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Thursday 31st July 2003

17.25 Hrs

Weather : sunny

Schiba has just got up having been sleeping since about 10 am this morning.

12.45 Hrs

Weather : humid with scattered showers

Went out shopping this morning for a few bits and pieces. I was out for about 45 minutes. By the time I came back I was feeling really hot and dripping with sweat. At first it did not feel that warm outside so it must have been high humidity. It took over an hour for me to feel cool again - but only by lying down and doing some quiet reading.

Schiba has had a change of heart. Since last Friday, when he was locked in all day, he has been reluctant to stay inside even when it has been damp or raining. Today he has changed his mind and has been fast asleep on the settee all morning. Just before writing this I looked in on him and he is almost comatose. He didn't even stir a whisker. Unlike Nelly who even when she is supposedly asleep has ears like radar that follow you round the room ! This is how Schiba looked when he first went to sleep......bizzare !


07.45 Hrs

Weather : Dry, and bright.

I had, what I shall choose to call, a golden moment last night. When I got into bed I was tired, but not exhausted. The beer I had earlier was still having a very mild effect. That is to say that I felt very lightly drunk - just enough to notice, not enough to resist. I had put clean, fresh linen on the bed. When I opened the window a delicious fresh breeze came in carrying with it a hint of damp earth and a slight floral scent from some night opening flowers. For long periods the night was totally silent punctuated only by the occasional sound of a few late revelers making their way home some distance away. It was almost 1 am and the trains had finished for the day and road traffic died to almost nothing. As I laid down on my bed I was transported back 5, 10 , 15, perhaps 30 years to some undefined nights when life was so much more joyous. Then I made the fatal mistake of stopping to think about it and all the harsh realities of life came flooding back.


Well it is the last day of the month. Next month sees a  new background for this journal, and a few other changes besides. I have decided to keep the latest day at the top of the page, but the hours will now go up the page instead of down. I think that is a better way as it will make for more logical reading of a days events. 

Wednesday 30th July 2003

23.30 Hrs

Weather : warmish breeze and a few clouds in the sky.

Just back from a few pints at The Ram and feeling quite mellow. Discussed a few possible rail excursions for the future. Another bash on South Central Trains territory using one of their 10 one day rover tickets is a possibility. This time we will concentrate on the western side of their area and will travel out to Plymouth maybe. On the next spur of the moment type thing (when Kevin managed to get a day off at short notice) it is liable to be a trip up to Princes Risborough and a newly reinstated heritage train.


Schiba finally turned up this afternoon. He had some food and wandered off again. I wondered if he would turn up while I am typing this, but not yet. When I saw him this afternoon I thought he had been injured. On his back leg there looked like a large blood stain seeping into his fur. On closer examination I found that it was actually a stain where he had been lying down on a fallen blackberry !

10.14 Hrs

Weather : cool, but dry after a lot of overnight rain.

I had a good lie in this morning and feel fairly refreshed. I reckon my brand new pillows have helped with my rough sleeping. I remember part of one weird dream from last night. I was with someone who I don't actually like and we were fitting some rocket engines into the boot area of his convertible Rolls Royce (I have no idea what actual model it was supposed to be). This would allow the Rolls to travel at 300mph and we were also trying to find somewhere to test it. Eventually I found a long quiet road running along a beach near a fishing port. I woke up before we could test it.

For some reason Schiba refused to stay in last night even though he must have known it could have been a wet night. Perhaps he was hoping that he could get in just another hour outside, but I went to bed and left him. So far I have not seen him this morning.

Spent a lot of time yesterday ripping some of my obscure CD's to mp3's. Many of them were promos and not really that good. I am thinking that I may try and sell them in the future if I have to raise money, but even though I never listen to them I still want to keep a copy of them for future reference. I did actually find one CD that I liked and have set that one aside. It is by a band called Mourn, and they sound very Black Sabbathy. I only have an uncomfortable chair on my upstairs "Audio Workstation" PC and I was sitting upright in it for so long that I developed really bad lower back pain. I had to stop and lie down for an hour to overcome it. Fortunately there seems to be no pain this morning, but I will be more careful if I continue the ripping today.

Tuesday 29th July 2003


Weather : rain during the night and damp this morning.

Yesterday I bought some new pillows. I think I had a more comfortable night because of them. I also had some bizzare dreams. Yesterday I read about an ex-R.O.C. underground bunker for sale (http://www.grounds.co.uk/bunkers.html) and I think this rather influenced what I dreamed about. One dream was about a huge apartment complex that was on 3 levels and designed for people into rock music. The lowest level was underground and was for those into black metal and goth metal. The mid level was at ground level and was for traditional heavy metallers, and the first floor was for everyone else. Later on, in what I assume was a continuation of that dream, there was a concert to celebrate the opening of the concert. It was set against what was probably Neasden train depot because there seemed to be a lot of Metropolitan line trains in evidence. I only remember the start of one song. It was Judas Priest's "Breaking The Law" and was performed by someone like Frank Zappa with a bunch odd musicians playing strange instruments and an excess of drummers.


This morning I have to sign on and no doubt endure another interminable, but only 10 minute, grilling about looking for work. Later on in the afternoon Jodie is coming over to use the studio (assuming she is not put off by the likely rain). 

Monday 28th July 2003

08.00 Hrs

Weather : sunny start with very light patchy cloud.

Another Monday morning and only the merest plans for the week. Tuesday morning for signing on, and Saturday should be drinkies with my old workmates.


A bothersome letter came in the post this morning. It is for renewing my Council Tax benefit. Just 4 sides of densely packed questions, but I will still have to go through all the rigmarole of getting all my bank statements officially copied and that will mean sitting for hours in a smelly and stuffy council office waiting to be seen.


I am hoping to hear good news today from my neighbour about his insurance covering the invoice for the emergency scaffolding (see last Thursday). If they refuse it will be most irritating !

Sunday 27th July 2003

19.41 Hrs

Weather : mainly sunny with broken cloud. Not hot, but warm.

Yesterday I got a call from someone I have not seen for something like 20 - 25 years. He is making a documentary on old land based pirate radio. It would seem that it is being done to a professional standard, but I am not sure what the long term goals are. It may possibly end up on some B grade satellite channel. He was asking for archive material and so I spent a few hours today copying some of my old camcorder footage to digital tape for him. I seem to have found him around 90 mins of stuff, although I would reckon there is probably as little as 5 minutes of useful material. I am also giving him up to several hundred hours of old pirate audio recordings.


Went shopping at Tesco's this morning and bought loads of yummy stuff. When I got back I had a fairly extensive breakfast/lunch (or brunch as some call it). Tonight I have had a really filling dinner of roast beef, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and button sprouts topped off with onion gravy. The one bad thing about it was that the beef was very lean. In fact it was just about fatless. It may have been healthy like that, but it spoiled the taste and texture. Aside from that the meal was delicious and very filling.


Schiba stayed in again last night because of the weather. He had a small amount of breakfast before going out, but it was not his favourite flavour. He demonstrated what he wanted by bringing back yet another small rat. However he did not eat it, but came in and demanded that he be fed properly or he would bring in the rat to eat. He got what he wanted !! I am a bit concerned about Nelly. I am not sure but when she yawned earlier I got the impression that one of her lower canines was crooked. It will be very difficult to get her to let me look, so I will keep an eye on her. She is eating OK, but I think she is licking her lips more often that usual, or maybe it was that the tuna flakes she had were just delicious. I'll try and get a better look next time she yawns.


Finally I have corrected a few errors on the new South Central rover ticket day out page. There are still some mysterious yellow blobs that only appear when viewed as a web page. In the editing page they are not there. I think I shall choose to ignore them. See that page HERE. 

