Autumn is upon us

Thursday 30th September 2004

19.40 BST

Weather - cooling off after a sunny afternoon

 It was surprisingly sunny late this afternoon. It was still very grey, but also very mild, when I went for my interview at the job centre. Once that was over the sun started to break through. I am sure there was something poetical about that. The interview itself was a non event. My New deal adviser, like most of the staff, had been called away to a meeting. Eventually I found someone to first confirm that I was there at the right time, and secondly to book me a new appointment in a fortnights time.

 After the job centre I went shopping for some breakfast in Tesco's. Up until that point I had not eaten all day. I bought a few nice things and some nice condiments to go with them. I satisfied an urge for some lime and aubergine chutneys. The lime is the same very sour stuff you get in Indian Resturants, and the aubergine is much sweeter and seems to be rarely found in Indian Resturants.

finally finished the stuff I was doing in my workshop this morning so I was able to "veg out" for the rest of the evening. I think tomorrow I will have another go at getting over to The Herne for another drink.

 The last task for today has been to prepare the page for Octobers diary. It can be found here.
06.45 BST

Weather - dry, cloudy and almost mild

  This morning I have a headache. This time I think I can blame it on beer. Last night ended very well with a couple of pints with Patricia, and then 90 minutes later, several more pints with Kevin and Iain. I now seem to be slightly hungover. But it was worth it. I enjoyed it a lot, and even more so when I was with Patricia.

  Prior to all the hedonism of boozing I did a few other things that had variable degrees of pleasure. I spent some more time in my workshop being constructive, and I watched a very good film.  The film was a classic that I have never seen in its entirety before, but have seen numerous clips from it.  I think it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, but I am not 100% certain about it, and was called "The 39 Steps". I think it was described as an action thriller, although that description today is more normally reserved for total and complete bloodbaths - which I hate. In The 39 Steps the action was far more subtle and not over done. I can now understand why it hailed as classic movie as it was thoroughly enjoyable. I can remember that the lead character was played by Kenneth Moore, but I can't remember who played the leading female rôle.  Watching her was an interesting exercise in changing fashions - both clothing and attitudes towards women. When first seen she was made to look like a very frumpy schoolteacher. That part still worked OK in modern times. In the middle of her scenes she was dressed in a casual manner, and with her windswept hair as the travelled over the moors, she looked very nice, attractive even, and that is by moderm standards. For the last part of the film she is dressed up for the theatre and so is supposed to be glamorous, but to me, with contemporary views, she looked awful in the formal clothes, make up, and hairstyle of the day. I would just like to add that I do not view all female schoolteachers as frumpy. Some are very beautiful !

  Today has become a bit of a dilemna. My next appointment with my New Deal adviser is written down as Friday the 30th. Seeing Friday written down I had assumed that tomorrow was going to be the 30th, but it is obviously today. This will be the second time that my appointment has been written down incorrectly. I did the writing, but it was dictated by my adviser. I am thinking that he is looking at the wrong month on the calendar. It seems fairly obvious to me that the appointment is today, but worst of all is at 15.15. This effectively ruins any plans I had for more drinking today, although I could go over to The Herne later in the day. My original plan was for Iain to pick me up around midday, as he will be passing nearby on his way from something or another, and go back to the school with him to look at at Paul's microwave oven. The microwave has a fault that is "only the on/off switch" - which in my past experience as a TV engineer can mean anything from the truth to a complete smoking disaster. I have never worked on microwave ovens before (or even used one), but I know what is inside having seen many spread over colleagues benches. So I have volunteered to look at this one as a well deserved favour to Paul. Perhaps that will have to happen tomorrow because I can see no way of fitting it in today.
Wedneday 29th September 2004

06.30 BST

Weather - dull

  For once I have had a dream that I know was directly inspired by my circumstances. A dream that did not use extremely bizarre imagery to reflect the real world. Of course it did not accurately portray my exact circumstances, but the meaning behind it was unambiguous. I was walking round a large supermarket carrying just 4 bottles of either shampoo, or shower gel, and I kept being drawn back to a section selling light fittings. Some of the fittings were rather obscure as to their exact use, but I was drawn to an anglepoise lamp. I kept thinking I could not really afford one, but came back to look at it several times. Eventually I had to pick one up and then headed off to the checkouts. I then woke up and as my eyes opened I thought it was strangely light so I closed them again. This happened several times before I decided I ought to open my eyes properly and see what was going on. I had obviously fallen asleep with my reading lamp on. Although my reading lamp is not an anglepoise lamp it is obvious that my brain was thinking like a wartime ARP warden - "Turn that bloody light out !!".

  I can't remember what the circumstances were that I should have left my light on. I don't think that it was when I first went to sleep, and I wonder if I got up in the middle of the night to have a pee. I am sure I was not excessively tired when I went to be. I did go to bed soon after 22.00 so I could do some reading. After hearing yesterdays episode of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy I was inspired to try and work out what had been used from the books and what was new material. So I decided to re-read "So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish" and see what had been used from there. I actually finished the whole book just before midnight after having started it sometime after 20.00. I feel sure that I turned out the light after that and spent some time thinking about the book, life in general, and Patricia, before falling asleep. What is more I am sure that those 10 - 15 minutes of thinking were done in the dark. So when did I turn the light on ?

  Despite my strange nocturnal light turning on actions I felt reasonably good yesterday. Many of the aches and pains of the previous days did not appear and I had a reasonably productive day. If I can get through today without feeling too unwell then I will have to assume that I did most certainly have some sort of bug, and that I am now free of it. I think my tooth may be a little sore, but I can't be certain until I try eating on it. Yesterday I was careful not to aggravate it too much as it did seem to be on the mend. I'll be careful again today as well to give it more chance to settle down. One part of me is still sore and that is my right thumb. So far I have not explained the circumstances of when it first became painful. It was while toweling myself dry after a shower yesteday morning (or was it the day before ?). It is not easy to explain just what the actions were, but basically I had the two ends of the towel, one in each hand, and I was drying my back. At one point the towel seemed to wrap itself around my thumb and as I pulled it put slight backwards pressure on the thumb pulling it the wrong way. This was very obvious without it causing any pain, and so I stopped and readjusted the way I was holding the towel, but a few seconds later I was aware that my thumb joint was feeling sore. It was still sore until a few moments ago when I was flexing it so I could better describe where the pain was coming from. Although far from agony it was at its most uncomfortable when I tried to touch my palm with the tip of my thumb. After doing that a couple of times it seems to have loosened up a little. There is still some undefined tenderness there, but it does not feel nearly as bad as it has earlier on.

  Today I will do some more stuff in my workshop. I did spend a fair amount of time in there yesterday, but I have more to do. Later on today, around 16.30, or perhaps just a little bit later I am going to have a chat with Patricia, and possibly have a beer with her as well. That will be assuming she is in work today. She is scheduled to take a day off sometime this week, but on Monday she could not predict when. Much later tonight is Wednesday night drinking with Kevin, Iain, and perhaps Howard.
Tuesday 28th September 2004

06.40 BST

Weather - cold but dry

  Yesterday was probably better than the day before which was better than the day before that. Following that pattern today should be even better. I still felt rough yesterday, and the evening was worst of all. My head felt tight and aching, and for much of the day several joints were very stiff. The main area of soreness this morning is my right hand thumb joint where it joins the palm of my hand. Overall I feel a bit of a wreck. Perhaps the most annoying thing is that nothing feels really bad by itself, and nothing feels as if it should stop me doing anything I want to do, and yet I still feel vaguely ill. Even my sore tooth is not enough to stop me eating on it providing I do not attempt anything hard and crunchy. It feels like I should go out and sink several pints at lunchtime, but I tried that yesteday and it only provided momentary relief.

  I guess that is enough moaning for one morning. So here are the positive things that happened yesterday. I did manage to force myself into my workshop and do some work yesterday morning. I made good progress, but I did not finish what I set out to do, and I will have to try and finish things this morning. At lunchtime I met Taz in the local Weatherspoons to swap a few items. I gave her a copy of last weeks episode of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy (the silly girl missed it after thinking it was on Wednesday nights instead of Tuesday [Tonight !!!]). She gave me a "mares tail" fibre optic lamp that she no longer wanted. It was looking very dull and the fibres were coated in fag smoke tar. I gave them a good wash in washing up liquid and they now look bright and sparkling again. It looks quite good beside my lava lamps.

  After 3 pints of Stella Artois we left the pub and I got talked into helping her choose some hair dye. I don't know how she thought I could help. I know nothing of such things, but it was sort of interesting looking round a couple of shops I very rarely venture in to. I left her as she started again at the begining rechecking the first shop. Once I had dropped off the fibre optic lamp at home, and had a sit down for 10 minutes I went out again to go and see Patricia. We didn't end up in the pub this time, but spent some time nattering in her classroom, and then quite a long time at her bus stop after she just missed a bus. She had a lot to talk about and it felt quite gratifying to be taken into her confidence about some things. We do seem to have developed some sort of bond over these last couple of months, and it seems to be getting stronger. It is hard to believe it could get any better than this, and there is a 99% chance that it won't, but I'll hang onto that 1% chance that it will.

  When I got home my head was really aching. It was not a hangover type headache, although that may have contributed to it, and it was not an eyestrain type headache. It was a mixture of both and something else.If that headache, and the other aches and pains are a result of 'flu than I seem to be fighting it quite well. Hopefully it will strengthen my immune system for the winter when many people come crashing down with  'flu and the virus spreads all over the place. I seem to recall a similar scenario many years ago when I had some mild symptoms like this in early autumn and then survived half my workmates dropping like flies during the winter.

 So today I must finish what I started in my workshop. If I get that done sufficiently early I might venture out for a lunchtime pint, but I think that unlikely. I may delay my next drinking session with Ivor and Iain (and the others) until, maybe, Thursday. If, as seems likely, I don't go out then I think I will tackle the paperwork for my house "regeneration" (see Friday 24th for an explanation). I have done some of it, but there is more to do. Of course the highlight of the day will be at 18.30 when the next sensational episode of HHGTTG is broadcast on Radio 4.
Monday 27th September 2004

06.45 BST

Weather - cold and drizzling

 Bother ! As I woke up I was dreaming that I was being served a pint of beer. The last drop was going into the glass as I woke so I never did get to drink it. There is one other bit of dream I can remember in a hazy sort of way. An old workmate of mine, Peter Wright, who had some senior position in the Air Training Corps, was giving me the same test they used to select cadets to go to Pilots School in the R.A.F. He was only doing it for a laugh as he happened to have the testing papers with him at work. I think we were both surprised, he more than me, when I passed with flying colours using only educated guesswork, and a certain amount of bullshit.

 Yesterday started off fairly slowly, but actually ended quite well. I didn't achieve, or for that matter even start, what I had originally intended, but I did have some good results on the computers. I finally put the Quadra back together again after anchoring down the two hard disks using cable ties instead of the metal bracket I was going to make. I then set about loading it up with extra software. Finally I managed to get it connected to the internet via my own network. I can now "surf the net" and send and receive e-mails from it. When I get enthusiastic about it next time I will try and see why some programmes seem to cause it to crash. Although it was top of the range for its generation, and has plenty of RAM, it is still rather slow. It is hard to see why Macs are so revered by their owners when it's performance would seem to lag so far behind a Windows PC of similar age.

