|Wednesday 28th February 2007
again the day has started looking pretty miserable. A few minutes ago
the sky was almost black and it was pouring down. The wind seems a bit
strong too. It's not the most pleasant start to the day, and not
exactly what I wanted on the day I visit the dentist again. There is a
ray of hope though. The rain has stopped for the momemt, and I can see
blue patches among the clouds. Maybe if my timing is right I will
travel to the dentist in sunshine, but it seems more likely I will get
there as a sodden mess !
I had a text message from Patricia on the train home last night. She asked if it was OK to pop in and collect some mail. With nothing else planned for the evening I readily agreed. I hadn't made any preparations to feed her, but I still had some left over beef from Sunday's dinner. So I invented a brand new dish for her. It was beef pasta cooked with indian spices. It may seem bizzare, but it worked well. I thought it very tasty, and Patricia seemed to agree.
Sometimes it seems that it is difficult to take anything for granted. I thought I was just about over all the lower back, and right hip, pain that I was suffering from recently. This morning I woke up to find that I was feeling very uncomfortable. Since having a hot shower, and moving around a bit, I am feeling more comfortable now, and I have taken a couple of pain killers now. (They might also help when the dentist fits the crown on my tooth - normally done with no anaesthetic). The other thing I had taken for granted was that I would be seeing Aleemah on Saturday. I received an e-mail from her this morning (sent last night) reminding me that she is not available on Saturday. Apparently she had sent me an e-mail outlining her plans previously, but it seems I have not received it. So I may see Patricia on Saturday instead, or maybe Dee and Patricia. Alternately I have ordered some computer goodies that will be delivered to work soon, and I could have a self indulgent play with computers on Saturday - but that is several days away now and I'll just have to see what happens on the day.
|Tuesday 27th February 2007
| It's a
miserable morning. The sky is grey and it is raining. It was raining
quite hard when I left the house this morning. So hard that I decided
to wear my rarely used Young's "AAA" baseball cap. Fortunately, with
Wandsworth being the spiritual home of the Young's brewery, a Young's
baseball cap does not look too out of place.
My feeling crap yesterday did not improve as the morning wore on, nor did I feel particularly worse. However, at around 12:30 I had finished an important job, and didn't feel like doing any more. It was more than just not feeling like doing any more. I am not sure that I could have forced myself to do more. Instead I announced that I was going home. In the past, whenever I have left work early because of feeling rough, I have always had some sort of boost once I was out in the fresh air and away from work. Yesterday that did not happen. I continued to feel "yucky" all the way home. It is actually hard to define what I mean by "yucky". I wasn't in any specific pain, and I wasn't exactly feeling low, but I was feeling that my energy levels were low, and that I just wanted to lie down. Under such circumstances I was sort of depressed, but I think that was the symptom rather than the cause. I did have a few minor aches here and there. My stomach was very slightly tender, and I had a sort of low level mouth and tooth ache. The mouth ache, if you can call it that, was purely down to my tooth that is to be capped (or crowned) tomorrow. It is still rough, and that continues to irritate my tongue, and to a lesser extent, my cheek The tooth itself has caused some intermittent pain both to itself and to the adjacent tooth. I assume this is because the gum has been damaged by the dentists drilling and grinding last Wednesday. Hopefully it will all clear up after the crown is fitted tomorrow morning.
I went home via Tesco where I picked up a 12 pack of Tesco "value" toilet rolls (just in case !!), and a few other bits and pieces. Once at home I had something to eat before lying on my bed and reading. After a while I actually got into bed, and soon after that I was fast asleep for at least an hour, and maybe two. Upon waking up I did feel remarkably better, but I still could not find much enthusiasm to do anything more than read and watch some TV. I suppose that is not absolutely true. I did put a sheet, duvet cover, and some pillow cases, in to the washing machine, and hang them up to dry after they had been washed, but of course in reality it was the machine that did the hard work.
In an attempt to make sure that I woke up this morning feeling full of energy (or something) I went to bed very soon after 8pm, but not initially to sleep. I wanted to do a little more reading before sleeping. Unfortunately I was nearing the end, and climax, of the book. So I persevered with my reading (not that I needed any encouragement to persevere) and finished the book by 10pm. This was obviously later than I had intended to be asleep by, but it does not seem to have had any negative effect on me so far this morning.
I awoke, well before my alarm went off, from a dream where I seemed to be looking for subliminal message in the new Windows Vista graphics and icons. I am not sure if I found any or not, but I do recall some sort of strange association between one icon and cows. Quite what that was is a total mystery, and I guess I'll never know unless my subconcious can arrange the dream to continue tonight, and lodge some of the details in my longer term memory.
Hopefully I will be OK at work all day today. I certainly feel far better than yesterday. My main aim for today is not to have a good day at work, but to make sure that I am OK for my visit to the dentist tomorrow morning. So no prawn curry tonight, and no pickled onions, no hot pepper sauce, and no garlic. Of course once I am home from the dentist I will be able to indulge in anything I like (allowing sufficient time for the dental cement to fully harden) !
|Monday 26th February 2007
| It's very
cool, quite windy, but dry with broken clouds, and occasional bouts of
sunshine this morning. Overall it should be a pretty good morning, and
it is only spoilt by the crap way I feel.
I had a most pleasant day with Allemah on Saturday. We smoked the hubbly bubbly pipe (with apple flavoured herbal tobacco), watched a DVD, had a cuddle, I fed her a home made prawn curry for lunch, and a creamy cheese and smoked salmon bagel for tea. After I had seen her off at London Bridge station I went back home again and devoured the rather substantial remains of my prawn curry with lashings of extra hot pepper sauce on it. I think that was my downfall. Yesterday afternoon I developed a rather severe case of "the runs" and spent a lot of the afternoon reading on my bed ready to dash to the toilet at short notice.
This morning my guts are still not quite right. Although all the spectacular stuff was over by yesterday evening, this morning there are still plenty of ominous rumblings. It took several mildly productive visits to the toilet before I dared venture forth to work. I was not ready in time to catch my normal train, and had to catch one 35 later than usual. The journey here to work was often slightly uncomfortable, but fortunately there was no reason for any immediate panic. I have been at work for about 15 minutes now and stilll have not had to rush to the toilet. So I guess the worst is over now, and I am just left with a slightly sore, slightly empty feeling in my stomach.
In some respects my food poisoning (or whatever) did have a good side. Yesterday morning I spent a little more than I would normally on buying what I hoped was a nice tasty bit of beef for my Sunday dinner. It was far better than I had ever expected. Maybe it was the particular cut, or maybe it was the way I cooked it, but the meat was tasty and the texture almost crumbly in parts. Had I not started the symptoms of my food poisoning at almost the same time as I started to eat I could easily have made a total pig of myself eating that beef. Now I have plenty left for a good meal tonight, and still have enough for something the day after. That something could be a beef curry, but with my final visit to the dentist on Wednesday morning I ought to be careful what I eat on Tuesday night !
|Saturday 23rd February 2007
| There has
been more rain overnight, but it seems to have stopped for the moment.
More showers are expected today, but there should also be plenty of
It had been my intention to rush home after work yesterday and make a start on doing some housework in preparation for Aleemah's visit today. This was in case the weather looked reasonable for today. In which case we were going to meet up early, and go out exploring for a for a few hours before coming back here for food and a film. After I received the early morning text message from Allemah yesterday, that all changed.
I had been worried that Aleemah may have not been able to come today, and that meeting up last night was an alternative. Once I met her I was quickly reassured that meeting last night was only an alternative to an early meet today, and that we would still meet today and come straight back here.
Aleemah's idea for last night was to go to Stratford and visit the Head Shop, and then grab a chinese meal from a resturant she knows in Stratford. Starting from Victoria her favourite route to Stratford was to get the Victoria Line to Green Park, and then change to the Jubilee line to go directly to Stratford. My preferred route was to take the Circle line to Liverpool Street station, and then an overground train the one stop to Stratford. She was convinced her route was quickest, and the same for my route. For a bit of variety (for her) we opted for my route. It was not really a fair test because there were reported delays on the Circle line. By her estimation my route took ten minutes longer and I humbly accepted the "told you so !".
Generally speaking I do not like Stratford. It is one of those places where I feel uneasy, but the Head Shop was very friendly. After our experiment with trying a hookah (shisha, or nargil) pipe a couple of Saturday's ago I decided to buy one of my own. They ranged in price from a small, rather tacky looking, one at around £5 up to in excess of £70 for some of the more elaborate ones. I opted for a mid priced one called a High Life Comet.
