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July 2010
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of July 2010

Saturday 31st July 2010
18:24 BST
  It's been quite a mixed day. It started off very dull, and for a while there was some light rain. As the day progressed the rain stopped, then the clouds thinned out, and right now the sun is shining. There are still a few banks of clouds in the sky, but it seems like it will be a fine night. With luck the humidity, which is a little on the high side, will drop as the sun goes down.

 I had a good time last night. I spent a few hours in the pub with some good company, and listened to some good music. It was the night I had been waiting for since the last time I saw The Bluesiscians play in The Catford Ram.
The Bluesiscians - Catford Ram 30th July 2010
 Sadly Jo, the lead singer, (2nd from the right in the picture above) had a sore throat and had to delegate some of the singing to Chris (right hand side of the picture). Unfortunately his guitar playing is better than his singing, but he did his best. Also in the picture are Steve, the bass player, and Liz who does some backing vocals on a few songs. Hidden behind Jo is Bob the drummer.

 I was joined on this very entertaining night by Iain, Jodie and Kevin. I was a little surprised that Jodie turned up. It wasn't really her sort of music. She prefers a more heavy metal style, preferably performed by Finnish musiscians, but obviously my enthusiasm when describing the last time I saw the band play provoked sufficient curiosity for he to see what all the fuss was about. Initially she hated it, but when they did a Deep Purple cover she became far more enthusiastic, and by the end I think she enjoyed herself.

 It was good to see Kevin last night. He is still recovering from his motoring accident of a few weeks ago, plus a few other medical problems, but managed to get to the pub on crutches. It was his first time in a pub since the accident, and although he declined booze because of the medication he was on, I think he had a pretty good time too. There was a vague plan that Ivor would drive him to the pub, but Ivor managed to forget the date even though when first told it remarked that it was a very convenient date. Yesterday was the first Friday after the schools had broken up for the summer holidays, and as such should have been easy to remember.

 After the pub we all went over to The Catford Chippy for food. Jodie just had a bag of chips, and managed to eat about half of them before her bus arrived at the stop conveniently almost outside the shop. Iain just had some spicy chicken wings to munch before getting his bus home, while Kevin and I bought fish and chips to eat at home. I was tempted to buy some spicy chicken wings as well, but I resisted the temptation (somewhat helped by there being none left after Iain had bought his portion !).

 My cod and chips was very nice, but that's more than you can say for the choice of entertainment on TV when I got home. In fact the word choice does not come into it. There was nothing, absolute zero, of anything resembling entertainment on TV last night, or at least not when I turned on the TV. I think it was the 9pm news that I did watch without any enthusiasm. When that was over so was my eating, and I went straight to bed.

 I slept rather well last night apart from waking up with a strong hangover like headache at around 2am. After a pee I managed to find a combination of pillow and body adjustment that minimised the throbbing in my head, and I was soon asleep again. Somehow I managed to sleep right through to nearly 7am. I woke up feeling very muzzy, but not in any pain. It took quite a long time before I was ready to starting getting the place in order for Aleemah to visit. I didn't do a lot, and I didn't do it that well, but even that seemed to take a long time. So much time in fact that I didn't have time to go out shopping and buy some refreshments for Aleemah.

 It turned out to be quite handy that I didn't buy anything before she came round. Normally we go straight to the cafe when I meet her off the train, but as we discovered the cafe is closed for holidays for the next fortnight. So we went into Tesco to buy her some lunch as well as other refreshments. At the same time I bought a few odds and ends, but totally forgot to get any black bin liners which I am running out of.

 After Aleemah had left I cooked my dinner. It was chicken curry using skinless chicken thighs cooked in a fat free, and generally low calorie, tikka flavoured curry sauce. I let it cook for quite a long time in the oven, and the chicken cooked to a soft and crumbly texture which was very nice. Unfortunately I think that long cooking time cooked some of the flavour out of the sauce. So the dish was not as wonderful as I hoped it would be. I have used that sauce before, and I thought it to be very good, but that last time I cooked everything a lot quicker, and the chicken was only just cooked through. Like that it was a lot tastier.

 I have eaten other stuff beside the chicken curry today, but overall I have not had that much to eat, and if I don't eat any more today I think I will be well primed to go out walking tomorrow. I don't yet know where I will go, but I am keen to get out tomorrow. I have a new pair of walking boots to try out. They are similar to my other two pairs, but the new ones are (allegedly) in a wide fitting that ought to suit my feet better. I am very curious as to how that will work out. Now I just hope that a destination, or route comes to mind, without one it might be a little too easy to decide to have a lazy day and stay in. There is a further complication in that I did invite someone to have a drink with me tomorrow. As yet my offer has not been accepted or rejected, and in all probability just been ignored, but maybe I'll be contacted in time to go for that drink. Possibly, if I start early enough, and walk somewhere that does not involve long travel times on the trains, I would have enough time to do both, but this is all idle speculation, and I ought to just wait and see what tomorrow brings.
Friday 30th July 2010
08:15 BST

  It seemed to be very dull and overcast when I left home to come to work. I must have been too engrossed in my paper not to notice the transition, but when I came out of the station at Earlfield it was bright and sunny. I can only see a small portion of sky through my office window, and it is bright blue without a cloud in sight. The outside air became quite cool overnight (inside it was still rather warm) but it is beginning to feel warm outside already. I don't think the temperature is forecast to get much higher than 24 C. That's mainly because of a fresh breeze blowing from the north east. Without that I could easily imagine the temperature climbing into the high twenties if the sunshine continues.

 Yesterday's weather was remarkably unremarkable. It didn't rain,  it didn't get cold, and there was little sunshine. Weatherwise it was a bit of a non day except for later in the evening maybe. I did get the impression that it had become a bit humid, but that have just been me after eating too much of the wrong food.

 I did some shopping on the way home last night. Principly I wanted to buy the latest edition of New Scientist, but there were a few other bits and pieces I wanted too. It all went terribly wrong when I was passing the hot chicken counter and a bag containing an "extra tasty" cooked chicken was plonked down in front of me with a half price sticker on it. I couldn't resist buying it, and once I was home I couldn't resist eating far too much of it as well as what I had originally intended to eat. The final result was that I went to bed feeling rather stuffed, and this morning I feel very stodgy.

 On a positive note I did manage to get a fair bit of sleep last night, although I would have preferred a bit more. There was no noisy helicopter buzzing around when I tried to go to sleep like the night before, and if Smudge started calling to me I didn't hear her. What was annoying was that I woke up half an hour early and couldn't turn over and go back to sleep because I was busting for a pee. I reckon that lost half and hour was probably the difference between just enough and sufficient.

 My dreams get more and more bizarre, and it seems to be happening more frequently since I wrote that I could usually guess what  from the real world inspired some of them. Some recent dreams have been getting worryingly bizzare, and with seemingly no connection to real life. In one of my dreams last I night I dreamed that I had ordered myself a couple kilts. Maybe I can look forward to becoming a transvestite in the future, but right now I have no desire to wear a dress. To add to the weirdness my next door neighbour made a guest appearance in my dream. On hearing that I had ordered the kilts he decided that he wanted one as well.

 Sometimes, if you think hard enough, as I am doing right now, some inspiration for a strange dream does finally make itself known. With my brain almost bleeding through concentrating so hard I have come up with two things that probably inspired my strange dream. The most obvious is that I bumped into my next door neighbour coming out of Tesco's last night. So that explains how he appeared, but the explanation for the kilts is more tenuous and could still be that I am just turning rather strange. I think it was a couple of weeks ago now that I couldn't pull myself away from watching, for the umpteenth time, Carry On Up The Kyhber which one of the TV channels was showing for the millionth time. Not only is it a rib achingly funny film (particularly the ending), but it also features soldiers from the famous 3rd Foot And Mouth regiment - who of course wear kilts !
The 3rd Foot And Mouth
 Not only do they wear kilts, but they are famous for not wearing anything under their kilts (as is rumoured to be true for all Scotsmen). I can see there could be advantages to that. No more busting for the toilet on the way home from the pub - just stand over a drain with legs apart and just let rip ! Yes that would be a sort of luxury, but maybe not in a crowded brightly lit high street!

 Tonight I am going to the pub, and I hope that several other will be joining me to watch another excellent gig from The Bluesiscians. The music kicks off sometime after 5.30pm (probably closer to 6pm) at The Catford Ram pub in Catford.
Thursday 29th July 2010
08:13 BST

  This truly is a typical English summer with highly variable weather. After yesterday's fabulous start to the day we are ack to it being overcast. The sky is a fairly uniform light grey colour, and it is also quite cool out. At first light I though we were going to get the sort of day promised by the weather forecast last night. It was supposed to be a bright day with some clouds, and a small chance of a passing shower. Maybe this greyness will lift as the sun rises a it higher, but it doesn't feel like it will at the moment.

 Yesterday was more like how today was forecast, and I think unlike  the forecast for then. We had plenty of bright sunny intervals, although it did get quite cloudy during the afternoon. As I was leaving work to go home it looked as if rain was possible (which now I think about it, is actually how it was forecast). On my way to the station I thought I felt one single solitary drip of rain, and if that not just my imagination it was the full extent of the rain yesterday.

 I used that one drop of rain as one excuse why I didn't walk to Wandsworth Common station last night. There were two other reasons. I was feeling a bit tired, and I was slightly delayed leaving work. That delay meant I would have to rush a bit faster, and I didn't feel like rushing. So I went home the conventional way. I was quite glad I did that because I felt exhausted by the time I got home. Maybe walking close on 4 miles before starting work is not such a good idea.

 It is possible that my blood sugar level was on the low side when I got home, and that might explain the fatigue I was feeling. I didn't think it was likely after it being high a few days previously, and so I didn't bother to measure it. After my dinner of poached skinless chicken breasts with broccoli, onion and peppers, I still felt sort of tired and strange. I probably should have left it a bit longer for some of the food to work it's way in, but I tried the quick and dirty method of eating some ginger biscuits. I seemed to recover a lot faster after those, and that does hint that maybe my blood sugar level was low.

 It was one of the coolest nights we have had for a long while, and I should have been able to get a good nights sleep last night, but I didn't. I was in bed early enough, but sleep didn't come easy with what I assume was a police helicopter buzzing around the neighbourhood. Once that flew off to parts unknown I did get to sleep easily enough, and slept solidly for 3 or 4 hours until I woke up to go to the toilet. I was soon fast asleep again until I was woken up by Smudge who was making a racket outside my bedroom window (which was open). I got up, let Smudge in, and gave her some breakfast before going back to bed. Of course once she had eaten she came up to see me. At first she just wanted a bit of affection, and eventually seemed to settle down on my bed. As sson as I turned over to go back to sleep she decided she wanted to go out again.

 Most cats pad around silently, but Smudge rushes around with the heaviest feet known. When she comes up the stairs it sounds like a herd of elephants ! With just one more hour before it was time to get up I rushed downstairs, let her out, rushed back upstairs, and tried to get back to sleep again as fast as possible. I guess I got another 30 minutes sleep if I was lucky.

 One thing was for sure about this morning, there was no way I was even able to get out the house early enough to consider walking any of the distance to work. Despite being so fatigued last night I was looking forward to walking from Wandsworth Common station in the cool morning air in bright sunshine. Well I was too late, too tired, and there was no sunshine ! Tonight I am not even considering doing any walking. I am going home the fastest and easiest way, and then getting in some shopping on my way home.
Wednesday 28th July 2010
08:13 BST

  This morning is truly a perfect morning. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and most importantly, it feels nice and fresh. That freshness comes as a great relief after yesterday which seemed to be the muggiest day of the year. Later today it might rain. Last night's weather forecast on the BBC suggested it will be raining while I make my way home from work, but right now the possibility of rain seems very remote.

 Yesterday was most unpleasant. There was a very small amount of intermittent light rain around midday, but that soon stopped. The sky did lighten up a bit, but it stayed overcast with the sky a hazy light grey colour. That didn't stop it warming up, and the humidity rose to a most unpleasant level. The air itself felt thick and sticky.

 With conditions like that you may consider it to be the ultimate sign of madness that I went for a little walk, or in fact two walks.
Walking home from work 27th July 2010
 Even I think I was a little mad by walking halfway home last night. It was 2.02 sweaty miles from work to Wandsworth Common station, and then another 1.91 really dripping with sweat miles from Forest Hill station to home. Inevitably my feet hurt when I got home, but in other ways I felt rather good. Most of that was the adrenaline rush, and endorphin production brought about by the stress, but it still felt good just for achieving it.

 It always feels rather odd that it should happen, but after a good walk I feel less hungry than I would otherwise, and in this case, coming home from work, particularly so. If you ignore the half dozen big oily, garlic stuffed, olives I ate soon after getting home, and the little chunk of lime and ginger flavoured cheese I ate, I did eat very healthily last night. I had a simple stew of skinless turkey breasts with tomotoes, brocolli, and onion in some chicken stock. It was practically fat, salt and carbohydrate free, and if it had been chicken instead of turkey it would have been very tasty too. After that I did have two small bananas, so I guess I didn't escape the carbohydrates totally last night.

 Whether it was the walking, the bananas, or the muggy weather that effected me I'll never know, but I do know I had some rather weird dreams even by my standards. One seemingly long dream is far too complex to describe, but another was nice and simple. I don't think I'll describe that latter dream, but I would like to know who the woman was in it. She was like no one I have ever met before, but I think I'd like to meet her particularly if we end up in bed together again !

