MAY 2006
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Wednesday 31st May 2006
10:31 BST

Here's some late breaking news. I want to moan again. It all started last Saturday when we bought the emergency towel for my re-introduction to the swimming pool. It was a fluffy sort of towel. So fluffy that it left bits of fluff in my hair as I dried it. After it's first use I washed it. I assumed that this would remove all the loose fluff. I was wrong ! This morning I used it to dry myself after my shower this morning. I did notice a few bits of fluff on my hands, but nothing much. Now it seems that this towel much prefers to leave it's fluff in hair. Now there was one hairy bit of my body that I did dry this morning. It is a hairy part that does not get much public exposure. So I am just back from the toilet where I was surprised at how much "dandruff" had accumalated in my underpants ! What a crap towel !!

08:07 BST

 So we come to the end of another month, and hopefully the end of the less-than-desirarble weather.  The sun is out this morning, but it still feels very cold out there. As for me, well I feel better than yesterday, but I am still not feeling that perky. I am wondering if I have some mild sort of illness. Maybe a chest infection or something. Most of the aching muscles have healed themselves, but I still feel curiously lacking in energy, and I am still a bit wheezy from time to time. On top of that I have some mild stomach discomfort this morning. Perhaps the most curious thing is that after losing at least half a stone since starting this diet, I do feel lighter on my feet, but still I cannot muster the energy to make use of that feeling. It may be that I really rather over did it over the long weekend. I did work pretty hard, but that still does not feel as if it was sufficient to make me feel quite this bad. It is not really bad as in awful, but enough to stop me enjoying the fruits of my endeavours.

 Tonight I will be going to the pool for another swim. Assuming I do not feel marvelously better by tonight, then I will be treating it more as relaxation in the water rather than a time to put in a lot of effort. However I feel I am still going for plan B where I intend to do more short swims rather than try and push my self for longer swims. For instance, instead of trying to do two lengths, I will aim for something like 7 one third lengths - a greater distance in all, but each run requiring less sustained effort. In theory, my theory that is, it should build my stamina without totally knackering me.

 Yesterday it felt hard work to be at work. I ached a lot, and couldn't wait to go home again. In the morning my chest felt sore, and in the afternoon that changed to something more akin to heartburn after eating my lunch (1 banana, 1 small pear, and one medium apple). As is often the case, I felt far better once I started making my way home, and once there I had a modicum of energy left. Patricia suggested we go swimming again, but I declined on two counts. First was that I still wanted more recovery time, and second that my guts were feeling very wobbly. Patricia did go swimming by herself, but looked really tired when she came home again.

 Reading back through what I have just written it seems as if I am really at deaths door. It is not as bad as that (even if at some individual moments it feels like it). It is more like a combination of symptoms, and any one of them by themselves would not be worthy of a mention. Throw in a little tiredness though, and you start to notice each individual twinge, each individual ache, and even each yawn ! Over the weekend, with Patricia away, I hope I can do some intensive relaxation. It is not impossible that I won't go swimming on one or the other morning, but I don't think it is likely. My main problem will be finding the right combination of relaxation to keeping my mind distracted from what Patricia will be up to. It will be tricky, but I guess I will survive.
Tuesday 30th May 2006
08:09 BST

 It's back to work again this morning. The weather is reasonable, and I feel as if I have some energy. The only problem is that it is too painful to use that energy ! Actually it may be just in the mind about the extra energy I feel. Perhaps it is the case that I feel as if I ought to have a lot of energy, but in reality I am knackered.

 All this confusion of my energy levels stems from the fact that for the third day running I went swimming again yesterday. In some ways yesterday's swim was a disappointment. I still could not manage a complete length of the pool as I had predicted I could. However I think that in short runs I swam a greater total distance than previously. Maybe this is the way to go. After all, this exercise is suppose to improve my health and not to kill me in the process. What is coming to the fore now is that I am getting short of breath before my muscles are reaching their limit of endurance. So that by the time I have swum half a length I am puffing and blowing, and in that state I am far more likely to try and breath in water splashes to my nose or mouth - and I did, several times ! That brings me to an almost instant stop as I try and clear the water from my nose. I think I am learning to deal with that situation a bit easier now so there is still hope for the future. All this getting winded is, of course, a legacy of being a heavy smoker. I think I am beginning to see a reason to give up smoking sometime in the future. Perhaps the biggest reason is that it acts as a physical barrier between me and Patricia. Right now though I need my fags while trying not to eat too much, and while Patricia has been an absolute angel over the last few days, there is still no reason for me to believe I will not be back on my own in the not too distant future.

 One surprising thing about yesterdays swim was that I weighed myself under almost identical conditions (straight after a shower and naked) before and after swimming. Amazingly I was 0.5Kg lighter. I am not sure of the reason for this. I suspected dehydration, and we had a discussion about do you sweat while swimming. In the dry I would certainly be sweating profusely given the amount of effort I was putting into swimming. In the swimming pool I did not notice any sweating at all. Sweat is always slightly oily, so I think it would have been noticable against all the other water around. It is quite possible that being in water removes enough heat so that sweating is not needed. Either way does not really explain how I could have lost 0.5Kg (or around 1lb) in just a few hours. It must have been dehydration because that loss was soon regained. Nevertheless my weight change overall is still in a downward direction, albeit very slowly considering the effort I have been putting into it.

 My exercise did not stop with swimming. After a very lazy day that was really only broken by some shopping in Tesco, we did go for a semi long walk in the evening. It was after some heavy rain with distant thunder, but the sun was feebly shining when we went out. It was just around the local park, but we did do the perimeter of both sides of the park (it is cut in two by the railway line if you didn't know that). We were out for about 45 minutes, but did stop for a breather on a park bench for something like 5 or 10 minutes. Not only was this a bit more good exercise, but it felt good for one other reason too. I don't really know what Patricia thought, and it is certainly not time to ask her, but I felt a certain togetherness with her that I have not felt for a long time. It is a shame then that this coming weekend sees her going away for another weekend of love with her new man. Without that I could almost believe in the future.
Bank Holiday Monday 29th May 2006
05:00 BST

 I ache (therefore I am). Swimming on two consecutive days has left me with a variety of aching muscles, and yet I  will probably be swimming again this morning. It's the most masochistic fun you can possibly have !

 Yesterday I resisted the very strong temptation to eat like a pig until after I had been to Tesco in the early afternoon. I gave into temptation and ate a large packet of dry roasted peanuts (which, as everybody knows, only have 999,995 calories instead of the 1,000,000 calories that ordinary salted peanuts have). Despite this a brave look at the scales, 15 minutes ago, showed that I had still managed to lose 0.1Kg, and once again I still have not been to the toilet yet. You may not consider that to be relevant, but when using such accurate scales the weight of excrement does show up !

 I saw an advert on TV yesterday for Tesco, and they were promoting their healthy living range of foodstuffs. The punchline to the advert was when they said they also provide state of the art weights while showing someone picking up two heavy Tesco carrier bags of shopping. This is absolutely true. As I came back from Tesco with 4 litres of soft drink, a bag of cat litter, and some other assorted goods, I could really feel the weight pulling on some of my swimming stressed arm muscles !

 Despite these two bits of effort (swimming and shopping bag aerobics) the rest of my day was very lazy indeed. I just sat, or even layed around watching a bit of TV and doing some reading. In the afternoon Patricia found the energy to go up to London and visit her favourite attraction - The National Gallery. While she was out I lay on my bed reading, and then fell asleep for maybe as much as an hour.

 As soon as I have finished writing this I shall go back to bed and try for another hours worth of sleep. Then it is off to the swimming pool (we think it is open and available). After that, the rest of the day is a blank canvas.

Extra !
Receipt for swimming session
Just in case anyone doubts that I have been swimming I have scanned in the receipt and displayed it here. £2.95 for me, and £2.95 for Patricia at 08:34 on a Sunday morning !!
Sunday 28th May 2006
11:04 BST

This morning I have been swimming again. I am getting better. Today I achieved close on three quarters of a length in one go, and at one time I might have made it right to the end if another swimmer was not in the way. In total I guess I swam the equivalent of maybe 6 or 7 complete lengths. It was still hard work, and even now my arm muscles feel not quite weak, and not quite aching, but somewhere between the two.

 Patricia continues to be a total marvel. She encourages with no nagging, and without trying to push me beyond my limits. Where on earth am I ever going to find a replacement who is so beautiful, and so agreeable, when it finally comes to the time when she leaves forever.

