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January 2004
My life in Catford, London, England, Europe, The Earth, Province of Sol, The Milky Way
December 2003


Saturday 31st January 2004

08.55 GMT
Weather : wet and windy
     I'm not sure why I didn't write an entry yesterday. For the sake of continuity I've written it now - for what it is worth.

      I haven't really got that much to say this morning. I can't recall any dreams and the only thing of note for today is a brief visit to Tesco's.

      Did I mention that I thought the sound had died on my upstairs PC ? Well if not, it did. I thought I had killed the sound chip when plugging in an old reel-to-reel video recorder. I was very close to disabling the on board sound and fitting a new soundcard, but I thought I would reinstall the drivers first. It worked and everything is back as it should be.
Friday 30th January 2004

Weather : dry and sunny in the morning
 I guess not much happened today as I am writing this the day after - i.e. Saturday morning.
Thursday 29th January 2004

07.45 GMT
Weather : cold with icy snow on the ground and clear skies.
     It all happened last night at around 6pm (give or take an hour). There was a fall of snow like cloudburst. In little more than 15 minutes, accompanied by thunder, the snow just fell out of the sky and settled an inch deep. This morning the snow is still there. I haven't been out to check it personally, but from the sound of vehicles and people walking on it, it is frozen into crunchy ice. I would imagine that it is treacherous to walk on, yet that is what I will do later when I pop out to buy New Scientist and Micro Mart magazines.

     There was some good news yesterday about my reel to reel video tape machine. Buried deep withing the motor there must be a thermal cut out. Although I had given it an hour to cool down the day before yesterday without any success, it fired up and worked OK yesterday. I also discovered that it plays any tape recorded on Scotch tape without too much drama, but any tape recorded on Sony tape just binds and sticks. I reckon that the Sony tapes have deteriorated in some way. This is a pity because the two tapes I really want to copy are both recorded on Sony tape. If they were on metal spools I might be tempted to try something I have heard about, but never personally tried. The idea is to bake the tapes in an oven to reharden the glue that holds the oxide on. It is a technique used on some old audio tapes where the oxide is flaking off. I have no idea what it would do to a video tape but I would be willing to try it were it not for one little thing. The tape is on plastic spools that would melt at the sort of temperature I am thinking of. That temperature would probably be a little over the boiling point of water. If I had an industrial oven where the temperature could be set very accurately and kept constant I would be tempted to try it - plastic spools, or no plastic spools. All I could do here is to shove it in the oven on gas mark 1 and hope for the best. Maybe I will try it and see what happens to a non important tape.
Wednesday 28th January 2004

08.20 GMT
Weather : cold with clear sky
     I might, or might not, have had a dream last night. I thought it was real, but I am not so sure now. I woke up at around 3am, or possibly a bit later, and looked outside and saw the lightest dusting of snow on my neigbours lower roof. I thought that I wiped my bedroon window to get a better view and there was slushy frost on the inside. This morning there was no frost on the window, but there is evidence of some snow on an old chair that is in the back garden. The ground is wet as well. So was it a dream, or did it happen ? The small amount of patchy, thin and frosty snow on the chair outside suggests it did, but the lack of any sign of frost on my bedroom window suggests it didn't. Another thing where I am beginning to doubt my own reality is that I woke up at ten to seven and it seemed unnaturally dark and I thought that it was because of a very cloudy sky. So I turned over and went back to sleep. Now as I look out the window I can see clear blue sky.

     I spent a couple of hours yesterday playing with an old reel to reel video recorder. I have two tapes, recorded in black and white, that I would like to transfer to a more modern media - probably digital. I was not sure if the machine was working, but it did seem to do everything. Sadly the tape kept sticking around the scanner drum and several tape guides. I kept cleaning them and got reasonable playback for a minute or so before it would jam again. I don't know if it is the tape that has deteriorated, been contaminated, or something else. What I do know is that after the machine jamming for the last time it appears to have burnt out the motor. I am going to take a better look at it today, but I think I'll have to resign myself to the idea that I'll never play any of those tapes back ever again.
Tuesday 27th January 2004

07.50 GMT
Weather : cold with grey sky
     Will it, or won't snow today ? The last weather forecast I saw suggested that by this evening it might snow. I'm sort of looking forward to that. Meanwhile the wind chill factor is supposed to be something like -15°C. I am not looking forward to that!

     It would have been interesting to have woken up to thick snow this morning. Today is one day when I have to go out to sign on. Had there been snow then the job centre would probably be in chaos, and i might have enjoyed that.
Monday 26th January 2004

08.30 GMT
Weather : cold with a very grey sky
      Last night I went to bed early. There was nothing of any significance on TV so I thought I'd read for a bit and get to sleep early. I was hoping to wake up at around 7am. It didn't work out that way. Schiba decided he was going to play up. He has been OK recently, but last night he decided he was going to keep jumping on my bed and pace up and down to keep me awake. Now I'll admit he was being very affectionate and purring, but why couldn't he have done that during the day instead of ignoring me? By 3am I offered him the chance to go out for the final time and he took it. I was surprised that he had ignored all previous chances as he hadn't been out for nearly 15 hours, and 15 hours is a long time without going to the toilet! So eventually I got just over 5 hours of continuous sleep and a few odd half hours here and there.

     I'm not sure what I will do today. There are several things I could, or even should do, but none4 really excites me. I still have a small pile of photos that I want to scan into the PC, and I have a couple of PCB repairs that are turning out to be total buggers to diagnose. I won't even mention the ever growing piles of stuff recorded off BBC 7 that I have still to top-and-tail and store in their appropriate directories. Whatever I do it will be after I have checked my mail, washed and dressed.
Sunday 25th January 2004

07.55 GMT
Weather : Bright,clear and cold
     I dreamt it was snowing. It was only a brief dream just seconds before I woke up. I think it was because it is so light outside for such an early hour in the morning. That and recent weather forecasts suggesting that a smattering of snow is on its way.

