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February 2007



Catford Station totem

Wednesday 31st January 2007
08:14 GMT
 This morning the sky is clear. Had it been a few degrees warmer it could have been the start of a perfect day (at least as far as the weather is concerned). Unforftunately it is only a few degrees above freezing. When I left home there was already a nice glow from the eastern sky, but it was not until I reached Waterloo East that I would say it was definitely daylight. By Wandsworth it was quite reasonably bright, but with the sun still below the visible horizon there was still a "not quite day" feel about the light. Even now the sunshine can only be seen on the tops of the highest buildings, but soon I am hoping for some direct sunshine on my face when I next go outside for a fag.

 It might be coincidence, but the clear sky seems to have coincided with an improvement in my lower back pain. Waiting for a bus outside Wandsworth Town station was merely uncomfortable this morning. Yesterday, and the day before, I would say it was actually painful.

 Today is pay day, and it would seem that I have had a pay rise (or it was a mistake on my pay slip). I am now up to 50% of the alleged average income in London. In practice this means little more than being able to afford 20 extra pints of beer a month (should I wish it). Of more significance is that I have (or presume I have - I haven't actually checked) been paid. So today I can go on the rampage and splash out as much as £4.05 on a new keyboard (although I may opt for one, or more, of the £1.85 keyboards). I think it may be prudent to buy a new hard disk for my server as well. The current one, although less than a couple of months old, appears to be faulty. My overnight backups fail every night because there is a sector (or something) of the hard disk that cannot be read (or written to), and the last time I dared shut the server down it was a monumental task to get it to reboot.

 Not much else has been going on recently. Last night I went to bed very early, soon after 20:00, but I stayed awake reading until just after 21:00. I have been sleeping fairly well lately. So I was surprised that after I turned out the light last night I fell asleep very quickly. I did wake once in the night, but I can't remember why. I don't think I got up for a pee so it was most likely Nelly jumping up on the bed that woke me.

 Tonight I am looking forward to a pint or two with Kevin and Iain. I must phone Iain and remind him to bring the manual for Asic that he printed for me. If I get that then I may start experimenting with some programming again.
Tuesday 30th January 2007
08:11 GMT
 It's another grey start to the day, but once again it is fairly mild, although by no means warm. One of the good things about today is that it is the day before pay day. This is obviously not as good as pay day itself, but it's not bad.

 One of the few things to say about yesterday is that I left work 15 - 20 minutes late. This is no big deal in some respects. If I don't manage to leave slightly before time I miss my early train, and just have to hang around waiting for the next one. I'd prefer not too hang around at work, but at least it is in the warm and dry. One positive advantage of leaving late last night (or more correctly, late afternoon) was that I got to Clapham Junction at the right time to sample yet another type of train by to Waterloo (main line). This was a class 159 diesel electric multiple unit (pictures here). I can't with all honesty say anything that positive about them, but it made for a nice change. I arrived at Waterloo with sufficient time for an unhurried walk across the link to Waterloo East in time to catch the 16:55 train. This is invariably the train I catch if I just miss the earlier 16:31 train and have to wait around on a draughty platform for 24 minutes.

 Does anyone know the significance of the 28th May ? While on the bus between Wandsworth Town station and work my mind was just drifting and suddenly this date popped into my head. There are three possibilities. First it is someone's birthday. Second it is the day before 29th May, and thirdly it is the day the world ends. Personally, I reckon it is the third !
Monday 29th January 2007
08:30 GMT
 It is a shame it is so overcast this morning. As I left home it was obvious that the eastern sky was beginning to get light. Had there been clear skies the day would have lit up in time for most of my commute into work to be in daylight. Instead most of my commute was in a sort of twilight. It is still not very bright even now, although the quality of the light could not be described as gloomy. The sky itself is mottled with some bright areas, and some fairly grey areas. Just a bit of sunshine would tip the balance to make today a rather good day. One positive aspect of the cloudy skies is that it is remarkably mild, particularly when compared to last week.

 I feel sort of good today. Some sunshine would definitely enhance that, but I am not totally sure what else there is that is contributing to my feeling quite happy. It is certainly not the pain I am in. My lower back, and deep into the pelvic region has been giving some trouble this morning, and waiting for a bus outside Wandsworth Town station was very uncomfortable indeed. I suspect there is rather more too this pain than mere back ache, and several maladies do come to mind, but for now I'll just let it ride and see what happens. It is possible that recovery is possible by itself. On the assumption that it is a direct result of both the 'flu and colds I have had over the last month or two, then there is still hope. I noticed this morning  that there is a pattern emerging that indicates that I am on the way to a full recovery of my recent colds. Last week there were a couple of times when I became aware that there were some smelly people on the train with me (one in particular was trying to cover up a real stench of B.O. by semi drowning himself in some nasty gay/sporty type after shave/underarm deodorant). This morning I noticed far more subtle aromas on the train (mostly unpleasant on SouthEastern trains). The fact that I have become more aware of the odours suggests that my nose is becoming increasingly clear. My chest will follow that soon, and that may improve my sleeping posture (or something) and then these nasty aches and pains will start to disappear. By the time that comes the days should be getting warmer, and that in itself ought to bring on a greater improvement. Right now though I am wondering if I am going to take any painkillers. Sitting down has relieved the pain, and I should not have to do too much standing up today (which makes the pain worse). Incidently, walking does provide some relief to the pain.

 So far I have not been inundated with rude, risqué, or even innocent  photos to publish here (or not). This is not surprising, and I wasn't expecting any anyway, but it is still a disappointment ! I think I will just have to see if I can have some sort of holiday this year and take my own holiday snaps. I think that this year it feels like there is more chance of some sort of holiday happening than there has been in the last seven years. Admittedly it is not a big chance, and the chances of some sort of holiday involving exotic/erotic swimwear still seems very remote.
Sunday 28th January 2007
08:22 GMT
 It is just slightly too early to tell if the sun is coming out today, but it is dry and bright, and maybe not too cold. Yesterday was a glorious morning, although it became in creasingly overcast during the afternoon.

 I had a most lazy day yesterday. I can't say that I really achieved anything apart from one load of washing. I spent quite a long time laying down on the settee where I had several snoozes, and read a quarter of another Robert Heinlein book. This one was the book "Friday".

 As a consequence of so much inactivity yesterday, and in particular lying down in not the most comfortable way, I woke up this morning feeling stiff as a board. It is now at least an hour since I woke up, and maybe as many as two hours, and I am feeling slightly more agile and most of the stiffness has evaporated. Today I must try and be slightly more active or I will be going to work tomorrow feeling terrible. Another consequence of my inactivity is that I ate to much yesterday. I went to bed feeling rather full, and that may have contributed to sleeping badly, and the subsequent stiffness, aches and pains  that I experienced upon waking up.

 One curious consequence of the way I slept, or maybe not, was a rather unusual dream, or at least I think it was unusual for me. I cannot remember the dream in detail, nor can I recall any detail of what lead up to the broad scenario that I can remember. In this dream I think I was trying to set myself up as an amateur pornographer by inviting any women reading these pages to send me pictures of their knickers for display here. At least I presume that it was for displaying on these diary pages. Maybe I was going to set up a separate web pages. I am not even sure if I wanted pictures of knickers being worn, or just the knickers themselves, but with the benefit of being awake (I think) I would probably prefer to see them being worn. Of course in the real world I would never solicit such pictures, or worse (better !!) for display here, but if any of you ladies would like to send me any pictures I am too much of a gentleman to refuse, but I will not be publishing them here unless you are weird and twisted (or an exhibitionist) and want to show them to the world. For some reason the Monty Python "Nudge, Nudge" sketch comes to mind here - holiday snaps, wink, wink, say no more ! I could display some "holiday snaps" here without lowering the tone too much ! As I haven't been on holiday since I was a kid I have no holiday snaps of my own to display. So I'll display yours !

 On a more serious (but far less interesting) note, I have been experimenting with keyboards and this devilish KVM switch. I tried another pefectly working keyboard and the same thing happens. When Windows boots the keyboard gets disconnected (as well as the mouse) and alll I can do is turn off the power to reboot the computer. Maybe it doesn't happen when I have two computers connected to the KVM switch, but I am not sure. What I do know is that it doesn't happen with the keyboard I am using to type this now. This is a shame because it is the most crappiest keyboard ever !
Saturday 27th January 2007
10:00 GMT
 It seems to be a bright sunny morning. I think it may be a little warmer too, but even a little warmer is still very cold.

 Yesterday was better than the day before. I have still been doing some more research orientated stuff at work. Sometimes that can be frustrating, as it was on Thursday, but yesterday it was more interesting, and by the end of the day I was beginning to get some useful results. However I still can't quite come to terms with the feeling that I not actually producing any physical results as I would be if I were doing repairs, or at least something with a physicl end product. I suppose it comes from a lifetime of work where I had previouly always having some tangible output. Being paid to just think, where even negative conclusions add to the pool of knowledge, is wonderful in theory, and perhaps something I have wanted to do for a long time, but it is just so far removed from what has gone before that I sort of feel uncomfortable with it.

 Last night Patricia came round after she had been Swimming. We had a chat and some food together. I tried opening up the tin of Dulce De Batata that I got with my Argentinian Xmas food assorment. It is very nice, quite unusual, but worryingly sweet for me.