 Although I was reasonably ceratin that walking almost 4 miles after work was madness I felt I had to make sure. So this morning I did the same journey the other way round. I am now very positive that walking to Forest Hill station is a very bad thing to do in the morning. It is very subtle, but it is uphill all the way, and it is a bit of a shock to the system to do it first thing in the morning. The second part of the walk, from Wandsworth Common station to work was actually rather pleasant in the early morning sunshine. It is mostly downhill, and some of it is alongside the trees of Wandsworth Common itself. I may well do that again sometime, but I think I'll get the bus to Forest Hill when I do. That only leaves one big question - will I attempt to walk some of the way home tonight ? Probably not if it is raining, but if it's dry it's 50 - 50 !

 Before I forget. I learned something new yesterday. The butterfly I saw and couldn't name on my walk to Ongar on the weekend before last, turned out to be a Gatekeeper butterfly.
Gatekeeper butterfly
Tuesday 27th July 2010
08:08 BST

  If I had only checked the quadrant of sky to my left as I looked out my front door this morning I would have said it was the perfect morning. All I could see was clear blue sky criss crossed with aeroplane vapour trails. Unfortunately to the north there was a thick covering of light grey clouds. Those clouds are a travelling from west to east, and carrying a lot of rain. If they should move south, as the weather forecasters predict will happen this afternoon, we will be in for some heavy downpours. Until then it remains a fine morning.

 I had a major distraction on the way home last night, and I can't recall what the weather was like. Most of the day was overcast with occasional very light, almost insignificant, rain showers, and I think it may have been threatening to rain when I went home. It was fairly warm though, and that warmth continued overnight. It was a bit of a sticky, sweaty night. A fact confirmed by the amount of smelly people on the train (usually, but not exclusively, bulders). It was a bit of a surprise that it was so warm this morning after seeing a lot of clear sky this morning.

 The major distraction I had on the way home was pain, and quite a lot of it at the end. After my left trainer kept eating my sock on the way into work I decided it might be safe to leave my socks off when I left work. Those old trainers appeared to have a soft lining, and I have had no problem walking without socks with some other trainers (although bad problems with some others). My theory about it being safe to leave my sock off with yesterday's trainers was very, very, very wrong ! In two places, one on my left big toe, and the other on my right little toe, something abrasive rasped off all the skin leaving my feet bleeding. Of course all I was aware of was the increasing amount of pain as I made my way home.

As soon as I was through my front door I took off those trainers and saw the extent of the damage. What I did a little later I would not recommend, and even though it was one possible treatment I will not be doing it again. I tried to clean off some of the blood with some antiseptic hand wipes I had lying around. It most probably did leave the area clean and sterile, but it stung like a viper bite (I was going to say like buggery, but never having experienced either I am presuming that a viper bite is worse). Once my eyes had stopped watering I experimented with using some spray on "liquid plaster" to cover the wound. That was like having molten metal poured on my foot ! The agony from that was soon over, and while the areas remained very tender to the touch, they were otherwise painless.

 This morning I using some sticking plaster to cover the wounds, and put on my best hiking socks. Those sock are nice and thick and fit rather comfortably. I then put on another old pair of trainers that I know to be extra comfortable - providing you wear socks. They have a sort of nylon mesh top, and without socks that nylon acts like a cheese grater. With sock though they are wonderfully comfortable, and if Aldi ever get in any more I will buy several pairs at once. Sadly it seems they were just a one off item a couple of years ago. When I started out to the station I was aware of a little pressure on my wounds, but there was nothing that you could actually call pain. By the time I reached the station I was not even aware of that pressure, and my journey into work was unusually comfortable (apart from one or two smelly individuals).

 It was odd that my commute was so comfortable because it can't just be down to wearing very comfortable shoes. I felt almost energetic, and not as if I had been eating far too much recently. Last night I did eat more modestly than of late, but even that modest amount contained loads of crap that I really should not have eaten. If I feel this good tonight I might even put into practice a sort of theory  was cooking up yesterday. I was investigating if there was any options for me to walk part of the way home, and in doing so, avoiding central London and the higher fares there. Sometimes it seems like there is a barrier between south east and south west London. Almost nothing connects, but I did discover one possible route, and to explain it I need to invent a new unit of measurement.

 This new unit is called a-pain-in-the-arse, and is the equivalent distance of walking between work and Earlsfield station (but only in that direction !). By walking 4.5 a-pain-in-the-arses I can get to Balham station, and from there, by some miracle I can get a direct train to Forest Hill station. From Forest Hill station I could either get a bus back to Catford or I could walk home. I came very close to trying this route last night, but considering the state of my feet when I got home I am so very glad that I did not attempt to walk it. That extra walking would probably abraded my little toe down to just a bloody stump ! If think there is a 50-50% chance that I may try it tonight, although if I am lucky someone will save me by wanting me back in Catford by 5pm (but I have no idea who).
Monday 26th July 2010
08:16 BST

  For a few seconds I felt a little rain in the air when I started out for work. Six or seven minutes later, as I approached Catford Bridge station, there was a few seconds of weak sunshine. In between it was the same as it is now, and how much of today will probably be. It is very grey and overcast, and yet I don't think there will be much rain today. If that idea is wrong then it is probably wrong in a big way ! To my skin it feels rather humid this morning, and it is possible that could build up until a thunderstorm breaks.

 There seems little chance of any hot sunny days this week, but temperatures are forecast to say in the mid twenties (Celsius) all week, and some days will be sunnier than others. I have the idea rumbling around inside my head that Wednesday is going to be a nice day, but I am not sure why. In theory I gained this information while watching the BBC Countryfile forecast for the week ahead, but that was so bland that most of it didn't sink in. I think they basically said that every day would be like the previous day (scientifically proven to be more accurate than using high technology to forecast the weather), and that all those days would be sort of bland with some sun, some clouds, medium temperature, and a small randon chance of a shower. I might make a bold decision within the next hour or two to take a days holiday on Wednesday and put my money where my mouth is (as the saying goes).

 Yesterday, like Saturday, was uninspiring, and mostly bland. Something must have happened though to inspire me to use the word bland three times so far (now actually four times). I don't think I usually use that word. So it must have come from somewhere, somehow. Possibly the most useful thing I did yesterday was 15 minutes of "gardening". I did a microscopic bit of weeding in the front garden, and pruned the unwanted sycamore tree back to it's roots for the third time in the last 6 or 7 months. Ideally I would dig up/pull up it's roots too, but they are entangled around the phone and "cable" cables. I did one other thing that might control this very hardy tree, and will certainly control some other vegetation. I went homicidal with a bottle of weedkiller in a killing spree that makes the last few public massacres reported in the papers look like Sunday School outings. In theory nothing should grow in my front garden now except for one designated strip alongside the front wall.

There was quite a lot of wonderful hot tasty stock, maybe a pint of it, and when I consumed all of that Another thing I did yesterday was to eat too much. You might think that strange considering that I mentioned that I was suffering from constipation, and a bloated feeling when I wrote yesterday morning. The way it happened was like this... I wanted to try and eat something healthy after my decadence on Saturday so I cooked up some poached liver in stock with onions and bell peppers. Alongside the meat and vegetables there was over a pint of hot spicy stock, and I consumed all of that. Sometime later my gut started to rumble and soon after that my constipation was over ! That reaction to all the hot spicy stock was not unexpected, although not the initial reason for eating it.

 After that episode I felt really rather empty, and peckish. Unfortunately I was watching a fair amount of TV at the time, and that got me snacking in a way that will be familiar to anybody who has watched Homer Simpson in most episodes of The Simpsons. (If I had any beer available I could have completed that image more fully).

 After the lack of exercise, and two days of eating very badly I should be feeling really bad this morning, but somehow I don't. I do feel a bit bad, but not all of that is down to a badly spent weekend. Some of the badness is due to the high variability in the comfort of the shoes I am wearing today. (Actually I have taken them off since arriving at work, and I am now wearing flip flops, but that is a mere acedemic point). Specifically they are an old pair of trainers that were once very comfortable. They are a bit worn now, and their comfort rating has dropped. One mistake I made when I put them on this morning was to loosen all the laces. To be comfortable these trainers have to be laced up very tight. In the initial state of lacing the left trainer became a sock eater. It swallowed up my small "trainer liner" socks, and bunched it up under the heel. That made the left foot uncomfortable. The right trainer seems springier than the left, and that made my ankle feel like it was getting close to be sore. It is actually quite strange that while both feet felt uncomfortable, neither foot felt like it was suffering any damage, and now, and hour after changing into flip flops I wonder what all the fuss was about.

 With all the moaning about my guts, feet, and general weekend boredom, you may think I have nothing to be cheerful about, but I have ! Not only is the end of the week, and payday in sight, but I checked my bank balance on the way into work. I am not as poor as I thought I was. To my surprise I will be able to buy catfood on the way home tonight without driving my bank account into the red. I can probably afford to feed myself as well !
Sunday 25th July 2010
10:52 BST

  It's rather dull this morning, and there has even been some light rain. That was a surprise because I thought that the forecast for today was that it was going to be better than yesterday. It is also unexpectedly cool this morning too. Maybe the sun will eventually burn through the grey misty sky, but the sun has been up for hours now, and if anything it is getting greyer not lighter.

 Yesterday was actually a splendid day. It was not too hot, and there was plenty of sunshine. It would have been ideal walking weather, but apart from a rummage in the 99p shop I didn't go anywhere. I have a feeling I won't be going anywhere today either. I did finally remember what it was I wanted from the 99p shop. It was memory foam shoe inserts (or insoles). I thought it was worth stocking up with a few of the because at 99p a go they are a quarter of the price of those sold in Tesco, and seem superior as well.

 While I was in the 99p shop I decided I wanted some snack food. The only trouble was that I couldn't decide just what it was I wanted. So I bought loads of different things. Unfortunately it all proved far too tempting when I brought it home, and I ended up only eating junk/snack food and nothing else. That included those most delicious, addictive, and yet deadly items - peanuts ! So any pretense at healthy eating went right out of the window, and I am suffering a bit for it now. Worse still is that I ignored some fresh meat in the fridge, and that is most probably perilously near it's use by date now.

 My gut feels quite bloated after all that junk food. Although I can't lay all the blame on the junk food. If anything, the greasiness of it ought to help the ongoing constipation that I seem to be suffering from. Until something shifts I won't be going anywhere today, and that's a pity because a good long walk is really what I need after the excesses of yesterday.

 Once again it is rather late in the day as I write this. I have been up, although still not washed and dressed, for quite a long time, but I have spent a lot of time trawling the internet for information. The first information I wanted was about Memory Sticks. Note that I capitalised the name to distinguish them from USB memory sticks, pen drives, etc. The Memory Stick was invented by Sony who for reasons of their own wanted to be different from the rest of the world.

 All this came about because on Friday, while we were in the pub, Iain gave me a 512MB Memory Stick PRO that was surplus to his requirements. He had actually ordered the wrong type from all the confusing types available. I had mentioned that my Samsung Camcorder used a Memory Stick for storing still images, and so he donated it to me in case I could use it. At first I thought it was the wrong physical size, but it fitted OK. However the camera kept saying it was not formatted. My internet search came up with the reason for this problem. The original, now called "standard" Memory Stick was limited in size to a mere 128MB, and my camcorder just choked on 512MB. I do have several adapters that allow me to read and write from the device when connected to a PC. So it's not entirely useless, but I think it will remain redundant because 512MB is pretty small fry these days. I'll add it to my collection of "useful" bits and pieces with the silly idea that I might own something that can use it one day.

 My second bit of internet searching took far longer. It started when I noticed some moths flying about in my back garden. In flight they had a vivid red colouring, and I attempted to take a picture of one. What happened next was a bit of a revelation. It turned out that it was only the underside of the moth that had the bright red colouring. When one finally landed I saw that it was one of the moths I had photographed on 22nd July.
Jersey Wood Moth
 With this extra piece of information I finally tracked down a name for this moth. It is a Jersey Tiger Moth. So another mystery has been solved. In the course of my internet searching I found that there were lots of reports of this moth from S.E. London, and some wonder if a breeder had released a load of them 5 or 6 years ago. The bright markings, particularly the yellow colouration mark it as a poisonous species, although only to certain predators - probably small birds. Smudge has expressed an interest in these moths, and I am guessing that it would probably be no worse than give her a tummy ache if she ever manages to catch one. If I ever notice her ignoring them in the future I'll know that she has tasted one !
Saturday 24th July 2010
11:28 BST

  After a few very dull mornings it's nice to wake up to some blue sky and sunshine. It may not last all day though. Since the first time I woke up to daylight it has got steadily more cloudy. There is a chance of a shower today, but it is supposed to be more likely to happen to the south of here. With luck it will stay dry, and that the current crop of clouds that cover over 50% of the sky will not get any denser, and from time to time will get less dense.

 Yesterdays dark clouds did get even worse mid morning, and it did seem very likely that we would get some rain, but by lunchtime the sky brightened up, and there was even some very hot feeling sunshine. Later still it became overcast again, but the cloud was not dense enough to make it feel gloomy.

 During my lunch break I took a wander into the park as I do most days. Usually I don't go far unless I get the urge to do a fast walk around it, but yesterday I did venture a little further than usual while still just mooching around smoking a fag. I've been visiting that park for a few years now, but I have never noticed an apple tree growing alongside the river.
Apples in King George park, Earlsfield
 Maybe this is the first year the tree has fruited. They are bigger than crab apples, but still on the small side. One day I might pick a few and see how sour they are.

 After work I rushed straight home to meet a friend who had a bag of audio cassettes with radio recordings on them dating back to the seventies. He wants me to clean them up and convert them to mp3 files. It is going to be a long job ! The last time I did the same was when I went through hundreds of hours of my own recording, and that was while I had plenty of time on my hands while "between jobs". I am not sure when I am going to have time to go through my friends recording, but there is some facinating stuff there to inspire me, and I shall certainly add them to my own collection of historic recordings.