    I think I have invented a new word - "skittenish" - which is to describe a happy, frollicking cat.
Saturday 24th January 2004

08.22 GMT
Weather : Bright and clear
      Nelly seems to have recovered from her ordeal at the vets, and more importantly is still not coughing or spluttering. Now it is Schiba's turn to play up. He went out at 6am this morning and I have just let him back in again. When I saw him he was at the end of the garden. He came racing up the garden path. Leapt straight through the open window and is now lying on a chair seemingly with no energy left at all. I wonder what all that is about. I have just peeked around the door and he was on a different chair having a good wash until he saw me and "collapsed" again. Odd, very odd !

     Last night I had a really excellent curry. It was a bit extravagant after paying off the vet for Nelly, but it was really nice. I had better go and buy some food today, both for myself and for the cats. The trouble is I fear that with the threats of imminent snow all the usual suspects will go into seige mentality and try to buy shedloads of stuff from Tesco's and I will get trampled in the rush. I hate crowded supermarkets and huge cues at the checkouts with some people buying several heaped trollies worth of goods!

    I had a very weird dream just before waking up (ain't they all). I was going down a main road towards Lewisham. I had with me something like a cross between a scooter and a primitive bicycle. The nearest way of describing it was like a childs scooter, but it had bike wheels on it, a low platform for standing on, and was made of wood. I can't recall actually riding it, so I must have been pushing it. Half way to Lewisham I came across a group of "Hells Angels" who had taken over a bus shelter as their headquarters/garage. One of them I knew from somewhere and the others were friendly in varying degrees. So I stopped for a chat. They were modifying a motorbike for one of their mates who was disabled after an accident. He was walking around on two peg legs after losing his legs. The artificial legs seemed to consist of parallel lengths of steel reinforcing rods. They looked obviously home made, but were also very functional. The bike they were modifying had a large rear wheel and the cog for the chain drive was huge - perhaps 3 feet in diameter. I remarked that it was "fucking huge" to the one who I knew and got told off for swearing. I was then given a lecture on how they had all stopped swearing to improve their public image. I then looked back at where my scooter thing was and found that all the woodwork had been replaced by newly welded metal. This was all too confusing and I had to wake up at that point.

     Today I must get down to those repairs I mentioned the other day. I spent an hour last night tracing out the circuitry and I think I see what the problem may be. If it is then I should be able to do the repairs very quickly. If not I'll be at it all day.
Friday 23rd January 2004

09.00 GMT
Weather : Grey, but no rain
     This is going to be a short entry. It is 9am and I am still not washed and dressed and I want to take Nelly to the vet. Hopefully I'll get a morning appointment as I want to be free to go for a lunchtime pint. I think Nelly has something stuck in her throat. She is breathing, eating and drinking OK, but every now and then she seems to be gagging.
09.55 GMT

     Nelly is now booked into the vet for 5pm. This means I will have to rethink my lunchtime drinking. I could go fot just a couple of quick pints before rushing back home, or I could not go and be sure of no rushing about and not feeling below par when I lug Nelly to the vet.

     The vet I use is situated inconveniently near. It is too close to consider a taxi, but at the same time it is a struggle to carry Nelly, in a cat basket, all the way there. She is a rather heavy cat and I'll be all hot and sweaty once I get there.

      I also fear that it could be an expensive visit. Possibly the worse case scenerio is that she has something like a cleft palate that requires an expensive operation. I know that a cleft palate is usually something you are born with, but it is feintly possible that she might have had surgery to repair one before I got her, and now that repair has broken down. Another possibility is that it is something like a small feather that has lodged in her nasal cavity. I did have a pillow that was leaking small feathers until recently and maybe that is where it could have come from. I'm pretty certain that it is not something like a fishbone stuck in the throat as she has no access to fishbones. Besides, I doubt if she would be able to eat if it was something actually lodged down her throat. She can breathe OK which probably means her windpipe is clear as well. If only the silly girl would let me take a look in her mouth I may have been able to gain some idea of what the problem is. Possibly even remove it if it is an obstruction. I have made several attempts to look inside her mouth but she puts up such a fierce struggle that it is impossible. She is not actually violent, but just wriggles free of any attempt to hold her. The vet is going to have "fun" this afternoon.
17.35 GMT
Weather : surprisingly mild
     Nelly and I have just got back from the vets. Before I say what happened there I must say what happened just one hour after I rang the vets to make the appointment. Nelly had a quick bite to eat. A few minutes later she had a massive coughing, snorting, sneezing and gulping attack. I saw a little drool come out the side of her mouth, but nothing solid. Since then she has been more or less cured.

     Once at the surgery the vet had a good feel under her throat to see if she could feel anything, and also to test to see if it was sore. She also looked in Nelly's mouth. There was nothing to see, but apparently for a better look Nelly would have to be anaethetised. It seems that what ever was stuck was dislodged this morning. To be on the safe side the vet gave Nelly two antibiotic shots and I have some antibiotic drips to give her starting on Sunday night. I am not too sure that was wise, but I will follow the  vets orders even though I worry about the possibility of bacteria becoming antibiotic resistant through unnecsessary use. If you don't know what I am talking about then a quick google about antibiotic resistance will throw something up.

     Now we are back home I am feeling very hot and knackered. Nelly is a heavy cat to carry for the half mile, or whatever it is, to the vets. Nelly is reasonably sanguine about it all. she has just demolished the standard reward for such an ordeal - a small tin of "human grade" tuna. In fact she only managed ¾ of a tin, but I expect she will finish it of unless Schiba finds it first. She is now sitting on my bed and was purring away when I left her. Meanwhile I am not £71 out of pocket, although admittedly half of that was for fresh supplies of flea drops for use in a few more weeks time.
Thursday 22nd January 2004

22.43 GMT
Weather : dark and damp
     I was going to add an extra comment this evening, but I have just realised I never made an entry this morning. I think I decided to get washed and dressed before writing the entry, and then I got distracted. I went out to buy todays New Scientist and a copy of Micro Mart and sat down to read them. During the afternoon I had a visit from a man I haven't seen for a long time. he had a couple of electronic repairs for me to do. I think, or at least I hope, he is going to pay me for them. In the past I have done similar stuff for nothing, but a bit of extra beer money would not go amiss.

