|Beware the nut
collector - he could gather you next !
Holiday Monday 31st May 2004
||Weather - clear skies, bright and
UPLOADED - medium resolution video in Quicktime
Whatever happened to the traditional rainy bank holiday ? It looks as if it is going to be a beautiful day today. I was sort of assuming I would be spending a sober day, and probably spending some of it in my workshop. I doubt there will be any opportunity for boozing today, but if the opportunity did arise, a couple of hours in a sunny beer garden would be most tempting.
Yesterday I investigated my still active first ever internet account. It was the first time I have actually dialled up the ISP in, maybe, a year or two. It is amazing that it is all still active and that my 15 MBytes of web space is still available to me. What is even more amazing is that I seem to be able to upload to that space while actually dialled up to another ISP. I spent 20 minutes online to the old ISP uploading one video file of Last Thursday night (see link yesterday). Today I think I'll upload the 5 Mbyte better quality video file so look out for a new link soon. The final, good quality, video file is 20 MBytes in size and obviously too big to squeeze into 15 MBytes of web space, but I'll work something out for it. All three files have the same content, but the third is encoded correctly for use on a video CD. The best way to view it would be to burn it as a video CD and play it in a DVD player (if the player supports Video CD on a CDR disk - some do, some don't.
Since decimating all the foliage in my front garden some randy pussy cat has come along and decided to spray the air brick under the window. Or at least I think that is what has happened. There is a horrible stink in the living room. Usually it is near the back door that the occasional calling card is left preumably for Nelly's benefit. Little do they realise that the effort is wasted on Nelly as she is neutered.
|Sunday 30th May 2004
||A no booze day|
||Weather - bright and dry
very low resolution video of Thursday
night uploaded HERE.
(You might have to right click the link and choose "save as" and save the file before playing it)
Oooooaaaaaargh, yawn, stretch, aaaaarrrrrrrrrr. I should not be up this early on a Sunday. I should not be up this early on a Sunday even more so after not getting to bed until 03.00. Last night I decided to edit it down the video I took at last Thursday nights drink. From about 15 minutes of random shooting I have ended up with almost exactly 2 minutes of random sound bites. It is thoroughly disjointed, but does give an idea of a happy and noisy night out. The editing did not take that long (and it shows), but afterwards I spent hours converting the "master" file into numerous other formats to see how much I could squeeze it down. The idea is to make it downloadable from the internet so you can watch it. Of the 12 variations produced I would like to select three to upload to somewhere. First is a very low definition version that only takes up 1.5 MBytes. It is encoded using Microsoft wmf format. It looks pretty horrible, but is small. The next is in Quicktime format at about 5 Mbytes. It is a small picture, but reasonable quality. Lastly there is an mpeg version that is in the correct format to burn to a video CD. It approximates to VHS quality, but is 20 MBytes in size. I may upload the smallest file myself, but even that will take a large chunk out of my webspace - enough for 6 months worth of theses diaries. The other two will definitely need to be uploaded somewhere else.
I think I am going to watch Dr Who on UK Gold now. After that I will probably go back to bed for an hour.
||Weather - sunny intervals with one
It has been a lazy sort
of day today. After uploading this mornings writing I checked UK Gold
and there was no Dr Who on. So after a bit I did go back to bed and
slept until about 10.00. Once I was washed and dressed I decided to
empty out the several rubbish bins and bags around the place. The one
in the kitchen had some old cat food in it and was stinking. It was
while putting that lot into the wheelie bin that I decided I would have
to do something with my front garden. It was getting terribly overgown
and looking a right tip. So it was out with the garden shears and slash
and burn (actually slash and more slash - no burning), and I gave it a
skinhead cut. It is not a big area, but I was hot and sweaty after
finishing it. I guess I am pretty unused to that sort of cutting action
and my arms felt a bit shaky afterwards. Later on I was trying to hold
the edge of a plate while I filled it with food and my muscles went all
twitchy like I had the shakes. That effect passed off fairly quickly,
but my back is still a tiny bit sore form the long period of bending
over. This is why I hate gardening - it is a painful process !
Aside from the gardening, which was more destructive that creative, I have done nothing truly creative today. I have done some reading, watched some TV, and played with the PC a for a little while. Surprisingly the day has passed by very quickly. The down side to this is that it is going to difficult getting to sleep at a reasonable hour after this mornings 03.00 bedtime. Even though it is a bank holiday I would like to be up at a reasonable hour - say, 08.00 at the latest. It is not that I have anything special to do, but with the prospect of employment, somewhere, anywhere, some time in the, hopefully, near future I want to live reasonable hours. It is so easy to slip into late night and late mornings when there is no true reason to be up early. I get a strong sense of deja vu writing that. I must have said it before.
The low resolution video of Thursday night has now been uploaded HERE.
|Saturday 29th May 2004
||Weather - early morning milky sky
You may well wonder what
I am doing up at this time of the morning. It is something I am
wondering as well.I think I have passed through a time warp. I am sure
it was later than this when I got out of bed. It felt like it was about
07.30 before I noticed the clock on the PC telling me it was only
05.50. Actually this is good as I can write a few words here and then
go back to bed for an hour.
Today should be a no booze day. I have no plans to visit any pubs now until, perhaps, Wednesday night. Ivor is off work next week. So there is no temptation there, but Iain has suggested that he may be after a drink sometime in the week. That gives me the idea for a cunning plan. I mentioned that I could edit the video I took on Thursday night down to a few minutes of semi interesting stuff, and that I couldn't spare the space on my own web space to upload a web movie to it. Well, I reckon if I bought Iain a few pints of very strong cider I could persuade him to let me borrow a few megabytes of his web space and let him upload both a tiny low resolution web movie, for old farts like myself on dial up, and a medium resolution movie for those with high speed access. All I would need to do then would be to add a link from here to where the movies were hosted. The trouble is that I know you're reading this Iain, and so my cunning plan will now be rather less than a surprise to be sprung on you when you're drunk and vulnerable.
So what else is happening today ? I really ought to finish my job application and I intend to deliver it by hand sometime around midday. Then I can sit down and see if I can do some video editing. In between times I have this weeks washing to do, and probably other stuff that I will think of at the appropriate time.
|Friday 28th May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
Well, well, well ! What a
good night last night was. Yes, it was a boozy night, the day was a
First of all though. I big Hi to Ivor, Iain, Patrick, Roger, Fran, Pam, Andy, Kevin, Bob, Ron, Paul, Becky, and to Pam's cousin and Bob's other half (whose names I seem to have forgotten already). I think that is all, but I'm sure I must have forgotten someone. And, of course, hi to anyone else who knows me - readers and listeners alike. A special thank you to Pam for the picture of Nelly which has now taken centre stage on my mantlepiece.
I don't think I will do a write up about last night. In fact I don't think I can. There was too much going on. I have got a few pictures that I may include here later on. Perhaps it will be tomorrow as I have a busy day ahead of me. It is a slight shame that for all the pictures I took only a few are of decent quality. Some of them have come out tinged with red as if the flash lost synchronisation with the shutter. In consequence they have a certain amount of motion blur where I was relying on the flash to freeze the motion. I think that once I am in full time employment one of my cash spending priorities will be to buy a decent camera. The one I am using now can take some brilliantly sharp pictures under the right conditions, but it has difficulty under less than perfect conditions. It suffers noise in the low lights, and there is the shutter lag problem that reared its head when using the flash last night, and makes the timing of action shots rather hit and miss. I do have some video footage of last night, but I doubt I'll be using that here on the web site. In fact I doubt I will do much with it at all. I haven't played it back yet, but I am sure there are no outstanding sequences that would form the basis of any edited highlights. I think I'll just keep it as a memory of the general ambience........................I couldn't resist getting the camera out and watching some of it on the viewfinder. It is not as bad as I thought. I still don't think I can really do anything with it as a lot of it is disjointed, but I may have a go someday and see if I can edit it down to a mini epic - maybe just a few minutes long. At just a few minutes it might be feasible to make it into a low resolution web movie. Although I don't think I can spare a few megabytes of my current web space allocation to host it. Maybe I'll have to ask Iain for some web space.
