Bill's diary page for October 2007
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Wednesday 31st October 2007
 08:21  GMT
 This morning has started off very dull. The forecast is for cloud for the next few days. Despite the cloud there has been no rain, although it does feel quite damp outside. I think I would describe the temperature as very cool rather than chilly. Maybe I should refine that description to say that the temperature is just high enough to make standing around in just a jacket reasonably tolerable. I think my morning paper actually put a (forecast) number on the temperature of 9° C (although I made no attempt to pay much attention to it, and so my recollection is actually more of a guess !).

 I never did make the early train last night. If I had walked very fast I may have caught it, but I elected not to take a chance and went for a smoke instead. One problem with Waterloo East station is that once you are on the platform, it is a major hike back to the road where you can still smoke. So I caught the 16:55 train, and it was almost dark by then. It was well and truly night when I arrived home, and yet I did manage to do a little housework before I slumped down in front of the TV. I emptied Nelly's litter tray, and did a load of laundry. Then I did very little except watch old episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

 I was late getting to bed for some reason. I thought I would probably fast asleep by as early as 8.30 pm, but it was at least an hour after that when I did finally get into bed. Having got in bed I was asleep within minutes. Despite getting to bed so late I was still awake at 4 am. This morning I attempted to go back to sleep again until as late as 5.30 am, but sleep never came properly, and I was downstairs feeding the cats at 4.30 am.

 I am not sure how I feel after less sleep than I desire. Maybe I am a little tired, but it will be this afternoon before the effect really kicks in. I am almost over my cold. My nose has stopped running since yesterday, but it still needs a good blow a couple of times an hour as my sinuses drain. My smokers cough is definitely a little worse since going down with the cold. On both trains this morning I had an extended coughing fit, but fortunately it was not that sort of hacking cough that just goes on and on until you are blue in the face. Maybe it will get worse later, or maybe it will get better later. These things are hard to predict.

 One of two things will happen tonight. I will either be in the pub, or I will be in bed earlier than last night.
Tuesday 30th October 2007
 05:00 GMT
 I still haven't quite got the hang of the clocks changing to GMT. Hence I am up far earlier than I could be. Right now it is cold and dark, but it looks dry outside. There is some condensation on the cars, but it is not cold enough for that to be frost. I really have no idea what the weather is going to be like today. Despite forecasts to the contrary, yesterday remained mainly sunny all day. During the early afternoon it was most pleasant while I was out smoking on the fire escape at work. It faces south, and so is in an excellent position as a sun trap. The brickwork soaks up the heat of the sun and re-radiates it back during times when the sun goes in.

 My hopes of getting home during daylight last night did not fully come to fruition. I left early enough to make sure I caught the early train from Waterloo East, and it was daylight when I arrived back at Catford, but I went home via Tesco. I was only in Tesco for a short time, but by the time I left dusk had already set in, and the sky had already gone a dark grey when I arrived home. The same will happen again tonight because I will be calling in at Tesco for fresh supplies of fags on my way home. Provided there are no queues I will be out again a lot quicker than last night, but that will probably not be enough to compensate for the ever shortening hours of daylight.

 After I got in last night I fed the cats, and fed myself. I watched a couple of old episodes of Monty Pythons Flying Circus, and by 7.30 pm I was feeling like it was close to bed time. So I turned off the TV and spent a little time at the computer. By 8.30 pm I was just about fast asleep in bed. I slept soundly until 3 am this morning when I woke up from a really rather pleasant dream. I am not sure of the context of the dream. All I can remember was that I appeared to be in either a plane, or helicopter, flying slowly (and silently) along the coast line.The views were great, but the reason eludes me. After a visit to the toilet I got back into bed and managed to sleep until a little after 4 am. Ideally I would have liked to sleep until about 5 am, but sometimes it is not worth fighting it.

 Next week I am taking the whole week off work. I have nothing planned for that week, and I am just using up some of my spare leave. To say I have nothing planned is only partly true. One plan is to force myself to stay up later in the evening, and hopefully sleep later in the morning to re-sychronise myself with the clocks. That may work, but in all probability I will still be getting up absurdly early, and then go back to sleep after a couple of hours. I think I would like to do that right now, but pretty soon I ought to start getting ready for work. It's going to feel like another long day at work, and I can see myself being in bed well before 9 pm tonight again.
Monday 29th October 2007
 08:30 GMT
 It was actually daylight when I left home for work. It still seemed a bit gloomy though. Since then the cloud has broken up a bit, and here in Wandsworth the sun is shining. My morning paper suggested that this morning would be very cloudy, and there was a fair chance of rain. That was how it seemed when I left home, and I guess the cloud could clump together later on. I made sure I kept an eye on the time it got dark last night. For the next couple of days, provided I can catch the 16:31 train at Waterloo East station, I will just about make it home in daylight. After that darkness will fall progressively closer to the time I leave work, until my entire journey home will be done in darkness.  How depressing !

 I didn't get up to much yesterday. I probably spent more time blowing my nose than anything else. I couldn't even find the energy to go to Tesco - which did not please the cats because the only cat food I have left, does not really meet with their approval !

 This morning I feel sort of good, but that is really only relative to how I felt yesterday, and the day before. My nose, although still getting blocked quite frequently, has stopped gushing like a fire hose. I ate quite lightly yesterday, and that has left me feeling more comfortable this morning. Most amazingly, despite a lot of sitting, or laying down, my back does not seem to be troubling me much compared to many recent Monday mornings. On the down side, the normal after effects of a head cold are kicking in. All the mucus I did not blow out my nose has seeped into my air ways, and I am coughing up quite big lumps this morning. When I first woke I thought I was going to lose my voice such was the violence of some of the coughing. Even that has settled down now, but experience suggests that a tickly smokers cough will probably be with me until next spring.
Sunday 28th October 2007
04:16 GMT
 The clocks have finally changed back to GMT, and so we get an extra hour in bed in the mornings. The slightly good thing about this is that it will be lighter on the way into work. While the terrible thing about it is that it will mean it is darker on the way home. Initially it will feel like I am working overtime as I will have to wait an extra hour for the clock to creep round to 4 pm. The other transitional change that will bring some grief is persuading the cats they they ought not to get me up at 4 am for their breakfast.

 The weather yesterday was dry, but it was dull nearly all day. Today I think it will be worse with some rain forecast.

 The saga of my broken hot water tap in my kitchen has now concluded. Yesterday morning I fitted one of the tap mechanisms that Kevin gave me, and it both fitted, and worked perfectly. The only problem was that my old tap handle did not fit on the new mechanism. So I went to a plumbers called Stonemans, which is a handy 10 minutes walk from here. They came highly recommended but when I showed them my old tap handle, and the other spare mechanism as a guide for the fitting, I was snootily told they they do not deal with mere acrylic tap handles. They made no attempt to offer any suggestions so I jumped on a passing bus and went the three stops round to Wickes. I couldn't find any spare tap handles there, but I did see tap conversion kits. These kits contain a pair of mechanisms with the tap handles, and a few adaptors. At just £9.99 (although marked on the shelf at £11.99) they were just what I needed - and cheap too ! I didn't bother to take out the mechanism that Kevin had given me because the handles from these kits fitted on Kevin's mechanism perfectly. So now I have two slightly mismatched taps in my kitchen, but more importantly, two working taps in my kitchen.