Saturday 26th July 2003

20.30 Hrs

Weather : rain

I've spent a lot of today putting together a web page with the details of yesterdays day out. There is a chart of the route taken and the mileage. There are also 25 thumbnails of some of the best pictures that I took. Each is clickable to view a 800x600 image. Tomorrow, or maybe sometime later I will have a go at preparing a few short videos taken on the still camera and make them available as well. On the whole they are not too good compared to what a real camcorder could do, but maybe they are better than nothing. Read more about that on these diary pages later. Have a look at the new web page HERE. 

08.45 Hrs

Weather : light cloud with the sun breaking through occasionally.

Busy day today. I have got to make up the web pages for yesterdays day out. I might also go and visit the Crystal Palace bowl where there is a free gig going on during the afternoon. The latter depends on the weather (it is outdoors), how the web page designing goes, and how much energy and enthusiasm I can muster.

Friday 25th June 2003

Weather : rain in morning. Sunny spells afternoon.

This is being written retrospectively on Saturday morning. I thought I would  include it just for continuity.

Today was our day out on the South Central Trains 10 day rover. During the morning it rained, sometimes heavily. That cleared up in the afternoon to leave fairly sunny weather. We covered a great deal of ground and made every connection. One big highlight was finding the preserved Hasting Diesels train doing a public test run on the Ashford - Hastings line. It was using the recently refurbished "Mountfield" power car which we had not seen before. Further info coming up later including a page of photos, a table with the route, and maybe a few small video clips.

Thursday 24th July 2003


Well tomorrow is the big day. It looks as if it will be pouring with rain for the whole day ! I may not have time to do an update tomorrow morning, and it is possible that I will be too knackered in the evening. On Saturday I will try and get a page of photos sorted out of our mega train trip. 

Earlier this evening I saw a couple of pictures of cats with very exaggerated "red eye" type effects. I don't think they were enhanced as cats eyes can really glow if your lucky to get the right illumination. It got me think what would happen if I tried red eye reduction in reverse. Below is the result. It's not wonderful, but it does make Nelly look fierce.

Nelly looking fierce 

10.00 Hrs

Weather : some light cloud and some sunny intervals.

Went to The Ram last night for a drink with Kevin. Had 3 pints and one double scotch while discussing where we will go tomorrow on our 1 day South Central Trains rover ticket. I will do some more fine tuning  of our trip today, but it looks as if it will be a 10+ hour plus day with at least 7 hours of that actually on trains. On Saturday I will try and produce some facts and figures.


I got an unpleasant shock in he post this morning. The bill for the emergency scaffolding that the council put up has come through. It is a mere 2359.94p. I must get myself properly up and dressed and see if next door is in. He said that he expects his insurance to pay for the whole amount as it was his side that was affected. I just hope they do cough up. Here's a couple of pictures that just about show the damage and the huge pile of scaffolding put up to protect the public.

Picture of broken chimney stack 1     Picture of broken chimney stack 2

Wednesday 23rd July 2003

13.00 Hrs

Weather : cloud slowly breaking up. Very light breeze and still slightly humid.

Bought some Tesco "Value" sugar free cola. It was only 15p for a 2 litre bottle. At that price you would not expect it to taste nice, and you would be right. It is pretty nasty and not a patch on Aldi's 19p bottles.

10.00 Hrs

Weather : overcast and cool. Looks like rain soon.

Slept like a corpse last night. Woke up once at 6am, but went back to sleep for another hour and a half. Not only did I sleep like a corpse, I woke up feeling like I was a reanimated one. I was all stiff and aching. After a shit, shave, shampoo and shower I feel much better and almost ready to face the world again. I had one unpleasant experience while washing my hair. I was leaning over the bath and got soap in my eyes and I had lather in my ears. With two senses cut off from the rest of the world I felt like I was about to tip forward and land head first in the bath. Shaking my head to try and dislodge some of the froth didn't help either. It was not a dizzy sensation, just this feeling that I could so easily tip forward. It took a lot of concentration to ignore what my imagination was telling me and to concentrate on the messages coming from the muscles in my legs and how they were stretching. It all passed without incident and I was able to wash some of the soap from my eyes and grab a towel to wipe the rest away.


I think a trip to WH Smiths and to Tesco's is called for this morning (once my hair has mostly dried). Later on I might be brave and e-mail Barbarella and ask her how her trip to the most feared dentist went. I expect she'll bite my head off  again, but if I don't ask I'll never know. 

Tuesday 22nd July

19.00 Hrs

Weather : sunny end to the day. One brief shower earlier.

It's my mums birthday today. Can't say happy birthday because she is dead.

No trip out today after all. Also no drinking tonight, but it should be on tomorrow night. Spent a few hours today planning possible journeys on Friday's day rover. Much of the work was useless because of using out of date timetables, but some of it was valid. Some of the time spent was checking the real, up to date, timetables on the internet. That showed up the folly of using old timetables, but also produced a few disappointments compared with those old timetables. Research continues..............

 Monday 21st July 2003

20.38 Hrs

Weather : small rain shower near midday. Now moderate broken cloud and cool breeze.

Today has not been as dull as yesterday. I went to Tesco armed with some club card vouchers and bought two DVD's ( 2 for 20). The first was Rat race. I choose that because it had John Cleese in it and was made by the same director as Airplane ! .It also had Rowan Atkinson in it. He could have been a bad point, but he was not too bad ( Mr. Bean makes me want to vomit, but his other stuff is usually OK). It turned out to be a funny film and it, along with the DVD extras, kept  me amused for 3 hours (had a few interruptions during it). The second DVD was that great TV favourite " The Great Escape". I love those POW escape films and this came as a double DVD with loads of extras. There are two documentaries on it that I suppose show the differences between the film and real life. Although the basis for the film is mostly factual - or so we are lead to believe. I will be watching that another time.


Tomorrow I will try and keep my cool and suffer an afternoon trip up to town with Jodie. Having bought 2 DVD's today I am less inclined to be so frivolous with my money, but I expect I'll buy something. All I've got to try and do is forget that because of Jodie's stupid travel arrangements I will be coming home in the middle of the rush hour packed in a hot sweaty train with scum !!! She does just not appreciate how packed trains from Charing Cross can be between 3pm and 9pm. She has millions of trains to East Croydon and will probably even manage to get a seat on one if she chooses carefully and travels after 6pm. Not only that but she might also be able to get a decent, comfortable slam door train instead of the tin cans that pass for trains these days. I am going to hate coming home tomorrow. I just hope that I can pull myself together enough to actually bother going out tomorrow afternoon. 


I was going to mention two other items I bought in Tesco today. Not only was I going to, but I will. I don't normally go for the latest drinks trend. That being little shot glasses with (usually) a vodka based drink in them. But I had to buy some "Screamers" Rhubarb and Custard flavour. They are a truly delightful purple colour and don't taste bad either ! I could have mentioned them to someone else who likes purple, but she avoids Vodka so I won't bother (even though they would look quite nice just sitting on the shelf without actually drinking them). I also bought some matching purple washing up liquid. By the way. When I say purple here I also might mean violet. I think it depends on your own personal preference. The differences are minimal and open to interpretation. Some purples tend towards red, and violets towards blue. The colours I am talking about here are sort of in-between. Let's say that the vodka stuff is a bluish purple or a reddish violet and leave it at that. 

07.45 Hrs

Weather : Sunny, but a fair amount of cloud cover.

Yesterday was pretty dull. I wonder if today will be the same. I might force myself to go out somewhere today, but I don't feel like it now. I woke up feel very stiff and with a slight headache. I'm sure that once I have had a shower some of that will go away. Then I'll see if I can raise the enthusiasm to go out for absolutely no reason at all, apart from as a distraction. As all this is rather boring, here's a couple of pics.

sleepy Schiba  Neely with tongue hanging out

Sunday 20th July 2003

21.00 Hrs

Weather : cooling down.