 After the tapes had been dumped in my hallway we both rushed off to different pubs for a drink. He went to meet his friend Ian, and I went to me my friend Iain. I had one lovely pint of Stella Artois, but the next one tasted like rusty water. I should have demanded a replacement, but I just told the bar staff to throw away the undrinkable 3/4 of the glass and ordered a pint of Kronenberg. I was hoping that they would get the hint, but I was charged full price for the new pint.

 After a third pint we went to the other pub to have just one more pint with my other friend and his friend. With 4 (and a quarter) pints in me there was only one outcome possible - we went to the chip shop ! My cod and chips was delicious, but probably not the sort of thing I should have been eating.

 Shortly after eating I went to bed and initially I slept rather well. At roughly 1.30am I woke up with a non painful hangover and after a pee I could probaly have got to sleep again easily enough, but I didn't. I had a thought buzzing around me head about the lyrics of a song. To mention the name of the song would destroy all my credability, but I could not get back to sleep until I had checked the internet to see what the lyrics really were (and they were nothing like the words that seemed to be stuck on a loop tape going round in my head). Finding the lyrics broke the spell, but I ended up following more links on the internet and didn't get back to bed until gone 3am. I fell asleep really quickly but was woken up by Smudge howling for her breakfast outside my window at 4.30am. Eventually I got back to bed, and back to sleep. My sleep then was not very deep and I woke up briefly several times, but it was not until 10am that I finally decided I had enough of sleeping.

 I feel quite refreshed now, and I think even the hangover has cleared, but there is still on minor problem, and that is constipation. It is not uncomfortable or anything, but knowing that sooner or later something is likely to move, and given how it is now just past midday, it seems very unlikely that I will be going out walking anywhere today. I am not even washed and dressed yet. I have just thrown on the same cloths I was wearing yesterday to preserve my modesty while walking around the house.

 Later on I think I will be going out as far as the 99p shop. There is something I want from there, but bizzarely I can't remember what it is ! I just know that a day or two ago I thought "I could get that from the 99p shop". I am now working on the assumption that if I walk around the shop I will spot what it was I wanted. Unfortunately I will probably also come away with all manner of crap. Happily, given the current state of my finances, a few purchases of 99p is within my restrained budget, and in fact suits it well !
Friday 23rd July 2010
07:50 BST

  The sky looks very threatening, but for now it remains dry. The heavy looking clouds, and the dull grey light made for a less than spectacular journey into work. Rain is forecast for today, but it's hard to say when it will fall, although there could be a clue in how it happened yesterday.

 In some respects there was far less rain yesterday that the forecasts had lead me to expect. There was only one significant fall of rain, and while it did not last long it certainly pelted down. As the Germans might say, "es regnet Bindfaeden". Literally translated it means "it’s raining twine" which seems to match our "the rain came down like stair rods" quite nicely I think. That brief inundation was accompanied by a couple of claps of thunder and happened around 11am. A bit later there were a few isolated spits and spots of rain blowing in the wind, but hardly anything to consider taking shelter from, and by midday even those had dried up. In the afternoon there were even a few sunny spells, but it did stay quite cool outside with temperatures in the low twenties.

 By late evening it did seem to get a bit humid. When I went to bed I thought that it would be nice to go to sleep without feeling all sweaty. That was almost the case, but the humidity seemed high enough to generate what could only, and innacurately, be called dry sweat. My skin was just moist enough to feel sticky. Once I found a good position I did sleep quite well, and for most of the night under cover.

 I think I ate quite well last night. I did go shopping on the way home, but for reasons closer to being broke than for health reasons, I managed to avoid buying any crap to eat. All I bought was healthy, low calories, fresh vegetables and low fat meats. All except one item, and that item was a small, not much bigger than my fist, ready cooked peri-peri (allegedly) flavoured chicken. I ate all that last night together with quite a substantial portion of salad. If I had discarded the chicken skin it would have reduced the fat content, and hence the calories, but it would also have taken away the hint of flavouring that it was labelled to have. I am sure peri-peri is meant to mean hot and spicy, but I added some hot chilli sauce to give it a bit of a kick.

 I had another opportunity to photograph more wildlife yesterday, but all I had was my phone camera available. In theory it should take reasonable pictures, but it's not without it's faults. Consider this picture...
moth on a car windscreen
 It is supposed to show a small moth sitting on the rear window of a car. Unfortunately the moth is out of focus, but the reflection of the building behind me has come out rather well. Only after finishing my fag (also visible in the reflection) and coming back inside did I investigate the settings for the camera in my phone. I have no idea why I had set it the way I did, but focus was set to infinity instead of auto, and it was also set for medium picture quality. I changed all the settings for the best possible picture, and at lunch time I went out looking for something else to photograph.
unripe berries on a tree
 There are two problems with the above picture. The most obvious is that everything is green, and so it lacks contrast. the other problem is a bit of mild camera shake where I was holding the camera up as high as possible to photograph these unripe berries on a tree in the park. There was also a bit of wind that meant everything was moving as I tried to take the picture. The final excuse is that I did crop the image by about 50% so the resolution is only about half what it could be. Nevertheless I think that there is far more detail in the subject area of the picture comapared to the out of focus moth. Now all I need to do is to find another moth or butterfly* that wants to pose for me to see how that turns out.
* note: a naked woman would be just as acceptable.

 I checked my bank balance this morning when I drew out a mere 20. I am most definitely broke and living very close to going into the red. Nevertheless I think I am going to see if Iain, or anyone else for that matter, wants to join me for a quick drink on the way home from work. I fancy a beer tonight (I fancy a beer right now when I come to think of it !).
Thursday 22nd July 2010
08:29 BST

  It really is a nice morning, although a little on the cool side. From first light the sky was clear (hence the cool start), and as the sun rose the sky turned a lovely shade of blue with just a few streaky white clouds here and there. Some of those clouds have turned a little fluffy since I left home to come to work, but they still look freindly and non-threatening. Sadly, some of those clouds are forecast to get denser, and by the time I go home from work there is a strong likelyhood of it pouring with rain. The best temperature for today is said to be a degree or two lower than yesterday at around 24 C.

 Yesterday was most pleasant. There was a fresh breeze that felt nice, and the direct sunshine felt burning hot which was nice too. The fresher air made sleeping a bit easier last night in some ways, but maybe not in others. It was certainly good not trying to get to sleep while dripping with sweat, but on the otherhand it was right on the boarder between being almost warm enough to sleep uncovered, and almost cool enough to need some covering. I think I woke up this morning feeling slightly too cool for comfort, but it was so borderline that I have almost forgotten about it.

 Another thing that may have helped for a more comfortable night was that I think the steps I took to reduce my blood sugar level probably work. I say probably because I didn't both to check, but I reduced my carbohydrate intake, and that should have done the trick.

 One measurement I did take this morning was my weight. It was almost exactly what I expected it to be. Although far higher than medical science says it ought to be, and far higher than I would like it to be as well, it appears to be the normal weight of my body. As far as I can tell, most people have a "normal weight" that does not significantly vary over time or with temporary changes of food intake. I guess it is a sort of sweet spot where within certain limits self regulation takes place. Any excess food intake causes a mild increase in weight, and that in turn uses a few more calories to move that extra weight around. Those extra calories used will cause the weight to come down again. So the energy input versus energy output is regulated by a feedback loop - but only when excesses aren't involved. That seems to be where I am at the moment. My energy input and energy output have averaged out to keep me on this sweet spot. (Not that I would suggest my current weight is anything you could call sweet).

 Last night I did some photography. It was only one picture I was after, and this wasn't it...........
Might be a gypsy moth
.....but it is similar to the picture I wanted. The original shot I wanted was of this, or an identical moth (or butterfly) sitting on an easy to get at piece of scrap wood in my back garden. By the time I had got my camera it had moved, and to get this picture I had to dodge a few hungry looking spiders glowering at me from their webs. I am not sure if this is a moth or a butterfly. The thin antenna suggest butterfly, but the lack of a bulbous but at the end suggests moth. The smooth body suggests butterfly, but the pose suggests moth. Basically I am totally useless at identifying butterflies and moths.

 If I had had my wits about me the previous evening I could have got a nice picture of a red coloured butterfly that was sitting on my kitchen window. I could see it's underside through the glass, but I didn't think to get my camera to try and photograph it's top side. Maybe I didn't think I would have enough time before it flew away or something. This does seem to be a good year for butterflies. As well as the ones I have seen on my walks, I do seem to have several varieties in my own back garden. I am only an opportunistic photographer, and I can't be bothered to go chasing things around, but if another butterfly decides to strike a good pose for me I am keeping my camera closer to the back door in future.
Wednesday 21st July 2010
08:14 BST

  It is probably ironic that today, when it is going to be cooler than the last couple of days, and when there is a slightly greater chance of rain falling, should actually start off looking very nice. Yesterday, and the day before ended up as exceptionaly warm days, and yet started off looking dull and miserable. This morning the sky is mostly blue with just a random scattering of white fluffy clouds.

 According to last nights weather chart there is plenty of rain to the west of us, and it is heading our way, but if the weather forecasters have done their sums right the clouds will be mostly empty by the time they pass over London. The forecast was that if there was any rain it would be towards the north of London. I expect the forecasters have changed their minds overnight, but I can't be bothered to check what they say this morning. It's started out nice, and that's good enough for me.

 Like on Monday, yesterday did get hot in the afternoon, but I am not so sure it was as hot as Monday. The humidity was high, and that made it a bit sweaty, but I enjoyed the heat even if I didn't enjoy the sweatiness. After a big hot meal of pasta and mackerel (with chilli sauce on it) I was quite damp when I went up to bed. I ended up sleeping reasonably well with the fan on all night. This morning I don't think I suffered for it, and everything seems to be working OK with no evidence of over chilled kidneys or other offal.

 What I am suffering from this morning is high blood sugar level, although "suffering" is not a good word because it implies that the raised blood sugar level is causing me some pain or other distress. It was only out of curiosity that I tested my blood this morning. It was a follow up to testing my blood after my 10.35 mile walk. At that time my blood sugar level was only slightly below average when I was expecting it to be a lot lower. I can only conclude that the ideas bandied around about wholemeal pasta having a low glyceamic index, and possibly being low calorie stuff, is, like most of the stuff about food you read in the papers, or see on TV, a complete myth.

 I feel annoyed that I allowed myself to be taken in by this malign propaganda, and I should have used common sense. Pasta is all carbohydrate. Carbohydrate gets converted to sugar by enzymes in the saliva and gut, and the excess of it gets converted to fat. Therefore pasta is evil. Unfortunately my financial circumstances currently dictate that I can't afford to go out shopping for expensive foods today, and I will be eating more cheap pasta tonight because it is already bought and in the larder. After tonight I will have run sufficiently low in stuff to eat that I will have to go shopping tomorrow night, and I guess I'll just have to grit my teeth, and probably clench my buttocks, while I squeeze a bit more money out of my wallet to buy non-carbohydrate based products.

 One of the peculiar things about my health at the moment is that I have been feeling suspiciously good lately. Maybe today I don't feel quite as good as yesterday, but there is not much in it. If life, the universe, and everything is run on rational lines (which, quite frankly, seems unlikely) I should feel even better once I have ditched the pasta habit again. It's hard to imagine what I could do if I felt even better than yesterday morning. I discount the afternoon in evaluating how I feel because after a day at work it is traditional to feel like you have done a days work, and thus are expected to be tired and irritable - it's what a million TV sit-coms and other comedies are based on after all. Actually I didn't even feel particularly tired last night, or at least I didn't after a 10 minute sit down after arriving home.

 For someone of my size, weight and probably failing organs etc, I do, maybe on rare occasions, feel surprisingly healthy. That seems to be a reasonable reason to avoid seeing my doctor about my elevated blood sugar level, but there is a better reason. I think I confuse doctors, and they always seem to get distressed when I see them. I think it is better for their health that I stay away from them even though they are the only people who could write a prescription for some tablets that assist my bodies handling of sugar. Luckily for those poor doctors I know how to reduce my blood sugar level without bothering them. So everyone can end up happy and healthy.
Tuesday 20th July 2010
08:33 BST

  It is surprisingly warm this morning. Maybe it is not such a great surprise. Yesterday turned out to be a very hot day with temperatures recorded as high as 29 C in some parts of London. The hot sunny afternoon extended into the evening, and then it clouded over. It was quite a thick blanket of cloud, and that trapped a lot of the heat in. Unfortuantely it did make for a bit of a sticky night. That cloud is now thinning out, and perhaps by lunchtime it will become hot and sunny again. Once again temperatures as high as 29 C are expected.

 It seems we are being saved from the rain that is lashing down to the north and west by high pressure over the near continent. If it were not for that we would be suffering the earlier forecasts of cool wet weather. Quite why the weather forecasters didn't see that high pressure coming earlier remains a mystery. If there is nothing else they have forgotten to notice, or conveniently ignored, then they are saying that we have one more fine day to finish building an ark before the heavens open on Thursday.

 There was one other weather related thing that happened yesterday - it was flying ant day ! Evidently the temperature and humidity was just right for these big ants to come out of their nests to fly for just one day. The males get just one chance to have sex, and the females get punished for allowing sex to happen by having their wings fall off. Then the crawl down into some crevice and lay their eggs for the whole life circle to start all over again. There's more reports from the Metro, and some more info here.

 I did say that there was only a microscopic chance that I would be joined for a brief drink last night, and I am wondering why I was so optimistic in saying so. In reality there was a zero possibility, and that is how it turned out. Even though I had to amuse myself it was nice to have a cold glass of lager after enduring a baking hot train on the way home. I am not sure why the train felt so exceptionally hot. It was not overcrowded. In fact there were a few empty seats. It was almost as if the heaters had been on sometime earlier in the day. I would not be surprised if that theory was actually true.

