home page site map Get Linux Calendar May 2011 July 2011 Get Clamwin antivirus Get Firefox

Get a free Giffgaff Sim
June 2011
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun


My Diary/Blog For the Month of June 2011

Thursday 30th June 2011
08:16 BST

  There were times when some almost black clouds appeared in the sky, but yesterday remained dry, and for the most part warm and sunny after the cool start. Today may be very similar. It's just above chilly now, but the sun in an almost clear blue sky feels delightfully warm. There is a chance that it will cloud over later in the day, and even a small chance that it could be raining as I go home from work. From this end of the day that doesn't feel very likely.

 I received my new "toys" yesterday. One of them, a light grey pair of shorts, I am wearing right now. They are all I expected. They fit comfortably, and the way the pockets work seems very sensible. Perhaps I should explain that last bit. I have one pair of cargo shorts that have some nice big handy pockets on them, but they are placed such that anything heavy in them bangs against my knees when I am walking. The shorts I am wearing now are not cargo shorts, and so that particular problem does not apply, but the second part of the order I got yesterday was a pair of cargo shorts. I have yet to test them, but I am sure that the "cargo pockets" are more sensibly at the side of the leg instead of in front.

 The other order I received yesterday was actually a shiny toy. At least in some respects it is a toy, but I may find some serious uses for it. It is a tiny little camcorder that is so small I could fit 3 or 4 in the palm of my hand.
tiny little camcorder
(Sorry the picture is out of focus but I took it in a rush). For something so small it is obvious that some things have been left out. The obvious is that there is no room for a viewfinder. Less obvious is why the makers decided to shine the blue and red LEDs, which tell you what the camera is doing, through tiny little pinholes. I can barely see those lights in areas where it is bright enough to take good videos. The surprising thing is just how good the resulting video can be. I took some test footage last night on my way home from work. It shows the scene outside my train through a dirty train window.
 There are one or two minor hiccups in the video, but it is surprisingly sharp. Even when paused each frame seems to be very clear. I think I am quite happy with my new toy. Now all I have to do is find some real work it can do to earn the £15 I paid for it (actually it is a bit more than that when you consider the micro SD memory card that I had to buy to use in it). That £15 includes a host of accessories too. It came with several different holders, a rubbery sort of protective shell, and a nice little cloth carrying bag. Also included is a "wall wart" type power brick to charge it's internal batteries - even though it charges quite happily from a PC USB connection.

 One thing that came to mind while travelling into work this morning was "has anyone ever seen one of those huge cranes at building sites ever being erected ?". I see loads of them from the train window, but they are either there, towering hundreds of feet into the air, or there is nothing there. There is never any intermediate stage. It's a bit like no one ever seeing baby pigeons !

 Last night I ate fairly sensible, and this morning I think that I feel fairly good this morning (discounting the first 30 minutes after waking up). Tomorrow morning I may have reason for not feeling so good. I am having a meeting with someone in the pub tonight. It is with Matt who is the standby drummer for Chain, and the drummer for Shades Beneath. On Saturday evening Shades Beneath are playing a gig in Kentish Town, and they have asked me to go along with a camcorder or two. Tonight we conspire together to make plans for it, and more importantly so I can get my tickets, and hopefully some sort of photo pass for the gig. The photo pass will allow me to access certain areas without being hassled by the bouncers.

 I don't think it will be a long meeting, and not too much beer should flow, but I also ought to get some shopping in after the pub. So with the beer dissolving any resolve I have, I will be wide open to temptations when I go into Tesco. Maybe the thought that Saturday night could be quite taxing will keep my mind focussed, or maybe I'll be going in to work tomorrow feeling horrible. Time will tell.
Wednesday 29th June 2011
08:06 BST

  My theory about there being some sunshine yesterday morning was correct, but there wasn't much of it. By midday it started to rain, and by 1.30pm it was coming down in torrents as lightning flasshed, and thunder rolled around the sky from all directions. Oddly enough I can't recall the lightning being all that close, or all that bright, but judging by the peals of thunder echoing around the sky there was a lot of it. Later on in the afternoon the rain stopped, and the sky got lighter, though I don't think the sun managed to come out.