Today nothing happened.

08.00 Hrs

Weather : cool. Sunny intervals

I don't know what I am going to do today. A whole day and nothing to fill it. Think I'll go and catch up with the last hour of Dr Who on UK Gold.

Saturday 19th July 2003

20.30 Hrs

Weather : rain (brief thunderstorm at 19.45)

Today was definitely one of those "all dressed up with no place to go" sort of days. I had an intense scrub under the shower this morning. Washed my hair and brushed it until it shone. I even used some anti-perspirant/deodorant - which I don't like to spray on my skin. But all for nothing. Actually I am glad now. It would have been far too hot and sweaty in the West End crowds and I heard that B. did not go to Camden anyway. I think I may go to the West End during the week. Jodie is going up there on Tuesday (or Wednesday ?) to buy gig tickets so I could meet up then. But then we get back to the old trouble that she will want to go late afternoon, while I would prefer to be heading back home before the late afternoon rush hour. I guess in this life I am doomed to go it alone. 

14.45 Hrs

Weather : very hot, but there is the first hint of a build of of clouds.

I had intended to be up town by now, but I can't be bothered to go. At first it seemed a good idea. I was going to meet up with Jodie, buy a DVD and, maybe, a couple of CD's and then go on to Camdem. Then I started thinking negative thoughts about it. Jodie was not intending to leave home until 3pm, or even later. It would be hot, sweaty and very crowded. I would have preferred to be up there much earlier than Jodie. In fact one of the reasons that I see so little of Jodie is that she tends to go out just as I have finished doing any of my shopping and am heading for home again. Hanging around can be so boring ! Then there are those bloody crowds around the West End. I am a very placid sort of person. the only mammal I have ever killed was a small rat where I had to deliver the coup de grace after Schiba left the job unfinished, but beyond repair. But those crowds 1 If anything was to bring out the psychopath in me it would be those crowds. I try to walk amongst them conjouring up visions of machine guns and flamethrowers. Oh, if only I had a Star Trek phaser - no mess, no crowds, no worries !!! 

The last part of the plot was to go to Camden with the thought that I might bump into B. I still want to give her the Lord Of The Rings DVD just to annoy her. It's the least I can do now that I think she hates me for daring to mention dentists. How will that annoy her ? I don't know. I was originally going to write "confuse her", and I don't know how that was going to work either. This afternoon I really don't care. I don't really care about anything. I don't even know whether I am pissed off for not going out or not. It could have been a good afternoon, or it could have been a nightmare. Who knows, who cares.

08.15 Hrs

Weather : bright, sunny and warm

It looks like it could end a hot day. The experts say it might rain later. Both these are not wanted as I will probably be going into London today.

Friday 18th July 2003

20.50 Hrs

Weather : clearish skys and beginning to cool down.

It seems TV is over for the night ! Why is TV on a Friday night so utterly boring ? ( Answer, becuase it is like TV on the other 6 days of the week). I think an early night with my, so far, unread Spike Milligan book is called for. Pleasant dreams.

17.15 hrs

Weather : still sunny and warm

Oh dear ! I've just listened to an old radio show from 1978 and now feel all nostalgic. To make matters worse I've been reading some nostalgic stuff in Classic Rock. I sort of feel all depressed and lonely again. I can see myself ordering a nice take away in an hour or so. Perhaps I should start going to gigs again - some chance ! Well I could if only there were any decent bands to watch these days.

15.50 Hrs

Weather :sunny and warming up a bit

Did a little shopping this morning. Poundstretcher have got the white top CDR's again. Just 10 for 30 (and they come with jewel cases). Actually bought two lots and was charged 19.98 - even better value for money. Also bought a packet of  "Sensations" Thai Spice and Lemongrass flavour  - very, very nice indeed !

Apart from that I have whiled away the time reading and transcribing a couple more cassettes to mp3 files. I did intend to go to Aldi today, but I can't be bothered. There is nothing I am desperate for, but I thought it would be better to go today rather than tomorrow as I will probably be going out tomorrow for some drinking etc.

One bit of good news. Kevin has managed to get next Friday off and has ordered day rover tickets from SouthCentral trains. Should be a good bash and a few opportunities for some pints. 

09.21 Hrs

Weather : dry and cool

Had a pleasant drink last night. The main subject of discussion was bus routes ! It started with the idea that the 70p flat fare was not such great value for money considering all bus routes now are far shorter than those of old. 

An "old man" and still I am learning new things about people. Why is it that some of the arty-farty artistic creative types can visualise a whole universe just from one word ? I know that Jodie is terrified by the mere word "spider", but I hadn't realised how widespread it is. I now know someone who is terrified by the word "dentist". We all hate going to the dentist to some extent. Once upon a time I had to be in totally, red mist before the eyes, and seeing stars, and reduced to pacing up and down the hall for an hour, AGONY before making my first appointment in something like 15 years. But for all that I could talk about dentists and teeth with no problems. The words were not what I feared. For the record I am no longer terrified of  the dentist but still get a dry mouth and the sweats if I have to visit one. At least now I can go as a volunteer for check-ups without waiting to be in pain.

Thursday 17th July 2003

17.15 Hrs

Weather : overcast. Lots of showers during afternoon, but no rain at this minute.

Today seems to have passed rather quickly so far. Have archived one old Radio Invicta tape and I'm half way through a Radio Tranquility tape. Have also done some reading. I've still got a lot of outstanding stuff to read so I haven't been out to buy today's New Scientist.

Schiba has spent a lot of time indoors today. He even managed to settle down and sleep all by himself, but when I was able to sit with him he was very affectionate. Nelly has also been in for most of the day, but that is not really newsworthy.

07.33 Hrs

Weather : rain

I think today is the proverbial rainy day that I have been saving for. The question now is, what is it that I have been saving ?

Schiba was all soggy when he came in just now. I did try and keep him in last night, but the master knows best !

Wednesday 16th July 2003

22.30 Hrs

Weather : stuffy inside, almost cold breeze through window.

No drinking tonight. We'll try again tomorrow.

I seem to have been quite busy today. All I have read from today's purchases was Micro Mart. Doing those Goths DVD's and VCD's seems to have taken up a good deal of today.

Schiba is in at the moment, but he wants to go out......... and has just gone out !  He was quite happy to sleep on the settee, but only if I was to stay guard over him all night. If it rains tonight, and it could easily, I think I will be welcoming in a very soggy moggy tomorrow.

Today I have tried some cans of Tesco own brand diet cola. It is drinkable, but not as nice as the stuff I bought from the Aldi supermarket yesterday. Not only that but it is 150% of the price of the Aldi "Ameristar" diet cola.

It occurs to me that there is a problem with the way I write this journal. The latest entry always goes on the top of the page. That is fine by date order, but I probably ought to reverse the time order. If you are reading this from the top you will be reading about DVD's and VCD's which are only explained later on. But later on in the text is actually earlier on in time. Confusing, ain't it ! Another potential change coming up when august starts, maybe.

18.40 Hrs

Weather : still hot, but cooling a little. Sporadic short lived showers.

DVD project has gone well. DVD's burnt using Sonic MyDVD look good quality, but a test using Ulead DVD Movie Factory shows definite jpeg artifacts. That is a shame because Ulead DVD's can run without a menu (not wanted for just a single 30 minute video). Also tried burning a couple of Video CD versions of the film. They came out really excellent for a VCD. Now I wonder who would like a copy of Goths ?

Schiba has been acting pretty much as predicted. he doesn't want to stay in because it is too hot and he doesn't want to be out when it is raining. He came in a 6 pm and cuddled up to me while I was watching the news, but as soon as I got up to write this (and get a cold drink) he was wide awake again and is now back outside. Nelly decided that the garden was no place to stay today after getting caught in one brief downpour. She has mainly settled down upstairs after trying to share this one small office chair with me a couple of times.

