewydd and Penybont to see just how bad Y Drenewydd were then LOOK HERE. but be prepared to hide behind the sofa as things become scary.

The highlights of CAERNARFON v CARDIFF METRO show a much more even but rather distorted view of that game. The truth is that Caernarfon were rampaging forward throughout the game, to the delight of the Cofi Army, the most passionate fans in Europe, but the Met just hit them on the break three or four times.

After my toast (the last of the bread that I made last week) and coffee I set myself an exciting project. I have a radio programme on the 14th February 2025 (if I’m still here) and 14th February 1970 is the date that LIVE AT LEEDS one of the greatest live albums ever, was recorded at Leeds University.

The live album itself is only 37 minutes long but I was absolutely certain that the concert itself would have been much longer than that.

The setlist is available on SETLIST.FM and it can’t have been less than two hours so I set myself a task to prove that I am worthy, and that was to track down a recording of the entire concert. There must be one somewhere.

And sure enough, after some diligent searching, I can now tell you that the concert lasts 2:07:04 and that’s some going. I can see me doing a lot of editing.

After my lunchtime fruit and a discussion with my cleaner, I had a listen to the dictaphone. And I was right because there certainly was a couple of false alarms. However I started off in the Soviet Union during the war there was a huge loss of male population so as some kind of Commissar I tried to organise means to increase the population. I found a book written by some obscure author on this point that promoted the idea so I praised him and praised his thoughts etc. It then turned out that Stalin had another opinion, another idea, and I had quickly to undo the praise that I’d done and given the author. One of my nieces had become pregnant in this project so we had to find her and give her an abortion but she was full of praise for this guy and totally refused to co-operate. That made life difficult for all of us

Mind you, I could think of several ways in which I could help increase the population of another country without having to rely on any author – except perhaps whoever was the author of the Karma Sutra

First false alarm at 04:10 – I was dreaming at the time that I was still working for the Soviet Union. Another book had been examined about someone’s sporting achievements but as usual he’d fallen foul of the regime so we’d had to edit it all out from any future book. The guy himself was called to a meeting. He eventually arrived, having had a conflict with a group of females on the doorstep and as he switched to the news we saw a huge supertanker of ICI had run aground on one of the inland lakes and they were now waiting for a change in the tide so that they could try to float it off

And don’t worry if nothing makes sense. I can’t understand it either.

Another call at 06:06 – a false alarm

What I was dreaming of at 06:06 was of some old man living on the street who was always there with his sign and a list of the things that he needed. He was arrested in Leeds, for vagrancy presumably and was carted off. We didn’t see him for several months. Then after several months had passed we saw him again on the streets of Liverpool with two signs saying “the seeds of business £25”. He was saying that he’d expanded his area of research from what he had learned at police college

The rest of the day has been working on more radio stuff. All of the music has been chosen for the next radio programme, it’s been paired off and I’ve started to write the notes. It’ll be quite a sad one because it will be broadcast on the anniversary of the death of one of my friends and will include one of his more … errr … esoteric tracks.

My cleaner came back with supplies and a neighbour came to visit. I really am in great demand these days and I’ve no idea why.

Tea was a stuffed pepper, delicious as usual with plenty of stuffing left over for the next couple of days. I should take advantage of it, after all, many people have told me that I need a good stuffing.

But on the subject of all things Russian during the night, Zero once told me that at school she’d taken part in a Russian ballet.
"Why Russian?" I asked her.
"I don’t know" she replied. "I suppose that it’s because I had to go Russian onto the stage at the start, go Russian around while the music played, and then go Russian off at the end."

9th May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… horrible day today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– and was killed in the Great War

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not the time for frivolity.

Wednesday 8th May 2024 – IT’S GOING TO BE …

… another late night tonight, if last night wasn’t late enough.

My great little niece (or is it “my little great niece) sat around the dining room table for hours this evening discussing all kinds of things. It’s good to know that it’s not just her sister and I who see things in the same way.

But then that’s what going to University is all about – making you see different things from a real-world perspective rather than a small-minded rural perspective that’s stuck inside a time-warp. For example, those of us who sharpened our claws in some of some of the more confrontational conferences on our University’s debating forum certainly met several new ideas.

The two of us were having a good chat last night too and it wasn’t until quite late that she left. As a result it was about 01:00 when I finally crawled into bed and I’ve a feeling that it’s going to be pretty much the same today.

