Index October 2006 Calendar
September November

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30 31

Tuesday 31st October 2006
12:19 GMT

Here's a very quick up date. I'm rich !!!! I've just checked my bank account to see if my pay had appeared in my account. It has, but better than that I can now see that I was not overdrawn at all. Quite why my card was refused when I tried to pay my mobile bill last Tuesday is now a mystery. According to my on line bank statement I finished this month with £15 left in my account before I had even touched my overdraft. So I start November with a full months pay and no overdraft to pay back !!!
08:27 GMT

 This morning I feel better in some ways, but not in others. Most of my aches and pains have receded, but I still feel weak (last night must have been a temporary respite). As my train approached London Bridge I came over all hot and sweaty. This is usually a good sign, or at least it is when it happens in the night and signals that the fever has finally broken. I am not so sure about this mornings episode. I certainly feel better after having been in work for almost 30 minutes now. Perhaps once I start to get stuck into work I will improve further.

 It has started off as a bright sunny morning, but it is very windy. The wind may account for one shock I had earlier this morning. I went to flush the toilet and the water did not seem to run away as fast as it should, and the water level in the bowl remained higher than usual. I had serious worries about a blocked toilet, but next time I looked the water level in the bowl looked normal, and an experimental flush seemed perfectly normal. I think it was the wind causing a back up of air pressure that slowed the previous flush. When the wind is gusty I do notice the water level perceptibly move almost in time to the gusts of wind.

 My pay should have gone into my bank account this morning, but I have not checked yet. I'll assume it has, and it feels good to be solvent again. I really must try to control my spending a bit better this month. No nights out with Aleemah will help a lot, although I think   would prefer to be poor ! Although there are a lot of shiny, computerish, things I would like to buy I will try and curb my enthusiasm for that. One big, or semi big, spree will be tonight in Tesco. Having relied a fair bit on stuff previously bought and stored for such time as last week, it is time to replenish those stores, and buy some nice stuff for dinner tonight ! Last night my main meal would have been very healthy had I not eaten too much of it. I had grilled salmon fillets with spinach pasta. As usual I made far too much pasta, and bought enough salmon for a large portion for both myself and Patricia. She only ate half her salmon so I ate the other half with another large portion of pasta.

 I'm not sure what I will cook tonight, but once my cooking (and eating) are out of the way my main task must be to design my November 2006 diary page.
Monday 30th October 2006
17:45 GMT

 It's been a long hard day at work, and I am glad to be home. Funnily enough I feel much better now than I did this morning, and it is not just from being home again. At dinner time I popped out of work to go to the local Waitrose to buy some fruit. It's only a similar distance as it is from home to Tesco, about 6 minutes, and once again I got back feeling totally exhausted. As home time approached I felt like I had little energy to spare, but once I left the building, and went out into the fresh air, I revived a little. I left a few minutes early and managed to get a bus to Clapham Junction fairly quickly. From there I arrived at Waterloo with a little time to spare for my early train home, but I was also quite keen to go to the toilet. I finished my business with precious few seconds left to get that early train and had to rush through the subway to catch it. That left me feeling hot and breathless. As I cooled down I began to feel very much better than I had all day. By the time I got to Catford I was feeling well enough to detour via Tesco to buy some nice dinner for tonight. I had very little cash left (pay day is tomorrow - thankfully !), but I splashed out on some nice boneless salmon fillets to have with some spinach pasta.

 Dinner is cooking right now even as I type this. I may start mine before Patricia gets home. It is her last day in her current job (or her job of 26 minutes ago), and starts her new job tomorrow. So she is having an (alleged) quick last drink with her old colleagues tonight. I estimate it will be about 20:00 before she is home, and I am not waiting that long for my dinner !

08:37 GMT

 I am back at work and I feel crap despite it being a very pleasant sunny morning. The one symptoms that appears to have diminished is the intermittent low level headaches - or at least, so far this morning I have not been troubled by one. Work is going to be very busy today, and I can't realy say I am ultra keen to work as hard as needed, but I'll do my best.

 The clocks changing back to GMT has been briefly beneficial. There was some daylight when I left home. It won't last that long, and in no way makes up for the fact that it will be dark when I get home. I estimate that today it will be dusk by the time I get to Waterloo East, and all the light will have faded out by the time I get to Catford -  and even possibly before the train there arrives at Waterloo East !
Sunday 29th October 2006
05:35 GMT

The clocks have changed and we are now working on proper Greenwich Mean Time. It is dry this morning, but rather cool outside. I saw two weather forecasts on TV yesterday, but my mind was distracted by other thoughts and I have no idea what weather has been forecast for today. If it is anything like yesterday, and that is always a good bet in the absence of any other information, it should be a fairly nice day with odd spells of sunshine.

 I guess the highlight of yesterday was getting the "new" PC installed in my bedroom. The one thing I had not tested before installing it was the USB ports. I did have a bit of a fight to make them work, and I am not sure what I did to finally enable them. It involved installing the drivers multiple times, and trying alternative BIOS settings. Windows did not want to reveal what the problem was, but I suspect it was a clash of IRQ's or something. Eventually everything worked and I am still sure that the AMD K6-2/500MHz processor is faster then the Intel Pentium III 550MHz processor as used in the previous machine up there. Of course it is not only the processor that determines the overall speed of the machine, and it may well be that the motherboard chipsets have more of an influence on the "feel" of the machine. The motherboard on the old machine was definitely dodgy, and this may have been very relevant. The most obvious clue to the dodginess of the old motherboard was that the machine very frequently needed a poke of the reset button before it would boot up. The new machine is now (apparently) working faultlessly. The only disappointment is that the unsecured wireless internet connection that I can detect here is too weak to be of use up in my bedroom. My own (secured) wireless signal is fine, but one day I must rig up a high gain aerial (i.e.) and see what other wireless connections become available to me (just for emergencies !!!).

 I am not sure how much my illness has improved. In fact I am not even sure what my illness actually is. This morning I still have some muscular aches in my arms and shoulders, and I still have some mild intermittent headaches. I guess it has got to the point when mild distraction is enough for me to forget these aches and pains, but occasionally something happens to remind me that they are there. Reaching over the sink to turn on a stiff tap causes some mild discomfort still, but just sitting around doing very little is enough to relieve all symptoms and lure me into a false feeling of being completely free of any illness. Whatever happens I will be going back to work tomorrow morning, and I hope that I will be sufficiently improved, or sufficiently distracted, not to feel too uncomfortable. Maybe I will have to take a couple of paracetamol to help me through the day, or maybe not.

 I have no specific plans for today. I still have a little spare cash, and could afford to spend £15 -£20 in the shops, so I may well pop out to Tesco.( I will be a lot happier on Tuesday when I should be paid ! ) Others things that might entertain me are playing with the old PC from my bedroom, or even playing with an even older PC. I mentioned Damn Small Linux yesterday, and said how useful it was. At that time I had not tried the most recent release (3.0.1). It is even better ! I tried it on my old 133MHz laptop which only has 32MB of memory and it worked fine (if a little slowly). The only thing it didn't recognise was the Linksys PCMCIA Wireless adapter, but at least it was happy to have it plugged in. Windows 98, on the same laptop, crashes if I plug in the adapter. One of the useful things about Damn Small Linux (and some other recent Linux distributions) is that once you are happy that it works as a live CD you can install it onto a hard disk. I think I may well try it on an old 100MHz Pentium I machine I have lying around gathering dust.

