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 August 2008
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Sunday 31st August 2008
07:04 BST

 Another change in the weather ! This morning it is almost foggy. Maybe it is foggy - I have never really known where the dividing line between mist and foggy is. I estimate that visibility is down to a hundred Metres. What should happen now is for the rising sun to "burn off" the fog leaving a brilliantly sunny day. Whether this will happen, or not, I have no idea, but it would be nice if it did happen. Yesterday remained warm and sunny, and that lifted my spirits, and provided much inspiration.

 It felt so good yesterday that I did a chore that I have been putting off for some time even though the deadline for completing it has become closer and closer. I washed the curtains, and the inside of the windows, of the upstairs front bedroom. It's nice and clean and fresh up there now, and ready if Patricia wants to stay here for a time. All I have to do now is remove my collection of external hard drives from around the computer workstation, and the room is complete apart from changing the bed clothes which I will do at the last minute.

 I managed to do more housework in other parts of the house too. Not that I did that much, but it did include a bit more hoovering, and some more laundry. In between, and after, all this housework I did sit down and watch a couple of films.  War Of The Satelites, that I mentioned yesterday, was a pretty good 1950's sci fi romp - lots of drama, bad special effects, and flashing lights !! I also watched the film "Ice Planet". This was made in 2001, and as the write up suggests, was a pretty bad movie. There may have been one or two good bits in it, but they were lost in the rest of the dross. Bring back the clacking relays, flashing lights, technicians in white lab coats, women who know how to scream, spaceships with exhaust smoke that drifts upwards, and planets that look like a quarry ! That's the way to make a good sci fi film !

 I have no specific plans for today beyond remembering to buy some fruit for my lunchtimes at work. Optional stuff to do includes tidying up the back room some more. In fact I am almost certain to do some stuff in the back room, but the real question mark is how long before I get bored with it today. One thing I should really do is be prepared for a call to the pub lunchtime. There is a microscopic chance that Dee may call me to see if we are meeting this Sunday, or some Sunday in the future. Considering the size of the breakfast I have just put in the oven to cook, I probably will end up unfit to go out drinking lunchtime. In fact it may put me off going to Tesco's when the open in just under three hours time. Maybe I'll just have to try and eat my breakfast in two parts. Some before going to Tesco, and the rest afterwards. Then I can lie down and vegetate for a few hours !
Saturday 30th August 2008
10:51 BST

 It's hard to believe it, but there is some sunshine this morning. It also feels slightly fresher than yesterday. There is still a fair amount of cloud in the sky. So whether it stays bright and dry is in the lap of the gods.

 I can't recall any sunshine yesterday. What I do recall is that is was most unpleasantly sticky all day. Taking a chilled bottle of water out of the fridge almost caused a torrent of condensation to flood off of it.

 Aleemah has gone sick on me today. She warned me nice and early so I could go back to bed for a little while and rest after starting my housework. That was pretty nice after hoovering downstairs and half way up the staircase. I have continued to do some housework since getting up, washed, and dressed. This is, in part, because it needs to be done, but there is also an added incentive. I heard from Patricia overnight. It seems she is coming back to London next week, although when precisely next week was not revealed. It seems unlikely that she will be wanting to stay here for any length of time, or at all, and in a way that means a lot of my hard work over the last few months was not so neccessary, but it's probably not a bad idea to be prepared, just in case.

 So today there are several things I may do. The first is to do more housework. Some of that is likely. The second is to watch a movie. Usually I watch one with Aleemah on a Saturday, but today I can choose something off the wall. I think I may watch "War Of The Satelites". It looks to be an "interesting" film. Quoting from the imdb web site - "From the time this movie was conceived, it was reportedly only eight weeks later that the completed movie was playing in theatres." Other than that I will do the usual eating, sleeping, and reading. Oh, and I might do a bit of shopping too !
Friday 29th August 2008
08:53 BST

 It feels monotonous to report it, but it's grey again ! There was none of the refreshing misty rain that cooled my walk to the station yesterday. This is a pity because, once again, it's a fairly mild morning. As well as being mild, the humidity is slowly creeping up. By this afternoon I expect it will be feeling quite muggy. According to my morning paper there is no end in sight for this gloomy weather, although I think a TV weather forecast I was not really paying attention to, suggested it all might end in a bang on Sunday.

 I was right to replace the hard drive in my laptop the other day. Last night I connected up the old hard drive via my USB 2 adapter, and proceeded to copy some of the old data across to the new hard drive. It was actually a tedious process. The old hard disk was in far worse shape than I had imagined, and it was making an appalling noise, clicking and clattering, as it struggled to give up my data. Half way through I gave it 30 minutes in the freezer to see if, as some have reported, it made things any better. Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. It was hard to tell. Anyway, I was successful in copying my data, and I have now thrown the old drive away. Before consigning it to the dustbin I took the precaution of disabling it forever. There was really no need for this. It didn't have any sensitive information on it apart from a password for my server, but really I just fancied smashing it up !

 Tonight I am not sure what I am doing. I'd like to do some advance clearing so I don't have too much to do in the morning before Aleemah visits. Maybe though, I will pop in the pub for a quick drink. If I do it will definitely have to be a quick one. Even if I don't manage any housework (which is quite likely, judging by past experience) I still don't want to stay out very late. Maybe I'll just have a maximum of two pints with Iain on my way home from work. If I can keep it as brief as that then I can probably pop into Tesco's on the way back from the pub, and that will save more time in the morning. I probably will need that time. I have been very lax in my hoovering lately !
Thursday 28th August 2008
09:01 BST

 The greyness continues. There has even been some fine misty rain this morning, but mostly I think the day will be a re-run of yesterday - mostly grey ! The sun did come out yesterday, but not until sometime after 6 pm. Even then it was not out for long.

 Last night I went for a drink with Iain and Kevin. Iain and I met at 5.30 pm, and Kevin joined us 2 pints later. It seems our complaints about the broken free WiFi in the Catford Wetherspoons have finally been taken notice of. There is now a sign on the door apologising for the lack of WiFi in there. Hopefully it will soon be fixed. Being able to access the internet while drinking is not essential, but there are times, particularly when a discussion about something is taking place, when access to more information is handy. In the past we have used it to get more information about the guest beers in there. Complaining to the bar staff had no effect for over two months, but it seems three approaches to head office, two by using the Wetherspoons web site complaint section, and one sent by letter, as finally got some action going.

 Despite the day being very grey and overcast, the evening was deceptively warm. When I got back from the pub at about 7.30 pm I had some hot and spicy food. I went to bed, in fact I was in bed, by 9 pm, and fell asleep very quickly. Three hours later I woke up feeling like I had been cooked. My pillow was drenched in sweat, and I felt lousy beyond the expected hangover. I slept the rest of the night with the duvet off me, and with the window open. I didn't sleep too well like that, but at no time did I feel cold. I woke up at 5 am feeling pretty rough. I had a bad crick in my neck, and a few other stiff muscles. When I checked the temperature of my bedroom it was still up at 24 C even after having the window open half the night.

