Bill's diary entries for June 2004
Diary entries for June 2004
Middle aged in the middle of the year

Wednesday 30th June 2004

06.45 BST
Weather - cloudy sky, but sun out at the moment
           By my reckoning it is the last day of June.  Just for a change I have done the calendar and made up the page for July already. Most months I make up the new page from fresh on the first morning of the new month. That way is always a bit of a hectic rush, but tomorrow morning I'll be able to wake up and just write some old rubbish as usual.

            Yesterday was an OK sort of day. After signing on I did my shopping in the Aldi supermarket as it is on the most direct way home. I then had some breakfast . As that settled in, time seemed to pass very quickly, and I decided to go over to Dulwich for a drink with Ivor. I was very good at lunchtime as I only had one pint of beer and two diet cokes. After lunch we went back to the school until it was time to go home via the pub. My original idea was that I would have one pint before being dropped home by Ivor, but in the end I stayed on for a few more with Iain and Ruth. We left the pub at about 18.30 and Iain gave me a lift home. Having the two diet cokes helped a lot because I was not rolling drunk when I got home. I was obviously not sober, but I did not get the raging hangover that is usually the case if I have had an extended session there.

           The evening passed very quickly, and by 21.30 I was ready to go to bed. Once in, or rather on, my bed I attempted to finish the book I have been rading for several nights now. As 23.00 approached my eyes had gone so blurry that I was forced to give up with only 10, or so, pages left. I turned off the light and was asleep almost instantly.

           Today I have no specific plans, but I think I'll be spending a few hours messing about in my workshop.
Tuesday 29th June 2004

06.15 BST
Weather - bright and sunny
           Another month draws towards a close and still no sign of a job. I found another potentially good job on the Job Centres own web pages. It was only a temporary job that could possibly become permanent, but it had already been taken. What I did not realise at first was it was actually placed by a recruitment firm. I have now left a copy of my C.V. with them via e-mail. Perhaps they will find something similar and offer it to me soon, but I will not hold my breath. Even if they do offer me something it will probably be in Glasgow, or Kuala Lumpur, or anywhere where I can't easily get to.

            Yesterday was sort of productive. I managed to edit and listen to some of the old BBC radio shows that have been accumulating on the PC upstairs. I am still woefully behind with all the stuff I have recorded, but just a little less now. I also finished the dummy FM transmitter for Patrick. It is mainly an empty box with a big heatsink on it. There is a driver for a VU meter in it, and that works nicely. It also feeds 12 volts into the aerial socket so that a modified VSWR bridge reads as if it had RF power feeding into it. We may do the filming of it on Thursday night before, during, or after the pub.

          Thursday night is our next old pirates meeting at Barming. Our distinguished guest this time will be Mick who has come all the way from Cornwall. I think a lot of people will want to see Mick as we have not seen him since he moved to Cornwall some 20 years ago. Back in 1973 he was responsible for engineering the first solid state FM transmitters for RFL, and later on for Radio Telstar South.

          This morning I have to sign on. When that is done the day is my own. I am contemplating going over to have a drink with Ivor although there are a few things I could be doing here. It looks as if it is going to be a nice day - it has certainly started out that way - so a drink in the beer garden does sound most appealing.
Monday 28th June 2004
No booze today.
08.15 BST
Weather - bright and sunny, but very cool
          For the second day running I find I have little to say. Nothing much happened yesterday, although I seemed to keep myself fairly busy. I finished playing with my test PC. I repaired the power supply on a VCR, and I listened to several science fiction radio programmes that I had recorded. The rest of the time was either spent reading or watching TV.

            Today I must force myself to make a dummy FM transmitter for another bit of filming of Patricks documentary. This time it will not be so elaborate as the medium wave transmitter. That was a 90% working transmitter, but it was of traditional open design where there was lots to see. The FM transmitter will be just a box and it is only the external details that will have to look right.

              I still feel tired this morning. Yet I thought I had a reasonable nights sleep. I was reading in bed last night and I can't remember what time I turned out the light. I am sure it was well before midnight, and I seem to recall falling asleep very quickly. I did wake up a few times in the night. One time was when I was feeling cold. I went to sleep on top of the duvet because it felt fairly warm last night, but this morning it feels quite cold. It was definitely not cold under the duvet. When I woke up I was half under it and half out, and I still felt like I had overheated. It will be some relief when the weather settles down and I can sort out my sleeping arrangements to be comfortable all night.
Sunday 27th June 2004
No booze today.
06.20 BST
Weather - damp after overnight rain
            If it were not for Nelly I would still be fast asleep in bed, but she wanted her breakfast. So here I am  - briefly.
One thing I managed yesterday was to solve a problem that has been bugging me since the 20th. I was having a hard time getting an experimental Windows 95 installation to see my home network. The answer was, with the benefit of hindsight, very simple. Windows had decided that a modem card was a sort of network interface card even though it had no drivers loaded for it. When I finally remembered to run ipconfig I saw that eth0 had no ip address allocated, but eth1 did. Once I removed the modem card from the system eth1 became eth0 and there was my network. I suppose that had I bothered to load the drivers for the modem card it would have been far more obvious as Windows would have been trying to dial out and complaining it couldn't.
Saturday 26th June 2004
No booze today.
07.15 BST
Weather -milky coloured sky, maybe sun later ?
            Yesterday was a good day. I managed to get back to sleep, and had at least an extra hour before getting up again. I surprised Ivor by suggesting he should pick me up on his way into work. Originally there was a loose plan that I would go over there much later in the morning, but I wanted to get out early, and I had an idea that getting the new PC working might take a few hours.Unfortuntately Ivor had decided on a scenic route into work that bypassed Catford entirely. Ivor suggested I phone Iain and see if he was any nearer. He was (in a way), and so it was Iain who drove me to "work".

             The PC was built into a rather nice case. I had seen the case in the window of Maplins (Forest Hill), but had not seen inside one before. It was a nice looking black case with two blue led illuminated fans on the front (I want one !!). Inside, it was nice and airy with plenty of space to work in. The first thing I noticed was that Iain had tried to use the CD drive as a slave of the floppy disk. I'm not sure how he reached this idea as the CD has a 40 pin connector and the floppy disk a 34 pin connector. When I had straightened out the bent pins of the CD drive (caused by forcing a 34 pin connector onto them) we tried the PC out again. It failed to boot. Next I swapped the graphics card with one of my surplus ones. Now it booted, and with a stick of my memory in it, I proceeded to format the hard drive ready to receive the operating system and all the software. That would not work properly until I had removed the second drive and set the master/slave jumper on the remaining drive correctly. The primary drive was a rather large 120 GByte ex-Apple hard disk that fdisk didn't even realise had been Mac formatted. The removed second disk was a 4GByte unit that was rather superflous against a 120 GByte drive. Not only was it unnecessary, but I think it would have slowed the whole machine down.

          From an 08.00 start it took until lunchtime at 13.15 to install Windows and all the supporting software, but that included the drivers for an Epson A3 flatbed scanner and the drivers for the network printer. I was able to go to lunch with the PC fully installed and ready for action. As usual my payment was free beer in the pub (but probably only one pint as I bought a round myself), and a day out. I did make some money this time by flogging my surplus graphics card. I charged £25 for it. It was not an especially exciting one, but the cheapest cards seem to be over £50 lately so it was probably a bargain. I spent the afternoon in the pub beer garden slowly getting drunk, but it was not an extra long session and Ivor dropped me off at home before I was totally legless.

             Sometime next week, possibly even Monday, I am going over there again to get another PC working. This time it is a personal challenge. They have an old Compaq PC that has been partially stripped, after it was declared to be useless piece of junk. I am sure it was probably badly set up and lacking in memory. I reckon that I can get it working as a useful office/internet PC. It may not be able to handle heavy graphics editing, but I am sure I can make it work satisfactory for most other things. I am very inclined to install Linux on it as I think that will make better use of its resources. Previously it may have had Windows 2000 on it with just a paltry 64 MBytes of RAM. If so it is no wonder that it was choking to death before it started to do any work at all.