 Today I stayed in the pool room for an hour and five minutes. (I made a point of checking the clock this time so there would be no disputes over it). It is still difficult to apportion the time I spent really swimming, and the amount of time I needed to get my breath back, but I think I must have been actually swimming for at least 15 minutes in total. It is getting better though. We are probably going swimming tomorrow morning as well, and my aim for tomorrow is to do at least one complete length non stop. That will be going from the shallow end to the deep end. I am totally convinced that Ladywell pool slopes up hill. In the direction of shallow to deep I can move at a slow, but useful, speed. Going the other way it just seems like really hard work, and although my arms, and legs, are working hard I seem to almost stand still in the water. Perhaps tomorrow I will make my first swim from the deep end and see if that makes any difference.

 The hunger that yesterday's swim generated had me eating far more than I really wished for. Fortunately the extra effort in the water seems to have held my weight static. I am going to try and resist the temptation to eat too much today despite feeling as if I could eat a horse right now. (It's going to be bloody difficult though !!!!!!!!!)
Saturday 27th May 2006
19:53 BST

 It's happened ! I have been swimming. After we had looked for swimming trunks in Catford, and found none, we did some shopping in Tesco. Coming back I still felt off colour, but I agreed to walk into Lewisham for a search for swimming trunks there. We did find some (actually they are more like shorts than "budgie smugglers" !). Patricia used all her powers of persuasion to get me to go swimming then and there. I started to give in so we bought me a towel as well. Still I refused to commit myself until I had gone up into the viewing gallery to see what the pool was like for myself. There were only about a dozen people there and I had lost my last excuse to hold back.

 So we bought the tickets and went off to our own changing rooms. I was a little surprised that there were no privacy curtains, but it was fairly quiet, and the place did not seem to be crawling with the type of rampant homosexuals that usually frequent sports places (probably). So I got into my new, and previously untried, swimming trunks, amazingly they fitted rather well first time, and went out into the pool area itself. After waiting a few minutes Patricia appeared and "ordered" me into the water. It was not too cold, and not too hot. In fact it was rather nice after a few seconds of acclimatisation. It did feel very strange being up to my waist in water, and it was a novel experience wearing the swimming shorts in water. In my schooldays I used to wear tight, almost Y Front, type trunks, and they would old everything in place. In these very loose around the crutch shorts, a few other things gained a bouyancy of their own (!).

 At first I just waded around getting the feel of the water. Then the time came to see if I could sink or swim. It was with tremedous trepidation that I launched myself forward while in about 4ft 6in - 5ft of water. I certainly did swim, but it felt very awkward. I was right that the distribution of fat, and hence bouyancy, has changed a lot over the years. My legs did not seem to float nearly as easily as I remember them doing so, and yet the very first sensation I felt when getting in the water was of the immediate lack of weight in my legs.

 My swimming was, to be honest, crap. I tried a mixture of crawl and breaststroke (not at the same time), and each moved me OK, but it was slow and tiring progress. It is possible that the furthest I manged in one go was close, but not up to half a length, which I think is also equivalent to doing a width of the pool. Maybe it was closer to just one third the length of the pool. Whatever it was I found very tiring. At some points I did not seem to be moving at all. Yet I could feel the thrust of the water as I moved my hands through it. So I knew I should be generating movement.

 Adding up the short swims probably comes to a total of somewhere between a complete length and 2 lengths. Maybe this was OK for the first go in something like 35 years, and in theory it can only get better. I am still rather shy of the deep end, and I think I will be until I am confident I will be able to do a complete length non stop.

 I came out of the pool after about 30 minutes (though Patricia kept try to rib me saying it was only 10 minutes), and Patricia stayed for the full hour. (The next time I am determined to keep track of the time a bit better - this time my mind was on other things). I felt very exhausted by the time I was dry and dressed again, and I still had to face the walk home in the pouring rain. Right now it feels as if I have done a full days work plus all the commuting to get there.

 It looks, in all probability, that we are going swimming again tomorrow morning. I hope I have recovered by then, and more than that, that I have strengthened my muscles a bit so I can swim a little further without getting too tired. I do think it will be some weeks before I feel I can really get a modicum of power in the water, but it should happen one day.

 I have to say that Patricia has been magnificent in all this. She has been firm without nagging, and gave some praise where it was due. I certainly could not have done it without her. The one minor drawback to swimming is that it left me ravenously hungry, and I am hoping that the trade off between eating more than I would otherwise wish to, and the calories lost through exercise is in the favour of the exercise.
05:23 BST

 Saturday, and the start of a long, 3 day, bank holiday weekend. So far there is only some tentative planning for how these days are to be used. This morning could see my first swimming session for 35 years, although at this time I am a little doubtful about it. Sunday, which could be the sunniest day of the long weekend, may be the day for a long walk around central London. I suggested to Patricia that maybe a walk around Hyde Park might be an idea. She was very lukewarm to the idea, but it may happen, or maybe we will do something similar. The bank holiday monday itself is still just a blank canvas with nothing planned at all.

 Yesterday I continued to lose some weight. When I weighed myself a short while ago I found I had only lost 0.1Kg. This is less than I would have liked, but it was still enough to register on the new scales. I still have not been to the toilet (for numbers 2's) as of this time, so when I do I may see another tenth of a Kilogramme, or something, come off the scales as this was the state I was in for the previous reading that I am making the comparison to. I did eat more than I really wanted to yesterday, so any weight loss at all is rather good.

 Last night, soon after Patricia came home from work, we took a stroll through the park to Ladywell swimming baths. Even this morning I still do not have any swimming trunks, but Patricia had kitted herself out ready for a possible swim. The intention was that she was going to have a swim, and I would watch from the viewing gallery. It turned out that she could swim, but only for 15, or less, minutes because the pool was wanted for something else, but she could get in nearly an hours swimming if she returned at 9pm. So we went up to the viewing gallery and I had my first view of the pool since before I left school to start in the big dirty world of work. I did not find the view to be very settling. It felt just like my first ever time at the place - the hot humid chlorine reeking air brought back all those very first fears of what it was like to go in for the first time. It did come as a bit of a surprise to me that the pool was fairly empty, but not to Patricia who had gone on a reconnaisance mission the day before. I guess there were no more than 20 people, many of them fairly young kids with mothers, in the pool at that time. Patricia did go back at 9pm and swam for a little under an hour while I stayed at home feeling very weary after a day at work, all the commuting, and the earlier walk to Ladywell and then beyond into Lewisham. She came home feeling very refreshed, yet tired, and said that that she had enjoyed herself immensly. This time there were only about 5 people in the pool with her.

 This morning we are going out to see if we can find me some swimming trunks. In all probability they will have to be bought in Lewisham. Once bought we are going straight to the swimming pool which, being a Saturday morning,  I suspect may be more crowded than we have previously seen. I have refused, wisely I think, not to go in with untried, untested, new swimming trunks, so I will only watch Patricia swim from the viewing gallery, but I will take the plunge (pun !) on her next visit. Or at least I think I will. This morning I feel a little off colour, but I may feel better as the day wears on. Right now I find the prospect of just walking into Lewisham very unattractive. Assuming that I am not going down with some bug, there is one more reason why I may not join her for her next swim. The pool is timetabled for different activities. At some times it is scheduled for just lane swimming. Until such time as I have built up my stamina, relearnt my swimming technique, and generally got to feel at home in the water, I will not be ready to just swim up and down the length of the pool. It does make me wonder just when I will really get into the water. It is something I am determined to do, but I view the first time with similar trepidation as a visit to the dentist. I just hope that when that day comes the pool is semi empty. I feel I will need a bit of space, and not too much of an audience, as I relearn the feel of the water. (That is why I have mentioned the apparent amount of people in the pool so many times here).

 This afternoon Patricia is off to visit some South American/Latin American exhibition (or something similar). I doubt I will be accompanying her, so I will just have a very lazy time here at home. Although the details of the exhibition thing are rather vague, I do gather that part of it will be about food. So staying away from such temptations may not be a bad idea for me.
Friday 26th May 2006
08:06 BST

 What a terrible morning !! It was pissing down with rain when I left home and I got soaked. Since then it has reduced in intensity, and is now just heavy persistant drizzle. The forecasts give little hope that this afternoon will be much better. Maybe the rain will dry up, but it seems unlikely that the sun will make an appearance. This is in complete contrast to yesterday evening which was a glorious, almost warm, sunnt evening.