Tonight should be a drinking night at The Ram. I hope the air con is working full blast in there ! 

10.30 Hrs

Weather : overcast, hot sticky and no oxygen !

I had a brief rain shower a little while ago. It lasted all of 10 seconds. All the rain evaporated instantly and just contributed to the steamy atmosphere. Do I sound hot ? I am steaming ! I've just got back from spending too much in WH Smiths and buying to much heavy stuff in Tesco's. From Tesco's I bought a 6 pack of Tesco brand diet cola (330ml tins) and a 4 pack of Diet Coke (2 Litre bottles) as well as a pile of cat food. Arm stretching stuff !! In WH Smiths I saw and bought "The Essential Spike Milligan", a posthumous anthology. That should keep me in reading matter for a short time (along with Linux Format, Classic Rock and Micro Mart).

So far my project to burn "Goths" onto DVD is proceeding well. I have edited out the crap at the start and at the end. If only some jumped up announcer (probably trained by Sky TV) hadn't talked over the end credits I would have been able to make the perfect DVD.

06.30 Hrs

Weather : Sunny. Clouds starting to build up.

It still feels oppressively warm inside, but the air outside feels much cooler. What we need is a little wind to start moving some air around. With the lower atmospheric pressure all the pollution is coming down. The outside air has a distinct smoky sort of smell to it.

No sign of Schiba this morning. I did hear some cat fighting during the night. I wonder if he was involved or whether he was avoiding it ? I hope he doesn't come home wounded. He already has a little nick out of one ear from some episode before he adopted me.

Tuesday 15th July 2003


22.30 Hrs

Weather : still warm and humid, but a cool breeze coming in the window.

And so another hot day comes kicking and screaming to an end. It has been too hot to do anything today. Ideally I would like to have been drinking beer all day under the shade of a large tree and next to a river. Instead I have downloaded a load of stuff off the internet ( PDF's of old magazine articles) and watched some TV. Not forgetting a nice siesta sort of thing, lying down, partially snoozing on my bed. The cats have been very inactive in this heat. Nelly has come in now and sat with me for half an hour while watching TV. I can foresee trouble with Schiba tomorrow if the promised rains come. He'll want to be both in and out at the same time !

I'm trying an experiment tonight. On BBC3 there is a repeat of last nights comedy horror show - Goths. I am recording it onto the digital camcorder straight out the back of my old Ondigital box. I can then transfer it, via the PC, onto , hopefully, high quality DVD. Part two of the experiment will be tomorrow when I download the tape into the PC and see how cleanly I can edit out any crap at the beginning and end of the programme. I think I'll do a VCD version for Nigel as well as I am sure he'll find it amusing. 

15.00 Hrs

Weather : Steaming ! The hottest temperature yet on my thermometer. 29 C

10.22 Hrs

It's another one of those "laying on the bed in only underpants, eating ice cream" sort of days. Well that's what I'd like to be doing. The job centre was like a sweaty oven !!

08.00 Hrs

Weather : bright and sunny

Once again another full 8 hours sleep. I was woken up at 2.30 by the sound of that unearthly screech that foxes make during mating. Not sure if they were mating as that sound has become fairly common lately. It could be cubs just play fighting/mating.

Got to sign on today at 9.25. It will be the first time using the Job Centres new queuing system. I bet it is no better than the old !

Monday 14th July 2003

18.21 Hrs

Weather : very hot, very sunny 26 C (in the shade)

Went to Tesco's this morning and then to Elmers End to buy cheap fags (shh !). Since then I have lazed around indoors with the curtains mostly closed to keep out the glare. It is not too bad inside provided I don't do anything very physical ( like breathe !).

It is amazing just how much sleeping cats do - especially in this weather. I am reminded by The Kat in Red Dwarf saying something  along the lines of that if he didn't get in 20 naps during the day he would never have enough energy to sleep at night. Schiba has been sleeping nearly all day on his old chair in the garden. Occasionally he wakes up and has a stretch. Maybe takes a little stroll or has a drink of water. Then it is back to sleep again. I suppose it comes from being a stray, but he feels quite safe to go to sleep so deeply out there that he becomes totally oblivious to the outside world. I can go up to him and he will wake with a start when I stroke him. Nelly is so different. Even in the house, in her favourite places, she hardly ever goes to sleep that deeply. No matter how I try and tiptoe around the place one ear is always following me.

I was pointed at a BBC web page today. It is on the subject of Victorian cemeteries in London. I was amazed to see that they had chosen one of the same gravestones to picture as I had chosen. Their web page is here : http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/yourlondon/unitedcolours/cemeteries/nunhead.shtml and mine is HERE. The BBC also provide some information about the cemetery, while mine is own pictures. They also have some stuff about the other 6 major Victorian London cemeteries.

08.00 Hrs

Weather : bright and sunny

Success ! Managed a full 8 hours sleep. I did wake up once during the night at about 5 am. I was having a dream that ended up so nonsensical that I think I woke up before my brain exploded trying to work out where the dream was going. The only part I can remember is that two of us had to get into a giant size condom to protect us from something ( poison gas, water, vacuum, sandstorm , ?????) and then hold the end closed from inside while driving a car. Also it was a hot day and the grease (vaseline ?) we were using to help slip two of us into a single giant size condom would not melt and get slippery. It was all too weird and I think that is why I woke up. After a quick breather I fell asleep again and did not wake up until just before 8 am. I now feel rather stiff and a bit yucky, but the pains from my shoulder and neck have definitely gone away.

Must go to Tesco today. Apart from anything else I am almost out of catfood.

I meant to show a couple of pictures from early yesterday evening.

Schiba with hackles raised Schiba stalking  Schiba's rival

The first two show Schiba after spotting a potential threat. Complete concentration and a fluffy tail. The last picture is that threat. One of the randy local tabbies. He was passing through the end of next doors garden after having some sort of vocal argument with another cat in the next garden along.

Sunday 13th July 2003

21.45 Hrs

Weather : feels nice and cool as the sun goes down

Amazingly I am hardly aware of any pain in my shoulder now. I think it must have been a vampire bite while in Nunhead cemetery :-) Tonight, with the cool air, I am looking forward to a good nights sleep. Whether I will get it is anyone's guess. Schiba who has been hanging around for a lot of the day has gone off hunting ( most of todays food has been totally inedible !) so he should not be bothering me in the night. There is no loud reggae music echoing around the neighbourhood. So I cannot see why I should not sleep the sleep of the innocent tonight. 

I wonder what tomorrow will bring ?

13.00 Hrs

Weather : bright sun and very hot. temp in shade still only 24 C

I tried to get more sleep at 5 am this morning but it was too painful. Got up and surfed the net until Dr Who started on UK Gold. By this time the pain was not too bad and I could find comfortable positions. I fell asleep on the settee during Dr Who and did not wake up again until 30 minutes after it had finished. When I awoke I found nearly all the pain had gone. My shoulder is still very slightly tender, but I think that if I were to lay on my bed I would be comfortable enough to get some more sleep. when I have had some light lunch I may well try that. I don't want to sleep too much or I won't be able to sleep tonight. Sleeping tonight will have its own problem - I fear it will be fiendishly hot after this strong sun.

04.00 Hrs

Weather : cool. Sun not up yet

All that drunken bravado of swinging my arm around and not feeling the pain too much seems like t was a bad idea. My shoulder seems to hurt even more now. I did manage to get to sleep fairly quickly, but I woke up at around 2 am and now at 4 am. Even in the most restful position I can still feel like a deep burning sensation from inside the shoulder. Burning is not really the word I want, but it will have to do. If this follows the same course as the pains I had in my left arm then I am now, hopefully about halfway through it now.

