Smash the smoking ban. Smokers of the world unite and fight. I want to die.
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September 2007
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( A pastel shaded background indicates two entries for that day)

Saturday 29th September 2007
22:36 BST
 Today has been fairly grey, but with occasional sunshine, and it has been milder than the previous few days.

 It is too late at night to write much, but I can write up some of what has happened today. I had three possibilities of how I could spend the day. The first was to go up to Hainhault, in Essex, to have a birthday drink with Nigel. The second was to go out with Kevin and take advantage of a special rail ticket for travel around the Hastings area. The final option was to spend the day with Aleemah. In the ened I didn't do any of those three. I have been suffering from assorted muscular, and/or, joint pains forand didn't feel like venturing out today. This decision was reinforced by how I felt after lugging three heavy shopping bags back from Tesco's this morning.

 So today I have been taking it fairly easy. I have done some reading, some video watching, and done further experiments on the Dell "Optiplex" computer that I have mentioned recently. My attempts at installing Linux on it failed. The closest I ever got to getting a working system was by using Suse 9.1 Linux. That did manage to install the sound card correctly, but I failed at every attempt to get the network card configured properly. Even when it was working, using the most lightweight window manager possible, it was painfully slow. So an hour ago I gave up and reverted to using Windows 98SE on it. I am actually using the computer to write this on. To be honest it is pretty slow, but everything is working on it OK. I can play mp3 files, surf the net, and write stuff. With that final success I will finish writing this, turn off the computer, pack it away, and get myself off to bed within the next hour.
Friday 28th September 2007
06:57 BST
 It feels like the temperature continues to plummet. Yesterday started off pretty cool, but it did warm up a bit during the day. However, yesterday was the first day where I have felt quite cold sitting around in the evening. This morning it feels cold too. I have yet to venture outside, but it looks very grey, and Smudge was unusually keen to come back indors after she had attended to whatever business she needed to attend to in the garden.

 Last night I was wondering if I was going down with a cold. All day my back, and not just my lower back, had been stiff and painful, and then to feel almost shivery as I watched a bit of TV seemed a fair indication that I was indeed going down with something. This morning I do not feel much different - maybe a little less shivery - so with nothing much changed I guess I am OK, and that it is just time to dig out the heaters.

 I went for a beer with Kevin last night (having been too distracted to do so on the more traditional Wednesday night). We had a good chat, and a couple of pints of lager, and a double scotch did have me feeling a lot warmer. I still heated up a tin of chicken curry for further warmth once I came home again. The booze and the curry seemed to give me a good nights sleep, and a rather pleasant erotic dream !

 While outside having a fag at work yesterday, I noticed that one of the companies in the business village had dumped a load of of computer stuff in the skip. Unfortunately it is one of those skips with a built in crusher. The crusher had not been operated, but it is tricky to rummage about when it is not an open topped skip. A lot of the stuff was just cables, but I did yank out a motherboard with a processor on it. A quick inspection, when I got back into the workshop, showed that it had a 700 MHz Pentium III processor on it. It had obviously failed because half a dozen capacitors on the board were bulging. I tried replacing one of them just to see how easy it was, and it seems that it will be quite easy to replace all of them. Provided the processor, and other chips, have survived, I think this motherboard will make an excellent upgrade for my bedroom PC. That is currently a 500 MHz AMD K6/2 based PC. It is not bad, but with the benefit of hindsight it is underpowered for running Windows 2000. The 700 MHZ processor will do a better job, but I may opt for Windows 98SE. I would use Linux, but I do have a very underutilised TV card in there that is weird enough that there seems to be no Linux support for it (but if I do the upgrade I will have another go at trying to get it to work with Linux).
Thursday 27th September 2007
08:28 BST
 There is a definite nip in the air this morning. My morning paper suggested that the air temperature would be somewhere in the region of 13° C. I am not so sure that it was even lower than that. It was very dull as I made my way to the station, but at Waterloo I saw my first glint of sunshine. As I write this the sun is shining, and hopefully the air is warming up a bit. Unfortunately more cloud is on it's way, and there is the chance of rain later.

 I thought I slept quite well last night, but I woke up stiff as a board (oo err missus !). The back pain I experienced a week ago, or was it two, that was the result of an extra vigourous towelling after getting out from the shower, seems to be back. There is one area of my back that is particularly tender, but the pain radiates out to effect a lot of my torso. It made for a very uncomfortable journey into work. Since sitting down in the warm it is much relieved.

 I did have some convoluted, but vivid dreams last night. One dream seemed to start at what looked like a tube station, but was used by main line trains. I was there with Kevin, and I think, Roger. I entered using my travelcard, but the other two had some sort of pass which listed them as engineers. We seemed to be expecting a train hauled by a diesel loco that we wanted a very good look at. Instead an ordinary class 465 "Networker" train came into the station. So I wandered off down the platform which turned into a nuclear power station. It seems this power station was operated by Post Office Telecommunications, and I had visited it during my apprenticeship. the three guys running it were the same three that had been there all those years ago, and they recognised me. After a chat they offered me some souvenirs. One was a nuclear camera module (?), and the other bits seemed to be like complicated glass valves (or tubes in the U.S.). One was obviously gas filled, maybe neon, maybe argon, because it still had some residual glow in it from where it had collected excess electrons from being used near the reactor (some technical explanations are easy in dreams !).  While we chatted I came up with an idea for a safer nuclear reactor, and asked for some paper to do some drawing. I was handed some A4 sheets that I noticed were covered in my own handwriting from about 35 years ago. They seemed to contain my notes from when I once spent ages trying to work out some computer programming (or something)(and something I actually used to do while working in the telephone exchange). As I pondered over my old notes the dream faded out.

 I do recall a fragment of another dream. I was sitting next to a woman who is unknown to me in real life, but who I seemed to sort of know in the dream. She was feeling cold and moved up very close to me to try and keep warm. My last memories of that dream were telling her that we would be much warmer in bed together..........
Wednesday 26th September 2007
20:15 BST
 Today has seen a mixture of the good and the bad. The weather has been good and bad. The day started off rather dull and gloomy, but later on the sun did come out. Later than that there was some heavy rain. The rain has now stopped again, but I would not be surprised if there was more during the night.

 Yesterday was my day out with Aleemah. We went for a day trip to Tilbury in Essex. I met Allemah outside Tower Hill tube station at 11 am after travelling via Cannon Street station, and then two stops on the District line to to Tower Hill. While in Cannon Street main line station I used the gents toilet. I was delighted to find it the most clean and well kept toilet anywhere on the rail network. I guess this is because the station is closed in the late evening so that it is not used by late night revellers and other drunks. Plus even when it is open it is mainly used by city workers and not tourists and other riff raff.

 From Tower Hill we did the very short walk to Fenchurch Street station where we purchased return tickets for £7.50 each to Tilbury Town. The tickets actually stated Tilbury stations. The significance of this I will explain in a minute. It is a 40 minute journey from Fenchurch Street to Tilbury town station, and our first port of call upon arrival there was to a a cafe so Aleemah could get something to eat. The cafe was fairly pleasant, and the food was tasty, but the service did throw up a few anomolies. My toasted salami and cheese sandwich appeared to have bacon instead of salami in it. This was OK with me, but Allemah's mushroom pizza appeared to have salami in it and no mushrooms. As Aleemah does not eat meat she rejected her pizza and we waited while they cooked a fresh pizza with mushrooms and no salami. For the inconvenience she was give a free coffee while we waited.