 When I finally left the house this morning it was very nice to walk half way to the station in a refreshing fine misty rain. Now I am at work I don't feel too bad. I don't appear to have a hangover , and my stiff and crinkled muscles have ironed themselves out. There is just a tiny bit of siffness in my neck still, but I ad to give my neck a bit of a twist to detect it. Overall I guess I am fine, but given the choice, I could easily go back to bed for another hour !
Wednesday 27th August 2008
08:50 BST

I am at work now and not feeling too bad. Shortly before leaving home I had a flash of inspiration. I was sitting on the toilet, the place where all the best inspiration comes from, and I wondered if I had left my 2.5" to 3.5" IDE converter inside a hard drive enclosure. When I came downstairs to check this hypotheseis I found my flash of inspiration was correct. It was in the first enclosure I picked up. That makes for a happier day, but I will have to be careful I don't waste too much time trying to use it tonight. I need my beauty sleep !!

06:29 BST

 Another grey morning ! It's now getting a bit hard to judge just how grey the sky is at this time of the morning. As we head towards winter the days are now very noticably shorter, and the sun is still very low on the horizon right now. Already I am waking up while it is still dark, or if not actually dark then close to it. No rain, or at least no significant amounts of rain are forecast for today, and the day has started out fairly mild.

 Trying to run a graphical program over the internet, such as trying to write some stuff here like I did from work yesterday, was painfully slow. I knew it would be fairly slow, but I didn't expect it to run at something like five seconds per character ! Next time I write something from work I will go back to using Winscp that caches a local copy of the document to edit locally. That is the method I was successfully using before trying a remote graphical log in.

 Last night I fitted a new hard drive in my laptop. The old one was secondhand, and was showing signs of failure. So I ordered a nice big fast hard drive to fit in it's place. Although I primarily use Linux on the laptop, I did, once again, make it dual boot with Windows. It was interesting, and rather satisfying, that Windows hardly managed to identify, and find drivers, for any of the hardware in that laptop. PCLinuxOS just installed and worked. The only hardware it may not have identified, and installed drivers for, was the inbuilt modem. I didn't even bother to check that because I have never used it.

 One thing I want to do is to copy some of the data off the old hard drive. I have a little box that can connect a 2.5" hard drive to a USB 1 connection, but that is rather slow. I should have an adapter to connect 2.5" drives to a 3.5" connector, and from there use my IDE to USB 2 interface. The only trouble is that I cannot find my 2.5" to 3.5" addapter. It is the second one I appear to have lost. Does anyone know where they go ? Maybe I have lent the second one to somebody and it hasn't been returned, or maybe after a few uses they slip through a worm hole to some sort of adapter heaven for everlasting rest. I just really don't know, but if anyone has borrowed it I would be most happy to hear about it's progress.

 Installing both Windows and Linux on my laptop did take up a lot of time, and I ended up going to bed almost an hour later than I should have. So this morning I feel tired, but not quite as yucky as I felt yesterday (but I still feel pretty bad). Tonight I am hoping to go for a beer or two, but I am not going to tempt fate by staying in the pub too long. If possible I'd like a nice early start, maybe something like 5.30 pm, and then I can stay for a couple of hours before coming home, having some dinner, and get to bed before 9 pm. I wonder if anyone will be available for such an exercise tonight ?
Tuesday 26th August 2008
09:09 BST

 I have successfully written this from work using Putty and Xming - but it's bloody slow this way !!!

06:34 BST

 It looks to be very grey outside at the moment. All that cloud overnight has kept some of the heat in. So it is a very mild morning. Later on today, according to a couple of weather forecasts I saw yesterday, the cloud may break up to give some sunny spells, and it should remain dry.

 On the whole, I feel pretty grotty this morning. I think I slept very badly. My head, neck, stomach, back and hips seem to hurt at the moment. I don't really feel like going to work this morning, but I will. Once I am moving again I should feel better. Whereas if I stayed at home I would only be tempted to slouch around, eat more than I should, and just make things as bad tomorrow morning. So I will be going to work, but I am going in on the late train to give myself time to settle down a bit.

 I did some more of my back room clearing up yesterday. Like the day before, this mainly consisted of sorting through all my data CDs to see what was crap, and what was useful. It is a very time consuming process. I usually label all my disks, but that doesn't always fully reveal what is on them. So a lot of the disks I had to put in the PC to read what was burnt on them. It was a worthwhile exercise because I did find some files that I thought might be lost forever. Those are now safely double backed up. Discarding all the old jewel cases has saved an awful lot of space, and I have now got to the point when I can begin to imagine the space being used far more efficiently. I really think that the idea of returning this back room to a dining room by xmas could be a possibility by now. Whether the one person I want to cook xmas diner for will ever be here to enjoy it with me is another subject. Sadly I suspect not, but it would be as well to be prepared in case that chance in a million arises.

 Earlier this morning, while it was still very dusky outside, I am sure I saw a bat in my back garden. Against a dark grey background I saw something small and black briefly flutter past. It's flight looked a bit like a butterfly or moth, but it was just a little too big for either of those (at least any common ones I have noticed around here). It was also smaller than, say, a sparrow, and once again, it didn't fly like a sparrow. I have never seen a bat in Catford. The nearest place I can recall seeing bats was around the old Hither Green Hospital grounds - a mile, or two, from here.
Bank Holiday Monday 25th August 2008
17:22 BST

Just a quick update. Having experimented with Cygwin (see a bit further down the page), the X server for Windows, I found it was not really what I was after.  A simpler solution was to use the Xming X server in conjunction with Putty, the ssh client for Windows. How well this will work over the internet when I try it from work tomorrow remains to be seen, but from the Windows machine in the front bedroom it is working just fine. What I have just written proves it !

10:11 BST

 It's quite gloomy this morning. The sky seems to be 100% light grey cloud. I haven't seen any weather forecasts for a few days now, so I'll have to guess that we won't be seeing any sunshine today, but some rain is a strong possibility.

 Yesterday started off fairly dull, but by this time in the morning there were plenty of sunny intervals. It remained that way through the whole day, and it might have just been my imagination, but it ended up feeling quite warm and humid.

 My Sunday was not as lazy as perhaps I thought it might be. I did some shopping at Tesco in the morning. (I didn't think they would be open, but I took a chance and they were).

 A bit later on I started to tackle one small, but very time consuming part of my back room clear up. I had stacks of magazine cover disks and home burnt CDs, and many of them were just pure clutter. Many of the computer magazine disks were ancient, and although a few had frequently duplicated useful legacy programs on, many just had crap stuff on that either started out as crap, or was just time limited, but usually just demo stuff. Some of my home burnt CD's were so old that they were almost unreadable, and many contained duplicates of files I have stored elsewhere. It took ages to go through what I did, but I got through about half of all the disks. Some extremely useful stuff has stayed in jewel cases, and the rest are stuffed into a 96 disk CD holder. I expect I may do some more of this later today.

 I am now running these web pages from my new Xubuntu server. It's configuration is still not complete, and I still have a multitude of Gigabytes of data to transfer from the old server to it, but it is seems to be running smoothly enough to use as my web server.

 Another fact is that I am currently writing this by using a secure shell on my Kubuntu PC. It's like using a remote desktop, but it's invoked from the command line using ssh -X me@server, and then calling Kompozer. In theory, if I open a special port in my firewall, and install XCygwin on my work PC, I should be able to do the same from work.

 I forgot to mention an E-mail I received sometime last week. It was only spam, but the subject line amused me....
" [forgotten name] is collecting Britney Spears' farts in bottles"

 Another thing that happened earlier last week, but has only this morning been worth mentioning, is that I bought a new towel set from Tesco. These towels, including face flannel, are deep crimson in colour. They are very light and fluffy, and at the moment are shedding a lot of crimson lint. This morning, despite not expecting to go anywhere, or see anyone, I had a full wet shave. Prior to plastering my face with shaving foam I gave my face a good wash using the new crimson flannel. When I opened my eyes and took a look at my face I thought "I don't remember cutting my face so badly when I shaved yesterday". Stuck to many of my whiskers were little bits of crimson coloured lint. It really looked like a very bad shaving accident !