Before doing any of that I am going back to bed to get some more sleep.
Saturday 28th October 2006
06:55 BST

It seems to be dry and fairly mild this morning. My aches and pains have receded, but have not gone entirely. Generally speaking I reckon I am on the mend. Improving this rapidly makes it seem unlikely that I have had the 'flu, but maybe some of the milder symptoms may linger for days yet. The most fortunate thing is that my nose and throat do not seem to have been affected. If I can just prevent anything that will do my chest in, I should survive !

 Yesterday I was not as lazy as on Thursday. I also managed not to eat to extreme excess. That is not to say I did not overeat, but it was more typical of a boring Saturday rather than the insatiable desires I had on Thursday. Today I am going to try and curb my enthusiasm for eating as much as I can, but I am on my own (Patricia is away with her boyfriend), short of money for other entertainment, and have little that I want to do (although there is always housework I could do).

 On Thursday afternoon I went to do some shopping and it felt like I had walked five miles when I got home. Yesterday I did the same trip and it only felt like a one mile hike. In fact it is only a 6 minute walk to Tesco ! One of the interesting things about going out to Tesco yeasterday was that as I left the house I noticed an old PC had been dumped across the road from me. It looked fairly clean and I wondered what was in it. So I took it indoors before doing my shopping.

 After returning with my shopping I had a bite to eat, and read a few pages of this weeks New Scientist. Then I could not contain my curiosity any more. I had to find out what was in the PC I had rescued. It was in a mini tower case with the Time Computers logo on the front. I did know roughly what was inside because it had been dumped with the cover off (the two were sitting side by side), but I was more interested in what processor it had in it. A quick look showed it was a socket 7 processor, but that did not reveal much. Unclipping the heatsink revealed an AMD K6-2/366 processor. As found the PC lacked memory,hard disk, CD drive, and the flap off the front of the floppy drive. I added some memory and tried turning it on. That proved that the only fault on it was that the processor fan was very noisy.

 The next thing I did was to upgrade the processor to a spare AMD K6-2/500 that I had lying around. I had always thought that they were a pretty nippy processor, and subsequent tests suggest my feelings were right. With the new processor fitted the BIOS still reported the old processor and speed, but I believe that information is "hard wired" into the customised Time BIOS. Adding a CD drive and booting up Damn Small Linux  showed that the processor really was running at 500MHz. It also showed that the ATI onboard graphics chip (with it's own onboard memory), and the onboard sound card were working OK. Damn Small Linux is a wonderful tool ! It may be a bit of a challenge for a Windows user to use initially, but a read of the documentation, and a little practice, gives a fully functional operating system with media player, web browser, e-mail, graphics editor etc. all on a 50MB CD (or full size CD if you can't find one of the small disks) and not even a hard disk required. Download an ISO image of it here, and use a CD burner to burn the disk - it is 100% free to download and use !

 Having found that everything worked I fitted a new processor fan and two 10GB hard drives, and then I started to install Windows 2000 on it. The installation went remarkably quickly, and once installed I added some applications. My feelings about the speed of the processor proved to be right. The machine seems far more responsive than the 550MHz Pentium III machine I occasionally use in my bedroom. Perhaps as more applications are loaded it will slow down a bit, but for now it seems most usable. I wanted to get it on my network, but I couldn't find a spare network card, but I did have a Wireless card that I had bought and never used. So I fitted that and it worked just fine. It found two networks. One is my own, and the other is a very weak, open and unencrypted, signal. It is the latter that Patricia was probably "pirating" before I installed my own Wireless point for her to connect to. It will be interesting to see how usable the open connection becomes once I move the machine upstairs where it will replace my current bedroom PC. Maybe there will be other connections I can "borrow" !

 In the end I spent half the afternoon, and over half the evening playing with that PC. It was good fun, or at least an interesting diversion. Today I shall install it in my bedroom, and then think of something to do with the machine that was up there. Maybe it will become the machine where I will dare to do a Linux installation without a graphical interface. I could use it as a spare/backup web server or something.
Thursday 26th October 2006
10:36 BST

 This morning it is dry with occasional bursts of sunshine. As yet I don't know how warm or cold it is outside, but I suspect that if I were to have gone out this morning I would have found it fairly cold.

 Today I have taken the day off sick. I felt rotten all day yesterday and I did not want to be at work feeling like that. I think I have a mild dose of 'flu. Today I feel different to yesterday. I ache far less, but I do have a mild headache. When I am sitting down being lazy in the warm I actually feel fine, but anything that takes even a modicum of energy feels like hard work. So I am going to take it easy and do a lot of napping today.

 Although yesterday was a fairly uncomfortable day there was one little treat that I enjoyed. A derailment at Waterloo main line station on Tuesday night, just a couple of hours after I passed through there on my way home, has left a legacy of disruption to some train services that continues even this morning. Last night, not even realising that the disruption persisted, I caught a bus to Clapham Junction station to get my train to Waterloo (this method is proving to be more reliable, and quicker, than walking or getting the bus, to Wandsworth Town station). When I got there I saw that the first train to Waterloo was unusually from platform 7 . This platform is often used for some of the longer distance trains that stop at Clapham Junction. After a short wait I was rewarded by a 5WES turning up for the 10 minute run to Waterloo. It was unit 2424, the last in the series to be built. I think it may have been the first time I have travelled in one of these units. They are certainly quite luxurious, and the luxury was enhanced by the train being rather surprisingly half empty.

 After that little treat it was back to the "cattle truck" conditions of South Eastern trains. The first being a fairly clean, but smelly, class 376 from Waterloo East to London Bridge, and then a class 465 from London Bridge to Catford Bridge. The latter also being smelly with the usual grime and graphiti.

 A curious footnote to my journey home actually refers to my journey into work. As I was leaving Waterloo East station in the morning there was a class 465 train coming into the station from the Charing Cross direction. The LED display at the front of the train declared it was going to Haynes. Of course this should have said "Hayes", and I wonder how the misspelling came about.

 I finally got home last night feeling quite exhausted. I was both looking forward to a Wednesday night drink with Kevin, but also hoping that he wowould not call and tempt me out. In the end he did not call and I just slumped down in front of the TV with the heater up fairly high. Apart from breaks for cooking and attending the PC I stayed there until 10pm last night. Patricia had gone out with her workmates for a (maybe) final fling before her last day at the company next Monday. It was just gone 10pm when she came in, and I had given up waiting for her just a few minutes earlier. I was tired and wanting to go to bed, but I knew she would wake me up when she came in so there did not seem to be much point going to bed earlier.
Wednesday 25th October 2006
08:03 BST

 This morning it is dry, but probably cooler than yesterday. Some rain is expected later this morning, and it will probably continue into the evening.

 I feel pretty crappy this morning, and it may be that I am going down with a cold. I am suffering from a lot of muscular aches in various bits of my body, and my eyes feel slightly sore and watery. After Patricia had a cold last weekend, it seems that it might be my turn next.

 In addition to my aches and pains, there are other things that are not making me feel too good lately. Perhaps it is just the way I feel at the moment, but on my journey to work I seemed to have come into close proximity with most annoying and/or smelliest commuters. A major annoyance is that I seem to be broke. I tried to pay my mobile phone bill yesterday and the payment was declined on my debit card. I knew I was getting very short of cash, but I didn't think I was that short. There must have been a direct debit that I had forgotten about.