      Tonight I was going to comment on a couple of TV programmes that I found entertaining. First was the programme about Concorde's first transatlantic flight. That was pretty good, but the programme that followed 30 minutes later was even better. It was Jeremy Clarkson doing a brief history of computers. Some people don't like him, but I find his irreverent humour in tune with mine, or at least like I tend to think as mine. In some ways the programme was slightly annoying in that it only devoted about 5 minutes to the period 1980 to 2000 (or thereabouts). It would have been nice, in a nostalgic sort of way, if there had been a little more about the growth of personal computers. The programme opened with him surrounded by many old classic computers, but that was the only time they were shown. It was interesting to see some pictures of early wimp (windows, icons, mouse pointer) developements at Xerox's Palo Alto research facility. I had seen some stuff like that before, but never in such detail. (I assume it was original footage rather than a reproduction). It was so easy to see where Steve Jobs got the idea for the Apple Macs graphical interface from (which Microsoft subsequently copied for Windows). I think that it is time for bed now. Good night.
Wednesday 21st January 2004

09.38 GMT
Weather : cold and grey
     I was awake at 6am this morning, but I woke up with a real raging headache. So I took a couple of aspirin, fed Nelly, and went back to bed. Once the aspirin cut in I was able to get back to sleep again, but only in 30 minute sessions. Finally at 9am I decided to get up. My head and neck still feel a bit sore.

      I also woke up at 3am this morning and had to go for a pee. I had been dreaming and at that time I could remember what about. I decided that I ought to try and recount the end of that dream because it was very funny, very insightful, very scary, or very something. The trouble is that I have no idea what it was about now. At the time it seemed so neccesary to write it down. Maybe it would have altered the whole state of world affairs, but, alas, it is gone forever now.

      The parcel that I was waiting for yesterday turned up at about 11am so I did not need to get up so early, and also that is why I was able to have a lay in this morning.

       I'm going to spend some time, today, scanning some old photographs for a potential new project that I am contemplating. Even if not used the project it will still be nice to have them digitised. Here's a taste of one scanned yesterday, although it is not really part of my potential project.
The MV Communicator 1985
It is of the MV Communicator, Home of Laser 558, taken by me in 1985
Tuesday 20th January 2004

07.38 GMT
Weather : cold and damp
     Have you ever gone to bed only to find that one pillow is too low and two pillows are too high? That it is too hot in the bed and too cold outside? That the sheets appear to be permanently rucked up? That any tiny change in the surface of the mattress feels like there is a rock in it? Well that was me last night. I went to bed a little before midnight, perhaps even at 11.30, and I think I had just started to doze when Schiba woke up and wanted to go out. So I let him out and thought I could now get a good nights sleep. But no! Even with him safely out of the way I still could not get to sleep and suffered all the agonies describes above.

     After much tossing and turning I estimate it was close on 2am before I finally fell asleep. It might seem odd that after that I am up so early. It is actually worse than that. I am up, showered and dressed, but there is a reason. I think that this morning, or maybe tomorrow morning, I will be getting a package in the post and I need to be up to answer the door to the postman/delivery man.

     I did wake up during the night after a nightmarish dream. I dreamt I was examining an old fireplace with Sylvester McCoy (as Dr Who) and one other person. The fireplace was supposed to be haunted. We found that there was a sort of brick shaped lump of stone that could be partially pulled out, and something that looked like a nail that could also be pulled out. Whenever they were pulled partly out something would happen. I can't seem to recall just what that something was though. I speculated that they were switches for some sort of magnetic circuit. I then noticed another nail like "button" and decided that rather than pull it out I would hold up a large pair of plyers to it. Being made of steel they would affect the magnetic field. When I did that there was a sort of fierce belch of hot air out of the fireplace accompanied by the ghostly sound of someone, or something, saying man. It was a long drawn out "man" and sounded rather frightening. The next bit was rather farcical as all I could think of saying was "fuck off". I think the fireplace then replied that it would be nicer to go for a drink. At that point I woke up feeling disturbed.

      Just before I woke up, and actually got up, I remember the closing bits of another dream. I was with someone and we were walking along under an awning that was almost tunnel like. The awning was made of grey PVC tarpaulin type material. At the end were a short flight of steps. At this point I can't decide whether I was actually a participant in this, or merely an observer. At one point I was a participant because I had to duck out of the way of a bee. I was more an observer when I found out we were going to see Deep Purple play at an open air venue. Also I found out that we had been given a lift, part of the way, by two nuns flying a helicopter. Apparently they were still overhead and would wave to us when we emerged into the crowd. As we went up the steps the awning ended and we came out into the audience. Looking up there was something in the sky, very high up, but we knew it was the helicopter and that the nuns had seen us and were waving to us.

     I can't ever recall having nuns and helicopters in a dream before !
Monday 19th January 2004

09.55 GMT
Weather : Cold and rather grey
     This morning I have done things backwards. I have dealt with my e-mail, and done a little web surfing before writing this. I'm not sure why - it just happened that way.

      Schiba stayed in last night, or at least until 4am. He was being annoying again during the night. I was in bed by 11pm and he came up to see me at midnight, 2am and then at 4am. If he wants affection why can't he do it during the day ? In consequence what should have been an early night with plenty of sleep turned into a very broken sleep. I was quite glad when he decided that he had to go out at 4am - but not before I gave him some breakfast ! This morning he came in bounding with energy and has been chasing toys around and causing general mayhem. Soon he will want to sleep, and want to sleep until he goes out at some uneartly hour tomorrow morning. Perhaps I will keep disturbing him during the day so he has to catch his 20 hours beauty sleep overnight !!