Saturday 12th July 2003

21.05 Hrs

Alcohol as an anaesthetic : I am now just finishing the third can of Special Brew. The effects are just cutting in and I reckon I'll be using the spell checker a lot on this piece. I don't actually feel that drunk yet, but I do feel like I'll be going to bed early tonight. Now, the anaesthetic properties  of the booze are interesting. Notionally my shoulder hurts as much as it did before, but I am able to do things that the pain would have stopped me doing. For instance : getting out of a chair by pushing up with my right arm was too painful, but now I can do it without worrying about it. Yet I know it still hurts. In fact at a certain body angle it hurts a lot, but somehow that does not seem to matter. I have never really considered alcohol as a pain killer before even though its use is legendary. Maybe in this case it is actually the muscle relaxant properties that are coming into play and the pain is more in my head. All pain is in the head of course. I have cut, scratched or even burnt myself quite badly and not given it a second thought while doing something enjoyable or otherwise very distracting. I haven't done it since dad was alive, but working on cars, covered in grease and other shite can be a classic time to cut yourself badly and you don't give it a second thought until you come to clean up. Then it stings like mad !!!! I am hoping for a good nights sleep tonight. and when I wake up I hope this rheumatism, canker, syphilis, cancer or shark bite, or whatever will be feeling better.

17.25 Hrs

Weather : hot and sunny.

I have recently got back from a trip around London by train. Managed quite a few diverse routes and train types. I waited at Forest Gate Station for 55 mins for Barbarella, but sadly she had not got my text message and was still asleep nursing a hangover. The all time low point was the sandwiches I bought from the cheese shop at Liverpool St. They were very average and not a patch on the ones I used to buy from there.

My right shoulder and neck muscles are still very tender. If I keep myself to certain poses I feel no pain, but a stretch in the wrong direction (even pushing my face forwards while blowing my nose) is really painful. I have invested in 4 cans of Special Brew and I am going to get some painless sleep tonight by hook or by crook !

07.30 Hrs

Weather : bright and clear. Cool and fresh

My right shoulder is getting more painful. It made sleeping really awkward last night. Whenever I laid on my side I could find one comfortable position, but it could be really painful to move. I could feel all the different muscles, or ligaments painfully stretch with each movement. At first, as I described it on Thursday it was a strange sensation that felt like I had a tennis ball in the bed that was pushing into the shoulder blade when I lay on my back. Now though it feels as if the pain is coming down from the neck, across the top of the shoulder and round to the back of the shoulder blade. It is still sore now while I am standing up or sitting down, and certain movements jar it, but it is while trying to sleep that the agonies set in. I find these pains odd. Like the pains I was having in my upper right arm a couple of months back that flared up for a couple of days on just two occasions, I hope this will go away soon. This pain is different though. It feels more like a pulled ligament, whereas the pain in my arm was like very long lasting muscle fatigue. I am reminded of about 20 ( !) years ago when, for no apparent reason, I was getting severe pain in my right leg. That felt like I had been walking all day an needed to put the leg up to rest. Except that made it worse and there was no comfortable position except actually standing on it. That made sleeping a difficult time. After 3 or 4 episodes of that, each lasting just a few days spaced by a few weeks, it went away never to return. Now ain't that odd !

  I woke up several times in the night. Possibly from pain, but there could have been other reasons. When I woke up at 4 am it was from a dream that mixed up the past and future. I dreamt I was back on a school journey to Holland that originally took place in 1965. It was an odd mixture of childish wonder and discovery, mixed with an adult perspective. For instance I had a credit card and knew of the different beers available - the plebs I was with just asked for lager. I was also intent on making sure I brought home a couple of thousand cheap fags.

Friday 11th June 2003

20.33 Hrs

Weather : clearish skies and cooling down

  Just watching "The Adams Family Values" on Sky One. They are now doing a commercial break so I should be able to type a few lines ( knowing Sky I  probably have time to write a whole book !) I am sure that the actress who played Morticia in the TV series of The Adams Family was better looking.

  Met Ivor for a drink dinnertime. Noticed that 100 ft up the road from the pub was a blue plaque for the birthplace of Boris Karloff. 

  The dead bird I mentioned this morning seemed to be a dehydrated husk. It certainly wasn't a fresh kill by Schiba. I wonder where he got it from ?

  My shoulder is still a little painful. The feeling that I was lying on a lump has gone away, but certain movements still twinge a bit. I think it must have been caused by sleeping in a cold draught. 

Tomorrow I have a choice of meeting Albert at The East Kent Railway or not. I am also thinking of getting a travelcard and having a mooch around taking a few pictures around London. Perhaps I might even text Barbarella and see if she'll meet me at her local station so I can offer her the Lord Of The Rings DVD I burned recently. It'll probably be a waste of time though as she will be too busy. 

It is now 9.45 and I will give Nelly another 15 minutes in the garden before bringing her in and heading for bed.

07.10 Hrs

Weather : Bright and much fresher than yesterday.

   Last night The Ram was most definitely a real ale pub. All the cellar coolers had failed and they could not serve any lagers or any other fizzy beers. Only the genuine cask ales were available and all served at probably the correct temperature for ale. I must admit that with the heat last night I would have preferred it if the beer had been served chilled close to freezing and to hell with the flavour !

   The pain I had in my right shoulder blade yesterday seemed to be cushioned by the alcohol and did not cause any problems when I went to bed last night. My right foot still is a little tender and both ankles felt a little stiff when I first got out of bed. That must have been some walking I did yesterday !

   Went to bed and fell asleep very quickly at 1 am, but was awakened at 3 am by the sound of foxes. My first thought was that they were mating again, but on consideration I think it was just fox cubs involved in rough playing. I heard next door go to the toilet and as the light went on the fox noises stopped instantly. I suspect that they were so loud because they were right outside my window.

Schiba came in last night just as I was going to bed. He wolfed down a plate of food as I left him to it and went to bed. I found him fast asleep on the hallway floor this morning. There appears to be another corpse outside the back door this morning. It looks like a small bird and was not there before I went to the pub - too dark to see after I came back.

  I wonder what they day has in store for me ? Possibly a lunchtime drink with Ivor if he is not too snowed under with work as end of term time rapidly approaches.

Thursday 10th July 2003

20.00 Hrs

Tonights drink is on !

A few other things I forgot to mention earlier. Schiba has been a naughty boy. I found the tail feathers of a sparrow on the doorstep when I came back from Nunhead.

I seem to have a few aches and pains this afternoon. The heel of my right foot seems to be rather sore after all that walking this morning. Also my left shoulder blade is painful when laying on it. It feels as if I am lying on a tennis ball.

17.16 Hrs

Weather : Sky hazing over and humidity rising.

I have now made the Nunhead Cemetery thumbnails page. Access it here.

13.50 Hrs

Weather : hot and sunny

Knackered ! Finally got off my arse and went to Nunhead cemetery. It was great. My fears about it being too cleaned up were wrong. Some of it has been cleared up, but much of it is still pretty wild. I took a bunch of pictures that I have uploaded here. When I have the energy I will add a page of thumbnails, but for now it is just a file listing.

06.15 Hrs

Weather : Bright and sunny. Feels fresher with almost cold breeze through the window.

Slept on top of my bed last night. Fell asleep by midnight and awoke to the sound of Schiba calling from outside in the garden. I was expecting another present from him, but I found nothing. When I let him in he was very affectionate. Rubbing round my legs as if he were absolutely starving. Shame I gave him the wrong flavour food as he only ate half a plate before leaping back through the open window.