            Last night I watched some TV while eating a kebab (a smaller one than the last one I ordered while drunk). By 21.30 I felt it was time for bed. It seemed a warm night so I did not attempt to get under the duvet. After just over an hour of reading I turned the light out and was asleep fairly quickly. I woke up twice during the night. The first time, in the early hours of the morning, was to go for a pee. After that I fell asleep again really quickly. I don't know why I woke the second time at around 05.00. It may have been that I was feeling cold. I did feel a bit cool so I got under the duvet, and once again I fell asleep quickly and easily. So it seems I have had a good nights sleep. For two pins I would go back to bed now, but if I tried to force more sleep now I would probably wake up aching and grumpy. I think I'll stay up now.
Friday 25th June 2004

03.35 BST
Weather - sun just rising on dry morning
          This is a ridiculous time to be up in the morning. I did want to be up early, but not this early !  Yesterday I went back to bed, after writing up my diary, and slept until gone 09.00. After my illness, whatever it was, I thought that some extra sleep would not go amiss, and it did seem to help a lot. Later in the day I also took a nap for about an hour. So it was with some surprise that I managed to get myself in bed and asleep by 23.00 last night. Sometime shortly before 03.00 I woke up and I have not managed to get back to sleep again. I can not seem to find a comfortable position in bed. It is either too hot under the duvet, or too cold outside it. No matter which way I lay in the bed I seem to feel every ruck in the bottom sheet, and every tiny bit of grit. How does grit get into a bed ? I am reminded of a scene in "The Young Ones" where Vyvyan remarks to Mike that no matter how apparently grit free the bed is when you get into it, there is always grit in it in the morning. That was illustrated by Vyvyan pouring out a bucketful of sand from his sheets. Mine is not so bad in that it is very hard to find any grit in my bed apart from the one microscopic piece that gets between my hip and the sheet. Why does it turn up there ? Of all the places it could be it always chooses to the worst possible place. Not that this is a regular occurence. It only seems to happen at 3am when I'm trying to get back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night. I think it is some sort of conspiracy !

          The thing is, I was hoping to get a good nights sleep so I could get up early, and obviously stay up, so I could get a lift from Ivor into his work in the morning. Once again I have the opportunity to earn a free pint or two sorting out a PC. This is one that Iain has built from scratch and it does not work. Hopefully it is something simple. Iain knows a lot about Apple Macs, but I don't think he knows about the brute force and stupidity required to get an Intel/Windows machine to run properly. So here I am at 04.00 (now) writing this drivel while I should be fast asleep, dreaming erotic dreams (about women, not PC's), and waiting to wake up fresh and raring to go at 06.00.

           Yesterday I did feel far better than I had done for the previous few days. All the aches and pains had more-or-less faded away, but I did still feel a little weak. It seems obvious that all the extra sleep I managed to get has only served to make sleep this morning slightly unneccesary. I had enough energy to do some shopping and I lugged back a large bag of cat litter. After that I spent the rest of the morning, and a couple of hours of the afternoon, reading New Scientist with a long nap in the middle somewhere. Later in the afternoon I spent some time in my workshop. The evening was spent carefully avoiding anything football related on TV. I gather from an early morning e-mail, from a railway related news group, that we lost. Now it is always a blow when England loses at anything, but other than that I don't really care. I never really understood the appeal of football. Why do so many get such a kick out of a bunch of mentally subnormal men kicking an inflated pigs bladder around ? Perhaps I am missing something, but I am not about to go looking for it now !
Thursday 24th June 2004
No booze day
06.30 BST
Weather - another bright start
          This morning has started with the sun shining. But will it stay that way ? Yesterday started similar but by the afternoon it was pouring with rain with gale force winds. It is still very breezy outside, but nothing like the howling winds of yesterday. For myself, well I think I am still on the mend. I managed a good nights sleep for the first time in a few days. That seems to have helped. Maybe I'll go back for seconds once I've finished on the PC. Most of the muscular aches I have had recently seem to have gone, but my head feels a little thick and fuzzy. It's almost like a headache, but not quite. Possibly the worst thing is that I keep thinking my nose is about to pour. It feels stuffy and a bit "itchy", but maybe that is just some sort of hay fever.

             I think I will be able to spend a little while in my workshop today, but I must get out and buy some cat litter, and there is also the temptation of this weeks New Scientist to read. I don't seem to have written much this morning, but this appears to be all there is to write about.
Wednesday 23rd June 2004
No booze day
05.55 BST
Weather - bright start after heavy overnight rain
          Yesterday was a fun day. It is quite unusual for me to enjoy my birthday, but this one was an exception. I started off feeling terrible with all sorts of aches and pains. On my way out I was quite convinced I was about to die from a heart attack. I even had a very minor, and very shortlived, nose bleed while I was waiting to change buses. Once in the pub the alcohol worked its magic, and a hug, kiss and birthday card from Max made things even better. Even Ruth gave me a quick hug and kiss which was a pleasant surprise. Apart from one pint of Kronenberg I stuck to scotch and coke. I think that helped me to stay on my feet far longer than if I had been drinking Kronenberg the whole day. Once I was home, courtesy a lift from Iain, I ordered a delicious chinese takeaway and stuffed myself silly. By 22.00 I was feeling fairly sleepy so I went to bed and did some reading. I think I turned out the light around 23.00 and was asleep almost instantly. Sometime after midnight I was woken up by what was probably a car door slamming nearby. I came awake instantly and could not get back to sleep until around 03.00 when there was a hint of light in the cloudy sky. I felt quite hot and muggy while I was trying to get back to sleep. I had to open the window for some fresh air even though it was pouring with rain outside. The noise of that rain may have been partially responsible for my difficulty getting back to sleep. Since I started writing this the sun has gone back in and it looks as if it will rain again soon.

        So yesterday was quite enjoyable, but it is interesting to look back at lasy year. Now I have been doing these diaries for over a year I can look back and see how the days compare. The entry for my actual birtday is not exactly exciting. Here it is :-

Sunday 22nd June 2003

20.25 Hrs

Weather : cloudy but still rather humid

Well what a day it has been. I seem to have spent a lot of it battling with web pages. After a battle trying to update bits of the web site I decided to delete everything on the web server and start again. It is now all neatly done in sub folders instead of one unholy mess. I also discovered that the first page should be called "index.htm" as all (or most) web browsers look for that at first. So I have edited all the relevant bits and now my website address (which I hope you bookmark) is simply or at least it should be ! I don't know why but some pages are being updated quicker than others. It is probably some sort of local caching at ntlworld as when I checked via another account dial-up it was all working OK, or so it seemed.

All that and an excess of junk food, but no real food, seems to have been my entire day. Somehow I just don't seem to have birthdays like other people. The last one that was actually quite good was my eighteenth where I got my last age related pay rise. Most other have sucked big time ! I am dead knackered now after last nights lack of sleep (and also full of cider and perry) so once I have sent off a couple of e-mails and uploaded this I will be off to bed. Good night !

08.50 Hrs

Weather : What else but rain !

Stayed up to nearly 3am hoping to see the rising sun, but fell asleep before the sky had even shown any sign of sunrise. I wonder what the day will bring - probably nothing ! Luckily I have a new book to read - "Origin" by Stephen Baxter. 

Will my modified fresh cat litter page, with the link to the high resolution cat pictures, ever make it from the upload server to the main world wide web ? Re-uploaded it several times yesterday and once again this morning, but it seems to be stuck. The only way to the new page at the moment is via the link on yesterdays diary entry.