 After eating we headed for Tilbury docks to see what there was to see (not much !!). The significance of our railway tickets saying "Tilbury stations" was that until 1992 there was a station there called Tilbury Riverside. Bits of the old station are still visible. Holders of a rail ticket to Tilbury stations can make use of a free bus service that effectively replaces the train service to the old station. There was not much to see when we got there, but we did see the Tilbury - Gravesend passenger ferry - for what it was worth. One establishment on the riverside was worth a look. It was the last standing pub in Tilbury. The rest being demolished by ravening hordes of skinheads (read more here - if you dare). The pub is called The Worlds End, and we dared to go in it for a pint. It is actually very nice inside (during daylight hours), although there were a couple of people in there who did seem to have very short hair (gulp !).

 We only had one drink in the pub before heading back to the station via the town square. During the hours of daylight it seemed fairly OK, but there did seem to be quite a considerable number of schoolkids wandering around instead of being in school. Most of the young schoolgirls seemed to have babies with them. It seemed strange that considering it is a small town in the middle of the countryside (except for the docks on the southern side of the town) it had all the appearance of a very run down inner city area. One ironic thing about Tilbury is that considering the "sport" of the once local skinhead population was (and maybe still is) "paki bashing", the main street is called Calcutta Road.

 It was with some relief that we made our way back to Tilbury Town Station safely without encountering any bovver boot wearing skinheads (who may have taken excpetion to my long hair). While waiting the ten minutes for our train back to London we spotted the station rat. In times past many railway stations would have a station cat, but Tilbury Town has a rat. It did look fairly clean, and almost cute as it wandered around almost fearlessly looking for dropped food fragments. However I declined to introduce myself.

 Back in London I went home using the same route I had used to get there, but with one minor variation. I arrived back at Cannon Street station at the most inconvenient time. Up until 15:53 the trains back to Catford (final destination Hayes) are every 30 minutes. Then there is a gap of 53 minutes until 16:46 when the service is at 20 minute (approx) intervals until the last train at 19:50. I just missed the 15:53 and had to catch the first train to London Bridge and change there.  Fortunately it was a fairly quick connection, but while I waited on the platform at London Bridge the heavens opened and the rain cascaded down. Until then it had been mostly bright and sunny apart from a couple of very brief light sprinkles of fine rain. It was still raining, although not so hard, when I arrived back in Catford.

 Now, all the above should have been written this morning. In fact it was, but my work computer crashed on me and I lost everything I had written. Until then I was almost at the point of championing Microsoft Windows. Now I am back being a firm believer in Linux. My doubts were brought about by a trying time on Monday. I spent much of the day trying to install Linux on an old Dell, GXL1553, "Optiplex" computer that uses a 133 MHz Pentium I processor, and has 128 MB of ram installed. In theory it should have been a good candidate to run Linux, but try as I might I could not get Linux to recognise the onboard network and sound cards. I was initially concentrating on getting network connectivity, but all the various Linux distros I tried all seemed to detect two network interfaces and set each one up incorrectly. Try as I might I could not seem to even force the right configuration of the network card. By contrast both Windows NT4, and Windows 98SE, managed to configure both the network, and sound card correctly on the first attempt. In fact that computer seems to run quite sweetly using Windows 98SE. There is a very strong possibilty that I might even leave Windows 98SE on it. Although I will be reducing that amount of ram if I do. The 128 MB currently installed may be more useful in another old machine.

 I mentioned acquiring a faulty 17" Dell LCD monitor last Friday. Today I opened it up and did some fault finding. I had been told that it had been tested and it was nothing simple like a blown fuse. My fault finding (which was done by actually opening the unit up) did find that there was a blown fuse. The fuse had blown because one leg of the mains bridge rectifier had gone short circuit. That had also blown up the main smoothing capacitor. Replacing those three parts has surprisingly restored the monitor to full function, and I am using it even now to write this on. 
Monday 24th September 2007
06:23 BST
 It's a wet and windy morning. It is convenient that I booked today, and tomorrow, off work. After the last few fine days it would not be pleasant to go to work on a Monday morning in the wind and rain. Having said that, it looks as if the wind and rain have died down in the last half hour, but with less than twenty minutes to go until the time I would normally be leaving to get my train, it still looks dark and gloomy outside. There is another reason why I am happy that I am not going into work, but I'll come to that later.

 I spent most of Saturday morning sorting out my new, enlarged, collection of 72 pin SIMM's (Single, Inline, Memory Modules - if my memory serves me well). I was less lucky than I thought I would be with my newly donated collection. I only got one single pair of the large 32 MB modules. There were a couple of 16 MB modules, but the rest were 8 MB.

 On Saturday afternoon I proceeded to try out the modules in one of my old PC's. The unit I chose was an old Packard Bell PC with a Pentium I processor.The front of the case proudly says that it is the "Executive Multimedia" model. In fact it has what is probably the first ever Pentium processor running at a mere 66 MHz. Sometime in the past I had already installed Damn Small Linux on a 500 MB hard drive in it. It ran with only 40 MB of ram in it, but it was a bit of a slow experience. Increasing the ram to 72 MB ( 4x16 MB sticks plus 8 MB onboard memory) made very little difference, and I decided it was not a great candidate for further Linux experiments. I decided that maybe it was better suited to Windows NT4 (which has always fascinated me because I didn't even know of its existence until it was already obsolete). I then spent a fair few hours installing NT4 onto an old 1.6 GB hard disk. That ran well, and with a bit of searching I found all the drivers needed for all the peripherals. With hind sight it I could have tried my first ever installation of Windows NT3.5. I have never ever seen that running before, although I have acquired the means to install it. I image it to be something like Windows For Workgroups 3.11, but I could be mistaken. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that I will try it on that same computer sometime later.

 On Sunday I pulled out an old Dell "optiplex" PC that used a 133 MHz Pentium processor. I installed a full 128 MB of ram in that (4 x 32 MB memory modules) and assumed that I could install Linux on it relatively easy. I first tried Kubuntu even though I knew that running the KDE desktop would stretch the capabilities of the machine to breaking point. Even partitioning the hard drive to leave a working swap partition for Kubuntu to use failed to get any graphics up at all. I had more luck with Deli Linux. That is specifically for lightweight machines, but I could not find a driver that matched the graphics chip on that computer. I did get up a working graphical desktop that was composed of a few lurid colours and unreadable fonts. So I gave up on Deli Linux. I tried a few other Linux distros, but with little luck. I gave up on that machine for the day and may try again with either Xubuntu or an old Mandrake linux distro sometime later - maybe today.

 In between playing with that old Dell computer I watched a few old episodes of 'Allo 'Allo, and caught up with my reading of the latest New Scientist magazine. I also, unsurprisingly, did some eating. For lunch I had an excessive amount of Tesco "southern fried chicken" fillets. The reason for the excess, beyond the fact that I like them, was that I did not have room to keep them in the freezer, and cooking the whole lot was safer than letting them moulder in the fridge (where they had already totally defrosted).As an accompaniment to them I tried some Heinz peanut satay sauce. I had noticed it on the shelves of Tesco for some time, and decided I had to try it. I used it like ketchup, and it was very, very, delicious !!