 This morning has started of brilliantly bright and sunny. There is a real sparkle in the freshly washed air, but it is also very close to being chilly outside. The sunshine will soon warm things up, but I fear that there could be more rain again later in the day. If it does warm up a lot it could potentially trigger more thunderstorms, although I can't recall last nights weather forecast mentioning any, or for that matter any mention of significant rainfall.

 I did attempt to take a look in the park during my lunchbreak yesterday. It was a slightly strange thing to want to do considering the rain was really quite heavy. I did walk the first hundred or so feet towards the park, but I had to turn back. The reason was the rain, but not in the way you might expect. I came to realise that the hooded coat I was wearing was only water resistant and not waterproof, but that was not the reason why I turned back. The real reason was that I was wearing flip flops and they were becoming dangerously slippery when soaking wet. The slipperyness was not the sole but the interface between the bottom of my feet and the flip flop itself.

 It had stopped raining when I left work to go home. Going home should have been a dry experience, but it was so muggy out that I was just dripping with sweat. I hope my Palmolive "24 hour protection" was working well because there were many others on the trains whose deodorant had obviously failed.

 Some of my sweat came from me feeling unusually energetic. As I got to Earlsfield station a train was just approaching. On any other day I would probably have ignored it with the knowledge that there would be another along in 3 or 4 minutes. Last night I found myself running up the 51 steps two steps at a time to get that early train. I felt no more knackered doing that than going up that long staircase at a far more sedate pace at other times.

 I arrived home still feeling quite sprightly, but then something went wrong. Under such conditions I should have been able to control my hunger, but I lost control of it completely. I had quite a lot of stuff last night that I would have been far better off without. It seems to have left me with a mild stomach ache this morning, but it hasn't sapped all my energy. I didn't feel like performing heroic feats like last night, but rushing around as I normally do when commuting didn't seem to take much effort.

 I am not entirely sure why I got the munchies last night. It may well be something to do with me acting like a big kid. I ordered some "shiny stuff" on the internet yesterday morning, and I am feeling very impatient to get my hands on it. A couple of items are not actually shiny "shiny stuff", at least I hope they are not. They are a couple of new pairs of shorts that I am hoping will have some advantages over the shorts I own already - particularly in the area of pocket placement/size.

 I also ordered a genuine "shiny", or to be more precise, two "shineys". There are miniature camcorders. I already have an assortment of camcorders ranging through from semi-pro to kids toys. The one I am expecting today are a little different. They are very small, about the size of a disposable cigarette light, and remarkably cheap. They were reduced from £25 to £15, and by buying two I got free postage. Some reviews say they take remarkably good video within the constraints of a fixed focus lens and no zoom. Zoom would be impractible anyway because they have no viewfinder.

 Apparently these camcorders are quite popular with sportsman who attach them to their helmets, bicycles, etc. I have a different idea in mind. I am wondering about the possibilities of attaching them to musical instruments, or mic stands, for some interesting views to drop into music videos. I can't remember which artist did it, it may have been Bon Jovi, or even what song it was, but I do have an image in my mind of a minicam giving a view down the neck of a guitar as it is being played. I recall it being quite impressive, but maybe these days it is considered just a bit too passé by the modern generation of film makers.
Tuesday 28th June 2011
07:53 BST

  The temperature finally hit 30° C yesterday, but it didn't end with the forecast bang. After a bright sunny morning the clouds got thicker and thicker. It was hot and humid, and conditions did seem right for a thunderstorm, but somehow it didn't happen. As far as I am aware the first rain was more like just a shower, and it fell around 5am this morning. It was just enough to freshen things up a bit, but it is still warm and humid outside. Rain is forecast for today, but I think there may be some sunshine this morning. The cloud is very patchy, and sooner or later the sun will find it's way through a hole in the cloud.

 I had an interesting journey home from work last night. I left work a few minutes later than usual, but still got to Earlsfield station in time to touch in with my Oyster card before 4pm, and so travelled home at off peak prices. At the station I found there had been some earlier disruption and most trains were running late. That was no problem, and possibly an advantage. I barely had time to walk to the far end of the platform before a train was pulling up alongside me.

