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Tuesday 30th September 2003


Weather : sky looks cloudy. Cold. 10° C

This morning is not at as cold as yesterday morning. While checking the thermometer I was surprised to see that yesterday's high was only 16° C. While I was out at he shops yesterday it felt much warmer than that.

Several thoughts occur to me this morning. It's the last day of the month and I ought to be designing the journal page for next month. Secondly if I am to employed anytime in the near future I ought to get my teeth fixed while I'm still on the dole. I was called for a check up a week or two back, and I haven't called them yet, and I do have a tooth that is developing a slight tingle now and then.

I don't appear to have written much yesterday. I was spending a lot of time transferring some VHS video recordings to DVD. It is a long slow process involving some really heady amounts of hard disk space - nearly 30 Gigabytes at one point. The results were not too bad. Obviously starting with VHS recordings makes the quality crap to begin with, but at least there will be no further loss in quality should I need to duplicate the recordings again.


Weather : bright sunny day with a few darker clouds passing by. 15° C (max today = 18° C)

It has been quite bright today, which is unfortunate for one particular reason. This afternoon I had my DECS appointment at Lewisham Hospital. This is where my eyes are checked for diabetic damage. The procedure is as follows; First you gets some drops in the eyes that dilate the pupils. Then they photograph the retina of each eye twice. This is done by a machine, linked to a PC running Photoshop, that flashes a bright light into the eye. While not painful it is rather a blinding flash and rather alarming. The results are checked instantly by the "Optical Scientist" examining a rather nice 19 inch PC display. Last time I had it done a small spot indicated some damage, but this time a very intense scrutiny revealed that my eyes were perfect. Actually it is the retina that is perfect - I still need glasses for focusing. After that you are thrown out into the bright sunlight with the pupils still expanded as if it were nighttime. The glare is really rotten and close on painful like that. Two hours later and my eyes are only now getting back to normal. I took a photograph of my right eye soon after I got in. It is not easy taking a picture of your own eye, but I managed  a reasonable one. The dilation does not look quite as bad as it was due to various reflections on the eyeball. One of which makes it look as if there is a chunk missing from the iris. So here is a picture of my right eyeball.

My right eye with dilated pupil.    

While at the hospital I took the opportunity to hand in my job application. I increasingly think that I will not get the job. From the reference number on the covering letter that came with the forms I appear to be candidate 24. It is hard not to imagine that at least some of the other candidates have the required previous experience in medical electronics.

Monday 29th September 2003


Weather : cold and bright. 6° C

It is colder than yesterday, but I do not feel quite as chilly. Maybe there was something wrong with me. Or maybe I haven't cooled down from bed yet and will feel cold later.

I think I had a good nights sleep, last night. I almost feel refreshed this morning. I had dreams involving sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. The drugs may have been alcohol. The sex may not actually have gone all the way, but the theme was right................ 

Sunday 28th September 2003


Weather : bright start after overnight rain. 11° C

I'm knackered. I was up to 3 am this morning playing with my Apple Macintosh computers. Sadly, the hard drive in my colour Powerbook 180c has died. Fortunately I never use the Powerbook for anything. It is really only a plaything as it not really powerful enough for anything more than word processing. With only 14 Megabytes of memory, a 120 Megabyte hard disk and a 33MHz processor you can see it is not really up to much. I would like to replace the hard disk, but 2.5 inch SCSI disks are as rare as hens teeth and twice as expensive. I'll probably swap the drive over from my Powerbook 140 which is only a monochrome model. It also has an even smaller hard disk in it.

The reason for all this playing with Mac's was to test a very small web browser. It is so small that it fits on one floppy disk with plenty of room left over. I need something that small and lightweight to use on my Macintosh SE/30. That is a very, very low powered machine. It is considered a bit of a classic and I thought I ought to make some web pages to display on it for demonstration purposes. If you want to have a look at them, I have copied them here. (with apologies to Apple and various others for editing their pages down to the bare minimum). The SE/30 uses a 1 bit (i.e. black or white) display so everything is simplified down to little more that bare text. There is one page that, last night,  I noticed I had left some graphics still in it that may not display properly. Although in this instance it may try and retrieve the graphics from the original web site. I'll be correcting that soon as when the pages are used as intended they will be purely local files and the Mac will not be connected externally. Anyway, have a look and marvel at how much used to be done with so little. The SE/30 was very popular with writers. I believe, but don't quote me on it, that Douglas Adams may have written some of the Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy on a SE/30.


Weather : cold and raining

I have done practically nothing today. Well almost nothing. I have "top and tailed" a couple of recordings from BBC7 off the DAB receiver, but in terms of anything constructive, that is about it. No, wait a minute, I have also done all the washing up. I think the bottom plate had been in the sink for most of the week and was getting a little smelly, so it was more from necessity than desire.

I have been feeling cold for most of the day. I hope I am not coming down with a cold. There have been a few times today when I have felt a little snotty or my throat has tickled a bit.

Saturday 27th September 2003


Weather : dark and cold.

I had a bit of a rough night and kept waking up. Lots of funny dreams as well. I went to bed early last night and was asleep by, at least, 11 pm, possibly earlier. At about quarter past midnight I dreamt that someone had phoned me. I was in bed during the dream and they had woken me up. Once I had answered it and found out who it was I asked them to hold on as I had to nip out for a pee. It was a this point that the dream became reality, because I turned over, switched on the light and found myself sitting on the edge of the bed. I found I wasn't busting for a pee, but went for one anyway. I think I was truly awake from the time I was sitting on the edge of the bed until after I had peed and got back into bed, but could that have been a dream as well ????

Just before waking up and coming down to write this I was having a weird and slightly disturbing dream. In some unlikely chain of events involving a friends mum who was into amateur dramatics, I was able to get backstage at a Pink Floyd concert being held in Tonbridge Wells (of all places !). Due to some oversight I had never been issued with a laminate and was in constant fear of being thrown out. Despite that I seemed to be able to wander around all over the place and even got to ask Roger Waters (I think - he actually looked more like Robert Plant) why they never performed "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict". I can't recall if I got a reply or not. Another fear was that I only had about £3 on me when the head of security was having a whip round for drinks at the bar in the "hangers on" area. Finally I was hoping to take some pictures and a little poor quality video on my stills camera. I had my largest  memory card in it, but it was almost full of other stuff that I had no way of saving to anywhere. The dream had become far too complicated and I think I had to wake up. So I came down here to write all this crap.

This morning I feel sort of achey. Mostly my neck is stiff. I seem to have had a lot of assorted pains and things lately. Yesterday my right hand kept going numb. It is most probably Carpel Tunnel trouble after a lot of mouse use. 

Last night Schiba stayed in after spending most of the day inside as well. Nelly stayed down with him, no doubt to occasionally glare at him and remind him that it is HER house. He went out as soon as I came down, but is back in now. I don't think he has been further than the windowsill. So sooner or later he will have to go out before he bursts. Unless, of course, he has committed the cardinal sin of using Nelly's litter tray.


Weather : Sunny intervals. 13° C

I've just been out for a 50 minute walk. Although the air temperature is fairly cool, the sun still generates a lot of heat on my black clothing. I now feel very hot and also pretty knackered. Starting work, whenever and wherever that may be, is really going to be a shock to my system. I wish I was the sort of person who could take it seriously and get into training for the strains and rigours of work. I should start dieting and going out for long walks more often, but even if I were to start today I would probably just put it off tomorrow.