Tuesday 22nd June 2004
Booze day
06.30 BST
Weather - bright and sunny after overnight rain
         Are all nuns Roman Catholic ? Are all Catholics Roman ? These are just some of the questions that came to me as I made the transition from sleep to waking. More importantly, how do I feel this morning ? Yesterday I felt terrible. Bits of me ached, and for most of the day I felt really bloated. It was like all my internal organs were complaining, especially those in the lower torso area. I think I feel better this morning, but I do have a few stiff joints. Maybe those will loosen up as I become more active. I certainly feel better than this time yesterday. Then even my wrists felt weak and painful while trying to do mundane things like shaving. Today I should be in perfect working order as I will probably be spending some time in the pub to celebrate my birthday. I'm not sure what there is to celebrate, but 49 is 7 squared, so that is something I suppose. Yesterday I felt too awful to even face a pub. I hope that by midday I will be more certain about today. At this very moment I am having doubts about it for today. If it was only for myself I might not bother, but I have promised to buy a couple of drinks for some people today so I ought to make the effort. Besides which I might get a birthday kiss and/or cuddle from Max and/or Ruth. That would make the effort worth it, but it would be a shame not to be able to fully enjoy it because I felt rotten.

           Even though I was in pain yesterday I still managed to get a few things done. I spent a few hours pottering about in my workshop, and some time upgrading the software in this PC. Of most significance was upgrading the background libraries that Kuickshow uses. Kuickshow is a picture viewer with one special talent - that of generating a slideshow. Prior to the upgrade it would only show a series of blank screens. The upgrade suggested it fixed a bug where the pictures in the slideshow were shown at a size of 1 pixel by 1 pixel. That could account for the screen staying blank, but whatever it was it now works OK.
Monday 21st June 2004
No booze day
06.30 BST
Weather - bright and sunny
       This morning seems bright and sunny which is rather different to the grey start of yesterday. It actually rained for part of yesterday morning, but those showers were mostly light and intermittent. I managed to dodge the showers when I went to Tesco's and avoided having to wear a coat while outside. Even though it was very dull and grey it was still too warm for a coat when lugging a load of heavy shopping home.

        I thought I was going to have a good nights sleep last night. I had noticed that my bed had been getting very lumpy of late, and last night it seemed to be really uncomfortable. An investigation revealed that an old blanket that I had put under the bottom sheet was really rucked up. Once I had smoothed that out it felt very nice and cosy. Yet this morning I am almost in pain. Some of the pain is/was wind, and the rest of the pain was probably as a result of sleeping awkwardly because my guts feel as if they have been inflated with an air hose. Much of that wind has now been dispelled, but I am sure there is more to come !

       With the rain yesterday morning I never quite got the inspiration to go out to slash down all the excess vegetation in my garden. Maybe, but it is very much a maaaaaybeeeeeeeeee, I might try again today. I did spend several productive hours in front of the TV yesterday. And they were productive. While partially watching, but mainly listening, I did some coil winding and prepared some other electronic components for future use. Coil winding is a very mind numbing task, but it did seem a lot easier while watching TV.

        Another thing I tried to do yesterday was to update this Linux installation. Mandrake thoughtfully provide a tool to do this, but I don't think they have given much consideration to us dial-up internet users. I don't know how many Gigabytes I was going to attempt to download yesterday, but in the end I had to give up. In forcing an exit to the process I think I have broken the tool because an attempt to upgrade one package at a time seemed to fail miserably. I tried to download the packages that I really need and install them that way. There is one particular package that I know I need. It is called qt3 and it corrects a bug in the program Kuickshow. The bug, apparently, causes the slideshow option to display the pictures at a resolution of 1 x 1 pixel. i.e. just a tiny dot instead of full screen. I have downloaded the files I need, but any attempt to install them individually fails. There are two that will not install without the other being present. They need to be installed simultaneously, but the installation software does not allow for this. The installation software does look at where it thinks the other file may be, but at no point does it simply stop and ask where the other is. It is one of the stupidly trivial things that can make Linux seem so hard to use sometimes. I know a way round it. Once I have downloaded a sufficient amount of updates I will burn the files to a CD and tell the installation software that the CD is a new source of files. It will then be able to search it for the files it needs.

        Today ought to be the day when I spend some time doing some electronics. Tomorrow is a slightly special occasion and a good excuse to get drunk. (Actually it is my birthday). So I'll not be doing much of anything requiring brainpower tomorrow, and the day after will probably be spent recovering. Meanwhile I have to start searching for a new job all over again. It's a shame that you are generally considered unemployable once past the age of 49. Seems I have less than 24 hours to get a new job !
Sunday 20th June 2004
No booze today
10.00 BST
Weather - slightly overcast
            I seem to have had a good lay in after a very late night. After spending a lot of yesterday doing very little I suddenly had the urge to do some experimenting. My first experiment was to have another go at installing OS2/Warp onto a PC that I had not tried it on before. As usual it failed because the motherboard was too new for the old CD's I have. Next I tried a Linux installation using Slackware. That could have gone OK but for one thing. I was using a tiny 420 MByte hard disk and I knew it would be a struggle to get anything but the lightest installation on it. I thought that by using Slackware I might stand a chance because it gives you so much control over what you are installing. Ultimately it failed with not enough disk space. It was the first time I have ever tried the Slackware installation CD so I was a bit unfamiliar with it. Maybe if I had tried again I might have managed it. So I deleted al the linux partitions on the hard disk and tried something I knew would fit, and work, OK - Windows 95. That installed OK and I had sound and full graphics resolution pretty quickly. However it did fail on two accounts. I could not get the USB working properly. My copy of Windows 95 does not support USB natively, but I found the USB upgrade files and the drivers for the motherboard. It detected a USB flash drive being plugged in but did not know what it was or what to do with it. I gave up on that and tried to tackle the other problem which was getting it connected to my network. For some reason it would not work. I was doing all this using a spare hard disk hanging out the side of the PC. So I plugged the original hard disk back in which has Windows ME on it, and can access my network, and made a note of all the settings relevant to networking. Then it was back to the spare hard disk and all those network settings duplicated, but still it would not work. I have no idea why it won't work. It is just lucky that there was no real reason why it had to work. It was just an experiment to pass some time - which it did rather over adaquately !

          Today I have a few ideas of how to pass some time. I have a video recorder that Kevin dropped round for me to fix. Unless it needs any expensive components the repair is already paid for (a large tub of chocolate ice cream) so I had better do something with it soon. I also feel that I ought to get out the machete, flamethrower and JCB and cut some of the wild foliage back in my garden. It is a job I hate doing, but I guess it has to be done someday.
Saturday 19th June 2004
no booze today
05.30 BST
Weather - bright start with some sunshine, very cool
           Yesterday turned into a very drunken sort of day. The roots of which actually go back to the previous night. On thatnight I had eaten an unfeasibly large kebab that had left me feeling very bloated. So yesterday I decided not to eat until the evening. Now initially this was a good thing as I didn't want to feel uncomfortable while at the dentist, but it was a bad idea to carry it on later in the day while I was at the pub. So I got slaughtered ! At the time it felt like a fine thing, but once I got home the hangover started. By 21.30 I had had enough and headed off to bed with two one pint glasses of water with me. In the end I only drank about ¾ of a pint of water. Once in bed I decided to finish reading the novel I had started the previous night. It was some sci-fi by Robert Heinlien called "Orphans Of The Sky" (Or was it "Orphans of Space" ?). I finished the book just before midnight. By then I was just about over the hangover, but I still felt tired and so went to sleep.

            Within seconds of falling asleep I was awoken by what was probably a police helicopter flying over the house at chimney top height. It seemed so low that I thought I could almost feel the downdraft in bed, and I am sure it rattled the roof tiles. I am sure that it cropped up again in my dreams. This morning I can't remember anything of my dreams apart from the fact that I am sure that at some point I dreamt I was on Mars and there was a lot of construction work going on. Any actual details of my dreams have faded beyond the point of recall.

            Today I will be steering clear of any booze. I have a couple of magazines to read (Micro Mart and New Scientist) and they will take up most of the morning. Later on I may venture up into my workshop, but in reality my day is pretty fluid. Or to put that another way, I don't really have anything planned so anything could happen. Perhaps some horny woman will call me up and I'll break my no drinking plans by going to the pub with her. Perhaps pigs will fly today.
Friday 18th June 2004

08.00 BST
Weather - rather dull and cool, but still dry
           Perhaps the most significant thing to happen today is a visit to the dentist at 10.45. It is only a check up that I have volunteered for, but I still do not look forward to it. I am not expecting the dentist to find any significant problems, but you never know............