 Despite not really needing anything in particular, and despite it being near the end of the month and my pocket money running quite low, I feel an irrational urge to see what's in my local Aldi store. Maybe they have new stocks of the trainers that I particularly liked, or maybe something else interesting. Assuming it doesn't start raining, and assuming they are open today, I might just pop out in a minute.
Saturday 23rd August 2008
11:56 BST

 Generally speaking, it seems to be a rather nice day - so far. The cloud is well broken, and there are lots of sunny intervals. If the rest of the day continues like this it will definitely be a rather nice day even if it is rather sub-standard for August.

 I managed to start eating at a little past 5 pm yesterday. Prior to that, at around 4 pm, I did manage to "eat" two paracetamol and codeine tablets. It was about that time that the anaesthetic started to fade away, and the hole where my tooth used to be was starting to get quite painful. The painkillers did a good job at removing the persistent pain, but the whole area remained very tender.

 Once I started eating I found it difficult to stop. Although it wasn't non stop eating. I would have something like a sandwich, and then have to let things rest for ~ 30 minutes before tackling something else. Eventually my hunger was as sated as it ever gets (not much, but just about noticeable).

 My "wound" continued to seep some blood throughout the night. It may even be doing so now. It is actually very little blood that is escaping. Just enough to turn my saliva a pale pink colour. My refusal to play by the rules, as dictated by my dentist, probably meant that the scab did not form properly. However the dire warnings of bad pain if the wound was left scabless and exposed have not happened, and that is the main thing.

 Today the area around the extraction is still sensitive, and that sensitivity also extends right back to the hinge of the jaw (whatever that is called). It is still too painful to fully open my mouth yet. It may be the pressure of my cheek on the area immediately around the extraction that is causing the pain, but it does feel more like more general bruising (or something). However, as an experiment, I just tried opening my mouth wide. To my surprise it is now possible with only moderate discomfort. Perhaps the cold ice cream I recently ate has had a useful effect. (Could the be the perfect excuse for more ice cream ?)

 Another thing that has not recovered is my tongue. Even now, a full 24 hours after my jaw being pumped full, to an unfeasible level, of  anaesthetic, the tip of my tongue, and perhaps a little more, still has a sort of numb feeling. My tongue was not injected with anaesthetic, but I do recall feeling something like a drip of the extra strong anaesthetic falling on it as the dentist went to pump in a few more gallons of the stuff around where the extraction was taking place. It is a curious feeling - perhaps similar to the after effects of when you burn your tongue on something hot, or maybe even more similar to a burn from a hot chilli. Apart from feeling odd, it is not really of any inconvenience, and I am sure it will fade away eventually.

 There are a few things I may do today. Perhaps a little more clearing up in the back room, maybe do some stuff on my server, or other PC, but mainly I intend to take things easy. If I feel like doing something I'll do it, and if not I am quite happy to revert to couch potato mode. One simple task I think I will tackle is to see if anyone fancies an afternoon pint tomorrow.
Friday 22nd August 2008
12:57 BST

 Today started out very damp and grey, but like yesterday, the clouds soon thinned out and we have had lots of sunny intervals.

 A little while ago I got back home after seeing my dentist. The object of the exercise was to have a tooth pulled, and that has been done. I was pumped full to the brim with anaesthetic. I lost count of the amount of injections I had.

 After the first lot of injections the dentist started chivieing (is that a word ?) at the gum to loosen the tooth. That started to become painful so I was given more injections. She (did I mention my dentist is a beautiful young Swedish woman ?) then had a go at pulling the tooth. That was agony and she had to give up.

 She then got some stronger anaesthetic from a bottom drawer and gave me a gumfull of that. It helped a little but for a few seconds on her second, and successful, attempt it was really very painful indeed. Probably more painful than the toothache that drove me there in the first place.

 I was given a long printed list, and a verbal list of do's and don'ts when I left. I broke the first one within seconds of leaving the premises. The list instructed me not to smoke for 24 hours ! Bugger that !!! It is not easy smoking when half your mouth is numb, and you are biting down on something not to dissimilar to a tampon, but I managed it anyway.

 When I got home I was surprised that the lump of cotton wool that I was biting down on had less blood on it than I imagined. I then slightly broke the next rule by rinsing my mouth out. I did try and avoid getting the newly forming scab too wet though.

 I feel sure that passing some warm air from a cigarette must help to firm up the new scab. Last time I had a tooth out, in fact it was several teeth, my wisdom teeth, I just did whatever felt right at the time. I may even have gone out for a pint or two the same evening. (Rule number two : no alcohol for 24 hours). I seem to recall it coincided with the late lamented Catford Beer Festival.

 It's going to be a good few hours before I feel competent to eat again, and I am starving now. Maybe it will be more than a few hours. I was pumped so full of anaesthetic that I am sure my face will be numb for a fortnight. Maybe this isn't such a bad idea. Even though I am most definitely very numb, I can still feel some sort of undefined ache from the crater where my tooth used to be.  

 I think the best thing I can do now is to have a quiet lie down. All this excitement is having a bad effect on my spelling, or I keep hitting the wrong keys on the keyboard (and sometimes two keys at once).
Thursday 21st August 2008
17:38 BST

 There was rain in the early hours of this morning, but it had stopped by the time I left for work. It was still damp and gloomy for most of my journey to work, but the clouds had started to thin by the time I got to Earlsfield. Eventually we were treated to long sunny spells, but now the clouds seem to be thickening again, and the forecast for tomorrow is for rain.

 I wrote a long and (possibly) interesting piece here this morning. Unfortunately, and I blame it on the Windows based machine I was using, it all disappeared into /dev/nul. It may have been because I think that part of my hand ended up resting on the Ctrl key instead of next to the keyboard. I dont know what Ctr + key combination I typed, but Kompozer was not very happy with it !

 I wrote how I had found the time, and inclination, to have another go at getting the ftp server configured on my new server box last night. I did have some success. I can now log in to the ftp server using three different identities, and for each one the password is validated, and I go to the correct home folder. Unfortunately that is as far as I got. I can't let it go live yet because the security is rubbish. Anyone with a valid user name and password can still traverse the whole directory structure and download stuff they should have no right to do so (or even see).

 I went to bed last night with my head buzzing around file permissions, groups, and users. Inevitably I had some dreams about it. All I can remember is that those dreams were actually more symbolic than what I was really doing, but the meaning seemed very clear at the time.

 I have found what sounds like a good alternative operating system for my new server box.  Operating system is not quite the right word because it is just another Linux distribution, but it conveys the flavour of what I mean. This Linux distribution is called Engarde. It is a server orientated distribution intended for the corporate/enterprise/commercial world. It is still free to download and use, but various support packages are available for those who want to pay for them.

 It's particular attraction for me is that it claims to have an excellent suite of graphical configuration tools. I like the power of the command line, and it's damn handy to have some knowledge of how to do stuff on the command line, but I don't use it often enough for it to become second nature to me. One server configuration a year is enough for me ! Engarde is available as a live CD, and I have downloaded that. Sooner or later I will give it a go and see what it feels like. I might even do it tomorrow afternoon while I wait for my dental work to wear off (or I might just snooze all afternoon if the crater left by the tooth extraction is not bleeding too much).