 Later in the evening I had some pepperoni pizza, and later than that I used up some pots of yoghurt that were possibly past their use by date.They had been sitting in my fridge for quite a few days, maybe a week, but they seemed OK, although it is hard to tell with something like yoghurt that starts life as being sour. I don't know if they were actually off, or if it was just the combination of all I had eaten during the day, but I felt pretty rotten by the time I went to bed. I didn't actually feel like I would vomit, but my stomach did feel rather volatile. Shortly before I was about to switch off the light to go to sleep I burped, and with the gas came a tiny bit of the most horrible burning, bilious, stomach juice. It tasted foul, and burnt the back of my throat. It took a long time, and many antacid tablets before I considered it safe to try and sleep.

 I slept OK, but did wake up a few times in the night to visit the toilet. This morning I feel tired from lack of sleep, and even now if I burp I can still taste the lactic taste of those rotten yoghurts. Fortunately there is no more horrible bile with it, and my stomach no longer feels like an over filled fermentation tank. I think I had better stick to some very bland food today.

 I have few plans for today. One of those plans is to venture out in the wind and the rain (which seems to have picked up again since I started writing) and get some flea drops from the vets. Nelly seems to have fleas again, and I am sure that Smudge is the culprit, and she will be treated too. My main reason for taking today off work is because I am going out with Aleemah tomorrow, and going in for just one day seemed pointless. If the weather continues to deteriorate our day out tomorrow may have to be revised, but I am sure we will think of something to do.

 I had thought about briefly popping into work to collect the LCD monitor I recently mentioned, but I don't think I will do that in the rain. Instead I think I will most likely spend some more hours playing with that Dell computer and some more Linux distributions.   
Saturday 22nd September 2007
07:13 BST
 The sun is close to appearing above the roofs of the houses to the east, and it looks as if today could be a fine sunny day. The sky is mostly clear, and even at this time of the morning looking fairly blue. Yesterday was mild and dry, but I cannot recall seeing much sunshine.

 They say all good things come to he who waits.........Earlier in the week I did a favour for a technician working for another company in the business village where I work. He wanted some soldering done on a laptop motherboard. For me it was very easy because I had the tools to do it. As I handed the finished work back to him I asked if his workshop, like most workshops, had any old stuff lying about that ought to thrown out, but was kept "just in case...". He said yes, and so not being able to think of anything more interesting I asked if he had any old 72 pin memory sticks going spare. I said I was particularly interested in some of the larger memory sizes like 32 MB that I wanted to upgrade a museum piece computer. He said he would have a look around and see if he could find me something. Well yesterday he popped his head around the door and handed me a bag with something like a dozen sticks of memory in it. A few are actually marked as 32 MB, and the rest well may well be 32 MB as well. I was warned that they needed testing, but they could all be OK. All being well I should have enough memory now to install Linux on a couple of my old boxes and experiment with them.

 Another waiting game finally paid off yesterday. From time to time various bits of computer kit are thrown out by the companies that work in the business village. I recently acquired an old, but rather nice computer that I noticed by the skip. It is only a 600 MHz slot 1 Athlon processor, but is in a rather nice case (in need of a good clean up), and the thing that drew me too it is that it has a Soundblaster sound card with the Soundblaster "Livedrive" front panel accessory unit. The Livedrive panel has optical inputs and outputs as well as microphone and line inputs.
Soundblaster Audigy Livedrive
 I am not sure if the above picture is exactly the same as the one on my acquired computer, but it is very similar. I had always wanted one of those "Livedrive" units that fit in a 5.25" drive slot, but they were rather expensive. Now after a few years of waiting I have one. How I will ever lug the thing home is another matter, but I'll manage it one day.

 That computer was just an example of what is sometimes thrown out, but what I actually acquired yesterday was something different. It is not that unusual to see old crust computer monitors being thrown out, but until yesterday I had never seen an LCD monitor going for scrap. I noticed one face down in the corridor and asked if it was being thrown away. I was told yes, but it didn't work, and that I was welcome to have it. It was only about a fifteen inch model, but still better than nothing. I took it back to our workshop, but only had time for a quick look at it. It is definitely dead, and not even the power light comes on. My guess is that the converter that feeds the back light tubes has failed, and that is shorting out the power supply. If I am very lucky it is just one transistor that has gone short circuit. If I am very unlucky then it has charred the circuit board beyond repair. Of course it may also just be the power supply that has failed. That could be repaired or some workaround put in place. I think there is a fair chance that I will soon have a working LCD monitor. It is at work still, but lugging it home will be far easier than trying to hump the large computer onto the rush hour packed trains and buses.

 Today I am not seeing Aleemah, and so the obvious thing for me to do is to test some of those memory sticks in one, or more, of my ancient computers. If I am able to get a total of 128 MB of ram in any of those old beasts I will be able to experiment with full graphical installations of Linux on old architecture. All the propaganda suggests that Linux can still run well on old Pentium I, and similar machines. maybe today I will find out if it is really true.
Friday 21st September 2007
06:47 BST
 Another gloomy start to the day. I believe the forecast is for some sunny intervals today. It is possible, but somehow seems unlikely. Of course with the days getting shorter and shorter it is to early to really see what the sky looks like at this time of the morning. Yesterday saw a few light showers, but nothing too bad, and by the evening it was dry enough, and just mild enough to sit in the pub beer garden drinking at my workmates leaving drink.

 I stayed at work until 6 pm last night - some two hours later than usual - to go to that drink. I am not sure what time we left the pub. Most of the drinkers went on to a pub/bar crawl, but I called it quits and headed for home. I arrived home, starving hungry, at about 8.45 pm. Bits of my journey home were quite annoying. On the bus from Wandsworth to Clapham Junction station there were a gang of youngsters all eating fried chicken, dropping the bones on to the floor of the bus while carrying out a loud conversation from one end of the bus to the other. The noise was fairly offensive, but the smell of the fried chicken made me feel extremely hungry. So enticing was it that I decided I would have to buy some for myself when I got back to Catford.

 The next annoying thing was that I had a long wait for a train at Waterloo East station. I would guess that I had missed a train by only about 5 to 10 minutes, and had a lot of time to pass before the next one. The problem was that I needed a pee, and so went onto the platform to use the toilet there. Had I known the time of the train beforehand I would have paid up the 20p to use the toilets on the main line station, and then stood outside smoking until it was time for the long walk (as much as 5 minutes) to get to the platform for my Catford bound train. So I used the free toilets on platform B of Waterloo East station and then had a wait of 15 minutes for my train. Of course I wanted a smoke during that wait, and had to leave the station to do it. As an experiment I tried using the side staircase on the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo main line station. Although I was sure that I had been down those stairs at some time in the past, I did not realise just how many stairs there were. It seemed to go down forever.  At the bottom there is a sign saying it is 78 steps to the top. That doesn't sound much, but by the time I reached the top again, after finishing my fag, my legs were about to give way ! It was a totally knackering experience, and I won't be trying that method again !!

 When I finally got back to Catford I decided against buying some chicken and chips, and went straight home from the station. I had a quiche lorraine in the fridge and thought that would be enough to eat. Maybe it was walking up those 78 steps, or maybe it was the effects of the two pints of beer I had, but that quiche seemed to make no impression on my hunger at all. So I cooked up some fish cakes, ate a bar of chocolate, and even broke open a jar of chestnuts.

