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Monday 30th June 2008
07:45 BST

 The day has started beautifully. The air is clear, the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. The forecast high for today is 23 C, but it might even exceed that. It is tomorrow when things get interesting. The temperature is supposed to go up to 27 C, and there will be more cloud. This could trigger off a thunderstorm, and it sounds as if it could be quite humid. I think I would prefer a slightly cooler, and fresher feel to the day.

 I have had a very restful weekend. Having not seen Aleemah on Saturday, and getting no response to a text message about drinking yesterday from Dee, I ended up not really doing anything at all. In some ways it was boring, but I think all that relaxation was beneficial to my recuperation from the terrible cold I had.

 I feel sort of good this morning. Whether this is because I am really feeling healthier than last week, or whether it is because of the sunny morning, I don't really know. Maybe it is being at work, and the chance to not just vegetate, that feels good. I do know that I am not 100% fit at the moment. I am still suffering from the occasional frog in my throat, and that is still affecting my sleeping, and my lower back/right hip pain, though mild, is still an irritation. I did take a couple of paracetamol this morning to help alleviate the pain, and I think it has helped. One peculiar aspect of all this is how there seems to be a conflict in how my body is reporting it's health to me. This is best illustrated by taking one particular action this morning. I was striding across Waterloo station, and it felt both good and bad. In some respects it felt effortless, and it felt like I could carry on walking at that speed forever. I had no shortness of breath, and no muscular aches, and yet I couldn't wait to get on the train and sit down. I can't quite figure out why it should feel easy and hard at the same time.

 My weekend was not entirely wasted. Leaving aside the unavoidable chores like shopping and laundry (and even a modicum of hoovering), I did manage to do some stuff to a computer late on Sunday evening. The particular computer in question was the one that used to reside in the upstairs front bedroom. I had partially dismantled it, thinking I might transplant it into the small case that is now fitted with the motherboard from a different computer, and is now the permanent fixture in that room. One thing I wanted to do while re-assembling that computer was to upgrade it a bit. In particular I wanted to fit my fastest processor into it.

 Before describing that, it is worth noting where some of the bits of the upgrade came from. They came from my old work computer. A few weeks ago it started to randomly shut down for no apparent reason. I tried various things to fix the problem, but in the end I was persuaded to accept a brand new computer. So I removed all the useful stuff from the old computer and took it home.

 In the computer at home I fitted the memory from my old work computer, and a 3GHz processor  that I had lying spare. I also decided that the heatsink/fan assembly from my old work computer was probaly better, and cartainly quieter than the original heatsink/fan assembly. Having put it all together I switched on. The new processor was not recognised, but the BIOS took a good guess at some setting to get it to work, and Windows eventually booted up, but not before I got a "fan stopped" warning. The fan was obviously spinning OK, so I ignored that warning. Once Windows had booted up I went to the website of the maker of my motherboard, MSI, and tried to do a live BIOS upgrade, but the computer crashed before I could do it. At this point I suspected that the memory from my old work computer may have been faulty - even though I had investigated it as being the problem in that old work computer. So I refitted the original memory and tried again with the same result.

 After a lot of mucking around, including success indoing a BIOS update, I came to the conclusion that the original fault on my old work computer, and now transferred to my rebuilt ome computer, was the fan on the processor. Why it should cause random shutdowns is a mystery. I do know that the processor was not overheating, and that the fan was spinning correctly, but the tachometer output was obviously incorrect. Maybe it was generating some sort of random noise. I have yet to refit the old heatsink/fan assembly to prove this theory 100%, but with a seemingly identical fault pattern, and eventually just one item from the old PC fitted to the new PC , the coincidence is just too much to ignore. So if I manage just one single task tonight it will be to refit the old heatsink/fan assembly and see if the fault clears.
Saturday 28th June 2008
18:00 BST

Today has been quite warm. The sun has not shone all day, but for the most part it has been bright and sunny. It has also remained dry.

 There was more rain yesterday. It even tried to rain while I was on my way home from work. Fortunately I only ever managed to feel a few light drops hit me as I made my way home without the benefit of a coat. Mostly the day was warm and dry.

 Today I was supposed to see Aleemah, but it seems it is her turn to feel ill. It was a bit of a shame not to see her, but every cloud has a silver lining. It has become apparent during the course of today that doing a lot of resting was actually the best idea.

 I managed to raise a fair bit of enthusiasm for rushing around first thing this morning, but after returning from Tesco with some shopping I have done very little. I have even had a couple of hour long (and maybe longer) naps. I have to admit this has been slightly boring, but maybe I did need some extra recuperation after last weeks illness. 

 Maybe when it cools down a little, later this evening, I will find the enthusiasm to do some computer stuff. I have two machines in bit at the moment, and getting either complete again would feel good.
Friday 27th June 2008
07:50 BST

 There was some rain at 9 pm last night. That left this morning smelling quite sweet. It is dry this morning, and mostly sunny. A few of the clouds look a bit dark, but they are mostly white and fluffy.

 I was hoping I would have a bit more energy spare when I got home last night, but I didn't feel up to doing much. About the only thing I did that did not involve sitting down was to do some laundry.

 Tonight I am hoping that I will have enough energy, or enthsiasm, spare to do a little housework. I'll be seeing Aleemah tomorrow, and the house is in a bit of a state after my illness. Anything I can do tonight will mean less rushing around in the morning.
Thursday 26th June 2008
08:28 BST

 The day started cool, but bright. There is some high wispy cloud about, but the sky is mostly blue. Hopefully it will stay this way for the whole day.

 Last night I made it to the pub for a few beers. I decided I would stay for either three pints, or until 8 pm - whichever came first. It was actually close to a tie. I finished my third pint at about twenty to eight, and left very soon afterwards.

 It was most pleasant sinking a few pints, but having to talk a little louder than usual to overcome the background noise did strain my throat a lot. Within a short while my cough began to get very irritating. Maybe I should have tried plan B - gargle with some scotch - but I didn't try it.

 Overall, I did feel quite good, and I indulged in a stupidly fast walk when I left the pub. I was two thirds of the way home when I came to the conclusion that walking so fast was a bad idea. the last third I walk at a more sedate pace as I struggled to get my breath back without coughing my lungs out.

 When I got home I grabbed myself some dinner, watched some TV, and was still able to get to bed by 9 pm. It should have been a most satisfactory night, but I did not sleep that well after it. I woke up in the night several times, and mostly for no good reason. The last bit of sleep I got seemed to be the deepest of all, and I had to rely on my alarm to wake me up in time.

 One thing I have noticed is that now the symptoms of my illness are gradually going away, other bits are starting to ache again. In particular my lower back and right hip are giving me some pain. I felt like a cripple when I first got out of bed this morning. It didn't take more than five minutes to loosen up, but for those first five minutes I felt very stiff.