 After my cold glass of lager I went home to sort myself some dinner out. I thought I was going to do some more pasta again, but I got curious about a couple of tins of halal chicken salami I had bought from the 99p shop (2 for 99p !). It looked like it was either going to be something wonderful or something not very nice. I ate it with some salad and lashings of garlic mayonaisse, and it turned out to be not very nice at all. It wasn't actually nasty, but it had no redeeming features. The sad thing is that I still have the other tine to use up sometime. Perhaps I'll curry it.

 After what was actually a fairly light salad I had some plain fruit cake, and that was all I ate last night. Maybe it is still the positive after effects of my long walk, or maybe it is because I (accidently) ate lightly yesterday, or maybe it was the pint of lager (actually Stella Artois), but I think I feel sort of good today. Tonight I think I am back on the fish and pasta. I am not always convinced that it is that good for me, but I guess it did fuel my 10 mile walk. So it can't be all bad.
Monday 19th July 2010
08:02 BST

  The morning seems quite warm already, and later today the temperature is due to rise to 27 C. I am sure it is supposed to be a  sunny day too, but the sun has only peeped out from behind the clouds a couple of brief times since I woke up this morning. Maybe today will be like yesterday. It was my mistaken belief that the dull grey cloud in the morning heralded a gloomy day. It took a long time for the clouds to sort themselves out, but we had a fine sunny afternoon.

 Tomorrow worries me. I was under the impression that this week would be nice and summery after the wet and windiness of last week, but The Metro, the free morning paper, is suggesting that the temperature will only rise to 19 C, and that almost the whole of south east England will be covered with dense black clouds that will throw umpteen buckets of rain at us. That doesn't sound like the summery weather the BBC were offering us in their final forecasts of last week.

 Maybe if I had been clairvoyant enough to know how nice yesterday afternoon would be I might have gone out yesterday. Had I done so it would only have been for a mild stroll for a few miles, at least I think that is all I would have aimed for. My feet and legs were a tiny bit sore after my 10.35 mile walk, but maybe not as bad as they might have been. I did pop out to the corner shop, and while walking to and from there I could feel a few stiff muscles, but in all probability they would have loosened up after walking a bit further.

 Instead of going out I stayed in and partly undid all the good work I did on Saturday by eating all sorts of crap. While it would have been preferable to not have eaten quite so much, there have been past boring Sundays when I have done far, far worse. The funny thing was that yesterday was not boring. Despite doing very little the time seemed to fly by. I have no idea where it all went. I am pretty sure the snooze I had during the afternoon lasted for an hour or less. For the rest of the time I must have been well occupied doing nothing for the time to just slip by unnoticed.

 Tonight I think there is a microscopic chance that I will be meeting someone for a quick drink after work. It will have to be a quick, and therefore hopefully cheap drink, because the money in my bank account seems very sparse at the moment. I suspect I was a little too extravagant last month, particularly considering I had 4 days unpaid sick leave. I have been trying to keeping my spending low this month, but evidently I am not trying hard enough, and I expect I'll end up breaking into my small approved overdraft (at great expense). However, none of that will stop me having a couple of pints if the opportunity arises tonight.
Sunday 18th July 2010
07:19 BST

  When the sky first got light it looked like it was going to be a fine day, but now it is looking grey and overcast. It is also rather cool. The forecast was that today would be warmer than yesterday at around 27 C, and that it would be dry and sunny. Hopefully the rising sun will burn off the grey mistiness and the sky will lighten up to reveal a lot of blue, and bring some nice sunshine too.

 Yesterday seemed nice, warm, and sunny in south east London, but in Essex it was very often overcast. Being overcast brought the temperature down a bit, and that made a rather long walk I did a bit easier, but the greyness made some of the photos I took look a little bland.

 I broke a personal record yesterday by walking 10.35 miles from Epping tube station to Ongar station which is now owned by the Epping Ongar Railway. For the most part it was a very pleasant walk, but some bits stretched my capabilities a bit. Epping station seems to sit in a very deep hole, and getting out of that really taxed me. From then on it was just my feet that ached as usual until the last mile or so into Ongar. That involved a moderately long, and moderately steep climb until the last quarter mile that was thankfully downhill. On that last climb I could feel my thigh muscles really start to complain in a way that I don't think I have experienced before.

 I was very relieved that a bus turned up very quickly to take me back the easy way to Epping station. I very much doubt I could have walked back, and certainly not without having plenty of water to rehydrate myself. I took a half litre bottle with me which I didn't touch until I had walked about 7 or 8 miles. I then guzzled half of that when I found myself feeling ever so slightly wobbly. Once I was on the bus back to the station I drank the rest of it.

 To get to Epping I made the mistake of getting a bus from Catford to Canada Water tube station. That was a very long dreary journey. From then on it was relatively straightforward on the Jubilee line to Stratford, and then the Central line to Epping. On the way home I took the Docklands Light Railway from Stratford to Lewisham, and that was the route I originally intended to use on my out to Epping.

 After walking 10.35 miles, and burning off 1590 calories I decided I had earned a treat and went straight into the fried chicken shop as soon as I got off the bus from Lewisham. I restrained myself from overdoing it and just spent 4 on spicy chicken wings and a bag of chips. Apart from 3 oatmeal biscuits that's all I ate yesterday. This morning I think I feel a little hungry.

 I've made a web page up with some of the photos I took yesterday, and you can view them here.

 I did have some ideas that I might go out again today, but now I am not so sure. That 10.35 miles yesterday has left my legs feeling a bit tired, and it is looking fairly horrible outside as I write this. Maybe I'll stay in and do some other stuff, but maybe after a bit of a rest (or even some more sleep if I can manage it) the weather will have brightened up, and I'll find the urge to go out again.
Saturday 17th July 2010
08:30 BST

  The forecast is that we return back to summer today, and if the sun had not just ducked behind one of the white fluffy clouds just as I wrote that, I would have to agree. There is a lot of blue in the sky, but there are also quite a few clouds. Although as far as I can see they are non threatening, white fluffy things. It is fairly cool right now, but there does seem to be the potential for the temperature to rise to as high as 26 C. That's only a couple of degrees higher than yesterday, but the wind that kept yesterday feeling cool has died down, and it should feel very pleasant today. I believe there is still the chance of an isolated shower, but hopefully nothing significant to worry about.

 I am not sure if my strange dinner on Thursday night did me good or harm. I didn't feel as lively as I thought I might yesterday, and as the afternoon progressed my guts felt a little tender. The reason for this became apparent yesterday evening after I had eaten a rather large dinner. That dinner contained only the "healthiest" of ingredients, but as I tossed the ingredients into the pot I realised the size of it was getting bigger and bigger. I guess I made enough for a good two "man sized" portions, but I ate it all anyway. It was basically fish and wholemeal pasta with quite a few assorted vegetables.

 Soon after consuming this rather large, and very delicious meal, I felt a rumbling in my guts. What happened next is too unpleasant to describe, but think in terms of large explosions almost powerful enough to throw you off the toilet seat happening a couple of times at 10 -15 minute intervals. Then for good measure throw in a couple of more minor visits to the toilet. The good thing is that apart from the pressure build up I didn't feel ill either before all this or afterwards. So it wasn't food poisoning, but possibly the result of too much of those allegedly healthy fish and olive oils.

 Another thing that happened yesterday was that I received an email from Canada containing some amusing pictures. Unlike some previous emails this one contained pictures that are safe for all the family (probably). Not only that but a couple of them definitely tickled the right nerve !
No smoking in Canada
In my ignorance I didn't realise that Ontario had such draconian no smoking laws as London. If anything they may be worse. I have a suspicion that they have even banned smoking in public parks. At least here I can smoke a fag while taking a healthy walk around the park. Also to note is the dual use of the word "fag" reflecting the split personality of Canada. Some want to be American where a fag is a homosexual. Some want to be English where the word means a cigarette, and the real nutters want to be French !
Mentally unbalanced
 I think this picture speaks for itself !
A thought for today
Very wise words !
 Today I am going out exploring, but as yet I am not sure where. I am tempted to try a variation on a walk done by one of my workmates last weekend. (The variation is because I am only sure of his start and end points - I would need to invent my own route between them). That walk is between Hayes (Kent) station and Knockholt station. By road it is about 7 miles, but making it more interesting by going cross country could add a couple of miles to that. Before doing that walk I would prefer to have a more recent OS Map than the rather old old I have that covers the area. So I think I'll try it another day.

 The starting point for the walk I have in mind for today will be Epping station. From there I'll walk just under 4 miles to North Weald station. The station was originally on the London Underground Central line, but has been closed for over 10 years now. After many years of wrangling it is now being refurbished before being re-opened by the Epping Ongar Railway maybe sometime next year.

 Once I have had a look at the progress being made at North Weald station I have to choose where to go next. I could just backtrack on my walk there, and that is the simplest, and least taxing option. Alternatively I could carry on walking to Ongar station which like North Weald is also undergoing refurbisment, and could be rather interesting to take a look at.

 Going to Ongar takes the walk up to around 8 miles, but then I have to get home again. I don't think I am quite ready to walk 16 miles in one day just yet, but I could be overcome by a wave of masochism and try it. Far more likely is that I will try the dubious pleasures of a country bus to take me back to Epping, or to Brentwood station on the mainline from Liverpool Street station. Both ways have good and bad points. Getting back to London from Brentwood should be quicker, but it will involve higher fares and there is only one bus an hour. There are more buses per hour (3) to Epping station, and with it being inside the London Travelcard zone my fares for the day (apart from the country bus) will be capped at the day travelcard price. The downside is that that the journey from Epping to Stratford, where I will change trains, is long and boring.
Friday 16th July 2010
08:32 BST

  As I left for work this morning half the sky looked like winter, and the other half looked like summer. As I walked to the station the strong breeze felt a bit autumnal around my legs, and while I waited for my train there seemed to be a bit of light, misty, spring like rain blowing on the breeze.

 Skipping forward to walking from the station to work, the hot sun on my back felt very summer like. There could be some showers somewhere today, but it seems there will also be some lovely sunshine. The temperature is only going to reach a disappointing 24 C, but it seems it will be closer to a summers day than the last few days. The outlook for the weekend seems favourable, and I hope I'll be inspired to go out for a walk somewhere tomorrow, and maybe even Sunday too !

 I called in at Tesco's on the way home from work last night. Inevitably this meant that my high ideals of a mostly healthy sort of pasta dinner went out of the window. However it wasn't quite that bad. I was lead off the righteous path by finding lots of stuff for half price as they cleared the delicatessen counter for the night. So I bought a pot of what I think was pickled herring (the container just said "olive pot"). The fish seemed the same as in rollmops, but cut a little smaller, and there was a lot less vinegar and no onion with it. It was quite oily, and I assume it was fish oil (herring being an oily fish). Although the oil obviously contains quite a few calories, it is also very good stuff with all it's Omega n (where n can be any number that is correct). Some say it's good for the heart, but it is the seemingly beneficial effect it has on my toe/ankle/knee/thigh joints that I like.

 Another half price pot contained pickled sweet chillies. They were very mild, and only mildly pickled because they were still almost crunchy to eat. They seemed to be pickled in a mixture of mild vinegar and (probably) olive oil, although as served they only retained a film of what they had been pickled in. I expect, but I could just be making this up, that the very light pickling meant that they retained loads of vitamin C and other good stuff. With only the very tiny bit of oil clinging to them I think they can be classified as a good thing.

 The next item is slightly more contentious - olives. I bought quite a big pot of these (enough to last a few more days yet [unless I get drunk]). Some were big green ones, and some were red ones, and the others were stuffed with something. Last night I thought they were stuffed with almonds, but they didn't seem very almondy, and I think it was too soft to be almond. This morning I came to the conclusion it was probably garlic. I couldn't taste any extra garlic last night, but the big green olives were in a dressing that almost certainly contained garlic. That dressing also had what I think was fennel in it. For some time after I had eaten every burp had an almost-but-not-quite liquorice taste ! Anyhow, olives are surprisingly high in calories, and the dressing was quite salty too.The calories come from the oil, but that oil is good for you. Overall, and considering I did moderate my olive input a bit, they may have been healthy too.

 The rest of my dinner was probably bad - the two tasty smoked polish sausages I had were most likely full of artery busting lard - and the definitely awful - sugary walnut cake. I think, or at least I like to think,  the combination of all that stuff comes out as almost neutral. This morning I don't feel good for it or bad for it. My trousers are about the same tightness, although my t-shirt feels a tiny bit tight across the gut, but for that I blame the random sizing tag policy that Peacocks use. I have long suspected that Peacocks buy in most of their clothes from somewhere like China without any size tags on them. Then someone sorts them into obviously small, obviously big, and "can't decide". The obviously small get tagged as small. The "can't decide" get tagged as medium, and the rest are just randomly tagged with L, XL, XXL, and even XXXL without any actual measurements of what they mean.

 After my Whisky bender last Sunday evening some of my internal organs have probably recovered enough to accept a beer or two tonight. I think I am going to have a ring round to see who fancies a pint at 5 o'clock tonight.
Thursday 15th July 2010
08:07 BST

  This morning is wet and windy. Occasionally the sun has tried to come out, and the forecasts suggest it will manage it eventually. Fortunately it is not that windy, and the rain is intermittent. It's also not that cold out either. I wore my shorts to come work, and my knees felt perfectly comfortable. I think I noticed that it was supposed to be around 17 C this morning, and that by the aftenoon the temperature will only have risen to 22 C. Apparently that is not far from the seasonal average, but thanks to global warming it seems cooler than I think I remember past July's to have been. (I can't wait for the climate change scientists to announce we are heading into a new ice age. Perhaps we can get some hot summers if they do.)

