Valid HTML 4.01!

October 2004
Clocks change to GMT at 01.00 on the 31st

The Catford Cat


Sunday 31st October 2004

07.00 GMT
It's good to be back to GMT. It feels so right.
Weather - overcast but dry

 Another month comes to an end. On balance it has been one of the better months of this year. Next month sees a slight change of plan. Tomorrow I start a 13 week course called "Intensive Activity Programme". It is designed to help me find, and get back, to work. We'll see............ Beyond its intended plan it does bring with it a few other implications. Of particular significance to this diary is that I will not be able to sit here all morning reading and writing on the internet. It is quite probable that my main updates will be done in the evening. Next up is that I won't be able to nip out and do my shopping during the day, and lunchtime drinking will also have to stop. Lastly, but probably more irritating, is that I doubt I will have time for any morning visits to Patricia. Depending on how late this course finishes I may end up rushing back, all hot and sweaty, to visit Patricia before she finishes work. There is a plus side to the course though. It will mean a walk through the park twice a day, and being away from the temptations of food during the day. At the end of it I may end up fitter and healthier than I would otherwise be. I had a taste of that during the 2 week course I was on during the summer. Even though it was just a mere 2 weeks I think I lost a few pounds and felt better for it.

 I am wracking my brain trying to think what I migh have done yesterday that is worth mentioning this morning. It was another day that flew by, and yet there is little to show for it. I did compose another couple of experimental web pages, but they are not for viewing here. I suppose one thing I did that took up a fair amount of time, and needed lots of input from me, was not design and print three slightly different CD jewel case inserts. It was all because Taz does not have a PC or any way to play mp3 files on CD. She wanted to hear all three series of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. Everybody else (Kevin, Howard and Iain) who wanted to hear the last series again, or had missed an episode of it, got a CD with all the series on it in mp3 format. I even did some fancy artwork for that, but Taz needed the every episode in audio CD format. So using Cool Edit to slightly speed up each episode (it's only just noticable if you are aware of what I have done), I was able to fit three episodes to each disk. That will be six disks in all, or three double CD's, one double CD per series. In a fit of stupidity I decided to design new artwork for each double CD case, although each case carries a common theme. I started this paragraph trying to think what I did yesterday and suddenly it all came flooding back to me. The CD jewel cases took up a lot of time. The web pages experiments took a lot of time, and on top of all that I did some laudry and shopping. It's no wonder that it felt like I had been busy yesterday.

 It seems odd that tomorrow I start this new course. I want to get off to an early start for it. It will mean sorting out the paperwork for it, and yet tonight I am out drinking until late. There are two things I ought to do then. One is to sort out all the paperwork (etc.) this afternoon. The other is to try and avoid getting too drunk and ending up with a hangover. Ideally I would like to get away from the drinking early, but I will be tied to the time set by the driver. I suspect I will not be home much before midnight. The only saving grace is that with the switch to GMT it will feel as if I have had an extra hour in bed when I attempt to get up at 06.00. The downside it that midnight is going to feel like 01.00. (cue very large yawn !)
Saturday 30th October 2004

07.40 BST

Weather - dry and cold

 This time tomorrow it will only be 06.40 instead of 07.40 and everyone will be able to have an extra hour in bed. Everybody except me. I will be attempting to get back to my once regular time of 06.00 for waking up. At the momemt I am having to rely on my furry alarm clock, Nelly, to wake me up. She seems to have quite an accurate clock that goes off at 07.30 each day. It does make me wonder what she uses to synchronise her internal clock to the outside world. With the curtains closed she has no real clue about daylight outside. Perhaps she hears someones else's alrm clock going off somewhere.

 Yesterday was probably even better than the days recently where I have said it was a good day. The very best part was when I got a phone call from Patricia early in the evening to say that she had been to the dentist and was finally out of pain. That was really good news. The poor woman has been in so much pain during the last week that it has been most distressing to see her suffering so. I just hope that there was no pain after the aneasthetic wore off and she has finally managed to get a good nights sleep.

 I made some more progress with the rips of LP's that Iain gave me. It is proving to be very slow work, and now I have hit a problem that is proving difficult to resolve. One side of the Chicago album that I am working on has 5 or 6 tracks that run into each other and it is most difficult to decide where each one starts and finishes. Iain has given me a list of the track names so I know how many divisions there should be in the one long recording, but I cannot see more than 3 places were it is obvious that one track splits from the next unless some of the tracks are only 20 - 30 seconds in length. Perhaps a bit of searching on the internet would reveal the durations of each track. Once I know that it will be childs play to split the recording into individual tracks.

 At a guess, I would say that a lot of today is going to be taken up with more audio editing/restoration. There are other things I will have to do like laundry and shopping, and they will have to take priority, but after those it looks as if I will be working at the PC for many hours again today.
Friday 29th October 2004

07.00 BST

Weather - cold and slightly damp

 This is one of those mornings when it feels as if there is not much to say. Yesterday seemed to fly by. It can be summed up very simply by listing : Washed and dressed. Went out and bought New Scientist. Read most of New Scientist. Made a start on cleaning/editing Iain's ripped LP's. Visited Patricia. Watched TV. Surfed the net. Went to bed (late). It doesn't sound much, but it filled the whole day. Ideally I could have done with a few more hours in the day.

 Which brings me on to today. My first task......., no not task, but pleasure, is to visit Patricia again to see how her toothache is going, and to drop off a book for her. After that  the rest of my schedule is blank. I had considered popping over to The Herne this afternoon, but I don't think that will happen. In all probability I will spent a considerable amout of time today working on Iain's LP rips. So far I have only tackled one side of one LP and there are over a dozen to do. Some tracks will need much more treatment than others. The first LP I am tackling is Chicago by Chicago. It has some pleasant tracks on it, but one, 25 or 6 to 4, is such a great track that it needs extra special work done on it. I will go through that one millisecond by millisecond cutting out every hint of pops or clicks. In all I think Iain has provided enough material to keep me busy for today and the whole weekend. Even then I may not finish it all. A lot depends on how bad the original LP's sounded. Some of them are at least 30 years old and may need a lot of treatment to restore them. Some may end up as almost as good as a CD, but others we will have to accept are just going to be as good as they can get.
Thursday 28th October 2004

07.45 BST

Weather - grey and drizzly

 After all the possibilities for drinking yesterday, only the evening drink with Kevin and Iain actually happened. I never heard from Taz, although I did hear about her. She has the lurgi and after a brief visit to Catford hurried home to bed again. Patricia has been suffering from bad toothache and was feeling too knackered after sleepless nights to go for a drink. That just left the usual suspects for the usual Wednesday night drink. Even then we did not have a full compliment with Howard being back up at Suffolk for a few weeks.

 I did feel very sorry for Patricia. She was obviously in a lot of pain last night. On Monday night a small tot of whisky helped to deaden the pain, but apparently it did not work on Tuesday night. I am relieved to hear that she has, or was about to, make an appointment with her dentist. Toothache is one of the worst pains ever. There have been a few occasions in the past when I have been in screaming agony with toothache so I know what the poor woman is going through. I will call in on her late this afternoon and see how she is doing.

 Yesterday I managed to finish reading Dan Brown's "The Digital Fortress". It was a jolly good read like his previous book "The Da Vinci Code", but was slightly let down by certain likely inaccuracies in his descriptions of computers. For an example I will describe one scene in the book, but try not to give too much of the plot away. There is this huge gigantic computer that stores most of the American governments secrets and it has a virus that is progresively destroying all the firewalls that keep unauthorsised people from accessing its secrets. They are waiting for a way to kill the virus as the clocks ticks slowly away towards all this information being freely accessible on the internet. If they don't unlock the the way to stop the virus they conclude they will have to shut the computer down. This will cause untold damge to the data inside it, and even worse the computer is fed from multiple redundant power supplies that have to be shut down in the correct order, and it will take 45 minutes to do it. Virtual panic sets in as the zero hour approaches (well they are Americans - very prone to panic ) and they watch the firewalls crumbling away on a visual representation. Now I do not know enough about huge computer installations, but I have worked in some pretty big telephone exchanges, and all I would have done is simply disconnect the computer from the communication links to the outside world. If it were a telephone exchange it would be just a simple matter of pulling out links. Communication links are designed to be easily broken to allow for testing. It may have taken a little time, but I doubt it would take 45 minutes. It would be non-destuctive and given them all the time in the world to defeat the virus, but I suppose it would not make for such an exciting read. Therin lies the problem. Dan Brown seems to have sacrificed accuracy for drama. It makes me wonder if all the "true facts" in his book "The Da Vinci Code" were as accurate as they were supposed to be.

 Today : Well it's a Thursday so I will be off in search of this weeks New Scientist magazine. I have a job to apply for. Iain has given me a CDR of tracks ripped off of old LP records to be cleaned up and titled. I ought to get into my workshop. I have to get washed and dressed. I will be popping in to see Patricia (and possibly going for a quick drink with her). During the course of the day I will be doing some, or all, of those things.
Wednesday 27th October 2004

07.25 BST

Weather - dry and cold

 Words from last nights dream : Calvados. That is all. I woke up with that word on the tip of my tongue, but I cannot recall any details from a dream that contained it. Calvados is an apple liqueur. So presumably I was dreaming about drinking. I just hope that I was having fun in that dream !

 Yesterday was pretty good. I was creative and I saw Patricia. What more could I want ? The creativity part was mostly confined to doing a lot of printing. I printed out some photos of two paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci for Patricia.  They were of the two alternative versions of Virgin Of The Rocks. Now you may feel this is slightly odd behaviour, but if you were to read Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" you would understand the significance of these two paintings. They, along with several other works of art, are involved with the plot of that book. Most of the other printing I did concerned some CD artwork for the collected radio episodes of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. Series three of THHGTTG finished on Radio 4 last night and it was time to archive it onto CDR. For a series of such importance I thought a bright and colourful jewel case insert was needed instead of the more usual scrawl with a magic marker. I am quite pleased with my final design. Most bits of it were nicked from the internet, but it is mostly my composition. The major failing in it was leaving out an exclamation mark after Don't Panic . I have only just noticed that as I write this. There is no way I am going to scrap all that I have printed now so it stays.

