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Tuesday 31st March 2009
 08:12 BST

 How the weather changes ! There's no sunshine this morning, and it's unlikely that there will any sunshine for the rest of the day. I find this rather depressing. More depressing than shivering my nuts off on a frosty morning. It is considerably warmer this morning. Some places are reporting 9° C now, but the temperature will only rise to 14 or 15° C due to lack of sun. It doesn't look as if it will stay dry today, but I think that is the other part of the forecast for today.

 It seems by mind and body synchronised with the clocks changing from Greenwich mean Time to British Summer Time with undue haste. It did feel slightly early when I left for work yesterday, but lunchtime did not seem to be any earlier. The worst aspect, because it was something I was really looking forward to, was that it didn't feel any different going home despite it being, in effect, an our earlier compared to last week. This morning everything feels just "normal" - in terms of time.
 One thing that is not normal is my upper right arm. It is still rather sore, but much improved compared to yesterday. I have a feeling that I am supposed to avoid some types of drug while on my other drugs. I couldn't be bothered to re-read the notes that came with them, but I do remember warnings to do with salicyates. That's basically aspirin, but may, or may not, include iboprofen. I took a couple of ibuprofen last night anyway, and either that, or just time, is responsible for the improvement. I did not notice any extra ill effects from the cocktail of drugs I am taking. So I had another two ibuprofen tablets this morning. I think there is some further improvement in my arm now, but I am not sure.

 My diet was very marginal last night. I could have done better, or I could have done worse. Tonight, with my next visit to the nurse due tomorrow night, I think I will try and do better. I am also going to investigate to see what, if any, chillies might have on blood pressure. I did have a fair amount of chilli suace last night, and went I went to bed I was convinced my blood pressure had got a bit on the high side. I didn't feel any physical effects to substantiate this idea, but I noticed that one vein in my leg seemed to be standing out more than it normally does (maybe it was just feeling happy !).
Monday 30th March 2009
 08:19 BST

 The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and there was a thick frost this morning as a consequence of the clear skies overnight. It will be some time before this bright sunshine warms the air up, but before it reaches it's peak it will cloud over according to some forecasters. By late afternoon there could even be a bit of rain. Yesterday remained bright and dry, but it stayed fairly cold even when the sun was at it's highest. Tomorrow could see an improvement with a possible 15° C if the sun can stay out for long enough.

 My efforts at "beautifying" the living room were well rewarded. I think it looks pretty good in there now, but of course this is a comparative "pretty good" judged against how bad it has been at some times in the past.  My last task, before I sat down to do very little, was to go shopping. I was almost careful with what I bought, and I am easing myself back into my proper diet with a fish pie tonight. That is not great, but there is far worse. The dinner I ate yesterday was very borderline, but certainly good enough not to be a source of weight gain. Unfortunately there was one item I bought that was bad for me in many ways. It was a rhubarb pie. That contained far too much sugar. Had it not contained any sugar at all it would not have been that bad, but it also would probably have tasted pretty bad. Despite that very undesirable in rush of concentrated sugar it did have one possible plus point. After that I rather unusually did not feel hungry again for the rest of the day, and that includes any desire for snacks and stuff.

 During the afternoon I went into proper couch potato mode (minus the snacks, etc). There was nothing terribly exciting to watch on TV so I had a look through my DVD collection. There are a couple of DVDs that I have never watched, and were probably bought as part of "three for £xx" type offer. Although at least one was part of package that came with my first ever DVD player. One of these DVDs, still in it's original cellophane wrap, was The China Syndrome. It was a film that seemed both interesting, and yet probably just a standard Hollywood disaster movie, when it originally was doing the rounds of the cinemas. After all thirty years since it's first release in 1979 I have finally watched it. It does contain 90% of the standard Hollywood disaster movie, but lacks the complete pyrotechnic disaster at the end. I am not sure if that is good or bad. There were two deaths in it, but not the millions that an exploding nuclear reactor needs to do to be exciting. In fact the reactor did not explode at all. If Hollywood wanted to use a nuclear power station as a backdrop I think they would have done better to bring in a writer (instead of an automatic script generator) and make it a love story. If I was writing I would have either included a traditional mad scientist who converts the reactor into a doomsday machine, or have an alien craft crsh into it. In fact it could be pretty good if both happened !

 I don't know if it was all my excessive housework yesterday, the sugar from the rhubarb pie, of stray radiation from the China Syndrome reactor, but this morning my right arm is now giving me serious trouble.  I have had this once before, but I can't remember when, and more importantly, how long it took to get better, and even if I did anything to help speed up the recovery. I am at the point now where lifting my arm causes a lot of pain. It was an interesting struggle trying to do stuff like brush my hair this morning. It is not only lifting my arm that causes pain, but even reaching out downwards, like turning the bath tap on for the shower, that causes a certain amount of discomfort. One additional thing I have noticed is that there is a sore area at the very top, and on the outside, of my arm. It's about an inch down from the corner where the shoulder becomes the arm. Maybe it's the old non existent bullet wound from my non existent army days playing up again !
Sunday 29th March 2009
 09:54 BST

 The clocks have changed summertime, and the sun has come out. Unfortunately it is still rather cold outside, and the last I heard was that rain is still forecast for today. Yesterday was a cold grey, wet and miserable sort of day. The sun did pop out briefly, but so did a shower of hail stones.

 Friday night did not happen as I desired, in fact nothing happened at all. I was delayed leaving work. Not by much. Just a matter of five, or so, minutes, but it was enough that the knock on effect was that I arrived back in Catford half an hour late. To make matters worse I went into Tesco, on my way back home, and encountered very slow progress at the checkouts. I was already feeling tired, and that, combined with my lateness put me into a bit of a bad mood.  Earlier on I had conversed with Iain, and he said he was not totally enthusiastic about going for a pint, and so we decided not to meet regardless of whether we were available. It felt too late, and I was lacking in enthusiasm to go to Greenwich to meet Patricia. So I elected for no beer and an early night.

 After a couple of evenings being more bold with what I was eating it is possible that my body found something it wanted. I had a good nights sleep on Friday night, although I did wake up earlier than I would have desired. I felt better than I had in what seems like ages. Even the very worst, or most painful, thing, the rhuematic/athritic/pox laden pains in my right shoulder and upper arm (down to the elbow) seemed to be almost, but not quite, cured. With this new found strength I did a few things I have neglected lately. Principaly, I hoovered my bedroom and living room, and I even made a half hearted attempt to do the stairs. For the latter I only went as far as sucking up the bigger lumps, but I couldn't be bothered to do any brushing to get the rest cleaned up. Then after changing my bed clothes, and polishing up a few selected bits of the bathrooom, I still felt only half dead. Being half dead after all that was a significant improvement from a week ago (or sometime) when I felt beyond dead, and actually starting to decompose !

 I met up with Aleemah yesterday for the first time in several weeks. At the cafe I decided that I may as well have double egg and chips because it felt better to be unfit and unhealthy rather than healthy and feeling totally lousy ! After we had eaten we popped into Poundstretcher where I bought some new curtains, a rug, and a new bed sheet. The rug I installed in front of the settee where it covers the rather thinning carpet, and looks, and feels, quite good too. The bed sheet was to replace one that was becoming a bit rough and "bobbly". The curtains were a sort of experiment.

 Aleemah had brough the film Cube 2 (or should that be Cube² ?). It was a strange film in that it had a totally incomprehensible start and finish, and not much plot in the middle. Yet for all that it was quite entertaining. The best bits for some people would have been the bit of blood and violence, but for me it was the 17.2 mS of naked breast (female variety).

 Aleemah went home at 5 pm, and I got into some serious thinking about dinner. I could have had, and should have had, a nice healthy meal. Maybe some poached fish and leafy vegetables, but I was feeing so comparatively good after my previous two nights of wrong eating that I decided to go for broke and enjoy myself for just one more time (assuming I put the brakes back on today as planned). I ordered myself a large chicken shish kebab with salad, and some other stuff. It was most enjoyable, but I did go to bed feeling a little overstuffed.

 This morning I do feel a little stodgy, and my right shoulder and arm is stiff again. Nevertheless I have been busy. The curtains I bought yesterday were, as I said an experiment, but a gamble may have been a better expression. I was hoping that they would fit the front room windows, but I had a back up plan to use them for my bedroom windows. It seems my gamble paid off. They do fit my living room windows, but there is precious little to spare. So I have taken the old curtains down, unteased the curtain hooks, inserted them into the new curtains, and hung those curtains. In addition I have the net curtains down, and in the washing machine even as I type. I have also washed the windows, and done a little hoovering in places that I missed yesterday (in the living room). My next task is to change the throws over the settee and two easy chairs, hang the net curtains once they have finished in the washing machine, and finally hoover up some of the cat hairs and crumbs that will be liberated when I change the throws. Once I have done all that I will be able to sit back with the knowledge of a job well done (or done as well as my housework skills have ever managed !). I think I may well vegetate for the rest of the day, or maybe if the sun does stay shining I might be inspired to do more.
Friday 27th March 2009
 08:29 GMT

 Dull, dull, cold, and dull !! I think that just about sums up the weather this morning. When I was on the train between Clapham Junction and Earlsfield the cloud did thin a bit to reveal a very pale yellow hazy disk as the sun did it's best to shine, but even that seems to have disappeared now. The only saving grace is that it is dry (and a Friday).

 I think I am less worse, or closer to death, but more comfortable, or maybe it is just Friday today. If I tried hard I could describe lots of ways that I still feel bad, but somehow the some total them seems to be adding up to being not as bad as yesterday. There could be either of two reasons for this, but most likely it is a combination of both. Last night I threw my diet out of the window again and had some nice food. I would almost say that I didn't push my luck too far, but considering the huge chunk of Edam cheese I ate, I guess that I did go over the top. Maybe my amateur gluttony has finally given some of the dodgy pills I am taking something to finally work on, and they are not attacking me so much.