 Yesterday's weather was quite variable. Sometimes the sun came out, and there were a few occasions when I could feel a few tiny drops of rain swirling in the breeze. Then came home time, and at Waterloo it started to rain cats and dogs (or it pissed like a cow if you are French). For a time the rain came down like stair rods ! It was interesting to see, and didn't effect me in any way at all. When I started walking towards Earlsfield station I was aware of some very, very light, totally ignorable rain, but I didn't bother putting on my cagoule (which I had in my bag). As I walked to the end of the platform the rain started to get significant, but with only seconds to wait before I boarded my train it was nothing to worry about.

 The closer my train got to Waterloo the harder the rain fell. After getting off the train I did consider putting my cagoule on to go outside for a fag, but my train arrived a minute or two late, so I abandoned the idea. Instead I made my way over to the platforms at Waterloo East. All of that walk is under cover until three quarters of the way down the platform, and I stayed perfectly dry. Normally I would wait for my train on the unprotected part of the platform, but I stayed under cover while the rain belted down. One man who attempted to run from the subway to where I was in just his shirt ended up saturated. Meanwhile I waited patiently under cover until a minute before my train arrived the rain stopped and the sun came out. I was able to nonchalantly wander down the platform to my normal spot wearing just shorts and t-shirt looking bone dry !

 I thought I might have to put the cagoule on when I got to Catford after passing through another shower on the way there, but it was not raining in Catford. In fact the clouds were breaking up, and I could see patches of blue here and there. Later, just before sunset, the sky seemed totally clear of clouds to the north. I expected to come home to a damp pussy (as any man might) but Smudge obviously has somewhere sheltered that she hides in. She was in no great rush to come in, and when she did appear she was basically dry - just a few wet spots from when she had brushed against wet leaves.

 So Smudge was feeling OK, and so was I. After feeling totally drained the previous night it was nice to get home feeling that I still had some energy left. Maybe this is the power of pasta, or something, but just in case it was I stuck to my plan and had pasta again last night. As I suggested it would be, I had smoked mackerel with the pasta along with some other bits and pieces (all cooked up in one big pot), and also as I thought it might be, it was delicious. Tonight I may do something very similar. Perhaps I'll use tuna, or maybe salmon tonight.

Some might say these pasta meals I have been making recently are quite healthy, and indeed I do feel better this morning than I have felt all week. They could be healthier still if I left out the pasta. What's left is essentially a fish and vegetable stew, and depending on how much other crap is added to it, it can be incredibly low in salt, fat, calories, and all the other stuff they say is bad for us. It is very good for weight loss, and I do have personal experience of that. I've never really considered it a summer sort of meal, but while the temperature remains in the cool low 20's it is not too bad consuming a pint or so of hot stew. I might even consider having some tonight.
Wednesday 14th July 2010
07:51 BST

  The sun is trying it's hardest to shine this morning, but it has only partly succeded a couple of times. Within a minute of leaving my front door the sun managed to cast a fuzzy but distinct shadow for a moment or two, and while walking from the station to work the sun very nearly managed to shine for a minute. Sometimes it looks like there are many breaks in the clouds, and at other times the sky looks completely grey. I think that more rain is forecast for today, but it will be patchy, and I might be lucky enough to miss all the showers. Apparently it is likely to be a little warmer today with 24 C expected. Right now it is considerably cooler, but not so cool that it was not entirely comfortable coming into work wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

 Although it did not exactly get hot yesterday, it did feel quite muggy by mid afternoon. A nice rain shower would have freshened things up a lot, but I can't recall any significant rainfall after the morning. I recall at one point wondering if I would get home to find a damp pussy waiting for me, but fortunately Smudge was perfectly dry when I did get home - which is more than you can say for me !
 Although I started yesterday feeling quite good, I felt really bad when I was going home. Various bits of me were aching, and I felt very fatigued. Curiously, the only time I felt reasonably OK was while I should have been feeling very bad. When I left work it seemed a terrible struggle to get to the station, up those blasted three flights of stairs, and then walk the 520 feet* to the end of the platform.

* estimated by comparison with a typical train of eight carriages each about 65 feet long.

 I was feeling more exhausted after that than I have been after some of my longest walks, and I was also far more sweaty as well. I only had to wait seconds before my train pulled up, and I could get on and have a sit down. Even by the time the train had gone one stop to Clapham Junction I felt far better. By Waterloo I had cooled off, and I felt better, but still odd bits of me ached like they really should not have done.

 Getting over the link from Waterloo to Waterloo East station did not seem to be as hard work as I thought it might, but I did get a bit sticky again. Once I was on the platform there came an annoucement that sent shivers of terror for all who waited there. Our train was to be short-formed with only 5 carriages instead of 10. That made for a rather cosy ride home ! Considering how bad I felt before I got on I should have suffered really badly on the way home, but even though I had to stand crowded in by a host of other passengers, at least one of which had quite a strong personal hygiene problem, I almost enjoyed it in a funny masochistic sort of way.

 Maybe it was the knowledge that everyone was suffering that made me feel better. Perhaps it was being slowly cooked from the heat build up in there that desensitised me, or maybe sometimes I just enjoy travelling standing up like a big kid. It was most definitely hot in there, and I was not the only one who had beads of sweat across their forehead. Worse still was that I was getting very sweaty around the underpants area. The very worst thing started to happen as we approached Ladywell station (the station before Catford Bridge). I started developing sciatica (I think it's called) in my right thigh. When I got off the train it was almost difficult to walk. My underwear was all damp and clinging to anything that wanted to move, and my right thigh had pins and needles running all through it from the sciatica. Both problems quickly sorted themselves out once I was moving in the fresh air, and after maybe a hundred yards I had forgotten about them, but I was still feeling very fatigued.

 It was a joy to get home and to prepare some dinner for myself. The pasta dish I cooked was nice, but nowhere near as nice as the one I cooked the previous night. Last nights was pork flavour made using chopped up slices of "chopped pork" intended for sandwiches. I added all sorts of herbs and spices, but somehow it didn't really work. Tonight I am having more pasta with smoked mackerel in it. I have never tried using that before, but it always seems that pasta goes better with fish than meat.

 After eating more than my fill, and watching some TV I felt very good. So good that I did not feel the urge, or even the ability to go to sleep early. I was in bed a little after 9pm, but I think it was closer to 10pm before I fell asleep. I then slept uninterupted until about 4.15am. That's still only 6 hours sleep, and I still feel that 8 hours is what I really need.

 As I got ready to go to work I really felt like I wanted to go back to bed. It wasn't exactly like sleepiness even if it did involve some yawning, but more like deep fatigue. As usual, once I was out in the fresh air and moving I felt fine. As I write this I feel OK, but without wishing it to be a self fulfilling prophecy, I feel I am going to be feeling crappy by lunchtime, and awful by home time.
Tuesday 13th July 2010
08:07 BST

  At 2am it rained, and it rained hard enough to wake me up. That was the first significant rain we have had in ages. By 3am it had practically stopped again, and as far as I am aware it has not really rained since. When I left to come to work it was grey and cool,  and damp underfoot. Usually I would find that depressing, but the air had that wonderful soft and fresh feel that comes after it has had a good wash. It was really rather refreshing.

 I am not sure if it was the difference in time, or location, but the air here in Earlsfield is not feeling so fresh. It is probably just a matter of time that has allowed the air to start feeling humid. As the day progresses it could get worse unless we have a few more showers to freshen things up again. The possibility of that seems quite good. There were a few fine drops of rain in the air as I reached work, and the sky does look like it could happily give up much more rain.

 For once the weather forecasters did make a correct prediction. They said it would rain at 10am yesterday, and it did - just about. I estimate about 23 raindrops fell while I was outside smoking a fag at 10am. The next time they forecast it would rain was at 4pm, and once again it did. This time there were 17 drops of rain, but one of them did fall onto one of the lenses of my glasses. So that was pretty tragic ;-)

 My hangover continued for most of the time I was at work yesterday. I was not in agony or anything like that, but I did suffer from a sort of overall body ache, and a feeling of fatigue until the sweat and stress of walking to the station started to burn off the toxins. By the time I got home I was feeling far better than when I started the day. I intended to try and just have a light salad when I got home, but there is no such thing as a light salad. Without a gallon of mayonaise or salad cream, salad is just horse food ! Somehow the thought of cramming my still tender gut with raw plants did not appeal, and it was while I was travelling home that the idea of making some pasta popped into my head for no apparent reason.

 It was fortunate that I had some pasta in the cupboard, but not nearly as much as I thought I had. Maybe that was a good idea because it did put a physical limit on how much I might cook and eat. I thought that it wasn't quite enough, but in fact it was the perfect quantity. I cooked it with some of the stuff I would have included in the salad. In fact the only thing I left out was the green leaves. The large spring onion, the tomatoes, the bell pepper, and pickled globe chillies all went into the pot along with the mixed seafood. It was probably a bit peculiar, but possibly the nicest pasta I have ever cooked. The best thing was that it settled my tender stomach nicely. I bought a bag of pasta on the way into work this morning, and I think I will be having pasta again tonight.

 It was a lot cooler last night. The highest daytime temperature was 24 C, or maybe less (and today could be a couple of degrees cooler still). That meant that for the first time in a week or two it was not horribly hot and sticky when I went to bed. It was still a little on the warm side in my bedroom, but not so warm as to need the fan on, and almost cool enough to sleep fully under cover in the later hours of the night. I did not go to bed as early as I thought I might, but when I did go to bed I fell asleep easily, and I slept solidly for maybe 5 hours until the rain woke me up. From then on I slept intermittently, but I think I got almost enough sleep. Tonight, with it likely to be cooler still, I will possibly close the window and not be disturbed by falling rain or meowing cats. The optimist in me is looking forward to a full 8 hours of solid sleep tonight. I wonder what will go wrong ?
Monday 12th July 2010
08:10 BST

  The days are now getting shorter and shorter. Sunrise this morning was at 04:57, or at least it should have been. There is no sign of the sun this morning. The sky is grey and cloudy, and unlike my pessimistic predictions for yesterday, it should definitely rain today. The weather forecasters seem quite specific that it will rain at 10am, but they also thought it would rain at 4am. A perfectly dry, but hungry Smudge at 4am was all the proof I needed that it didn't rain earlier on. Having said that, there were a few suspicious looking puddles on London Bridge station when I passed through it, so maybe central London did catch a shower in the early hours.

 For reasons I'll explain soon I am not qualified to say much about the temperature at the moment. I think it may be warmer than I expected, but overall the temperature is forecast to be in the low twenties all week. There is also some or more rain forecast for most days this coming week too. That should help keep things a little cooler overnight, and lead to more comfortable sleeping.

 I really should have gone out for a long walk yesterday, but inertia got the better of me. Instead of getting all fit, healthy and happy, I got bogged down watching back to back episodes of Star Trek Enterprise for quite a lot of yesterday. While doing so I consumed far too much food and washed it down with a considerable quantity of whisky. Food and booze are initially quite good at lifting the spirits, but not in excess, and many bits of Star Trek Enterprise triggered some negative emotions.

 Before I could succesfully settle down to sleep I had to write some of this negativity down, and write it is such a way that it satisfied me, left an unknown and unnamed quantity of people unoffended and unembarrassed, and generally everyone totally bamboozled. It was a lot to take on when blind drunk, but for the most part it worked well, and after writing it I did sleep easily. For the curious, here's what I wrote :-

 One of the curses of this life of mine is remaining objective when all traditions suggest that objectivity should be lost. Whether it is being drunk, or some other challenging situation, I do not seem to be able to shed the facility to shed those inhibitions that stop the, for want of a better word, truth being told. Right now is one such situation. I have consumed a large quantity of Scotch Whiskey, and yet I feel restrained from disturbing some others lives for the unlikely betterment of my own.  Within that last sentence comes the root of my own problems, but it does not provide any solution. There are others who if they had different opinions, different desires, or different affiliations might make my life more fulfilling. The paradox, and why I choose not to discuss my ideas with those people, is that if they acted differently I might have different opinions about them. Worse than that is that if I was to attempt to change those opinions, affiliations, or desires, I would probably do harm to their own sense of happiness.  As I write these words I am of course technically very drunk, and yet somehow I seem to be able to describe some of this from an almost 3rd party point of view. That is indeed the curse of my life. It is pretty weird that I am not only able to describe, in a very deliberately convoluted way a hint of how I feel, but that I seem to be able to write this in what seems to be a reasonably grammatical way, and with reasonably accurate spelling (although I suppose it may come as an embarrassment when I check this in the morning).  You may wonder what the point of this little exercise is. It's a long story, but I can reveal that it was triggered by watching too many episodes of Enterprise, the Star Trek prequel. That means little to anyone who has not watched these episodes. For some who have they are just a load of of action, but for those of us who are forced to consider the human condition there is more to understand. Beneath the explosions and harsh words there are stories about human relationships that to my warped mind are not the same as the plastic relationships to be found in the average soap opera. Some are tragic and some rather beautiful, but mostly they make me think "what if" ? 

 Even all the words and ideas that I have expressed in the last couple of paragraphs do not explain why I feel inclined to write this drunken piece, or indeed to explain why I should write it, and that is how it should be. Just to be able to write it releases some demons, and should make me sleep better. So far it feels sort of good to write this down, and now the only question is to wonder if I will really cut-n-paste this drunken rambling into my blog !

