Index September 2006 Calendar
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Saturday 30th September 2006
05:42 BST

 The last day off the month and it's raining !  It's still fairly mild though.

 Patricia was out with some work mates last night and didn't get in until almost 11pm. So last nights dinner, beer and a movie did not happen again. Despite getting in late, and possibly having a hangover, she reckons that she is still going swimming this morning. I'd love to go with her, but I won't have enough time to spare. Besides, I feel a little rough this morning. Maybe that will pass once I have had another hours sleep, and I am showered and dressed. In fact I have to feel better later on this morning when I go out to meet Aleemah. Just being with her will make me feel a lot better regardless of how I might previously feel.

 The weather for our meeting may not be exactly nice, but it will add some atmosphere to our visit to Kensal Green cemetary. If it is raining too hard we may have to abandon the visit and do something else, or if there are just occasional showers we will just have to keep taking shelter (which is always a good excuse for another cuddle together). It might seem like an odd sort of place to visit, but Kensal Green cemetary, like the other old Victorian London cemetaries has some fascinating old stone work. Take a look at some pictures of Nunhead cemetary that I took a couple of years back.

 I don't know how long I will be out with Aleemah, but if I am not home too late I guess there could be another chance for dinner, beer and a movie with Patricia tonight. Hopefully I will feel wonderful in the morning, regardless of what happens tonight, and I will be able to go swimming tomorrow morning. Of course the other important job that has to take place sometime today, or early tomorrow, is to construct the template for October's blog.
Friday 29th September 2006
09:25 BST

A remote re-boot was needed to get my server back on line. It seems to be working now. So I can cut-n-paste some stuff I wrote locally at 08:20 this morning.......

For yet another morning my Internet connection seems to be running super slow, and virtually stopped. So I am writing this as an email that I will send to myself and then cut-n-paste it to here where you are reading this now (and if that wasn't mangling the English language, and don't know what is ! - It is sort of curious writing in the past tense when writing of future events !)

It is a grey morning, and there have been a few isolated spots of rain. I fear tomorrow will be similar, and that will make my day out with Aleemah tomorrow a bit of a soggy affair. Although in some ways it will add to the experience. We are visiting Kensal Green Cemetery which is one of the "big seven" old Victorian cemeteries full of exotic tombstones and architecture. Apart from the discomfort, cemeteries probably ought to be visited while it is gloomy, and maybe even close to dusk, but we will be there during the afternoon.

Last night I went home from work via Tesco and bought some bits and pieces for a nice dinner. I made roast chicken thighs cooked with a smear of wholegrain mustard, and some rather delicious roast potato cubes. These were cooked in olive oil with garlic and herbs. The only downside to this effort was that Patricia went out swimming, and I went to the pub with Kevin. I has a couple of rolls before the pub, but I am not sure if Patricia had anything before swimming. We had dinner at about 9.30pm, which was rather late, and close to bed time, so we ate sparingly, and there is enough left over to go with some salad and stuff tonight. Apparently Patricia is not away this weekend, and unlike last weekend where she changed her mind at the last minute, I am told tonight is definitely on for dinner, beer and a movie. Unlike last weekend I don't think I will have enough time to go swimming with Patricia. I have to be at Kensal Green Station for midday, and will probably have to leave home at about 10:30 to avoid being late. This is a bit of a pity as I would love to have gone swimming tomorrow, but maybe it will be possible on Sunday morning.
Thursday 28th September 2006
08:12 BST

 This morning it is overcast and rather humid. Rain is expected at any time, and I have seen a couple of vehicles that look like they have passed through some rain already.

 I had a good dinner last night, and this morning I feel somewhat sluggish. It could almost have been a healthy meal, but I smothered the pasta with grated cheese and chorizo ham. It was very nice, but combined with a bagel that was overfilled with some very runny camembert cheese (I had to use it all up as it was getting rather past it's best), I did rather overdo it last night. The reason for this excess was that I came home feeling rather weak. There was a problem on the trains - a train had broken down in the Queenstown Road area - and it took me a whole hour to get from work to Waterloo mainline station instead of the normal 30 minutes. So I got in very late, and very hungry after only eating 4 pieces of fruit all day (and eating fairly sparingly the previous day). Patricia, who was coming home from Kingston, got caught up in the train delays as well, and she was a bit late and rather tired when she got home.

 I went to bed fairly early last night, perhaps not as early as I should have done, but I was asleep well before 10pm. Maybe it was all the cheese, or maybe not, but I had a load of vivid dreams. Some were about work and featured all sorts of different people, but one was one of those dreams where you dream you have woken up. In this bit of dream I woke up to find lots of debris on the end of my bed. I was in my own bed, but at the end of the bed was a small tree in a large flowerpot type thing. This did not seem unusual in the dream, but what did seem unusual was that Nelly had been sharpening her claws on the tree, and in particular on a thick black plastic strap that held the tree to a support. At the end of the bed, near my feet, were all these long shavings of black plastic and bits of tree bark. I can't really remember what happened after that.

 Tonight I may be drinking with Kevin. He had a job in Bristol (I think) last night, and was expecting to get home far too late for our usual Wednesday night drink. After my big dinner, and general fatigue, it was actually better that we did not drink last night, but tonight it seems like a good idea. If not I will attempt to get another early(ish) night.
Wednesday 27th September 2006
08:09 BST

 It's a wonderful morning. The sky was really colourful as I walked to the station. The red and pink clouds set against a blue sky suggest that bad weather is on it's way, but right now it wonderful. The air is cool, but in a refreshing sort of way, and the light is soft and diffuse. It makes me wish I was not at work, but out and about somewhere.

 Things are never quite as predicted. Yesterday I was predicting that I might go swimming with Patricia last night. That never happened. Patricia did not come home after work yesterday. She was staying with a work colleague closer to where she has to give a presentation this morning in Kingston. Not only was Patricia not at home to encourgae me to go swimming with her, but I was not at home either. I had an unexpected, but very welcome, call from Aleemah asking if I wanted to meet up after work. Of course I did, and we spent several happy hours together in Camden Town last night.

 I got home a little after 21:00 to two starving cats. They were very pleased to see me ! Not only were they starving, but I was pretty empty as well. Strangely though, I did not feel terribly hungry even though I had only eaten 2 apples, one banana, and one orange inj the preceeding 24 hours. Despite not feeling very hungry I still could not resist buying a couple of rolls while waiting for my train home at London Bridge. I didn't eat them until I was home and had fed the cats ! I could have easily resisted eating them (the rolls that is, and not the cats !!!), but I didn't fancy going to work on a really empty stomach, and then not to have any major sustenance until at least lunchtime, and more probably until I get home tonight.

 So after two days of eating fairly frugally, and very frugally compared to the weekend, I weighed myself at just 100 grammes over me "best ever" weight - and that was before I went to the toilet for the second time prior to leaving home. Had I been able to weigh myself naked at that point I estimate I would have outdone my previous "best ever". I put "best ever" in quotation marks because my best ever weight loss was back in about 1982. I am still a long way from that, but I still have hope that given enough time and inspiration I will even better that. It may take another year or two at the current rate of progress, and I will still be clinically overweight despite being able to count my ribs with the naked eye (which was just about possible in 1982).

 I've got to mention another (dubious) proud achievement. Maybe it is because the world knows of my love of Aleemah, or more likely because I embedded my email address in these pages a few days ago, but I have finally been offered Viagra by spam e-mail. I was beginning to think I was a freak because I just was not getting any spam, but now I know I am normal ! Fortunately it is only to a secondary e-mail account, and my ISP ( The wonderful NTL) does quite an excellent job at filling up my main inbox up with crap offers and other junk just promoting their own services. What they don't realise is that I have a secret weapon against them. I use Firefox (like any other right minded person) as my web browser, and NTL's crappy web page designers can't write standards compliant html. So their web pages don't always display properly, and I would not want to subscribe to extra services, even if I could see them on their web pages, knowing that they are technically inferior !
Tuesday 26th September 2006
08:18 BST

 It's cool, grey, but dry this morning. There was some rain last night, but not enough to dampen a nice evening out with Aleemah. In fact the rain did have one positive aspect last night. It was a good excuse (not that one was really needed) to cuddle up close together and shelter under one umbrella.