 There are a couple of trains that I can get from Earlsfield that arrive at Waterloo at a convenient time. The train I actually caught was one of the late running ones, but from my perspective it departed Earlsfield right in the middle of the optimum time to get to Waterloo. Unfortunately there was a bit of a cock up on the way to Waterloo. As far as I could workout from snippets of overheard conversation, chap in a wheelchair was supposed to have been met at an earlier station to be taken off the train. At Clapham Junction he managed to alert the guard, and a long wait ensued as the platform staff found and positioned a ramp to allow him off the train.

 After that hold up I was resigned to arriving at Waterloo too late to get my connection at Waterloo East station. It is possible that I could have made it if I had rushed, but I was feeling very hot and sticky after sitting on the train so long, and decided I may as well wait 20 minutes and get the next train. It turned out to be a wise decision because my usual 16:23 train was eventually cancelled long after the time it was due to run. It was still shown as on time 7 minutes after it should have departed.

 Eventually it was announced that the train was cancelled due to defective rolling stock. At the same time there was also a points problem at Charing Cross station, and a signalling problem at London Bridge station (Waterloo East, where I was waiting, is the intermediate station). The result of that was further delays, and all the services that usually call at platform A were diverted to platform C, and vice versa. Every second announcement on the tannoy was for a platform alteration, and hordes of people, myself included, had to rush from platform to platform.

 When my train finally arrived it was predictably a little full, though not as bad as it could have been. That was just as well on the hottest day of the year. Curiously enough I didn't find it too unpleasant rushing around in the heat, or travelling on a crowded train with no air conditioning, or all that much ventilation. Of course I was sweating like a pig, but in some way it felt quite good. I arrived at home definitely very soggy, but not really feeling exhausted.

 I ate slightly sensibly last night after only having a single apple and orange all day, and this morning I feel almost back to normal. My gut feels a little bit bulging after my 5 days of gluttony last week, but the shorts I put on this morning went on easily with some room to spare. Maybe with a bit a diligence this week I can pull back from the brink of disaster. I do feel fairly good this morning - partly from almost* eating sensibly, and partly from geting more sleep than I thought possible in my sweltering bedroom (over 25° C most of the night).

* I did have one item that tasted heavenly. It was not sensible to eat it - far too much fat and sugar. It's identity must remain secret !
Monday 27th June 2011
08:04 BST

It was a rather splendid day yesterday, but I don't think the temperature rose as high as the fabled 30° C. At least not in Catford, but my morning paper suggested it may have done in North London. The highest I saw was just a little over 28° C, but it still made for a hot sticky night. This morning it was a bit cooler, but at 20° C it was still rather nice. I woke to a golden dawn, and came to work under a bright blue sky. If the pessimists have their way this little spell of summer will come to a crashing end this evening. The temperature will peak even higher, but along with it will come violent storms. The will apparently be lashings of thunder and lightning, huge hail stones, and possibly some mini tornadoes. In other words, the world ends tonight !

 I really should have made the effort to go out yesterday, but somehow I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I thought about walking somewhere a bit local, but the local park would be full of noisy people, and even the woods in Beckenham Place Park would have been heaving with the local families. Heading further out where their was a better chance of peace and quiet was tempting, but the only place I could think of was the hills around Shoreham (Kent) and Eyensford, and I didn't feel up to tackling them. The ideal thing would have been a walk along the coast. Once away from the madding crowd clustered near the middle, it would have been great, but I just could not face the long journey in a train packed with screaming kids.

 I ended up staying at home being thoroughly lazy, and inevitably eating too much. The only achievement yesterday was to finish reading a book I started on Saturday. So it comes as some relief to get back to work again. I definitely needed a day or two of my three days plus weekend off work to unwind, but without doing more I think I wasted a fair bit of it.

 After all the inactivity and laying around for so long I did feel quite stiff and uncomfortable as I made my way into work. Even now I don't feel that wonderful, but many things have improved since first waking up. Tonight, in theory, I should get back to a healthier eating regime. That and the exercise that comes as a by product of my tedious commute to work, will soon get me feeling a bit better.
Sunday 26th June 2011
10:53 BST

It took a long time, but eventually we had the day promised to us. Until early afternoon the sky remained a light grey colour, but ever so slowly the cloud broke up, and the last 3 or 4 hours of daylight were bright and sunny. With that the temperature rose to a nice 25° C. This morning has started off bright and sunny, and the temperature is slowly climbing. The last estimate I saw suggested that we might finally hit a more summer like 30° C by the end of the afternoon. Apparently tomorrow could be similar.

