|My Diary/Blog For the Month of April
|Saturday 30th April 2011|
| 09:39 BST
The weather has been up and down a lot recently. Thursday was quite cloudy, and yesterday was often overcast, but at some points it was quite bright and sunny. Yesterday was also a lot milder than the preceeding few days. Today has started off quite nicely. Despite the outside temperature only being 13° C when I woke up, it didn't feel that bad. Since then it has risen by another two degrees, and it has the makings for a very fine day.
I feel I won't be making that much use of the nice weather today, although I'll keep my options only. This morning I do feel a bit tired, and I think I have a very good excuse as to why I should be. For much of yesterday I didn't get up to much, but in the evening I went out to see Chain play at The British Queen pub in Locksbottom.
It was a very enjoyable evening made extra enjoyable by some good beer (Dark Star "Hophead"), and even better, the pub was not too crowded. One trouble with The British Queen is that the band play tucked into a small corner, and getting into and out of that corner when the place is crowded is a bit of a Squeeze.
Chain played a couple of brand new, and one recently new song. The brand new was a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Green Manalishi" - which sounded excellent - and a cover of a more recent (when measured in decades) Fleetwood Mac song, "Gold Dust Woman". I do, or did, own the album that was on, but I didn't know the song. The recently new song was Black Sabbath's "Paranoid". They have only played the song three times now. I missed it last week, but last night it was still as wonderful as when I first heard the week (or two ?) before.
One of the pictures I took last night seemed to lend itself to some playing around, and I think this canvas effect comes out rather well for this picture of Jo and her new guitar.
Another picture of Jo that seems to work right.
I am unsure who this man was, but he was more than happy to pose for me in his rather excellent t-shirt.
Now this is Guy, Chain's drummer............
.......and this is his mum and dad dancing in the "mosh pit" right at the front. Guy, who is really rather a young man, is unphased by this definitely unhip situation. I'm not so sure that I would be so cool about it considering all the jokes about dads dancing at weddings etc.
Chain played on right up to closing time, and that was after the last bus had gone. I was in two minds as to whether to leave early for the bus, or go halves on a taxi with Steve, the bass player. I was having such a good time, and rather full of beer for the long meandering bus ride home, that I decided sharing a cab was the best option. By the time all the bands gear was packed up it was wellpast midnight, and then there was a bit of a wait for the taxi. It was 2am when I finally arrived home, and after a bite to eat it was almost 3am when I went to bed and fell asleep almost instantly. That was some 6 hours past my normal bedtime ! So I feel I do have a good excuse to feel a bit tired this morning.
I am not entirely sure what I am doing today. It is now rather late to go back to bed, but I might lay on my bed to listen to a recently downloaded sci-fi audio book. If I fall asleep I fall asleep (and I'll have to try and work out what I missed and listen to it again). It is possible that I will do some housework today. It's not that I want to, far from it, but I have been neglecting it a lot recently. Possibly the very best thing I can do today is try and get myself fit for a day out rambling tomorrow - which is forecast to be a nice day (which probably means there will be blizzards or a hurricane).
|Thursday 28th April 2011|
| 08:12 BST
The temperature continues to drop. Yesterday started off fairly chilly, and this morning it is positively cold ! According to my thermometer it was an almost frigid 7° C when I woke up. The drop in temperature is not the only change. Much of yesterday was sunny, but this morning it is depressingly overcast, and rain is forecast. The rain could fall at any time, and it is possible that some of it may be quite heavy. Evidently the weather is getting in practice for the royal wedding tomorrow.
I spent much of yesterday morning in bed. I can't be sure, but I think I managed to sleep an extra two or three hours in that time. During the afternoon I did very little. Some of the time I was reading from my PC, and some of the time I was reading an ebook on my mobile phone.
This morning I don't feel that bright. I would love an extra hour or two in bed even after getting extra sleep yesterday. Otherwise, most of my body seems to be working within normal parameters. It is my brain that is most affected. I don't feel this is a happy start to the day. For one thing I was annoyed with the weather as I stood shivering in the bathroom. Then I got "bombed" by a pigeon that was lurking up in the platform canopy infrastructure at Waterloo East station. Finally, I still face the upheaval of my working environment being forcibly changed. That process has now started. At the moment it is on the periphery of where I work, but coming ever closer.
Oh well, it's the last day of the week. Tomorrow is the extra bank holiday brought about for the royal wedding. If the weather is as crap as I believe it will be, I will be most happy to stay in, and maybe even stay in bed all morning. The events of the day don't interest me so I'll probably not be bothering to turn the TV on. If there was a local pub without a TV in it I could be tempted to have a beer or six, but I think they all have TV's in for the tragic reason of "sport". I have a funny feeling that tomorrow could be a very miserable day unless I manage to make my own amusement.
|Wednesday 27th April 2011|
| 09:01 BST
After the recent good weather, yesterday came as a bit of a disappointment. It took a long time to warm up, and at it's best it was still more cool than warm. If there had been a bit more sunshne it might have improved a bit, but the sun only came out now and then. Today may be a bit better in terms of sunshine, but the day started off very cool at just 9° C, and we will be lucky if it is double that at the end of the day. It could be worse though. Tomorrow it is forecast to rain, and on Friday, when the boring royal wedding takes place it might be even wetter !
Unlike yesterday when I just had a traditional hangover, today I seem to be suffering from bad guts. It seems to be settling down now, but it was too precarious to dare to travel to work. So I've taken the day off sick. While the volatility has settled down I still feel off colour. A little earlier I seemed to be salivating a lot in the way that often preceeds vomiting. That has gone away again, and I don't think my digestive system is going to go into reverse now. Past experience says that in a few more hours I will be as right as rain - providing I eat carefully for the rest of the day. It's a cool day so I might attack some chicken soup later. That's usually very safe provided I don't add any chilli sauce.
It is possible, though unlikely, that the source of my bad guts is the result of more "dumpster diving". I pulled some good stuff out of the rubbish at work yesterday. Amongst my haul were :-
|Tuesday 26th April 2011|
| 07:52 BST
The sun was not so hot yesterday as it had been the day before, but it was still a very pleasant day. The sun shone for much of the day, and it was dry. The temperature seemed to drop a long way overnight. The air temperature when I woke up was a mere 10° C. That was surprising considering this morning is so cloudy. The sky is completely grey now, but it should break up and go away during the morning. Then, if the weather forecast has any relation to reality the temperature will climb to a more acceptable 22 - 23° C.
Yesterday was a very nice day, but I am paying the cost of it this morning. I knew that the furthest I would be travelling would only be as far as the pub. So I had a fairly rare treat - some breakfast. After that I lounged around doing nothing of any significance until I went out to meet Jodie in the pub at 3pm. My breakfast, although not huge, really made the ten minute walk to the pub seem harder than the 5 mile walk I did the day before. Once the weight of breakfast (or any meal) settles on my stomach it feels like I am carrying the whole world with me. Ideally I need a whole 12 hours after eating to be able to walk comfortably, and with any vigour.
I arrived at the pub feeling like I wanted a long sit down, and that is almost what I had if you ignore the trips to the bar, the toilets, and going outside for a cigarette. I think I had 4 pints of assorted beers. One of the beers, from a Dutch brewery seemed particularly nice, and if it wasn't for wanting to try the other beers available I would have quite happily have stuck to that all afternoon. After the beer I had some whisky. It was not ordinary whisky because it was flavoured with cinnamon. Jodie, who had drunk some on another occasion, claimed it was fiery hot and totally revolting, and that seemed like a good reason to try it myself. Personally I thought it was rather good just on it's own, and spurned the offer of ice and lemonade to dilute the taste. It was so good that after the single I had to test it I bought a double just to make sure it was still good !
I left the pub feeling quite merry, but also believing myself to be starving. That was a silly belief, but I acted on it in a very silly way. This morning I felt like I was slowly dying. I had all the worst symptoms of alcohol poisoning, and none of the good ones like immenent death. My mouth felt like the bottom of a bird cage, my stomach felt sore, I was stiff and creaky, and my head hurt. Most of that has gone away now, but I am still going through the wet towel around the brain feeling that makes even simple things like blinking or breathing feel like a major intellectual exercise.
The way I feel this morning was also not helped by another night of bad sleep. Apart from the few times I got up to wee, and which hardly count, I know I slept badly from the amount of dreaming I can remember doing. I can't actually remember details of those dreams now, but I can remember a sort of synopsis of one dream, and the terror of another. The dream where I can remember a sort of partial story line, but no details, concerned moving a mattress across the road. The purpose of this seemed to be for some sort of sexual encounter that couldn't take place in my own bedroom (I think) because, like the train I was on to Whitstable last Friday, the place had been over run with kids.
That was all terribly complicated, and somewhat scary, but the other dream I remember with some lucidity was of nightmare proportions in a specialised sort of way. I had the task of terminating a three phase, 33 thousand volt, cable on a switch while it was still live. I think I remember the dream so well because so much of it was a "freeze frame". I was just staring at this cable end, and knowning that one tiny slip would release a huge amount of energy - probably through me ! An added complication was that the cable end was capped with some special sort of insulator to stop this very high voltage from arcing across between the three conductors. To strip the wires would mean removing this cap, and upon doing so all hell would be let loose. So my dream seemed to consist mainly of staring at the end of the cable being terrified of all the ways that it would kill me, and trying to think of ways around this problem. Turning off the power at the other end of the cable was apparently not an option.