 I read this morning that the EU are targeting binge drinkers. At first that pissed me off big time, but after reading beyond the banner headlines I found that it was the young who are to be targeted, and even better, the lower limit for binge drinking is now 4 pints of beer instead of the 3 pints that some miserable killjoy British doctors had recommended once upon a time. So that, at least, is some good news, but going back to yesterday's paper there was some really sinister news.  A scheme is being rolled out where young drinkers (a fact missed out by The Metro) will have to submit their fingerprints before buying beer in a pub or bar. The overt idea is that it will be a means of detecting underage drinkers, and those who have been barred from local pubs and bars. Of course the sinister idea is that this is just another way in which the government  Big Brother wants to record every detail about us. Combine that with Tony Blair saying there should be no limits on the police collecting DNA profiles of every man, woman, and child in the country, and I begin to wonder just how far we have gone down the road to a "1984" scenario. The UK apparently already leads the world when it comes to mass surveillance. The next worrying step comes just before the 2012 Olympic games. We may wish we had never won the right to stage the games here. The police have already admitted that it will be a security nightmare and act like a magnet to terrorists. It may well be that the response will be the tried and trusted (but doomed to failure) government response as used in South America (notably Argentina and Chile) and communist Russia of "disappearances".

Note: For anyone reading this in the future (from some internet archive). If you are researching when freedom ended in England I would suggest the January 1st 2000 as a good arbitrary date. These things never happen at once, but it's convenient date to quote. Prior to that date we were mostly fairly well off. Only a small minority went hungry. Life expectancy wasn't bad, and drugs could cure, or alleviate, most pain. Entertainment was mostly enjoyable, and sometimes life could be pretty good.
Tuesday 24th October 2006
08:08 BST

 This morning is a despicably miserable morning. It is cold, dark and wet. Well, maybe not that cold, but the other two are very accurate. It was pouring with rain when I left for the station, and I got soaked. The one bright thing that happened this morning was that the lady, Dee, who I often speak to as we wait for the train offered to let me under her umbrella. I declined because there did not seem to be that much space under it, but I thanked her anyway. Maybe I should have taken up her offer. She seems nice, and maybe it could have been a good excuse to get to know her better.

 Since arriving in Wandsworth the rain has eased off considerably. In fact I think it may have stopped altogether by the time I neared work. I have no idea what time the rain really started this morning, or even if it was raining all night. I do know that it was heavy enough to wake me up at 04:30 this morning. I am not sure who dislikes it the most - me or the cats ? Nelly was almost tempted to go out in the rain for a few minutes this morning even though she doesn't need to (she has a litter tray). Smudge did need to go out (I dissuade her from using Nelly's litter tray), and was exceedingly reluctant to do so, but what I caught her about to use Nelly's litter tray she bolted out into the rain. Fifteen minutes later she was back, looking very relieved, but also very soggy. 

 With these cold, dark and wet mornings, and Aleemah not able to brighten up my day, it feels like I should go into hibernation for the winter. I have certainly put on some winter fat, so I could survive if I could find a suitably sized cardboard box and plenty of straw..............
Monday 23rd October 2006
09:28 BST

 It's almost good to be back at work ! The weekend was not so great. The weather, for the most part was bad, and it seems Aleemah changed her mind about enjoying Friday evening with me. Apparently it was terrible. So I won't be seeing her tonight as we had planned.

 I came into work to find our internet connection was down again - hence the late update.
20:25 BST

 I was intending to write more this morning, but just as I was explaining about the internet connection at work, my boss walked in and I thought it prudent to save what I had written, and exit from the program.

 It was a busy day at work. As is often the case with the work I do there were several jobs that didn't exist prior to this morning, but ideally should have been completed by sometime last week !!! Apart from interuptions to deal with a few miscellaneous things, my main task today, and into tomorrow, is to replace a pair of surface mounted resistors on 130 printed circuit boards. Changing one resistor seems to take no time at all, but the time involved in changing 260 soon adds up.

 By 15:55 I had reached a natural break and decided to go home a few minutes early. I caught a bus to Clapham Junction very soon after leaving work, and that enabled me to get to Waterloo, and over the walkway to Waterloo East, in plenty of time to catch my early train home. I called in at Tesco's on the way and bought two items that Patricia also bought on her way home in Tesco's as well. We both bought a bag of salad and a four pack of "oven bottom" muffins (or rolls to you and I). I was home very soon after 17:00 (maybe 10 past, but I wasn't really paying attention to the time), and started to prepare tonights dinner. Tonight it was chilli con carne (without the chillies), basmati rice, and some garlic and herb bread. It was pretty nice, but I am sure the chilli con carne was tainted by something from the pan I used to cook it in. It had been sitting in the bottom of the cupboard for a long time, and although I gave it a good scrub out, it still seemed to have some rancid fat (or something) embedded in the ancient, knackered non-stick coating.  As I was cooking the onions in it I could smell something not quite right, but I hoped it was just some gunk on the underside of the pan. I could definitely taste something like the smell, but Patricia declared that it was perfect. I am going to dump that pan and get a new one once I am paid next month (I am very short of money right now, and there is still a week to go to pay day).
Sunday 22nd October 2006
07:13 BST

It's a bit early to be up on a Sunday, and soon I'll be back in bed. It may have been the wind that woke me up, or it may just be that I woke up at my normal time for getting up for work - 05:30 (I have done a few other things prior to writing this). I think that it has been dry over night, as it was for most of yesterday, but it has been rather windy lately.

 For some reason I never did get around to writing anything yesterday. So I'll start with Friday night. I got a call from Aleemah saying that she felt better, and that we could meet outside Hampstead tube station at 17:00. It was a nasty rush hour journey, but I made it just a few minutes late. It was so nice to give her a big hug after not seeing her for a whole week (and because we were having difficulties, not even touching her last week). We first had a single drink in a pub, and then went into a café for something to eat. Then a lot more hugging as we waited to go into a meeting that she was attending. It was gone 9pm before I saw her off on her tube, and made my way home. It was one of those lucky nights when I did not have to wait long for my tube, and it got me back to London Bridge with only a single minute to spare to get my final train home.

 I came home to find Patricia suffering from a sore throat. There was little I could do for her then, but yesterday morning I was in Tesco's very early to get in extra supplies of throat lozenges, and other stuff to make her feel better. Her sore throat had developed overnight into a full cold. So obviously there was no swimming yesterday morning, and unusually Patricia was in for the whole day. I expect she will be in all day today as well.

 I didn't really do anything very constructive yesterday except for for baking a very mild chilli con carne pie. It turned out quite well, and despite the effort of rolling out (ready made) pastry that was only just defrosted, and so still rather hard, I think I will be doing more stuff like that in the future. Perhaps I will even try making my own pastry one day (I have done it before, but that was many years ago).

 Last night UK Gold TV was showing the film Galaxy Quest. It is a wonderful film, and one I have seen several times before. I decided to watch it once again again, but this time I wondered what it would be like to watch it stoned. It was good, although with no one around to enjoy the experience with me it was a little less gigglesome than I thought it would be. I was still stoned when I went to bed. In that state the bed linen felt incredibly soft and sensuous. It would have been marvellous to have had someone in there with me !
Friday 20th October 2006
08:16 BST

 It's Friday, the last working day of the week and it's raining ! I do feel a little damp right now after walking from Wandsworth Town station to work with my boss Anna. I think the rain is going to continue intermittently for most of the day, and maybe tomorrow as well.