 Tonight I think  will take things easy. I did some shopping before going to the pub last night. So I can go straight home tonight. Then I think I will vegetate, or maybe I won't. I have ordered some bits to go into my mark II server. I'll probably spend some time fondling them - or I might even spend a bit of time making a start on assembling this wonderful new server (all this is based on the naive assumption that the hard disk interface card and linux are going to be friends !).
Wednesday 25th June 2008
07:50 BST

 It seems to be very cloudy this morning. There are some gaps that have left the sun through, but so far it has been a mainly gloomy start to the day. I can't quite work out what is happening to the cloud right now. In some parts of the sky the cloud seems to be breaking up, and in others the cloud seems to be thickening up. My morning paper says that this morning was supposed to be bright and sunny, and it was this afternoon when the clouds would be more significant. Last night's TV weather forecast made specific mention of Wimbledon, where the tennis stuff is taking place, and that is rather local to here. That forecast suggested that if there was any chance of rain it would be around lunchtime, and even then it would be light and brief.

 When I got home last night I was merely tired. This compares to almost comatose the previous night. I guess that little by little I am recovereing from last weeks pestilence. There is still some way to go yet before I declare myself fully recovered. As I begin to dry out, some of the more unpleasant aspects of the lingering symptoms come to the fore. I woke up in the early hours and needed to cough. Upon doing some it felt like the back of my mouth was filled with thick glue. That may be unpleasant to read about, but it was more unpleasant to experience it. It did take a little time before I managed to clear my throat, and a similar consistency from my nose, and was able to get back to sleep again.

 Another unplasant thing to happen last night was that I became aware that Smudge was infested with fleas. She was scratching a lot, and I was bitten on the legs a few times just from walking past where she was sleeping. So Smudge got the dreaded flea drops on the back of the neck, and I had to spray all the places where I imagined Smudge would have dropped fleas. I just about exhausted my can of flea spray, and I must get some more at the earliest opportunity, but it seems I have stopped the worst already. I was walking around with bare legs this morning, and in a brief moment of insanity, Smudge was rubbing around my legs as I dished out her breakfast, and I never got bitten once.

 Tonight I think I may go for a couple pints after work. I'll need to get some shopping on the way home, but if I am quick, and the afternoon is warm and dry, I reckon I will find Iain in the local Wetherspoons (although I will check if taht likely earlier in the day, and warn him of my intentions).  Maybe Kevin may be able to join us, but he will have to be quick because I will not be staying late tonight. My aim is to be home, fed, and in bed by 9 pm at the very latest.
Tuesday 24th June 2008
07:52 BST

  The sky was a little misty until recently. Now that mist is clearing away leaving blue skies and sunshine. The forecast for today is that it will be very similar to yesterday, but with the temperature going up to 23 C, or a degree warmer than yesterday. Once again there will be a bit of cloud in the sky, but the weather forecasters promise us that if there is any rain it will be very brief, and very light. Now this is all very odd. The tennis tournaments have just started in Wimbledon (not a million miles from, but I have no idea where exactly), and by the same tradition that says all English bank holidays are supposed to washouts, it is supposed to rain for the next fortnight until the tennis is over.

 I was very cheered last night to receive an email from Patricia. In a break with tradition she remembered my birthday. Her greetings came a day late, but I can forgive her for that because she is ill with, possibly, 'flu. It sounded like she had made an extra effort to get to hers mum's house just to use the computer there to send that email. So I am doubly honoured.

 The scars from my recent illness linger on. Yesterday afternoon I began to feel very tired, and I couldn't wait until 4 pm came around so I could go home. In fact I didn't wait. I left ten minutes early ! I didn't really need it, but with the prospect of those bloody awful stairs to go up at the station, I had a couple of squirts from my inhaler. This did have two interesting effects. Within a couple of minutes of leaving work I started to have a really good cough. All sorts of stuff came up, and it felt like I had a good clear out. I guess this was caused by a combination of my inhaler opening the airways, and the mechanical shaking of semi-fast walking. The second effect was on the way I tackled that never ending flight of stairs at the station. I managed to get the top with no shortage of breath, but it was a wasted effort because my knees and legs still felt like jelly afterwards. There is something about those steps I don't like. It is either the depth of the steps, or the angle of ascent. Maybe both, but I just find them bloody hard work !

 When I got home I felt drained, and the first thing I wanted to do was to have some dinner. Of course I didn't because the first thing I actually did was to feed Smudge. Then I settled down to some serious eating. Amongst the stuff I ate where a couple of Tesco ready meals of an Italian persuasion. The chicken and bacon bake was a bit ordinary, but the spaghetti with meatballs and a savoury tomato sauce was actually rather nice. It is a bit of a shame that the three or four spoonfuls you get from those meals contain so many calories.

 I retired to bed very early last night at 8 pm. For the first half hour I did some reading, and then I tried to get some sleep. While I was reading I felt perfectly comfortable, but as soon as I turned off the light it seemed I suddenly had a large immovable frog in my throat. So for the next thirty minutes I was coughing and spluttering. I eventually calmed down, and may have even got off to sleep by 9 pm, or very soon after. I have a vague recollection of waking up in the night to have a pee, but essentially I slept solidly until 3 am. That must have been one of the longest single spells of sleep I have had in what seems like ages. I did get up for a short while then, but by 4 am I was asleep again until my alarm went off at 5 am.

 Like yesterday, I decided to forego mucking about on the internet and come to work early. I rather like the spaciousness of that early train. It does make the morning commute a lot better. If I didn't have to worry about coughing my lungs up, and if I had no worries about whether the toilets were open at Waterloo East, it could even be enjoyable.
Monday 23rd June 2008
08:30 BST

 The morning started off quite sunny, but now it seems that there is a fair amount of cloud in the sky. Forecasts vary, but I am choosing to believe the one that says today will be dry, warm, and with sunny intervals.

 I made it in to work today. In fact I came in rather early. My sleep is still disturbed by my intermittent coughing, and I got up at 3 am initially. After attending to Smudge I got back in bed and managed to sleep until 5 am. That would be the time I would normally wake up for work, or it is the time my alarm is set to go off. After having attended to a few things earlier on, it wasn't that long before I was under the shower, and subsequently dressed and ready to go to work. I did have an ulterior motive for rushing things a bit. It was my intention to get an earlier train into work with the idea that the train would be less crowded.

 My idea was correct. To my surprise the train was half empty, and I was able to enjoy some space around me. This was quite handy because the inevitable did happen - a prolonged coughing fit. It wasn't as bad as I have suffered on a train in the past, and it was helped by my foresight to bring a bottle of chilled water with me.

 I don't feel too bad today - by comparison with earlier last week. It's difficult to assign the percentage of what helped what, but somewhere in the combination of a couple of paracetamol and codeine tablets, a couple of squirts from my inhaler, or just the half stone or so that I lost during the week, my walk to the station actually seemed easier than usual. However my throat is still unstable, and ideally I would like to go back to bed now. In theory, a bit of fresh air and mild exercise should help to shift the remains of this plague.

 My birthday celebrations did not go that well yesterday. It never was planned as a celebration, as such, but just a quiet afternoon drink. To my great disappointment I got a text message from Dee saying she couldn't make it as she had to attend to a sick grandad. Fortunately Jodie was still available, and we had three pints in the Wetherspoons before going back home. Jodie was picked up by her friend Mark, and I was able to get her to take some more of her stuff that was part of the clutter in the upstairs front bedroom.
Sunday 22nd June 2008
08:00 BST

 As is only fit and proper on my birthday, the sun is shining, and the sky is blue (apart from a few fluffy clouds).