Once in bed though, I slept the Sleep of the Dead and didn’t show a leg until the alarm went off at 07:00 when I fell out of bed to switch it off.

Having done that I crawled off into the bathroom to prepare myself for the day, and then went for my half-litre of flavoured water and pills.

Once they were out of the way I arranged the dining room for the nurse. When she came round she was able to change the plaster on my wound and fit my puttees. We had the usual apocalyptical warning about what I can and cannot do, to which I took absolutely no notice whatsoever. No-one’s going to chain me up – at least, not without the changing hands of a considerable amount of folding stuff.

After she left I had a listen to the dictaphone to find out where I was during the night. There was some kind of strange war being fought last night between two groups of people. They were fighting each other quite heavily but there were umpires and judges, everything like that who supervised it. After one game, the fight broke out again. Everyone was fighting, I was busy fighting someone or other and I came across the fact that 30 or 40 of their members had actually come as prisoners on a barge and all of a sudden were now fighting. I thought that that was cheating so I made the point but no-one else took it seriously and began to laugh. I didn’t know at all what to do in this situation

And that’s the kind of chaos with which I’m usually associated. Apart from that, I don’t understand the significance

There was also something about a football team changing its goalkeeper at half-time without notifying anyone but I’ve no idea where that fitted in. I suspect that it might be to do with one of the football matches that I watched at the weekend. Having followed one particular team throughout the season I noticed that they had a goalkeeper of a different ethnic origin between the sticks for the first time at the weekend and that confused everyone, including me.

There was a live football match on the Internet afterwards – the USA women’s team against an Asian side – so for a change I settled down to watch it. Yet, not surprisingly, I fell asleep after 25 minutes. And a real, proper deep sleep too.

As a result I was late for breakfast – A couple of slices of hot, buttered toast with fresh bread and that made me want to eat it again

There were two mugs of hot, strong black coffee too and it’s a total lie about coffee keeping you awake because it didn’t work for me. In fact when my visitor texted me to say she’ll be here shortly I was flat-out away with the fairies.

However I awoke in time and when she arrived we began our little discussion, which went on for a couple of hours. She’d researched the area and the area where I used to live and was able to have a really good conversation.

One thing about her is that she’s definitely her father’s daughter. Strong, determined, self-reliant and confident, and "This new learning" that SO AMAZED KING ARTHUR and which seems to have gripped most of her generation hasn’t reached her yet which is very good news.

After a while she left to go to visit the Dior museum and I came in here to carry on working, selecting the music for the next radio programme.

Not that I got very far. Rosemary rang me and we had a very lengthy chat, putting the World to rights as we usually do, not that the World ever listens to us

We’re both convinced though that there’s a major breakdown in social order in the UK these days and, funnily enough, my little great niece who is wandering around the country on her own for the first time and seeing things from a totally different perspective, happened to mention that very same thing in out discussions.

After Rosemary’s phone call I did a little more work but my visitor returned. We carried on our discussion and I also made a chick pea curry with rice and veg. The soya yoghurt gave the curry a creamy taste and it all went down very well

Our chat continued for ages but after a while with her falling almost asleep on the table she set off back to our hotel and I did the washing up.

She’s on an early train in the morning so won’t have time to come here to say goodbye which is a great pity. I’ve enjoyed seeing her and having her come to visit me. I still can’t get over how quickly she’s grown since she was a tiny dot in my arms 20 years ago in 2003 when I was there in Canada that winter.

So tomorrow I’ll carry on with what I’ve been doing and hope to make some progress. Tomorrow is another day of course but as Kris Kristofferson sang, I’D GIVE ALL MY TOMORROWS FOR A SINGLE YESTERDAY

Yes, especially the days (and nights) when Castor, Zero and TOTGA would come to see me. I can’t remember now who I was with when, the next day someone asked me "who was that lady I seen you with last night?"
"I saw!" I replied. "It’s ‘I saw’!"
"Well OK. Have it your way" he answered. "Who was that eyesore I seen you with last night?"

Friday 3rd May 2024 – I’VE HAD A …

… bad day today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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"

Wednesday 24th April 2024 – THAT WAS AN …

… adventure!