 I am not sure what I am doing today. I think I might be doing some tidying up, or I may just end up being very lazy. What I am sure of is that next week, after pay day on Tuesday, I will be placing an order for some computer bits. Top of the list will be a new keyboard for this PC. Many of the keys need an extra thump to make them work, and is probably past it's best and due for retirement. It is actually an ancient spare keyboard that I started (re-)using just a few days ago. The keyboard I was using before that was working well, but for some strange reason it kept disconnecting itself when connected via a KVM switch box (that I uses to share this keyboard, mouse, and monitor wit h any other PC that I am playing with at the time). This crappy keyboard seems to be behaving itself on that score, but I can never be sure that anything I think I have typed has actually appeared on the screen.
Friday 26th January 2007
08:13 GMT
 This morning it is just cold. There is no snow, no rain, nor sleet, but it is very cloudy, and that means it is still very grey outside. Without clouds I would have been seeing the sunrise as I approached Waterloo East, but even by the time I reached Clapham Junction the brightness of the sky could still be taken as night.

 Yesterday was a funny sort of day. I seemed to lose touch with reality. At one point during the afternoon I thought I had broken a piece of equipment because it would not respond to the joystick control. It took a full five minutes for me to realise that I had it connected to another joystick, and that one worked OK. In the evening I wanted to visit the toilet before leaving the pub and went outside wondering where the toilet was. This latter detachment from reality is more understandable if you are familiar with the Wetherspoons pub on the concourse of Victoria station. The inside is only separate from the outside by a glass partition, and the outside is, in effect, in it's own area separate from the milling crowds of the station proper.

 My inability to distinguish inside from outside happened when I met up with Aleemah after work. We went to book tickets for a Sunday Brunch on the Orient Express train. Previously unbeknown to us, the Orient Express booking office is not actually a booking office, but is in fact just a luxury departure lounge (waiting room in old railway parlance). So we had to make the booking by phone. With that successfully done I needed a drink. So it was off round the corner to the Wetherspoons pub for a pint of Stella Artois. We would most likely have eaten in there, but an electrical supply problem, courtesy of Network Rail, who own and run the station, meant that the pub had no kitchen working. The alternative was to go up the escalators to the top floor of the food hall. Aleemah had a jacket potato, while I had a bagel. My bagel, although fairly pleasant, was not quite what I expected. I asked for cumberland sausage as the filling, but what I got was straight, and not curved as a cumberland sausage should be, and did not even taste like cumberland sausage. It just tasted like an ordinary cheap pork sausage.

 Aleemah, who was still recovering from a cold,was feeling tired after our meal, so we hugged good bye and went our own ways. With only a short wait I managed to catch an Ashford bound train that stopped at Peckham Rye . Sometime ago I made the discovery that the Ashford train called at Peckham Rye just five minutes before a Sevenoaks bound train that stops at Catford station. This makes for a nice quick connection, and indeed that is how it worked out last night.

 I got home in time to watch an episode of The Avengers on BBC4. After watching that I did a bit of internet surfing before going to bed and reading until shortly after 9pm. I fell asleep very quickly after I turned out the light. With a full nights sleep, and couple of paracetamols to tame my lower back pain/hip joint pain/or whatever, I feel mostly good this morning. If my brain can keep touch with reality it could be a fairly reasonable day. (Although reading back what I have just written revealed many incorrect words and weird grammar. I have corrected all I could see, but I am pretty certain there will be other weeeeeiiiiiiiirdnezzzzzzzzzzzzzz in wot I have written).
Thursday 25th January 2007
08:11 GMT
 No snow this morning, and the trains were running normally. It is quite cold outside, and the sky is very overcast. Even now there is still no real daylight outside. More snow is forecast for today, but apparently only to the south and east of here. From the look of the sky I am not so sure about that.

 It was sort of nice taking yesterday off work. I am not sure I took best advantage of it though. I seemed to do very little, or that is how it felt at the time. Looking back I recall that I did do some shopping and some laundry. I finished putting the last programs on my spare Windows ME computer, and that is now back in the cupboard awaiting the day it is needed for something. I also learned a bit about using Macromedia Flash, but most of what I learned over several hours of experimenting was that I really don't have a clue as to what I am doing with it !! I am wondering if there is an easier to use open source alternative, perhaps stripped down to the bare essentials, that may be a better choice for me.

 I had a strange thing happen in the early evening/late afternoon. I had someone knock at my door begging. Normally I discourage such behavior, but this time I was convinced it really was a good cause. It was a man in white overalls who said he was doing some decorating a few doors away, and could I please spare some toilet paper. It was such an original request that I could not say no to it.

 Last night I had just two pints of Winter Warmer in the pub with Kevin and Iain. It was a most pleasant end to the day. I got home just after 9pm, and thirty minutes later I was in bed, and possibly even asleep.

 Tonight, after work, I am meeting up with Aleemah. Following my uncomfortable, but successful, experiment with nicotine replacement therapy last Sunday, we will be booking our tickets for the "Sunday Brunch" trip on the Orient Express train.
Wednesday 24th January 2007
10:21 GMT
 So here's the timeline of my morning so far.......(Videos are in mp4 format and may need to be downloaded before they will play)
  • Get to the station for the 06:56. It is cancelled, and the next expected train is at 07:43
  • Go back home again.
  • Get to the station in time for the 07:43 and find it is delayed.
  • Wait, wait, and wait. Meanwhile I am cold and my lower back is killing me.
  • 07:20 and an announcement is made - " The next train will be for Cannon Street, and is now at Clockhouse, It will be here shortly, but is only six carriages long"
  • A train approaches...........and goes through non stop !!! Video here.  
(note: this flash file is an experiment. So far I cannot work out how to incorporate playback controls, or to stop it looping. Right click the video to select no loop and stop)
  • Wait another 5 minutes.
  • Cannon Street train arrives packed like a sardine can !! Video here.
  • Wait another 5 minutes and another Cannon Street train arrives. More video here.
  • Cannon Street trains would be useful if only we could get on them.
  • Another 5 minutes passes and a Charing Cross train arrives. It's a more useful destination, but by now my back is really giving me a lot of pain, and although I could possibly have barged my way on board I cannot face standing in crush conditions while my back is so painful.
  • Many other people elect to stay on the platform in the hope that the next train will not be too long, and that they will be able to physically get on it.
  • I elect to phone work and take a days unscheduled holiday.
  • I am now back in the warm with a couple of paracetamols inside me and not feeling too bad.
Wednesday 24th January 2007
07:08 GMT
 Global warming ? Waking up on a January morning to three quarters of an inch if snow, and the trains coming to a grinding halt, seems pretty normal to me. Once again I am writing from home. I would normally get the 06:56 train from Catford Bridge, but having been to the station I note that the first expected train will be the 07:43 - if indeed that runs. There are alternative ways I could attempt to get into work, but for now I am happy to sit in the warm and wait until I have heard that first train go by. The one after that should, hopefully, be less crowded.

 It is still snowing now, but increasingly it will be turning to sleet (I think). With less wind outside it actually feels "warmer" than yesterday, and the snow is very pretty, but if I had an easy choice in the matter I would prefer to stay home today.

 Last night I made it to Clapham Junction station with microseconds to spare to find that the train I had been rushing for had actually been cancelled (signalling problem in the Clapham area - allegedly). So once again I would get to Waterloo too late to catch my early train from Waterloo East. I did not fancy hanging around on a cold draughty platform, and it did feel bitter last night, so I thought I would see what happened if I caught the Jubilee from Waterloo to London Bridge. It worked out quite well. Initially it seemed as if I would never get to London Bridge in time for the 16:50, ex-Cannon Street, train back to Catford Bridge, but in fact I got there earlier enough to smoke a fag and have a pee too. So that is another alternative route to my repertoire.

 Once home again I cooked myself up a pile of brown rice, lamb, and peas seasoned with some extra mint and hot pepper sauce. It was very nice and warmed me up a treat. Later on I still felt peckish so I had something very unhealthy. It was a tin of Tesco "value" ready made custard with a very generous spoonful of Dulce De Leche (spreadable milk toffee) in it. That would send my blood sugar level soaring, but I haven't noticed any ill effects from it.

 I couldn't stand looking at the non-working PC that I was working on, on Sunday, sitting there still not working. So I opened it up again and took out a small stick of memory (32MB), and reseated the large stick (256MB) in there. This time when I installed Windows ME it all seemed to go OK. I added many other applications, and although I haven't tried them yet, they all seemed to install OK. So with luck, or was it skill, I seem to have a spare working PC again. If I were not (probably) drinking tonight I would do just a little more tidying up on it before stashing it away in a cupboard until such time as it has a use.
Tuesday 23rd January 2007
08:39 GMT
 I am now at work and give a more accurate description of the weather - It's bloody freezing !!!!

 As I left the house the pavements and roads were very wet, but it wasn't actually raining. The sky, although very dark, looked very heavy with clouds. As I walked to the station I noticed something white out of the corner of my eye. It was a snowflake. Before I reached the station I saw two more snowflakes, and one of them was quite big.

 After that gloomy walk to the station it was quite a surprise to realise that in Wandsworth the sky was blue, and the sun was shining. It's still bloody cold though !!!
06:52 GMT
 This morning seems just as foul as yesterday morning. Not that I have been outside yet to really evaluate what's out there. It is certainly cold, and when I opened the back door for Smudge to refuse to go out, it looked damp, and it sounded as if very light rain was falling.

 Obviously I am still at home now, and haven't left for work yet, but I will be soon once I am convinced that my raging guts have settled down this morning. I ate a lot of spicy stuff last night, and I blame that for a certain level of discomfort this morning. I was going to have a semi bland meal of lamb, rice and peas last night, but I came home via Tesco where I needed to buy some toilet paper (which has proved most useful this morning). While in Tesco I bought some other odds and sods including some pot noodles and hot pepper sauce. So my meal last night was a ready made egg salad with extra scotch eggs, and a couple of pots of pot noodles. Also one "rustic" roll and four small pots of pro-biotic yoghurt. Quite a mixture really, and maybe, on reflection, not such a good idea.