 This morning I feel really good apart from some more minor back pain. It is not nearly as bad as it was the last time I mentioned it, but still rather irritating. Aside from that I feel really good. After my weekend eating excesses I behaved myself yesterday, and this morning I dared to jump on the scales. I have gained a couple of hundred grammes compared with my "best ever", but that, and quite probably more, should disappear by the end of the week. I think there is a very small chance that I will be going swimming tonight, and that should help as well.

 News from Patricia suggests that there is a better chance of pizza, beer and a movie this coming Friday. If that does happen I expect it will be followed by swimming in the morning, but only if I have enough time because I will be spending most of the day with Aleemah on Saturday.
Monday 25th September 2006
08:25 BST

 It's a miserable overcast, drizzly, sort of morning. Even worse is that it looks as if it will be the same for most of the day. The only ray of sunshine is that I will be meeting Aleemah tonight, and she looking forward to some hugs and kisses !!

 Yesterday was mostly boring, but there was one strange highlight to the day. I went shopping in Tesco quite early - fairly soon after they open on a Sunday morning. For breakfast I had two left over nan breads with some coronation chicken sandwich filler. It wasn't exactly healthy eating, but was far better than what was to come. It was probably only a few hours later, maybe around 13:00 that I ate a large bag of peanuts , and soon after a large bar of chocolate. Now these last two are absolute killers, but they tasted nice, and I wanted something to liven up a tedious Sunday afternoon. It was almost certainly the chocolate, but the afternoon was livened up a lot, although perhaps not in the most enjoyable way. The rush of sugar and caffiene made me feel quite peculiar. Maybe I could have enjoyed that but it coincided with an unpleasant discovery. Two cans of coke decided to freeze in my fridge and then split open spraying coke everywhere ! The strange thing is that they were not in the freezer compartment, but just in the larder part of the fridge. I think it was Saturday that I put a 6 pack of youghurt in the fridge that obstructed the door from closing easily (though it did still close firmly with a tiny bit of extra pressure). I believe that at one point the door may have been left ajar for an hour or two. I do remember finding it like that, but I did not believe that it had been ajar for that long. During that time the thermostat must have been convinced that the temperature was too high and turned on the cooling for too long. That must have been when the cans froze and split, and it was only when things turned back to normal on Sunday that the cans thawed enough to spray their contents everywhere. It was while clearing that mess up that the sugar and caffiene rush I was experiencing became a hindrance !
Sunday 24th September 2006
07:29 BST

 So far it seems to be a fairly bright morning. If today's weather follows the same as yesterday then it will be warm and mostly sunny.

 Yesterday was a little boring, I have to confess. I never did get around to doing any serious work on any computers, and yet I did spend a fair amount of time behind the computer screen. I made two attempts to download the CD images of Xubuntu. The first attempt was using bit torrent. I thought it would faster than just using an ordinary ftp transaction. I was wrong. The downloads were fairly slow, and then got stuck at around the 99% region after about 3 hours. So I tried a direct download from the ftp server and the two images just whizzed down in under 2 hours each. The first image was for the ordinary desktop distribution. This runs initially as a live CD, and you can then install to hard disk using the configuration settings that are already working (hopefully) from running the live CD. The second image was for the "alternate" distribution. This one only runs as an installer, but with more options available in it. It is this version that I hope to use for my slimmed down new server (whenever I get round to building it). Both images successfully burnt to CD's, but I have to admit I have yet to test them. I may try the live CD version on the PC I am using now to write this.

 Just for a change I thought I would do today's writing on the Windows 2000 PC that faces the Linux PC here in the back room. I had it fired up anyway to burn a CD on some dodgy old disks that the Linux burner seemed to be having difficulty with. (Must buy new blank CDs in Tesco this morning !!). There is one advantage of using this PC for updating my web pages. On the Linux box I use a remote desktop connection direct to the server to write to the file directly. It is rather slow, but does have the advantage that I can see any pictures I have used.  Using this Windows 2000 PC (and similarly at work on my Windows XP machine) I use WinScp to make a secure connection to the server, download the file, and work on it locally before uploading it back to the server. Working on it locally speeds things up no end !

 Of course, all these downloads I have been doing, and there are others running right now, probably means this page will be so slow loading that you will have given up, and are not reading this. So why am I saying this ? Well, I know some of my readers are technophiles who know how to be patient, or at least understand the problem, and will wait patiently for the page to load. But who are the other readers ? I know from my web statistics that I have readers from several European countries. Who are you, and why are you reading all my scribble ? Of course you are most welcome to read it, and it is sort of interesting that I have such a wide readership. Tell me about yourself.

 Back to my day, yesterday. I did manage a little housework, but 90% of that was just shoving my laundry into the washing machine. The rest was some very mild tidying up. I am just wondering how I spent the rest of yesterday. I know that I did some extra sleeping, and quite a lot of eating. Some time was spent reading. I had some unread pages in this weekends New Scientist magazine, and I went out as far as the corner shop and picked up a copy of the latest Fortean Times which has a load of Star Trek 40th anniversary stuff in it.

 In the evening I thought I might order a curry, have some beer, and maybe even indulge in another little rarely pursued pleasure of a particular type of herbal smoke. In the end I did order a large curry, but did not indulge in the other pleasures. After the other stuff I ate yesterday, plus the curry, I am thinking that asbestos underpants may be the order of the day today !

 Today I have no special plans apart from shopping in Tesco. I need cat food and blank CDs rather desperately, and some other stuff may be desirable. If you don't know me you may wonder why I make such frequent references to shopping in Tesco. The simple answer is that the store is just 5 minutes walk away from home, and they do sell most of what I need for day to day living - simple really !
Saturday 23rd September 2006
05:42 BST

 It's cold and dark right now, but at least it is not raining. I think the forecast is that it will be warm and sunny today. Until the sky gets a lot lighter I have no idea if this will be the case or not.

 It seems that I am up very early for a Saturday morning, but I will soon be back in bed for more sleep. I have very few plans for today, and one that I had will not be happening now. There had been a reasonable chance that I was going swimming with Patricia this morning, but she had is not here right now. Although she had doubts it was going to happen, she was lucky enough to get another invite to spend the weekend with her boyfriend. This meant that I did not see her last night, and the pizza, beer and movie night that was tentatively planned did not happen either. Aleemah is doing stuff with family, and family friends this weekend. So I am on my own for the entire weekend.

 It's just a week to go now before I get paid. I am looking forward to that. My finances are such that I will have to be careful for this coming week, but I should be OK (I hope). One positive aspect of no pizza, beer and movie last night is that I am a bit richer than I thought I would be. I had budgeted to spend up to £40 for last night (how much is a DVD these days ?). So being £40 richer than I thought I would be, I am now wondering if I can stretch my budget to splash out on a new big hard drive for a new server project. My current server has about 130GB allocated to assorted storage space. That is close to being used up, and I feel that I ought to double that, or maybe even treble it. Ideally I want two very large hard disks. The second would be a backup for the first.

 Despite having this desire for more server storage space, I really have no idea (yet) what the configuration of it all will be. In my current server all the data on the main hard drive is mirrored across to the second hard drive. There is a danger with this configuration that any files that get corrupted by a failing disk get copied to the second hard disk. I am relying on having the good luck that if that first hard disk starts to fail it will crash the operating system (SuSE linux 10) before the good version on the second hard disk get overwritten by the corrupt ones on the first hard disk. A safer alternative would be be to use a pair of disks in a raid mirror arrangement (and then a third hard disk, perhaps external, to keep a backup of that data). Ultimately a huge tape back up system would be safest, but that is outside my budget range.

 The other decision to be made is whether to just increase the storage capacity of my existing server, or to build a new one from scratch. I think I am in favour of the latter idea. I have  a spare  box that could do the job quite nicely. Contrary to some opinions, a server does not have to be a massively powerful box. My current server uses a single Pentium II (or maybe III) processor running somewhere between 300 and 550MHz  (after running non stop for 167 days I have forgotten what makes it tick !). Most of the time the processor is barely ticking over. So I am thinking of employing my 200MHz Pentium Pro processor and motherboard for "son of server one".

 When it does finally get built I think I am going to try Xubuntu linux as the operating system. This has the advantage that it uses the lightweight Xfce graphical desktop, and is more suited to low end hardware. The experts say you do not need a graphical interface for a server, but I am a lazy sod and want to do things the easy way (even so I expect I will have to call in Steve to sort out all my cock-ups, and he will just use Vi [or similar]to sort it out over the internet - eternal thanks Steve !). Once the new server is running, whether today, next week, or next year, I will keep the old one as a cold spare ready to spring into life at the first sign of the new one failing - probably !
Friday 22nd September 2006
08:10 BST

 Just to make a change - It's raining this morning ! It's still quite mild though, and I was feeling almost, but not quite, hot under my jacket on the way to work. Inside work it is fairly hot and stuffy, but than again it always is.