 A final footnote about Wickes :  They supply a trade where measurements are pretty important. I am surprised that when consulting their web pages I notice that my next nearest store is listed as being just one mile away. I know from local knowledge that that is wrong. Putting the two postcodes into Google maps (which they actually link to on the store finder page) gives a distance of 2.8 miles, and that seems to me to be much more likely !

 This morning, the same as yesterday, I am suffering from a cold. I don't feel too bad except for a very drippy nose, although the not too bad really only refers to extreme liesure activity (i.e. lounging about at home). I just hope that it doesn't effect my chest too much. I know there will be some effect, but I hope it doesn't go as far as causing me to cough until my eyes are watering all the way to work on a crowded train. That is a most unpleasant experience, and probably pretty unpleasant for my fellow commuters as well.

 As well as the cold I was struck down by bad guts yesterday afternoon. I felt a little rough in the morning, but I was initially too involved in tap maintenance and ignored it. By early afternoon I needed to go to Tesco, but I could not make it until quite late into the afternoon. In fact it was practically early evening before I felt stable enough to dare leave the house. In the preeceding hours I was rarely far away from the toilet, and for a lot of the time actually sitting on it. After everything had calmed down, and I had finally done my shopping, I proceeded to eat normally. So far this morning I appear to be fairly normal in the gut department - at least for now !

 Today I will just be resting, and trying to throw off this cold I have. Hopefully it will be mostly over by the time I go back to work tomorrow morning. I have no doubts there will still be some remnants left over in the morning, but provided my nose stops gushing I will probably be OK. It is possible that I will have another go at my new laser printer later this afternoon, but I don't feel like that right now. In fact I am now going to get back into my bed and try for many hours more sleep.
Friday 26th October 2007
06:38 BST
 Another cold dark morning, but at least it is dry, or dry at this moment. The forecast is for lots of heavy cloud, and the chance of some showers. I think today will be very much like yesterday. I am not sure if I can recall any sunshine yesterday, and if there was any it must have been so brief as to be unnoticeable. There was some rain yesterday, but I managed to miss it all apart from a few misty bits of very light drizzle.

 I should be leaving for work in a few minutes, but I am waiting for my hair to get a bit drier before venturing out. The fact that I have got wet hair, and have had a wet shave this morning, is something like a stroke of luck. Last night I had a small, but significant, plumbing disaster. The hot water tap on my kitchen sink has for many years been a little cranky. The hot water leechs away the lubricant on the internal workings of the tap. For maybe the last ten years, and maybe even more than that, I have had to dismantle it every 9 - 12 months and apply the best lubricant I can lay my hands on at the time. The time to do this has always been indicated by the tap becoming exceptionally stiff and almost impossible to turn off completely. Everytime I have dismantled it I have noticed that the thread that the plunger runs up and down on has been wearing away. Last night that thread finally stripped and I was unable to turn off the water. I was fortunate in that I had a spare tap washer. By putting two washers in I was able to stop the flow completely, but then could not turn the tap on again. So I have no hot water in the kitchen, but because of my bodge I could turn the feed back on and still get hot water in the bathroom (where it is more essential).

 Last night I had a drink with Kevin. I explained the tap problem to him before we left for the pub, and by chance he had changed the inner workings of his taps fairly recently, and still had the old mechanisms. Both (hot and cold) are in far better condition than mine, and he gave them bith to me in the pub. I have not had a chance to try them yet, but I am pretty certain that I can use one, or the other, to repair my tap. Ideally I should change the whole tap, but I reckon if Kevin's tap bits fit in my tap it will keep me going for another ten years. I might not even be alive when the time comes to do another repair (providing I am more concientous in greasing the new tap mechanism before it gets too stiff this time).

 I will not get a chance to try repairing the tap until a lot later tonight, and maybe even tomorrow morning. Aleemah is coming over tonight, for a few hours, and we will be too busy to play with water taps !

 I will not be seeing Aleemah tomorrow (which is why I am seeing her tonight) and that will leave me the whole day for other projects. Those might include tap maintenance, trying to get the laser printer working, and one other thing which I may well do tonight after Aleemah goes home. I have finally received the old laptop wireless card that I ordered last week. I tried it in an ancient laptop at work, and it worked OK on that., but I still have doubts it will work on my old IBM laptop. The laptop I tried it on at work only had 24 MB of memory, and I do have a little more than that, but it was running Windows 98 on a 475 MHz processor. My IBM laptop, the only laptop I have that has useable batteries, and hence is still mobile, runs Windows 95 on a 100 MHz processor. Maybe I will be pushing my luck trying it on that laptop, but if all else fails I am fairly confident it will work on my NEC laptop. The batteries on that laptop only provide 23.66 nS of life (!) so mobile use is out of the question, but it does have 40 MB of ram and a 133 MHz processor running Windows 98. So apart from being a little slower, it's spec is not too diferent to the old laptop at work.
Thursday 25th October 2007
06:48 BST
 Overnight, the clouds have kept some warmth in, and this morning is only mildly cold. Mildly cold is the same as very chilly, but without any frost ! It is still at least 40 minutes away from sun rise. So I can't really observe anything else until I can see what the day actually looks like. The forecast is for more heavy cloud, but no rain, as far as I can remember.

 The whole can of prunes I ate on Tuesday night finally made it through my sytem last night. It was not as bad as I feared. In fact it was not bad at all. I had to make no sudden unplanned dashes to the toilet, and yet there were a few times when I most definitely needed access to a nearby toilet. Perhaps the very worst was the toilets at Clapham Junction station. They are pretty disgusting, probably the worst of any toilets at a major rail station. As well as the smell, and general poor state of repair, they are small and cramped too. It is hard to imagine at what they proudly claim to be Britains busiest railway station, there are just two cubicles, and standing space for maybe five men in those dingy toilets (and to get five men standing so close together they would have to be very pally !). Anyway, the deed was done, and I was then comfortable the rest of the way home.

 I didn't do anything last night (I am not referrring to more visits to the toilet now !). I should/could have been drinking with Kevin, but I was not sure if that was wise once I knew the prunes were working, and Kevin was still a fair way away when I spoke to him about an hour before we would have been meeting in the pub. So we called it off, and may try again tonight.