 Maybe it was that sunshine that did it, but my relationship with Patricia has had an upturn. Following on from some difficulty we had the previous night, she was in an upbeat mood. The best I hoped for was a sort of truce. So I was rather stunned when she suggested that we ought to go swimming together sometime soon. Quite frankly this scares the hell out of me. It is 35 years or so since I last went swimming as part of school sports lessons. I did end a fairly strong swimmer despite using my own unique style of swimming. Several teachers had tried to teach me to swim, but all failed. In the end I decided I would have to overcome my fear of the water and teach myself. Now I feel very unsure about going back into the water. After all these years my boyancy characteristics have undoubtably changed. So it will take a bit of worrying experimentation to work out what floats where. I have other fears to, even less rational ones. Like what do you do in the changing rooms ? At school we just used to bundle our clothes into a locker and not even bother to lock it. So what happens now ? Is there an attendant who looks after the keys, or do we take them in the pool with us somehow ? Then there is the question of swimming trunks. Do I get boxer style or budgie smugglers ? Will I be able to buy ones that fit, and that do not fall off at inoppertune moments ? With a body shape like mine it is sometimes hard to find something that the trunks will be able to hang on to !

 Despite all these fears I am going to do it. I used like swimming, and I see no reason why I should not enjoy it now. I am not sure if it will be happening on Saturday as Patricia would wish. Her plan is to buy the swimming costumes on the way to the pool. I can see no problem with this idea when it comes to her costume, but I would like to get mine home and give it a dry run (if you'll pardon the pun).

 You can't help but having some sympathy for the terrorists who were plotting to blow up that disco thing called The Ministry Of Sound. Their methods may have been a bit harsh, but their goals were not too bad. A more appropriate action would be to hijack the sound system and subject them to lots of Motorhead, Iron Maiden and similar purveyors of decent music. It is quite possible that any survivors may be found to be cured of their strange addiction to listening to a mixture of car alarms and other assorted industrial noises.
Thursday 25th May 2006
08:03 BST

 This morning it is cool outside, but at least it is dry. The forecast suggests it could be warmer with sunny spells this afternoon. That will definitely be something to look forward to.

 Last night I went for a beer with Kevin. We talked a load of old stuff, but one thing we never did get around to mulling over was the impending closure of Young's Ram Brewery in Wandsworth - and that while drinking in The Catford Ram - a Young's pub ! One curious event took place when we were talking about pubs in a more general sense. I mentioned overhearing a phone conversation on the train sometime last week. In this conversation a woman was saying that she would prefer to go to The Copperfield pub in Catford because a better class of people drank in there. This was an idea that both myself and Kevin did not totally agree with. I commented that one aspect of The Copperfield is that last I was in there I thought that there were more pretty women in there than in The Ram. As I said it I looked around the pub to confirm my opinion. I was forced to say, "but then again...". Over by the bar was the most beautiful woman standing with her back to us. A few moments later I was astonished when she came over towards us. It transpires that she and Kevin know each other, although she was actually in the pub to attend a retirement party that was going on near us.

 What is it with this world cup thing? The morning paper has been full of it over the last week or two. Does anybody know when it actually is? Or even why the papers think anyone is interested in it? I know it is something to do with football and big ugly, dirty, sweaty football players, but I can't see how this impacts on real life.

 The curious thing about questions marks at the end of a sentence is that I believe there should be a space after the last letter of the question and the question mark itself. Evidently I am wrong because every word processing application I have ever used will put the question mark on a new line if the the question ends at the end of the line and I add a space after it. To my eyes it needs the space to distinguish it from another letter (as opposed to a punctuation mark). By adding the space it makes it stand out and so marks the sentence as a question better. Oddly, I have never considered that there should be a space before a full stop, but I once had a preference for adding a space before a comma. With no examples to check it is impossible to say what the formal way of doing it is when writing longhand, but in longhand the formal rules for letter spacing are not clearly defined as far as I can remember. It is only the transition to the printed word where such rules become important. Perhaps there is some merit in the Spanish way of doing things. The Spanish, and maybe some other languages closely based on Latin, enclose a question within two question marks (the same is true for exclamation marks), and the leading mark is upside down to show where the question starts from. It is probably something that dumb computers would rather like when trying to understand natural language.
Wednesday 24th May 2006
08:28 BST

 This morning it was dry when I came to work. More than that, the sun managed to shine for a few minutes while I was on the train between Catford and London Bridge. It's a shame then that later today the weather will revert back to cold drizzle and gusts of wind.

 It was a bit of a shock to learn that the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth is to close down. It is just round the corner from here where I work, and I still have not even visited the attached pub.

 My diet continues to go well. Last night I got bored waiting for a DVD rom disk to burn and got peckish. I did give in and have something to eat. I doubt it will affect my diet though. All I had was a pile of mixed salad leaves with some very low calorie blue cheese dressing on them. I think I can survive that.

 I think I have found a problem with my Skype installation, the one that is supposed to bring women rushing to my door (allegedly !!!). A simple tests suggests that I am not receiving incoming text alerts. I had a "request for authorisation" specially sent to me from a new user, and I never received it. Yet I have tested "instant messenging" with me starting off the contact, and it worked OK. So it appears to be just contacts that are initiated by the second party that are failing. My first thought was that it was a firewall problem, but Patricia seems to have received incoming instant messages easily enough (one too many, in my twisted opinion), and we are both working behind the same firewall. Reluctantly, I feel I am going to have to blame it on the Linux software I am using, and revert to the Windows version. Tonight, if I have time, I'll change the boot sequence on my bedroom PC to default to Windows 2000, and install the Windows version of Skype. In theory I may then get the notification for a new contact that I had sent to me. If not, I'll have to start messing around with my firewall - not something I really want to do.
Tuesday 23rd May 2006
08:03 BST

 Just for a change it is a bright sunny morning. It's rather cool though, and showers are expected later this afternoon.

 I felt surprisingly energetic on my way home from work last night. Perhaps it is not that surprising really. I have already lost a couple of Kg, and just that bit can make a lot of difference. My blood sugar level is probably far lower as well, and that helps a lot too. With all that apparent energy I was rushing around changing trains at high speed. Unfortunately some of that rushing around was because the early train from Wandsworth was running just 4 minutes late. I managed to get there on time if it had come, but that mere 4 minutes was enough for me to miss my connection at Waterloo East, and I had to do the mad dash across the footbridge at London Bridge after getting the Gravesend train to there. It was a madder dash than usual because the Gravesend train was running about a minute late. However I made it OK and didn't feel absolutely shattered as I would have as little as a week ago.

 Once I got home I still felt that I had enough energy for a walk around the park, and the weather was briefly OK for it with no rain and weak sunshine. If Patricia had not been so tired I would have asked her if she would like to accompany me. The idea of a "healthy" stroll around the park after work was her idea once, but either the weather, or fatigue, has always stopped it happening. So, in the end, I did not go for a walk because I find walking by myself boring. What I did do was to mention to Patricia how insulted I felt on Sunday when she refused to show me her new bikini in the manner that she might address a common pervert (I may be a pervert, but not a common one !). I also mentioned I had revised my ideas as to why she refused so venomously. It appears that, in part, my later theories were correct. She admitted that she does feel far too white and flabby to show off in the bikini right now, but she says there is a chance that she might pose in it after her holiday, whenever that is, and when she has a bit more colour to her body. (For various reasons this was almost a breakthrough in our relationship, but one that I think has come too late).

 Later last night I sent off my first "instant message", via Skype, to a total stranger. I am not expecting a reply, nor did I solicit for one, but it will be curious to see if anything does come back. I was idly doing searches of people in London on the Skype directory when I noticed the profile of a lady whose birthday was last Friday. So I sent her late birthday greetings for then.

 This morning I am not sure if I am full of energy or not. I do feel hungry, but I don't think I'll be attacking any of the apples or bananas in my drawer just yet. One thing this diet has done, as expected, is to curb my irritable bowel. I still called into the toilets at Waterloo East out of habit, but mostly I was just sitting down having a quiet smoke. At Wandsworth I saw a bus coming and jumped on it rather than following my other habit of going to work via the toilets in the petrol station. This latter habit was getting less frequent in the past few weeks after dosing myself with "pro-biotic" yoghurts. I'll admit they did mostly work as "advertised on TV", but were not a complete cure.
Monday 22nd May 2006
08:17 BST

 It's raining ! It rained all the way to work, and I feel pretty damp right now. The rain is not heavy, but it is persistent. I suspect that I will get wet quite frequently today when I nip outside for occasional fag breaks.