Today could well be a busy day, or at least this morning could be. I ought to be putting the finishing touches to a PowerPoint presentation I am making as part of my job application. Then I should be finishing the application papers. Once that is done I wanted to deliver them by hand. I should also be doing some shopping for general provisions, but I also want to buy a birthday present for Maxine.By 11.00 I ought to be at Ivors workplace where I have been volunteered to help with some heavy lifting. I don't think I am going to manage it all, and it is likely to be the pob application that will have to be delayed by another 24 hours. Once the work, for which I have been shanghied for, is finished it is............down the pub again ! This time there is a slight variation in the proceedings. The pub is only an aperertif for a visit to a curry house to celebrate Maxine's birthday. It is pssible, although I'll admit unlikely, that with a little food inside me I won't be getting totally sloshed. Oddly enough I didn't get totally sloshed last night. Fullers London pride is a lot less lethal than Kronenberg. I was pacing myself slightly, and I was not drinking on an empty stomach. By the time I got in last night I was feeling 100% in control of all my faculties, but I was feeling very tired. After reading my e-mail, and doing a quick review of the photographs taken last night, I went straight to bed and was asleep almost instantly.
||Weather - cooling off after warm
It's been a good day
today. I managed to do a few of the essentials before heading out to
help Ivor and Iain move three large printers. They were very big, and
heavy too ! When that was over I felt exhausted. Fortunately it was
time for lunch and a trip to a pub ensued. Strangely enough it did not
turn into a boozy session, and I only had three well spaced out pints.
The significant difference was that I only drank the first pint on an
empty stomach. After the first pint we went to a curry house for a
quick bite to eat. It was quick too - the miserable resturant decided
they were closing 20 minutes after we got in there and rushed us
through the whole thing. It was sort of nice, but some of the onions on
my chicken tikka were beyond caramelised and were burnt to a crisp. We
had one pint of indifferent lager in there before going back to the pub
for one final pint. I managed to take a picture of us heading back to
It felt quite strange to come home feeling very sober. Well maybe not very, very sober, but mostly sober. Today was the first time I have had a curry in a resturant for years. The last time was so many years ago that I have absolutely no idea what year it might have been in. Or with whom, for that matter.
To round off todays diary entry, here are 4 pictures taken at our booze up last night.
|Thursday 27th May 2004
||Weather - miserable grey sky and
It was a bit of a
surprise to wake up and find it is raining this morning. The last
weather forecast I saw suggested it would be dry until the weekend.
Yesterday started out rather gloomy, but later in the afternoon the sun
came out and I spent a couple of happy hours in the beer Garden of The
Herne with Ivor, Iain, Howard and Maxine.
Today I will be spending a fair amount of time completing an application for a new job. After a long patient wait I have finally found a job that I really want to do. All previous jobs were just ones that I could do, but this one I am convinced is the job for me. It combines two areas where I think I have a certain amount of expertise - namely I.T. and A.V. In effect it is how I pass many happy hours here at home. Perhaps happy is not quite the right word. Happy when it all goes to plan, but frustrated when it doesn't. Luckily it usually come out OK in the end. There are several criteria for this job that, on paper, I do not really match, but I see little problem with that. For instance, although I am familiar with the concept of Powerpoint presentations, I have never had call to make one before. To rectify that, and to demonstrate that I can use Powerpoint, I am going to spend a little time this morning making a presentation to include with my job application. My first thoughts were that it was a bit of a cheesy idea, but after discussing it with both Ivor and Iain, who are, after all, actually in the trade, I have been convinced that it is a very good idea. With plenty of room on a CDR I am also going to include some other samples of my work. There will be a short video I edited. I think the best one will be the video I made of Patrick filming the reconstruction of a pirate radio station set in the early 1970's. It has a little more general interest than one of my railway videos although there is not really any story line in it. It is also fairly short. It is a shame I have not got a copy of the interview that Patrick did of me for part of his documentary. In that I was really quite unhappy about the way my voice sounded, but the pictures were, I am told, very good. The relevant point about that clip is that I did the lighting for it. It was traditional 3 point lighting and I believe the pictures had a little more depth to them than some of the other interviews which were made using more of a floodlighting approach. I will also include one or two still pictures to show off my prowess at using Paint Shop Pro. Finally I will include a backup copy of this web site to prove that I can work with web sites. This last bit is madness as I have just blatantly admitted that I have had no previous experience with Microsoft Powerpoint. Hopefully my short demonstration presentaion will show that I am at least capable of learning to use the program. I wonder how many other embarrasing comments I have made in these pages ? (Such as having serious doubts over my spelling of "embarrasing", and not having a spell checker installed on this Linux installation of Mozilla to check on it before hitting the save button).
Looking back at all I have written this month does give the impression that I have been boozing rather a lot. I think it is because it is not obvious how many days have passed between sessions. Each day does have it's own header, but once you start reading there is a tendancy to skip over the headings and just carry on to the next paragraph. I see little way around this unless I make up a calendar table showing the days I have been in the pub, or start each day with a bold " No Pub Today" heading. Once I am back in regular employment the lunchtime sessions will be a thing of the past, but for now I need the contact with other people that only the lunchtime sessions can supply. Of course tonight will be yet another boozy session, but this one is a special one. It is the bi-monthly drink where all the old friends who have migrated to diverse parts of S.E. England can come together and have a good gossip. One day I must determine if my usage of "bi-monthly" is correct. I am sure it means every two months, but sometimes it comes across as meaning twice-monthly. Well even if it is wrong you know now. As I use it here, it means every two months !
|Wednesday 26th May 2004
||Weather - slightly overcast
started out bright and sunny it soon clouded over. It did stay dry and
was also fairly warm. Today has started fairly overcast, but it is
possible that the sun may break through later on. I hope it does as I
want to grab a beer or two at lunchtime, and a session in the beer
garden would be rather nice.
I spent some time yesterday trying out some live linux distros. I had better explain what these are. They are a way of running the Linux operating system from a bootable CD without any need to touch, or even need, a hard disk in the PC. Each of the many different types provides an assortment of applications that are fully functional. The downside is that because they are running from a CD they are a little slow to open. - CD drives being far, far slower than hard disk drives. I think the most impressive has to be Damnsmall Linux. It can be burnt onto a business card sized CDR disk as it only need a mere 46 MBytes. It provides a basic, but still comprehensive, set of applications. These include a web browser, media player, word processor, e-mail client and a host of useful utilities. All that on a CD that you can, and I now do, keep in a wallet.
|Tuesday 25th May 2004
||Weather - some thin clouds, but
bright and dry
My mind is definitely
slipping. Yesterday I went out to Tesco's and totally forgot to buy two
of the items that partially inspired the visit there. I remembered to
buy all the food I wanted, but totally forgot to buy the shampoo and
shower gel that I needed. It is lucky I do not need them that badly,
and I won't need to go around unwashed, or unkempt, for a few more days
I spent a considerable time yesterday just reading. While I was out I bought two magazines that I should not really have wasted my preciouss money on, but the temptation was too much. The first was the rather expensive Linux Format with a DVD cover disk. The second was the rather cheaper Rail magazine. Both were a good read, but Linux Format, as usual, had several articles that went right over my head. On the cover mounted DVD the theme was live distros. That is distributions of Linux that will run directly from a CD without disturbing anything that is on the hard disk of the PC. Indeed they will run without a hard disk even being present. I was particularly interested in the one called Knoppix. I had mixed success with earlier versions of Knoppix, but this version, 3.4, ran perfectly on the two PC's I tried it on.