 This morning it is obvious that I have not yet left for work (I should have been on the train 13 minutes ago). My reason this morning is not anything to do with prunes, but it is because I am waiting for a couple of aspirins to damp down an exceedingly stiff back. I think they are working even now. When I first woke up the whole of the left side of my back felt stiff and sore. The only reason I can think of for this to happen was bad sleep posture. I did not get to bed as early as I desired, although it was not that late, and when I did go to bed I fell asleep almost instantly. I did feel a little too warm in bed and probably did not pull the duvet over part of my back before I fell asleep. So I guess the left side of my back got chilled during the night. A very hot shower has helped a lot, and if I am lucky the aspirins will finish the job because it is almost certain that I will have to stand all, or at least part of, the way on the late train up to London.
Wednesday 24th October 2007
08:23 BST
 It was not so cold as yesterday this morning. There was no frost, and the air had lost it's vicious bite. It remains dry, although today, and tomorrow, is forecast to be very cloudy. It was really quite gloomy even as I came through the streets of Wandsworth. At least for a few days yet, until the clocks change to GMT, it is still nice and light on my way home from work.

 Nothing much happened last night. I cooked myself a rice and seafood concoction, something pretty close to a paella, but no chicken, and it was most tasty. It was a pretty big dinner, but soon after I felt like eating even more. There were possibly many bad things I could have potentially eaten, but I chose mad over bad and ate a whole can of prunes. What will happen to me later on is anyone's guess, but things seem stable for now.

 Our government seems hell bent on disenfranchising every one in the country. I think it is a cunning plan. Once they have pissed off everybody they will retreat behind their iron fortress and declare the population too unstable to allow any future elections. They have already pissed me off to point 5 on the aggro scale.

The aggro scale:
  1. Staying in bed not caring.
  2. Moaning a bit.
  3. Using four letter words to describe the government.
  4. Shouting four letter words about the government.
  5. Hoping (and praying if you are that way inclined) that some MPs get run over by buses.
  6. Sticking pins in wax effigies of government ministers and certain paranoid schitzophrenics who claim to run, or represent, the health service.
  7. Throwing flower bombs at the houses of parliament.
  8. Carrying a ruscksack filled with chappatis and hair conditioner onto the tube.
  9. Growing a beard, wrapping a tea towel around your head and screaming "death to the infidels"
 I think I'll avoid number nine, but I might wrap tin foil around my head and scream "death to the minister of pissing people off" (whichever one it happens to be at the time). So what has provoked this outrage ? Read this (it should open up in a new tab or window).
Tuesday 23rd October 2007
08:18 BST
 Yesterday it was cold and dark when I left home. This morning it was even colder !  The sky was really clear and a lot of stars were easily seen despite London's light pollution. The most important change to yesterday was that there was a thick frost this morning. I get the impression that it is really a little too early for such frosts, and that we are not doing enough to promote global warming. If I could afford it, I would definitely turn up my heating to ensure that lots more is let loose into the air.

 Yesterday was a bit of a bland day. It stayed pretty cool throughout the day, but we did have a fair bit of sunshine during the morning. Later in the afternoon it came over all dull and gloomy. This contributed to a fairly depressing commute home. My feelings of depression were made worse by a terrible health and safety lapse on the train. Both doorways from my train were blocked by prams containing screaming brats. If we had to evacuate the train in a hurry we would have had somehow kick them out of the way first. Why can't they be carried on the roof or somewhere if they have to travel by train.

 It was a relief to get off that train and walk the last few hundred yards home again. (Just how far is it ? - 300 yards, 800 yards, - I don't know, but it takes about 6 or 7 minutes at a fast stroll to walk it). I never really did anything of importance when I got home. I am not even sure what I did to make the evening so short. I know that I burnt three iso images that had been downloading overnight, and during the day, onto disks. There was the big 7.10 image which fitted onto one DVD, and 7.10 desktop and alternate images that went onto CDs. Oddly enough, my fresh installation of Kubuntu 7.10 was the "release candidate" and was small enough to fit onto one CD, and did not need the almost 4.3GB capacity of a DVD disk.

 Apart from burning disks, cooking my dinner (not burning it), and eating my dinner, I watched a couple of old episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and then went to bed. I was still not in bed as early as I could have been. I think I would have liked to have been fast asleep by 9 pm, or maybe even earlier than that, but it was closer to 10 pm when I finally fell asleep.

 It is really annoying when you wake up, busting for a pee, less than an hour before you are due to get up anyway. That happened to me this morning. I wasn't sure whether I would get up there and then, or attempt to get more sleep. In the end I got back into bed and was asleep a lot faster than I had imagined I would be. Falling asleep that easily suggests to me that getting to sleep earlier last night would have been beneficial, and tonight I must try and make a point of getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
Monday 22nd October 2007
08:23 BST
 It was cold and dark when I left home, but apart from some dew it was dry. It was still fairly dark as my train approached Waterloo East Station. After spending a couple of minutes in the toilet on platform B at Waterloo East I came out to find the sun had just reached the horizon. For a few minutes we were bathed in a most eerie light. It wasn't quite pink, and it wasn't quite orange, but a sort of mixture of both tinged with purple. It was a most peculiar colour, and seemed to have sinister overtones. For those few minutes it was like being on an alien planet. In the few minutes it too to walk to Waterloo main line station the colour faded away, and the sky just looked a misty blue colour.  the sinister aspect of the dawn is that it heralded more cloudy weather. Since arriving in Wandsworth the sky actually looks darker, but I can see one weak ray of sunshine penetrating the clouds.

 The weekend was mostly fine, weather wise. Very cool mornings gave way to sunny days on both Saturday and Sunday. Although it was still a bit cool outside, the sun pouring through the windows soon heated up the front rooms. Particularly the upstairs front bedroom.

 I didn't see Aleemah this weekend. She was feeling tired and ill, and did not want to go out. So on Saturday morning I reconstructed my new laser printer. The printer was a present from Kevin, or more accurately his wife. It had gone dead in her office and was replaced, and I was offered the dead hulk. The printer is an HP4000 laserjet printer, and the fault was in the power supply. Kevin brought it round to me on Friday night and we dismantled it right then to see what had happened. The fault was actually simple. there was a big hole burnt in some insulation. One of two things had happened. One possibility is that a sharp point on the connection to a relay had rubbed it's way through the insulation on a screening plate, or a dry joint on that same connection had caused arcing that had melted through the insulation. Whichever it was had resulted in the connection pin of the relay being vaporised as it had come into contact with the earthed metal screen.

 Making that diagnosis was not easy. The power supply is deep inside the heart of the printer, and it took a lot of experimental dismantling to extract it. I fixed the power supply problem on Saturday morning, and re-assembled the printer. At first I thought everything was OK. The lights came on, and the menus on the small display all worked, but when I tried to print a test sheet the paper jammed, and jammed again on every retry. Somewhere, deep inside the bowels of the printer, I have made a mistake in the re-assembly. The ironic thing is that I do have a manual for the printer, but to be usable it should be printed out. At over 100 pages the obvious thing would be to use the laser printer - but it doesn't work yet !