       I wonder what today will bring ? I thought yesterday was going to be boring, but I passed hours and hours of it making up some more Skyline DVD's. Apparently more are wanted and they want to pay me for them. I haven't the resources for mass production, but the odd one here and there will earn a little beer money, but it is no substitute for a real job. I ought to spend a little time today looking for a new job.
Sunday 18th January 2004

08.00 GMT
Weather : Clear Sky and very cold
    I dare not venrure outside to check the actual temperature, but I am sure it is sub zero ! Poor old Schiba is outside somewhere shivering away. He decided to go out late last night and I fell asleep before he was ready to come in. Perhaps tonight he will listen to my advice to go out earlier in the evening !

     Today I really must go out shopping. I have more catfood in the house than human food, and I am down to my last roll of toilet paper. I almost made it to Tesco's yesterday, but had to turn back after an urgent desire to get to a toilet. Having done the neccesary I could have gone out again, but decided to try again today.

     I wonder what today will bring. Apart from a quick visit to Tesco I have no plans. I have a funny feeling that today could be rather boring.
Saturday 17th January 2003

07.20 GMT
Weather : Dry
     It is strange how it is only at the weekend that I seem to be up early.In fact this is actually a transative state as I will probably be back in bed soon.I came to, aware that Schiba was in my room, but I don't think he made any sound to wake me up apart from, maybe, the sound of him bounding up the stairs. Once I looked at him him he jumped up onto the bed and was very affectionate. I could only give him some 10 minutes of affection before I had to get out of bed to go for a pee. We then went downstairs so I could give him his breakfast, but he thought it was more important to haves some games first. So we chased some toys first and killed the toy mouse for the upmteenth time before I put out his, and Nelly's food. Nelly has licked all the gravy from hers, but left most of the lumps, but Schiba turned his nose up at it and has gone out for a takeaway (if he can catch it). Meanwhile I think I'm off to finish the last couple of hours of my beauty sleep.
12.00 GMT
Weather : Dry, mild and sunny
     First the bad news : BBC7 are not broadcasting The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy on Sunday nights. Sometime in the last couple of days the schedule has been changed.
     Now the good news : The 18.00 hrs slot, Sunday night, on BBC7 is now the third part of the Journey Into Space trilogy. Having safely recorded the 12 parts of the first serial, Operation Luna, and the 20 parts of the second, The Red Planet, I now have to endure a nail biting further 20 weeks to get all of the third serial, The World In Peril, safely recorded. Perhaps after that they will broadcast The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, although there is a fourth serial of Journey Into Space that could be broadcast. I am not so keen on recording that because it wss, apparently, made much later than the first three and uses a different cast and even a different style.If it is broadcast I will no doubt record it and enjoy it, but it sounds as if it ought to stand alone as a seperate serial to the other three. Eventually THGTTG will be broadcast, and I'll be very happy when it is.
Friday 16th January 2003

10.28 GMT
Weather : Very windy but dry
     Last night was a terrific night! Good company and plenty of good beer. As I mentioned yesterday, the pub was in Barming, near Maidstone, and Ivor and myself were supposed to get there by about 6pm. As it turned out we were lucky and got held up up in heavy traffic and got lost when we turned off the motorway. It was actually 7pm when we got there and this was lucky because the drink didn't finish at the 9 or 10pm that was intended. Instead we carried on drinking until closing time at 11pm (although Ivor did leave sometime earlier than that). If we had been there at 6pm I would have ended up too drunk. As it was I just got nicely sozzled. Everyone who was coming did come except for Howard who was trapped in Suffolk by appalling weather conditions. The role of honour was :- Ivor, Bob, Patrick, Roger, Kevin, Pete and Horace. So well done to them and thank you for a really good evening.

     This morning, as I write this, my hangover is slowly dissipating. I woke up from a deep sleep with a Country and  Western tune echoing around inside my empty head. The only place I have ever heard the song was when Tom mimed it in a Tom And Jerry cartoon called, I think, "Texas Tom". Tome was in full western gear while singing it to a good looking white cat. Meanwhile Jerry kept altering the speed of the record that Tom was actually miming to. Quite what inspired my brain to remember the song is a bit of a mystery, although I think I may have seen the cartoon recently.
Thursday 15th January 2004

10.05 GMT
Weather : Cold with clear sky and sunshine
     It seems late, but I was up at 05.40 ! I had to set up the upstairs PC to record the repeat of a radio programme that I missed yesterday. I also took the opportunity to feed Nelly and Schiba, and let Schiba out.

     Yesterday Jodie did come round with her photo CD's. I managed to get her to install Paint Shop Pro as practice for installing it on her own PC, but it was an uphill struggle. It was probably a wasted struggle as well. One of the first uses of Paint Shop Pro, that I thought would be very useful for her, was rotating a picture round through 90°. Some of her pictures were taken in portrait mode and needed rotating for correct display on a PC. It was apparently "too difficult" ! In the end I had to do most of the stuff myself. We burned a few disks of stuff that she wanted to send to friends and she seemed quite happy with it all.

     Tonight is another drinking night. This one is slightly different as it will be in Maidstone, or perhaps more correctly in Barming which is a "suburb" of Maidstone. It is also different in that it will be an early evening drink that will probably finish a little after the time I would normally start to drink. With Luck I should see Bob, Ivor, Howard, Patrick and Kevin. I understand that I may also see Peter and Horace, although as yet this has not been confirmed. It should be good fun !
Wednesday 14th January 2004

07.16 GMT
Weather : Drizzle
    This morning looks even earlier than yesterday. This was not planned, but is more the consequence of a hangover. I thought it was a re-run of yesterday's headache, but this feels more booze related. As you may have gathered I was in the pub last night where many pints of Winter Warmer were consumed in the company of Kevin and Howard.