 Last night I exchanged a few e-mails with Aleemah. Although things are not going quite in the direction I might desire, we seem to be virtually back to normal after a week of slight difficulties.

 Also last night, I cooked a rather delicious meal - even if I say so myself, although Patricia seemed to concur with my estimation. To be truthful I can't really take that much credit for it. Cooking up some pasta with some pesto, and extra tomato puree in it is not rocket science, and the Tesco bought garlic and herb bread slices just needed light toasting in the oven. I did add an extra flourish to them though. On a few slices I sprinkled some "spicy" grated cheddar and mozzarella cheese on them. It was one of those that Patricia made a bee line for. My tasty cooking, and other ways that I look after Patricia must mean I am the best husband she'll never have !

 It's funny, though perhaps not surprising, that now I have made Aleemah the focus of my affections I am getting on so much better with Patricia. She, in turn, is getting on much better with me. It is quite possible that if Patricia is not seeing her boyfriend tonight we will stay in an enjoy pizza, beer and a DVD tonight. Then in the morning it should be off to the swimming baths where I hope to repeat my feat of last time by swimming a complete length of the 33m pool non stop. In theory I may be able to do more this time, but I have been letting my diet fall by the wayside this week, and have quite probably even put on weight (I haven't dared check). So maybe I won't even make the non stop length, let alone any more.
Thursday 21st September 2006
08:13 BST

It's repetative I know, but here's this mornings weather. It's bright, sunny, and warm. The forecast is, that despite some breezy conditions, the temperature in London will reach 27º C today. The strong breezes, and maybe even strong winds, are coming from the south bringing the warm mediteranean air with them.

 Last night I had a pleasant drink with Kevin and Iain at the Catford Ram. Before going I did eat a little more than desirable, but somehow I resisted the temptation to eat after I came home again. After checking on my emails (none) I more-or-less went straight to bed. In theory I got a good nights sleep, although I did wake up once or twice in the night. The good thing is that my back is even better this morning. In fcat I don't think I have noticed any soreness in it at all so far this morning. My guts are another matter. No real problem as yet, but they do feel ever so slightly delicate right now.

 I don't know what I am doing after work. I have sent a text message to Aleemah suggesting we meet tonight if she is at work today. I don't know if she is, or if she will be able to meet me. If not I guess I'll just be going straight home for dinner and TV.
Wednesday 20th September 2006
09:30 BST

 It's another bright sunny morning, and posibly slightly less chilly than yesterday. The forecast is for sunshine and warmth for the next few days, as well as over the weekend. The only fly in the ointment is that it is going to get very windy.

 My back is much improved this morning. Maybe it was the very large dose of "scotch muscle relaxant" I took last night, or maybe it was just one of those things, and maybe it was the large dose of "medicine" last night that has left me feeling very slightly rough in other ways.

 The internet connection had died when I got to work (due to a really crappy ADSL modem/router). I should have written something up in Windows Notepad ready to paste into here for when the connection was restored, but I didn't, and now I have no time left to write any more - not that there is that much more to say.
Tuesday 19th September 2006
08:07 BST

 The mornings are definitely getting chillier now despite the days still being fairly warm. Although cool outside, the sky is now mostly blue and the sun is shining. Another indication that the seasons are changing is that I am now definitely getting up while it is still dark, and I probably have been for some time now, but it was only this morning that it really registered with me. Although it was light when I left for work, the sun was not high enough in the sky for any direct sunlight to show.

 This morning I am suffering from lower back pain. At least I think it is lower back pain. There is a hint that it could be almost coming from the hip area. It is fairly uncomfortable when sitting in certain sitting positions, but disappears entirely when standing, or even better, walking. I don't feel it is bad enough to warrant any painkillers, but I have some here at work if it gets worse for any reason. I can't think of any particular reason why it should ache so much this morning, but it could even be related to the changing seasons. It was rather cool overnight, and I did have my bedroom window open all night. Had I slept entirely under the duvet the open window would have been of little consequence, but initially I did feel warm in bed - an effect made worse by the home made chillie and mint yoghurt I consumed during the evening.

 Once again I have no particular plans for the day. well, I suppose that is slightly incorrect. I plan to be at work all day, but after that I have no special plans. I think it is just going to be the usual combination of dinner, TV, reading and sleep (rather similar to last night).
Monday 18th September 2006
08:34 BST

I am now safely in work, and feeling fine. Well, maybe not that fine. I do feel a little tired this morning despite getting plenty of sleep over the weekend.

For the most part this last weekend could be described as a little boring. I did what I had to do on Saturday, but apart from those household chores I did not feel very creative. My intention to finish off rebuilding an old PC came to nothing, but I did do a little writing. Despite not really doing all that much the time did seem to fly. This seems a little surprising now I come to think back on it.

It seems I have now said all there is to say about my weekend, and there is little to add about today. I am at work, I'll be going home at 16:00. I'll get home sometime between 17:00 and 17:20. I'll have some dinner, watch some TV, maybe write an email or two, do a little reading, and then aim for bed at around 21:00. Sounds boring, doesn't it, but sometimes there doesn't even seem to be time to do all that.

07:10 BST

 Whether it was the vegetables and chillies I had yesterday, or whether it is a certain stress I am under at the moment, but this morning I seem to have the unwelcome return of an irritable bowel flare up. I made it as far as Catford Bridge station this morning, but felt rather uncomfortable and have come home again (where of course nothing happened). Very soon now I'll try again for the 07:30 train. But at least it has given me a chance to to start today's entry off.

 It is a mild morning, and soon the sun will come out to give, what I hope, will be a warm and pleasant day. It should be like yesterday which was also dry and bright.
Sunday 17th September 2006
13:12 BST

I have been reading the latest edition of New Scientist magazine. The major theme for this week is about online communities, blogs, and the Internet in general. On the topic of blogging it discuss's various forms of blogging. Reading those descriptions I get the impression that this blog does not fall into any special category. I rarely rant about stuff, but I do when the mood takes me. I don't talk about my sex life, because it doesn't really exist, and I wouldn't go into details anyway. I rarely talk about books or music, though I have done when it has been important to the general flow of my life. In short this is, by some standards, a boring blog, and that how it is meant to be - in a way. It is just the story, or maybe the highlights and lowlights of my life. It's a sort of insurance scheme against memory loss in the future - or something !

 The articles (there are several of them on variations of the central theme) include some descriptions of the various online communities people join. (more information here). Some I know of, some I don't, and some almost bewilder me (start of micro rant). Take for example "librarything". On this blogging website it would appear that your entire personal profile is described only as the list of books you read, or have read. So presumably you interact with other fellow users by going into detailed accounts of the book(s) you are reading. To me this blurs the distinction between real life and unreal life beyond even that of real life and cyber life. It is quite probable that I read books in a different way to other mortals. For me, if a book is very good, it is an escape from reality, but only while I am immersed in the book. I could liken it to a good dream - one that you come away from feeling good, but you forget all but the important details once the book is closed. If you asked me about some of the books on my bookshelf I could say whether it was a good read (for me), but if you then asked details of the plot, and why it was good I could only answer part of the first question, and very little of the second.

07:23 BST

 This morning it is almost bright, and definitely dry. The sky has a hazy appearance suggesting some high mist that might clear away later on and reveal the sun and blue sky. It is still fairly mild. As I sit here wearing very few clothes (just one item of underwear to be precise), and with the back door wide open (so the cats can go in and out) it feels cool, but not uncomfortably so.

 I see from my web statistics that 4 people watched the videos of Aleemah that I included yesterday. I think those people were Iain, Howard, Mike and Steve, although one person was using Tiscali as an ISP and I am not sure who that matches.

 In some ways I had a lazy day yesterday, and yet I did seem to achieve a few things. I did two loads of laundry, the inevitable trip to Tesco, and of course some video editing/conversion. The latter was rather less editing (just a few seconds lopped off the start of one of the video), but I did spend a little time playing with several file formats before deciding on publishing them in mpeg format. If I had used Quicktime movie format I could have published them in "fast start" streamable format, but the file sizes were over twice as big for no apparent improvement in quality over the mpeg format. The other option was to use the original 3gp format, which is a version of mp4, but I am not convinced by the compatibility of such a proprietary format. Mpeg has the major advantage of being almost universally watchable.