 For the time being I have left the printer for another day. During Saturday afternoon I decided to upgrade my Linux PC from Kubuntu 6.10 to Kubuntu 7.10 (aka Gutsy Gibbon). Although I say upgrade, it was actually a completely fresh installation. So the first thing I did was to back up some important files onto the Windows partition of the hard drive (it is a dual boot machine). Then I deleted all the Linux partitions and started again from scratch. Doing the actual installation was quick and easy, but I was using a pre-release version of "Gutsy Gibbon" and accepted the software's offer to install all the latest releases to bring it 100% up to date. With that all done I started doing my personal customisations to the desktop, etc. It was gone midnight before I gave up and went to bed. I resumed again on Sunday morning. By midday I had got everything looking like I wanted, and installed some additional programs. I also managed to get one of my servers automatically mounted on the root file system for ease of use. The other server needs some slightly different parameters for the same use, and I have yet to accomplish that yet. The final thing was to set up the printer to be shared across my network. It was a bit fiddly, but I managed it in the end. I then spent a happy hour testing printing from all the PCs on my network. The old iMac was the strangest of all. It did not look like it was set up correctly. I could not print a test page because that option was greyed out, but when I attempted to print out a web page it worked perfectly.

 After playing with all the computers I went to Tesco, to buy my fruit for work, and then spent a lazy afternoon watching ancient "B movie" sci fi films, and generally lazing around.
Friday 19th October 2007
07:19 BST
 There is a red glow on the eastern horizon as the sun creakily hauls itself up over the edge of the world. Traditionally this heralds bad weather, but the weather forecasts say today will be bright and sunny. However the weather actually turns it it will be a cold day. There were clear skies overnight and I think we only escaped a frost by a fraction of a degree. Maybe there is a touch of frost on some more sheltered bits of ground, but I haven't been out to investigate it yet. The cars I can see from my window look to have condensation on them, but it doesn't look like glittering white frost from here.

 Yesterday started very cold, but it was reasonably bright, and the sun was out and shining for a lot of the day. By later afternoon it had warmed up sufficiently to make smoking out on the fire escape a pleasant enough experience while only wearing a t-shirt.

 Yesterday, in a small diversion from working, I tracked down a wireless network card that is old enough that it is supposed to work with Windows 95. It was fairly cheap too. I placed the order via That was the first time I have used Amazon, and it seemed a relatively pleasant and efficient process. The card itself is coming through a third party. So I hope they are as efficient as Amazon seem to be. The card itself is, in reality, just a bit of a toy. I read recently about someone refurbishing an ancient lap top (In Micro Mart), and that reminded me of my two ancient lap tops. I once tried to use a wireless network card in those lap tops, but the card I had demanded so much system resources that it swamped the whole system. Maybe this new card will work, or maybe it won't. Time will tell, but it only an experiment rather than any major need for wireless connectivity on those lap tops. Although I suppose there could be times when it could be useful. Of course only one of the lap tops, the very slowest, has any useful battery life. In fact one of the lap tops, the NEC one, has zero battery life and needs to be permanently wired to the mains to use. It seems that delivery of my new card could take as much as a week, so I won't be experimenting too soon.

 Last night I went and had a drink with Kevin in The Ram. I only stayed for two pints. So that can hardly explain the really bad diarrhoea I am suffering from this morning (and the reason I am still at home instead of being at work). I seem to be fairly stable now, but my stomach still feels pretty horrible.
Wednesday 17th October 2007
06:51 BST
 The weather gets worse. It is wet and windy this morning. The wind is not that strong, but occasional gusts make the rain hit the window panes. The rain is set to last for much of the day, but I believe it should fizzle out eventually, and drier, sunnier, weather is on it's way. Apparently Friday should be a good day, although a little colder than of late.

 I am not looking forward to going to work in the rain, but that is not why I am sitting here writing instead of just boarding my train at this very moment. I decided I just had to wash my hair this morning, and that has delayed me just enough to make running for the train impractical. I now aim to get the 07:30 train even though I dislike that train on account of it always being very crowded, and I inevitably have to stand for most of the journey up to Waterloo East.

 Last night I cooked myself a rather delicious meal. I wanted to use up the rest of Sunday's beef and decided to make a rice dish loosely based on a cross between paella and biryani. I first lightly fried up an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, one rather old wilted red chilli, and some ginger. To this I added the diced up beef, and a couple of beef stock cubes. After the onions started to brown I poured in a couple of cups of Tesco Thai rice and gently fried that for a few minutes. Then it I added some boiling water and let the whole lot gently simmer with a lid on the saucepan. After about twenty minutes (maybe less - I wasn't really counting) I was left with a really delicious meal. There was rather a lot of it, and if I can successfully reheat it I will be finishing it off tonight.

 I didn't get to sleep as early as I would have desired last night. It seems that last night was the night for phone calls. I had two fairly long incoming calls that delayed me finishing what I was doing, and made me late getting up to bed. In fact the last one came through just as I was starting to undress for bed. Fortunately that call was fairly short. I don't think I got to sleep until 10 pm, or maybe even a little later than that. I slept through to 3.45 am before awaking for the first time. Now that is an unusual time for me to wake up in the night. 2 am and around 4 am are far more common times. I got back to sleep again fairly easily, and finally woke up, and got up, at 5.15 am. It feels like I got enough sleep, but a bit more might have been desirable.

 Tonight, all being well, will be drinking night. I don't know who might turn up, but I feel I will have to be unsociable and leave at 9 pm at the very latest, and maybe a little earlier than that. It seems with these short days, with dark mornings, I need far more sleep than during the long summer days.

 09:02 BST - Update

So much for my theories about the weather. Here in Wandsworth the sky is blue, and the sun is shining !!
Tuesday 16th October 2007
08:20 BST
 This morning is as grey as yesterday, but today there is some rain about. So far I have missed most of the showers apart from a very light, half hearted, sprinkle of rain while I smoked a fag outside Waterloo station. The outlook for the rest of the day is for more rain, but it will remain quite mild.

 I felt dreadful yesterday, and was in bed, fast asleep, by 8.30 pm. I awoke a few times in the night, the first time being at 2 am. With five and half hours solid sleep I was feeling better even then. I awoke from a very interesting dream. Before going to bed I had been watching an ancient episode of Danger Man, and this influenced my dream. As far as I can remember I was only a passive observer in this dream which was about "Danger Man". He had taken some spy photographs and needed to enhance them to bring out more details in the faces. The method used was fascinating, and I am not so sure that it was not of my own invention. It was a method similar to what can be done electronically using such computer programs as Photoshop, but this was all done using old chemical film. He made a print from the negative and proceeded to darken the faces on it even more by using a soft pencil (or something). Then he photographed that and loaded both the original negative, and the new negative into the enlarger to print off a composite picture. The new negative being used as a mask for the old negative to selectively decrease the exposure. I realise there are some flaws in that process, but in theory it should work.  I don't think I can recall such a process being used, but I am familiar with the technique of dodge and burn. (The link, to a wiki page, does seem to mention using fixed masks, so maybe my idea is not quite so novel after all).