 On Wednesday I kept think it ought to be Thursday, and on Thursday I thought it really ought to be Friday. Now that Friday is finally here I can look forward to the weekend. I suppose the biggest thing to look forward to is not having to commute here, but I am quite looking forward to seeing Aleemah tomorrow, and on Sunday I feel I ought to do some computer stuff. One trouble with using Linux on all my PC (some with the rarely used option to boot into Windows) is that once set up they just work, and they are all pretty much set up as I want them already. Despite my main PCs, the couple I actually use rather than just play with, running perfectly, I do have a couple of test PCs. Maybe I will be doing a test install of one of my favourite Linux distributions - PCLinuxOS. They have recently released the 2009.1 version, and so far I have only given it a quick spin as a live CD. Like the previous version it seemed to "just work". All the multimedia stuff, including the "forbidden codecs" seem to be available, and my current favourite audio player, Audacious, and WiFi and network controller, wicd, are available too. I think I want to see it working when installed onto a hard disk. It's possible that I might convert my main desktop PC from Suse Linux to PCLinuxOS if it is as good as I think it will be. They do say a change is as good as a rest.

 Tonight I face a dilemma. If, unlike last night, I feel I have enough energy and enthusiasm left, I would like to go for a couple of beers after work. That brings its own problems. I have the (probable) choice of drinking locally with Iain, or going to Greenwich for a drink with Patricia. If I were feeling normal, or as normal as I could wish for, there would be no contest. Patricia is better looking than Iain, and I would jump at the chance to meet her for a drink. In tonight's case I think it is my energy levels that will be the deciding factor. Still, just to be thinking about it is an advance on last night when I felt so drained that I didn't even consider that there could be any chance of even thinking about going for a beer.
Thursday 26th March 2009
 08:25 GMT

 Another cold night, and another cold morning ! To make matters worse it has been raining. The rain was not unexpected, but it could have waited a few more minutes until I was on the train this morning. Fortunately it didn't rain as I walked from the station to work. It's raining now though, and it looks like I'll have to put my coat on when I pop out for a fag next time.

 The worst thing about yesterday was that it was a Wednesday when I wanted it to be a Thursday. I guess that is true of today as well. It should be Friday today, and I am annoyed it isn't. I don't think this is a result of my medication warping my sense of time, although with those sinsister drugs anything is possible. I think it is more just a case of wishful thinking.

 It is hard to decribe how I felt yesterday because everything was wrong in tiny doses. If I had one major complaint it would be easy to write pages of moaning prose about it, but all I can say is that a lot of bits of me were mildly sore, and sum it up by saying that I just felt yucky ! Perhaps the nearest analogy is that I feel like I have 10% 'flu. I have never heard of the phrase 10% 'flu before, and I think I just made that up. It means imagine all the symptoms of 'flu you have had and divide the discomfort by 10.

 When I first woke up this morning it felt like I had 63% 'flu, but everything I did, from having a hot shower, to the 10 ft run I did to catch a train, has improved things a little. Right now my arms are still sore, and my chest is a little sore, and if I really wanted to complain I might add that my knees feel a little strange. Apart from that and a general feeling of fatigue I am fine. If I was about to go to bed I would think everything was great, but I have a days work to do.

 Tonight I will be going home via Tesco. Principly I will be buying catfood and skimmed milk, but other stuff may tempt me. When I weighed myself this morning I had lost another pound. That puts me just 5 pounds to go to my next goal. It would seem pretty stupid to jeopardise that with some foolish eating, but I am quite tempted to go as far as semi-foolish eating. If I could think of something that was extra nice, and yet sustained my current weight I could be very tempted to go for it. One dangerous (to my diet) foodstuff that I might dabble in is some low fat Edam cheese (or is the Gouda that comes as low fat ? )(I'll research that later). Cheese is so wonderful that it is very easy to have far too much of it. It will muck up my anti-cholesterol therapy to a certain extent, but I don't regard that as a problem. So it's a sort of three way trade off between taste, bad for diet, but useful for extra calcium. In moderation that is two for, and one against. These decisions are so tricky...........Of course what I really want is beer and curry........and lots of it !!
Wednesday 25th March 2009
 08:21 GMT

 Sometimes the weather can play naughty tricks. This morning it was quite bright and sunny, and yet it is bloody cold outside. There was rain overnight, and it is now getting so cloudy that I would not be surprised if there were more rain in the next few hours. I realise that this is typical for this time of year, March winds and April showers, and all that, but I am greedy and want the unseasonal warm weather back.

 Another thing that could be described as a naughty trick is how drugs that are supposed to make you better, actualy make you feel worse ! The way I feel is highly variable lately. When I first got out of bed this morning I felt pretty good after quite a reasonable nights sleep. Although I felt pretty good it was not perfect. My left hand (I think) was feeling a bit dead, but recovered very quickly after I stopped clutching the duvet, or whatever I had been doing while asleep. From then on things went downhill, and particularly so as I made my way to work. There was nothing specific I can complain about, but I would liken it to a very mild sort of fatigued and achey feeling similar, but of far lower intensity, to 'flu. Coming to work seemed as hard as going home from work after a particularly hard day.

 I think my blood pressure is coming down. The only indicator I have is a vein that runs diagonally across the top of my right thigh. When my blood pressure was high it was clearly visible. When my blood pressure was extremely high it was almost bulging. This morning it was barely visible.If there is any relation between my observation and my actual measured blood pressure then it would seem that I am back within the bounds of normality (whatever that is). I would attribute this to my half a pint of milk a day. The nurse would probably attribute it to the dubious chemicals I have been prescribed to take.

 Last night, shortly after eating my chicken and curly kale stew/soup my guts started to rumble. When my diet is working well this often happens, but one or more of the drugs I am taking makes things much more dramatic. After a bit more rumbling my guts exploded - several times. The details are too unpleasant to record, but I will say that it is not quite the unpleasant experience that something like food poisoning would provoke. Whether this explosive behaviour contributed to it or not I am unsure, but this morning I found my weight was unambiguosly at it's lowest point during the last fortnight of upheaval. I have a certain amount of confidence that I will have lost a bit more still by tomorrow morning. I have predicted that I will reach my next target several times, and each time something has happened to delay that prediction, but I think there is a chance that I will have reached that (self imposed) target by next Wednesday when I see the nurse. It would be nice if she congratulated me, but she will probably just say my blood pressure it still too high !
Tuesday 24th March 2009
 08:36 GMT

 The weather has gone into extreme annoyance mode. This morning it is bright and sunny, but it is also freezing cold. Well, not actually freezing, but still bloody chilly around the exposed parts ! If the weathermen are to be believed it will soon cloud over, and rain will follow sometime after that. Some 50 or so miles from here to the north east, some of that rain is predicted to fall as sleet. It's all a bit of setback after enjoying the unseasonal warm weather recently.

 I woke up this morning feeling very rough, but also quite positive. I think part of the reason I felt so rough was as a result of spending so much of yesterday just lying around and doing very little. My back, in particular, felt very stiff, and the large influx of junk food yesterday left my guts feeling very stodgy. Against these disadvantages there were some positive things. I had slept well, and was hardly disturbed by any coughing. Anothere positive thing was the ache in my upper right arm, a sort of rheumatism like pain, and a few lesser ones elsewhere seemed improved. That pain in my upper right arm was only significantly bothersom when trying to find a comfortable position in bed. It's not gone entirely yet, but it is improved. Another thing that may also have improved was my recent tendency to wake up with a numb hand, although being an intermittent problem it is too early to tell if it is actually better, or whether it just didn't happen this morning.

 These improvements, I am tempted to think, are a result of my calcium deficiency hypothesis therapy - drinking a half pint of skimmed milk a day (which I started yesterday). I washed down my morning pills with a half pint of milk this morning. It is impossible to know which of these therapies is having the best effect, but during my journey to work I began to feel much better (in some respects). The main beneficiary of this improvement was my legs - they seemed to do the job of walking effortlessly. I still have a few aches and pains around my shoulders and lower back, any I am sure a lot of those aches are just the result of almost three days of lying around, but overall I am feeling pretty good.

 More importantly, I am feeling quite optimistic, and that is not a trait I think I share with doctors. Doctors hang around with ill people too much, but beyond that it probable that pessimism is a character trait that just goes with the profession. Maybe it even leads to it. The problem is that doctors are always considering why people get sick or die. They never seem to consider why people stay healthy, or survive. To take an uncontroversial subject, consider car seat belts. I bet they were never even considered by a doctor. It was most probable that they were the product of an engineers thought processes. A doctor would just describe "no cars" rather than see what could be done to improve survivability in a crash. Now consider smoking. Do doctors look at people who survive smoking to see what factors were involved, and see if they can be transferred to other smokers ? Maybe even be improved upon ? No, the pessimistic idiots just say it is bad and to stop ! Sometimes I think doctors are worse than bloody puritans !
Monday 23rd March 2009
 19:33 GMT

 This morning dawned rather overcast, and also rather chilly. We have now lost all the warmth from the sun, and for the coming week temperatures are likely to be 5° C lower than the temperatures we enjoyed last week. There has been some rain today, but less than I expected. However the wind was stronger than any forecast I might have seen suggested it would be.

 I got up unneccesarily early this morning at 4.30 am. I had gone to sleep a lot later than I wanted the night before, but I had had several naps yesterday, and I guess I probably had had enough sleep. The first thing I did was to save a urine sample incase the nurse wanted one (which she did). Then I shaved, washed my hair and showered. I felt quite rough, but by 6.30 am I forced myself out for a two mile walk around the park. The aim of this was to see the effect on my blood pressure, and I hoped it might lower it after I had relaxed a bit.

 At 8.05 I left the house to walk to the surgery for my appointment with the nurse. My blood pressure had improved, but not by enough to satisfy her. However she was quite pleased that I had taken my urine sample along, and tested it with a dipstick. That dipstick gave a good result and showed that my urine was as pure as a mountain stream ! No other tests were done, but I was prescribed even more blood pressure control pills that work on an additional/alternative part of the blood chemistry. I was also asked to visit the vampires up in the attic to give another blood sample. It is possible that my urine sample may have been sent away for more detailed analysis as well, although the decision about that was not made by the time I left the surgery.

 I was quite disappointed that my blood pressure has stayed annoyingly high, and also annoyed that once again it was only the symptoms that are being treated. Some of that annoyance was in forgetting to raise the issue about what might be causing it. When I got home I started thinking about what had happened since my first checkup when my blood pressure had been high, but not as alarmingly so as in the last two times it had been checked. A clue came from the description of the new pills I have been prescribed. They are calcium channel blockers. How they actually work is not important, but calcium gave me a clue.