     Today I can go back to bed until midday should I choose to do so. I doubt I'll be in bed that late, but another hour or so would not go amiss. This afternoon Jodie is supposed to be popping over with a Photo CD that she would like duplicated. I am also going to attempt to teach her the rudiments of Paint Shop Pro so she can crop/resize some photos for sending via e-mail. That is going to be one hell of an uphill struggle. She is "scared" of anything new on a computer. I am amazed that she can even turn on her own PC and use it to surf the net, and send e-mail.
11.30 GMT
Weather : damp after some earlier rain.
     I did go back to bed and had a very good sleep. Just prior to waking up I had an amusing and confusing dream. The most significant thing in it was that I was the proud possessor of a 1 TeraByte (1000 Gbytes) hard drive.For some reason it was taped to an optical disk drive, or maybe it was an optical disk drive as well. The optical drive was something very special because it had a tiny LCD status display on it, although what information it might have displayed is a mystery to me. I don't even know if it was a CD, DVD, or some other format. What I do remember was that the disk tray was not a good fit, and upon opening it the reason was all to apparent. Someone had repaired it using an old dirty tray that bore the legend "Amstrad CPC".

 Right now I ought to get showered and dressed. This is turning into a VERY late morning for me !
Tuesday 13th January 2004

07.50 GMT
Weather : Damp
    I don't know how, but I am up very early this morning.Actually I do know why and how. The why is because I have to sign on this morning. The how is by using my clock radio. I was not sure I would actually achieve this because I was up to 2am listening to "Journey Into Space - Operation Luna". Like the serial that came after it, "Journey Into Space - The Red Planet", it was fascinating listening and well worth the hours spent downloading it from (I think that is the correct url).

     I first woke up at around 5am with a terrific headache. Also my face and forehead was covered in sweat. I don't know if I was having a nightmare or if it was galloping brain seizure. After a pee I was able to get to sleep again, but woke up briefly a couple of times before finally deciding that I may as well get up as it was almost the time my alarm was set for. My head was still pounding so I have taken a couple of paracetamol and now, 20 - 25 minutes later, my brain is slowly clearing.

     When I first woke up I am sure I had a dream that was worth recalling, but what it was I have no idea now. I do recall some of a dream that I had just prior to waking up for the second time. I was looking over the fence at the railway lines by Catford Bridge Station. There were barriers across the rails that included thin tape as well as more substantial wooden blocks. (This was obviously inspired by the events last Sunday). The layout of the tracks was more elaborate than now, and I think it included the old goods sidings that were taken out of use some 30 years ago - perhaps more. Various people were searching the line side and it looked as if someone was spraying something in the station itself. For some reason I thought it was a flea infestation, but decided to ask someone what was going on. He said they were looking for a pzgghrt. I could not understand what he was saying, but as events unfurled I found they were looking for some sort of green snake. Eventually it was found and several lorries drove onto the track to collect the barriers and also to provide materials to replace stuff damaged during the search. Finally a single loco (a Class 20, I think) went through to check everything was OK.

    I really must go and get under the shower soon. Before I do that I must tell you the good news, and it is very good ! Yesterday I discovered that on BBC 7 the next scifi serial in the 6pm slot on Sundays is to be "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy". All last year I had been wanting to hear the radio series again. It is different to both the TV series and to the books. Although both were based on it. I even considered spending the £50 or more pounds on the CD box set of the radio series, but now I can listen (and record) on the radio. Oh, happy, happy joy joy !
Monday 12th January 2004

08.55 GMT
Weather : Wet but not too windy
     Considering all the dire warnings about terrible storms for this morning it seems remarkabley calm. It is very wet though.

      Wet monday mornings have never been a good idea as they tend to cast their shadow over the whole week. However today may not be too bad as I have plenty to do. I have to put the finishing touches to my VHS to DVD transfer of "Carry On Screaming". I did a test pressing last night and it revealed lots of faults. For a start the last video section cut off 5 minutes before the end, although the encoding programme never warmed me of such. Also the lip sync was badly out after any 15 minute segment. So much of it has to be done again.

     I felt quite eleated yesterday. I finally recorded part 20 of the 20 part serial "Journey Into Space - The Red Planet". I have been recording this science fiction radio play off of BBC 7 for the last 20 weeks and now have all 20 parts safely backed up on 2 identical CDR disks. One day I will listen to it all over again. It is really good classic scifi originaly broadcast in 1954. To make matters even better I have discovered whe whole of the preceeding series (Journey Into Space - Operation Luna) is downloadable fom the internet.  The quality is not quite as good as the BBC 7 broadcasts, and the entire series is some 150 MBytes of downloading (split into 14 episodes), but I cannot wait to finish downloading it and having a listen.
Sunday 11th January 2004

08.18 GMT
Weather : light rain overnight.
     What shall I do on a Sunday ? It is odd, considering how little I have to do most days, that I don't seem to have time to slump in front of the TV and watch a couple of films I bought recently. Maybe this could be the day where I do just that. It was over a week ago that I bought a couple of bargain bin, "two for £10", films. One is "The China Syndrome" and the other is "Buster". The first I believe to be a typical crap Hollywood disaster movie. It was possibly too bad even to show on TV, or at least I can't recall it ever being on TV.
12.54 GMT
"Another one bites the dust!"
     A short while ago I noticed on BBC teletext that the railway line between Lewisham and Hayes was closed "due to an incident near Catford". Apparently a substitute bus service is operating. Given the recent weather we have had lately I thought that maybe a tree had blown down onto the line so I thought I go have a look. I thought the mostly likely place was where the line goes through the park. I have now found out that I was very wrong. I still don't know exactly what has happened, but I'll take a good guess. The incident itself is literally at the end of my road, just 100, or so, feet away. There is a footbridge there for access to the Greyhound Stadium. It is all taped off with British Transport Police in attendance. Also there is barrier tape across the railway lines bith before and after the bridge. Working within the taped off area are men (or women) in white coveralls. They may be searching for evidence, or maybe body parts. My guess is that some little scumbag of a graphiti artist has fallen off the bridge, broken a few limbs, and was probably fried as well. If he (or she) was very lucky they have had a train run over them as well. Sympathy ? My sympathy goes out to those who have to clear the mess up afterwards, and to all the passengers whose journeys have been blighted.
Suturday 10th January 2004