Right now I’m back home sitting in my favourite chair and you’ve no idea just how grateful I am. It was the last thing that I expected today but as Paul Peña wrote and Steve Miller sang, YOU KNOW YOU GOTTA GO THROUGH HELL BEFORE YOU GET TO HEAVEN

Last night though, after I’d finished my notes etc I went straight to bed and spent a very pleasant hour or so listening to “Alquin” on the computer. As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, THE MOUNTAIN QUEEN is one of my favourite albums of all time, especially since I met the group, a band from Delft in the Netherlands, in a dingy damp cellar underneath an old hotel in Crewe in 1975.

It was something of a disturbed, turbulent night. I can’t recall too many interruptions from the staff but there’s a huge pile of stuff on the dictaphone that you will discover as you read on.

By 08:00 I was wide awake and as no-one had come past by 08:30 to awaken me, bring me breakfast, take a blood sample etc, I left the bed, did what I had to do and then washed my clothes.

Just as I was hanging up the sodden rags to dry out, the doctor came in and handed me my leaving pouch.
"Am I leaving then?" I asked
"Ohh" she replied. "Hasn’t anyone told you? Anyway, your taxi will be here at 13:00"
What a shame she hadn’t come 5 minutes earlier when my clothes were still dry

She went through the documents with me and made sure that I understood everything.

And then I went through my requirements, including the fact that she needs to apply to the Securité Sociale. for another series of authorisations, but I don’t think that she understood. That’s important of course, so I’ll ring up the taxi company and have them involved in the proceedings.

"By the way" she added "You have a consultation at ‘Imagerie’ at 10:30" so bang goes my idea of a shower. It’s a good job though that I had a good wash and changed my clothes.

At 10:00 the driver turned up to take me to “Imagerie” and off we set.

When we arrived I was told that they wanted to take a few scans of my heart so I had to strip off, clad myself in some paper overalls and then lie flat out on a bed while they clamped all kinds of strange devices to me and pumped me full of some kind of fluid.

Once I was ready they passed me through one of these Stargate time-tunnel things, back and forth for half an hour or more, taking all kinds of strange photos while the machine made all kinds of strange noises and I had to do all kinds of breathing exercises

Eventually they dragged me out and with my head spinning and body shaking (and it still is, even now) I went and dressed ready for the ride back.

And whose stupid idea was it to take my blood pressure as soon as I’d come back from all of that?

Batman and Robin weren’t on duty today – I must have scared them off – so another young nurse came in to ask me "we need to have your room ready for another arrival at 13:00. Would you mind waiting in the waiting room?"

So that’s why they want me gone. "Well, if it’s a nice young lady, I don’t mind sharing the room" I replied but she told me to clear off.

They brought me my lunch to the waiting room – bulghour with chicken followed by pork and courgettes. The peaches with almonds for dessert were nice though.

The taxi was booked for 13:00 so of course he turned up at 14:40. With the A13 being closed it’s total chaos in the outskirts of Paris right now.

Once in the car we had to go on a TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS, with no Bourvil to carry my suitcase, to another hospital to pick up another passenger. The trip across the city was a nightmare and finding the correct entrance was something else too.

And then there were “parking issues” while the driver went in search of his passenger.

Eventually we set off for home, going a very tortuous way via Rungis and Versailles to avoid the queues on a journey that seemed to take for ever and after a pitstop near Caen, we had first to go to Bréhal to drop off passenger number 2. We eventually arrived back here at 19:45.

My faithful cleaner was waiting for me which was lovely. She helped me up the stairs (and I needed it too) and into my room, where she went through the papers and took what she needed for the chemist. I had an energy drink – and I needed that too.

There was one jar of vegan pesto remaining and I’d saved it for some special occasion or other. “Now” seemed like a special occasion so I made a big dish of pasta with assorted vegetables and smothered it all with half the jar.

And it was delicious too.