 Some internet research suggested that calcium deficiency could be one reason for hypertension, or high blood pressure. When I look back at my diet I realise that I have made an important change. Prior to my first checkup I worked damn hard to lose as much weight as I could. I was eating a lot of fish with leafy vegetables. I got a bit bored with that despite it working so well, and switched from fish to chicken, and substituted things like leeks, beansprouts, and mushrooms for the leafy vegetables. I am pretty sure that my diet mk2 was a lot lower in calcium than the mk1 version. One good source of calcium is dairy products, but not drinking tea or coffee means that I don't consume any milk (these being two of the more common ways in which people drink milk), and I have avoided cheese because of it's high fat content.

 While I was down with my cold I did eat a far wider variety of food, and that did include some pizza with (obviously) cheese on it. At that time I felt pretty rough, but it was a rather different sort of roughness than I feel currently. So that is another clue.

 I have sent an email, via the surgeries general email account, to the nurse with my thoughts about this. I hope she actually gets it. In it I suggested I will carry out a simple experiment to see if my hypothesis has any validity. I proposed that I would continue taking the prescription drugs, but I will also drink half a pint of skimmed milk a day. My next appointment is for the 1st of April. So I will not have long to wait to see if my condition has improved beyond that expected from the drugs alone. Of course it is possible that if my cure works too well I could find myself with too low blood pressure, and in that case, if I am feeling bad it is the drugs I will stop first.

 I had thought that I may go back to work after the ordeal was over today. I was free of the surgery sometime not long after 9 am, but the pharmacist who dispensed the new drug gave me the perfect excuse to stay at home. He warned me that the first time I took them I may feel a little dizzy. So I went to Tesco and bought some stuff  which I should stay clear of, but I wanted anyway ! This was before my calcium deficiency hypothesis was formulated or I would probably indulged in the forbidden fruits of cheese ! I don't think the drugs did make me dizzy, but either they, or the food I stuffed myself with, did make me feel pretty bad/odd/peculiar. I feel sort of odd even now, and I hope I feel better in the morning when I will be going to work.

 It's going to be cold tonight, and Smudge has recently gone out for a prowl. I am off to bed very soon now, and if she doesn't come back in soon I am going to find a very cold and annoyed cat in the morning. Although in all probability, based upon recent experience, I will wake up during the night, and I'll see if she wants to come in then.
Sunday 22nd March 2009
 19:47 GMT

 The day started off a little cool,but overall it has been a nice sunny day. Apparently today is the last day of this run of good weather. Tomorrow may start off bright, but by midday it is supposed to be raining, and the temperature will be several degrees cooler than we have enjoyed recently.

 After my energetic start to yesterday I ended up doing very little. In fact it was quite a boring day. Today has been similar except instead of a long walk I merely went to Tesco, and then to the 99p shop in the morning. My long wlk yesterday did not seem to do that much good. I appeared to have put on an extra pound this morning, but I am putting that down to a minor digestive difficulty. I hope that the scales will be more gratifying tomorrow morning.

 I had to be careful while shopping this morning. With gritted teeth I managed to avoid buying stuff that I am trying to avoid eating. My one minor weakness was a pack of peppered mackerel. Being an oily fish it would have contained a few more calories than was ideal, but a bit of fish oil now and then is good for the joints. Since then I have been quite careful, although I do wonder if I should have not eaten quite as much fruit as I did. Was 4 kiwi fruits, and two large oranges too much ? They were all quite sweet and possibly contained more sugar than I want right now.

 There was one item I specifically wanted from the 99p shop, but I also found a couple of other interesting things. The item I specifically wanted was a laser level tool. I had bought one the previous time I was in the shop, and they are interesting. At just 99p it was hard to believe they contained a real laser, but they do ! Today I bought another two so I could experiment. By removing a small plastic lens that is used to spread the beam from a dot into a line they revert to a very bright red laser beam. I thought that was pretty fantastic for just 99p. The other curious things were some large egg shaped "things" that glow with changing colours. Looking inside them is dead easy. They are not sealed in any way. Inside is a single LED that obviously contains a small integrated circuit that cycles through red, green, and blue emitters. As glowing eggs they look pretty cool, but I think I might buy a couple more and use the LEDs for some other weird purpose. They could look good/weird as the power light on one of my PCs (or something similar).

 Apart from playing with lasers and LEDs I have had a very boring afternoon. Right now I am reduced to watching Airplane ! for the umpteenth time on the Freeview channel Film 4. It is such a funny film that repeat viewing is still actually pleasurable.

 Tomorrow I am back before the nurse to see if my pills and potions have worked. Sometime I think my blood pressure is lower, and sometimes I don't. I intend to go for a walk before seeing the nurse, and I still don't know if that will improve things, or make them worse. Another unknown is whether I am going to take a days holiday from my diet after seeing the nurse (and giving yet more blood samples). I think it is quite likely that I will buy something outrageous from Tesco, but maybe I will resist the temptation. Well, there's a small chance I might.
Saturday 21st March 2009
 10:00 GMT

 It is actually warm outside, or at least it is under some circumstances. It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the wind is very light. It is actually better than yesterday, and yesterday was not that bad. The sun was a bit intermittent yesterday, and the breeze felt a bit cool, but it wasn't bad.

 During my lunchbreak yesterday I went out for another walk around the park. Again I did the full perimeter, but this time I went the other way round. I was considering doing another half perimeter walk (there is a path that conveniently splits the park in two), but the cool breeze was starting to make my right shoulder ache, and to a lesser extent, my left shoulder too. Not only that, but I was already on borrowed time from my short half hour dinner break. It's funny how a walk without any particular goal seems to be more tiring than one with a specific destination. Maybe it is the boredom factor creeping in. At the end of my walk, which was only about 1.25 miles, I did feel like I had walked enough, and yet once back in work, and rested for just a few minutes, I didn't really notice any tiredness.

 I thought that after the extra gratuitous walking I had done in the previous days I really did deserve a pint last night. I had arranged to meet Iain, plus one other, in the pub at 5.30 pm, and I intended to only have two pints. I was there on time but I did not get any company until about 6.10 pm, and halfway through my second pint. After I had finished that pint I did stay for half a pint of diet cola, and tried to make that last a little while, but after that I left and came home again.

 I had hoped to see Patricia last night, but she was unavailable. This was a pity because I would have liked to see her, and it would give an excellent excuse to have a proper (but light) dinner last night. As I wrote yesterday, I was hoping to eat some chicken tikka and salad in the Indian Restuarant with Patricia. Instead I had a weird concoction of Tesco chunky chicken tikka slices with some raw white cabbage, a raw leak, and some pickles. It was, believe it or not, quite tasty, but best of all it was rather low in calories and everything else I am trying to avoid. I followed it with half a melon.

 The dieting seems to be working again. I measured my blood sugar level when I got home from work last night. It was 5.5, and that's well within the range of normality. The best bit of all was when I weighed myself this morning. I have lost a few more pounds, and I am within 6 pound of my next (self imposed) target. It's a shame that I won't be able to achieve that target before I see the nurse on Monday. It would be something to boast about, but I doubt I would get any praise from her.

 To further my aims I went out for another gratuitous walk this morning. According to my Sat Nav gizmo I covered a mere 4.5km, or 2.11 miles. It felt more than that to me, and it is possible that it was. My sat nav unit doesn't really understand that you don't have to walk along roads. It gets quite confused when on the train, and it was doing headstands as I walked through the park this morning.

 It was nice in the park. The sun was shining, and wearing my black leather jacket I soon began to feel quite hot. By the time I got home again my forehead was quite sweaty (and other bits of me were quite damp too). Quite what all this extra walking is doing to my high blood pressure is anyone's guess. I think it is supposed to make it go down, but maybe not. On Monday I'll see if the nurse has hysterics again when she attempts to measure my blood pressure. In theory it should be lower. Whilst acknowleging that it is normal on the high side, I am sure that the exceptional reading I got last Monday was as a result of my cold, and the lack of sleep it was causing. It is a shame that unlike a good engineer, these medical people all too often want to treat the symptoms and not the causes of the symptoms. Maybe I should have complained more and demanded a course of antibiotics to help cure the infection like several other people with identical symptoms to mine did. They got over their colds in a week, while I am still slowly getting better. I am almost there, but I reckon it could be another week before I can look back and say "I did have a cold".

 Today I have no real idea what I am going to do. I have a film to watch, and a couple of TV shows to see, and that will use up a bit of time. I am considering fitting an extra hard drive in this PC to use as the /tmp directory although I now have an alternative solution (thanks Steve). With luck I will get a visit from Patricia. I think there is only a 30% chance of that though. Right now I am going to put my feet up and watch some TV. Maybe I'll eat some fruit soon because dinner time seems a very long way off at the moment.  
Friday 20th March 2009
 08:57 GMT

 The morning didn't look all that bright when I first left home, but it is bright and sunny now that the misty sky has cleared. The forecast is that the sky will stay bright and blue all day, but the temperature will remain on the cool side. It was chilly when I left home, and various forecasts put the highest temperature for today somehwhere between 13 and 15° C.

 Yesterday did get bright and sunny for much of the time, although some cloud appeared during the afternoon occasionally casting a shadow, and eventually blocking most of the sun shortly before sunset. With the sun nice and bright, and feeling warm, I went out for an even longer walk during my lunchbreak. If it were not for the wind feeling rather cool it would have been very pleasant. Instead it was merely pleasant. My route this time covered just abot the whole circumference of the park, and I estimate that to be about one and a quarter miles. I did some research, and the conclusion over several web pages was that for a person of my weight, at an easy speed of around 3mph, I should have burnt off at least 150 calories. After consuming close on 300 calories for my breakfast it went some way to assuaging my concious.

 Last night I had a delicious dinner that should have been very healthy. It was poached salmon with a lot of broccoli and some leek and chilli. I followed that by half a melon. In theory I would have expected to have lost another pound or two this morning, but initially it seemed I had put on a pound. I hope that a couple of visits to the toilet after I had got fully dressed* addressed this imbalance, and that if I had not actually lost any weight, I had at least kept it stable.

  * I make all my weight measurements naked. With a full set of clothes on, and steel toecap shoes, there are just too many variable to make a meaningful measurement.