 Today brings up three opportunities of going for a drink. The first, with Taz, is a possibility. The second, with Patricia, is likely, and the third, with Kevin, Iain, and Howard, is almost certain. I say almost certain to leave a small amount of doubt. Anything could happen between now and tonight and it is important to remember that the world could be eaten by a mutant star goat before the pubs even open, or the world could be destroyed by a fleet of Vogons. I'll admit it is not likely, but in an infinite universe anything is possible. I might even consider going to see Think Floyd again when they play the Fairfield Halls in Croydon on the 18th Of November.
Tuesday 26th October 2004

07.05 BST

Weather - dry and cool

 Yesterday was a good day. It started with getting up nice and early, and finished a little late at midnight. It should have finished an hour earlier, but midnight was not a bad compromise. Actually I would have preferred to have been asleep at 22.00 so I could have woken at 06.00 this morning with a full 8 hours sleep under my belt.

 Once I was up, washed, and dressed the first task was to get to a post box to post off a couple of disks to Steve (who is probably reading this and eagerly anticipating receiving a copy of the Skyline DVD plus a few other bits and pieces). My next stop was Patricia who pleasantly surprised me by suggesting we go for a drink after work that same night. Next it was shopping in Tesco's. I found they were selling Dan Brown's book "The Digital Fortress" so I had to buy it. That book was purely the cause of me not getting to sleep at 22.00 last night. Like the previous book, "The DaVinci Code", it is difficult to put down once you start reading it.

 After I got home again I had some breakfast and then decided to tackle my PC upstairs. Twice, the day before, it had crashed on me. From all the interference it was causing to medium wave reception I knew it had to be the power supply failing. Sure enough, onceI had opened up the power supply there was another capacitor with its top split open just like last time about 12 months ago. While I had the PC opened up I decided to clean up the processor fan and heatsink. I gave it a good clean and put fresh heatsink compound on it. It now runs about 10° C cooler. I also installed a new case fan, and probably more critically, one that blows instead of suck. The whole PC is now running much smoother.

 With that PC now running extra smoothly I thought it time to give Kevin's DVD player one more go. After him changing the optical block to cure faulty DVD playback it plays DVDs perfectly, but now will not play CDs. After performing every test known to manking (and several unknown) I can only conclude that the new optical block is faulty. After the success with the PC it was a bit of a come down to find there was nothing I could do to fix that player.

 The rest of the morning, and much of the afternoon, I spent reading or listening to the radio. BBC 7 broadcast an exceptionally funny episode of The Goon Show. I must make a CD of it to give to Taz. I just know she will love it. At 17.15 it was time to go out to meet Patricia. We went to the Weatherspoons pub in Lewisham. It was a pub she had seen while on the bus going home and liked the look of it. Personally I found just a little too crowded for so early in the evening, but Patricia thought it was very nice. Apart from the crowds, and in particular the problem finding an empty table, it was not that bad in there. Patricia was suffering from toothache so I bought a single measure of whisky. The idea was that she would just take a couple of sips and hold the whisky on the tooth to help quieten the nerve down. Sometimes it works for me, but sometimes not. I was most suprised when Patricia said she liked it and prcoceeded to drink the whole glass. For an infrequent drinker I would have thought neat whisky would have been most unpleasant. I think it had the desired affect and she reported her tooth did feel more comfortable. After about an hour we left the pub and I saw her onto her bus and I headed off to home.

 The rest of the evening was spent eating, watching TV and reading. Somewhere during the course of the day I heard several midi tunes that Howard had sent to me for use as ring tones on my new phone. There is a certain little jingle that I want my phone to play when it rings. I lack two things to make it myself. One I am almost tone deaf and couldn't compose/play a musical instrument to save my life. Secondly I lack the tools to do the job properly. So I got Howard interested in the idea. So far he has done well, but not hit perfection yet.  I chose to burden Howard with this task because if my memory serves me well ( which I have serious doubts about) he originally composed the tune on a Yamaha DX7 which he bought, or borrowed, some  20 years ago.  I hope you are enjoying this as a challenge and not a chore, Howard. It's worth a pint when you come up with the perfect midi file !

 I'm not sure what I am doing today. I could so easily end up reading all day, but I would like to be a little more productive than that. I still have many Gigabytes of mp3 files to sort and catalogue, and so I could get on with that. There are also a few things I ought to do in my workshop. It is possible that I may be meeting Taz for lunch. Basically, anything could happen today.
Monday 25th October 2004

06.15 BST

Weather - wet and windy

 I managed to get to sleep early last night. Perhaps not as early as I wanted, but very soon after 22.00. So, apart from a false alarm when I woke up at 04.00, I have had close to a full 8 hours sleep. With another hour, or so, until it starts to get light, it still feels very early, but I must resist the temptation to go back to bed. For the first few hours of this morning I have a lot to do. Roughly speaking, I have to wash and dress, post a smal package, visit Patricia, and get some shopping from Tesco's. Once that is over I can relax a bit, but not much. My PC upstairs is playing up again. Twice yesterday it crashed with the infamous Blue Screen Of Death. Once again I think it is the power supply starting to fail. I noticed that it is starting to produce a lot of interference on a medium wave radio again. It always has been a bit noisy in that respect, but last night I had to turn the mains off to it so that I could listen to my radio while in bed. All it should need is more capacitors being changed, but with a need to record a radio show at 12.30 (either an episode of The Goon Show, or Round The Horne) I do not have that much time to affect a repair on it. I just hope I can identify the parts, and find replacements in time.

 Even with a full nights sleep I still feel rather groggy this morning. I don't think I actually slept that well. I woke up with a headache and a neck ache too. Sometime in the last few days I think I pulled a muscle in my neck. Since then it has given me various amounts of pain. There was one morning recently when my neck felt very stiff, and painful to move, for several hours. Last night, as I was trying to get to sleep, I kept finding a position where I could feel the knotted muscle in my neck stretching in a painful way. This morning it still feels sore. When I think about it I have a theory that it is probably all the result of some intense reading sessions both in bed, and lying on the settee.

 Yesterday I compiled a collection of my better photographs of my cats, past and present, and made a copy for Albert to take home to show his wife. It seems she has a particular soft spot for cats. I think that provided the inspiration for a dream I had last night. I was in a bedroom that had two beds in it. It was my bedroom, but not where I sleep now. It was almost, but not quite, the room I used to sleep in when I was a kid. With me in the room where my four cats. There was a tabby, a black and white cat, a kitten, and a tiger. Yes, a tiger ! I had no fear of the tiger except that I was worried it might eat the kitten. I decided that we ought to play a game together and noticed a toy white mouse on the other bed. When I went to pick it up it ran away because it was actually a live mouse. It was the tiger who noticed it first and made a lunge at it as it scuttled behind a small chest of drawers. This drew the other cats attention and they all clustered around the chest of drawers together to try and catch the mouse. The next bit is very hazy and I can only describe what I think happened. In fact it may have been two seperate dreams that seem to follow on from each other. As the cats lay in wait for the mouse to reappear I laid down on my bed and stared at the ceiling for a few moments. When I looked round again the cats had disappeared. The door to the room seemed firmly shut so I started looking around the room for somewhere they may have been hiding. I checked under the beds, and other places, even though I knew that a full grown tiger could not even get under any of the beds. After a while I heard some noises from under the other bed and eventually the kitten appeared. There was no sign of the other cats. As the dream seemed to fade away the last thing I noticed was that the kittens tail did not seem as long as it should, and yet there was no sign of any fresh injury to it (where perhaps the tiger had bitten the end off).

 My clock say it is now 07.05 and there is a hint of light in the eastern sky. It might be an optical illusion, but there is the faintest hint of red showing on some of the clouds (as in - red sky in the morning, shepherds warning). It looks as if today is going to be another wet and windy day. Yesterday evening is when the rain seemed at its heaviest. There were even a few claps of thunder. They were not from that close, but not too far away either. I will be quite happy when these autumn storms subside and we get more stable weather. As November is only a week away it should not be long before we start getting nice crisp and foggy mornings.
Sunday 24th October 2004

10.30 BST

Weather - slightly grey, but dry

 It seems I have had another late night. This time it was 03.00 !!!! I finished reading Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code", and very enjoyable it was too. It was also quite intriguing as it was a work of fiction set around real places and people. Now that I have finished reading it I hope to be able to go to sleep at a more useful time tonight as I hope to be up early on Monday morning.

 Yesterday restarted with the postman waking me up and forcing a hasty exit from bed (I had gone back to bed for a lie in). He delivered the packet with not one, but two PCMCIA LAN adapters (Thanks Steve). It took a little time to track down the drivers for the one card that I have tried, but once installed, and having gone through all the rigmarole of having to restart Windows 95 many times, I was finally rewarded access to my network, and to the internet, on my laptop. It is now very easy to transfer files from the PC's to the laptop. Previously it was a slow tedious process. One thing that surprised me, although intellectually I knew it should be so, was how little difference there was in the speed of browsing the internet on the laptops 120MHz processor compared to a 2GHz Athlon processor. Of course there is the slight matter of my connection speed to the internet being only what is available on a dial up connection, but it sort of proves the point that for basic web surfing, and general office tasks, an old, slowish, PC is more than adequate.