 I left work just one minute past 4pm last night, and that one minute late was quite sufficient to add over thirty minutes to my overall journey. The bus got to Clapham Junction just a few minutes too late for a suitable train, and at Waterloo East the 16:44 train was running too late to make the dashed connection to a Hayes train at London Bridge. So I had to wait for the slightly delayed 16:55 train instead of my more normal 16:31 train. The 16:55 train was just a few minutes late, and accumulated as much as ten minutes late by the time it got back to Catford. It was pretty chilly waiting on Waterloo East last night, and a relief to get on a warm train. Now I am going to be late for work this morning I ought to stay late to make up for it. So it looks as if I will be late home tonight as well.

 I do not seem to have had any more visits from the American Government to this website. Hopefully all that rubbish I wrote yesterday has put them off. So now the real truth can be revealed. We are going to overthrow the government of Iceland and install a pro Jedi dictatorship. Or something !
Monday 22nd January 2007
08:10 GMT
 It's a foul morning. It's overcast, raining, and very cold. The rain is not heavy, but feel very cold on the face, and is enough to soak right through to the skin. Fortunately I was not exposed to it long enough to get seriously soaked.

 My mind is definitely going. I was sure I had written something yesterday, but it appears not. Saturday was a fairly bright day, and the forecast rain did not materialize. I am not sure what I did on Saturday. I know I did the usual - shopping, laundry, and Nelly's litter tray - but beyond that it is a sort of blur. I think I probably divided my time between reading, playing with computers, and snoozing.

 Now I mention computers I know exactly how I passed a lot of time. I was playing with some bits that I was hoping to use in my next server. I wanted to use a couple of 2GB SCSI hard disks I had laying around to install the operating system on (actual server storage would be on parallel ATA hard disks) . I knew the motherboard I was intending to use had an option from booting from SCSI disks, but I was over optimistic that it could provide the BIOS settings to enable booting on an ordinary SCSI interface card. In fact it couldn't, and I needed a SCSI interface card with it's own BIOS on it. That posed an interesting dilemma. The only spare SCSI card I have that does have it's own BIOS is an ancient 8 bit ISA card. As a very long winded experiment I used a PCI SCSI card to install Windows 2000 onto one of the hard disks. With that SCSI card the machine would not attempt to boot. When I replaced that card with the ancient one it did try to boot, but Windows just threw it's hands up in horror at the old hardware and crashed instantly - but it did boot (sort of). It might be possible to get a SCSI interface card that has a BIOS on it, but it is certainly not economical to buy one. So it looks as if I will have to find a new role for those old hard disks.

 Sunday morning dawned bright and clear. I didn't go out at all on Sunday. So I am not sure if it was as cold as forecast, but the forecast for a sunny day was certainly correct.

 Sunday morning was the big nicotine replacement therapy experiment. Using a nicotine patch, and one bit of nicotine gum, I managed to not smoke for just about three and a half hours. It was not pleasant. The patches and gum may have fed the nicotine craving, but the mechanical habit of smoking was just as strong. Nevertheless I managed it, and included in that time was eating breakfast, and a smoke after a meal is a very strongly ingrained habit. With the added bonus of Aleemah for company I now think I can endure a three hour train journey without a fag, and maybe even enjoy it too.

 A large portion of my Sunday was a waste of time, or to put it another way, did not achieve anything. I was trying to Install Windows ME onto an old PC that previously was running Windows 2000. I thought that Windows ME would run faster on the old hardware, and I didn't need anything sophisticated on a spare knockabout PC. Every attempt at installation, failed even though Windows 2000 had previously run on it with no problems. I had tried an alternative graphics card, but I don't think that was the problem. In the end I concluded that I must have dislodged one of the memory sticks while rummaging about inside the box. That was in the early evening when I concluded that, but by that time I had had enough, and gave up until another time.

 I notice that this website has had six visits from some one (or persons) with an American government domain name. Without reading through the raw logs I don't know exactly where my visitor(s) came from, but the simple statistics say :-

#  Hits Files KBytes Country
8   6 0.17%     5   0.31%      313     .56% US Government

 I guess that someone has been scanning the internet looking for mentions of plutonium or other terrorist activity. I believe it is part of project Echelon, but they probably just use Google like any other person. I was going to say any other sane person, but sanity is a matter of conjecture.

 Well I am going to continue to write about dubious subjects, and the CIA can do little about it. I am wearing my tin foil helmet. So their mind control probes cannot touch me, and in time we will overthrow the American government and put the rightful ruler in place - King Charles. We'll soon have all you yanks hugging trees and eating organic yoghurt.

Meanwhile I have almost generated enough Bolonium 305 in my back yard reactor to make my F bomb that will blow the whole of Washington into the ninth dimension and let the grey men pass judgement over their new world order. Bacterial experiments have been going well too. There is something very potent growing behind the waste bin in my kitchen with which I will soon be able to hold the world to ransom with ! If that doesn't work I will be unleashing Aardvark 'flu on the ex-colonies. If you thought bird 'flu was sinister you ain't seen nothing yet !
Megalomania ? Never heard of it !

Saturday 20th January 2007
07:30 GMT
 The day started rather windy, but seems to have settled down now. So far it is dry, but the sky looks very overcast. Until the day gets a little brighter it will be hard to really see what the sky really looks like, but the weather forecast suggests there will be a lot more rain today.

 Yesterday was a good day. The wind remained calm, and there were many sunny intervals. Perhaps the est bit was that the sky stayed fairly clear as I made my way home from work, and with a bit of imagination I could say that it was still just barely light when I got home. By next week it should be daylight when I get home no matter how cloudy the sky is (except perhaps for thick black storm clouds that can make any day feel like night). The next major treat will be when I can leave home for work in daylight.

 After my short relapse a few days ago, my cough continues to be on the mend. For much of the time it has now gone, but there are still occasions when a good clear out is required. Overall I am feeling pretty good. Even my aching back seems to be a lot better today, although that comes and goes depending on my posture, or the type of seat I am in.

 Last night I had a rare treat. Patricia phoned me up on her way home from work and asked if it was all right for her to finally return my iron. With nothing else planned I readily agreed. She turned up an hour later without the iron ! We had some dinner together and chatted for a couple of hours before she left at about 9pm with the promise that she would eventually return my iron next time she visits.

 I went to bed soon after Patricia left, but taking advantage of no work today, I stayed reading in bed until 11pm. After that I fell asleep quite quickly, and had a fairly uninterupted sleep until I woke up again sometime after 6am. I feel much better for all the sleep I have managed to get over the last couple of days, but I wouldn't rule out going back to bed once I have finished writing here.

 Today I have the usual things to do - laundry, shopping, emptying Nelly's litter tray etc. I expect I'll be buying the latest New Scientist while I am out shopping, so I will probably spend a fair amount of time reading that. Other plans include fitting a WiFi card in the upstairs front room PC, and seeing what signal I get in that side of the house. I should also start to transfer all my data from my current dual boot Linux/Windows PC, here in the back room, onto the fresh installations I made on a spare hard disk last weekend. I can then fit that in the PC and enjoy the freshness of new operating systems.

 One difficult task ahead of me this weekend is to try some nicotine replacement therapy. During the week I had a call from Aleemah to say that she had acquired some vouchers for £100 off the price of trips on the Orient Express train. I had always considered that train to be outside my price range, and even the cheapest trip using Aleemah's voucher pushes the boundaries. We both would like to sample the delights of luxury train travel, but Aleemah more so than me. Apart from the price, the other major disincentive for me is that the train is 100% no smoking ! Under some circumstances I can manage to go for three hours without a fag, but on the train the odds are stacked against it. For a start there is the added stress of knowing once you are on the train there is no chance of having a smoke until the trip has ended. If it were, say, a theatre I could always walk out if the urge for a fag became too much. So there is always that safety valve even if it meant not being able to get back into the venue. The other problem is that on the train there will be food and drink. A fag with booze is as natural to me as sex, and a post meal fag is almost a neccesity. So while I am shopping today I am going to buy some nicotine patches, and some nicotine gum, and see if it does work as an alternative way of getting my fix of nicotine for 3 or 4 hours. If it does work, and nicotine is only one part of smoking addiction, it could open up new vistas for me. It could take away my fear of flying, although not my fear of customs and excise/immigration/secret policemen/the Spanish inquisition/CIA/FBI/ and other terrors of boarding a plane. Did I mention the threat of terrorists ? Actually terrorists on a plane do not worry me (although drunken Scotsman do). Statistically less people are blown up by terrorists on a plane than those who disappear forever in Guantanomo Bay. Having written that, my fear of ever going to America, by any means of travel, has just gone up one notch !
Friday 19th January 2007
08:14 GMT
 This morning has started out wonderfully bright and dry. Even when I left home there was light visible in the clear eastern sky. The only fly in the ointment is that as the sky lit up even more it was obvious that the small fluffy clouds were strongly tinged with red, heralding more bad weather to come later. This is as forecast in my morning paper. As my train pulled into Clapham Junction the sky was already bright enough to comfortably read by (and may have been even earlier). By Wandsworth Town station I think I would be tempted to say it was full daylight.

 Yesterday was very, very, VERY windy. News reports say that several people were killed as a direct result of the wind blowing things down. It caused some havoc on the railways too, but I must have had a charmed existence on my way home from work. At Clapham Junction there were announcements about delays from fallen trees on the line and speed restrictions in place, but my train, the 16:16, was on time. It was unusually crowded, and when we arrived at Waterloo the platform was crowded 5 deep. Obviously my train was one the first to arrive there for some time. Over at Waterloo East the platform was also very crowded, but once again my train turned up on time, and was not unusually crowded. We did move to London Bridge unusually slowly, with many signal stops, and the same was true for the first mile as we left London Bridge. From then on the journey was quite normal, but behind time by about 10 minutes. At London Bridge I heard over the P.A. that there were serious delays on the lines via Greenwich and Woolwich.

