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

Wednesday 30th June 2010
08:37 BST

  As I walked to the station at least 40% of the sky was clear blue. Unfortunately none of the blue was where the sun was rising, and everything looked dull and flat. Maybe 90 minutes later I can see the sun shining onto the top of a nearby building, but paradoxically even less of the sky is blue. In fact the clouds seems to be thickening and looking dark enough to bring a shower. Apparently there is a chance of an isolated shower today, but overall it is forecast to be a good day with a high of at least 27° C.

 I don't completely believe the forecast for today. The forecast for yesterday was wrong - all the rain fell quite early in the morning, and it was forecast for the afternoon. I am not even sure if the forecast for overnight was correct - it was dry, and it was certainly unpleasantly warm and sticky indoors, but whether the outsside air temperature stayed up at around 20° C is debatable. I would suggest not. It was certainly not as cool as yesterday morning, but it still felt pleasantly fresh when I left for work.

 The best thing about today is that it is payday ! That is very handy because I was very close to going into the red, but I've just had my pay slip handed to me and I am reminded that I had 4 unpaid days off sick this month, and my pay packet is a lot smaller than usual. I was planning a bit of a spending spree on Friday (when I have booked a day off work). I had budgetted to spend at least £40 (!), but now I guess I'll just have to buy a cheaper brand of whisky, and try and get some of the grease spots out of my old t-shirts ! - Tesco's hot chicken is a bugger for dripping "something" that leaves a permanent stain on t-shirts !! It's lucky that I am trying to avoid their hot chicken - at least during the hot summer months - and that is helping to keep some of my t-shirts wearable in public !

 I have to go to Tesco on the way home from work, but I won't be tempted by anything from their hot chicken counter. I seem to be in a bit of a fishy mood recently. I had a big plate of salad and smoked mackerel last night, and I think I'll end up having fish salad again tonight. It sounds very healthy, and in terms of all the assorted vitamins and minerals it is, but the large amount of mayonaisse I tend to use wipes out any calorie advantages. Perhaps I might experiment with some alternative dressings, but I won't be experimenting with any of the low fat/calorie mayonaisses. At best they can taste slightly unpleasant, and the worst I once tried almost made me throw up. It tasted like emulsified sump oil !
Tuesday 29th June 2010
08:33 BST

  Consider this picture taken a little before 7am..........
clouds over Catford
 Nothing looks particularly threatening, but an hour later those interesting clouds had gathered together and dumped water on us ! After last night's weather forecast the idea of rain today was not unexpected (although 24 hours previously the chances of rain were considered as unlikely as the second coming of the great prophet Zarquon). However my interpretation of the forecast, based upon the icons the BBC use on their forecasts, suggested that the rain would not be falling here until around midday, with a slim chance of it still raining when I go home at 4pm.

 It does seem to be brightening up a little now, and if the BBC got the quantity right, and only the timing wrong, then we can look forward to another warm, going on hot, day with plenty of sunshine later. The forecast is for the temperature to dip to about 26° C today, but it is supposed to rise back up to 28 or more by the end of the week. Maybe we'll have another scorching weekend, or maybe it will snow.......

 I had every intention of going to bed extra early last night, but I stayed up 10 minutes later than I should have. That mere 10 minutes was enough to get me hooked on a TV programme that did not finish until 9pm. The programme was one from a series that I saw few episodes of called Medical Mavericks. The one last night was about doctors who experimented on themselves to discover some stuff about nutrition that we now take for granted. What the programme did not say, but ideally should have, was that those early pioneers had plucked all the best fruit from the tree. Most new nutritional ideas now are just clutching at straws as sometimes doctors, but more often cranks, attempt to cure imaginary diseases, or extend life by a few more minutes.

 So I didn't get to bed until just gone 9pm. It was hot and stuffy in my bedroom despite having the window open and a fan on. Unlike previous nights I had no trouble sleeping under such conditions. I may have got up for a pee sometime in the night, but basically I slept soundly until 3am. I did get up then biefly, but 20 minutes later I was asleep until I woke up again at 4.30am. I don't know how I will feel later, but I feel quite refreshed this morning. It is as if I packed more sleep into a shorter time than usual. Maybe I might do something similar again tonight if the magic continues through the day.
Monday 28th June 2010
08:03 BST

  Another glorious morning ! After being hot and stuffy indoors it was delightfully cool as I set out to work just before 6.30am. An hour later as I arrived in Earlsfield it was already beginning to warm up. Today is likely to be another scorcher with temperatures approaching 30° C.  There seems to be less cloud about than yesterday so the temperature could get even higher.

 It's time to give the weather forecasters their due and admit that they got it exactly right yesterday. The temperature did soar to 30° C, and that wasn't just in London. At Gravesend, some 40 miles east of London, the mercury was only a tad under 31° C according to my morning paper.

 In such heat I went out again yesterday. It was a fairly short walk in comparison to what I am achieving recently, but it was hard going. I walked for 4.4 miles across varying terrain that included quite a few hills, and they always sap my energy quite fast. It was of course also rather hot, and although some of my route took a nice shady path alongside a river, most of it was across fully exposed ground. I have to admit I did get a bit sweaty on this walk. In fact it seems I lost somewhere between 3 and 4 pounds due to dehydration according to my scales. At least half a pound of that must have been soaked into my t-shirt which was saturated when I got home.

 It was an interesting challenge to go for that walk after the close on 8 miles I walked yesterday. The heat didn't bother me too much, but my feet became sore quite quickly. The rest of my walking apparatus (muscles, bones, joints, etc.) stood up to it well, but the last few hundred yards was a bit of a struggle. This was particularly so because the railway station was up on an embankment that I had to climb, then I had to go up over the footbridge to get to the right platform, and I had to do all that as fast as possible to avoid missing my train. I reached the right platform with about 15 seconds to spare, and it was a deep joy to get on the train and sit down for the journey home again.

 For all those hardships I did enjoy myself. I saw new bits of the countryside and I managed to take one picture that I have been wanting to take for a long time.
London bound train on Eynsford viaduct
 I had to use full zoom to get the picture of a SouthEastern Class 465 train going over Eynsford viaduct towards Swanley (and eventually, Victoria station). Ideally I would have liked to have been a lot closer to the viaduct, and even taken some pictures from almost below it, but that would have meant maybe an extra mile of walking, and my endurance was coming to an end. After taking this picture I took the shortest route possible to the station.

 I fell asleep quite easily last night, and even slept well for 3 or 4 hours. After that I slept badly, and got very little sleep between 1 and 3am. After that I think I slept continously until I woke up at 4.30am. So it's back to the old routine of moaning about not getting enough sleep, and going to bed very early again tonight. So there will be no time for anything interesting to happen once I get home from work tonight.
Sunday 27th June 2010
08:28 BST

  The clear blue sky this morning must be to blame for the fact that it is quite chilly this morning. I let Smudge in at 3 or 4am, and when I opened the window it felt like an icy blast compared to the hot stuffiness indoors. Although the forecast suggest there may be more cloud than yesterday the temperature is supposed to hit 30° C today. That might mean the day ends with a thunderstorm, but the forecasters say that the weather will stay dry for the week ahead.

 Yesterday it was gloriously hot and it didn't appear to be as sticky and humid as the day before. I don't yet know what the final score was for the temperature, but I do know from personal experience that it was several degrees cooler, and wonderfully fresh on the coast. This was most apparent when I stepped out of an air conditioned train from the coast into the heat at Sevenoaks. It felt like walking into an oven until my body acclimatised after some minutes.

 I had a glorious day out yesterday. The day turned out to be similar to how I suggested it might be yesterday morning. I found I had left things a bit late to go to the shops and Post Office and so I went straight to the station to get the 10:03 train to Sevenoaks where I changed for a train to West St Leonards. For some reason I thought that the walk from West St Leonards to Hastings was less than 2 miles, but the route I took, walking as far as you can along or beside the beach, turned out to be exactly 5 miles.

 As the maps suggested, the most eastward end of Hastings is where the cliffs plunge almost straight into the sea. To go any further means climbing to the top of the cliffs and walking along the top. That is something I may do another day, but yesterday I turned around and went to Hastings station via an inland route.

 My original thoughts, mostly based on the wrong assumption that I would only have walked a few miles at that point, were that I would get a train from Hastings station to Norman Bay station and walk back to Bexhill from there. With the reality that I had already walked 5 miles I decided that maybe that was a bit ambitious. Fortunately I was saved from doing that by the first train available in the right direction not stopping at Normans Bay. To get there I would have to wait over half an hour for a train, but only 10 minutes to get a train to the station before Normans Bay, Cooden Beach.

 It turned out that going to Cooden Beach was actually a wise idea. I had expected sand to walk on, and maybe it was there covered by the high tide, but all I had to walk on for the first mile or so was loose shingle above the water line, or painful (in thin soled shoes such as I was wearing) pebbles. Covering that first mile was very hard work and I was very glad when I came to a promenade that continued all the way to Bexhill. On the assumption that it would have been similar shingle and pebbles all the 3 or so miles from Normans Bay, I think would have abandoned the beach as soon as I could and probably made my way to Cooden Beach station, and then started home using an inland route. Although it was only 2.78 miles to Bexhill station it felt like almost double that, and my feet, ankles and legs were rather sore when I arrived on the platform there.

 I was quite surprised how quickly my walking bits recovered on the short train ride from Bexhill to St Leonards Warrior Square station where I changed to a London Bound train. At that point I felt comfortable enough to walk around the station without any problems apart from a little soreness from the soles of my feet. The same was not true after travelling for an hour on a cool air conditioned train to Sevenoaks station. When I first tried to walk it felt like my ankles were about to break. After a few moments, and after what felt like a blast of heat as I stepped out of the cool train, my ankles freed up, and I was soon feeling quite comfortable. The train from Sevenoaks to Catford was not air conditioned so I didn't get that same heat shock as I got off the train, and my ankles had not almost siezed up. In fact apart from the soles of my feet still being a little sore, I found that walking back home was as easy as any day.

 I did all that walking under the hot sun with no sun protection. Fortunately my previous exposure to the sun has given me a lot of built in protection, and although my legs did have a slight tingle last night, no part of me got burnt, at least not enough to cuase any pain or discomfort. I do notice that I have a nice pale line around the redness of my neck where my camera strap was !

 Overall I felt really rather good after that double walk. I certainly felt good enough that I managed to restrain myself from eating a huge meal afterwards. Like all my more succesful walks I had eaten comparatively lightly the night before, and then not eaten anything until I was home again. I still couldn't resist the lure of the fried chicken shop, but I opted for just some spicy chicken wings and a small bag of chips. Apart from the addition of two digestive biscuits with some incredibly smelly mature Brie between them, that was all I ate last night. I intend to go out walking again today, and although my feet may still be a little sore, I should be otherwise quite comfortable.

 I don't know whether to blame it on the excitement, or the summer heat, but I didn't seem to feel at all tired last night. I even had the energy to go through all the pictures I had taken to select and edit them for a web page. I didn't make up that web page last night, but I have done so this morning. So if you want to see some of the pictures I took yesterday click here.
Saturday 26th June 2010
07:17 BST

  After yesterday's slightly disappointing start I am pleased to say that this morning seems far better. The sky is quite hazy now, but soon the rising sun should clear that haze away leaving the sky an even better blue colour. I belive there will be some patchy cloud appearing from time to time today, but it will stay dry and it's going to be hot. In London the temperature should rise to at least 28° C, but it will be a bit cooler on the coast.

 Yesterday was unfortunately cloudy for much of the day, but there were times when sun found it's way through the clouds. Towards the evening the cloud thinned out a lot. I think we achieved a temperature of around 26° C by late afternoon, but like many English summer days it felt a bit humid and sticky to me. Maybe today will improve on that.