 Some of my other activities yesterday included reading, eating far too much (a bad habit that seems to happen every time I go to Tesco at the weekend and have not much to do, or no one to see), and sleeping. After late nights practically every night last week I did have a fair amount of sleep to catch upon. So I went back to sleep after writing yesterday's entry, and then took several naps during the day. Last night I went up to bed as early as 20:30, and I may have fallen to sleep by 21:00. I did wake up for half an hour at 03:00 for some unexplained reason, but I then slept solidly until about 07:00 this morning.

 I awoke from another dream that seemed to feature, in a slightly distorted form,  the British Telecom technical training college (TTC) at Old Street * again.
* Actually on the corner of Leonard Street and Tabernacle Street.
Some of the architectural features seen in the dream seem to have been influenced by watching a programme on BBC2 yesterday about Fred Dibnah. Perhaps the most unexplained, totally bizzare, feature of the dream was a half remembered bit about a laptop computer that was fitted with human teeth. I really wish I could remember what all that was about !

 Today I will just make up as I go along. I have several ideas in mind. I have a half finished PC here that I ought to do some more work on. There is also the option to go up to London to catch up with Aleemah while she visits the Thames Festival. For various reasons I may elect not to do that.
Saturday 16th September 2006
11:11 BST

Here's a quick update. I have been playing around with the video captured on my new O² Ice mobile phone (and saved to my new 1GB microSD memory card). The captured video doesn't look too bad considering, and is useful as memorabilia, but is otherwise very poor compared to the cheapest and nastiest camcorder. I have transcoded two short clips to mpeg video. They are not "streamable" so if you want to watch them they will probably have to be downloaded first. Oh, and ignore the groteque sound quality.  Video 1 (about 4MB)   Video 2  (about 6MB) If neccesary, right click and choose "save as" - even Mac users can do this if they are sensible enough to use a two, or more, button mouse.

06:00 BST

 This is far too early to be up on a Saturday morning. More so given the amount of sleep I ought to be catching up on. It seems to be dry this morning, although the sun is not yet up to reveal the exact state of the weather. Yesterday started with rain, but the rest of the day was warm and dry - dry as in no rain, but rather humid otherwise.

 I had another wonderful evening out with Aleemah last night. We ate a very pleasant meal in a cheap resturant/posh cafe called The Stockpot in Panton St (near Leicester Square). Afterwards we wandered around the West End and called in at several mostly crowded and noisy bars for a some additional drinks.  Despite having a wonderful time the evening ended on a note of sadness. It is not something I want to explain here, but I fear I will be seeing less of Aleemah in the future.

 Today is a day to catch up on a lost of missed things. Going back to bed for more sleep (if I can) comes top of the list, but I also have a huge pile of dirty laundry that needs attending too. Then there are the other domestic chores that need catching up on. That includes the inevitable shopping trip to Tesco's for supplies and provisions. If I have the time or inclination I want to do some computer building/experimenting/modifying as well, although there is all day Sunday for that as well. I think I would like to have gone swimming this morning, but Patricia is away with her new boyfriend Pete this weekend (she doesn't muck around when it comes to new boyfriends !!), and I do not like to go swimming on my own.
Friday 15th September 2006
08:21 BST

 Another wet soggy morning ! There is a plus side to it - the humidity has dropped, and so despite the rain it is far more comfortable. Yesterday remained fairly grey, but the sun shone into my life when I met up with Aleemah after work.

 We met at Victoria station as usual, but instead of going straight for a drink we had a wander around to look for a memory card for me new mobile phone. My phone uses MicroSD cards which are fairly new, and just slightly rarer than the MiniSD and the far more common SD card as found in many digital cameras. I had previously looked for one during my dinner break and found that Carphone Warehouse in Wandsworth's Southside Shopping centre had some 256MB cards for about £26. That is reasonably cheap, but I thought I could do better. I may well have gone ahead and bought that one if the queues had not been horrendous in there. Round the corner from Victoria station we found another Carphone Warehouse. It did not look that promising, but we tried it anyway. Amazingly they had a 1Gb card for just £39.99. That was a few pence cheaper than my target price estimated from some internet searches earlier in the day. In fact the internet prices did not even include p&p.

 Having bought my new memory card it was back to the station for a drink, a bite to eat, and a play with the video capabilities of my new phone. On the phone itself the video does look pretty good. How that will translate onto a PC screen remains to be seen. Before writing this I did a little internet search to find some utilities to convert from the .3gp file format used in the phone to something a bit more PC friendly (probably mpeg).

  Once again, I had another late night, and feel sleepy again this morning, but it was worth it, and I would do it all over again given the chance. In fact I am going to. Tonight I meet Aleemah again, but this time we are going for a cheap resturant meal. Once we have eaten I am not sure what we will do. Maybe we'll have a wander around and see the sites, or maybe do something else. Too much wandering around could lead to an interesting situation. Patricia is out meeting here new boyfriend in the vicinity of Trafalgar Square tonight. Aleemah and myself will not be far from there, and may even cross Trafalgar Square at some point. It would be peculiar to bump into Patricia that way, and could even be amusing.

 With no work in the morning we may stay out a bit later than usual. That will be terrific if it happens. Every minute spent with Aleemah is wonderful, but I am also really looking forward to my bed tonight, and a lay in tomorrow morning !
Thursday 14th September 2006
08:08 BST

 There was another thunderstorm last night. It didn't seem to be very noisy, but the lightning was very bright and frequent. It woke me up for a brief time, but I have been so tired lately that I fell asleep again very quickly. This morning the rain has stopped, but it is very humid outside (and pretty sticky inside, here at work). The weather forecast in The Metro suggests that this afternoon should be brighter and stay dry. That'll be handy because I did not bring a coat into work, and I will be meeting Aleemah after work.

 Last night I spent a few pleasant hours in The Ram with Kevin. After chatting about this and that the subject soon turned to my new mobile phone. One feature of my new mobile is that it has Bluetooth connectivity. So we spent a considerable time playing with Bluetooth transferring files between our mobile phones. I was a little late getting home after that - another little reason why I am a bit tired lately.

 When I got home I gave into temptation and had a salami roll with pickled mild chillies. While this was not in total accordance with my diet, it was not too bad for it. Prior to going to the pub I did have a fairly large meal of mainly salad and a lot of fish (both mackerel, and herring in tomato sauces). While big, that meal was not overburdened with calories. This morning I weighed 300 grammes heavier than yesterday. Some would blame the beer last night, but I blame the salami roll (baguette to be more precise). Although the truth maybe that I was just more hydrated than usual. My scales seem accurate enough to register drinking a glass of water. So 300 grammes is of little consequence, and besides which, I do feel that there ave been occasions, like on Tuesday evening, when I think I have pushed things a bit far and suffered for it.

 The traffic in, or through, Wandsworth is totally unpredictable. When I get to Wandsworth Town station I prefer to get the bus to a little nearer work. It usually saves 5 minutes or so. I get off the bus in Garratt Lane and the road is usually clear enough to cross quickly and safely. Most of the traffic is usually coming from the Clapham Junction direction. This morning the situation was almost reversed for no apparent reason. The traffic coming down Garratt Lane was exceptionally heavy, though still fast moving, while the traffic from Clapham Junction direction (East Hill ?) seemed far lighter than usual. As far as I know there is nothing to link the two roads until they meet in Wandsworth at right angles to each other.
Wednesday 13th September 2006
08:12 BST

 It is possibly a little cooler this morning, and it is most certainly drier. At 01:00 this morning the rain was bucketing down, and I am sure I heard some thunder not too far away. Right now the sun is shining, although the forecast is for more rain, possibly heavy, this afternoon. I am back to gambling on the weather because I have not brought a coat into work again today. Although it may have started off cooler this morning, it is still very mild, and last night was positively hot !