 After recovering my diet over the weekend I feel like I have a lot of energy this morning, but it is only physical energy. Walking seemed the easiest thing in the world this morning, and yet I feel my mental energies are low (or something). It is a curious sensation that has no easy explanation. So I'll describe one rather odd incident as an example. It was on Waterloo East station as I headed up the ramp to the link to Waterloo Mainline station. My legs seemed to have plenty of power, I was not short of breath, I had no pains, and each foot just kept moving, one after the other, as if they could go on forever, and yet I felt a certain weariness as if I would really have liked to sit down and do nothing. It must all be in the head, but quite what it is, I have no idea.

 Besides work, I don't think I have any particular plans for today. This is almost true of most days. I am not going for a drink in The Herne on Friday, so I do not have to work late any evening to make up any time (last week was a bit of a one off special that I feel I should not repeat too often). So it will be a normal week. Maybe I'll have a pint or two on Wednesday night, or maybe not. I am a little ambivalent about it because it is sometimes difficult to factor in the effect that beer has on a diet. Allegedly beer has a load of calories in it, but my finest weight loss ever (over 20 years ago now) was done at a time when I was drinking far more beer than I do now. It is perhaps the secondary effects that concern me the most. It can, and often does, trigger the munchies, and perhaps worse is the depressive after effects of alcohol. That in itself is no problem, but it lowers my defences against other reasons for depression, and those could trigger comfort eating.  Despite all that, if the opportunity arises for a quick drink mid week I will probably take it.
Sunday 21st May 2006
19:08 BST
 Today has been good and bad. For much of the day the weather has been awful, and it is only now that the sun is just about creeping through the clouds. Tomorrow is forecast to be wet and windy again, and the day after only a little better.

 The good part of today is that Patricia accompanied me on a long walk into Lewisham where I bought a couple of shirts. I was assuming that she might help me select them, but no, that was assuming too much. While in Lewisham she bought a new bikini for a holiday she intends to take in Spain sometime later in the year.

 We were out for about two hours, and it was all done on foot. This must have helped me in my diet. So that was another good thing.  As soon as we got in I tried on one of my new shirts as I did not have much confidence it would fit me. Surprisingly it did, and felt quite comfortable. I then said to Patricia "I've shown you mine, now let's see yours"(50% jokingly, 50% seriously). She refused point blank, and although it did not entirely surprise me, I found it quite insulting the way she said it. I felt like she was saying no to a naughty schoolboy, or even some pervert on the street. I could have accepted it if she had just said "not now", or "another time", and then just quietly forgotten about it. But considering we are supposed to be good friends, living under the same roof, to be made to feel like a pervert for wanting to see what most of the users of some Spanish beach will see, was too much. If she did not have such an intense, maybe even over-the-top sense of modesty I might have thought she would like to show it off, and have an honest opinion of what she looked like, and enjoyed any compliments due. I do find it bizarre that we can share so many experiences, know so much about each other, trust each other in so many ways, and yet we still seem to be worlds apart. Is it me, or is it her ? I think it is her. The bikini is, in roughly her own words, for the enjoyment of her new man (and all the other sun bathers on some beach - my words). So I am not allowed to see it being worn.

 Anyway, enough of that madness, and on to another madness. Despite being on my feet for two hours, I resisted eating anything today until around 4pm. Then I had a low calorie lunch of a heap of salad leaves, some sliced green pepper, a few olives, a small can of tuna (in brine - not oil), and a splash of "light" thousand island dressing. I doubt that it came to more than 1000 calories, and could have been half that. It was not quite enough because at 6:30 I ate three small bits of cold chicken - two scrawny legs, and a very small thigh. With luck I will have scraped through the day on less than 1500 calories. I don't know how long I can keep this up, but I did buy a bunch of bananas, and some apples from Tesco this afternoon, and I intend to only eat them (not all of them !) while at work next week. In the evenings it may well be more salad with tuna, or some other fish.
04:29 BST

 I was recently woken up by Smudge, the cat, who was "singing" outside my room. I am not sure if she was starving, needed to go out, was feeling lonely, or probably all three. She has now been fed, and has gone outside. She was rather reluctant to go out because it was raining. The rain seemed to have stopped by the time she had eaten her breakfast so I encouraged her to go out. If she had stayed in any longer she would have used Nelly's litter tray, and Nelly would have been upset by that.

 It seems to have been remarkably cold recently, and this morning is no exception. Yesterday afternoon, while watching TV, I had to put the heater on. I am sure this is rather bad for late May. Yesterday was a dull and gloomy day with frequent showers, and I think it has rained a lot overnight.

 I guess I had two achievements yesterday. The first was changing all the linen on my bed - not much of an achievement as achievements go, but it was rather overdue. The other achievement was to continue to diet. After my gluttony with the chicken and chips comfort food on Friday night, I avoided all eating until I could not stand it any longer. That was about 14:30 and all I had then was a pile of green salad leaves, four small tomatoes, some olives, and a splash of "light" french dressing. That sort of kept me going until we had dinner at 19:00. Dinner was chicken with a load of cauliflower and green beans. It was not as low calorie as it could have been. One piece of chicken was leftover southern fried chicken, and the other was a couple of thighs and a leg. All still had their fatty skin on, and the coating on the southern fried chicken retains a lot of fat as well (although reheating it in the oven did drive off some of the excess fat and oil. The thick gravy I made with the cauliflower cooking water was probably not the wisest choice for low calories either. Despite that I think yesterday was a dieting success. I am not sure what I will be eating today, but I hope I can manage to eat sensibly.

 Later today I will be doing some shopping. I need some fruit to take to work next week. That should be my entire sustenance until dinner in the evenings. The other thing I want to buy is a new shirt or two. I will be enlisting Patricia's help in this chore. She will accompany me to the clothes shop, a type of shop I do not really like, and help me choose the shirts - a task I also hate. This does depend on the weather to a certain extent as it will mean taking a walk into Lewisham. If it is still wet and gloomy then the plan will be abandoned. The reason for wanting some new shirts is an idea of mine that runs concurrent with the dieting. It is to help raise my self esteem and lessen at least one hurdle in my quest for a replacement for Patricia's company.

 Relationships with Patricia have improved slightly, or at least have reached some kind of equilibrium. At the moment we are lodged about threequarters of the way between lover and lodger. A few months back it felt as if it could have been only a quarter of the way from lover to lodger. It would be nice to think that when she finally leaves her current status will remain unchanged, and we will still be on these friendly terms, but one thing is for certain. The chances of our relationship moving any closer to lover seems more remote now than at any other time.
Saturday 20th May 2006
03:00 BST

 I had a date last night - sort of. On the general scale of these things it would have been rated as a just slightly warm date. It turned out it was actually a cold date. The truth is that I went to The Herne to meet up with Ivor, Iain and Ruth. I wouldn't describe meeting Ivor and Iain as going on a date, but with Ruth is was supposed to be a tiny bit like a date. I had put on my best shirt and trousers, and I had some aftershave on. In theory this should have improved my chances of being ravished by Ruth from 1 in 1000000000000 to a mere 1 in 100000000. It didn't work, and worst of all is that she didn't have the 200 duty free fags that I was hoping for ! Even worse than that was that I was stood up later in the evening. In some ways it was a backwards date. When I first saw Ruth at the pub I got a quick kiss and cuddle. Later on she had to go home for a bit, but asked if I would still be there when she came back. So even though Ivor had left, and Iain was on the point of leaving, I stayed on waiting for her to come back. She never did ! So I left and started to make my way home.

 As I came out of the pub I saw a bus approaching that was going to Peckham Rye railway station. So I got that and went to the station. My timing was not too bad with only a 10 minute wait for the train. While waiting I called Ruth and found she had gone back to a different pub ! Feeling rather slighted, I undid a weeks worth of careful dieting by buying a huge box of chicken and chips as I walked the final bit home from Catford station. Or to put things in the right order, I undid a weeks worth of careful dieting by eating a substantial portion of the chicken and chips once I got indoors.

 I sat down and watched a couple of episodes of ancient Dr Who while I munched my way through the food, and then went to bed fairly early. I was fairly drunk last night so I am not sure of what time it was that I went to bed, but it was probably not much later than 10pm, and maybe even as early as 9pm.

 I feel asleep very easily, and slept apparently soundly until I woke up a short time ago needing to go to the toilet. It was a little more than just the usual post-boozing pee (but did not involve yodelling down the big white telephone if that is what you were thinking !! it was just "number two's"). So having totally woken up I thought I would come downstairs, get another pint of water to take to bed, and do a little writing.