 Tonight I have taken my last antibiotic pill. I should now be clear of many popular diseases and infactions. My scrofula, rabies, canker, hard paw, distemper, blue tongue, green elbow, purple shin, and orange toe have all cleared up, but it has done little for my yellow belly and lily liver. I am not looking forward to this tooth being pulled out !
Wednesday 20th August 2008
08:10 BST

 It is very cloudy outside. It's not dark, heavy cloud, but there is some rain in it. I have already felt the lightest, mistiest of a shower. It lasted just a few seconds, but there could be more to come. It is possible that there could be heavier rain later this afternoon, or it could be like yesterday with some sunny intervals as I make my way home from work.

 All sorts of things turn up in dreams. Last night, or more correctly, early this morning, two interesting things turned up in my dreams. The first could actually be a solution to a rare problem. I was in a lift travelling from the basement to the first floor of a building with some people. As we ascended the lift rotated. This was so that the lift doors faced the correct way to suit how the building was designed. There are sort of precedents for this. Many lifts on the London Underground have two sets of doors on the lifts. Partly this is for crowd control - to speed up the process of some people getting in, and some leaving the lift - but in some cases, maybe the old lifts at the now closed Aldwych station for example, it is because the access passageways align with opposite sides of the lift. By rotating the lift as it ascends, or descends, it would mean only one set of doors would need to be maintained (and the passengers would probably become disorientated, and maybe even fall over !).

 The second thing that turned up in this mornings dreams was like an example of lucid dreaming. It wasn't exactly like lucid dreaming where you can conciously change the "plot" of a dream, but it did involve something like lucidity. Most dreams come in small fragment that are supposedly stitched together to make longer dreams, but apparently this only happens as we wake up. My case was different to that. At the end of the dream sequence involving the rotating lift I was moaning to my friend that to get to her flat we had to walk up the next 22 floors because there was no lift service. As I recall, it was a tower block attached to a two storey (plus basement) building. We had come up from some sort of bar, or other place of entertainment, in the basement to traverse a first floor walkway to the main tower. It was here that we found that either there were no lifts, or they were out of order. Even in a dream I might have turned down the idea of walking up 22 stories, but there was some urgency involved. I think it had something to do with my libido..........

 The next dream fragment, and the one where I seemed to be thinking outside the dream, found me outside my friends front door. I don't think that in any normal dream I would question how I could have instantly jumped from one place to the other. In this instance I did. I turned to my companion and said that I didn't remember getting there, and that I assumed that the exertion of walking up 22 stories had caused me to pass out. My companion did not get a chance to answer me because at that point her father emerged from the flat to go to work. He was not a pleasant character, but as he was now out of the way nothing more happened. Indeed nothing more did happen. Well nothing to do with my libido anyway !

 It was while trying to remember all this stuff, as I sat on the toilet this morning, that one other strange fact came to mind. Once we had gone into the flat, instead of heading to the bedroom, my companion wanted to watch a Delia Smith cookery programme on ITV. This was not exactly expected ! As she turned the TV on I noticed that a light green flourescent display, the same as used on some old digital clocks or VCRs, was showing channel 9. The significance of that, and I didn't realise it in the dream, although something in my brain seems to have made my dream eyes focus in on it, is that channel 9 was the old London ITV channel in the days of black and white, 405 line, TV.

 Dreams are great, but I wonder if there is more significance to them if only you can interprete them correctly. I mean, what is the meaning of a cookery programme when you were expecting nookie ? Maybe it's better not to think about that one too much !
Tuesday 19th August 2008
07:55 BST

 When I left home this morning the weather looked as if it could go one of two ways. Either the cloud would break up leaving a sunny day, or the cloud would thicken, and it would rain at some point during the day. When I arrived at Earlsfield station I was convinced that the latter option was more likely. Now, having arrived at work, the darker clouds seemed to have dispersed, and the sun is shining. there is still a lot of white cloud around, and the forecast is for showers this afternoon.

 I didn't do any major alterations to my new server yesterday, but I did some some configuration. I am not sure what inspired me to do it, but I have now got the e-mail option on my Palm T|X pda working on two accounts. One account, my NTL address, is, I believe, only accessible when I am home, but my Googlemail account should be usable whenever I can log in to a free WiFi point. I don't expect to use it much, but it's handy to know it's there if I want it. In fact I have already used it once. Just before I turned out the light to go sleep I decided to check my e-mail. there was one message, and while still lying in bed, I wrote a short reply to it.

 Before I left for work this morning I checked the change in my back pocket. I was worried to see what looked like two foreign coins amongst the other coins. Closer inspection revealed that they were a brand new design of 1p coin. It wasn't until I got to work and did some research that I remembered hearing about the new design some time ago. In fact there are new designs for all English coinage. You can see the range here, or read a bit more about the 1p coin here.
Monday 18th August 2008
09:38 BST

 There is an autumnal feel to this morning. It is cool and wet. The rain tends to be intermittent and showery, but even when it is not raining everything has a soggy appearance to it. Occasionally I have seen a weak and watery sun break through. Whether there will be more sunshine later is open to speculation. I have a gut feeling that most of the day will be slightly grey.

 With a little more effort I did finally get the web server on my new server box to dish up web pages. It is currently on test, and can be seen at, although the only thing you will notice that is different is that the home page now proclaims it is running on Xubuntu instead of Suse Linux (and maybe that I probably haven't updated it to include todays blog entry that you are reading right now). With luck, by the end of the week, I hope to be running it as the main server at the normal address.  (note: the address above, with it's suffix for port 60080, will no longer work once it does become the main server).
Sunday 17th August 2008
18:48 BST

 Today and yesterday have both been warm, but not hot. Both days enjoyed sunny intervals, and I think that both days had a few light, and very brief showers. On the whole it has been pretty reasonable, although not quite as good as you might expect for mid August.

 I have had both a productive, and lazy weekend. It's been great that I have been able to take a nap whenever I felt like it, but I have also been productive.

 On Saturday afternoon I finally started work building my new server. I did a bit here and a bit there, and by early evening it was complete. The next step was to intsall the opearting system. I chose Xubuntu for that. It allows me to run graphical programs, but without using a lot of resources for a full graphical desktop like KDE.

 I did get carried away doing the initial installation and upgrades. Despite a previously strong desire to catch up on a lot of sleep, I didn't get to bed until nearly 1 am this morning.

 I did get a bit of a lie in this morning, but it was scarcelessly enough to make up for that late night. So tonight I aim to be asleep as soon after 8 pm as I can.

 One time consuming aspect of getting this new server up and running is transferring data across from the old server. Ultimately there is a couple of hundred Gigabytes of data that I need to transfer. I have already done a lot of that, but it is still going to take a long time to get all the data I want on it.

 I have made a start on getting some of the services running on it. The Samba server, making my files available as network drives is all working to my satisfaction, but the ftp server is giving me a headache. It is supposed to be set to give some virtual users limited access to parts of the filesystem, but either logging in fails, or those users get access to the whole filesystem. The one local account, giving me access to my personal file space is working OK though.

 I feel I am going to end up calling my guru in on sorting that problem out. One other problem is the webserver. It seems to me that the Ubuntu default configuration of the apache web server is a lot more complicated that the default configuration on the old Suse Linux server. I am considering the possibility of removing the whole Ubuntu version of Apache and installing the core system from the source files. At least if I do it that way all the official Apache documentation will describe what I have on my system. It's lucky there is no rush to complete all this stuff. The old server is working well, and the only reason to build the new one is to increase my storage space.