 I will confess that as I cut-n-pasted the above I did make one tiny correction. There was a full stop in place of a comma. Considering that I could barely see the keyboard when I wrote that, I think it came out pretty well. Some of it even seems coherent. I guess I feel proud of how it turned out under such adverse conditions (even if it is a load of drunken rambling !).

When at 4am I first woke up this morning I had all the classic symptoms of impending death by hangover. I had the sweats, palpitations, cricks in my neck, headaches, gut aches, and a slight unsteadiness. So I fed Smudge and took a couple of paracetamol before going back to bed. To my surprise I got back to sleep for half an hour before my alarm went off. By then the paracetamol had taken care of some of the pains, but I still felt very bad. Now, over an hour since arriving at work, most things have settled down, but I still feel a bit odd, and my chest still hurts. I think that I managed to over chill it last night by leaving the fan on full blast just like when I chilled my back and kidneys one night last week (or the week before).

 As well as the direct effects of the alcohol, and the chilling effects of a fan on my naked sweaty sleeping body, all the food I ate yesterday is probably contributing to my ill feeling. I can be pretty sure that my blood sugar level is high, and it is very possible that my blood pressure is extremely high. They will both go down eventually, and to help them along I am going to do my best to restrict my food intake to the bare minimum today. I've made a good start on that by ignoring the sandwich shop on the way into work, but how well I fight off the seductive sirens of food when I get home starving hungry remains to be seen.
Sunday 11th July 2010
10:30 BST

  It is certainly a lot cooler this morning. It is quite refreshing after the heat and humidity yesterday. There is the potential for it to rain today, and even the possibility of a thunderstorm this evening. There has been some sunshine this morning, but there are a lot of clouds in the sky, and it is often almost gloomy. As I write these words we have just had a brief sunny spell, but it is now very grey looking outside. If earlier forecasts are anything to go by the highest temperature today will only reach 27 C compared to over 30 C yesterday.

 After Aleemah left I didn't really do that much yesterday. I ate a little too freely while watching some videos, and also did a little reading. As night fell it was still very warm, and I did not feel very sleepy. I ended up on some internet forums until just gone midnight, and then went to bed. By then it seemed a little cooler, and with my fan running full blast I was able to get to sleep quite easily.

 I awoke again at 4am and got up to feed Smudge who was meowing outside my bedroom window. While she had her breakfast I went back to the internet forums to see if anything new happened, and there were a few new messages to read. Maybe an hour later I was back in bed actually feeling a little too cool. For a brief time I covered myself over, but that felt a little too warm. I think I ended up falling asleep with one leg, and maybe one arm covered. To my surprise I slept solidly for another 4 hours. So solidly that I woke up needing a good stretch to loosen all my stiff limbs. To complete the process I will soon take a rather late in the day shower.

 I am not sure what I am doing today. If I can conquer my lack of enthusiasm for going out exploring while it's so grey and unispiring outside, I may go out. At the moment I am having perverse thoughts that it might be more interesting to go out if it was raining. Whether I do act on that if it does rain remains to be seen. I suspect that if I do it will be no more than a quick spin around the park, but anything's possible in an infinite universe.
Saturday 10th July 2010
09:10 BST

  The fact that the day has started off cloudy is apparently all part of the plan. It is probably something to do with the winds swinging around from the south to the west. Instead of the hot dry air which baked London in temperatures of 30 C yesterday, we are now getting hot wet air in from the Atlantic. If all goes to plan, that is the weather forecasters plan, not neccesarily mine, the clouds will evaporate away during the morning leaving hot sticky, sauna like conditions for the afternoon and into the evening. The prediction is that in some parts, probably to the west on, or beyond the London - Essex borders, the temperature will hit 32 C. With the humidity being very high as well, many people are not going to enjoy that, and I may be one of them. After today things will start to cool off. Tomorrow may only be 27 C, and there is even the chance of a sprinkling of rain.

 It was most definitely hot yesterday, but with low humidity I rather enjoyed it. I was even bold enough to go for a quick pint wearing my flipflops at lunchtime when we had a quick drink to send off a workmate who has left the company. That was my furthest walk wearing flipflops, and it wasn't bad. I know that in some hot countries people walk for miles in them, but I had always considered them only good for very short distances - mainly around the house or more recently, work.

 After several nights of poor sleep I managed to get a surprsingly good sleep on the hottest night of the year (so far - apparently). I had to have the fan on all night, but I seemed more comfortable last night than any time in possibly the last week. In theory I am feeling fully refreshed this morning, and I do seem to have achieved quite a lot so far. Apart from giving the living room the hoovering of it's life, I have done more housework this morning that I have done in the last week. I have even been out to do some shopping. All this extra effort is now coming to an end because in something like 90 minutes I will be getting a visit from Aleemah. I think I'll need that 90 minutes to cool off so I am not dripping quite so much as I am now after lugging back several heavy bags of shopping from Tesco a short while ago.

 It could have been good fun to go out exploring today. Getting ridiculously sweaty while doing something usefull seems a far better choice than dripping away while being lazy. Obviously unless I hear that Aleemah is not coming today I won't be going out, but I think I ought to try tomorrow, and maybe in reality the weather may be better for it.
Friday 9th July 2010
07:29 BST

  The day is off to a fine start. Occasionally some misty clouds pass over, but for much of the time the only thing added to the clear blue sky is aircraft vapour trails (of which there seemed to be rather a lot at 5am). It is predicted that today will be a very fine day indeed. The temperature will be at least 29 C, and some pundits reckon that 32 C could be possible in some places.

 Today the warm air is coming from the Mediteranean, and is, or should be, nice and dry, but tomorrow the wind changes direction to bring in very warm, very wet air from the Atlantic. In all probability tomorrow is going to be a disgustingly sweaty day !

 My theory about rain yesterday was as accurate as many weather forecasts. In other words it was completely wrong. Yesterday the weather forecast was correct. As the morning progressed the clouds and hazyness broke up leaving a warm sunny afternoon. I could have taken advantage of it by doing some exploring, but my other prediction yesterday, that I would be lazy, turned out to be 100% accurate. It was a bit later than I thought I might do it, but I went out and bought New Scientist plus a couple of sandwichs. I didn't go straight home though. I was mysteriously lured into the 99p shop, or maybe I just wanted some kitchen roll. As well as the kitchen roll I bought some oats based biscuits (oats are good for upset stomachs - probably), a few assorted other foodstuffs, and two pairs of flipflops.

 For some perverse reason I have taken to wearing flipflops at work despite the health and safety problems (dripping hot solder onto the toes, for instance). On these hot days it is quite pleasant for me to go around with semi naked feet, but maybe less pleasant for others (from a visual point of view only - my feet are washed and not smelly - so no problem there - I think). The pair I had been wearing here at work were some old ones I brought from home, and were geeting near the end of their useful life. So today I am wearing a pair of brand new 99p flipflops, and with the extra springiness that comes from being band new they feel pretty good.

  In the news last night there was a report that doctors had, after years of research, come to the conclusion that obesity causes a lack of exercise rather than a lack of exercise causes obesity. (more info here). The research was apparently "controversial", but what actually seems so controversial is the medical professions apparent complete ignorance of the fact that it is hard to run around when overweight.

 It does make you wonder just how in touch with reality some of these medical people are, but it does seem consistent with many zany ideas they have. Now that this stunningly obvious piece of research has been revealed we can look forward to an increase in the crime rate if they can act on this information in some positive way. The relation between the crime rate and obesity may not actually be that obvious, but as an example I can only cite my own experiences. There were many things I couldn't do as an obese teenager, and running away  from policeman was one of them. I am not sure what crimes I may have committed if I could have been able to run away, but that disability meant that I mostly kept on the straight and narrow (or not so narrow as the case may be!).

 I don't think I will be doing much running around today, and being a little on the heavy side is only part of the problem. I would say two other things carry more significance. The first is that it is going to be very hot today, and I doubt anyone, apart from those diehard (and usually young dying) fitness fanatics, will be wanting to rush around that much today. Although that is not strictly true. Sometimes I have a burst of energy on the way home from work, and probably just to show off or something, I run up the escalators at Waterloo station. I must admit it feels good to be able to do it, but maybe not so good after having done it.

 The other significant thing why I probably won't be rushing around much today, apart from showing off on the escalators (maybe) is that once the refreshing effects of early morning wear off I will probably be feeling extremely tired. I felt comfortable in bed last night, but not sleepy. So I read for some time until I felt that sleep might be inevitable. That was gone 11pm, but by how much I am not sure. I slept well, but woke up a little after 4am after having had less than 5 hours sleep. That is going to catch up with me sooner or later !

 By the way, apologies if you couldn't access my web pages yesterday afternoon. I had a little overheating problem that shut down the server. The temporary fan I sort of half dangled over the processor many months ago, after the original fan had become irritatingly noisy, had started running slow allowing the processor to overheat. Fortunately no damage was done, and I have now fitted another fan. It's another old one, and someday I am going to have to get around to ordering a brand new one and fitting it correctly, but for now the server soldiers on again.
Thursday 8th July 2010
10:35 BST

 There is every probability that it could rain sometime today. The sky is a most gloomy colour. It wasn't quite as bad as it is now at first light this morning, and it is not as bad as it has been. As I write this the sun seems to have found a hazy gap in amongst the clouds, many of the dark and brooding, but I fear it is only a passing moment, and even now, just a few seconds later, it is getting darker again. The latest BBC weather forecast says it is about 20 C right now, and that feels about right, but it also says it should remain dry today despite all the cloud. By 4pm the temperature is predicted to have risen to 25 C, and the humidity to have dropped from the 77% now to a pleasanter 54%.

 Yesterday's rain did momentarily get significant in the morning, but was mostly ignorable, and it had dried up completely by late morning. The rest of the day was overcast, and a little cooler than of late. I would guess the temperature may have been somewhere in the region of 22 C. By late evening I thought that the temperature, and the humidity may have risen substantially, but I later discovered that my senses in that respect were most probably faulty.

 After work I paid a visit to my friend Kevin. He was recently in a fairly bad car accident and is now at home after a few days in hospital. At the moment he is only semi mobile, and even then only with some pain. So I picked up some reading stuff in WH Smiths on the way to his place to give him something to do if he was getting too bored with day time TV (as anyone with an intelligence higher than an amoeba would do). We had a chat for about 90 minutes accompanied by a few large Jamesons Irish whiskeys.

 Neat whiskey on an empty stomach should have left me feeling slightly mellow, but as the evening progressed I felt worse than that. I still thought that it might still have been the booze, perhaps aided by chilli sauce on my dinner, that was causing me to feel pretty horrible when I went to bed. I was feeling a tiny bit nauseus, but mostly I just felt very hot, and my face was burning like I had been out in the sun for far too long. With the aide of my fan I eventually got to sleep, but only for a few hours. At 1 am I woke up with bad gut ache, and the source of my discomfort became obvious. In fact it became obvious several times in the next couple of hours. I had food poisoning ! It evidently was not severe because it was all exiting from the correct end. Once all the major unpleasantness was over my temperature dropped, and I was able to sleep more comfortably.

 After a few more hours sleep it was time to get up, but my guts decided to play a bit of an encore. It was mild compared to what had gone before, but it was good enough for me not to want to travel into work with the possibility of still more to come, and after having such a rough night. Besides which, my guts were still a little tender in a cavernouse empty sort of way. So I went back to bed after pondering all that for an hour. At 8am I called into work to give them the good news, and then went back to sleep again, quite quickly this time, and didn't wake up again until 9.30am.

 I still feel a little odd even now, but I guess it will pass. I suspect all this was caused by a mexican chicken sandwich I bought on my way into work yesterday. It wasn't past it's sell by date, and it didn't taste suspicious, but it didn't really taste of what it was supposed to be either. The alleged lumps of chicken had a taste and consistency of how you might expect well boiled shoe leather to have. I think I will be avoiding that flavour in future.

 I would like to go out exploring a bit later today, but I doubt that I will . I think it is far more likely that I will just pop to the shops and buy the latest New Scientist, and then have a bit of a lazy day. I might do a bit of housework if I feel the urge, but I also doubt that will happen in any extensive manner.
Wednesday 7th July 2010
08:23 BST

 The big problem is how to interpret last night's BBC weather forecast ! On the face of it they warned about the possibility of rain today, but their animated rain clouds over the map of London suggested that it would be north London getting most of the rain, and only a few odd rain bearing clouds drifting over south London sometime later in the day. Once again reality is different. There were a few small spits of rain in the breeze in Catford, and it was similar when I arrived here in Earlsfield. I think the rain is a little more substantial now, but still light enough to be ignored when I go out for a fag soon. Later on the rain may become heavier. If the BBC's weather chart did have some semblance of reality I will be getting soaked on the way home from work !

 Last night I had a slight distraction at Clapham Junction on the way home from work. It was handy that I had managed to get an early train from Earlsfield because what I saw when the train pulled in to Clapham Junction tempted me to get off the train there.
30777 "Sir Lamiel" at Clapham Junction 6/7/2010
 It was steam loco 30777 "Sir Lamiel" (and it's support coach). Seeing a steam loco at Clapham Junction is a fairly rare sight (maybe just a few times a year) and I thought it worth taking a snapshot of it while it was there. All I had was my mobile phone camera, and to make matters worse I was almost shooting into the sun, but with a few tweaks using The Gimp photo editor I managed to pull out this recognisable picture from the original mess.