 After my jaunt to Catford railway station yesterday morning I didn't go out again until very late in the afternoon - almost early evening. I can't say I used my time at home that wisely. I did do a little more to my latest PC, but it is still not quite ready to takeover from my main PC just yet. I spent quite a bit of time just quietly reading.

 I can't quite remember what time it was, but I think it was past 5pm when I went out again to get some shopping in Aldi. Amongst other stuff I wanted was some ice cream for today (on the assumption that it will be very hot today - which it seems is likely). Ice cream is sort of bad for me for several reasons, but sometimes a man has to do what a man's gotta do. Of course it would have been better for me if I had bought less, and that I had room in the freezer for it all. I ended up eating rather more than I intended yesterday when I realised I couldn't get it all in the freezer.

 Another thing I bought in Aldi was a camera tripod. It cost a mere £12.99, and while it is a long way from being a proffesional tripod it has some features that are better than my usual tripod. Until now the tripod I have used for my videoing, when I have used a tripod, is one I bought 10 or maybe even 15 years ago. As I recall it cost something like £39, and that seemed quite good at the time.

 One of the useful things about my new tripod is that it acknowledges that it is not that stable, and provides a hook in the middle to hang a weight from it, typically a camera bag, to improve the stability. In fact it seems just as stable as my old tripod - if not a tiny bit better (but maybe that's because it is brand new). One other thing that was a nice touch is that the new one came with a zip up carrying bag. All in all, I think it was a great bargain.

 After eating more than is good for me I spent the evening reading or watching the TV. While reading I kept an eye on my PC. I was expecting one of my social networking friends to go online, and then to indulge in what to me is a great novelty - instant messaging. It may seem odd in this day and age, but it was only a week or two ago that I had my first "conversation" via instant messaging.

 This morning I got up quite early for a Sunday (or very early by some peoples standards) but eventually went back to bed for a while. What I ought to do next is to go out exploring, but I somehow doubt I will. I just can't seem to get into the swing of going out walking this year. At the beginning of the year, as the days got longer and less chilly, I had high hopes that I might be occasionally partnered by someone when out walking. Having raised my hopes so high my enthusiasm hit an all time low when I came to realise that my hopes had zero chance of being fulfilled. I'd like a bit of fresh air, but somehow it doesn't seem to have any purpose right now.
Saturday 25th June 2011
10:44 BST

Yesterday was not that wonderful. On the whole it was dissapointingly cool, and by later afternoon it was raining again. Today is supposed to be a lot better. At the moment it is rather grey outside, and also rather humid. If things go the way the weather forecasters predict, it was will warm, or even hot, later this afternoon, and quite sunny too. The downside is that it is likely to be rather sticky.

 I never did get out for my walk, or alternatively visit Ivor for a lunchtime drink yesterday. My downfall, apart from the less than enticing conditions outside, for not going for a long walk was that I needed to do some shopping in Tesco before I did anything else. That still left the possibility of meeting Ivor open, but he wasn't available.

 I didn't go too mad in Tesco, but not too mad is not the same as sensible. For instance I picked up a couple of reduced price mini pork and pickle pies. Tasty, but containing a lot of fat. A leaner choice, and also from the reduced price counter, was some thin cut steaks. They were very fat free, and so also fairly tasteless. I had those for my dinner with a couple of fried eggs - though with so little fat left in the pan after cooking the steaks they were hardly fried at all. I've never had steak and eggs before, but I believe it is what astronauts have for breakfast on a launch day (or one of them did once). It wasn't a bad meal, but not one I think I'll repeat.

 What I did do yesterday was to spend a fair bit of time reading the latest New Scientist magazine, and then a bit later I started getting together my newest PC. In theory it should be the fastest PC I have ever owned. The motherboard, complete with CPU and memory, were donated to me by someone who thought they were very slow. Much of that was just prejudice against AMD processors, but a dual core, dual threading CPU running at 2.8GHz ought to run fairly fast, and those two cores, each able to run two threads, should eat through video editing/conversion tasks.