 Besides working on the server I have been doing some reading, watching a few films, and eating. In fact I have been eating too much. I have been buying lots of stuff that is easy to eat on my poor knackered tooth. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) my tooth is now behaving itself rather well. So I have been able to eat both the soft squidgy stuff, and some less soft stuff. Some of it is perishable and so I have been eating both to use it up. I now feel pretty stodgy. I hope by the time I leave for work tomorrow it will all have settled enough to allow me some energy for tomorrows commuting.
Friday 15th August 2008
09:02 BST

 Another bright sunny morning ! I wonder how long it will last today ? Quite possibly it will be longer than yesterday. There doesn't appear to be a cloud in the sky. At this time yesterday the cloud was beginning to thicken. It thickened so much that by 3 pm there was some torrential rain, and some thunder and lightning nearby.

 Happily for me, the rain mostly held off as I made my way to the dentist. Although there was still a few splashes of rain, and the thunderstorm was still doing it's stuff a few miles away. My session with the dentist went OK. The news was sort of bad. The dentist confirmed that I was suffering from an abcess, and that the ultimate cure will be to have the tooth extracted. That will take place next Friday. To help speed up the healing process, which is neccessary for the local anaesthetic to work properly, I am now on a course of antibiotics. I will also be having one, or maybe two, minor fillings done while I am under the anaesthetic.

 I can't say I am looking forward to having that tooth out. There was the option of root canal treatment, but it was not recommended, and I declined it. The bad tooth is right at the back of the mouth, and I do not tolerate the dentist working there very well. An ordinary filling on those back teeth often has me choking and gagging at the best of times, but the amount of drilling, and other unpleasantness for root canal treatment is horrendous. Beside the difficulty of doing the work, there is not a lot of hope that it would ultimately significantly extend the life of that tooth. It has already been drilled to practically nothing to enable a crown to be fitted. That brings another factor into my decision. It was never discussed, but I would imagine that anything done that involved work on a crown would be very expensive. So it's the foot on the chest, and the tug of the pliers for me !

 After the dentist I walked back down to Catford and met Iain in the pub. They had a rather delightful guest ale on called "Crystal Clear" brewed by the Archer brewery. It went down a treat, but at 5% it soon got me feeling quite intoxicated. It certainly gave me a good nights sleep last night ! I never woke up once during the night, and I wish I could have had even more sleep, but I had to get up to come to work.

 Getting up to go to work will not be a problem tomorrow morning, and I would dearly love to sink a few more pints of "Crystal Clear" tonight, but now I am officially on a course of antibiotics, and ideally should avoid too much booze. It is quite probable that I shall visit the pub tonight, but it will have to be a flying visit. After one pint it will be hard to say no to another, but I will do my best. However I am not going to sit in the pub drinking soft drinks all night !!!
Thursday 14th August 2008
08:22 BST

 Just like yesterday the day has started off bright and sunny. One difference is that it is not starting to cloud over like it did at this time yesterday. More cloud is forecast for later today, and there could be some showers this afternoon.

 Finally, the great day has come ! At 4.20 pm I am due in the dentists chair. I can't say I am looking forward to it so much now. After waiting a week my teeth have settled down a lot. The last pain I experienced was at 2 am this morning. For that I got up, swilled more stronly salted water over the tooth, waited for an hour for it to settle down, and then went back to sleep again. Since then there has been no significant pain, and I can now lightly clench my teeth together. The area is still rather tender, but if I don't bother it, it doesn't bother me.

 What I am hoping to happen today is that my dentist will attend to any minor problems, but let my infected tooth settle down for another week before prodding it too bad. Hopefully I will be prescribed some antibiotics to make sure the healing process continues. Maybe that is that will have to be done, but that is being very optimistic. I've never known a dentist who isn't a bit sadist at heart, and will gleefully take any opportunity to get their harsh steel instruments in my mouth !

 Once I finish at the dentist I will be walking past the pub on the way home (unless I take a less direct route). I might stick my head inside to see if anyone is in there. If there is anybody, and I am capable of drinking without dribbling too much, I may well stay for a half (or perhaps more - I would have reason to celebrate).

 There is a chance that I will write more about my experiences at the dentist after I get home from the chamber of horrors.
Wednesday 13th August 2008
08:17 BST

 Much to my surprise, today has started off bright and sunny. It made for a cheerful start, but even now the cluds are starting to gather again. More rain is expected later today.Another surprise is that the dark gloom did lift yesterday. Far from going home in nasty drizzle, I was able to pack my coat in my bag and travel home in dry, and even occasionally, sunny comfort.

 Life seems full of surprises lately. One more surprise is that I arrived home yesterday with practically no pain at all from my bad tooth/abcess. That is not to say that the tooth was not very sensitive, but for most of the evening I was no bothered by it. As an experiment I even tried eating some solid food in the form of a couple of spam sandwiches. I did jar the tooth a couple of times while eating, but the pain was very short lived.

 Perhaps I made a mistake in trying to brush as close as I could stand to the bad tooth when I went to bed. After enjoying the mostly pain free evening I woke up at 1 am with a nagging pain from the tooth. I then had to stay up for an hour while waiting for some painkillers to do their stuff. This morning my tooth is still on edge. It's not terrible, but still bloody annoying !

 Just a day and a half until I see the dentist now. Even then I doubt she will be able to do much more than prescribe me some antibiotics. On the other hand, if today's setback (compared to yesterday evening) is just a glitch, and things continue to improve, maybe the sensitivity of that tooth will be low enough for her to do some work on it. I am not sure what the best trade off is. Do I endure a lot of discomfort for a short time while she prods and pokes around in my teeth, and hope for a quick fix, or do I let the antibiotics do their stuff and endure a slow return back to pain free teeth (before the dentist jumps in a week later and causes twenty minutes of bad discomfort) ?  It's tricky, but I guess I should attempt to predict how tomorrow will work out.
Tuesday 12th August 2008
08:03 BST

  Torrential rain, and a dark gloomy twilight made for a very unpleasant start for my journey into work. I was fairly saturated by the time I got to the station. That was unpleasant enough, but sitting in soaking clothes on the train with just a dark misty view outside just made things even more unpleasant. At Waterloo the sky did brighten up a bit, but still the rain poured down. I have no idea where it could have come from because there does not appear to be any breaks in the clouds, but at Earlsfield the sun did shine for a few seconds. Regardless of that flash of sunshine, the rain continues. It's only drizzle now, but it will probably carry on like this for most of the day.

 My new secret weapon in the fight against my toothache is strong salty water. I started on it during the night, and it may be having more effect than any of the expensive mouthwashes I have tried. It's early days yet, but if there seems to be more improvement by the time I go home again I will judge it to be a success. I decided on this course of action when I came to the conclusion that most of the pain must be from some sort of abcess despite not being able to detect any noticeable swelling.

 I came to this conclusion when an experiment with ice cream (pretending to be a cold compress) reduced the already low level of pain I felt when I got home last night. It's a shame I subsequently ruined the effect by consuming some warm soup not long afterwards. Even another very liberal dose of ice cream could not subdue the new pain (but it was a very good excuse to eat more tasty ice cream).