So this is all that I’m doing. I’m totally wasted and I’m going to bed. With luck I’ll have a really good sleep ready to face Isabelle the nurse tomorrow morning

As for the dictaphone notes, there are quite a few of these. I was with my brother (so I was right) and we were having to go to Shavington. We set out to walk but it was really late at night. Our parents had gone to Sandbach but we wondered why. They were supposed to be doing something but we reckoned that it was really an excuse for a party and a drink. As we walked it was the biggest moon that we had ever seen. There was only probably about a tenth of it that was bright but we could make out the shape of the rest of it above the horizon. It was absolutely enormous. As we walked we looked at the houses and the Christmas lights. We wondered whether one of them was actually on fire because of the way the lights were working. Then we cut off to Shavington down that track that I take frequently in my dreams, a long, narrow track, but I’ve not been down it for a while but at one time I’d go down it once per week. As we started to go down there – we’d gone maybe a quarter of a mile – we noticed someone leading some horses. My brother made some offensive remark about me being unwilling to spend any money. It seemed that his idea would be to hire a couple of these horses and go to Shavington on horseback to save having to walk. I thought that there’s nowhere to leave the horses, you can’t just tie them up in the street like in a Western. You’re going to need someone to hold them while we were at the doctor’s. It’s all going to be just far too complicated to even think about hiring a couple of horses to go there and come back.

That’s a track down which I’ve walked, or skied, or climbed on many occasions during the night and I’ve no idea why it keeps on cropping up like this. I’ve no idea if it exists in real life and I’ve certainly never encountered it for real as far as I’m aware.

Later on I was with a girl and her sister. There was some kind of event going on in the village but it was really poorly attended. There were very few people there. There were two beer tents and most of the people with me, because we were a large group, preferred one tent but I thought that the beer in the second was much better. I tended to patronise that one. In the end I managed to persuade people that that one was best and they came over. They were wondering how everything worked so I explained that I bet that he was really disappointed with the attendance. I explained that when I used to put on rock concerts I’d hire a complete bar and just buy the beer etc but I needed about 80 or 90 people to make a profit at the bar and that rarely happened. They were surprised by that. In the end we set out to walk home. I’d sold everything that I had in rural France except for one plot of land where I had four Cortinas parked. My friend’s sister was planning on moving too. I had my old J4 so she told me that when we reached her house, to back it into the drive and do something useful but I’d no idea what she meant by that and what her plans were. There was a big house for sale with lovely gardens that had been empty for years. We were admiring that on the way back. My friend said that she’d enquired about buying it but it needed more money than she had. We carried on walking and talking back to my friend’s sister’s house but I’d still no idea about what was going on and there were only a few more hours left before the end of the day. if she was planning on moving today she was leaving it extremely late because we’re never going to fit everything of hers into my J4 van.

Cortinas as usual, and my old J4 van has started to make regular appearances just recently too which is bizarre. But it’s true about the bar. We could rent the bar and staff for free if the turnover was over a certain amount but the owner needed a guaranteed minimum to cover his expenses and that had to be made up by the hirer if there was a shortfall

And then I was watching two girls, one of them a ward of mine, fighting over a boyfriend using broadswords. It was an extremely tame affair with the two of them jabbing at each other. Most of the wounds with broadswords according to modern autopsy were like overarm slashes down onto the head yet these were just poking at each other. The ward of mine asked permission to go out with this boy. I gave it because I didn’t see any reason why she shouldn’t but the other girl was extremely upset. This led to the fight.

And overarm slashes being the common cause of death in medieval fights with broadswords. I was impressed that I could remember anatomical details like that during a dream.

There had been some dispute between two men over something too. One had gone into a second-hand shop, changed his clothes and hid in the shop in the hope of escape of his pursuer but that didn’t work. They had a fight too. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I was walking through Crewe planning on going for an ice cream with my brother’s wife (as if that would ever be likely to happen) when I bumped into a guy who told me that he was going to Birmingham for the best ice cream in the UK. I knew this guy from somewhere but I couldn’t think where so I decided to go with him. We dashed to pick up my brother’s wife but she wasn’t in so we headed for the railway station. I boarded the train with this guy and went to see the conductor about buying a seat but my friend told me that there were no seats available on this train. It was completely full. I had to reluctantly disembark and go back to my original plans.

There was something else but I only remember a small part of this. I was with a guy who was going across the Channel on a ferry so I thought that I’d go with him. We went in his car, drove to the ferry terminal and joined the queue but we couldn’t understand why all these people were standing around so strangely. We suddenly realised that each person was about twelve feet apart from the one in front and behind. That was how their cars were going to be parked on the ferry. There were no cars there though, just the people standing in position. We had to go to the back of the queue then walk twelve paces behind the person who was there and then stand and wait around. God knows what was happening to the vehicles because there were none about at all. Everyone else kept on turning up, people having fun in the ferns and bracken that were all around this car park. It really was the strangest thing that I’ve ever encountered, all of us just standing there twelve feet apart in our own little family groups etc and not a car in sight.