It may come as a surprise that it is not really intended for smoking hash, although it could be. Instead it is often used for smoking nicotine free herbal tobaccos. As such, I bought some apple flavoured herbal tobacco to smoke in it. Hopefully, Aleemah and I will have an enjoyable smoke together from it today.
After our little bit of shopping we went to the Chinese resturant and had a small meal together. Aleemah started with that distgusting looking stuff the Chinese call soup (but actually looks as if someone has sneezed into a bowl). For the sake of completeness, it was crab meat flavoured. For our main dishes I had chicken and mushroom with plain rice, and Aleemah had prawn chow mein. While I washed mine down with a Chinese beer, she had Chinese tea. The food was actually quite nice, with a subtly different flavour (more sesame oil, I'd judge) from what seems to be the norm from my local resturants.
Coming home from Statford was not without it's problems. Aleemah would normally endure riding the Jubilee line almost end-to-end, but the southern end was suspended due to an incident (or whatever) at Waterloo. So she took the Central line, and was intending to change at Bond Street onto the, presumed, still running northern half of the Jubilee line. Checking with the line diagrams, and counting the number of station stops, this may have actually been a quicker route for her anyway. My journey home should have been fairly straight forward. I thought I could get a Docklands Light Railway train direct from Stratford to Lewisham, but it appears it does not run direct during the evening peak. So I took a relatively uncrowded train as far as West India Quay, and then changed to an ultra crowded train train to Lewisham. I was fortunate that at Lewisham I only had to wait ten minutes for a train to Catford Bridge. That was semi crowded, but I did get a seat (or three quarters of one). My main problem on the journey home was that I was feeling quite uncomfortable, and a visit to a toilet would have relieved that discomfort.
I had intended to have a bit of a lie in this morning, and so went to sleep rather later than normal, but I woke up from an infuriating dream a lot earlier than intended. I may still try and grab an extra hours sleep before I do some frenzied house work. The dream was about one of my PC's (although it's location did seem to change in different parts of the dream). I dreamed that I had caught a computer virus that turned the desktop into a video screen displaying porno. The frustrating thing was that the PC was running linux, and as such it should have been almost impossible. More frustration followed when I tried to demonstrate to a friend (or work colleague) how easy it was for me to log off as me, and re-log in as root (administrator) and change the desktop settings to stop all this porn. The trouble was that all mouse clicks were either disabled, or did not do what they were supposed to do. I wanted to avoid having to switch off and reboot (or maybe even turning the power off wouldn't stop it), and towards the end of the dream I was going to log in as root from another computer using the SSH protocol and fix the problem that way. I don't think I actually got that far before I woke up.
|Friday 22nd February 2007
overnight rain left many large puddles when I left the house this
morning. It was still very overcast, but it wasn't raining, and despite
the thick clouds it was really quite bright outside. Well, perhaps not
bright, but certainly fully daylight. It was a strange paradox that
when I reached Wandsworth Town station I was greeted by both bright
sunshine and rain. The cloud does appear to be breaking up, and I am
hoping for more sunshine, and less rain later. So far I have only
experienced quite light rain this morning, and hopefully that will be
the worst I'll experience all day.
Last night I got caught up in a job at work and left late. I was hoping for a week of getting the early train (except Wednesday when I wasn't at work at all), but I ended up on the 16:5 train from Waterloo East instead of my preferred 16:31. It was almost a bit of a rush to get the 16:55. My tooth continues to play up, or to put it another way, I am too scared to abuse it while it is in it's uncapped state. So I started my dinner with some soup, and then followed that up with some quite soft beef burgers and softly roasted winter vegetables. It could have almost been healthy had I not roasted the vegetable on a layer of sausage fat left over in the dish I cooked the previous days sausages in.
Once again I had an early night, and was asleep very soon after 9pm, but this time I must have overdone it. I woke up soon after 4am this morning, and only slept very poorly again until my alarm went off at 5:30am.
I had an e-mail from Steve, that I read this morning, who confirms my theory that a good blast of anaesthetic at the dentist can have a euphoric effect. It is possibly one form of drug abuse that will never catch on. I doubt even the most hardened junkie would consider having a tooth drilled just to get a fix ! Steve also pointed out that they way I wrote that the dental anaesthetics were derived from cocaine is actually factually wrong. They are actually purely synthetic, but are chemically similar, although it is plausible that the first formulations invented used real cocaine as a raw material.
I received news this morning that I am to meet Aleemah at Victoria after work today. This is good news (unless it means I am not seeing her tomorrow as well). We are going to Stratford to do some shopping and eating. It looks as if the cats will be getting a late dinner again tonight !
|Thursday 22nd February 2007
| It seems
to be raining this morning. Fortunately it has never been heavy, and
seems to be fairly intermittent. I believe it will be cloudy all day
with some further showers. Yesterday was totally different. There was a
fair amount of broken cloud, but no rain and a surprising amount of
Yesterday morning was dominated by my visit top the dentist. It was just as bad, and in fact worse, as I expected it to be. The first problem was that it was a tooth right at the back of my mouth, and so I had to have me mouth wide open for long periods. This caused my jaw muscles to ache. Secondly, the dentist had to drill very close to one of the nerves, and despite several shots of local anaesthetic, including one so deep that I thought the needle would touch my kneecaps, it was excruciatingly painful ! During one lull in the proceedings I managed to capture one poor photo of me in the dentists chair looking terrified (the glare over my mouth is the powerful operating light above me). I was in the chair for a full, and very long, 30 minutes, but even after that my troubles were not over. The temporary covering over the prepared "post" of tooth that will hold the crown, was very rough and irritated both my tongue and inner cheek. Later on, when the mostly unnoticeable anaesthetic wore off, I found that trying to open my mouth too wide (say, for eating) was actually slightly painful. Even this morning it is noticably sore.
I got home, having called in on both Superdrug, and Tesco's, feeling really drained, but I managed to rest up just enough to tackle the long journey to see Aleemah at home. It took just over ninety minutes to get to her place, but her presence managed to restore some of my energy.
We watched a film together and soon it was time for me to go home again. I varied my route home a little, but it made hardly any difference to the time it took. It was still just over ninety minutes, but this time I had the "pleasure" (!!) of having to stand in a packed train all the way from London Bridge back to Catford Bridge.
As soon as I was through the front door I had a call from Kevin about drinking. I felt very tired, and also very hungry (all I had eaten since the previous night was one egg sandwich that Aleemah had made me), and so I declined to go to the pub. I had something to eat, and very soon after 8pm I went up to bed to do some reading. I turned out the light at 9pm and was asleep two seconds later.
During the night I had one dream that some details from are still in my mind. I don't know where I was, or what the situation was, but I wanted to buy a sandwich and went into some shop that I apparently knew of. Inside the shop I learnt that they had had some sort of power failure and could not cook the usual sandwiches. All they could offer was a pie sandwich. This consisted of two huge slabs (literally A4 paper size) of rustic looking bread. Inside was a pie, mashed potato and some vegetables. It seemed like a good thing, but I was shocked when told it would cost £20. I was feeling starving so I had to pay up. The last bit of the dream I can recall was when I was considering how to eat this monstrosity. I knew that my mouth was sore from the dentistry, and I think I was coming to the conclusion that the only way to eat it was with a knife and fork. The dream faded away at that point.
This morning, despite the usual morning aches and pains, and the usual shortness of breath as I tried to charge over the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo stations like a mad man (I treat it as some sort of race between me and the other commuters), I feel very alive. I also seem to think I possess far more energy than I have in reality (probably). I put the blame fairly, and squarely, on seeing Aleemah. A cuddle from her seems to invigorate me in a way that no vitamin ever could.
|Wednesday 21st February 2007
overnight showers the morning seems to have settled down to be damp and
gloomy. The forecast is for the rain to dry up, the clouds to break up,
and eventually, sometime this afternoon, there will be some sunshine.
We'll see ! As I suspected yesterday, there were several outbreaks of
rain during the day. None were very heavy, and there were even some
brief glimpses of weak and watery sunshine. One feature that
accompanied the rain yesterday, and should be a feature for today, is
that the temperature remains fairly mild. The daytime temperature
hovered around the 10° C mark, and should do so today.
It is perhaps fortunate that most of the rain over the last few days (and perhaps longer) has been just sort of inconvenient rather than very nasty. A light shower before leaving work yesterday was an exception. Sitting on the bus between Wandsworth and Clapham Junction, with a hint of a psuedo warm breeze (from the heaters), and the daylight seeming to be fairly bright considering how overcast it was, I could almost image that I had just seen a summer shower, and my imagination took me to where you can see the wet ground drying up, and to expect hot sunshine at any time. Alas it was not quite like that, but the air really did have that soft fresh feeling that you can associate with a welcome shower of rain after a hot gritty day.