 Last nights empanadas turned out reasonably well. My hunch that Jusrol ready made puff pastry would make a good substitute for the ready made dough I bought from Mercado Argentino turned out to be correct. There was a slight difficulty that the Jusroll comes in a big block and has to be rolled out into circles, but with a bit of practice I almost managed that. The spinach and tuna stuffing was very unconventional, but was actually quite nice. The main problem with it was that it was quite wet and difficult to seal into the dough. I shall be doing some further experimental cooking in the near future. Maybe I will not attempt the "Cornish Pastie" shape that a traditional empenada takes, but instead try and invent some alternative shape (or maybe just a pie), and invent something strange for the filling. I reckon something like mildly spiced chicken might be an interesting idea.

 Tonight I was hoping to see Aleemah. Unfortunately she is off work sick this morning, but if she feels better in the afternoon I may still get to meet her somewhere closer to her home. If she is still poorly today I hope she gets better soon, and that I may be able to see her on Sunday.

 Accessing this web page may be a little faster today. I left home with a few bandwidth clogging downloads in progress. Yesterday I did a few checks and reminded myself that the Linux/bash command "shutdown" can have a time added to it. So before I left home I opened a terminal up on the machine doing the downloads, "sudoed" myself in as root, and entered the command "shutdown -h 08:00". I was a little surprised that the terminal seemed to hang at that point. I was expecting a confirmation, but it seems to have worked, and the full internet bandwidth seems to be available now.
Thursday 19th October 2006
07:11 BST

 I seem to have made myself late for work by spending too much time writing an e-mail to Aleemah this morning. We seem to have recovered some cordiality between us lately, and I am hoping I will be seeing her soon.

 This morning it is raining. Hopefully it will have stopped when I leave for work in five minutes time. If I have the time I will write more when I get there.

08:49 BST

 I'm now at work, and the sun is (intermittently) shining. It is still mild outside, but the temperature continues to drop in fits and starts as we move ever closer to winter. Intermittent rain is forecast for the rest of today, and probably tomorrow too. It would be nice if Saturday could be a sunny day when I am hoping I will be seeing Aleemah.

 Tonight there is another old fogey's meeting in Barming. I haven't been to one in ages, and I don't think I will be going tonight either. There are many different reasons for this. All of them are small reasons, but added together they are reason enough not to go. Prime amongst those reasons are work the next day. The peak of the meetings at Barming are at the same time I would normally be going to bed. Being 30 miles, and 3 hours away from my bed makes me reluctant to enjoy myself.

 Instead of boozing tonight I have some cookery experiments to do. The empanadas that Patricia and I have been eating over the last two nights have been delicious, and tonight I want to try my hand at making something similar, but with my own unique twists to it. It could be good practice for a forthcoming Saturday when Aleemah has tentatively agreed that I should try and feed her on my home cooking. My original offer was intended to be a takeaway, but if she is brave enough to want to try my home cooking then I just love her more for it !
Wednesday 18th October 2006
08:10 BST

 There was rain overnight, but it had stopped before I left for work. The sky is still totally obscured by cloud even now, and the forecast is for it to remain cloudy all day (and for the next few days). The heavy clouds meant that over half my journey into work was done in darkness. It won't be long before all the morning journey is done in total darkness (except for street lighting of course). There will be a brief reprieve towards the end of this month when the clocks change back to GMT, but that will not last long, and it will just bring forward to depressing time when the my journey home is done in darkness.

 Last night there was another cause for celebration with Patricia. She announced that she has got a definite offer for another job that pays even more than the offer she received on Monday. So we had the empanadas and some more wine - another 5% Lambrusco, but Bianco (white) this time. The empanadas turned out to be very similar to Cornish pasties in shape and construction. we stuffed ours with chicken flavoured with fried red onion, garlic, some chicken Oxo, and almond stuffed olives. I have to admit they were delicious. Tonight we are going to use a recipe closer to the Argentinian original by using minced beef as the filling, although Patricia says there is no exact recipe to use as the filling, and I think that they are often filled with leftovers from a previous meal.

 Life with Patricia has become surprisingly enjoyable lately. When you consider that last June/July I was close to breaking point with her it is a remarkable turn around. Weirdly enough it is all thanks to Aleemah. I can't (and won't) attempt to explain that, but it is true. Despite the recent difficulties with Aleemah I have a hunch that we have not finished with each other yet. It may still be possible that sometime in the future I will, once again, have to remind Patricia that it is time to move on and find her own digs. For now though she is still welcome to be "the best wife I never sleep with", and until someone comes along with a more valid claim on me I will continue to act as the best husband that Patricia never sleeps with ! (And any woman who may be jealous of that better get her claim in soon !!!)
Tuesday 17th October 2006
08:07 BST

 It is dry this morning, not too cold, but the clouds are building up for some rain later this afternoon. As I travelled on the train between Catford Bridge and Waterloo East the sunrise was spectacularly red. At some points the sky seems to be just glowing a pinky red colour. I expect the effect was made more intense by the presence of the fluorescent lights in the train carriage which lack some red and orange in their colour spectrum.

 Last night was a very pleasant night. Earlier in the afternoon Patricia sent me a text message to say she had been offered a new job. This was a relief to both of us as. On Sunday night, after a difficult weekend, she was feeling very low, and the thought of going in to her present job on Monday morning contributed to that sadness. So to celebrate her new job I went home via Tesco and found a little celebration cake and a bunch of flowers for her. The cake was small but perfect for the occasion (it was a "Smarties" cake and covered with thick chocolate). I did consider buying a miniature bottle of champagne, or a bottle of wine, but didn't think Patricia would drink it.

 For dinner I cooked up some left over chicken with some mediteranean chargrilled vegetables, and, rather bizzarely, some ready made stuffed Indian parathas. It was not a great combination, but still tasty. In the bottom of the fridge I found an old bottle of Lambrusco semi sparkling wine. At only 5% alcohol it was not too strong, and I offered to open it to go with the meal. Surprisingly Patricia agreed, and we had wine with our meal as well. Coupled with a few congratulatory hugs it made for a most pleasant evening.

 Yesterday, while I was supposed to be working, I did a little work on my server. The web server statistics are now working OK and refresh themselves at 05:00 every morning. You can get a sneak look at them here (but I may well conceal them in a couple of days time). The job I set to update the server uptime appears to be working OK (scroll down to yesterday). I still have not worked out why the server backup operation is finishing with just an error message, but it seems to be working regardless. So the priority of fixing the error is not too high yet, but it is important in the long run. I think my next task is to get the ftp server running. That is proving tricky at the moment because although the software is supposed to be installed, I can't seem to find the configuration file. Maybe if I can spare the time at work today I will do a little research on the internet. It's funny, but I get a strange kick out of working on my server remotely. I suppose it is just the novelty of learning new things and making use of technology in novel ways. Once the novelty wears off I may find it is easier to work on the server directly rather than from 10 miles away (as the crow flies)

 This evening I have nothing planned. Maybe I'll do some computer stuff, or maybe I'll watch some TV, or maybe a bit of both and something else as well.  One thing to look forward to is Patricia cooking an Argentinian speciality for me - Tapas empanadas para HORNO Fargo.  I bought them yesterday, but I am not sure exactly what they are. As far as I can tell they are just dough envelopes that you stuff with cooked meat and stuff and then bake in the oven. (The word HORNO means oven cooked, and a similar product with the word FREIR means deep fried - or so I am told !). How they differ from other forms of stuffed bread I have yet to find out, but I am assured they are delicious.
Monday 16th October 2006
Server uptime

08:13 BST

This morning started dark and misty. According to the weather forecast the sun should break through sending the temperature as high as 21º C later this afternoon.