 Tonight I expect I will upset my diet even more with a couple of pints of ale. There is the potential for even worse. I think I will be seeing Patricia tonight, and like last Friday we may well eat together. It would be unfair to inflict one of my strange low calorie/fat/sugar type meals on her, and so I may have to eat something slightly more conventional. One possibility is to do what we would ahve liked to do last Friday, and that is to go out to eat. If she is happy with an Indian meal, I would be most happy with a plain chicken tikka with salad. If, on the other hadn, I dodn't see Patricia tonight then it will be skinless, ready cooked, chicken with beansprouts making up the bulk of my dinner tonight. The recipe, that I am making up even as I write, will probably include some mushrooms, leeks, garlic, chillies, and maybe a dash of curry powder.
Thursday 19th March 2009
 08:08 GMT

 Some said there could have been a frost this morning, and they were possibly almost right. The temperature did sink down fairly low overnight, but I am sure I didn't see any frost on my way to work. It did feel very chilly though, probably colder than yesterday morning, and I am not sure if I should have been wearing lighter trousers and my lightweight jacket. Hopefully it will soon warm up. There was some thin cloud in the sky when I left home, but that seems to have evaporated now. After a cooler start it will probably not be as warm as yesterday, but if the sun is shining I will almost certainly go for another stroll around the park this lunchtime.

 Whether it is the magic potions that were prescribed for me at the doctors, or whether it is the same committment that I used to lose the 16 pounds weight before I fell sick from some alien pathogen, I don't know, but I do know the diet is working again, and another 2 or 3 pounds have gone by the wayside. It was quite pleasant to see that on the scales this morning. Only another 8 pounds I will have passed another self set milestone. It would be nice to achieve that before I see the nurse on Monday morning, but that would be expecting miracles. Realistically I hope that I can manage around another 4 or 5 pounds by Monday morning. Although having succombed to the temptation of some biltong this morning, maybe even 4 pounds is optimistic. As far as I can tell from the packet it was in, the biltong contained as much as 300 calories, or a quarter of the amount I hope to eat in a whole 24 hour period. Looks like it's just going to be just green vegetables for dinner tonight !
Wednesday 18th March 2009
 17:51 GMT

 It has been such a great afternoon that I couldn't stop myself commenting on it. I guess I am beginning to feel better because today was probably no warmer, or sunnier, than yesterday, but today it really felt great. At lunchtime I went for a 2/3rds of a mile (according to Google maps) walk around the park behind work.  It was just so wonderfully pleasant out there !

 As I walked along I couldn't help but wishing I had an independant income. If so, I would have spent the afternoon in a pub beer garden drinking fine ales and smoking fine cigarettes. At the end of a long afternoon doing that I would come home, perhaps buying a takeaway on the way home, or ordering one to be delivered. Then I would stuff my face with the most tasty food ever before going to bed ready to get up the next day to do it all over again. This would of course kill me in in a short time, but what a marvellous way to go ! It's a great shame that reality sucks so much.
 07:45 GMT

 The main feature of the weather when I left home this morning was fog. It wasn't all that obvious until I reached the station. Across the main road from the station entrance are some low lying playing fields. Visibility across them was very poor, and it was similar to the view down the railways lines in the direction of Lower Sydenham. The track is fairly straight there for a quarter of a mile, but this morning I could only make out vague details up to maybe a third of that distance.

 By the time I arrived at Earlsfield the fog had lifted (or was not here in the first place) and the sun is shining. It was a fairly cool start to today, but it should remain dry and sunny, and the temperature is supposed to rise to at least 15° C, and if are very luck a degree above that.

 The magic potions that I was prescribed at the doctors are not appearing to have any useful affect yet. My blood pressure could still be high, or it could be just ongoing symptoms from my cold (that everyone else got prescribed antibiotics for) that continues to cause a few aches and pains. It could be my imagination, but some of the pressure I feel below the ears, and around the jawline, could be accompanied by a slight amount of swelling, but it probably is just my imagination. (In any event, it is hard to tell because it is all hidden behind my beard). My neck seems a bit stiff as well this morning. The good thing is that my cough is still improving, although it is yet to transition fully into a proper dry tickly smokers cough as it should. It is still fairly wet. Particularly in the morning.

 I have no means to tell if the cholesterol lowering drugs are having any effect, but it is possible the third drug, the one that modifies sugar uptake in the gut, is doing something. Last night I experienced the effect of the total liquidisation of the lower intestinal track content. This could have been the drug or it could have been something to do with the amount of pickled onions and shallots I ate on Monday night. Who knows, but it was quite dramatic, and the first time it happened it gave very little notice that anything was amiss. The second time was a more relaxed affair. The one thing that drug did not do was to promote any extra weightloss (which it should do as a side effect of it's primary purpose). This morning It was difficult to tell I had lost any extra weight at all. I think I lost about half a pound, but that is only a guestimate from the way the digital scales hovered between two digits before settling on the higher of the two numbers. I might be deluding myself here, but I think that yesterday the display was rounded down to the nearest whole number, and this morning I think it was rounded up. With luck (and also a certain amount of skill) I hope to get a more definite answer tomorrow morning.
Tuesday 17th March 2009
 08:03 GMT

 Despite warnings that the weather was going to deteriorate again, it is a nice sunny morning. With few clouds in the sky to retain the heat, it was a bit cooler than yesterday morning, but it seems to be warming up even now. The pessimistic forecasters say we will not be seeing the 17° C we saw yesterday, but if the sky remains clear I think we could.

 I feel far better this morning than I did yesterday morning. I expect the nurse would say that is the effect of the pills I am taking, but I would say it was because I managed a full 8 hours sleep last night. That was the first time I have managed that probably since I went down with the cold  had last week. It could have been better though. Although I wasn't delayed getting to sleep by coughing, or woken up by coughing, I did wake up 2 or 3 times in the night and have a pee. I don't think it was the need to have a pee that woke me up, but I just took advantage of it while I was awake. I'm not sure just what did wake me up. Maybe it was Smudge moving around on my bed or something.

 When I woke up for the final, and proper time, I seemed to catch up on all the coughing, and throat clearing, that in previous nights I had been doing throughout the night. I did clear a lot of unpleasantness from my wind pipes, and it was fairly easy to do. I am not sure what this means. Am I getting better, or getting worse ? By now I would be expecting just to have a nasty, tickly, smokers cough - fairly low level, and relatively infrequent - but this feels different.  I think it must be why I know of two other people who have had very similar symptoms to me, and were given a 10 day course of antibiotics to clear up a chest infection. I think that maybe I am fighting a chest infection unaided, and I am slowly winning. In theory this should boost my own immune system, but I wonder if not taking the easy way out with drugs is the best thing to do. My way does seem to be long winded (or often shorted winded in this case !), but I guess I'll get there in the end.

 Finally, the good news. I dared weigh myself this morning. Many of my fears were unfounded. After a week where I ate loads of stuff that I really shouldn't have, I found that I had only put on less than 2 pounds, and more than 1 pound. I find that quite amazing. I know that I was trying to compensate for eating stuff like chocolate ice cream (for my sore throat), by cutting down elsewhere, but I never expected it to be so successful. I now feel confident that when I face the nurse again next Monday I will be able to report a few more pounds lost (6 or 7 would be good). 
Monday 16th March 2009
 18:31 GMT

 It has been a stunning day today. From early morning until sunset the sun has been shining, and the temperature hit at least 17° C. That was the official temperature, but it did feel as if it could have been even higher than that. The weather forecast on TV tonight says that things get worse again from now on. By the end of the week we could be seeing as little as 10° C, and the return of some overnight frost. Worst still will be the return of cloud, and maybe some rain.

 I had a rough night last night. It didn't get to sleep until a lot later than I wanted, and I woke up almost choking at 3 am. This was a continuation of the after effects of my cold. I am still coughing quite a lot from time to time, and when I do it is mostly just dry and tickly. Even my nose is still not 100% dry despite my earlier optimism that it was drying up nicely. Of course all this is very mild compared to as little as a couple of days ago, but at 3 am it is highly irritating.

 After this very rough night I was feeling pretty bad when I went to see the nurse this morning. This was reflected in my blood pressure that was rated as extemely high. The results of the blood tests I had were more optimistic. My cholestrol level was slightly high, and my blood glucose was 7.1, or just 0.1 higher than the preferred highest level. The net result of all this is that I am now on three different drugs to bring all these things down. I hope that two of them will become redundant when I have shed some more weight, and the third will help to shed that weight faster than I could do unaided (or at least unaided for extended periods of time). I am due back before the nurse next Monday morning when the effects of all these drugs will be assessed. Unfortunately this will also mean more blood tests, and yet another visit to get those results. Once these bloody medics get their claws in you they never let go !

 It should have been nice going to work once I freed myself from the deathlike embrace of the medics. The sun was shining and it was actually warm. Unfortunately I felt very rough. The nurse would say I was feeling rough because of my high blood pressure, and maybe that was the case, but I am not 100% convinced by that argument. It did feel remarkably like the effect of a bad nights sleep to me.

 I wasn't feeling much better at lunchtime, but I still forced myself to take a slow stroll around the park. It was very nice out there, and by taking it nice and easy I enjoyed the warm fresh air.

 Tonight I think I do feel a bit better, but that may be just because I have eaten and I am sitting down. My dinner tonight was a sort of salad. Well, it was a cold meal. The core of it was some skinless barbeque chicken that was allegedly low fat, low sugar, and low calorie. With that I had some raw white cabbage, a tomato, some chillies, and some pickled shallots. It may sound pretty weird, but it was nice, and sort of healthy. For sweet I had a couple of large oranges. It seems that I am probably back on my diet again. Now we'll see what that can do combined with my drugs. One minor problem, and one I intend to ignore a bit, is that one of drugs suggests that I should not drink alcohol. I don't intend to drink that much, but I reckon there is a good chance that I will be having a couple of pints on Friday night, So there !!
Sunday 15th March 2009
 16:49 GMT

 It has been an exceptionally sunny day today. It's still a little fresh outside, but you could hardly describe it as cold. Behind glass the sun did carry a lot of heat. The upstairs front bedroom, which faces south, was really quite warm this afternoon just from the heat of the sun shining in through the window. In the last half hour the sky has got hazy, and it is begiining to feel a bit chilly now, but I doubt it will rain. However some overnight cloud would be a good thing because it will make the morning seem that much milder.