 It seems very slow, but I still seem to be recovering from my near touch of death. I do wonder if I will ever be fit and (sort of) healthy again. I suppose it will happen. If I extrapolate the slow improvement since the worst of this recent illness far into the future, I should be well enough to run up Mount Everest sometime in 2043.

 Even if I am not fully over this illness, I have still managed to pass a great health based milestone. Back in the distant year of 1967 my dad died sometime between his 52nd and 53rd birthday. Today I am 53, and so I can boast that I have outlived my dad. Some would say this is due to the wonders of modern medicine, but I might say this is despite the wonders of modern medicine. After all, I have done my best to avoid doctors, and largely been successful in this endeavour.

 While I have done my best to avoid doctors I have accumulated a lot of knowledge about medical matters. Much of this knowledge has been insinuated into my subconcious while reading New Scientist, watching TV, research on the internet, and from other miscelaneous sources. My subconcious then processes all this information to tease out the fads of the moment, and find supporting evidence to one side or the other of often conflicting health advise. What comes out is an evaluation of what is going to kill me, what could actually be good for me, and what workarounds there could be for the former. Of course a lot of this information never reaches the concious domain again, unless specifically brought to mind, but it sits somewhere deep inside my brain influencing decisions I make on a myriad of subjects.

 Of course all the above could be total bollocks, but don't knock it. It seems to be working, but I could offer an alternative explanation. That explanation could be pure laziness. There have been times when various pains have suggested that I was close to death, but I just couldn't be bothered to die. It felt too complicated, too inconvenient, too much like hard work. So I put it off for another day.

 Well the next great milestone comes in seven years time when I should get my first payout from my British Telecom pension. If any of my death cheating strategies work I will have a few extra pennies in my pocket in a mere seven years time.

 I am not doing any special celebrating this year, or in fact like I haven't in most previous years. I am, however, looking forward to a few pints in the Wetherspoons at lunchtime. Originally it was just going to be with Dee, but with the chances of seducing Dee always extremely unlikely, and now virtually impossible because of my lingering illness, I have also revealed to Jodie that I will be in the pub. Provided I don't get carried away, I reckon a few pints will make me feel quite good, but a hangover on top of my remaining illness symptoms would be very unpleasant (imagine a five minute lung stretching coughing fit while it feels like your head is about to explode - death couldn't come too quickly !!!).
Saturday 21st June 2008
04:27 BST

 It is very cloudy this morning. So cloudy that it is still fairly dark outside. It should be daylight right now, or if not actually daylight, very close to it. Today is the longest day of the year, I think, and I am sure that even a few days ago it was getting light at 3 am. Despite the cloud it is dry. There was some rain yesterday evening, but it was fairly insignificant. I don't think that rain continued after I went to bed. Smudge certainly came in as dry as a bone after spending most of the night out in the garden.

 I was definitely feeling better yesterday. For a start I managed to clear that great smelly pile of washing up that was festering in the sink. I didn't do anything else that needed any physical effort, but I did find the patience, and mental concentration, to do some stuff on my downstairs, back room, computer.

 That computer always runs Linux because it is my main internet facing computer. It was running PCLinuxOS 2007, but I had a few issues with that. Those issues were not that serious, and overall I quite liked it, but I wanted to try the latest Kubuntu release.

 I was disappointed by Kubuntu. I had tried, and liked earlier releases, but this one let me down. The installer seemed to freeze just before the end, although I found that the installation was complete and working, and it made a mess of my display resolution. At that point I had two options. I could either attempt to repair the display problem, or I could try something else. I opted to try for something else, and that something else was Linux Mint. This was a distribution that I had once tried on my laptop. I rather liked it, but on the laptop I did have some problems with the wireless connection. On the desktop machine it installed perfectly, and everything seemed to work just fine. I have yet to try it with a Bluetooth USB dongle, which was one of the problem areas with PCLinuxOS, but I am fairly confident it will work OK.

 Doing those two installations of Linux, and the washing up, was about all I could manage yesterday. Maybe there was other stuff I could have done if I had really set my mind to it, but I preferred to fill in the gaps by snoozing or listening to the old radio series of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy.

 Although there was not enough of it, something I shall be rectifying soon, I had a fairly good sleep last night. I think I almost slept non stop for five hours. I did wake up during that for a very brief time to pull the duvet over myself. I think it was pulling the duvet over me that triggered a strange dream, and one that ultimately woke me up a bit earlier this morning.

 The dream was all about bed, pillows and duvets. The details have mostly evaporated now, but it seems my bed was covered in all sorts of pillows and duvets, and many had company logos on them. One logo that sticks in my brain was Sony. Apparently all these pillows and duvets were for special purposes, and I was having a hard time trying to work out which I should use. I half woke up from that feeling slightly confused, but as I wrapped my real duvet around me I reached the conclusion that it was all a load of bullshit and that all I needed was the one duvet and one set of pillows. With that I became fully awake feeling happy that I had seen the light (or something).

 This morning I am not sure if I feel much better than I did yesterday morning. I think I probably do. I didn't seem very congested when I first woke up, but a couple of fags later and some of that congestion is back. Right now I feel a mixture of tiredness and hunger. It seems I have definitely got my appetite back, although I am attempting to restrain it a bit (slightly unsuccesffully last night).

 The next thing I am going to do is to go back to bed for a few hours. When I get up I will be going shopping - hopefully soon after Tesco's opens, and while it is not too crowded in there. After that I have no real plans, but I do have a PC to reconstruct after doing the motherboard swap to get the upstairs, front bedroom, PC shoehorned into the small case that I had to lug from work a few weeks back. Maybe I will tackle that, or maybe I won't !
Friday 20th June 2008
06:45 BST

 To my surprise we have been greeted by another bright sunny morning. Apparently the clouds will thicken during the day, but there is only a small chance of a light shower sometime during the day.

 I woke up feeling quite positive this morning. I managed a fair few hours of sleep last night. Most of that sleep was in sessions ranging from 30 minutes to two hours at a time with gaps of five to twenty minutes of wakefullness between. It's hard to be anything like close to accurate, but it's possible that I managed nearly 8 hours sleep in total.

 My positive feelings were only partially influenced by the amount of sleep I think I got. The real influence was considering what my body was doing yesterday afternoon. While most people were walking around in t-shirts, including, I later discovered, Jodie, who is very sensitive to cold, I had the heating on, and was wearing a thick jumper. Apart from the desire to feel warm,  I felt rather good like that. It was obvious I was running a fever, and quite a good one I think.After 2, 3, or maybe even 4 hours of that I began to feel like I was burning up. So off came the jumper, and I moved to a cooler room. I took it to mean that my body was really beginning to fight back against whatever bug has attacked me.