The walk this morning was to a local boot fair via a cashpoint. The boot fair was utter crap. It was very small and a lot of the stuff was lying on the ground. There were a few CD's that I could have rummaged through, but not while grovelling about at ground level. In many ways it was not too disappointing as having been there some years ago it was still much as I expected. I did have an ulterior motive for going there. Actually ulterior is not the word I want. It sounds too sinister. It was more a matter of curiosity as that boot fair is just beyond where I hope to start work and I wanted to time the journey. If, and the more I think about it, it is a very big IF, I get that job then I have down sized my estimated journey into work to under 15 minutes.

Somehow I don't think I will get the job. It is just too easy and too convenient. Also I think I read too much into what the manager said to me during the phone call. Well, if nothing else, I'll be able to really prove to the job centre that I really am looking for work.

Friday 26th September 2003


Weather : cool and overcast.10° C

According to a fragment of remembered dream there is a blue sphere, 13 metres across, buried outside the front of my house. I checked this with two instruments, one running Windows, and the other DOS ! What could it be, and why is it there ? These were the first thoughts I had when I woke up. I think it may have been an alien craft, or something. In turn, that got me thinking where we, the human race, are in time. I think we have got to the point where nothing can really surprise us. 100 years ago many of today's things would be thought of as magic, but now we seem to speculate through the improbable to way past the impossible [note 1]. Science has almost uncovered the secrets of life, the universe and everything. {That quote sounds familiar :-) }. Where there are still gaps, or inaccuracies in that knowledge there are, as yet, unproven  theories to fill them or the paths that have to be followed to reach the truth are already being trodden. Science fiction writers have already "invented" the appliances to use the new theories that are still to come.

So this brings us to UFO's. Suppose one actually landed. First of all it would no longer be an Unidentified Flying Object as we could identify it. But what would the press make of it ? Obviously quite a lot at first, but the idea of an alien visitation is only news in fact, not idea. I suspect that the tabloid press would soon be reduced to making comments about the cut of the alien costumes, the size of their boobs, their hairstyles, and their football skills. Also they might comment on the colour scheme of their spaceship. Which could bring us back to blue spheres. But it won't ! 


[1] This is purely the arrogance of today, I bet they have said that through all of time !


I think I may give PC's a rest today. Although I am hoping that I might get some extra software to install on my retro PC, it is otherwise finished and ready to be consigned to a dusty corner. Perhaps I might dig it out at xmas so that I can run a rather old version of xmas for windows. (I don't think it works in win 95 and upwards).

It is possible that I might go for a lunchtime pint with Ivor. I have not had any booze this week after missing last nights drink (which normally would have been on a Wednesday). Another thing I may do is enquire about a job  (cue fanfare !). I have actually seen an interesting looking job ! Although I may not be suitably qualified for it.


Breaking news - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/tv_and_radio/3140786.stm - Dr Who is coming back !!!!


Weather : Sunny intervals and mild. 16° C (max today 17.5° C)

I have had a lazy day today. I've been to Tesco's and bought lots of yummy things. Unfortunately I have eaten too many of them already.

I actually did it ! Yes I have phoned up about a job ! I doubt I'll get it because my qualifications are a bit lower than what they are advertising for. On the other hand the manager who I spoke to could not have been more insistent about getting the application papers from personnel and returning them quickly. It was almost as if he liked what I told him on the phone. I am going for an informal look around next Wednesday where I hope to impress him more. I still don't actually want to work, but I cannot pass up the chance of working so close to home, and the money would come in handy. The job itself is repairing medical electronics in the workshop of Lewisham hospital. Some of the stuff sounds a bit yuck, but I'll get over that if I have to.

Earlier on today I tried to give Schiba a cuddle while sitting at my computer. He was having none of it ! He never actually made a fuss, but he glared at me in that way so I let him down again. He leapt straight out of the window and disappeared from view. An hour later he brought me back a small rat. I think it was his way of saying "look I am a wild cat and we do things my way !". His way is that he will only sit or sleep in MY chair and I can only join him if he is allowed to snuggle down between my leg and the arm of the chair. It does not matter how small a space I leave - that is where he will be. Like that he is perfectly happy -  purring away, often upside down with, unfortunately, his legs apart displaying all he has (which isn't much as they have been cut off !). As the weather cools down both cats are staying in more and more. Nelly less so, but Schiba is spending a good half the day indoors, if not more. I can't say I blame him. but it doesn't do his 'ard cat credibility that much good. Perhaps I can look forward to more presents being brought to me as proof of his independent nature.

Schiba with leg up

Thursday 25th September 2003


Weather : cold with clear skies. 6° C

It definitely is cold. Schiba is spending more and more time indoors - and he is no wuss !

Meanwhile back with my retro PC. I finally found the main culprit to all the mouse problems I was having. It turns out it was the actual mouse itself that was at fault. I suspect, but can't really prove, that the data from the more modern mouse I first tried was too fast or something. Using a pretty ancient mouse, the first one I ever bought probably, has solved all my problems. The sound is now working correctly after downloading the correct Windows 3.11 drivers, and the graphics card likewise. Having done all that the next step is probably to shove it in a corner and forget about it. It is just too slow in this day and age to have much practical use, but I may try and get it online once before totally ignoring it. It has been quite a stimulating challenge to get it working, but that is as far as it goes.

This morning I woke up at around 4 am with a splitting headache. I was sleeping very awkwardly and had pushed my pillow right up against the head of the bed, and my head was twisted round and crunched up against the pillow instead of on top of it. I think I had cut off all my breathing and the headache was oxygen starvation. So that's a few more brain cells dead then ! Even now I still have a headache that is coming and going. I'll give it another hour and then its Aspirin time. 


Weather : cold outside, but still comfortable inside.

After a while this mornings headache receded, and I felt OK. I spent a lot of today still playing with my retro PC. All the sound, mouse and graphics are working perfectly. Plus I have added a couple of extra things. First was a really ancient TV card. This thing is HUGE. It measures close to 1 ft in length and has more IC's by itself than a modern PC has in it's entirety. It was some surprise when all the software installed perfectly and I got TV pictures on it. I then added a modem, and that worked first time as well. After that I had to try and go online with it. It worked ! But it was rather slow. I had a look at my own web pages and they displayed perfectly. I could even hear Nelly's purr when I went to her page. I then tracked down a piece of software called WinPlay 3. It is a mp3 player for 16 bit systems. On such a slow CPU (66 MHz) I had to configure the player to only play in mono, but having done that it plays mp3's perfectly. The final piece of software I want to complete the project is Microsoft Office 2. I think version 2 is for Widows 3.11, but I'll try anything. If I can't find that then I think I can find another old office suite that works on old machines. Probably Star Office or something. Once that is in place I can wrap the machine up and stick it in the cupboard and forget about it. It is just too slow to do anything productive on it. It is just a conversation piece really.


For the last few hours I have been trying to send some e-mail. It seems as if NTL's servers, or at least their SMTP server has fallen over again ! I just hope I can upload this tonight. I like to keep this journal current even though no one actually reads it. 