 Apart from some irritating lower back pain I feel pretty good this morning. My cough has almost gone (although being a smoker it will never quite go), and I think I slept pretty well last night. There is some doubt about this though. I am sure that I woke up at around 03:00, and for a little while I did not seem to be able to get back to sleep. How long that little while was is a mystery. I was woken by my alarm this morning from a dream where I was dreaming that I was in bed trying to get to sleep !
Thursday 18th January 2007
08:07 GMT
 I wonder how many days it will be before I can stop writing "it's wet again this morning". It was between home and Catford Bridge that I was rained upon most, although even that was not that bad. In Wandsworth there was some patchy fine drizzle, but not enough to stop me walking from the station to work. By the time I got into work I was probably damper from sweat than rain, or maybe it was after getting into work that I became damp from sweat. It is fairly mild outdoors, but it is really hot here in work, and it feels far worse after having walked fairly fast for ten minutes. Incidently, I only walked from the station to work because I bumped into Anna, my boss/supervisor/???? while I waited at the bus stop.

 This morning I feel better than I have done for a fair few days. It's mostly because I got a full nights sleep for the first time in ages. After a couple of pints of Winter Warmer in the pub with Kevin and Iain last night, I was home by 21:00. I had a quick snack, and was in bed 15 - 20 minutes later. I did not go straight to sleep, but read for another 10 or 15 minutes. Very soon after I was fast asleep, and only woke once, at midnight, to empty my bladder. Five minutes later I was fast asleep again, and slept right through until my alarm woke me at 05:30. Despite getting a good nights sleep, it feels rather strange that this morning was the one morning where I really did feel like turning over and going back to sleep again. Perhaps on previous mornings I made a concious effort that I had to fight the sleepiness, and did not even allow myself to consider the possibility of going back to sleep again.

 While I have had a good nights sleep, and my coughing has recovered back to more manageable proportions, I did wake up feeling like I had a hangover. Not one of the very painful hangovers, but just one where you feel urghhhhhhhhhhh all over. After a mere two pints of beer this is, of course, impossible, but I felt it just the same. Like a hangover I am feeling better as the morning wears on.

 Prior to going to the pub last night I had a play with my newly delivered high gain WiFi aerial. It has allowed me to find three more Wifi signals, all of which are (sadly) protected. The unprotected one that I could just get on the old aerial (but only with the PC in an outlandish position) seems to have gone. It used to advertise itself as "Belkin54G". This was obviously on the default settings. In all probability  it's owner has now gone into the set up menu and reconfigured it to be one of the other signals I can see. Two of the signals are identified with well known ISP's (BT and Wannado), and the third has a strange name (gumbass, or something). I suspect it is this third one that used to be Belkin54G.

 One dream I vaguely remember from last night concerned an antique radio. It was all wood and bakelite knobs, but seemed to gain more features as the dream progressed. I can only remember the dream in snapshots rather than continuous details. First I was cleaning the radio up for my boss (I think). Then I said we should plug it in and try it. It all lit up, but there were no signals on it. So I clipped a pair of forceps onto the aerial connector and the tuning dial, which turned out to be motorised, started turning until it found a station to lock on to. Curiously the radio station it found seemed to be playing light classical stuff appropriate to the age of the radio. The next bit was when I noticed that the tuning indicator was actually a small tv tube and could display pictures. I became worried at that point because I knew that several of the channels preset into it were porn channels, and there were people with me (who ???) who I did not want to see these channels, or know of their existence. Eventually I found an old episode of Dr Who on one channel and we were amused to see that on this tiny (postage stamp sized ?) TV screen. Next I discovered that there was a magnifying device that would project the picture onto a bigger screen on the front of the set (I think the original picture was seen on the top of the set). The projected picture was in wide screen 16:9 format, and in a sort of dim distorted colour format as well. The colour did look more like chromatic aberration from the lens system, but the pictures were definitely squashed as an old 4:3 aspect ratio TV picture looks on a wide screen TV. The dream was marvelously inventive, and anachronistic too. Quite, quite enjoyable.
Wednesday 17th January 2007
08:23 GMT
 It is wet again this morning ! So wet that I got wet ! It was evident that there had been a fair amount of rain when I left home this morning, and I caught up with it in Wandsworth. I was not exactly soaked when I got into work, but it would have only taken a few more minutes out in that fine, but very persistent drizzle, for me to be soaked through.

 Last night I seemed to have more energy than I thought, considering my recent lack of sleep. 16:00 came last night and I felt good enough to stay on at work trying to fix a bar code reader. I managed it in the end and left work quite close to 17:00 - a whole hour late.

 Back at home I ate some dried fruit mix and some chestnuts as a snack before cooking up a very healthy meal of salmon and salad. The salmon was flavoured with pepper and lemon, and bought as part of a Tesco "buy one get one free" offer (or were they just half price ?). Those flavourings were very subtle and contrary to my expectations did not over power the delicate salmon flavour. I'm going home via Tesco tonight and will buy some more if they are still in the freezer on special offer.

 I remembered to have a couple of large glasses of scotch before bed last night. The scotch certainly worked and I fell asleep very easily and very quickly. Unfortunately, in the early hours of the morning, I had a relapse into coughing. Prior to that I was convinced I was on the mend. Since the afternoon, on the trains home, and back at home before I went to bed, I had coughed quite infrequently, and not severely at all. Early this morning it started all over again and kept me awake until around 04:45 (as near as I can guess). So once again I have more sleep to catch up on.

 Tonight I will be trying an alternative sleep and cough remedy (prior to 10 minutes ago, I had not taken any form of cough medicine for 24 hours or more). Tonight it is the turn of Youngs Winter Warmer. That usually guarantees me a good nights sleep even if the morning after is a bit foggy !
Tuesday 16th January 2007
08:04 GMT
  It is wet this morning. In my travels to work I saw lots of wet, often very wet, roads and pavements, but I seem to have been lucky enough to not feel anything worse than a few bits of occasional, almost mist like, rain. It is still very dark and overcast outside, but my paper suggests there will be some sunshine today. On the other hand, my paper also suggests that the strong winds and stormy weather that were forecast for tomorrow night will happen the day after. So I am not sure what to believe.

 I do not feel as tired as yesterday, and I have improved in other ways. My cough gets more and more manageable every hour, but still gave me some bother overnight. The one way in which I feel worse is that all the cough remedies I have taken recently seem to have left me a bit constipated. It made me journey into work slightly uncomfortable, and even now it sometimes feels like I have a broomstick inserted where no broomstick should be inserted !

 I fell asleep sometime around 9pm last night, and then slept solidly until 2am when I woke up feeling like my tongue had been glued to the roof of my mouth. It made a change from coughing though ! A few swigs of water sorted that out, but I found it impossible to get back to sleep. It was the usual sort of things - unable to find a comfortable position, pillow just the wrong position, rucks in the sheets, and one degree too hot under the duvet, and five degrees too cold outside the duvet. So I got up and went to check to see if my internet connection was still working. It was, and I answered one e-mail, and checked a few web sites out. I went back to bed at 3am, and after a brief struggle with attempting to get back to sleep, I read for the next hour. I think I fell asleep at around 4am, and managed about ninety minutes more sleep before it was time to get up again.

 All that sleeping problem may have been solved if I were a more dedicated drinker. On my way home from work I went via Tesco where, amongst other items, I bought a litre bottle of scotch. I planned to have several stiff glasses of that before I went to bed, and trust in its benign properties to give me a good nights sleep. I don't know if I was just too tired, but I totally forgot about the scotch, and the bottle remains unopened even this morning. Maybe I'll try again tonight.

 In other news, I have ordered another WiFi card to go into another PC (not sure which one yet), and also two external aerials. (Actually, the reason for buying the new WiFi card was just insurance against the aerial connector on my current card being incompatible with the external aerial's connector). I am hoping that the external aerial will give me simple usage (without balancing the PC on the edge of the bed, or somewhere ridiculous) of one or more unsecured wireless connections I know to exist around the neighbourhood. It is not my intention to use these on a regular basis, but more as a sort of insurance against NTL's unreliable service. If any of my neighbours are reading this and want swap services on a more formal, less piratical basis, then get in touch and I'll let you have the keys to my WiFi transmitter). I have arranged to get the bits sent to work so I don't have to worry about chasing courier companies all over London when they can't deliver to home.  It is even possible they will turn up today. In which case I will have some experimenting to do tonight instead of drinking huge quantities of scotch, and going straight to bed (although the WiFi experiments should only delay me by half an hour or so).
Monday 15th January 2007
18:42 GMT
 I am very, very tired tonight. I did not sleep well last night, and my lack of internet access contributed to it. I spent so long rebooting the set top box, and my firewall, that I got to bed a lot later than I wanted. Once in bed I found that I could not get to sleep partly because my brain would not switch off, and partly because of my cough. In fact one reinforced the other. I actually got up again sometime close to midnight and had another go at restoring my internet connection.

 The day started off with me feeling pretty dreadful. So dreadful that I could not even be bothered to rush for my usual train. Instead I caught the next one 34 minutes later. As the morning progressed I began to feel a fair bit better, and I even felt the strength to try and phone NTL's fault reception number (a tiresome task at the best of times). After listening to the pre-speech, and then the different selections possible, I finally came to the bit where you are supposed to be able to report a fault. I wasn't actually ready to report a fault, but I wanted to know if there was any known ongoing problem. First I had to listen to a long and tedious explanation about rebooting the set top box and the PC, and was assured that this would cure most problems (as it usually does). Having heard all that guff I eventually heard that there was "a local fault" affecting my area plus, it seemed, most of South East London - so local to what, or whom ??????