Today I am back at work, and not feeling too good about it. The threatened enforced clear up is likely to start today. The good thing is that with another long bank holiday weekend at the end of this week it is only a 3 day working week.
|Monday 25th April 2011|
| 05:45 BST
Unlike the day before, there was no rain yesterday. It was also a degree cooler, but it was still a very respectable 24° C. If anything spoiled the day it was a slight haziness. Clear sky overnight has allowed the temperature to drop to 11° C this morning, but with luck it will climb again to 23° C by late afternoon. It seems that the temperature will drop a few degrees everyday during the course of the week.
It has been said that the weather we have had over the last week or so has been very unseasonal, and yet I am not so sure. When I look back at what I was doing a year ago I see that it was hot enough for me to complain of sunburn. It was the occasion when I achieved my second longest walk so far - 9.7 miles from Birchington On Sea to Herne Bay.
Rediscovering that is slightly annoying. I thought that what I achieved yesterday was rather good for so early in the year. My achievement yesterday was to do a 5.08 mile walk. I thought I was building up my endurance for longer walks later in the summer, but it seems that last year I was able to do much more at this time of the year. Mind you, I do recall that long walk almost "killed" me. The last mile or so was really quite painful, but it seems that I recovered from it quite quickly.
Yesterday I walked from Eynesford station to Otford station. That was more than I planned, and while that still falls short of what I achieved this time last year, it was across undulating land instead of a flat coastal walk. The main goal of my walk was to visit The Hop Shop.
As I recall it was 1.75 miles from Eynsford station, and a slow climb from the bottom of the valley. Having reached there and bought some stuff I had two choices - either to go back to Eynsford station, or to press on to Shoreham station. I chose to go on and do the reverse of a walk I did on Sunday 27th June last year.
When I reached Shoreham village I thought I deserved a beer before getting a train home. As I drank a rather nice pint of Kentish Red ale from The Millis brewery in Dartford (Kent) I took a look at my map and saw there was a footpath from there to Otford. It looked to be a little under two miles long, and over a quite gentle hill. It felt like I had some energy left, and so I went for it. It took the grand total up to 5.08 miles of walking.
During my walk I took a few snaps. I wanted to take more photos of wildlife, but everything seemed to be in constant motion. I did manage a couple of good shots of a ladybird, and some unidentified butterfly.
It's a shame I can't identify this butterfly because I think this photo came out rather well. I'm not sure if horses count as wildlife, but I took two pictures of horses as well.
This horse was in a field near the Lullingstone Roman villa visitor centre.......
.....while these two, wearing eye protection masks, were taken using a lot of zoom in a field near Castle Farm and The Hop Shop. Just a little further along the road, and by the entrance to The Hop Shop, was this strange bit of technology.
This miniature windmill (maybe 10 - 15 feet tall) is not powered by the wind, but by the water wheel in the river below it.
Just past the shop there are the fields where hops are grown, and in the far distance, in the centre of the picture, are the fields where lavendar is grown.
Along the footpath from Shoreham to Otford you pass under this magic arch. I am not sure why it should be magic. Maybe it mysteriously makes your feet feel a little bit heavier.
After walking for about a mile towards Otford the footpath crosses a road, and I found one of the old stone footpath signs mostly clear of vegetation, and facing onto the sun. There was a similar one pointing towards Otford as I left Shoreham, but that was partially obscured, and in a very shady position.
At the peak of the hill, just before it drops down into Otford, there is a classic view of the rolling Kent countryside. In the foreground is meadowland full of daiseys and buttercups, and then across the valley lies more rolling hills in the hazy warm air.
The purpose of my visit to The Hop Shop was to buy some of their lavender, lavandin, and rosemary oils, and also to try some of their lavendar flavoured food. The idea of lavendar as a food flavouring seemed a bit strange, but it does work. I bought some lavendar flavoured fudge, and some cookies. While waiting the 15 minutes for my train home at Otford station I decided to try some of the fudge. It was very nice. Too nice in fact. After the long walk the sugar rush made me go a little mad and I ended up eating all the small (100gm) packet of fudge, and then I started on the cookies. I managed to stop eating the cookies after a couple of them, and I have some left for today.
It was a mistake to eat before getting home. For one thing, scoffing all that fudge in an uncontrolled manner, replaced all the energy I burnt off while walking. Leaving with nothing more than sore feet to show for it. Secondly, after the initial rush, it left me feeling totally exhausted. When I first arrived at Otford I could have almost walked for another mile or two. When I arrived back in Catford it seemed a major struggle just to walk home.
I needed a really healthy dinner after my earlier indulgences, and it came in the form of an ostrich steak salad. I had never tried ostrich meat before, but I bought some marinated frozen steaks while I was in Lidl the day before. They didn't have a strong taste, and I wouldn't go out of my way to get any more, but they were pleasant enough. The excellent thing about them is that they were almost perfectly fat free making for a very healthy sort of meal.
I had a vague idea that I might go to the seaside again today. I think it most unlikely that I will, but if I did I would be heading back to Leigh-On-Sea with the idea of buying some fresh seafood. Further thought suggests it would probably be a waste of energy. It feels unlikely that the fishing boats would have been out on a Sunday (in the middle of Easter), and any fish on offer would probably just be frozen fish rather than fresh. Maybe this will be a plan for next weekend. The only thing of significance that I will most probably do today is to go for an afternoon pint in the pub with Jodie and/or Kevin.
I thought I would save the best bit to last. While walking across the fields yesterday I spotted, and picked up a gold coin. The fact that it is gold plated plastic, and says 1p play cash on it is irrelevant. It is still a gold coin !
|Sunday 24th April 2011|
| 06:10 BST
Yesterday had much in common with a summers day. After a cool start it quickly warmed up to around 25° C, and then the cloud bubbled up. As the sun started to set the rain came down accompanied by some thunder and lightning. By mid evening it all dried up again, and with the clouds almost gone the temperature dropped a lot.
This morning has started off slightly misty, and the temperature is 13° C. As the sun rises the mist is clearing, and it should get quite warm again. Then we are in for a repeat of yesterday with rain expected at around 6pm. Perhaps it will be a little lighter than yesterday, and without the thunder and lightning, but maybe it will be just as sticky as yesterday afternoon.
Yesterday turned out to be almost nothing like I planned it to be. Reality diverged from imagination after I had done some shopping in Lidl. I managed to buy quite a bit of stuff while I was in there, and it was hot sweaty work lugging it all the way back home (Lidl is twice as far away as Tesco is).
I bought food, drink, ice cream and a new toy. That new toy is a radio controlled weather station. By radio controlled it actually means it has a receiver/decoder for the German DCF time transmitting station to display "atomically controlled" time. A secondary, though not terribly accurate, use of the description of radio controlled is that it has an external, radio linked, temperature and humidity sensor. It is currently saying that the external temperature (outside the rear bedroom window) is 13.5° C (up 0.2° C since I first started writing), and the humidity it describes as comfortable at 44%. Indoors, in my bedroom, it is 22° C.
That toy cost £9.99, which I didn't think was too bad for something built to German Chinese standards. I am of course using racial stereotypes here to suggest that the Germans, with their love of precision engineering, would have held a whip hand over the (presumed) Chinese manufacturers to ensure it was all calibrated, and built to higher standards than some of the dodgy stuff that appears in other shops. (Lidl is, I think, German owned, and some of their stuff even has barely decipherable German labels on it).
I was feeling hot and sticky after lugging all my shopping home, and worse than that was that I had bought some very tempting food items - including some chocolate ice cream. I was also feeling rather tired after another night of poor sleep. I put on my hiking gear, and with my back pack filled with cameras, and all other sorts of paraphenalia for a long walk, I got to the front door before deciding that what I really wanted to do was to have some breakfast and a lie down, and that is exactly what I did !
I spent a pleasant afternoon reading, eating, watching TV, and probably eating again. Somewhere in all that I managed to doze off a couple of times for a few minutes. As the evening approached the rain started to fall, peels of thinder could be heard rolling around the sky, and lightning began to flash towards the north east. Meanwhile I was feeling hot and sticky, and rather well fed.
By the time I should have left to go and see Chain play in Blackheath the rain had probably done it's worst, and with a bit more effort I could have forced myself to go out, but I was feeling quite comfortable as I was (if you can call being hot and sweaty, and over fed "comfortable"). So I stayed in, and by 10pm I had turned out the lights, and a few moments later I was fast asleep.
I slept solidly for four hours before waking up to go take a pee. Once back in bed again I think I surprised myself by falling back to sleep so quickly again. I then slept well intil 5.30am. I woke up from a dream where I was trying to stand fully upright against something that was holding me down. One of my feet was at an awkward angle somehow, and I was struggling to get it in the right place so I could push up properly. It was all a little confused, but predictably enough, I woke up with the duvet tangled around me, and feeling rather stiff and sore.
That stiffness is now dissipating, and I hope, possibly after a bit more sleep, that I will feel like going out for the walk I was to have made yesterday. The plan is still to walk from Eynsford to Shoreham (Kent) taking in a farm shop on the way. In some ways the farm shop is my destination, and I might just turn around there and go back to Eynsford station. That would cut maybe a mile of the total walk. The farm shop is actually named The Hop Shop, and they specialise in both hop related stuff and lavender related stuff. I am curious about their lavender flavoured cookies. I suspect they are rather tasty, but I have never considered lavendar as a food flavouring before.
|Saturday 23rd April 2011|
| 06:07 BST
Yesterday was hot. Not steaming hot, but a bit more than warm. With practically all blue skies, and continuous sunshine, there was nothing to complain about. Today there could be a couple of rogue clouds roaming about that could rain on someone, but for the most part it is supposed to be another bright sunny day. After clear skies overnight it has started off fairly cool. So the top temperature today could be a degree less than yesterday, but still in the high twenties.