 I came home straight from work last night, but really I should have stopped off to get some shopping. There was nothing I desperately needed, but it may have saved me a dilemna today (that I shall explain in a minute). Ideally I would have had another light salad with a few snacks last night, but instead I had chicken curry. I had bought the chicken earlier in the week and decided that I ought to use it up before it sat in the fridge (not freezer) for too long. So I cooked the curry the previous night and left it in the oven ready to be warmed up again last night. It was very tasty, and because I didn't warm it up too much it didn't overheat me on an already warm night.

 After my recent early nights I thought I might stay up a bit later last night, but after three days of going to work an hour early on the 0603 train I found that I couldn't keep my eyes open that late. I was fast asleep on my bed by 9pm, and possibly a bit earlier than that. After 4 hours of solid sleep I kept waking up. At 3am I decided I could do something that would be impractical if it was a work day. I got up and took a wander into the park. I didn't go very far, or stay out for very long, but it was quite delicious in the cool night air. I didn't see any wildlife on this nocturnal walk, but unusually I did see some people. There was one other person who may have been doing the same as me, and on the other side of the sports track I saw a group of three people walking in the other direction. They looked potentially sinister so I was happy to have the sports track between us. After cooling off I went back to bed and slept for another couple of hours.

 Today I am going out exploring, but before that I have to make some decisions. There are two tasks I ought to undertake before going out. One of them is to drop off my Virgin Media set top box at the Post Office. After my success at being decisive about getting rid of the cable TV service I was told that Virgin Media would be sending me a pre-paid packet to send the set top box back to them. It was suppose to arrive at the beginning of the month, but only arrived last Thursday. During that wait I recieved another communication from Virgin Media. It was a new viewing card for the set top box. That seemed a bit strange and I wondered if they had cocked up my order, but then the next bill arrived and it showed correctly that I had given up the TV service. So I have to take the box to the Post Office sometime, and today would seem the best day. The trouble is that the Post Office will probably be crowded and hot, and I'll probably have to queue for ages, and that might wear my patience a bit thin.

 On my way back from the Post Office (assuming I do that today) I could call in at Tesco to get some very useful supplies, but after an interminable time in the Post Office I could get there late when Tesco's itself is crowded, and with slow queues at the checkouts. If I spend too much time buggering around I might lose the urge to go out exploring.

 My plans for exploring today are very loose. What I think I am going to do is the take a train to West St. Leonards station and walk towards Hastings. This is the opposite direction to when I first visited West St. Leonards. It's only about 1.5 miles to Hastings, but there is the option of walking beyond there. I don't think there are too many opportunities to walk along the beach there because of the cliffs, but above the cliffs is the Hastings Country Park that runs along the top of the cliffs. I might go up there exploring, or I might go back to Hasting station. From there I could get a train going west to Normans Bay station. I think there is a nice sandy beach there, and that beach appears to continue east for some way towards Bexhill. Walking back to Bexhill is about 5 or 6 miles and would complete another long section of coastline I have explored having finished at Bexhill from the Hasting direction last year.

 As I recall, that walk from St Leonards to Bexhill was done on a very hot day. My diary entry for the day mentioned a forecast for only around 22° C, but I seem to recall it being far hotter than that, and unless I am confusing it with another walk (quite possibly) the reality was closer to 26° C as today is supposed to be. The curious thing is that I much prefer walking while it is very hot. While moving at a reasonable pace there is sufficient air flow to stop me getting too sweaty, although once I actually stop it can get rather unpleasant ! So I am looking forward to a good walk today, but before I do anything else I must get washed and dressed !
Friday 25th June 2010
07:40 BST

  This morning is not quite as good as the last two mornings, but it's not bad. Unfortunately it is reasonably cloudy, but the pleasant temperature is about the same as the previous two days. I don't think this cloud will bring any rain, and I seem to recall that the weather forecasters reckon it will stay dry for at least the next 7 days. Maybe the cloud will actually clear as the day goes on, and we will end up with a very nice sunny evening.

 After the glorious start to yesterday it did get worryingly cloudy. Some of the clouds did not look like the "fair weather cumulus clouds" as mentioned during the weather forecast. Instead of being light and fluffy they were tending towards the dark and brooding - or so it seemed to me. As I made my way home from work the air felt hot and heavy, and with some of those dark clouds in the sky I did wonder if a thunderstorm was brewing up. It would not have been all that nice enduring a thunderstorm in just a t-shirt and shorts, but there wasn't even any rain, let alone a thinderstorm. In any case I found I had more serious things to worry about.

 While walking through the train, to get to the front which is closest to the barriers at Waterloo station, I had a small mishap. I am not sure exactly how it happened, but I think it was a combination of the train accelerating, and me hesitating about whether tio hold the connecting door open for someone who was also making his way to the front, but was some way behind me. Whatever the cause may have been is now losts in the mists of time, but the outcome was bloody painful.
Carry on the black fingernail
 I took the above picture as I came into work this morning. In the foreground, and out of focus, are my right hand fingers. Unfortunately my mobile phone camera does not capture pain, but you can see the bruising under the nail of the middle finger. In the background of the picture is a door similar to what caused some really excruciating pain, and the disappointingly small bruise (from the extreme agony last night, and the incredible tenderness this morning, I would have expected to see huge supurating bruises, gangrene, blood and protruding bone and ligaments). Somehow it seems I tried to close the door on the tips of my fingers. I managed to avoid vocalising a huge collection of offensive swear words that were swirling round in my head, but it was hard keeping them in. I have never known my fingertips to throb with such pain for so long a period in my life (probably). What I don't understand is why it is only the middle finger that shows this small amount of bruising. The finger next to it seemed to hurt just as much, and if anything I was expecting it to be more severely bruised.

 My little mishap happened on the Earlsfield to Waterloo leg of my commute home. For the second leg, Waterloo East To Catford, the pain had dwindled a lot, but my fingertips still felt numb on the underside, and very tender on the nail side. I had to take great care when fishing my Oyster card out of my pocket. The slightest knock on a fingernail emitted waves of pain. Later still things had settled down even more, but this morning my middle finger is still very tender.

 Apart from my bruised finger(s) I feel pretty good this morning. I ate surprisingly little last night, and that probably contributed as much as anything else to me feeling of well being. I am trying not to think about tiredness though. I did not get to bed until 9pm last night, and having got to bed later than I might desire I didn't sleep all that well. For some reason I woke up at 3am feeling really wide awake. If I didn't have to go to work today I may well have stayed up for a few hours before trying for more sleep. What I actually did was to go downstairs to let Smudge in and feed her. Maybe 15 - 20 minute later I was back on my bed (too hot to get in it), and shortly after, to my amazement, asleep again. I continued sleeping until my alarm woke me at 5am. Somehow I seemed to get myself ready to go to work at double speed this morning. So for the third day in a row I have left the house at 5.50am and arrived at work an hour early at 7am. It does make for a long day, but it is so pleasant travelling so early that I can't help but do it whenever I can.

 Once upon a time, and we are talking over 30 years here, someone who name is lost to history (but who wasn't me) drank too much Southern Comfort and threw it all up again. Prior to that I slightly liked Southern Comfort, but the stench of vomitted Southern Comfort has lead me to avoid drinking it since then, although periodically I do a retest to make sure I still hate it. Now I feel that retesting is not needed for the foreseeable future.
Southern Comfort advertising poster 25th June 2010
 All around the rail network, and maybe other places too, there are billboards with adverts for Southern Comfort as in the above picture I took at Catford Bridge this morning. It seems from the advert that Southern Comfort allies itself with hip hop. Now it is well known that hip hop, and several related music genres, are an abomination in the eyes of any reasonable music loving god. Not wishing to invoke the wrath of any reasonable music loving god I have decided to permanently stay clear of Southern Comfort. Besides which, isn't New Orleans somewhere near Luisianna where so much inbreeding goes on that most people have webbed feet and 6 fingers (or something).I am quite happy to trust brewing to a totally mad Belgium, a completely stoned Dutchman , a goose stepping German, or a monster raving loony Englishman, but I will not drink anything brewed by a man with webbed feet (or his sister wife)!
Thursday 24th June 2010
07:19 BST

  It's almost unbelievable, it's another perfect morning ! It is so good that for only the second time ever I am wearing my shorts to work. It seems that it might lightly cloud over this afternoon, but it should stay dry, and the temperature should approach 28° C.

 Considering that the temperature was only supposed to reach 26° C yesterday it felt very hot. The sun shone for most of the day and I really had an urge to go for a walk in either the woods, or along the seashore. Unfortunately we have neither in the vicinity of work, but I am considering asking for a half day holiday today so that I could go further afield for a walk. I still have an idea that I want to walk from Shoreham station back to Eyensford station (both in Kent) via a few footpaths across the fields.

 I haven't commented about the customer information screen at Earlsfield station for several weeks now. It is the one at the bottom of the stairs that I hate so much, that leads up to the London bound platform. About a month ago it died, and eventually I posted a picture of what it was saying.
CIS at Earlsfield 25th May 2010
 It displayed that frozen image for the next 4 weeks, but over the weekend it must have been fixed because it was working OK again on Monday evening. On Tuesday night, and last night, it was displaying this.............
CIS Earlsfield 23rd June 2010
 It's a very grainy picture taken on my phone camera, but at least it is readable and tells us that WinSync.exe has "thrown a wobbly" !

 It was very warm when I arrived back in Catford after work last night, and I was feeling quite warm too after sitting in a stuffy train. I had to get some shopping in on the way home and it would have been very tempting to buy a huge tub of ice cream and dive in head first :-) Strangely enough I resisted that temptation, and what's more I actually bought a lot of healthy type food. For my dinner I had prawn salad. It had lots of green stuff as well as peppers and tomatoes, and if I hadn't been very generous with the garlic mayonaisse it would have been quite a healthy, low calorie, low fat, high vitamin and mineral, sort of meal. Of course any benefit from such a meal was immediately wiped out by the large amount of Tesco Finest New York Style Cheesecake I ate afterwards. The amount of sugar in that should keep me sweating hard all day, and yet oddly enough I don't feel sweaty at all right now.

 I avoided further temptation, although nothing else I bought or had in the fridge came close to the lunacy of that cheesecake, by going to bed extra early last night. I felt better yesterday after getting to bed early the previous night, and last night I decided to do the same. In fact I was in bed even earlier, but last night I wanted to finish reading a couple of unread articles in last weeks New Scientist magazine before the new issue comes out today. I turned the light out as early as 8 pm, but it was some time before I fell asleep. It was hot in my bedroom last night, and I had the fan on, and the drone of that may have kept me awake a bit, or it might have soothed me to sleep when the right time came. I am sure I was asleep before 9pm, but I did wake up sometime after midnight and turned off the fan on my way back from the toilet. I fell asleep again very quickly before waking up feeling quite refreshed at 4.10am. I have been awake since then.

 I cannot believe that I did not comment on the budget yesterday. The Chancellor is making some major upheavals in the dirty world of finance, but you could have knocked me down with a feather when I found out that he did not increase the already unbelievable, extortionate beyond the evil fantasies of any real life or fictional gangsters, amount of duty on booze and fags. It is still not proof that there is a god in heaven, but it is hinting there could at least be a semi trained monkey there.
Wednesday 23rd June 2010
07:33 BST

  For some time now I have been complaining about the cold mornings, but not this morning. It was warm and stuffy indoors, and it was nice to get out into the cool fresh air today. Not that it is that cool. I have no idea of the temperature in degrees this morning, but the early morning air was less than warm, and more than cold. As well as the air temperature being pleasing the sky is also very pleasing too, being "gin clear" blue. It could end up pretty warm today.