 I don't know how much time I spent playing with the laptop, but I doubt it was more than a few hours. It makes me wonder where the rest of the day went. I did watch some TV, and read a little from magazines, but the next thing of significance was when Albert dropped his PC off for another repair. His back-up battery had gone flat and corrupted the BIOS to the extent that it appeared not to be able to do its own self check. I had talked Albert through how to reset the BIOS over the phone, but for some reason it did not appear to work. When I tried it I had better luck. The BIOS is now set up correctly and the internal clock appears to be keeping good time now. One thing that desperately needed doing was a disk defragment. I suspect it was the dodgy Blue Yonder internet software that kept trying to access the disk and prevented the defragmenter from running correctly, but I finally booted into safe mode and disk defragging is now proceeding even as I am typing. (Note to self : On Windows ME hold down the F5 key during boot to get into safe mode NOT F8)

 I am not sure how I will pass the time today. I still have a load of mp3 files to sort and catalogue, and I guess that will take up a lot of time if I want it to. Also I have hundreds of Megabytes of BBC Radio 7 programmes not even listened to let alone edited for archive. It seems I may be sitting behind one PC screen, or another, for a lot of today. On the other hand something else might come along and distract me. We will see.
Saturday 23rd October 2004

08.00 BST

Weather - cold and drizzling

  Another morning where I still feel tired. I was reading until 02.00 again last night, or should I say, this morning. I have to say the Dan Brown's "The DaVinci Code" has turned out to be a fascinating book. It is not my normally preferred genre, Sci Fi, but is a thriller based around a network of real facts and places, plus many presumed facts that are the basis for many conspiracy theories. Many of these conspiracies have been aired in such magazines as Fortean Times. I have read about them in a semi disinterested way before, but I may pay more attention the next time they are mentioned.

 I think yesterday was fairly productive. I spent many hours renaming, and resorting mp3 files on my PC upstairs. It seems to be a task that will never be finished. At various times I have ripped bits of my CD collection using various different ripping programs. It was my own fault for not setting them up correctly, but one did not include the artists name in the file name, and another session produced all the tracks from a four disk box set as just track01, track02, etc. Fortunately the ID3 tags contain the correct information so I can read them and rename the file to reflect its contents. It is a very slow process, but I am at last making some sort of headway. One sad aspect of all this labour is that one of the principle uses of these mp3 files is to make compilation CD's that will play on my DVD player in the living room, and that cannot display the file names, or ID3 tag names. One day I may get an mp3 player that is capable of displaying track names so it will all be worthwhile in the end.

 I am not sure what I will be doing today. I suspect it will be more of what I was doing yesterday except for one minor variation. Albert's PC has blown up again and he is probably dropping it round when he finishes work this evening. It looks as if a failing BIOS battery has corrupted the BIOS so badly that it does not seem to respond to simple methods to restore it. I may scrap that PC and transfer his hard disk to another of my spare PC's. I have a spare Pentium II (or maybe III) PC that really only needs a decent hard drive to be a usefully working machine. I also ought to take a look at Kevin's DVD player. Since he fitted a new optical block to cure no DVD playback it plays DVD's perfectly, but now will not play CD's. I have inspected it and can see that he has fitted the new optical block correctly, but so far I have not turned it on and conducted any tests myself. I think the first thing I will do is to put the old optical block back in to check that it can play CD's. If it does it will leave little doubt that the new opical block is, in fact, faulty.
Friday 22nd October 2004

07.00 BST

Weather - clear skies, cold and dewey

 It was surprising how much yesterdays sunshine warmed the house up. I didn't need any heating on all day even though I had long periods of fairly sedentary behavior. i.e. reading. This morning it feels very cold. With a clear sky overnight, there could almost have been a frost this morning. As November approaches the probability of frost gets ever higher. Yet yesterday afternoon I went out to buy a few things without even needing a coat on.

 Yesterday seemed to be a pleasant sort of day. I am not sure why I should think that as it was not a very productive day. After my long lazy lay in my first task was to have a go at cleaning up the audio on a CDR that Iain had given me. It was his first go at transferring an old LP onto the PC (or MAC in his case). The transfer went well, and all the recording levels were spot on. Iain had been worried that it did not sound right, but I thought it sounded OK. It was from an album whose name I am not sure of. I think it was called Simon And Garfunkel - The Collection. A "best off" album with all their most famous songs on it. Listening to it I have to concur that the vocals on the first track did sound odd, but I am sure, 100% positive, that the fault lay on the original recording and not the disk to computer transfer. It sounded as if the original microphone channel had been recorded too high leaving the vocals sounding strangely clipped. The rest of the album sounded fine apart from some surface noise and the odd click and scratch on the record surface. It took nearly two hours to do some mild noise reduction, and then to remove the clicks and pops. Many of the clicks and pops I was able to remove using automatic tools, but in several places I had to resort to cutting them out manually. That is easy to do on the PC. I can cut as little as one millisecond of sound at a time, but  doing that many times takes a lot of my time. It accounted for much of the two hours I spent "remastering" the recording. I should add that this was actually only the first side of the LP. Iain wanted to make sure that I approved of the method of transfer before wasting time on the other side. It is a sad fact that, unlike CD's, LP's can only be copied in real time. I can see this collaboration going on for ages with Iain doing the transfers with his better equipment, and me doing the audio processing with my better experience of audio editing.

 Once I was happy with my audio editing/processing I decided to go out to buy New Scientist and a new paperback to read. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading New Scientist. I only stopped a few times, to watch TV programmes, before going to bed. I was determined to try and get an early night last night. Lately my time has been slipping and I have been getting up later and later yesterday being the worst of all. I took the new Paperback to bed and thought I would read for a few tens of minutes before trying for sleep. It didn't work out like that. The book, The DaVinci Code, although not my usual type of book, turned out to be very interesting. By midnight I had read the first ten chapters. I could have gone on. In fact I was very tempted as the next chapter looked as if it might start answering some questions, but I decided to stop there and get to sleep. I fell asleep surprisingly quickly, and for the most part, had a good nights sleep. I could be tempted for more sleep now, but I will stay up as I want to call in on Patricia this morning and find out if we are still OK for a quick after work drink tonight.
Thursday 21st October 2004

11.45 BST

Weather - bright and sunny, breezy

  It was very windy last night in two ways. When I came out of the pub the wind did not seem to bad, but it was pelting with rain. I think Kevin, Howard, and Iain all noticed that I was slightly "windy" as well. I came home and watched The Bill that I had recorded while in the pub. While watching that I was feeling slightly uncomfortable. When it had finished I went to bed but found great difficulty getting to sleep. Outside the wind was really howling. It was making quite a racket stripping leaves of the trees (I am quite surprised that the trees have any leaves left this morning). meanwhile it was getting very windy under my duvet. To be brief I had to rush out to the toilet about 5 times before I was finally feeling almost comfortable. Most of it was wind, but not all ! I ended up reading until almost 02.00 before I finally went to sleep. It was an interesting read all about the boot process of PC's, with particular reference to the GRUB bootloader. I am not sure how much I can remember this morning, but it seemed pretty fascinating at the time.

 So here I am now after an extended lay in. I did get up at 07.30 to feed Nelly, but decided not to even turn on the PC. Now I am washed, dressed and ready to go. I have even had time to prepare the following photograph.........
Bill, Kevin and Iain at The Catford Ram
It is of myself, Kevin and Iain in the pub last night. We had a pretty good drink with loads of different thing being discussed.

 Today I have several asks to do. It is New Scientist day so I ought to pop out to Smiths, or Tescos, to get that. Then I have a load of DVD-R disks to take a look at to index and copy their contents. I think all that should keep me going until the end of the day.
Wednesday 20th October 2004

07.45 BST

Weather - dull and drizzling

 Last night I made the same stupid mistake I have been making rather a lot lately. I have been reading in bed and not keeping an eye on the time. When I finally decided that I was so tired that the pages were beginning to blur it was coming up to 01.00. Even though my eyes were closing I still could not switch my brain off and it seemed like ages before I went to sleep. I would hazard a guess that in reality it really only took 5 or 10 minutes, but it seemed as if it would go on forever. Having finally got to sleep I was woken up by something at around 03.00. This has happened for the last few nights. I have no idea what it is that wakes me up, but I suspect it is something on the railway. Perhaps it is a track maintenance train passing by. Whatever it may be it has come and gone by the time I have fully reached conciousness. Fortunately getting to sleep again seems fairly quick after these 3am episodes.

 So once again I feel that I have not had enough sleep. The last stages of sleep consisted of loads of dreamy images. I can't remember more than one bit of dream clearly, although I do retain some jumbled, almost nonsensical, images of other dreams. The part I remember clearly followed on from vague images of a cricket ground. This was probably inspired by The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy and the robots of Krikket. Following on from a wide, almost panaoramic, view across the cricket ground I found myself walking down a narrow cobbled lane. On my right were large industrial type buildings, and on my left small old terraced houses. After a very small walk I came to a gap in the houses. In their place was what I though of as a sight screen for the cricket ground. It was huge. It stood at least as high as the houses and was the width of two of them. The emarkable thing about it was it appeared to be water cooled. There were pipes carrying water to heat exchangers mounted at the rear of this huge thing. I was conemplating if it really was a sight screen, or whether it was actually a scoreboard using huge hot lamps when the dream faded away. I think I also dreamt about one, or more, preserved railways, being in a some sort of bar or pub, and another involving a sports field using giant laptops as score boards. I seem to recall the giant lapops had a monochrome screen with the light parts being a pale dirty yellow colour, and the dark parts being a sort of muddy grey.

 So the plans for today are fairly simple. Keep myself available to possibly meet Taz for a lunchtime pint, and then to keep myself ready to go to the pub tonight with Kevin, Iain and Howard. By "keeping myself ready, or available" I mean not having any sudden huge meals before it is time for drinking. I just can't drink on a full stomach.
Tuesday 19th October 2004

21.30 BST

Weather - cool and dry

 It has been a mostly satisfactory day. A few experiments on the PC did not go as expected, but all provided valuable learning experiences. The day started with a rush to get out at 09.00 to visit Patricia and sign on. Today was the last time I sign on until next January. From the 1st of November I am being sent on the Intensive Activity course. Apparently this will help me get a job, but if there are no jobs out there then it will be useless. Nevertheless I get an extra bonus payment for going on it, and that can't be bad.
Patricia cleaning a teaspoon
 While out visiting Patricia I couldn't help getting my new phone out and taking a snap with its camera. It was not the greatest of poses. At the time she was cleaning a teaspoon while making a cup of coffee. I hear that they are all living on hot coffee in the classroom as the heating had failed some time back (last week or even earlier) and no one will fix it. With the temperature dropping all the time they are all freezing there. It makes me glad that I am not doing a course there at the moment.