I was intending to go for a ramble in the countryside, and specifically between Eynsford and Shoreham (Kent) yesterday. Out of curiosity I checked the times of the trains for the destination of where I thought I might go today - Whitstable in Kent. Going there today would have added an extra 30 minutes to what is already a moderately long rail journey. So I chenaged my destination and went there yesterday.
The only problem in doing that was one I badly underestimated. On the journey out the train was packed with people and their bloody noisy kids. Had one little brat shouted out "mommy" one more time there may well have been a murder on that train. Not only was the train crowded, but the town and beach were full of slowly moving people who were just in my way.
Maybe it was worth enduring that visit to hell of the train journey, and the slowly shuffling crowds I found at my destination. Once I had walked a mile and a half along the beach I finally found room to breath, and it was rather glorious as this video shows.
As the sun shone down the boat enthusiasts took to the calm sea, and the waves gently lapped the shore. If the beach was of golden sand it could have been quite idylic. The reality was the beach at Whitstable is a mixture of shingle, stones, and gravel. The good thing was that it was quite firm to walk on unlike the loose shingle at Pevensey that was so unpleasant to walk on last week.
The best bit was that the water was almost warm. For the first time since the end of summer last year, I went for a paddle. To keep my feet safe and comfortable on all the stones I had taken my old pair of black canvas shoes with me, and in them I walked a fair distance in the water. One useful thing about there being little sand (or mud) there is that those shoes did not fil up with abrasive debris.
Along the way I took a gaggle (!) of photos.
There were people in canoes on that wonderful blue looking water....
...and even water skiers.
While I was there I didn't neglect the wildlife. I can't identify the plant above. Until I examined the full size photo closely I thought that the spikes were salt crystals. Some plants growing near the sea, where there is a lot of salt, extrude the excess salt as crystals on the leaf surface, but these are obviously defensive spikes.
One plant I think I identified correctly is this sea kale.
It seems I keep seeing sci fi references when I go to the seaside recently. The legend etched into the glass of the front door is "Tardis House". I presume that it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. (see here)
Have I stumbled upon something here ? Is The Bakerloo line being extended all the way to Whitstable ? I think we should be told !!!!
My journey home again was far more civilised. I left early compared the the majority of people, and my train was less than half full, and more significantly free from kids and quiet. After spending a couple of hours in the early afternoon sun I was beginning to get some sunburn. It was probably about the ideal exposure to keep building up resistance to the sun without actually burning. If anything was going to get burned it would have been my legs.
Yesterday was the the first time since last summer that I have exposed the world to my legs by wearing shorts. It must be some measure of some sort of good that my shorts still fitted perfectly upon trying them on. I don't think they would have gone on so easily a couple of months back ! So I must be doing something right.
It is debatable if I did the right thing when I arrived home. It was a bit early for dinner, but I was feeling remarkable hungry after not eating anything since the previous night (and that was a bit on the sparse side). To "keep me going" until I could arrange dinner I ate a couple of packets of greasy crisps (allegedly now 30% less grease than "normal" crisps). After eating those I delayed my dinner for a couple of hours, and had it later than is usual (for me).
I had a combination dinner of varying virtues. The chicken shish kebab with salad was fairly safe. The chicken is skinless and grilled so mostly fat free. The large beef burger (I told you I was feeling very hungry) may also have not been that bad. Like the chicken it was grilled - so theoreticaly low in fat. That just leaves the bun it was in, and the sauce on it. In all probability both of those were not that bad either.
My walk was only 3.86 miles, and that is a relatively short distance compared with my better efforts, but considering I may well go out again today it was probably better not to push things too hard. I did feel a bit tired yesterday evening, but I felt no rush to get to bed early, and even when I did turn out the light and try to sleep it did not come easily. I actually slept quite badly last night. We are going through that phase where it is too hot under the duvet, and later in the night, too cold to not to be under it.
I woke up many times in the night, and it is only because I gave up trying to get back to sleep that I am up so early this morning. I'll probably get back into bed soon and try to add another hour or two to the 4 or 5 hours I got in the night. Once I do get up and dressed I face some difficult decisions. I probably need to get some shopping, but I would also like to get away for my walk in the country a lot earlier than I got out yesterday. Then I have to consider that I want to go out tonight to see Chain play in The British Oak on the far side of Blackheath. I am wondering, particularly bearing in mind going out tonight, if I really should go on a long walk today. Like many things, I guess I'll just make it up as I go along.
|Friday 22nd April 2011|
| 06:22 BST
Occasionally some cloud bubbled up yesterday, but for the most part it was a warm sunny day. Today should end up very similar, but right now it is quite misty outside. It will take a little while to warm up, but once again temperatures in London are expected to reach 25° C. Outside of London, particularly near the coast, it may only reach 21° C, but even that's not bad. The only fly in the ointment is that somewhere is likely to get a shower. I hope it is not wherever I end up going today.
I was revelling in my misery yesterday. My main disappointment is that I didn't feel as if I had been miserable enough. So while I managed to avoid to many conversations, I didn't have the satisfaction of storming out of work. What I did do was to take an extended lunch break so I could take a long walk in the park.
It was a very enjoyable walk in the warm sunshine. I didn't measure the distance of my walk, but a similar one was 1.5 miles, and the route I took yesterday may have extended that to somewhere in the region of 1.75 miles. Along the way I spotted several types of butterfly, but none of them seemed to settle long enough to pose for a picture. One type had orange tips to it's white (or very light coloured) wings, and another I am sure was a chalkhill blue - except there are no chalk hills in the vicinity, so it was probably just a similar small butterfly.
One thing that did pose for me, although in a very awkward position without lying down in the middle of the path, was a large bumble bee.
The only problem with this picture (ignoring that it is slightly out of focus) is that it gaves no appreciation of the size of the bee. It wasn't huge as bumble bees go, but still around half an inch long. My next two attempts at photography failed. A squirrel kept moving just as I pressed the shutter, and a blackbird did likewise. A magpie, with it's beautiful blue flashes was more obliging - although those blue parts haven't come out so electric blue as when they were almost flashing in the bright sunshine as the bird moved.
While I didn't storm out of work, I did sneak out 10 minutes early. I will be making up the time after the long weekend is over, but it gave me great satisfaction to get back out into the sunshine and head for home. I had been thinking of trying to arrange a beer, but in the end I didn't. No beer also meant no gigantic greasy kebab, and so it was probably a good thing.
It ended up that my food intake yesterday was almost, but not really, modest. I had also intended to get some shopping in Tesco on the way home, and I did indeed go into Tesco, but a quick appraisal inside showed it to be too busy. I was still feeling a bit edgy, and the idea of a long queue did not appeal to me. Instead I called in at the corner shop where I bought some ice cream, two packets of crisps, one small packet of tortilla chips, and a packet of peanuts. That lot, plus some pate, formed my dinner after only eating one single apple during the day.
In terms of physical quantity it was quite a small dinner, but loaded with all sorts of stuff that is best avoided. On the plus side I could easily have eaten that as a snack during the day, and had a full dinner in the evening. I don't think the supermarkets are open today. So maybe I might have a good excuse to dine on some devestatingly unhealthy, but megadevestatingly takeaway food tonight.
I feel good and bad this morning. I didn't sleep that well last night. There were a few reasons for that, and most of them were related to the warm day. After a slightly sweaty day I decided on a quick shower before I went to bed last night. That left me feeling hot and sweaty because the water was too warm, but worst of all was realising that my towel had gone smelly. So I went to bed feeling slightly dirtier than when I started.
My bedroom was rather warm last night, and feeling even warmer after my hot shower. So I left the window open, and that let in all the noise. Maybe I was just feeling rather susceptible to noise, but it did seem very noisy last night. Even the local trains, which I rarely even notice, seemed very noisy in the still of the night.
The excellent thing is I can, and will go back to bed again soon. With luck I may be able to get in another hour or two of sleep. After that I think the call of the morning will be too great to stay in bed. Since waking up several areas of stiffness seem to have eased up, and for the most part I feel quite well.
I am still rather unsure about my mental health though. I don't, but ought to, feel depressed this morning. While plumbing the depths of my subconcious to think of a random image for a page background for the single day version of this blog* I seem to have inadvertently come up with a very religious symbol for what, in the Christian world is Good Friday - that of a fish. It scares the hell out of me to think that I may be turning Catholic or something. I really ought to dig out a picture of John Lennon, and chant through the words of All You Need Is Love several times as a penance !
* Having written this blog for today, I copy and paste it, minus the background image, into the blog for the whole month.
I am not entirely sure what I am doing today. The call of the wild seems quite strong, and it is likely I will go out exploring today. The seaside would be nice except many places are going to be very crowded, and it is likely to be quite a few degrees cooler on the coast. If I do venture that far I am thinking of going to somewhere like Whitstable. I have walked to Whitstable before, but have never walked beyond it because there is no convenient railway station to head to. I could loop around inland to return back to Whistable station as one possibility, but I might opt to not travel so far and take a walk across the fields somewhere inland.
|Thursday 21st April 2011|
| 08:00 BST
One thing spoiled the weather yesterday. In the middle of the afternoon it got quite cloudy. That eventually cleared up, and the late afternoon, and into the evening were once again bright, sunny and warm. Today has started a bit cloudy, but it is still bright, and at the comfortable end of cool. The cloud seems to be dissipating now, and most of the day should be bright and sunny. It should also end up being very warm with temperatures around 25° C.