I had another lazy evening when I got home from work. I still had plenty of left over chicken from Monday night and made myself a red Thai chicken curry using sauce out of a bottle, and served it on some ready made (frozen) parathas. I had managed to get my early train again, and so I was actually eating my dinner by soon after 5.30pm. A little later, in what was pure gluttony, I cooked two more parathas and ate them with the final remains of the chicken picked off the bones. Add to that two pots of yoghurt, and that was all I ate for the entire evening.
TV was crap last night so I went to bed early and did some reading. I am currently reading "Robots And Empire" by Isaac Asimov. I read until later than usual because I am not going to work this morning, and have had a lie in (albeit a short one). The reason for not going to work today (and for the red colouring of the date) is that I will be visiting the dentist this morning. It will be part two of a three part treatment. The first part was merely an examination, and application of a temprary filling. Part two, today, will be the very worst part, and involves two of the worst bits of dentistry. In preparation of a crown being fitted on the third, and final visit, I will be undergoing plenty of tooth drilling and grinding as the tooth is ground down to a post that the crown will be cemented two. Even with the most skilful application of anaesthetic it will be uncomfortable, and some of the debris is bound to stick to the back of my throat causing the gag reflex to start. If that was not bad enough, I will also have to endure that other really horrible proceedure where an impression of the teeth are taken. This unpleasant proceedure comes in two parts. The first is having to sit there while the liquid in the tray sets (and the tray is usually big and uncomfortable to have shoved in your mouth), and the second is when it is removed. It feels like all your teeth are being pulled out simultaneously before the "wax" yields and the tray comes away (hopefully with just the impression in it !).
Once that is all over I will be feeling wonderful as I make the journey home, which is all downhill, and so feels even better. Officially it is impossible that the cocaine derived local anaesthetic can make you feel high, but I am not so sure. Sometimes that walk downhill feels like I am almost floating home. Maybe it is all in the mind, but after the horrors of the dentists chair, who can blame me for wanting to feel as high as a kite !!
After the horrors of the dentist I have one more reward after that floaty sensation. I am going up to visit Aleemah at home. This is not as wonderful as it could be under other circumstances, but a pleasure none the less. Aleemah will be at home, off sick from work, with the tail end of a cold. This is the same illness that prevented me from seeing her on Saturday. As I understand it, most of the worst stuff has gone away, and she is left with a bad cough. This mirrors my experience of having the same illness back sometime in January, and once before that late last year. So I am going to cheer her up for a few hours. I don't imagine that I will be staying with her for that long, and should make it back in time if there is any drinking with Kevin and Iain tonight, but if she wants I will stay longer.
|Tuesday 20th February 2007
| When I
left the house this morning it looked as if there had just been a light
rain shower. It wasn't enough to fully wet the path, but enough to show
where the individual drops had landed. Since then it has remained dry,
although it is rather overcast in a way that suggests there could be
more rain later. Contrary to my expectations yesterday, there was a
brief period of weak sunshine, but I doubt it lasted more than ten
minutes, and the sun was attenuated by shining through some very thin
Last night I managed to get my early train, and would have been home early had I not stopped to do some shopping in Tesco. It was a mostly lazy evening. All I did was to eat and watch TV, but there was one interval where I did neither of these two. Kevin popped round to pick up some ancient Philips VCR head drums that I had managed to finally find on Sunday. We chatted for some 30 to 40 minutes before he left again. Kevin's visit had put my a little behind what little schedule I had, and I went to bed at 9pm. Originally I had thought to go to bed maybe half an hour earlier and do some reading. I thought I might still do some reading, but decided against it and attempted to get to sleep. Despite feeling that I was tired I found that sleep did not come easily. I was almost asleep when at 21:41 I received a text message from Aleemah. I guess I finally fell asleep nearer to 10pm.
I had a recursive dream last night (if that is the right way to describe it). First of all I had a dream where I had accompanied Ivor to a hospital to see a nurse. I think we were going to chat up a couple of nurses who we may have known. It must have been a spur of the moment thing because I was not dressed for the occasion. I was wearing an old green jumper that is so old I can barely remember it from reality. It was one I used to slob around the house in and was quite decrepit with soldering iron burns, spilt dinner down the front, and quite, quite threadbare. In the dream I was quite ashamed of my appearance and did not want the embarrassment of trying to chat a nurse up. Ivor was more successful and before disappearing off to a private room asked if I wanted his car keys so I could sit in his car. He said he would probably only be about 20 minutes. I strongly suspected that he would be a lot longer, and rather sit there bored stiff, I decided to drive home for a bit. I cannot really remember the drive, but I do remember parking the car near to my mums old house. That dream sort of finished there.
In the next dream I was walking along (probably coming home from work) talking to Iain on my mobile phone. Ivor was in the background at Iain's end, and seemed to be able to follow the conversation. I was asking if we could meet up for a drink and Iain said that would be difficult because they were going to Weybridge for a pint or two. At that point Ivor said it was a pity I don't drive because I could join them. So I replied that I could drive and had driven Ivors car the previous night (referring to the other dream - in reality I can't drive). The next thing I remember of my dreaming was going through the barriers, using some weird version of an Oyster card, at Weybridge station. I went on the platform just in time to miss a slow, stopping, train (curiously, a Southern branded 2 car class 456), but not being too bothered because I was sure that a fast non-stop train (to where ?) would soon arrive. I think I woke up at that point.
Continuing my theories on terrorism I have thought of a far more pragmatic approach to terrorism. It is slower, safer, and just as deadly. What I would do if I were a terrorist (I am not because I can't find any 500ft zepplins on Ebay) would be to open a shop in the enemies territory and sell fried chicken laden with artery busting saturated fats, and greasy calorie laden chips. To throw the authorities off the scent I would give it a false name, something like Missouri Fried Chicken. I am surprised that no one has thought of a ploy like that before.........or have they ????
|Monday 19th February 2007
morning it is very overcast. One forecast I saw suggested that it would
be foggy this morning, but it seems to be clear everywhere I have been.
There has been some very light rain, more of a mist, on a few
occasions, but I think that today will be mostly dry. Sadly it seems
unlikely that we will see any sunshine.
Saturday was a huge disappointment with no Aleemah, but I managed to pass the time mostly playing with computers or reading New Scientist. The playing with computers continued on Sunday. At one point I had three different computers all downloading fairly large updates at the same time. I would imagine that would have sucked up so much bandwidth that these web pages were but inaccessible yesterday. It was no great loss though as I did not write anything yesterday.
It is strange how some Linux distros suit some computers better than others. One of my spare PC has a definite like of Xandros 3.0, and yet seemed to have trouble with the 4.0 release. The computer in question uses a pretty horrible motherboard of most dubious parentage. It is, if I remember correctly, a PC Chips M726MRT.
Something I was dreaming as I woke up lead me to some further thought that reaches the conclusion that some terrorists should actually be lauded as heros. Consider this. The present day terrorist is the suicide bomber who belongs to a certain religious group.Now we pull some figures out of the air and make some dodgy approximations. Assume that this religious group represents 20% of the population of London, and that only 10% of those are seriously deranged. The next assumption is that each suicide bomber kills 8 people (including himself). Now for easy arithmetic we'll take London as only having a population of 100. 20% of 100 is 20, and out of those 20 only 10% are probably seriously deranged. That means out of our population of 100 only 2 are severely weird. Before they blow themselves up, killing 16 people in the process, they have probably been too busy studying warped theology and listening to rabble rousing tapes and videos to actually get around to breeding more of their kind. So heroically, at the cost of 14 innocent lives, they have removed themselves from the gene pool and furthered the goodness of mankind as a whole. Maybe they do better than that. Out of the 14 presumed innocent killed, maybe one was a potential homocidal axe wielding maniac (or more likely a young gang member carrying a gun and/or knife). So with those two out of the way the rest of us can get on with free and happy lives hating the French, moaning about the yanks, and other good wholesome stuff any free Englishman should do.