 It is sort of good to be back at work. I found the weekend to be rather boring overall. there were one or two good bits, but the boring bits had me eating far too much. At one point I was so bored that I even got out the furniture polish and hoover..........

 Some of the boredom was my own fault as I waited in anticipation for some computing processes to finish. One in particular was for 62Gb of data to be transferred from my old server back up disk to the new hard disk in the server. Transferring that amount of data takes some time, and it takes even longer when the old backup disk was connected to the server via a USB1 connection. In fact it took over 6 hours to complete. I obviously did not sit there watching and waiting for it to complete, but while it was going on I did not want to slow things down by doing other stuff on the machine. Eventually it finished and I did do a couple of other things. Both were to do with scheduling using the Linux cron daemon. First of all I enabled the rsync back up routine that had generously been set by Steve (thanks Steve), and then I setup a little job to send the server uptime information to a text file. (If I have done the coding right it should be displayed underneath today's date strip). I still have some more setting up to do another day. One program, that will run as a cron job, is Webalizer - the program that displays statistics for these web pages in easy human readable form.

 After todays stint at work I think I am going home to be a couch potato for a few hours before going to bed. On the other hand I might be inspired to do some more stuff on the computers.
Sunday 15th October 2006
06:40 BST

 It's another dry morning, but it is far too dark to really tell what is happening outside right now.

 Yesterday was a boring sort of day. I felt very lethargic, and this feeling was intensified by eating far too much.  I did my laundry, went shopping in Tesco, and later went to WH Smiths to pick up the latest edition of New Scientist (Tesco had apparently sold out of copies when I visited in the morning). So I spent a lot of my time just reading and eating. This morning I feel very stodgy because of it.

 This morning I had a dream that continued beyond the point of partially waking up. I have no recollection of how the dream started, but the first I can remember was being on some sort of spaceship to, or maybe landed on, Mars. Perhaps we had already landed because there was gravity (or is it impossible to dream of something, weightlessness, when you have never experienced anything remotely like it). There were various incidents on board, but I can only vaguely remember one. It was some sort of alarm going off and I was naked in bed, and I could only find my underpants when what I needed was my spacesuit. Whatever the emergency was I did not really find out because the next thing I remember was someone discovering that the Martian atmosphere was a little richer than had been previously thought. I have really no recollection about who was on board with me. All I know is that I was not alone. At least one person was a woman and it may easily have been Aleemah or Patricia, but I just don't remember. We had this idea that there was enough oxygen and pressure outside that it was just possible that rats and mice might just be able to survive outside, and that plantlife should be easily possible. So a couple of rats and mice were released, and although they were struggling a bit they did survive. It was at this point I partially woke up and continued the dream in a more intellectual capacity. It was like day dreaming where you can almost control what is going on and conduct thought experiments. I think I was inspired by an article in New Scientist about how parts of the Sahara desert are being reclaimed for agriculture. The local people are planting, and caring for more trees there. The trees help retain water which allows crops to be grown near them. The crops encourage animal life and/or domestic animals whose dropping fertilise the ground even more permitting more trees to be grown in a positive feedback cycle. In the tail end of my dream where I was partly awake, and still partly asleep I was considering if the wholeof Mars could be terraformed from such small beginnings as some plantlife and rats and mice. With insufficient information I could not reach a conclusion on such a fantastical idea, but I felt very positive about it.

 Today I want to try and eat far less than yesterday so I had better try and find some more positive and useful things to do. Right now though, I am going back to bed.....
Saturday 14th October 2006
05:10 BST

 Friday the thirteenth passed by without incident - or did it ? There was an incident near Clapham Junction Station that affected me. I was rushing toget to Victoria Station where I had "ordered" Aleemah to meet me at our usual time and place. I am not sure what the incident near Clapham Junction Station was, but I think it may have been a serious road traffic accident. The road was closed off, even to pedestrians, and the buses were being diverted to who knows where. I got off the bus before the diversion and made my way on foot for the last half a mile. This meant diverting through some unknown back streets, but I found my way OK and got to the station about 15 minutes later than I would have desired. Fortunately I did not have long to wait for a train and reached Victoria less than 10 minutes late.

 At Victoria I waited and waited convinced that I had been stood up. Twenty minutes after getting there, and within minutes of me giving up, I received a text message from Aleemah saying she was not at Victoria, but at Camden. So it was onto the crowded underground to get to Camden Town tube station. After as much as a 20 minute wait there, Aleemah finally turned up. My original plan was only to see her long enough to hand over a home burnt DVD and a packet of Jaffa Cakes (the latter being a symbolic message that I will not attempt to explain here). Instead of just a few minutes it turned into a 3 pint session in a Camden Pub (The Bucks Head), and what should have been an argument was only a discussion conducted in a very friendly sort of way. It was both frusrating and enjoyable, but ultimately solved nothing. While I think I have been tolerant beyond the call of duty for Aleemah's ways, it seems she is not prepared to be tolerant of what seems like a very innocent, and single, character flaw of mine. I came away feeling quite frustrated, and feeling that we reached an impasse that will never be broken. It sounds crazy, but we both admitted that we had enjoyed meeting up, and that 99% of all the hours, minutes and seconds of our previous meetings had been very enjoyable too, but now I am not sure who doesn't want to meet up with whom.

 After last night , today will probably be quite boring. Patricia is away for the weekend so I am on my own  - unless of course what I felt when I woke up at a very unusual hour this morning was a premonition and not a dream. I had the feeling that Patricia was arguing about some jpg's (jpeg compressed pictures). Quite why this should be is a mystery. I don't recall even dreaming about Patricia or pictures.

 Pretty soon now I will go back to bed. When I finally get up properly I have the usual household chores to perform. I have two loads of laundry to do, and a shopping trip to Tesco. There could be some other household stuff to do, but that is semi optional. While in Tesco I will pick up the latest New Scientist and some snacks. So some of my Saturday will be the fairly predicable eating and reading. I have a lot of work still to do on my server, and if I can find the inspiration I could easily spend a lot of time doing that. At the moment I don't think I have that inspiration. I am still rather tired, at least until I have had more sleep, and last night has left me feeling a little depressed (or something).
Friday 13th October 2006
08:11 BST

 Friday the thirteenth ! So far it has started well. After a glorious warm sunny day yesterday, today has started nice and bright (although it was dark when I left home). Today should hopefully be very much like yesterday, and it looks as if it will remain bright and dry for the weekend , and into the early part of next week as well. The only exception forecast is tomorrow when the weathermen say it will be cloudy - but still bright and dry.

 Last night I cooked some wonderful garlic flavoured (oven) grilled salmon. I had it with some garlic and herb bread, some green salad, and some potato salad. It was really rather delicious. A fact confirmed by Patricia who also admitted she will miss my cooking when she finally moves on. Of course I ate a load of other junk as well. I have been a bit stressed over the last week and resorted to extra treats to take my mind off things. I don't think I have grossly overdone it, but next week I ought to take the effort to be a bit more careful.

 One "treat" I had on Wednesday night was a whole can of prunes in fruit juice. Theoretically not too many calories, and theoretically healthy food. I had been waiting for the prunes to live up tho their reputation, and sure enough, this morning I "exploded". My commute into work felt a bit touch and go, but nothing more came to pass.