Wednesday 24th September 2003


Weather : not sure yet.

Oh the joys of computers ! I was up to 1 am this morning playing with my new retro PC. Who can remember the delights of manually configuring ISA cards trying to avoid conflicts ? It was head scratching work, but I think I have managed it. I now have all the basics for a DOS/Win 3.11 system set up, but with one slight exception. The CD Rom drive I was hoping to use appears to be dead. Other than that everything works. Even the sound card. So far I have a basic DOS 6.22 installation on the hard disk (all 240 Mbytes of it !). Later today I'll try and get a working CD drive, and having done that, I'll be installing Windows on it. But right now, having fed the cats, I'm back to bed again !


Weather : was cool, but sunny earlier.

I have been having fun and games with my retro PC. All day long I have been trying to get everything to work together. I have almost achieved it, but I still cannot get the sound to work under Windows. I am going to have to try and download some new drivers for my ISA sound card - if I can find any ! I had a real head scratching time trying to get the mouse to work, but that is now working after deleting the DOS drivers and moving a few cards around. I have even seen my own website, as a local copy on CD, by using Internet Explorer 4. One short pause and the mouse has bombed out again !!! I'm off now to give that PC some serious welly !!!!!!

Tuesday 23rd September 2003


Weather : cold with mostly clear sky. 9° C

It is most definitely cold outside ! Schiba, who stayed in last night, has gone out without even twitching a whisker. While Nelly sat on the doorstep for a minute then came back indoors. I wonder how warm the day will get ? Yesterday managed a max of 22° C.

Last night I tested several old motherboards and found two working OK and another that has a small, potentially repairable, defect. It is a shame that none of them have Intel chipsets as I would have had more confidence of driver support from the operating systems I may be using with one of them. The board that needs repair is a Pentium 1 board and I may choose that for my retro project (see yesterday). A P90 should make things go a little faster than a 486-DX2 66Mhz.

My first priority for today is to do an internet search for jobs. I have to sign on this morning and I have been informed that today the job centre will be doing a long, and hence very boring, search for jobs at my interview. My only hope in circumventing this is to present the results of my own search and make it look bigger than their search.

Monday 22nd September 2003


Weather : cloudy (or high mist), but almost warm. 16° C

Yesterday was another hot day (max 24° C), and a cloudy night seems to have kept the temperature up.

I have just seen a very nice fox in the garden. It looked to be in very good condition with a perfect coat, and no sign of mange. It had a little white area on it's chin and a white tip to it's very fluffy tail.

I'm not sure what I am doing today, but I can remember a fragment of a dream last night. In the dream I was backing up important files on a PC, and that seems like a good thing to do today.

One other thing. I am going to give Schiba some flea treatment today. Nelly got it yesterday after I found just one solitary flea on her, but Schiba didn't come in last night so it is his turn today.


Weather : rain

There has just been a tremendous downpour of rain. It seems to have stopped now and the sky is getting brighter. For some of the morning the sun was shining with just a few fluffy clouds, but it looks like the rain will be coming and going for some time now. Autumn has started. (Actually it has - today is , apparently, the autumn equinox).


Taking advantage of the weather this morning, I did a little shopping. I tried some Tesco hot cooked bacon joint. Slices of that in warm, freshly baked, bread rolls, with a little wholegrain mustard, are totally ecstasy ! It was the first time I had tried that hot bacon and I think I'll be getting it again. Mmmh bacon !

Halfway through that last sentence Schiba has come in. I called him when the rain first started, but being a 'ard cat, he would not come until the rain was so hard that he couldn't come (if you get my meaning). Now the rain has eased off I have a very soggy moggy tucking into some Felix turkey flavour food.


I forgot to mention that yesterday I did some work on my new, but retro, PC. It is an idea I have been tossing around for some time now. I have a load of old PC parts and I have decided that I will use them to make a small PC to use them up. It will be a very low powered affair and run DOS and Windows 3.11 (and/or possibly O/S2 warp). I have a couple of old 486 motherboards and a wide selection of old ISA cards. So yesterday I put one of the motherboards into an old AT case along with a graphics card. I spent some time doing things like changing the back-up battery and getting all the wiring neat. When I turned it on absolutely nothing happened ! That pissed my off a little as you can imagine. I may have another go later today if it feels right. I don't actually know if it is the motherboard or processor faulty, or if it is just the way the jumpers have been set up on the motherboard. Unfortunately I do not have a manual for that motherboard so I am making it up as I go along. I could try another board, but I prefer the first one as it does not have an onboard IDE controller. I want to use a SCSI controller card and a couple of old SCSI hard drives that are just gathering dust at the moment.

Sunday 21st September 2003


Weather : clear skies. 14° C (yesterdays high : 24° C)

Another early morning. Earlier than yesterday, and it's still the weekend ! 

Very early this morning, between midnight and 1 am, someone let off two very loud fireworks with about 5 minutes between them. They sounded fairly local. I have had it suggested that sometimes when I hear fireworks, late on a Friday or Saturday evening, that they are part of the finalé to concerts held at the Crystal Palace Bowl. While that is likely for late evening, I think the fireworks this morning were too nearby and far, far, far too late at night. I ought to add that last Monday, or Tuesday someone let off a loud firework at about 8 am. I seriously wonder whether someone is trying to annoy someone else. With less moral scruples, and some money to waste, it might be the the sort of thing I'd dream up to "punish" those who had given me a few sleepless nights by holding loud parties until 6am. (See Sunday 6th July

Saturday 20th September 2003


Weather : Sky looks clear, but sun not high enough to assess properly.12° C

While others sleep peacefully in their beds enjoying a weekend lay in, I appear to be up earlier than any other day this last week (except last Monday where I appear to have started writing at 06.38).

I was awoken at 05.57 by a roaring sound that I think was a train traveling very fast on it's way to Hayes (Kent) for the first up service of the day. Once my eyes had opened and my brain engaged I found I was battered by all sorts of noises. I suspect it was just an atmospheric effect, but it seemed as if there was a concentration of loud planes flying overhead between 06.00 and 06.30. During that time there was also the odd car nearby and at least one other train (probably on the Catford Loop Line). I also heard what sounded like a distant explosion. I think it was one of the boilers/incinerators at Lewisham Hospital lighting up. It is odd how sound travels so well in cool still air. What was strange was the apparent lack of birdsong this morning. Normally it can get quite noisy with the local birds. These range from Crows in the nearby park as well as a large amount of, usually, very noisy sparrows that seem to hang around here in all defiance of the declining numbers in London.

As I type this it is 07.20 and it is still fairly quiet. There is the odd tweet from a bird, a single passing train and a plane going a long way overhead, but no car sounds. Two sentences later and it is now almost silent. All I can hear is the whirr from the PC and the ticking from the kitchen clock.


Half nine and it feels like the day is over. The nights are drawing in fast now. I'm not sure what time it actually got dark, but at 8pm I was thinking that it was well and truly nighttime.

This afternoon I re-watched Galaxy Quest. That film is so funny ! I had been meaning to watch a new Dr Who DVD ("The Two Doctors") that I bought this morning, but for reasons I'll not explain I ended up watching Galaxy Quest. Another thing I did was to put back my repaired power supply unit in the PC upstairs. Fortunately it worked perfectly, and I can now use that PC without having to wear ear defenders !