My own terrorist plans have been revised. As 1st July approaches I have decided against explosives and nuclear weapons. I think I will crash a 500ft long zepplin, loaded with 300 tons of fags ash and cigarette butts into the house of commons. For aded chaos I will also make sure the fags ash and cigarette butts are liberally laced with beer bottle crown caps just to reinforce the message that smoking in pubs is as natural as the morning dew, and that interfering with the natural laws of the universe can bring dire retribution from dark forces. Now excuse me I am off to Ebay to see what they have in the way of 500ft long zepplins.
|Saturday 17th February 2007
|It is still too
early to say much about the weather, but I do know that it is currently
dry outside (or at least Smudge, who was out all night, has come in
with dry fur). A quick peek through the curtains at the front of the
house shows some dew on a nearby car, but not frost. It will be almost
an hour before the sky is light enough to judge the amount of cloud,
although by now there should be some dim light, and that suggests that
it is actually quite cloudy. The last weather forecast I saw suggests
today will be fairly mild, bright and sunny.
How the weather actually turns out is fairly immaterial today because, quoting the poets, in my heart it is raining. I had an email last night. It was from Aleemah and she says that it is unlikely I will see her today because, like many people recently, she had developed a real bad cough. I think it is probably the same bug that laid me low last month. It is difficult to know if I was fortunate, or unfortunate to be one of the first to get this particular bug. I don't think it is anything more special than one of the usual winter colds, but it does seem to settle on the chest with some virulence, and usually just when you think you are getting over the cold because the snot is drying up nicely.
It is strange that nobody at work seems to have been badly afflicted, and yet Jodie has suffered from it. The lady I usually wish good morning to, while waiting for my train to work, had lost her voice because of it, and Patricia was really off colour when she visited last night. Patricia, although still poorly, does seem to have come through the worst of it. Earlier in the week she had to take some time off sick from work, and by the sound of it should have taken more. I ought to mention, before anyone draws the wrong conclusion, that I haven't been withing a mile of Patricia for the last fortnight (or more), and even longer (and further) from Jodie. So don't blame me for spreading the plague !
It was a pleasant evening with Patricia last night. She stayed for longer than she initially thought she would. I think that a warm environment, warm drinks, and a rather tasty home made turkey mince curry helped to make her far more comfortable than she thought she would be. The turkey mince curry did turn out rather tasty, but I cannot take too much credit for it. It was actually based on a tikka masala curry sauce out of a bottle.
This morning was going to be a hive of activity as I prepared for Aleemah's visit. Instead I will take things easy. Maybe I ought to take things extra easy. Sod's law says that if I leave Nelly's stinky litter tray untouched, don't bother to wash, don't do the dishes, and ignore the hoovering, Aleemah will make a miraculous recovery and decide she wants to come over at short notice. As much as I would like to make miracles happen, I don't think I can take it that easy. I'll probably skip the more intense hoovering, and I will not rush to do the washing up, but I will attend to the smelly, or potentially smelly, things some time this morning.
I am now wondering what to do with myself today. Two things seem likely. One is to play with computers, and the other, at Aleemah's suggestion, is to do a test run on my home made, garlic free, prawn curry. I was going to do some culinary experimentation last night until Patricia said she was dropping by to pick up some mail. In a way I guess I did experiment a bit. The turkey mince curry was the first curry I have cooked in ages. As for playing with computers - I do want to play with some ftp stuff, but I want to experiment on another machine instead of possibly messing up my, now, nicely running server box. I am not sure which old PC to dig out of the cupboard for my experiments, and whichever one it is, I will possibly be wanting to make some hardware changes to it (I won't need a sound card, and all it will need is the most basic graphics card). The main hardware change will be an alternate spare hard disk or two.
|Friday 16th February 2007
| It seems
to be a fine morning. It's not too cold, and it's not too cloudy,
although the cloud does seem to be thickening at the moment. Judging by
today's experience, it should be good daylight when I leave for work
next Monday. That is assuming that it is not heavily overcast. This
morning it was bright enough in my bedroom to find things fairly easily
without turning on the light a few minutes before I left the house. In
terms of length of daylight hours it will soon be time to kiss the
winter blues goodbye. To kiss goodbye to the cold and wet may take a
little longer, but we are heading in the right direction.
I stayed a little late at work yesterday. So any hope of getting an early train was pointless. However I almost made it to Clapham Junction in time for a ride on a class 159 diesel electric multiple unit. I rode one of those a week or two ago. They are nothing that special, but I like a bit of variety on my way home.
I didn't get up to much after getting home. I called in to Tesco yet again on the way, and picked up some more ingredients for my cookery extravaganza (or something) tomorrow, but I didn't buy anything over exciting for my dinner last night. I did have alternatives already in the house, but I opted for several snack pots/pot noodles, a few tubs of yoghurt, and some hummus. It was a bit of a wild selection, but although I didn't do any research (such as reading the labels) I think that the combined foods did not amount to any excess amounts of calories, sugar, or fat. I realise I could have done a lot better, but by the same token I could have done a lot worse.
I would have been early to bed last night but I decided that I ought to get a load of washing done before it all piles for Saturday. I will be busy(ish) in the morning, and although I am planning to do one more load of washing , I will not have time for two. When I did finally get to bed I fell asleep quite quickly. I was awoken in the night by what was almost certainly some maintenance being carried out on the railway (or a UFO landing). I could hear a sort of throaty rumble lasting a few seconds, followed by a jangly squeaking sound. It wasn't annoyingly loud, and once I had processed all the information I could gather from what my ears were telling me, I was soon fast asleep again. My dreams seem to have taken on a different weird direction lately. Last night I dreamt I was in space and either watching pizzas being made, or making them myself in zero gravity. It is all hazy now, but I do remember the pizzas spinning round in the weightless environment, and some topping being put on them. I cannot recall how, or even if, they were cooked, but I do recall that I worked out the only way to eat them was to take them inside a large inflated balloon where I could take off my spacesuit helmet and still be able to breathe.
Tonight I have the pleasure of Patricia's company. I don't now if it is to be a fleeting visit just to pick up some mail, or whether she will be eating dinner with me. Either way it will be nice to see her and catch up on some gossip. One piece of mail she has to pick up is a failed delivery card for a registered letter. I have been informed it is for airline tickets. Apparently when she ordered them over the internet she could not remember her own address, and so fell back on the one address she can remember - mine ! She'll have to be back in Catford tomorrow morning to go to the sorting office to sign for the letter. At any other time it would be nice if she dropped in to see me, but I'll be fairly busy tomorrow, and I doubt Patricia would like to join in with my socialising with Aleemah (unless she has a hidden kinkiness that I was previously unaware of !).
|Thursday 15th February 2007
| So far
this morning the sun has been shining quite nicely. When I left the
house the sky was clear and there was quite a reasonable frost.
Although getting light, it was not bright enough for the frost to
actually glitter. As I waited on Catford Bridge station the sky seemed
to start clouding up, but it was still nice cheerfully bright when I
alighted at Waterloo East station. Here in Wandsworth the sun is
shining, all traces of frost seem to have disappeared, but there are
more clouds appearing in the sky all the time. The weather forecasters
say that this afternoon will be overcast, but it will remain dry.
I seem to be having a bad run of luck in getting my early train, and last night was no exception. I had to wait ten minutes for a bus to get to Clapham Junction. Ten minutes is not a long time to wait for a bus, and compared to many years ago it is no more than a fleeting moment, but on a good day I don't even have to wait for a bus - the bus waits for me as I run toward it. The traffic was just slightly heavy last night, and some extended stops as people piled in and out of the bus at every stop, conspired to get me to Clapham Junction too late for even my third choice of train (we are actually only talking about a few minutes intervals between trains). So I did the horrendously long walk all the way to platform four and caught the 16:24 train direct to Waterloo. Although no real compensation for my delay in getting home, it was an exceedingly low level thrill to be using yet another type of train for part of the journey. It was a class 458 "Juniper" 4JOP train. They are not very wonderful, but are the same underneath as the poshed up Gatwick Express stock.
The next stage of my journey home was "interesting". I waited on Waterloo East station for the 16:55 Hayes service which calls at London Bridge, fast to Ladywell, and then Catford Bridge (Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, Elmers End, Eden park, West Wickham, and Hayes). Since, maybe, Xmas some dunderhead has decided that this need only be a 6 car train. The result is that people (including me, last night) are already standing from Waterloo East itself. Maybe as worse as that, everybody still assumes it will be a 10 car train, and there is always a stampede down from the end of the platform because a 6 car train stops half way down the platform. Last night, probably because of some signalling error, this train was routed through Lewisham station. I assume that it was then held at a red signal while alongside the platform at Lewisham. So we waited for about the usual station dwell time without the doors ever opening. No one on the train wanted to get off at Lewisham as we all knew it was not scheduled to stop there, but there were people on the platform who may have been grateful to get a slightly earlier train. Once upon a time, in the days of British Rail, common sense would probably prevailed and the train would have accepted any passengers who wanted to use it (it would have been a slam door train anyway, and people would just get on regardless !!).