 Yesterday ended with it being hot and sunny. Unfortunately I have spent too many seasons where I have eaten too much, and unlike last year, I was sweating like a pig as I made my way home from work yesterday. Despite the sweatiness it was all rather pleasant, but I didn't enjoy it quite as much as I could have done. There were a variety of reasons why I didn't enjoy it as much as I should. They range from the simple - I was wearing a pair of shoes that are really comfortable to wear, but less comfortable to walk in after a long day. At the other end of the scale was the complex - birthday trauma, but that is far too complicated for even me to understand, yet alone explain.

 I met Jodie in the Catford Wetherspoons for a drink after work last night. I haven't been in there for ages now, but it hasn't changed. It's still rather noisy in there, but there was a reasonable selection of beers available (and at only £1.90 a pint). I had three different beers in there, and one was good, one was not so good, and the other was really rather bland. With three beers in me I could have gone for a big takeaway, but something held me back and I only got a small takeaway. To give you some idea of just how small - it only cost £3 !

 I munched through my small bag of hot and spicy chicken wings, and the small bag of unpleasant American style chips while watching some stuff on the TV, and then very soon afterwards I went to bed. I wasn't watching the clock that accurately, but I think I was fast asleep soon after 8.30pm (maybe even a little before that). It was my lack of sleep over the previous week that was one of the reasons why I didn't enjoy all the sunshine yesterday. After getting to sleep nice and early I did wake up earlier than I would have liked at around 3.30am. After doing some of the neccessaries I went back to bed, and I did manage to get a few short spells of sleep before getting up again.

 I do feel so much better for getting around 7 hours sleep, but I would still prefer to get a full 8 hours. Maybe it just all in the mind. Perhaps if I really needed it I would not wake up so early in the morning. I am not so sure that my guts feel better today. Yesterday I think I was suffering from the after effects of all the eggs I ate on Sunday. I certainly seemed to be filled with weapons grade, and yet strangely odourless, methane during much of the working day, and that was yet another reason why I did not enjoy yesterday as I might have. This morning the source of the natural gas seems to have run dry, but I can still feel a certain tenderness about my guts.I think that will pass as the day progresses, and maybe I will be able to fully enjoy the experience of going home from work in hot brilliant sunshine.
Tuesday 22nd June 2010
07:57 BST

  The day has started quite reasonably. There is a lot of blue sky, and most of the clouds that are visible are very high insubstantial things. I think this morning has to be the closest to warm that we have had for ages, although it's still not quite up to summer standards.  I expect that we will have a fair amount of sunshine today, and the day should warm up quickly enough with temperatures of around 25° C expected. Once again it should be another totally dry day.

  Although yesterday started off a bit misty and overcast around here, it did clear up quite quickly, and most of the morning was bright and sunny. During the afternoon the sky did lightly cloud over, and although it stayed bright there was little sunshine for the rest of the day.

 My prediction that the druids and hippies would be disappointed with the sunrise yesterday turned out to be wrong. A report in my morning paper said that at 4.51am the sun rose into a clear sky over Stonehenge. So presumably the druids were able to do their stuff and the world will be a better and happier place for the next 12 months. Meanwhile, I was intending to sacrifice a virgin to ensure world peace, prosperity, and plenty of wild sex for the rest of the year. Unfortunately the virgin I chose, Virgin Media, crashed before I could tie it to the stone altar.

 Last night I wasted a whole lot of time, and made myself late for bed again, by attempting to get the super whizz bang studio sound card working on my friends PC while it was using Linux. I found, and installed, the Windows drivers for when it was booting Windows, and that worked OK. For Linux it was a different story. Why that sound card should be so bloody difficult to use is a mystery - it may be sophisticated at the analogue end, but the digital end is just another chip. The best I could was to get sound out of it, but with no volume control, mixer, or any other means of controlling it. Alternatively I could get it's control panel, special sophisticated mixer, and a few other bits and pieces, but not get any sound out of it at all ! I think my friend is just going to have to accept that he will have to use the ordinary, onboard, sound card while using Linux despite him believing it to be very inferior. If his set up was part of the Abbey Road studios he might have a valid point, but just to listen to 60's pop songs it is a bit over-specced !

 Tonight I am not going to touch that PC. I am going for a quick drink after work, and then I am having some dinner, and then I am going to bed ! I'm meeting Jodie in the Weatherspoons where I suspect she is going to buy me a birthday drink. I think I might buy myself a drink too to celebrate unexpectedly surviving a full two years and an unknown amount of months longer than my dad survived.There are times when I think I might even be able to add another year to that.
Monday 21st June 2010
07:58 BST

  It's the longest day of the year, but the chances of any hippies or druids having seen the sun come up over some sacred stones was very poor this morning. There is a lot of cloud in the sky, but it is not dense cloud, and there are a few small breaks in it. Once the sun rises a bit higher it may clear some of the cloud away leaving a reasonably bright dry day. The good news about the weather is that it is starting to warm up again. It was mild first thing this morning, and it could get warm, perhaps around 23° C, later on in the afternoon. Looking further into the future there are some wildly speculative forecasts that we will see highs of 27 or 28° C for Thursday and Friday.

 The origins of the mildness this morning come ot from direct sunshine, of which we have had hardly any for the last few days, but from warm winds blowing in from elsewhere. I did notice that after the particularly chilly start yesterday morning it was feeling almost warm in the evening. Despite it warming up in the evening it was still not a very inspiring day yeasterday. It's true that the sun did shine a couple of times, but we also had a shower or two. Mostly it was just boring grey. Thinking back I didn't even have to close the curtains when I watched an episode of Deep Space Nine early in the afternoon. That programme is usually so poorly lit, presumably for artistic reasons, that it's sometimes difficult to see what is going on even with the curtains drawn. Before you think I must be watching it on a knackered TV, I have to say that this problem is unique to Deep Space Nine. Personally I blame it on the Cardacians !

 With the weather sapping any inspiration I may have had to go out walking yesterday (apart from popping out to Tesco) I stayed in and kept my energy dissipation quite low. On many occasions that would be an euphanism for being very lazy, but that's not accurate on this occasion. While my body may not have been doing too much, my mind was often working quite hard as I did battle doing a fresh installation of Windows on my friends computer. Just trying to get his dual head ATI graphics card to work correctly was a major headache. Eventually I found a posting saying that even ATI know their driver installation software, and if you look hard enough on their website they do provide a special installation program that does work. As I said I would, I made the computer dual boot Windows and Linux. The Linux installation was a doddle. It had drivers for absolutely every bit of hardware except for some super whizz fandango extra sound card that neither Windows nor Linux could identify. Even I can't identify it without actually taking it out and studying it carefully, and when I do that there is no guarantee that I will identify it then either.

 Doing stuff on that PC did take up quite a considerable amount of yesterday, and Windows get's the blame for most of it. Windows could not even identify and install drivers for a common or garden network card - how sad is that ! Even so I did spend a few hours in front of the goggle box with my brain in semi idle. I did intend to spend some time lying on my bed reading, and maybe taking a snooze while I was there, but that never happened. At the end of the day I had to unwind by doing some reading in bed, and in doing so I managed to keep myself from sleeping until way past my recommended time. To make matters worse I didn't really sleep that well after 3am when I got up to take a pee, and let Smudge in. Ideally Smudge would have liked her breakfast then, but knowing how late I had got to sleep I decided to go straight back to bed. Smudge was not happy about that, and did her best to stop me falling back into a deep sleep.

 The peculiar thing is that after such little sleep I don't feel particularly tired this morning, although it may well catch up with me later. There is another aspect of how I feel that doesn't seem to mesh with reality. Yesterday I ate particularly badly. It started with a late greasy breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, chipolata sausages, and fried tomatoes. I do feel a little heavier, and maybe even slightly bloated this morning, but I also seem to feel quite energetic. Maybe that should say that I want to feel quite energetic.Even that makes little sense. So it's best if I describe how I felt during one bit of my commute into work. The bit where I get off the train at Waterloo East station to the bit where I get back a train at Waterloo station is always hard work. It's is a long walk with some energy sapping gradients in it. I felt like I could do it faster than usual, and while it seemed I had plenty of energy to pump into my leg muscles I could barely keep up with my oxygen needs while trying to breathe semi-normally. Of course my heart was also going ten to the dozen at the end. Apart from a bit of extra sweat I very quickly recovered once I was sitting in the train. I am not entirely sure what drove me to such a huge output of energy when it would have made no real change to my arrival time at work if I had gone at a more steady pace.
Sunday 20th June 2010
07:16 BST

  It feels very cold this morning. Tomorrow is mid summers day, and it doesn't feel like summer at all ! The colour of the sky inspires little confidence that things will get better soon. I can see one chink in the drab greyness, and if the weather is coming from the southwest there could be a hint of something better to come, but it might only last five minutes. The weather yesterday was not that pleasant. The sun did come out a few times, but it also rained a few times too. The rest of the day was just cool and grey.

 The lack of inspiration from the weather only contributed about a quarter of the reasons why I didn't go out yesterday (except for one brief jaunt to the corner shop). The more important overal reason was that I found myself to be quite busy in the morning. I did a small amount of housework, and did two loads of laundry. I also seemed to spend a fair amount of time reading and writing some emails. The net result was that time just passed me by, and before I realised it, it was the afternoon and too late to go out. Besides which, it had started to rain by then.

 I did end up having a good time later in the afternoon. An old friend brought a computer over that needs some serious doctoring. I took a brief look at his computer, and tried a few simple things, but it was obvious that a complete re-installation of Windows would be the easiest way to get it performing something like the hardware should allow. He did have what should have been a very effective anti-virus programme installed, but I got the impression that there were still some serious bugs lurking in there somewhere.

 After the brief look at his computer we ended up playing some of the rarer, or more obscure,  mp3 files of classic songs of (many) years gone by while chatting about those days.  During this I had several large glasses of scotch and ended up thoroughly enjoying myself.  By the time my friend had left I was feeling quite tipsy, but somewhere along the way I managed to persuade my friend to let me try to wean him off Windows by proposing that I would make his computer dual boot Windows and Linux.  If he can stick to Linux when visiting some of his more dubious file sharing sites he will be a lot, lot safer, and with that carrot he may find that Linux can do most everything else he wants to do and stick with it. I am going to put Ylmf OS 3.0 on his computer because the interface, and useage, so closely matches Windows XP that he may not even realise he is using Linux a lot of the time.

 I don't do accents, or maybe more correctly, I can't do accents. I do have a very limited vocabulary of French words, and I still can't speak French with anything approaching a French accent (and that's a gross understatement). It's difficult to describe something as subjective as accent, but I think my attempts come out something similar to how someone with a West Indian father, a Chinese mother, and who was raised in southern Ireland would speak French. i.e. very, very badly ! There is a point to this strange confession, and it is that inside my head I can speak with various accents. It's only when that voice reaches the outside world that it all goes so terribly wrong. Now the voice in my head can do one other trick too, and it is best illustrated by something that happened yesterday.

 While I was in the corner shop buying two bottles of diet coke (because Tesco's seemed to be too far away, and too much trouble), I also bought my first ever copy of Private Eye. I had previously seen some copies of the magazine that were laying about in the canteen at one of the establishments I once worked for, but I had never previously bought a copy myself. Seeing it was only £1.50, and remembering that at least some of it was quite humorous, I bought a copy. The editor of Private Eye is Ian Hislop, and he has also been a team captain on the long running BBC comedy quiz show "Have I Got News For You". So over the years I have had plenty of exposure to Ian Hislop's voice. There is no way that I could ever imitate his voice even if my life depended on it, but inside my head I found I was reading Private Eye in a perfect Iain Hislop voice !