 Last night, on my way home from work, I went to pick up my new mobile phone from DHL's depot in Vauxhall. It felt like quite a long walk along unfamiliar roads in Vauxhall, although the return walk, back to Vauxhall railway station, did not seem to require quite the same effort. Nevertheless the walk there and back again was exceedingly testing. I was feeling very hot in my jacket, and the swaet was pouring off me. It made my legs feel sticky in my trousers, and that hampered easy walking. Despite the freely flowing sweat I am sure I was partly dehydrated, and that contributed to make it all seem like harder work than it should have been. Then on top of that I am sure my blood sugar level was very low after perhaps excessive zeal in weight loss. There were one or two times when I did feel something like light headed, and perhaps if things were a little worse maybe I might have feinted. Never having done so before, I am not sure if the slight light headedness, or a sort of slightly detached feeling, was a warning sign of worse to come. Anyway, I got home safely, but feeling exceedingly tired and hungry.

 There could have been the possibility of going swimming last night, but I opted for rest and extra food. Once the cats had been fed (not that my need was greater than theirs) I had a baguette with some pilchards, and pickled mild globular chillies in it. I followed that by some low fat yoghurt. That felt quite sufficient at the time, but later, nearer bedtime, on I decided to eat a  little more. I had another can of the pilchards (which unusually came in sadine tin sized cans) with a whole bag of green salad and some jalapeno stuffed olives. This morning I don't think I have lost any extra weight, but I can't remember the exact decimal number after the main weight in Kg on my scales from last time. Broadly speaking I am withing a few hundred grammes of my weight yesterday - maybe plus, maybe minus, or maybe the same.

 My new mobile phone ( an O² Ice ) does look a bit "girly", but does offer a few useful features. Prime among the features is the built in camera. One very brief test suggests that it is capable of taking rather good pictures. The single picture I took yesterday under conditions that were far from ideal (poor indoor lighting), made the results from my previous camera phone look utterly pathetic, and hardly good enough to warrant a tag as a childs toy. Being able to play mp3 files (and use them as ringtones), and video record/playback are undoubtably useful things, but other options have less of an appeal. The sales blurb that came with the phone made a great virtue out of the possibilities of internet usage via the phone, and the downloading options that might be "terribly" useful. It pointed out how it probably cost far less than we might think. Having looked at the options to waste money that way I was horrified and have continued my vow to only use my phone as a telephone, souped up paging service (text messages) and to use the multimedia options only for stuff that I put on the phone either via the camera, or directly from my own PC. Besides, who wants to watch paid for downloaded porn (what the internet was invented for - apparently) on a 2 inch screen, when you can watch free smeary low resolution clips on a 17 inch monitor at home !

 Tonight I think there is a 50:50 chance that I will be going to The Ram for a drink with Kevin (and anyone else who may turn up). With such low odds I did enquire if Aleemah might be free to meet tonight, but apparently not. That pleasure is now reserved for tomorrow night (and I can't wait for it).
Tuesday 12th September 2006
08:23 BST

This morning it is wet ! I was woken up by the sound of heavy rain at around 03:15 this morning. I never really did get to sleep properly after that. So I am a little lacking in sleep today. At 05:30, when I got up, the rain had slackened off a lot, but it as once again raining quite hard when I left for my train. It was not raining once I got to Wandsworth, although the sky is heavily overcast, and more rain could fall at any moment. It is also very humid this morning, and that made for a sweaty start to the day. I suspect it can only get worse.

 Yesterday was a beautiful day. The sun shone down for most of the day, and the temperature rose quite sharply. After work I met up with Aleemah and we spent a pleasant time together. It was not so wonderful as other meetings, but it did have a serious, and very positive, purpose to it.

 I left Aleemah at Tottenham Court tube station. She took the tube to get home, and I had a most pleasant walk down to Charing Cross "overground" station. It was actually a very fast walk, but the air temperature felt very nice for it. Plus it is gently downhill all the way ! At Charing Cross the reward for my fast walk was that I broke out into a rather soggy sweat, and also had a 20 minute wait for a train home.

 These last two days with Aleemah have been wonderful for my diet. Yesterday I survived the whole day on just one banana, two apples, a pear and a mandarin until I finally got home. At home I just had a baguette with some lean ham and salad in it (no butter or margerine). There were several consequences to this. First was that I lost  another couple of hundred grammes. Second was that I now have only one spare hole left on my trouser belt (I can, even now, use that one but it is just a little too tight for long term comfort). Thirdly, this morning, I was able to comfortably do up the front of my coat for the first time since buying it in the spring (last time I tried I could force it shut, but it was a long way from comfortable). Lastly I feel a little lacking in energy this morning, and may have to have an extra apple before lunchtime comes around.

 In other news, I have a new mobile phone. It was a free upgrade from O², and such is not that wonderful. On the plus side it does boast a 1.3 Mega pixel camera. I doubt it is that good compared with my old 1.3 MP C120 Olympus camera (that was, and still is, a wonderful camera), but anything must be better than the joke of a camera on my Nokia 6610i mobile phone. The bad news about all this is that there was nobody available to take the delivery at home yesterday. So I have to break my journey home to visit DHL's depot in Vauxhall. This does mean that I may get home a little too late, and a little over tired to go swimming tonight.
Monday 11th September 2006
08:17 BST

Like yesterday, it is another bright sunny morning. Although unlike yesterday it did not start off misty (I didn't report that yesterday because the sun was not up when I wrote about the weather). The forecast is for temperatures as high as 28º C with some saying it could even reach 30º C - which is pretty warm for September. The downside is that all that heat could brew up a thunderstorm in the afternoon, and I did not bring a coat to work.

 Yesterday was a fantastic day. The fact it was warm and sunny pales into insignificance against the fact that I was out with Aleemah, and we were having a great time together. We went to visit the Kew Bridge Steam Museum. It was pretty interesting, and well worth the visit. It is a shame that they did not have one of the truly gigantic 100" Cornish machines working when we were there. (Incidently, 100" refers to the size of the cylinder diameter = bloody huge !!). There one or two other machines in operation though. They were working with live steam, but I have a suspicion, not that it makes any difference, that the steam was raised from gas powered boilers that were in the private areas of the museum.

 Both before and after our visit we called in at a local pub. First to get something to eat for Aleemah, and then after just for refreshment. I wanted to go for a walk by the river (Thames) after that, but the path alongside it where we were was pretty grotty. So we gave up on that and went back into London. Our next destination was Oxford Street where Aleemah wanted to buy some shoes from Next, and some shower gell from Superdrug (both of which were open at 18:00 on a Sunday night). I suggested one more drink before we split up and headed for home, but Aleemah suggested getting something to eat. As I had only eaten one apple, and one banana, up until then I agreed. We eneded up having a very nice meal in a Korean Restuarant in Poland Street (which is a turning off Oxford Street). It was surprisingly cheap, and I found it very filling.  The bill for the meal, with drinks (well a Korean beer for me, and a Perrier for Aleemah) was just £21.70.

 After the meal we took the Bakerloo line to Baker Street where we said our goodbyes. Aleemah  got the Jubilee Line northbound, and I went southbound to London Bridge. After being very lucky with our train timing all day, it was only after we split up that things went wrong. I missed a Catford bound train by just a few minutes. It is really quite annoying that on Sunday nights the train service runs down to just one train an hour in the evening. I decided not to wait nearly a whole hour and took the next train to Lewisham. The wait for that was just a mere 20 minutes. When it arrived it was already very full, and at London Bridge it seemed half of the inhabitants of South London wanted to get on it. to make matters worse virtually every doorway either had a pram or a bike in it. Somehow everybody seemed to get on it and it was a huge relief to get out again at Lewisham into cool fresh air. The train had been so crowded that it took an unusually long time to filter out of the station. After enduring that it was a relief that I did not have to wait anytime at all for a bus home. The bus got the stop at the same time I did.

 I certainly enjoyed my day out, and I am sure that despite being over hugged, mauled and pawed by a beery breathed drunken old man, Aleemah did as well. It couldn't have been that bad because we are meeting again tonight after work.
Sunday 10th September 2006
05:50 BST

 This morning it is dry, and rather chilly. Beyond that it is difficult to tell because the sun is not yet up. The forecast is for a warm sunny day, and that suits me just fine.