 I have no idea what time service was restored but I had to do the rebooting kerfuffle when I got in from work before my connection was up and running again.

 During the afternoon I gradually ran out of energy, and it was a joy when 16:00 approached and it was time to go home. My journey home was none too pleasing. I waited too long for a bus and arrived at Clapham Junction too late for my best choice of trains. In consequence I missed the early train home from Waterloo East. I thought I was in with a chance to get the 16:34 Barnehurst train that get to London Bridge in plenty of time for a slow stroll across to Platform One to catch a train coming from Cannon Street !6:34 came and passed and the train did not arrive. There was no indication that it would be late, nor that it might be cancelled. It eventually arrived at 16:53 which is a mere two minutes away from my next available train to Catford Bridge, the 16:55. So I took the 16:55 and endured crowded conditions back to Catford Bridge. Fortunately I had a seat all the way back and felt a bit rested by the time I got off again. It made an essential visit to Tesco rather more bearable than I had thought it would be.

 Today has been fairly mild with some spells of sunshine. It was fairly bright when I left work despite it being overcast at the time. Despite running very late, the daylight persisted until I got to Waterloo. Had I been on the earlier train, and had the sky been clear, I am sure that I would have made it all the way home before the light level had fallen enough for it to be called night time. Tomorrow is forecast to be overcast all day. That will be depressing, but worse still is heavy wind and rain forecast for the day after.

 It has now just passed 19:07 and I reckon I could easily be in bed in about an hours time. I doubt if I will be going to sleep that early, but if I start reading I am sure to start to doze well before 21:00.
Sunday 14th January 2007
20:30 GMT
 As I write this I find I have no internet connection. It seems NTL has fallen over once again. Maybe they are doing "load balancing" again, or maybe they are just incompetent !

 I am not sure what time my internet connection went down. All afternoon, and into the evening, I have been installing both Windows and Suse Linux 10.2 onto a spare 160GB hard disk (left spare when I upgraded my server to 320GB disks). It seemed to take an age to install Windows XP plus some software and a gigantic pile of online updates. Suse Linux would have installed in a fraction of the time had I not opted to install a similar gigantic pile of updates.

 I did seem to be able to download all the Suse updates. So I had internet connectivity up until at least 18:00, but sometime after that, while setting up Samba, I did notice that Suse asked for the installation DVD instead of downloading the files from Suse's server. My guess is that I have been without internet connectivity for about 2 hours now. Hopefully the connection will come up again by the time I get up, and definitely before I go to work in case I have to reboot my firewall, or the NTL set top box to restore full connectivity.
Sunday 14th January 2007
09:36 GMT
 I was either too tired or too busy to write anything yesterday - and I am not sure which it was. I guess it was a mixture of the two.

 Yesterday started out dull, and it remained that way the whole day. By contrast it seems to be bright and sunny at the moment. It would be nice if the sun could stay out the whole day, but there are a few clouds around, and it may well cloud over later, or even rain. All I can really say is that for January it is remarkably mild.

 Like most nights recently I had a strange sleep pattern brought about by my ongoing cough. On Friday night I went to bed fairly early and managed to get to sleep after some reading. I woke up several times, but on the whole I managed a bare minimum of sleep. I got up reasonably early for a Saturday morning, and after showering and shampooing my hair I went to Tesco. I had neglected to take any cough medicine because at that point my cough seemed to be on the mend and manageable. Unfortunately the warm air inside Tesco triggered off a major coughing fit just as I started to go through the checkout. And by major, I do mean MAJOR. I was could not stop coughing and spluttering. My eyes were streaming,  snot was almost bubbling out my nose, and my forehead was dripping with sweat. I must have looked a right state ! Once I was out in the fresh air I got things back under control fairly quickly, and by the time I had walked the 5 or 6 minute walk back home I was feeling OK again. Once inside I immediately took a huge swig of cough medicine.

  I had a few hours spare and took the opportunity to try the alarm function on my mobile phone, and to lie down and have a snooze. It was lucky I did try that alarm function, and even luckier that it worked. When it went off I was in quite a deep sleep.Aleemah by the riverside at Greenwich When I woke up I had just 30 minutes to get to Catford Bridge station to catch the 12:44 train to London Bridge where I was meeting Aleemah for an afternoon out in Greenwich. I made the train in good time and found Aleemah waiting for me where we had arranged to meet. Five minutes later we were on a train heading to Greenwich.

 It was never planned to be a long meeting. I was (and still am) not feeling too fit after my recent cold, and we both decided that we would go home as the sun set. That still gave us plenty of time to have some lunch, do some shopping, wander around Greenwich market, take a look at the river, and grab a beer in a pub before heading home.

I took the Docklands Light Railway to Lewisham where I caught a bus home, and Aleemah took the Docklands Light Railway to Stratford where the poor woman had to do an almost end to end journey on The Jubilee Line to get to her home.

 Once I got home I had a snack before cooking a large enhanced pizza. It was a ready made frozen, but thawed out, pizza with pepperoni. I enhanced it with some hot pepper sauce, and an extra sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese. I have to say it was absolutely delicious (if rather unhealthy). I have another, but red onion and four cheese flavour, that is also sitting thawed out in the bottom of the fridge (no room in my freezer) that I may well eat today (and probably ought to). I originally bought two in case I had a visitor yesterday, but that didn't happen.

 Television last night seemed very unexciting. So I went to bed to do some reading. It was only 20:30 , or maybe even slightly earlier, and I read very little. By 21:00 I was fast asleep, and slept well until 03:00 this morning. I woke up, predictably, coughing, but also feeling wide awake and alert. Rather than attempt to fight it I came downstairs and surfed the internet for an hour or so. I almost started to write this, but the enthusiasm did not seem to be there, and I thought that enough time had passed and I could try and get back to sleep. I was partially successful in getting back to sleep, but it was patchy and disturbed until as late as 06:00. From then on I think I slept fairly for the next couple of hours. I woke up feeling far worse than I did at 03:00. My whole body seemed stiff and uncooperative. A good hot shower helped a bit, and right now I don't feel too bad.

 Today will be a lazy day. One of the few temptations to do anything other than emulate a vegetable is that I have just finished downloading (and as I write this, burning) an image of the latest Open Suse Linux distribution - 10.2. I may be tempted to use the DVD, once it has finished burning, to upgrade my PC currently running Suse 10.1. It is slightly dangerous, but should not take long. The main danger is losing my e-mails going back over the last 3 or 4 years - and that only because Suse, for some unexplained reason, does not automatically come with Thunderbird as part of it's standard packages. So I would have to install that separately and migrate the old emails across to it. In theory that is simple, but it is always a bit of a fight, but I have succeeded in the past, even to Windows and Mac computers, and there should be no reason why I can't do it one more time.

 Well, I might "play computers" today, or I might not. I think I may well go to Tesco this morning, but not before taking a huge gulp of cough medicine first. Mostly though, vegetable land - here I come !
Friday 12th January 2007
08:10 GMT
 My apologies if you kept checking here yesterday and found nothing new. Following the installation of a new modem/router/firewall here at work, works i.p. address changed and my firewall rejected any incoming data as being from an alien address. So I was unable to connect to write anything at work, and I got home far too late last night to write anything then.

 This morning it is very overcast, and there has been a very light sprinkle of rain. It is still not light outside, although somewhere above those clouds the sun must have been up for over thirty minutes. I think it will probably remain gloomy for much of the day. yesterday did see some briefs spells of sunshine, but on my way from work there was one very heavy burst of rain. Fortunately I was under cover at the time. One of the main features of the weather yesterday was the wind. It was obviously very strong and gusty, but this mornings papers reports a fair amount of wind damage in places not too far from here. Last night there was also displays at Clapham Junction warning of delays caused by trees on the line (although there was no indication of where these trees had fallen, nor any noticeable delays while I was there).

 Yesterday was my return to work after a day and a half off sick. I was by no means recovered, but I was feeling much better than the previous couple of days. Provided I did not try and over do things I felt reasonably comfortable, and I was able to be more productive than if I had stayed at home. My principle ailments yesterday were my bad cough, assorted aches, and general tiredness. Most of these evaporated in the evening.

 After work I met up with Aleemah at Victoria station where we had a drink together. It was really wonderful seeing her again for the first time since the short meeting I had with her before Xmas (and that the first for a couple of months). We got on so well together again that I virtually forgot that I was ill. Had it not been for my intrusive cough butting in now and then, I would have insisted I was 100% fit ! (but only while sitting in a warm pub with a beer and excellent company). We have arranged to meet up again on Saturday for a day, or at least an afternoon, out together. I hope I am feeling a lot fitter by then.

 After seeing Aleemah I did not get home until just gone 21:00. The house was cold, the cats were hungry, and Nelly's litter tray was stinking almost as much as some scrap fish bones left in the kitchen waste bin from my previous days dinner. I put some heating on, fed the cats, and emptied the kitchen litter bin, but I could do little for the litter tray, and that will remain stinky until I buy some fresh cat litter on my way home tonight.

 I guess it was partly the medication that I was taking, and partly the exhilaration of having a good time with Aleemah, and maybe just because it was late, but rather unusually I did not feel very hungry when I got home last night. I had only eaten some fruit during the day so I thought I probably ought to eat something. I didn't want to cook. So I made up three Tesco quick snacks. One was a very healthy eating couscous with Moroccan vegetables, another was a tomato and herb pasta, and the third was cheese and chive mashed potato. All three were small portions (for me !), and if I hadn't supplemented them with a sprinkle of gated cheddar, they would only have been a couple of hundred calories apiece. So it is quite feasible that if you discount the alleged calories in beer, I may have consumed less than 1000 calories yesterday.