 I am not sure what I will be doing for the rest of today (apart from going back to bed soon). It is possible that I might be going for a wander around London with Patricia if the sun peeks through the clouds later in the afternoon (it's piddling down right now). Other than that there are the usual Saturday household chores, and it could be today, or tomorrow, that I delete all the data on the Linux partitions of the computer I am using now, and do the installation of Mepis I mentioned recently.

 In a very short while I will be back in bed, and hopefully asleep again.
Friday 19th May 2006
06:16 BST

 It seems I have 10 minutes spare to say what a crap morning it is. The crapness, just for a change, is purely based on the weather. It is very wet and windy (and has been all night). I believe the weekend could be the same.

 So it looks like I will get blown over and drowned on the way to work.

 Apart from the foul weather, everything else is as fine as it could be. I am still looking forward to a drink this afternoon/early tonight. I have yet to find the time of the trains from Catford to Peckham Rye, and I am increasingly thinking that I will have very little time here to change before going out again. I will be leaving work so early that whatever happens I will have some spare time to use up. So I may as well go to The Herne via home what ever happens. It is a far simpler, or at least a less irritating, journey to come home than it is to go direct from work to The Herne. It's far quicker as well. All I am unsure about is getting from here to The Herne. If it was earlier in the day I would use a couple of buses, but with traffic on the south circular building up I reckon a train to Peckham Rye, and then doubling back on a bus will be quicker. Well it won't be long before I can put these theories to the test.
Thursday 18th May 2006
17:19 BST

 I never got a chance to write anything this morning. I was a little busy installing, and getting to work, a copy of Basilisk II. This is an Apple Mac emulator that emulates an old, and fairly low powered Mac. The reason for this madness was simply to show off to one of the research and development staff at work. He is a Mac user, and has some sort of degree in programming, but had never heard of Basilisk II before.

 I started playing with computers before I had even left for work. I had a problem, and the problem is that the DVD burner in the PC I am using now could not read certain DVD disks. Or to be more precise, the computer was unable to boot from certain DVD disks. In particular the recent Linux Format cover disk with Mepis, Gentoo, and Open Solaris operating systems on it. I have already installed Mepis on one PC as an experiment. It looks and feels OK. So because this PC is so messed up with loads of conflicting stuff from different Linux distros, I intend to delete everything on it, apart from the Windows XP partition, and install Mepis instead of the corrupt Mandrake Linux that I am currently using. To do this I need to be able to boot from the installation DVD. So with great trepidation I download, and ran, a firmware update tool for my Emprex dual layer DVD burner. Much to my relief the update appeared to go flawlessly, and better still, I still had a little time left to try booting up Mepis (which initially functions as a "live CD").  It worked a treat. I had decent graphics, sound and the network all working perfectly. One of the nice things about the way Mepis installs is that you first try out Mepis purely from the CD. If that works then all the files and configurations are copied across to the hard disk where they should also work. All being well I hope to be using Mepis regularly sometime during the weekend.

 Work has been pretty good lately. Yesterday I was invited to a product development meeting. I was unable to give that much input, but what I did give was welcomed. One ongoing task that I was asked to assist with was to sort out a poor video signal from one of the products. The time allocated for the task was up to 2 weeks. I think I made a good show when I didn't just assist in the problem, but I came up with an almost perfect cure within a couple of hours. There may still be some fine tuning to do, but essentially the problem is fixed. I have also been tasked with building some test rigs for the new products - once we know the final shape and form.

 Today at work, as well as amazing the R&D man, I have found some hidden faults in some software, and identified another potential source of poor video in another product. Increasingly I am doing more and more of what my role was seen as when my permanent employment was discussed. With some encouraging new orders for the company, and very strong support from R&D, I am hoping that in mid June I will finally finish my contract working, and be offered permanent employment.

 I managed to get away from work a few minutes early today. That meant I was able to get to Waterloo East in time for the early train home. Patricia had a dental appointment at 16:30 today, and I wanted to be here when she came home in case she had any problems. Thankfully it was all straightforward, and less work is required than she thought. The actual dental work will be done tomorrow lunchtime. I will not be home until late tomorrow as I intend to get a few pints in with Ivor, Iain, Ruth, and anyone else who gets to The Herne tomorrow. After my two late days at work on Monday and Tuesday, I am on target to leave work as soon as my dinner break starts at 13:30. I am going to try to get home first to clean up a bit before going to the pub. I haven't quite worked out the timing for this yet, but I reckon I should be OK.
Wednesday 17th May 2006
08:19 BST

 I can almost resume where I left off yesterday. It did rain during the afternoon. It was mostly just drizzle, and that continued until mid evening (or maybe later). With no breaks in the drizzle to spur me to make a dash for home I stayed at work until 17:00 again. As a result I should be able to leave work 2 hours early on Friday. In reality I will be taking my lunch break and not returning again. I mentioned that I did not take a coat to work yesterday. With all the drizzle I was not sure how I would fare going home in just a T shirt (and trousers, socks, underpants etc !) In fact it was not too bad. It was very mild out and the drizzle was almost, but not quite, warm.

 One thing I forgot to mention that happened recently was that I got my first phishing e-mail. The e-mail asked me to go to the Paypal website to confirm my details. Any e-mail like this makes me smell a rat, but as I do not even have a paypal account I smelt a capybara ! The link provided looked OK on the surface, but just hovering the mouse over it showed it to be something completely different ( I was using the lovely Thunderbird e-mail client at the time). Something like this :- Which proves things are not always what they seem.

 Last night things were a bit quiet between me and Patricia. I avoided the recent difficult subject, and yet she still seemed somewhat withdrawn. I think she has other problems at the moment (two of which I do know about). So while she did her thing, I did mine - which was to continue rebuilding my web pages served from NTL's servers ( ). I have now added the first draft of the "about me" page. I am happy with the content in it as far as it goes, but I am not happy with the page layout. Perhaps tonight I will re-do it.

 After the final uploading of the web pages I headed off to bed. Once again I had trouble getting to sleep. This time it was not emotional thoughts that were on repeat play in my brain, but a whole host of things including the emotional stuff, but also web page designing, work related stuff, and anything else my hyperactive brain invented on the spot. I estimate it was close to midnight, at least two hours later than I would have desired, before I fell asleep.

 Despite the lack of sleep I am feeling sort of good. My reduced appetite has sharpened up my energy a bit. In fact I may well have lost a pound or two since the weekend. I am inclined to try to keep doing this. With the chances of getting off with Patricia drifting from an infinite improbability to an infinite impossibility, raising my self esteem would come in handy if  the million to one odds should pop up in my favour and I meet another woman.
Tuesday 16th May 2006
08:14 BST

 After my shaky start to the day yesterday things did improve a little. I felt OK during the day and was able to work normally despite the lack of sleep in the previous days. My appetite did not return to normal (and still hasn't). During the day I felt a curious mixture of feelings about eating. I wanted to eat out of nothing more than habit, but didn't. I did feel hungry, very hungry at times, but did not want to eat. In the end I all I ate during the day was two bananas and one packet of crisps. In fact that was all I had eaten in more than a 24 hour period before I had dinner last night.

 I stayed late at work for three reasons of variable importance. First and foremost was that I wanted to build up some time credit* so I can leave early on Friday when I think I am going to go out and get pissed. To a lesser extent it was to give Patricia a little more breathing space from my moaning, and thirdly I wanted to wear myself out a little more to ensure that I would have a better chance of sleeping. The latter was offset a little by me being hungry. I always have more energy when hungry even though hunger pains tend to distract me from doing anything with that energy.

* time credit - a wholly fictional notion of mine based on the fact that I am contracted to work 37.5 hours a week, but the times when I do that work are not really clearly defined. So with the agreement of my first line manager I can indulge in a mild amount of flexi time (but I don't want to abuse that agreement too much).

 Having worked an extra hour I started out on the journey home. Previous experience has shown that leaving just an hour later takes me into the very worst excesses of the evening rush hour. The train from Wandsworth to Waterloo was very full (but not packed tight) and it seemed ever so slow. I was not sure what time the next train from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge was, but a quick look at the departure boards showed that it was at 17:39. That left me just two minutes to battle through the worst crowds ever on the link between Waterloo (mainline) and Waterloo East. With a clear run it takes closer to three minutes, but in these conditions it was more like 5, maybe even 6, minutes. Feeling as if the world had dealt me another blow I made my way through the crowds and then a miracle happened. My potential train was running late and became my actual train. So I got back to Catford at 18:00 at least 20 minutes earlier than I could have otherwise hoped for. I needed some fags and made my way home via Tesco. I think it is guilt that I knew that I was going to upset Patricia even more that I bought her a couple of bunches of flowers to say sorry with.