Last night I didn't go to the pub as planned. I had suspicions that Kevin would have Valentines Day duties to attend to, and as I was already feeling tired, I managed to convince myself that I would not be going out. So when Kevin phoned to ask about a beer I was a little unprepared, and said no, but we may try again tonight. I did play on the computers for a bit, but I managed to get to bed fairly early. I don't think I feel quite as tired today as I did yesterday (but it is early yet).
I was quite surprised, and most happy, to receive an e-Valentines card from Aleemah yesterday afternoon. As a rule I don't encourage the sending of e-cards because I believe, rightly or wrongly, that they act as spam magnets. Yesterdays e-card was an exception. I don't think I was really expecting anything, and Aleemah, although having visited several times now, does not know my postal address - so a card in the post, even if she had wanted to send one, was obviously impossible. (I did of course post one to her, which she confirmed she received OK). Now I can't wait to see Aleemah on Saturday.
|Wednesday 14th February 2007 (Valentines Day)
| To celebrate St Valentines day
it is pouring with rain. The rain, though intermittently heavy, is
nothing like as bad as some forecasts predicted. Having said that, I
ought to remember that the rain is forecast for most of the morning,
and then less heavy in the afternoon. there is still plenty of time for
a cloudburst yet. Despite the rain it is still fairly mild out. I felt
quite warm, almost too hot at one point, while in bed last night.
Yesterday afternoon became more overcast, and there was no hint of blue sky left when I went home. I called in to Tesco on the way home, but even after that delay it was still obviously daylight, and it could have been fairly bright if the sky had remained free, or mostly free of clouds. It can't be long now before it will be almost full daylight when I leave the house in the morning, and then not too long after that when I will be able to wake up to the first rays of dawn. My shopping in Tesco did take a long time last night. The checkouts seemed unusually busy, but this was mainly because many were unmanned. I tried my best to avoid it, but I ended up on the checkout being run by Doris. Doris may not be her real name (in fact it is not), but every supermarket has a Doris. They are the slowest operator in the whole supermarket, and make what for most operators is an easy job look like the search for the lost chord (or something !) (yes it's a strange simile, but you know what I mean).
When I got home, before the rain that fell for the rest of the night, I had another play with my server. It was mostly, but not entirely, successful. There are a few things that are only partially working, and I still have a few more things I'd like to do with it at some convenient point in time. The bits that do not seem to work mainly concern management functions that are not critical, but would be useful if they worked correctly. I am hoping the my Linux Guru, Steve, will be able to have a dabble sometime and point me in the right direction to correct some of these errors.
I got to sleep a bit earlier last night. I was tempted to play a bit more, but after two late nights I thought I had better not push it too far (plus I expect I'll be late to bed again tonight after a couple of hours in the pub). My dreams last night seem to have a nautical flavour. The seaside, boats and ship to shore radio all seemed to feature in these dreams. Of particular interest was a marine radio set that I was repairing. It used a very strange loud speaker of a design that could almost work in practice. The speaker itself was like a large trackball, and I think it could actually be used to control certain aspects of the radio. The ball itself was about four inches across, and made of almost clear yellowish plastic. Attached to the inside was a magnet which lined up with a solenoid outside. I am not sure how the magnet was supposed to stay lined up with the solenoid while the ball was rotated, but that's just the magic of dreams. The audio was fed into the solenoid, and the varying magnetic field would cause the magnet to vibrate in sympathy to the sound signal. It seems that I realised in the dream that it was a fairly good design for use by people with wet hands as there were no connecting wires to get wet - ideal in a marine environment. It occurs to me now, as I write this, that the one thing the trackball could control quite easily is the volume. By rotating the magnet away from the solenoid the sensitivity would decrease and the volume get lower. Perhaps I ought to patent the idea now !!
|Tuesday 13th February 2007
| It's not
a bad morning. The clouds are reasonably sparse at the moment, and the
sun is shining (albeit fairly weakly). Perhaps the most unfortunate
thing was that there was a bank of cloud to the east that obscured the
sun for much of my journey into work. Since arriving in Wandsworth the
sun has overtaken the bank of cloud and the day looks wonderful. I hope
it lasts. The forecast is for thicker cloud, but maybe not for more
It was a bit of a wet journey home last night. I managed to avoid getting too wet, but there were times when venturing into some of the heavier rain was inevitable. I came home from work via Tesco and picked up some rather tasty steaklets which I ate with Heinz reduced sugar and salt baked beans. I also picked up some ingredients for my next culinary extravaganza for Aleemah. Tesco Finest jumbo king prawns were on special offer. So I bought two packs of them. I also bought two alternative mild and creamy curry sauces. Both, as I expected, contain small amounts of garlic. Garlic is, of course, an essential ingredient in curry, but Aleemah hates garlic, and yet seems to be able to eat, and enjoy, curry. I've written to her soliciting her opinion on whether to chance either of the sauces.
Even before I started my dinner, last night, I started work on my server. With just a single 320GB hard disk connected up the fresh installation of Open Suse 10.2 went very smoothly. It took a long time, but got there in the end. I just had sufficient time before going to bed to get the Apache 2 web server configured and working, and made a start on copying the 100GB (plus) of data from the back up disk to the main disk. I left that going to finish overnight.
This morning it was all a bit of a rush. The back up copy of these web pages did not have yesterdays writing in it (it would have only been backed up last night). So I had to copy that from the old hard disk. The easiest way of connecting that was by USB adapter. Unfortunately, for reasons still unknown, the band new installation did not want to "see" my USB adapter. To work around this I had to quickly configure the samba server to allow my other PC to connect to the server, and transfer the file from there after it had recognised, and mounted, the USB connected disk. It worked OK and this web page is now up to date.
It was getting critically late by the time I managed to leave the server alone and get under the shower. Somehow I managed to shower quicker than usual, and get dressed in record time. The rush was still not over. Before getting my train I had a certain letter to post, and I had to buy a new season ticket. Considering how long playing with the server delayed me, I am a little amazed that I still had a few minutes to wait for my train (which was on time).
This morning I am feeling surprisingly good. Yesterday I was suffering from occasional bouts of discomfort from my lower back, pelvic region (and yes, even my balls seemed to hurt at one point). This morning, even on getting out of bed, I seem to be fairly free of any pain or stiffness (but only fairly free - not 100%). Maybe it's a change in the weather, or just perhaps it is because I have not eaten so much fruit recently. I remember my mum's arthritis was made far worse by eating too many tomatoes (when the home grown ones were harvested). I didn't eat any fruit over the weekend, and yesterday it was too wet to go out and buy any for lunchtime. During work days I eat nothing but fruit. The usual quota is something like an apple, two small oranges (preferably clementines), a banana, or two, and a pear (or some similar combination adding up to 5 or 6 pieces per day). Yesterday was the exception. I went up the corridor to the sandwich makers and bought two ciabatta rolls. I have to admit they were nice, but they did leave me feeling tired and bloated during the afternoon, and made for a slightly uncomfortable journey home.
Tonight I will probably being doing more configuration on the server. I still have to install and configure Webalizer to generate statistic from these web pages. Another essential bit of configuration is the back up system. In theory I just have to copy the configuration files across from the back up disk, set up a new cron job, and that should be that. Well it's a nice theory, but I'll see how it goes.
|Monday 12th February 2007
| As I left
my house the eastern sky was looking quite bright. By the time I got to
Catford Bridge station you could have almost argued that it was
daylight. Unfortunately the clouds bubbled up and it was no lighter,
and possibly even darker, by the time I got to Waterloo. In Wandsworth
it was momentarily brighter, but with dark clouds to the south. For the
last couple of hundred yards walk to work it rained, and it was getting
quite heavy as I entered the building. It looks as if today will be a
very grey day, and I am anticipating that in all probability I will get
soaked on the way home.
I didn't write anything yesterday because I had the server off line in bits. Saturday was a fine day. I had a most enjoyable, and successful visit from Aleemah. I met her at London Bridge and we went straight back to my place. Once there I showed off my culinary skills again by cooking salmon and pasta (similar, but not quite the same as the previous Saturday). My cooking seems to meet with Aleemah's taste, and she has set me, or suggested to me, several other dishes to conquer. All will be fish based (she does not eat meat), and range from a white fish pie in the style of a shepherds pie (fishermans pie to be exact) , garlic free (!) prawn curry, and an approximation to a paella. It is the prawn curry that may be the most worrisome to produce. Aleemah does not like garlic, nor hot spices. So I am going to have to either make up some exotic recipe, or get the curry base out of a bottle. Either way I am sure I can come up with something tasty for her.