 For the third consecutive morning I awoke from a complex dream soon after 3am. This mornings dream is now very hazy, but it was set in a sort of melange of all the places I have worked in. Dominating the combination was a 1930's style telephone exchange (perhaps similar to Deptford or Catford ). There were also essences of the old Mastercare workshop, and where I work now. The people in the dream where either unknown or were caricatures of the people I work with now. It is really only the last bit of the dream that I remember, and then not with much clarity. I had been eating some fruit in a place that was part workshop, part office, but also a bit like a mess room/canteen. I decided to take the leftovers (peel, skin, seeds, etc) out to the rubbish bin. On leaving the room I found myself in the entrance area of the building. This was the bit that was very (old) telephone exchange styled. (Actually like many government buildings from the late 1930's). I opened the two large doors and found two woman outside. They were Eastern Europeans of some sort and appeared agitated. They asked if they had come to the right building, but didn't actually say what building, or who, they wanted. I said I would try to help, but first I had to dispose of the old bits of fruit I had in my hand. As I got to the dustbin one of the women rushed inside. I dumped my stuff in the dustin and raced after her. I caught sight of her entering the battery room, or what should have been the battery room. Inside I found there was a bar in there. I caught up with the woman and she told me that she had been held against her will and been mistreated. She has what looked like a few very painful paper cuts on her hand. Suddenly two thugs appeared and tried to lead her away. With plenty of witness in this bar I shouted after her offering her a drink. At that point I woke up - maybe with some relief that the thugs had not had enough time to argue with me.

 Tonight I am going to waste my time by going to Victoria station to try and meet Aleemah for a few minutes and give her a present. I did e-mail her on Wednesday night asking her to meet me, but got no reply. The chances are that she will not turn up tonight, but we'll see. No matter what happens I am expecting to be home soon after 6pm. I wonder if I will see Patricia tonight. In theory she is away for the weekend with her boyfriend, but last night she expressed doubts that it would happen. If their already tenuous relationship has finally broken down then I guess I will have to try and amuse Patricia myself. That should not be so terrible a tesk. Last weekend we had a lot of fun together swimming and shopping.With practically no chance of seeing Aleemah this weekend (or maybe ever again) it would be nice if Patricia were around, or it could be quite a boring weekend (but it would give me loads of time to do more work on my server if I can find the inclination to do it). 
Thursday 12th October 2006
08:08 BST

 After yesterday's fiasco it was good to get up to a working intenet connection again - even if I didn't get any love letters in my e-mail inbox !

 This morning it is fairly chilly, but this is only to be expected after fairly clear skies overnight. Right now the sun is doing it's best to shine, but with winter approaching, the sun is still too low on the horizon at this hour to really shine. No rain is forecast for today so it might be a fine day overall.

 I woke up again at around 3am this morning. It seems to be a popular time for me to wake in the night. I am not sure what is so special about the timing. Maybe something happens on the nearby railway, but I do know that it is often difficult to get back to sleep quickly at that time of the morning. I think I awoke from a long dream, but the dream could have been just before I woke up at around the correct time of 05:30. In the dream I was with several mates on some sort of day out. We had arrived by train, though I don't remember actually travelling, or getting off a train, at a sort of museum town, or village. It wasn't olde worlde like Beamish is supposed to be, but it was definitely sort of fake or artificial. Most buildings housed some sort of museum, exhibition, or display. One peculiarity was that there were writers, stars and other artists all over the place doing lectures, book signings etc. I have no idea who most of these people are, but one, or more, of my travelling companions wanted to to attend a talk by (the late) Douglas Adams. As much as I admire the man, and love his writing, I didn't fancy going in to a crowded room full of nerds and geeks. Instead, I wanted a drink. As the talk was being held in a pub I did go part way in to see if there was another bar. Inside, as well as a crowd of more normal looking people, there were some youngsters dressed up in "Blue Peter style" (sticky back plastic and old detergent bottles !!) imitations of some of their heros. Quite why a load of pseudo klingons, Vulcans, and other assorted non-Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy aliens should want to see Douglas Adams is just another one of the unexplained mysteries of dreams ! I couldn't see another bar to get a drink so I came out of that pub and went to look for another. Glancing back through the windows of the bar I saw "Douglas Adams" looking suspiciously like a very thin Stephen Fry. I wandered around a bit passing more unknown, and unnamed, writers waiting to sign books. I can't actually remember seeing any punters approach them, but I do remember they all seemed to have a lap top open in front of them. The dream sort of fizzled out around then.

   There's nothing much to write now. I have no plans for tonight except to look forward to work on Friday. That sounds odd until I explain that I like Fridays at work because I get a warm glow of satisfaction knowing  that the following day is a Saturday. Ideally today would be the end of the week, but if we have suffer working 5 days a week then the last will always be the best day.
Wednesday 11th October 2006
08:27 BST (pasted at 17:50 BST)

Once again I wake up to find that I have no internet connection, and so once again I write today's entry as an e-mail to myself sent from work.  This morning it is still very mild. Heavy clouds obscured almost any chance of a hint of sunrise. So I walked to the station in darkness (except for street lighting). Even now, some 90 minutes later, it is still very dull outside. The rain held off during my commute to work, but I expect there will be plenty of showers throughout the day today.
I woke up at 3am this morning from a dream about using bluetooth on a new mobile phone. The mobile phone was the size of the largest PDA, and had some sort of detachable head. The dream had me in various places, all seemingly unconnected except for this rather overblown mobile phone. In one segment of dream I was on a bus and getting very frustrated because I was downloading
videos, via bluetooth, or at least I was trying to. My unconcious brain was still aware that bluetooth has very limited range, but in the dream I was frustrated that a signal would come up and disappear again as I passed it's source. So all my downloads would fail. I think that I had worked out some way to hack into the source and store the videos on my 1GB memory card (that exists for real in my mobile phone). There were other bits to the dream, some faces, and known locations, but they are hard to describe now. It was only the bluetooth "hacking" that remains in my memory - shame I can only remember doing it and not how to do  it ! 18:00 BST

  Here I am for real now. I had to reboot my firewall to get internet service. I had hoped that it may have come up by itself sometime during the day, but no, When NTL do an upgrade everyone suffers.

 One thing I forgot to mention this morning was my journey home from work yesterday. It was rather good. I left work a few minutes early and just walked onto a bus to Clapham Junction station. Within two minutes of arriving there I was on a train to Waterloo. That arrived at Waterloo so early that I had a leisurely stroll to platform A at Waterloo East for the early Hayes train back to Catford Bridge. It was the first time I have managed to catch that train in ages. I tried to do the same tonight, but the bus took  a few minutes to arrive, and the traffic was a little heavier. The first train I manged to catch at Clapham Junction got me to Waterloo with enough time spare to do a mad dash to Waterloo East - in theory ! In practice the connecting walkway was heavily congested with people who were being held up by a thousand billion schoolkids who were milling around at the top of the slopes down to the platforms. I have no idea what they were doing there, but can only guess they had been out on some sort of field trip, or other visit. I might still have made my early train but there was also a bunch of them clogging the slope down to my platform. I can run down there easily if no one was in the way, but not when there is a chance of mowing down a host of people.  With my best effort I managed to get within 20ft of the train before the doors slammed shut.
Tuesday 10th October 2006
08:13 BST

 It's a soggy morning ! The sky is grey and it keeps raining. The forecast is for the skies to brighten a little during the afternoon, and by then the rain should have finished for the day. Despite the rain, the overcast skies have kept the warmth in, and this morning is very mild.