 Having eaten my snack pots, checked my email, and locked up I went straight up to bed looking forward to a good nights sleep. It didn't happen. As soon as I laid down my cough caught up with me with an avengance. It was not a dry cough, but the type brought on when you can hear, and feel, the phlegm bubbling away just below the neck, and you have the insatiable desire to clear it. T add misery to the whole proceeding I had neglected to seal the end of my duvet cover when I changed it recently. With all the tossing and turning going on the duvet was gradually working it's way out the bottom of the cover. When I eventually did get to sleep I seemed to have ended up with little duvet over me, the pillows twisted into the most lumpy shape possible, the duvet cover wrapped round bits of me like a tourniquet, and every ruck, lump, or  bump of the bottom sheet, mattress protector, or the mattress itself, poking into every tender part of my body. I woke up at 04:00 cold, and incredibly uncomfortable. My head, neck, shoulders, back and buttocks all had their own particular type of ache or pain ! I got out of bed, put some heating on and remade the bed before getting back in it. I fell asleep quickly after that and slept soundly until my alarm went off at 05:30.

 This morning I could describe myself as better and worse. I feel like I have more energy, but my chest is still too wheezy to put it to good use. My stiff neck appears to be improving, and some lower back/hip joint pain that was troubling me earlier on seems almost gone. My nose seems to be clear most of the time, but does need a good blow more often than I would desire. It is really only my chest that is a problem now. It still feels congested, and of course all the excess coughing has left the muscles aching a bit. The cough is slowly turning to dry cough, and this was most apparent on my train into work this morning. Prior to getting on the train I had a few good coughs to clear my throat, and on the whole these were productive, but on the train between Catford Bridge and Waterloo East, as the air got hotter and stuffier, I was reduced to a lot of eye watering dry coughing. Since coming into work, sitting quietly in a warm, but not stuffy, atmosphere, I have only been subject to occasional outbreaks of coughing. All that will change in a moment as I am now going out onto the fire eascape for a fag !
Wednesday 10th January 2007
16:55 GMT
 It would be about now that I would be arriving home had I been to work today (and managed to catch the early train). I thought I would write a little more today because I have some good news.

 I am feeling quite exhilarated at the moment. For one thing I am sure that I have broken the back of this awful cold. I am feeling far better now. My nose is still prone to getting blocked every now and then, but has ceased to pour, or for much of the time, even run. Many aches and pains have subsided. The major lingering ailment now is my cough. Even that is progressively getting better, but each fag obviously irritates it. Although even fags are having less affect now. I have reduced my fag intake as much as I can stand, but reduction to zero has never been an option. Liberal doses of Pavacol D should be helping the cough as well, and I intend to take the bottle into work with me tomorrow.

 Two more things have raised my spirits. One is that I remembered where half a bar of plain chocolate was hidden. I originally gave it to Patricia to keep it out of temptation, but she didn't eat it herself, and didn't take it with her when she moved out. I have now eaten it, and it was very nice even if it was more calories than I ought to eat in a whole day !

 The real cream on top of my exhilaration is that today has been mostly fine with plenty of sunshine and semi clear skies. At 16:45 I realised that it was still light, and there was still light in the sky at 17:00. That is late enough for me to complete my journey home from work in daylight - something I have been looking forward to since the winter solstice. Tomorrow I will be late home after meeting up with Aleemah at Victoria, but on Friday, if the skies remain fairly clear, I am really looking forward to travelling home from work in daylight. As the days continue to get longer I am looking forward to arriving home in full daylight soon. By the end of next week, even on overcast days, there should still be a smidgin of light left to brighten my journey home.

 Despite feeling quite good now, I am not sure if I will enjoy going to work tomorrow, but I am looking forward to meeting up with Aleemah.
Wednesday 10th January 2007
05:58 GMT
 I think I feel better then yesterday in some respects, but I am by no means well yet. My nasal mucus production has dropped to a tenth of yesterday, but my head still feels like it is stuffed with wet newspaper and sawdust.My cough is being held almost manageable by liberal use of pholcodine linctus. One good sign is that when I woke up at around 04:00 this morning, my pillow was soaked in sweat. I assume that it was the result of fever, and a fever usually indicates that the cold has finally broken. I believed that I had experienced several fevers previously, but none produced copious amounts of sweat.

 I left work early at 11:00 yesterday. Not only did I feel awful, but I realised that my efforts to repair stuff was possibly causing more damage than it was curing. As soon as I left work I called into Boots to buy the "Pavacol D" pholcodine based cough linctus, plus some Sudafed nasal spray. My journey home was actually fairly speedy with most connections only requiring a very short wait. The connection at Waterloo East was very tight and I had to walk quite fast to make it. That left me short of breath, but also feeling quite good that I was able to speed up despite feeling so rough.

 Once back in Catford I came home via Tesco where I bought some sandwiches and a couple of bottles of diet cola. The sandwiches were because I felt peckish, but did not want to go to the bother of preparing anything. I ate the sandwiches while watching the midday news on TV, and went to bed once I was finished. Initially I was just going to lay on my bed and do some reading, but it was cold up there and I decided I may as well get into bed properly. I started out reading but soon became drowsy, and fell asleep. That set the pattern for the last 18 hours.

 I slept for over an hour before waking up, and stayed awake for another hour before going back to sleep. The exact timing of the cycles is hard to say, but an hour asleep, and an hour awake is a close enough approximation, and that continued for the rest of the day, and overnight. I have a feeling that I will be going back to sleep again in the not too distant future.

 As an indicator of just how ill I have been I had a strange sensation last night. I almost (but not quite) lost my appetite ! At around 6 or 7pm (I can't remember when) I had this notion that I should be eating, but I did not feel hungry as such. I think I just wanted some extra tasty comfort food rather than actually feeling hungry. In the end I compromised and made up a simple sandwich, and that seemed to satisfy the conflicting feelings.

 Today I will not go into work so I have to stay awake for a bit longer now so I can phone in the "good news" to work. As soon as that is done I will go back to bed for as long as seems appropriate. After that I am looking forward to a good hot shower and shampoo. They should set me up to feel good enough to do a few simple chores (emptying Nelly's litter tray being an important one). Mostly though, I am going to take it easy and try and get myself fit enough for work tomorrow.
Tuesday 9th January 2007
08:13 GMT
 This morning I feel dreadful. It seems I have another cold. The first hint of it was Sunday when I had a mild sore throat. Yesterday my nose started pouring, and by the time I got home from work I was feeling very rough. To make matters worse I got home to find that Nelly had been sick in my bedroom. Most of it was on the floor, but there were splashes on my duvet. So despite feeling "close to death" I had to clean up and change all my bedding.

 I went to bed very early at just after 20:00, and then read in bed until 21:00. Despite being really bunged up I went to sleep very quickly, but woke up again around midnight with a fever. I was warm and snug in bed, but needed to go for a pee. As soon as I got out of bed I felt absolutely freezing. I could feel the skin tighten all over my body, and the cold penetrating right down to the roots of my teeth. By the time I got to the toilet I was shivering so badly that I could hardly aim straight ! It was a huge relief to get back into my nice warm bed after that, and I was soon asleep again. I awoke again after a couple of hours and did not feel so shivery, and then then again an hour or so after that. That time I did have the shivers again, but not nearly as bad as the first time.

 The fever I had should have been a good sign, and usually signifies that one of my colds is on the mend. Hopefully it did this time, but I feel very weak and achey this morning. Since sitting down in this very hot workshop I think I may be feeling better. I'll give it a few more hours, but  if I have not made a major improvement I may well go home and back to bed.

 The days are getting longer - just. It was most definitely still daylight when I caught the 16:16 train from Clapham Junction last night, and there was still enough light left to see in colour by the time we reached Vauxhall station. As I walked from Catford Bridge station to home it took little imagination to detect that there was still a very feint glow from the western horizon. It will still be many weeks yet before I can do the walk in any definition of daylight, but the signs are there.

 This morning it is very overcast with some intermittent light showery rain. The clouds have killed any chance of seeing any sunshine, and at no time did I see the feintest glimmer of light appearing on the eastern horizon this morning.
Monday 8th January 2007
08:09 GMT
 It took until I reached Clapham Junction station before I could realy appraise the morning sky. The eastern horizon was getting reasonably bright, but the clouds were streaked with red suggesting a really awful day approaching. There was rain overnight, but it has stayed dry so far. Sooner, or later, I am expecting a downpour.

 Yesterday was mostly good. In the morning, after an extra 90 minutes in bed, I went to Tesco and bought some nice rainbow trout for my dinner. I do like fish, and a nice oily fish like trout is allegedly very healthy eating. I also bought New Scientist and read that for much of the remainder of the morning.

 At about 14:30 Kevin came round with an ancient Philips N1700 video cassette recorder for me to look at. To renew my aquaintance with this old model, and to get some practice in, I dug out one of my old N1702's and had a play with it before Kevin arrived. One problem with these old machines is the rubber drive belts fail in their old age. Some fail quite spectacularly into a black sticky goo ! Others just stretch and lose grip. I managed to replace the drive belts in my machine using random belts from a collection left over from my time as a TV engineer. None of the belts I used was very close to the original, but they seemed to work.

 I had been playing for sometime when Kevin arrived, but had not managed to get a picture out of the machine. We persevered for another hour, or maybe even two, before I gave up and had a go at Kevin's machine. I am pretty sure that my machines problem was one of the replacement drive belts I fitted. It should have been a flat belt, but all I had was a square section belt that was too short. I am not sure if this belt was slipping, or the extra tension from being too short was causing too much drag. If it was too tight then if I try the machine in another 3 or 4 years time, it should have stretched by enough for the machine to work :-)

 The problem with Kevin's machine was that the tape mechanism often failed to lace up. Kevin suspected a mechanical problem, but I was sure it was an electrical problem. A test of the voltage on the loading motor showed that it was indeed an electrical problem. Fortunately I have the full manual for the N1700 and after many wrong assumptions we finally traced the problem to a high resistance switch contact. A quick clean and tweak seemed to provide a complete cure.