 Today I really ought to go out for a nice walk, but I am not sure it is going to happen. Although I have always been reluctant to go out when the sky is overcast, as it still is now, there is a further factor to take into consideration. It is cold right now. So much so that I had to turn the heater on here in the upstairs front room where I am typing this. To go out now would mean wearing a coat and long trousers, and yet this (allegedly) being summer means that in theory it could warm up later on. If I did go out, and if it did warm up, it would be most unpleasant having to walk while feeling too hot in an excess of clothes.

 Then there is the problem of the light. With the sky being all nasty and grey it gives everything a depressing monochrome look, and that takes all the joy out of walking. Plus it doesn't make for very cheerful photos. Maybe later it may look more enticing out there, or maybe later I will just say to hell with it and go out anyway.

 Apart from the negative reasons for not going out, there are some positive reasons for staying in. For one reason I have to extend the definition of staying in to mean staying in Catford - I really do need to get some shopping in from Tesco's (or maybe Aldi if the fancy takes me). Another reason for staying in, and this is actually staying indoors, is that I am itching to make a start on rehabilitating my friends computer.

 Of course if I was truly disciplined I would go and get my shopping the minute Tesco's opened. Then I would go out walking for several hours, and then after some well earned dinner I would make a start on the computer. The trouble is that I am not disciplined, and being here alone means I can act on any whimsy that I chose. So basically I just make it up as I go along.
Saturday 19th June 2010
07:18 BST

  After a somewhat dismal day yesterday it is refreshing to find that it is bright and sunny this morning. It's hard to predict how the day will turn out, but right now at least 50% of the sky is bright blue, and the other 50% is mostly just light fluffy clouds. Like yesterday, it feels warmer less cool than recently for this time of the morning.

 Yesterday was a dull day. It was overcast all day, and although it tried to rain several times during the course of the day it never really amounted to anything until the evening. Between roughly 6 and 7pm there was sufficient rain to leave the roads very wet, and a some puddles. There nay have been more sometime after that, but from about 8pm I was unaware of the outside world.

 Last night I had a drink with Iain. At one point I was wondering if it had been such a good idea to arrange that drink when I realised there was one of those bloody World Cup football matches scheduled for last night. Fortunately the "entertainment" was not due until 7.30pm, and by that time we had left the pub. I must admit that I did have a very small, almost microscopic, interest in that football match. It was England playing Algeria. For some sort of misguided patriotic reasons it would have been nice if England won, but I drew Algeria in the work sweepstake, and obviously the chance of winning £8.50 (or whatever it is) meant that I was officially an Algerian supporter. Patriotism is good in it's own way, but beer vouchers are more important. Despite all that I have no idea who won last night yet.

 While in the pub with Iain I had one pint of Waggledance, two pints of Kronenberg, and a scotch and diet coke. It didn't seem to be that much, but I did feel rather good when we left the pub and walked over to The Catford Chippy. I guess it is one of the perils of drinking on an empty stomach, but having arrived at the chip shop feeling both drunk and starving, I ordered a slight excess of food. Not only did I get cod and chips, but also rock (salmon) and chips. It was very, very nice, and filled a big empty spot, although I did manage to refrain from eating all the chips I ordered. It's just a pity that there was nothing decent on TV to watch while I was eating. I did a fair amount of channel hopping while eating and didn't really settle on anything I saw.
 Such was the poor quality of TV entertainment last night that I achieved something I have been trying to do all week. I finally got to bed, and to sleep, quite early. I am not sure of the exact time, but I think I was probably fast asleep as early as 8.30pm.

 With a bellyfull of beer and chips I should have slept very well, but I didn't. At around 1am I woke up with seemed like a dreadful hangover. I had a headache of migraine proportions, and I was forced to get up to take a couple of painkillers. After something like an hour the intense pain that started in my neck and pushed fingers of fire to the top of my skull abated, and I was able to go back to bed again. This morning I have no specific pains, but I am suffering from all the symptoms of a mild hangover. Nothing actually hurts, but I feel sort of foggy. In a couple of hours, if everything goes by tradition, I will be feeling more alive, and then I hope I'll be able to get out for a bit. I haven't got time to go on a long walk today, but a short walk should be quite good enough to blow the last cobwebs out of my brain.

 I must go into grumpy old man mode now. It may have been last night, or perhaps sometime earlier, but I have recently seen an advert on TV that stirs my emotions. It made me feel sad for the whole human race as it descends into feeble brained stupidity. This advert concerned hand cleaner, or soap as we used to call it. It warned of the bacteriological dangers lurking on the top of a soap dispenser button. To combat this "deadly" threat the manufacturer has invented a powered dispenser that detects your hands approaching and doles out a measured shot of soap without you ever having to touch the thing. Now I like high technology, and playing with a new mega fast computer with bucket loads of memory and gigantic hard disks is almost sexual in it's experience, but somehow computerised soap dispensers fails to arouse me. Are these people so meglomaniac that they think we are going to be fooled into believing that we are all going to die in the one second between manually dispensing soap, and washing our hands ?  I guess they are because they know that the sheeple will buy these gizmos in the misguided belief that they will live longer and more fulfilled lives. Personally, I'll just stick to my usual way of doing things and not lick my fingers once I have squirted them with soap from a "contaminated" dispenser !
Friday 18th June 2010
09:20 BST

  It's doing it's best to rain right now. At first light the sky looked very misty, but as time passed the mistiness gave way to textured grey. Now the sky is a uniform grey colour, and the potential for a real shower is very high. While walking from the station to work I could feel the odd drop of rain on my face, and I caught a few drops on my glasses. Maybe that is the worst it will get, or maybe the heavens will open - who knows ? What I do know is that after yesterday ending up quite warm, probably the 23° C promised us, all the clouds that gathered overnight have kept some of the warmth in. This morning is the first for some time where I have felt totally comfortable coming to work in just a short sleeve shirt.

 Now I find myself wondering what the weather for the weekend will be like. I didn't get to see the weather forecast yesterday. I started to watch the news, but it was so depressing that I wanted to kill myself. Surely something must have happened somewhere in the world that didn't involve 22 men kicking an inflated pigs bladder around ? I got halfway through the 6pm news before deciding to go and find some rude pictures on the internet. Of course I didn't find any, but I did find the location of East Surrey Hospital, and how to get there from Earlswood railway station should I need to visit someone there.

 Very little else happened last night, but that is not unusual. With no other distractions to amuse me I went to bed very early last night. In fact there were several hours of daylight left when I first got into bed, but I didn't get to sleep early as I probably ought to have done. What I did do was finally finish the book I have been reading these past few nights (Isaac Asimov's "Prelude To Foundation"). With that book now finished I may be able to finally get to sleep before 9 pm tonight if I haven't forgotten how to do that.

 If I manage that, and manage a small lie in tomorrow, and manage to eat sensibly tonight, I should feel fit as a fiddle tomorrow. Fate says it is bound to happen because I don't think I will actually need to feel fit as a fiddle tomorrow. Even without taking into consideration that the weather tomorrow could be as foul as foul can be (or not), I think I'll be called on in other ways and not have the time for a long healthy (sort of !) walk. Maybe I'll manage one on Sunday.
Thursday 17th June 2010
07:54 BST

  At first light the sky seemed very cloudy. By 5am the sky was misty white. By 6.30am, as I was just about to board my train, the white had holes in it, and blue sky could be seen. By 7.30am, as I was arriving in Earlsfield the sky was 90% blue, and the only clouds were white fluffy things. It is looking as the forecast that today will be warm and bright may even come true. If it does we can look forward to the mercury hitting 23° C today.

 I was a bit unduly pessimistic about yesterday. It did brighten up soon after I wrote, and even before midday it was looking good. It needed a bit longer than that to start feeling warm, but when I left work I walked to the station in brilliant sunshine, and the luxury of 21° C.

 For yet another evening I ate more than I should have last night. I do have some feeble excuses for this. Firstly I called into Tesco's last night and picked up a few reduced price bargains that proved too tempting. My second excuse is Windows ! Having played with Windows 7 on a slightly old PC at work I came to the conclusion that I would be absolutely insane to try and install it on my Sony Vaio laptop. However I had left space on the hard disk for a second operating system when I installed Lubuntu, and I thought I may as well fill it with Windows XP (as had originally come on the laptop).

 Compared to the simplicity of installing any Ubuntu based Linux distribution, installing Windows is a most frustrating experience. There are all the restarts and general messing around. Then there is the difficulty of trying to find all the drivers required, and then the endless restarts as you install them. Then more restarts as Windows slowly downloads and slowly installs various updates, and at the end of that you still need to install other software so you can actually do stuff on the computer.

 All that frustration gave me the nibbles. Each time the Windows installation came to a boring bit I would head to the kitchen, and there were many, many, many boring bits ! Surprisingly I don't feel overstuffed this morning, but I can definitely feel that I ate too much last night. Maybe tonight things will be better. At least I ought to make some attempt at eating better tonight and tomorrow night if I am going to enjoy a long walk somewhere over the weekend.

 Other than that "too complex to describe" feeling that I ate too much, I don't feel that bad this morning. Of course I could never admit to feeling perfect so I would have to say that I do seem to have developed an occasion mild, slightly wet, cough, but that could be related to what may be a bit of mild hay fever. Alternatively I have a 5% strength head cold. The one thing that is wrong and that does definitely bother me is my nose. It has a tender area that I think is the prelude to a gigantic (in my imagination) pus filled zit. Apart from the tender feeling there is no visible sign of anything happening yet, and no sign of any swelling however minute. If I am lucky the care I am lavishing on my nose with soap and water will stop anything unsightly growing. It's either that or lots of eye watering squeezing later !
Wednesday 16th June 2010
08:02 BST

  I wonder if I was just a little too brave not wearing a coat this morning. It was definitely very chilly after clear skies overnight, and yet the forecast for today says we will be hitting the mind boggling heights of a whole 21° C today. Somehow this seems unlikely to me. The clear skies did not last very far into this morning. By 5 am the sky was streaked with pink clouds, and now all I can see from my window at work is clouds in a variety of greys. It makes me wonder if the forecast is so far wrong that not only is the temperature not going to reach 21° C, but that it also might rain at some point today.

 Yesterday stayed cooler than the minimum possible definition of a summers day, but at least it did stay dry, and in more sheltered spots, when the sun was shining, it didn't feel too bad. Yesterday morning I likened it to more like an April morning, and I reckon the whole day was like an April day (except that there were none of the famous April showers).

 Last night I tried something new. It was balti flavoured beefburgers. They were from Tesco's cheap summer barbecue range, and they were definitely made from cheap ingredients ! I couldn't believe the amount of fat that came out as I cooked them. I cooked them in the oven on a baking tray, and if I hadn't been impatient to try tham I really should have poured off the accumulated fat, and then cooked them even more to drive off more fat. The danger with that is that they may well have shrivelled to almost nothing. I am not sure if I will buy any more to test this theory, but it's possible I might. They did taste quite strange in a very nice sort of way. What surprised me was that somehow different bits of the burger tasted differently. Some bites seemed to have a chilli flavour, and for other bites the predominant flavour was of cumin.

 I don't know what I'll be eating for my dinner tonight, but I do know that I will have to buy it on the way home tonight. It seems that I have more catfood than human food at home right now. Well maybe not in a strict sense. I have tinned food and food that is frozen solid in the freezer, but nothing that easily comes together to make a meal that I fancy. So it's off to Tesco's tonight, and all the temptations that come with it !