 I am rather glad I did not make it into work yesterday. The fever in the afternoon would have been very difficult to bear without extra clothing and heat, but there were other things too. I still haven't had the energy, or enthusiam, to clear the backlog of washing up in the sink. In fact I did very little again yesterday. As well as the fever there were other stronger pointers as to how ill I was (am). Sitting next to my PC downstairs is a half finished glass of scotch.How ill do you have to be to be unable to finish a glass of scotch ?

 One positive thing amongst all this pain and inconvenience is that I appear to have lost quite a lot of weight. It is hard to know without a before figure, but when I weighed myself at about 4 am this morning I found I was a whole Stone lighter than what I had feared I might have been before. I guess this is not surprising. I my appetite has been much reduced, and there have been some meals I have been unable to finish. Then you have to consider just how much exercise comes from coughing your guts up for long periods of time.

 As you may have guessed I am not going in to work today. I may feel not too bad at the moment, but I still don't feel too good. All these things are relative. For instance; I was able to rush upstairs to go to the toliet a little earlier, and then rush upstairs again a few minutes later to come and write this on the upstairs, front bedroom, PC. I was able to do it (yesterday I would have have been able to rush), but it has stirred up some more phlegm, and I seem to have a bit of a sweat on. I think I am going to lie down on my bed for a little while.
Thursday 19th June 2008
07:02 BST

 Despite my fears of a wet and gloomy morning it is actually sunny. There has been some rain during the night, and there are still plenty of clouds around that could drop more rain, but for now the sun has found a hole in the clouds and is shining.

 Some twenty minutes ago I arrived outside Catford Bridge station. I was coughing, spluttering, and sweating like a pig. I decided that I was just not well enough to even contemplate getting on a crowded train, let alone doing a days work. So I turned around and came back home again. This will upset work a bit, but not half as much as it would upset me having to endure the commute into work in such condition. Of course if work wanted to pay for a taxi to, and from work, then maybe I would be happy to go in and quietly get on with some work - preferably not using a soldering iron and the fumes it can give off. However I don't think that it going to happen some how ! I guess this sums up my attitude to work - I do like being there, but I hate going to work, and it's only the direction I am travelling in that makes going home marginally better than going to work.

 So now I wait for about an hour before I can phone work and give them the good news. After that I may well take a nap for however long it takes. After that, whether it was actually a proper nap, or just a lie down, I think I will attempt to prove that I could have done some work today, had I made it into work, by attempting to clear a backlog of about 5 days worth of washing up.

 After that....who knows ? But I am currently downloading the most recent DVD release of Kubuntu, and the download should finish sometime later this morning. Installing Linux.....that's usually a quiet, relatively stress free, undemanding, way to spend a little time. Maybe I could do that while while I try and fight off the remnants of this cold.
Wednesday 18th June 2008
17:10 BST

 The weather is in decline. The day started almost bright, but the clouds have gathered, and rain is threatening. It has already rained once today. That was several hours ago now, and it was the lightest sprinkling of rain possible. More serious rain could happen at any time, and it looks like I will be going to work in the rain tomorrow morning.

 It is probably madness for me to go to work tomorrow, and madder still if I get wet in the process. Although I have taken great strides in the process of recovering from the worst of my illness, I still feel a bit fragile. At this very moment I feel quite bad, but that has more to do with the fact that I have only just woken up from a long nap.

 Generally speaking I have got to the point where if I am sitting down, quietly minding my own business, I can forget that I have been ill at all. Then suddenly, some little piece of phlegm will shift position, and I will collapse into a fit of coughing.  If I am not sitting (or lying) down then I get other reminders that I am still recuperating. Dashing upstairs still seems like hard work, for instance.

 The very worst thing about going to work tomorrow will be the inevitable, highly embarrassing coughing fit that will happen at least once while I am on a crowded train. All it will need is a fluctuation in air temperature, or humidity, and I will start coughing until my eyes are streaming, and snot almost runs down my face. Or at least, that is what has happened on previous similar occasions. It is the act of trying to stop it happening in the first place that makes it twice as bad when it actually happens. I can remember one occasion, maybe it was a year or two ago, when I had to get off the train half way through my journey to get some air, buy a ridiculously overpriced bottle of diet coke, and allow my face to turn back to pink after being almost blue ! Tomorrow I will make sure I take a bottle of water with me on the train to try and temper my itchy throat before it gets too bad.

 Tomorrow will happen when it happens. Today was unlike I thought it might be. I thought I might have felt active enough to do something useful. I did manage a brief visit to Tesco's, and at midday I offloaded the last, or probably the last, of the stuff that I removed from the upstairs front bedroom. Other than that I have watched some TV and done some reading. The day seems to have pased by really quickly. It will only be a few more hours before I am in bed reading, winding down, and hoping to get plenty of sleep tonight in preparation for a gruelling day tomorrow.
Tuesday 17th June 2008
15:05 BST

 Today is very similar to yesterday. There is a lot of sunshine, and lots of light fluffy clouds in the sky. It's warm, but not hot.

 I feel sort of good today. It's the same sort of feeling good you get when you do a mad dash to catch a bus, and manage to catch it while your heart feels like it will explode, and your eyeballs are practically bleeding from the exertion. It hurts, but you have triumphed over time ! It's the same feeling that anyone who has done any serious maintenance on a car will know. When you wash the grease and muck off your hands you know you have done a real good job despite discovering that under that grease you have ripped and torn hands. It's that feeling that you have triumphed over the odds no matter how much it hurts.

 Today I feel sort of happy. I get tired very easily, and various bits of me still hurt, occasionally hurt a lot, but I am over the worst, and it seems I will survive. I was able to go out and do a bit of shopping in Tesco's this morning. It felt like hard work. I only managed to half fill my basket, and I had to sit down for five minutes when I got back, but I got the essentials.

Those essentials were the inevitable cat food, a couple of bottles of Tesco Diet Cola, and two boxes of tissues. Of course since getting the latter my nose has mysteriously dried up. There was one item I got that I had never tried before, and thought rather good. It was Tesco Medicated Lip Balm. It turned out to be like hardened Vick's Vaporub in a lipstick container. My upper lip, and around my nose, is very sore, in fact cracked and bleeding, from using rough kitchen towel, and toilet paper as a hankerchief. Whether the petroleum jelly will help moisturise my poor nose and lips remains to be seen, but the menthol does seems to act as a nice cooling aneasthetic for a little while.

 My appetite is slowly returning, and to help it on it's way I bought a tub of lemon sorbet. This is a contentious substance because it is certainly very low in fat, perhaps even zero content, but it does contain a lot of sugar. I thought I could survive the excess sugar, and the real lemon it boasts of could be almost beneficial to me. In fact the real lemon is a slight understatement. It was loaded with slivers of real lemon peel. Now I find lemon peel to be quite unpleasant in large quantities. So this lemon sorbet has an extra health bonus - I will only be eating it in small quantities over a long period of time !

 My second task this morning was to set about signing up for a doctor. My last doctor had resigned in 1999, and the locum he set up dropped me after 6 months because I was allegedly outside his catchment area. I contacted the Lewisham primary healthcare trust and they provided me with the details of three local surgeries who were known to be taking on new patients. The first on the list was most convenient being as they are only five minutes walk away. A phone call to them confirmed that they were taking on new patients, and they told me to drop by to pick up the forms.