 After "taking a leak", and committing to memory as much of my dream as possible, I was soon fast asleep again.  I awoke again at a little after 4 am, and once again could remember some dream fragments. The one I would have liked to remember better is one that was getting quite erotic, but sadly I am left more with a nice feeling rather than any specific details. I did consider getting up right away, but thought I might just lie back a bit and get up in a more lazy fashion. I was most surprised when I realised it was 5.20 am.

 Obviously I needed a lot of sleep last night. I do feel so much better for it this morning. I still feel a little creaky, but the waves of fatigue I was suffering yesterday seem to be gone, as do the the headaches I was also suffering from. I think I might even live !

 I have no plans tonight beyond calling in at Tesco's on the way home from work. I think it might be prudent to get another early night in. I don't think it will be as early as last night, but I hope I can be deep in sleep by, say, 9.30 pm. With luck I might pick up on the erotic dream I was having early this morning, but that never happens :-(
Monday 15th October 2007
08:36 BST
 It's a grey morning. There is no hint of any sun, but at least it is dry. It is also fairly mild.

 I feel crap this morning. I had a pleasant day yesterday, but ate far too much. I had my big sausage breakfast when I got back from Tesco. I never did find the spicy sausages that I mentioned yesterday, and I had to settle for ordinary pork sausages. Later on I had some chocolate cake, and then in the evening I had a full roast dinner. I decided to splash out on a nice looking bit of beef. I slowly cooked it for about 4 hours on a very low gas, and wrapped in foil. Then I unwrapped it and gave it full blast on the middle shelf of the oven, and with some roast potatoes, and mixed winter vegetables on the top shelf. It was truly delicious, and I regret getting so stuffed at breakfast because I would love to have found room for more of that delicious beef.

 I went to bed feeling very full, but I seemed to be comfortable when I dropped off to sleep at around 9 pm. At 2 am I awoke with a start and promptly bit my tongue deeply enough to draw blood. From then on I could not seem to find a comfortable position for me or for the pillows, and I kept waking up all the time.

 So this morning I am tired. I feel stiff from sleeping at all unusual angles. My gut still feels a little bloated, and assorted internal organs feel sore. To add to the discomfort of my morning commute into work, my blood sugar level is probably high because I have been sweating all the way here. I have been here nearly 30 minutes now and I am gradually feeling better, but I doubt the tiredness will go away.

Tonight I was due to attend a lecture with Aleemah, put on by the Royal Society. I am not so sure that I want to go now, but maybe I will feel more like it later this afternoon.  If I don't make it, all is not necessarily lost. Many of their lectures are web cast, and the web casts are archived for later viewing - or so their website says. I haven't actually checked that for myself yet. In fact as I write, their web site seems to have crashed !
Sunday 14th October 2007
09:23 BST
 It's a fine autumn morning. The sun is shining, and turning the autumn leaves a golden colour. It's not too cold either. Yesterday was deceptively mild. There was a lot of quite heavy looking cloud around, but from time to time the sun broke through, and the rain stayed away. Today the sky is hazy, but looks free from any cloud. Whether it will stay that way is hard to guess, but if the sun stays out for a fair time, and the same mild breeze blows like it did yesterday, it could end up as quite a warm day.

 I had a pleasant time with Aleemah yesterday. It was a bit of a rush getting everything together before going out to meet her, and once we were back in Catford I had to drag her round Tesco because I did not have enough time for any shopping before I met her.

 This morning I have more shopping to do. I need the usual bits for the cats, and some fruit for eating at work, but I fancy some sausages for breakfast. I don't know why this particular craving has come about. Maybe it was something in a now forgotten dream, but within half an hour of waking up I suddenly thought that sausages for breakfast would be a great idea. I hope that Tesco have some nice spicy sausages, but if not I am sure I'll find something equally tasty.

 After I have finished my breakfast, and attended to a pile of dirty dishes that are sitting in the sink even now, I am not sure what I will be doing. If the sun stays shining it would be nice to take a wander around the park with my camera, but I am not sure if I can be bothered. It would be nicer to be with someone to share the experience. If Patricia was still living here I am sure that she would enjoy a walk around the park (if she was not stuck catching up on even more interminable translation work).

 Maybe I'll have yet another couch potato day. I do have several TV recordings to catch up on/amuse me, and do still have three quarters of the weeks New Scientist to read.
Saturday 13th October 2007
08:41 BST
 This morning it is dry, but there is still a high mist that is making the sky look grey. Later on it should clear, and the day might live up to the forecasted sunny spells.

 I heard from Patricia that she would not be available to meet after work last night, and so I did not attempt to rush home from work. In fact I left a few minutes late rather than the five minutes early that I would otherwise have done. In consequence I was too late to get my early train from Waterloo East. My bus from Wandsworth to Clapham Junction was obviously running early with the driver doing his best to make the journey last as long as possible to try and get back on time. When I got up on the platforms at Clapham Junction station I found that there had been some severe delays. I have no idea what caused these delays, but I only had to wait a minute before the 16:01 train rolled in at 16:27 ! We reached Waterloo station possibly in slightly less time than usual, and I had time for a leisurely fag before boarding my train back to Catford.

 When I got home I had to deal with the usual priorities (feeding the cats !) before I started both the PCs I mentioned yesterday converting avi files to DVD. Initially it seemed that the new processor in the downstairs, back room, PC was doing it's stuff. It seemed to be encoding far faster than the upstairs front room PC, but it was still that latter PC that won the race. That leaves a little mystery on my hands. Both sets of files to be encoded were very similar, and I would have thought that they would need very similar amounts of work to encode. Maybe it is a difference between the motherboards, or maybe it is a difference between the graphics cards that are causing the slow down on one machine. The graphics cards could be the answer. Some are capable of assisting in the video encoding/transcoding process, and maybe the ATI card in the upstairs PC is better at it than the Nvidia card in the downstairs PC. Maybe I should swap them over, but that would involve a lot of mucking around. So I think that next month I will splash out some money to buy a new graphics card for the downstairs PC.

 While the encoding race was on I ordered a large chinese takeaway. It was quite a big order, and I halfheartedly intended to save some of it to eat today, but in the end it proved so delicious that I ate the whole lot last night. I finally went to bed feeling very stuffed !