 I have been nice and lazy today. About my only achievement was to spend a fair amount of time cutting up some old Linux magazines and saving the useful bits in my loose leaf folder of useful stuff. It's hard to tell where the rest of the day has gone to. I have done a load of washing, but apart from loading up the washing machine, and hanging the washed stuff to dry, that took very little of my time. I have also played around with a some Linux DVD authoring software. I suppose that did take a bit of time because it kept going wrong. The first application I tried, Kmediafactory, kept crashing. At first I thought it was because it was running out of disk space on my root partition where it insisted on saving temporary files, but even after I think I fixed that, it crashed again. This was a shame because it seemed to be a nice straightforward way of authoring simple DVDs. My second attempt used DeVeDe. I have used this before, and although I find the DVD menus rather bland, it does the job well. It does it even better the second time when you remember to include the English subtitles file !

 Tomorrow morning, very early tomorrow morning, I see the nurse again, and I'll find the results of the blood tests I had just under a fortnight ago. In all probability they will show I was almost healthy then. If the tests were repeated now I expect they would be looking to get quotes from the local funeral directors. I do not feel all that well at the moment. It's not that I am in pain, or anything like that. I just don't feel terribly dynamic today. This is almost cetainly because of the amount of crap I have eaten over the weekend. Today I had another (supermarket) pizza, and this one I zapped up with extra chillies and cheddar cheese. That is now sitting rather heavily on my stomach, and just to raise my blood sugar level to intolerable heights I have eaten some orange liqueur (Cointreau) chocolates. I would be very surprised if any of the weight I lost prior to seeing the nurse last time is still gone. Maybe some is still lost, and from tomorrow I will probably be back on my diet again. I have just about consumed all the bad things in the kitchen now, and that will make the diet a bit easier to do.

 On top of the bloat from all the unhealthy food I have eaten, there is still the dying remnants of my cold still causing a few minor bothers. My nose is to all intents and purposes now dry, and I can usually breathe through it with no problems. Occasionally I do still need to give my nose a good blow, and at least twice today something/some stuff has come out of my right nostril that is the sort of stuff that 1950's horror scifi movies were made from. It is odd that this alien lifeform only appears from my right nostril, and prior to expelling it my nose does not feel unusually blocked in any way. It does feel sort of strange to have a fairly ordinary satisfying blow and then find a huge, immense, refugee blob from a tube of Evostik sitting in my hanky. "It's snot Jim, but not as we know it !". Aside from the very unpleasant contents of my right nostril, it is my continuing cough that is most irritating, but even that is getting less and less now. In many ways it is the randomness of it that irritates most. Maybe an hour passes, maybe two, I really don't know, and then all of a sudden you get that impossible to control ticklyness in the throat, and another coughing session starts - now often brief, but still occasionally violent.

 I don't have to be up too early tomorrow, but I think I'll be trying to get an early night tonight. I may well go up to bed as early as 7.30 pm. I doubt I will fall asleep for some time, but I'll do some reading and hope my eyes start to droop before too long. My appointment with the nurse is at 07:15 am, and that is nearly 45 minutes later than I was getting the train to work last week. So I could theoretically have a small lie in, but I think I'll use the extra time to wash my hair, and maybe try and do something with my beard. I am beginning to look like a terrorist now, and it is still a couple of weeks to when the clocks change, and when I traditionally shave my winter beard off. According to we change to British Summer Time at 01:00 Sunday 29th March 2009.
Saturday 14th March 2009
 09:38 GMT

 This morning started brighter than it is as I write this, but it's not too bad now. There are still a few blue patches in the sky, but the clouds do seem to be gathering. I guess you could describe the temperature as "fresh". That is, it's not too cold, but neither is it warm. Today feels very much like a continuation of yesterday which did manage a few sunny spells, but ended with the sky clouded over. Yesterday stayed dry, and it may have been a bit warmer, but I think we may see some rain later today.

 Sometimes things don't go quite to plan, but the alternative outcome can be rather pleasing. I got a message from Aleemah yesterday afternoon saying that she was suffering from "womens troubles", and that she would not be seeing me today. That was both disappointing and a relief. It would have been nice to see Aleemah, but now I can spend the day trying to recover from the after effects of my dreadful cold.

 One thing I had not foreseen was that I was to get some compensation for not seeing Aleemah. I went to the pub to have a couple of drinks with Iain, and within ten minutes of getting there I had a call from Patricia. She rang to tell me the good news that she had been promoted. As she had just left work, and was only 10 minutes away by bus, I suggested that she join us in the pub in Catford where she could tell me more about it without having to shout above the noise from the traffic (at her end) and the noise in the pub (at my end).  She accepted my invitation, jumped on a bus, and was soon with us in the pub.

 Patricia has now been promoted to a managerial level, and once again her earnings have overtaken mine (boo !). I am not sure who first suggested it, but we decided it would be nice to have dinner together to celebrate. However there was a problem with that. Patricia was still in pain after some dental work, and didn't feel like eating a formal meal. While I was still suffering from the occasional explosive coughing fits, and they would not have gone down well in a restuarant (we had considered a Chinese meal). The best compromise, and one that I think turned out very well, was to go back to home and order a pizza. We ordered a large, 12" BBQ chicken pizza, and it was one of the tastiest pizzas I have had in ages. It was nice and soft and squidgy, and that made it easy for Patricia to eat. Originally she aimed to try and eat just one slice, but I think she managed three in the end. Patricia did not stay that long after we had eaten, but I thoroughly enjoyed her company, and it made my evening.

 Today I have very few plans. In a while I will pop out for a brief bit of shopping, but I intend to be quite lazy for most of the day. My cold is essentially over. Even my sinuses have just about drained out, and I am hardly coughing up any odd bits of my anatomy now, but my cough continues. It is now often a dry tickly cough that creeps up on you unawares. There can be quite long periods when I don't cough at all, and then something tickles the wrong spot and I am reduced to convulsions that leave my throat sore and my chest aching. This is, of course, nothing new in the life of a smoker, and I guess it has been happening at least once a year for the last 30 years. Eventually it fades away - sometimes quickly, and sometimes slowly. I am going to try and get over this one quickly if at all possible. The one thing ignorant non-smokers say is to give up the fags. Well that may stop it happening in the future, but is the last thing you want to do while in the middle of this chesty condition. If I gave up now, bits of my lungs and windpipe would do their best to rid them of the protective coat of tar I have given them, and I would be coughing even more ! So like any hobby, sport, or even life itself, you learn to take the good times with the bad times, and just get on with it.
Friday 13th March 2009
 08:46 GMT

 It's another overcast morning, and once again it is not that cold. The forecasts suggest that the cloud could break up a bit, and we could get some sunny spells. It does seem to be brightening up even now. maybe those sunny spells are not that far. With sufficient sunshine the temperature could rise to as high as 15° C, and that is not too bad at all ! Yesterday afternoon just about qualified as being warm, and I believe the temperature was no higher than 14° C.

 These last few days back at work after my sick leave have ended with me feeling really knackered. Last night could have been an exception, but the circumstances for that only managed to make me feel slightly less than dead. The circumstance was that I was looking forward to a visit from Patricia last night. She had a dental appointment late in the afternoon, and we arranged that she would pop in on her way home. That was fine tuned while I was on the train and we ended up meeting in Tesco first, and went home from there. There were some ramifications from meeting in Tesco. I knew I would not be able to cook up anything appropriate while Patricia was there, and I didn't want to eat anything in front of Patricia while she was unable to eat herself (after some brutal dental treatment). So I bought several naughty, ready made, high fat, low quality, snack items to eat. I munched my way through these during several opportune moments.

 Patricia did not stay that long, about an hour, but it was long enough for me to show her the Che Guevarra duvet I bought for her bed (at my place), and to give her a Che Guevarra poster. (Che Guevarra, although long dead, is the current love of her life). She liked the duvet cover, but the poster was a disappointment. When she opened it up we found it was the wrong poster. Instead of a Cuban revolutionary it was a poster for the film "A Clockwork Orange". I can't be bothered to send it back, but I might try ordering another one, or preferably try and find one in a shop and buy it that way instead of via the internet.

 Once Patricia had left I got cooking. I cooked a whole heap of roast vegetables and skinless chicken breast in the oven. In small quantities it would have been quite healthy, but I had it in big quantities. Added to that were the snack stuff I had eaten earlier, and I went to bed feeling quite bloated. In turn that has brought about some instability of the gut this morning. Fortunately it was not as bad as I have experienced many times in the past, but after the predictability I was enjoying while on my diet, it was a bit unwanted.

 I've been feeling rough in other ways too this morning. My cough and stuffed nose are still going just as bad, but at the same time less frequently. I can go long periods without coughing at all, or like an hour ago, I can get stuck in a tickly throat scenario for a good twenty minutes at a time. I suppose it is a combination of the rumbly tummy, the coughing, and the now semi congealed, big sticky globules of snot I still blow out from time to time, that all conspire to have made me feel really horrible this morning. One other ingredient is that I felt almost sweaty as I made my way to work. I wonder if it was a bit of fever ? It did feel that way to me. I have settled down a lot in the last 90 minutes, and right now I don't feel too bad (but not that good either).

 I woke coughing and spluttering at 4 am this morning. I think I must have been making wheezing and snoring noises that match the motor noise of one of the products we make here at work, because that is what I was dreaming about. 4 am is far too early to get up, but that's what I did. So tonight I want to try and get a beer in if possible, but I also feel I will be wanting to get to bed, and to sleep, as early as possible. I'll be too knackered to do anything tonight, and I'll have to be up reasonably early tomorrow to clear the place up prior to a visit from Aleemah.
Thursday 12th March 2009
 08:08 GMT

 The rotation of the weather continues. This morning it is overcast, and as I left home there was the merest hint of some very fine rain in the air. Since then I haven't seen, or felt, any rain, but a shower or two remains a possibility, if not a probability. The clouds started to thicken up early yesterday evening, and they have locked in some of the warmth of yesterday afternoon. You couldn't actually describe this morning as warm, but it certainly is not cold either. Maybe cool describes this morning best, but warm could well describe yesterday afternoon (in certain conditions).

 Returning to work yesterday was a bit of a trial. By the afternoon I was feeling tired and generally yucky. I think it would have been better if I stayed at home for one more day. The worst moment of all was when I was waiting for a bus to take me to the station on the way home from work. Ideally I would have walked to the station as I had been doing before going down with this cold, but I just felt too unwell to do that. It was only a short wait for a bus, and as I stood there the sky was mostly blue, the sun was shining, and the air actually felt warm. On any other day it would have felt wonderful, but I felt too ill to really enjoy it.