It has felt very hot today. I think it is just me, but on the other hand the forecast was for something like 25° C, and that is reasonably hot. I can't be bothered to go outside with a torch to read what the max temperature was, but I'll do it in the morning and report then. It is cooling off now the sun has gone down. That is one of the good things about this time of year. Although we can have some hot days there is still the chance to cool off at night. During the peak of the summer some of the hot nights were really uncomfortable. One other good thing about these cool nights - no noisy parties. Right now there is barely a sound to be heard from outside the window. Of course having typed that a plane is now overhead (pretty high so not too loud) and there was a cheer from the Greyhound Stadium. But apart from that,  it is quiet. 

Friday 19th September 2003


Weather : cool with clear skies.

Now I've fed the cats I ought to go back to bed. I had another late night, last night. I went to the pub last night and this morning I feel slightly hungover. There is no pain, but my head feels slightly wooly. Kevin was given a couple of "art" video tapes by an OAP he knows, and he gave one to me to have a look at. It was interesting viewing and that is another reason why I didn't get to bed until close on 1 am.

I think I am going drinking with Ivor and Iain at lunchtime so today is likely to be very unproductive.


Weather : bright and sunny. 21° C

Only 21° C in the shade, but it feels much warmer in the sun. I have just come back from the pub, and after walking in the blazing sun I am feeling very hot. Bizzarely, I am longing for a nice hot curry. But that is often the way after a sufficient amount of beer. Later on I might actually order a curry to be delivered. I have counted out all my £1 coins, and  I  do have enough for a good blow-out should I so desire it.

In other news, it appears that I may be back to doing radio programmes. It could be a little way in the future and I still need a modicum of persuasion from the right quarters, but it could happen ! ( I bet you would wish you were reading this Val !)

Thursday 18th September 2003


Weather : slight haze evaporating to clear skies. 14° C

Before I forget to record it : Yesterday was quite hot with a maximum of 23.5° C. That was the temperature in the permanently shaded area by my back door. Upstairs, at the front of the house it felt much hotter. In fact it felt like an oven up there. It was enough to trigger the overheat alarm on the PC up there with the CPU hitting 74° C.

I actually did four things yesterday. I went out to buy Rail magazine. I read Rail magazine. I took the lid off a PC power supply unit that I recently had to change and noticed that there were two capacitors that have split open (when I change them it should work perfectly once again). The last thing I did was to play with a Umax Mac computer. And that I did for hours and hours !! Potentially that Umax could be a useable Mac computer, but it has two serious flaws. It needs proprietary CD drivers that I have not got, and it needs a lot more memory. The memory is a real sticking point. I have no documentation about the computer, and do not really know the spec of the memory required. Internet searches suggest that it needs very rare 168 pin, 5 Volt EDO memory cards. I have tried modified 3.3 Volt memory and it does not appear to be recognised. If you have anything to help me - memory, documentation or software - for a Umax C600 Mac computer, then please get in touch here.

And now today. It's Thursday so it's New Scientist day. So another quick visit to the shops and more reading. After that I think I'll repair the power supply mentioned above. It would be good to get that back in the PC it came from. The replacement power supply roars like a jet engine, while the one needing repair almost purrs.


Weather : overcast. 19° C

The temperature seems to have dropped 2° since whenever the high was today. It makes it a little cool outside, but it is still warm indoors.

I have spent a lot of today just reading, but I have repaired the power supply I mentioned this morning. After replacing the two capacitors that had split on their top surfaces I turned it on and it worked beautifully. Prior to that it would wipe out medium wave reception with a loud growl that could be heard all over the house. Now everything is silent again. While in my workshop I also stripped down and repaired a PC cooling fan. It was suffering with seized bearings. A fault that is common to a lot of those small fans. I managed to pull it apart and clean and re-grease the bearings and reassemble it. It now spins at full speed and is close to silent.

With luck I will be off to the pub tonight for a few jars. Normally I would have gone last night, but Kevin had an early start this morning and thought better of a skinful the night before.

Wednesday 17th September 2003


Weather : cool and sunny with some high clouds. 12° C

I should have had an erotic dream last night, but it didn't turn out that way. I dreamt I was in a pub with some slightly unruly bikers. In came three people. I couldn't see the two behind, but the front person was a tall, slightly ugly, and very fierce looking woman. She was the "minder" for the other two who turned out to be, something you don't hear anything of these days, hookers for Jesus ! They were both extremely good looking young ladies, aged around their mid twenties, and dressed in tight leather trousers and leather jackets. I was so looking forward to being "saved", but I was either too good, or too evil to be considered and they only worked their charms on the bikers. It was a fairly vivid, but, ultimately, disappointing dream !

Today I think there should be the latest edition of Rail magazine out. So once I am up and dressed it is off to Smiths and maybe a quick visit to Tesco's, Then, if I do buy a magazine, it's feet up time for a good read.

Tuesday 16th September 2003


Weather : cool and sunny. 13° C

I spent a lot of yesterday evening editing the video I took last Saturday. I had previously thrown together a rough edit for this web site (Here), but last night it was the proper thing. I was able to do the first 6 minutes last night. I quickly reviewed that this morning and with a few minor changes I think I'll be happy with it.

So today, after attending to a few other bits and pieces, I'll be sitting down to do some more. Maybe I'll finish it, or maybe not. I am toying with the idea of some sort of commentary to accompany it, and that will take extra time to do. In fact what I'd like most is some comment from the actors Daniel Wilkes, Martin Sale and James Clemson. I think I'll e-mail them and see if they can record a few comments and e-mail them to me as mp3's.

Monday 15th September 2003


Weather : cold with clear skies. 11° C

Greetings to Daniel Wilkes, Martin Sale and James Clemson. They were the actors who appeared in the documentary last Saturday.

Last night I downloaded some information about html coding and had a play with it. I tried editing a copy of this very web page using no more than notepad. I made a few, easily correctable cock-ups, but on the whole it was quite easy while I had my crib sheets with me. At some time I may re-edit a lot of my website to include proper html tags and headers that Microsoft FrontPage omits, or even appears to get wrong.

During the night I had some weird dreams. As is so often the way of dreams, I can only remember a few brief snatches. One sequence was in a Spanish or Mexican restaurant. It was self-serve and eat-all-you-like for a fixed fee. All my friends found plates, but I couldn't. Finally I found a plate and managed to get just one small portion of a dish that was mainly spicy stewed tomatoes and onions

(salsa ?) with sausages in it. I think it was very nice, but very small compared to that which my friends were eating. At the time I was both disappointed and relieved that I hadn't stuffed myself silly. Later on, another dream sequence was that we (who were we ?) were going to some sort of nightclub. I had appeared to have slipped back in time as the entrance fee was 2/- (that's pre-decimal money equivalent to 10p for any of my younger readers). I suddenly realised I was very rich because I had £25 in my wallet. Somehow it didn't occur to me that it was in present day notes and the dream appeared to be set in the sixties. I partially rationalised this with the fact that I also had a large collection of pre-decimal money with me (which I do for real, about £2 worth in assorted coins). Oh how times have changed. I wonder what the entrance fee is for admission to a swanky nightclub now ? I feel it is slightly more than 10p and that a pint of beer is a little more than the 8p I think I paid in the dream !!!! 