 Last night I was 10 minutes late getting to Victoria. There was no sign of Aleemah, and after 20 minutes I went home again. This does not surprise me. I suspect it will be a long time before I see her again - if ever. It's a bit of a shame because I belive that we would have been good for each other, but, well, it takes two to tango.

 Later last night I did a little bit of work on the server. I didn't attempt any configurations, but I did transfer another 5 or 6GB of data from the old backup drive on to the new main drive. It was slow progress because I connected the old backup drive via a USB1 connection. Despite being slow it proved reliable and trouble free. Only another 100 GB to go !!

 I am slowly being forced to do more and more stuff from the command line on my server. It is fairly intimidating, but good practice, and in a way I am glad that I am being forced to learn more about using the command line. Perhaps the secret it that I am doing it bit by bit (if you'll excuse the pun) instead of attempting to learn it all at once. On Sunday I installed Nvu (the web page editor - Document made with Nvu) from the command line using the rpm -i command after the graphical installer had some problems. Amazingly I got it right first time, and it installed without any complaints at all. Last night I got around to playing with rsync. I still don't really understand how to use it, but by trial and error I managed to make a backup of /home onto the backup hard disk. One day, and maybe not too far in the distant future, I am going to install Linux on an old PC without installing a gui, and see how well I can use and abuse it. Unfortunately there are a few things that need a graphical interface that I would struggle without. How could I live without Firefox and Nvu ? But these things are not needed for a server - so it's worth giving it a go sometime, but only once my existing server is 100% working.
Monday 9th October 2006
08:10 BST

 It's back to work and the morning weather report. It is rather grey outside, but no sign of rain. Overnight the sky was fairly clear, and even this morning, as I walked to the station, the moon was shining brightly in what looked like a fairly clear, but dark, sky. So surprisingly it is still almost mild. There is a hint of a chill in the air, but it's by no means chilly so far. It is also surprising that it is so grey right now. During that walk to the station it looked as if the eastern sky was brightening up with few clouds to obscure the sun as it rose. Summing it all up it is easy to se that autumn will soon take over, and the first frosts could be as little as a month away now.

 I wrote about pretty much everything I did yesterday. So there is little to add here, but what little there is I will try and remember.

 The state of my server : It is obviously serving up web pages OK - you're reading this ! Secure shell login works fine - I am able to login in from work to write this. The samba server is working, but there is a difficulty with logon, but only from Windows machines (only Windows 2000 based machines tried). I am sure the configuration for the smb server is correct - I rewrote the configuration from a print out of the old configuration file. So it must be a permissions/users/groups problem - or the Windows machines themselves. At the moment only 25% of the data from the shared folders is on the server. The rest is safely (I hope !!) on a back up hard disk. Until the main shares are populated I won't worry about the rsync back up proceedure. The ftp server is installed but not configured yet. Finally (I think) there is the Webalizer software to be installed and configured. Not much to do then, but it will take a lot of time, and a lot of head scratching (and many pleas for help probably).

 Tonight I am going to go as if to meet Aleemah. I proposed that we meet tonight earlier during last week. She didn't say yes, and she didn't say no. So I'll wait for 30 minutes and see if she turns up. I, as I suspect, she doesn't, I will have to go home and get my kicks from doing more stuff on the server.
Sunday 8th October 2006
14:29 BST

 It's been a part fascinating, and part frustrating past couple of days. A lot of my time has been dominated by trying to get the server up and running properly. It all started on Friday when I went to install two brand new 300GB hard disks in the server. What should have been fairly easy turned into a nightmare. The root cause of the problem was the PC's BIOS not being able to handle 300GB hard disks. Although bigger than it should have been able to handle, it did seem to get the parameters close enough for the previous 160GB hard disks for the operating system (SuSE Linux 10.0) to be able to take over correctly. With the new disks I had a lot of trouble cloning the operating system, and in fact I had to resort to a fresh installation 3 times !!! before I could get the system to reliably boot. With only a 300MHz processor to power the box this was a very slow and tedious process. Fortunately I did not lose any of my precious data files in the process - only the system files, but these included all the configuration settings. It is going to be a long and tedious process restoring all those. Hopefully I will manage most of them by myself without having to bother Steve (but if your reading this Steve, expect a few cries for help soon !!).

 The weather over the last few days has been fairly settled. Friday was the worst with heavy rain and gales for the morning, but things settled later in the afternoon.  Today has been similar, but perhaps a little better than Saturday. After a cold start the sun is now out and it is not too bad outside.

 While the server has been taking up a lot of my time, I have found time for a few other things. With my relationship with Aleemah now on the rocks (but not quite sunk yet) and Patricia's relationship with Pete just about sunk, we have had time to enjoy each others company a bit more. On Friday night we watched a DVD called "Imagining Argentina". Through some fictional characters (I think) this told the story of the 30, 000 disappearances - people who were tortured to death and mostly disposed of into the Atlantic ocean during the days of the military dictatorship in Argentina prior to their fall after the Falklands war with Britain. It was a most harrowing story, and it was yet another reminder just how savage and brutal some people can be. At the time that horror was going on Patricia was living in Argentina.

 The Falklands war was perhaps another example of a war that turned out to be a good idea for the wrong reasons. The justification for fighting over a piece of land is a tricky business, but the side effect of bringing to an end the regime responsible for torturing to death of 30,000 people brings with it it's own justification. It is most interesting hearing first hand, or at worst second hand, knowledge direct from Patricia about the Falklands war. Despite the official rhetoric of the military government, and the government controlled media, many ordinary Argentinian citizens were actually wanting Britain to win the war, It is also interesting that Patricia heard first hand accounts from friends, or aquaintances, who were conscripts in the Argentine army, and who had been captured by our British forces. It made me quite proud to be British (English actually, or as I like to think of myself, a Catfordian) to hear that they had all been very well treated while POW's.

 Of course the other war that started on just very slightly shaky ground, but actually turned out to be a good idea was the Second World war. Freeing people from the horrors of the concentration camps was an excellent reason for it even if that was never the original imagined intention. I wonder how history wil judge the war in Iraq ? That started with possibly good intentions, but now seems a total shambles. The unimagined side effects seem to be a disaster this time. Maybe we should have started it for the wrong reasons, and like the previous examples, got it right by default.

 Back to Saturday. It was an interesting day for various reasons. One reason concerns Patricia's underwear.  When Patricia first stayed here she was terribly shy and used to hide her knickers in case I saw them and turned into some sort of monster (or something !). Well, yesterday we went shopping together in Lewisham, and part of her shopping list was new knickers ! So there I was in in Primark surrounded by thousands and thousands of bras and knickers, and assisting while Patricia made her choices. Once back home she handed me one pair of knickers out of a four pack she had bought and told me I would look good in them. They were black with a lacy trim, and far too small for me, but she insisted that I should try them on. Defying most of the laws of physics I did indeed get them on and paraded them in front of her. I was told that I looked very good in them, and that I should wear them next time I am intimate with a girlfriend. I suggested that Patricia should rip them off with her teeth, but she declined my kind offer. So I took them off myself, and it was a great relief to feel the blood start to flow in areas that had been starved of blood for some time.

 Last night we watched a fairly crap horror movie called "Hide And Seek" starring Robert DeNiro. I thought it was rather unexciting, and Patricia, who bought the DVD in the first place, didn't like it at all. Fortunately neither of us had any nightmares - excepabout reluctant server PCs !!