 I am not really sure what else I have managed to achieve today. It has been a sort of lazy day doing some reading, some listening to radio programmes (past and present), playing with the PC(s), and throwing out a little more junk from my workshop.
07.45 BST

Weather - dry and cold

 Yesterday was a good day. It had some negative points, but overall it was good. I decided that I would definitely go to Maplins to buy my IRDA adapter. Before I set out I gave Ivor a ring to see if he had any interest in going to Maplins, and more interestingly, whether he he would be popping into The Railway Telegraph which is opposite Maplins. Luckily he said he was. So I set out with a spring in my step and started walking towards Forest Hill and Maplins. It was a glorious day. The sun was shining, and yet it was not too hot. In fact it was not hot at all, but by the time I got there all that walking, plus the sun beating down on my black leather jacket, had warmed me up to the point where I was sweating.

 I met up with Ivor, and Iain, in Maplins. Ivor bought a printer and I bought my IRDA adapter. We then crossed the road into the pub for a few well earned pints.
Ivor and Iain taken on the Nokia 6610i  I was able to show off my new Nokia 6610i phone with built in camera. The pictures it takes are not brilliant, but seem adequate for web pages. The whole point of all the rushing around, walking to Maplins was to enable me to download the pictures from the camera, via infrared link, onto the PC.

 After the first pint we were joined by Paul. This had the effect of lengthening Ivors lunch break and I ended up having three and a half pints before going home. Once again I decided to walk home. This was probably a bad mistake as either my sock, or the lining in my shoe, rucked up and made walking painful. I have the blisters to prove it !

 I walked home via Tesco's where I bought some food, and more importantly, some toilet paper (I was down to my last roll). Before I did anything else I had some breakfast. I had not eaten in the morning, and after all that walking I was feeling a little peckish. I think I probably had slighty less than Ivor had.
Ivor's breakfast in the pub
 Once I had eaten I attempted to set up the infrared link to get the pictures out of the phone. My initial attempts ended in disaster. I tried it out on three different PC's. Two running Windows XP, and the other Windows 2000. All three refused to co-operate. It was only on the last attempt that I realised I was being stupid and installing the wrong drivers. I had been attempting to use generic infrared drivers not realing that my adapter needed specific drivers. The generic drivers did attempt to work, and they would recognise the phone, but it was like the sensor was only being polled for something like one second in every five. The PC could recognise the phone in the brief space of time, but the Nokia software wanted nothing to do with it. Finally I installed the correct drivers and it all sprang into life. So now I can become the menace I always intended to be and go around with a camera permanantly ready, and able to stiore the pictures on the PC.

Paul in The Railway Telegraph
 So just one more picture before I rush off to wash and dress before going out to sign on, and pop in to see Patricia. If you are looking at a screen that reflects the same page layout as I can see here (probably needs a resolution of 800x600), on the left is a picture of Paul in The Railway Telegraph. Of the four picures I took there (one was very boring, and not shown here) this one has probably come out best. The colours look a little murky on these pictures and in later attempts I may try and tart them up a little.
Monday 18th October 2004

10.15 BST

Weather - bright and sunny. Still cold.

 The past three hours has not been spent sleeping. In fact I doubt I managed to get more than 30 minutes extra sleep. Admittedly I did spend another two hours in bed, but I could not get to sleep. I suppose I probably didn't need it after all, but it did feel like I did. Since then I have washed my body, washed my hair, and I had a wet shave ! Fortunately I didn't lose too much blood from using a fiercesome razor blade. I thought my electric razor was not doing a good enough job, and besides which it will not trim my sideburns. My face feels slightly smoother now, but I think it will need another wet shave in the morning to do the job perfectly.

  I had a pleasant surprise when I checked my email first thing this morning. I have been offered a swap for a PCMCIA network card. I don't know where, when, or how the swap will take place, but it will be damn useful to get that card. Perhaps I should list more of my wants, or desires, here and see if any other kind offers materialise. Apart from the obvious, wine, women and money, I would say the next thing I desire , or at least would be useful, is another ethernet hub. My four port 10Mbps hub serves me well most of the time, but one with , say, six ports, and perhaps a 100 Mbps throughput, would be very useful on some occasions. As to why I have this insane desire to network loads of PCs together is anyones guess.

 I had a strange experience on Saturday that I keep forgetting to mention. I was reminded of it when sorting out my socks this morning. As usual I did my laundry on Saturday. What was slightly unusual was that I did not get the stuff out of the washing machine until the evening. I must have been in and out of the kitchen a dozen times during the day, but it was not until I came to unload the washing machine that I noticed I had dropped one sock on the floor while loading it up in the morning. It has often been said that socks have strange properties when confronted with washing machines. This one obviously tried to escape, but where did it hide during the day ? I am sure I should have noticed it if it was sitting where I found it when I came to unload the washing machine. It was sitting right in front of it in plain sight. I can't even blame it on Nelly. She appears to have no interest in my socks at all. Perhaps I should submit this story to Fortean Times.

 It has turned out a nice day, or at least at the moment the sun is shining and all seems well. It could be an ideal opportunity to take a walk to Maplins to buy the IRDA adapter I want. I might, or I might not, and if I do I may not walk but take a bus. I'll decide on that later.
07.25 BST

Weather - cold

 This is going to be the briefest of notes. I was reading until the early hours, and now Nelly has woken me up demanding her breakfast. She has now been fed so I am going back to bed !
Sunday 17th October 2004

12.45 BST

Weather - dry, but very gloomy

  I think I have left it too late for a computer fair today, although it would still be just about possible. I have spent quite a lot of time counting up all my small change. The idea was that there is a machine in the Sainsbury's Savacentre, which is sort of on the way to a computer fair, that takes all your loose change and converts it into bigger currency. It does charge 7.5p per pound to do it, but a few £5 notes are easier to carry to a computer fair than £15.86 in 1p and 2p pieces - and a lot easier to spend as well. I haven't checked, but I suspect there is enough loose cahnge in my back pocket to raise that £15.86 up to the point where I could get exactly £15 back in notes.

 Just a few minutes after saying it was very gloomy and the sun has now put in a brief appearance. If I was certain it would stay out I might even reconsider the idea of getting to a computer fair late, but I have just put my lunch in the oven to cook so I think I know what I will be doing next for definite - eating. After that it will be time to put my feet up and do some reading.
07.45 BST

Weather - damp after light overnight rain

 It is another gloomy morning. I thought that a weather forecast I saw a few days ago suggested that today may have been brighter, and warmer, than we have had of late. Maybe once the sun has climbed a little higher in the sky it will improve things, but for now I can only describe it as horrible.

 Yesterday turned out reasonably well. I sat down to do a load of reading but Taz phoned me up and asked if I fancied meeting up for a quick pint in The London And Rye (local Weatherspoons pub). It seemed like a good idea too me so I met her there at 13.00. I was not aware that they had started their "Oktoberfest" beer festival and had lots of guest beers in. It turned out that not that many were actually ready for use, but there were several that were, and were worth trying. It was only a quick drink so I had just two pints. One was GB Mild - a rather pleasant mild from a brewery whose name escapes me, but ideal for lunchtime drinking. The other pint was from, I believe, a Welsh brewery, and called something like Fallen Oak. That was a little stronger, but once again very pleasant. The best thing about both pints were that the both cost a mere £1.49 a pint.

 After those two pints I accompanied Taz to a shop across the main road called Savers. It is primarily a cheap place for cosmetics and the like, but does have a few other odd things in as well. In particular they had a basket of glowsticks for just 20p each. I have a feeling that the normal price would be closer to £1 each. In case you are not aware of what a glowstick is they are essentially tubes of two different chemicals, one inside a thin glass tube that when broken mixes with the other (both are in a tough plastic outer tube) and gives of light. They are eerily fascinating things and I only bought two of them. I should have bought more as I think they are fun things to have. Strangely enough this was only the second time I have ever seen them for sale. The first time was probably 10 years ago at an amateur radio rally.  The three I bought then were real industrial versions meant for emergency illumination, and probably used by cavers etc. The ones I bought yesterday were toy versions, but still just as interesting. I did try one out yesterday. It was half of a pair designed in such a way that the pair could be joined together to make a kids necklace. Unlike the industrial ones that were optimised for maximum light output and time, this one gave out an eerie green light  which only lasted less than an hour before the light started to fade. The industrial ones gave out a yellowy green light and still provided enough light to read by after several hours. It would be nice if the three remaining glowsticks I have had a variety of colours.

 Once back home I spent the rest of the day either reading (books/magazines) or trying to extract some data from a CDR. This particular CDR was made by Traxdata and gives every appearance of being a good quality product. Except that after a couple of years it is almost unreadable. I spent, or rather one of my PC's spent, nearly two hours attempting to copy all the files on it. I have managed to get some files from it so far and will be trying again today. I think I will see what the drives on my machine upstairs can make of it. This PC cannot read a single file on the disk. The other PC down here can, at least, read some of the files, although curiously it is the DVD reader driver that seems to make a better job of it. I have often found that on a reluctant disk it is a CD burner drive that has the best chance of reading it.

 Today I think I want to go to a computer fair. There are definitely some bits I need to buy, but I am not sure if I should spend my money on them. Principly I want a PCMCIA network card so that I can get my laptop on my network. That would save so much bother when it comes to copying stuff to it. Then I want an IRDA adapter so that I can transfer data to, and from, my new mobile phone. From Maplin these would cost £20 and £15  respectively. I doubt I would be able to save that much on the IRDA adapter, but I might be able to pick up a secondhand network adapter, or maybe an older and slower one, for perhaps half that price. It is tempting, but I will not make a final decision until I am up, dressed and washed.
Saturday 16th October 2004

07.20 BST

Weather - damp but no rain

  I feel a lazy sort of day coming on, although lazy may not be quite the right word. A day of media frenzy may be a better description. I have magazines and books to read, DVD's to watch, and radio programmes to listen to. There are a few other things I must do. The weekly washing is one, but I can't think what else just yet. No doubt something will arise that I have not thought about.
Friday 15th October 2004

21.15 BST

Weather - intermittent rain

  Today has been quite good with a few high points. First of all I am happy to say that I am rich, or will be, but only in a very minor way. The Job Centre are sending me on an intensive activity course. It sounds dreadful, and probably is, but I do get an extra £15 a week for my troubles. I am not sure what will happen there, and I am not sure where it will be held. I do know the address, and I know it is in the vicinity of Ladywell Station, but I can't place exactly where it is. It all starts on November 1st.