 It was quite late when I got to be - approaching 11 pm I seem to recall. Ideally I would have liked a lot me sleep last night, but it will be a short day at work. I am obviously going to be late for work this morning (gut problems !), and after staying two hours late last night I won't be feeling guilty about leaving thirty minutes early tonight ! Hopefully I will be meeting Patricia when she leaves work for a few more pints of beer with her. After that I intend to collapse into 100% couch potato mode.

 One thing I want to find the time for today is to repair a bit of a cock up I made on my Kubuntu linux installation on my work computer. I have been making great use of Wine (the Windows, sort of, emulator for Linux). Unfortunately, during an attempt at upgrading Wine, I have ruined the file associations with Windows executables, and I cannot seem to restore them. I have a few more things to try before I give up and re-install Kubuntu. Actually that may not be such a bad idea because after a lot of experimentation it could be nice to restart with a nice clean system.
Thursday 20th September 2007
08:20 BST
 There was not a hint of sunshine until my train had just left Waterloo Station this morning. Even then the sun was partially obscured. Those few breaks in the clouds that nearly let the sun through have now all closed up again leaving a very gloomy morning. Gloomy mornings are something I will have to get used to again. With the seasons turning toward winter the sun is rising later and later in the day. It seems only a few weeks ago that I was waking up to daylight, and soon I will be walking to the station in darkness. Despite the gloominess outside it is still dry, and surprisingly mild. Various estimates of this mornings temperature put it around the 17° - 18° C region.

 It was fairly warm going home last night. It was definitely warm enough that I was quite glad to get home and take my coat off. Last night was drinking night. I met Kevin in The Catford Ram at 7.30 pm, and stayed for three pints. I didn't bother to wear a coat for the short walk to the pub, and it was actually very comfortable standing outside the pub smoking while wearing just a t-shirt (plus trousers, socks, shoes etc !).

 I only ate a small meal prior to going to the pub, and felt quite peckish when I got home again. Fortunately I had made a very large saucepan of pasta with feta cheese, tomatoes and black olives. So I tucked into that and eventually went to bed feeling quite stuffed !

 I think there will be more drinking going on tonight. Except this time it will be in Wandsworth. One of my work colleagues is leaving, and having a farewell drink after work. I hink the plan is to have a few here in Wandsworth, and then the dedicated boozers will move on up to the city for meals, more booze and clubbing. I think I will pass by the chance to get "ratted" up town and go home once we have finished in Wandsworth.

 I haven't mentioned the outcome of another test I did on my recently aquired scrap dual processor motherboard. The single processor that came on it is mostly definitely dead. The motherboard itself I had also written off as dead until this morning when a thought came to me. The problem with the motherboard is that it does not respond to the keyboard with any more than a lot of clicking. The big problem is that the motherboard BIOS settings are corrupt, and everytime I hit "Del" to enter the BIOS set up, nothing happens except a load of clicking from the motherboard buzzer. It is still quite probable that this is caused by an unrepairable hardware problem, but there is a small chance that it could be that the firmware needs re-installing. In the normal course of events this would be impossible without the use of the keyboard, but a cunning plan came to me this morning. One of my PCs uses a very similar motherboard, and it has a fallback safety BIOS. If, as I recall is the case, the main BIOS flashrom is in a socket I can temporarily substitute the flashrom from the faulty board into my good board. Then, if I am lucky, I will be able to boot from the backup flashrom and re-flash the faulty flashrom.  It will be tricky, but while there is hope I have to try it.
Wednesday 19th September 2007
06:51 BST
 Once the sun is up properly, and has burnt off the mist, it may turn out to be a fine day. At the moment a lot of the sky looks grey, but there is a golden glow on the eastern horizon. Yesterday started off in a similar way, as far as I can remember, and there was quite a lot of sunshine yesterday.

 My excuse for not being just about to get on my train for work this morning is that I was about to leave but as I passed the living room I noticed that one of the cats had been sick just inside the door. Naturally I had to clean that up, and doing that used up a few vital minutes that I needed to get to the station on time.

 Yesterday was very educational. As you will have gathered from my brief entry yesterday, I have installed linux on my work PC. I have been attempting to install everything I need for work on it using, where needed, (the Linux Windows "emulator"). So far I have had some good results. A couple of our works native applications seem to run just fine, and Office 2000 seems to work OK (except for Outlook). The one major outstanding problem is Lotus Organiser. Our entire company revolves around Organiser so it would be damn useful if I could get that to run while using Linux. Strange as it may seem, the options in Outlook, which we use for e-mail (for some reason) could make Organiser redundant, but we do not seem to use that option (and I can't make it work anyway).

 Other triumphs include mounting the main server onto the Linux file system, and on the file system.
10:14 BST
 Just a brief update. My theories about the weather were totally wrong ! When I finally left to get my train it was raining very lightly. I was reminded about this when I popped out for a fag a few minutes ago. It is raining again. The rain is very light again, and no problem for smoking in. With luck it will get no worse later, and maybe will even dry up completely by the time I go home again.
Tuesday 18th September 2007
09:42 BST
 This is going to have to be very brief. I am at work, and have spent the last ninety minutes playing with Kubuntu on my work PC. After a lot of mucking about I have now managed to mount my servers file system on this local machine using . I can also do just about everything for work using Kubuntu linux, but a couple of things are missing. I'll probably explain all this in another entry tonight, but now I really ought to some proper work !
Monday 17th September 2007
06:52 BST
 It doesn't look very nice outside right now. This is either because the sun is still too low in the sky making the sky look rather dark, or the sky really is dark and cloudy. I can see some lighter grey on the eastern horizon, and maybe that will spread across the whole sky soon. Then the sun will "burn off" the mist and clouds leaving a nice sunny day.  Both Saturday and Sunday were pleasant sunny days. Here's hoping today will be as well.

 Friday night did not go to plan. During the afternoon Patricia sent me a text to say that she had to go to Croydon and would not be able to meet up for a drink after work. I still met up with Dee and I had several pints in her pleasant company. I never did quite resist the temptation to get a takeaway on the way home. Just for a change I bought some traditional fish and chips. They made a very pleasant change from kebabs, Chinese, or Indian food, but of course they were as equally bad for me.

 Saturday morning started with me feeling fairly rough, but determined to raise the energy to meet up with Aleemah at London Bridge. I set out for the station feeling that I didn't really want to be travelling, but by the time I reached London Bridge I was feeling far more enthusiastic. Somehow I managed to find quite a bit of hidden energy and enjoyed my afternoon with Aleemah. We watched the film "A Scanner Darkly", and then I made us some dinner. The film was sort of good, although being based on a Philip K. Dick book it was obviously very weird. I am not a great fan of Philip K. Dick. His books are very hard to read, or at least the ones I have attempted are. They are the type of book where you have to remember many of the facts at the beginning to make any sense of the ending, and that is not my preferred style of reading.  I thought my dinner was far better - not that you can really compare food with film. I cooked a very simple pasta dish. It was flavoured with tomato passata, and I just added some feta cheese and black olives to it. For something so simple, it tasted pretty good (which was Aleemah's conclusion as well as mine). I made a fair amount of it, and after I had escorted Aleemah back to London Bridge I finished off the rest with some cold mackerel in spicy tomato sauce on top of it straight out the can. That did seem to be an excellent combination.