Weather : hot and sunny. 22° C

I have just remembered why I am, a lazy, unemployed, scumbag. This morning I went shopping and lugged back 3 bags of stuff. At midday I went to Elmers End to see a man about a dog, and late this afternoon I went shopping again for cat litter and diet Coke. I have now changed the cat litter, emptied my rubbish bin and done the washing up. After that I feel hot and knackered and in need of deep relaxation. And that wasn't even a full days work !  

Sunday 14th September 2003


Weather : bright and sunny, clear skies. 12° C

Although I was tired, I was buzzing too much to get to sleep for a long time. Eventually I dropped off and had all sorts of weird dreams featuring odd snippets of pirate radio, and even pirate television. One thing I didn't realise about yesterday, until I was looking in the mirror while brushing my teeth, was how much I had caught the sun. My forehead was quite red as were my arms when I looked at them. Fortunately I didn't quite burn, but I can feel the very slightest of tingle on my forehead when I stop to think about it.

I will be writing to Patrick today to ask him the names of yesterdays actors. I know they will want to read their names here IN LIGHTS ! Of course if you three are reading this then you could e-mail me your names yourself at this address. Some of your pictures are HERE, but scroll down to yesterday for a little confession about my stills photography. I can confirm that I have some good video footage of yesterday and will probably download that into the PC today. I may even have time to edit a very short, and very low resolution web-movie by the end of today. Watch this space !


Weather : bright and sunny. 20.5° C

I have thrown together a rough and ready web-movie of one small part of yesterdays filming. It lasts 1 min 47 secs and takes up 4 MBytes of web space. I would suggest you right click the link and choose "save as" and watch it from your hard disk. Unless of course you have broadband. If so click away to your hearts content. On my 56K dial-up it took 15 to 16 minutes to upload. Downloading may be a little faster. Anyway, HERE IT IS.  Enjoy ! It says episode 1. There could be an episode 2, and maybe even an episode 3, but it is eating into my allocated webspace and you may just have to wait until the proper thing is out on DVD (probably expected early next year). ( I might do a few higher resolution copies on CD for the actors if they ask nicely).

Saturday 13th September 2003


Weather : bright and sunny, but still cool. 12° C

I actually managed a lay in this morning. I woke up at exactly 6 am, went for a wee, then got back into bed where I slept for another 2 hours.

I packed up most of the stuff, for today's filming, yesterday so I have little to do this morning. I will go out to Tesco's and buy a couple of sandwiches to take with me, and wrack my brains to make sure there is nothing I have forgotten. This is going to be weird. It has been so many years since I took a valve transmitter into "the woods" for a broadcast. (or in this case, pretend broadcast). I think the last time may have actually been in 1978 ! All being well, I'll have some pictures of it on here tonight or tomorrow.  


Weather : dark now, but it was a bright sunny day. Max temperature 21° C

Today has been a good day. The video shoot went well although with one minor, but inconsequential, problem. The Cassette recorder was producing a very low output which meant the transmitter modulation was very low.  On the whole it was most enjoyable. There were a few boring bits, but that is always the case during filming and was to be expected. The cast were very good and did look the part in their long hair wigs. In fact I thought they performed very well. I don't know if they had any previous experience doing documentary work, but they picked it up very fast and were a laugh to work with. I only wish I could remember your names guys. I have made a little web page with some pictures on that you can view HERE. To my ultimate embarrassment a lot of the pictures had camera shake. I made the fatal mistake assuming the bright sunlight would make the camera do fast exposures. Evidently that was not so ! I am still learning about that stills camera so next time I will take more care. Hopefully most of my video has come out OK and I may take a few stills from that and upload them to a second page in a day or two.

I feel pretty knackered now so I am just going to veg out for the rest of the evening ! 

Friday 12th September 2003


Weather : a bright start with small fluffy clouds. 14° C

I slept like a log last night. I finally turned the light out at just gone midnight, and fell asleep almost instantly. I do seem to be getting away with only 6½ hours sleep lately. I feel I should be getting 8 hours, but I don't seem too tired most of the day. There are often a few times during the day when I do feel like a nap, and sometimes I do , and sometimes I don't. I am not aware of anything waking me up this morning so I guess my body has had , what it feels, is enough sleep. It would be nice to have a lie in some times, but I just can't manage it. Invariably I need a pee when I wake up, and going for that that wakes a cat, or two, so I have to feed them. While feeding them I turn on this PC, and then I have to write this. When that is done I have to upload it. When that is done I check my e-mail. After that I read a few other peoples journals. By then if it, wasn't time to be up and dressed when I started, it is by the time I have finished ! 


Weather : mostly sunny, but cool. 18.5° C

About an hour after I finished writing this mornings entry I decided it was time to get up. I was feeling rather unclean at that time. Yesterday I was going to wash my hair, but for one reason or another I didn't. So this morning I put fresh batteries in my razor and had a very good shave. I then washed my hair and had a shower using the Palmolive shower gel I mentioned a few days ago. Having done all that I felt really good and clean. Almost (but not really) sexy.

Incidentally those Palmolive shower gels do not smell too bad when diluted with water. Without, they bare rather overpoweringly "poofy". They still DO NOT contain any smell that I can relate to one of their so called ingredients. Namely the Patchouli in one, and the Sandalwood in the other. Most disappointing !


I am beginning to get excited about something I have been looking forward to. Tomorrow is the day that my dummy transmitter is used for a film (video !) re-creation of old time radio pirates installing a medium wave transmitter in the woods. I have been invited to participate and will be picked up at 11.30. In the filming my hands will star as "the hand that tunes the transmitter up". The "actors" who will play the parts of the the pirates have no technical knowledge and will not be able to make a convincing show of the process, so it will be my hands in close up. Well probably ! I will, of course, report all about it once the deed has been done. I might even have a picture or two to show.


I had a scare this afternoon. I was sitting here at the computer with the window open when I heard a sort of scrabbling sound from a nearby garden and a loud meow from a cat. My initial thought was that two cats were fighting. Nelly, who was sitting outside, heard it too, but lost interest because nothing further was heard. A short while later Schiba came into the garden and appeared to have a limp. I think he had fallen off a nearby fence or shed. I put some food out in the garden to entice him toward me. He came straight for it without any further sign of a limp. Once he was eating I felt his back legs as best I could but could feel no obvious damage and he gave no sign of discomfort as I did it. Later he came in and I tried to get him to settle down so I could give him a better look over. Unfortunately he was in one of his silly moods where he will not settle unless I do. At the time I was trying to download some stuff on the PC and had to give that some attention. I did manage a little look at him and he seems to have a small scratch on one of his hind legs. It doesn't look bad and he is keeping it clean so I let him go out again. I was hoping he would be back by now, but he has spent a lot of time inside lately and tonight seems to be a mild night. So I guess he'll only be back for his breakfast.

Thursday 11th September 2003


Weather : cool, but semi clear skies.

Last night was beer night. I had 5 pints of Young's bitter in The Ram and enjoyed every drop. I don't know how, but at the end of it I didn't feel too worse for wear. I came home totally in control and decided to go straight up to be. No watching The Bill (recorded while I was out), no eating, and no playing on the internet until unearthly hours. Instead I read a few pages of my SciFi book and turned the light out at midnight. I fell asleep almost instantly. I was intending to sleep a little longer than this, but Schiba was howling to come in and so I am up typing this and Schiba is stuffing his face.