 Yesterday mornings swimming was fantastic. Despite feeling out of practice, having not been swimming for a good couple of months or more, I managed some incredible feats that seemed so unlikely before they had taken place. The most amazing was that I was able to swim one complete length, non stop, as soon as I got into the water. In all my previous attempts I don't think I ever made a complete non stop length of the pool. (I am not counting my schoolboy days when I could manage at least 4, maybe 5 or 6, lengths without stopping). Swimming that distance was what I was building up to before the long break in my practice, and now it seems I have achieved it. Not only that but I managed it twice more after allowing some long periods to recover between. My next goal will be to swim a length and a width, or maybe one and a half lenths non stop. My other minor achievements were swimming about 10ft on my back, and a few feet underwater. The swimming on my back was not terribly spectacular. It was really just a case of gently sculling along while floating on my back. Any attempt at more vigorous movement just resulted in getting a face full of water and an immediate stop as I spluttered and gasped for air ! I still rather hate getting my face wet when swimming !!! Despite that I did try to swim underwater for a few seconds. It sort of worked, but I didn't care for it that much. I am sure it would be more practical if I was wearing some goggles. The next time I go swimming I really must buy some. The trouble is I don't know when that next time will be. I'd dearly love to go swimming with Aleemah, but I don't think she likes swimming, and besides that there is the distance that separates us. If she were local it might be practical to meet for an early morning swim, but as we are on opposite sides of London it would be most impractical. It seems that the only alternatives is for me to pluck up the courage top go swimming alone, or to hope that Patricia lives local enough to be able to meet up with me at Ladywell baths. I am thinking that going it alone may be the only outcome. In future there could be even more obstacles in my way to swimming. See here, but there could be a slightly less local alternative.

 After all that swimming effort I came home feeling rather hungry and tired. Before I ate anything I weighed myself. As in previous times I had a large temporary weight loss. Yesterday it was a whole 900gm, and I registered my lowest weight on the scales for many years. Of course it was really only dehydration, and this morning things have returned back to normal (I have not been to the toilet yet so I cannot be sure that I didn't lose a little weight yesterday - you may laugh, but it can make a few hundred grammes difference !!!).

 After washing all the chlorine off my body, and out of my hair, I had some breakfast and then laid down for a well earned nap.  Even after that nap I did the whole couch potato thing for a few more hours before going out to buy some catfood and other provisions. A few more boring hours passed before I decided I had to repair my bedroom PC. It was actually less repair than just maintenance. The motherboard battery was fast declining, as shown by the tendency for it it lose it's time and date settings. Replacing the battery was all that was needed, but while the box was open I did some experimenting. I tried another one of the graphics cards that my neighbour had given me some weeks ago. It worked well and I left it in there.. The other thing I wanted to try again was a wireless networking card I bought to experiment with a month or two ago. That's when things got weird and interesting.

 No matter what I did the computer refused to acknowledge that the card was installed. It got worse. In attempting to swap some of the card s around I found that the computer would not boot unless I had the full set of cards in it - including the wireless card that it would not even recognise. After a lot of head scratching I decided to reset the BIOS. That cured the booting problem, but still the wireless card would not be recognised. By this time it was getting late, after 10pm I think, so I gave up, and another day I will try the wireless card in a different PC.

 This morning I have a few odd muscular aches from yesterdays swimming. Fortunately none are severe, and none will detract from my pleasure today. At around 11:30 I have the serious pleasure of meeting up with Aleemah again. We are going to visit the Kew Steam Museum. Apparently it is a fascinating place to visit, and was one of Aleemah's suggstions for a day out. If there is enough time afterwards I am hoping we will be able to have a little romantic walk along the river bank. This will be our last day out for a little while. Aleemah is busy next weekend, but I hope that we will be able to meet after work a few times during next week.
Saturday 9th September 2006
06:43 BST

The air is quite chilly at this time of the morning, but the sky looks mostly clear, and the sun will soon be coming up over the horizon. By all accounts it should be another fine day.

 Yesterday, as forecast, was another very warm sunny day. I took advantage of my day off to catch up with Ivor and Iain for a lunchtime drink. Initially we met up at the infamous Herne. We didn't stay there after our first drink. The place is under new management. On the plus side they have abandonded the foul tasting Courage beers and have substituted a better range, with, we are told, more variety to come. The negatives are that the entire pub, with the exception of the garden, is now non smoking, and the food, once renowned for being cheap, tasty and almost safe to eat, is now incredibly expensive. By incredibly expensive we are now talking posh resturant prices instead of the old "greasy truck stop" prices. On top of the very fierce prices there is also a "discretionary" 10% service charge. No one can see how the place will attract new customers after all the regulars have now been effectively disenfranchised. Prior to the change it was most definitely "a local" with a fairly loyal bunch of customers who would have their lunchtime food in there.  For those who don't know the place it is worth mentioning that although it fronts directly onto a main road, it is a minor main road with no other places of entertainment or significant shops in the vicinity. There are two other pubs within half a mile of it, and the local Co-Op is the biggest shop in the parade of adjacent shops. The rest of the local area comprises a park, a cemetary, two schools,and just housing.

 Having abandoned The Herne, as have most of it's usual clientelle, we went down the road to finish of our "lunchhour" at The Clock House. Once shunned for being a little expensive for food, it is now back in favour, and the food, although still a bit expensive, is more varied and far cheaper by comparison. Having moaned about the price of the food it might be worth mentioning that I didn't go out with the intention of eating, and in fact did not have any food at all while out. I reserved that for when I got home later in the afternoon. Then I had a sandwhich followed by a pleasant nap.

 During the night I had a dream that was unusual in that I don't normally dream of dead TV personalities. This dream packed in quite a range of inspirations from current and future events. The TV personality was the Australian Steve Irwin. As the dream developed it seemed that he was living in England and had bought an entire village of warehouses to establish as a zoo and wildlife centre. I went to visit it along with Allemah (who was there sometimes, but seemingly not at other times). As we went in we were warned that there were several big cats on the loose, and that we should try and avoid them. So I demonstrated with Nelly, who was several times her normal size, that I had no fear of big cats. As we ventured further in to one of the huge, hanger like, buildings it became apparent why we had gone there. Among the tanks and cages of the animals were several preserved railway coaches and locomotives. In the adjacent building there was supposed to a preserved Japanese "bullet train". The dream ended and I woke up before we saw that, and that is just as well as I regard those trains as rather ugly.

 This morning I am taking advantage of Patricia being around to go for a swim with her. Prior to her extended holiday in Spain it was one of the last remaining activities that we could do together on a friendly basis. I don't like the idea of going swimming by myself, but I know it is very good exercise, and helps my weight loss a lot. So this is an opportunity I have to use while it is there.
Friday 8th September 2006
07:15 BST

 It's another beautiful morning. The sky is blue, and the sun is shining. There were clear skies last night, and a huge, brilliant, full (or very near full) moon in the sky. Those clear skies have left it feeling  chilly this morning, but it should soon warm up if the clouds keep away and the sun continues to shine.

 I am totally knackered this morning. After a truly brilliant evening out with Aleemah I stayed up to welcome Patricia back to London. She finally arrived at around 03:30, and we stayed up chatting until gone 04:30. It was getting close to 05:00 before I finally went to sleep, although I did have a few naps on the settee while waiting for Patricia. She was glad to see me, and it was nice to see her again. I really only got up to feed the cats, and I will soon go back to bed to try and improve on the few hours of sleep I have had (I have taken the day off work today).

 Patricia will not be here long. She has alternative accomodation available for this weekend, and one of her first tasks for today will be looking for permanent accomodation to move into as early as possible. If she were here too long it is almost certain that tensions would arise again and threaten our friendship. Besides, with Aleemah being the most important person in my life, I need my house free and private for anytime Aleemah might want to visit here.

 My plans for today are very loose, but may include the inevitable shopping trip to Tesco's, and a lunchtime drink with Ivor and Iain.
Thursday 7th September 2006
08:09 BST

 It is a nice pleasant morning. The sky is 90% blue, and the sun is shining. Although still a little cool, it is perfectly comfortable in just shirt sleeves (short shirt sleeves this morning).

 I was nice to get the internet back up and running once I got home last night. I had to reboot both my firewall, and the NTL set top cable TV box (that doubles as the cable modem) before I got full connectivity. Now, this morning, I find myself without internet connectivity at work. Fortunately this is all part of a planned outage. There was a planned power outage here overnight as some cables were renewed. Part of the forward planning was to shut down the network and server, and bring it back up this morning. Once someone comes in with a key to the office my workmate, Stefan, who has become the network administrator by default, will be able to reboot the system. For now I am writing this offline, and will cut-n-paste this once I get access to the outside world. I am making it slightly easier on myself this time. Yesterday's entry was written in Windows Notepad. It was a little tedious reformatting that when I pasted it in. This morning I am composing this in the same web page editor, Document made with Nvu, that I normally use. I'll save it as temporary files, and copy it over once I am back on line.