 I am not sure what the mixture is between upset and perplexment that I did cause Patricia. We had a couple of chats about the situation, and I got a few things off my chest. That left me in a more relaxed state and I was able to get to sleep with relative ease last night. I must thank Mike for some of his words of encouragement. That must have helped as well.

 This morning the sun is shining and I feel fairly OK. I am still very worried about my future. I am still convinced it will not involve Patricia, but who knows ? Later today it is due to rain and I did not bring a coat into work today. I was aware of the possible rain so I must be a masochist. I intend to work late again today. Maybe 30 minutes, maybe another hour. I think my decision will be heavily based on the amount, and timing, of any rain we get later.
Monday 15th May 2006
08:36 BST

 It is of course completely irrational, but when you are already feeling down, any minor disaster can feel like another turn on the screw leading to the end of the world. Earlier this morning was a case in point. I turned up at the station to go to work at about my normal time. Which on a Monday is a few minutes earlier than on other days to give me time to buy my weekly season ticket. This morning the self serve ticket machine was out of order and refused my credit card (as it did to everyone else). So I had to join the long queue in the ticket office to get my ticket. I did get it at about the same time as the train I should have been on was departing from the station. Surprisingly some good actually came out of this. With just over 30 minutes to wait for the next train (06:56 to 07:30) I went home again for 15 minutes. Just before I left for the station again Patricia made an appearance (having just woken up). So I was able to make a feeble apology for telling her about my weekend grief last night. I say feeble because although I feel some guilt about spoiling the end of her nice weekend by moaning about how bad I felt, it was something I just had to do, and I would have to do it again under similar circumstances.

 I am telling this in the wrong order. I should have first said that Patricia finally came home at 22:30 last night. She was obviously very tired, but it may be rather evil wishful thinking on my part, but she did not seem quite so ecstatically happy as I thought she may have been. Perhaps it was just the tiredness. We only chatted for a short while as we both wanted to get to bed. She told me a tiny, tiny bit about her weekend, while I told her what a rotten time I had had. So having said my piece we went off to our beds. At first I couldn't sleep. While waiting for sleep to come I could hear any movement from her room. It seems she was in bed fast asleep in a very short time. I eventually got to sleep at about midnight, and amazingly slept solidly until just gone 05:00. Perhaps it was not that amazing having been deprived of so much sleep over the previous few days, and to a lesser extent the previous week.

 Going back even further. Early yesterday afternoon I went to Tesco and amongst other things I bought a litre bottle of scotch. After some lunch I hit the scotch, but it did not seem to do the right things for me. Then I remembered a ceratin xmas present I had been give and got stoned instead. That too did not really make me feel any better. In fact I was feeling almost nauseus later in the afternoon. Nevertheless it did help me to get a tiny bit of sleep. It was probably only about 5 minutes before I had a sickening dream and had to wake up again.

 One curious thing about yesterday was that despite being stoned (and drunk) I didn't get the munchies. In fact a very rare thing happened - I virtually lost my appetite. Even this morning, despite taking some bananas to work, and buying some crisps on the way here, I have not eaten yet. My usual course of action when depressed is to comfort eat. so what is going on here ?
Sunday 14th May 2006
14:14 BST

 Sometimes things seem to go from bad to worse. It appears to be a good day for that sort of thing to happen.

 Since last I wrote I have had little more than fours sleep, or maybe even less. After my writing last night I was up to 04:00 surfing the net looking at all sorts of things - yes including those sort of pages ! I just had to keep distracting myself and keep going to I was almost at the point of collapse. Otherwise I would never have got to sleep at all. Even when I did eventually get to sleep I woke up again some time after 06:00. Since then I have managed a few short naps, but nothing else. I feel very tired now, but not sleepy. Well, I suppose I am sleepy, but I have to try and get input to my brain to try and block out my own thoughts.

 Anyway, from bad to worse. I have been attempting to completely rewrite my web pages that are served from NTL's web servers ( I made a good start, but it has all gone wrong it seems I cannot delete the old content. Some directories will not delete and they appear to be holding invisible files. The net result (if you'll pardon the pun) is that I only appear to have just under 3MB of storage space available to me. I expect a hideously convoluted phone call to NTL's help line will eventually sort it out, but not before going from pillar to post (via India) several times !!! Nearly all that I have uploaded is aavailable and working, but I cannot expand upon it.

 Since giving up on the web pages I have been to Tesco and bough more comfort food, and a 1 litre bottle of scotch. Very soon now I should be drunk enough to get some sleep. Or at least that is the plan. By the time Patricia gets home (sometime after 8pm at a guess) I will probably have a grumpy hangover. I'll try and be nice to her while all the time I want to scream and shout !
Saturday 13th May 2006
22:18 BST

 Saturday night and I am very bored ! It feels sort of strange not having Patricia around, but it is something I will probably have to get used to in the not too distant future. I don't think it will be too long before Patricia moves out into the arms of her new man. It seems that football, of all things, was the key to her heart. I am convinced that her date for today was to go to Wales to see the cup final. Then presumably they will be spending the night in each others arms. It makes me feel a little sick to think about it. I wonder if I will attempt to hasten her departure from here ? I will find it difficult living with the idea that she will be living here while all the time she will be going out with someone else. I know that she will do the decent thing and not attempt to bring him here for innocent or other reasons. Nevertheless there will be all the late night lovey dovey whisperings on the phone. I may not be able to hear what is being said, but the thought of it is enough to stop me sleeping. From here on life is going to be a living hell.

 It is perhaps fortunate that Patricia does not read this diary. I know what I have written here will sadden her, and I still have too much respect for her to deliberately hurt her, but sometimes you just have to get things off your chest. Whether writing this will make me feel any better is debatable. It probably won't, and I may be tempted to just delete it, but for now I had to say these things.

 I wonder if I will be able to sleep tonight ? I have lost a lot of sleep over the recent situation. Prior to this it was pure speculation as to what Patricia was up to, but since last night it has been fact. Last weekend I spent half the nights worrying about it, and that is why I got ill and had to take one and a half days off work. I am concerned that next week I will be going into work exhausted as well. I cannot afford to take any more time off right now. So somehow I will have to do my best to get as much sleep as I possibly can tonight, and Sunday night. It will not be easy. Right now I am tired, but my head is racing ahead at full speed, and there is no way I will sleep any time soon.

06:14 BST

 It's saturday, and I don't really know what I shall be doing today. One thing is for certain, I won't be doing it with Patricia. She is out on a date tonight - and won't be home until later tomorrow !!! While we are very close friends, we sadly never became lovers - which was the original plan nearly two years ago now. So she has found some alleged wonderful man through the wonders of Skype. (There is a more in depth description of Skype here). It seems that Skype, like instant messenger programs and similar, attracts lonely, or perverted, males who dial at random any user whose profile suggests they are female. So I hope Patricia has a safe time tonight.

 So what can I do about this ? Well, first of all I have installed Skype on my bedroom PC to see if I get any alluring calls late at night, or even during the day. My profile shows me to be male, and it is pretty obvious from my birthdate that I am an old git. Where this plan falls down slightly is that I usually do not have that PC running all day, and never while I am in bed attempting to sleep. The other flaw in this plan is that I doubt lonely females trawl through user profiles looking for men - but it is possible. So with Patricia out tonight, there is potential time to arrange an orgy (or something). A bit later today I'll boot up the bedroom PC and keep an ear open for incoming calls, and check it now and then for text messages. There is just one thing missing, and that is bill-sunnyside which is my Skype user name. Just look for this handsome picture ; My handsome features
 Having got the "exciting" bit over, I'll mention a little about yesterday. As I wrote yesterday, I made it into work, and did not feel too bad. Most of the day went well, but with an hour to go before it was time to go home I started to feel very weary. I can't blame that on my earlier illness too much as it is not an unusual occurence, at least to some extent. My journey home again was uneventful, but I did miss the early train I was hoping to catch at Wandsworth.  It is possible that had I rushed like a madman I could have got to the station in time to catch it, although past experience is that I would get there just in time to see the doors slam in my face. However I have become lazy and seem to always catch the bus to the station now. It is only four stops, but is terribly affected by the traffic round the Wandsworth one way system. Being as it was a Friday night, the traffic was fairly heavy, and the phasing of the traffic lights hindered my progress as well. I got to the station at about 13 minutes past four, just four minutes late to catch the ten past four train. (Yes, your mental arithmatic is correct - the 16:10 train usually manages to depart as much as minute before it is due to arrive !).