This morning I feel really lousy. There are a variety of reasons for this - some physical, some mental, and quite probably each making the other worse. My feet, ankles, legs, knees, thighs, hips, stomach, chest, neck, teeth and brain all hurt. Curiously enough my arms feel OK.
My mental health is very bad at the moment. As a result of an impending visit by a bunch of stupid, idiotic, pen pushers my workplace is being turned upside down again. This makes me very depressed. I really did not want to come to work today, and having considered the long term implications (probably a loss of half a days pay and meaningless bollocking) I may well just go for a very long walk once the process starts, and not come back until after the bank holiday. I don't intend to help in any way the person who has been tasked to turn my world upside down, and once he starts the great clear up that could be my cue to walk out of the door.
It is not an entirely meaningless thing to do. With the long, 4 day, bank holiday weekend about to start I don't really want to mope my way through it, and a show of petulance may just be enough to lift my spirits. Sometimes it is the small things that count the most.
If I don't walk out there is another alternative, and that is to try an arrange some binge drinking, followed by the greasest kebab I can find, to blow off steam tonight. It is possible that I will do a scaled down version of that tonight regardless of what happens here at work. It is possible that nothing will actually happen today, and the torture will start after the bank holiday.
|Wednesday 20th April 2011|
| 08:46 BST
Yesterday ended up rather gorgeous. The sun shone for nearly the whole day, and records were broken when the temperature hit 25° C in some parts of central London. Today has started off less cool, and far sunnier. If the sun keeps shining, and it is supposed to, we could see an extra degree added to yesterday's temperature. That will be roughly double what the seasonal average is supposed to be for mid April. The weather forecasters say this run of exeptionally nice weather will continue in to the long bank holiday weekend.
It was so nice yesterday that I didn't have much trouble forcing myself to walk the 2 miles to Wandsworth Common station after work. I must have been in good form because I found the long hill from Earlsfield station to the common itself to be less a strain than usual. Having once attempted to start it at full speed I now start at a more sedate pace. Even so, I still found myself slowly catching up a far fitter looking man than me, and once the hill started to level out I had little trouble overtaking him.
I could almost have carried on walking when my train from Wandsworth Common station arrived at Forest Hill station. It is only two miles or so from there to home, and some of it is downhill, but I didn't want to push myself too far just yet. I don't know if I'll feel like walking after work tonight, but if I do I may consider walking from Forest Hill station, or I may decide to keep something in reserve for some more serious walking over the 4 day bank holiday weekend.
One reason why I may not do any walking tonight is that this morning I don't feel quite as good as yesterday. For one thing my feet feel a little sore. That's surprising because while walking, and during the rest of the evening they felt fine. This morning it feels like I walked double, or triple the distance I did last night. One other reason for not feeling too good is a bit of a digestive problem. I woke up with quite a strong pain in my lower gut. Quite a few trips to the toilet mostly sorted that out, but I still don't feel totally right. As the day wears on that problem should fade away, and I hope it is not a significant issue by the time I come to decide whether to take the long, or the short way home from work.
|Tuesday 19th April 2011|
| 07:49 BST
My prediction for the weather yesterday turned out to be closer to reality than the official forecast. There were no passing showers, and in fact for much of the day it was bright and sunny. I am not sure if it did hit 19° C. It was very pleasant, but I think I expected 19° C to feel a bit warmer than it did.
If a cloud had moved two inches to the left it would have been bright and sunny when I set out to come to work. The sunshine first appeared some 15 - 20 minutes into my journey, and I think it has been sunny since then. There is a good scattering of white fluffy clouds right now, and sometimes they will get in the way of the sun, but overall it is expected to stay bright and dry. If that comes to pass it may get as warm as 24° C today. That should definitely begin to feel a little more than a bland sort of warm, and almost approaching the first stages of hot.
I did feel unusually good yesterday, and I don't really know why. If I did I would do it more often ! Such was the state of my wellbeing that it didn't seem unreasonable to run over half way up the dreaded stairs at Earlsfield station. There is no doubting it was hard work, but it didn't quite kill me in they way that it might have done.
On my way home from work I stopped off in Tesco to buy some bits and pieces. That inevitably meant that my dinner was not as healthy as it might have been. I had some stuff that needing using to make way for the new, and so my dinner consisted of all sorts of oddments. The worst amongst these oddments was some precooked hot chicken that I just happened to buy while in Tesco. The best was a punnet of strawberries - also just bought. What came between the chicken course and the strawberry course is top secret, but it did involve certain products with more than the usually desired amounts of the wrong sorts of fats (and hence were very tasty !).
In some respects it is a pity I shovelled that lot down when I did. It was only after I was threequarters of the way through it that I kept thinking how nice it looked outside, and how a walk into the park could have been pleasant. By then it was to late. For all but the very lightest meals I have to wait at least eight hours before I can do any walking after eating. Even the 10.35 mile walk I achieved last summer I did on a totally empty stomach.
This morning I still feel relatively fit, and maybe I'll be running up stairs or escalators again when the time comes to go home from work again. While I may be relatively physically fit, my mental state is evidently very poor. In fact if my brain was a horse they would take it out the back and shoot it !
It all started when I was in the bathroom this morning. As I prepared to wash my hair I was idling the time away thinking about what a bad despot I would be when I rule the 1000 inhabited planets of the known universe. I just can't seem to get the hang of the grandiose thing. I imagine myself in more of a sort of large detached house rather than a full blown palace. Once you have a main bedroom, and spare bedroom for yourself, and six more bedrooms for the sex slaves/house cleaners, a dining room and kitchen, there seem little need for more room.
My weird fantasies have nothing to do with my mental health. The fantasy factory of my brain seems to be working very well. No, the main thing is that I totally lost the plot of real life. As I poured out what I thought was the conditioner for my hair I realised that I had picked up the very similar looking bottle of shampoo, and that I had just washed my hair using conditioner ! As another Bill once quipped, "all's well that ends well". My hair is now wonderfully soft and clean after two applications of conditioner !
|Monday 18th April 2011|
| 08:01 BST
The first half of yesterday was wonderfully bright and sunny after some early morning mistiness had dissipated. The second half was less bright, but made up for it by being a bit warmer. The temperature, while good for the time of year, really only entered the comfort zone (as defined as warm enough for short sleeved shirts/t-shirts and no coat) by a small margin.
It seems today might penetrate a tiny bit more into the comfort zone. As I write this I can begin to see detail appearing in the white misty sky. The hope is that the mistiness will open up to reveal blue sky and lots of sunshine. The forecast suggests that hope is a little bit optimistic, and there is a very small chance of a passing shower, but the temperature is expected to reach a quite comfortable 19° C.
I didn't really do much yesterday except for some photo editing. That didn't take that long. At least I don't think it did, but yesterday was one of those days where time seemed to fly by. The photos I was editing were taken at the most excellent gig last Friday night. I was obviously quite snap happy because I took 39 photos during the gig. Out of those I selected 14 for editing, and out of those just four to show here.
First of all - all the members of Chain playing together except for the drummer.
From left to right : Steve on the bass guitar, Jo on guitar and vocals, Matt standing in on the drums, and Chris on guitar.
Jo looking very lovely.
Steve tells a rude joke about Olympic condoms !
This is one of those photos where you don't know that you have taken it until later. By some fluke I managed to click the shutter at exactly the right time. I think Steve is adding some backing vocals to the "no, no, no" of the song Rehab. Either that or he was pulling a face specially for the camera (which I know he has done before).
There is one more photo to share with you. I took it on my way into work this morning. As I turned off the main road, onto the approach road to work, I found the pavement, and part of the road, just blanketted with pink blossom from a tree. It felt like a special carpet had been laid for me to welcome my return to work after the weekend.
|Saturday 16th April 2011|
| 19:19 BST
Much of yesterday was dull and gloomy, but it was less cold than the other days of the week. Then in the late afternoon the cloud began to break up, and finally the sun broke through. The early evening turned very pleasant. It was warm enough for shirtsleeves, and bright and cheery. Today started off the way yesterday finished. There was still plenty of clouds in the sky, but there was also a fair amount of sunshine, and it was just warm enough to go out in shirtsleeves. During the afternoon the clouds thickened up again, and several times it has seemed to be on the point of raining, but up till now it has stayed dry.
After that dull and gloomy week it was great to end the week on a high. The relative warmth, and brighness were very good, but good beer, and excellent music lifted things to a higher plane. Once I got home from work I quickly cleaned myself up as best I could before rushing out to The Catford Ram for beer and great music.
The pub had Bombadier beer on, which is rather tasty, but of course the highlight of the evening was another excellent gig from Chain. Last night was unusually excellent for reasons I will come to soon. I took along my camera as well as my new "toy"camcorder. It was unfortunate that the battery pack went flat in my camera during Chain's first set, but after a week where I felt almost permanently knackered I suddenly found hidden strengths. A combination of some beer (not much at that point), good music, and the vastly improved weather combined to help me almost run home to get my spare battery pack. I didn't actually run, but I did use about my fastest walk possible, and seeming did it with ease.
With my spare battery pack in my camera I seemed to get quite "snap happy". I haven't processed any of the pictures for upload yet, but it is one of my tasks for maybe tomorrow. What I have processed is a video I took on my JVC Experio camcorder. When I put up a picture of it on Thursday (I think) it didn't really give any idea of just how small it is. So one picture I did process was this one.