 On Sunday I had the chance to meet up with Allemah for a spot of lunch followed by a few pints. Unfortunately I was back to feeling rough again. I made the decision to do a bit of detox. I managed to avoid eating until after I had been shopping in Tesco around lunchtime. Then when I did eat it was initially only fruit. During the course of the day I ate a mixture of fruit, a little pot of Moroccan cous cous, a couple of pots of prune yoghurt, a small tin of salmon, and a small tin of sweetcorn. What spoiled it was that I also ate a large bag of barbecue flavour tortilla chips. Nevertheless, it was rather less than I could have eaten on a Sunday, and this morning I do seem to feel a lot better for it.

 If I feel a lot better this better, you may wonder why I am still at home writing this, and not half way to work now.  It is really rather simple. In my exuberance to vigorously towel myself dry after my shower this morning, I over did it a bit. I pulled a muscle in my back somehow. It was really rather painful. Since then I have taken a couple of painkillers, and also let it rest. The pain is almost gone, although the area of most pain is still a little tender. I have called into work and said I will be a little late - maybe up to two hours late, but I think it will be less than that.

 One thing I did yesterday was to test out the dual processor motherboard I acquired recently. Last Tuesday I tested the single processor that came with it and found it to be dead. So yesterday I tried my spare 1.4GHz Athlon processor in the motherboard and it fired up. There could possibly still be a fault on the board as the keyboard did not seem to work, but I suspect that could be a very corrupt BIOS. As yet I have not tried to reset that, but if it cures the keyboard problem, or I can work around it by using a USB keyboard, and I don't find any other problems with it, I will have the basis for a fairly advanced PC. The motherboard is a very upmarket server board with onboard raid controller, but no graphics or sound (or at least I don't think it has sound). Assuming I find it to be in usable condition I will order a pair of XP3000 processors for it. Primarily they are obsolete, but I have found a source of them. Then I just hope that the motherboard will recognise them. Ideally they should be MP3000 processors, but I think the fastest MP series processors were the MP2800, and they are as rare as hens teeth. If the motherboard will not accept those processors, even with a BIOS upgrade, then I will simply use them to upgrade two of my other PCs, and run the new motherboard with a single XP2100 processor that will become spare out of one of those other PCs.

 One curious fact to finish on. Yesterday I bought some lavender "flavoured" disinfectant. It certainly has a most authentic, and strong scent of lavender. Before I went to bed I poured some in the toilet bowl. During the night I could faintly smell the lavender while I was in bed. I am not sure if I was dreaming, or if I was actually awake, maybe both, but I came to the conclusion that this smell of lavender had many similarities to the smell of fresh hashish ! I think I then dreamed about hash, but what actually happened in that dream is a mystery to me this morning, but no doubt was enjoyable !
Friday 14th September 2007
08:16 BST
 This morning is not as fine as yesterday morning, but it is not bad. The day started rather misty, and the cars I passed on the way to the station were dripping in condensation. It actually felt very pleasant to see the great big orb of the sun shining it's golden light through the mist. It didn't carry much heat, but it was a most pleasing visual effect. Since arriving in Wandsworth the clouds seem to be thickening. The forecast is that the clouds will continue to thicken, and that there could be a few spots of rain later on. I have trusted to luck that it will be dry when I go home because I have come to work without a coat again. I don't think it will be as warm going home as last night, but I bet it is not chilly. Last night, as I predicted, it was quite warm, but as I approached my house I could see some quite dark, almost black, clouds on the North, and North Eastern horizon. It stayed dry though.

 Like the past few nights, I did very little last night. I did get to bed earlier though. I was in bed ten, or fifteen, minutes before 9 pm, but I did stay up reading until at least 9.30 pm. From then on I slept soundly until about 4.45 am. I would have preferred to have slept a little longer, but once awake at that time there was little point in trying to get back to sleep for as little as thirty minutes. It did give me a little extra time to do a few things on the computers, and still get to work on time.

 Tonight I am rushing home from work as early as possible to go out again to meet Patricia and Dee for a drink in Lewisham. I am quite looking forward to that, but this time I really must avoid the temptation of a takeaway on my way home again. I have some chilli flavoured tagliatelle that I have been meaning to try since I bought it on Tuesday. Maybe I will get to try it tonight. I hope it is not too "chillified" otherwise I may suffer in the morning when I am due to meet up with Aleemah.
Thursday 13th September 2007
09:02 BST
 It's another fine morning. The sun is shining, and it will soon warm up. It was slightly chilly coming to work in just a t-shirt, but if today is like yesterday it will be quite warm when I go home again.

 There was no drinking last night. Iain had already told me that he didn't think he would be around, and I never heard from Kevin. I would have liked a pint or two, but in some ways it may have been fortuitous that I didn't go for a drink. At 2 am I was up with bad stomach ache and had to use the toilet twice before I could get back to sleep. There was still more to come when I woke up at 5.30 am, and the legacy of that was that, once again, I was late getting to work. I think I feel OK now, but I really don't have time to write any more now.
Wednesday 12th September 2007
06:55 BST
 I can't work out what the weather is like at the moment. I know it is very chilly outside, but the sky is a bit of a mystery. It is uniform in colour, and right now that colour is a pale greyish blue. As the sun slowly creeps up from the eastern horizon I get the impression that the sky is turning blue. Maybe we are in for another bright, and later, hot day.

 Yesterday the weather was rather good. I left work at 10:30 am yesterday, to get to my appointment at Lewisham hospital for midday. By then the day had started to warm up, and it felt really good to be travelling in bright sunshine, and half empty trains. I was actually three to five minutes late for my appointment after my train at Waterloo East was six minutes late, but it didn't seem to matter. I was called at about 12:20 for my eye examination, and it was all over by 1 pm. The results were that my eyes were in perfect health (for my age). One peculiarity was that my left eye, usually my weakest, seemed better than my right eye. Using my left eye I was able to just about able read the bottom line of the eye chart. Reading the eye chart was only the preliminary to the main test which is to photograph the back of the eye. This involves several blinding flashes of light as each eye is imaged. It is not very pleasant, but the worst bit is the eye drops that dilate the pupils to silly dimensions. It took as much as three hours for my eyes to return to normal.

 After leaving the hospital I came home via the Aldi supermarket at the end of my road. It was a relief to get into the (comparatively) subdued light in there after enduring the bright glare outside. I bought loads of bits and pieces in there, including a dozen tins of catfood. It was quite a weight to stagger home with. It felt like I ate quite a lot of what I bought during the afternoon, but looking around this morning I still seem to have loads of stuff that I didn't eat. None of what I did eat was very healthy food, but that is all the food I did eat yesterday, and this morning I do feel a bit bloated. I deliberately missed my normal train this morning to give myself another opportunity to go to the toilet before embarking on my long commute into work.

 Tonight, all being well, is boozing night. I haven't heard any yay, or nay, from either Kevin on Iain as yet, but I'll make some enquiries later in the day.
Tuesday 11th September 2007
08:12 BST
 This morning has started off very chilly after clear skies overnight. the sky is still mostly clear and the sun is shining. I today will finish up much like yesterday when the sun broke through the morning clouds leaving a very warm sunny afternoon.

 I managed to acquire a spare CPU from a scrapped PC yesterday. It was an AMD Athlon MP2200. Although specified as part of multiprocessor pair, they will operate solo, and this one was rated 100MHz faster than the fastest CPU I have at home. When I got home last night I tried the CPU at the first opportunity I had. I tried it in two of my PC's, but unfortunately it turned out to be dead, and that was most probably the reason why the PC it came from was scrapped. I still have the motherboard it came from, here at work, and I may take that home sometime and test it. I have a strong feeling that it too may be damaged. I am not sure of the history behind the PC, but I think it may have had a major power supply blow up.