In the evening I escorted Aleemah back to London Bridge tube station and hugged her goodbye until next time (sadly next Saturday). I returned home feeling quite exhausted, but in a good way. I made it back home in time to see the new ITV1 series (or is it a serial ?) "Primeval". It seems to be fairly good on the evidence of the first episode, but I have worries that it will quickly deteriorate. While watching that I had a rather large dinner. It was the leftover fish and pasta bolstered up with some more bits and pieces. I think it was 9pm when I went up to bed. I had intended to do some reading, but felt so knackered that I quickly fell asleep.
Sunday morning dawned pleasantly bright. After some breakfast I gradually convinced myself it was time to look at the hard disk problem in my server. Upon opening it up I discovered that I had already implemented what should have been a good idea. I had put the operating system on a small 10GB hard drive, and the two 320GB drives were purely for data. As the hard disk corruption seemed to be confined to the operating system area I thought I had an easy job on my hands (it also suggested that one of my only recently bought 320GB hard disks was not faulty). So I took the 10GB hard disk (hda) out and replaced it with another, identical, spare. So I started the installation process to install Open Suse 10.2 on the new disk. All seemed to go well at first and I went away to leave it to get on with the installation. When I next checked the first part of installing had finished and the machine was trying to reboot - except it couldn't. After a multitude of soul deadening attempts to get the installtion working, including trying yet another identical hard disk, I came to the conclusion that the motherboard IDE controller just could not cope with the idea of a 320GB hard disk, 10 times bigger than it had ever imagined existed, co-existing with a 10GB hard drive on the same channel. It was getting very late when in desperation I put the original hard disk back in and, crossing my fingers, booted the machine up. Much to my amazement it came up without a hitch, although there are still many corrupted files on it. I got to bed a lot later than I would have liked, but at least the server was working for another day.
I had a dream about being in prison last night. It was no ordinary prison though. Most of my fellow inmates seemed to be from the comedy "Porridge". Other anomalies were cars being driven around, and a dead fireman (who may have been mistaken for a prison warder). I can no longer recall how the dream went in any detail (and I am getting short of time to write), but I seem to recall many of the antics were to do with disposing of the dead fireman before the warders found out. Incidently I have no idea how the fireman died. He appeared to be a perfectly normal person in a uniform (that may not have even been a firemans uniform) who just happened to be labelled as dead, but with no sign of any sort of violence showing.
Tonight, if I am feeling patient I will take the server apart again and see what happens if I do away with the 10GB hard drive and put the operating system on it's own partition of the brand new 320GB hard disk set as single master on the first IDE channel. An alternative is to use the DVD drive as the slave with the 10GB drive, and put both 320GB hard drives on the secondary IDE channel, but then I have the worry about how the two big drives will co-exist with each other. I dare not risk corrupting the data on the big hard drives. So I think it is back to a two disk (plus DVD drive) system.
|Saturday 10th February 2007
| All the
frosty, and snowy, weather has gone away leaving just miserable drizzle
this morning. Maybe it is this cold wet weather that has caused my
right hip to play up again. For most of the previous week it has been
relatively benign, but this morning I have been forced to take a couple
of paracetamols to help ease the pain. I took them 30 to 40 minutes ago
and either they, or moving around a little, has helped tremendously.
This morning is not the morning to be slightly incapacitated. With another visit from Aleemah I have a lot of housework to do. A visit to Tesco could be advanatageous as well. I stopped by Tesco on my way home last night and I think I bought most of what I need, but some more cat litter wouldn't be a bad idea, and yesterday I mainly concentrated on what I would need to feed Aleemah. That leaves me a bit short for my own meals on Sunday and into next week. Other than that I can sit back and relax looking forward to 1pm when I meet up with Aleemah and escort her back to here.
I am really looking forward to Aleemah's visit. Last weeks visit was wonderful, but the edge was slightly reduced by the tension of her first visit. Fortunately she seemed to be unfazed by my slightly messy, bachelor orientated, home, and this week I feel I don't have to worry about that. I can get on with being a wonderful cook (ahem !) and being the best host I can be.
|Friday 9th February 2007
after I woke up this morning the dawn chorus started. It might have
heralded the start of a fine day, but not today. The snow has all but
gone, and it feels slightly less cold than yesterday, but the sky is
leaden with thick clouds. It doesn't look like it will rain today, but
I doubt there will be any hint of the sun shining through. I hope that
I am mistaken as I have several times in the past. I think the snow
must have fallen heavier in Catford, compared to Wandsworth. This
morning there is more evidence of yesterday's snow in Catford than I
have noticed in Wandsworth.
Last night I enjoyed a very pleasant ninety minutes in the company of Aleemah. It wasn't as long as I might have desired, but after all the transport disruption in the morning, I think we were both semi anxious to get to our homes to put our feet up and rest. After surviving the day on just six pieces of fruit (or was it five ?), and then having two and half pints of beer, I was starving by the time I got back to Catford just a little before seven pm. My will power crumbled totally and I bought some chicken and chips on the way back from the station. I have to add that the cold also contributed to my lack of will power as it so often does.
There is nothing special about today apart from the fact it is Friday. I don't plan on doing anything special apart from some shopping in Tesco on the way home from work. It is actually tomorrow I am looking forward to. Unless there is any transport problems (bad weather, terrorist outrages, etc.) I am looking forward to another visit from Aleemah. This time I will get to show off my culinary skills twice because we are not intending to do any "tourism" in the afternoon, but to just spend the entire time at my place. I will be cooking both a midday meal and an evening meal for her (and hopefully demonstrating a few other skills again as well).
|Thursday 8th February 2007
| The big
news this morning is snow ! It seems the weather forecast was correct
in timing, but maybe slightly over-optimistic in quantity. In the small
hours of the morning the snow came down leaving a couple of inches of
crisp white snow to greet me as I opened my front door. The weather
forecast suggested up to four inches, and maybe some parts got that,
but I would estimate that in Catford there was little more than two
inches. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that there would be
trouble on the trains after such a fall. I was not disappointed. Southeastern railway (whose web site has crashed as I write this)
did a far better job at keeping the trains running this morning
compared to a couple of weeks back, but my train was still fifteen
minutes late. Once on the train the journey was pretty smooth
except for an unusually long wait for a bus outside Wandsworth Town
station (maybe ten minutes).
My visit to the dentist yesterday afternoon went OK. All I had was a temporary filling and an X-ray. My dentist confirmed that I had broken a bit of tooth, and that had pulled some filling away as well. Unfortunately the X-ray showed that there was insufficient tooth left for a workable filling. I was given two choices :- 1) an extraction for about £50, or 2) a crown for exactly £204.50p. I didn't really fancy either option. An extraction would be uncomfortable and start to impinge on my abilty to chew properly, while a crown would mean a lot of uncomfortable drilling and grinding right at the back of the mouth (not to mention the expense). I have opted for the crown to be fitted, and I am to visit the dentist on the 21st of the month for all the horrible preparatory work to be carried out. Then on the 28th I will have the crown fitted. The timing works out quite nicely. The dentist wanted a down payment of about £15 prior to organising the work, and I offered £100. The final fitting on the 28th happily coincides with pay day so I will have conveniently spread the payment over two months.
On my way back from the dentist I called into Tesco and bought a couple of cans of soup. I was starving hungry and warned not to attempt to eat on the temporary filling for at least an hour. I didn't think that eating soup would count and I wolfed down a can of pea and ham soup, and than a can of skoked haddock chowder. Both were pretty nice and help to fill a small gap. Later on I had some ox tongue with some lime pickle on it. It was admittedly a strange combination, but tasted all right in practice. As one final buffer before I met Kevin in The Ram I ate a can of Tesco "Healthy Eating" rice pudding. I must confess that when I got home again, after the pub, I cooked a couple of bits of cod in batter as a "snack". With the addition of two bananas, and one apple, that was all I ate all day. It was not exactly diet food, but I don't think it was too bad.