            I first woke up at 05.30 this morning, but considered it rather early and decided to try and go back to sleep again. Before I did, I tried to remember a dream that seemed interesting at the time. I partially succeded, but it doesn't seem very significant now, but then again I can't remember so clearly now. It concerned someone who had bought a new Apple Mac (but it may have been a PC). They were bragging about all the storage devices attached to it. I then demonstrated all the devices I could access. These included the standard floppy disk drives and CD/DVD drives, and also Syquest disks, zip disks, and Jazz disks. I am sure there was more to it than that because just that does not make for an interesting dream. Something else must have happened, but I think it is lost forever now.

             Yesterday while tinkering away in my workshop I was listening to some of my old radio shows. I played a couple from 4 years ago that were recorded while I was in love with Sarah, or it would be more accurate to say while Sarah was in love with me. I never lost my love for her, but it has rusted and faded with disuse over the years. It brought back some bitter sweet memories of what might have been. Overall, I don't think I like this century. It has had a few good points, but mostly it has been pretty crap compared to the 20th Century (on a personal basis). I can't wait for it to finish and see if I have more luck with the next one. Only another 996 years to go.
18.50 BST
Weather - a few brief sunny spells but mostly grey
      I have a bit of a hangover now, but today has been OK. The dentist was no problem, Well, not much of one. He never found anything requiring any treatment, but he did de-scale my teeth. That was a bit painful at the time, and left a legacy of toothache for several hours after. That pain only subsided when I had got to the to the pub and had drunk a pint or two. I did enjoy myself at the pub. Max and Ruth were there, although they both turned up sometime after I had started drinking. I had let slip to Ivor that my birthday is next Tuesday. Although I did it in such a way that it was not overtly obvious. He has told Max, and I am, apparently, going to get a nice birthday surprise. I bet it is not quite what I want (!), but I'll probably enjoy it anyway. Even Ruth is going to make the effort to join me on Tuesday. That will be nice, very nice indeed. It is a shame that I have no pictures of Ruth (yet). She is older than Max, but still very attractive. It is lucky that neither of them read this diary as I have to say that Ruth can be more attractive than Max.  Max has what it takes to flaunt it, but Ruth has something different, and sometimes better.  But pay no attenmtion to me - I have had one too many !
Thursday 17th June 2004
No booze day
08.35 BST
Weather - cooler with sunny intervals
         After yesterdays devestating blow to my career prospects I thought I had better revert to "on the dole" mode of living. So, after the pub I decided to stay up late to watch Drop The Dead Donkey, and then have a lie in this morning. Sometime soon I had better start searching for a new job, but I sometimes wonder if searching the internet for information about safe breaking, drug smuggling, e-mail scams, methods of extortion, or how to rob your local post office. It feels as if any of these would be a more productive use of my time.

          During the night I dreamt that I had been burgled. Someone had managed to open my back door and get in while I slept. Of most significance they had stolen some document or book. I have no idea what it was supposed to be, but it was something that had taken me weeks to write. The front room had been totally trashed with books everywhere, and my wardobe overturned with its contents scattered everywhere. In the middle of it all was an old fashioned "sit-up-and-beg" typewriter. I distinctly remember its round keys were labeled in black on a white background. A message had been left on the typewriter and it made reference to a pirate radio station. This gave me a clue as to who could have done it. Plus I was convinced that the police could get some good fingerprints off the typewriter keys. All that sounds as if it should be classified as a nightmare, but somehow, even as I was dreaming it, I knew it was fantasy. The biggest clue was that the layout of the house was all wrong. The rooms were the wrong shape. Their contents were not in the right places (i.e. the wardrobe is in my bedroom and not in the living room), and finally I do not own an ancient typewriter.

       Yesterday I spent some time in my workshop, but it was a rather hot sweaty experience. I hope to finish off what I was doing today. The temperature outside is a lot lower, and there is a bit of wind. If the wind can blow the cool air in the right direction to get into my workshop then it will be a bit more pleasant working up there today.
Wednesday 16th June 2004

07.40 BST
Weather - bright and sunny, fresh
         I decided to be really lazy yesterday. After I signed on I did some shopping in the Aldi supermarket. At some point during the morning I did the washing up. After that the most significant thing I did to pass the time away was to read the whole of Isaac Asimov's "The Rest Of The Robots". It was a good read, but overall I felt slightly bored for most of the day.  There were other things I could have attempted, but it was an exceptionally hot day and any effort was just too sweaty to contemplate.

         Today should be cooler if the weather foreasters are to be believed. So today I will try and do a few constructive things. I still want to make up my special PC to Mac peripheral lead, and Patrick wants me to make a dummy FM transmitter for another short filmed sequence in his documentary. This transmitter really will be a dummy one. The last one was actually 99% functional with just enough left out for it to be legal. It was overkill, but I enjoyed making it so much that I got carried away. I don't think I can raise the enthusiasm to do the same for a dummy FM transmitter, and anyway I am on a shorter timescale.

         I think I slept really badly last night. This morning I feel stiff and achey. I seem to remember dreaming a lot. In fact it is like I was dreaming all night. I can't recall more than a few fleeting scenes from those dreams, although one seems to stick in my mind. The way it started was as if we were exploring Mars looking for water and/or life. I have no idea who my companions were, but maybe one of them, or even someone else, had suggested that there was a miniature cave ahead that looked promising. To get to it we had to jump down from an overgrown platform onto a single line railway track. It must have been part of the underground system as I remember it had four rails. Someway up the track (which had vegetation on both sides) we found this little cave. It was more like a rabbit burrow, but in rock. Shining a torch inside we saw a faint glitter of wet rock and a single fern growing there. This was all we were looking for and so turned back. Before we came back to the platform we saw some wild animals in the gloom ahead. They seemed fierce, possibly wolves, so we hastened back to the platform where we knew we would be safe. One of the smaller animals got to me just as I was about to get onto the platform. I knew I was in danger but could not look at it. I felt it lick my hand with a very broad tongue. So I picked it up by the snout and threw it away before scrambling back onto the platform. After that I think I must have moved on to another dream. I do remember some of the last dream I had before waking up. I went to an auction for computer and electronic stuff. Unfortunately I had got there too late and it was all over. Some sellers still had unsold stuff that they were taking offers for, but it was all junk, or so esoteric that it was hard to guess the purpose of it. Wandering outside I came across Ivor who had purchased a strange thing. It was like a 5ft diameter tube, 25 ft long and painted black. Inside it had a heat exchanger and some fans. It was, apparently, some sort of cooling system for an unknown industrial process. It looked interesting, but probably useless, although Ivor had apparently bought it just for a 25ft length of electrical conduit running down the outside of it. It was while contemplating this that I heard my name being called. I seemed to be hearing it in my head and it did not seem to be related to the dream at all. It was more like someone using telepaphy on me. Fortunately it seemed to stop once I woke up so I can't be accused of hearing voices in my head just yet.
16.35 BST
Weather - some cloud bust mostly hot and sunny
          I have been slaving away in my workshop for a fair amount of today. It's been pretty hot work up there. I had been hoping today would be a lot cooler. I suppose it is cooler than the previous few days, but nevertheless I was still overheating if I carried on for more than 90 minutes at a stretch. I haven't completed what I set out to do, but I have made prety good progress.