09.00 GMT
Weather : Dry and bright (so far)
     I have been awake for something like half an hour after a good nights sleep. I have to admit that I left Schiba out all night so that I could get an uninterupted night. Last night was fairly mild, and it was dry too, so I don't feel too guilty about it. He has now had some breakfast and is sleeping it off on my bed. This has annoyed Nelly as my bed is her traditional place to sleep off breakfast. She was reluctant to jump onto the bed with him on it, but I picked her up and put her on the bed. After a few minutes I had them both purring away at opposite ends of the bed where I hope they will settle down and get the sleep they both want. (Although Nelly has actually been asleep all night !).

      Yesterday was a good day. I did go over for a lunchtime pint with Ivor as I suggested I would. It was a fairly leisurely affair that lasted rather more than a 1 hour lunchbreak. In fact it was long enough for me to get through 4 pints of beer. And to round it off in a most pleasant way I got a lift home. Shortly after getting home the hangover arrived and it seemed worse than normal. Now that is odd as I usually do that drinking on an empty stomach, but not this time. I had a light breakfast before setting off to the pub so I should have been slightly buffered against the effects of the alcohol. I don't think I was any more (or less) drunk than usual, but for the first couple of hours after I got home, and before I had my dinner, I felt very bleuuuuuuurhg (not that I did, or even want to go bleuurgh - this is the feeling not the action we are talking about !) Once I had sat down and relaxed and eaten my dinner the headache and feeling of extreme lethargy passed and I was able to enjoy the evening.

    I have read with interest, and a slight amount of alarm, about the RSPCA proposals for a new law concerning animal welfare. It is good up to the ultimate point, but beyond that is (theoretically) scary. It proposes that people with animals have a duty of care for them and that causing them distress could result in prosecutions. Somehow this falls a little askew when applied to cats. For a start who owns who ? Taking Schiba as an example, it is more the case that he "owns" me. He started out wild and if he was dissatisfied with my services he is more than capable of giving me the sack and finding a new slave. Nelly is more dependant on me, but at a pinch she could do the same thing. But what is distress ? In a literal sense I often cause deep distress to Nelly and Schiba. It was only yesterday that I accidently opened the tin of turkey instead of the chicken with tuna ! If Nelly were the magistrate she would have me hung drawn and quartered for such an offensive mistake ! The poor girl was so weak with hunger that she was almost passing out before she was forced to accept and eat the turkey flavoured cat food 30 minutes later.
Friday 9th January 2004

08.58 GMT
Weather : Dry and bright.
     I am surprised I am up so early - if you can call almost 9am early. I had a rough night last night. I went to bed just before midnight, but it was not until 3am that I was able to fall asleep properly. I should have had loads of exciting dreams, but I cannot recall a single one.

     All of yesterday was a bit weird. It was not just after going to bed. Somehow the day went past really quickly, and yet I did not seem to achieve anything in particular. It seems hard to recall just how I did spend my time yesterday. I listened to two half hour episodes of a radio dci-fi drama (Earthsearch II). I went out briefly to buy New Scientist, and then I read New Scientist. In the evening I watched 2 hours of TV. That was my entire day. It seems odd that just that filled the entire day.

      Today ought to be more interesting. In all probability I'll be going over to the border between Peckham and Forest Hill for a lunchtime drink with Ivor. One day I'll work out the best place to describe where the pub is. It seems to be in a sort of no mans land bordered by Forest Hill, North Dulwich, Nunhead and Peckham.I think that its postal area is probably Peckham, but to me Peckham conjures up a vision that does not match the area that the pub resides in. North, or North East, Dulwich has a better feel to it.
Thursday 8th January 2004

10.12 GMT
Weather : Wet and windy
     I had a fine night at the pub last night. I think I had 4.5 pints of Winter Warmer. The night was only spoilt by finding icy cold rain to meet us outside the pub. It was dry when I went to the pub, but I did get a bit damp coming home.

     Most of my dreams I have forgotten, although one of the forgotten dreams did involve being in a pub I think. I do remember part of one dream though. I cannot recall the circumstances, but I was given a sort of pass to attend a university lecture. I went along because I thought it might be fun, but with no idea what the lecture was about. Actually I still don't know what it was about. The lecturer started spouting off about something or another, and then started asking questions that no one seemed to be able to answer. Except me, but I have to admit the answer was pure Bart Simpson. I said "dammned if I know" and apparently that was the answer the lecturer wanted !

     Yesterday I spent many hours burning CD's and DVD's, and printing cover inlays. These were for the Skyline Video. I now have sufficient stocks to distribute at a booze up next week. Today I ought to delete all the skyline stuff off my PC. It is taking up at least 20 Gigabytes of hard disk space. The full edited video in avi format clocks in at a single file size of 8 Gbytes and the unedited clips must add up to around double that. Once I have cleared all that out my next project is to transfer a VHS copy of "Carry On Screaming" to DVD. As I recall the tape came from a bargain bin somewhere. The cassette was still shrink wrapped, but there was no library case around it. Don't ask why I want to transfer it to DVD, because my only answer is, that I can !
Wednesday 7th January 2004

08.15 GMT
Weather : Mild and dry
     This must be the earliest I have been awake for some time now. I did not go to bed until half past midnight, but Schiba stayed downstairs and I was able to get to sleep quickly. He did wake me up at around 5am, but settled quickly and I was able to get back to sleep. It was Nelly who finally woke me up as she came up the stairs and "sang" me a little "song".