Tonight I meet Aleemah after work for an hour or two. Very much looking forward to it, and hoping she managed to get into work this morning. There were bad delays on the Jubilee Line this morning, and that is the line she uses to go to work.
|Wednesday 7th February 2007
morning has started cold and clear. I left the warmth of the house to
be greeted by a very thick frost. The sky was very clear with some
stars still visible in the slowly brightening sky, and a just over half
full moon shining down. It could almost have been nice. As I travelled
to work the sky continued lighting up, but it seemed as if a high mist
formed and took the edge off the sunshine. It seemed to be a little
weird. The sky seemed to stay blue, and the moon, although much
feinter, was still clearly visible, but there seemed to be no direct
evidence that the sun was shining. Even now, some 20 minutes after
getting into work, what evidence there is of the sun shining still
seems very muted.
Late yesterday afternoon I received a phone call from Kevin to say that he would be travelling home through Wandsworth at 16:00, and would I like a lift. I didn't hesitate to say yes, and duly met Kevin just outside work at the allotted time. It was nice to travel by car, but it did take a surprisingly long time to get home. I am not sure of exactly when I reached home, but I know that while we were still stuck in traffic on the approaches to Catford I noted the time as 16:50. Had I managed to get my early train (which happens more often than not lately) I would have been just stepping inside my front door at about the same time. I suspect that this particular car journey was no quicker than when I get the late train (and still slower than the intermediate train). Outside of rush hour, maybe on a Sunday afternoon, I could imagine that the car journey could take half the time. If I am offered the choice again I will take the car despite there being no time advantage. It was certainly pleasant to travel in an environment where smoking is expected, and have someone interesting to talk to.
I didn't do much when I got home. I had some half hearted intentions to do more work on my new server, but I knew that if I started that it would probably mean another late night, and I was a little tired after going to bed late the previous night. So I watched some TV and went to bed to do some reading quite early on in the evening. One thing I did manage, or at least manage up to about 90% of intention, was to eat healthily. My main meal was another fish salad, salmon this time, followed by a can of mixed fruit in apple juice. If I hadn't nibbled on a chunk of cheese, nor finished off a can of anchovy stuffed olives, I would have declared my healthy eating/diet a total success, but it wasn't bad. After two (and a sort of half) day of being careful of what I am eating I do seem to feel a little livelier this morning. My lower back/deep pelvic pain still comes and goes, and the chilly weather made waiting for a bus uncomfortable this morning (but it has been far worse before).
My whole day today is dominated by one thing. At 15:15 I am to visit my dentist. Lovely as she is, she is still a dentist, and I am not looking forward to it at all. Beside the pain and discomfort, and the stress on my wallet, it may well mean that my diet could go into overdrive later today. If she is able to do any treatment this afternoon, and I end up with a face full of anaesthetic, I will not be able to eat at all until very much later. The chances are that she will just poke around, estimate how long the treatment will take, and tell me to make a new appointment for the full treatment. (If you didn't read last Saturday you may be unaware that on Friday night I either broke a tooth or a large filling fell out - which I swallowed without even realising it happened). As recompense for the brutality of dentistry it is Wednesday night drinking tonight !
|Tuesday 6th February 2007
| The day
has started cold and bright. It is probably the coldest start to the
for some time now, and this is unfortunate because there was no heating
on the train from Waterloo to Wandsworth Town stations and no apparent
heating on the bus from Wandsworth Town station to work. I arrived in
work, where fortunately it is nice and warm, feeling very cold. After
being here for 10 minutes I think I have thawed out again.
I believe we are in for another cold snap with the potential for some snow later in the week. Last night there was no snow, but I did get rained on once I got back to Catford after work. It was a bit of a surprise after another surprise. There was a few minutes of sunshine yesterday. Not much, but enough to break my prediction of no sun at all.
Last night I re-burned the DVD with the Suse 10.2 installation files on it, and successfully installed it on my spare server machine. I had little time to do any configuration once it was all installed and working, but I did enough to get the web server running. In fact it is running now on port 8080 (although internally it is still running on port 80, but my firewall is translating external requests on port 8080 to the correct machine on the network). Now that I am happy with it I am going to uninstall everything and go for a brand new strategy. I think I am going to have two servers now. One, running 24 hours a day, for serving up web pages (and maybe some limited ftp space), and a second to be run as needed for my own internal file storage. I think I will use one of my old PC's, one that is most unhappy with big hard disks, for the web server. I can't remember what's in it, but I think it is something like a 100MHz Pentium one processor. On a minimal installation that ought to run smoothly and quietly. In fact I think I already have Damn Small Linux installed on it, and that already has a basic pre-configured web server on it. Maybe it is not as good as Apache, but for my static web pages it should be perfectly fine.
I tried to do a bit of dieting yesterday. It started well with rainbow trout salad, but the pro-biotic yoghurt, which is laced with sugar, rather took the edge of things. I further compounded my failure by having two cheese and hot pepper sauce rolls later in the evening. I blame some of the long waits during the installation of Suse Linux for that !
This morning I had a close shave (and it had nothing to do with my beard !). I forgot to renew my Travelcard. It is a quirk that my first day back at work after Xmas was a Tuesday. So my weekly Travelcard is renewed every Tuesday. This morning I forgot and had to pass through a huge gang of inspectors as I left Waterloo East station. Several things probably went in my favour this morning. I was within a huge crowd, I had some sort of ticket, and I suspect that the ticket inspectors are usualy on the lookout for expired tickets only on a Monday morning (the traditional day for a new ticket). Having safely got through the blockade I went straight to a ticket machine and bought my new ticket then and there.
My next job is to upload this updated web page to two servers to keep them both in sync with each other. this could become a headache if I made a habit of it, but I think that if I have time my new stripped down web server may be running, and it will be to the normal one web server.
|Monday 5th February 2007
| Today has
started very dull. The sky is a uniform grey colour, but surprisingly
it was bright enough for detail to be seen in even the most gloomy
recesses soon after getting past Lewisham on the train into work. It
would be nice to think that the sun would break through for my journey
home tonight, but that seems most unlikely at the moment. It also feels
cooler than the past few mornings, although having said that, there was
no frost this morning. Over the weekend I did not go out until much
later in the day, and the sun had warmed things up a bit by then. Today
there is no sun. So I guess it will be a chilly day, all day.
Yesterday was not very successful, but it did have it's good points. Perhaps the very best good point is when I went out to the corner shop at 3.30pm. It was sufficiently mild that I was quite comfortable just going out in a T shirt with no coat on. One of the items I bought there was something I had wanted to get from Tesco, but couldn't be bothered to go there (I'll pop in there tonight). That item was some hand cream. My hands have been feeling a bit dry lately, and I developed one fairly painful crack in the skin. All I could find was some "all over" moisturising cream. It feels like it is working just fine, but it stinks. I now smell like an old tart, but at least my hands are supple and smooth(ish).
My attempts to get an emergency server up and running failed yesterday. At first I had some hardware issues, and some incorrect BIOS setting issues. With these taken care of I managed to get a long way into installing Open Suse 10.2 before it all went horribly wrong. After a second attempt it became clear (or at least I think it did) that my DVD installation source was corrupt. I didn't have time to burn a new copy from the original downloaded iso file, but I may do it tonight. I am not sure what else I did yesterday - apart from a bit of reading. The day seemed to drift by in a sort of happy haze (doubtless inspired by the most pleasant time I experienced on Saturday afternoon).
My various ailments seem very variable. Yesterday my back and (what I presume is) my right hip joint were really quite sore, but maybe not as bad as at some times on Saturday. It all depends on poise and position. As seems almost normal now, I woke up feeling very stiff, but sitting in my work chair now I seem to be quite comfortable. I don't know if it is the saving grace, or the problem, but the pain is so variable from nothing to almost, but never quite, severe, that I can be little bothered to seek any remedy for it. I still think that when you even out the peaks and troughs the situation is improving. The most painful episodes are less painful, and seem to last less time, while the pain free periods seem to be getting longer. Of course all this is subjective. It is really only the painful times that one tends to take notice of, and sometimes that can be just a for a few minutes before a change in posture affords almost complete relief. I didn't have to wait for a bus outside Wandsworth Town station this morning. The bus beat me to the stop by a few seconds. So I did not have a chance to compare any pain against what was going to be my standard benchmark.