 Quite a bit of last night I spent setting up Skype. The part that took the longest was trying to get a microphone to work. I think that the microphone input on my bedroom PC is faulty. So I had to try and get some pre-amplification sorted out to us the line in socket. This ended up as an ancient Tandy echo/reverb effects box (with the echo turned off - naturally). I was finally able to test the setup when Patricia came home from a night out with some of her fellow translators (not a date this time). It worked OK, but it was a little weird hearing her direct through the open doors, and the rather delayed sound from the PC speakers.

 Back to today. As I said, I am not sure what I am doing today. This morning it will be the usual shopping, laundry and maybe some other assorted housework. I doubt that I will be having an orgy tonight, so in the early evening I will probably order a gigantic takeway and stuff myself silly. Then, once totally bloated and unable to move, I'll just go to bed. In fcat, once the shopping is done and  don't have to go out again, I will probably treat myself to a huge breakfast and then be totally lazy for the rest of the day, and unable to go out again.
Friday 12th May 2006
08:12 BST

 I thought I ought to come to work today. On Wednesday I felt very weary and had some mild abdominal and head pains. So I decided to take a half day off work and went home for the afternoon. Once indoors I had a light lunch before drawing the curtains on the bright sunny day, and laying down on my bed. Pretty soon I was asleep. I only slept for an hour, perhaps two, but I did wake up feeling a little better - not much though. Later I turned down an invite to join Kevin in the pub and just had a lazy evening in.

 As 9pm approached I suddenly felt wide awake and started doing some stuff on the PC (I meant to start writing this account then, but didn't). It was after 10pm when I finally got into bed where I read for another half hour or so. Sleep eventually came and I slept well until 04:00 when I woke up drenched in sweat. I am sure it was not just the heat causing the sweat. I think I was actually sweating some sort of bug out. It was then that I made a half decision that I would probably not go in to work yesterday. I turned off my alarm clock and left thing to chance. if I woke up on time I would attempt to go to work. If I didn't I would just sleep until I awoke naturally. The result was half and half. I did wake up in time that I could have made a mad dash for work, but it seemed too much trouble and I just laid in bed dozing from time to time until I finally got up and had a shower at about 08:30.

 During the morning I still felt ill, but if I sat, or laid, down watching TV or reading I wondered if I was really ill. In a relaxed state I felt perfectly normal. Feeling bored I ignored any discomfort and set to work rebuilding my video editing PC. It was slow work at first, but by the afternoon I was feeling much better. I installed the new 160GB hard disk that I had bought to replace the failed 40GB hard disk, and I replaced the faulty floppy drive. In addition I sorted out the cooling for the box and replaced the power supply with a spare. The old power supply seemed to have caused an odd problem where the machine would not start the graphics card up after a reboot, although everything else worked OK.

 Having got everything in place inside the PC I installed Windows 2000 onto a 20GB partition. Everything went smoothly and so I made an 80GB partition for file storage. That left almost 60Gb spare. I left is pare for a reason. I wanted to have Linux available on the machine as well (you never know when it may be useful). Just recently I bought a copy of Linux Format magazine that had a cover disk with Simply Mepis on it. The magazine gave it good reviews. So I thought I would try it.

 I felt pretty fine at this point so I thought I would go and do a bit of shopping in Tesco before starting the Mepis installation. First I was stunned by how hot it was outside. In my back room it did not feel too bad, but at the front of the house, which faces south, and particularly in the porch, it was sweltering. As I started walking towards Tesco I could feel my energy draining away. It was not the heat, although that didn't help, but just a reminder that I still had some sort of bug. I bought my shopping and staggered back where I treated myself to not one, but two Magnum bars that I had bought in Tesco.

 After that brief rest I tackled Mepis. The Linux Format DVD was a triple boot disk. It had Mepis on it together with Open Solaris (or Belenix), and Gentoo Linux. The SimplyMepis ran as a "live CD". It booted up OK and seemed to find all my hardware with no problems. One of applications available was to install to hard disk. This I did and very soon I had a complete Linux installation dual booting with Windows 2K. There were only a few things that I changed from the standard installation to suit my personal preferences. The most complicated, or so it seemed initially, was to change the default boot order. As I wanted the PC to run Windows as the default choice I had to edit a file called menu.lst. It was simple to do, but involved a bit of searching to find it. My internet searches of how to configure the Grub boot loader all made the process sound so complicated. It was then that I remembered that what I ought to do first was to see hwat was already on the machine. That's when I found the boot.lst file, and saw how simple it was to swap things around.

 Well here I am at work today. I don't feel too bad so far. No doubt as the day wears on I may start to flag a little, but I'll try and take it one step at a time.
Wednesday 10th May 2006
17:30 BST

 This morning I woke up after a fairly good nights sleep, but still felt rather yucky. Despite a huge reluctance to go into work I made it in OK, and on time. I still felt rough so decided I would take a half day off. I came home at midday in glorious sunshine - a complete contrast to what I thought the weather forecast had said. It would have been nice to do something in the sun, but after some lunch I closed the curtains and had a snooze on my bed.

 Now a few hours later I am still feeling strange.  It is a bit like a mild dose of the 'flu. I feel a certain amount of weariness, and I am a little bit achey in assorted parts of my body, but it is not too bad. If I am sitting, or laying, down I can easily forget that anything is wrong if I am sufficiently distracted, but getting up again, all the little twinges re-appear. I had something similar to this not so long ago, but I can't remember when, or how long it took to go away again. I suspect I am still rather run down from the sleeplessness over the weekend. I think if I am offered the chance for a drink tonight it would be wiser to turn it down - and yet that is the sort of relaxation that appeals to me if only I did not have to go to work tomorrow.

 While having my fairly good sleep last night I had several dreams. Most of them I can't remember in any detail, and they were probably pretty inconsequential anyway. I do remember a snippet of one though, and it may be worth recording in case it is a vision from the future (cue spooky music !). I was coming home from work, and approaching the end of my road, when I saw a number 47 bus drive out the park at the end of the road I was walking down. I thought, "that's a neat idea. It will shorten the bus journey by missing out a bit of semi congested road". The idea of a bus running through the park does sound pretty outrageous at first, but when you consider that, in effect, the trains run through the park, then maybe it is not such a bad idea.
Tuesday 9th May 2006
08:10 BST

 I feel less like a zombie this morning. This is for two reasons. The first, and obviously most important by far, is that I slept reasonably well last night. The second reason is a bit peripheral, but last night Patricia came home from work announcing she was starving. So we both had dinner early. In consequence I only had only dinner instead of two. Normally I am starving when I get home from work. So I usually have a sandwich or three, or something, and then later in the evening we have a proper dinner together. I am going to try and encorage Patricia to consider always having an early dinner. Once I know that I have had a proper evening meal I am not usually so tempted to eat anything further. So this morning I feel lighter on my feet, and less bloated.

 Despite this apparent turn around in the way I feel, I am still short on a lot of sleep. It will take a few more nights to get back on an even keel again. Hopefully I will be feeling OK by Wednesday night in case any drinking goes on.

 One surprising thing about yesterday was that when I got home from work I did not feel nearly as knackered as I thought I would. On the way home home I thought I was near to collapse, but after eating dinner and relaxing a bit I barely noticed feeling bad. So it was with some relief that I fell asleep soon after turning out the light last night. It was not as early as I really needed, but I wanted to finish the chapter in the book I was reading. I estimate I was asleep before 10pm - maybe as early as 9.30pm. I awoke once at just gone midnight. Had a pee and then slept solidly through to 5.15am (15 minutes before my alarm was due to go off). So this morning, not only have I showered, but I have had a good shave, and washed my hair. The latter two were needed yesterday, but I couldn't be bothered !