Wednesday 10th September 2003


Weather : rain

I was woken up by Schiba at 4.30 this morning. He wanted to go out. I suppose he had been in quite a lot yesterday, although he did go out many times. Anyway he insisted that he had to go out even though at the time it was raining. Nelly would never go out in the rain, but Schiba is "well 'ard !" and boldly went out into the dark and rain. He was very eager to come in again when I got up ! To show his appreciation he wasted no time in rubbing his soggy body all round my bare legs as I put out some breakfast for him.


Weather : occasional sunny spells and occasional rain. 17.5° C

Oh woe is me !! I got a final demand from the council for the £2359.94 owed for the emergency scaffolding last year. It seems that next doors insurers did not pay out after all. Not surprising as insurance companies will do anything to wheedle out of paying. So, with great reluctance I have sent off a cheque to settle the debt. I am now quite low on money reserves and so another of life's little pleasures is denied me (i.e. spending money). The simple answer is to get a job, but I do not feel ready for one yet. To be honest I don't like working. I have tried it, 28 years of it in only two jobs, and that must be a fair enough trial to be able to say I don't like work ! I like my freedom too much even it is often freedom to be bored now and then, and occasionally even depressed.


Even in the depths of despair something comes along to raise a smile. Hot off the e-mail press I find the following sent by a friend :-

A recent scientific study found that the kind of male a woman finds attractive can differ depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle. For instance, if she is ovulating she is attracted to men with rugged and masculine features. And if she is menstruating, she is likely to prefer a man doused in petrol and set on fire, with scissors shoved deep into his temple and a cricket stump jammed up his a*se.


I feel terrible. I've just been chastised for being out of work ! Apparently I am evil for "leeching off the state". Personally I don't think that 3 years out of work against 28 years in is too bad a record. I know quite a few people who have exceeded that when you add up all the little breaks from work they have had. I don't actually like quitting work. Once I have started I like to carry on, and that means I want a job that I am likely to be happy in for a long time. They are rare and as the first anniversary of leaving my last job approaches I will be looking a bit harder than I have done. But I still ain't going to bust a gut just to satisfy the morals of someone who has probably only contributed half of what I have to state funds.

I suppose the real reason I like being out of work is because I was jealous of many mates, who in years gone by, were out of work, or even had never even started work. They had all the freedom that was denied to me while I was stuck on the 9 to 5 (or 7.45 to 4.45 as it used to be back in the old Post Office Telecommunications days). It used to annoy me that they were out of work, but that was only because I was jealous, and that could be the case here. It is understandable that someone who is forced to work because of that huge millstone called a mortgage would also be annoyed at me just because I am able to survive being on the dole (mortgage fully paid off 10 years ago).

Looking on the bright side of things. When I do get back into work I may only have to work for another 5 or 6 years, and providing I save hard, I will be able to go into quasi retirement. So, yah boo sucks :-)

Tuesday 9th September 2003


Weather : looking grey (but sun not fully up yet) 14° C

I feel a bit odd this morning. It is almost like I am coming down with a cold or something. Luckily the only thing I must do today is to go along to the job centre and sign on. That will also put me in the vicinity of the building society so I will deposit the cheque that I meant to do yesterday. I think I'll hold off phoning the dentist for a little while yet just in case I do have a cold coming. I can't imagine anything worse than having your mouth stuck open, full of ironware and other assorted tools of dental torture, while mucus is trying to escape your body through all available orifices !


Weather : sunny intervals and warming up.

Since getting our in the fresh air I feel a little better, but I'm still not perfect with some lingering aches and a feeling like I want to lie down, possibly to sleep.


I have accomplished two of today's things. I've signed on and deposited the cheque in the building society. I am still going to hold off making an appointment with the dentist until I know that I am not heading for some sort of cold, 'flu, lurgy, syphilis, botulism, or even the screaming abdabs ! (How do you spell abdabs ? More importantly what does it actually mean ???)


Now I wonder if I'll be able to upload this ? When I tried to upload the 06.37 entry it wouldn't work. There was no error message. It was if NTL's upload server had died, and that sounds a very likely possibility to me. 


As I was trying to upload today's journal entry, for the second time, AVG anti-virus (http://www.grisoft.com/) popped up and said I had been infected with the Nichi Worm. I can't say I have heard of that one before. AVG could not cure the infected file and had to put it into the "virus vault" out of harms way. Now I wonder what application, or program will fail to work now (if any) ?


Everything seems to be still working after my worm infection this morning. 


It has been a lazy sort of day. All the aches, pains and general malaise I was feeling this morning seems to have gone away. Although I still haven't felt too lively for most of today. I did manage one thing today that I am pleased about. I actually wrote a miniscule amount of html. It was literally only one line that added a picture to a comment I made to someone, but it was a start. In theory html at its simplest ought to be easier to learn than BASIC. I was pretty good at BASIC once (OK it was mostly ZX81 basic, but not all !!), so there is no reason that I should not learn much more about html apart from laziness and ennui. I won't do it tonight though as I am now off upstairs with my latest SciFi book. 

Monday 8th September 2003


Weather : cool with grey skies. 12° C

Another very cool morning. My thermometer says it is 1° warmer than yesterday, but I reckon it feels colder. I think I was woken up by Schiba this morning. When I opened my eyes his was the first voice I heard. He was outside and very eager to come in. I did give him the option of staying in last night, but he decided he just had to be out all night. I thought that with the cold nights of late he had decided to become an indoor cat, but maybe some of the warmer daytimes have confused him into thinking this is still the height of summer.

    Meanwhile Nelly is starving. Some rotten cad has only put out some Tesco own brand cat food. It must surely be revolting ! Perhaps if she had been out in the cold last night she would have found it as delicious as Schiba did. So all poor old Nelly has had to eat so far is some "crunchies" that were on the floor where they had spilled from the plate (probably as a result of Schiba's messy eating habits). Unfortunately I have run out of fresh crunchies so Nelly will have to starve until I have been shopping.

     There are a couple of things I should do today (apart from buying crunchies). I received a card from my dentist calling me for my 6 monthly check-up. So I ought to phone for an appointment. [ Now there is an odd thing. My dentist is, for this visit, Dr Azari. I always thought that dentists were classified as surgeons who use the prefix Mr. rather than Dr. Is this guy really qualified ?] Another thing for this morning is to go and deposit my BT dividend cheque in  my building society. It is worth a glorious £6.93 so I am feeling really rich at the moment (!).


Weather : getting cold. 17° C

First of all - greetings to anyone who may have stumbled here as a result of my posting a couple of links on the Live Journal Kittipix pages. You are most welcome to my own version of an internet journal.


I have a lazy sort of day. I did not get the building society in time and I did not phone the dentist. I did go shopping in Tesco's though. I saw and bought ('cos it was a 2 for 1 offer) two lots of  Palmolive shower gel. One was supposed to contain Sandalwood and the other Patchouli. When I got them home I had a sniff and could not detect those smells. Instead both seem to be variants of essence of poof which is not very hippy at all !!! Maybe, just maybe they will smell different in use. Well I hope so as I have no intention of wasting them and will use them anyway !