 Getting the Quadra operational again was not my only Mac success. On my Windows 2000 machine upstairs I have an emulated Mac. One thing that lacked was internet access. It was quite by chance that I found out how to set it up to connect to the internet. While searching the hard drive looking for something else I came across a text file explaining how to do it. In fact it was quite easy. All I had to do was to install an extra protocol into the Windows network connection, and the files to install it had been sitting on my hard drive all the time. A quick(ish) reboot followed by booting up the emulator and I was online. The emulation software was originally written some time ago when the fastest PCs used something like a Pentium II processor. On my 1.4GHz Athlon processor, using fast hard disks, it absolutely flies. I am sure it runs as fast as the very latest generation Macs, although it has to be remembered that the software it is running is very much simplified compared to that which the latest generation of Macs will run. Funnily enough it is set to emulate a Quadra 950. That being the fastest choice available. The difference between the original and the emulated is stunning. In the time it takes the original just to boot up I can have the emulated version booted and connected to he internet and the first porno picture downloaded (if I should chose to do such a thing !).

 Today I really must get up ino my workshop and do some technical stuff. Some pints of beer depend upon it. My first goal is actually to go and see Patricia and see if I can arrange an after work drink with her sometime during the week. I really missed her last week, although I did see her Tuesday morning.

 I seem to have something wrong with one of my teeth. It is not painful unless I put pressure on it. I think it is one of my crowned teeth. That is worrying as if any work needs doing to it, it will be a load of bother.  As it is only very uncomfortable when I am eating I am hoping that it will heal by itself if I stop disturbing it. Maybe it is just some inflamation of the gum that will pass.

 I made mention of the fact that I had bought some new shower gel. It is made by Nivea and I tried it out yesterday morning. One of the "flavourings" in it is sandalwood. I like sandalwood, and it does indeed contain that smell, but I am not so keen on one of the other smells in it. There is something that smells a bit like old aftershave, Old Spice perhaps. the combined smells are very powerful, and I wonder if they are too powerful. Even this morning, when I wet my hand, I can still smell it. It may be that it will turn on all the women and they will come flocking to me, or perhaps it is too much and they will avoid me. Time will tell after I have used it again this morning.
Sunday 26th September 2004

06.45 BST

Weather - clear looking sky, cold

 Yesterday was not a good day. I felt cold and miserable. Apart from shopping in Tesco I don't think I achieved anything that I wanted to do. I suppose that tripping over the lid of the Quadra 950 in the morning was just a taster for the rest of the day. Not that most of the day was just disasters, although I did have another one much later in the day.

 It was already very late by the time I had finally got washed and dressed. After doing a few sundry things like loading the washing machine, and recieving a longish phone call, I set off for Tesco. It was past midday when I got home again so I started on some of the food I had bought. As usual I couldn't wait to tuck in to some of the nice stuff I had bought. This is a sort of impulsive behavior that I find very hard to resist, and it is not just confined to food. I had bought some new shower gel that I had not tried before. It has some aromas that I like, or at least it mentions on the bottle that it has sandalwood in it. I had a strong urge to test it out there and then even though I had showered once already. I resisted that temptation, but not that of eating more than I would have liked. My desire to eat was strengthened by the cold and general gloominess of the day.

 By early afternoon I was feeling bored and cold so I slipped under the duvet to read a book. It was one by Larry  Niven (World of Ptavvs) that I had started the night before. That was quite pleasant. I was warm and enjoying what I was reading, but I did have pangs of guilt that I should be doing something more constructive. I think I had a nap or two while reading. Once I had finished the book I decided that I ought to get up and do something else.

 The obvious thing to do was to do more work to finish off the Quadra 950, but that did not appeal so I switched the TV on. UK Gold were showing a day of Porridge so I watched some of that. After a while that began to get boring so I went upstairs to continue re-mastering copies of the first two radio series of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy that Iain had given me on a CD. They had been very enjoyable to listen to, but were marred by several technical faults. The prime fault being that they were very quiet having been recorded some 10dB lower than average recording level. Some also had mobile phone interference on, and at least one had a few seconds of repeated dialogue where two sides of a tape had been edited together. I have now corrected everything on the first six episodes, and also managed to reduce some of the tape hiss on them. My removal of the mobile phone noise in episode two was not perfect, but still a great improvement.

 Once I had finished episode six, the last episode of that series (The Primary Phase), I decided to leave the next series for another day. I went back downstairs and started flicking around the TV channels again. I found nothing very exciting, or at least nothing that really caught my attention. So I looked for something else I could do. I decided that I ought to try and write my own sci-fi story. I have often wondered if I could write and generally concluded that I probably could not. And yet I seem to be able to write loads of rubbish right here. This is all factual though, and does not require imagination or any skills at using dialogue. Nevertheless I had a few ideas for cranky scenarios, and if someone else would not write them for me I ought to try myself. So I actually started. I had no idea for an overall plot - just some ideas that I thought should be included. It started off quite well. That is quite well in so much as I found it satisfying. Whether it had any merit in the wider literary world is anyones guess, probably not, but the important thing is that I was enjoying writing it. What's more the ideas seemed to come quicker than I could type so I never got stuck. I haven't mentioned that I was writing this on the laptop yet, have I? I was using notepad for the writing as it is quick and easy. I could cut and paste it into something like Word later. I had written enough for a first page, perhaps more, when I thought as I should save what I had written so far. Just as I decided that, the battery died on me taking all my work with it.  This was the second major disaster of the day. It was disappointing, but I have decided that was just a practice run to see if I could do it. I had already decided that I should open the story in a slightly different way - one that would use up more words, still be interesting, and delay the already rather thin bit of plot that I had thought out so far, thus making for a longer story.

 I'll have another go at writing fiction another day, but after that I decided to go to bed and do more reading. I read until close on midnight and then turned the light out to go to sleep. I fell asleep very quickly. That was surprising considering the lie-in I had in the morning and the several naps during the day. I remember several snippets of dreams, but I'll only recount one bit here. It is very bizzare and somewhat disturbing. It must mean something, but just what I don't think I even want to think about (although the dream itself explains most of it). In this dream fragment I had thorns growing out of my penis. Three of them.  I was examining my penis outside what was, and maybe still is, the newsagent at the bottom of George Lane.  I cannot remember what came before this so I have no explanation as to why it was happening in that precise location. These thorns were a product of old age and I had to pull them out. The external appearance was of a small quill a few millimetres long. If  didn't pull them out then they would grow and would become difficult to remove, and what's more, would make intercourse all but impossible. They actually pulled out very easily, and with no pain that I can recall.  I suppose they were a sort of analogue of an ingrowing hair. At the point where they entered the skin was a small lump of zit like material, while inside they had a hard root that would , apparently, curl round making removal both difficult and painful if left for too long. I woke up very soon after, and although it seemed strange it did not feel a very scary thing to dream about. In the dream it had all been done without any sense of drama as if it was an everyday thing that everbody does.

 I have two things that I want to do today. The first is to try out the new shower gel. It is close on 100% certain I will do that. The second is to get up into my workshop and do something creative. I have a friend who is waiting on what I will do there, and it means more beer if I finish it. So it is fairly important, but I can't say I have much enthusiasm for it at this very minute.
Saturday 25th September 2004

09.25 BST

Weather - cold with occasional drizzle

  There was some sunshine yesterday, but this morning it feels as if autumn is really taking a grip. The sky is grey and there is evidence of a small splash of rain outside. It is also getting cold. When I opened the back door for Nelly there was a real icy blast blowing across my feet and legs. It is also starting to feel cool in the house. Last night I came close to putting some heating on. I think I had better dig out, and clean, my old Mastercare jumpers. They are all I have as extra means of staying warm without using any heaters. It is a shame that they have Mastecare emblazoned across the front of them or I could also wear them outside. In severe weather I have done so, and will do so again, but it has to be a bit exceptional to use them as mere casual wear.

  Yesterday was very boring. It was not that I didn't have anything to do. I did, and some of it was semi important, but I found it very hard to get motivated. The Macintosh Quadra 950 is still sitting here in bits. I now have almost everything I need to complete that project. All that is lacking is for me to make a small metal bracket to hold the hard disk(s) now that the original mounting bracket is used for a CD ROM drive. Everything wlse has been tested and more or less set up ready to go. If I had been inspired enough to finish it I would not have almost tripped over the case lid this morning and cut my foot up on it. (I have several painful scrapes, but there is little blood). I think that my lack of motivation is because having been asked for my phone number I have not had a call from Patricia about an after work drink this week. I knew she would almost certainly be too busy last night so I should have tried to arrange something for the night before (Thursday), but I was feeling off colour that night (excess fruit eating !). I'll have to see what I can work out for next week.

  I still do not feel very motivated this morning but I think there are some things that I will have to do. Besides the usual Saturday laundry, and a trip to Tesco's, I want to persuade myself to spend a couple of hours in my workshop. If I could do all that before 13.00 I would happily see if I could round up some drinking partners and go and get drunk, but it is nearly 10.00 already and it will probably be many hours later before I can really relax.
Friday 24th September 2004

07.00 BST

Weather - clear sky, sunny and rather cold

  Last night I had a demonstration of advanced brain fatigue. My brain was showing all the symptoms of lack of RAM, or possibly my hard drive has gained too many bad sectors. It was around midnight and I had been doing some reading in bed while listening to the radio. I was tuned into the Dutch station Arrow Classic Rock and they had been, as usual, playing some good music. I was just about to turn the radio, and reading light, off when they played a Doors track. It may have been Riders On The Storm, but I am not sure this morning. So I turned out the light, put my brain into neutral, and lay back to enjoy the music. As I listened an image started to form in my mind. It was probably of some event in the past and it felt good. The trouble is I tried to sieze that image and conciously analyse what was going in an attempt to derive even more pleasurable memories from it. Once I did that the image popped and evaporated away. All I was left with was a sort of warm feeling and an impression of brown like the light in an autumn forest. I am aware that I have been experiencing similar things for some time now. I'd guess that listening to the radio is one situation where my brain relaxes and I get ideas forming that I can't remember once I try and conciously think about them. I think there have been other times when this has happened which did not involve listening to the radio. Could this be the start of some sort of mental deterioration, or is it that I have only just noticed something that is quite normal? Does a madman know he is mad? Does a Sinclair Spectrum know that it is not an fast modern PC? The answers to all these questions will be told sometime in the future (if I have a brain then).

  Wheeeeeeeeee. After a week or more of very unhealthy eating, all the fruit I ate yesterday has started to detoxify my body. It started last night and has possibly reached a conclusion this morning. It all seems remarkably fast. Last night I had some very unhealthy food that had some fairly strong chilli sauce on it. It seems, and probably is, improbable. but I am sure I detected that same chilli passing through this morning. I won't go into details, but I am sure the average mind can guess all they details it wants !