 Work feels a little precarious at the moment. My contract ends again on Wednesday, and once again it is being extended for another month. It seems my only hope of getting permanent employment is if a hoped for big order is placed with the company. So yesterday I had a look for other jobs on the internet. I found one based in East London. It is for similar work, and at a slightly higher rate of pay. I could be tempted, but once again it is only a contract through an agency rather than full time employment. Besides which, it is shift work spread over three time periods during the day. The early shift would present no problems apart from possible (maybe likely) transport difficulties. The late shift does not finish until 10pm. I am not sure if I could stomach that. If I had no job at all I would definitely go for it despite the agency concerned badly letting me down twice in the past.
Monday 8th May 2006
08:18 BST

 I feel so tired this morning. I slept incredibly badly last night, and the previous couple of nights were not that good either. I have to admit I have been feeling pretty pissed off lately, and last night I had to get up again at 22:00 to write an A4 sized piece of cathartic prose. Even after that I still did not manage to get to sleep until gone midnight. I woke up at 04:25 this morning, but did manage another 30 minutes sleep after having a pee.

 On Saturday I had enough tasks to do to keep me occupied until into the afternoon, but I felt very unmotivated for the rest of the day. Yesterday, Sunday, I just resorted to getting pissed during the afternoon. I finished off most of the spirits I had around the house. That leaves me just two miniatures left. Despite drinking as much as a half bottle of scotch I never did feel really pissed, but it did help blot out some of the world, and I even managed an hour of fitful sleep mid afternoon.

 I am at work now, and besides feeling exhausted, I am glad I am here to give me things to do and think about. After the day is done it should be nice to get home again, but not if my mind is caught in a loop and I can't sleep again.
Thursday 4th May 2006
19:42 BST

 What a day it's been ! I had a couple of pints in The Ram last night so I woke up this morning feeling a little bloated. This made for a slightly uncomfortable start to the morning. Although strangely enough my arduous commute into work was actually not that bad.

 The worst thing about this morning was that my internet connection died. So until about 17:30, or thereabouts, my web server was not available, and so my web pages were not available to view or for me to edit. Everything seems to be fine now - at least until next time.

 It has been a hot day today. This afternoon the temperature was alleged to have hit 26° C. It certainly felt like it, and I was melting on the journey home. I don't know if it was the heat, or something else, but I felt totally exhausted again an hour before leaving work. Today it was worse than last time. The last thing I did on the way home was to call in at Tesco. It was such an effort to lug a basket around in there. At one point I just wanted to sit down, perhaps even fall down, but I staggered on and got my shopping home safely.
Wednesday 3rd May 2006
08:25 BST

 I seem to have, or at least had, an unusual amount of energy this morning. I woke up before my alarm went off, but that is nothing unusual, and was up at 05:11. Even with that extra energy it was a pain in the (select your favourite piece of anatomy here) to have to stand for the first few stops on the train from Catford Bridge. My extra energy extended to running for a bus outside Wandsworth Town Station. You could say I had too much energy because at one point I had over accelerated and nearly went flying ! I had to find an extra burst of speed to get myself upright again !

 Despite feeling pretty lousy yesterday morning the day went reasonably well. After sitting down for an hour I felt OK, and most of the day felt pretty normal. It was not until about 15:00, or maybe a little later, that I really started to feel totally exhausted. I made my way home very slowly, and was almost looking forward to missing the Gravesend train from Waterloo East to London Bridge Station. In fact by a strange fluke of luck I did get it. I was sitting down having a fag (and something else) in the toilet on platform B thinking that I could not be bothered to rush through the subway to platform A to get that Gravesend train. As I came out of the toilet I noticed there had been a platform alteration and the train was coming in on Platform C. So instead of rushing about through subways went from one side of the platform to the other and jumped on the train about 1 minute later. This did mean I had to find one more short burst of energy to cross the footbridge at London Bridge, but I made it OK and had a fairly lazy evening once I got home.

 I have recently mentioned my new flat bed scanner, but I don't think I have mentioned my new mp3 player yet. Kevin very kindly picked it up for me at a computer fair last Saturday. It is a nice little thing that doubles as a 256MB USB memory stick. There is a description of an almost identical one here. The main difference was that mine does not have the FM radio built in, but does have a multicoloured backlit display, and also cost £1 more ! Maybe it is possible that mine does have an FM radio built in, but I can't find it in the fairly clear menu system. I would read the manual, but it is hard work. Take a look at the foreword to the instruction manual as scanned by my new scanner. This gives an excellent taste to the format of the manual, but deeper in the words become even more meaningless. There are some classic examples of this in the Inprime website. This is a good example. I particularly like the bit about the battery - "Built-in 1800000mAh lithium battery". Now 1800000mAh translates to 1800Ah, and a typical car battery is only around 40 - 60 Ah. 1800Ah is the sort of capacity that a large milk float needs. I reckon one of these batteries in my mobile phone would keep me going for the rest of my natural life (and then some !).
Tuesday 2nd May 2006
08:47 BST

 Believe it or not, it is good to get back to work ! I feel pretty lousy this morning after my sleep and eating patterns were totally disrupted over the long bank holiday weekend. Yesterday I tried to regain some lost sleep during the afternoon. It didn't happen. All I managed was to make my back stiff and sore through laying on my bed all afternoon. Once or twice I felt myself drifting off toward sleep, only to be woken up at that precise point in time by some noise or another.

 For the past three days I have eaten large amounts of crap food at very irregular intervals. Included in that food were many items containing too much sugar. So my blood sugar level is probably way too high at the moment, and that is contributing to my aches, pains, and general lethargy.

 So here I am at work, and from today things will be back to normal. Tonight I should be able to get to bed nice and early - and hopefully get to sleep early too. My meals will be more predictable, and overall I hope to get back on an even keel within a day or two.

 Despite the negative aspects of my long weekends, there were some positives too. I managed to complete the setting up of my bedroom computer. (The last essential bit was the sound card drivers for the Windows 98 boot option). I also finished reading Dan Brown's "Deception Point". It was a good read despite being very formulaic. The pattern of the story narrative is very similar to that of "Digital Fortress" and "The Da Vinci Code". I wouldn't mind betting that the bigger murders and explosions are on the same page numbers in all three novels !

 One other "achievement" this weekend was to track down the drivers for the added USB card in my downstairs, backroom, PC. Windows default drivers would only see it as a USB 1 interface, but now, with the correct drivers, it gains it's true properties as a USB 2 interface. Now my new flat bed scanner works a lot faster, and the initialisation is a lot faster than my old parallel port scanner. Before the new drivers the initialisation was not really much quicker, even though the scanning time was improved. Now everything is much faster. This should also benefit at least one of my digital cameras, my new MP3 player, and, most importantly, my USB to IDE adapter for making temporary connections to external hard drives. Of course this is only relevant when I boot that machine into Windows (mainly for photo editing). Most of the time it is running Linux and USB hotplugging is disabled as a work around for an unknown problem. One day I'll fix that, and maybe my new scanner will work with SANE for Linux.
Bank Holiday Monday 1st May 2006
09:55 BST

 It's another bank holiday ! Despite two days away from work I feel knackered. I have had a great lack of sleep over these last few days. The reason is that I find it very hard to relax when there are "strangers" around the house. The strangers are Patricia's son Emi, and his friend Jonah. They arrived late on Saturday after spending the afternoon, and into the early evening, sightseeing with Patricia. So it was gone midnight before they had settled down and I could get some sleep. Despite retiring late they had it in mind that they wanted to get to their gig at Earls court very early. Very early indeed ! They announced that they might even leave at 04:00 ! I woke up at 04:15 and partially got up to see them go. In fact it was after 05:00 before they went. Patricia accompanied them on the 185 bus as far as Victoria before returning home and going back to bed again for an hour or two. I laid on my bed an managed another hour of fitful sleep before getting up again. I spent much of the reading, but I did manage another rather poor hour of sleep during the afternoon.

 The lads came home from their gig at around 21:30, and announced that they had had a wonderful time. I think they spent the next hour, or so, on the internet telling all their friends about it. The house finally settled down at about a quarter past midnight, and I managed to get to sleep 10 to 20 minutes after that.

 This morning I woke again at around 04:00 and got up to feed the cats. I was going to start writing then, but my eyes felt so blurry, and my head was pounding, so I went back to sleep for maybe up to two hours of broken sleep. Since getting up again I have had some breakfast, done a little reading, and watched some TV. It is now 10:17 as I write this, and "the tourists" have just left to spend the day sightseeing in London. I have no idea when they will be back, but I did tell Patricia that I would appreciate it if we could all get to bed a little earlier tonight. We both have work in the morning, and she is working in Croydon again this week. So we both have to be up early in the morning - with me up earliet of all ! The lads go back to Spain tomorrow so Tuesday should be a nice peaceful evening.