           The postman came at around 13.30 today. He brought with him some bad news. Devastating news in fact. I have not even been shortlisted for an interview for the job I was really hoping to get. I was really relying on getting that job, and had even started to plan how to spend the wages I was expecting. Luckily I had not started to spend the wages I was expecting. Apparently, after considering my qualifications, experience and achievements they decided they did not match those needed for the job. The first is true, but I had hoped that the demo CD I sent off with the job application would have settled any doubt about the latter two. It is doubly annoying that the one thing on the job specification that was not listed was any special qualifications. I have to say this has left me feeling really pissed off.
Tuesday 15th June 2004
No booze day
08.00 BST
Weather - bright and sunny
            Yesterday was a good day. I managed to get washed and dressed in plenty of time to phone Ivor and get a lift into work with him. It achieved three good things. I was able to diagnose and fix the PC that was the prime reason for being there in the first place. I was able to spend much of the day in comfort - air conditioned cars and office, and a nice breeze while in the pub beer garden. Lastly it was very good practice for being out all day at work. Although I actually did very little work it helps to build up my stamina for when the real thing happens. When I got home, at about 17.30, I felt tired, but not exausted. Initially all I wanted to do was to eat and slump down in front of the TV. After 2 hours of that  (watching TV - not eating !) I began to get a bit more perky and it would have been easy to get involved in doing something time consuming on the PC, but I mostly resisted the temptation so that I would be able to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I say I mostly resited it, but in fact I did do some experimenting to see if I could find a simple way of printing out an A5 booklet from an A4 word document. It taught me a thing or two about alternative printer settings, but ultimately it was a failure. It half worked in so much as I got the orientation right, and two columns on an A4 sheet, but the text did not shrink to match the new paper size.

               Today I will probably be fairly lazy. In an hours time I have to sign on. After that I will pop in the supermarket on the way home. At some point I must do the washing up - the sink is getting smelly in this heat. One other thing I want to do is build an RS232 (PC) to RS422 (Mac) interface lead. The one I was using for my experiments on Saturday night/Sunday morning is obviously not wired correctly for what I want. I now assume it is wired for signals in the opposite direction. Apart from that lot I will probably spend a large portion of the day just gently dripping in the forecast heat.
Monday 14th June 2004

05.45 BST
Weather - milky looking sky
             The weather forecast suggests that it will be a hot sunny day today, but this early in the morning the sky has a milky white appearance which could be cloud, or just a high mist waiting to be burnt off by the rising sun. After opening the window there is a slightly damp spell to the morning air as if it had just rained, or was about to.

            Today, or maybe this whole week, I face a dilemma. This week I am hoping to hear about the last job I applied for, and would really like to stick close to the phone, but I have other things to do. I would hate to jeopardise my job prospects by missing a phone call. Today, for instance, I want to go over to Ivor's work where I have the chance to earn some beer money by fixing one of the teachers home PC's. The fact that I will inevitably end up in the pub with Ivor and Iain and immediately spend that money is irrelevant. Having spent the entire weekend in at home by myself it would be nice to have a day out. I also have a dilemma over the spelling of "dilemma". I am sure there should be an "n" in it somewhere, and even opening up a word processor and using its spell checker does not satisfy me. The word processor is supposed to be using an English (UK) dictionary, but sometimes it seems to suggest American spellings of words. After a long search I cannot find either of the two dictionaries I thought I had, but I have found a third one that I had forgotten about. It confirms that the word processor did indeed spell dilemma correctly.

           I was going to pad this out with a load of old waffle about my dreams etc, but it occurs to me that if I acted quickly I could get a lift this morning. All I have to do is wash and dress in the next 20 minutes.
Sunday 13th June 2004
No booze day
08.15 BST
Weather - bright and sunny
            Last night I was promising myself that I would have an extra early night. During the day I felt very fatigued after a fairly busy week. By 9pm I felt like I was definitely flagging and I intended to be in bed before 10pm. It didn't happen like that. I got caught by the oldest trick in the book - curiosity. I was trying an alternative Mac emulator to the one that I had succesfully used on a windows PC before. It didn't seem to work so I uninstalled it and installed Basilisk II on the PC I was experimenting with (a spare 550 MHz K6-2 PC). It seemed to work reasonably well even though it was on by far the slowest PC that I had ever tried it on. By now the rot had set in, and any thoughts of an early night seemed to evaporate. What had grabbed my imagination was something I had never tried before - using a printer on the emeulator. I have four old Mac printers just gathering dust. Two of them I have previously tested, and I know they work, but two have never been tried before. It was the two unknown ones that I decided to test. That was a big mistake because now I was working in the unknown. Maybe that was an indication that my brain was working on adrenaline and not cool logic. I should have tested things with a printer that I knew to work OK, but I wanted to use a colour printer. I should have used my big Epson A3 printer - even more so because I already have the drivers on floppy disk. But no ! I had this bee in my bonnet that wanted to see if I could get a Color StyleWriter 2400 working.. Well that did not seem to work at all. I searched the Apple web site until I found how to put it into a self test mode. It went through the motions, but only pushed through a blank sheet of paper. I wasn't surprised about that as it hadn't been used in years and all the inkjets were probably dry and clogged. So I found out how to refill the ink cartridge and filled the black cartridge. At the same time I squirted some flushing liquid around the black nozzles. It still refused to put any mark on the paper. (even now, after giving it a lot of time to settle down it is still not printing any ink). So then my  attention turned to the other untried printer. This was a StyleWriter II. It is only a B/W printer, but my curiosity was running on overdrive. Initially it would not even power up. So I took it apart and removed an alien screw that was rattling around inside it, and also refixed the power button that was not hitting the switch inside the case. Now it powered up and it did print it's own test page, but I could not get it to work on the emulated Mac. I had a variety of error messages and my conclusion was that the interface was not working correctly. I came very close to testing with a printer I know definitely works OK, but then I noticed that it was almost light outside. When I checked the time it was not approaching midnight as I thought, but 03.45 ! By the time I had powered everything down, brushed my teeth, and got into bed it was light outside. My head hit the pillow at 04.00 and I was asleep by 04.01.

           So I seem to have had only 4 hours sleep. Now Nelly's need have been attended to, and once this is uploaded (and my email checked) I will be going back to bed for a few more hours sleep - if I can. I am not very good at sleeping with bright sunshine outside, and rarely manage more than an extra hour, but this morning I think I'll probably manage a bit more than that.
17.55 BST
Weather - hot and sunny
            Eventually I slept through to about 11.00. I still feel the after effects of splitting my sleep in two, and I must attempt to get to bed early tonight.

           This afternoon I did what I should have done last night. I tried a good, known working, Mac printer on the Mac emulator. It didn't work ! It took just 20 minutes to ascertain that the hours spent experimenting until the silly hours of this morning were totally wasted. I suspect it may be the interface lead that is wrong and another day I'll check that, but for the moment I have given up. What I am attempting to do is only a novelty and serves no real purpose, but it is an interesting diversion for when times are slack.
Saturday 12th June 2004
No booze day
07.30 BST
Weather - cool and cloudy. Smells like rain due
            Yesterday was a bit of a gruelling day. I didn't mind being up so early. It was the time I was used to when I was in work, and although I am a little out of practice, it felt very natural to me. Once at Ivor's office I was able to fix the printer very quickly. It took 5 minutes to find a partially hidden fuse and replace it with one from one of the other printers. Much to our delight the printer fired up and we were able to actually see it working  by putting it into a test routine. I can't wait to see the results when it is finally set up, calibrated, and connected to a computer.

            With my prime task finished there was still along time to go before lunchtime. So I am not sure if I volunteeered, or whether I was volunteered to help out with some simple tasks around the place. I was tasked with trimming and laminating photo enlargements which were being done for the kids there. Some of the pictures were of people who seemed so ugly that I demanded danger money for handling them. My reward was a whole box of paper instead of just the ream that I had originally demanded. For me to buy the paper in a local shop would cost something like £10, but I think in the huge quantities Ivor buys it in, it costs him something like £2, perhaps less, maybe more, but far cheaper than I could buy it otherwise. It is a sobering thought that Ivor can waste more paper in a day than I use in a month.

           There was still a little time left before lunch so I also assisted in some ring binding. All these tasks (apart from ring binding) were rather novel to me, never having worked in such an trade before, and I needed 30 seconds of training on each machine being used. But despite that I was still able to show Ivor how to set the default printer, and printer set up, in Adobe Photoshop even though I have never used photoshop before, apart from a brief play with a far earlier version running on a very old Mac which did not even have a printer connected to it. Oh, and this was on a Mac running OS X which I am very unfamiliar with. It is this natural affinity I have with PC's (and Macs) that gives me so much hope that I will succede in the job I am hoping for.