     I can only remember a small bit of one dream. The imagery is all rather confusing now. I think I was in a workshop with various people around, some male some female. I am sure that some were dressed in police uniforms - possibly American Police uniforms. There was also a railway line running down one side of the room. For some reason, it may have been some sort of game, we had to throw a pencil that had been sharpened at both ends and try and get it to fall across the conductor rail and the adjacent running rail. This would have caused a bit of a flash and a bang and I suppose that was the ultimate objective of it.

     I managed to burn one copy of the Skyline video to DVD yesterday which I shall use as the master for the others I have to make. I also designed, and printed some cover inserts. Today I shall duplicate some more disks.
Tuesday 6th January 2004

12.26 GMT
Weather : Mild with sunny intervals
     This seems like a very late start to the day, but I have been up for some time now. It was another of those nights where my sleep was split into a couple of segments by the actions of the cats - mainly Schiba. I went to bed at midnight and Schiba was out then. By 1am I had not gone to sleep so I had a lok to see if Schiba wanted to come back in. He did, and he also wanted more food. So I fed him and went back to bed. I was just starting to doze off when he came up to see me and demand attention. I finally got to sleep after he was happy and did not wake up until about 8am. I then fed the cats (again) and then Schiba went out and I went back to bed. After her breakfast Nelly likes to sleep on my bed so she came up. She is no problem andwas quickly settled down. I finally got up at around 10.30. Since then I have checked my e-mail, set up the timer for recording some programmes from BBC7 on the upstairs PC, washed and showered and made a phone call. I now have some kippers simmering away for my breakfast, and I am writing this.

      Today I must do the final bits and pieces for the Skyline DVD. It all has to be ready for Thursday week, so I should try not to rush it too much.
Monday 5th January 2004

08.36 GMT
Weather :cold and damp
     I wanted to get up early this morning. I first woke up at 5am, but decided that was too early. It was Nelly who finally woke me up. My first glimpse at my clock showed it was 08:22 so it was actually later than yesterday. I should have been able to sleep easily last night because Schiba went out before I went to bed. (I'll explain why in a minute.) For some unknown reason I have been feeling really hot as soon as I get into bed. This has been going on for the last 4 or 5 days. I can't get to sleep when feeling uncomfortable like that so I partially uncover myself. Then, once I do go to sleep, I preumable feel cold and thrash about trying to cover myself up. I guess that is partially responsible for some of the bizzare dreams of late.

     One of last nights dreams was set in an old railway station, perhaps in the early sixties. It was a big station with at least 4 platforms, but I have no idea where it was now, nor where it may have been based on. Nothing much seemed to happen in that dream. A few trains went by, or stopped, and eventualy after having a good look round I got on one train. After a few stops I got off the train at a station that might have been New Beckenham.

   Another dream centred around a large pub. I was with some people, though I don't know who they were. One of the bar staff was a woman who I had once had a fling with, Marion, but have not seen in reak life for maybe 15 years or more. In the dream I was trying to avoid being seen by her even though I fancied her. She seemed to be much better looking in the dream than in real life. The whole pub had a 50's, or even WW2 ambience about it. It may have even been set in wartime because there was an explosion in a building across the street. It was thought to be a bomb and blamed on the Germans. From the pub I watched as some people investigated it. They were at the front door when it was opened by a man who said, in a very broad Irish accent, that they should stay clear becuse he was demolishing the building, and that it was not a bomb at all.

    I think all last nights dreaming had very little action, and all were like going back in time. It seemed I was in these places just to watch and observe without paticipating in anything. Perhaps I will have a future job in "The Time Corps" (or something equally fantastical) !

      Yesterday I found a flea on Nelly. So it was cat torturing time again. Although why one drip of cold liquid on the back of the neck should be such a traumatic experience I'll never know. Schiba decided he was going to leave home and went out never to be seen again until this morning. And Nelly was running around trying to hide. This morning it is almost as if nothing happened yesterday.
Sunday 4th January 2004

08.20 GMT
Weather : Dry, no frost
     I have been thinking I ought to be getting up earlier in the morning. So, as much as I would like to, I am not going back to bed after I have written this. For some time now I have been waking up early to feed the cats, or do this writing, and then been going back to bed. I blame it on Schiba and his unsociable ideas of waking me up after I have gone to bed. Last night I went to bed very early, but I could not sleep properly until after Schiba had gone out. Tonight I hope to be able to get to sleep earlier, maybe by 10pm, and even if I have to get up again at 3am to let Schiba out I still want to wake up, and stay up, by around 8am or earlier.

     Yesterday afternoons drinking session with my old work colleagues was pleasant although not as exciting as I had hoped. There were not that many people there. I suppose that some of the regulars may have still had xmas responsibilities with families etc. Worst of all was that I didn't get my "presents". My old boss who was going to give me his old scanner was not there. That was not surprising as he joins us 50% of the time, but I woinder if he will even remember his offer when he next shows up. The old laptop I was hoping for did not materialise either. The woman who was going to give it to me did get a new, but secondhand, laptop for xmas, but her husband is now saying that he will repair the broken laptop for their daughter. Apparently that is so unlikely that I am still in with a good chance of getting it for myself. I doubt that her daughter, who is 6 years old, would be satisfied with an old crock of a laptop that has no CD drive. She will have been brought up on the latest fast multimedia PC's and all her school friends would tease her badly if they knew what she was using. That laptop would be far better off in the hands of someone who grew up with old 486 PC's and knows how to get around some of their limitations. Someone like me ! Of course in less than 2 months I will have a job again and will be able to afford something far better - I hope.

     If you had tried to download any of the pdf files of last years diary entries and found they wouldn't work, then try again. For reasons that I find very mysterious they all uploaded with 500 to 1000 bytes missing on their file sizes. I have uploaded them again and I think they are all complete this time.