  Yesterday I listened to a very funny radio series - all 5 episodes of 30 minutes each. It was called Seymour The Fractal Cat. It was a sci-fi comedy involving sentient computers and a talking cat. At a guess I would say the writer, whose name I can't remember, was inspired by Douglas Adams. There were several little throwaway one liners that were very remeniscient of the humour in The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. Even the lead character, who once again I cannot remember his name, had some of the same mannerisms of Arthur Dent (who was the lead character in THHGTTG).

  Today I feel I must do some paperwork. The local council wants to "regenerate" my house (along with all the others in the road). This involves cleaning and restoring the brickwork, building a new front garden wall with a new gate, and some other stuff. I am not sure if it a truly altruistic offer from the council, or whether in todays new world order they want to make the area conform to their idea of what a modern council estate should look like. They probably feel that if all the houses conform to their pattern of thought we can all be controlled like good little citizens. Casting all paranoia aside as it is really only worthy of certain weird American citizens, it is actually a useful service at a time when I cannot afford to do the external maintenance of my house. Being on Job Seekers Allowance and having no other income and precious little savings it should all be done for free. There is a slight catch involved though. Should I decide to sell the house in the next five years I will have to pay 25% of the cost of the work in the first year. It reduces by 20% each year until after 5 years there is no financial penalty for selling the house. There is also a clause that I would not be able to make any major alterations to the exterior of the house during that 5 years. I feel I can live with those conditions so I will go ahead with it. Initially it involves a lot of paperwork and beurocracy, and that is obviously followed by the disruption of the builders doing there stuff. In the long run it will be worth it.
Thursday 23rd September 2004

22.35 BST

Weather - cooling down after sunny intervals

  Good news ! I've just found some details of my BT pension. I am due to get that pension when I am 60. Just 10 more years to hang on. It should be fairly lucrative as well. In 1992 it was worth £4507 P.A. and is, I believe (or hope) index linked. Now assuming that the index is based on the price of beer and fags it should be worth about £96,000 a year by now !
12.15 BST

Weather - occasional drizzle but very mild

  Just for a change I thought I would write something at midday (or quarter past for the more pedantic). Although it is very overcast, and occasionally there is a little drizzle, it is surprisingly mild outside. When I went to Tesco I was very surprised at just how warm it felt. I was almost feeling too warm after lugging a heavy bag of shopping back from Tesco. In the end I compromised over my desire for healthy and unhealthy food. I did buy one sandwich (a triple meat pack), but did buy some fruit as well. They had some fruit on special offer, and I bought one melon and some yellow plums. The plums are nearly, but not quite, ripe. I have eaten two already and they do taste rather good. If I can I will only be eating fruit for dinner tonight, although I am craving for something "nice" even just thinking about it. By nice I mean chips, or curry, or kebab, or chinese, or chocolate ice cream, or peanuts, or sausages, or even roast lamb with mint sauce and roast potatoes and other vegetables, or practically anything that is bad for you.
07.00 BST

Weather - dull and windy

  After a good night out it is traditional to wake up in the morning to find you have taken a traffic cone to bed, although where this tradition comes from remains a mystery. I don't think I know a single person who has ever admitted to taking a traffic cone to bed with them. I had a good night out last night, but not on the traffic cone collecting scale. Far from it. I was virtually sober when I got in after the pub last night. Yet I managed to wake up with a small trophy. It was a coat hanger. I think it must have slipped off some clothes, perhaps as I got changed to go to the pub, and fortunately it was at the far end of the bed near my feet. Had it been the other end I suspect I would have had a very uncomfortable night.

 There were trophies of far greater importance that I brought home from the pub. Iain has very kindly printed out the manual for the Quadra 950 Mac and found me the dongle like thing that converts Apples rather bizzare AUU-15 network interface connection to a more world standard RJ45 connector. He presented both to me in the pub last night. I am now able to push my Quadra 950 project through to its final conclusion. That will be to get it connected to my home network and able to connect to the internet. Ideally I should be able to do file sharing beween the PC's and the Mac, but because Apple do it differently it will be tricky to set up.

 When I first woke up I was convinced it was a Saturday. I was awoken to the sound of a sort of crashing noise and it took a few moments before I could get my senses together and realise the noise was the dustmen, and that it is really Thursday today. I feel sure something is supposed to happen today, but I can't think what it is ! I intend to go to Tesco and buy New Scientist, possibly Micro Mart, and definitely some fruit. If I can, I am going to eat nothing but fruit until this evening, and maybe even then. I seem to have eaten nothing but crap for the last week and I feel pretty yucky because of it. Of course once I am in Tesco's there will be loads of temptations and I would not be surprised if I didn't come out with some sausage and egg sandwiches (or similar). I reckon it is about 50 - 50 that I will stick to fruit.
Wednesday 22nd September 2004

05.45 BST

Weather - slightly windy, dry

  Euuuuuuurgh, I feel rough this morning. Yesterday was a good day, but I only ate junk food (and nothing but junk food), and I had too much to drink. Yesterday started with me going to sign on and then popping in to see Patricia. Somehow that lasted quite a long time. Normally I would leave before too many of her pupils arrive, but yesterday half the class were in before I left. After leaving there I went into the Aldi supermarket. I didn't buy that much, but what I did buy was mostly junk food like peanuts, tortilla chips and liquorice allsorts. It was only these that I ate all day.  Nothing much happened then until I went out at dinnertime to have a drink with Ivor and the rest of the gang.

  We would normally go to The Herne, but they were not doing any food, and so we went to The Fox On The Hill which is a short (uphill) walk from Denmark Hill railway station. It had its good points and bad points. Being a Weatherspoons pub it made for a very cheap round - just £10.01 for six of us. Unfortunately there was a great lack of seating that could hold all six of us and we crammed into a booth that would have been more comfortable with only four. It was rather pleasant being scrunched up with Max, but overall it felt almost claustrophobic. After walking up he hill to the pub I was feeling very hot and I had to go outside to cool off after fifteen minutes of being packed in like on a commuter train. After an hour the workers (Ivor, Iain, Pat and Gill) had eaten their lunch and headed back to work. Ivor dropped Max and myself off at The Herne on the way back to work, and he and Iain would re-join us there later.

  One thing I definitely wanted to do was to get home by 18.00 so that I would be relaxed and ready to listen to The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. That never happened ! It was more like 19.00 when I got in, and perhaps a little later than that. It had been a good afternoon, although Ruth, who had joined us mid way through the afternoon, was a little distracted by other business and was not such good company as usual.

  When I finally got in I was feeling quite drunk and very sleepy. I watched some TV before going upstairs to listen to the recording of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy that my faithful computer had made. It was all there, but it was a shame that I wasn't. I fell asleep twice while listening to it and had to rewind it every time I woke up again. This morning I will have to listen to it again in its entirety. What I did hear, and can remember, sounded good although in the 20 years since the first two series some of the actors voices have changed slightly, but are still instantly recognisable.

  Today poses a problem. I am sort of expected to go for another drink this dinnertime. In fact I would like to, but I am not sure if I should. Being a Wednesday I will be going for my regular evening drink anyway, and there is also the very slight possibility that I will be called to have a quick after work drink with Patricia. At this point in time some "hair of the dog" sounds both good and bad. One positive thing is that the venue is to be O'Neils. I don't know too much about it as a pub, but it is literally built on top of Denmark Hill railway station and is therefore very simple to get too. It would be nice to steal a hug from Max again, but I think I will have to wait until nearer the time before I commit myself.
Tuesday 21st September 2004

07.15 BST

Weather - clear blue sky, sunny, but very fresh

  Yesterday remained gloomy all day, and it was pretty windy as well. Right now the sun is shining, the sky it totally blue and the air is fairly still. If it were not that it is pretty chilly outside it could almost be a summers day. Originally I was happy that yesterday started gloomy so that when my eyes were photographed I wouldn't come out the place into the full glare of a low-in-the-sky sun. It turned out that I didn't need the drops in my eyes that dilate the pupils and leave normal vision over exposed and painful. The results from the pictures showed one tiny blemish on the network of blood vessels at the back of the eye. I had a similar one, though in a different place, found on the test before the last. That had healed by the last test. Just to make sure everything is OK my next test is being brought forward. It will be in eleven months instead of twelve months. The only thing I am worried about is whether they will change the location of the lab where the test takes place. It had changed for this visit after they opened up a brand new suite in the hospital. I went to where it used to be and then spent an age running round like a blue-arsed fly trying to get to the new rooms.

  I did a little more playing with the Mac Quadra 950 yesterday. I have now increased the RAM to 40MBytes. I was trying to identify some of the sticks of 30 pin RAM that I have lying around. Mostly my internet searches came up with nothing, but for one set of 4 sticks I did have a full part number to search for. Several sites came up with the answer that they were 1 MB modules, manufactured by Apple for use in Quadra 950's. I found that a litle surprising as they were only 1 MB sticks, but the real eye opener was the price that some sites listed. One site listed them at $206.37 EACH !!! I have 4 of them, and as far as I can remember they were just discarded from an obsolete old PC, or may have even come out of a loose box of RAM at a computer fair - 50p a stick ! The price of parts for Apple computers is vastly inflated compared to the prices for standard PC's.

  It is quite possible that I will be going for a drink this lunchtime, but by hook, or by crook, I will be home by 18.00. At 18.30, on Radio 4, there is the first of the latest series of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, or the Tertiary phase as it is officially called. We have only been waiting 20 years for this to happen, but the BBC have managed to get together the original cast, with one notable exception, to perform all their original parts. That one exception is the late Peter Jones who played the part of The Book. His part is played by someone whose name escapes me, but has managed to do the readings in the same style as Peter Jones. One actor will be playing his part posthumously. He is Douglas Adams who wrote the entire HHGTTG and decided that he would record the part he wanted to play before he died. Just proving that the man is a genius !

  Before all that happens I have a couple of things to do this morning. The first is to go and sign on. The second is optional but far more pleasurable. I think I will call in on Patricia.
Monday 20th September 2004

06.45 BST

Weather - cold and grey. but no rain

 It feels very autumnal this morning. The sky is a steely grey colour and there is a fair amount of wind. I am sure tere was some rain during the night, but it seems to be dry now. Perhaps in another hour or so the sky will brighten up as the sun rises higher, but for now it feels a bit depressing. Even Nelly declined to have a look outside. As I opened the back door a gust of cold wind blew at her and she ducked down, with her ears flattened, as if she were battling against an invisible foe. At that point she turned around and came back inside again.

  The highlight of yesterday was when Iain dropped the Mac Quadra 950 off for me to play with. It is a surprisingly big beast. I had read descriptions on the internet that suggested it was designed to be floor standing, but had taken that with a pinch of salt, and yet that is not far from the truth.  It actually stands a few inches shorter than the large tower PC case that my video editing PC is housed in, but it does look a lot bigger and bulkier than that. Opening it up I find that it has indeed been fitted with a Power PC processor upgrade card, but rather surprisingly it was never fitted with a CD ROM drive. It has a single 1 GByte hard drive, and is fitted with what must be 8 x 4 MByte SIMM memory chips. There is still room for at least another 2 banks of four memory chips, and maybe even five banks. It has a lot of memory slots ! I do have a selection of spare SIMMs but I am not exactly sure of their capacities. I think they are 1 MByte, but they could be less. Assuming they are 1 MByte each I have enough to fill another 2, or 3, banks of 4 chips at a time. Ideally I would like some bigger chips such as what appear to be the 4 MByte ones already fitted. I can see I have a lot of experimenting to do.