 Today I should be leaving work very early. At midday I am due to attend an eye screening at Lewisham Hospital. I thought it was either tomorrow, or maybe even next week, and was originally going to take the whole day of as holiday. Having only realised it was today when I checked the letter last night, I have had no time to arrange any holiday time off. So I'll just have to take time off as an medical appointment.
Monday 10th September 2007
08:21 BST
 There seemed to be a lot of breaks in the clouds when I left home this morning. Since then those breaks have closed up leaving a rather grey sky. Assuming that today would be similar to yesterday I did not wear a coat into work this morning. I knew this was risky, and the redness on some of the cloud this morning may have made my decision even foolhardy, but my morning paper is forecasting that this afternoon will be bright and sunny. So maybe I did make the right decision. Time will tell.

 On Saturday I met up with Aleemah, as planned, and we went to Greenwich to visit the head shop. On the way we called into the cheap book shop to be found almost opposite the Greenwich Job Centre.  I bought a couple of books in there for £2 each. One was entitled "Cannabis", and the other was about rocks and minerals in Britain and  Europe. In the head shop I bought some vanilla flavoured herbal cigarettes, and a couple of other small items. The cigarettes were a disappointment. I knew that they contained no tobacco, and hence did not produce any nicotine, when I bought them, but any flavour of vanilla was completely overpowered by the flavour of burning leaves.

 Our final stop in Greenwich, before getting the bus back to Catford, was to eat in a seafood restaurant. At first they tried to give us the expensive dinner menu, but we wanted the cheap lunch menu - as advertised on the front of the shop. We finally got that and both chose a dish of mixed seafood and rice for just £4.90 each. It was really rather delicious. It contained several types of seafood, and included miniature squid (or where they octopii ?). I had never had then before, but they seemed OK. Other nice touches were finding odd bits of ginger among the rice that complimented the seafood without overpowering the whole dish. I rather think I preferred that dish over some costing three, or four, times that price.

 When we got back home we watched the film Minority Report. It wasn't a bad film, and rather better than the one we watched last time, but somehow I found the flashy Hollywood effects a little too over the top for my personal taste. After I had escorted Aleemah back to London Bridge station  got home feeling starving. I first finished off the fish fingers I had cooked for our supper (couldn't remember if she preferred breadcrumbs or batter coating. So I cooked both). Then I had half a melon, but still felt hungry. So I had some corned beef and baked beans. That finally seemed to fill in the empty space, and after watching some TV I went to bed.

 Sunday was a nice sunny day, but  never took advantage of it. In fact I only ventured out to go to Tesco's (where I forgot to buy some fruit to eat here at work). The rest of the day I spent just watching videos, or reading. On Sunday afternoon I received an email about a new ftp server I was invited to try. It worked fine, but for some reason I could not reply to the email to send my thanks for the invitation. Every time I sent the email it bounced back as undeliverable. So I saved the e-mail as an .eml file and uploaded that to the server as well.  
Saturday 8th September 2007
08:35 BST
 It seems very chilly this morning. The sky is a light grey colour, and I am guessing that it is more high fog than proper cloud. With luck the sun will burn it off leaving another fine day. Yesterday was pretty good. There was a lot of sunshine, and it was only spoilt by the humidity feeling very high.

 I never did get around to doing much in the way of housework yesterday. I went out shopping twice in the morning. The first time was to Boots and WH Smith's to buy some Boots sandwiches, and a couple of magazines from WH Smith's. The second time was to Tesco where I bought the usual selection of stuff plus some more clothing. I thought I would take advantage of their "Value" t-shirts. The pack I bought a few days ago seemed OK, but I fear I have permanently disfigured the white t-shirt by spilling curry down it. Past experience suggests that it will take many washes before the bright yellow stain fades away. So it will be fine for indoor wear, but I wouldn't want to wear it in public with a large yellow stain down the front. So I bought two more packs for £3 each. each pack has one white and one black t-shirt - which is a pity because I think I would prefer only black.

 After getting back from Tesco's, and loading up the washing machine, I sat down to eat my sandwiches and do some reading. The reading lasted all afternoon, and into early evening. I did have one or two brakes where I consulted the computer, and it was during one of these that I came upon a source of video from a 1974 Royal Institution xmas lecture presented by Eric Laithwaite. It was about anomalous behavior in gyroscopes. I downloaded all the parts and made a DVD of the lecture. The quality was pretty bad, but when I watched it, later on in the evening, I found it fascinating.

 After watching that video I carried on reading until I felt so tired I had to go to bed. As I slept I seemed to have dreams about T.I.'s and ATW diagrams. I can't remember just exactly what was happening in those dreams, but I definitely remember what T.I.'s and ATW diagrams were about. T.I.'s were Technical Instructions, formerly known as E.I.'s (Engineering Instructions), that were used in my days as a telephone exchange engineer with what came to be known as British Telecom. ATW diagrams were the circuit diagrams of the equipment I used to maintain. There were a whole series of these. AT diagrams were the basic circuit diagram. ATW diagrams added the wiring details (colours of wires etc). ATX showed the interconnection between different units. There were many more types of diagram, but those were the ones in more frequent use from my point of view.

 This morning I must try and do some of the housework that I failed to do yesterday. I am meeting Aleemah just after midday, and after a bit of shopping we are coming back here. So I ought to try and get the place looking semi reasonable, and if Nelly and her litter tray will cooperate, reasonably odour free !
Friday 7th September 2007
07:31 BST
 It is still a little too early to tell, but it looks as if today could be another fine day. There is some haze in the sky that is shielding the early morning rays of the sun, but it should clear soon. If there are no clouds revealed once that haze has boiled off then we should have a nice bright day, perhaps as good as yesterday. Yesterday turned out to be very warm and sunny. The one thing that spoiled it was the humidity was high enough to make me feel rather sticky. This was specially so in the evening.

 I continued pottering around, overseeing file transfers from CD/DVD recordable disks, and other stuff on the PCs until almost 1 pm yesterday. It was only then that I decided that I really ought to have a shave, shampoo,shower, and then get dressed properly. It took me some time to cool off after a fairly hot shower, but I felt reasonably cool and dry when I finally left the house to go and meet Aleemah for the evening lecture.

 I needed to get to Victoria station shortly before 4.30 pm if I was to meet Aleemah in time. So I consulted the National Rail Guide journey planner for the best route and times. With a starting point of Catford station it gave the times for a train that does a reasonable connection at Denmark Hill station for an onward train to Victoria. Actually it was not reasonable at all. The trains I got both called at Nunhead, Peckham Rye, and Denmark Hill stations. Changing at Denmark Hill means crossing the footbridge to another platform. So why they suggested that when you can just get off one train at either Nunhead, or Peckham Rye stations and just wait on the same platform is beyond me. Maybe sometimes one, or other train misses out the two previous stations, but I suspect they are in the minority. With the benefit of local knowledge, I chose to change trains at Nunhead station. Of course the other unknown question is why the connection is a reasonable 5 - 7 minutes travelling up to Victoria from Catford, but a very unreasonable 25 - 27 minute wait in the reverse direction.