  The other good thing is that I spent all afternoon (and a bit more) fixing Alberts computer. It is now running as sweet as a nut. I think the principle problem was that a (presumably) faulty on board sound card had been turned on by a glitch in the BIOS. It was probably causing all sorts of conflicts. Beyond that there was also the problem that Albert had almost filled his hard disk. He had obtained a new one and my original job was to fit it for him. Sorting out the viruses, spyware, and other nasties only added a bit more relish to the job. He wanted one other thing fitted - a USB hub. I had a spare that fitted into a 3.5 Inch drive bay. I am not sure how much it was worth, but I knew when I originally bought it, it cost around £25. So I offered it to him for £15. He pulled out a £20 note and said keep the change. So I am a little better off than before. Now if only I could work out a way of doing that again twice, I would have enough pocket money to go to the computer fair at Ashburton School on Sunday morning - I might go anyway !
07.00 BST

Weather - damp after more overnight rain

  The story so far......I successfully got infrared working on the laptop. It can detect the phone, and even tell me it is a Nokia 6110i. Unfortunately the Nokia software that could be installed under Windows 95, Nokia Phone Suite 4, does not recognise the phone. It knows something is there, but it does not support that model. I am now left with the impossible situation that anything I have got that will run the correct software has no Infrared transceiver, and the laptop that has, will not run the software. I think it will be a little difficult, although just possible, to upgrade the laptop to Windows 98. It seems a bit of a drastic resort to try and install Windows 98 on such a small hard disk just to communicate with a mobile phone. There is also the problem that I cannot read CD's directly on the laptop. That would make the task of installing Windows 98 really tedious ! I think I'll investigate the possibilities of trying to make an infrared transceiver for the big PC.

 There are two definite things happening today, and I hope they don't clash. I have to see my New Deal adviser at 11.15, and Albert is popping in this morning for me to fit an extra hard drive in his PC. The trouble is I have no idea what time he will be coming. He may drop the PC in on his way to work - so it could be early - but I suspect it will be shortly before midday. In other words the most awkward time possible. If it is to be a lot earlier then I ought to wash and get dressed fairly quickly. Ideally I wanted to go back to bed for another hours sleep. I was playing with all that infrared software until very late, and when I did get into bed I had to read for a little to wind down. I have no real idea when I turned the light out, but it may well have been approaching 02.00. If that is so then I have only had some 5 hours sleep and deserve to feel a little tired.

 Just to make life a little more interesting, or confusing, I've just remembered that I think Taz mentioned meeting for a quick drink around lunchtime. If I have remembered that correctly, and I am not getting confused with last week, then I have probably got one more conflict in allocating my time. Oh well, I'm sure it will all work out OK in the end.
Thursday 14th October 2004

22.30 BST

Weather - dry

 After this mornings yucky rain the sun came out. By midday it was not looking too bad. It also seems to have warmed up just a little.

 My new phone turned up soon after midday. It is a Nokia 6110i. It's not bad, but it does not appear to have bluetooth as originally suggested. This is both good as well as bad. It is good because I do not have a bluetooth adapter for it to talk to - yet. What it does have is infrared communication that I may be able to get working with my old IBM laptop. That is causing a little problem so far. I am attempting to set up the infrared port even as I type this. Unfortunately the copy of Windows 95 that I have on floppy does not seem to match up with the version that is installed on the laptop. I thinkthat has been set up via the CD version so all the cab files are numbered differently. There may be a way around this, but it could mean laboriously copying all the cab files, one by one, from the desktop PC via hyperlink. It's slow, but it will get there in the end. Once that is finally set up I am hoping that some older Nokia software will work with the phone. The correct software will only work with versions of Windows higher than 95. Having wasted loads of time downloading that wrong software (all 27 MBytes), and then wasted loads of time time transferring it to the laptop, I am getting a little pissed off with it. I then downloaded an earlier version, and wasted hours downloading that and transferring it. That seemed to have a corrupt archive in it so I am even more pissed off with it. I am now downloading it all over again ! meanwhile it seems that the software I need for infrared communications is not on the Windows 95 floppy disks so I will have to reboot into windows and copy the cab files from the CD to the laptop via hyperterminal. This is getting tedious, but without it I have no (easy and cheap) way of getting pictures from the phone onto a PC.

 Assuming everything works out fine, and I can eventually copy files from the phone to a PC, then Iains first task when he reads this is to send me a MMS with at least one interesting picture - one that he is very proud of. This will test our capabilities of sending and receiving pictures by phone.
07.10 BST

Weather - rain

 It's a horrible soggy morning. It rained for a lot of the night, some of it quite heavy, and it is still pouring with rain right now. I don't think I even want to open the curtains this morning.

 I thought I had an appointment with my New Deal adviser today, but I've just checked and I see it is actually tomorrow. So today I will be staying in waiting for my new mobile phone to be delivered. It could come today, or it may come tomorrow. It would be handy if it came before this afternoon so I could pop out to Tesco later in the day. Although I would hope it comes today, I would not be surprised if it actually turns up tomorrow. They quoted 2 to 3 days for delivery, but if it is coming via Royal Mail I would not be surprised if it did not get here until the middle of next week. I will just have to be patient, but it is a good excuse not to have to go out in the rain.
Wednesday 13th October 2004

20.35 BST

Weather - damp and intermittent rain

  Right now I should be down the pub, but I have a splitting headache and I don't think I can face a session in there. It would be slightly unpleasant on a normal night, but very unpleasant if they have any football showing in there. We can normally avoid most of the football on the big screen, but for some games, presumably so called important ones, it can get very noisy with occasional bursts of extra loud earsplitting cheers (or boos). It is probably making my head hurt even more just sitting behind the PC screen. So I'll try and keep this brief and then quite probably go to bed.

  I did go for a drink with Ivor and Iain this lunchtime, but that is not the cause of the headache, or at least I don't think it should be. I only had two pints of beer and a couple of diet cokes. The drink was in Barming and it was most pleasant when we got there. The sun was out and it was feeling fairly mild. While in the pub the weather got steadily worse and the journey home on the motorway was foul. I managed to get in with just enough time to have a pee and brush my teeth before going out to visit Patricia. As I expected she is very busy the whole week and there was not enough time for an after work drink. We are going to try again next week.
07.50 BST

Weather - dry and almost bright.

  Yesterday had only two brief bright points. I saw Patricia in the morning. That was very pleasant, but I did learn some bad news. She may not be free for an afterwork drink all week, although tomorrow, and Friday would be the more likely days if there were any chance that she was. The second bright point started off as being potentially negative, but should turn out quite well. I phoned up O2 to query a payment for my mobile phone. I had recieved a reminder letter about paying a bill that I thought had already been paid. However it was my first ever payment made via internet banking and I wondered if it had all gone wrong. It turned out that all was well and they had recieved my payment possibly even before they sent out the reminder (weird company !!). Upon concluding that bit of business I was asked if they could do anything more for me. So I asked about free upgrades for my phone. The battery life on my current Nokia phone is now noticably less than when new. So a new phone seemed like a good idea. It turns out that I was eligable for a new phone and ended up being offered a bewildering choice of phones - all for free ! I did not recognise half the models being offered, and worse than that, when I did occasionally sort of recognise a model number I really had no idea anything  about the phone. So I have opted for what I think is a Nokia, but it is the phone with built in camera, a colour screen, and Bluetooth. I am expecting delivery of whatever it is I have ordered tomorrow or the day after.

  The rest of yesterday was boring, dull, and even slightly irritating.  A lot of little things combined  have conspired to make me feel a little depressed. It's hard to enumerate all these little things, but I suppose there is the usual trinity of job, money and sex (or the lack of them). Then there is the weather being gloomy. Missing out on the council house regeneration scheme is another little disappointment. Added to that I was feeling uncomfortable in the pub because of a bloated feeling caused by overeating the previous two days. Finally, and this one is not proved yet, I may be suffering the onset of a cold. (This morning my throat felt slightly sore and my nose very stuffy - symptoms that now seem to be going away since being awake for 30 - 45 minutes). All that meant that i was not the most entertaining person in The Herne yesterday. I think I managed to piss off Max even though she is notionally disinterested in anything I do.

  The story would be incomplete if I did not mention that there was one other bright spot yesterday that I forgot to mention. That was the latest episode of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy as broadcast on Radio 4 at 18.30 (although I was not in, in time, to hear it direct, but had recorded it.

  Last night I had a dream about a dream. In this dream I was trying to remember part of another dream. It was all a little confused, and the little I remember now makes it even more confusing. In the first dream, which may have been real or a product of the second dream, there had been some sort of accident. I don't think it was an accident of the calamity kind, but perhaps more of the serendipidy kind. The outcome was that self replicating "things" had been made, but whether by me, or someone else, is a matter that will never be resolved.  In the second dream I was trying to remember all I could about the first dream. The "things",  whose exact appearance is now so hazy in my memory that it is hard to describe them, had the property of shrinking whenever they replicated. I think their appearance might have changed more than once during the course of the dream, but my last vague memory was of something very much like a postcard with some sort of slogan on it. They would gradually shrink in size while multiplying in quantity such that their volume remained the same. I cannot, now, see the use of of them, but at some point in the dream it seemed like a good idea.