 By the time we had finished there were bits of VCR all over the living room, and it was getting quite late. After clearing up it was too late to do the preparation for my rainbow trout dinner, so I shoved a couple of fish cakes in the oven, and had those for my Sunday dinner half an hour before I went to bed. I hope the rainbow trout is still fresh enough to enjoy tonight.
Sunday 7th January 2007
06:46 GMT
It's a shame that cats, my bladder, and my bowel do not really understand Sundays. It could have been nice to have a long lie in this morning, but the first two conspired to get me up early, and I think the third will not be too far behind. Of course I do have the option of going back to bed now the first two are satisfied - and I may well do so soon.

 It appears dry this morning, and not too cold. While I had the back door open for Smudge to go out, I did not get an icy blast of air - just a cold blast of air. After getting out of a very warm bed the house seemed to be cool, but comfortable. Since sitting down to write this I cooled off very fast and have now put the heater on.

 Yesterday was very dull and gloomy with copious rain in the afternoon. I hope today will not be as bad. One thing that did light up my life yesterday was that, amazingly, Patricia did come round with my fags. She was here for a couple of ours as we exchanged news, and tried out one of her Xmas presents from me. It was a Mate kit (pronounced mat-ay or mat-tee). (More about mate here and here) One of the problems of buying Patricia the bits needed to make mate is that mate is a social drink similar in some ways to English tea drinking, but perhaps more so. Although Patricia knows that I hate tea, and only once allowed her to even have some the house when she was ill, she hoped I might drink some mate with her. Unlike tea, which I try to keep at least an arms length away from, and preferably two, I was bold enough to smell the mate. It has an almost wet grassy type of smell, maybe not too unpleasant, but my "fear" of hot drinks overruled my sense of duty (or something), and I declined to taste it. Maybe if Patricia and I had a more intimate relationship I could force myself to attempt to taste some, but under the present, and foreseeable future, circumstances this is highly unlikely.

 The rest of yesterday I either watched TV, played on the PC, or read a book. The book, which consumed a fair proportion of the time, was "The Number Of The Beast" by Robert Heinlein. Despite the title it is actually a science fiction book. It is a fairly big book, and unless I devote the whole of today to reading it, I think it should keep me in reading material for several days now. The one other thing I did a little of yesterday was to continue clearing up this back room. I only devoted 30 minutes to it, but I have uncovered bits of the floor that have not been seen for ages. I might have done more, but my wheelie bin is too full already, and it will not be emptied until Thursday.

 Today I will do some more laundry, visit Tesco, and do some more reading. I might do a little more clearing up in this back room, but with no space to throw anything out I will have to see if I can make improvements just by re-arranging things. The rest of my day will probably be spent watching TV or playing on the computer. With luck I will keep myself amused enough to avoid over eating. I managed it passably well yesterday, and in fact I think I did quite well. For breakfast I just had two dry finger rolls of bread with some tinned mackerel, and in the evening I managed to persuade myself not to order a large takeaway. I really wanted that takeaway, but decided that I ought to cook something slightly more healthy. This I managed to some degree. I had chargrilled mediteranean vegetables (fairly healthy) with some fairly lean bacon (fairly healthy if only I had cooked and eaten about a third of the quantity I actually did !). It was early afternoon when I did have some very naughty stuff with Patricia. They were very sweet and highly calorific Havannets Mixtos. Very, very nice, but very, very naughty !
Saturday 6th January 2007
07:00 GMT
 The day has started dry, but the weather forecast is for a dull, wet and rainy day. It is still fairly mild though.

 I got home from work on my early train last night and immediately tucked into a snack of dry bread with some tinned mackerel in spicy tomato sauce. With a gaping hole in my appetite filed I was able to relax a bit more. As much as I had been looking forward to getting back to work after the long Xmas break, I was equally looking forward to this weekend. I was also looking forward to getting my duty free fags from Patricia. That hasn't happened yet, and I doubt I will see her over this weekend, but you never know.

 Later on in the evening, around 18:30, I cooked my main meal of the day. Now this was healthy eating ! It was Tesco "Healthy Eating" cod in breadcrumbs. I served that with some broccoli. Of course I did ruin the effect a bit by dribbling on some olive oil while the fish was cooking in the oven, and I did smother the fish in tartare sauce when I ate it. On top of that I stuffed down all four portions of the fish. My excuse for the latter was that I still had hopes that Patricia might drop my fags in, and I could offer her some dinner if she hadn't eaten at that point. Having cooked the fish it seemed a pity to waste it !

 I haven't got any major plans for this weekend. One of my first "jobs" is to wash my hair. I seem to have neglected it since Monday and it is pretty horrible this morning. Next on the agenda is to do some laundry, and after that I have to decide if I want to go to Tesco this morning. My cupboard is looking a little sparse right now, but when I am trying to avoid excess eating that is not such a bad thing. Of course, sooner or later I will need more cat food, and that means a trip to Tesco is inevitable.

 Once the household chores are out of the way, and that includes emptying Nelly's smelly litter tray, I am not sure what I will do. Maybe I will do a little more of attempting to tidy, and rearrange, this back room as I was attempting to do over the Xmas holidays, or maybe I will make a start on building up the new server that I also mentioned over the Xmas holidays. Perhaps something will come along that provides a better distraction. The important thing is that I try and avoid eating six meals today !
Friday 5th January 2007
08:07 GMT
 The day has started overcast, and it seems to be actually getting darker outside now than how it was when I first arrived in Wandsworth. It is fairly mild though, but that still does not make up for the lack of sunshine. Yesterday saw several periods of sunshine.
A sunny spell on January 4th 2007Pictured on the left is me enjoying one such sunny spell while having a fag break on the fire escape outside the workshop. I was lucky to catch the picture when I did because the sun went back in moments later.

I guess work was OK yesterday. I had the chance to be creative and design a very simple hand held tester for the hall effect magnetic sensor on one of our small interface pcb's. The actual circuitry I designed was very simple. It merely consisted of a single LED and a single resistor, but it was the method of mounting, and connecting, the tester that provided the design pleasure. Despite that I was keen to leave early, and left in such a rush that I left behind some fags I had here.

One advantage of leaving work so quickly was that I managed to get to Clapham Junction in time to catch the 16:13 Waterloo train from platform 7. Currently this has always been a very nice class 422 "Wessex Electric". Sometime soon these are sadly going to be withdrawn from service by Southwest Trains. So it was nice to get the chance to travel on one again for at least one more time. I did attempt to take a couple of pictures on my mobile phone camera, but it was dark and they will need some processing to be possibly usable.

 I had a quiet night in last night. I didn't do much, but I did attempt to eat healthily. As usual I failed in terms of quantity, but the ingredients were all fine stuff. My main meal was a couple of tuna steaks (over)cooked in the oven with a sprinkling of olive oil and some garlic. I had that with some cabbage and carrot (OK, I'll admit it. It was coleslaw in a probably unhealthy creamy sauce). Had I just had that, and a bit of fruit, I could really claim to have eaten healthily, but I also had a slice of quiche as a snack, and some other junk as well. One item I did eat a lot of was something I had seen in Tesco and was curious about. It, or should I say, they were pickled pears. I had never heard of pickled pears before, and neither had my friend Kevin. Curiosity got the better of him first and he tried some. He declared they were delicious, and as Tesco was forever reducing the price of them to clear them from the shelves, he bought some spares and gave a jar to me on Wednesday night. Last night I noticed that Tesco had reduced the price to just 25p from an initial price of something in excess of £1.75. So I bought 4 jars just relying on Kevin's recommendation. He was quite right. They are delicious. The main flavour is really malt vinegar, but there are undertones of sweetness and pear combined with a wonderful crunchy texture. I wonder if I go again tonight I will find the last 5 or 6 jars reduced to 10p ??

 I didn't see Patricia last night, and I am wondering if I will see her tonight to finally get my fags from her. It will be nice to hear all her news as well. Apart from a few brief emails about the flights to and from Spain I have heard very little from her. This probably means she has a new boyfriend and has little time for me.
Thursday 4th January 2007
08:14 GMT
 After a wet and windy night the day has started fairly clear. The cloud seems to be thickening again though, and as yet there is no sunshine visible despite plenty of bits of blue sky visible.

 Last night I joined Kevin for a drink in The Ram. Unfortunately I let myself be talked into staying about 40 minutes longer than I intended. It was quite probably the second double scotch that has left me feeling a little hung over this morning. The total damage for the night was two pints of Winter Warmer, and two double scotch-with-ices. I was intending to have a quick snack when I got home from the pub (despite eating more than I intended before going there), but as it was late I went straight to bed.

 It is possible that I was asleep by 22:00 - which is not too bad for a weekday night, although I think I would have preferred to be asleep a little sooner after my poor sleep on Monday night. Out of all the dreams I had one stands out as being unusual. I was walking down a road and stopped to pet a squirrel which may have initially appeared as a cat. It certainly acted like a cat in a playful mood as it tried to bite me. I must digress from the dream to explain about playful biting. Some cats will attempt to bite the hand of someone stroking it. Smudge is one example. She does not so much "bite" as attempt to chew a finger or thumb. Unless she gets carried away there is no attempt to bite hard enough to break the skin. It is a sort of symbolic warning that she could if she wanted to. Anyway, back to the dream, and the cat like squirrel, or squirrel like cat. As I was tickling it under the chin it grabbed my hand in it's front paws and I knew it wanted to bite me. If it were a cat I would have let it, but I knew that it had rodent like teeth that could easily bite my whole finger off. As I attempted to pull my hand away it wrapped the end of its, now rat like, tail around one of my fingers. No matter what I did I could not get it to let go. I think at one point I had the thing dangling by it's tail, but still it would not let go. As I was having thoughts about getting my cigarette lighter out to burn it's tail I woke up. I cannot ever recall dreaming about a squirrel before, and certainly not one as strange as this. What I am trying to remember is whether at any time I saw the complete creature, or whether bits of it metamorphacised as each feature came into view. To reconstruct the complete creature from the parts I remember it would have a squirrels head, a cats body and paws, and the tail of a rat.