            Once lunchtime came around it was off to the pub. Part of my reward was supposed to be copious quantities of alcohol, but I think the rounds were equally shared between us. I did get a free lunch from Ivor for my troubles. I chose a cajun chicken baguette. It was nice, but not quite as good as I was hoping for. With some food inside me I couldn't drink as much beer as usual so I went onto scotch and cokes. This should have been good and I was expecting to get home reasonably sober, but Iain, who was in charge of driving me home, decided to hold us hostage until mid evening ! I should mention that Howard had joined us soon after we first got to the pub, and that Ivor had left by 4pm (I think). I am not sure when we left the pub, but I would put it as late as 8.30pm. By that time I was feeling shattered. It had turned into a very long day and I am a little out of practice with "working". The booze did not help either.
Friday 11th June 2004

06.45 BST
Weather - cool, but bright and sunny
            I have very little time this morning. In about 30 minutes Ivor will be picking me up to take me to work where I am going to play with his big printer.

            Yesterday was my second session at the Catford Beer Festival. It was quite good apart from the fact that one of the milds I had the previous evening, the one I have already mentioned that tasted disgusting, seems to have caused me a great deal of "digestive" problems. Even this morning I seem to be having some trouble that could make this morning slightly uncomfortable. I think I was at the beer festival for little more than two hours, and once again I mostly stuck with the low gravity beers. So I was able to come home 99% sober.
Thursday 10th June 2004

07.15 BST
Weather - milky sky, no sun yet.Fresh
           Last night was good fun. I met up with Iain for the beer festival, and later on we were joined by Kevin. By sticking to just halves of milds I was able to sample a large range of beers without getting slaughtered. Out of al the ones I tried just one was horrible, and two were wonderful. If I had the choice I would stick to mild when visiting The Herne on odd afternoons. Sadly The Herne, like most pubs, does not serve a mild, decent or otherwise, so I end up getting totally slaughtered on the Kronenberg.

              Checking through the list of brews available I think it was the Ballards "Midhurst Mild" (3.5%) that was really horrible. It tasted like a mixture of water and very burnt toast that someone had farted through. By comparison the Rebellion "Mild" (3.5%) was wonderful. It was light and very slightly fruity. I could have drunk a lot of that. At the end of the evening we wandered over to the imported beers section. I had a very strong french beer as a night cap, and Iain and Kevin split a bottle of banana and sultana beer from Belgium between them. That should have been it, but at the very last moment we decided to split a 75cL bottle of a Kriek beer between the three of us. I knew what was coming, but the other two did not. It would not have been my first choice for a last beer, but we got it anyway. Kriek beers are usually very tart with a tang that somehow reminds me of vomit (although I did not mention that last night). Kevin thought it was OK, but Iain, usually just a cider drinker, gave up on it.

          Today the plan is to go back to the beer festival at around 4pm with Jodie. She is being met there at 6pm so after that I can bail out if I want to, but I have a suspicion that both Kevin and Iain will turn up there again. Even so I might still try and get away from there early becuase I have a cunning plan. If I can get up early enough on Friday morning, or perhaps that should be, if I can get myself ready early enough on Friday morning, I could get Ivor to pick me up on his way to work through Catford. I would then have all morning to try and repair the power supply on his printer, if indeed that is the problem. Once it is powered up we can consider the possibilites of getting it linked to a PC or Mac. Even if it is all a waste of effort, my time should be worth a packet of paper to use on my own printer.
Wednesday 9th June 2004

04.20 BST
Weather - fresh outside, muggy inside
            Today's the closing day for applications for the latest job I am chasing. So any day now I hope to here some feedback about my application. Hopefully an invite to an interview. Today is also the first day of The Catford Beer Festival. I might be going to it tonight, or maybe not. The original plan was not to go tonight, but Iain seems fascinated by all the ciders (and perrys) they also have there and seems quite keen to sample them all as soon as possible. After a heavy session in the beer garden yesterday I am not so keen on a drink today, but I might force myself.

              It certainly was hot yesterday. It did feel nice outdoors, but inside it has been rather airless and sweaty. This is why I am up so early. I have had very few hours of sleep. My bedroom felt like an oven all night and even with a window open it felt just too uncomfortable to sleep for more than an hour at a time. Now that the sun is coming up I am hoping it will cause a bit of a breeze and stir the air up a bit. Sitting at the PC downstairs, with the window open, definitely feels fresher than upstairs. Yet the temperature in the room is still 24° C. I wonder what it is upstairs ? In a little while I shall go back to bed and try for a few more hours sleep.
12.00 BST
Weather - bright sunny intervals.Cooler than yesterday
             I finally got to sleep at 05.00. It was a light sleep at first, but soon I was totally gone and did not wake up until 10.30. Since then I have showered and washed my hair. Made an appointment with the dentist (10.45 Friday 18th June) and been through the soul destroying process of paying my phone bill using the touch tones on the telephone.

           One plan for today was to go over to Ivor's office to play with his big printers with Iain. I think it is a bit too late for that now as I do have some thngs I ought to be doing here. Emptying Nelly's smelly litter tray being quite high on the agenda !  So it looks as if playing with big printers will have to go back to Friday morning now. Tonight is definitely going to be a visit to The Beer Festival. I am going to try to make it a light session (famous last words) as I didn't really plan o go tonight, but having let Iain down with the big printers I feel I ought not let him down for his first ever tour round the beer festival. A first visit there can be slightly disorientating until you know what's what and where's where.

           Tomorrow will be tricky to handle. I have promised to accompany Jodie to the beer festival in the afternoon. That is the time I really want to go there anyway, but then I am also supposed to be meeting Kevin (and maybe Howard) there in the evening. I would like to go there on Friday afternoon as well. Most years Friday has been a short session where I go there principly to buy some of the exotic bottled beers to take away for another day. Come to think of it, I think I still have a few left over from last year. I hope they are still OK I really ought to drink them when they are reasonably fresh, but I very rarely drink at home.

          As I sit here typing there are in excess of a dozen sparrows all mocking the place where Nelly was sitting in the garden just a few minutes earlier. Some are drinking from her outside water bowl, and some are just watching the others drink.
Tuesday 8th June 2004

06.45 BST
Weather - another glorious sunny morning
            Some 40 minutes ago, as I write this, Venus started its transit across the face of the sun. I've had a look for it using my special dark glasses left over from the eclipse a few years back, but I can't see anything. It is just possible that the start time, 06.19, is GMT and not BST. In which case there is still another 20 minutes to go before it all kicks off.

             Yesterday was very frustrating. I have been trying to make a DVD, but all sorts of things have gone wrong. Worst of all is that one of the videos had terrible lip sync. The audio and video were about 3 seconds out by the end. Fortunately I still had the "master" recording on tape and so could start again. That video has now been captured and trimmed ready to convert to mpeg2 for the DVD, but last night the PC kept crashing. So I am trying agin this morning now everything is a little cooler. The other source of frustration was the artwork for the DVD case. When I tried to print it out it managed the first couple of inches through the printer when one of the inks ran dry. I then had to bugger around refilling the ink and trying to get it to flow smoothly again. Ideally the ink cartridges should be left at least overnight so they settle down and any bubbles dissipate, but I forced them to work through numerous head cleaning cycles. As soon as I could start the next print attempt the black ink then ran out and I had to go through all that rigmarole again. Finally I managed a couple of perfect prints. Except that now I have seen my design printed I hate it. It looked good on the PC monitor, but somehow the reality of it was not the effect I wanted to achieve. For the moment it will have to stand.