 Last night was good, bad, and indifferent. What was good was that I managed to get my early train from Wandswort Town Station. What was bad was that there was a points failure at Queenstown Road station that caused a long hold up on the way into Waterloo. So having managed to get the earliest train possible at Wandsworth, I ended up getting the latest train at Waterloo East. I did get there with a few minutes to spare to get the first train to London Bridge, as I very often do, but this time I decided I would wait the extra 11 minutes and get the direct train home. This latter train is semi fast, and only gets me home five minutes later than the train from London Bridge. So I guess that was the indifferent part.

 I managed a fairly healthy meal last night. It was pink salmon salad with prune yoghurt to finish off with. In realitry I did rather over do the fish. It was a big tin, and I almost ate the whole lot. the bit I didn't eat made for a nice treat for Nelly. These occasional bits of healthy eating still seem to be working. Despite three pints of Stella Artois in The Ram with Kevin last night, I still managed an all time low on the bathroom scales this morning. Progress in that department is still very slow, but it is still progress. If I could be bothered to evaluate my weightloss v calorie intake on an hour by hour basis, I reckon that over the course of a week I probably put on two pounds on the bad days, but take off three pounds on the good days. The net result is that while I am only losing an average of about a pound a week the change is still in the right direction.

 So today I am feeling fit, healthy and beautiful (or something) and looking forward to meeting up with Aleemah after work.

(These final words are written on line - the network here at work was back up at 08:38)
Wednesday 6th September 2006
08:06 (pasted in at 17:49)

It is probably not as warm as it was yesterday morning, but it definitely feels more humid. I feel quite sticky at the moment,and maybe because I was concentrating on my freshly washed wet hair, I tragically forgot to use any anti-perspirant/deodourant this morning. Last night was very warm. While waiting for my train at Waterloo East (around 16:50) the sun was beating down with a ferocity I had not felt for some time.

Another tragedy is that my broadband connection seems to have gone awry this morning. It may come up later in the day, but whether my firewall will collect a new i.p. address, and then pass that on to the dynamic DNS server, without my intervention, is something I will discover later.

With no internet connection to my server I have been unable to write this "live" from work. What you are reading now has initially been composed using Windows Notepad. I will save the file to cut-n-paste the text into where you are reading it now (if I regain connectivity before getting home), and I will also e-mail it to myself in case I have to do it from home.

I had decided to try and eat very lightly last night, as I had done on Monday night. Unfortunately I made a fatal error - I went shopping in Tesco on the way home.

My main meal of Spanish sausage (salami etc) was fine, although the sausage was a little fatty. The packet of sweet potato crisps were exceedingly nice, but really should have been a definite no no. I should have avoided buying them in the first place. The last part of my dinner was theoretically healthy, but ultimately was very bad, and even more so in the quantity I ate. Basically it was Tesco's own brand "Healthy Living" natural greek yoghurt. this year I seem to have eaten a lot of yoghurt, but instead of the usual fruit flavours I thought I would try something different. So I made my own flavour as an experiment. It was mint, garlic nad chilly flavour - and very nice it was too !! As it was just an experiment I really only wanted to get a small pot of plain yoghurt, but all Tesco had was a 500ml pot. It was not until I had started eating my special concoction that I realised that even though it was so called "Healthy Living" yoghurt it was actually very high in calories, and seemingly these were made up mainly of sugars. There were no ingredients listed on the container, or if they were they were well hidden, but I cannot believe that natural yoghurt has that much sugar in it without extra being added. Maybe that is what distinguishes greek yoghurt from other types. Until I get my hands on a non Greek Yoghurt I may never know, although I could check on the internet. (If THIS is a link it means that I have updated this page after pasting this text in and added the link to some information about Greek yoghurt)(obviously I can't add links while writing in notepad).

Tonight (if I ever manage to get this online in time for the information to be in the future tense) I am looking forward to a couple of pints in The Ram if Kevin and/or Iain is around.
Tuesday 5th September 2006
08:14 BST

This morning could almost be described as warm. The sky is overcast right now, and has been since I woke up, but I think there is a good chance of some sunshine breaking through from time to time.

 Yesterday turned out to be really a rather good day.  As early as Sunday morning I had hatched a plan to confront Aleemah. I didn't like being dumped by text message, and besides I still had hope that there was something to salvage after such a promising start.  My plan was actually very simple. Last night I sent a very curt text message to Aleemah saying "buying you jacket potato, regardless. Meet as arranged". (Last Saturday, before I got my text message dismissing me,  we had arranged to meet after work on Monday - i.e. yesterday). There was always a chance that she would not turn up, but I did not believe that she was malicious and would leave me waiting on Victoria Station like a lemon for half the night. Once she appeared my plan was to thrust a DVD (that she had chosen for me to buy at our visit to The Spa Valley Railway) plus a DVD+R disk with a load of files on it that included pictures of cats, and some radio recording that she had expressed an interest in, into her hand and say "now you can tell me to £^*k off".

 I waited a long time, and was past the time I had set myself to give up, when she appeared. She then spoiled the drama, very thankfully so, by smiling and appearing pleased to see me. She apologised for being late and had tried to contact me (verified by the missed call on my mobile). She had been working late, partly to finish off some food left over from a spread to entertain high level visitors at work, and does not usually turn her mobile on until after leaving work.

 After eating the left over food at work she did not want to eat anymore, but we went into the Weatherspoons for a drink. We had a chat and learned some more from some of the grievances we discussed. Best of all we made two more dates. One is definite, a visit to the Kew Steam Museum on Sunday afternoon. The other slightly less definite for a drink and a bite to eat after work on Thursday.

 After our single drink at the Weatherspoons it was time for her to go to a meeting, and one that I had been invited to last Saturday. Despite us making up with each other I decided that I would not go just for the sake of being there, and so I politely turned her invitation down. As we went to go our separates ways we had our most passionate goodbye ever.

 My journey home was fairly smooth. I took a train direct from Victoria to Lewisham station where I would either get a bus, or wait for the next train to Catford. Lady luck was obviously still smiling down at me because the next Hayes train was delayed by just 90 seconds, and those 90 seconds were just sufficient to make the connection (or it would have meant a 20 - 30 minute wait).

 When I got home I found that despite only eating two oranges, an apple and a pear all day, I did not feel very hungry. It was part habit, and part the realisation that if I did not eat something I would be starving at work today, that I decided to have a very light dinner. All I had was some thin cut supermarket beef slices, a few baby plum tomatoes, a yellow pepper, some thin slices of red onion, some pickled semi-hot peppers, and a big splodge of green pesto (that actually killed most of the other flavours, but was nice in it's own right). I topped that off with 4 small pots of pro-biotic, low fat, yoghurt. This morning I feel remarkably thin and beautiful (!!).
Monday 4th September 2006
08:08 BST

 It is very mild this morning, maybe even warm. There is a fair bit of cloud in the sky, but rain looks unlikely. Yesterday was very similar, although perhaps there was less cloud. By the evening it was feeling quite warm.

 Yesterday went by surprisingly quickly despite getting up at a ridiculous hour in the morning. It is difficult to account for all my time. I know that I spent a fair time persuading all the jets in my ink jet printer to work correctly. All seemed well when I started to print a phoptograph for real, but half way through printing the yellow ink jet clogged again. In some ways the picture still does not look too bad, or maybe I should say the bottom half does not look too bad until you compare it with the top. Then the difference is very obvious.

 Other time was spent reading - nothing too heavy. I had bought the latest edition of Fortean Times at the corner shop on my way home on Saturday, but had little time to read it then. I also spent some time gathering files together to burn onto a DVD-ROM (and of course burning it). That took longer than you might think because the files were scattered everywhere. Some on back up disk, and others on different PC's. I also watched the DVD - "Londons Underground - Sparks and Steam" (the original title does omit the apostrophe after London) that I bought during my visit to The Spa Valley Railwway with Aleemah. Taken in it's entirety it was a bit boring, but there was some really good stuff on it that in isolation was well worth watching.

 Add in a little time for cooking and eating, oh, and I nearly forgot, a trip to Tesco's, and all these seemingly short bits, plus a bit of TV channel surfing, add up to my whole day - unless I have forgotten anything else.