So after transcribing all of that I’ll probably go back to sleep again.

While I’m doing that, I can reflect on my conversation with the photographer as I left the Stargate
"Did you manage to find my heart?" I asked
"Yes I did" she replied
"Thank heavens for that" I replied. "I’m not turning into a Conservative after all"

Tuesday 23rd April 2024 – OUCH! THAT HURT!

And if you read on, you’ll find out what and why. I’ve not had a very good day.

Anyway, last night after everything had finished I sat down and READ A BOOK about an American sailor and his family, including his 6 year old daughter, captured in the South Pacific in 1917 by a German sea-going raider and who spent 10 months as prisoner on board before being shipwrecked off the coast of Denmark.

After that I settled down, fully dressed because I was freezing, under the covers and that was that.

A few times during the night I was awoken by a few comings and goings but for some reason or other I was so tired that I was back asleep almost immediately and ended up not awakening until they came to take my blood sample at about 09:15.

Actually it was the little student nurse who came on her own so I told her that if I leave here alive she’ll have earned her diploma. Anyway, she managed to find some blood. I still have some left, apparently.

Once she’d gone I went for a wash and brush up as best as I could and then a driver came to collect me. It was the rock music fan who has taken me before so we had a good chat before he dropped me off at Neurology.

While I was waiting for my appointment I had a good chat with the receptionist and another patient and saw several photos of cats and dogs before being ushered into the room where the examination was due to take place.

It was the doctor who had seen me before on two occasions. He and his sidekick gave me the electric shock tests to my arms and legs and I was right – there is a further deterioration. So no surprise there. We had a good chat and now he’s gone away to think about a Plan B.

The same driver came to pick me up for my next appointment but that’s not until tomorrow so he brought me back here.

While I was eating lunch a doctor came to slap a freezing patch on my lower back and we all know what that means. She took an age to find the correct position so I asked her "can’t you see the scars from the previous attempts?"

When she told me that she could, I told her that they ought to paint an “X marks the spot” or even a target in the correct place.

A short while later, Batman and Robin, the young ward nurse and her little student who follows her around like a shadow, came to prepare me.

It was the little student who drew the short straw and had to hold me down and I bet she wished that she hadn’t when the doctor missed her aim with the lumbar puncture and found the central nerve.

Eventually, but not soon enough by any means, the torment was over and I could go to lie down. “You’ll just need to be flat out for an hour” but she was joking. After an hour or so a nurse came round to make sure that I was still alive and to take my blood pressure, with predictable results. But in fact it was several hours before I crawled out of bed, and then only for a particular reason too.

Once I’d settled down in my chair I transcribed the dictaphone notes. Yesterday’s are now on line and then I started on today’s. I was going to start at a new school but the morning that I was due to go I had a ‘phone call that began speaking in Welsh. It was a young girl saying that she was glad to go back to live in Easingwold. I couldn’t understand who it was but the conversation became more and more intimate until in the end, I had to go, I said plenty of encouraging words and finished with “I love you” but I had no idea who this person was at all. Absolutely none. I arrived at the new school but couldn’t find out how anything worked, the system of how lessons were organised etc. In the end I stumbled across a lesson from one of my class so I asked the teacher where all the other lessons for our year were being held. He gave some kind of nebulous speech abut how I should have looked at the newspaper. Of course I knew nothing about this. I found a copy of the newspaper but didn’t understand it. In the end I found some kind of paper print-out with the details on it. It was headed with the most extraordinary offensive message that had nothing whatever to do with the subject matter. I thought it totally astonishing that they’d pin this on the wall. I couldn’t find any paper then. Every piece of paper on which I tried to write, I was making no impression with a ball-point pen. The writing was just not sticking as if it had one of these shiny surfaces. I kept on coming across paper that had already been used, carbon copies of the ‘phone call that I’d had earlier in the day from that girl etc, but nothing that I could do would be able to reproduce anything on any kind of piece of paper. It was just so frustrating because I wanted to crack on and organise myself as this was just not working at all.

Then this conversation that I’d had in the morning had completely shaken me. I didn’t have a clue who on earth it was to whom I was speaking and I really wish that I knew because it had all the air of being something really interesting. The only Welsh-speaking girl I knew at school was only in passing and it certainly wasn’t her so who on earth was it?