 This morning I got up at 5.30 am to feed the cats and potter around a bit. Then I went back to bed to catch up on some sleep. It is now just gone 9 am and I really ought to get cracking. I need to tidy the place up, do some shopping, and then I have to go out to meet Aleemah. Somehow it seems a lot to do, and I may only do the absolute bare neccesities of tidying up !
Friday 12th October 2007
08:22 BST
 Yesterday's mist has been replaced by a fine misty rain this morning. It is fine enough that it would be refreshing if the temperature was higher. The temperature is actualy hovering on that fine line between being chilly and being pleasantly comfortable. The forecast for today is that there will be a lot more cloud than yesterday, but that it should stay dry. Yesterday's forecast for sunshine was correct. It was an exceptionally nice sunny afternoon. Standing out on the fire escape, wearing black clothes, and with hardly any breeze, it did feel excellent. Had I been in a pub beer garden I could have happily spent some time drinking beer and feeling good. somehow I don't think that today will be nearly as nice.

 It felt like I had quite a productive evening last night. I started with some dinner, which was two bowls of instant noodles, and went to work on my downstairs, back room , "big" PC. After having fitted a new, faster, CPU, and made a fresh installation of Windows XP, it was time to install software and updates. By the time I took a break, to watch "Yes Minister" on TV, I had already managed to install a lot of the stuff that needed installing. I took the opportunity during that break to download windows XP Service Pack 2. I went to bed around 9 pm feeling quite happy that I had managed to get almost everything I wanted installed and working.

 I did a little reading in bed, and so I didn't get to sleep as early as I could. Now that was a bit of a shame because I was woken up at 4 am by Nelly. At first she howled at the bottom of the stairs, and then she decided to come and sit on my bed and purr LOUDLY ! Well, some of that might have been ignorable, but two other factors made me decide to actually get up. First was that Nelly was also making nasty gurgling noises. It was either her stomach rumbling from hunger, or her other end rumbling with impending disaster. The second factor was that I was suffering from toothache. I am pretty certain that it is not a rotten tooth, but is the result of a bit of gum damage from munching sharp crispy food. that has probably caused some inflamation of the gum around the affected tooth. The main problem was that it was painful to clench my teeth together, and it felt like this one particular tooth was partially out of the socket and sitting higher than it should do. If it is the tooth I believe it to be, then it is a crowned tooth, and maybe it is loose in the socket.

 As the morning has progressed the tooth has settled down. On my way to work I bought a packet of crisps to see what the effect of eating them would be on my tooth. It was initially a little sore, but now I can clench my teeth together with no added pain. Maybe I needed to force the tooth back into the socket. It sounds unlikely, but that is the way it sort of feels. I do have a little remaining tenderness in the vicinity of the tooth, but it is at a low enough level to be ignorable, and I expect it will soon fade away to nothing.

 In case you were wondering about Nelly. she had her breakfast about an hour earlier than usual, and so will be hungry again before I am home from work. She ate half a plate of food before disappearing to her litter tray and creating a really disgusting stink. She then returned to finish off the other half of her breakfast.

 Tonight I am hoping that I will get to see Patricia, but with her flying out to Argentina tomorrow it seems most unlikely that she will want to delay her journey home from work for an hour. Even if I don't get to see Patricia I do have one more "excitement" in store. Tonight will be the big race between my two fastest computers to see which can compile a DVD image from avi files first. When the "big" downstairs PC used an AMD XP2100 Athlon processor it averaged about 4 hours to make a DVD. The upstairs, front bedroom, PC only has a 1.8 GHz Duron processor in it, and could do the same job in about 3 hours. In theory the downstairs PC should have been faster, but maybe the difference was down to operating systems. Both PCs now have the same operating system, but the downstairs one now has the AMD XP3000 Sempron processor in it. It should now be the fastest machine, but time will tell. 
Thursday 11th October 2007
08:10 BST
 The arrival of autumn has definitely been confirmed this morning. There is a thick mist outside. It may be beginning to disperse now, or it may just be that conditions in Wandsworth are slightly different to conditions in Catford. When I left home the mist (or was it thick enough to be fog ?) reduced visibility to several hundred metres. It was a little thinner near the main road, but in the other direction, towards the park and the river, it was the thickest I have seen this morning. Strangely enough it doesn't feel as cold as it has done some recent mornings. The forecast for today is for plenty of sunny spells, and that may well start to happen later this morning. I have a definite feeling that bright sunshine is now beginning to shine onto the top of the mist and will eventually "burn" it off. Of course there is no actual sign that it is happening yet, but it just feel that way. Maybe it is just overzealous optimism.

 Last night was drinking night so I didn't get a chance to do any playing with my computers, but it was most pleasant to pop out for a couple of hours for a drink with Kevin, Howard, and rare visitor, Andy. I left the pub at a few minutes to 9 pm and went home for the second half of my dinner (having only had a very light dinner before going to the pub). I think I was in bed, fast asleep, by 10 pm. I didn't sleep that well, but had some pleasant dreams about Thumpers. Thumpers being the nickname for the class 205 and class 207 diesel electric multiple unit train that used to run between Ashford and Hastings, as well as from London Bridge to Uckfield, before they were replaced by rather bland "plastic" trains. The name also encompasses the main line trains that used to run between London and Hastings via Tunbridge Wells. The dream(s) had the usual entertaining distortions of reality, but none more so than the idea that the train ran through the middle of a department store !

 The Orwellian nightmare continues. There were reports in the papers yesterday that the police are desperate to get permission to detain terrorist suspects for 90 days without trial. They backed that up by saying that they knew that terrorist plots were increasing daily, and that the terrorists were planning even more deadly attacks. I am left wondering why, if they know so much about these potential terrorists, there are no arrests. In these draconian times anything can get you condemned as a terrorist. Owning the wrong piece of paper, or probably even buying the wrong make of pickled onions, is now a criminal offence. So why wait to arrest these alleged terrorists. Surely the idea is to prevent terrorism, and not to play some sort of game where they all pat themselves on the back for acting in the nick of time just minutes before the bomb is due to go off. Surely it can not be the case that they have to allow terrorist plots, most of which are probably just loonies not keeping their daydreams private, grow to the point where they can make good headlines, and thus become fodder for even more totalitarian demands. I fear it is.  I am sure the real terrorists, and other demagogues (and/or politicians) are really thrilled that they only have to make the tiniest effort to get the establishment to do the bulk of their work for them and destroy what was once a free and peaceful society. I am so glad that I have no descendants, and that the end of my life is becoming ever closer. I don't think I would be happy living in England in the not so distant future.
Wednesday 10th October 2007
08:44 BST
 It was practicaly dark when I walked to the station this morning.  It was still a bit gloomy when I got off the train at Waterloo East. Since then the clouds have occasionally broken up, and there were even a few rays of sunshine. As I actually write this the clouds seem to have joined up again and it is looking very grey outside. The weather forecast predicts that it could be a sunny afternoon.

 I did my best to meet up with Patricia last night. I stayed late at work to make up for getting in late, and was at Waterloo East station by half past five. I tried to call Patricia, but could not get through to her. A later exchange of text messages revealed that she had caught a train at Charing Cross station at 17:32, and that would have  called at Waterloo East a few minutes later. I saw that train call there as I waited for the following train, the 17:39 to Hayes (fast from Waterloo East to Ladywell station - nice ! ). So we actually passed each other by without knowing it at the time.