 Apart from eating balti burgers I tried one other thing last night. I thought I would see if Windows 7 would run on my old Sony Vaio laptop. This is the same laptop that I wrote about recently where I had installed Lubuntu linux and customised it to look very much like Windows XP. Lubuntu runs just fine on that laptop. Installing it was a doddle, and it is quick and snappy to use. I never did get to find if Windows 7 would run on it, let alone be anything more than barely useable. The Windows 7 installer did what only Windows can do, and complain that it couldn't install Windows because it couldn't read from the installation drive without some special drivers. Of course the irony is that the software that was telling me it couldn't read from the DVD drive was actually loaded from the DVD drive itself ! I did eventually track down some possible drivers that may keep it happy, but they are really designed for Windows XP, and Windows 7 may turn it's nose up at them. If so, then I will never get to see Windows 7 struggling to run on an otherwise old(ish) but still very good and useable laptop, and I'll just keep my rather excellent installation of Lubuntu on it.
Tuesday 15th June 2010
08:24 BST

  If this were the beginning of April I would have said that the day has started pefectly. It's not though, it's the middle of June and it is rather chilly this morning. Apart from that, the sky is, or was, clear blue, and the sun is shining fiercely. Looking out my window as I write this, I see that there are many more clouds in the sky, but they are white and fluffy and pose no threat. Apparently it should be a bright day today, but temperatures will struggle to get over anything better than about 18° C.

 After the good start to yesterday it did get a lot cloudier, and by midday the first light rain fell. There were a few very brief, very light showers after that until just after 4 pm when it briefly poured down. I had walked to the station without feeling more than one isolated rain drop, and it was not until I reached Waterloo that the rain poured down. I was under cover, and it made little difference to me how hard it rained apart from a 15ft unprotected dash to board the train back to Catford.  In fact I exagerate. It wasn't a dash at all. By that time the rain had eased off, and a brisk walk was all that was needed.  I did have a waterproof coat in my bag, but I couldn't be bothered to put it on for such a brief time, and there was no rain when I arrived at Catford.

 I think there were one or two showers once I was safely indoors, and maybe there were more later on, but I was on my bed reading very early last night. I had intended to go to sleep very early too, but I got a bit carried away reading my book.  I had this idea that it would be good to be asleep at least half an hour early, but instead I got to sleep maybe half an hour late. Considering that I fell asleep enough to start dreaming while looking at my PC at work yesterday, I think getting to sleep that late was a bad thing. It didn't help that I woke up an hour early this morning. So I had better try not to let myself fall asleep at work again today.

 In theory I should need less sleep in these long summer days, and if 8 hours is good enough for winter, then 6 hours should be good enough for summer. The longest day of the year is now fast approaching, but somehow 6 hours of sleep does not feel enough.

 This morning I am trying to work out if I feel good (ignoring any tendency towards sleepiness), or if I just feel better than I expected to feel. If my plans last night had happened as intended I should have felt truly wonderful today, but the lack of sleep was one failure, and a slight quirk in my diet was the other major failure.

 I had planned a very healthy meal for last night. It was to be, and in actuality it was roast Mediteranean vegetables and tuna steaks. Unfortunately I had not read the packet when I put the tuna steaks in the oven to roast alongside the vegetables. The packet said to defrost the fish before use, but mine were deep frozen. The only answer was to cook everything very slowly, and then turn the heat to full blast to finish the cooking off. I allowed 45 minutes at a low heat for the fish to defrost, and then 15 minutes of searing heat to bring out the full flavours. That was a full hour to ait and I was starving. So I had a sandwich, and then I had another sandwich, and then I had some cheese and potato salad.

 After that I finally ate the healthy portion of my now very expanded dinner. It did leave me feeling quite stuffed, and I thought I would feel really stodgy this morning. To my surprise I didn't ! Add in the fact that I am wearing a pair of my most comfortable shoes for walking in, and it all adds up to the fact that coming to work this morning was almost pleasant. With no significant discomforts and bright sunshine to accompany me, it would be hard to ask for more, but I will anyway. Can someone build a highspeed, east to west, railway across the south of London , and not put any stops between Catford and Earlsfield, please ? That impossible dream would make coming to work almost as pleasurable as being here (although I would prefer to be out walking along the coast in the sunshine).
Monday 14th June 2010
08:49 BST

  It seems to be a pleasant enough morning. There is a fair amount of sunshine, and rain seems very unlikely, but it is a little cool. According to some forecasts it is unlikely that the very best temperatures for the whole week ahead will not get higher than 20° C, and today the best we can hope for is a miserable 18° C. Tomorrow maybe cooler still, and rain is likely. I am not sure how warm it got yesterday, but I suspect it was very similar to that forecast for today.

 Yesterday was a pleasant day, but apart from seeing Aleemah for a few hours, nothing much else happened. I guess that TV is now on it's summer schedules where there is even less to watch than usual. So there was very little entertainment coming from the goggle box yesterday, and probably little to look forward to for the next few months to come either.

 Today I am back at work and not feeling too bad, although I do feel less than dynamic. Maybe I have grown too fond of a few extra hours in bed recently. I think I did get a good nights sleep last night. I was asleep soon after 9pm, and that's not bad, but I did wake up a little after 3 am. Apart from the traditional going for pee, I also went downstairs to let Smudge in and feed her before going back to bed for almost an hours worth of poor quality extra sleep.

 After completing my 8.75 mile walk on Saturday in reasonable comfort (apart from the shaky start) there can be no dispute that I am back in perfect health (That is perfect according to my own operating manual, and nothing to do with how any doctor might misdiagnose it). And yet I do feel that there is still some improvement to come. If I suffered from Monday mornings as some do I would write it off as just being Monday morning, but quite often I feel better on a Monday morning than on other mornings.

 Since coming into work I have heard that other people have had this "summer 'flu", although not anyone who actually works here. I seem to be the first for that, but what I haven't heard is how long it has lasted for these other people. Maybe I recovered quickly, or maybe I recovered slowly.
Sunday 13th June 2010
05:15 BST

  It's hard to tell how today will turn out this early in the morning. An hour ago the sky had a streaky look that I would have guessed heralded a pleasant start to the day, but now the sky seems to be predominately grey suggesting a rather dull day ahead. maybe once the sun is a bit higher in the sky it will "burn off" some of the grey revealing a nicer outlook.

 Yesterday was not all the weather forecasters suggested it would be. It did stay dry, and was reasonably warm, but it was no more than warm, and there was a lot less sunshine than expected. Nevertheless it was easily good enough for a day out after spending all day at home on Friday.

 After a day of inactivity, and despite being almost careful how I ate, I did not feel all that good and ready for action. Some of the problem may well have been a legacy to the 'flu like illness I had been suffering from during the week. With all that in mind it may have been foolhardy to attempt the walk I had in mind, but ultimately it turned out rather well.

 What I had in mind, and what I achieved was my third visit to Rye (two last year), but going via the scenic route. It knew it was a bit ambitious, but I wasn't expecting to cover the 8.75 miles that it turned out to be. In fact when I started out it didn't feel like I would be able to walk more than a few miles. After a couple of miles I began to start feeling better, and after a few more I had past the point of no return, but by that time I was beginning to get my stride and was feeling quite good. There may have been an element of masochism involved, but I seemed to be feeling good enough to walk back to the station instead of getting the bus from Rye Harbour as I had done on my two previous visits. That last bit of bravado took my total calories burned to a respectable 1345.

 On my two previous visits to Rye Harbour I went via the direct road from the station, but on this walk I went cross country towards Winchelesea. After leaving the roads I took to a footpath/bridleway across fields full of sheep.
two cute lambs near Rye
 One thing I learned on this walk is that sheep "droppings" are more like cow pats than, say, the pellets that deer drop. There was a surprising amount of these droppings, and I picked up a few souvenirs on my boots !
Camber Castle
 Right in the middle of all the treeless fields are the reamains of Camber Castle. It was built during the reign of Henry VIII, and was originally on a spit of land reaching out into the sea. Now the sea has retreated it is several miles inland.

 My walk continued past the castle and the fields full of sheep, through some more lushly vegetated areas, until eventually I reached the sea. The tide was on the retreat, but still fairly high, and there was quite strong sea breeze blowing. It was not ideal, but not bad either. After changing into my wet shoes I had walked along the tide line for around a mile. The water was quite cool, but not unpleasantly cold, and it felt good on my hot feet, although not nearly as nice as when I was paddling in the sea on my recent walk from Goring to Littlehampton. The big problem of walking along the beach between Winchelsea and Rye Harbour is that it is nearly all pebbles and shingle. There was one patch of quite firm sand that was very nice to walk on, but with thin soled shoes it was not that comfortable on the shingle.

 After my paddle I changed back into my dry boots and walked into Rye Harbour village and stopped off for a pint of beer in The Inkerman Arms. It was the pub I visited on my first trip to Rye Harbour last year, but seemed to be closed when I visited it 6 weeks later with Iain. The garden area seems a bit different, but the bar looked the same. So I am not sure if it had been closed for refurbishment, or for some other reason.

 On my two previous visits to Rye Harbour I have caught the bus back to Rye station, but this time I felt good enough to walk. I may have made this decision because I had subconsciously decided that there was one more thing I wanted to see on the way back, but it was only as I got near the place that I remembered what it was.
Ostrich farm near Rye
 Near the Rye end of Rye Harbour Road is an Ostrich farm. On the bus journey back to the station last year Iain had spotted an ostrich or two and was a bit stunned. I had read about the ostrich farm somewhere, but had not seen it before. This time I had a chance to get a good look at these weird looking birds.

 My final sight of this day out was something I was not really expecting.
Routemaster bus RM1799 at Rye
 Many miles away from it's home turf was this London Routemaster bus RM1799. There were some stormy looking clouds in the sky when I took this picture, and the quality of the light has made the bus look slightly maroon in colour in this photograph, but it was actually in the correct shade of red for a London Bus.

 My feet were aching when I arrived back at the station, but they were not nearly as bad as on some occasions, and considering the length of my walk they were not bad at all. I did have a bit of a headache when I got on the train. It had been coming and going for a lot of the day. So once I was on the train I took a couple of paracetamol tablets. Not only did they cure my headache, but they also worked wonders on my feet as well. By the time I got back to Catford my feet were 90% comfortable again.

 Apart from the length of the journey back, over two hours, it was actually quite pleasant in some ways. I had several changes of trains to make, and somehow it turned out that at each change of train I had plenty of time to go outside and have a cigarette. If only they allowed smoking on the station platforms again it would make travel very pleasant. Having to go outside at such stations as Ashford International (where I did my first change) means quite a long walk.

 Back in Catford I was feeling quite good. My feet were comfortable, and I thought the day out was a good achievment, but I was feeling very hungry after burning all those calories. The answer was to treat myself to fried chicken and chips, and very delicious it was too ! It was nice to sit down and watch a bit of TV while I had my dinner, but there seemed to be little on TV. So as I was feeling weary I went to bed reasonably early, but sleep didn't seem to come as easy as I thought it would. When I did fall asleep I slept solidly for 6 hours, and soon after 3 am I was awake again. I did get maybe another 30 minutes of poor sleep after that, but essentially I have been awake since then. I think I am going to feel quite tired quite early today.

 Being up so early means I have been able to write this, and that is handy because I have a busy morning. Aleemah should be coming over today, and that means I have a lot of housework to do to get the place looking passable for visitors.
Friday 11th June 2010
13:38 BST

  Ever so, ever so slowly the sky is getting brighter. It was a gloomy start to the day, and chilly too, but there was hardly more than an occasional passing shower compared to the utter drenching the forecasts said we would get. It's not impossible, although unlikely, that the sun could break through later this afternoon.