 Maybe I am clutching at straws here, but perhaps that second dose of ice cream did help. By the time I went to bed my toothache had dropped to an acceptable level again, and I was able to get to sleep relatively easily. My luck did not hold. After about four hours sleep I woke up again in pain. It was not the really agonising pain that I have had to endure on some previous nights, but sufficient to make sleeping very difficult. So I got up for an hour while I waited for some ibuprofen to dampen down the inflamation. I think I got another 90 - 100 minutes sleep after that. I woke up just 15 minutes before my alarm was due to go off, and I woke up in bad pain. I was just about aware that I had clicked my teeth together or something. My tooth (or teeth) are still far too sensitive to clench together, but I have noticed that the pain from doing so, while excruciating, is not lasting nearly so long now. Whether it is due to all the various self treatments I have administered, or whether it is just natural body defences at work, but I think, or at least I hope, that the abcess, if that is definitely what it is, is on the mend.

 The idea that the abscess may be healing itself gives me great hope. Not only will the pain decrease day by day, but it is possible that the dentist will be able to do some work rather than prescribe me antibiotics and telll me to come back in a week.

 Right now it is a sort of itchy sort of pain - hard to ignore, but not desperately bad. This is actually quite good considering I had an accident while trying eat some soft snack cheese a little while ago. I was doing OK until I got careless and munched too hard. That send a bolt of lightning through my tooth. I can only liken it to being pinged with a rubber band - an instant sharp pain followed by a bit of an ache that slowly subsides. Well, it has subsided to the point where I could be distracted from it by anything interesting, but while I am writing about it I can obviously not really ignore it. So I'll stop.
Monday 11th August 2008
07:41 BST

 This morning has started out bright and cool. As the day progresses it will become cloudier, and there could be some showers - or so the weather forecasters predict. This is quite actually quite possible because that is what happened yesterday. By early evening there were more than showers. It rained quite heavily at one point.

 It's probably predicatable, but everything is revolving around my toothache for now.For a lot of yesterday I was relatively comfortable. I had slept fairly well, and during the morning I was still able to eat with some care. By the evening things had changed. Most of the pain became centred on just one tooth, although I am too squeamish to try and identify exactly which tooth it is. That tooth has become so sensitive that I cannot even close my jaws properly now. It makes eating truly difficult.  My final meal for the day was a tin of custard, and a tin of rice pudding. Both were pleasant and tasty, but hardly fulfilling.

 One problem of living on a diet of tinned custard and rice pudding is that both contain a lot of sugar. I am sure it raised my blood sugar levels to excess. This made me feel very sweaty last night even though it was not really hot. In fact during the night I considered it had become almost chilly, and that putting the duvet back on the bed could be a good idea soon.

 This morning I accidently almost clenched my teeth together after a big cough. The pain it caused was outrageous for a minute or two (maybe it was mere seconds, but it felt a lifetime). With the aid of some paracetamol and codiene the pain had dwindled a lot half way through my journey to work. Since coming into work I have just eaten some marmite flavour snack cheeses. The were soft and crumbly, and I was very careful how I ate them, but my tooth is throbbing again. My appointment with the dentist on Thursday is still seeming to be a long way off !
Sunday 10th August 2008
08:11 BST

 I didn't think it could possibly happen, but it is bright and sunny outside. The sky is bluer than it has been for days. Potentially today could be a warm, or even hot day, but there is a fair amount of wind now, and that could keep the temperature down a bit.

 One other thing I didn't think could happen is that my toothache has reduced to the point where I managed to get a reasonable amount of sleep last night.

 It took some time after I finished writing last night for the paracetamol and codiene to calm my teeth down. After a few false starts I finally felt comfortable enough to fall asleep sometime after midnight. I woke up some 90 minutes later, but ironically this was because I needed a pee. Fortunately my teeth were still behaving and I was able to get back to sleep again fairly quickly, and I think I then slept for several more hours.

 I woke up again a little before 5 am, as is my normal habit, and got up to feed Smudge, and do some stuff on the computer. I was still not in any great pain so I went back to bed again, and I have just had a few more hours sleep.

 The pain I am getting now seems more indicative of an abscess rather than the pain of a raw exposed nerve, even though I cannot feel any specific sort of swelling. The pain I have now I would liken to the sort of cramping pain you can get after smiling too much, or for too long. It seems to run along the top jaw below the eyeline, but in my case it runs back as far as the ear. While still uncomfortable it is still preferential to the sharp stabbing pain of a raw nerve.

 I am hoping to get a lot more sleep in during the course of the day. If I then can get a reasonable amount of sleep in during the night I may feel less like a zombie when I go to work tomorrow. I guess this is the one time that I am glad the Olympic games have started. With saturation coverage of it on TV there will be less distractions from TV to keep me away from the land of morpheus.
Saturday 9th August 2008
22:32 BST

 Today started fairly sunny, but that soon gave way to a lot of cloud and fairly frequent showers. Those showers seem to have dried up tonight, but I am sure there will be more during the night, and during the day tomorrow.

 My toothache continues to cause me loss of sleep. Last night was just as bad as the night before, and once again I estimate that I only had around 4 hours of sleep. So far tonight, using a combination of codiene and paracetamol tablets, oil of cloves, strong mouthwash, and some scotch, I managed a good 90 minutes of sleep. I was hoping for a lot more, but right now I am back in a lot of pain. Through the day it has been cyclical, and I am hoping that anytime in the next hour the pain will recede again and I will be able to try for another few hours sleep.

 This toothache is not the only depressing thing currently. On Friday, just before I left work, I received an e-mail telling me that my friend Nigel had died. That was a most sad tragedy. Nigel had been battling mental health problems for some years,atur and had made excellent progress, but it was his body that was to let him down in the end. I don't know if it was the result of being inactive for too long, or a side effect of the drugs he was taking, but he had become quite poorly with low blood pressure and anaemia. He phoned me last Monday to say he would be out of touch for a few days while he was taken into hospital for some testing. While in hospital he suffered a cardiac arrest, and they were unable to revive him. It came as quite a shock to me. For so long it was his mental health that was the focus of concern, and with that almost back to normal his future was looking bright again until this happened.

 Despite feeling like a zombie from lack of sleep, I saw Aleemah again today. We watched a good film, good enough that I didn't fall asleep while we were watching it - something that has happened before with a less exciting film, and when I have had the usual amount of sleep in the preceeding days. The film was Frida, and it was a biographical film about a Mexican artist who became a celebrated painter in the 1930's (or thereabouts).

 Aleemah's visit was a good distraction from my toothache to a certain extent, but I probably was not very good company for her. Lack of sleep, and the battle against the pain (and too much moaning about it) made my company less that sparkling. Fortunately she was good natured about it. She did leave earlier than usual, but in part that was because she knew I wanted to try and get some sleep as soon as I had a lapse in my pain.

 The first lapse in my pain came very soon after I had seen Aleemah off on her train home. I took that opportunity to have some dinner. I felt fine until I had eaten, and then maybe it was the acid from the tomatoes in my salad, or maybe the vinegar from the dressing, but it provoked a great deal of outrage from my teeth. Some cold rice pudding, straight out of a tin, did seem to help, presumably by neutralising some of the acid, but it was the painkillers, oil of cloves, and scotch that finally settled things down an hour or so later.