 When I got home I had something to eat and then fitted my new CPU into my "big" PC downstairs in the back room. It needed a pair of links changed on the motherboard to increase the front side bus to 333 MHz, but was otherwise almost "plug and play". To provide a better comparison to the PC in the upstairs front bedroom I decided to install Windows XP on the downstairs machine. That went smoothly, although I didn't get a chance to install service pack 2, or any applications. I will have to do that later, but for now it all appears to be running smoothly.
Tuesday 9th October 2007
07:00 BST
It is still dark and gloomy outside, but once again it is not very cold. After I had finally cooled down from my hot shower yesterday I began to appreciate it was not quite as mild as I thought it was outside. It is still a little way off what I would call cold though.

After work last night I went home via The Catford Ram to have a drink with Kevin, Iain, Ivor, and Andy.
Andy and Ivor in the Catford Ram 8/10/2007
 It was the first time I have had a drink with Andy (pictured above on the left - Ivor on the right) in many years. Maybe as many as 20, although I have bumped into him, and had a chat in the street as recently as a few months ago, or less.

 We had a good drink together, and I left the pub, starving hungry, at around 7 pm. When I first arrived at the pub I could smell fried chicken, and that smell ate into my brain like a cancer. When I left the pub I was drawn, almost against my will, to the Kentucky Fried rat shop. There I bought an excessive amount of chicken to take home and munch on. It was very nice, but it was far too much.

 Having stuffed myself silly, and watched a bit of TV, I decided that I had to try out a new hard disk that had been delivered earlier in the day along with my new CPU. There wasn't really time to play with the CPU, but I fitted the hard disk in an external USB enclosure and started formatting it. It took ages, or what seemed like ages when I really wanted to get to bed. The hard disk itself was a serial ata disk, and only one of my USB enclosures is fitted for SATA disks. So I had to take the original disk drive out of it and put it in another enclosure. At first it didn't seem to work. At first I thought it was because the size of the drive was too big for the controller (320 GB), but after I had actually gone to bed it occured to me that the disk drive had been set to "cable select", as recommended by the instructions for the enclosure. So I got up again and changed the jumper to set the drive as a master and all was well. I could finally get to sleep knowing that everything was OK.

 Today it is possible, although I feel not likely, that I will be going for another drink after work. This time it will be with Patricia. If that doesn't happen, as I suspect, I will be able to test my new CPU out in the "big" PC downstairs.
Monday 8th October 2007
08:24 BST
 It was almost dark when I left home for work this morning. It won't be long before it is well and truly dark when I leave, and not long after that it will be dark when I leave work. Of course the clocks changing from BST to GMT towards the end of this month will make one worse, and the other better - for a short while. Apart from the days getting shorter as we head on into winter, it was also very cloudy this morning, and that contributed to the general gloom. It was not exceptionally cold though, and after a very hot shower this morning (and feeling rather too warm in bed) I felt quite warm all the way to work. It is supposed to remain dry today, but tomorrow rain is forecast for the afternoon.

 There is nothing much to say about yesterday. I ate too much is one fact, and in consequence I feel stodgy this morning. I found a very nice bit of lamb while shopping in Tesco's. It was on the reduced price counter looking fairly brown and dried up. I cooked it with rosemary instead of drenching it with mint sauce afterwards as I would usually do. Served with a roast sweet potato, and some mixed green veg, it was rather delicious. As a Sunday dinner goes, that was rather average, but my one and a half jacket potatoes with chicken and bacon sandwich filler as a topping, was a main contributor to my eating too much yesterday. The mixed chilli flavoured party snacks didn't help much either !

 It seems I have found a willing mug volunteer to continue some work I was doing in between this job and the previous job. That work, although some might say pleasure, was transferring old disintegrating reel to reel tapes to digital files. I must admit that I have already done all the more obviously interesting ones. Now there is the nitty gritty stuff. Identifying short recordings, and reconstructing edits where the splices have fallen apart. There could be some little gems in the pile of old dusty tapes that have yet to be investigated. That volunteer is Howard - Best of luck Howard !!

 Tonight I am hoping to grab a beer on my way home from work. It seems an early evening drink(ette) has been arranged for 5pm in Catford. If I rush I will be able to spend a few minutes at home to feed the cats before rushing out again. If I miss my early train I will have to go straight to the pub, and the cats will have to go hungry for an hour or two.
Sunday 7th October 2007
07:35 BST
 Yesterday was very cloudy, but there were a fair few sunny spells. It was also quite mild too. Today may be similar, but it is still too early to tell.  The sun is not really up yet. The sky is a fairly uniform grey colour, but there is a hint of a golden glow to the east.Perhaps when the sun fully rises it will burn off some of the greyness and start to warm the day up.

  My new CPU had still not been delivered when I left work on Friday, and so I had a fairly boring evening. I didn't really mind that. Despite not working on Thursday, Friday still felt very much like a Friday, and I was happy to go home in the evening and just vegetate.

 I managed to find some energy yesterday morning and did a fair bit of housework before going out to meet up with Aleemah. Prior to that I went out and did some shopping, and visited the building society. I had a cheque to deposit, but also decided to close down an old account and transfer the balance into just one account. That balance was a whole £2.84p !! At least now that mere £2.84p will start to earn some interest now it is combined with the other money in my now single account.

 I met Aleemah at London Bridge, as usual, and we came back to Catford and had something to eat in the pie and mash shop. By way of a change I had double egg and chips. It was the first time I have had egg and chips in years, and it was rather nice too. One observation I made about the chips is that they were far nicer once they had cooled off a bit. When still very hot they seemed to be very crisp. I don't like very crisp chips, as usually sold in places like McDonalds, but as mine cooled down they seemed to become softer and squidgier - just the way I like them.

 The main feature for the day was watching the film THX1138. It was a film I have seen before, and I think I even recorded it off the TV, but this was the "directors cut" version. It seemed pretty similar to how I remembered it. I think the extra length just comes from more of the chase scenes - these being essential to any movie - apparently. In fact it just made the second part of the film more boring.

 I am not sure what I am doing today. I have made a very small start on clearing up my front bedroom. I may do some more of that, but I have already put too much in the wheelie bin, and without being able to throw out more junk it may not be feasible to carry on the clearing up operation. I ought to do more shopping today. I want to buy some fruit to take to work, and no doubt I will find other stuff in my shopping basket as I approach the checkout. I also have over half of this weeks New Scientist magazine to read. So I reckon I will probably just have a very lazy day.
Friday 5th October 2007
08:15 BST
 Clear skies overnight have made the start of the day very chilly, but in return have left a bright sunny start to the day. The forecast is for a warm, generally sunny day. Saturday should be warm too, but with less sunshine.