 I started yesterday with a bit of breakfast (and I did this morning as well). My "master plan" was that I would just have some hot soup when I got home from work, and I thought I would probably go to bed soon after that. Well, I had the hot soup alright. In fact I had three cans of it - three different variants of tomato soup. One thing I should not have done for both health and aesthetic reasons, was to top the soup with a small pile of grated mozzerella and cheddar cheese. Cheese, despite being in the top ten, maybe even the top five, of the most wonderful foods in the universe, is one food I should be avoiding because it is just solid fat. That is the health reason. The aesthetic reason is that the ready prepared grated cheese I used was probably mostly mozzarella. Mozzarella cheese is fine stuff for gluing peperoni, and similar stuff, to a pizza, but it has no worthwhile, or even detectable, flavour. The net result is that I dumped a pile of useless fat into my tomato soups, and gained nothing from it but unwanted calories. Maybe I'll learn something from this (or maybe not !).

 After eating I stayed up to watch a TV show that finished at 7.30 pm, and then I went up to bed. I knew that my passion for sleep had weakened a lot since relaxing in front of the TV and eating my dinner. So I knew that I wouldn't be going to sleep straight away, but I thought a little light reading would soon get me in the mood for sleep. I guess I did get to sleep around 8.30 pm, but I awoke again at 2 am feeling all bunged up and thirsty. After a good clear out, and a drink of water, I still couldn't get back to sleep again because I had triggered my brain to start thinking about what I was going to write here this morning. It included this sentence, and included writing about writing this sentence, and writing about that too - you can see the infinite loop my brain plunged into. I had to get up and check my email, have a drink of diet coke, and feed Smudge some very early breakfast (and let her out) before I could go back to bed. When I did get back into bed it had gone cold. So I put the heating on and that possibly induced me to fall into a deep sleep until my clock radio woke me.

 When I finally got up I am not sure how I felt, and I am not sure evn now. In some ways I feel I am finally beginning to get better, but in other ways I feel just as bad, if not worse, than yesterday. I can only liken it to the way a wound can often start to itch as it begins to heal. One oddity, and I guess one that happens at the end of every cold,  is that although the conditions that produce a nose full of snot seem to have stopped, there is still a lot of snot coming out. I am pretty certain most of it is coming from those mysterious, more than four dimensional, cavities in the head called the sinuses. If no new snot is being produced, then judging from the amount I am still able to extrude through my nose, it is coming from a container that is bigger on the inside than on the outside. It is just possible that Dr Who's tardis was reverse-engineered from the design of the human sinus cavities.
Wednesday 11th March 2009
 08:05 GMT

 There was frost on the cars, and the air was misty as I left home to go to work this morning. This was all due to clear skies overnight. Since leaving home, one hour and twenty minutes ago, the sky is getting a bit cloudy. The clouds are thin, and reasonably high up, but it is still sunny outside. Perhaps later in the day the clouds will thicken more, and there could even be some rain. That would follow the pattern that started some days ago. The weather seems to be on something like an 8 hour cycle (give or take a few hours). First the clouds build up. Then there is rain. Then the clouds disperse and we get sunshine (or frost if overnight). That sounds like a typical English summer, but that usually cycles over a few days rather than hours (and of course there is no frost in summer). Anyway, I am quite glad to be able to come to work in bright sunshine.

 It is difficult to say how I feel right now. I had a fairly bad night, and felt rough when I first got up. Things didn't really change as I made my preparations to come to work, but I did get one psychological boost. After a particularly satisfying visit to the toilet I was bold enough to weigh myself. I have avoided doing that this past week because I know I have eaten some pretty bad stuff. As I commented on Monday, although I have eaten some very bad stuff, including high fat/high sugar ice cream, I have not had these things in large quantities, and in fact I have not really had much of anything in large quantities. Anyway, I was greatly relieved to find that my weight had only risen by 8 ounces.

 Now of course my scales don't actually measure in half pound steps, let alone ounces, but they are digital, and there is no misinterpreting the reading. Before that final reading the digits need time to settle, and will usually oscillate between two adjacent digits. Before this cold the display would hover between two digits and settled on the lower. This morning it settled on the higher. The smallest possible reading on my scales is one (Imperial) pound. Any reading up to x pounds and 7 ounces will display as x pounds, and any reading of over x pound and 8 ounces will display as x +1 pounds. So I could claim, and there would be no way of refuting it using my scales, that I could have put on as little as one ounce ! In fact I think I will claim just that. It may not be good for the soul, but it's damn good for the ego ! I could go further. The tipping point could actually be far smaller. I don't know what the internal electronic resolution is for those scales, but ignoring that and just using pure mathematics brings the tipping point between one digit and the next down to the weight of the smallest sub atomic particle. I think I shall be modest and say my weight has only gone up by the weight of one atom of niobium !

 Apart from my little ego boost on the scales this morning, I was still looking forward to coming to work slightly less than I would for a visit to the dentist. When I left home I still had plenty of sore muscles from all the coughing, and my coughing reflex was on a hair trigger. My fears were partially vindicated by the amount and severity of some of the coughing I did on the train. I purposely caught the early train at 07:34 so that I would have a little more room to cough in. Since then I do seem to have improved a bit. I knew I was beginning to get better, and it seems the fresh air and sunshine are helping me on my way. There is still some way to go, and after a rough night I expect I will be feeling like I need an afternoon nap nore than ever today. I definitely look forward to going home again. I might, but I think it very unlikely, call in for a quick beer on my way home.
Tuesday 10th March 2009
 09:24 GMT

 Could you call the weather a roller coaster ride, or a carousel ride ? Well whatever it is, it has done another half circle, or gone through another valley (or something....). Yesterday's bright sunshine turned into overnight rain, and this morning most of the sky is covered by cloud. That cloud is quite light, and there are a few small gaps in it. I think those gaps could get bigger, and the cloud will eventually disperse. So we may be able to look forward to more sunshine later today. One consequence of the overnight cloud was that the morning has started much milder than of late. I think I read somewhere that it was 8° C and the forecast is for at least 11° C this afternoon. Later in the week, Thursday maybe, the prediction is that we could see the mercury rising to 14° C, although tomorrow could actually be cooler than today.

 I am off work again today. I thought I would feel well enough to go back to work today, but that was before I had my dinner last night. During the afternoon I spent much of the time lying on my bed quietly reading with the heater on. Like that I was feeling quite good. There was a point when I suddenly realised that I didn't have to periodically clear my nose, and that I had almost stopped coughing beyond the occasional need to clear my throat. I felt very close to normal. That all changed when I came downstairs to cook, and then eat, my dinner. As I tucked in to my hot tuna and pasta a hot bit momentarily stuck in my throat. Actually it didn't exactly get stuck, but sort of brushed past a sensitive area. Under normal conditions that might not have even raised a single cough, but it was enough to set me off again in a great convulsion of coughing. From that point it was almost as if I was back to square one again. It wasn't quite that bad, square two maybe, but enough to keep me awake longer than I wanted.

 Once I did get to sleep, perhaps 30 - 60 minutes later than I might have desired I did sleep well until 4 am. I don't know if I woke up by myself, or if Smudge assisted (quite likely), but at that time I still thought I might go back to work today. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't get comfortable. So I went through the motions of getting up. I fed Smudge, checked my email, deleted over 50 emails offering me pemis pills and the like, and then had a long hot shower. A nice steamy shower normally makes me feel quite good, but this morning it didn't. It was then that I decided that instead of going to work I would go back to bed. After a couple of extra hours sleep with the heater on I did wake up feeling better again (although still not quite as good as I felt yesterday afternoon).

 It was quite hot in my bedroom when I got up again, and I felt quite hot as I came downstairs to write this. So I have opened the window near to me. It is quite refreshing (apart from the occasional gust of cold wind). The birds are singing, and there has even been the occasional blade of sunshine passing over the back end of the garden. Provided I had a warm coat on it looks quite inviting out there, but I am reluctant to go out just yet. The novelty of the fresh air is beginning to wane a bit, and soon I will shut the window and retreat back into a warm room. A bit later this morning I will go out to do a bit of shopping. This is from neccessity rather than choice, but I think I'll get a few non neccessary things while I am outside. I fancy a magazine to read.

 I hope that if I take things easy today I will be ready for work tomorrow. There are two definite improvements that I am aiming for, and they both stem from reducing the amount of coughing. It would be very nice to not suffer the aching muscles in my chest and stomach areas from all the "power coughs" as I try and expell the small blobs of mucus that so irritate the top of my windpipe. The second, and much more essential, is that I have some confidence that I won't spend the entire time on the train to work coughing my lungs up. The change of air environment, particularly if it is hot and stuffy, usually triggers that sort of coughing while I am in this state, and not only is it uncomfortable, but also very embarrasing too.

 It seems that everytime I order something from Amazon the amount of spam I get goes up. Since the last order I placed, about a fortnight ago, I am getting upwards of 150 spam messages a day to just one email account. This is all mildly irritating, but in some cases amusing too. Out of those 150 messages, at least 100 of them are promoting products to increase penis size. I wonder if the people who pay the spammers to promote these dodgy products have any idea how ridiculous some of these spam messages sound. I never bother to open these messages, although I occasionally study the message source details to wonder at all the diverse and exotic locations of the infected PCs that are used to send these messages - eastern Europe is very popular, as are many asian countries, but Jamaica was a fairly rare one to tick off in my Ladybird book of world wide spammers ! However, when the subject line states " You can make love 10 times a day" it goes beyond ridiculous to the sublime. These days, 10 times a month would be pretty good going for me ! Even with industrial strength viagra I couldn't manage 10 time in one day. I would be dead after the third go. Mind you, not a bad way to go !

Below is a screen shot of the contents of my spam folder after just one hour
Spot the non "Penis Pill" spam (you'll need to click on the image to actually see anything clearly)
One hours spam
Monday 9th March 2009
 08:23 GMT

 The sunshine is back. This morning is a fairly chilly bright shiny day. I don't know how long it will last for because the weather is highly variable lately. There was a surprising amount of bright sunshine yesterday until about 2.30 pm. At that time the sky began to darken, and 20 - 30 minutes later icy rain bucketted down accompanied by quite strong winds. Before sunset the sky had cleared again, and the wind had dropped.