 I was told I had to bring some evidence of my identity such as a passport or driving licence. Of course I have neither of these, but armed with some recent bills, a bank statement, birth certificate, and several expired photocards (one was my old BT passcard that expired in 1994, or a well know media resources officer's brilliant copy of it !) I walked round to the surgery to start the tedious registration proceedure. Apparently it will take about 5 days before they confirm they have taken me on. I could die in less time than that, but fortunately if I was dying I think I would call a bartender before I called a doctor.

 While filling in the forms I was reminded why I have waited this long to sign up to a new doctor. Surgeries are grim places. They are full of ill people, and it just make you feel ill to go there. Of course that is a great exageration. All the hoards in the waiting room look physically healthy to me, but most looked like they were dying of boredom. When I got home from there I did feel considerably worse than before I went. In fact after I had a bite to eat I went back to bed and slept for a good hour.

 Right now I feel like I have dried up. There is my chapped and sore skin around my upper lip and nose. My nose itself is not running with anything like the frequency it was yesterday. Worst of all is that my airways seem to be drying up. You may think that is a good thing, but now I have to look forward to long periods of dry coughing as I gradually beat my lungs back into submission. Those dry coughs are just as bad as the wet ones for being annoying, and painful, but at least with a wet one you do get the psychological satisfaction of dislodging a great quivering mass of mucus/tar/congealed blood/yesterday's breakfast, or anything else you might have ingested !

 I intend to take one more day off work tomorrow, but unless anything negative happens I will probably go into work on Thursday. Despite the improvement in my general health I am expecting by then, it is still going to be an arduous day, and I will really be looking forward to getting Friday over and done with so I can relax over the weekend. In this case relax could include doing some computer stuff, or even putting up some shelves in the upstairs front bedroom. Anything done with no real sense of any urgency could be relaxing if I think of it that way. I could probably do some computer stuff right now, but I think I hear another little sleep coming on !
Monday 16th June 2008
06:24 BST

 The start of today looks really nice. The sun is shining, and the sky is blue. It's a shame I am too ill to enjoy it in any way.

 This morning you could say I am starting to recover from my illness. There is a definite improvement over yesterday, and yet I still feel exceedingly bad this morning. I felt so bad yesterday that I decided I would have to go along to the hospital to see what they could do for me. It was probably worthwhile going to the hospital, but getting there nearly killed me. My big problem was that I was drastically short of breath. It usually would take a little over ten minutes to walk to the hospital, but yesterday it may have been more like 30 minutes. Every few hundred yards I had to stop to get my breath back. I was getting quite light headed as I fought for each breath.

 When I got to the hospital I was seen by a nurse within minutes of arriving - thus satifying the governments targets, but I had a wait of several uncomfortable hours before I saw a doctor. The doctor considered many things that might leave me short of breath. Anything from imminent heart attack to cancer of the lungs. He even managed to spot a lesion on one of my lungs from the x-ray he had taken. Except that lesion turned out to be a shadow from one of my ribs - as the x-ray technician very quickly pointed out. After taking a listen to my breathing through his stephoscope he had to agree with my diagnosis that I was very congested. He then went on to agree that my problem was very similar to someone suffering an asthma attack. After some difficulty he located an asthma inhaler and I had a go at it. Within a few minutes I was able to blow my nose with a force that I hadn't managed all day, and finally begin to cough up decent amounts of phlegm. After making me promise that I would be signing up to a family doctor today, he discharged me with instructions for using the inhaler.

 That inhaler made a very useful amount of difference, but it was still hell walking back from the hospital. I don't think I had to stop quite so many times, but I was still gasping for air when I arrived home. That was a bit of a pity because I wanted to take a wee when I got home, but I hardly had the energy to make it upstairs. I had to walk around with my legs crossed for a few minutes while I gasped for air like a fish out of water.

 It was a measure of just how ill I felt that I completely lost my appetite yesterday. I tried heating up a can of chicken curry soup. Normally that would be very nice, but I only managed half of it before I gave up. Today I don't feel like eating, and yet I do feel hungry. I tried cooking some bacon steaks, and had two for my breakfast. They were nice, but surprisingly salty. Perhaps in this situation a little bit of salt might actually be useful. I don't know how much salt is lost through sweat and snot, but there must be some, and that bacon is the only thing I have eaten with any obvious salt content since Friday night.

 Sooner or later I am going to go back to bed and try for more sleep. I managed two lots of sleep last night, but were about three hours each. So if I can sleep for about 14 or 15 hours today I may make up my entire sleep deficit. Some how I don't think that is going to happen ! It is still very difficult getting to sleep. I have to try and cough as much mucus from my airways as possible, and then try and fall asleep almost instantly before the next wadge of mucus makes its way from deep down to just at the top of my airways where it bubbles and gurgles in a most unpleasant way. All this coughing is starting to make the "coughing muscles" ache. This is particularly so around my belly, and if I try to do it while lying down it can be most painful now.

 Later on today I might see if I have the energy, or enough oxygen in my blood, to take a slow walk to Tesco's. There are a couple of things that would be convenient to get. They are a large box of tissues, and some nicotine patches. The latter are not really a substitute for a good fag, but do help a little while fag smoke can seem just a little too rough to be enjoyable - like now !
Sunday 15th June 2008
04:12 BST

 I think I must be ill ! Having never really been diagnosed in the past with anything similar to how I am suffering now, I am at a loss to give it a name. Basically my lungs appear to be working at 50% capacity, and my airways keep filling with mucus. The chief problem is that mucus. Every so often it rises high enough to make bubbling sounds in my throat and I have almost no choice but to try and cough it out. I do succeed, but within minutes the next batch is bubbling away.

 It is really quite hard to concentrate on writing this. The really big debillitating factor is lack of sleep. This is not the lack of sleep from late nights, or early mornings, but lack of any continuity in my sleep for the last two night. Since going to bed a little after 8 pm last night, I have managed about 2 hours sleep in total, and maybe less. On the few odd occasions when I have managed to drop off to sleep I am woken by a coughing fit as little as 30 minutes later.

 On quite a few occasions I have given up actually trying to get to sleep, and this is one of them. At 2 am I got up to watch some TV. While watching it I tried to see if some beef tea (a beef stock cube in boiling water) would give any useful affect. It didn't seem tobe that useful, but I might have managed 10 minutes sleep afterwards. A nicotine patch and no fags for a couple of hours also seems to give no relief. In fact an occasional fag does cause a more explosive coughing fit that it more effective at shifting the mucus for short periods of time.

 I do feel desperately tired right now, and I sometimes wonder if it would be easier to sleep sitting upright in a chair, At least it avoids the almost drowning sensation that the mucus causes when laying down, but it is very uncomfortable in other ways.

 I have re-read the above several times and I think I have corrected some of the more glaring examples of bad writing, but I wouldn't be surprised if, in the clear light of day, half of it is nonsensical.