So apart from reading I spent some time playing with PC's trying out different things. I also rang up about the I.T. job that I mentioned yesterday. I really wanted to speak to someone about it, but there was only an answerphone at the other end. So I left my details and I'll just have to wait and see if I am contacted. Today I am supposed to hear the results of the job interview I had last Thursday. As much as I need some income, I still hope that I don't get that job as I will have to take it against all personal choice.
|Monday 24th May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
I don't know whether it
was just me, but it felt very cool yesterday. A coule of times I almost
felt like turning some heating on. I managed to catch a weather
forecast for the next 5 days and it said that it should be warm and
sunny now for most of the coming week. It feels fairly cool at the
moment as I sit here not fully dressed, and only 5 minutes after
getting out of a warm bed.
This morning I must phone up about the job I mentioned yesterday. I looked at the advert again and noticed that the pay being offered was actually rather higher than I had imagined. That suggests to me that they are after someone with more formal I.T. qualifications. So it looks like I am dead in the water to start with. Nevertheless I shall still have a go for it. I think another chore this morning will be to go shopping. I had considered going yesterday, but decided I still had plenty of food reserves in the freezer for a few more days, but Nelly is periously low on "crunchies", so I had better get to the shops.
Once the shopping is out of the way I have three choices. A Lunchtime session in the pub with Ivor. Do something creative in my workshop, or have a play with the video I shot last Friday. The latter is quite appealing as I have not really looked at the 40 odd minutes I filmed then. I reckon that I can edit it down to about 5 minutes of interesting stuff.
|Sunday 23rd May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
Although I decribe the
day as being bright and sunny, as I did yesterday, it is actually quite
cold at the momemnt. It did cloud over a little yesterday and the day
stayed quite cool. It would be nice if today was a little warmer than
yesterday. The coolness does have one minir advantage. The catfood does
not go off so quickly. When I came home on Friday night the whole house
stank where some leftover catfood in the rubbish bin had gone off. It
is unusual for me to take out a mere one third full rubbish bag at
close to midnight, but I did it then.
I had a new variation of very strange dreams last night. I bet even a professional psychologist would have difficulty explaining this one away. I can't remember the whole story, but this is the releveant part that sticks in my mind. An old friend of mine, Brian, was some sort of villain and was being arrested by a copper who was also Brian. I am not sure what my status was in the dream. Now it feels like I was merely a passive spectator, almost like I was watching TV, but I may have been a cop or robber. All I remember for certain was that there were two identical Brians. They did not seem to be brothers or twins, but the same person playing two roles simultaneously.
I have seen another job, in the local free paper, that interests me. It is not something I have ever done before, but I think I could do it. The way the job is described makes it sound as if they want a cross between an I.T. technician and an A.V. technician with a bit of web design, and other things, thrown in as well. It sounds similar to what I do now as a hobby. So potentially I ought to be able to do it. It is for a charitable institution and so the pay offered may not be comparable for a proper I.T. job, but it may be enough for me. Also, with the crossover in skills required, they may not have too many applicants. Best of all is that it is fairly local. So I am going to make some enquiries.
|Saturday 22nd May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
Yesterday was a good day
out, although perhaps a little too long. Later on today I'll try and do
a proper write up of the days events. The target for the day was to
have a ride on the "Thumpers" that operate between Ashford and
Hastings. Due to a slight miscalculation we missed out on one ride, but
did sample the new replacement trains for that service. We then rushed
back to Victoria to get on the last ever "Thumper" from there to
Uckfield. It was crowded even though it had been increased from the
more usual 3 car train to an 8 car train. Initially it was a bit
cramped, but a few people got off at East Croydon, and more left at the
later stops. At Uckfield the train would normally go out of service,
but with so many enthusiasts expected it had been arranged that it
would stay in service and head back to East Croydon.
We didn't stay on the train all the way to East Croydon, but got off at Oxted to go into The Oxted Inn, a Weatherspoons pub. It was terribly noisy in there, but we stayed for 2 pints of different beers from the Ichen brewery - and jolly nice they were too. During that time we missed the train we intended to get, but got the one half an hour later. Back at East Croydon came two revelations. First was the amount of ticket touts operating quite openly. Second, I noticed that one of the departure screens was showing something odd.
Unfortunately the image was too dim for the camera to autofocus properly, and after a long day I could not keep the camera still. You'll have to take my word for it that it is a Windows error message. In the title bar said something like "exploring - control panel". The message says something to the effect that a programme is not responding and NT will close it.
After waiting around 20 minutes for a tram we got back to Elmers End for a 10 minute wait for the train. I finally got indoors at around 11pm. By then all I had eaten all day was one roll. It was a biggish roll, a sub infact, but that was all. So I decided to cook some food. I think it was close on 01.00 before I went to sleep this morning so I feel a little knackered now ( I was playing with yesterdays photos for 45 minutes before writing this at 08.00). I may go back to bed for an hour.
|Friday 21st May 2004
||Weather - grey and wet
Ideally I would
have liked another hour in bed this morning, but I am awake so I may as
well get up. The weather has deteriorated badly since yesterday
morning. There were a few splashes of rain during the afternoon, and
there has been a lot of overnight rain. This is a pity as I will be out
today "trainspotting". For most of the day I'll be travelling to and
from Hastings, and riding up and down The Marshlink Line between
Hastings and Ashford. Then it will be back to Victoria to see, and
hopefully be on, the last ever departure of a "Thumper" from Victoria
to Uckfield. No doubt I'll have a few pictures to show here. Probably
Yesterdays job interview went well in so much as I got there OK and had a pretty relaxed time during the interview. I now know for definite that I don't really want the job. The original job description was slightly misleading in that it is hardly a technicians job at all. It is more a sort of souped up wharehousemans job. It seems that I was not the only person to be caught out this way. I was told that one applicant had an engineering degree ! They did ask if I felt that it would ultimately be too boring for me, and at the end I agreed it probably would. But it would also be true to say that the initial learning part of the job would be fascinating. They have a lot of interesting kit that that I would like to play with. I did get the impression that it is still possible they may offer me the job, and if they do I will reluctantly take it. My final words were with the bloke who was showing me around the place. I told him quite straight that I was not sure if I was suitable for the job, and that I didn't want to muck them around by accepting an offer and then quittting after a month or two. He replied that I shouldn't worry about it, and more or less implied that I should go for it anyway. Time will tell. If I do get the job offered to me then I will take it as I could do with some proper income, but I cannot see me lasting there for long.
|Thursday 20th May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
6 hours sleep is enough
for anyone ! Especially when they have a job interview this afternoon.
After an evening in the pub with Kevin I came home, spent a little time
checking train times on the internet, and then watched a recording of
The Bill. I guess I got to bed at around 01.00. I was woken up at 05.20
by a combination of one of the first trains of the morning and very
loud birdsong. The birds seem exceptionally noisy even now. I was also
feeling slightly cold when I first woke up so I decided that I would
get under the duvet (instead of just on top) for my next installment of
sleep. I now feel like I have been slowly cooked. Sitting here with the
back door open feels deliciously cool.
So this afternoon I have a job interview for a job that I would prefer not to get. The job itself could probably be slightly boring, but that in itself is not my concern. The worst part is that I will have to learn to be a London bound commuter.I just hate the idea of 30 - 40 minutes on a crowded, hot and stuffy train (and the same coming home again).
Once this interview is out of the way I hope I'll be early enough to catch up with Ivor and Iain for a quick pint or two. It can't be too many as I need a clear head in the morning for a day of "Hog" bashing. Hog being the new trendy term for what I know as a "Thumper". And a Thumper is an old slam-door diesel electric train with comfy seats and a general air of looking like a real train.
|Wednesday 19th May 2004
||Weather - clear skies.