Wednesday 9th July 2003

23.30 Hrs

Weather : cool breeze coming in the window, but hot and stuffy inside

It was all for the best that my artwork for the Lord Of The Rings DVD was lost when the PC threw a wobbly. My new effort is far superior.

Going to bed now !

21.00 Hrs

Weather : still hot and humid.

It's been a funny old evening. Kevin was too tied up with work to go for a pint tonight. He says we'll try again tomorrow night. Earlier on this PC crashed. That is very rare on this PC (unless the CPU cooling fan has partially seized again) and it chose the most bloody awkward time to do it. Having successfully burned the DVD's of Lord Of The Rings I was designing the artwork for the DVD sleeve. I was actually very pleased with most of the design and it had come out better than I though. On the first attempt to print it I noticed that some of the blacks were not as black as other bits so I decided to turn down the gamma to crush the blacks down a bit. It looked fine when I turned the monitor brightness up so I hit the print button again. At that point the PC did a reset and all my hard work was lost. I should feel bad about it, and I should also feel bad about not boozing tonight. The odd thing is that I don't. It's partially because I am feeling too hot to think at the moment, and partially because a little message of no consequence that I received today cheered me up.

So I am sitting here drinking some beer that sixth sense made me put in the fridge earlier, and sweating away because I have consumed too much sugar and too many calories, and feeling quite relaxed about it all. In 45 minutes I will watch "Drop The Dead Donkey" on the Paramount comedy channel and then go to bed. Sleeping will be difficult in this heat, but I think I'll manage it OK.

16.30 Hrs

Weather : very hot and humid (26 C in my bedroom)

I've spent a fair time reading Rail magazine, but I have completed one project and I'm halfway through another. The finished project was to take my flat bed scanner apart and try and clean up the optics. It partially worked, but there are a few bits I cannot get to. But I have made an improvement to it. The second project was to transfer a VHS off-air recording of "The Lord Of The Rings" to DVD. The first disk is done and does not look too bad. Compared to real DVD it is a bit fuzzy, but it still looks watchable. Now I wonder if the person who inspired me to do this will actually want a copy of it, or indeed whether I will ever get the chance to give it to her. If not I do know a person who would love a copy except he ain't got a DVD player yet (Luddite !)

Schiba brought me another present this morning. No pictures this time as it had been on the back door step for some time before I discovered it and it was covered with flies.

08.00 Hrs

Weather : bright and sunny

I don't know what to say this morning. I still feel down. I could say there is nothing to look forward to, but there is. It's Wednesday and I should be having a drink tonight. Also there should be a new copy of Rail in WH Smiths. Somehow that doesn't feel very long term. I feel so unmotivated at the moment that I am wondering whether to commit the ultimate heresy and look for a job. But if I did get a job when would I be able to find time to do the things I want to do when I do feel motivated ? (Such as build the retro PC I mentioned yesterday).

I think I need some fresh air.

And another thing. I only scored 18.73767% on a geek test. There is obviously more to being a geek than staying indoors loving your PC.

Tuesday 8th July 2003

22.55 Hrs

Feeling a bit morose tonight. I suppose it is boredom. I have been thinking back to better times and my two old cats - Ben and Vicki. They were born to a mother who lived in a builders yard and had to be rescued before the builders moved the stuff where the mother lived. They were very wild and distrustful of humans at first, but with a lot of love they were won over. Vicki (short for Queen Victoria - she was never amused) took the longest to win over. It is sad that I cannot find any decent photographs of them, but I do have a few minutes of video that features them and I have captured two screen shots. Vicki is the tortoiseshell and Ben (Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria's consort) is the black and white. Unfortunately the only shot of Vicki was through a window as she was sleeping on the TV.

My old cat Benjamin     My old cat Vicki 

18.50 Hrs

Weather : warm. A bit humid and sunny intervals during the afternoon.

Once I had showered and dressed my earlier headache and back pain went away. I fancied getting out of the house today, but there was nowhere I fancied going on my own, and nowhere I needed to go so I stayed in. Passed a few hours searching the internet for some info on a couple of really old obsolete computer motherboards. I am intending to build a retro PC using a 486 or P1 processor and running DOS, Windows 3 or even O/S 2 warp. I have a load of old ISA boards that are sitting around doing nothing and an old CD Rom drive that uses a non IDE interface that I could put to use. It would have no practical use, but it could be fun putting it together. After many false leads I finally found the info I required, although it is only confirmation of what I can probably work out anyway. I almost got started building it, but decided to have some lunch first. while that was digesting I took to reading some more of the Ben Elton book I have been reading. I got totally engrossed in that and I have now just finished the complete book. In a way it ended on a sad note because the guy who should have been the hero ended up in jail. The love story that was entwined in the main plot and was the background commentary to the whole story, did end up with the two lovers together on a sun kissed deserted beach living, one presumes, happily ever after. So that's alright then !

Contradictions : The smelliest, nastiest looking cat food is the one the cats love best. The types that look almost good enough, and smell nice enough for me to eat are always the ones the cats hate most. Strange that.

I have just remembered that I was using cyan type to show up better on my old background. Now I am using black backgrounds I don't need to. What looks best - white, yellow, green, fuchsia, or red ? Maybe on the next entry I will try yellow. No can't do that as I've been using yellow for hyperlinks. Perhaps I'll make the change next month

09.44 Hrs

Weather : bright

Woke up at 7 am and fed the cats. Schiba had been out all night and must have been feeling hungry. As soon as he heard me he leapt up at the window and almost went through the glass. He only applied the brakes at the very last moment. Even then he had to put up one paw to stop himself. He wolfed down his food and went straight out again and disappeared without even thanking me.

Once I had taken care of the cats I decided to have 5 minutes more sleep. At first I just thrashed around a bit trying to get comfortable. Eventually I fell asleep again, but it was a very disturbed sleep. Just before waking up I was having a dream that I was back in a telephone exchange, but I was trying to repair an ancient 9 inch black and white TV. I'll spare you the technical details, but it seemed that every time I fixed one bit I would find another that had failed. The final difficulty was that the TV tube was not viewed directly, but by a series of mirrors inside this huge wooden cabinet. It seemed to take ages before I realised that the tube should actually face backwards in the set. Now, having woken up again, I find I have a headache of bad hangover proportions and my neck and various bits of my back ache as well. I hope that by the time I have washed and dressed that most of these pains will have receded or gone away.

Monday 7th July 2003

19.42 Hrs

Weather : warm and sunny

This afternoon I discovered why I was still feeling a bit tired and rough. I thought it was the after effects of Saturday nights disturbed sleep. But, after at least 7 trips to the toilet this afternoon, I have come to the conclusion that Sundays reheated Chinese takeaway leftovers may have been a bit loaded with Salmonella ( or botulism, or creeping lurgy, or something). It doesn't matter what it was exactly. More important was that I had a twelve pack of toilet paper !! I have since had a very light meal and so far everything feel OK. Perhaps tomorrow I will feel like actually doing something exciting - like a photography outing maybe - but then again maybe not. We'll see.

Another stunning night on TV - NOT ! Methinks an early night with my latest book purchase may be in order. The book is "High Society" by Ben Elton. It is about the effects of drugs being illegal and how that has brought about an underground system of drug dealing whose lawlessness has a far greater impact on the our society than just the loss of a few loser drug addicts. It actually makes a lot of sense and is a view I have thought for quite a long time. 

05.30 Hrs

Weather : very thin cloud cover. Should break up to give sunny day

Turned out my reading lamp at 10 pm last night and was asleep fairly quickly. Slept right through to 5.10 this morning. Can't remember any dreams, but seemed to be thinking of the title tune to the film FM when I was sitting on the toilet 5 minutes after waking up.

Entire plans for the week : Shopping in Tesco's this morning. That is all. 