I played an evil trick on the cats today. I had opened a can of catfood which was not one of their most favourite flavours. So I mixed in a small amount of real tuna. It almost fooled them and they did eat more of the "bad" catfood than they would have done otherwise.   

Sunday 7th September 2003


Weather : cool.11°C

I went to bed quite early last night. I think it was soon after 9pm, but it was not until gone midnight that I finally went to sleep properly. I had drifted off into a light sleep when Schiba woke me up saying he wanted to go out. He did seem eager to stay in when he came in just before 9pm, but I suppose he really just wanted some company and I had abandoned him and gone to bed. 


I have just had to repair this keyboard. It was most frustrating during the last paragraph as the space bar was intermittent. Cleaning all the gunge from underneath it seems to have worked. 


I think I will be having a very lazy day today. I may well go back to bed after I have watched Dr Who on UK Gold at 7am ( 20 minutes time).


It's been an odd sort of day. Some of it has been productive and some just lazy. I have dug out my old Dymo labeling gun and made labels for all the controls on my dummy transmitter, and recorded a few tapes on vintage cassettes (one was on a Philips cassette that must date back to the beginning of time !). I was surprised that the quality of the recording on such an old tape was really quite good, but then again it was recorded on a modern machine with Dolby B.


 Some of the time I pottered around in my workshop checking my old crystal collection, and a bit more time was spent looking at an old camcorder I was given last year. It has two faults on it. One stops the camera section working correctly, and the other is a mechanical fault on the tape deck. The first fault is easy in theory, but in practice a potential nightmare due the miniaturisation. Fortunately I do have a full service manual for it, although one possible place for the fault to lurk does not show any component values. Providing it does not get too frustrating it could be fun to try and fix that fault. The second fault is a mechanical one. That could be tricky as I doubt that parts are still available and I wouldn't want to pay for them anyway. To tell the truth I am not sure what it is that is broken. All I can remember is the guy who gave it to me pointing into the cassette compartment and saying the ????? is ?????. Whatever it is I will try and bodge it - maybe with lashings of superglue ! It would be nice to get it all working again as a sort of historical artifact, but it really is pretty obsolete these days. I am not even sure you can still buy VHS-C cassettes now. You probably can. It's just that I have had no need to look for any for years.


  I think I am going up to bed with a book now - pleasant dreams !

Saturday 6th September 2003


Weather : dry after overnight rain. Skies still grey. 16° C

Yesterday was exciting. I should have made an entry last night, but somehow I never got round to it. I finally finished my dummy transmitter (all bar a few fine adjustments). To my surprise it worked first time!  It is 30 years since I have built anything to that design and I was astonished at how well it turned out and that I had remembered the "cooking instructions" after all those years. The audio sounds a little distorted and I will have to fine tune if I can find the time. The distortion reminds me of old Radio Jackie recordings from the early 1970's so perhaps some of it is inevitable as the circuit is probably very similar to that used by Radio Jackie. The most important point is that it is finished as far as the eye (or in this case video camera) can see. In use the audio is not even needed as the sound will be dubbed on later - probably.


Last night it rained just as I was going to bed. I thought I had better get up again and see if Schiba wanted to come in . Earlier on he did not want to. I opened the window and whoosh he was in. He followed me into the front room and sat beside me on the settee purring his head off. After 10 minutes I went back up to bed and I assumed he would go to sleep. No, after lying in my bed for 10 minutes he started wailing for me at the top of the stairs. As soon as I came out he raced down stairs and started meowing at the window. So I opened the window and he leapt out and did a very dignified slow walk up the garden path in the pouring rain. This morning he appeared very quickly when I opened the back door. Once in I opened a new can of food and he had a quick nibble, told me he didn't like "Arthurs Cat Food" and went out again. Nelly, also, is not keen on Arthurs and is only taking a few mouthfuls of it from time to time. She has always been a fussy eater, but is managing a bit more than Schiba had. Perhaps Schiba dined out on a takeaway last night ( rat ?).


It's the first Saturday of the month so it will be a long session in the pub with my ex-workmates this afternoon. I wonder what all the latest gossip is ?


Weather : slightly overcast. 19° C

The thermometer says it should be cool, but I have been in my workshop putting the finishing touches to my transmitter. Some of it involved some cutting and filing and I am now feeling very hot and sweaty. I have to go out in just under an hour. I wonder if I can cool down enough and get myself presentable in time ?

I have cured the distortion on the modulator of the transmitter and it sounds quite sweet. Or at least it should. Halfway through testing my Philips cassette recorder died. I was using a N2202 which is the all silver/aluminium version of the EL3302. I am pretty certain that the drive belt has broken. It has become the weakest point on these old machines. On several of my machines the drive belt has turned into a sort of tarry goo. I have no idea how rubber manages to break down like that, but Philips seem to be the masters of making it.  Nevertheless my oscilloscope says the modulation is pretty linear when using a pure tone.  I'll probably be too drunk/hungover this afternoon to take the cassette machines apart, but I'll probably do it tomorrow. I think I have some suitable drive belts that will fit !


Weather : after a few scattered showers it is dry again, yet very humid. 19° C 

I've just had a wonderful drink with a bunch of wonderful people. At this point in time I will keep things very brief before I wear out the spellchecker. After all that wonderful booze and wonderful company it is time for a wonderful Chinese takeaway (or may be an Indian). Calories - never heard of them !!, 

Friday 5th Sptember 2003


Weather : heavy mist. 15° C

I was woken up by Schiba demanding to go out after he had spent the night indoors. When I looked outside there was this really autumnal mist hanging in the air. I am unsure of the correct definitions for mist thickness, but the school opposite my house must be 100 - 150 yards away and is just disappearing into the mist. Surprisingly the outside temperature is 15° C. I would have thought it would have been a fair bit lower.

Meanwhile Schiba who had made his way to beyond the bottom of the garden at a fast, yet still dignified pace, came back when I went outside to see what the temperature was. He came in and ate half a plate of food ( the other half he did his usual trick with and pushed it off of the plate), and promptly went out again and has disappeared from view. Nelly, having first nibbled her food to see if it is edible, has just used her litter tray - so it's gas masks time again !! 

Thursday 4th September 2003


Weather : cool but sunny. 12° C

Consumed quite a few pints of Youngs Bitter last night. I felt very good last night, after the booze, but maybe not so good now. It's only a mild hangover which should pass soon. It caused some odd dreaming involving the Catford beer festival and dead people. I cannot recall any detail from the dream(s), but I am reasonably sure that the dead people were dead for tax reasons rather than the "going to meet their maker" reasons ( q.v. Hotblack Desiatio - Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy). In those last brackets I used the letters "q.v." in the belief that they stood for "compare with", but I am not sure. I Think they are the initials for the Latin " Quo Vadis", but what does that actually mean ? I must go look it up soon. Anyhow one of these dead people, who were in coffins at the beer festival, was a woman who I fancied, I and I am reasonably certain that I was trying to persuade her to get revived so I could chat her up. I could  just be making that up to try and fit the rather fleeting remaining images in my coddled  brain, but I am sure it was something like that. I am pretty certain that she was very beautiful and that the coffin was lined in extra purpley (see what you make of that one spellchecker !), purple satin that to my eye is rather sexy as well.