             I believe the forecast for today is that the temperature could hit 30° C. That is HOT. I hope to spend some of the afternoon in the beer garden at The Herne with Ivor and Iain. It would be nice if Max was there as well. If Ivor can only have a short lunch break then I might see if I can go back to work with him and bathe in the glorious "rays" of his air conditioner !
10.30 BST
Weather - still very sunny, very hot
            The transit of Venus in front of the sun is well under way. Venus is amazingly small, appearing just as a black dot. I managed to take a picture using the "eclipse" glasses in front of the camera lens. Even with full zoom the sun was very small in the frame and I had to use a tripod to stop camera shake. This is what I saw -
Venus transits the Sun
Confession time : The picture of the sun is genuine, but I had to paint the black dot on as the camera did not have enough resolution to capture it. It does represent fairly accurately what I can see through the dark glasses.
Monday 7th June 2004
No booze day
08.50 BST
Weather - a glorious sunny morning
            The weather forecasters sugested that today, and tomorrow, would be bright and sunny. So far it looks as if they are right. It is the start of an interesting week. Of most significance is that the closing date for my latest job application in on Wednesday. Hopefully I will hear something back about my job application soon after that. Also starting on Wednesday is the Catford Beer festival. So I plan to do a little boozing. I'll probably miss the Wednesday night, but opt for a couple of afternoon sessions. Having said that it is possible that my usual Wedneday night drink will take place at the beer festival. To a certain extent it depends on what the admission price is at various times. Up until early evening admission has usually been free, but there is a small charge after 6 or 7pm. I prefer to avoid the evening charge by going in the afternoon because I can. That option is not available to everyone so an evening session is on the cards as well.

Note to cider drinkers (yes you Iain) : The festival usually has 20, or so, ciders and/or perrys on offer.
More info here :
           Last night I had a major disappointment. I recorded a couple of programmes from BBC 4 and burnt them as a DVD. The first programme, "All My Loving", which was a documentary about pop culture in 1968, came out perfectly, but the second, "Dee Time" with Simon Dee went drastically wrong. Somehow I think a load of frames went missing somewhere in the process and the sound and vision slowly get out of sync. By the end it is so far out as to make watching it an unpleasant experience. I suspect it was because my PC was overheating badly. I had to use a large external fan to cool it down (with the side panel off). It was warm in here last night and I had been working the PC very hard. I am now wondering if I can salvage anything from it. I may still have the original tape that I recorded it on, but I may have recorded over it once it was (I thought) safely on the PC. If neccesary I'll try and work with the mpeg2 file, but it would be far easier to start again from the original tape.
12.05 BST
Weather - hot and sunny
           It is certainly turning out to be a hot day. It is nudging 25° C in here at the moment, but I am still feeling fine. However the CPU in my other PC is feeling the strain. It is grinding its way through a 12 GByte avi file converting it to an mpeg2 file. To try and keep it from blowing up I have had to open the case and use an external fan to keep the heat down. The CPU is currently sitting at a rather undesirable 68° C at the moment. Once the file has been converted I am expecting the temperature to drop back to 50 something degrees. I am sure that te temperature sensor in that PC is rather inaccurate. Turning the PC on in the middle of winter, when it can be freezing down here, and checking the temperature from the BIOS screen (before Windows has even started) reveals that it gets up to 48° C within a few seconds. I can't quite believe that somehow.

           I keep forgetting to mention to mention the other event happening this week. Well, now I have remembered I can say it will be tomorrow that Venus transits across the face of the sun. I don't have the start and finish times to hand, but I think it starts as early as 06.19 and ends after midday. I still have my special eclipse glasses leftover from the great eclipse a few years back so I can safely watch the face of the sun without burning my eyeballs out. Hopefully it will be a nice clear day like today.
Sunday 6th June 2004
No booze day
06.45 BST
Weather - dry, slightly cloudy. mild
             Another warm night. It is actually pleasantly fresh outside, but indoors it is still very warm. I didn't wake up feeling over hot like I did last night, but I did have the window open in my bedroom. I think that helped a bit. I was actually woken up by Nelly. Since Schiba died she has slowly been developing this habit, that is now almost a regular occurence, of sitting at the bottom of the stairs and meowing at the top of her voice when she thinks it is time I was up. Previuosly I have taken it that she wants her breakfast, but this morning she has jumped onto my bed and laid down purring her head off. I hope this new twist to her behaviour does not signify anything bad.

            Last night the BBC on BBC4 started a series of TV about the sixties. I was alerted to this when flicking around the channels and coming across an ancient episode of "Z Cars". I didn't see much of that as I as only sampling it during commercial breaks on the channel I was watching. From what I did see it did not look very dramatic with long silent periods where the actors just exchanged looks with each other. Later on I did watch three programmes in teir entirety. First was a modern documentary looking back at sixties TV in general, and asking was it as good as nostalgia makes us think it was. Next was an old edition of "Dee Time" with Simon Dee that also featured The Equals and Wayne Fontanna. Lastly there was an edition of "Omnibus" from 1968 looking at contemporary pop culture. That featured some real groovy stuff from Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, and others. I must try and remember to check BBC4's web site to see what else may be coming up in the future.

           Yesterdays drink with my old work colleagues was was very pleasant, but not exciting. I decided that I would try the bitter instead of the lager. It was OK, but as it is a bit of a lager lout pub it was classifed as a premium beer (common old I.P.A. ????? ), and any ideas of saving a few pennies by drinking it was hopeless. I might just as well have bought the Stella Artois ! It did have one advantage though. I was able to leave the pub considerably more sober than usual.

             Today I feel some creative artwork coming on. I recently burnt off a few DVD ROM archive copies of the sci-fi stuff I have been recording from BBC 7.  I have already laid down the foundation to some artwork for a rather good (I think) cover for the DVD disks. Now I know what is on the DVD I have to finish it. I think I'll be doing a little video editing and more DVD cover artwork. There are a couple of yesterdays "60's" programmes that I will archive on DVD disks.

UPDATE : Listings for BBC 4 for the week ahead HERE.
Saturday 5th June 2004

05.55 BST
Weather - cloudy with sunny intervals
            It was a warm night and I woke up a little while ago feeling like I was roasting. So I have got out of bed to cool off a bit. I'll probably be going back to bed after I've written this, but I must try and get up again before it gets too late so I can try and get to the building society to draw some cash out. It is going to be an expensive month., this month. I am pretty certain I will soon get a demand to renew the TV licence. Then there is the Catford Beer Festival starting next Wednesday (9th to 12th June), but more immediately today is the first Saturday of the month and I shall be meeting my old work colleagues from Mastercare for a lunchtime drink.

          While I was broiling away in bed I think I was almost becoming delerious with the heat. Well maybe not quite that bad.It's just that I can recall that I was dreaming a lot, but I can't recall enough to make any sense out of what I can remember. There seemed to be some common thread to the bits I can remember which involved planning a drink with Ivor. I don't know where we were, but it seemed to be early in the morning, before going to work, and I think the drink was planned for straight after work. Then there was some sort of diversion when Ivor asked me if I had picked up his pen the night before. I had, and had to find him another pen for work. It was only an ordinary cheap ball point, but apparently it was the only one he had. A strange idea for someone who spends half his working life with paper. The setting then seemd to change, and we might have been in a pub, but I can't recall any drinks. We were speculating if Imogen would turn up for a drink with us. In this dream she was working at her originally desired job as a vet instead of a dentist in real life. Ivor said that now she was practising in Souh London there could be a chance that she might turn up. I then seemed to have something like a flashback where I had taken Nelly to a vet and she had been treated by a beautiful blonde haired vet. I wondered if if it had been Imogen, but that I had not recognised her.