 Today I feel a lot better, and in fact I am almost back to normal. Most of the aches and pains are barely above normal levels, and I have stopped sweating to olympic standards. For all that I don't feel very dynamic today. I had been thinking along the lines of going out for a walk today - even if it was raining. The reality is that I can't even be bothered to go out to Tesco to buy some fags. I am running very low at the moment. I think I may have a spare pack in my back pack or shoulder bag, but for now I am using my emergency rolling tobacco. It is a pain to have to stop to roll up a fag, but at least it is cheaper.

 My really bad sweating stopped quite early yesterday morning, but lugging a pile of shopping back from Tesco did bring me out in a bit of a sweat again, but that is not unusual. I did wonder if all that sweating was purely from the bug I had, whatever it was, or whether it was being made a lot worse because my blood sugar level was too high. That seemed unlikely considering I had an unfulfilled craving for something sweet the day before. So I tried an experiment. Among the stuff I bought in Tesco was some stuff guaranteed to raise my blood sugar level. I scoffed that, and it was delicious, but didn't induce any sweating at all. Later on some highly spiced food did cause me to break out in a temporary sweat, but it was not that bad. It was certainly great to wake up this morning without my pillow being soaking wet.

 Today, after making a start last night, I have been playing with computers. I put a spare hard drive in my Sony Vaio laptop and did a fresh installation of Lubuntu on it. The desktop used for Lubuntu, LXDE, is not as highly configurable as some other Linux dektops, but with some effort it can be made to look and feel a lot like Windows XP, and that is what I have been doing (amongst a few other things). So far it has been going quite well. The desktop does look very much like Windows XP, and various other bits are quite similar, but I could continue and get things closer still sometime.

 Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be quite good, and theoretically I might feel quite good too. So today I ought to concentrate on trying to get myself prepared for a few hours out in the sunshine. I am considering another visit to Rye. If I do go there I will be trying a more circular route that gets close to Winchelsea. That is a beach I have wanted to visit since last year. At low tide there are supposed to be fossilised trees to be seen - a reminder of how the coastline grows in some places, and in this case erodes away.
Thursday 10th June 2010
08:46 BST

  It's mild again this morning, but either it's my illness or it is still very humid. The sky is unbroken mid grey, but after seeing how yesterday turned out it's worthless trying to predict if it means rain or shine later. I thought that it was set to rain copiously yesterday, but there were many sunny intervals, and apart from a few showers it was mostly dry.

 I am off work again today. Occasionally I wonder why, but then I try and do more than just laze around and I get reminded that all is not well with my body. I still find it hard to believe that I might have 'flu. All the symptoms I have, headaches, muscular and joint pain, occasional fever, and general fatigue would be right for 'flu, but I am missing such niceties as any respiratory problems. Maybe I am suffering from malaria or something exotic, but who knows or cares.

 I do find that Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen do help a lot, but I only take them when the need arises. If they gave too much relief I might be tempted to do something silly like go back to work. Although the drugs help the aches and pains, they don't really help with my fatigue, and that would make work unpleasant. However, I still think that being at work would be less boring than being here, and that in itself would probably speed my recovery.

 One of the annoying things about this illness that I have only touched on before, is the amount of sweating I am doing. On my little walk yesterday it started to rain as I approached the station to go home. Once I was under cover at the station there was a light shower. Had I been caught in that shower I don't think I would have got much wetter. I was already saturated with sweat. I don't think my bedroom was that warm last night, but halfway through the night I had to change pillows because my pillow became saturated with sweat. All this unneccesary sweating would probably provide a big clue to a doctor should I choose to see one, and if on Monday I am not considerably better I will have to see a doctor to get a sick note. In the meantime I will stick to my insane theory that doctors only make you sick and endeavour to repair my own body.

 As I write this I am experiencing one of the difficulties of taking drugs - Ibuprofen in this case. The difficulty is that I don't know if it was the Ibuprofen that has almost stopped the earlier pain in my left thigh area, or if it is actually a sign that my body is starting to repair itself. All I know for certain is that I am in considerable more comfort now than I was an hour ago. I don't remember Ibuprofen performing such miracles yesterday so it may be a sign that I am on the mend. There could be another small sign of improvement too in the last hour. I think my forehead may be a little less sweaty too, but that comes and goes anyway. So it is not a reliable indicator of how things are going

 No matter if I am on the road to recovery, or even if things get worse, I have to go out again today. I am now short on supplies, and I have to go shopping. That is not strictly true - I do have reserves of canned and frozen stuff, but it's not what I really want, and besides, I want to buy a magazine or something. So later on I'll go out to Tesco and see how that feels. If I don't feel too bad after that I may consider going for a short walk somewhere, but probably not so far afield as yesterday.
Wednesday 9th June 2010
06:05 BST

  In the last hour it's gone from a possibility of some sunshine to no possibility at all ! The sky has actually got darker since the sun rose, and the chance of more rain seems very high. Maybe it won't last. Yesterday, after a wet and gloomy start, it did brighten up, and from mid afternoon to sunset it was actually fairly pleasant. The temperature is a lot lower than I would hope for in June, but it hasn't dipped below single figures (Celsius) for many weeks now, and at it's peak it may have edged close to 20° C yesterday.

 My illness, whatever it is, continues with some bits worse, and some bits better. Although I didn't think to measure my temperature, I did have a fever yesterday morning. After spending the previous few nights losing sleep because I was too hot and sticky in bed, I had to turn my heater on as I lay on my bed reading and dozing yesterday morning. By the afternoon I was lying on my bed, once again reading and dozing, with the window open and the heating off.

 While I was just quietly lying on my bed I felt reasonably OK. It was only when I wanted to do other stuff that I felt quite bad, but I can't really define exactly what it was that was bad. With one area of exception, nothing was unusually painful, and nothing dripped or gurgled like it would if I had a head cold. I just felt generally listless and crap.

 There is one part of me that does hurt, and is causing me some problems. It is the top of my left leg, and mostly to the rear of it. From my left buttock down to the back of my left kneecap it feels something like muscle strain, but not exactly like muscle strain. I think lying on my bed for long periods yesterday has made it worse. I have taken some Ibuprofen this morning, and I hope that helps because the pain is affecting my mobility a bit. This morning I can no longer walk up the stairs in a normal fluid motion. There is no particular difficulty in getting up the stairs, but it's like having one leg shorter than the other making for a sort of lopsided walk. It is also a bit painful sitting here at the computer, but I find it difficult to locate the seat of the pain. Sometimes I think it is coming from the hip, and sometimes from the knee, but it's possibly a combination of both. On the other hand it may be that the strain of trying to hold my leg in a more comfortable position is causing one to affect the other, and considering that some of the pain appears to be coming from the muscle running down the back of the thigh, this theory may be more correct.

 Considering that this leg problem is worse today after spending many hours of inactivity lying on my bed, I think I have to do some walking today to try and get things moving again. I'll be starting by going to the corner shop a bit later, If that is not too bad then I may take a walk around the park, but I must admit I'll have to force myself to do that because I don't feel that I have much energy right now. I may have described this as "man 'flu" yesterday, but in some respects it is turning out to be close to the real thing. Fortunately I am pretty certain it is not real 'flu. I may feel crap, but not that crap, and, at least so far, I have not had any respiratory problems. The chances are that if I can get my leg moving more fluidly, either by exercise and/or drugs, I will be back at work tomorrow, but for now I have the dubious pleasure of another day off work.

 There may be more I was going to write, but my leg is really killing me at the moment, and I either need to stand up or lie down - either is more comfortable.

 18:55 BST

 I couldn't wait to tomorrow to have a moan about how today worked out. So I am having a moan right now.

This morning I took a couple of Ibuprofen and that seemed to help my dodgy left leg. A short walk to the corner shop seemed Ok so I got a bit ambitious. I decided to go and have a look to see if I could find the bit of disused railway line I had seen near Bat And Ball station when I was coming home from Sevenoaks last week.

 Just walking to the station seemed like hard work. Maybe I should have turned back, but I carried on and got the train to Bat And Ball station. Once I started walking there I felt reasonably OK, and initially the more I walked the better I felt. I ended up walking around a wildfowl reservation, and some information points in there did confirm that I was walking on an old railway embankment. The reservation is built on and around an old sand quarry, and once upon a time there was just a single track spur that went into it. Apart from acknowledgement of the railway embankment I never saw any trace of the old railway lines, but I couldn't actually get to the bit where I thought I had spotted some.

 It was very pleasant walking around in there. I didn't see any particualr birds, but the place was alive with nice bird calls. While I was there the sun was shining, but most of the time I was shaded by all the trees. Nevertheless I was still sweating like a pig. Even if it had rained I doubt I would have got any wetter. I couldn't really tell if it was that hot and humid, but even so the amount I was sweating seemed a bit unnatural.

 Walking back to the station didn't seem that hard, but it was nice when my train arrived and I could have a sit down. When I arrived back at Catford and went to get off the train I found my left leg had siezed up. It had got so stiff that I almost had to limp back home.

 I had some dinner I had left cooking in the oven, and I ate that soon after I got in. In itself it was very nice, but I found I had a terrible craving for something sweet. If I had a large tub of ice cream I would have eaten it. If I had a packet of chocolate biscuits I would have eaten the whole pack, but the only thing I had to nibble on was some brazil nuts - nice, but not really what I seemed to want. The next substitute was a very large shot of Jaegermeister followed by a very large shot of Pamperos (a sort of rum like Venezulean fire water), followed by a very large scotch.

 While I drunk the booze I watched an old episode of "All Creatures Great And Small". It was a nice series, but this particular episode inspired many mixed emotions and I finished watching it feeling really quite miserable. After laying down on my bed for an hour trying to doze off I concluded I wasn't being very productive so I decided to sit here and have a good moan. The only trouble is that now my left leg is starting to hurt again, and like this morning I will either have to stand up or lie down soon.

 I don't know what it is going to happen about work tomorrow. I feel I would probably be better off there rather than lying around here all day, but if I am going to end up knackered just getting there, and then suffer a lot of pain if I sit down at my desk for more than 30 minutes I don't know if I should go. Drugs like Ibuprofen do help with some of the symptoms of this wretched whatever it is, but don't really help with how easily I seem to get tired. Perhaps I'll wake up in the  morning feel wonderful, or perhaps I'll wake up to some new symptom. All I know for sure is that having this good moan has made me feel better - for now.
Tuesday 8th June 2010
07:49 BST

  It's wet......very wet ! It has rained on and off all through the night, and it's raining even now. The chances are that it will continue raining for another day or two yet. It is some relief that it is not really that cold, although it is a lot cooler than the seasonal average. The chances of any sunshine today seem very slim, and the sky will probably stay as just one grey sheet as it is at the moment.

 It seems that I have caught a summer chill, or as I like to put it, I am dying ! I guess those couple of sleepless nights I had really lowered my resistance. Apart from the normal problems of a chill I have one extra bonus problem. My legs feel like I have walked 10 miles. They are really stiff this morning, the left particularly so. In that respect it feel more like I have 'flu, but I don't think the rest of me feels quite bad enough for that to be the case. Needless to say I am not going in to work today, and maybe not tomorrow either, but I'll see how I feel later before deciding on that. Having consulted many learned journals I have concluded that I definitely have man 'flu.

 Last night I did sleep reasonably OK, but it was possibly just through sheer exhaustion that I apparently slept solidly from a little before 9 pm to 3 am. At 3 am I was up taking my first couple of paracetamol tablets. After giving them an hour to work I managed to sleep again from about 4 am to 6.30 am. That does add up to a full eight and half hours sleep, and in the ordinary course of events that should have been fine, but I reckon it will not be long before I am asleep again.