Then we had a boisterous kind of office party where everything was going out of control. The sad part about it was that these were all middle-aged people. The boss there had picked on someone else’s wife and was making life really uncomfortable for them. They were trying to work out a moment in which to disappear such as when the boss went to the toilet but they’d brought the PA with them so putting that into the car in the space of a couple of minutes was going to be complicated. There were all kinds of things like this. Some woman was making some very plain and clear hints that she wanted to dance etc with me but of course I was having absolutely none of this and sat stoically at my seat in the dining room watching the events unfold, taking absolutely no notice of any of the extremely broad hints that she was dropping. All in all it was an extremely sad evening watching these people behaving like this

There have been more than a few parties like this where everyone makes a fool of themselves and I note that I even made a remark about it while I was asleep, which shows you just what I think about it all.

Then I was going through the videotapes looking for a blank one but came across a football match that took place years ago that I hadn’t seen. It involved one of these obscure South American republics playing in similar colours to Portugal and who had qualified unexpectedly for the World Cup after beating a selection of prize teams from other parts of the World to make it to the finals. I’d obviously taped their opening match but I couldn’t remember how it went or what the score was so instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing I put on this videotape and settled down to watch them. I got as far as watching them come out onto the pitch before I awoke. I’d no idea who their opponents were in this particular game.

And despite what I said the other night, Castor put in a very brief appearance last night. And wasn’t it nice to see her? We were on board THE GOOD SHIP VE … errr … OCEAN ENDEAVOUR rearranging the dining arrangements. I was passing the cutlery and crockery and glassware from one table to the next. There was the final piece that I picked up to take round to the other table and who should be sitting there but Castor? She was talking to someone else about their life, I suppose. She was saying that she was born into a policeman’s family. I’ll tell you that that didn’t ‘arf ring a few alarm bells with me finding out that she was the progeny of a policeman’s couple.

But even if it were true and I had known, nothing of what happened back then would have changed for a minute. As I said at the time, I would have accepted any consequence. And as Joni Mitchell sang, YOU KNOW I’D GO BACK THERE TOMORROW BUT FOR THE WORK THAT I’VE TAKEN ON

And fancy the dream stopping there! I suppose that it was the shock that awoke me.

While I was asleep in the afternoon I was going for a walk. I had all of the four cats coming with me, following in my footsteps, climbing and jumping over each other as they used to do etc. There were a few members of my family with me. I had to take some money out to pay for something or other, housekeeping or whatever. I needed €60:00. I walked as far as the cash machine but when I went to look through my wallet I couldn’t find the bank card that I usually used. In the end, looking through everything I found a selection of other bank cards but I wasn’t sure which ones would work and which ones wouldn’t. There was one from the bank in Belgium so I put that in the cash machine. It seemed to read the card because it asked for the PIN. I typed in the usual number and that seemed to accept it but that was as far as I reached in the dream.

Tea tonight was salmon lasagne with creamed spinach so some horse trading was undertaken but I’m not doing too well for food which is a shame, but not unexpected.

So right now I’m off to bed to try to recapture Castor and to hope that they try to check my blood pressure at calmer moments.

But while the little student was preparing me for my lumbar puncture I asked her why doctors always wear masks
"Is it to do with infection?" she asked.
"Not at all" I replied. "It’s in case the procedure goes all wrong. Then they can’t identify the guilty party"

Monday 22nd April 2024 – MEANWHILE, HERE IN …

… The Land Of Grey And Pink, or Ice-Station Zebra as it ought to be called, I’m tucked up in bed in the cold awaiting my doom.

And also awaiting my evening meal, but that’s another story.

Last night after everything finished I hauled myself off to bed quite early and tried my best to settle down to sleep but as usual these days it didn’t quite work out like that. However later on I must have managed to drop off because there’s some stuff on the dictaphone. I was with a girl. She had a big box of something or other. It was a case of having to pass it through a hatch. Going up and down this hatch with this box was extremely complicated. One day I happened to find it in the way so I asked how come I found it in the way. It suddenly occurred to me afterwards that I must have pushed it in behind me then moved it round, then somehow managed to work my way round past it as I passed through the hatchway. Once I’d worked out exactly how I’d done it, it became a lot easier to go up and down past. It was less of an inconvenience. What actually happened was by leaving it at the bottom of this hatch I couldn’t actually close off the draught-proofing. I had to sit and think to try to work out exactly how I was going to do that. Then she told me that it was a packet that the Post needed to collect and send away, in which case it’ll be out of the way. I couldn’t thus understand the problem but she explained that if she left it outside it was raining and the package would be wet. I hoped that the Post Office would come quickly because this is proving to be so complicated. It doesn’t need to be this complicated at all. The quicker we can resolve this issue the better it would be for everyone.