Sunday 6th July 2003

20.00 Hrs

It's 8pm and I feel tired and very, very bored, and my head hurts. So I am going to bed. I will read for a little. I have the latest edition of Computer Video and I will alternately drool over all the goodies I can't afford and try and learn some new stuff to improve my video editing. I hope there is an article about converting your dreams to DV format and connecting your brain to the PC via firewire. Could get some interesting material to edit like that !! So it is good night from me, and goodnight from my PC.

15.10 hrs

Weather : cloudy now, but there have been some sunny intervals.

UK Horizons have just shown a repeat of a programme about David Attenborough presented by Michael Palin - both remarkable men and riveting viewing.

12.19 Hrs

Weather : clouds have broken up. Some sun and warm.

I heard some mewing outside the window just now. It was Schiba. He had brought me a present and proof that he only eats here as a privilege for me. "He is really a street cat and can look after himself", except when it is cold or raining !

I took a couple of pictures out the top of the window. If I had opened the bottom one the present would have been brought in and dropped at my feet (yuck !)

Schiba with a present for me       Schiba's prize catch

While preparing the pictures, Schiba wandered off leaving the corpse on my doorstep - thanks Schiba !

07.00 Hrs

Weather : total cloud cover, but it looks thin and may break up.

Something that I have forgotten to do on many an occasion, although this is the first time by writing, is to remember it is July and cue Uriah Heep......There I was on a July morning looking for love. I was looking for love in the strangest of places....etc. ( In case you don't know it is a song by Uriah Heep called July Morning.

It has just gone 7 am and I have only had a little more than 2 hours sleep. Insomnia or anything else similar is not to blame this time. At Half past midnight I was awoken by loud music, and I do mean LOUD. A few houses back from here had a party that went on to just past 6 am. Even with all the windows closed there was nowhere in the house that you could not hear the pulsating reggae rhythms. In my own room, which faces to the back,  with the windows open, it was as loud as being in a pub where you have to raise your voice to be heard. With the windows closed it was still as loud as I would normally listen to music in the house. By 2.30 am they seemed to take a break, and although their voices were still rather loud I managed to get some sleep. I woke up again at just gone 5 am and the music had become quite loud again, although I could still hear the birdsong outside ( but they can be noisy bastards as well !). Since getting up again at 5 am I have spent the time surfing the web. I came across a very interesting web site ( http://www.twisted.org.uk/darkapotheosis/index.html ) and spent some time reading through it. I never managed more than 50% of it as it was heavy going and my eyes were ( and still are) blurry through lack of sleep, but I will be going back to it to read more.

At the moment I feel like sitting in a car outside my neighbours house and introducing them to some Motorhead at full volume  from a very powerful stereo. Unfortunately I do not have a car and I would not like to piss off the others who have similarly suffered through the night. But those neighbours - a slow lingering, painful and lonely death would be too good for them !!!

Apart from the noisy birds it is quiet now. So once I have uploaded this I will try and get some more sleep.

Saturday 5th July 2003

18.10 Hrs

Weather : humid - could be a storm brewing

Just back from a 4 (nearly 5) hour session at the pub with my old workmates. It seems the ex-company is still lurching from crisis to crisis. They are now implementing some "new" ideas that did work well before the were changed by the last lot of brain dead managers. "What comes around, goes around" has never been truer.

I managed to stick with the Carling. It tastes nasty compared to the Stella Artois, but at least I am still almost sober (just). Anyway, had a great laugh at the current antics. I do not miss working for the company, but I really do miss shirking for the company with my old  mates. 

08.10 Hrs

Weather : bright and sunny

I think I managed nearly 8 hours sleep last night. But why do I still feel tired, and why did I wake up with the advertising jingle from The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation ( Share and Enjoy) ringing through my head.  I can remember vague details of some sort of dream that involved a spinning cube whose faces were made from a patchwork of squares and rectangles in various shades of purple. But how that relates to "Share And Enjoy" is a real mystery. In case, dear reader, you are unfamiliar with the little song called "Share And Enjoy" I will attempt to find a copy of it. If I ever do THIS will turn into a hyperlink to a website, or you can hear it here, but the original web site may be better because you can read the bizarre lyrics as well as hear the song.

These are not the only mysteries that baffle my somewhat inadequate brain. For instance why does Schiba rub his face all my legs when I am getting his food, but Nelly only sorts of bangs her whole body into my legs ? If only we had answers to some of these questions then life would be so........different !

Still, sod that I am looking forward to some pints with some old mates dinner time.

Friday 4th July 2003


Weather : dry and cool

I am now stuffed to the gills with pizza and feeling better. I thought I ought to add some contact details to this web site. There is now a contact me link on the index page ( or here ). I know it is going to act as a spam magnet one day, but I have used an account that already gets most of my spam. If things get too bad I will have to use an alternative e-mail address. Nelly has been honoured by being described as beautiful by a 6ft blond bombshell ( user name !) and been given, along with Schiba, a mention on http://www.livejournal.com/community/tortieshellcats/ .

19.00 Hrs

Finally finished the book I have been reading - "Origin" by Stephen Baxter. I am not sure if it was a good book or not. It was a very new, and different twist to the classic sci-fi genre of parallel worlds. The ending was a conclusion that more or less explained what was going on and wrapped everything up, but it was a sad ending and leaves me feeling sad too. I think maybe a pizza is called for even though I have eaten more than sufficient for today.

16.39 Hrs

Never made it out for my lunchtime drink. I feel, or rather felt, a bit of a prick. While out in the garden taking pictures of Nelly, and only wearing socks, I trod on a bit of bramble. It was bloody painful, although there was little blood involved. Once I had dug the thorns out my foot was a little too sore to walk on. I have kept of it al afternoon and it feels much better now. Spent the afternoon watching my second recently bought DVD - Quatermass 2 - and reading some more of a book I first started a week ago. Quatermass 2 was not quite how I remember it, but is still a good film. Better, in fact, than the first film - The Quatermass Xperiment.

It seems that Kensal Green cemetery is having its open day tomorrow. I would quite like to go along with my camera. It is possibly slightly grander than Nunhead cemetery, but it will have to wait for another day. Tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month, and after missing out last month, I feel I should go to the ex-workmates (and matesses) regular monthly drink up. In fact not only should I go but I want to go to catch up on all the latest gossip. I missed out on last months drink.

I finally got a better picture of the local "randy tabby" with my new camera.

Randy Tabby cat Once again he is in roughly the same position, but with the higher resolution and optical zoom, the picture is less noisy. ( see June for the previous picture) 

08.25 Hrs

Weather : a bright sunny start to the day

Feeling tired still. Had a bit of a rough night. Was woken up at 2am by a couple of cats having a difference of opinion nearby. 

As I entered that last full stop the postman delivered a letter. Even my physical mail box is not immune to spam. Today it wasn't one of the 4, or more, offers a week from credit card companies, but a chain letter ! Just copy the letter to 200 people at random and send 10 to the original sender or something. BOLLOCKS, that letter now resides in my dustbin.

If the sun stays shining I feel a lunchtime pint with Ivor becoming a possibility.

Thursday 3rd July 2003

22.32 Hrs

Found a flea on Nelly today so tonight has been cat torturing time. I fiendishly abused them with two little drops of cold liquid on the back of the neck. Schiba got it first and bolted towards the back door like all the hounds of hell were after him, until he  noticed there was some food still down and decided that he was hungry. Nelly put up a bigger struggle and I had to hold her down. I thought she would sulk for the rest of the night, but once I went out into the kitchen and rattled a plate the Pavlovian reflex came over her and she just had to find out what was going on. She has been rewarded with some real human quality tuna fish.