 Apart from no CD ROM drive I was a little disappointed that it did not come with an Apple Super Disk drive (or LS-120 drive to PC users). It may have been the later production models of the Quadra 950 where they were fitted as standard, or they may have been an optional extra. Before Iain pulls me up again on this description of the 120 MByte, floppy disk compatible, disk drive I have to say I am confused as well. In modern Macs a DVD burner, or maybe even just a DVD reader is called a Super Drive, but I believe the earlier technology of the LS-120 drive was referred to as a Super Disk drive. Unfortunately I can't pull up the Apple specification  while I am running Linux - or can I ? Please wait................Got it !  Directly cut-and-pasted from an Apple technical paper, it says " The upper-front location will always be filled with a 1.44MB SuperDrive.". Unfortunately it is described as a 1.44 MB drive which suggests that at the time Apple were using "Super" to mean high density, as opposed to 720KB disks, rather than the 120 MB magneto optical drives that were compatible with standard floppy disks. It seems that maybe Apple just add Super to any description of relatively new technology.

 Last night I connected the machine up and gave it a test run. It works fine. I found that it was running system 7.5.3 and I will probably leave it at that. There are several useful applications already installed, but I could find no old data on it which may have been embarrassing to the previous owner. All I did find was a single text file which included the words Radio Free London on it. Using the built in voice synthesiser set to Vardox (I think) I immeadiately recognised it as the basis for a certain series of RFL jingles.

 I seemed to have lots of little dreams last night, but only one sticks in my mind as being bizzare enough to describe. In fact it is just one scene from what was presumably a longer dream. In this fragment of dream Howard was modifying a laptop computer by cutting off a portion of the motherboard using a very large angle grinder. I have no idea what the point of this was, but I know the board was powered up at the time. Every so often he would stop the angle grinder and press the power botton on the board to see if it would still boot up. It seemed to work everytime so he went on cutting. I have to say that he was making a very neat job of it considering the board was only about 8 inches wide and the angle grinder had a 12 inch disk in it.  The strange thing is, apart from the totally ludicrous idea of slicing up mother boards, I would normally associate attacking things with an angle grinder with Lee and not Howard.

 The sky is a little lighter now, but it doesn't look as if there is going to be much in the way of sun today. Perhaps none at all, but it might happen yet. It would actually be good if it stayed gllomy until a bit later this afternoon. At 11.30 I am due to get my eyes photographed at the Hospital as part of the last remaining bit of diabetic care I get. Everytime I go there, about every 6 months, they keep nagging me to get a new doctor after the last one retired 3 or 4 years ago. As I have not felt very ill, well not close to death, since then I still have not bothered with a new doctor. I suppose it could be useful once I start work in case I need a sick certificate, but I managed for many, many years during the time I thought I didn't have a doctor (he had moved twice in the period from about 1973 until 1999, during which years I had no need of him, and I had lost track of him). Oh, in case you are wondering about the need for gloom. When the eyes are photographed they use drops that dilate the pupil making everthing seem glaringly bright. It is actually the retina, deep in the back of the eye that is photographed.
Sunday 19th Sptember 2004

10.25 BST

Weather - bright and sunny but cold

 In the final analysis yesterday was rather boring. I don't think I really achieved anything of any significance. It is strange then that I finally went to bed so late. It was something like 01.30 before I finally turned over and went to sleep. This morning I have been very lazy and had an extended lie in. I did get up briefly at 07.30 to feed Nelly, and I have ben up again now for a little while. Just for a change I am writing after washing and dressing.

 I have no real plans for today. Well, at least nothing that will take up much time. Looking through the local paper yesterday I did find another job to apply for, but that will not take up much time. The job, for an electronic test and repair engineer, is one I have applied for once, several months ago, by e-mail. That last application was not even acknowledged so I am going to send this one in by post. It is a job I know I can do well and enjoy doing - a bit like the job I am still waiting to hear about in Hainault. There is one major difference though. This new job is located in Bellingham. Getting to work there would be a doddle so I am going to pull all the stops out for it. If experience and charm do not work I will have to step things up a little. Maybe starting at bribery and finishing with nuclear weapons. (I bet that last sentence started alarm bells ringing in the Pentagon !)
Saturday 18th September 2004
Happy Birthday -  Pam
07.45 BST

Weather - grey and damp

Patricia relaxing in the pub
 I took the liberty of taking my camera along when I met up with Patricia yesterday. I had gained the impression that yesterdays drink was going to be a part two to the one on Wednesday when Debbie and Brian were there. But no, it was just the two of us. I think we were in the pub for nearly 90 minutes, although it seemed much shorter than that. We only had the one pint which we shared, although I did drink the majority of it, and amazingly I didn't smoke a single fag until I had waved goodbye to her at the bus stop. That's why I can't believe it was as much as 90 minutes, and from 17.35 to 19.05 seems to be 90 minutes in my book of calculations. I do so enjoy these little meetings. It is a shame that they are destined to go nowhere.

 For a short while during our drink Patricia went back into teacher mode, but it had nothing to do with job seeking. In fact it was to do with reading. I know that Patricia has read many classical books and I mentioned that I had recently read Lewis Carrol's "Through The Looking Glass". She suggested several more books that I ought to read, or might enjoy, so I suggested that she write me a list as I would never be able to remember some of the titles she suggested. She joked that she was setting me my homework and would be testing me on it later !

 One suggested book title I do recall was "The English Patient". I am familiar with the title and I do wonder if I have read it already, or just recall it as the name of a film. Perhaps I have even seen the film, or maybe a TV play based upon it. It is probably unlikely as I cannot recall any of the plot.
  Yesterday evenings drink was really the highlight of the whole day. The morning was spent receiving a couple of phone calls followed by a trip to Tesco where I bought a rather large lunch. Much of the afternoon was spent listening to some old radio programmes and having an (unintentional) afternoon nap. Having got back from the pub I watched some TV, ate some supper, and did some reading in bed until almost midnight.

  Today might well follow on similar lines except I won't be seeing Patricia, I won't be going to Tesco, but I will probably be going to have a very brief meeting with someone to buy something off him. There is a very unlikely possibility that I could get the Apple Mac I mentioned yesterday delivered today. If that did happen it would change the whole course of the day. For a start it would probably involve a little drinking, and I would have many fascinating experiments and journies of discovery to make.

  In case your web browser is only showing a plain red bar next to the date I'll say it again in plain text.

Friday 17th September 2004

07.30 BST

Weather - dry and almost sunny

  Just when I thought I was safe from any more offers of junk I have been offered another old Apple Mac. Somehow I just can't say no to things like this. I might have been able to refuse the offer if were not that this sounds like an interesting computer. It is a Quadra 950. My limited research suggests this was the very last of the breed of 68K processor Mac's and could be relatively fast (in comparison to other 68K Mac's). But there is more. Until I have opened the box to confirm the donors memory I can't be sure, but he thinks it had a Power PC upgrade card fitted. That could be interesting. It would mean that it should be capable of running almost modern software. By almost modern I mean the Mac equivalent of Windows 95 instead of Windows 3.11, although that is a rather simplistic, and not totally accurate description. Hopefully I will be getting it sometime in the coming week, but in the meantime many thanks to Peter for the offer.

  Yesterday went quite well. It started off as planned. I went out to buy New Scientist, Micro Mart and a copy of Rail, but from there on the plan deviated. I met Taz in the local Weatherspoons for a quick drink and we got talking about films. She knows so many modern films and actors/actresses that I just do not have a clue about. I then admitted that I had some DVD's that I have never got around to watching yet, and amongst them are some that "I really ought to watch". So she popped here to inspect my DVD collection. Apparently I have got quite a few films that meet her approval, and funnily enough about half of those I have never go around to watching. No matter how good I am told they are I somehow can't quite raise the enthusiasm for many modern films. I have this cranky criteria that if you can't enjoy a film by watching it in black and white with mono sound then it has failed in the style over substance test. I'm probably just a cranky old git, but I just can't bring myself to believe that technically brilliant special effects are a substitute for a good story line.

   After the lecture about my DVD collection I decided to show off my Goon Show collection. Taz is a Goon Show/Spike Milligan fan and if a couldn't outdo her in the film stakes I managed to make her envious of my Goon Show collection. All this took a little time and it was not until almost 17.00 when I got back in after escorting Taz to the bus stop. I was feeling rather hungry. Perhaps very hungry would be a better description as I had not eaten a thing all day. One possible plan was to go to Tesco and buy a pre-cooked chicken - very tasty and a lot cheaper than Kentucky fried Chicken. I still wanted to make a start on reading my new magazines so I opted for a chinese takeaway to be delivered.  It was rather more expensive than the Tesco chicken option, but so very delicious !  Between eating and watching some TV I managed to read nearly all the short articles in New Scientist, and made a start on Micro Mart. I did seem to get a little carried away with TV watching and ended up watching an old Red Dwarf on UK Gold 2. After that had finished I nearly got caught watching the next programme, Black Adder, but decided to take Micro Mart to bed and carry on reading it there. There are a few bits I might read a little deeper, but essentially I finished the whole magazine, but not before it was just past 01.00. I'm sure I wanted to be asleep closer to 23.00, but that never seemed to happen.

 Whatever was making me feel ill at the start of the week seems to have passed now. After a slightly short night I do not appear to be tired, and after the chinese meal my guts appear to be stable. I wonder if all my ailments are due to sitting in the icy blast of Ivor's cars air conditioning while wearing a damp T-shirt last Thursday. It felt very nice at the time, but as I recall some of the reason for having the damp T-shirt was that I had started on the bad guts a few hours before Ivor picked me up. It was the exertion of running to the toilet every five minutes that got me in a sweat in the first place. Well, what ever it was appears to be over now. So hopefully I will be able to totally enjoy this afternoons drink with Patricia, when she finishes work at 17.30, without wondering if I am about to die (actually it never was that bad, but it sounds nice and dramatic !).
Thursday 16th September 2004

09.35 BST

Weather - bright and sunny, but very cool

  I did get up at 06.00 as usual, but after feeding Nelly, and spending some time on the toilet, I decided to go straight back to bed. It was only Nelly who woke me up again some 10 minutes ago. I think she was feeling rather thirsty. Last night I put fresh water down for her, but she prefers to leave it for at least 24 hours efore she considers it safe to drink. I let her out into the garden just now and she went straight to the rather dirty bowl of water out there that lately has been topped up by rainwater.

 I feel a lot better for that extra 3 hours sleep, although my stomach is still not totally settled. I think I want to avoid food this morning, but I might succomb because some of the feeling from my gut is one of emptiness. What I probably should have is just some fruit, but I fancy something like some barbecue chicken and chips. I did, perhaps foolishly, have a few ham and mayonaise rolls when I sat down to watch the recording of The Bill when I had finished writing the short piece last night. So I should not be feeling empty right now. On the other hand, last night, and also first thing this morning, I was a major contributor of greenhouses gasses (methane !). That seems to have stopped now, and it might explain why I feel so deflated now.