Instead of waiting for a bus this morning (which I didn't literally do, but was prepared to do) I was feeling fit enough to walk, and I should have done so. I think it has come to the time when I ought to try and lose a bit more weight. Walking has always been good for that, although if, as I sometimes suspect, my right hip joint is failing it could be a bad move. My eating yesterday was really quite strange. I had a peculiar breakfast of (tinned) Bombay potatoes, vegetable samosas, and some (loose wrapped)ham. It was sort of nice, and inspired by the expiry dates of the products which were right on the cusp of potentially going off. It was not the sort of meal to have if weight loss was the desired result. The rest of what I ate was more sound except for an afternoon treat that really was extremely bad for me - two chocolate ice cream bars !!! My intention for tonight is to eat ultra healthily, but I am going shopping in Tesco on the way home and intentions............................:-)
|Sunday 4th February 2007
frosty start to the day. I wonder if it will turn out to be such a
lovely day as yesterday which was like a glorious spring day. The sun
shone from mostly clear skies, and while the sun was fairly high in the
sky it was quite mild outside. So mild in fact that I needed very
little heating on in the house.
I managed to do all my cleaning with time to spare before going out to meet Aleemah. We met at Edgware Road tube station and went to find an Arabic cafe where they have shishas (otherwise known as hubbly bubbly pipes). We had hoped to have a smoke and have a light meal at the same time, but the first place we ventured into only did food to take away. So Aleemah had a thick Turkish coffee, and I had a diet coke while we puffed away on strawberry flavoured tobacco. I must admit I didn't really enjoy smoking that way. It was rather like smoking a Silk Cut fag where you always want to cover the air holes to get a better drag.
After our smoke we wandered further along the road until we found a Lebanese cafe. Sad to say it, but I didn't enjoy eating there. At first it was OK, but we were sitting on very low, backless, seats, and very soon my lower back was killing me. Then several youngsters came in, one of whom insisted on playing tinny music on his mobile phone. Then their was the food itself. I can't remember what it was called, but it was a cross between a kebab and a tortilla. It was supposed to be filled with chicken cubes, but appeared to be filled with lamb. The taste was not unpleasant, but I wouldn't cross the road for another one. As a final insult my diet Pepsi turned up as a full, high sugar, Pepsi.
So far the day had not been a roaring success, and we came back home to watch a DVD. The film was Tideland, and it was very, very weird! I enjoyed watching the film with Aleemah, but I am not sure if I enjoyed the film itself. What I did enjoy (a lot) was some advanced cuddling after the film. I then cooked Aleemah some pasta and Salmon which was rated as very nice. I saw off Aleemah at London Bridge tube station at around 9pm and headed home feeling very tired, but very happy.
Today I think I am going to try and replace the faulty hard disk in my server. Ordinarily that would put this web site off the air while I work on it, but once I have finished writing this I am going to make a back up of the entire site and load it onto another temporary server (which I have yet to build). That will take the pressure off trying to get the server back on the air, and hopefully I will take my time and do it right.
|Saturday 3rd February 2007
| The day has started clear and bright. It was also quite frosty earlier, but that has mostly melted.
Today is a busy day. I hope that Aleemah will be coming here this afternoon. I am meeting her for some lunch in town, and then I am going to "drag" her back here for a movie, or something.
My preparations for Aleemah's visit ought to have started last night, or even earlier, but I was feeling lazy last night, and spent much of the evening doing stuff on the PC (or to be more accurate - two PC's !). So this morning I am in a bit of a rush to tidy things up - although I'd rather be just as lazy as last night, or even more so. Nelly seems to have obliged by doing the smelliest poo ever in her litter tray. So once I have donned a gas mask and emptied that I hope it will remain unused until Aleemah has gone home again. I seem to have a huge pile of washing up to do, and I don't really want to do that either. I seem to be in a very lazy mood right now, and it is a real effort to do all this housework. I have already given the bathroom a quick once over. It ain't great, but it will have to do. Once the litter tray is attended to, and the washing up done, I will have a quick spin around with the hoover, and that will have to be that !
I had a small disaster while eating my dinner last night. I broke a tooth on a tortilla chip. So far it has not caused any pain except that it feel very sharp on my tongue. It was quite early in the evening, before 6pm, and I did try and phone the dentist to make an appointment for next week, but I was too late. So phoning the dentist will become the number one priority on Monday morning. I hate going to the dentist, but at least my dentist is a very pleasant (genuine) Swedish blonde. That does help to take my mind off the oral agony, but does little to relieve the agony of my poor wallet.
Well I can't put it off any longer. I am going to have to empty that smelly litter tray..............................
|Friday 2nd February 2007
again it is a cloudy start to the day. It is very mild though, or at
least it feels very mild to me. I thought that the morning may have
started better. As I left home the birds were singing their heads off.
Hopefully it will brighten up a bit later. Yesterday turned out to be
very bright and sunny, and going home was a real pleasure (beyond just
the usual fact that I was going home).
The PC bits I had ordered all turned up here at work yesterday. Fortunately everything was packed in slimline boxes and it was easy to lug it all home. I tried one of the two new keyboards I got (the £4 one) and it worked perfectly when connected via my KVM switch to the PC. The only other thing I tried was one of the new ink ribbons for my TDK (re-badged Casio) CD/DVD label printer. I haven't had any ink ribbons for that in ages, maybe a few years now, and it was a pleasure to once again be able to put neat and legible labels on my CD's and DVD's.
I am unsure of what is happening tonight. It is possible that Patricia will come over for dinner on the pretext of returning my iron (but will forget the iron again), and it is even possible that Dee might join us. The latter, while possible, is unlikely, and I have a feeling that I won't be seeing Patricia tonight. If I am left to my own devices I may well make a start on the harrowing process of trying to swap hard disks on my server. Physically swapping the drive over is easy, but trying to transfer the whole operating system and data is tricky !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As a final note before I go and actually do what I am paid to do here, I'll just add that my bad back, hips etc. still seems to be improving. Within 10 minutes of getting out of bed I was feeling almost (but never) lithe and agile. The worst twinge was lifting my right foot up to insert it into my underpants. I did it standing up, and raising my foot to knee height while orientating it to thread my underpants on it was quite painful. Maybe I should be doing it sitting down, but I couldn't be bothered. It does sort of suggest that I may have some sort of failing hip joint, but it is equally likely to just be rheumatism, and as spring really takes hold that should fade away. I think it might be murder next winter though.
|Thursday 1st February 2007
cloudy sky has meant that my quest to come to work in daylight has had
a setback. The clouds are not too heavy, and at least one forecast
suggests that they will fade away as the morning progresses leaving a
sunny afternoon. Last night was pretty good in that respect. There was
some very thin, high up, cloud, but I reached home with daylight to
spare after work. The sun had set low enough that sunshine was only
visible on a few of the highest structures, but it was still bright as
I entered my house, and daylight persisted for a little while after
This morning there seems to be further improvement in my aching back and hips. Using my wait for a bus outside Wandsworth Town station as a benchmark it would be easy to say that I am practically cured. The day before yesterday I was in considerable pain. Yesterday that pain had subsided to just bad discomfort, and this morning I had only very mild, virtually ignorable, discomfort. I haven't noticed any particualr discomfort while sitting on trains for the last couple of days. So something is most definitely improving.
I enjoyed a couple of pints of Winter Warmer in The Ram last night. As well as Kevin and Iain, we were also joined by Howard for the frst time since before Xmas. I left the pub at 9pm and went straight home where I made up and ate a quick cheese roll (before the pub all I had was two pot noodles and a packet of peanuts). I did not go to bed straight away, although that had been my intention. I suddenly remembered that today was the first of the month, and it was far easier to make up the template for this months blog page while at home. I managed to do that before going to bed, and I think I was still asleep by, or very soon after, 10pm. I feel I have been sleeping well lately, but this morning, as has become the norm lately, it was my radio clock alarm that woke me up. During the time I was suffering badly from my cold(s), and having trouble getting to sleep, I invariably would wake up just before my alarm went off. I expect this to become normal again once it is daylight by 05:30 again. At that time my body clock will become synchronised to the sun and I will be going to sleep at sunset, and waking at dawn automatically (of course during the summer months there are not enough hours of darkness to fulfil all my sleep needs, and some of my sleeping will be when it is light).
Yesterday I splurged out on a couple of internet orders of PC stuff. I ordered two spare keyboards, another hard disk, some memory and some printing ribbons for my CD/DVD labelling machine. All the stuff will be delivered to work so I do not have to worry about being in to accept deliveries, or having to find obscure parcels offices. Both orders were confirmed as being despatched last night, and the first may even get here today. So that could be exciting. The most important item will be the hard disk. I doubt if I will get enough spare time to fit it until Sunday, but it will be another "exciting" time trying to copy all the data on my server to to it. The last time I attempted this it went disasterously wrong. Hopefully I'll get it right this time. It will mean that this website will probably be off the air on Sunday, but it may happen sooner.