Good morning to Iain who
commented that this diary suggested I was permanently pissed ! Well
hardly - once or twice a week in his company, maybe, but with the
Winter Warmer finished for this season, my one and only regular drink
on a Wednesday night tends to be an almost sober affair.
Yesterday I did get pissed - it is true. I spent a couple of hours in The Herne alone waiting for Ivor and Iain to finish a huge printing job. During those hours of waiting I was quietly reading The Evening Standard and doing the two crosswords in it. I also slowly drank two pints of Kronenberg. So by the time Ivor and Iain got to the pub I was quite sober. Unfortunately I can never say no to free beer and that was where the rot set in. After another three pints I was home again feeling very hungry and rather drunk. So I ate a bizzare meal of peppered mackerel, potato saled and black pepper flavoured crisps (a large packet). That was followed by a large bag of chilli flavoured peanuts. By mid evening I was feeling hungover and bloated. On top of that the crisps and peanuts felt like they had lacerated the inside of my mouth, and all that salt made me feel very thirsty. By 9.30 pm I felt really rough, and to make matters worse a combination of the booze, salt, spices and the heat left me dripping with sweat. So I went to bed and surprsingly, considering the discomfort I was in, I went to sleep almost instantly. I woke up again just before midnight almost convinced that I had slept through the night. I was considering getting up again, but after a getting a fresh pint of cold water I decided to go back to sleep again. I woke up a couple of more times during the night, but it was not until 05.30 that I decided I may as well get up properly, even if it is temporary. I might, or might not, go back to bed again later.
At this time in the morning I feel mostly OK. My mouth still feels a little sore from lacerating it with very crisp and sharp crisps and then rubbing in chilli powder from the chilli flavoured peanuts.
Today I have a difficult decision to make. I could go back to The Herne for a second session or I could just have a quiet and close to sober drink with Kevin tonight. I think I need to see Kevin tonight to bash out a few final details for our day out on Friday. However I am tempted with The Herne where there should be more than just Ivor and Iain for entertainment. Maybe what I should do is to go to The Herne very late in the afternoon so it is only a short session and I will then probably survive for a night out in The Ram. I hope that the air con is working at full capacity in The Ram. Yesterday was a pretty hot day, and I expect today to be similar.
|Tuesday 18th May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
Yesterday I described the
day as starting with some clouds. I think I was wrong. It was more
likely a high up mist that was accentuated by the sun being so low in
the sky at five in the morning. By the time I woke up for the second
time (I did go back to bed for another hour) that mist had "burnt
off" leaving a bright sunny, and very warm, day. The day was so hot
that last night I ended up sleeping on top of my bed until I woke up
feeling cool, but not cold, at 04.30 this morning.
Up until now I have not mentioned the strange malady that afflicted me up until yesterday morning. It started Saturday lunchtime, or so, after a long time sitting at this PC. It was almost as if I had got cramp in a muscle in my left buttock. The exact location is difficult to describe. It was sort of slightly above the left buttock, and not wholly on the left, but maybe left of centre. Describing it as cramp is also not exact. It was more like the muscular ache you get after a cramp has gone away. Whatever it was I may never know, but I do know it was quite painful whenever I moved in a certain way that involved using the muscles in my left(ish) bum cheek. It was bad all day on Sunday, but yesterday, sometime during the course of the morning, it faded away. It is hard to say when it went, but by lunchtime I realised that I was not in any pain.
It looks as if it is going to be another beautiful hot day. I am looking forward to spending lunchtime in a beer garden. These boozy lunchtimes become more precious as time goes by. It cannot be too long now before I finally end up re-employed. If the next job goes to plan then it will mean no more lunchtime sessions with Ivor, Iain and Maxine until the day I retire. Now that is a sad thought, but it is fact of life that must be endured.
||Weather - hot and sunny
It seems to have been a
busy morning so far. After signing on at the job centre I did some
shopping in Aldi. There were loads of tempting shiny things there. I
resisted the temptation to spend money I have not got, or at least
money that I must put aside for essentials. If I had the money to waste
I would like the 5.2Mpixel camera, the PDA with GPS, the USB 2.0 flat
bed scanner, and several other shiny things. One item I might give in
to is a cordless garden clipper. It could be just what I need to
inspire me to tackle some of the things that I put off doing in the
Once back from the supermarket I had a little light breakfast and watched some educational TV (about astronomy). During that I had a phone call from one of the employers I have applied to for a job. It is the one that is just north of Kings Cross. I am going up for an interview on Thursday afternoon. Although they are trying to put me off by suggesting the job may be a little boring for someone of my experience, I get the impression they might actually want me. They seem to be in two minds abut how they think the job might develop. At the moment it seems to be the sort of job a trained labourer could do, but they keep hinting that it could become more technical. I suspect it needs someone, me maybe, to point them in the right direction, or at least suggest what they could be capable of. The only trouble is I am still not totally happy about having to do all that commuting. It is some relief to know that I am up against some competition and my chances of getting the job are probably slim. However, if I am offered the job I am more or less forced to take it for financial reasons. If I do get it I think I will try and force myself to save like mad in case I can't stand it and have to quit again.
Another 30 minutes and I off to drink lots of beer - shame the sun has just gone in for the first time this morning.
|Monday 17th May 2004
||Weather - cloudy but dry
Five O'clock in the
morning is a bit of an early morning for me. I was going to add lately
to the end of that statement, but I think I'll let it stand. It would
be nice to get back to my regular-as-clockwork 06.00 getting up time.
With no work that has slipped so badly, but someday that could change.
Yesterday I made another job application. It was the first ever that I
have made by e-mail. It was hard to know just how to write it in that
form. It is hard enough writing a formal letter to be sent by snail
mail, but e-mail has its own protocols that lie somewhere between a
memo and a real letter. I concluded that it would be best to write it
almost as a formal letter, but to obviously leave out all the headers,
address, date etc, as they are automatically appended by the e-mail
process itself. I sent it as a plain text message so I also used a
minimum amount of word formatting as well. Although the e-mail itself
did not contain things like my address and telephone number, they are
on my C.V. which I attached as a rich text document.
I do sometimes worry about my C.V. Some would say it is too short and sparse, but others would agree it lists the essential information, and omits all the waffle. I based the format of it after having seen a lot of C.V.s that were sent to Mastercare. Generally the longer ones were boring, or in some ways laughable. I think it comes down to perspective. It is quite probable that if a C.V. was being read by some member of personnel who had a degree in English Literature, sociology, and American business studies, then the five page C.V. complete with "this is what I did on my holidays" would be most appreciated and appropriate. On the other hand my C.V. is pitched at an engineer who just wants to read the vital facts about what I know and what I can do. Personally I hope to be employed by the latter.
Today I have an urge to get into my workshop and do something creative. There will be time for other things later in the week. Tomorrow I may well go and have a lunchtime drink with Ivor. I have made a DVD-ROM for him with copies of a lot of the old comedy programmes I have recorded from BBC7. It was going to be just on a bare disk in a slip case, but I got a little carried away with designing a proper DVD case cover for it. I am quite proud of it and it will be interesting to see the reaction from a graphics professional to my amateur effort. Then at the end of the week I am having a day out "trainspotting" with Kevin. Primarily we are going out to say our farewells to the "Thumpers" (old slam door diesel electric trains) that run in the Marshlink line between Ashford and Hastings. Their days are numbered now and they will soon be gone to be replaced by unreliable "plastic" trains.
|Sunday 16th May 2004
||Weather - dry and bright
I was woken up this
morning by Nelly who was doing her strange howling routine at the
bottom of the stairs. I am still mystified by it as I have never caught
her doing it in "real time". It sounds almost the same song that cats
use when singing to each other in the middle of the night, but in this
case I believe it is intended to serve as a wake up call to me. As such
it serves its purpose well and I always get up to find out what is
going on. By that time she has stopped and I never have managed to
catch the performane properly. If it were not for the fact that she is
always at the bottom, or top, of the stairs I would think I had dreamt
Being up so early on a Sunday morning leaves me two choices. Do I go back to bed, or do I watch Dr Who on UK Gold ? Both are mildly attractive, but not imperatives.
|Saturday 15th May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
Sometimes it is hard to
think of things to write in this journal. When nothing much has
happened then there is nothing to record. And yet yesterday was not a
boring day, but just saying I read, watched TV and listened to the
radio does not sound very inspiring ! I could add surfing the net to
that list, but that was just about the entire way my day was spent.