 Later on today, maybe after another succesful sleep, I am going to try and eat some fruit, although I think I really want something more comforting like a curry. It will be tricky sticking to that idea because last night I pre-cooked a chicken curry with the idea that I would eat it for dinner after work today. So sitting in the oven is chicken and mushroom curry just waiting to be warmed up and eaten. How will I ever resist the temptation of that ? I will attempt to convince myself that the 4 (or is it 6) pack of Kiwi fruit that are in the kitchen are not only extremely delicious, but very, very good for me. Sometimes miracles do happen !
Monday 7th June 2010
08:23 BST

  What seems not appropriate for one season may be luxury in another season, and today's weather would be good for a spring day except for one minor factor. It is fairly cool by summer standards, but the humidity is very high (or so it feels to me). It should stay dry until I am safely home from work, and then maybe for some time after that, but there is a lot of cloud around at the moment. Although the cloud does come and go. At a little before 05:30 this morning the sky outside my bathroom looked like this ;
Morning clouds over Lewisham
 Right now there is very little blue left in the sky, if any at all, and inbetween the white fluffy clouds are some nasty grey clouds. Yet I live in hope that it will stay dry. Tomorrow could well be a different story. Rain is definitely forecast for tomorrow, and it may well be cooler still.

 Yesterday was quite dull, but I can't recall any rain. It was also a lot cooler than Saturday, but the humidity was a lot higher and that made for another unpleasant sticky night. I think the weather conspired to produce the ultimate combination of factors to ruin my sleep again last night. It was not warm enough to sleep naked on my bed, but it quickly became too sweaty to sleep under the fairly thin duvet cover. There was no wind to stir the air up, or if there was it was not from a favourable direction.It was fortunate that I did get as many as three hours of extra sleep after I wrote yesterday because last night I only got 5 out of 8 hours sleep or less (and many of those 5 hours were of poor quality).

  This morning I don't feel tired just yet, but I may well do later on. In other respects I do feel fairly good. This is a little surprising in some respects. On reflection, I ate quite a small quanity of food yesterday, but what I did  eat were the worst possible things. The two worst were obviously the crisps with the excess salt and fats, and ice cream with it's excess sugar and more fats. I think the large tub of low calorie (and/or fat) coleslaw I ate was OK apart from the amount of wind it now seems to be generating, but the tortilla chips I was eating with it were probably made in hell. Anything else I ate probably comes under the classification of neither good nor bad.

 It is the case on most work days, and today is as typical as any, that the highlight of my whole day is getting home and eating my dinner. Tonight I have to be careful because I still have some assorted naughty snack type stuff lying around, and I know I will eat some of it. Fortunately the meal I have planned will be quick to cook. It will be lambs liver with assorted vegetables and stuff, and it has to be eaten tonight because I don't think I ought to keep that liver in the fridge for much longer.

 It is possible that if I (mostly) eat properly tonight, and if I get a good nights sleep, and if I can manage that for a few more nights, I might be able to psych myself up to do some exploring after work one night. One place I want to explore, as I think I may have mentioned before, is what looks to be the remains of some old railway track near Bat And Ball stations (one stop before Sevenoaks). It only takes about 35 minutes to get there from Catford, and the fare is quite reasonable too, so in theory I ought to be able to have a short exploratory ramble, and be back home soon after 7 pm. Well theory is one thing, and practice is another, but I am thinking about it.
Sunday 6th June 2010
06:38 BST

  After a hot and sultry night it is deliciously cool this morning. Unfortunately it is likely to stay this way with little sunshine to warm the place up. At this hour of the morning it is difficult to tell if the general murkiness of the sky is more mist than cloud, although the last forecast I saw suggested it will be cloud, and that there will be a fair amount of rain today.

 Yesterday was a very hot day with plenty of sunshine. That was in accordance with the forecasts, but the evening did not turn out as wild as forecast. The prediction was for thunderstorms to brew up as soon as the sun began to set. In reality it did get very cloudy well before the sun set, but it was as late as 11 pm when the first rain fell. At times the rain sounded heavy, but I didn't detect and thunder and lightning. I slept really badly last night because of the heat, and as far as I am aware the rain had stopped by 1 am this morning, and it may not have rained since.

 Yesterday at 8 am I thought I would be seeing Aleemah later in the day. By 8:01 am I had received a text message to say that she wouldn't be able to make it. That left me free to go out exploring. Before doing that I had a couple of things to do. The first was to get some shopping, and the second was to decide where to go.

 I was feeling fairly good yesterday so I decided to tackle a long walk, and walk the coast from Goring to Littlehampton. I also had to decide in what direction to walk in. In my earlier walks along the south coast I had walked from west to east. This time I thought it would be better to walk the other direction. The reason for this is that Littlehampton station is a lot nearer the coast compared with Goring (not even remotely)-By-The Sea station which is nearly 1.5 miles inland.

 I only took a few photos on this outing because most of the coast there is very similar, and has few interesting features. So I am not making up a special photo page, and I'll describe everything here.

 The last time I walked from Goring-By-Sea station to the coast I mostly walked along the roads, but this time I took a chance on a sort of short cut that went through several small woods and a couple of playing fields. One of those playing fields was all marked out for football and had goal posts set up, but there wasn't a single person in sight. Apart from a couple of people walking dogs I didn't pass anyone on that section of my walk. I guess everyone had headed to the beach....including this young woman.......
Topless woman on the beach at Goring
 That was a nice surprise and made my effort all seem worthwhile !

 I had decided that for this walk I would not use my hiking shoes, but to start off in my lightweight black canvas shoes. I hadn't actually worn those shoes for any length of time before yesterday, and they turned out to be surprisinly comfortable. The useful thing was that I was able to walk into the water as soon as I liked without bothering to change footwear. It didn't take me too long to do that, and I found the water was pleasantly warm. In fact I think the water was probably warm enough that I would have had no objection to lowering my testicles in it. I didn't, but I had taken the precaution of putting my wallet and phone in waterproof plastic bags in case I did go in deeper than usual. Although I didn't wade in to any deep water some of the bigger waves did manage to soak the bottom of my shorts. So my precautions were very worthwhile, and everything important stayed dry.

 The coast I was walking on is a mixture of sand and shingle with a lot of rocky patches. (See my previous pictures of Goring to see what I mean). All those rocks, particularly when under water, made walking a bit hazardous, and it is why I didn't walk out into deeper water, but I did do quite a lot of walking through the shallower water. When I was a mile or two from Littlehampton I changed into dry shoes and then mostly walked along the road.  With just about a mile to go I finally had confirmation that I was entering Littlehampton itself.
Welcome sign for Littlehampton
 By the time I reached this sign the sky was looking quite cloudy, although the chances of rain seemed remote. The picture above doesn't really show that the sky was so cloudy, but this one does.....
The beach at Littlehampton
 This is the view across the beach on the approaches to Littlehampton. In the background can be seen the entrance to the harbour. This far from the centre the beach is still sparsely populated, but in the centre it was quite crowded (although still a bit sparse in comparison to Brighton or Eastbourne).

 One of the most useful things I carry on these walks is my black G1 android phone. Not only can I record the walk using the inbuilt sat-nav, but it is so handy in navigating through the town trying to find the badly signposted station. Using the phone I found the station quite easily, and that was good because my feet were getting quite sore by then. I came out of an alley and saw the station a hundred feet or so to my left, but I turned right in search of a pub. I didn't have to go too far to find a pub that was open and not boarded up like two others I noticed. It was right opposite this rather strange clocktower.
Strange clocktower in the middle of Littlehampton
 The pub, whose name I forget, was undergoing refurbishment, and only half of it was open, but it had a beer garden out the back where I could enjoy a cold lager and a fag. It was doubly handy that I could sit in the beer garden because inside the pub there was some live music being played. It was part of some weekend live folk music festival going on around the town. The band were playing what I can only describe as "Irish bomb making music" which I really don't care for !

 When I exited from the alley my tracker said I had walked 6.98 miles. When I stopped the tracker outside the pub it said 7.09 miles. So it was 0.11 miles back to the alley, and a bit more to the station. So I don't think it's beyond the bounds of imagination that my total walk was seven and a quarter miles, and that makes it my second longest walk. It took two and half hours, and I burnt nearly 1100 calories doing it.

 One very surprising thing is that when I finally arrived home again I did not feel hungry, and yet I was very much looking forward to having my dinner. Had I been feeling hungry I may have opted to pick up a takeaway on the way home, but very unusually I had the patience to prepare and cook my own dinner. Although I must admit that once I started cooking my juices started to flow and I did nibble on a big chunk of cheese.

 Ignoring the naughty cheese, my dinner was almost healthy, and it would have been so if the cooking sauce I used contained less sugar. The cooking sauce was Chinese Kung Po, and although I hadn't realised it when I bought it, it was almost sweet and sour sauce, and sugar was very high on it's list of ingredients. Apart from that, the skinless and boneless chicken thighs, the new potatoes, mushroom, and pak choi were all good stuff. The finished meal was very nice, but sadly all that excess sugar did not elevate it to the truly delicious.

 This morning I do feel rather thin, but my guts do hurt a bit. It feels more like muscular pain rather than any digestive upset. Fortunately it is mild and ignorable, but I am not sure of the reason for it unless I have gone weirder than usual and started doing sit up in my sleep or something. The main cause of me not feeling too good this morning is nothing to do with my guts, or to do with my legs and feet which are better than I could have hoped for. It has everything to do with having a sleepless night. I have no idea now huch sleep I did get last night. As far as I am aware I only slept continuously for around an hour at a time. It was hard getting to sleep while it was all hot and sticky, and even after things had cooled down I still found it hard to stay asleep.

 Having had one succesful and enjoyable day out I don't feel the need to go out exploring again, although it is possible that I might. I think I am going to go out to the local shops and maybe buy a new t-shirt or two, and I may take a look at either the 99p shop or Aldi's (perhaps both). Apart from that I face a difficult decision......Do I attempt to try and catch up on some sleep by taking a few naps, or will that ruin any chance I have of getting a full nights sleep tonight ?
Saturday 5th June 2010
05:55 BST

  With just a few streaky clouds very high in the sky, the day is starting off well. Even this early in the morning it is starting to warm up, and it is going to be a hot day again. The downside is that as the sun sets we may be in for the first summer storm with thunder and lightning, and spoiled sleep.

 Yesterday was a good day. The sun shone all day, and it did get nice and hot, although I didn't think it was oppressively hot. I kept the air conditioning on in my office, and kept nice and cool while I worked, and then basked in the sunshine during my fag breaks, and for a longer period during my lunch break. It was a little sticky on the train going home, but it was all rather enjoyable.

 I don't know if it was anything to do with the heat, but an unusual occurence occured in the park behind work. For the past couple of years I have observed a heron (at least I think it is a heron) that lives on the river bank, but always at such a distance that it was impossible for me to make out any details with my eyes. Yesterday it decided to watch the water only a short distance from the footbridge across the river where I often spend 10 minutes of my lunchbreak smoking and watching the river burble by. For the first time I have been able to take a picture of the bird, but with only my mobile phone camera to hand it is not very detailed.
 Yes, that small indistinct smudge in the centre of the picture is the heron, or whatever it is ! It is a solitary bird, and I have never seen it with a mate. For that matter I have never seen any fish in the river, and that might explain why it seems to be a bit of a scrawny specimen.