 Yesterday I installed two hard disks in the case (also donated to me) and set about installing Windows XP on half of one of the hard disks. Installing Windows, and all the service packs and updates, is a real pain in the posterior, but eventually, after many hours, I had a stable system with only a few drivers missing.

 Once Windows was installed I installed Linux Mint 10 on the other hard disk. Now that was easy. It took little more than 30 minutes from start to finish complete with all updates. Of course there are various tweaks to be done to it, but no more than is necessary with Windows when you set it up like I do (customised desktop background, screensaver, and classic folder view with all file extensions revealed).

 I still have a fair amount of work to do on that PC before I swap it with the one I am currently using now. There are more applications to install in both Windows and Linux Mint, and I have a lot of data to copy over from the old PC. I'll probably do some of that during today.

 This morning I did go out for a short walk, but only as far as Catford railway station. I had been tipped off that Hastings Diesels Ltd were running a railtour today, and that it would be passing through Catford.  So at about 07.40 this morning I grabbed my camcorder, and braved the cool humid air to see what I could video.

 The first part of the video was actually shot during the afternoon on Monday 2nd December 2002. It shows class 465 "Networker" trains in the old Network Southeast livery, and a pair of 4CIG slam door trains in both Network Southeast livery, and Connex livery. Then we come right up to date with a class 465 "Networker" in SouthEastern livery, and finally the Hasting's Diesels class 202 "thumper" passing through the station.

 It is still possible that I may go out for a walk later, but there are two things that may hold me back. The first is that I feel starving hungry, and I can't walk after eating. The second is that I feel I am going to be distracted by my new PC. It is so close to being useable now that I am almost itching to finish the work on it, and put it through it's paces.
Friday 24th June 2011
07:11 BST

I think that yesterday was probably drier than some days recently, but there was at least one medium heavy downpour. Some of the time the sun was shining, and while it was still along way from being hot, it was still pleasantly warm. Today has started off brilliantly sunny with only some high hazy clouds among the blue sky. It's a fairly fresh 13° C right now, and it's tempting to think it could start to get hot if the sun continues to shine. On past performance that seems unlikely, but one can only hope.

 Yesterday I seemed to spend almost all day stuck in front of my PC. A considerable amount of that time was spent doing one of the things that I had planned to do during my three days (plus the weekend obviously) away from work. It was to finish editing the video of Chain performing Freebird at The Hither Green Festival on 21st May. It was one of those jobs where I could have been endlessly tweaking it without adding anything. I finally reached the point when I made a decision that it was as good as it was going to get, that I had done my best, and it was now time to publish.

 Of course I know that there are a still a few errors in it, or that if I could do it all over again I would do it differently, but hopefully it is acceptable as it is.

 I think all that staring at the PC yesterday has given me some eyestrain. My eyes were definitely feeling it last night, and this morning I have a headache that is centred around my eyes. It's not a bad headache, but enough to let me know that I really ought to leave the PC alone for a while.

 What I need is some open spaces, and wide wiews. This means that I ought to try and carry out my other plan for these days off, and try and force myself out for a ramble in the countryside. At the moment the day is looking like the sort of day I like to walk in - nice and bright and sunny. Right now though I am not sure if I feel up to a long walk. I can't use my Network Card for any discount on train fares until 10am. So the best thing I can think of right now is to go back to bed and sleep on it for an hour or so.
Thursday 23rd June 2011
11:46 BST

There were several intense showers during the morning, and the early afternoon yesterday. Eventually the clouds broke up, and from mid afternoon onwards it was quite bright and pleasant. Although far from hot, it was pleasantly warm, and it stayed relatively warm during the night. So far today it has been mostly bright, and as far as I am aware there has been no rain, but showers are forecast for today. Sometimes, and as I write these words it is one of those times, the light dims, and it feels like it could rain at any moment.

 Yesterday was my birthday. Generally speaking I find that birthdays are a bit disappointing, and have been for years and years now. After the excitement of pre-teenage birthdays, and the dubious excitement of gaining new rights (smoking, drinking, and less useful ones like voting etc), there has been very little to differentiate a birthday from any other day of the week.