 I went to bed at 7 pm this evening. Initially I did some reading as my teeth settled own. By 8 pm I was feeling relatively pain free, and just starting to doze off when a text message came through inviting me to the pub. I declined the invitation, and quickly fell asleep. I slept solidly for 90 minutes, which was rather good, and when I woke up I seemed to be OK for a few minutes, but only for a few minutes. Then the pain started again, and I was unable to rest. Since then the pain has varied between bad and not too bad, but never gone away. It is now over four hours since I last took any painkillers. So I am about to take another couple of paracetamol and codiene tablets. They will take some time to be effective, but if they are as effective as I think they will be I reckon I can look forward to another hour or two of sleep in about an hours time. Hopefully it will be much more than and hour or two !
Friday 8th August 2008
09:55 BST

Update: I have made an appointment to see my favourite dentist, but I have to wait nearly a week to get this pain sorted out. I am not seeing the dentist until next Thursday, 14th August, at 4.20 pm. They have promised to call me if a someone cancels an appointment before then, but I feel it's going to be a long week ! I had better get in another litre of scotch !

08:08 BST

 Early morning rain has given away to a few sunny spells, but there is still a lot of cloud in the sky, and more rain could follow. I was lucky in that the rain stopped just a few minutes before I left for work.

 Yesterday did see some thunder and lightning, but it was around midday. After that the cloud did break up, and a lot of my journey home from work was done in sunshine - no coat needed.

 For a lot of yesterday I was troubled by some mild toothache. It was never particularly painful, but last night it really flared up. I am not even sure what tooth is causing the problem. It could be more than one tooth. During the night it was very uncomfortable, and neither paracetamol, nor aspirin seemed to offer much in the way of relief. Some clove oil helped briefly, but it's horrible stuff. What worked a little better was a large tumbler of scotch at 2.30 this morning. That eventually bought me a whole hours sleep.

 It is hard to estimate just how much sleep I did get last night, but I reckon it was closer to three than four hours. I now feel pretty dreadful - and my tooth/teeth still hurt. At 9 am I will be phoning the dentist and taking the first appointment available regardless of how it may impact on work. I fear it will not be until after the weekend now. So I expect I will be consuming a lot of scotch over the weekend. Meanwhile I am not sure if I will be staying the whole day at work, or whether I will go home early before I fall asleep at my desk.
Thursday 7th August 2008
08:50 BST

 This morning is mild, humid, and grey. It's not exactly a thrilling combination. Rain could be expected at any time today, but so far it has remained dry. There is an outside chance of thundery rain later on - and I didn't bring a coat into work today !

 My retinopathy examination went OK yesterday. Things didn't start that well, but very quickly improved before one final problem on the way home. The first problem is that my train took twice as long to reach London Bridge as it should have. This was due to "signalling problems in the London Bridge area". Once I was at London Bridge everything went smoothly. I had imagined that I would be wandering around trying to find the hospital entrance, but I went straight to it, and it was a lot nearer to the station than I had ever imagined. So despite my train being delayed I arrived twenty minues early for my appointment, and I was seen straight away.

 The resulting pictures of inside my eyeballs showed two microscopic blemishs of no medical significance. The ever so slightly bigger one they found last year, also of no significance, had disappeared without trace - as predicted. So my eyes are healthy even if the rest of me is falling apart.

 After being seen and processed so quickly I was back on a rain home at 10:15 - just fifteen minutes after my original appointment time. Things were OK up until the time I got back to Catford. Then the sun came out. Until then my hugely dilated pupils had just about been able to cope with the subdued light, but that bright sunshine was a killer ! I am sure I walked nearly all the way to Tesco's with my eyes shut. It still gave me a really bad headache for part of the afternoon. So although I was back earlier than anticipated, going in to work for the afternoon was not really an option. I think my eyes returned to normal as late as 1 pm, and after laying down with the curtains drawn, and the lights off, my headache, aided by some paracetamol, faded away mid afternoon.

 At 5.30 pm, last night, I went for a drink with the lads. Kevin did not turn up until sometime between 7 and 8 pm. So I ended up staying later than I should have. I left the pub just before 9 pm. Walking home was rather pleasant. It was hot and humid out, but I was favoured by a very light sprinkle of rain all the way home to help keep me cool. Indoors it felt very muggy, and I had trouble sleeping properly.

 So this morning I feel like I could have done with another hour or two of sleep, and I had a hangover. The hangover has mostly gone now, but it was really, really hard to force myself to leave for work on time. I felt pretty dreadful as I walked to the station, and not that much better for the rest of the journey into work. I am really looking forward to going home tonight, and trying for an early night, and plenty of sleep.
Wednesday 6th August 2008
06:41 BST

 The sky is shrouded in cloud this morning. This is actually a good thing for reasons that I will explain soon. The clouds have locked some of the heat in, and so it is a bit warmer than it was yesterday morning. Apparently the cloud will break up later, and we could have some sunny spells. I don't really believe that.

 Yesterday was supposed to have torrential rain in the afternoon. It never happened as forecast, or at least not where I went, but there was a very light shower when I left work to go home. Apart from the rain in the morning, the weather forecasts I saw for yesterday turned out to be completely wrong. Even the morning rain was a lot lighter than I had imagined it would be from the forecasts.

 It would be most handy if the day was exceptionally gloomy between about 9.30 am and midday today. At 10 am I am due a retinopathy examination at Guys Hospital. This proceedure, which I have undergone several times in the past, is where the back of the eyeball is photographed. To accomplish this they puts some drops in the yes that cause the pupils to dilate like some totally zonked out drug addict. Then they use a camera with a really painfullly bright flash gun on it to take the picture.  
 Once this is done, and it could take less than 30 minutes, I will be leaving the hospital with green and purple patches floating across my vision, and my dilated pupils will make even a dull day seem almost unbearably bright. Needless to say, I won't be going into work after this. For several hours I would not be able to work on anything smaller than a garden shed (I am normally dealing with components just a few mm long), and I usually get a bad headache from the (apparent) bright light, and blurred vision.

 After the hospital I think I have my day fairly well mapped out, although there are some variables involved. I hope that by the time I am back in Catford my vision will be good enough to pop into Tesco's on the way home. Then once I am home I will be lying down, and possibly snoozing for a while. At some time during the afternoon, possibly early in the afternoon, I think I may get a visit for some of my surplus junk to be picked up, but other than that I will just hang around until it is time to go out for a drink in the early evening for an hour or two.
Tuesday 5th August 2008
09:04 BST

 Just a brief update. Just as I left for work the rain started. It was only light rain, and I didn't even bother to put my coat on. The rain continued as a sort of light intermittent shower all the time I was travelling, and there is fine misty rain even now.

07:23 BST

 According to last night's weather forecast it should be raining right now. It is dull outside, but the cloud does not look like rain cloud, and it is certainly dry for the moment. As far as I can tell there was no rain during the night either. Later on this afternoon could see a different story. The forecast said that there will be torrential rain. Reluctantly I am going to take my coat in to work. It will help keep me drier on the way home, but if the second part of the forecast was correct it will be hot and very humid. That sounds like a recipe for a very uncomfortable journey home.

 Last night I surprised myself. Not only did I pull out a box of stuff from under my computer desk, but I pulled out two (though the second was a lot smaller than the first). Then to top that I even did a bit of hoovering around, and under the desk. I thought that I would probably just sit in front of the TV until it was time to go to bed. With luck, those two boxes of stuff, plus some other stuff will be taken away tonight. If not tonight then probably tomorrow night, and then my master plan of getting this back room back into a decent state will have taken a major leap forward.
Monday 4th August 2008
18:23 BST

 Today has seen a mixture of sun and showers. Around midday we did have more than a shower. For a few minutes it pelted down with rain, and I was seriously wondering if I should have taken a coat to work. Right now it is refreshingly cool, and it is bright outside, although there is no direct sunshine.