Me, weird ???? 

Wednesday 3rd September 2003


Weather : clear skies. 12° C

I'm up ! More than that I am washed and dressed (apart from socks). I never quite intended to be up this early, but I thought "Why not ?". I just hope that after all this effort the postman brings my parcel. not that I am expecting him until sometime after 9 am ( That's Royal mail Parcel post. The ordinary postman comes about 8 am),

 I did wake up at 04.30 this morning following a slightly nightmarish dream. It was too long and complicated to describe it all here, but here is the shortened version. I was looking at a small river that ran alongside a road. It was only about 5 ft wide and maybe 1 or 2 ft deep. As I was looking I noticed there were a lot of bubbles rising from the bed of the river. At the same time the remains of a tree stump, that was between the river and the road, burst into flames and smoke was coming out of some bushes on the far side of the river. Somehow I realised that a volcano was about to erupt. I can't recall the location for this, but my subsequent movements suggest it was near Crystal Palace Parade. Within a few minutes a fissure opened up in the ground half way between the road and the river (and inline with the burning tree stump). I can't recall whether I leapt over this fissure or whether I was already back on the roadside, but the fissure was glowing red hot. Strangely there didn't appear to be any heat radiated from it. I decided I had better run for it, and I could only just out run the fissure as it continued to grow. It was only when I was halfway down Sydenham High Street that the fissure turned away and headed towards Penge. That gave me a chance to look back and I saw huge great sprays of lava coming from where I had originally been. I decided I had to put more distance between myself and the red hot lava spray that was now just starting to fall to the ground near me. So I carried on running towards home. At first that was towards my old place at George Lane, but I remembered that I lived in Catford  and veered off down Nelgarde road towards here. All the while I was thinking that this volcano was more like an Icelandic one that would not be a violent explosion, but instead would cover everything in ash. I was expecting some minor earthquakes though. As I approached my house my thoughts were to get the cats in and hope that no red hot lava fell on the house. As I approached the front door I woke up feeling pretty disturbed. It felt like the dream had lasted a long time and my nerves were still jangling from the fear of impending doom. It is strange how these dreams mix fact and fiction. I think much of the volcano scenario was fairly accurate, but the idea that I ran 4 or 5 miles to escape it is just pure fiction. I couldn't run half a mile, even with bees up my arse, before collapsing into a dying heap ! 


  I think that from tomorrow I will add a subject line to the top of each day in this journal. Today's would have been "VOLCANO !!!".


Weather : bright, sunny and warming up nicely. 16° C

It wasn't the postman but Initial Deliveries who have delivered the parcel I have been waiting for. 50 shiny new DVD-R disks to make back-ups on and other more nefarious purposes (should they arise).


I must add at this point something I keep forgetting to do. Yesterday I mentioned that Schiba had gone walkabout and I hadn't seen him for 24 hours. 30 minutes after writing that he appeared at the window, came in, had a bite to eat, and went straight to bed !


With luck I may be going for a pint tonight, but before  then I must do some more work on my "dummy" transmitter. 

Tuesday 2nd September 2003


Weather : sky is a uniform light grey colour. 12° C

Much to my relief I found out yesterday that my transmitter prop does not have to be finished until the 13th this month. I am still intending to get it finished by the end of this week, and I will do more to it today. It also occurs to me that I ought to film some of its construction. After all what is a film these days with the accompanying "The Making Of......" ?

   Other news is that Schiba has done another of his disappearing acts. I haven't seen him for 24 hours now. I hope he doesn't try a stunt like last year when he was away for a whole month ! That was a worrying time. I am sure he has two homes because after these periods away he turns up as if nothing has happened, and apparently reasonably well fed. It is the sort of behavior that you would expect from a tom cat who is not firing blanks. It can't be in Schiba's case because he definitely has no nuts !


I forgot to mention that last night I finished reading a new book by Rob Grant called Colony. Rob Grant was one half of "Grant Naylor" who wrote all the Red Dwarf series. The book was a good read apart from the ending which I thought was a little rushed. It does bear some comparison to Red Dwarf. It is mostly set on a spaceship that is GIGANTIC in size like The Red Dwarf, but in this case it is not a mining ship but a ship with colonists for a new planet on board. The central character is somewhat like Rimmer, but is not a hologram, although he does end up with a similar, but different, affliction. The rest of the characters are a mish-mash of recognisable traits from the whole gamut of different Red Dwarf Characters. If you liked Red Dwarf then you will also like this book, but you will need to make it to chapter two before it becomes recognisably "Red Dwarfian".

It seems a long time since I have put any pictures in this journal so................

Schiba playing dead.

This is Schiba looking like he is playing dead.

What a long paw.

What a long paw he has.

A close up of Nelly

A slightly soft focus portrait of Nelly.


Today has been a good day. I managed to do a considerable amount of work this morning. All the metal work and most of the fixtures and fittings of my "dummy" transmitter have been done. all  that is left now is the wiring up and a few other finishing touches.

Picture of half finished transmitter.

This is how the rig is looking at the moment. I think it is a reasonable facsimile of the type of transmitter used in the early to mid 1970's. There will be a back plate on it and that will have the rotary converter mounted on it. It is possible that it does look a little posh compared to some of the heaps that were thrown together, but it has been built using 95% contemporary parts and 100% contemporary tools. So it is pretty feasible that it could have been made in, say, 1972 by someone with a little more experience than I had at the time. I made some estimate today of how much power this rig could produce if it working correctly. Given a prevailing wind and a freshly charged car battery I think it may just about produce a whole whopping 3 Watts ! with a more powerful, higher voltage, rotary converter it would do the more typical 10 - 15 Watts that many rigs of that era produced.

   Must get to bed soon as my blank DVD's could come in tomorrows post (hopefully !)

Monday 1st September 2003


Weather : cloudy skies

I was woken up at just gone 4am by Schiba who wanted to go out. After that I went back to bed again. Upon waking up, just a short while ago, I found that I had somehow shoved the pillow up to the top of the bed and I had been sleeping with my pillow not under my head, but effectively pressing down onto the top of my head. So at the moment I have a thundering headache and a really painful neck. It feels like my brain is trying to escape out of my ears or something. Ideally I would take a couple of Paracetamols and go back to bed, but I am expecting a parcel delivery anytime in the next couple of days and do not want to be in bed when the postman calls. So in a minute I must get under the shower and get up. I hope that a nice hot shower may help my pains.


It's been one of those bleurgh sort of days ! I found it very hard to motivate myself and I achieved very little. My headache and neck ache did go away by about 08.00, but I still felt slightly fragile up until around 09.00. By the afternoon I was beginning to feel slightly miserable and I should have forced myself into my workshop and done something creative. By this evening I was feeling actually miserable because I did not force myself to work. In consequence I have just recently had a large kebab that was covered in chilli to cheer myself up. I think I feel better now, but come tomorrow I just know that I will spend half the morning on the toilet ! The really sad part is that one thing I should have done today is to buy more toilet paper. I started the last roll this morning and I should have plenty for my needs for a good few days. But what if it should fall into the bath and disintegrate ? It doesn't bear thinking about !!!! 


Copyright - Bill 2003