     Right, I had better grab a shower and get dressed before I am tempted to go back to bed.
Saturday 3rd January 2004

09.27 GMT
Weather : bright and frosty.
     So, Saturday is here at last. I'm looking forward to a drink today. The last booze I had was last Tuesday when I was in the pub with kevin. I didn't even have any booze on new years eve.

     During the night I had a dream about a super advanced indian resturant. All the food ordering and payment was through computer terminals, although the food was still served by conventional waiters. One of the items on the menu was a speciality thing that was only available from this one resturant. We went there specially for this one item, but I have no idea what it was called, or even tasted like. In the cold light of day I remember it looking like corned beef in a french stick, but in the dream it was totally delicious. You could even describe eating it as Orgasmic.

     In other news....well there isn't any in reality. Since xmas I have been exceptionally lazy. I haven't really been anywhere, seen anyone, or done anything (with the exception of last Tuesday nights drink in The Ram). Yesterday was mostly spent watching TV and tidying up some of my recordings from BBC 7. I edited and listened to 5 episodes of of a sci-fi drama called Earthsearch II. It is a story set a long way into the future and features four characters who are the last four survivors of a planetry search mission to far off suns. Because of the length of the mission they are descendants of the original crew (or their descendants), and were born in deep space. They are now trying to find the location of Earth which was moved to another star after our sun exploded.It is a ten part story so I am half way through now, but I will have to wait another week until the rest of the spisodes are broadcast.
Friday 2nd January 2004

09:42 GMT
Weather : bright sky, damp ground
     Once again, Schiba, who had been grumpy during the day, decided that he would come alive once I went to bed. He does it on purpose. I know this to be a fact now. Last night I went to bed a lot earlier than I have done lately. After half an hour he was up bothering me. At 4 am I was out of bed feeding him, or at least that was the general idea. He has been picky about his food and didn't eat that much. After that quick snack he went out again.

     Once again (again) I had a lot of strange dreams last night. In one dream someone had bought the old Post Office underground railway and was offering rides on it. I went through several tunnel sections before coming out in the basement of a building that had, allegedly, been built by Brunel. Within this basement was a large circular staircase that I went up all the way to the top floor of the building. There seemed to be a choice of two doors. The first one led into a very large room. I went into the room with someone who I think was the senior engineer of the place where I used to work. We found a party going on with plenty of food laid out on tables. Whenever we approached the food it was covered up and we were told it was not for us. In the far corner was a DJ who might have been one the girls from the office (again from where I used to work). She was playing some dreadful drum 'n bass music that we both hated. Also she had seemed to have painted her teeth with some fluorescent paint. As she smiled all we could see were these green glowing teeth. I decided to leave and came out back onto the landing where the huge spiral staircase emerged. I tried the other door and found myself in something like a large house. It had a butler who was the neandertal character from a Doctor Who story called Ghostlight (I think). I can't remember what happened in that room, but the butler would sometimes morth from neandertal to large gorilla and back again.All the time he would remain pleasant and intelligent, but quite what I may have talked about with him is now a mystery.

     Until the the time when I was interupted by a phone call while writing this, I was convinced today was a Saturday. I now realise that it is definitely Friday. In some way this is a shame. I was looking forward to my first Saturday of the month drink with my old workmates. This drink could be extra special as I am hoping I will be getting a couple of presents. Last month I was offered a seconhand flatbed scanner for nothing. Hopefully it will be supported by Linux. Even more hopefully the guy who offered it to me hasn't changed his mind and will actually be there, with it, tomorrow. The other present is slightly more tenuous. One of the "girls" has a laptop that has crashed and won't boot. Her husband should be capable of fixing it but had not bothered to do so. I offered to have a go but she said it may not be neccesary because she had a suspicion that she may be getting a brand new laptop for xmas. If that was the case I offered to buy the old one from her. I think, although I was drunk at the time, she said I could have the old one for nothing if she did get a new one. That would be a really useful windfall. It is not a great laptop. I don't know what speed or type the processor is, but it is probably something like a 166MHz Pentium 1. I do know that it has no CD drive, but does have a broken hinge. Also I suspect the battery is not in good shape. But it will do OK for me. I would like something I can show photographs on when out and about and, I hope, that would do just fine. So, roll on tomorrow and I hope that luck comes my way.
Thursday 1st January 2004

15:09 GMT
Weather :dry, but overcast.
    Happy new year ! The first day of the month and the first day of the year. This means major changes to this diary, or journal (or whatever you want to call it). First of all I have deleted all of last years entries , but made them available as pdf files that can be downloaded from the calendar page. I think, or hope, that this will save some of my limited webspace. Sadly the links in the pdf files will probably no longer work, but you can always try them if you are keen. Let me know if they work. Anyway, glad you managed to find todays entry after all my mucking about.

    Last night was a noisy affair with fireworks going off all over the place. I might have gone to bed early but decided to stay up and make sure the cats were OK. Nelly is not too worried about fireworks, but they make Schiba very nervous. He is still a bit off colour after a stomach bug the other day (He threw up all over the hall carpet), so I wanted to keep an eye on him. It was obvious he didn't like it, but he didn't try and hide under a bed or chair this time. He had gone out for a little while earlier in the day so I assumed he was comfortable and by 00:30 I went up to bed as most of the noise had stopped. By 01:00 Schiba had come upstairs to see what I was doing. He seemed quite restless and would only settle down for short periods of time. By 02:00 we had a game with some toys. He was thrashing about all over the place as he "killed" the toy mice. Once he seemed exhausted I left him to it and got back into bed. Shortly before 03:00 it was obvious that he was not going to sleep so I offered him the chance of going out. It was pouring with rain, but he only hesitated for a few seconds before he was off to who knows where. This morning he can in damp, but not soaked, and finally was ready for breakfast and sleep. I too went back to bed and did not get up again to 11:30. Since then I have eaten, watched some TV and spent a long time buggering around with these web pages. I now have the unpleasant task of uploading this lot and try to delete the correct bits of the old lot.

Copyright - Bill 2004