 I am hoping that I may see Patricia tonight to get my duty free's from her. She has given no indication that it will be tonight, but I could do with some fags now. If it is not tonight I guess it will tomorrow, Friday, night as she is very often away at the weekends. If she does come round I very much doubt that she will stay too long, and so I can look forward to an early night - and listen to the final part of Journey Into Space before turning off the light and submerging into the land of Morpheus.
Wednesday 3rd January 2007
08:11 GMT
 This morning it is damp and overcast, but not actualy raining. There is no sign of the sun this morning, but the forecast is for some sunshine for this afternoon. I hope that I can leave work in the last dying rays of the sun later this afternoon.

 I didn't eat as healthily as I intended to last night, nor did I get to sleep as early as intended either. despite that I do feel maybe 50% less crap than yesterday morning. Initially I did wake up at 04:00 this morning with my back aching a lot, but a combination of a little more sleep, a hot shower, and a bit of walking seems to have provided a lot of relief. I also feel far less bloated than yesterday (or any of the last 7 or 8 days). Wearing some more comfortable jeans may be helping that.

 It is good to see that all the news sources, papers, radio. TV etc, are continuing the general moan about the price of fares that I moaned about yesterday. I wish there was some way to step up the protest without resorting to the usual semtex, anthrax, and plutonium. Well I suppose there is always the new kid on the block, Polonium 210, but Tesco's have run out of it again !

 Tonight, being a Wednesday night, I think I will be calling into The Ram for a couple of pints of Winter Warmer with Kevin. Maybe Iain will be there as well.
Tuesday 2nd January 2007
17:53 GMT
 I'm back home cold, tired and hungry. The day went reasonably well, and there was a fair bit of sunshine from mid morning onwards. By 15:00 I was feeling the strain, and yawning a lot.

 My journey home was "interesting". I just missed a bus in Wandsworth, and did not get to Clapham Junction until 16:22. This was 6 minutes too late for the last train to connect with my early train from Waterloo East. By way of compensation I only had to wait just two minutes for the next train. It was a curious journey. About half way between Vauxhall and Waterloo all the lights went out inside the train. I have no idea why, but it made the approach into Waterloo far more interesting than the usual approach. At Waterloo East I had to wait an annoying twenty minutes for the next Hayes train to Catford Bridge. When it did come it was only a four car train, and from London Bridge it was packed fairly solidly.

 I have no idea why this train has been reduced to just four carriages (it was the same in the last week before Xmas), but after a £1.40 increase in my weekly season I found it intensely irritating. On the same subject as fare rises I find it unbelievable that a single bus fare is now a wallet busting £2 !

 I have heard from Patricia. She experienced some delays on her journey back to the UK, but still managed to get the last "Stanstead Express" back to Liverpool Street station. I don't know what route she took from there, but she says she was home in bed by 03:00. As yet she cannot predict when she will be dropping off my duty fee fags, but I hope it is not too long to wait.

 I was going to try and eat a very low calorie dinner tonight, but I felt so cold and hungry when I came in that I am compromising on some roast potatoes and a load of green vegetables in chicken gravy. Just eating nothing but fruit so far today, and all the exercise of working and commuting, has made me feel a little better in some ways. I am still a little wheezy, but my main complaint at the moment is my back feels very stiff. If I manage a good comfortable nights sleep tonight I hope my back will be fine in the morning. A few more days of (semi) eating healthily should get me feeling fairly OK for the weekend - although I will probably be bored stiff and undo all the good work of (hopefully) the next few days.
08:12 GMT
 Once again I am back at work. The day has started dry, but very dark despite fairly clear skies. I was greeted by a big full moon low in the western sky when I first left home. By Clapham Junction the eastern sky was getting fairly light, but since then the clouds seemed to have thickened and it still seems to be semi dark outside. We are now well past the winter solstice and I look forward to the day breaking earlier and earlier now. Things will be good when it is full daylight by the time I get to Waterloo East, and it will be excellent when the day comes that I can leave the house in daylight. Finally, things will be excellently superb when I can finally wake up to daylight.

 I think I am a little tired this morning. I went to bed as early as 19:00, but did not attempt to get to sleep until closer to 21:00. I think I did manage to get to sleep by, or soon after, 21:00, but it was a troubled sleep. I was expecting to be woken up by Patricia coming in during the early hours of the morning. Evidently her flight must have arrived in time for her to get a train back to Liverpool Street station, and from there straight to her new home. Until 03:00 I slept with the hall light on, and my bedroom door open, and I awoke many times whenever I heard anything that suggested Patricia was coming in. Most times I think it was the cats making that noise. I woke up at 03:00, and after going for a pee I turned out all the lights and managed to get back to sleep again. It still seemed a poor sleep with occasional lapses into conciousness, but it did need my clock-radio alarm to wake me up.

 In some ways it was disappointing that Patricia did not turn up. Virtually anything I did over the entire holiday that could be called constructive was to do with getting the spare room, and much of the house, ready for a visitor. I assumed that visitor would be Patricia, but it could have been someone else. In some ways I might have preferred someone else, but Patricia would have one big plus point - I hope she has brought me 400 duty free fags. There was some other stuff I did over the holidays for other people, but it was one of the PC's that did the hard work. So it is difficult to claim any credit for it. One person in particular will be surprised what I have done for her.

 Today I am obviously at work. So I don't need to make (usually wrong) predictions about what I may do today. There is still the evening to consider though. I hope that I will get my duty free fags delivered, but if not I will just slouch in front of the TV, and then try and get to bed early tonight.
Monday 1st January 2007
06:58 GMT
 The day has started in a most soggy fashion. It doesn't seem to be raining at this very moment, but earlier on this morning the rain was beating against my bedroom window, and some of it sounded like sleet, or maybe even hail.

 Last night I did not go up to bed as early as I thought I might. I noticed that a program called "Grumpy New Year" was on BBC2 . This was a seasonal special of the series Grumpy Old Men and Grumpy Old Women. It provoked a mixed reaction from me. One one hand it reminded me of some past dreams, but on the other hand it reminded me of the reality of New Years Eve and why it is best to try and ignore it. I came away feeling almost OK about being grumpy myself.

 After the programme finished, at 21:00, I did go up to bed where I listened to three episodes of Journey Into Space. By 22:30 I finished listening and tried for some sleep. It was already getting noisy outside, with a lot of fireworks going off, but I did manage to fall asleep for about an hour. I was woken up by the sound of an incoming text message on my mobile phone. It is a little tune that I have come to associate with Aleemah because until recently over 50% of the text messages on my new mobile phone had come from her. So with a little excitement I checked the message. It was from Kevin, but would not open. The phone displayed "Unsupported Message" (or format). I have no idea what it was, and have now deleted it. After deleting it I realised that may have been a mistake, and that maybe I could have opened it by connecting the phone to the PC and using the "O2 PC Suite" to see what it was. Prior to deleting it, and the main reason why I did delete it, was that I found that on going back into the message menu the senders name had changed from Kevin to Aleemah, although clicking on the reply button brought up Kevin's name in the recipient box. This was most spooky, and I feared that it could have been some sort of virus at work. Maybe it was some sort of omen, and the significance of it will become apparent later on.

 Having been woken up by the phone, curiosity got the better of me and I booted up the PC to see if I had any e-mail. I hadn't, but while the PC was on I thought I may as well download, and install, the new version of AVG anti virus (free edition). I was quite surprised how quickly it downloaded. I was expecting the internet, or at least NTL's portion of it, to grind to a halt so close to midnight, but the file came down at record speed.

 It was just a few minutes to midnight when AVG had installed, and I was going to try for some sleep again, but outside was a cacophony of fireworks going off. So I left the PC with Thunderbird, my e-mail client, checking for mail every ten minutes. At two minutes to midnight Jodie phoned. She was bored and feeling low about the whole evening. So we chatted for a little while until her other phone rang and she went to answer it.By now the fireworks outside had gone from minor skirmish to full on battle of The Somme. This is sort of surprising. Generally this is a quiet neighbourhood, and with the railway and park to the west and north of me, the housing density is fairly low. So who had all the fireworks is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps some of the fireworks were from official displays using "industrial strength" fireworks. Although the 15, or so, minute train journey to London Bridge makes the distance seem a lot longer, it is only about 4 or 5 miles from here to where  all the celebrations were taking place along The Thames etc.

 I don't know what time I finally got to sleep, and I don't know how much sleep I lost when the pounding rain woke me up in the night, but I do know that I could do with more sleep. This is quite important, and I will be back in bed again soon. There is every chance that Patricia will wake me up at something like 01:00 tomorrow morning if she wants to stay here on her way back from Spain, and then I have to be up at 05:30 for work.

 So very soon I will be back in bed where I hope I can sleep for a couple more hours. During the day I will finish the hoovering, and if the shops, and in particular Aldi, are open, I may well do just a little more shopping. After that I may well end up doing nothing at all. I think I will attempt to get to bed, and try for sleep, very early this evening - maybe as early as 20:00.

Original template made with Seamonkey 1.0.6 30th December 2006