 But enough of my lavatorial humour, and on with today. I think I am supposed to be meeting up with Scott and Taz again this afternoon, but only for a brief drink. I'll have to check on that a bit later this morning. The first priority, once I am washed and dressed properly, is to go out and buy this weeks copy of New Scientist and Micro Mart. I am tempted to get a railway magazine as well while I have this temporary bulge in my finances. So today may be spent mainly reading with perhaps a brief drinking interlude this afternoon.
Wednesday 15th September 2004

23.24 BST

Weather - dry and cold

 I guess you could say that today has been a good day. The money from the sale of my shares appeared in my bank account on time so I am solvent again for a little while. I had a call from Taz asking if I would like to meet her and Scott in the local Weatherspoons this afternoon. So I had a few pints with them. I popped in to see if Patricia wanted a drink after work and found that it was already planned, and what's more she was going to the local Weatherspoons with Debbie, from the office, and another chap, Brian (I think) who is her boss or work colleague. So I managed to have a drink with Patricia as well. Then, this evening, it was a few more drinks with Kevin and Iain. I don't fel very drunk at the moment, but my stomach is complaining about something. I feel rather bloated and windy !

  The drink with Patricia and her colleagues was quite good. Brian was a bit of a beer lover and bought me two halves of De Konniek Belgium ale while refusing my offers to buy a round. At the end of the drink we walked Patricia back to her bus stop. Brian shook her hand, but I felt very priveleged to get a hug and a reminder to meet again after work on Friday. So you could say I am feeling rather happy at the moment !
06.00 BST

Weather - dry

  I am going to have to rethink the colour coding for the weather background. Originally it was yellow for a bright sunny day, red for an extremely hot day, and blue for an icy day. I can't remember what I was using last winter when it was still dark as I wrote it up. Now it is still mostly dark, although I can see the sky beginning to lighten up, and that the sky seems to be mostly clear with some darker streaks of cloud visible in it. I guess it will be a sunny morning, and so I should have coloured the weather area yellow, but until it actually happens I feel that grey for twilight is the best answer.

 Still on the subject of weather...Yesterday was mostly dry, but there were a few showers, although far less than the weather forecasts I had seen predicted. There was aslo quite a few sunny intervals when the sun felt very hot still. The main feature was the wind. It was very gusty, and some of those gusts were very fierce.

 Yesterday morning I did decide to have a look at the laser printer that I mentioned then. After dusting it down I fired it up and observed several error codes. It took a lot of research to find the meaning of those error codes. Being a Canon printer you might have thought that Canon's website could be helpful. It wasn't. In fact it was extremely irritating. Unlike most other manufacturers instead of being able to download a user manual it redirected you to a third party website that offered to sell a manual. I eventually found a website with a table of the error codes and was able to ascertain that my errors were very serious errors indeed. With great reluctance I decided to throw the printer away. I did retain the brand new toner cartridge though.  I have given it to Ivor where it stands a better, but still small, chance of finding a new home. So if anyone wants an unused toner cartridge for a Canon laserprinter, type EP-L (for LBP-4 series of printers, and probably more), then see Ivor about it.

 After doing the dirty deed of throwing the printer away I went to console myself with a drink at The Herne. I was still feeling pretty lousy after waking up with a raging headache, but some painkillers helped a bit. Even with the painkillers I felt really creaky as I walked down the road towards the bus stop. My neck felt very stiff, and one of my legs needed a little time to free itself up. I felt dreadfully tired in the pub, and towards the end I was struggling with my last pint. I had to leave the last inch in the glass as I was begininning to feel a little nauseous. I still feel a little odd this morning. All the symptoms are mild, but added together it is almost like I am suffering from a mild case of 'flu. As I am not in work I don't think I will let it affect me too much. Or at least not while it is mild. If it does get worse then I may have to think again. The chances are that once I am up, washed, and dressed, and have had a chance to get mobile or busy, I will feel OK again. There are two very good reasons why I should not be ill today. The money from the shares I sold should end up in my bank account today so I will be going on a micro spending spree (at least £20 !!!), and tonight is drinking night at the very expensive The Ram. There could also be an even more important third reason for staying well. I think I may be asking Patricia if she wants an after work drink tonight.
Tuesday 14th September 2004

06.30 BST

Weather - dry

  I saw a great documentary about the Sex Pistols on BBC3 last night. It was primarily about the fight between Johnny Rotten and Malcolm McClaren, in the high court, to recover money, and song rights, that Johnny Rotten claimed he was owed. It seems the High Court agreed with him. To explain how this came about the documentary explored the history of the band. That included parts of the long banned Bill Grundy interview where the Sex Pistols famously swore on TV at only 6pm !

 After seeing that documentary I dreamt about going to a Sex Pistols reunion gig. It wasn't quite as simple as that as lots of irrelevant stuff was going on before the gig. I am not sure what my role was at the gig. I seemed to know a lot about what was going on as if I had some official function, and yet I acted only as a spectator. The gig itself was to take place out in the open in a place that had some superficial resemblance to Bromley Market Square, and yet that is a totally inadequate description. It is easier to describe where I was and what I could see. I was outside a pub sitting at a table. I can't recall if the pub had a name, but it was painted black. Opposite me, some 30ft away was some elegant old buildings. To my left was some rather grim looking 1960's buildings - concrete, brick, and very plain iron railings painted light blue. To my right was some warehousing like buildings. The bands equipment was set up in front of those. At first the band seemed to be chasing each other about, along with some other people, and it looked as if a fight was brewing, but mainly it was one or two people cajoling, and threatening various members of the band to start the gig. Eventually a guitarist, who I did not recognise as such, but knew he was a member of the Sex Pistols, got up on the stage and started playing the opening bars of Anarchy In The UK over and over again. This seemed to work as a ralllying cry for the rest of the band who reluctantly started heading towards the stage. Meanwhile I was approached by a very pretty Indian woman who said I had to stop the gig. She wanted it stopped not because it would obviously be offensive to some, but that it might destroy a myth. She was evidently an old fan of the band and thought this artificial reunion was beyond the pale. I have no idea who this woman might be based on in real life, but in the dream I had first seen her some 20 years earlier and thought she was very beautiful. Now after 20 years I finally had a reason to talk to her. I told her that she was very beautiful and kissed her on the cheek. It was at that point I woke up with a really bad headache like a migraine. My head still hurts now, but it seems to be improving.

  There was some rain overnight, but despite the dire warnings on the weather forecast it looks as if the sky is turning blue as the sun rises.  I doubt it will last. Yesterday started off raining, but by midday it had dried up, and in the afternoon there were even a few short periods of sunshine. All this seems at odds with the pictures shown on the weather forecasts on Sunday. That was showing huge great swathes of evil looking clouds covering all of the S.E. yesterday and today.  (As I write that, the sun has just broken through and the tops of the trees are glowing). If it could only stay dry until later in the afternoon I could easily get the urge to go for a drink at The Herne.

   Some days ago I wrote that I was going to strip down and clean up my Epson Stylus Pro XL A3 ink jet printer (what a mouthful that was). I finally did it yesterday afternoon. It is still not perfect, but I think I have improved the printing on it. It would be a lot better if it had not apparently run out of black ink. The colours seem good though. I must go and buy some black ink to refill the cartridge before the special offer in Tesco finishes. After the success of that (the small improvement, but more importantly the fact that I managed put it all back together and it still worked) I am tempted to have another go at a laser printer I was given years ago. It has a paper feeding problem where someone probably put it back together incorrectly after cleaning it (no it wasn't me!). As it is only black and white it was a very low priority for me and has just sat there gathering dust for years. maybe now is the time to tackle it again. So what should it be - printer or The Herne ? Watch this space !
Monday 13th September 2004

12.00 BST

Weather - occasional rain, some heavy.

 I went out in the pouring rain to see Patricia and to call in on the Job Centre first thing this morning. It seems my guess is right. Patricia did look in at the pub last Friday just at the time I had gone to the toilet. Damm and blast ! I'm still not sure how long she could have stayed if we had met up, but I doubt it would have been that long. Although no day has been mentioned I have been given the OK to try for a extra night this week as well as Friday. In fact it was almost suggested that I ask her out.  My getting the OK was more or less just a clarification of something she said (the exact words escape me). I guess I am happy again, although rather impatient. I think I'll wait until at least tomorrow. Hopefully the money from the shares I sold will be credited to my bank account by then so I will be rich - RICH beyond the dreams of avarice ! Well, enough for a few pints anyway.
06.00 BST

Weather - strong winds, still dry

  If I had been inclined to get out of bed and come down here to the PC at 02.30, I could have described an interesting dream. Now it is too late and most of the detail has evaporated. The dream was most probably inspired by the wierdness of reading "Through The Looking Glass" (which I have now finished), and did feature red knights, or maybe red kings and queens, although red buses would seem to have featured more prominently. As I recall I had to get from Hammersmith (or it could have been Beckenham) to somewhere in North London by bus. Instead of meeting lots of strange characters, like Alice did, I met lots of strange web pages as I tried to download various timetables and pictures of prominent features on the route. One part of the dream seemed to dwell on why I needed to take bus route 225 as it seemed to take a rather bizzare route to my destination. I can't remember where the 225 runs in real life, but in the dream it zigzagged around the east end of London, and seemed to cross the Thames several times in places where there are no bridges. I am sure that I was dreaming something similar to this again when I woke up a little while ago. I maybe could have remembered that last dream if my priority hadn't been to get to the toilet.

 It seems to be dry at the moment, but there was a little splash of rain late yesterday evening. The main feature of the weather is the strong blustery winds. I gather that the wind will remain strong for a few days now, and that heavy rain is on its way. It is too dark at the moment to assess the amount of cloud, but as the day begins to lighten it looks very grey.

 My main priority for the day is to call in on Patricia and see if I can find out what went wrong on Friday night. Maybe, if I am very lucky, we can arrange an after work drink sooner than Friday, but I am not optimistic.
Sunday 12th September 2004

06.30 BST

Weather - bright and clear

  It looks as if it is starting off as a nice day weatherwise. The sky is almost totally blue with just a few wispy clouds, but my first look at those clouds showed them to be very red as in "red sky in the mornng, shepherds warning". At least the wind has dropped. It was very blustery yesterday evening, although there is still some wind this morning.

 I have been reading "Through The Looking Glass" and it is a very weird read indeed. It is difficult to know if I am enjoying it or not. It is certainly interesting to come across the original words to many short quotations that are in common use. It is odd to think that it is a childrens book. Maybe at a simple level it is just enjoyable nonsense, but from an adult perspective it seems just too drug inspired, and as such, it is hard to get your head around it while in a serious state of mind. It was interesting, and perhaps worrying, to read the foreword where Lewis Carrol's life was described. It seems very dodgy to me. By modern day standards I am sure he would be branded a paedophile as he does seem to have had a rather unhealthy obsession with young girls. But then again most hysterical headlines today suggest that most paedophiles are after young boys which is even more inexplicable than going after young girls.