 I did not make the decision to interupt my journey home lightly. Once I start out for home I am like a salmon heading to it's spawning grounds. I want to get there as quicly and as directly as possible. However, last night I thought taking a picture of the steam loco was worth the discomfort of missing my usual Catford bound train from Waterloo East (the next train is a 20 minute wait, and usually I have to stand all the way on it). It turned out that I needn't have worried. I got off the train, went over the footbridge to the platform nearest where the steam loco was berthed, and no sooner had I taken a couple of quick snaps a train to Waterloo arrived on my platform. Even better was that it was non stop to Waterloo, not stopping at Vauxhall station. It did the journey at a rather sedate pace, but although I didn't have enough time to go outside for a smoke I was in plenty of time to catch my normal 16:23 train to Catford.

 I went home via Tesco, as I threatened to do, and ought some stuff. A lot of the stuff I bought was healthy wholesome stuff, but one item wasn't ! Once home I had a fairly large three part dinner. For starters I had some organic beetroot with lashings of teribly unhealthy mayonaise. I don't really like beetroot, but I saw packs of organic beetrrot marked down to less than half price, and I thought I would see if it was anything worth writing about - it wasn't ! Well maybe it was less worse than normal beetroot, but I am not tempted to buy any more.

 My next course was crispy salad with some reduced price, very close to the edge smelling, prawns - once again with lashings of mayonaise ! My third course was toffee banofee cake - a lot of it ! Without that cake I would have been doing quite well, but I think I blew any pretense at trying to be carefull with my food input by eating it. I may have increased my blood sugar levels more than I should, and quite probably raised my blood pressure too, but in many ways I feel rather good this morning. I got a bit more sleep last night as well, and that must have helped.

 This morning I finally managed to do something that I have been rehearsing for some time now. As I walked out of Waterloo East station I was stopped by a "ticket inspector" who said the magic words "can I see your ticket please ?". At long last I was able to reply "I haven't got a ticket..................(long pause)......................but I have got an Oyster card". In some ways it would have been good if he had been a miserable sort of sod, and I might have ragged him on a bit longer, but my target for this foolish prank had a sense of humour and we both had a smile as I walked on (after my Oyster card had been electronically checked with his handheld checker of course). Imagine, a little bit of joy that didn't involve any calories !
Tuesday 6th July 2010
07:53 BST

 True fantasy : Approximately 13 hours ago the weather forecaster on the BBC said we would wake up to a wonderful clear sky, but that it would haze over later.

 True Reality :  When I woke up this morning the sky was very hazy, and it almost seemed like it heralded some rain. Now, later in the day, the sky is clearing to become a wonderful clear blue.

 In all probability today will be much like yesterday. It was dry, and for the most part sunny, but the temperature stayed low somewhere around 23 - 24 C. If any single part of last nights weather forecast can be believed it is that the temperature will rise as the week ends. They have said that for two days running now, and it is sounding quite feasible. The only trouble with that forecast, and why I actually hope it is wrong, is that together with the heat will come high humidity.

 These slightly cooler days should have had a positive effect on my sleeping, but it has not been as positive as it might be. The trouble over the last few days has not been it being too hot to sleep, but more with it getting too cool in the night. To cool in the night is, of course, a rather relative term. In the middle of winter to have my bedroom at the same temperature would seem like luxury. However, right now, kicking off any covering in the middle of the night is guaranteed to make me feel very chilly and wake me up in the middle of the night.......and it has happened several times over the last few nights.

 Yesterday I felt pretty good overall when I started work, but even before lunch I was fantasising about how wonderful it would be if I could lay down on my bed and take a nap. After a rather dozy afternoon I was determined to get a bit more sleep last night. So once the local news, including it's dubious weather forecast, was over I went straight to bed. I didn't go intending to sleep that early, but I wanted to do some reading, and keep myself from other distractions that might have kept me awake longer than I wanted. As a plan it was good, but it didn't work out as well as I hoped.

 I finished the final short story in the book I was reading and prepared to go to sleep. My timing had been good, and it was before 9pm when I found a good relaxing position and prepared myself to be whisked off to the land of Morpheus. Unfortunately it was just at that time that Smudge started calling me from the garden using her unique version of a meow that sounds more like ee-ee-ee-ee etc. She is spending most of her time outside during these summer months, and really only comes in to be fed. She had eaten only a small amount when I first arrived home from work, so I guessed she was hungry again. This did turn out to be so when got out of bed again and went downstairs to see what the matter was. She came in and eat a very large portion of food while I watched. She then leapt onto the open window ledge, waved goodbye with her tail, and away into the garden.

 That was a long way of saying that I missed out on nearly an hours worth of sleep before I got to sleep. On top of that was the seveal times I woke during the night because I was either cold, having kicked off anything between my bare skin and the cool night air, or I needed a pee, or having a wrestling match with the duvet cover because I had not kicked it off the bed while asleep. Right now I feel fine, but I would not be surprised if I was not wanting to take an impossible siesta as lunchtime approaches again.

 Tonight will probably end up like last night except for one difference I know I can make, and maybe others that I will try and make. The one definite difference is that I will be stopping off to get some shopping on the way home unless some other distraction causes a different difference. I will attempt to stuff Smudge as full as possible before I attempt to go to sleep, and I will see if I can come up with a brilliant solution to try and keep myself at a comfortable temperature through the night. Nothing has ever worked in the past, but maybe tonight will see a breakthrough (or another failure to join the other 26,448 failures of the last excess amount of years). Maybe tonight I will get a full eight hours of sleep, or maybe tonight I will invent world peace in a handy to use aerosol can.
Monday 5th July 2010
07:56 BST

  As my train into work went into the leafy embankment between Clapham Junction and Earlsfield I couldn't help but thinking it felt like a very pleaant spring morning. It was bright and sunny, but the light was not harsh, and the air felt just the right side of cool to be refreshing. Earlier on, when I first left to go to the station, the sky seemed to be all blue, but now all I can see out my office window is light grey cloud. There is little chance of rain today, but the temperature is forecast to be only 24 C, and that only in central London. It seems the recent spell of hot weather has hiccupped, but the forecasters assure us that the temperature will be back in the high twenties by the end of the week. On one day, Thursday I think, the chance of rain increases a lot, but that is so far ahead that I expect the pronouncements of the forecasters will be as close to reality as a soap opera on TV.

 The weather yesterday was ideal for walking. It was bright and breezy nearly all day, and I did not take advantage of it at all. Just like on Saturday, I did practically nothing of any importance. In some ways, taking last Friday off work was a waste of a days holiday. All the rushing around I did on Friday I could have done just as well yesterday or Saturday. Well almost everything - I would not have had the pleasure of Patricia's company for half an hour if I had not taken Friday off, and it could be weeks before I see her again. So in that sense it was worth it.

 After my very lazy weekend, and after three days of eating carelessly, I thought I might be feeling very bad this morning, but in many ways I feel pretty good. The most bizarre thing is that I think I have done my belt up one notch tighter without the aid of hydraulic presses etc. Maybe I didn't eat as badly as I thought I had done. I guess what I ate yesterday was quite mild by comparison to Saturday, and although the difference becomes less, what I ate on Saturday was possibly better than the total crap I consumed on Friday. None of that really explains why I have comfortably moved my belt in by one notch. Maybe it's some sort of major organ failure, or perhaps parasitic worms, but I can live with either provided they shave another bit off my gut during the week.

 While most of my commute into work seemed at worst to be pretty average, and at best possibly a bit easier than some days, there were two parts of me that gave some trouble for the last 5 or 6 minutes of my walk from the station to work. They were my left foot and right ankle. It was my right ankle that went first. It has happened a few random times in the past, and what happens is that my ankle gives a sort of silent click, and for the next half a dozen paces it is like walking on a twisted ankle. Usually it give a little jerk of pain as I lift my foot off the ground, but sometimes the pain is when I first transfer weight to it as I put my foor down. In between, either with full weight, or no weight, it is perfectly painless. It is only the change that causes pain.

 Everytime that pain has happened, and I seem to recall about 4 instances this year alone, I just carry on walking as best I can, and it all goes away after half a dozen paces, or maybe a few more, but who is counting ? No it may be that it was the right ankle pain that caused me to shift the weight distribution on my left foot, and that in turn may have caused the problem I had in my left foot, but I can't see how. To be more specific the pain wasnot from my whole foot. It was like walking with some sharp gravel caught under the big toe. It was a bit like a sharp stabbing pain that happened on every pace for quite a few paces. The pain had gone a hundred yards before I got into work, but as sooon as I was in work I took my shoe and sock off to examine where the pain seemed to be coming from. Of course there was absolutely nothing to see, nor was there any residual tenderness. Maybe I imagined it !
Sunday 4th July 2010
08:10 BST

  As one of the disaffected colonies celebrate their independance and downfall into paranoia, we, or Catford, or maybe just I, celebrate a most beautiful morning. The sky is pure blue, and there is a light breeze bringing some early morning cool air into the house. I saw a weather forecast yesterday and nothing spectacular was forecast for today, and yet it feels like it may turn out to be an excellent day.

 Hopefully the light breeze this morning will banish the rather sticky heat we had yesterday. There was a fair amount of cloud yesterday, but it did remain bright, and for the most part it was sunny. Perhaps it was because I spent too long indoors that I thought that it was too humid to really do much.

 My day was a lot lazier than I wanted it to be. I did do three loads of laundry, and I did do some clearing up, but I couldn't face using the hoover. As I explained yesterday (I think), my hoover blasts out hot air when in use, and that combined with the effort of pushing it around just seemed too much when I was already feeling hot. Just to whinge a bit, I ought to add that the effort of pushing it around is multiplied by all the scrubbing type action needed to lift cat hairs from the carpet. No doubt those diligent enough to hoover frequently, perhaps even once a day, don't have these problems, but me, being a lazy sod, do have to suffer the consequences of my infrequent hoovering actions.

 Of course the real problem was that having gone shopping mid morning for the forgotten toilet cleaners (bleach and limescale remover - but not used at the same time), and for a four pack of diet coke, I also bought some food that tempted me to eat too early in the day. Having had what was a substantial brunch I didn't feel like any more rushing around, and proceeded to idle the day away. I became so idle that while Patricia was somewhere sitting with clenched buttocks watching her countrymen lose 4-0 as they played Germany in the world cup, I was fast asleep on my bed. I was quite surprised when I was woken up by an incoming text message from her lamenting her favourite teams demise !

 Later in the evening, when it seemed to have cooled down a bit, I made another attempt at doing some housework. All I really achieved was to make some preparations that would make continuing this morning a bit easier. Then I got another text message that sealed the fate of any more extensive housework. It was from Aleemah saying that she wouldn't be able to come over today either.

 With no visit from Aleemah I lost the incentive to continue my efforts, and although I will do a tiny bit more this morning, I will find other forms of amusement. Ideally I should go out for a long walk, but two days of semi idleness, and two days of eating excessively has left me not really feeling like walking that much. Besides which I have had an imagination failure for a destination to go walking. I don't feel like going on any long train rides, and that rules out going to the coast. Besides which, all the more accessible parts of the coast will be crawling with holiday makers and day trippers. I don't feel like any hill climbing, and that rules out many countryside walks even if I could think of a start destination.

 I think what I would like to do most of all is go for a short walk and meet up with someone at a pub with a decent beer garden, and while away a few hours getting drunk in the sunshine. Then come home for a big roast dinner followed by a nice snooze. There are several flaws in this plan. I can't think of a suitable pub. I don't know of anyone likely to be available to meet up with. I haven't got the ingredients for a full roast dinner (and if the afternoon turns out as hot as it probably will I doubt I would want a big hot roast dinner anyway).

 To sum up - I have no plans for today, and yet every plan (or stricly speaking - journey) starts with a first step, and the first step into what currently is the unknown begins this time with getting washed and dressed, and I think I am ready to make that step now.
Saturday 3rd July 2010
08:21 BST

  Considering all the warnings about rain and thunderstorms we've had, it's nice to wake up to a pleasant morning. It is nice and fresh outside, and even my bedroom seems cooler this morning. There is a fair amount of hazy cloud in the sky, and it's hard to predict how it will change as the morning progresses. Right now it's thin enough that the sun is shining. Later on it could get thicker, and then we may get the promised threatened rain. I have a slight twinge in my right knee and maybe that indicates rain is on it's way, but otherwise I am guessing it will be another fine day.

 Yesterday seemed very warm and humid, but there was not that much direct sunshine. The sun did shine occasionally but it was in competition with some big, and occasionally quite dark looking clouds. Maybe some places did see some rain, but there was none in Catford yesterday.

 In some respects yesterday was a successful day. Once I was washed and dressed I took the cable TV box to the Post Office. I don't know why exactly, but I have a dread of going to the Post Office. It's probably a combination of a hatred for long queues, and just ordinary unfamiliarity because I go there so rarely. Happily, yesterday's visit passed without any stress. I must have chosen a good time because the queue was very short, and I was in and out again in little more than 5 minutes.

 After the Post Office I wandered over to Peacocks to see what they had in store. For some time now I have had an unusual urge to buy a pair of red trainers/sneakers/basket ball type shoe things. This is very uncharacteristic of me, and must be sign of faulty brain chemistry or something. Peacocks did have the shoes I want earlier in the spring (maybe late winter), but I didn't want them then. Now I do they don't have any ! I did pick up a couple of their cheap (3) t-shirts while I was in there, but while I was getting ready to pay for them something happened that interfered with the next part of my plan. To my amazement I got a message from Patricia taking me up on my offer to buy her a lunchtime coffee, and although she didn't know it, to give her her birthday present.

 There was one little difficulty in going to meet Patricia, and that was that she could only meet earlier than lunchtime because she had to go into London at midday. So I had to rush back home to drop off my shopping, and then rush to the bus stop with her present. I would have walked to Lewisham, but time was running out. It seemed so hot and humid out that I doubt it would have made any difference to the state I was in if I had been able to take a relaxed walk or taken the bus. After all the rushing around I arrived in Lewisham as a soggy mess ! We didn't meet in the pub as I had hoped, but just had a couple of cold drinks in one of the shopping centre cafes. Her overdue birthday present was actually two items, and I didn't have much confidence that she would like either of them, but it seemed that buying them by instinct paid off. She really liked them.