That filled a few lines and helped stop today being a blank entry. I can't remember any dreams with enough clarity to describe what happened, although I think one involved using a hard disk the size of a £2 coin. So there is nothing to add there.
Today I must get into my workshop and do some stuff there. That's about it. I'm sorry if you read all this drivel that there is nothing to entertain you today.
||Weather - still long sunny intervals
A couple of days ago I
was extolling the virtues of books. Today, while surfing the internet I
ended up at http://idiot-dog.com/humor/BOOK.html
and came across the following :-
Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK)
The BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover! Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.
Here's how it works...
Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.
Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now BOOKs with more information simply use more pages. This makes them thicker and harder to carry, and has drawn some criticism from the mobile computing crowd.
Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped overboard. The "browse'' feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.
An optional BOOK mark accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session, even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOK marks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOK mark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOK markers can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK. (BOOK marks can be purchased commercially in a wide variety of styles, or easily created at home from readily available materials by the BOOK user.)
You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus (PENCILS).
Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the entertainment and information communication wave of the future. The BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform. Look for a flood of new titles soon.
|Friday 14th May 2004
||Weather - mostly clear sky and sunny
This morning I am feeling
slightly fragile after the excess's of yesterday. There is nothing
particularly wrong with me, no special aches or pains, but more of a
sort of feeling that I am not ready to face the day yet. I think I
slept badly and I can remember waking up a few times during the night.
Each time I felt too hot and went back to sleep with an arm or a leg,
or both, sticking out from under the duvet. I feel curiously hot now
although I am not sweating and I also feel that this room is otherwise
quite cool. Maybe it is alcohol poisoning. I doubt I will be drinking
again for 3 or 4 days so it will pass.
Last night I had a drunken urge to do something I have mainly avoided - writing drunken ramblings in this journal. I have corrected a few obvious spelling mistakes this morning, but otherwise left it as it was. It is, after all, what I was thinking, but in normal circumstances I would be a little more subtle about it.
Today I think I know what I will be doing, but not in what order. I have two more days worth of radio recordings to top-and-tail, and then listen to. I think there is one "Round The Horne" and two more episodes of "2001 A Space Odessy", and there could be a couple of other things as well. Then I will have to go out and buy this weeks New Scientist. In fact I will probably do that first and do some reading while eating some breakfast. So I think there will be plenty to entertain me today.
|Thursday 13th May 2004
||Weather - bright, but no direct
I felt pretty lousy this
morning. I woke up at half past six with a bad stomach ache. It took
several visits to the toilet before I was able to get back in bed and
get back to sleep again. Even now I do not feel 100%. I was thinking
about going for another drinking session with Ivor this lunchtime, but
maybe that would not be a good idea. It might happen though. If he is
not around tomorrow then it may have to be today.
Last night I was in the pub with Kevin. Since the Winter Warmer finished last month I have been getting home from these sessions almost sober. The ordinary bitter is not a patch on Winter Warmer. I wonder if it was the beer last night that has given me the runs this morning ? Probably not as it is too soon (I think). When I got in I had a flick around the TV channels and found an old edition of "Have I Got News For You ?" on UK Gold 2. So I sat and watched that. Then I turned over to Sky 1 and watched an episode of "Voyager". Finally I was lured over to Paramount Comedy 2 where there was an old episode of "Drop The Dead Donkey". It was madness, although very enjoyable, to stay up so late watching all that stuff. It was close on 2am before I went to bed. So waking up at 06.30 was just a little too early for me.Even now I have not had more than 6.5 hours sleep in total, but I am up now and I won't be going back to bed again this morning.
Once again the day seemed to pass quite quickly, yesterday. I can't really say that I did anything worth shouting about. Some of the day was spent reading a book. In this case it was Isaac Asimov's "The Currents Of Space". I had started it the day before, but it was sufficiently captivating, even on the second reading, to make me want get on and finish it.I guess it was being immersed in a good read that helped the day go so quickly.
||Weather - dry and mostly sunny.
Ooooorg , arghhhhh my
brain hurts. I spent far too long in The Herne today. Or to put it
another way..... I drank far too much in The Herne today. It was a sort
of a spur of the moment thing to go and have a drink with Ivor today. I
got there a little late and we only had time for roughly one pint
before Ivor (and Iain) had to go back to work. They assured me they
would be back in not too much of time, but that sooner or later Max
would be at the pub and I would probably be entertained by her. Well
that was their assumption, it didn't turn out that way becuase Max
never noticed I was in the pub and I was left bored out of my mind for
nearly an hour before Ivor and Iain came back. Eventually we all
settled back, Max included, for an extended drinking session. Ivor had
to leave early, but we all carried on without him. Sadly Max has been
suffering from some ailment and has been suffering from sime pain
lately. I don't know what it is but she thinks it is related to her
gall bladder. I don't like to see her in pain. Partly because I don't
like to see anyone in pain, and partially because it makes her less of
a laugh. Putting it like that sounds terrible, but it is a truth I
cannot deny. Having got to know Max fairly well now I am concerned
with her pain and it does feel personal in some ways, but nevertheless
I find it hard to think that her pain is more important that any other
pain. And yet it is. While she is in pain there is less chance that I
will get a quick kiss or a quicker cuddle and I do need those. They are
some of the seemingly insignificant things in life that when you add
them all together it makes life worth living. If I don't care, why am I
|Wednesday 12th May 2004
||Weather - cloudy but dry
I think I slept well
last night, although after reading until 01.00 I doubt I should have
woken up this early. I woke up with the impression that all my dreams
had been happy ones, and yet I can recall in one dream a woman who I
thought I was making some impression on announced that she was going
out with some other man. Perhaps the blow was softened by the fact that
I was drinking with people I liked in a suspiciously familiar beer
garden. Although the beer garden seemed very familiar the people I was
drinking with were actually unfamiliar in a strange way. The
strangeness was that they seemed to have familiar names that did not
match their faces, or familiar faces that did not match their names. As
I recall they were all from Radio Jackie, but not the legal version
that is on currently, but a version that was still a pirate radio
station in this day and age. As I try and recall the dream I am
confused about one thing. There was a sequence when I was out for a
drive with the woman who had turned me down for someone who was on this
Radio Jackie, but not actually with us drinking in the beer garden.