 I met up with Aleemah when she left work at 4.30 pm, and we made our way towards the headquarters of The Royal Aeronautical Society where the lecture was due to take place. The headquarters, in 4 Hamilton Place, is just around the corner from Marble Arch. To get there we took the Victoria Line from Victoria station the one stop to Green park station and then had a long walk.Taking into account all the subterranean walking, and the time the train took between the two stations, I think it would have been just as quick to actually walk along Grosvenor road from Victoria to Marble Arch. It would have been a longer walk, but not by much. In fact the closest station is actually Hyde Park Corner station which is one stop from Green park station on the Piccadilly line.

 The headquarters of The Royal Aeronautical Society looks very ornate at the front. The reception rooms are all done out in a very elegant classical style - marble fireplaces, gold leaf everywhere, and ornate plaster mouldings. At the back is a most modern, air-conditioned theatre with all mod cons. It was here that the lecture took place in the Bill Boeing theatre. The lecture was about the European weather satellites run by EUMETSAT - the European Meteorological Satellite organisation. Some of the stuff about the organisation of EUMETSAT was pretty boring, but the technical stuff, and pretty pictures were very good. When it was good it was good enough to make me forget my nicotine craving for short periods. There is another interesting sounding lecture coming up on Thursday 4th October about the 50th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik.

 Getting home again after the lecture proved to be quite simple. We went back to Hyde Park Corner tube station and within a few minutes we were on or way to Green Park station. From there we transferred to the Jubilee line. Aleemah got a west bound train, and I caught an east bound train back to London Bridge. There were too unfortunate things about the journey home. First was that the tube from Green Park to London Bridge was packed to bursting point, and second was that I only had time to smoke an inch of cigarette at London Bridge. Arriving there five minutes earlier would have been luxury, while arriving five minutes later would have been a disaster.

 Shortly before 9 pm I was back home and feeling starving. I had not eaten since the morning when I had my reheated sag aloo with mexicana cheese on top. I could have cooked something up, but I decided to treat myself to a Chinese takeaway (actually delivered to my door). It was the first I had eaten in some time, and was absolutely delicious ! As I ate I watched a couple of episodes of UFO, and ended up in bed sometime a little before midnight.

 Today I have nothing planned, but I ought to do some shopping, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to get some housework done - or I may just do nothing much !
Thursday 6th September 2007
11:05 BST
 It's a beautiful day. The sun is shining. The sky is at least 80% blue, and it is rather warm. Let's hope it stays this way. Yesterday was similar, although there was more cloud in the sky.

 I am now on my second day off work, and I have one more day of holiday tomorrow. Yesterday was a nice relaxed sort of day. I pottered around for many hours before finally washing and dressing. Even after that I mainly pottered around. I did pop out to Tesco for the usual cat food and a small selection of human food. I found I did have rather a lot to carry back from Tesco. Tesco diet cola was on sale at three bottles for £1, so I bought three 2 litre bottles of that, and I lugged back a spare bag of cat litter. All in, I had three rather large, and very heavy bags to bring back. It was a relief to get back indoors again.

 I guess I spent a lot of yesterday supervising the copying of some of my files from DVDR disks on to the possibly safe confines of a hard disk. I say possibly safer because recordable DVD disks seem very fragile, and some, notably Tesco branded ones, do seem to have a very variable lifetime. Some of my earlier DVDR disks are already showing signs of becoming difficult to read. The hard disk could fail in a spectacular fashion, but until then I am betting that those precious files are safer on it. Eventually I will duplicate the hard disk for even more security (a lot of the files are already backed up on my server anyway, but for some I relied only on the DVDR disks).

 I went for a drink with Kevin and Iain last night. We met a bit later than usual, and I stayed much later too (no work in the morning). It was a good drink, and I actually began to feel very slightly drunk when I left the pub. Another double scotch, or two, and I would most definitely have begun to feel quite merry ! When I got home again I demolished six pots of diet yoghurt while watching another episode of UFO. After that I went to bed and carried on reading my book. By midnight I was feeling very, very tired, but I persevered until the book was finished sometime close to 1 am this morning. It was a struggle to keep my eyes open, but I was so close to the end of the book that I had to carry on.I fell asleep almost instantly once I turned out the light.

 So far this morning I have done little except potter around doing more stuff on the PC's. One one PC I am still copying DVDR disks, and on the Linux  PC downstairs I am experimenting with DVD ripping. As yet I have not washed or got dressed. I am wearing just the dirty t-shirt from last night (with yoghurt spillled down the front) and a pair of underpants. I've got to say that it is a nice relaxed way of working ! I have had some breakfast - maybe a slightly bizzare breakfast, but very tasty. It was sag aloo (left over from Tuesday night) reheated with melted Ilchester "Mexicana" cheese on top. The only problem is that the spices have brought me out in a bit of sweat at the warm sunshine pours through the window in front of me.

 Later this afternoon, properly washed and dressed, I am going out to meet Aleemah in Victoria. We are going to a lecture about weather satellites. I can't actually remember where the lecture is taking place, but I am sure Aleemah knows where it is (and how to get there). Potentially it could be quite interesting, or then again it could be boring. I think it is liable to be the former. Unfortunately it has interfered with some other potential plans I had. I was intending to meet up with Ivor and Iain this lunchtime for a pint or three, but if I did that I would never get out to meet Aleemah (potentially we could have still been drink at 4.30 pm when I am due to meet Aleemah). There was also an old fogeys get together in Barming tonight. I haven't attended one of those all year, and with no work tomorrow morning I could have potentially gone tonight.
Tuesday 4th September 2007
08:10 BST
 It is dry this morning, but not very bright. I rather suspect that today will be similar to yesterday - dry with sunny intervals. As I approached the Wandsworth shopping centre I happened to notice a temperature display above some advertising eyesore. It said that the air temperature, about ten minutes ago, was 13° C. This is cooler than it probably ought to be for this time of year, but quite comfortable for early morning commuting.

 I left work a little late last night. I was doing an experiment and was keen to know the results of that experiment. The result was that it worked, and that was good enough. I still left in time to catch my second choice train, and I even had time for a smoke outside Waterloo station, but it was a bit rushed.

 I didn't do much when I got in. I had a couple of meals, watched an episode of UFO, watched some of the BBC evening news on TV, did some reading, and went to bed. I guess I was fast asleep by 9.30 pm at the latest. Tonight may well be different.

 I am taking the rest of the week off work after finishing tonight. That means I could, if I wanted to, stay up late and try to do something more productive with my evening. I doubt that will happen, but one little indulgence I am considering is to order a large Indian takeaway. With no work in the morning it will not matter if it has a disastrous effect on my guts. Although I am considering a lunchtime drink tomorrow, and would need to get my guts sorted out for that. A more realistic scenario for tonight is that I will be starving when I get home and start to cook some dinner as soon as I have fed the cats. Then I will probably watch another episode of UFO before retiring to bed with the current book I am reading (Isaac Asimov's " Foundation And Earth").
Monday 3rd September 2007
08:07 BST
 It's not a bad morning. There are plenty of isolated clouds in the sky, but for a lot of the time the sun is shining. This is at odds with what was happening at 2.30 am this morning. I was awoken by the sound of heavy rain and wind. The wind seemed so strong that I could feel rain on my face as I entered the bathroom. The wind was blowing a fine mist of rain through the open bathroom window, and across the width of the bathroom. Closing the window in the front bedroom stopped the through draught, and I was soon able to get back to sleep again for an hour or two. Yesterday the weather remained fairly fine. There was a fair bit of sunshine throughout the day, although by about 7 pm the clouds had closed in extinguishing any last rays of sun.