 This year I thought I would treat myself to a few days off work. Work has been less fun than usual recently for various reasons, and it feels good to get away from it. I had, and have various plans as to how I might spend these days off work, and yet so far I haven't carried out any of those plans. The most important of those plans were to finally finish off my video editing, and secondly to go out on a few rambles in the country (or along the beach).

 One thing I didn't plan on doing was getting a lot of extra sleep, but that is one thing I have been doing, and it feels good. It would probably feel better if I could do it properly. In an ideal world I would have gone to sleep, and then slept solidly for a full eight, or more hours. Instead I have been getting my eight or more hours in two shifts with a break of a couple of hours between them. Last night was an excessive example of that as I shall soon explain.

 After my late morning yesterday I went out for a brief drink with Kevin - except it wasn't a brief drink. Instead of the 60 - 90 minutes we had both allocated for a drink we ended up in the pub for many hours. I can't quite believe it, but I think it was closer to 6 hours ! It lasted that long because we had a really great time, and of course ended up rather "tipsy" :-)

 A lot of the evening is rather vague now, but I remember the more significant things. On the way home I bought two takeaways. The first was some chicken and chips, but because the shop had run out of chicken there was a delay while more was cooked. While waiting for that I popped into the shop next door but one. That is the African restaurant, and in a feat of drunken bravery I ordered snail with jollof rice to takeaway.

 Once I got the food home I first attacked the snail and rice. The snail, one of the huge African snails, was fortunately only a cutlet rather than the whole thing in it's shell. It wasn't unpleasant, but it was fairly tough and rubbery. So much so that in attempting to cut it I pushed off half of the rice onto the living room carpet when my knife slipped (and where it stayed until I brushed up most of it this morning, and I will hoover the rest up later). After the snail I didn't eat all that much of the chicken, and the rest is a cold treat for today.

 I have no idea what the time was when I finished eating, but I estimate it was around 8pm. I was in bed, and fast asleep quite soon afterwards. I slept solidly until 2am when I woke up with a hangover. A pint of water helped a bit, but I couldn't get back to sleep. At 3am I went for a short walk in the park. It was rather nice in there at that time of the morning, but it wasn't deserted. I saw two people probably walking home from somewhere, and a rather handsome fox. My walk my have lasted a bit longer, but it wasn't long before I had to turn round and go back home to use the toilet. At 4am I was back in bed, and I managed to get back to sleep again. I only slept for an hour or two before waking again, and then another couple of hours or so.

 Today, after all my excesses yesterday, I really ought to go out for a long walk, but I think I am going to knuckle down and get my video editing finished. Maybe tomorrow I might go for a long walk, or maybe I'll be going for another drinking session with friend Ivor, but that's another day !
Wednesday 22nd June 2011
12:09 BST

I was a little surprised that yesterday ended up fairly bright. The morning, and into the afternoon, was rather dull and grey, but shortly before I left work to go home it started getting sunny. Until mid evening, when it started to rain, there were many pleasant sunny intervals. This morning started a bit brighter, then got duller, then there was a shower, and now it is hovering between grey, and not so grey. I expect there will be a few more sunny intervals, and a few more showers before the day ends.

 On my way home from work, just as my train was pulling into Catford Bridge station, I got a call from Iain wondering if I fancied a pint. It wasn't exactly what I was planning to do, and I wasn't feeling too good, but I went for it anyway. I had two and half pints, plus a fireball whisky, in the pub with Iain, and then had a can of Stella Artois while waiting for an African takeaway.

 Getting takeaway rather spoiled my diet, but those few beers had destroyed my resolve which was rather weak to begin with because I was feeling so rough. A small amount of the feeling rough was because I was trying out some new bright blue trainers, and over the course of the day they had become to feel quite uncomfortable. They would be fine for a night at the pub, but not for wearing at work all day.

 A larger amount of feeling rough was a mixture of fatigue and a mild stomach upset. I have no idea what caused either, but I think they both came from a lack of sleep. Once I had got home and eaten my takeaway I felt so tired that I was in bed by 8pm. I am sure I fell asleep almost immeadiately, and I slept solidly until sometime after midnight when I woke up feeling awful. I couldn't get back to sleep. I felt too hot under the duvet, and every crease in the sheets felt like a huge lump. Eventually I got up and played about on the internet for a couple of hours. While I did that I drank a pint of chilled water.