What I can't work out is whether it was a sequence remembered in the
dream, or a sequence that was part of the dream. All I can recall was
that we were driving back from some transmitter site in the Surrey
hills and I lapsed into silence for a long time. After some long time I
felt compelled to say "do not mistake my silence for boredom or
sulkiness. I am just feeling very happy and content", or some words
like that. I suspect it was actually a bit of day dreaming with the
Yesterday passed by very quickly. Yet it was not an action packed day. You could say that the most productive thing I did all day was to defrost the freezer. It needed doing sometime, but there was no real urgency for it to happen. Yesterday just happened to be a convenient time when it was almost empty. So today I should be out to Tesco to stock up on frozen food. Another thing I did yesterday was to listen to the first 4 parts of 2001, A Space Odessy. It is being broadcast on BBC7 as 10 fifteen minute readings. Each day there are two episodes listed. Yet they are being broadcast as one 30 minute episode. What is curious is that when originally listed they were shown as single 30 minute episodes, but the listings changed to show two 15 minute episodes. The story is being broadcast as a reading from the book rather than in play form, and it sounds very good too. My only complaint is that the reader (name forgotten) has a slight American (or possibly even mild Australian) accent. It is not too bad and mostly ignorable against his skill at reading aloud. So far it has been very enjoyable. Although I own, and have read the book myself, it is still the film version that tends to be remembered. The book contains subtle differences, or nuances, that actually make it better than the film in some respects. In particular the opening chapter(s) of the book that deal with the apemen are far better explained in the book than on film. In some ways this is not surprising as although the apemen sequence is important to the story, to cover it in full on the film would add an extra 20 minutes to the beginning of the film. Plus it could not be done without using subtitles, or a narrator, to explain what the apemen are thinking - something that is so easily done in the written form. There are another two episodes on tonight that I am looking forward to.
|Tuesday 11th May 2004
Yesterday I decided that
I had to go out and get some fresh air. So at around 11.00 I set out,
armed with an all zone travelcard, and headed up to Kings Cross where a
potential new employer was based. As I suspected the journey was not
too bad, but then again it was still further than I would really like
to travel to work. I did hand in a job application and have a short
talk with them, but I am certain that I will not get the job. That is
no loss because I don't think I really want that job.
Once that was over I started heading towards home again, but thought I'd try an alternative route. I had gone up there via London Bridge and decided to go back via Blackfriars. As I approached Peckam Rye station I thought I would get off the train there and do the short bus ride to where Ivor normally drinks at lunchtime. It was a little late, but I thought that I would be in time for one pint before he went back to work. Big mistake ! I didn't leave there until some 4 hours later ! I was dropped off near home by Iain and staggered into the chip shop to buy some breakfast (at that point I had not eaten all day). Finally I slumped down in a chair, ate my sausage and chips, with extra salad, and watched some TV. On Monday nights I regularly watch "Enterprise" on Sky One, but this time I fell asleep soon after it started, and woke up again half an hour after it finished. So I decided to go bed. I fell asleep almost instantly, but woke up again a short while ago, and I now feel wide awake. I don't think it will last long, and I'll probably be going back to bed again soon.
Later in the day, once the sun is up, I think I will have shaken off the blues of the weekend enough to get into my workshop and do something creative. I also have some recordings of BBC7 to edit and archive. Yesterday there was an episode of The Goon Show that I have yet to hear, and also the start of a reading of Arthur C. Clarke's "2001" that may well be worth listening to. So hopefully I should not be bored senseless today. One other thing to do later is to et another job application off. Once again it is not a job that I really want to do, but it may be better than nothing.
||Weather - overcast, but dry and cool
After I finished writing
at 2am this morning I downloaded some pictures, I had taken yesterday,
from my camera to the PC. I then spent ages looking at them and also
many other photos from the last two years. It was close on 4am when I
went back to bed. At first I could not get back to sleep. It was
beginning to get light outside and the birds were getting noisy. I am
sure I even heard some seagulls at one point. Eventually I did go to
sleep and did not wake up again until about 9.30. I am not sure how
much sleep I got in total. There was at least an hour on the settee
when I was supposed to be watching TV. Then I must have slept for 3
hours before getting up in the middle of the night. The last bit of
sleep may have been over 4 hours. I guess that means I slept for a
total of 8 hours. That ought to be enough to keep me
I have not mentioned the weather yesterday. It started out similar to today. It was slightly gloomy and I was prepared for another miserable day. In fact by midday the sun had come out, and it shone all the time I was in the beer garden yesterday. It was even good enough to bring a little colour to my right arm, and probably my face. As one day is usually pretty much the same as the next, weatherwise, I am hoping that the sun will be shining again this afternoon.
I did not take many photos when I was out yesterday, but here's one for the trainspotters. It is of Networker 466001 looking bright and shiny while having a rest between peak hour use in Blackfriars station.
|Monday 10th May 2004
||Weather - cold and damp
Some 10 minutes ago, when
I first observed the outside world through the bathroom window, the sky
looked brighter - even to the point where I thought the sun would soon
break through. Now the sky looks darker and it might even rain soon.
Last night I watched "Top Gear" on TV. I think that finished at 9pm abd I went to bed very soon afterwards. Initially I did not go to bed to sleep but to carry on reading a book of short stories by Isaac Asimov. I finally finished the book at half past midnight and was asleep very soon afterwards. I know I did a lot of dreaming, but I cannot remember any sequences. All I can remember is like still photographs. One such memory is of a page from a book, or maybe just a sheet of paper, with car prices on it. This was presumably inspired by watching Top Gear last night. The prices listed were rather large and it may have been a price list for collectable cars set sometime in the future. All I recall was at the bottom of the list, and presumably the cheapest car, was a Vauxhall Marina for £128,000. Another few flashs of dream I can recall were set in a radio/electronic junk shop. It was full of fascinating stuff all piled in haphazard heaps. It seemed to be housed in an old dungeon though, or maybe it was within a stone walled castle. There was an air of Frankenstein about it, but with no sense of menace. In fact it was quite the opposite. It was a fun and happy place to be. The owner was slightly eccentric and was playing with some high voltage generators which were producing some huge arcs and sparks.It sounds as if I remember enough to really describe what was going on, but I can't. I am still just recalling a few frozen images and a sort of feeling about what it was like. There was definitely no beginning, or end, or anything remotely approaching a story line. I was just there and that was happening. I read somewhere, recently, that the average dream lasts for about 5 seconds. That would be about right for that dream. It was just as if I had popped my head in the door and observed for 5 seconds and then moved on.
I am still not decided about what to do today. I do have a yearning to go out for some time and maybe a trip up to London to see the location of a possible new employer could be a good idea. It depends on the weather though, and also on how my guts feel. This morning I have a possibly gippy stomach. It feels rather bloated even though I have been to the toilet once this morning. Perhaps after I have washed and dressed it will feel better.
|Sunday 9th May 2004
||Weather - cold and damp
At the risk of making
this sound like a blues song..............I woke up this morning very
gently. So gently that all memory of the dreams I had have faded away
except for some notion about changing the names of chairs. I can't
think why it could be an idea to change the name of a chair, nor why a
chair should be named in the first place. I assume that my gentle
awakening means that I have had enough sleep, and yet I am very tempted
to go back to bed for more sleep. I did go to bed early last night, but
I did get carried away with re-reading Isaac Asimov's "Pebble In The
Sky". It was 00.30 when I turned out the lights and fell asleep almost
instantly. So I have had just under 7 hours sleep. That should be
enough, but I do prefer a full 8 hours if possible.
||Weather - dull but dry
Today has been stunningly
boring. Perhaps it has been the grey overcast sky, or maybe something
else, but I have felt so little inspiration to do anything. It was
almost too boring to bother breathing. That is not to say there were
not things I could have done, or even things I should have done, but I
just could not find any inspiration to get off my arse and do them. It
is actually true that there were a few less boring points in the day,
but they were few and far between. There was my weekly sci-fi serial on
BBC7, and a couple of reasonable bits on TV, but I think I really
wanted to go out and have some fun, or at least a breath of fresh air.