 This morning we went swimming. It was pretty nice in the water, and for the first time I tried swimming with goggles on. They did not provide that much help for normal swimming, but were usefull when I tried to swim underwater for a mere few feet. I am not sure if I will ever get the hang of that type of swimming. My major achievement today happened right at the end. With an endurance I didn't know I had, I managed to swim just over one and a half lengths non stop. The secret was one I had previously discovered, but keep forgetting, and that is to try and swim very slowly. The reduction in speed is hardly noticable, but the effort is a lot less. If I had remembered that when I first went in the water I may have been able to swim two whole lengths non stop.

 The rest of today has been spent battling with my server. The web server now appears to be running, but the samba server, for network file storage is giving me a lot of grief - again ! I can access the shared folders on this iMac using a blank password and user name, but the Windows machines on the network just will not logon to the folders. I think you may be getting a cry for help again soon Steve.
Thursday 5th October 2006
08:41 BST

 The weather continues to deteriorate. With thick clouds overhead it was still almost dark while I waited for my train at Catford. The worst was yet to come. As I left Wandsworth Town station it started to rain. At first it did not seem that heavy. Five minutes later, as I got off the bus that takes me the four stops from the station to within a few minutes walk from work, the rain got very wet. I descibe it like that because each rain drop was small and light, but there were a lot of them - an extreme lot of them. In a very short time I was feeling very wet all over. It was the sort of rain that even soaks your knee caps as well as your hair.

 I had a reasonable drink in The Catford Ram last night, but I only had time for two pints. I was delayed by taking some time to write a very carefully worded e-mail, plus having a chat with patricia about her troubles. Perhpas two pints was all I needed though. I slept very soundly, but this morning I did not have a trace of a hangover. Three pints gives me no pain in the morning, but does leave me feeling a bit sluggish sometimes. This morning I felt as if I had more energy than the previous morning.

 Tonight I think I can afford to be very lazy. I am taking the day off work tomorrow so I can afford to stay up late if I want, and I can eat certain foods (like baked baked beans) that I usually try and avoid when I have work in the morning. There are two reasons (both mutually exclusive) for my day off tomorrow. The first option was for a possible day out with Aleemah. The chances of that were small to begin with, but I think the chances have now dwindled to zero. So my alternative idea is to be in when I hope I get a parcel delivery. Yesterday I ordered two new hard disks for my server. Not only does my server serve up these web pages (using Apache), but it also provides network storage (using Samba). I am fast running out of space for the network storage so I am doubling the capacity from 160GB to 320GB. That should keep me going for some time. The reason for ordering two disks is to use one as a backup for the other by way of the Linux program rsync. (There is a Windows version of rsync called cwRsync). If I get the new hard disks tomorrow there is a good chance that my server will be off line for much of the day, and these web pages will not be available. If you get error 404 then try again later.
Wednesday 4th October 2006
08:08 BST

 The weather is definitely deteriorating as we head into autumn. This morning (and overnight) it is quite chilly. In this mornings paper it suggested that the early morning temperature was as low as a mere 12º C, and that the afternoon temperature will only get as high as 16º C (though I must confess that I cannot recheck that at the moment, but I think I have quoted the afternoon forecasted temperature correctly). Despite the coolness it is bright and sunny at the moment. If the sun keeps up I would guess that the temperature may rise higher than that forecast.

 I haven't much to say about my little ordeal after work yesterday. I did waste my time, but it could have been for a good cause. Once again, I may write more about this another time.

 Not much is happening right now, or at least nothing terribly exciting. I am off work on Friday so later today I am going to order a couple of bits and pieces from an internet trader, or two, in the hope that my timing will be right for delivery on Friday morning. This evening I am meeting Kevin and Howard (and maybe Iain too ?) in The Catford Ram for a couple of pints, but as usual I will be leaving for home early to make sure I get a good nights sleep ready for work in the morning. I definitely need a lot of good sleep right now. I have been reading a book, Job by Robert Heinlein, in bed and it has been difficult to put it down over the last few nights. I am very near the end now, and it should cease to be a distraction from sleep soon.
Tuesday 3rd October 2006
08:10 BST

  This morning it is cool, but bright and dry - so far. Yesterday also had some dry bright, and occasionally sunny spells, but it did pour down as I waited on the platform at Wandsworth Town station. I expect today to be fairly similar, although I haven't actually seen a weather forecast this morning.

 Last night I cooked up another excellent pasta based meal. It contained left over chicken that had been stuffed with sage and onion stuffing. I removed most of the stuffing before adding it to the pasta. Leaving it in would just have created a soggy mess, but the flavours still carried over and complimented the green pesto sauce that I added. Patricia gave it the thumbs up, so it couldn't have been that bad. I did try for a second helping, but couldn't finish it after earlier eating a whole (9 inch) baton of bread with sardines in it. All together it was a lot to eat, but maybe it is a sign of the times that I didn't attempt to force down the last of the pasta, and left a reasonable portion behind. I did still feel pretty stuffed afterwards, but this morning I am OK. The reason for this overeating was that I was a little stressed about something I have to face tonight after work. If it is worth mentioning I may write about it later.

 One other curious thing about over eating was a small article in this mornings Metro. It quoted from an article that appeared in Nature magazine saying that researchers have found a link between obesity and drug use (small abstract here or longer article via google cache here). Apparently it is the same chemical receptors in the brain that respond to both drug addiction and food addiction. Perhaps one day I'll write something about the implications of this.
Monday 2nd October 2006
08:14 BST

 If you are wondering where yesterdays entry is don't worry. For some reason I didn't get around to writing one. Hence this month actually starts on the 2nd.

 This morning it is bright and dry, but rain is expected, heavy at times, later this afternoon. This follows the pattern for the last few days. On both Saturday, and Sunday, there were showers with sunshine in between. The showers were a lot heavier on Sunday though. I tried to grab an extra bit of sleep early on Sunday afternoon. Not long after I dozed off I was awoken by a very loud clap of thunder.

 Saturday was an excellent day. I met up with Aleemah at Kensal Green station for a walk around Kensal Green cemetery. As I previously wrote, it is one of the seven big London cemeteries constructed in Victorian times. There is some fantastic stonework in there, and plenty of ancient history to look at. Although the style of the tombs and tombstones is more or less identical to Nunhead cemetery, I do prefer Nunhead for its wildness. In Kensal Green there are no surprises because you can see far ahead of where you are going, but Nunhead is so overgrown in places that there are hidden gems waiting to surprise you amongst the trees. One other difference I noted was that Nunhead seems to have far more tradesmen among its inhabitants, while Kensal Green seems to have far more old soldiers and colonial administrators among its inhabitants.

 After the cemetery we retired to a very pleasant pub where we listened to some quite pleasant music while comfortably seated together on a settee. Aleemah seemed more relaxed and happy than I have ever seen her. If she were a cat she would have definitely been purring as I stroked her hand or caressed her around the ears (for the latter she was actually moving her head to press harder - just like a cat does).

 On Sunday morning I went swimming with Patricia (although if it were an option I would have prefered it with Aleemah). My performance was not quite as good as last time, but I did manage one whole length non stop, and if I hadn't stopped to let a faster swimmer pass me by I may have managed a second. I would guess that had the pool been the more usual 25m length, rather than the 33m of Ladywell baths, I may have managed as many as a dozen full lengths (with a breather in between each one). My usual swimming style is breast stroke. It seems easier for me, but is not very fast. Yesterday I tried to improve my crawl with some limited success. Hopefully I may get the opportunity for more swimming next weekend.