I've pictured it here next to an ordinary packet of Marlboro cigarettes to give a better idea of just how small it is. Being so small it is difficult to keep it steady when using any amount of zoom. Under daylight it can give some excellent pictures, but under the dim lights of The Catford Ram it struggled a lot. The colour balance was not that good, and the focus was rather soft. Yet after a lot of messing about with the video I did get one song that looks almost passable, Even the sound, though hideously compressed, does not sound that bad. I never did quite get the picture aspect ratio right, but it's close enough to 16:9, as the camcorder claims to take, as I can get it by eye.
Chain - Rehab
The song is Chain's cover of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab". I have come to think of this version as the definitive version of the song. The curious thing is that some songs I have suggested Chain could do a good cover version of have been rejected because they contain keyboard parts, and yet Amy Winehouse's original version does contain several keyboard parts !
The ultimate highlight of the evening was hearing a song that Chain revealed they had been rehearsing (along with some others). Before the gig started they said I would have to wait until the next gig before I could hear these new songs, but they evidently were keeping one song as a surprise. I late saw their set list and it was on it. That song was Black Sabbath's "Paranoid", and they did an absolutely stonking rendition of it. It was "loud, proud, and in our faces" ! Everything they played sounded really good, and that included Free's "Alright Now", a song that when the first attempted it sometime last year was a minor disaster. Last night it came out excellently, but Paranoid just blew me away (as it did to a few others).
I came home feeling on top of the world (and fairly drunk too !). Such was the good feeling that I almost had a very healthy sort of meal. I had a pile of green leaf salad with tomatoes, cucumber and chargrilled peppers (bottled in brine) with flakes of Parmesan cheese. that was drizzled with some very high quality olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar. Of course I slightly ruined things by eating too many greek style cookies.
Most of the "Mediteranean" style food was bought from a speciality Greek importer who is based in the same business estate where I work. On Friday afternoon he set up a "taste and buy" stall, and everyone on the business estate was invited to try his stuff and buy it at wholesale prices. I bought a few bits and pieces, and those included the top quality olive oil, and a big slab of Parmesan cheese.
I had never really tried real Parmesan cheese before, except for the ready grated stuff you get from supermarkets. The real stuff is just so cheesy that you don't actually need much of it in a salad. In theory that should have made my salad quite healthy, although the olive oil probably had millions of calories in it. I have no idea what was in the Greek cookies (which I had been given for free), but I do know that they were really nice, and that I ate far too many of them.
I don't think it was the cookies that gave me my hangover this morning. I expect it was all the beer I had. For a while it was a little painful, but I managed to shake most of it off before I started to tidy up the place for Aleemah to visit. She brought along a DVD of the film "Made In Dagenham". I have to say it was a rather good film, better than some of Aleemah's offering, and in a way rather moving.
On the way from the station with Aleemah we bumped in Patricia. I learned that instead of dealing with some foreign students in Catford, like I thought she would be doing last night, she was actually somewhere in London. So I guess I can forgive her for not turning up in the Catford Ram. It was such a good night that if she had turned up it would only have added a few percentage points to my total enjoyment, but I am still slightly saddened that she has yet to experience what make me feel so good, and is missing out on something that potentially she could enjoy just as much.
|Friday 15th April 2011|
| 08:46 BST
Yesterday was not nice. In the morning it was cold, and at the end of the day it was still quite cool. The whole day was depressingly grey. The only good thing about yesterday was that it didn't rain. This morning has started a little better. It is marginally brighter, although there is still no hint of blue in the sky, and the temperature is just high enough for my fingers not to freeze. In theory, by late afternoon it should have warmed up to something approaching pleasant. There is even a chance that the sun might come out.
That last paragraph may seem to contain both depression and indeed that is correct. Yesterday I did feel quite low. Some of it was because I felt physically rough (aching bits and pieces), and the rest was just down to the gloomy weather - which was probably the cause of the first bit anyway. Today things are looking up, and if all goes well the day will end on a high with the possibly of something even better than that.
It is warmer today, and the sun might even shine. That is one cause for celebration. A better one is that it's Friday. A still better one is that Chain are playing in my local, The Catford Ram, tonight. That means beer and good music - always an excellent idea. The ultimate high would be if Patricia turns up at the pub tonight and finds she enjoys the music too. Sadly I doubt that she will turn up, but in an infinite universe anything is possible.
Just recently I have had a another reason to feel good, although perhaps relieved may be a better description. I haven't done it recently as far as my nebulous memory can tell, but I have moaned many times about the stress and strain of going up the staircase to the platform at Earlsfield station. Sometimes I wondered if I was making too much of it. I felt partially vindicated by noticing many other people who looked as if they should have been theoretically fitter than me struggling as well. Last night I finally remembered to do something I have been meaning to do for ages - I counted how many steps you have to walk up. It was 51. Maybe I am still wrong, but 51 steps seems to be quite a lot of steps to go up.
|Thursday 14th April 2011|
| 07:43 BST
There was some sunshine yesterday. It lasted for nearly a whole minute ! Apart from that brief flash of sunshine the day came in shades of grey, and with temperatures ranging from cold to cool. Today does not look much better. It is cold and grey, but fortunately dry. In some respects it is worse than yesterday. I had to put the heater on full blast while I dressed this morning, and I had the heater on in the living room going at full blast while I ate my dinner last night.
Maybe it is not really as cold as I feel, but I think it is. My reason for doubt is that my legs ache a lot this morning. It is both muscular and joint ache. My back feels unusually stiff, and close to aching too. It does feel a bit like when you have 'flu, but that can't be the case - I am sure it is just a reaction to the cold. I am reassured in that view by the fact that Smudge decided she was in indoor cat again this morning.
For the past week or two Smudge has almost only been coming in for meals, and a short hello. While it was warm and sunny this seemed reasonable, but I was surprised she elected to stay out all night last night. This morning she made no move at all to go out after she had eaten her breakfast. Considering how cold I felt when coming to work I can't say I blame her.
The weather forecast for the weekend, although probably completely wrong in all but the coarsest of details, suggests that the weather is not going to be that much improved. It seems unlikely that I am going out exploring this weekend. Unless there is a vast improvement I doubt I'll be going any further than the supermarket - and that only under protest !
|Wednesday 13th April 2011|
| 07:50 BST
The temperature grudgingly rose to something closer to comfortable yesterday. It may have hit 14° C by the end of the day, but that I thought that might have felt a bit warmer. It was just sufficient for me to go home in my shirtsleeves. At least it stayed dry - something I am not sure will happen today. The BBC reckon that it will rain today starting at about home time (Grrrrr !). It is also forecast to stay fairly chilly. The day has (apparently) started at 6° C, and just after midday it might reach 11° C. After that the temperature goes down again !
I bought a new toy yesterday. It was a tiny little JVC camcorder.
The picture above gives no clue as to how small it is. In fact it is small enough to fit inside a small can of Coke. It can record nearly 2 hours onto an 8GB SD memory card, but the supplied rechargeable battery is only estimated to last for 50 minutes ! A few quick test shoots show that the 720x576 video it produces looks rather good - incredibly good for such a small thing. Now I can't wait to give it a decent test on something worth recording. If it has one fault it is that being so light it is almost impossible to use at full optical zoom (x39) without camera shake totally overloading to electronic image stabiliser. Luckily I have a miniature tripod that will work well with it.
I think it is the cold grey weather, but I don't feel that wonderful again this morning. It's nothing specific - just a bit of creakiness, and a bit of tiredness from staying up a bit later than I meant to last night. The craziest bit of creakiness is in my left thumb. If I apply to much pressure to my thumb, such as when gripping something between thumb and finger, I get a really electric like shooting pain through it. It started last night, and continues this morning. I feel it is one of those things that will go away as quickly as it started. In the meantime I must try to remember to avoid doing stuff that causes the pain.
The reason that I did not get to bed as early as I should have done last night was that I had been doing some more dumpster diving here at work. Someone had thrown out an old PC, and thrown it out completely intact. It was only a 667MHz Pentium III based machine, and not working because of a faulty motherboard. Inside it were two hard disks, a TV card, a slightly posh sound card, a reasonable AGP graphics card, and two sticks of PC133 memory. I retained these bits and threw the rest back into the skip.
I took home the two hard disks and tested them last night. One was faulty, and I could not mount it. The other mounted ok, and I had a look at what was on it. No attempt had been made to erase anything, and it was full of pictures (of no interest), and music files (which were of interest). Whoever owned the PC had a pretty wide taste in music. There was all shades of music on there from reggea to heavy metal taking in Brazillian dance music on the way ! I have retrieved nearly all the music from that hard disk, and now I could, if I wanted, reformat it and use it for something. It is an 80GB disk, and potentially quite handy. The one other thing I have to do now is to convert a lot of the "Apple" format m4a music files to mp3 files. I made a start on it last night, and getting carried away doing that made me rather late for bed.
|Tuesday 12th April 2011|
| 07:45 BST
Most of yesterday was bright and sunny, but it all started to change around 3pm. A lot of cloud bubbled up, and an hour later it was looking a bit grim as I made my way home from work. At 6pm it started to rain. It was not very heavy, and didn't last long, but it was enough to get Smudge (who has now decided she is an outdoor cat) quite damp. Before the sun set the clouds started to break up again, and there was a brief bit of weak sunshine before the sun sunk below the horizon.