 We chatted for a lot longer than I expected. I was originally under the impression that she only had 10 or 15 minutes to spare, but we must have been there for over half an hour. After she left I took the bus back to Catford and carried on with my shopping. I decided to pick up a few things in Aldi. As is usual when I shop in there I bought too much junk food and forgot the bleach and/or toilet cleaner again ! I also bought some booze. The three pack of miniature bottles of Irish whisky were probably an uneconomic purchase but I bought them anyway, and I am not sure if the bottle of scotch I bought was cheaper or dearer than the usual stuff I buy from Tesco.

 After the deed was done I came home and ate some of the junk food while I read some news stories on the internet. What I should have done was some of the housework that I had made a very minor start on before I first went out. Instead, after all that earlier rushing around, and after eating, I decided it might be nice to lay on my bed and read for a while. I did read for a bit, but then I closed my eyes and was very soon fast asleep. I think I slept for nearly two hours, and it was lucky that I woke up at just gone 4pm because I was due to meet Iain in the pub at 5pm.

 As well as having a drink together we wanted to watch another live band play in The Catford Ram. The band were called "All You Need", and it soon became obvious they were good friends of The Bluesiscians who we had seen in The Ram on the 7th of May. Most of The Bluesiscians were in the audience, and it turned out that the woman who had done some backing vocals was actually the lead singer of "All You Need".

 It could have been good, but wasn't ! The woman singer has not got a good voice. She sang slightly flat occasionally, and has a shouty type voice rather than a melodic one. All the songs she sang were well known to me, but not my favourites, although one song did surprise me, and I did enjoy that. It was Teenage Kicks by the undertones. Apart from being an excellent son in it's own right, I think her vocals did suit a punky type song better than some of the more ballad type songs she attempted. Much of that was like listening to a karoake session ! My final moan concerns the tuning of the guitars. On one particular song which I can't remember the bass guitar was handled by the keyboard player, and the bass player accompanied the lead guitarist on a 6 string. That guitar was way off tune, and the dischord was 'orrible !

 Despite these shortcomings it was sort of enjoyable, but the best bit was the lead guitarist. He struck me as being very competent in a cranky sort of way. He was very laid back, often looked bored, and (as I later confirmed) was often watching the sport on the TV screen (first tennis and then the football) as he played. For all that he handled the guitar like a master, and I am sure he never played a note wrong all evening, and as in the words of the song*  he really could make that guitar sing.

* What song ? I thought there was a reference to "making a guitar sing" in the song Stagefright by The Band, but a check suggests not. So what song am I thinking of ?

 After over two hours of playing non stop the band finished and we left to go home. I had got through several pints of Stella Artois and was feeling a bit merry, but Iain seemed totally pissed. That was unusual because Iain usually holds his booze quite well. I left Iain to find his bus and I went straight home to see what had happened to some dinner I had left cooking very slowly in the oven. I was delighted by what I found. It was peri-peri chicken that I had bought in Aldi earlier, and in theory it was supposed to have been cooked in the oven at a high heat for only about 25 minutes. I gave it around two and half hours at a very low heat and it tasted superb. I ate it with some green salad and some potato salad, and if I had left it at that everything would have been perfect.

 As I ate I was watching an episode that was billed as a new episode of the Star Trek prequel "Enterprise". I was not aware a new series had been made, but it certainly seemed new to me. As I continued to watch all the booze gave me a severe attack of the munchies. It was hot so I had some ice cream, and then I attacked some peanuts. With all that inside me I really ought to go for a 9 mile walk to walk it all off again, but not today. Apart from the long term effects of consuming so many calories there were more immeadiate effects, and the chilli on the peri peri chicken made things even worse.

 When I went to bed I was sweating profusely and in the stuffy heat of my bedroom it felt like my face was burning. I didn't want to risk chilling my back etc like I did last Wednesday, and getting bad back ache again, but I just had to turn the fan on. The solution, and it worked out rather well, was to put the pillows at the other end of my bed and sleep facing the wrong way. That put my face closest to the fan, and with that being kept cool I was OK covering my midriff with the duvet cover to stop any chill there. I slept well like that for 3 or 4 hours before I woke up with a bad hangover.

 I got up and took a couple of paracetamols, and while they took effect I slowly drank a pint and a half of chilled water. When I went back to be an hour or two later I felt fine, although obviously fairly tired still. I was soon asleep again, this time with the fan off, and everything was fine until inevitably all that water made it's way through the system. I woke up, rather late for me at 7am, busting for a pee !

 Today I was to have been seeing Aleemah, but she called last night to say she couldn't come over today, and that I'll probably see her tomorrow. So today I have a reprieve to try and finish the housework I was supposed to have done yesterday. If I get that finished reasonably early I may go out for a walk somewhere, but right now I feel like being lazy.
Friday 2nd July 2010
07:24 BST

  It feels like an oven inside my bedroom, but outside it is pleasantly fresh. There is an assortment of clouds in the sky, and the sun appears to be behind one of them, but it is fairly bright. Later in the day anything could happen. It's pretty certain that it is going to be just as hot today as it has been all week, and maybe a degree higher than yesterday, but I think it is going to be a nasty sticky sort of heat. The last weather forecast I saw has shifted the chance of a shower to the evening instead of the middle of the day, but I take the timing of that with a pinch of salt. Whenever it does come to rain there is also supposed to be a chance that we will get a heavy shower, and it could be heavy enough for a bit of thunder and lightning.

 Yesterday followed a trend that may also happen today despite the weather forecasters prognostications. After the cloudy start the clouds dispersed and we had a sunny afternoon. The sun was not out continuously, but probably more out than in. It would have been ideal weather for sitting out in a beer garden getting slowly drunk. Of course I was at work so that option was not available to me.

 Today I am taking a holiday from work, and I could drink beer all afternoon if I wanted, but today I don't want to. When I booked this day off work I thought it was going to be a fine day, and I was going to go out exploring. Then the weather forecast changed to suggesting today would be a wet and thundery sort of day and so I changed my mind and considered other things I could do. Now it looks like I could have gone out after all, but I have decided I'll tackle some of those other things anyway.

 One of the priorities today is to take the wretched Virgin Media set-top cable TV box to the Post Office. Once that it out of the way things become more flexible apart from one annoying detail. After taking 4 days off work sick my paypacket is a lot smaller than I would prefer. So the annoying detail is that I can't quite go on the spending spree that I would like to have done, although "spending spree" is rather an over dramatic description for what I had in mind.

 In reality I just have to curb my appetite for buying a few non-necessities. For instance I wanted to get in a couple of bottles of spirits/liqueuers to try out, but I will just stick to my monthly bottle of Scotch (probably). I think I am still going to buy a spare pair of shorts, and I think I am going to buy them from Marks And Spencers in Lewisham (who are more likely to have a suitable size for me). I did mention to Patricia that I was planning a jaunt into Lewisham today, and said that if she had a spare half hour at lunchtime I would buy her a coffee (while I would have a beer). I very much doubt I'll hear from her, but you never know.

 To fill in the other hours today I want to do some serious housework even though it will be very unpleasant doing stuff indoors where it is hot and sticky. My hoover emits a lot of quite hot air when it's working, and that plus the effort of pushing it around can cause me to raise a sweat even on a cold day. So I don't think I'll be doing as much hoovering as I should, although by doing it in small doses I may be able to get a bit more done than if I tackled it all in one go.

 Fortunately there is one good excuse I have for not going too mad with the cleaning. There is another band playing an early evening gig in The Catford Ram tonight, and I want to be cool and refreshed when I meet Iain (and maybe others) in there at 5pm. Try as I might I can't remember the name of the band so I have been unable to do any research on them. I have a worrying suspicion that they may veer towards the soul end of the blues spectrum instead of the rock end like The Bluesiscians who we greatly enjoyed back in May. If tonights band are not enjoyable I can see us decamping to The London And Rye pub.

 Yesterday I was complaining about backache, and trying to describe how the pain wrapped itself some way around my belly too. After I wrote that I realised a better way of describing it was to say it was like a combination of lower back pain and aching stomach muscles. As usual, most of the discomfort faded away during the morning once I was mobile, although it didn't go away entirely. During the evening, mostly as a result of slouching on the settee while watching TV, the pains did get worse and I had to fall back on the old golden scottish muscle relaxant. That worked OK and I was almost comfortable in bed and got to sleep relatively easily despite the heat.

 After little more than 4 hours sleep I woke up again in some mild discomfort, and I got up for an hour or two to stretch my limbs. After that I went back to bed and maybe got another couple of hours sleep (possibly 3 - I wasn't paying much attention to the actual time). It was pretty unpleasant but I managed to leave the fan off last night, and tried to keep my back covered with the duvet cover for as much as I could. The result is that most of the back pain has gone this morning, but my stomach muscles (or something more internal) still feels tender. If it is just muscular pain then it should soon be better, or if it is something more serious with my offal or guts then I guess amputation from the neck down (or leaches) will be the correct treatment, but my money is on a blown diode in the muscles. The good news is that most of the time I am perfectly comfortable (like now, sitting at the keyboard), but even when I become aware of the pain it is only at a level to be annoying, and far from anything that might be considered to cause any incapacity. I would go as far as saying that I expect all the discomfort will have gone by tonight, but I would also admit that it may be helped by a few glasses of ale in the pub tonight.

 When I awoke for the final time this morning I awoke from a pleasant dream. I say pleasant but it was also tinged with a little sadness. I dreamed that I was visiting the old telephone exchange in Catford that I worked in for many years. I met several of my old colleagues, and one of them had carefully preserved the old exchange diaries. In real life the diaries I am thinking of just had intermittent single line entries like "heating oil delivery today", but in the dream they were more like web pages complete with pictures. It was nice to reminisce over them. Remembering some good times, and other colleagues who had come and gone. I sort of miss some of those guys. They were fun to work with even though outside work we moved in different social circles. Perhaps the thing that was saddest of all was some pictures of me showing the results of the most successful diet I have ever undertaken (although that happened when I was working in Forest Hill telephone exchange). The sadness come in the realisation that I will never be so inspired to lose that amount of weight again, and I will never actually be that weight again until the crematorium has sufficiently crispified me (or if I am just dumped in The Thames, the assorted wildlife in there have nibbled enough bits off).
Thursday 1st July 2010
07:59 BST

  From the look of the sky it could easily start to rain at anytime. With luck the cloud will go away before any rain falls, and maybe we'll have a nice sunny afternoon. It is also surprisingly cool this morning. Not so cool that I was even tempted to put on long trousers, but still cooler than I expected.

 After the dull start yesterday the weather brightened up during the morning, and the afternoon became quite hot and sunny. It's possible that is what will happen today, but the forecast for tomorrow casts some doubt on that. I've booked a day off work tomorrow on the assumption that it would be a nice sunny day, but now it seems there is a strong chance of some showers, and a fair chance that on or more showers will develop into a thunderstorm. We'll see how that turns out in reality in due course, but it does seem that the 5 day forecast I saw last Sunday evening has turned out to be almost a complete work of fiction.

 I did my shopping in Tesco on the way home last night, and I remembered everything except toilet cleaner. Forgetting one thing seems to be a standard fixture for me when I shop in Tesco, and I can't even blame it on a rotting brain cell. As far as I can remember I have forgotten one item, often an important one, every time I have shopped in Tesco for the last 25 years. It must be something about Tesco. Maybe it is a side effect of the mind altering rays they use to convince you to "buy one, get one free"  something you didn't want in the first place !

 One of the things I bought yesterday was a pair of trout. In theory I like trout, but maybe not in practice. I seasoned and cooked it perfectly, and I even managed to pull out the backbone with head and tail attached just as depicted in a cartoon. It looked as if every bone came out intact, but all through eating it with a nice green salad and a balsamic dressing, I was pulling out yet more bones. Whether I will stick to my decision or not remains to be seen, but for now I have decided that I just can't be bothered to spoil another meal like that. In future I'll stick to fish with less of a bone problem.

 During the night I might have had a bit of a stomach ache, but maybe not in the sense of a digestive problem. I woke up at 3 am with bad back ache. If I tried to turn over to a more comfortable position for my back I found my guts ached. I suspect that during the night I was tossing and turning trying to find an optimum position and instead of finding one I just made things worse. I did release a little trapped wind after waking up, and that could account for the gut ache, but I suspect there is another factor involved in all this. It was cooler than expected last night, and I left the fan blowing on my naked body as I slept. Maybe I have chilled my kidneys, liver, or other assorted offal.

 Right now it is difficult to say what hurts because if I sit or stand in certain ways I have no pain. While in a position that does hurt it is hard to say exactly where the pain is coming from. Maybe it is centred on the small of my back and wraps itself around both sides almost to my navel, or maybe it goes in the opposite direction. A third possibility is that there is more than one seat to these pains. Apart from when trying to lie on my bed, when my back was really very uncomfortable, none of these pains exceed the level of slightly annoying, and with suitable distractions are even completely ignorable. The worst aspect of all is that once I awoke at 3am I never really got back to sleep again. So my never ending quest for more sleep has taken another step backwards.

 There was a report in this mornings paper saying that there is an increase in the amount of forced marriages of men who are, or are suspected of being gay. These men are forced by family, friends or community to marry women for the sake of conformity, or maybe in the hope that it will cure them. I wonder where they find the brides from, and are they reasonable looking ? Anyway, as of this morning I might be feeling a bit gay...................