 One of the few things I did yesterday was to discover a new perversion. While shopping in Tesco's I bought a small lamb joint. To add a bit of flavour I also bought something I had not noticed before. It was Oxo concentrated lamb stock. It did make for some nice gravy, but I also discovered that it was better than Marmite, peanut butter, or cheese spread when spread on plain bread. This is obviously not how it is intended to be used, by I would urge anyone who likes a nice tasty, savoury sandwich to try it. There is no need for any butter or margarine, just drizzle it on plain fresh bread, or a fresh roll - Yummy !

 Going to work this morning was not all that pleasant. All it took was a mere week off work for my body clock to get out of synchronisation with the working week. Getting up on time was easy, but I was so used to going back to bed that I felt really tired on the way to work. Maybe tired is not quite the right word, but I can't think of a better way to describe it.

 Upon arrival at work I found my workspace was in a mess. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the mess was in a mess. It took me some time to get the mess back the way I like it, and to sort out what I was going to do. In the end I realised that it was too late to write anything then. Hence the reason why I am writing now.

 Tonight I am going to do next to nothing. If I have the energy I might pull out a box of junk from under my desk here in the back room. If I do I am only going to give it a cursory glance and pull out anything essential. The rest of it will probably be taken away from me, unsorted, tomorrow night (or maybe Wednesday).
Sunday 3rd August 2008
08:04 BST

 There is no rain at the moment, but it smells as if it has recently rained, or will do shortly. The sky is grey and it is  a bit misty. I seem to recall a recent weather forecast saying today would be dry with sunny intervals. So maybe when the sun is a little higher in the sky it will "burn" off some of the cloud, disperse the mistyness, and finally start to shine.

 Yesterday got off to a slow start, but eventually I started to tackle the cleaning up of the back room. I actually made very good progress, and I could have done more, but I have already filled the wheelie bin up as far as I dare. It does not get emptied until Thursday, and I have to leave a little room for normal household rubbish.

 I succeeded in clearing, cleaning, and polishing the whole of the dinner table, and I cleared all the "debris" from under the left hand side of the dining table and up to the adjacent door. Some of the stuff from the floor is now on the table awaiting re-allocation to somewhere, but it is only a few items.

 I was so pleased with my efforts that I treated myself to a Chinese takeaway in the evening. It was very tasty, but unfortunately it gave me bad indigestion. I felt too uncomfortable to sleep after that until I had taken a few anti-acid pills and belched and farted my way back to comfort !

 Later today I think I will attempt just a bit more clearing up in the back room. I can't throw anything out now, but I can do some sorting out, and maybe load up a box with some loose stuff that I intend to keep. I'll probably accumulate a large bin bag of stuff to chuck, but that will just have to sit in the corner until Thursday night.

 Before I can start any sort of cleaning up I think I ought to get washed and dressed. Then I need to go shopping to get stuff I need for my return to work tomorrow.
Saturday 2nd August 2008
09:44 BST

 This morning is cool and wet. The sky is almost all cloud, and there have been several showers. I think this is the pattern for the whole day, but I am not complaining. The coolness is starting to percolate into the house, and that makes the possibility of doing stuff more likely.

 Yesterday was another mostly unproductive day. It's hard to remember just where all the hours went. What has come as a bit of a surprise to me is how I seem to have been so lazy without being bored over the course of this weeks holiday. There were definitely minutes when I was bored, but the hours have just flown by so easily.

 I missed out on some drinking by less than 30 minutes yesterday. I emailed Kevin, early in the morning, to say that I would wait until about 7 pm to see if he was drinking last night. Unfortunately he did not see my email until the evening, and although he sent me a text message to say he was going to the pub, I did not get it until just before 7.30 pm. By that time I had given into hunger and was heavily involved in dinner. With my stomach full of dinner I did not fancy going out, and I stayed in watching some TV.

 It was not very late when I went to bed last night. I was not really paying that much attention to the time, but I guess I was asleep very soon after 10 pm, and it could even have been earlier than that. I theory I had a good nights sleep, and I did get up at around 6 am this morning. After feeding Smudge I did some research on the internet, and then went back to my bed and laid down. I thought I would just lie there for a few minutes before going for a shower. I was rather amazed to find myself waking up at just gone 9 am. I suppose I must have needed all that sleep, but I don't know why.

 Today, and even more so tomorrow, I have a new master plan. That plan, and it is a fairly important one compared to my vague plans for most of my holiday, is to get back in practice for work on Monday. That means tonight I will have to force myself to bed early, and to get up, and stay up, early tomorrow. In addition to that, and this is the hardest part, I have to try and get my eating times back in sync with the schedules of the working week. I am not sure how I am going to manage that, but I'll give it a try.
Friday 1st August 2008
07:32 BST

 It comes as some relief that the forecast for today is that the temperature will be several degrees lower than it has been of late. It is almost chilly outside now, and the temperature is only forecast to rise to something like 24 C. The humidity has dropped too, and sleeping tonight should be far easier that at any time in the last week. It is rather grey outside at the moment, but apparently we should see some sunshine today.

 For the past week the temperaure in my bedroom has hardly fallen below 26, and 28 C has been more like the average. To help me sleep in such sticky conditions I have been using one of my new fans a lot. I am speculating that having cool air blown over my naked body has given me a bit of a chill. Since yesterday afternoon my chest has been feeling tight and wheezy, and my cough has returned. It's only one tenth as bad as the worst I suffered during my cold some 5 or 6 weeks ago, but it is still very unwelcome. Last night I didn't use the fan, and in the latter part of the night I even managed to endure covering myself up with the duvet cover. Hopefully this chest problem will sort itself out very soon now.

 As I finished writing here yesterday I speculated about the possibility of getting back to my back room clear up project. I am happy to report that I did get back to it. However I didn't do that much. In fact I did very little at all. The lure of the magazine was too strong. So I did a little reading, a little cooking, a little eating and a little TV watching. Then I went to bed.

 This morning I may, or may not, get around to do some more tidying up, but I have some shopping to do first. Amongst the items I want to buy is another bottle of scotch. The last bottle only lasted a month (or was it two ?), and last night I fancied a couple of glasses to help my throat. I found I only had enough left for one glass - tragedy !!

 One thing I won't be buying this morning is New Scientist. I have already read it. So that is one less distraction from tidying up. Unfortunately I still have quite a lot left to read in my other magazine.....

 If I do get as far as completely clearing the dining table of assorted debris there could be a more worthwhile distraction. I will have a good surface to do some computer construction on. It was my intention that I would have had my new server working this week, or if not actually fully working, it would at least be mechanically built and the operating system installed. From then on I could configure it at my leisure. One (slightly masochistic) plan was to do some of the configuration remotely when I had slack moments at work.

 To remotely configure my server will be hard work. Perhaps hard work is not quite the right description, but it will certainly involve some head scratching. Without the luxury of graphical tools it will all have to be done using the command line, and use vi, the Unix/Linux text editor. It will be very good practice for me. One of the problems of using Linux is that once set up it tends to just work, and carry on working. Hence there is often very limited opportunity to practice some skills that can be very handy at times.

 I am not sure what I will achieve today, but I am going to try and plan things so that I am available for a visit to the pub tonight. Hopefully, if it happens, I'll be able to make it a reasonably early session, and get home again by, or before 10 pm. I have it in mind that I would like to indulge in some sort of large unhealthy takeaway tonight, and I'll be wanting to do that after drinking.