The sky was mostly clear first thing this morning, and that combined with a cruel wind means that it feels remarkably cold this morning. The temperature must have been little more than 5 or 6° C as I came into work this morning. I wore a long sleeve shirt and my very lightweight jacket and still felt cold ! It seems that temperatures are returning to something more like their seasonal average. The best we can hope for this afternoon is forecast to be as little as 14° C. Later in the week the temperature is supposed to pick up a bit, but it feels like it will be a few more weeks before we see lovely days like last weekend back again.
It may be the cold, or it maybe the lingering effects of overdoing the booze on Sunday, but I don't feel that wonderful this morning. I think in an ideal world I would have stayed in bed until the day had warmed up a bit more. I think I ate well last night, but maybe I ate too well. My dinner was a huge pile of salad. I had a plate piled high with salad leaves, tomatoes, other assorted vegetables, plus some potato salad and beetroot salad. I doused that lot with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. In truth I could have just eaten that, but on top of that I piled some mixed seafood. For an extra snack (or maybe it was "pudding") I used some fingers of cucumber to scoop up some rather tasty red onion flavoured humous.
Just 5 days ago (the 7th April) I put up a picture of some blossom about to open on an apple tree. Yesterday I went back to the same tree, and it is now in full blossom.
I think I have taken a picture of the same branch, but as spring works it's magic, the background foliage is now much denser.
The picture above was also taken yesterday. I was a bit surprised to see a full seed head, almost ready to blow away, on this dandelion on the banks of the River Wandle. Before yesterday I would have said that it was a mid summer sort of thing, but evidently this dandelion couldn't wait for summer to spread it's seeds.
|Monday 11th April 2011|
| 08:18 BST
My guess that yesterday would be similar to the day before was not a bad guess. It was bright and sunny, and because I was inland it was nice and warm. Today might just be another repeat of those last couple of days. It has started off bright, but a little on the cool side - though not cool enough to deter me from coming to work with no coat on, and a short sleeved shirt. Admittedly it did just cross the threshold into discomfort, but only just.
I had another fine day out yesterday. As planned during the evening before, I met up with my mate Kevin at Catford station to take a ride to Tonbridge Wells for a trip on the Spa Valley railway. It did involve a bit of walking, but much of the time we were under cover. That was possibly a good thing after coming close to sun burn the previous day. I had just enough exposure to the warm sun yesterday to lightly top up my developing summer tan.
The ride on the Spa Valley Railway was interesting, but not exciting. My particular aim was just to travel over the newly opened bit of line between Groombridge and Eridge. Having done that I can put on the metaphorical "done that, got the t-shirt" t-shirt, and now the magic has gone. Curiously enough I didn't even feel inclined to go too snap happy with my camera. Of course I did take a few pictures...
This is the train coming from Eridge, and now approaching Tunbridge Wells West station........
.......and here's the steam engine having reversed around the train and coupled to what is now the front of the train for the train to travel towards Eridge again.
After our ride to and from Eridge we left the railway to find a pub. We found a nice one to sit outside in the part of Tunbridge Wells they call The Pantiles. To Kevin's delight they had some beer in from the Harvey's brewery. Personally I think it is at best a mediocre beer, and at worst almost nasty, but Kevin seems to love it. To see if my memory of it was correct I gallantly tried a pint to see if it was any better than last time, but sadly it was still not enjoyable. The other two pints I had of a beer called Doom Bar (or Doombar), which is brewed in Cornwall, was rather pleasant to my taste buds, but not to Kevin's.
With three pints swilling around inside us we headed back to the mainline station for the train back to Catford. It was in Catford that I made a bit of a mistake (in hindsight). I decided to join Kevin for another pint of beer in the Wetherspoons pub. In some ways it was bad timing. It was the last day of their spring beer festival, and until yesterday I had not really bothered to try and sample the wide range of beers they offer during the 2 or 3 weeks that it runs.
It seemed a reasonable idea to sample a half pint of each of the beers I hadn't tried, and because I hadn't tried any of the beers they had on yesterday, I ended up having 6 different half pints of beer. They ranged from quite unpleasant to "I could happily drink this all day and night !".
If I had gone straight home when we arrived in Catford I would have had a nice healthy salad, but after my sixth pint of the day all traces of will power had vanished, and I was also starving hungry after not having eaten since the previous night. So this morning I have a slight foggy feeling, but otherwise painless hangover. Worse than that is that I have undone some of the good work I did on Saturday by indulging in a steaming great pile of fried chicken and chips. Nevertheless, I am feeling sort of vibrant today. Almost bursting with energy, but looking forward to a slightly more sedate and restful day here at work.
One more picture taken yesterday......
This birdbath, with bathing blue tit, was in someones back garden that we passed while walking from the station to the first pub.
|Sunday 10th April 2011|
| 07:59 BST
The sun has not been up that long, and at the moment it is a little cool, but with luck today should be almost as warm as yesterday. The sky seems a little hazy right now, but it should clear to give "gin clear" blue sky.
After my day out yesterday I seemed to have suffered no significant bad effects apart from some redness on my right arm from sunburn, and a just a tiny little bit of ache in my left foot.Other than that I feel remarkably fit and able. So time for another day out. A bit of research on the internet confirmed that all trains are running for a day out to the Spa Valley Railway, and a trip on that to their new terminus at Eridge. So in just under two hours I'll be meeting Kevin for a "trainspotting" and beer day out.
This morning I edited a few more photos I took yesterday (mainly just resizing them). So here's some picture of Pevensey Castle.
This is the inner keep of the castle seen from near the outer boundary wall.
Close up of the main gate and bridge over the moat (still with some water in it).
A small bore cannon with unauthentic looking painted wheels inside the keep of the castle.
A pile of rock cannons balls that are 6 sizes too big to fit the cannon !
|Saturday 9th April 2011|
| 20:33 BST
It is difficult to say whether yesterday was better than today. Both days have been warm and sunny. If I had one complaint to make it would be that the wind felt rather cool, but that was only probably because of where I've been today - by the sea.
This morning, after much deliberation as to my destination, I set out to go to Pevensey And Westham, and then walk to Normans Bay. Getting to Pevensey And Westham means taking a train to Sevenoaks, and changing there for a train to St. Leonards Warrior Square (near Hastings). Then changing trains once again to finally get to Pevensey And Westham. It is a long journey that takes around two and a half miles, and of course the same comimh home again.
I am not entirely sure it was actually worth it. The beach along that entire bit of coast is just shingle that is very tiring to walk on. So much of my walk was actually a little way from the sea along the roads. The entire walk was 4.83 miles, and I doubt that I walked more than a few hundred yards actually on the beach.
The first part of the walk was inland as I crossed fields to get from the station to the sea. Along the way I took in some of the sights. There is a ruined castle at Pevensey, and that was interesting for a quick glance. (I may put up a few photos of it later when I find time to edit all my photos).
I passed by some livestock as I walked across the fields. First it was some bullocks, and then a field of sheep with their lambs.
A bit further along and I came across some peacock butterflies. One stayed still long enough for an awkwardly angled photo.
Finally I found the sea.
Pictured above is Pevesey Bay with it's rotten shingle beach, and a group of people sheltering from the strong onshore wind.
After trying to walk on that shingle for a little way I gave up and went back to the coast road. For most of the way the sea was out of sight. So occasionally I would follow a short path between the houses and just have another quick look. Walking inland was not always that exciting, but sometimes the scenery was quite good, and on one occasion I saw something most weird !
Someone had decorated some sort of shrub with brightly coloured feathers.
Although I had ony walked 4.83 miles I thought I had walked enough for one day. The walk took me to Normans Bay station, and from there I could commence my long, arduous journey back to Catford. My timing was very fortunate because I only had to wait five minutes for the train back to St. Leornards Warrior Square. I then had a 10 minute wait for a train back to Sevenoaks, or at least I thought I had. So I nipped across the road and quickly glugged back a half pint of beer. In fact I could have drunk a whole pint because my train was delayed.
My train actually left about 15 minutes late, and then travelled quite slowly. It arrived at Sevenoaks over twenty minutes late. This was both good and bad. It saved me from a long wait at Seveoaks, which was good, but did not allow me enough time to smoke a cigarette outside the station, which was bad. By the time I arrived back in Catford I was gasping for a fag. I was also feeling a bit thirsty. So it was lucky that on the way back I had arranged to meet Kevin in the pub for a quick two pints.
After those two pints it was a relief to get back home for some breakfast and dinner ( as usual I went out without eating a thing). I must admit that I am feeling rather tired now, and I am looking forward to my bed, but I have one other task to do before I go to bed. I think I am going out again tomorrow, and need to do a little planning before hand. If all goes to plan I will be heading out to Tonbridge Wells with Kevin to take a ride on the recently extended Spa Valley Railway.
I am not exactly sure where I'll find the energy for it considering how knackered I feel right now, but hopefully I'll be fresh again in the morning, and hopefully me feet will be feeling fresh too. From time to time they have felt a little sore, but probably a lot les than I imagined they might be. The only other problem is that I think I have a bit of sunburn. My arms feel a little tingly right now, but I don't think it is bad enough to affect my sleep.
|Friday 8th April 2011|
| 07:45 BST
I have to confess that coming to work in a short sleeved shirt and no coat may have been pushing things a bit, but it wasn't that bad. The reason is that another day of warm sunshine yesterday has started to drive out the cold of winter, and to warm the world up. It was helped by some overnight cloud that kept some of the heat in.
So this morning has started out the closest to slightly warm that we have experienced since last autumn. Today is not forecast to be quite so warm as yesterday, and indeed may be a degree cooler, but that is still rather good. Yesterday afternoon I came very close to turning on the air conditioning in my room at work. Another thing that is rather good is that the warmth should continue into the weekend. Saturday is forecast to be sunny with temperatures of around 18° C. That's a couple of degrees cooler than yesterday's best, but still warmer than last Saturday. Sunday is supposed to get cloudy, but in compensation the temperature may hit 20° C.