 I felt pretty rotten yesterday. It was the lack of sleep that caused the most problem, but that in turn was caused by what I will now call (rightly or wrongly) bronchitus (but what is more accurately an enhanced smokers cough with all the assorted damage that causes). I tried a few times to get a bit more sleep, but mostly with very little success. Even when I felt I had sufficiently cleared my airways to stop the death rattle that is all the mucus bubbling, and tickling, away, and tried to relax enough for sleep, I still found that the next coughing fit would happen before I drifted into sleep. It wasn't until quite late in the evening, while lying on my bed listening to some Hawkwind, that I managed my first 20 minutes of sleep. I managed to repeat that, though for shorter periods of sleep, a couple more times after that.

 I think it was approximately 1.30 this morning before I managed to get some real sleep in my bed. It lasted for at least an hour, and when I woke up again I found my pillow, and part of the duvet soaked in sweat. I usually find a good sweat like that indicates that I am back on the road to recovery. Perhaps I am, because I was able to go back to sleep again (on a dry pillow) fairly quickly, and I slept for maybe 3 hours after that.

 This morning my optimism that I am on the road to recovery makes me feel quite good, but in reality I am still really, really tired, and I most definitely did not feel up to going into work today. All the coughing has made my stomach and chest muscles ache, and it takes little to make me feel breathless. This was very apparent as I struggled back from Tesco with three heavy bags of shopping yesterday morning. So my priority for today is to continue to rest, and try and get more sleep if I can. A second priority is to try and curb my recent dietry excesses. Yesterday I did not eat that much in total quantity, but what I did eat was laden with fats and sugars - this included ice cream. The ice cream may have been very good for my tortured throat, but was just the sort of stuff I should be avoiding like the plague.

 I notice that my tiredness is affecting my typing quite badly. Skimming through what I wrote yesterday I found quite a few missing words, and I am having a hard time trying to write this correctly. The backspace key is certainly working overtime this morning !  I hope that some of my other typing yesterday was better than the blog entry. I did spend quite a bit of time working on all the pages accessed from my site map page. I am fairly confident that every entry there works OK, and that all the missing images, etc now work as they should. Although in the light of greater experience there are some bits that I would do differently if I was starting again from scratch.
Sunday 8th March 2009
 05:53 GMT

 It looks like the run of sunshine that has graced the last two days is over. Today the temperature will be a couple of degrees less than yesterday, and rain is forecast. Some of that rain could be hail or sleet. I think the first shower I noticed this morning was quite sleety. The weather forecasters say that on higher ground, away from London, there could even be some snow, although it is unlikely to settle. It is still over half an hour to go before the sun rises, but there is already enough light leaking over the horizon to show dark brooding clouds covering most of the sky.

 My nose gave me very little trouble yesterday. It has mostly dried up unless provoked. One way it gets provoked is when I start coughing. I entered the bad phase of coughing not very long after I wrote yesterday morning. During the day it is quite manageable, but at night it is a different story. It is not a tickly cough, although that will probably come later. What I am suffering from is bubbling mucus in the windpipe. By day, when I am mostly upright, and there are other things, and noises, to distract me, it does not cause that much grief. Lying down in the quiet, trying to get some sleep, is when it becomes intensely irritating. I have had very little sleep because of this. I estimate that I have slept for no more than three hours during the night. As soon as I lie down I become acutely concious of the tickly, bubbly, seething sensation of all the mucus, and I can't help myself but to go into deep spasms of coughing to try and shift it. My chest is now quite sore from all that overnight coughing. I have given up trying to sleep for the moment, but I have turned the heating on full in my bedroom, and later on I will attempt to sleep on my bed without the encumbrance of the duvet as I thrash around trying to find a good position.

 My idea that I might do some hardware related PC stuff didn't happen yesterday. However I did do quite a lot of software stuff. Back in 1993, when I first started this website I had no idea how it would take shape, and all the files and folders got rather messy. Later on, when I tried to tidy up this mess, many links got broken. In some cases this was as simple as some files that had originally been written using some Microsoft software changing from xxxxx.htm to xxxx.html when re-edited using more standards compliant software. Even after quite a lot of work there are undoubtably many links in my 2003 diary pages that are still broken. However one of the things I did yesterday was to make a proper Error 404 page with a couple of links on it pointing to where the required pages can be found. You can view it here (if you really want to). The most significant link is to my site map. This contains links to many (but possibly not all) special pages I have written, and many of these would originally only be linked to via a link on a specific day of my diary. Not all of these pages are 100% consistent yet, but most work reasonably OK for now. I expect I'll do more work to tidy them up today.

 There are two of these extra web pages that were previously almost unaccessible that I have added to my site map that may be interesting to anyone with an interest about computers. One contains a few scans of some adverts that appeared in a 1993 computer magazines. The prices quoted in these adverts are really quite scary compared to today's prices. Take a look here. The other page(s) were originally written to display on my Apple Macintosh SE/30.  This machine had no network connection so all the links were truncated to an error page, but I have now made them external again (although some no longer exist). The other thing about that machine is that it only had a black and white display without even any intermediate greys. So I made a few specially edited graphics to display on it. The SE/30 was a pioneering machine that cost a kings ransom originally. With it's integrated display it set a trend in the Apple world that has never really been taken up in the non Apple world (as far as I know).

 While writing this the sun has risen to reveal a clearer sky than I thought possible. Maybe we will have some sunshine today after all. Even if today does turn out to be a bright sunny day I doubt I will be taking advantage of it. There is an open day at "The Depot" today that Kevin and Iain are going to, and I would have liked to go too, but I don't think my health is up to it just yet.
Saturday 7th March 2009
 07:28 GMT

 It's hard to believe that today could be as good as yesterday, and in fact it seems very unlikely that it will. Yesterday, while still fairly cold, was gloriously sunny.  While the air was chilly, the sunshine itself did feel very warm. This morning there was no frost like yesterday morning, and the sky is very grey. Perhaps it will lighten up, and maybe the sun will break through, but I haven't seen any weather forecasts that would bolster this optimistic idea.

 My cold reached the state where I was using 840 sheets of tissue paper per minute yesterday. I estimate that my nose produced 372.83 Imperial Gallons (1695 litres) of snot while I was awake. This morning things are much improved. I estimate that one large, mansized, box of Kleenex should last until lunchtime today. If any industry can fight it's way out of a soggy paper bag this recession, then I would put my money on the paper hankerchief industry. I note that stocks in Kleenex are already climbing to an all time high (probably).

 So far all this mucus madness has gone on without any great impact on my chest. I have coughed up a few lumps of lung, notably when I first woke up this morning, but overall it is less than I would have predicted. While this is good news so far, it is early days yet, and manic coughing fits could soon be on their way. Once they start they should still be going strong when I see the nurse on Monday 16th. Quite what she will say is anyones guess, but she does seem to display a tiny bit of sympathy to the downtrodden smoker.

 With my nose making the floods in New Orleans look as impressive as a bit of spilt beer I decided that it would be a good idea to go home extra early from work yesterday. During the morning I worked really hard to repair enough stuff to keep the production staff in materials for the rest of the day, and also for today if any of them are working overtime. When I explained this to the production manager I thought I would be thanked a bit, and not just told that he would mark me down as taking half a day sick. It made me wonder why I had bothered going in at all yesterday. Well there was the possibility of getting some contraband fags - which I didn't get - but really all it has taught me is that I won't bother making the effort next time.

 Today I face some (almost) inconsequential decisions. I could go out and get some fresh air, or I could stay in the warm and continue to get better. If it were a bit warmer outside then some fresh air would probably be beneficial, and even the cold air could drive out a few cobwebs. I am hoping that Patricia might visit today, but it seems unlikely. She is suffering from a similar cold to me. I did invite her to visit yesterday and stay the night. In preparation I made sure her room was nice and warm, and I bought her an assortment of cold remedies, and other stuff to help relieve some of the symptoms. Today she could have stayed mostly in bed being waited on hand and foot, but it seems she would prefer to conduct her misery in solitude.

 I think I have made my first executive decision for today. I am going back to bed. Maybe I'll read, or maybe I will sleep. Later I will probably get bored, and now I seem to have stopped dripping  uncontrollably, I think it would feasible to do something hardware related. Although quite what that may be I can't guess yet.
Friday 6th March 2009
 08:12 GMT

 This morning there was no doubt as there was yesterday. It is most definitely a frosty morning ! It is really cold outside, but the sky is bluer than it has been for many, many mornings. If the sun stays shining the temperature is forecast to rise to about 11° C today. That's not that good, but it's also not bad. At the moment I would be far happier if it was around 25° C.

 My cold has progressed and in some ways things are better, and in other ways, worse. The really sore throat I had, which occasionally felt like I had been gargling with broken glass, has gone, and the headache that was plaguing me intermittently yesterday seems to have one as well. My major problem at the moment is that my nose has gone into Niagra Falls mode. That will soon be followed by my chest going bad on me. I can already feel myself getting a bit wheezy, and a wet cough developing even now.

 Yesterday I gave up at work soon after 3 pm. I left work some 40 minutes early, and it did feel great to be out in the fresh air. I strode up the side road leading from work feeling really rather good. Well, initially I did. By the time I had got to the main road my pace had fallen off a lot and I began to feel almost worn out.

 Leaving work 40 minutes early only translated to arriving back in Catford 20 minutes early due to the constraints of the railway timetable. I went straight to Tesco and the most significant item I bought was a one Litre bottle of scotch. I also bought a few large, and surprisingly juicy oranges. Once back home I ate a nice hot meal that was only mildly non diet. I followed that by two oranges, and washed it all down with a few large measures of scotch.

 At 7.30 pm I went to bed and read for a little under an hour. The scotch did it's business and I was soon fast asleep (and having at least one very erotic dream amongst some more bland ones). I awoke again at about 1 am for no apparent reason (but I am looking at you Smudge !), and then slept through to 4 am when Smudge definitely woke me up. I have essentially been awake ever since then.

 I don't know how long I will stay at work today. Had it not been that I am hoping to obtain some "contraband" cigarettes today, I could quite cheefully stayed in bed. I  guess I am not actually in pain now, but my mega-snotty nose is very annoying, but it would be as bad at home as it is here. However, at home I could drink scotch, smoke, snooze, eat, and probably do other things I can't think of right now. So maybe coming in, but going home early will be a good compromise.
Thursday 5th March 2009
 08:21 GMT

 I woke up to a clear morning and some frost. At least I think it was frost, but I didn't investigate it directly. It ceratianly felt cold enough for frost, and there were delays on some trains due to ice on the rails. Fortunately my train was only delayed by a few minutes. The sky does seem to be cloudier right now, but at the same time there is some weak sunshine visible. I think that for most of my journey into work the sun was hidden behine a cloud - which was a shame because at least 50% of the sky was clear.