I was at one of these Alternative Technology meetings last night too. It was a big meeting discussing the manufacture of some kind of alcohol for fuel. I had to go along to add the oats to it but of course I had no idea how to do it. There was a huge retort stand with everything being heated by a bunsen burner. It all looked quite complicated. They said “add the oats” so I had to ask the meeting how to do it. The answer was quite simply “just stuff it down one of the holes into the test tube”, no preparation, no cleaning, no nothing. I thought “if that’s how they want it doing, that’s how I’m going to do it. If they want it doing before the full meeting I’d simply do it the best that I could”.

As seems to be usual when I’m keyed up for something important like this I was awake and out of bed before the alarm went off and I took the opportunity to wash my puttees and my nightclothes so that everything will be nice and clean and ready for me when I come back home, if I ever do.

And that’s not like me either, is it?

What else isn’t like me is that I had MY BAGS ARE PACKED AND READY TO GO, as Peter, Paul and Mary would have sung, so I just had to wait around for the driver to come to collect me.

Bang on 07:00 she turned up as well, my favourite taxi driver, so we were going to be in for an exciting trip. Anything to relieve the boredom.

She had a couple of errands to perform around the town on the way and then we hit the highway.

The journey was quiet to start with but being stuck behind a dithering driver at the péage seemed to switch her on and the running commentary began for the rest of the trip.

That was just as well – I couldn’t stand the quiet.

The autoroute that we usually take into Paris is closed at the moment so we had to go another way.

That led to all kinds of confusion but luckily she was rather more restrained than last time and when we ended up in the wrong lane we simply went with the flow this time instead of performing some kind of dramatic U-turn as you might see on American “cops and robbers” TV.

We were ages late in arriving which is no surprise given the conditions, and once I was registered in I was shown up to my deep-freeze on the second floor where I dived fully-clothed under the bedclothes. And where I still am.

The nurse threw a bottle of water at me which was just as well after my marathon fast, and then we had the pantomime about fitting a catheter in my arm.

They offered to let the little student nurse do it, poor thing. I did admire their optimism. And we gradually went up and up the respective grades. At one time there were no fewer than 6 nurses of different ranks in the hierarchy standing around my bed until in the end someone let out a cry of joy.

My lunch (an omelette) that had been growing cold on a side table was then brought over to me and no sooner did I have my fork stuck into the accompanying salad when the doctor appeared. It’s all just one more distraction.

While I was trying to doze off after lunch the whole world and his wife came in to interrupt me just as I was starting on some kind of dream of something to do with wartime. No sooner had it started under way when everyone came in and it immediately disappeared which was a shame.

The nurses did a few more things before clearing off and I crashed out yet again.

The funny thing about all of this was that no sooner had I set foot in my room that they went to check my blood pressure.
"Blimey! That’s high!" said the nurse.
Well, of course it is. I’ve just come 360 kms with my favourite taxi driver
"I’ll come back in an hour to check it again"
So she came back to do it again immediately after 6 nurses had just finished poking and prodding me – with predictable results.

So now that I’ve had my meal I’m going to try to go to sleep again, this time until morning. And hope that I have some better results than of late.

They’ve offered me a sleeping pill but I’ve turned it down. It’s like the young girl who, on her wedding night, propped herself on a chair by the window
"Aren’t you … errr … coming to bed?" asked her husband
"Ohh no" she replied. "My mummy told me that this would be the most exciting night of my life and I’m not going to miss a minute of it"

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

… feeling too much better today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday 5th April 2024 – TODAY HAS BEEN …

… a rather better day today, which is a surprise.

In fact I’ve gone the whole day without crashing out once.

Mind you, it’s been a near thing once or twice with wave after wave of sleep washing up on my own rocky shores but I’ve managed to fight them off so far.