  Today I have very few things I must do. Buying some cat litter is a high priority. I ought to tidy up a few more off-air recordings, but beyond that I will either be very bored, or make something up to do as the day progresses.
Saturday 11th September 2004

07.30 BST
Weather - dry, bright start to the day
  And so begins another day. A Saturday. A day when not much really happens, but otherwise very similar to any other day. It is the anniversary of 9/11, but as every Englishman knows, nothing much happened on the 9th of November, so we'll conveniently ignore it here.

  To add to my grief yesterday I had an e-mail from NTL saying they could no longer accept card payment for this NTL internet account. They had me going for a little while. I was thinking that it was another case of "insufficient funds", but a bit later I suddenly clicked that it is probably just that my card has been renewed after the old card expired. So all I have to do is to enter the new expiry date from the new card. I have yet to confirm this, but will do so once I go online.

  I think much of my entertainment for today will be reading. Yesterday Taz gave me a copy of Lewis Carrol's "Through The Looking Glass". Apparently it is a very weird read, and is hopefully the right book that was the inspiration for Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" - a very fine song! [One pill makes you larger, One pill makes you small, and the one that mother gives you, don't do anything at all, ....... Remember what the dormouse said, Feed your head etc]
Friday 10th September 2004

21.20 BST

Weather - high humidity and occasional rain

  Almost as soon as I had finished writing this morning it started to rain. It didn't last too long and the day has been mostly dry.  It feels as if the humidity has been very high today. Even a moderate amount of effort has left me feeling very damp. After a large indian takeaway I am feeling very hot, and I am sweating a lot.  I hope I am able to cool off before going to bed. I Think I will be going for a fairly early night, tonight. After a small run of late nights I think I deserve an early one.

  I have to admit I am feeling fairly very depressed tonight. I was supposed to meet Patricia for a drink after she finished work today. One of us stood the other up, and I think it might have been me. It was fairly obvious that Patricia was working late tonight, and she may not have been able to spend much, if any time in the pub, but I am sure she would have looked in to see if I was there. From the pub I am able to indirectly see the entrance to the school. I can't actually see into it, but I can definitely see someone putting on the padlocks when they close up for the night. After waiting in the pub for an hour I went out and checked the door was unpadlocked. It still was so I bought another pint, and continued watching to see if anyone came out. Halfway through that pint I had to go to the toilet. That was the only time I left the door unwatched. When I finished that pint, and after waiting a total of 1hr 40min I went out to check the door again and saw that it was padlocked up. So I reckon through the weakness of my own bladder I stood Patricia up. I am disappointed that she did not hang on just a few minutes to see if I was around, but she may have thought that I would not have waited for so long for her. In fact I would probably had waited until closing time if I thought she was still in the building and might join me for 5 minutes. I think I ought to go in first thing on Monday morning and apologise to her.
07.40 BST

Weather - bright but cloudy

  Last night was a pretty good night, and I don't even have a hangover! It was the latest in our (roughly) bi-monthly get togethers for old radio pirates. Although I don't have a headache this morning, my guts do feel a little precarious. They seem to be gurgling quite a lot. In theory they are empty after unexpectedly getting the runs an hour or so before I was due to be picked up by Ivor to be taken to Barming. Things were really touch and go as to whether I was stable enough to face a long car journey. Fortunately one last dash to the toilet, just as Ivor was still about 5 minutes away, seemed to be enough. 

   After last night it seems that Iain wants to start a new custom. He was ribbed many times over the course of the evening about having to don a blond wig for some filming. The filming was the reconstruction of setting up an FM pirate transmitter in the woods after dark, for Patrick's documentary. The wig was part disguise, but mostly to give a younger, more 1970's feel to the video. I am not exactly sure who first decided that Iain wearing a blonde wig was funny, it may have been Pam, but the joke seemed to run all night. Now Iain thinks it is his turn to nominate someone to be ribbed all night. I can't see that this will be a custom that will catch on too quickly.

Wigs in useThe wig in question can just be made out in this rather over-compressed picture taken at the video shoot for the reconstruction of a medium wave pirate transmission being made in the very early 1970's/late 1960's. It is being held by the actor in the middle of the picture. The actor to the left of him is holding a black coloured wig. The actor to the far left is probably holding yet another wig, but it is hidden behind him. (The other two are Patrick, resting his arm on his camera, and Bob, Patrick's brother-in-law, and the director and editor of the documentary).

Having seen the wigs in action twice now, I find much of the novelty of it has passed, but it evidently amuses Pam and several others quite a lot.

I have just realised that there is a higher quality version of this picture already on my website. You can click the picture for a better view, or click HERE for the page with the whole series.

   For yet another morning I feel rather tired, and may well go back to bed for a lay in once I have finished here on the PC. It was past midnight when I came in last night, and initially I did not feel tired at all. I was just buzzing after a good night out. So I sat down to watch some TV. It turned out that UK Gold 2 had the best programmes on offer, First there was an old edition of Have I Got News For You. It was one of the last, possibly the last one that Angus Deayton ever did after he made the front page of The News Of The World with the prostitute and drugs scandal. That kept me very amused until the next programme which was Red Dwarf. That too was one of the funnier episodes, but unfortunately I managed to fall asleep while watching it. Having missed a big chunk of the middle of it, and only seeing the last few minutes through the fog of partial sleep, I decided that I was very tired and went straight to bed where I was asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow. I guess that was something like 01.30.

  So that brings me to today. I have no plans for this morning, but during the afternoon I will probably be going over to see Taz for a few hours, and then I have to rush back for the best bit of the week, the time I having been longing for all week - my after work drink with Patricia. Who would ever think that you could get so much pleasure from just 30 - 60 minutes in a pub, but it seems I can.
Thursday 9th September 2004

07.10 BST

Weather - bright and sunny

   I appear to have a bit of a hangover this morning. As last night was a Wednesday night I was drinking with Iain and Howard in The Ram. Normally Kevin would be there as well, but it seems he has been dumped on with an excess of work after being off on holiday last week. So he has been saving up all his energy for our night out with the old comrades tonight in Barming. meanwhile I have a small, but definite, headache combined with a more general feel of lethargy. I am not aware that I had any unusual amount of drink last night to explain the hangover, but I am very aware that the price of beer has gone up to a disgusting £2.20 for a pint of ordinary Youngs bitter. I think we will be having discussions as to whether it is worth still drinking in The Ram. Sometimes it seems worth paying over the odds for a quiet pint in an uncrowded pub, but last night there was a football match on that generated more drinkers, and much, MUCH more noise.

  Yesterday did not go quite to plan. I had a phone call at around 09.00 asking if it was OK for me to change the time of the interview with the adult learning people (actually a quango operated by Ofsted) from 15.00 to 12.00. I agred to that and just before midday I went off to see what it was all about. Three of us had been selected to represent previous students and we were interviewed together. I am sure it was a politically correct selection of a black man, a woman and an old man. With no prior discussion we all agreed on several main points, and had no disagreement with a few individual points raised. The first thing that we all did was to sing Patricia's praises. I had a personal mission to do that, but it was very nice that the other two did it as well. The other thing that we all readily agreed on was that the I.T. support for the course was lousy. The woman has a slight bias towards the lack of phone support for phoning employers (there was only a single line available shared between the students and staff). While I wanted to have a complete rant about the very poor computer facilities, but had to just say that I thought it not good enough. (As a side note : at the end of the course we were given a questionaire about our thoughts on the course. It was, allegedly, anonymous, but my handwriting is pretty distinctive. I used up over half of the back of the sheet to explain in detail how their computer support could be easily, and cheaply improved. If I had gone on much longer it would have turned into an estimate and tender for the work.)

  I had mentioned that Ivor was supposed to be coming down to Catford to buy a new coffee making machine. After that we were going to meet up for a quick drink. It never happened. Ivor was tied up with work and/or clients and it has been put off for another day.

  A couple of other things happened yesterday. I finally put the wheels in motion to sell some shares, and I expect to be "rich" again sometime towards the end of next week. I went to my appointment with my New Deal Adviser. That was a waste of time. He was running so far behind schedule that it was just a five minute chat instead of a full blown interview. The only other thing of significance I did was to apply for another job. I am hoping that this one will be far more accessible than bloody Hainault, although its location was described rather vaguely as Croydon. Bits of Croydon I can get to fairly easily, but others I would need a helicopter to get to.

 My plans for today are fairly simple. I will shortly go and have a lie down after all this writing (perhaps with a painkiller). Then later on I will get ready to go out for tonights drink. In between those times anything could happen. A trip to Tesco is a possibility, but beyond that I can think of nothing.
Wednesday 8th September 2004

07.00 BST

Weather - clear and sunny

  That interview, yesterday, got my mind buzzing. Or at least part of it did. I had to describe how a piece of circuitry worked and I think I made a bit of a hash of it. I don't think it was my fault as I am suspecting I was not given enough information, and what's more, I am not so sure that the engineer who was testing me knew exactly how it worked either. I woke up at 02.00 after my subconcious had processed all the information. I think I stayed awake for another hour as I considered all the possibilities. After that I had some very strange dreams about the place. In the dream I went back there today and actually did some work while still waiting to find out if I had the job. Some of the dream was about being taken to various nooks and crannies, all with strange code names, where we could have a fag.

   Today promises to be a bit of a busy day. It seems that Ivor and Iain may be visiting Argos, in Catford, to buy a new coffee making machine for thier office. So some sort of quick(ish) drink in Catford is on the cards. Then at 15.00 I am to attend and interview with some chaps from, I believe, The Department Of Education (or some similar official body) who are doing a survey/audit/???? on P.D.C. the firm who ran the Gateway To Work course I was on recently.  I will be giving Patricia a glowing report because I genuinely believe she was doing a good job, but I do have some constructive criticism about the rest of the company. In particular about their I.T. setup. Once that is finished, or even before if necessary, I have my next interview with my New Deal advisor at 15.45. After that the day is my own again.

  Taz had invited me out for a drink at The Marquis Of Grandby pub where she will be watching a football match on their big screen. As much as I like Taz, and enjoy her company, I draw the line at watching football with a rowdy bunch of football supporters. It will be bad enough having to endure the small crowd who will undoubtably be watching the same thing in The Ram tonight. Maybe I'll invite her to The Ram, but I expect she will decline as she would probably prefer to be amongst her football fanatic friends.
Tuesday 7th September 2004

20.30 BST

Weather - night after a hot sunny day

  It has been a rather long day, or at least that is what it feels like. I finally got confirmation about my job interview just 5 minutes before going in to sign on, and then 10 minutes later while I was signing on! I was first phoned by one of the secrataries at the agency, and then by the man dealing with my case. The interview had been set back to 13.30, but that did not bother me.

 After signing on at the job centre I had a little time to waste before the building society opened. So I took the opportunity to call in on Patricia. I have to say she was looking very lovely wearing just a plain white blouse (as well as trousers etc !!). We had a bit of a chin wag and I did my little good deed for the day by carrying the water heater upstairs to be refilled, and then back down again. By that time the buiding society was open and the first of her pupils were coming in. So I left her to it after first confirming that she was happy for another after work drink on Friday.