 Yesterday turned out to be a nice sunny day. I went sick from work yesterday, but spent most of the day indoors. By late afternoon I was well enough to venture outside to meet up with Aleemah and Nigel for a lecture at The Royal Aeronautical Society headquarters just round the corner from Marble Arch Constitution/Wellington/Green park Arch. I met Aleemah in Victoria, and we then went to Hyde Park Corner tube station to meet up with Nigel who was waiting for us near the Wellington Arch.

 Until searching for the links to Wellington Arch I had always believed that monument to be Marble Arch. Now I know better.

 It felt really nice to be sitting in the warm bright sunshine at Wellington Arch while we passed a little spare time. It may only be early October, but it was still an autumn day, and a most pleasant one.

 The lecture we went to see was a two part lecture celebrating 50 years in Space which "officially" started with the launch of Sputnik 1. The lecture flyer can be found here (pdf format). It was a fascinating lecture, maybe enhanced even further by the fun of Windows, and Windows Media Player misbehaving themselves, as normal ! Part one of the lecture was a retrospective, and part two was about the future, or one particular future. That particular future was the vision of Virgin Galactic.

 Virgin Galactic's presentation was part advertising, but also revealed a fair amount of background information. The biggest impression I got was that the whole concept was not much more than a super expensive, super sized fairground attraction rather than the first steps towards the sci-fi vision of rockets blasting off everywhere. Well, I suppose it could be the first step towards the technology to make some of the more near Earth sci-fi adventures come true. While writing the whole thing off as just an entertainment device I did have one moment when I experienced a thrill, and that partly changed my mind. It was during some video footage of the maiden flight of "Spaceship One" that I suddenly saw that it really was a step forward. With all all the sales patter removed, and all the hype elsewhere, it revealed itself as one brave man piloting a real spaceship.

 With two lectures the evening ended a fair bit later than the last time I went there.  I could have stayed later than I did because there was a buffet afterwards. Food and drink had been provided by the Russian embassy as thanks for celebrating what was really their celebration. Aleemah had been asked to stay on after the lecture as a representative of the British National Space Council, but I headed for home. It was just gone 9 pm when I finally arrived home. A rather later night than I would have liked for midweek, but well worth it.

 Tonight I had been hoping to see Patricia, but she is unavailable. So I will have a quiet night, and I can't even fit my new CPU because it still hasn't been delivered yet (but may still turn up today).
Wednesday 3rd October 2007
06:53 BST
 I think that once the sun comes up it will be a fairly bright day. There is not a hint of sunshine yet, and it is still fairly dark outside. It can only get worse when the clock change back to GMT in the next week or two. Although it is very damp outside, it is not actually raining, and I don't think any rain is expected today. It is surprisingly mild right now. When I had the back door open to let Smudge out it didn't really feel cold at all. Later in the week, maybe tomorrow, or maybe it was Friday, the forecast temperature is predicted to be as high as 20° C. That's not bad for this time of year.

 I did go for a drink with Kevin last night. As he is still off work with a badly sprained arm I suggested we could meet even earlier than usual. I suggested as early as 6 pm, but we actually met soon after 6.45 pm. This was very handy because I was able to defer my hunger pains and not eat before going to the pub. I left the pub at about 8.15 pm and came home very much looking forward to my dinner. I cooked up some pasta with kale and tuna before I went out to the pub, and ate it cold (or actually slightly warm). With the addition of some sweet chilli sauce with lime it was rather delicious. It was pretty close to a healthy meal, and this morning I don't feel too bad.

 After drinking last night there will be no drinking tonight and I can stay in and try and do something productive. I hope that will be fitting a new processor to my "big" PC downstairs. I found a place still selling Socket A processors and ordered an AMD XP3000 processor. I hope it will be delivered to work today. In theory this should give me the equivalent power of a 3 GHz processor. That is a liitle slower than the current trend, but an improvement on the XP2100 processor I am currently using. (This does always assume that my motherboard will recognise the XP3000 CPU - maybe I'll need to do a rather scary BIOS upgrade too).
Tuesday 2nd October 2007
08:26 BST
 Like yesterday, it is grey and damp. Unlike yesterday it is surprisingly mild. I was warm in bed last night, and to help soothe some of my aches and pains I showered under water that was as hot as I could stand. With the mild air temperature outside, I didn't stop feeling hot and sticky until I was practically at work.  Unfortunately it is very hot inside here at work.

 It was most definitely a rush putting this web page together yesterday morning. I did have an idea to experiment with CSS (cascading style sheets - or something), but I had no time for that. Then I thought I would simulate that by using an iframe for these daily entries, but I didn't have enough time for that either. So I have sort of simulated what the look that I was aiming for, although how it will display as the month progresses, and these daily entries build up, is anyones guess.

 Since last Thursday, and to a lesser extent earlier than that, I have been suffering from a lot of stiff joints, muscular pain, etc. It has never been really painful, and depending on what I am doing it can be totally ignorable. Yesterday morning I felt particularly bad. Instead of taking paracetamol I tried a couple of aspirins. The result was amazing. They killed 90% of the pain compared to, say, 50% that paracetamol could achieve. What's more they kept me very comfortable all the time I was at work. The effect wore off by the time I got home last night, but by then it did not matter. It seems that my aches and pains come from inflamation that aspirin can directly heal, whereas paracetamol just dulls the pain. This morning I am trying some ibuprofen, and it seems to be almost as effective as aspirin.

 After getting into work late yesterday morning I stayed late at work in the evening. By the time I got home, which was around 6 pm, it felt too late to do much, but tonight there is a chance that I will be going for a pint with Kevin (he is unavailable for our more usual Wednesday night drink).
Monday 1st October 2007
07:19 BST
It's a grey, wet, miserable sort of Monday morning, and I seem to be off to a slow start. I meant to create this page yesterday, but somehow never got around to it.

 Yesterday was interesting. In between resting, and generally loafing around, I installed my newly aquired motherboard in my bedroom PC. The motherboard itself was a Gigabyte GA-6WMM7, and had a 700 MHz Pentium III processor on it. I decided to start from scratch with a fresh installation of the operating system rather than attempt to try and persuade the old installation of Windows 2000 to work with a completely different set of motherboard components. The old motherboard had an AMD K6/2 500MHz processor on it, and that seemed a little underpowered for Windows 2000. So I decided for that the new installation I would use a lighter operating system, and chose Windows ME.

 Windows ME has a bad reputation for being unstable, but I had always found it to be rather good. Yesterday was the first time I had installed it on a PC using an Intel processor, and Intel chipset. It was a total disaster ! After ba lot of grief I daringly tried again using Windows XP instead. That seemed to work remarkably well. My "new" PC will never break any speed records, but it does seem very responsive. I only use it on rare occasions anyway, and any heavy weight stuff, like media processing, I would do on another PC. So I am rather pleased with it.
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