This morning is another morning when I feel rather good. Feeding my body with sunshine contributes to that, but I also managed to eat fairly well last night. My principle meal was mixed fish with cabbage and leek "stew". In theory I should have had it as it was, but I spoiled the goodness while enhancing the flavour by sprinkling some crumbled Welsh "Y Fenni" cheese on it. Cheese is, of course, totally evil stuff, but it is oh so nice, and Y Fenni cheese is extra nice. It's basically cheddar cheese with mustard seed and ale in it. It goes particularly well with smoked foods (and some of my mixed fish was smoked fish).
As well as spoiling the healthfullness of my dinner with cheese, I also had some rice cakes with smoked ham pate on them. I didn't even dare look at the ingredients of that, but I am sure it was something best avoided. It was very tasty though.... While I can't seem to get myself into the semi starvation mode I would like to be in, I do seem to feel my half baked efforts are having some sort of useful effect. It is even slightly possible that my blood pressure, and blood sugar levels are returning closer to what doctors declare to be normal than at any time since the end of last summer.
Tonight comes a troublesome time. I need to do a bit of shopping on the way home from work. There is always the temptation to buy what I want rather than what I need. The last time I was in Tesco I actually managed to err on the side of caution (mostly !). If I manage that tonight, and then save the less cautious purchases for later, I could be feeling rather good for a long walk tomorrow. There could be the added bonus of Patricia joining me on the walk - although thinking that may be just a little too optimistic.
|Thursday 7th April 2011|
| 08:02 BST
We had a little taste of summer yesterday as records were broken in many parts of the country. In those places it was the hottest 6th April since records began (which was probably yesterday). Here in London, or more specifically Earlsfield and Catford, it was indeed a bit better than plain old warm (maybe "quite" warm, but not "very" warm, and at least five degrees away from being hot). Needless to say, this "rolled up shirtsleeves" weather was accompanied by bright sunshine and blue skies.
Today will be a little cooler than yesterday, or so they say, but I doubt there will be a lot in it. It has started out a tiny bit warmer than yesterday, and if the sky stays clear it could actually feel warmer than yesterday by the afternoon. We have lost the warm wind blowing in from the warmer parts of Spain, and it is fairly still outside. That in it itself will make it feel warmer.
I almost stuck with my intention to eat a little more healthily last night, but after my smoked mackerel salad I still felt an insatiable hunger. It was bad enough that I resorted to eating "raw" lettuce straight out the bag. (By raw I mean with no dressing or anything else to take the nasty flavour away). Despite a few other indulgences I feel rather good again this morning. Yesterday morning I put on a my pair of lightweight summer trousers. It was the first time I have worn them since last summer. My memory is probably faulty, but they seem to fit possibly better than they did last year. It is just possible that since last summer I have lost approximately 3.78mm around my waist. Considering some of the heavy indulgences I had during the winter I find this really rather remarkable.
It is not all good news today. A great tragedy has befallen me. After at least 20 years of faithfull, reliable service, the dog clip I use to attach my house keys to my trousers has finally worn out. For years now I have watched as the metal has got thinner and thinner. This morning, as I was walking across the yard at work, I heard my keys drop to the floor. While it is obviously very lucky that it happened where I could hear the keys drop, I still feel sad that my dog clip has finally come to the end of it's life. (Mostly I feel "where in hell am I going to buy a new one ?").
It is rather amazing that there are so many photo opportunities in just a very small area of King George's Park here in Earlsfield. Yesterday I took two more pictures illustrating how the season is changing.
This is (I believe) a heron sitting on some sort of debris in the River Wandle. During the summer it is a regular visitor to this part of the river.
This blossom is just about to open on what may be a crab apple tree. The tree produces small apples that are incredibly tart, and yet I am not sure if it truly is a crab apple tree. There are some trees on the high street here in Earlsfield that produce really miniature apples, not much bigger than a large olive or grape. It is possible that they are crab apples, and the tree pictured above is just a species that produces particularly sour apples.
|Wednesday 6th April 2011|
| 08:06 BST
The contrast between today and yesterday could not be greater. Yesterday was all dull, gloomy, cold, and wet. Admittedly it wasn't really cold, and the afternoon was dry, but outdoors was still horrible. Today actually started a little misty, but that evaporated as soon as the sun rose, and it is now bright and sunny with very few whispy clouds in the sky. If the weather forecast is correct, and today it might be, the temperature could rise as high as 21° C this afternoon. The wind is blowing in from Iberia this morning, and even this early in the morning it has a slightly warm touch to it.
A wonderful thing happened yesterday. After a wait of around 5 months I finally got to spend a bit of time with my dear friend Patricia. She arrived back in the country late on Sunday (I think), and once she had sorted out her internet and phone connections we arranged for he to come and visit me. Being the darling that she is the had brought me 200 Marlboro cigarettes as a Xmas present, and I gave her my Xmas presents.
Apart from a few odds and sods I bought her some Angel perfume. This delicious perfume is what Jo, the singer from Chain wears, and I have to thank her for telling me the name of it. I was worried that Patricia would not like it, but she tried some and thought it to be really good (and she smelled wonderful while wearing it).
The joy of seeing Patricia again might have given me an extra spring in my step this morning. I certainly feel pretty good right now, but Patricia can't take all the credit - a tiny bit of it was my own doing. I was inspired to eat just a bit more healthily than I have recently. Although it was not exactly salad weather yesterday, that is what I had. It was a smoked salmon salad with a lot of green leaves, some mini plum tomatoes, and (for me) a small helping of potato salad. I didn't even drench it in mayonaise. Though I did sprinkle some extra virgin olive oil over the green leaves.
After that I had a heap of strawberries. If I had left it there it would have been great, but later on I did have some, well quite a lot actually, of cherry cake. With the cherry cake now all gone I have very little high carbohydrate stuff left in the kitchen. So there is a minute possibility that I might eat even more healthily today. I plan on having smoked mackerel with green leaves and tomatoes tonight. After that I have some fruit to eat.
One thing that made last nights salad extra nice, and will hopefully do the same tonight, was some sliced pickled ginger I bought from Aldi a little while ago. I had been waiting to try it out on a fish based dish for a couple of weeks now. Last night it aded a nice bit of extra zest to the smoked salmon. If I had any wasabi paste left I could almost have thought I was eating sushi !
|Monday 4th April 2011|
| 08:03 BST
The whole weekend had rather good weather, but I think Saturday was better than yesterday. Most of the sunshine was in the morning yesterday, but there was some in the afternoon. I think it was also cooler. This morning started off grey and misty, but the sun seems to have burnt all that off already. There is now blue sky and sunshine, but for the moment it feels rather chilly outside. Apparently it is not due to get that warm today, and it is supposed to get cloudy again. Much of the week is forecast to be cloudy, but here in the south east of the country it should stay dry, and later in the week there could be a few very warm days.
I had a nice time yesterday with only one minor complaint. That complaint was that my feet, mainly the left one, were still rather sore after my walk on Saturday. It wasn't bad enough to stop me rushing around in the morning. After a long time just sitting dormant, I have decided to start using my Tesco "Instant Access Savings" account again. My last card expired a couple of years ago, but I knew my account was still open with its £5.99 in it because I recently had a statement through to that affect.
I am reviving the account so I can close down my Nationwide savings account and move the money to Tesco. If Nationwide can close their Catford branch I don't see why I shouldn't close my account ! I phoned up Tesco (Bank) to explain all this and asked them if they could send me a new bank card. This they did, but they decided, for some reason that bankers can't explain, to give my card a new number (though the underlying sort cord and account number remain the same). I had some suspicions about this, but still went charging round to a cash machine to try the card out.......It was rejected with Incorrect PIN displayed. Those silly bankers (and for those with a cruder mind feel free to substitute a W for a B) couldn't keep any continuity going, and now I have had to go through the procedure to "activate" a new card. Maybe next weekend I will finally be able to get some cash moving into my new account - if the postmen really pull their fingers out and deliver everything in double time !
After rushing to the cash machine, then rushing to the post box, and then rushing to the corner shop I decided that what I really needed was a more sedate walk in the nice sunshine, and a pint of beer. Wetherspoon's have their spring beer festival running at the moment and I was able to sample a pint of a very hoppy American ale. I found the initial kick from the hops to be a bit strong, but by about half way through the pint I warmed to the flavour. Unfortunately my second pint, brewed in Sweden, initially tasted really wishy washy after that American brew. Once again, as I drank more of it my taste buds recovered, and I found it was really rather pleasant.
After just the two pints I went home again to watch a rather good film. It was the sci fi comedy "Paul". I must say it was a very funny film with lots of little humourous references to other sci fi stuff (and probably even more that I didn't catch). After watching that I had a lie down and did some reading before getting some food together.
When I look back, if I remember correctly, the amount I ate yesterday was broadly similar to the excess amount I am tending to eat on a weekday after work. For a Sunday, when the kitchen is usually only a few paces away, that was not bad. The odd thing is that I didn't plan it that way. It can only be the result of my walk in the sun, and by the sea, waking up my body to spring time after a cold dark winter. If so then I may be able to look forward to better health, and the capability for much longer walks in the not too distant future (maybe August 2213 AD !). Right now my back feels stiff going on sore, but everything else seems in pretty good order. Even my feet seem to have substantially, but not completely, recovered :-)
3rd April 2011
| 05:47 BST
Yesterday was a rather lovely day. It was warmer and sunnier than the weather forecasts suggested it would be. Today may be very similar until very late in the afternoon when it will cloud over, and eventually pour with rain.