  My dinner last night was quite succesful, and I think it was quite healthy too. As I explained yesterday, I cooked some venison burgers as if they were meatballs in beef stock along with some new potatoes, peppers, sun dried tomatos, and some pak choi. It was tasty and fairly fat free, but I can't help but think that the burgers would have been far tastier if they had been cooked on a barbecue.

 After that healthy meal I do feel quite good this morning, or at least I do in some respects. In other ways I don't feel too good. It was hot last night and I did find it difficult getting to sleep. I was on my bed at 8 pm to do some reading, and at 8.30 pm I tried to get some sleep. It didn't come, and in a way that was handy because I had a phone call 15 minutes after I had turned out the light, and that went on until well after 9 pm. I don't know what time I finally fell asleep, but I am sure it was after 10 pm, and I was awake again at 4.15 this morning. I should have tried to get back to sleep again, but I needed to get to the toilet, and then I decided to let Smudge in and feed her. And now I am writing this. I might try for an extra hours sleep, but then I really ought to start doing stuff in preparation for Aleemah to visit.
Friday 4th June 2010
07:50 BST

  This morning sees the start of another fine day. It was cool when I left for work, but with the sky a gin clear blue, and the sun shining, it was starting to feel warm when I arrived at work 70 minutes later. The temperature today could reach 26 or 27° C, and with luck, tomorrow should be very similar.

 I think it is one of the BBC weather forecasters who has taken to decribing the sky as "gin clear blue". I am not sure if I had heard of the saying before, but I rather like it (although I am not sold on the idea that Bombay Sapphire Blue gin is any better than clear London Gin). I was going to include direct links to the products themselves, but it seems that now most booze websites want to pry into your age. Well I won't give them the satisfaction of that, and if it were possible I would suggest that everyone should boycot products that stoop to such seedy ideas. Of course this is all the result of meddling by those frustrated virgins in the health service who really ought to get out and about a bit more to see the real world. It's about time they realised that lack of alcohol can make you angry, very angry indeed. I haven't had any booze for some time now and I am absolutely livid. My blood pressure has gone through the roof and I will probably die any minute now, and it all because those bastards who call themselves health professionals think they can save a few cases of schirrosis of the liver by condeming the rest of us to a short miserable life. They deserve to burn in hell, or somewhere worse if it can be found.

 Anyway, I feel reasonably good this morning, or at least I do now, although it has nothing to do with venting my spleen (and possibly other bits). I have noticed that these days I go through three distinct phases in the morning (plus of minus four !). When I first wake up I usually feel a bit stiff, but quite good and alert. After I have fed Smudge and pottered about downstairs on the computer, I usually feel like I ought to be back in bed again. It seems like hard work walking back up the stairs and I wonder how I will make it through the day. Once I have had a shower my energy levels start to pick up again, but I can still feel like it's too much effort to go to work. Once I actually get walking things improve, and by the time I get to Waterloo I am usually feeling OK. By the time I reach work I am ready for a sit down again ! It is possible that is more than three phases - don't worry about it - I hadn't really thought enough about it when I originally said three phases.

 The fact remains that I feel pretty reasonable at the moment, and I blame that on eating a bit more healthier than of late. Last night I had diced skinless turkey and potato curry. I had cooked it the night before, and it all the flavours had infused into the meat overnight and through the day. Tonight I am also intending to eat a fairly healthy meal. I bought some venison burgers the other day (not from Knole Park where the only venison is still on the hoof). Venison is very low in fat (I think), and I am not going to fry them. What I am going to do is to treat them like meatballs and see how that turns out. I'll cook them in beef flavoured stock along with some cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and probably some new potatos. I might add some herbs too. On account of the amount of stock I will be using it will be a rather big, and also hot meal that may not seem all that appropriate after a hot day, but I think I'll manage OK.

 Sometimes it's nice to get stuff through the post like Mike's birthday card the day before, but sometimes it can be infuriating. Yesterday's post comes under the latter description. It was the reminder that my TV licence is due to be renewed before the end of the month. This year it a bowel quaking £145 and some odd pence. I can't say I like it, but I suppose it's better than paying many times that amount to Rupert Murdock for the privilege of watching 27 hours of adverts and self promotions a day on his Sky channels. At least the BBC do provide an hour or two of reasonable entertainment a day (averaged out over a week).
Thursday 3rd June 2010
07:58 BST

  Summer has returned ! This morning the sky is clear and the sun is shining warmly. Unfortunately the sky was clear overnight and that allowed things to cool down, and it would have made for a nicer morning if it had been one degree warmer. I shouldn't really moan about the temperature - it wasn't all that long ago I would have killed for a morning as mild as this morning. On the other hand, wearing a short sleeve shirt and no coat did feel just a tiny bit too cool for comfort.

 Weather forecasts are such capricious things ! As far as I can remember the BBC said today would be one degree cooler than my morning paper says it will be today, and three degrees higher for tomorrow. I think I will choose to believe what the BBC said last night. So today the temperature should rise to around 22° C, and tomorrow it could be 24° C. The weekend should be just as good, but the warmth could brew up a thunderstorm on Sunday.

 Before writing any more I must stop to thank Mike for my birthday card. It was a bit early, but with it coming from Canada that is understandable. The card has a picture of the Radio Caroline boat, the Ross Revenge, on it, and it seems we are both having birthdays around the same time. The difference is that I am five years older than that boat !

 Yesterday I started the day feeling tired and generally sort of rough. That feeling continued through the day, and I felt exhausted when I got home from work - and that was a bit of a pity because I had the opportunity for a few beers last night. I needed some shopping from Tesco on the way home, and that added to my tiredness. Once I got home I fed Smudge, put the shopping away, and prepared some dinner. My plan was to leave some stuff cooking in the oven and pop out for a pint while it cooked. The problem was that I allowed myself to sit down for a few minutes. After that I decided it was much nicer than walking to the pub.

 I might have stayed in, but I didn't stay completely alcohol free. One of my workmates went to visit his parents in Germany over the whitsun bank holiday. On his return he mentioned that he had been drinking some Jägermeister at some sort of event. Since hearing about Jägermeister, probably hearing that it was a favourite of many heavy metal bands such as Metallica, I have been curious to try it. Last night I noticed it Tesco and bought a bottle. Having satisfied my curiosity I can now say that in small quantities it is very nice. I first tasted it at room temperature, and that was nice, but it is recommended that it is served at below zero temperatures direct from the freezer. I tried that too, but I am not sure if it was any nicer that way, and possibly it was a tiny bit less nice.

 I didn't drink enough to get drunk, but it may have enabled me to get a reasonable nights sleep. I haven't checked yet this morning, but there is a way to tell if it did get me slightly drunk. Last night, with my dying breath (!) I made up a new web page with the photos I took last Monday in Sevenoaks and Knole Park. If I was drunk then my writing will contain more errors than usual. The new page can be found HERE.

 This morning I dodn't feel 100%, but I do feel a lot, lot better than yesterday morning. If I continue to improve I could be feeling quite good by the end of the day. The one thing I must do is not to use that as an excuse not to get to bed, and then to sleep, at a reasonable hour tonight. If I can summon up the corect discipline I will be in bed by 8 pm so I can read for a while, and then get to sleep before 9 pm.
Wednesday 2nd June 2010
08:49 BST

 I went outside to put some rubbish in the wheelie bin about half an hour before I left for work this morning. At that time the sun was still just hidden behind the roof of a house. It was dripping wet outside, and I am not sure how much of it was last night's rain, and how much may have been dew. All that moisture made for a slightly misty morning, and in the direction of the sun I could see a golden glow, the sort of golden glow that heralds a summers day.

 When I finally did leave to go to the station, the sun had cleared the tops of the houses, and it shone deliciously wamly on my back. There was still some haze in the sky, but now that is clearing and the sky is blue (or the bit of it I can see from my window is). It is not going to be a hot day today, but the sun will warm things up to maybe 21° today, and a few degrees more each day as we head to the weekend. Potentially we are going to have an excellent weekend, and I would early love to go out exploring on Saturday, but I have already promised Aleemah she can see me on Saturday.

 I did feel tired when I got home from work last night, but not so tired that I couldn't be a bit inventive. I had already planned that my dinner last night was to be based around a (probably) very healthy roast vegetable tart from Tesco's "Finest" range (but from the reduced price shelves). It occured to me that it would be much nicer if it was converted into a sort of pizza. Mindful that I would be killing any healthy attributes it might have, I sliced up some Mexicana cheese I had and put the slices on the art before I put it in the oven for it's recommended 30 minutes. Maybe it was naughty adding evil cheese to the tart, but it was so delicious it was worth cutting another 50 years off my life for it !

 I doubt it was the cheese, but I do feel rough this morning. Some of that roughness is that I still have a sleep deficit from my bad night on Sunday night. I did sleep reasonably well last night, but only for a bit less than 7 hours when I really wanted more than 8 hours. I guess my main complaint is not that I am in any particular discomfort, but that it seemed really hard work to walk from the station to work this morning. I just couldn't find the energy to walk as fast as I wanted, but that may have just been an illusion. It felt like I was hardly moving, and yet I don't think it actually took any longer to walk than usual. I have a theory that if I had treated it as a stroll instead of a race I would have arrived at work less than a minute later, and felt quite fresh doing it. I guess it's all just part of insanity/brain rot.

 The one thing I did do last night was to edit all the best photos of my walk to Knole Park on Monday. Maybe tonight, or maybe sometime later, I will be making up a simple photo page here on my website. I think I will keep it simple by making it little more than just a string of photos with a small caption for each of them. Normally I would construct a big table* so I could select a white background for the text, and still have the other cells in the colour of the background paper. Just recently I have reminded myself of the use of the highlighter option in Document made with KompoZer, and I can use that to change the background colour of my text. It's a silly little thing, but I think it will speed things up a bit, and yet I can still keep my personal amateur page style (or something).

* By big table I don't mean something to eat your dinner off, but a collection of individual cells on the web page that I can fill with text or photos, and colour them differently to the rest of the page - if I want to.
Tuesday 1st June 2010
If it were destined to be a hot day today I would have descibed this morning as being cold, but the fact is I came to work without a coat on, and even rolled up my shirtsleeves once I was on the train heading towards Earlsfield. My feeling about it being close last night, but not close enough to get stormy proved to be correct and it stayed dry all night. It is dry now, but the sky is a murky grey colour, and I think I have to be aware that it could rain at some point today. My morning newspaper suggests that it will only get to 16° C today, but I suspect that is journalistic imprecision for maybe 18° C.

 There are reasons why I should have got a good nights sleep last night, and reasons why I might not, and the might not's seem to have won out. I should have slept well after the exercise and fresh air I got. I should have slept easily after eating surprisingly frugally (by comparison) yesterday, and feeling quite comfortable because of it). I should have slept well because I was feeling really good. The trouble is the converse also applies for the first and last reason as well. I was also a little, but unresonably, excited over some of the stuff that Patricia said last night. ( I now hopelessly wait for an email communication from her). The final thing that spoiled my sleep was that it seemed that it only took three casual nights to lose the discipline of getting to sleep around 9 pm. It was getting on towards midnight before I fell asleep properly, and then I did sleep solidly until I was woken up by my alarm going off at 5 am.

 So today I will be running on just 5 hours of good sleep, and I suspect I'll be dozing off at my desk today. If I could get away with that for a reasonable time then everything would be great because I have some picture editing to do when I get home, and I can't do that if I am tired and yawning. The pictures I want to edit are the ones I took yesterday, and I did take rather a lot of them. Fortunately there are probably less than a dozen that are worth showing, and maybe even less than that once I have screwed in my critical eye and had a proper look at them. After all, once you have seen all three thirds of a deer you have seen all of it ! But I did take other pictures besides deer as well.