  By midday I left to go to my interview. It took even longer to get there than I had first estimated. Door to door it must have been approaching 1hr 20 mins. I really would prefer not to have to do this job, but if offered I will have to take it even if I quit again after a month. The interview went well and I quite liked the senior engineer. He is a bit of an old school engineer and I think I could work with him fairly easily. Best of all though is that he smokes. The company itself has fairly strict rules about smoking, but he assured me that if I was discrete there would be little problem. In fact part of the interview itself was conducted over a fag at some picnic tables they have out back. The work looks fascinating, but it is just a damn shame that it is so far away.

 Once the interview was over I headed back to have a drink at The Herne. The whole crowd was there - Ivor. Iain, Max, Ruth and Paul. Unfortunately Ruths boyfriend was there too so I couldn't thank Ruth properly for thinking about me last Friday and sending the worried text message to me. Max tried (and succeeded) in making sure I was no longer depressed by giving me a big wet kiss when I got there. I think I ought to have a bout of depression more often !
06.20 BST

Weather - dry but very gloomy.Breezy

 It feels like nighttime still. It is not very light out yet and the sky looks very cloudy, but the forecast was for sunshine today. The last few days it has taken until mid morning for the sun to break through. So I guess today will be similar.

  Just before I woke up I think I was dreaming. The dream seemed to have a rather odd twist about it from the vague impression I can remember from it. I was searching for something on the internet and came across an interesting porn site. Well, I thought it was going to be porn, but it seemed to show a recipe for bangers and mash. I felt very irritated that it used three pages to describe how to cook three sausages - one page per sausage. These three pages were essentially identical and took a long time to load. The next page was a very long winded explanation of how to make mashed potato, and then finally there was a picture of the finished meal. It was obvious that this picture had been scanned in from an old edition of a comic - probably The Beano circa 1964. Quite why I should have thought it was a porm website I'll never know as I woke up at that point with a strong desire for some old fashioned sausages. Sausages seemed so much nicer once when they had all sorts of now forbidden ingredients like offal and other leftovers.

 So far I still have not heard if my job interview is still on for midday. I was supposed to get a phone call last night to confirm it, but it never came. Time is now running out. I have to sign on this morning and will be out until at least 09.30, and possibly even later. To allow myself plenty of time to get to the interview I would prefer to leave around 10.30. That only leaves an hours window to get the yes or no. As far as I can guess the chap in the agency does not start work until late morning, and presumably would not be phoning me until he is at work. If I have heard no news by, say, 10.00 I think I will phone the company directly to see what they know.
Monday 6th September 2004

18.00 BST

Weather - mostly bright, sunny and hot

   As I write this I am waiting to be phoned back about a job interview tomorrow. It will be (should be) at the company in Hainault - the one I just know will employ me because I will hate the journey so much! If I get offered the job for real I have little choice, at the moment, but to actually go for it. Maybe I had better sign up with a doctor so I can get prescribed some happy pills to make the journey to, and from, work comfortable. Perhaps I will get used to the journey. Time will tell.

  Today has been fairly boring. I have listened to a good sci-fi radio series - The Silent Scream - and found that it was the second part of a trilogy. I had previously heard the first part of the trilogy without realising that it carried on. Each part of the trilogy is actually in three parts itself. The first episode of the third part of the trilogy will be broadcast on BBC7 this coming Sunday. I will then have to wait for the following two Sundays to hear the final conclusion. It could be a long wait.

   My cunning plan to sell some of my shares came to a grinding halt today when I discovered that the form I was going to use expired back in 2002. I am now waiting for my bank to e-mail me back with what services they can offer. Their website does have a share dealing section, but it is way too complicated for what I want to do. I started wading through it and found it is really for setting up a stock portfolio and being able to track inverstments to buy and sell at the merest whim. All I want to do is just plain sell a block of shares. Tomorrow I will visit a couple of my building societies and see what they have to offer. 10 years ago The Woolwich (I think) had just a simple form to fill out and send off with the share certificate. The proceeds were then paid directly into my savings account. That is the service I want, but appears not be available from my bank. So now it is a race to see who can get my custom first. The bank or building society.
06.30 BST

Weather - early morning murkiness

  It looks rather grey outside at the moment, but according to the weather forecast it should be a bright sunny day. Maybe it will be once the sun is properly up. Yesterday ended up as a very hot and sunny day. I spent much of the day with no shirt on as it was so hot and stuffy indoors. I managed to catch the BBC's "Countryfile" long range weather forecast yesterday. The prediction is that this whole week should be mostly sunny and warm with the highest temperatures at this end of the week, and the temperature dropping a few degrees by the end of the week. It sounds like ideal beer garden weather.

  Yesterday was a sort of boring day. The time passed fairly quickly, but I was forced to watch a lot of TV for amusement. UK Gold were showing a whole bunch of "Porridge" and "Going Straight" episodes so at least much of it was quite amusing. I would have preferred to do something more constructive, but the heat helped ramp up the general laziness that can still take over on a Sunday. I did do a couple of things that were worthwhile. I washed all my white t-shirts, and also spent some time flushing out and refilling my printers colour ink cartridge. That was a brief bit of fun. I decided it had to be done as full colour printing was getting so erratic after re-filling the cartridge 10, or more, times. I don't know if it will keep working for long, but it is printing nicely now (or was last night). It was a very messy job and I ended up staining my fingers yellow like a 100-a-day heavy smoker. One interesting discovery came out of all that messing about with ink. When printing from Linux, and choosing photo paper as the print medium, I can get quite reasonable photo printing on ordinary paper. It is still not as good as when using real photo paper, but the results are not too bad.

  I have not yet mentioned that I went back to bed yesterday morning after the 07.15 entry. I did not wake up until something like 10.00. The knock on affect of this, and it was made worse by the general heat and stuffiness yesterday, was that I did not get to sleep until gone 01.00 this morning. This means I am feeling tired now and will almost certainly try to grab another hours sleep soon. I must try and get to sleep early tonight or I will quickly get into a cycle of late nights/late mornings.
Sunday 5th September 2004

07.15 BST

Weather - sunny start

   Yesterday was a very hot day. I felt very hot when I went to bed and did not fancy getting under the covers so I slept on top of the bed. I woke up earlier feeling freezing, and yet when I then got under the duvet it felt too hot again. I'll shortly be going back to bed again and will probably try and get back to sleep half under, and half outside the duvet. Although I went up to bed before midnight it was not until gone 02.00 that I went to sleep. I had decided to listen to an old radio tape from around the year 1982. I specially selected it as it was recorded while heavily drunk just after a disaster in my love life. Until I heard it all the way through I remembered it as having been inspired by Marion (or more specifically, the lack of Marion). In fact I think this particular tape was inspired by someone else, and was maybe not as good as the morbid programme I had recorded after trouble with Marion. I had not intended to really hear it all the way through as it was 2 hours long, but I had played some excellent, if slightly depressing, music on it. So I stayed up and listened to the bitter end. While it was playing I decided to read through some old letters from a fan who called herself Julie Patchouli. We had a love affair entirely by post. I never ever did get to meet her, but it seems we may have unknowingly seen each other in a Croydon pub one night. It is so tempting to believe that life was better then, but obviously there were still times when life was total shit.

  It took a little while to get to sleep after hearing some of that emotion loaded music, but it happened in the end. There were just a couple of songs that affected me in particular. Each having maybe just a few lines that I latched on to. Even what became the official closedown record, Mike Rutherford's "At The End Of The Day", has certain lyrics that when heard in isolation turn it from a beautiful lullaby, into a song that grabs the heart strings and pulls them taught. That is why I originally chose it, and kept on playing it. "Ahh life! Don't talk to me about life.....the first million years were bad, and the second million years were bad too. After that I went into a bit of a decline".(Marvin).(In point of fact - when I wrote "that maybe I'll get my reward in the afterlife" yesterday, I should have added "oh no, not another one!")

 All these references to The Hitch Hiker Guide To The Galaxy, all out of context, and often slightly misquoted to suit my moods, are evidently caused by the excitement that will be happening soon on BBC Radio 4. THHGTTG finally returns after an absence of 20+ years with the "tertiary phase". This continues from where the last series ended. Amazingly Douglas Adams (who wrote the whole thing) appears in the new series even though he died some years back. There was one character he wanted to play so he recorded that part in anticipation that one day the series would return. It all kicks off on Tuesday 21st September at 18.30 on BBC Radio 4.
Saturday 4th September 2004

19.30 BST

Weather - hot and sunny

   It has been an "interesting" sort of day. I have been playing agony uncle to someone. It was hard work and not a little depressing as well. The mind boggles why I was picked for this task. After all my love life is hardly worth writing home about ! I think I have helped though. Mostly it was just by being there and listening. I think this story is set to run for somewhile yet. Maybe I'll get my reward in the afterlife, although it will probably only be at Milliways (The Resturant At The End Of The Universe)[only fans of The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy will get that one].

  There have been a few minor good things that have happened today. This morning I found that Tesco's were doing a BOGOF [buy one, get one free] offer on blank CDRs. They were only in pancakes, without jewel cases, but at an equivalent of 16p per disk they are quite good value for money, although not as cheap as some specialist internet suppliers can manage. Another good thing was that I had some income today. A cheque arrived with my BT shares dividend payment. I am now a glorious £8.64 better off than this morning !
06.30 BST

Weather - cold and clear

   Today has not got off to a good start. I came downstairs to find that Nelly had been sick in the hallway. Some of it is still there now. I removed the worst of it, but the sight of it made me want to puke myself. I'll have to finish clearing it up a bit later when I am feeling less sensitive. It is not the ideal task to do just a few minutes after opening your eyes in the morning.

  My next disappointment will be that I don't think I can spare the money to go for a drink with my old Mastercare comrades today. I would like to see them, and I am sure they would like to see me, but I have to prioritise my budget allocations (Orwellian newspeak for "there ain't enough cash to do everything"). My first priority for cash must be next Thursdays drink at Barming.

  Fortunately I should have plenty of money on my Tesco club card, and so a spending spree on such things as cat food, and baked beans, will be my main entertainment for today. When that is done I will do one, or both of two things. I have plenty of radio recordings to go through, and a non-working PC to repair or scrap. A further task may be to take another look at my Epson Stylus XL Pro printer. I haven't mentioned this printer for many months. Perhaps not even this year. To recap - it was given to me ages ago as almost, but not perfectly working. After a little clean up I got it printing but with one really annoying fault. It would seem that the main drive roller has either a dent in it, or more optimistically, some contaminant stuck to it. The result of this irritating fault is that every 4 inches of print (it is an A3 printer) has a feint bar across it where the paper momentarily changes speed as the lump on the drive roller passes by. The last time I had it apart I could not work out an easy way of getting to the main drive roller, but a few months back I had a smaller Epson printer open  and that gave me a few ideas about how I might be able to get deeper into the mechanism. I'm not sure if it will be that similar, but it gives some sort of hope. After a bit of a clear up the printer is now on top of the pile again and just begging to be looked at again. It is only a minor project, but I might just get around to tackling it today if no better distractions come my way.
Friday 3rd September 2004

18.30 BST

Weather - hot and sunny

 Today has been an odd sort of day. I am still not perfectly happy, but I have heard a few things that have put some of my troubles in a different perspective. It is a bit like an analgesic for the soul. It doesn't cure those troubles, but helps to deaden some of the impact for a while.