Within an hour, perhaps a bit longer, after writing yesterday I made a firm decision that I had to get out and enjoy some of the susnhine. I decided to go for the easy option and take a walk along the coast, and further decided on the easy option for travelling and headed towards Southend. Despite living not too far away from the borders of Kent it is far quicker to cross part of London and get to Essex than it is to get to the other side of Kent.
I had some crazy notion that I might have been able to walk 6 or 7 miles, and bought a return ticket to Thorpe Bay. The idea was to get off the train at Leigh On Sea, and then walk all the way to Thorp Bay where I would get the train back to London again. Starting at Leigh On Sea was a good idea. I hadn't visited there before, but walking all the way to Thorpe Bay was not a good idea.
Leigh On Sea is rather quaint and picturesque. There is a small beach there, but mostly it is about fishing, and the small high street has lots of fish shops and resturants along it's narrow road. I should have taken some pictures of the shops, but didn't this time. I did take some other pictures though.
The first picture is of some assorted boats on the mud flats almost outside the station. In retrospect it seems odd that the mud flats were not under water. I was sure it was close to high tide.
I found several sci fi themed boats during my walk. Whether this one is named in honour of Blakes 7 spaceship The Liberator is probably something I'll never know.
This boat was evidently named after a sci fi comedy song !
I thought I would be doing a bit more wildlife photography on my walk, but there was little to see except some Brent Geese.
The tide definitely seemed to be quite high after I had been walking for around 30 minutes. I have no idea just how high it gets, but there is very little beach left here near Chalkwell, and that sea wall is only a metre and a bit high.
When I had walked as far as the Southend "Cliff Lift" I had a choice to make. The last time I saw it I found it closed for major maintenace. This time it was open and running. I could have walked past it, and attempted to carry on to Thorpe Bay, or I could admit that my feet were getting too sore and take a ride in the lift. From the top of the lift, technically a funicular railway, it is only a short walk to Southend station.
I opted to take a ride in the lift and go home a bit earlier. The ride is actually very unspectacular, but in the days before the more conventional lift was installed a little bit further on, it must have been a Godsend to anyone who wanted to go back to the railway station from sea level.
From the top of the cliff there is a good view out across the estuary. In the picture above the Kent coast, technically nearer home, but more tedious to get to, is in the background beyond the end of Southend Pier.
It took very little more than 90 minutes to get back to Catford from Southend. It's about 45 minutes to Limehouse by national rail. Then 20 minutes on the Docklands Light Railway to Lewisham, and then 10 minutes on the bus to Catford. Unlike the tedious journey through Kent, to get to the coast there, I was able to light up a cigarette at each change of transport. It makes for a far more pleasant, and less stressfull journey.
Back in Catford my feet still felt very sore, but I gritted my teeth and did some shopping. I went into Peacocks and bought 4 new t-shirts. I hardly need them except these are subtly different to the usual ones I buy. They have a few (false) buttons on the neck in the style of what were once called "grandad shirts". Sometime later in the year I want to make a lurid tie dye shirt for a particular gig I am going to. So I bought a couple of white "grandad shirts" for a more authentic 1960s look. The other two were a black and a dark grey shirt.
After Peacocks I went and had a rummage around the 99p shop. Sadly they seem to have run out of jars of a very nice chilli sauce they had in recently, but I found other stuff to buy. It included a new line for the shop - 99p sandwiches. As I later found out they were what I expected for 99p. Not bad, but not good either.
When I got home I felt exhausted. After getting my boots off, and changing my clothes, I was able to have a nice sit down and eat my sandwiches. The 99p cheese and onion was fairly conventional, but the 99p ploughmans was seriously lacking in the salad that you might expect from a ploughmans sandwich. It was reasonably tasty though.
I had a very lazy time for the rest of the day. Mostly I did some reading, but I also caught the last hour of a really great film on TV. That film was "Galaxy Quest". I own a copy of it and have watched it several times, but I just had to watch it on TV. If you like Star Trek, but not too much to see the funny side of it, then Galaxy Quest just has to be seen !
2nd April 2011
| 06:56 BST
It seemed to take a long time, but eventually it turned out nice yesterday. It stayed dry, but the morning was rather dull and grey. Only in the afternoon did the cloud break up, and it wasn't until I was waiting for my train at Waterloo East station that I considered it sunny and warm enough to take off my coat, and stuff it in my bag. Saying it was warm is a bit of an exaggeration. It was more like "not cold" !
Today has started fine. For this time of the morning it is not too cold. I've opened the window to get some fresh air into the room and I am not shivering yet. The sun has been up for maybe half an hour, and it is rising in a relatively clear sky. The latest forecast say it should be mostly sunny until a little after midday, but the forecast temperature has dropped another degree to a pleasant, but not exactly warm 17° C. Last Wednesday a temperature of 20° C was forecast for today.
Yesterday was an uneventful day. Nothing of note happened at work, and the only diversion of the day was going home via Tesco. I meant to buy just healthy food, but inevitably I saw some reduced price stuff that was too much of a temptation. Smudge was treated to some reduced price hot chicken, and I feasted on more of it. Along with the chicken I ate a large bag of crisps.
They were no ordinary crisps, and appeared to be a new line of crisps by Annita. Annita is supposed to be an Indian lady, and the crisps are supposed to be flavoured like Indian food. The ones I had last night were dill and raita flavour, and I will admit that they did remind me of that, and were a pleasant change to the more common flavours of crisps (cheese and onion, salt and vinegar, roast chicken, etc.).
I should have eaten quite sparingly last night so that I would feel fit this morning. The theory is that I am going out somewhere today - maybe the Sevenoaks bird sanctuary, or perhaps to Southend to see the sea. I am not entirely sure that is going to happen. I didn't eat that sparingly last night, and I don't feel like travelling much at the moment. Not only that, but in the half hour since I started writing (which includes one visit to the toilet) the sky seems to be much cloudier. I am not sure which way the weather is travelling, but toward the western horizon it looks a lot cloudier, and maybe of the type to bring rain.
If I don't get out this morning there is plenty of stuff I could potentially do. I could do lots of household chores - mostly cleaning and hoovering. I also want to move my faster PC, and put a fresh installation of Windows and Linux on it. With it's 3GHz dual core processor it should make video editing a lot faster and smoother, and some video editing is also on my "to do" list. Once I have had a good shower, and I am dressed properly I will make a decision about what is to be done.
|Friday 1st April 2011
| 08:05 BST
Yesterday was rather dull. There was one or two brief light showers, but it was mostly dry. It wasn't until the afternoon that the sun came out, and even then it was not for long. I suspect today will almost be a repeat of yesterday. It is quite cloudy right now, and I have felt a few specks of rain while travelling to work, but maybe that is all that happens. It is possible that we could have a sunny afternoon, but the weather forecast seems to change hour by hour recently.
Tomorrow was supposed to be hot and sunny. Then the forecasters dropped a couple of degrees off their estimate, and added more cloud. The current progression is that they will be forecasting blizzards by the early hours of the morning. It will be interesting to see what really happens. I am sure that it will be nothing like has been forecast for it. I continue to wonder at just how accurate the forecasts are for a hundred years time when they try and predict the results of global warming. Maybe they should try and concentrate more on getting tomorrow's forecast closer to reality.
It took a lot of will power to not turn round and go back home as I walked to the station this morning. I had a real strong urge to go back to bed. It wasn't so much tiredness as fatigue, and even that may not be the correct description. In theory I had a good nights sleep. I was asleep soon after 9pm, and apart from one, maybe two visits to the toilet in the small hours, I didn't wake up until 4.30am. That is as close to my 8 hours as makes no difference, and yet I don't think it was quality sleep.
I seemed to remember dreaming a lot last night, and that suggests that I was very often on the verge of being awake a lot of the time. I had one nasty dream about my toilet cistern breaking, and then all the pipes seeming to start leaking. That sort of morphed into a dream about problems with a high-tech electricity meter that seemed to have a small (5 inch ?) computer monitor built into it. I can't actually remember what those problems were, but the technology was sort of interesting.
One dream I had earlier in the night was set outside where my Dad's shop used to be in the 1960s. It was a curious dream because it involved remembering all the shops that used to be there. I had been paid for doing something, and my payment was in some inconvenient form that I wanted to pay into a bank. As I stood at the Junction of Perry Lane and Siddons Road (where my Dad's shop was in Forest Hill) I looked around trying to remember if there was a bank there. First I remembered the post office, then the bakers, and round the corner was a sweet shop. In the dream these has been replaced by a large all glass fronted shop for the mobile phone provider O2. The really curious thing about this dream is that this O2 shop used a yellow theme and logo. In reality O2 uses blue - the complimentary colour to yellow. I think I may have been in an anti-matter universe (or something equally bizzare and sci-fi !).
I managed to eat lots of healthy vegetables last night, but alongside them I had some quite fatty pork. So I can't claim it was a healthy meal at all. It's probably best not mention some of the other crap I also ate last night. I freely confess some of this was "comfort food". I feel a little stressed recently. It's all due to uncertainty about when my wonderful friend Patricia is coming back to London. In theory it could be sometime this weekend, but the last I heard from her is that she had a fever from some infection, and would be seeking medical advice. So I feel a little edgy as I wait to hear further, and hopefully, good news.