         It is many, many years since I have dreamed of Imogen, and even longer since I last saw her. I wonder how she is getting on these days, and is she still as beautiful as she was then ?  If I had a digital photo of her I would show it here. Maybe I'll scan a print later today so you know what I am talking about. I guess it was 20 years ago when I last saw her, but I have many happy memories of the times we spent together. Lots of happy visits to the Ladywell Tandoori, or just evenings in having long talks together. Sadly it never quite became romantic, and sadder still, half the time I was just being used as a conduit for her to keep in touch with Ivor who she had the hots for. At the time she was attending university to learn to be a dentist. With each passing year she gradually moved her allegiances to her fellow students and she drifted away from her old friends in London. I heard that she finally married another dentist and they were practising in Plymouth (or Southhampton - I can't remember exactly where).
Friday 4th June 2004
No booze today
08.15 BST
Weather - slightly overcast
            Last night it was my original intention to go to bed at a reasonable hour - say, 11pm. It didn't work out like that. Foolishly I started some computer experimentation. I have been trying out some live Linux CD's. These provide a complete operating system, and applications, that runs entirely off a CD without touching the hard disk, or even needing a hard disk installed in the PC. However one of them, DamnSmall Linux, offer the option of installing itself to a hard disk. I thought it was a reasonable idea that if the entire CD is only 26 Megabytes in size (or is it 46 Mb?) then it should install on quite a small hard disk. It does, although it needs a few hundred megabytes of disk space. That is still not bad. The last time I tried a very minimal installation of Linux I barely managed to squeeze it onto a 500 MB disk, and even then the sole application was XMMS - a media player. DanmSmall Linux on the hard isk provides a media player, a simple word processor, an internet browser, an e-mail client, and many other programs besides. All the applications are stripped to their simplest usage, and yet it would be possible to do almost all usual computer tasks just using what by todays standards is a tiny hard disk. I would imagine it would be perfect for something like an old 486 based laptop that really stands no chance of runniing later versions of Windows. At some point I intend to try it on an old 486 based desktop PC to see how well it does. The only roblem with that is that it does need a lot of memory during the initial set up, but I'll have to consult the documentation to find out the absolute minimum required.

           All that experimenting took me way past midnight, and I was buzzing so much I had to do some light reading in bed before I could drop off to sleep at around 2am. This was rather later than I intended. During the course of those experiments Nelly came upstairs to keep me company. Unusually she fell into a deep sleep and I was treated to a sight I do not often see. Once she started lightly snoring she started dreaming. I wonder what cats dream about ? Several times she got the twitches with her paws almost reaching out for something and her tail occasionally moving around. I don't know why it should be an amusing sight, but I found it so.

           When I first started writing this it looked rather grey outside. Not enough that I was expecting rain, but right now the sun has come out and it looks rather nice outside. Yesterday started out bright, but it did cloud over in the afternoon. There was even a brief splash of rain late afternoon, but it did not amount to anything.

             I did all my shopping yesterday and bought this weeks New Scientist. In consequence I had just one extended meal, and spent several hours just reading. It is a strange contradiction of logic, but because I did not have an evening meal last night I do not feel hungry this morning. Well, not yet. So once I have had a shower and got dressed I will probably make it into my workshop to do a few things that I ought to do. I realise that sounds a little odd, but if I was tempted to have breakfast I would then want to spend the morning slowly digesting it while doing something like reading. I always seem to work better on an empty stomach. Don't ask me why - it's just me.
Thursday 3rd June 2004
No booze today
08.30 BST
Weather - clear and bright
             I feel a little worse for wear this morning. It is not a hangover as such, although I did have 4 pints last night. It is probably more to do with the fact that I did not go to bed until gone 02.30 this morning. We spent a long time talking outside the pub last night and I did not get in until 00.20 (it only takes 5 - 6 minutes to walk from the pub to home). Once home I checked my e-mail and then foolishly decided to watch some TV. I had recorded two programmes while I was out, and ended up watching both of them - both were one hour programmes. First was The Bill, and that was followed by a programmes about the moon landings. According to a few nutters, mostly, but not exclusively, Americans, the moon landings were faked. I was concerned that the programme was just to air these nutters views, but it turned out to  be the opposite. The programme actively debunked the debunkers.

            So here I am this morning feeling that a few more hours asleep would have been a good idea. Today I have several conflicting courses of action. I must go out, get some cash, and buy some cat litter. Some food and drink would not come amiss either. At the same time I should be finishing a job in my workshop for someone. I have been meaning to do some stuff in the workshop all week, but have always had some distractions. Today I should not let anything distract me, and just do it. I really must phone the dentist today as well. Somehow making appointments with a dentist is something that I can easily put off. I should be looking at it differently. Any treatment I may need now will be free while I am on the dole. If I should accidently find myself employed soon then that same treatment could cost a fortune. I realy ought to phone that dentist this morning !
Wednesday 2nd June 2004

08.55 BST
Weather - dry with sunny intervals
          The sky still looks very hazy, but occasionally the sun breaks through. When I first woke up it looked slightly gloomy. So I fed Nelly and went back to bed again in the hope that it would be a bit brighter. The weather forecast suggested it would be sunny today and it was almost right. Perhaps as the day moves on, the thin hazy looking cloud will burn off to reveal a beautiful blue sky and strong sunshine.

             I spent several hours yesterday scanning all my old exam certificates. I did seem to take a lot of City and Guilds exams while working for B.T. I can't remember how many certificates I received in total, but it was something like 3 per year for 4 years. Usually there was a results slip plus a certificate. I even found my old G.C.E "O" levels certificate. Sadly that does not seem to show the actual pass marks, but just records that I passed 6 exams. All this is amazing when reading through some end of term school reports that were in with the exam certificates. Most of the reports were quite discouraging, but they were made before the end of term exam results were in. I must have been a source of frustration to my teachers when my term time work suggested I was doing very poorly, and should be downgraded, but my exam results were generally very good. I am one of those rare pupils who actually enjoy exams, and see them as a chance to prove that my apparent inattentiveness in class was not true. My poor handwriting, boredom at doing endless examples, and general reluctance to do any homework, marked me down as not doing very well. But is was all sinking in, especially if I was interested in the subject, and the exam results would seem to bear that out. Today, where term time work makes up a significant part of the end of term results, or even final exam results, I would be classed as a dunce and sent to the bottom of the class. I feel so lucky to have had what I consider to be a proper education. At the end of primary school this is what my teacher had to say....
School report (part) 1966
Thank you Mrs Ravenscroft. I did work hard at skiving at my new school, but it was not until the advent of word processors that my written English improved, or at least I think it has improved. I am disappointed that I cannot find my end of term report for the 4th year at secondary school. The closing summary for that year, written by Mr Papps - form master and English teacher - says that my written English is extremely poor and my handwriting awful. Or at least I think that is what he said. His handwriting was so awful on that occasion that it was difficult to make out what he had written !!

          Tonight will be a boozing night. All being well it will be a session at The Ram with Kevin and Howard. It will be the first drink I've had since last Thursday - nearly a whole week without a beer. I have a few things on my mind to do today. I think I'll pop out to WH Smiths and buy a magazine, and at some point I must phone the dentist. Fortunately I am in no pain, but I did get a reminder postcard for a check up recently.
Tuesday 1st June 2004
No boozing today
07.05 BST
Weather - rain
         If you have made it this far you will have noticed that I have revamped the calendar page. I hope it is now easier to navigate to anywhere in my diary. By clicking on a month under the "select by month" part you go straight to the top o that month where you will always find the latest (by day, but not by time) entry. Clicking on a month under "select by date" takes you further down the page where you can select an individual day of the month. With the luxury of hindsight I now think that I should have moved the individual date selection tables to the top of the entry page for each month. It would simplify things even more. I'll probably invoke this idea next month and you'll see how it works for yourself if my description here is a little vague.

          Yesterday, after coming back from delivering my latest job application ( the one with the demonstration CD ROM), I decided to have some kippers for late breakfast/early dinner. Unfortunately they had been in the fridge for rather longer than I would have liked. They were the "boil in the bag" type so I cooked them without a thought. When I opened the bags I noticed that they did not smell quite right with one bag being worse than the other. I did eat half of the one that did not smell too bad, but the other I didn't touch at all. I did wonder if I would get food poisoning from them. An hour later I had to rush to the toilet, but it was not vomit. It was, in fact, the other ! There is no way that a duff kipper could have got from one end of me to the other in only 1 hour ! Yet I was quite badly stricken with diahorea, and it needed several more visits at 30 minute intervals before I felt reasonably comfortable. By now the kippers would have worked their way through much of my system, but I have no trouble this morning.

           This morning I have to sign on at the job centre. After that I will do some shopping. Once home again the day is my own. Perhaps I'll get into my workshop, or perhaps I will do some video editing. Perhaps I will remember what it was I was going to write about before starting this paragraph.

Copyright - Bill 2004