 Apart from laundry, and a bit of shopping in Tesco's, I had a very lazy day yesterday. I didn't hear from Iain, and so there was no lunchtime drinking. In fact that was almost good. By lunchtime I had got into total couch potato mode and would have been slightly reluctant to go out anyway (but I would have done if the call had come).

 I had a pretty wild selection of food to eat yesterday. It included macadamia nuts, houmous, caramel bars, and to balance out some of the worst excesses I did have some melon and oranges as well (not that it is possible to balance out excessive food intake by adding more food). None of that mixture has had a bad effect on my guts, but it feels like my blood sugar level, and blood pressure are both elevated this morning. I do feel a little hungover this morning, but it's not as bad as some Monday mornings (and I use hungover in a non alcohol sense).

 One thing that did not improve my humour this morning was when I went into the bathroom at around 4 am. There to greet me, although I did not notice at first, was a lesser hippopotamus eating spider. I was not too worried as it looked like it had just eaten a small sheep, and seemed unlikely to need to eat me just then. I left the spider to it's own devices, and went back to bed. When I next visited the bathroom the spider was nowhere to be seen. Worrying ! I think that autumn is closer than I imagine if the house it being invaded by titanic spiders of the hairy kind.

 Today I have two tasks to do. One is to earn my wages, and the other is to "wear in" one of my new pairs of jeans. So far the longest I have worn them is only for about an hours duration, and for that hour they have been fairly comfortable. So Today I will be wearing them until I can go home and change them. Sitting down at my desk they do have a few tight spots, but I don't think they will cause me any great discomfort. I reckon it will be about a week before I feel they fit like my old, threadbare, but very comfortable, work jeans.

 During my dreams last night I discovered two new words. I hope as I describe the first I will remember what the second was. The first describes what happens when the dark purple rubber insulation on a cable breaks can't take any more bending and stress. It is said to go elasticide. The other memory is not of a word at all. It is, in fact, a warning, and a rather rude one at that. Fantasy size genitalia can even be impossible to use in a fantasy. Make of that what you will !!

Oh, and in case you thought I had forgotten, and was no longer pissed off by it, I still hate the smoking ban, and it is still depressing me.
Sunday 2nd September 2007
05:19 BST
 It is still dark outside, and I have no idea what the weather will be today. I do know that it is dry right now, and that the breeze coming in through the nearby open window is most bracing (or rather chilly !). Yesterday saw a lot of sunshine. This was surprising with the amount of cloud around. Sometimes the clouds would gather leaving a threatening gloom, but then they would break up again and the sun would pour through. Towards the evening the clouds seemed to gather together permanently, and it felt like a storm was gathering. Despite a cooling breeze I was feeling quite damp and clammy as I expected the heavens to open at any minute. It never did happen though, and later on I cooled down as if a storm had finally broken. Maybe my internal heat was just generated from what I had been doing with Aleemah.

 Yesterday was pretty normal for a Saturday when Aleemah visits. I met her at London Bridge, and we came back home via the Catford Broadway pie and mash shop. Once back here we watched a very strange sci-fi film. It was called Dark City and was supposed to be an excellent film. I fell asleep in the end sequence !!!

 You'll notice I wrote that we watched a film rather than a movie. For a start it seems that the word movie does not exist in my GB spell checker. This figures because I always used to consider that movie was a bad Americanism in a similar way to the obnoxious use of the word lappy for a laptop computer, or mobby for a mobile phone. Then, while sitting on the toilet a little while ago, that movies is actually an acronym for Moving Objects Viewed In an Entertainment Studio (or at least it is now !). So I guess that I am happy to use the phrase "going to the movies" now, although I will probably still say that I am going to the cinema to watch a film. So there !!

 I can now see the eastern horizon just beginning to light up, but there is still not enough light to see if it is cloudy, or not. Although it would be nice if there was some sunshine today, it is otherwise irrelevant to me. I am not planning on going any further than Tesco's today. In fact I am not planning anything today beyond doing some laundry. As I typed that I suddenly remembered that I had mentioned to Iain that if he fancied a lunch time pint to get in touch with me. I suspect it is unlikely, but a few beers before an afternoon snooze would be rather good.

 One other thing I did yesterday morning, before meeting Aleemah, was to use some of this months pay check to stock up on clothes in Tesco. Apart from socks, underpants, and a couple of t-shirts, I also noticed that Tesco's were once again selling mens trousers. These are of course a seasonal item. Men only wear trousers in the autumn, or at least so it seems with Tesco's philosophy. I bought two pairs of jeans, one black, and the other beige, for just a mere £6 a pair. This is rather a good price, although they are not specially high quality. The rather good thing about them is that they fit me. The last pair if jeans I bought was from Peacocks, and they were obviously designed for a very strange body shape. I could wear them, but they were rather tight and uncomfortable in strange places. I could accept that they may be tight around the waist if I bought a size two small, but the waist was fine. It was in areas like around the knee caps where the blood was being throttled from my veins. By contrast, the two pairs I bought from Tesco yesterday were like the two pairs I bought from Tesco last year (or more likely the year before that). They just sort of fitted with no problems whatsoever. Of course the thin, tin plate like, top button will pop off within a few days. That always happens, but they are usually easy to repair with a 6 BA nut and bolt !
Saturday 1st September 2007
06:00 BST
 Saturday morning dawns rather grey. The sun is too low on the horizon, perhaps even slightly below it, to get really get a good view of how cloudy it is, and some of what appears to be cloud may well be just high mist. There is some structure in the greyness, and maybe the sun will eventually peep out from one of the lighter patches of grey. I seem to recall that the forecast for today is for cloudy, but dry skies.  It wouldn't be too bad if today was like yesterday. A lot of yesterday was overcast, but from late afternoon until sundown there was a fair bit of warm sunshine.

 I deliberately left work early yesterday to make sure I caught my early train home. Even then it was a bit of a rush to feed the cats, clean myself up, change and get to the pub to meet Patricia nd Dee. We had a pleasant drink, although the happiness of it was overshadowed by Patricia's worry about her dad with his recent diagnosis of wide ranging cancer.
Patricia and Dee in the Lewisham WetherspoonsBoth Patricia and Dee were looking wonderful. Dee deserves a special mention.  She had come from an awards ceremony and was dressed in a nice black top and skirt. I had only previously seen her in casual clothes, and could never have imagined her looking so elegant like last night.

 We finished our drink sometime soon after 7 pm. Patricia and Dee went northwards to catch buses to their respective homes, and I went south to get a bus for my home. Except I didn't go straight home. After three pints of beer, and only a solitary packet of crisps to eat all day, I was feeling peckish. So I called into a kebab shop for a greasy delicacy or two.

 It was quite a big meal that I ate while watching an episode of UFO. Surprisingly, while I felt satiated by it, I did not feel bloated. That is somewhat unusual, and even this morning I have detected no deleterious effects - yet !

 Once I have finished writing this I am going back to bed to try and catch another hours worth of sleep. After that I really ought to get up and start making preparations for a visit from Aleemah. I need fresh  cat litter from Tesco because Nelly's litter tray is overflowing and very stinky, and a bit of hoovering around the house would be a good idea. So much to do, and so little time to do it........
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