 Today I have been invited to go for a drink in Kent with Ivor and Iain. Ivor is not going in to work today, but is meeting Iain half way to discuss his new web site. They would like some input from me, but I am not sure what I have to offer. They are meeting in a pub so I doubt much work will be done. I am not sure if I want to go. It could be a good day out, but it depends how I feel. Potentially I could go to three different pubs today. There is this one in Kent with Ivor and Iain. Then there is a very small chance that I could end up going out with Patricia, and finally there is the regular Wednesday night drink in The Ram with Kevin, Iain and Howard. It would take a lot of resources to do all three. I think, on balance, that I may well attend this afternoons drink, but I will not make my mind up until closer to the time.
Tuesday 12th October 2004

06.50 BST

Weather - cold and dry

 Against all odds it appears to be another dry morning, or at least it does not appear to be raining now which is contrary to a recent weather forecast. It is a little too gloomy, at this time of the morning, to say how cloudy it is, but I would guess that it is cloudy. Otherwise I think it would be a bit lighter outside. Yesterday was dry too, although most of the day was very overcast. I think the sun did put in a few brief appearances, but none were really significant to really register on my brain.

 Yesterday morning I did a bit of this and a bit of that, but at some time after 11.00 Taz phoned to see if I wanted to pop over and have a chat with her. So I went over in the early afternoon and we talked and talked. So much in fact that I lost track of the time and did not get to see Patricia as I meant to do. I could have made a last minute dash and waited for her to leave work, but it would have been too late to get into the building as the public entrance would have been shut.

  So my mission for this morning is to pop in on Patricia, early, before her pupils start to arrive, and make a date for an afterwork drink with her. It will probably be tomorrow evening, but she may suggest tonight, Thursday or Friday. I may well go over to The Herne this afternoon so I want to see Patricia before then in case she suggests tonight. If so then I will abandon The Herne in favour of a drink with Patricia.

  I still have not had the letter from my building society authorising the work to be done by the council as part of the town regeneration scheme. As the cut off date was last Wednesday it now looks as if I have blown any chance of my house front being refurbished. I cannot believe that The Woolwich building society could possibly take so long just to get a form letter printed and in the post. It says very little for their efficiency and it will make me think twice about doing busines with them in the future.
Monday 11th October 2004

08.05 BST

Weather - dry and bright

 I feel a little rough this morning. I expect it is because I ate very unhealthily yesterday. It is not so much a direct effect of the type of food, but more to do with it giving me a poor nights sleep. I had no trouble sleeping, or so I thought, but I was probably tossing and turning all night. It certainly feels like it was hard work, and the amount of dreams I think I can remember having suggest it was a very active night, I had all sorts of dreams. Many seemed to have a very rural, and often old fashioned, feel to them. One of them seemed to be about a small village getting its first railway service. I think that there were several variations of that one dream. Some of them seemed to incorporate elements from the film "The Titfield Thunderbolt". In another dream I was trying to find out what was so special about the shoes that a small community wore. It was a closely guarded secret, and it seemed to revolve around a special pattern on the sole of the shoe that made it slip proof on muddy ground, but let no footprints. Then there was a dream about a council meeting taking place in a small village. An empty shop, possibly an ex-barbers shop (it still had hair on the floor), that was used to serve posh meals to the councilors while a woman (friend ?) was forced to run her sweetshop from a stall outside. After much grumbling from several people I went inside to see what was happening and found that anyone could buy one of the posh meals, and that they were cheap to buy. What's more, the woman with the sweets could move into the shop once the meeting was over. The last bit of dream was of revisiting, on foot, a place I had passed on the train from one of the earlier dreams. It was an urban road where all the houses down one side of the street were shrouded in large tent like sheeting. All the wooden furniture from these houses was stacked up alongside the road, and I could see a few men working inside with vacuum cleaners. I concluded that the houses were being decontaminated after being infested with fleas. It certainly feels like I had a busy night, and it is only now, after sitting down at the PC, that I am beginning to feel rested.

  I don't have any particular plans for today. I think I will pop up and see Patricia late this afternoon to find out when we she is available for our next drink. Other than that I will just have to see how the day pans out. Possible ideas include checking the internet for more job possibilities, and maybe even playing with that ancient laptop I mentioned yesterday.
Sunday 10th October 2004

21.00 BST

Weather - dry with sunny intervals

  Were it not for the fact that I have eaten too much today, it could have been a rather good day. I started off aimlessly surfing the internet when an idea came to me. I have a very old laptop that uses a most primitive 8088 processor. Just to put that into perspective here is a list of the development of processors for the standard PC.
  1. 8086/8088
  2. 80286
  3. 80386
  4. 80486
  5. Pentium 1
  6. Pentium 2
  7. Pentium 3
  8. Pentium 4
(For clarity I have left out the equivalent non Intel procesor names). As you can see the 8086/8088 family is where it all started some 20, or more, years ago. The processor in this old laptop runs just under a 1000 times slower than a modern hi-spec PC. On top of that it has a laughably low amount of memory fitted - also about 1000th the size of a conemporary PC. It is impossible to get any modern software to run on it, but I thought I would try and track down some old stuff that might work on it. My first success was a copy of that old arcade game Pac Man. It runs remarkably well on it, and it was sort of fascinating to hear the sounds it played on what is really no more than in inbuilt bleeper. I should add that this laptop has no proper sound card, and also that it uses an odd sized LCD screen in black and white and maybe just one or two shades of grey. The next thing I tried installing was a copy of Windows 2.03. This was just about the most primitive version of Windows that actually worked, although it is nothing like we know Windows today. About all it really can do is to act as an almost graphical file manager. It displays a list of files and allows you to click on them to start the application. There are two more programs that I might try to install, bu I am not sure if they would actually need Windows 3 to work. They are Netscape 0.9 and Mosaic. Both are web browsers, but I am not sure of their capabilities. I think Mosaic can display text and graphics provided they are in gif format. I have experimented with a version for Apple Mac's, but only briefly. I assume the DOS (or Windows) version is pretty similar. Version 0.9 of Netscape sounds equally as primitive. It is just possible that I have seen, and even used it before. Memories are coming back of a program called Wildcat Navigator that I once used for bulletin boards. I am sure the core of that was Netscape, but with a few bolt on goodies. I still have the installation disks for that (if they are still readable). The last time I used it would have been on my old Amstrad PC1640. The spec for that was not too disimilar to the laptop so it ought to work OK.................Thinks....It may not have been on the Amstrad. It just might have been on the 486 PC that came after it. Well, there's one way to find out. I'll try it next time I am feeling patient.
08.00 BST

Weather - dry, cold and slightly cloudy

 Yesterday was not as dreary as I thought it may have been. After writing yesterdays brief words I went back to bed for a couple of hours and did manage at least a whole 60 minutes of sleep. Once up, I did my washing and listened to a radio recording. I then nipped out to the corner shop and bought last Thursday's Micro Mart. I then sat down and did some reading while listening to some of a huge mp3 compilation CD(R) that I had burnt some time ago specially to use on my DVD player in the living room.

  In the afternoon Kieth dropped by and we had a good chinwag that went on until 22.00. That was quite a long time. In fact about three times as long as I had originally planned. The time passed really quickly. So quickly that I almost forgot to get hungry. I didn't actually have my lunch/dinner/supper until after he had gone. We passed some of the time listening to clips from my old pirate radio audio archive. I have recordings of all sorts of people, including myself and Keith, going back to the early nineteen seventies - over thirty years old !!! Of course many of these are highly embarrasing, and that most definitely includes all my own early stuff ! I was quite amazed that Keith was only a gnats whisker away from recognising the voice of Simon Barrett on a recording made a good year, and maybe more, before he went to sea to join Radio Caroline.

 I went to bed at around midnight, and fell asleep almost instantly. Shortly before waking up again this morning I was having one of those dreams that seem very long, and seem to be reality stretched to its furthest limits. I was back in the house of my childhood, 19 Silvermere Road, except it was far larger and with more rooms than it ever had in reality. The layout was approximately the same, although upstairs and downstairs were occasionally transposed. All sorts of people were staying there. These included Kevin (who in reality used to live 2 doors away), some other friends, at least one TV personality who I think was Cat from Red Dwarf, and one person who I have never met, but have seen some of her blogs on the friends list of another internet blogger who I have met briefly. The dream was set at bedtime, and there were people moving about trying to get to bed. It sounds as if it could have had sexual overtones, but that never did seem to be the case. It was more like everybody wanted to get to sleep, but whatever anyone did it would wake someone else up. There was someone in the bedroom at the back of the house talking loudly to the neighbour on the left through the wall. In reality we never really talked to that neighbour. It was also odd in that I thought it was Kevin who was in that room, but it was Keith's voice I could hear through the door. I was trying to do some reading before I went to sleep, but with all the disturbances I was kept awake for longer than I wanted. Eventually I needed to go for a pee and wandered off to a middle room that I knew had a toilet in it. For some reason I decided not to use that one and laid down on a bed that was in there. Looking to the far wall was a load of shelving that contained, amongst everything else, loads and loads of CD's belonging to everyone else except me. I stared at them for some time thinking how I was ever going to be able to rip so many CD's to mp3s. After a while the need for that pee arose again and I decided I would use the outside toilet. As I left that room I noticed the huge amount of junction boxes on the wall by the door. There were connections and splitters for telephone, TV, data, as well as a lot of light switches. (strange I had never noticed these before considering I was supposed to live there). To go outside I didn't have to go downstairs as upstiars and downstairs had mysteriously transposed themselves. I went out into the garden and it was like a jungle, and I mean that literally, not figuratively. There were all sorts of exotic trees and shrubs. Many had recognisable fruits on them. There was someone there, who may have been my brother, and he was asking what I thought of it all. As I turned round to take more of it in I noticed that there were several people out there, some of whom were women. One was a very good looking women, but not one I could put a name to. It was looking like the start of a party and/or barbecue. As I became more interested in the idea of a party I remembered that I still needed a pee. That was the point when I woke up and found that a stroll to the toilet would be a good idea.