 I haven't actually done anything with it yet, but I have found out about selling some of my shares. I own shares in four companies and each is worth different amounts of money. It is a hard choice trying to decide which to sell. The smallest value would keep me going for a short month. While the largest amount would keep me going for several months. If I knew how much longer I would have to wait until I am in paid employment again it would make these decisions so much easier.

 I think I have invented another new saying - a micro date. That is what I have just had with Patricia. It was a slightly more sombre drink than last week, but still very enjoyable. She has had a very tiring week at work, and her commitments meant that it was only supposed to be very short meeting this time, but it stlll lasted for about 40 minutes. What is more she is committed to another session next week. It will be a long wait, but it makes me happy that she seems to really like these little drinks together. This time there was even something that could be mistaken for a micro amount of romance to our meeting. In fact it was just a matter of practicality. Initially she declined a drink as she did not intend to stay for very long, but the chance to unwind for a little while proved too strong for her. We ended up sharing my pint. It is silly little things like that, that convince me we share some sort of a common bond. It will be a very sad day when events conspire to stop these little after work drinks. I am only too aware that it is coming one day, and that darkens my mood even as I think about it.

 One other thing that happened this morning provided a little cheer. Ruth sent me a text message to enquire if I was OK. I was touched by her concern. Maybe my exit from the pub last night was a little more dramatic than perhaps it was intended to be. I guess I'll be back to The Herne sooner than I expected, although I don't know when. Maybe next week, when all the kids are back in school, we can have a more relaxed drink together.
07.30 BST

Weather - thin cloud, weak sunshine

  I still feel a little edgy after yesterday, even though it all seems rather hazy now. I think my chief concern is lack of money. Wasting the money on the monster kebab stuff was actually a foolish thing to do, although it served its purpose at the time. I have enough cash left to buy a couple of drinks tonight, but I am not sure where I will find the money for tomorrows drink with my old Mastercare friends. I am hoping for a little cash, at least £10 for parts, from Jodies mum for putting the new hard drive in their old PC. Maybe she will offer some money for the labour as well. I am pretty certain I will not get that money in time for tomorrow, but maybe I'll get it in time for next Thursday when it is the next old pirates drink. I really must sort out selling some shares today. I meant to do it last Friday, but never got around to it after being slightly put off by the impending bank holiday.

  Right now I am going back to bed. I was woken up by the sound of two-stroke engines, maybe chainsaws, or angle grinders, at 01.30. I assume it was some work being carried out on the railway. It was from that direction. Once awake I could not get back to sleep until 03.30 so I am lacking 2 hours worth of sleep at the moment.
Thursday 2nd September 2004

21.00 BST

Weather - night has fallen

   I am still pretty pissed off, but I have cooled off now. Several things have happened since I  wrote the last piece. I have been watching The Bill and that has put things in a slightly different perspective. I now realise there are people who can write a far worst script than me. Secondly I am groaning under the weight of a super-kebab experience. I have totally pigged out on kebab, but that is not the good thing. The good thing is that I got a free bottle of coke with my takeway. The unusual thing, and the thing that almost floored me, was that I got a free bottle of Diet Coke with the meal. Getting some sort of free bottle is not unusual with a blow out meal, but real, genuine, Diet Coke is such a rare occurence.... No ! A totally unknown occurance, and I now feel like a very special person indeed.

   I still feel unsure about drinking at The Herne with Max (etc) again, but realistically I know it will happen again sooner or later. But for the moment I am concentrating on having a short, and immensely enjoyable meeting with Patricia after (her) work tomorrow. Some time in the future, maybe even tomorrow, she will not be available and I will never see her again. That will be totally devastating. Possibly the worse thing that has happened to me this century - maybe on par with the worst things that have ever happened to me in my life, but I go into it with my eyes open, and intend to enjoy what I can, when I can, and if I can. I'll deal with the aftermath in whatever way I am able, but for now I can see no reason to swap short term happiness for no happiness at all.

   Having taken a five minute breather, and then read some of this back to correct some of the more obvious typos, I am not sure that I have ever moaned so much in this diary before. I am in several minds about it. It is mostly cathartic to express my displeasure (depression ?) in this way, but yet I could have said more to portray my feelings better if only I could articulate many undescribable, negative, feelings. At the same time I know that this is only a passing feeling, partly brought on by the booze, and partly just a cumulation of many odd frustrations. As such I should probably not bother to write all this down, but it is done now -  so it stays.This is an interesting point. Does it help, hinder, or is it neutral to know with 99.9% clarity that you are actually depressed right now? To know 98% of the reasons with total clarity, and to know that it is a passing fad? Is it, in fact, normal to be able to dispassionately analyse your own problems from the point of view of a third party, and come up with suggestions and ideas that a third party may come up with when confronted with the first party ( Well, who cares when the majority of my angst will be over when I wake up tomorrow morning (probably).
18.55 BST.

Weather - bright and sunny

   It doesn't happen very often. but I feel very, very pissed off at the moment. So pissed off that I have had to leave the pub early and get a bus home. What makes it worse is that sitting here behind a PC screen is it almost impossible, perhaps totally impossible, to describe what has made me feel so low. It all hinges on what I said Wednseday morning about how knowing someone as a person could be far more important than what they look like. ( Or at least that is what I was hoping I was saying).  I tried to say this  in the pub this afternoon, but had to resort to saying about being locked in a room with a madman (see Wednesday for any of this to make any kind of sense). After all the booze, nobody could understand what I meant, and talk of being locked in a room with someone with big tits or small tits was just dismisssed as some sort of uncouth saying. I still feel the original idea  was good and to dismiss it so easily seems to threaten my reason for existance. I am now going to spend some money that is not mine to order an unfeasibly big takeaway. Sadly it will not threaten my life, but could easily shorten it. This is not the desired effect, but it is the best I can do under the circumstances. At this point in time I do not feel like ever drinking in The Herne again. But I know that once the beer has worn off I will be back there again sooner or later. Why am I cursed with seeing beyond the dramatic ? I really want to punish those who have pissed me off, and yet I know that it is impossible and stupid. Life should be more like soap operas ! Today, for some of the time, I was sitting next to Ruth. From time to time I found our arms were in contact. She felt so warm and nice that it will be impossible to resist such a trivially minor, and yet so pleasant a sensation at the pub for too long.

   I am now about to order an instant heart attack takeaway. I know it won't work, but I will not be put down for not trying !
10.00 BST

Weather - bright and sunny

   Damm and blast ! My NTL phone line has crashed and I am not sure if I can upload to my website via a dail up connection, via my BT line, and onto my Tesco ISP. Here goes ...........
06.10 BST

Weather - clear sky. Cold

  Somehow I seem to be awake earlier than I would have predicted last night. I did get to bed rather late, last night, after an evening in the pub, and then watching TV until 01.30. I think I'll probably be grabbing another hour in bed once I have finished here.

  I woke up from a rather strange dream. It was strange in so far as it seemed to be about a subject that is totally irrelevant to me today. It was about travelling ladders. In order to show just what an odd thing this was to dream about I ought to explain what a travelling ladder is, or what it means to me. To keep a long story short, I'll explain them in the context of my dream. They were used in old electro-mechanical telephone exchanges so that you could get safe access to equipment that was up to 10ft 6in (about 3.5m) above the ground. In construction they were like a miniature, narrow staircase that had wheels on the bottom and was suspended from a short pole that ran along a track at the top. Also mounted on the short pole was a brake mechanism so that the ladder could be locked in place. In my dream the track at the top had never been lubricated which made moving this particular ladder difficult. There was also a large amount of wear visible where the dry metal surfaces had been rubbing together. The whole dream seemed to consist of looking at all this from lots of different angles and making comments about it. It felt like whole sections of the dream were repeated over and over again, but maybe with subtle variations. Once, or maybe even twice, I went and found a large tub of grease, but I cannot recall ever getting round to using it. Sometimes dreams are triggered by something seen, or heard during the day, or they are some reflection on your current mood. After some consideration I cannot even begin to see any relevance to that dream at all. It seems totally meaningless, and yet they were the only images I can recall as I woke up.

  After getting slaughtered in the pub on Tuesday afternoon, and a more sedate drink last night, I should be off to The Herne again today for an afternoons drunken revelry. I might try to have a few light drinks in there at first, and keep away from the devestating Kronenberg for a short time. On the other hand it Ivor is now back after the holidays and I might be able to get a lift home from him somewhat earlier in the day and avoid going too far over the top. It does seem that I have been catching up on the booze after a 4 day respite. Tomorrow I hope I will be able to go for one, or maybe two pints with Patricia after she finishes work. Then on Saturday it will be the first Saturday of the month drink with my old Mastercare comrades.
Wednesday 1st September 2004

06.10 BST

Weather - clear sky, very cold

   I left off last night saying that I had to print out the whole of my August entries so that Max could read them. I tried to do just that, but the same thing happened as when I tried to print out July - I got halfway through and the black ink dried up in the printer (the yellow and cyan inks didn't even start to print). So I re-charged the black ink cartridge and have left it overnight for the ink to percolate through.  To save the colours being all wrong, and to save on coloured ink, I will do my next attempt at printing it all in black and white.

  I still feel a little hungover this morning, but felt considerably worse yesterday evening.  Typing those last few words last night was really hard work. After I had finished on the PC I slumped down in front of the TV.  I found myself watching a documentary about the history of pornography.  It seemed to confirm one of my own beliefs that most pornography is only pornography because it is labelled that way. Superficially that is an obvious statement, but it has a deeper meaning. What it means is that it is only by putting a label on something does it become something special. Before the Victorians invented the word pornography it did not exist, and there was probably no concept that a nude picture could be anything but just another picture. In classical times pictures that we would now call pornography, or even hard core pornography, would seem to have been everyday items on plain display alongside any other picture (or statue, carving etc). It is hard to judge the effect that it has on us in these modern times. I think there are good and bad aspects about it, but perhaps the bad aspects are worse than we think. On a basic level it is good that we are not exposed to too much nakedness. It allows fantasy to operate at maximum overdrive. As a typical male lecher I would quickly find it boring if all women went round topless. The exotic would rapidly become the norm and life would be so much duller for it, and yet that could be a good thing. I can't comment on what goes on inside the twisted minds of rapists, and other weird people, but I suspect nudity or pornographic images have little to do with their actions. For normal people, and I can really only comment here from a male perspective, it would force people to make the same value judgements about each other that they ultimately make after a lot of other mistakes. However it starts, we always end up being friends, or lovers, or even enemies, based upon personality rather than physical attributes. In an ideal world we look for both inner beauty and external beauty, but when you stop and think about it you realise that the former can enhance the latter, but it does not seem to work as well the other way round. The ultimate test is to consider whether you would prefer to be locked in a room with a mad person with big naked tits, or a sane person with small covered tits. I think I prefer the latter !

    Well that's the philosophical discussion over with for today. I now have to consider what I will get up to today. So far I have no real answers, but I did not do the job searches I intended to do yesterday, so I guess that may be the first priority for the day. After that I think I'll just make it up as it happens, although it does look as if it will be a nice sunny day, so I may have to try and work out something that could take advantage of that.

Copyright - Bill 2004