 It's now time to try and invent a new strategy for getting to sleep - if I can !
Saturday 14th June 2008
16:57 BST

 I can't accurately describe the weather today for reasons that I'll explain soon. There has been a lot of cloud around, but occasionally the sun has broken through, and it has stayed dry.

 The reason I can't fully describe the weather is because I am ill at the moment, and I am not sure if it is hot or cold outside. Last night I came home from work feeling particularly worn out, or something. It's hard to decribe exactly how I felt, but whatever it was made me feel very hungry, but even that is not very exact. I felt like eating a lot would be more exact. So I ordered an excess amount from the kebab shop and stuffed most of it down my throat even though the last bit took me over even my voracious capacity.

 I went to bed feeling very stuffed, and possibly uncomfortable enough to wake up several times in the night. It was when I woke up at about 3.30 am that I got my first clue as to what was wrong with me. I had developed a bit of a cough. At that time it was not bad, but obviously more than the typical smokers cough that I have from time to time.

 I stayed up for a couple of hours before going back to bed and tried to get more sleep. After some tossing and turning I eventually got to sleep. I woke up again a little before 9 am and found I had a full on cough with copious amounts of tar and mucus to be coughed up. Somewhat surprisingly, the normal cause and effect seemed to be reversed with a snotty head cold only starting to develop now.

 Despite coughing up odd lumps of lung I did not feel too bad, and went and did my shopping as usual. One item I bought was a couple of large bars of 86% dark chocolate. There is an ingredient in chocolate that is reported as more effective in calming down a cough than any off the shelf medicine. I did mention this, with some links to more information, sometime back during the winter last year, but I can't be bothered to search for it now. However I have found some information here.

 After shopping I did very little except read this weeks New Scientist, and deal with some laundry. By 1 pm I was feeling quite rough, and a bit cold. So I went back to bed. I read in bed for a little while, but I soon began to feel very drowsy. Actually getting to sleep was not easy. There was a lot of mucus (and tar) bubbling away in my chest, and was having trouble working out if I was too hot, or too cold. In the end I managed to fall asleep completely under the duvet, and woke up a short while ago feeling completely cooked.

 That "cooking" under the duvet, and/or the dark chocolate seems to have helped a lot. I do feel quite comfortably warm now, and my cough is more manageable. I am now torn between trying to get some more sleep, or staying up to wait for Dr Who on TV in a couple of hours time (though at this point I don't know the exact time it is on). Yes I do ! Thanks to the internet...
7:10 pm
  Doctor Who
Midnight: The Doctor is trapped, powerless and terrified, on the planet Midnight, as the knocking on the wall begins... Starring David Tennant and Catherine Tate. [AD,S]

After Dr Who I reckon I might well go to bed for the night, but sometime before then I have a strange decision to make. I've got to work out if I want to eat. I don't feel hungry, and yet I do want to eat. Is it habit, is the illness, or is it something else ? Considering the amount I stuffed myself last night I probably don't need to eat this entire weekend, but maybe I will have a couple of rolls while watching Dr Who.
Friday 13th June 2008
08:57 BST

 To my surprise it was dry this morning. The sky is still about 75% cloud, but occasionally the sun finds one of the breaks in the clouds, and we are treated to some sunshine. It is quite cool at the moment, and the forecast does not offer much hope beyond "mild". It is quite possible that we may see some rain today.

 Yesterday remained dry until I was one third of the way from the station to home. Even then it was only a light sprinkling of rain. It seems I may have been quite lucky. When my train arrived at Waterloo the platforms were saturated as if there had been a very heavy shower.

 I didn't do much at all last night. I practically stayed in couch potato mode from the moment I got home to the moment I went to bed. My couch potatoness (yes, a new word !) was only punctuated by cooking and a little while spent on the PC. I did manage to get to bed by 9 pm, but I read in bed for a good 45 minutes before almost collapsing !

 Tonight I think I will stay in couch potato mode, and it could be even worse than last night. I don't think I am going to do any cooking. I rather fancy a takeaway, but what shall it be ? Indian, Chinese, fish and chips, kebab, pizza, or fried chicken - the possibilities are endless ! 
Thursday 12th June 2008
06:59 BST

 The weather has finally broken. At around 1am I was woken up by the sound of heavy rain. I got up briefly to let Smudge in, but was back in bed, asleep, ten minutes later. It was still raining when I woke up again at 4.45 am. Since then the rain has stopped, and there are patches of blue in the sky. I might not wear my coat to work because it is still fairly mild out, and it will be probably be hot on the trains, but I reckon it might be prudent to take my coat with me.

 Last night I had a pretty good drink in the pub with Iain and Kevin. I went straight to the pub from the station, and within ten minutes of arriving at the pub I was joined by Iain. Kevin arrived while I was on my third pint, and I stayed for one more.

 I got home, feeling fairly drunk, a little after 8 pm, and I did manage to get to bed shortly after 9 pm. It took some while to get to sleep. I did a little reading, but I felt very hot and sticky. I reckon it was a combination of the alcohol, the chilli suace I had on my dinner, and the general humidity rising with the aprroaching rain. Overall, I didn't get as much sleep as I fancied, but I reckon I will be OK until I get home tonight. I think I will be coming straight home after work, and after doing very little I will try and get to bed, and maybe even be asleep by, 9 pm.
Wednesday 11th June 2008
08:23 BST

 According to an earlier weather forecast, today should have started off cloudy, if not actually raining. Instead it is mostly bright and sunny, although there are a few clouds in the sky. Perhaps the cloud is increasing, but what I can see at the moment is mainly non-threatening white fluffy clouds. It would be convenient if it can stay dry today. Despite the warnings of the earlier forecasts, I didn't bring a coat into work this morning. The forecast in my morning paper, although not noted for it's accuracy, suggests I may get away with staying dry all day.

 I felt really tired when I got home from work yesterday. So I didn't do much. I attempted a small repair with some partial success, but I was too hot and tired to see the process through to the (hopeful) end. I managed to get to bed at a reasonable time, but got engulfed in a book I am reading. It was rather later than I hoped before I finally turned out the light and went to sleep.

 This morning it is a bit strange because I feel quite alert, and with some modicum of energy, but I still kept tending to doze off while reading my paper on the train into work. Perhaps tonight I will try and get to sleep a little earlier. For that I have a cunning plan. I have already learnt that Iain is likely to be in the pub quite early tonight - unless it is pouring with rain. Assuming it is dry I think I will call in at the pub on the way home for a couple of pints, or hours. At the very latest this should see me home by 8 pm, and after a light dinner I could be in bed, maybe even asleep, by 9 pm. Of course tonight could turn out to be completely different !
Tuesday 10th June 2008
08:17 BST

 Despite the warnings that today would start off cloudy, it is bright, warm, and sunny again. There are some light fluffy clouds around, but they are most unlikely to bring any rain. That, according to my morning paper, will come tomorrow.