 Today starts off in a similar way to yesterday. I really have no plans or predictions of the days outcome. Yesterday I had been toying with the idea of asking Iain if he fancied going to a computer fair this morning. I have now decided against that as it could end up being rather an expensive outing.  There are a few things that  I could profitably buy from a computer fair, such as some more blank DVD disks, but I would be too tempted to spend money on things that I want, like an 8 port 100Mbps ethernet hub, but are not actually essential. I do need some new blank DVD-R disks, but I may opt to get them over the internet.
Saturday 9th October 2004

06.50 BST

Weather - dry and cold

  So far this morning there is nothing much to say. I have already said all I needed to say about yesterday, and today is just a blank so far. I have fed Nelly and now I think I will go back to bed for another hour.
Friday 8th October 2004

20.45 BST

Weather - still dry and getting colder

 Today has not been a wonderful day. It had its highlights, but somehow I did not really enjoy it. I decided to go and have a drink with Iain and Ivor. They suggested we meet up in Forest Hill as they had to go out to the bank shortly before lunchtime. After eating a fair amount yesterday I decided to walk to Forest Hill. It was slightly hard work, and I got pretty hot by the time I was there. Some of the heat was just the effort of walking, but there was a fair bit of sun on my black jacket as well. Despite the effort required, and getting too hot, it was an enjoyable walk. I did it on an empty stomach and that probably helped as well. I decided that I definitely would not get drunk today so I stuck to diet coke in the pub. With no food and no alcohol I was feeling really rather chilly in the pub, and I still felt cold when I got home. So I have had a rather large kebab for breakfast. That, together with putting some heating on, has finally warmed me up.
06.45 BST

Weather - cold and dry

 Nothing much happened yesterday. I did a little shopping and bought New Scientist. The rest of the day was spent reading New Scientist or playing about with printing. I was sure I had some software that had some sort of preset for printing out a small booklet. It seems I haven't, or at least not in the way I thought I might have. It turns out that Koffice (part of the KDE linux desktop system) comes closest in so much that it does at least allow two columns of text to be printed in landscape mode on an A4 sheet. What it will not do is to re-arrange the page layout so that the text is input logically, page after page, and then it is printed with all the pages in the correct order to form a booklet. I am having to do that manually, and it is making my head spin. Before anyone mentions it I do have Microsoft Word, and that may do it, or I do have Microsoft Publisher which is even more likely to do what I want, but I have been trying to do this without rebooting into Windows. One program I had high hopes for was Scribus. That is an open source, freeware, program written to be very much like Quark Express. Unfortunately it has some strange issues with the CUPS printer drivers and will really only work when printing with a genuine postscript printer. Without that it seems impossible to print in landscape mode. Despite these problems I have worked out a way to do what I want. It is a little more fiddly, but I am making good progress.

 The sky is beginning to get bright now and I can see that it is mostly cloudless. That explains why it is very cold outside this morning. Nelly was considering going out, but decided to sit on the doorstep with her tail still inside. This prevented me from closing the door on her. While it was open there was a really wicked cold draft playing around my bare feet. Fortunately she made her mind up after a minute or two and I was able to shut the door. She decided that it was too cold to go out!

 I never did get over to The Herne to return Ruth's DVDs. Perhaps I might have another go this afternoon. I also have a CDR for Iain now. Yesterday I was thinking of getting there at around 17.00, but by the time I would have to leave I was too settled in and could not face the bus journey through the rush hour traffic nor travelling on a bus with a bunch of screaming schoolkids coming home from school. If, and it's a big IF, I try again today I might go for something like a 15.00 arrival. For reasons that I cannot even begin to guess at, yet alone explain, I find it very difficult to go out unless it is in the morning, say before 13.00. Any later than that and I just want to relax for the rest of the day. Sometimes even going out in the evening is a bit of a chore, but sometimes it has to be done. I guess I am just a morning sort of person.

 Last night I had some darkly disturbing dreams of a political nature. It is very hazy now, but I think I had several dreams which were only subtle variations of each other. In was arguing with somebody, or maybe some persons, that the idea of "ethnic cleansing" as a way of restoring the British way of life was a contradiction. The memories are even hazier as to how that argument started, but I think it was after I became concerned that several TV personalities had started to mysteriously disappear (who ????). Like all dreams, if you don't make a conscious effort to remember the details directly after waking up the details quckly fade followed by the broad details soon after. Like many mornings the first priority it to get to the toilet. If I haven't fixed in my mind what a dream was about before I get to the toilet it is pretty much lost forever. You could say that the ability to remember dreams is inversly proportional to the need to get to the toilet. If it is habit rather than desperation then the chances of remembering something is good, but when you're busting it is hopeless. This morning it was very desirable, but not urgent. Hence I managed to retain some of the broader details of the dream, but not the real pictures and words.
Thursday 7th October 2004

06.30 BST

Weather - cloudy but dry after earlier rain

 This feels like an odd sort of morning. It's probably that I am still rather tired after a late night. I came in after a pleasant night in the pub with Kevin, Iain, and Howard, and then sat down to watch a recording of The Bill. I think it was only 00.30 when I got into bed, and I was asleep soon after that. So I have had a full six hours sleep. That ought to be enough, but I may try for a little more.

 Yesterday was a little disappointing. It was supposed to be the very final deadline to get the documents in for the house regeneration scheme, but I am still waiting for one more letter to come through from my building society. At this point I don't know whether I have blown it or not. I hope there is still some chance for flexibility.

 One highlight of yesterday was seeing Patricia. It was not as good as it could have been as we never got to the pub. She had to take her son to The Dentist and couldn't stay late. We are going to try again next week to have a drink in the Lewisham pub that she had suggested. It now seems almost definite that it is the Weatherspoons pub whose name I always get wrong. I think it is called The Watch House, or something like that. I did hear some bad news from Patricia that leaves me feeling slightly sad. It was nothing I didn't really know already, but it still came as a shock. It doesn't actually change anything. In fact it leaves things very static.

 I am not sure what my plans are for today. I am considering going to The Herne for a drink, but I can't afford, nor do I want, a full session. One answer is to go over there very late, but by late afternoon I feel I have settled in for the night and can't be bothered with mucking about on buses. Another downside is that the pub starts to fill up during the early evening and it all starts to feel very impersonal when all you want is a quiet drink. At this point I am very undecided what to do. One possible excuse to go is that I have a couple of DVD's to return to Ruth.
Wednesday 6th October 2004

07.15 BST

Weather - bright and clear

  It makes so much difference to describing the weather when I get up late. It's hard to make out what is going on when it is still dark, but right now it is perfect daylight. The sky is nearly all blue and the sun is shining, although it looks a bit weak so near to the horizon. Maybe we are in for a perfect morning, and if the luck holds out a pleasant afternoon as well. There was one weather related oddity last night. At around 22.30 (plus or minus 30 minutes) it sounded as if the wind gave one very long, and very powerful sigh. Before that it was realtively peaceful, and seemed to be afterwards. It was if one area had been deflated and all the air was rushing in to re-inflate it again. It is possible the sound was something else. I was tucked up in bed quietly reading when I heard it. Out of all the possible sounds I can hear when I'm in bed, noises from the roads, railways, planes, and people, it was only really like wind. So that is what I assume it to be. I have never heard just a single isolated gust before and it was just a little spooky.

  Yesterday in The Herne was not as good as I expected it to be. It turned into something of a mothers meeting. For a part of the afternoon I was heavily outnumbered 3 to 1 with a load of nattering old woman. There was a rare visitor to The Herne ( at least rare for the times when I am there), Michelle, and then there was Max and Ruth. Michelle had brought her 2 - 3 year old kid with her and Max spent quite a lot of time mothering him. Meanwhile much of their conversation was about clothes buying or other stuff that I do not comprehend.  I think it was Ruth who eventually remarked that I had a glazed look on my face and suggested I move to the other end of the table and talk to her.  That did not work out too well as I had taken advantage of the numbing effects of alcohol and did not attempt to fight it until it was too late.  I was also a bit miffed after Max had snapped at me after she mistook a remark I made as being based on condemnation rather then envy. I was quite glad to go home again when the time came.

 Iain managed to get me home in time to listen to the next installment of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. Unfortunately I fell sleep half way through it, but it should be safely stored on my PC upstairs where I can listen to it again today. I think I heard enough to work out where the series is coming from and going to.  The first series, from over 20 years ago, followed the first two books in the five part trilogy (!) fairly well, but the next series went off at a complete tangent. Now, after all those years, it seems to be back on track with the third book in the trilogy of five. According to the BBC website there are two more series planned for production after this one finishes. If they mostly follow the books it will be enough time to do everything up until the end of book five.

  The most important thing about today is waiting to see if the building society letter, approving the regeneration work on my house, gets delivered. Today is the deadline to get that in for approval for the work to go ahead. The deadline was officially two days ago, but presumably there are others like me who could not get all the paperwork together in time. Even if I miss this deadline it is still probable that I will get the work approved as there seems to be a little more flexibility in the system than they publicly admit.

  The other most important thing for today (and there can be two most important things because they are about different things - so there !) is that I should be going for a little drink with Patricia very early this evening. I hope that this one will be more like a date in so much as it will not be just in a very local pub. Last week she suggested we pop into Lewisham where she had seen an attractive looking pub. I suspect she means the Weatherspoons pub in the high street, but I have my doubts as to whether she has ever actually been in it. I have been in there once or twice, but can remember little about it. I am hoping it has those little semi-private booths that are a feature of many Weatherspoons pubs.

  There are a few others thing that should be happening today. This morning I have to go and draw out some cash to buy some fags, lots of fags ! Early this afternoon I should hopefully be buying those fags. At some point Albert might drop by with a few trinkets recovered from scrap trains. Then late in the evening it will be drinking time once again with Kevin, Iain and Howard. Meanwhile I have to try and recover from over drinking, and overeating  yesterday.
Tuesday 5th October 2004

06.30 BST

Weather - dry and very cold

  Yesterday afternoon remained warm and sunny. I was walking around Catford at 17.30 quite comfortably in just a t-shirt. With very little cloud cover the temperature has plunged very low this morning. It is not light enough yet to be sure, but it looks as if there is only some high misty clouds at the moment. It would be glorious if today was as good as yesterday afternoon.