If only there was somewhere to go to ! I could have gone out and
watched some trains I suppose, but that includes long periods of
boredom interspersed with brief bits of excitement. Tomorrow I might go
out and have a look at the location of a potential new job. I don't
think I could stand the travelling if I went for it, but it might be
worth a look. It is just North of Kings Cross in what seems to be a
disused railway freight depot. That in itself could be interesting, but
the pay is not too good and it would mean a long journey packed on a
London bound train full of smelly commuters. On the other hand,
although the pay is not too good it is a lot more than I am getting at
the moment. Decisions, decisions.........
|Saturday 8th May 2004
||Weather - cold and damp
Last night I was annoyed
that I missed "Have I Got News For You". I thought it was on at 10pm,
whereas it was actually on at 9.30. So I started surfing around the
cable channels for alternative entertainment. I watched a documentary
or two, but got bored with that, so I started watching a tape of old
Ren & Stimpy shows. I got sort of hooked on that and didn't go to
bed until nearly 03.00 ! In consequence of that I am running a
little late this morning. I did originally get up at 08.30, but after
checking my e-mail and feeding Nelly I went straight back to bed. It
was Nelly who woke me up from a light sleep just before 10.30. I heard
her run up the stairs and then meow when she got to the top. It is the
third, or fourth time she has done that in the last 12 months and I am
not sure what it means. It may just be high spirits as she does seem
very restless at the moment. Yet I have tried to amuse her with a
couple of toys and they just bore her. She spent 5 minutes in the
garden, but it is too wet out there. Now she has just had a little more
from her plate of food and appears to have gone to bed.
I had better get washed and dressed now. I have more shopping to do. I went shopping yesterday but forgot the vital item that was the core reason for yestedays shopping trip - toilet paper. I am down to half a roll, and that is a dangerous situstion to be in !
So what's happened today
? Not much really. I have been shopping to get my toilet paper. I've
done some reading. Watched some television, and I tried to install
Windows XP onto a spare hard disk connected to the PC upstairs.
Saying it like that suggests that I did not succeed in installing
XP. I did, and it works fine up to a point, but I did have some bother
and it is still unresolved. I could not seem to get USB 2.0 support to
work so one pair of USB connectors do not work. More importantly,
because it was the reason for the experiment in the first place,
I can't get the proper drivers and application support for the ATI
All-In-Wonder TV card to work properly. At first the application
program said I did not have an ATI card installed. Then, having
persuaded it otherwise, when I tried to run the "view TV" application
the PC froze solid. I think it is issues with the drivers that are
causing the problem. Everytime I try and uninstall the old drivers
Windows re-installs them using the old ones before I can get the new
ones in. I may nave another fight with it tomorrow.
In other news I had a strange, and still unfulfilled, desire for some Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts this afternoon. In particular I want some of the round blue ones with the knobbly bits on it.
|Friday 7th May 2004
||Weather - bright, but no sunshine yet. Broken cloud|
Another morning and I
can't tell what the weather is going to do. It looks bright outside,
but there is no sunshine. I can see a few blue chinks in the cloud, but
the sun is probably too low to shine yet. I can't recall any rain
yesterday, but there was very little sunshine. I'd guess today will be
Yesterday was a very boozy day. I met Ivor, Iain, and Jill outside the pub as we arrived there at the same time. Inside the pub was Max and we were later joined by Paul and Ruth. I think it was only myself, Iain and Max who stayed for the whole session with Paul only appearing for a short while, and Ivor and Ruth both having to pop out for an hour, or so, in the middle. Ivor left us about an hour before I finally left with Iain who gave me a lift home. I'm not sure what time I was dropped off, but I am sure it was after 7 pm. I know it was not long before "The Bill" was on TV. I watched that with a throbbing head. Once it had finished I headed upstairs to bed, but got distracted on the way. I decided to listen to two episodes of Dan Dare that I had recorded off the radio. I must listen to the second episode again today as I fell asleep through it. By 11 pm I was fast asleep in my own bed. This morning the hangover has gone, but I still feel a little tired, and I am tempted to go back to bed. I was only woken up by Nelly who had obviously had her breakfast of "crunchies" and used her litter tray before jumping on my bed for a kip. The latter action, using her litter tray, was only apparent once I came down here. It was definitely peg on nose time !
|Thursday 6th May 2004
||Weather - bright, but no sunshine
yet. Broken cloud
It was a good night, last
night. Several pints of beer and Kevin doing his best to scare me with
all the downsides about my possible move away from Catford. I don't
think he actually came up with anything that I have not already
terrified myself with.
I did finally force myself into my workshop yesterday. Once I had overcome my initial lack of enthusiasm I spent quite a long time in there. I might even spend another hour in there this morning, but not much longer than that as I am out boozing again with Ivor at lunchtime.
|Wednesday 5th May 2004
||Weather - bright sunshine, wet
What a surprise -
sunshine ! As I look out the back of the house I can see blue skies and
sunshine. I expect if I looked out the front of the house I would see
the storm clouds gathering, but as I am still only in my underpants I
won't be drawing the curtains until I am dressed. The ground looks very
wet after overnight rain, but will probably dry out fairly quickly if
the sun stays shining.
Right now I ought to take a shower and then force myself into my workshop. It's a shame it will be freezing up there. Not that it is warm down here, and that is a good reason for me to get under a hot shower to warm myself up.
|Tuesday 4th May 2004
||Weather - drizzle
The clouds built up and
the day got even duller after I wrote my last words yesterday. By the
afternoon it was raining. I had thought about popping out to see if
Tescos was open, but with the rain I decided not to even though I was
very short of food. For dinner last night I had pea and potato curry.
It was the tastiest thing I could knock up given the lack of provisions
here. This morning, despite the rain, I have to go to the job centre
and will call into the Aldi supermarket on my way back.
Yesterday was another very lazy day. I did very little and was often bored, but two things did liven it up a bit. First I finally managed to dis-assemble Ivor's old laptop and get the hard disk out. I had put it to one side for the last week or two after failing to find a hidden screw that was stopping me taking it apart. Ivor will now be able to recover his data from the hard drive even though the chances of getting the rest of the laptop working again seem slim.
The other highlight of the day was a TV programme last night. It was the life of fictional character Norman Stanley Fletcher - the part Ronnie Barker played in the excellent sitcom "Porridge". In this "mockumentary" his life was covered from the day he was born up to present day. Some of the programme was a bit disappointing, but the clips from Porridge were still very funny, and it was good to see Ronnie Barker out of retirement to play "Fletcher" in old age.
In other , potentially, good entertainment news, BBC7 are starting a 4 part radio serial of Dan Dare tonight. I assume that this will be the radio plays from the 50's or 60's. I can't ever recall hearing Dan Dare on the radio before, but I am expecting it to be good. I vaguely remember reading some Dan Dare stories in The Eagle comic when I was a kid, and I know that one of the TV channels (Channel 4, I think) has been showing some crap modern cartoons of his adventures. Tonight I am expecting to hear Dan Dare speaking like an RAF officer from world war 2, and not like some puffed up yank. If, tonight, he turns out to sound American I'll delete my recording and cancel the other 3 parts. So there! Yah, boo, sucks !!!
I have just listened to
the recording made today of Dan Dare. It wasn't too bad, but maybe not
as good as I hoped. Maybe tomorrows episode will fire my imagination a
The day started out really soggy. I got soaked going to sign on. Well maybe not soaked, but certainly wet on the outside. To make matters worse the cash machine I wanted to use was out of money so I had to go further along the road. This took me nearer to Tescos than Aldi so I bought my shopping in Tescos. I also popped into W.H. Smiths and bought a magazine. Having got home I had my breakfast and settled in to do some reading. The dull weather gave me very little inspiration do much else. Later in the morning the clouds broke for a little while and I think the sun came out briefly. It didn't last. Some time in the early afternoon the sky went really black and the rain poured down. There was even some thunder in the distance. After that the clouds started breaking up again and this eveing here was a little sunshine.