 My most important achievement yesterday, which was really not very important at all, was to install both Windows XP, and Windows Vista, in dual boot configuration, on the upstairs, front bedroom, PC. It all went fairly smoothly, but with the usual odd things that seem to happen with Windows. For instance, the latest graphic card drivers I downloaded specifically for Windows XP were rejected as being for an earlier version of Windows, but the old ones on the CD which came with the graphics card were accepted with no problem. When installing Vista the sound card driver installation programme told me I did not even have a sound card installed ! Eventually everything worked fine except Vista refused to let me install Winamp (version 2.5e) for some peculiar reason - it installed OK on an earlier experimental installation of Vista.

 Vista needs a lot of customising to make it work the way I want it to work - mainly turning on legacy "classic features" and convincing it that I have my own firewall thank you very much ! With that done there seemed to be little difference in performance between Vista and XP - and quite possibly Windows 2000, which is what I have it set up to look like.

 Whether that machine spends most of it's working life running XP or Vista depends upon Patricia. The machine will be for her use when she returns to London. Prior to earlier this morning I might have said "when and if" she returns to London. In an earlier email to me she did express doubts that she would return, but an email this morning suggests I may not have all that long to wait until she returns. I am tempted to believe it could be a matter of weeks now rather than the months, years, or not at all, that I thought previously. Maybe weeks is too optimistic, and sometime later in July more realistic, but I'll wait (mostly) patiently until it happens.
Monday 9th June 2008
10:51 BST

 Summer is definitely back again ! It's another bright sunny day, and starting to get fairly warm. I don't know how long it will stay this way, but I intend to enjoy it while I can.

 I have taken the day off work today. I called in saying that after the power cut yesterday I needed to do some shopping and laundry. These were both true, but I neglected to give the real reasons. The foremost was that I was just about out of fags, and I wanted to go to Tesco to buy them at a far cheaper price than, say, the shops at Waterloo station sell them. Not only that but I let myself get lured into doing a software update on my NAS (Network Attached Storage) box.

 What I wrote about my NAS box yesterday was not quite the end of the story. After I had manually started it, I found it failed after being on for 10 minutes or so. I feared that the power supply had finally died, but when I opened it up I found the real reason. The heatsink, which I didn't have the proper clip for, and I had Superglued to the processor, had fallen off. The Superglue lasted for a very long time, but the stress of heating and cooling must have weakened it. When it completely cooled down during the power cut the glue must have failed. Fortunately no damage was done, and I managed to use some wire to hold down the heatsink as best I could. So far it seems to be working OK.

 So far today I have done the software update on the NAS box, and I have done some shopping. A second lot of laundry is just finishing in the washing machine, and once that is done I reckon I have the rest of the day to do as I please. I could do nothing, but I reckon I will be installing Windows XP and Windows Vista (as an experiment) on the newly reconstructed upstairs, front bedroom, PC.
Sunday 8th June 2008
13:20 BST

 Today is like a beautiful summers day. The sky is clear and blue, and the sun is shining. It's warming up too, but I don't think the mercury will go much higher than somewhere around 22 - 23 C. Yesterday started bright, but it did cloud over later in the afternoon. I thought it might rain at one point, but as far as I know it stayed dry for the whole day.

 There was one thing spoiling the clear blue sky earlier this morning, and that was a huge plume of black smoke rising from a burning electricity sub station in the Forest Hill area. That sub station feeds electricity to a very large area of South, and South East London - including here ! For about three and a half hours I had no power here. Everything was fine when I got up for a couple of hours at 5am this morning. I fed Smudge, played on the computer, and generally mooched around for an hour, or two, before I went back to bed. I woke up again at a little after 9am to find no power in the house. I could hear next doors burglar alarm sounding, and another somewhere close by. So I guessed that it was more than just my house that had suffered a power failure. When I opened the curtains in the top front bedroom I could see this big plume of smoke rising from what I later learnt to be the sub station. That place must be close on three miles away from here, and yet my initial estimate put the smoke at a mile away, maximum. 

 Just after 10 am I thought I would take a chance that the power outage was very local, and I went to see if Tesco was open. It wasn't, and a stroll up the high street showed that all the traffic lights were out, and only a few shops were half open. One paper shop on the high street seemed to be selling morning papers by candlelight, and the greengrocer, who does most of his business from the front of the shop, using mechanical scales, appeared to be operating almost normally. Walking along the road I overheard someone mention the power was out in Forest Hill, and when I popped into my local corner shop the lady there said she had heard that power might not be restored for two days. In one very specific circumstance this may be true, but I'll mention that in a minute.

 Surprisingly enough, at exactly midday, power was restored. All my network came up OK except for my NAS (network attached storage) box which needed a manual start. The TV transmitters at Crystal Palace had probably been off the air because there were a few hiccups on the signal before it stabilised after a few minutes. My BT phone line continued to operate normally during the power cut, but the NTL line died, and last time I checked it was still dead. In fact the whole of NTL (or Virgin Media as they like to call themselves now) had died. It is of course NTL who are the very specific circumstance I mentioned earlier who will probably take a couple of days to get their network upo and stabilised (if past experience is anything to go by). So here I sit without any internet connectivity to the outside world. Inside, everything is fine. I am able to connect to my web server to write this, and of course I can view my own web pages - and maybe for some time I will be the only person able to do so !

 There was a lot I wanted to do yesterday, but with Aleemah here I couldn't, and after she left I felt too tired to do any more than slump in front of the TV. So today I had planned to do lots of computer stuff before the power outage made it impossible. It all hinges on the rehabilitation of the upstairs front bedroom which I am preparing so that Patricia can stay here in a bit more comfort than last time. Part of the plan involves making the computer equipment a bit more friendly for her. Previously I had a hulking great PC that took over a considerable amount of the new computer desk that she will be using. I found a replacement PC in the skip at work last week. It is a fairly small desktop, rather than tower, case that goes on the desk quite well. On Friday night I managed to lug the thing home through the rush hour. Despite being considerably more compact that the unit it is replacing, it is still fairly large, and getting on a packed, barely even standing room,  bus with it was an interesting experience !!

 After a processor upgrade, the new computer runs at 1 GHz. That is fine for Windows XP, and in fact I am using it right now, but there is still a problem. The computers motherboard will only accept 256 MB of ordinary PC100 ram. There is a fairly rare type of ram which would enable me to use 512 MB, and that is sort of the minimum for smooth running of Windows XP, but I don't have any of that type. However, the 256 MB of ram that I upgraded it to (originally only 64 MB) would be enough to run my server, and the 1 GHz processor would give a fair increase of speed compared to the 300 MHz proccessor that I am currently using. So my plan is to swap the motherboards between the new PC and the PC I used for video editing, and then rebuild that PC into a new and faster server. Hopefully it was also replace my NAS box too. Perhaps, now the power is up again, I might make a start on that sometime this afternoon (although right now I don't feel that enthusiastic to start a big job like that).
Friday 6th June 2008
06:55 BST

 There is no sunshine this morning because the sky is rather cloudy. The cloud does look a bit broken so the sun could peek through at some time. Despite the cloud it is still very mild this morning. Some forecasts say today will be warm with some sunshine. Other forecasts suggest we could have a shower or two during the day.