 Recounting it here it does seem surprising that the whole day went so quickly. Earlier in the morning I did consider going up to London to take a few snapshots. I thought I might want some pictures of Trafalgar Square and St Martins In The Fields to add to my collection after the day out on Saturday. I really only considered this because I thought I would be bored during the day. In the end I wasn't, but those places will still be there to photograph on another occasion anyway.
Sunday 3rd September 2006
05:30 BST

This morning it is raining, but it is not too cold. Once again I am up rather too early for a weekend morning. This morning I blame Smudge for "singing" to me. She must have been hungry despite a large plate of food last night.

 Yesterday was good, bad and indifferent. Due to no trains on the Hayes line I was a little late meeting up with Aleemah (but I did keep her informed on my progress via a couple of text messages). After some rain while I was travelling it did rather surprisingly stay dry for the rest of the time I was out.

 I met up with Aleemah on the steps of St Martins In The Fields church. This was the arranged meeting point, but initially I could not see her because she had been sheltering from some slightly earlier rain withing the entrance of the church itself. After a quick tour around Trafalgar Square I finally found her when she phoned my mobile. We were soon joined by her friend David and went into the Café In The Crypt where they had some food, and I just had a diet coke. I didn't fancy eating while I was out because I had a strange pain in my side (like a pulled stomach muscle).

 After they had eaten their food we went across the road to Trafalgar Square to watch the disabilty awareness gig. It was a curious mix of entertainment. Some very bad, some rather perplexing, some just plain dull, and some rather good. Of the good there was a woman singer whose singing, while not actually to my personal taste, was very good. Best of all was a band, whose name escapes me, who did a variety of styles ranging from some Hawkwind/Ozric Tentacles like stuff to something that in sheer rock bombasticness could have been mistaken for Motorhead's "Ace Of Spades" !! I was almost, but not quite, headbanging to that.

 The next "band" were awful. It was a assortment of rappers, scratchers, and other representatives from the club scene. At that point I made my way home. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. The pain in my side, while intermittent and not that strong, was irritating me. Plus I was feeling tired after insufficient sleep on Saturday night, and I was feeling a little odd from lack of food. On top of that Aleemah had announced her intention to go home after the gig after declining my offer to buy her dinner later on. My time with Aleemah had been most pleasant, but with her friend in tow, and in often loud surroundings, was not so wonderful as our two previous meetings.

 I got to Charing Cross station where I just missed a train that was shown as a Hayes Train via Catford Bridge. In fact I believe it was only going as far as Lewisham. It is possible that it might have gone as far as Ladywell, where I could have easily walked home through the park. I certainly cannot remember hearing any rains passing through Catford Bridge for the rest of the evening, so I assume the line was still shut for engineering purposes. It was only a short wait until another train that would take me to Lewisham departed from Charing Cross. It was actually fast from London Bridge to Lewisham. So I lost even less time than I had thought I would.

 On the way home I was starving. So I called in at the corner shop and bought some junk food (crisps and a flap jack type thing). Not the most healthy food, but it served its purpose at the time.  Later on I had some (oven) grilled fish and vegetables. TV seemed pretty dire last night so I mostly entertained myself by reading.

 It was close on midnight when I was dumped by text message. I quote " Sorry 2 say u are not what I am looking 4 which is an easy going, confident, fun loving,free spirit. Thanx 4 your time." All of which is true under some circumstances, and wrong under others. It really depends on the feedback of others. I can only conclude that the almost instant rapport I established with Aleemah was really nothing special for her. I mistook it for a meeting of similar minds (but with very different experiences in life) and gained a lot of strength from that. Curiously, it was under those circumstances that I felt I was achieving a lot of the requirements that I fell down on. With what I know of Aleemah's past (and present) I think I was remarkably easy going and tolerant to the point of recklessness. I was certainly confident of a long and happy future, but my over eagerness to rush forward too fast may have been interpreted as lack of confidence. "Fun loving" is a rather vexed problem. I doubt any two peoples idea of fun is exactly the same, although with broad enough brush strokes there is sufficient overlap to enable the world to go around. Our first meeting together was certainly fun, but not if you define fun as comical, and our second meeting was fun in the sense that it was very enjoyable. Of course both had serious undertones. I was attempting to align my life with anothers, and I don't think you can have a "serious relationship" without taking it seriously. If that detracts from fun then maybe Aleemah is not quite so serious about the relationship she wants. Finally, "free spirit", another saying with variable meaning, and one I do not fully understand. I certainly have freedom of thought, although only limited freedom of actions ( although anyone is free to not drink, eat, breathe etc, many would not choose to exercise these freedoms - hence they are limited). If free spirit equates to freedom of the individual then that is a cause I do champion. I always gave Aleemah freedom of choice, and it seems she has made a choice.

 I chose to limit my personal freedom as a commitment to a relationship, and I had hoped that Aleemah might follow suite. Evidently not, and so now as another chapter closes in my book of life I wonder if I should close the book or try to write a new chapter. This last chapter was remarkably good. It was only in the closing sentence that it went wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Aleemah. Even yesterday, although it lacked the vibrancy of the previous two meetings, and certainly lacked the adventure of the first  (particularly when we were in Camden Town) was still a day I will look back on with affection.
Saturday 2nd September 2006
04:47 BST

 If I appear to be up very early it is only a transient thing. I shall soon be back in bed. I woke up convinced it was time to get up, and it was not until I checked a clock that I realised I had made a bit of a mistake. Still, while I am here I may as well write something down.

 To start in the traditional way - the weather. It is fairly cool outside, but for the moment it is dry. Rain is forecast for most of today, and that is a bit of a shame (or maybe it is for the better).

 Today I meet up with Aleemah for a disability awareness gig in Trafalgar Square. I have to confess it is Aleemah that I want to see more than the gig, and if the gig is a washout I will still get to see Aleemah anyway.

 I had a bit of conflict with Aleemah yesterday. It concerned Patricia, who is coming back to London next Friday to work here again. I had originally promised Patricia that she could stay here on a temporary basis while she sorted out her own place to live if she ever came back to London. Aleemah took excepetion to this. It was rather awkward because next Friday we had vague plans that Aleemah would stay over on that Friday night ready for an early start for a day out somewhere together. At first I was a bit upset that Aleemah should take it so hard, and I did not want to go back on my promise with Patricia. Later on, after I thought about it properly, I was elated that Aleemah should show that reaction. It is a rather nice, and in many ways a unique, feeling to be wanted so exclusively. I have since arranged with Patricia that she will stay elsewhere. I do feel a bit bad about that even though it is no more than Patricia would have done to me. I take solace in the fact that I have found in Aleemah a strength of companionship, of love, that I never have seemed to feel before, and especially so early in our relationship. Could it really be, after all the years in the wilderness, that I really and truly have found the mythical "One". I hardly dare think about it, and yet even from day one I had feelings that this time it was something special. Someone who was drawn to me as much as I was drawn to her. Only time will tell, and I hope it is a long time, even until the end of time itself.
Friday 1st September 2006
08:45 BST

Good news !!!!! My pay has arrived in my bank account and I am rich, RICH, RICH !!!!!! Well maybe not really rich, but I have enough for beer, fags and food for the month.

The other good news is that I got into work before my boss so I will be able to get away smartly at 16:00 and I am still hoping to be able to meet up with Aleemah at Victoria at 16:30 - if she is available. 
07:07 BST

 I seem to have made myself late for work preparing this months web page. No worries, I can get the 07:30 train, and get into work about 30 minutes late. That will still be before the production manager gets in.

 It is a rather grey start top the day, but I hope things will improve later. In fact I hope things will improve a lot at around 16:30 tonight. Maybe not an improvement in the weather, but I am hoping to see a nice sunny smile from Aleemah. I don't know if we will meet for five minutes or five hours, but it will still be wonderful to see her again. Of course the other big improvement today is that my pay should have been credited to my bank account. I am feeling ever so slightly impoverished at the moment, so more money will bring a welcome relief. Of course if something has gone wrong like it did last month then I am in deep s**t !!!!

 Last night I ate too much, but it was not crazily fattening stuff. It was a double helping of pasta, spinach and pilchards. For some reason it left me feeling quite bloated, and it also gave me a slightly rough night. I went to sleep feeling hot and uncomfortable and woke up at 03:00 with my pillow feeling rather damp. So I left the duvet partly off and went back to sleep again only to wake up an hour later feeling chilly. When my alarm finally went off at 05:30 I had been clutching the duvet so tightly that my right hand had gone to sleep. It took a few moments before I regained enough feeling back in my hand to operate the light switch !