  The man from the builders was about 30 minutes late compared to his estimated time. That was not too bad as it gave me plenty of time to spare after he left again. He has now done the survey and did not even blink at some of the cracks in the mortar around the back windows. That is a relief. Provided I can get all the paperwork rounded up by tomorrow afternoon, principally that from my building society, the work should start next February.

 As I intended I popped into see Patricia. She was happy after having sorted out some of her troubles over the weekend. We didn't go for a beer this time, but are going for one on Wednesday.

 Today I have only one thing on the agenda - a drink in The Herne. I hope I can control myself and not get too drunk. Last Friday I did go over the top a bit. It was OK at the time, and felt good while I was doing the drinking, but it did make the following hours rather unpleasant. Perhaps I ought to try and get a lift home with Ivor rather than hang around with Iain. The problem with that is it that the best bits are often happening just as Ivor is leaving.
Monday 4th October 2004

14.00 BST

Weather - fluffy clouds and sunshine

  This morning it was pouring with rain, and yet now the sun is out and most of the thick clouds have disperesed leaving just odd patches of fluffy ones behind. This seems slightly at odd with the weather forecast yesterday, although it did say the worst of the weather would be to the west of the country.

  I went out, in the rain, to go to the building society, and to Tesco's. Outside the building society I bumbed into Debbie, the admistrator for the "Gateway To Work" school. I asked after Patricia and apparently she was very happy. She had some serious things to work out over the weekend, and it appears to have worked out satifactorily. Providing the man from the builders comes to see me at around the appointed time I should be able to nip out and see Patricia before she goes home tonight.
06.30 BST

Weather - wet and windy

  It is a classic sort of worst Monday ever sort of thing. It is raining fairly hard, and has been all night. It is also fairly windy, and has been all night. The wind has not been that strong, but a few gusts may have been strong enough to knock a few trees on the railway lines, and if not that, then the leaves will be all over the rails. I am glad I am not a commuter this morning. It may be that all the trains are running smoothly - I haven't checked, but it does feel like the sort of morning where people will be delayed getting into work. And when they do arrive they will be all wet and soggy and rather cross. Although I do not have to go to work this morning I am not immune to the horrible weather. I did want to go to the building society and to Tesco's this morning, and possibly call in on Patricia as well. In an hour or so it will be light and I will be able to assess the state of the weather with more certainty and work out what I will be doing this morning.

  There is one more aspect of today that will need a little preparation. At around 14.30 the man from the firm doing the "regeneration" work will be calling round to pick up the paperwork and maybe do an initial survey. So I ought to do a little cleaning and tidying. It is not worth doing too much as anything beyond a superficial clean and tidy up could takes weeks, and not just the hour or two I have available.

  Just one more thing comes to me that I will record here this morning (unless anything else comes to mnd before I finish this bit). It concerns a dream. It is not the entire dream because that was too complicated to remember, let alone describe. At some time in the night I dreamt that I had just come out of the multi story carpark, where Tesco's and The Ram are located, and it was either snowing, or about to. I looked up into the sky and could see these really stark white clouds that looked like snow drifts just hanging there in space. I ought to add that it was night time. These clouds only obscured about a third of the sky and the stars were really bright in the spaces. I could see the constellation Orion shining really brightly, although it was in the northern part of the sky instead of the southern. The thing that really sticks in my mind was just how bright and sharply focussed the view was. Even the clouds had sharply defined edges and some detail inside them. The sky was really black as well. There was no light pollution and there were hundreds, no, thousands of stars to be seen. It was, in fact, very beautiful. For anyone living outside the city, and the associated light pollution, it may not have been such an awesome sight, but compared to the usual night sky in Catford it was magnificent.

  There is just one more thing that I remember to add here. It also is to do with a dream. I can only remember one single freeze frame from that dream. I was lying in bed next to someone whose face I cannot recall seeing. In fact all I can recall seeing was one breast, in a bra, as seen from a low perspective over its adjacent shoulder. Would the owner of that breast please get in touch, we have things to talk about (and do !).
Sunday 3rd October 2004

06.30 BST

Weather - cold and damp

  Last night I went to sleep sometime between 22.00 and 23.00, but I am not sure when exactly. I never really did go back to sleep after being up in th early hours of yesterday morning.  I suppose I may have managed an odd 10 minutes here, and an odd ten minutes there, but by 08.00 I had had enough of trying to sleep so I got up.  During the afternoon I did have one, or maybe two very short naps, so it was sort of surprising that I managed to keep awake until so late last night.  I still feel a little sleepy so I will almost certainly be going back to bed once I have finished here on the computer. There is one thing that could stand in the way of that - I feel very hungry.  I went to sleep feeling hungry, but I would have thought that eating two tins of Heinz spaghetti with chicken meatballs would have been enough to keep me going for the rest of the day.

  Yesterday was a strange day. The lack of sleep put me in an odd mood. I didn't want to do much, and indeed I ended up doing very little.  One task was to do some clearing out of my workshop. There is so much accumulated junk up there that it must weigh a ton. I strongly suspect it is the floor being totally overloaded that is causing some of the damage to the house. I have now filled the wheelie bin up to the maximum I dare considering it will not be emptied until next Thursday. Once it is emptied then I will have a similar load to fill it with. This could go on for several weeks. In the mean time I will have to try and bring some of the heavier items downstairs. There are two very heavy, and basically redundant pieces of test equipment up there that I may have to dump in the back garden. Both are pretty much obsolete, but I guess I could auction them on e-bay or something if I were so inclined. Unfortunately I am not as I could not be bothered to try and arrange the shipping of an item the size of a 22 inch TV and weighing just as much, and possibly more.

  The sky is beginning to light up now and is looking very red. I assume that we will have another day similar to yesterday. The weather was very variable yesterday. On average it was just gloomy, but occasionally there would be a heavy shower of rain, and that always seemed to be followed by a little bright sunshine.
Saturday 2nd October 2004

04.35 BST

Weather - dry, slightly breezy

  I have been awake for the last hour and there seems to be little prospect of geting to sleep again. I am not exactly wide awake, but the combination of lots of beer and a lot of pizza seems to have left me feeling rather uncomfortable. I did get 3, or maybe even 4 hours of sleep before I woke up. Since then my bed has felt too uncomfortable to get back to sleep. Either it is too hot, or too cold. Every crease in the bottom sheet feels like laying across a log, and my pillows feel like they are stuffed with rocks. So rather than fight that lot I have decided to come down and play with the computer. Perhaps an hour down here and I will be knackered enough to go to sleep again.

  I am quite surprised how lucid all the rubbish I wrote last night was. It was hard work concentrating on whet I was writing but it seems to have turned out OK. It was a little more raunchy than my usual style, but I can't deny that it is not all true. (I can't think how to reword that without the unintentional double negative)

  So that I don't have to start the third paragraph with another "I", I have written this redundant sentence. I have just realised that it the first saturday of the month. That means I ought to be out drinking again today with my old workmates in Elmers End. I didn't make last month as I was partially financially embarressed, and partially on a mission of mercy. I can't think of any reason I will not be going this month unless I sleep throught it after a night wide awake.
Friday 1st October 2004

21.10 BST

weather - drizzle

 It's a Friday night. Is everyone out enjoying themselves ? Apparently so, or so the broadcasters seem to think. I have recently come home from a whole afternoons entertainment and now I want to sit back and be entertained in my own living room. BBC TV 4 seem to be doing the best job. They are broadcasting a PJ Harvey gig at the moment. Before tonight I didn't even know that PJ Harvey was a women. She is quite good looking, and seems to be making a semi pleasant racket. It is almost, but not quite, to my taste at this particular time.

 One of the problems at the moment is that I am fairly intoxicated, but with some effort I seem to be in charge of this keyboard without too many problems. It is not so simple as that though, as it is taking quite a lot of effort to get this reasonably readable.

  One of the drinkers at The Herne today (because that is where I have been all afternoon) was Maxine. She was so convinced that I was totally pissed that she was looking forward to see what rubbish I would write tonight. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work like that. Only those who read this page tonight can be sure that I have not corrected anything. At this point in time it feels as if there is nothing to correct, but there is nothing to prove that I have not done a cosmetic job on this tomorrow morning. If anyone who knows Max is reading this prior to, say, 07.00 on the 2nd of October, can you cut-n-paste this into something like Notepad, and print it out so that Max knows this is genuine.

  It is not just me who is paranoid about this. Max firmly thinks that I will say something outrageous on here tonight. If she wants me to say that Ruth was looking very sexy and I would have liked to take her to bed I will, and now have. If Max wanted me to say that I thought she was looking very sexy and that I would like to take her to bed then consider it said. The truth is that I would love to take either of them to bed, and given the opportunity I would, but I still would like to get to know Patricia better, and to take her to bed as my first choice.

  There you are Max, I have said something outrageous after getting pissed !  It is all true , but I think I would have prefered to be slightly more  discrete. With one touch of a button (figuratively speaking) I will upload this, and once it has been uploaded, and effectively in the public domain) I will not edit it or delete it. It is as it stands.
07.00 BST

Weather - cold and dry, 50% cloud

  At the top of this new page I have boldly asserted that the clocks change to GMT on the 25th of this month. I don't really know if this is true or not. I think it is true, but it may just be me hallucinating. Anyway, there's a few weeks to go before I have to worry about it. At some point it may magically change to the correct date if I find it is wrong.
 The day is getting lighter now and my estimate of 50% cloud may have been a bit optimistic. It looks more like 75%, and the clouds are tinged with red. This suggests that there is bad weather on its way. It is difficult to know what the weather is doing lately. It is just so variable. The sun we had yesterday, in the latter part of the afternoon, seemed to warm things up a bit. I seemed too hot in bed last night, and woke up still feeling rather warm, and yet downstairs it feels a bit chilly. I am pretty certain I will be in The Herne this afternoon, but I doubt it will be beer garden weather. It is more likely that it will be drizzly by then.

  I have come to the conclusion that I am waffling and that I haven't got a lot to say this morning. Anything relevant to yesterday is already written as the final part of Septembers page. So all this drivel is just to try and get this months page off to a good start. Perhaps I had better stop while I am ahead (or something).

Copyright - Bill 2004