 Yesterday the sun shone for most of the day. It made for perfect beer garden weather, and I did take advantage of that. After work I joined some workmates for a few beers in our local pub (local to work that is). The beer slipped down so nicely that I managed to get fairly drunk, and I didn't leave the pub until well gone 8 pm, and closer to 9 pm.

 On the way home I bought a takeaway from the Brazil Buffet near to Earlsfield station. It was a bit hard to choose what I wanted because I was both unfamiliar with what was on offer, and quite wobbly while doing it. It's difficult to describe exactly what I did buy, but once I got home, as late as 10:30 pm, I tucked into it. One dish was mainly beans with a hint of something like salami in it. The other was like a chicken stew. Both were pleasant, but not really exciting.

 This morning I do have a hangover ! It's not that bad, and is slowly fading now. I am not sure if I should go for another big beer session tonight, or try and get plenty of rest so I am ready for some serious housework in the morning. The latter feels like a better idea at this end of the day. It also brings the advantage that I can do some work on a PC that I will probably attempt to lug home from work tonight.
Thursday 5th June 2008
09:08 BST

 It's a beautiful morning. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it is just hot warm enough that rushing around (with no coat on) is enough to generate a slight sweat. Hopefully it will stay this way all day. The improvement started yesterday morning. It was still a bit cloudy, and not too warm, but it didn't rain. By the afternoon the clouds had dwindled, and I made my way home from work in sunshine for most of the journey.

 One good thing happened yesterday. We have finally taken delivery of the microscope that I advocated we got for working in very fine circuit boards. I took advantage of it by bringing in the circuit board from a faulty Ilyama LCD computer monitor, although I didn't actually realise that the microscope would be delivered yesterday. Even with the new facility to be able to see each and every pin on the microscopic chips I still couldn't find any definite faults on the board. I resoldered anything that looked even slightly suspicious, but sadly that didn't clear the fault when I tried it again at home in the evening. I have a strong suspicion that the monitor is beyond economic repair even taking into account my free labour and the opportunity to bodge/substitute parts.

 I didn't go drinking last night as I thought I might. I left work really late last night after spending time on the monitor circuit board. By the time I got home I was too tired and hungry (also disappointed by the monitor still not working) and I couldn't raise the enthusiasm to call any one out to the pub. Instead, I had a couple of large Scotches before going to bed.

 The Scotch did give me a good nights sleep, and apart from a quick pee at 2 am I did not wake up again until my alarm went off at 5 am. I feel quite refreshed this morning (although the sunshine may well be helping). This is sort of odd when I think about it. I went to bed a fair bit later that I intended due to a phone call that transgressed the 9 pm cut off point. I needed my alarm to wake me up, and yet I feel I had a good nights sleep. On nights where I get to bed in time for a full 8 hours beauty sleep, and then wake up at some unearthly hour in the morning, I go to work feeling knackered. Strange, ain't it !

 I don't know what I will be doing before going to sleep tonight. It's a Thursday, and very often there is drinking going on after work on a Thursday. I deliberately came into work an hour late, and I'll stay an hour late to see if there is any drinking going on here. Even an hour late is not really enough because I could still be twiddling my thumbs waiting fr everyone for another 30 - 45 minutes after that. If there is any boozing it's possible I won't get home until 9 pm, and then I will by gasping for some dinner !
Tuesday 3rd June 2008
20:22 BST

 When I walked to the station this morning there was a fine drizzle. It was the type that you hardly feel at all until you are saturated through to the bone. When I arrived at Earlsfield station the rain was heavier, and I arrived at work soaking wet. For just literally a few minutes the sun almost shone sometime a lot later in the morning. When I left work it was raining again. It wasn't a downpour, but quite sufficient to get wet again. Back in Catford I was fortunate that the rain had almost, but not totally, stopped. It has been a very wet day ! Tomorrow is supposed to be dry with some sunshine. It should also be warmer with a high of 22 C forecast. That is only a couple of degrees higher than today, but the dryness should make it feel warmer, although I suspect the humidity will be high enough to make it fairly uncomfortable.

 I am not sure if work today has been busy or demanding. It certainly wasn't both, but I cannot make up my mind which it was. I was grabbed very soon after I arrived at work, and that is why I didn't get a chance to write anything this morning.

 Tonight I was supposed to be going to a lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society with Aleemah. It was a lecture about :-
"Hydrogen Fuelled Pre-Cooled Jet Engines:
The Key to Economic Hypersonic Flight and Access to Space"
By Alan Bond, Managing Director, Reaction Engines Limited
There is more info here (pdf file). Unfortunately Aleemah was not feeling well and pulled out. I didn't fancy going on my own, and to be honest I was feeling quite knackered, and being able to go straight home after work was a bit of a relief.

 My sleep has been rather poor lately, and last night (actually early this morning) it was even intruding into my dreams. I had one dream where I could not seem to stay asleep, and I found myself on a bus at 5 am on my way to work. In another dream I should have had today off work, and I had gone back to bed only to realise that the day was still Monday and that I should have been at work. I think what I need is some booze to help me have a good nights sleep. Maybe tomorrow night will be pub night. A few strong pints of ale should send me to the land of Morpheus with no problem !
Monday 2nd June 2008
05:36 BST

 The sky looks a little murky this morning. Once the sun rises a little higher the sky may clear a bit, but I expect it will not clear completely. Yesterday was similar. Despite the lack of direct sunshine it has remained fairly warm.

 I seem to have neglected this diary for a few days. Now it is hard trying to remember any significant points to write about.

 I finished work nice and early on Friday night, and went home via Tesco's. The rest of the evening I spent just being rather lazy.

 I didn't see Aleemah on Saturday so I was able to have a good lie in before getting up and pottering around the house. Towards midday I went out and bought a mirror to go in the front bedroom, and later did a little more clearing up. There is only one more corner that needs serious attention in the front bedroom, and I did make a start at doing that. Initially I thought I would have to leave that corner for another time, but with Patricia's delayed departure from Argentine it feels like I will be able to do something with that corner before she arrives back in London.

 Yesterday was an interesting day. In the afternoon, Steve popped by with some computer stuff for me. One item was a rather sophisticated network switch, and the other bits were three faulty LCD monitors. After Steve left, and after I had my dinner, I took a look at those monitors. I made myself rather late getting to bed, but I managed to make an assement of all three.

 Monitor one is a small (15 " ?) beige coloured Ilyama monitor. That seemed to have two faults. The main fault was that there was no red in the picture, and the blue and green looked very odd. The second fault was that the flexible printed circuit between the control buttons and the main PCB was broken. I fixed the first fault which seemed too be just poor soldering around a big integrated circuit. The second problem I came up with a temporary bodge that uses an old telephone push button assembly to access the main menu structure. It is possible that a fault remains on the display, but it is (hopefully) more likely to be that I was not feeding it with the optimal display resolution.

 Monitor two is a larger, black, Ilyama display. That seems to have a serious problem that may be unfixable.

 Monitor three is an LG TV/Computer monitor. Steve had already identified the problem with that, and I think I concur. There is a small 8 pin IC that needs replacing - if I can find the source for one - or I may have too bodge a bit of extra circuitry together to replace it.