Earlier on, while I was watching The Bill I had the pleasure of both Nelly and Schiba sitting either side of me purring there heads off. Schiba was snuggled up against my leg, while Nelly was the regulation 10 inches away from me. It is a sure sign that the heat of last week has gone away and been replaced by miserable drizzle.

There is a glorious damp earth smell coming through the window. It takes me right back to my "yoof" and nights sitting in dark woods ( or even Nunhead cemetery ) in the company of an illegal radio transmitter. Happy days !

Tonight I finally got the absolute confirmation of something I had long suspected and have recently had hinted at. Something that is pretty obvious but not normally thought about. People of North London are just as terrified of crossing The Thames into South London as we, from South London, are of going the other way. I guess we all have our territories where we feel safe.

17.12 Hrs

Weather : drizzle

I saw mention that Kensal Green cemetery is having an open day. Couldn't resist e-mailing the web address of one of my favourite old cemetery's to the original poster. http://www.fonc.org.uk/ That cemetery is at Nunhead. An old Victorian cemetery that used to be really overgrown and spooky. It has now been cleaned up and is probably not half as much fun as in the early seventies when I used to take part in strange rituals in there after dark. These rituals would involve changing tapes on the hour and connecting up car batteries while uttering strange incantations like " The red clip goes on the positive terminal ", and all the while trying our best to summon up the devil in the shape of Eric Gotts ( Radio investigation officer )( or preferably not !!!)

11.00 Hrs

Weather : overcast, cool, but dry

Just back from Tesco's. Saw an amazing sight on the way back. They are cutting through the 9 inch reinforced concrete wall of the multi story car park with a 4 ft circular saw. I believe they are going to fit an external staircase to the two upper storeys.

I bought some Tesco Finest caramelised red onion relish out of curiosity. It tastes really nice, but I am not sure what to have it with.

08.17 Hrs

Weather : cool and drizzly

After last nights journal entry I watched The Bill that I had recorded earlier. Got to bed at about 1 am and fell asleep very quickly. I had a very odd dream where I was reading computer type displays that where on the edges of my duvet. I had lost one screen that I had seen before and was turning the duvet round trying to find it. I woke up at 4 am with the whole duvet bundled up to my chest and I was dripping with sweat. It must have been some fight going on while I slept !! Got back to sleep again and had more dreams that I cannot recall, and then woke up at 7 am with my right calf muscle knotted in agonising cramp. The cramp soon went after a few paces across my bedroom floor, but the muscles are still a little sore even now.

It's New Scientist day today so once I have been out and done a little shopping I'll spend the rest of the morning, and perhaps some of the afternoon, reading.

Wednesday 2nd July

23.30 Hrs

Weather : dry and cool ( and it's dark)

Had a nice couple of pints tonight. Came striding back from the pub feeling like I had a lot of energy - last pint cannot have kicked in yet !!! Discussed all sorts of things from PC's to trainspotting. Nelly seems to have improved since I went out. She now seems quite lively. One unusual occurrence in The Ram was a table full of Germans. They seemed to be drinking lager. Obviously they were worried that the ale was not brewed to the Reinheitsgebot purity laws of 1516. I suspect Young's beers would almost match those German laws as they claim the beer is only made from Barley, hops, yeast and water. 

19.18 Hrs

Weather : occasional rain, very occasional weak and watery sun.

Time seems to have passed fairly quickly today. I have transcribed two more old radio shows to mp3. One was of historical interest, but of no nostalgic worth (to me), and the other carried a bit of nostalgia, but 1974 is so hazy now that it did not really fire the memory up that much.

Wrote and sent a longish e-mail early this evening on the subject of FMS ( a medical condition that I do not suffer from). I hope it is received in the spirit it was intended - part sympathy and a few half baked ideas that might just possibly be of help.

I have remembered that I do have one plan for today, I should be going for a couple of pints at the local. Haven't had any alcohol since last Saturday so I am looking forward to that in an hour or so.

I may have mentioned in an early post that I was umming and erring over the possibility of signing up to a proper online journal. It is becoming a greater possibility of late. I read some peoples postings and would like to make more comments on them from time to time. The great revelation about it today is that I suddenly realised that I could do that and still keep waffling away here in my own way with no fear of upsetting any sort of net etiquette. What I write here is mine alone and if you (or you , or you, or them) don't like it you can go stick your head in a bucket of dingos kidneys.

Nelly seems to be under the weather today. I must keep an eye on her. She is a bit snuffley and may have a cold.

07.00 Hrs

Weather : cool and damp and it seems to be getting darker instead of lighter.

Read for longer than I meant to last night. Turned off the light at 00.35 and was almost instantly asleep. Awoke at 03.15 to the unearthly sounds of two foxes at it. Sounds like they were enjoying themselves ! Woke again at 06.24, probably by noise of dustman a few streets away ( they emptied my bin at approx 07.05)

Schiba decided to stay in all last night. With the cold and rain he has become his old lovable self. Yesterday he was demanding lots of affection - totally different to last week when he would only pop in for a quick bite to eat.

Nelly's big paw    Schiba

No plans for today. With the weather like it is I don't imagine I will be going out. I may resume transcribing my old tapes to mp3's. If so expect some miserable comments on here as I descend into the pits of depression. Thinks ! - perhaps I could carefully choose some tapes that do not remind me of the good times. Have I got any of those ????

Tuesday 1st July 2003

20.15 Hrs

Weather : cold grey and miserable, but the rain has stopped for most of the afternoon.

I feel almost chilly at the moment. It is still warm enough indoors if I'm moving around a lot, but sitting still for any length of time near any draft is unpleasant. I have had to close all the windows to keep the cold and damp air out.

It is amazing that with the huge range of TV channels I have here there is nothing to watch. I think I will have to do something creative. The trouble is I don't feel very creative today. The whole afternoon and into this evening has felt very boring. Maybe it was just the despicable weather causing me to feel almost depressed and lonely ( Even Schiba has been an indoor cat, needed extra cuddles today)

I did manage one constructive thing today. I did all the washing up. Right down to the nasty sludgy bit at the bottom of the sink. And who was the nasty bastard who kept putting spoons right in the path of the downrushing water and giving me a soaking ? I reckon it was one of the cats ! (well did you think I'd blame myself !!!)

One of two things is going to happen tonight. Either I will fire up my Linux box and carry on with an alternative web site project, or I will be having an early night (possibly with some reading in bed).

12.00 Hrs

Weather : changeable

Got drizzled on going to job centre, and blinded by the sun on the way back. I shouldn't have done it. The expense will just mean I will have to get a job earlier than I want, but I have bought a new shiny toy. It is a 4 megapixel camera with optical zoom on it. Yes another one, but this one is far superior to the cheap one I bought last time. It looks and feel better. It has the optical zoom, and comes with 64 MByte storage card and rechargeable batteries. Oh, and it has a nice jet black, suede effect carrying case. All in, it was far better value that the cheap nasty one. Now where can I find a mug who will buy the old one from me ? ( 12.16 and here comes the rain again !) The couple of experimental pictures I have taken with it have come out well. It does not suffer the noise in the lowlights like the other one and seems far less prone to camera shake. All that for 199.99 from my local Aldi supermarket. (12.18 and it is bucketing down)

07.30 Hrs

Weather : overcast, cool, but dry

Fell asleep soon after midnight, last night, and slept right through to 07.17 this morning. Maybe my poor sleeping of late has just been down to hot nights. Last night was cold by comparison.

The colder and damp weather has brought Schiba back inside again. He had been using here just as an occasional diner, but last night he had full board and breakfast.

Last week I had started reading a book that I put aside when I got hold of "Mostly Harmless". I carried on reading it for about an hour before going to sleep last night. I have now got to the part when I realise what is going on. It is another story about parallel universes - life is getting spooky !

Major plan for today - sign on. That is all.


copyright Bill 2003