 When I got off the train at Catford last night I noticed that there had been some rain in Catford. It obviously had not been that heavy because you could see individual rain drops drying on the pavements. I think there was probably another very brief shower while I was in the pub, but I didn't experience any rain directly yesterday.

 My rough feeling, yesterday morning, did get worse. By the afternoon I was suffering from a sore throat. At times it was quite painful. So the opportunity to go for a couple of pints after work was one that strongly appealed to me. The one person who wasn't there was Iain. he was (probably) still in hospital with a lump of gristle stuck in his gullet. I had heard that he had been admitted to hospital on Tuesday night when I got an email yesterday morning. At the moment I haven't heard any progress reports, so I hope he is OK.

 This morning I definitely feel in the grip of a cold. My sore throat has improved, got worse, got better, and stayed the same, but not neccesarily in that order. It still feels "lumpy" now, but I am developing other symptoms. My nose was giving hints that it was getting itchy last night, and this morning it felt like it might possibly start to drip. I snorted some Beconase (anti allergy spray) and some Otrivine (anti snot spray) before leaving for work, and that seems to have stemmed the tide, but for how long is anyone's guess. In addition, just to make my day more unpleasant, my head hurts a bit, my knees feel weak, and my chest feels a little tight (although I am not actually wheezy yet). I walked from Earlsfield station to work this morning, and it felt like hard work.

 Being ill is the last thing I want right now, and I don't want it for a couple of reasons beyond just not wanting to feel bad. For one thing it is incompatible with my diet. If I were to stay indoors feeling sorry for myself I would find it impossible to avoid filling up with hot food ( and possibly whiskey as well). The other reason is that I was rather hoping that I might be able to spend some time with Patricia soon.  Maybe that might happen regardless of me having a cold because she seems to be suffering with the same thing. I was lucky enough to see her last night. While I was waiting for my train to go home at Waterloo East I received a text message from her. Instead of replying by text I called her and found she was waiting for a train at London Bridge to go to Lewisham. My train was only a minute away then, and it stops at both London Bridge and Lewisham.It was quite possible that my train would have been the only one that Patricia could have got at London Bridge, but I suggested she wait for it even if it wasn't. Five minutes later we met and discussed our ailments on the 10 minute (approx) journey to Lewisham. It was brief, but nice to see her anyway. Hopefully she will be well enough to visit on Friday night, or Saturday (or both), and hopefully I will be well enough to enjoy it.
Wednesday 4th March 2009
 08:13 GMT

 It was a foul night. The wind was howling, and the rain was lashing down. There were a few times when it made sleeping difficult. Fortunately the rain had stopped when I left home to go to work, and the wind had dwindled to nothing worth mentioning. The day remains grey, and more rain is probable during the morning. If we are lucky there could be some sunshine this afternoon, but it will stay very chilly throughout the whole day. The only respite from this could be on Friday if the weather forecasters have got their sums right.

 After starting yesterday feeling rather good it is a bit of a shame that I feel quite rough this morning. It would be easy to blame the crisps I had yesterday, but I blame the medical profession. By allowing myself to enter the temple of disease that is the group practice that I went to yesterday, I have allowed myself to come into contact with all that is evil in this world (apart from our NuLabour party overlords, and a hopefully improving US of A). As well as having some sort of undefined intermittent pains in the torso, my right knee seems stiff, and I kept gettting shooting pains in my ankle joint as I came into work. Happily many of these pains have receeded since finally getting to work, but I am still suffering from something akin to heartburn/hunger pains. Although even those pains are slowly subsiding. It will be interesting to see how I feel after my next visit to the temple of doom (on the 16th of this month).
Tuesday 3rd March 2009
 19:31 GMT

 I have been looking for some of my old medical notes. I didn't find them, but I did find something else......
My First CD Writer
 On the 13th of September 1998 was I feeling very rich, foolish, or just overwhelmed by the lure of new technology ? £225 is a lot of money even now, but in 1998 ???? It is amazing that you can get a DVD writer for a tenth of that amount now. I guess I must have been pretty desperate, or very well paid in 1998. I think I might have that CD writer still, and as far as I can remember it still works - which is more than can be said for other writers less than half that age.
 16:27 GMT

 Overnight clouds meant that this morning started less cold than yesterday, but it was a very grey start. There have been intermittent showers all day starting with quite brief and very light showers, and now getting more frequent and heavier too. There has been no sign of the snow that had been suggested for today, but as the temperature drops overnight it is still possible that we could get a light dusting.

 This morning was the morning that I have been working up to for the last three weeks. It was the morning of my appointment with the nurse. I had managed to lose around 17 pounds in all, and my blood sugar level has come down to a quite reasonable level. Most of my appointment seemed to consist of waiting for the antiquated Windows NHS software to wheeze it's way across the network, and the state of the art arc (Noah's arc, that is) computer, display it. The nurse made no attempt to confirm my weight or my blood sugar level, but she did measure my blood pressure. It was, of course, high, but that is not neccesarily a bad thing. The only person I knew who was told his blood pressure was low died four days later (That was my friend Nigel). One other course of action was to send me off for some blood samples to be taken.

 They keep some vampires up in the loft of the surgery I attend. So I went up there to give half an armful of blood - except it wasn't quite that simple. The receptionist up there is a suspiciously anaemic looking man, and he told me there was a wait of about an hour. They have a supermarket type ticket system to keep everyone on a first come - first served system. I took my ticket and said I would do some shopping while waiting, and I would be back 45 minutes later to see how the queue was progressing. I was actually back in 40 minutes and found I had already lost my turn. So much for cousin of Dracula's estimate! I had no choice but to take another ticket, sit down, and grit my teeth while I waited a good 20 minutes in unadulterated boredom.

 Eventually one of the phlebotomists saw me and took a couple of syringes of blood. Based on my previous experience of being bled, and on the assumption that 1 = practically painless, and 5 = screaming agony, I would award her a 2. The puncture mark is quite small, and it stopped bleeding in under 20 minutes (maybe in under 10 - I didn't really check). I will hear the results of all the tests when I re-visit the nurse on the morning of the 16th March.

 Once I was safe from the clammy hands of the medical profession I decided to take a brief holiday from my dietery regime. To that end I bought some (cold) pre-cooked spicy chicken and a Xlarge bag of crisps. It was with some glee that I sat down in front of the TV and stuffed myself without concern. That lack of concern may have been misguided - I now have gut ache ! I guess I am out of practice.

 I don't think I want to go to bed without eating a bit more. So later on I think I will have a can of soup or something. Then tomorrow, everything is back to normal. I have bought more supplies of pak choi and beansprouts, and I will probably have those with poached skinless chicken breast. I might even add a bit of five spice powder to the stock.
Monday 2nd March 2009
 08:05 GMT

 The sky has cleared and it is a beautiful sunny morning. Unfortunately it is also very cold. If it wasn't frost on the cars when I left home, it was something that looked very much like frost. According to the front page of this morning's Metro, this is just the lull before the storm. Tomorrow is expected to be cold and windy with lashings of rain, or even snow later on. They suggest there is a strong prospect that we will wake up on Wednesday morning to thick snow. We'll see !

 The bulk of that front page article was about how London's transport came to a grinding halt when the snow fell at the beginning of February. It would be nice to think that lessons have been learned, and that the transport operators will do better if Wednesday morning is snowy. A good move, and one that I thougt they would do before, is to run some trains throughout the night to keep the rails clear. Last time it should have happened was a Sunday night, and the staff may not have been available, but this time, if indeed it happens, it will be a weekday night and they should have more luck trying to arrange things. However I suspect I am being wildly optimistic.

 This morning I do not seem to have lost any extra weight, and the way the digits on my scales flickered I could have even put a tiny amount on. After the fried chicken I ate on Sunday morning this is not entirely unexpected, but there is another factor involved.  That factor is that I am suffering from constipation. Some people may poo-poo (if you'll pardon the expression) the idea that a good "dump" weighs any significant amount, but past experience tells me it does. Had I passed what I feel I should have passed, I think the scales would be telling a more positive story.

 Despite a certain amount of discomfort in the lower end I am feeling quite good this morning. After a day sitting around at home I didn't have any problems walking from the station to work, and in fact it seemed quite pleasant apart from the cold. Walking across the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo stations did feel a bit harder than it has done recently. Maybe I tried to do it at too much of a rush, and if I had slowed up a bit it may have seemed easy.

 If the sun stays out, and it warms up a bit, I think I will go for another lunchtime stroll in the park here in Earlsfield. It is even possible, that now I know where I am going, I might even walk all the way to Soutfields tube station. Although it would probably need more than a pleasant stroll to fit that in my short lunchbreak. It is tonight that will involve the difficult decisions. I want to try and eat as little as possible so I can make the biggest impact when I see the nurse tomorrow. It's too late to lose any significant weight, but I do want to try and get my blood sugar level down to as low as I can. (Although I will check it to make sure I am not heading for too low a level, and the problems that can cause).
Sunday 1st March 2009
 20:18 GMT

 The weather has been rather disappointing today. When I went out to do some shopping this morning it felt like it was just a misty start to the day, and that sooner or later the sun would break through. The air even had that sort of sooty smell that usually accompanies the sort of early morning mist that soon disperses. There was no mist at ground level, but I thought that there was a layer of mist a hundred feet up (or something), and that was trapping assorted smoke, car exhaust and other assorted pollutants. If it was just a high mist it never dispersed, and the sky stayed a light grey all day except for one brief moment when some weak sunshine broke through.

 While shopping I did something that I should not have done. I bought some Tesco hot chicken. Rather a lot of it ! To make matters worse I ate the whole lot for breakfast !! It was exceedingly nice - even more so after the relatively bland diet I have been following for the last 2 - 3 weeks. However it was very greasy, and that is something I could really have done without. Since then I have only eaten some fruit and vergetables. With luck my weight will be unchanged since I weighed myself this morning (down almost another pound). Tomorrow I am going to have to try and eat most frugally to make sure things aren't too bad for my check-up with the nurse on Tuesday morning.

 In an ideal world, or if I was sufficiently motivated, I would have gone out today even if it was just a long walk around the park. Instead I have stayed in watching some videos. Among those I watched were "The Spy Who Shagged Me", and the second episode of "Star Trek - The New Voyages".