Mind you, there’s still 90 minutes before my official bedtime so still plenty of time to follow the family tradition and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. No-one else can manage that quite like us.

It was a lot longer than 90 minutes to bedtime last night what with everything that needed doing. It never used to be as complicated as this, I’m sure.. It was certainly closer to midnight than it was to 23:00 when I finally hit the sack last night, and glad I was to do so too. I was thoroughly wasted.

It was another really deep sleep and when I awoke with the alarm going off at 07:00 I was actually away somewhere doing something, but it completely evaporated the moment the alarm went off. As long as it wasn’t involving Zero, Castor or TOTGA, it’s OK.

So first things first. I fell out of bed and went off to check the blood pressure. 16.4/10.4. That’s quite a lot higher than last night’s figure of 15.5/10.6 so I wonder what has pumped it up. But the instructions for the machine say “take your blood pressure when you are sitting calmly and quietly and there are no distractions”.

Seriously, whenever is that ever likely to happen around here?

Having done that I went off to take the medication – all the piles of it – and then lay out the room how the nurse likes it to keep him happy while he’s here. He mentioned a shortage of large plasters so I added them to my cleaner’s notes for her shopping expedition

And while I was at it I sent her an order for some mushrooms and a cucumber.

In between everything else I made some bread for the weekend, and it turned out really well for a change I’m getting the hang of breadmaking after all this time

Once I’d managed to usher the nurse off the premises I had a listen to the dictaphone notes to find out where I’d been during the night There was another false alarm call at 04:24 this morning. There was a group of four kids who were having a wrestling tournament. They were each wrestling against someone or other and being substituted during the match, one for another for another for another etc. This was just at the moment when they were having to make a substitution and one of the players was having to leave and another one was coming onto the field to join in with the wrestling as the alarm went off

And if you think that the idea of kids fighting for sport in wrestling rings and even cages is appalling and never likely to happen, you just have a look on Youtube. There are some utterly crazy people out here in the real world

But I’m interested to know why it should suddenly appear in my subconscious. I can’t recall anything that might lead to that and even if it did, years of trying unsuccessfully to make Castor, Zero or TOTGA appear in my dreams are proof that nothing would follow from it.

It took a good while to fire up the enthusiasm today but I eventually managed it, later than I intended and not by 5 minutes either. And no sooner had I started than I had a parcel delivery.

That meant assembling my new coat hanger that hooks over the top of the door and then I had to configure my new fitbit, seeing as the old one has managed to die a death.

This new one has loads of added accessories, such as a bluetooth connection to the phone and all that. Somewhere on it that I have yet to find will be the button to press so that it makes the coffee.

One thing that I do like about it is that it has an optional analogue watch face. That’s something that I’ve really missed.

But the coat hanger means that all of the coats and so on that were loitering around here have at long last found a home and I hope that they’ll all be very happy together

So I was finally able to make a start on my radio notes and in the time available I managed to do a little over half of them

And then after my hot chocolate I pressed on with more of the outstanding Welsh homework and made quite good progress with that.

Tea was some of that home-made falafel with salad and chips, thanks to my cleaner who came this afternoon and brought my mushrooms and cucumber with her. And they really were spicy too. I shall have to make some more like that if I can.

But that’s it for tonight. I’m off to bed, where I’ll wish that I was like Warren Zevon.

He was an American singer who, having been diagnosed with a fatal illness, decided that instead of sitting at home feeling miserable, took to the road with his I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD farewell tour and pressed on. That’s exactly the attitude that I ought to have, but it’s extremely difficult when I can’t seem to master this fatigue at all.

At times it seems that all of the fates are conspiring against me and that’s an uncomfortable feeling

Warren Zevon and I have something else in common too. We both have (or had) a weakness for red-headed girls. Warren Zevon’s red-headed girl wore "a red silk dress
You know I’m asking her to dance with me – she might say yes"

but I don’t know if mine ever did. It’s been years since I’ve seen her in real life and she doesn’t even come to see me at nights now

And there was another one with loads of red hair too but she fell off the radar a good few years ago which is a shame.

But that’s it anyway. I’m off to bed, hoping for a good sleep and an even better day tomorrow.

But while we’re on the subject of Warren Zevon … "well, one of us is" – ed
"Knock knock"
"Who’s there?"
"Rarrrh who?"
"Werewolves of London"