Tomorrow, with or without inspiration from the weather, I must get into my workshop and earn a little beer money. It won't be in time for a drink tomoorow night, but I'll find some money anyway. Hopefully I'll get the money for a boozy session Friday lunchtime. I could do with a pint or two. I have been feeling a little miserable today, or perhaps restless would be a better description. I have spent some time depressing myself about the potential idea of moving home. I have this idea that I would like to move out of Catford to nearer where everbody seems to have migrated to. Somewhere halfway between Barming Station and The Bull would be nice. They are about three miles apart so a 1.5 mile walk to the pub and a 1.5 mile walk to the station would be just about acceptable. The trouble is that would mean living right in the middle of Maidstone Hospital if the warped map in my mind can be believed. Perhaps I would settle for somewhere slightly off centre to a straight line. It is a fine idea but the logistics of moving would be a total nightmare. I am not sure if I could manage it. I prefer the path of least resistance, and the easiest thing to do is to stay put. On the other hand I believe that this house may be needing some expensive repairs in the future and it could be a good idea to cut my losses and get out while the going is good. I would lose a fair bit of value on the house, but that might be worth it in the long run. Decisions, decisions......That's why I fancy a pint and forget about it for a few hours.
|May Day Holiday 3rd May
||Weather - bright but cloudy
morning has not started as sunny as yesterday, but there is the
possibility that the sun will burn off the this cloud and the sun will
shine soon. In fact even as I write this it seems to be getting
brighter. This is all wrong ! It was supposed to rain today according
to the last weather forecast I saw. Admittitedly that was a few days
ago so they xould have revised their forecast since. On the other hand
there is nothing to say that this afternoon won't see torrential
downpours with thunder and lightning. It is an English bank holiday so
it is traditional that it should pour with rain !
All that waffle about the weather suggests there is really nothing to talk about. And it is true ! Yesterday was a very boring day. I could have done some work, but I wanted to have a day of rest, or perhaps a day of leisure would be a better definition. Even though it is a bank holiday, I think I will have to treat today as a normal day or I will go out my mind with boredom. So today I am going to do something.......
Over the course of that last paragraph it seems to have duller outside instead of brighter. Perhaps instead of trying to predict the weather I should stick with reporting how the day turns out later.
|Sunday 2nd May 2004
||Weather - bright and sunny
What a wonderful way to
wake up - sunshine ! The last few days have been very gloomy, although
yesterday did stay dry all day. I am not optimstic that today will stay
bright and sunny. I am sure I heard a weather forecaster predict that
if the sun did come out the heat would boil up a new thunderstorm. Even
if it does rain later it is still nice to see the sun when waking up.
Last night Nelly was looking very relaxed so I thought I would take a photo, or two, of her. Somehow she is never as photogenic as Schiba used to be. I was unlucky when I took this picture because seconds later I could have got a good picture of her yawning and showing a fearsome set of sharp teeth.
One thing of note about this picture (and another that will be a little bit down the page) is that the entire operation of downloading from the camera, and then the cropping and resizing was all done using Linux. I still hate using The Gimp, which is a very high powered image manipulation program for Linux (and Windows). The Gimp just does everything differently to my favourite program - Pain Shop Pro. It is just so hard unlearning one method while learning new methods.
This must be the last ever picture I took of Schiba. I found it in the camera when I downloaded the picture of Nelly above. It is so eerie in that it was also the last way I ever saw him - standing up by the window waiting to go out - except that on the very last time it was dark and raining. The picture was taken on the 15th of April and just two weeks before he died.
||Weather - more cloud than this
morning. Still sunny.
So far today has been
really boring. There are a few things I could be doing, but none have
any appeal to me. None of them seem related to a sunny, Sunday
afternoon. Probably what I would like to do is go and get drunk with a
few friends somewhere.
|Saturday 1st May 2004
||Weather - cloudy, but bright. damp
The sensible thing would
have prepared this dairy in advance of the
change of month. In fact I could have done it yesterday, but no! I am
having to prepare all this right now when I should be getting up and
ready to go out for a lunchtime (and afternoon) drinking session.
Today's drink was not
quite as good as I expected. It may have been becuase it is a bank
holiday weeken, but not many people turned up at the pub. Fortunately
one person who was there was Mike Lockett who was the senior engineer
at the Mastercare workshop. I was eager to sound him out about my non
working TV. He had a look at the circuit diagram, which I had taken
along, and his views about the way the circuit worked were the same as
mine. There was one tiny possibilty about the workings of that circuit
that I thought of, but with very little conviction. It is too hard to
explain here, but concerned the very tiny possibility that the circuit
used an unusual way of working. Mike thought it very unlikely, and that
was good enough for me. I am now convinced that all my irst theories
were correct, and later theories were just clutching at straws. It
still does not explain why I cannot seem to fix the TV though. Sooner
or later i will be having another go. An ex-work colleague of mine has
sourced a couple of the rare parts I need ( thanks Silv), and I will be
able to take a more ruthless approach to faultfinding. With the
replacements at hand I won't mind if I blow the whole thing up as I
know I will be able to replace at least one of the very rare IC's that
I will need. Meanwhile my Solavox TV that I finally managed to repair
is still doing sterling service as the main living room TV. Were it not
for the absence of a SCART socket I would be happy to continue to use
With few people at the pub today I did not drink as much as usual, but I still felt ravenous when I came in at about 17.30. In the end I ordered a huge mixed kebab with all the trimmings. I now feel rather stuffed, but it was very nice. I'll probably have the runs in the morning.
After a week of no Schiba I have been trying to work out what Nelly makes of it all. She seems to have settled in one respect, but sometimes she seems to act slightly strange. A few oddities can be put down to the fact that she has less food to choose from now. Also I am trying to keep her food intake down. It is hard to do this because I am such a softy, but she is very overweight, and I would like her to lose some of it. Mostly she was restricted to one small foil container of food a day, plus some Iams light. At first she was not keen on the Iams light, but she learned that she had to like it. Since yesterday she has been treated with ordinary Iams which she loves and are really her downfall I think. For the last few days she has taken to following me around on occasions. It only happens one or twice a day, but I am not sure of the reason why. This evening she lead me to the spare bed where I usually comb her. She jumped up and I gave her a very good rake through with the flea comb. She really likes that and sits fairly still while purring her head off. Fortunately I did not find a single flea on her so she can be spared the trauma of one tiny drop of liquid on the back of her neck. For some reason that terrifies her. Actually terrifies can't be the right word. She runs away from me and tries to avoid it, but after the dirty deed is done she is back to normal in minutes - hardly like a cat whose has been severly traumatised ! Once I had finished combing her I went to the toilet and she followed me in and jumped into the bath tub. Now that is odd. The only time she used to do that was the summer before last when she had a bad flea infestation. I used to encourage her to stand in the bath while I combed all the fleas out. It was one place where any escapees could be easily seen and contained. If it was not for the fact that I had just combed her and found nothing, I would have thought she was trying to get me to comb out a flea, or fleas, that were irritating her.
One thing I have noticed Nelly doing is trying out Schibas favourite armchair. He pretty much made it his own, but now Nelly tries out for size for 5 or 10 minutes, but never for much more. She did it this evening. She jumped up on it and immeadiately lay down. She then closed her eyes as if she was going to have a nap, but 10 minutes later she jumped off again and got on her "own" armchair. I suppose this means she still feels he could come back. I think I have got over that feeling now. I still occasionally glance down the garden, or check the back window ledge as I go into the kitchen, but it is slowly becoming less compulsive. I guess you have to compell yourself to get over that sort of tradgedy by yourself, but it would have made it easier if there had been someone to share it with for the first couple of days. Perhaps as Kenneth Williams wrote in his diaries (as related in a documentary about him on TV tonight), that a diary is a sort of a substitute for real people. (I can't remember the exact words, but it was omething with a similar meaning).