 It may have been around 2pm, perhaps later, when I got back into bed. After a while I got back to sleep, and slept until nearly 5.30am. I felt a lot better then, and got up to feed Smudge. Once she was happy I decided to go back to bed, and managed a couple more hours sleep. I feel reasonably OK now.

 If the weather had been a bit less gloomy I might have got out for a walk today, but it wasn't enough to raise my enthusiasm. Not only that but I had emails to write, and other stuff to do, and the time seemed to fly by. Now I am trying to write this as quickly as possible because I am finally going out - not for a walk, but for a beer with Kevin. It's not so healthy, but far more enjoyable !
Tuesday 21st June 2011
07:54 BST

Today is officially the first day of summer, and it feels more like the first day of autumn. Yesterday was dull, but not too cool, and until about 6pm it was dry. This morning it seemed unusually warm, compared to recent mornings, with the temperature nudging up towards 17° C. It is a bit of shame then that the sun seems to have gone out. Instead of being light at 4.30am, as it should be on the longest day of the year (+/- a day or two), it was so dim that I had to turn the lights on.

 When I arrived in Earlsfield there was evidence that it had recently rained, but it has been dry since. I have a feeling that last night's weather forecast was so bland that I didn't take any of it in. I suspect that today may well be similar to yesterday, and it will be mild, grey, and mostly dry.

 I arrived at work quite sweaty this morning. Although it is very mild, it is not really hot enough to generate that much sweat. I think that I may be a bit ill - possibly high blood sugar levels - but it could be something else. For instance, my guts were rather edgy last night, just before bedtime, and still slightly edgy this morning. I am not sure if I am lacking in energy, or just can't be bothered to use it this morning.

 There area few other factors involved in how I feel. One simple one is that I am taking the rest of the week off work after today. So I am both relaxed and impatient at the same time. There are some things playing on my mind that I may explain tomorrow, and then there is a large area of low pressure sweeping across the UK right now, and low pressure is always bad news.

 Sometimes I think I am running out of things to take pictures of in the park behind work, but as the seasons move on there always seems to be something different.
Burdock flower head
 If I have identified it correctly, this spiky, almost thistle like, flower head is burdock. Two slightly different views of this seemed to come out nicely.
Burdock flower head
Monday 20th June 2011
07:52 BST

I think we had a couple of showers yesterday, but I hardly noticed them from indoors. The day was probably better than I imagined it would be once everything had settled down in the morning. I am not sure what today will bring. I am sure the forecast suggested that this morning would only have some light cloud which would thicken, and bring rain by this afternoon. To my eyes the cloud looks to be pretty thick already, and there was a small hint of a shower while I waited for my train from Catford Bridge station. That shower only consisted of a couple of dozen tiny drops, but they were enough to show on my morning paper as I waited for the 06:42 train to Cannon Street (my usual 06:33 to Charing Cross having been cancelled - grrrrrrrrr !).

 After a day of "A" level grade slothfulness and gluttony, I expected to feel pretty bad this morning, and upon first waking up I did. Since then the assorted aching muscles have settled down, and once I started out to the station I began to feel almost energetic. It seemed almost too easy to run up the two flights of stairs at Waterloo East station. I did it, but it triggered off all sorts of discomforts. My lungs were burning, my spleen wanted to explode, my liver nearly turned to dust, my kidneys almost turned to stone, and my heart wanted to run away to a refuge for abused hearts. Other than that I felt fine.

 Considering how running up those stairs made me feel I wonder how I would fare if I tried walking up the mountainside that separates Shoreham (Kent) station from the road that undulates towards the pub where Chain played last year at their beer festival, and will be doing so again this year. That footpath makes the climb up Everest seem like a stroll in the park, is as steep as the stairs at Waterloo East, and is 20 million times as high. Based on my performance this morning, I reckon if I took it at a leisurely pace I would still be alive more than three quarters of the way up. I would almost certainly be dead before I reached the top, but I might just have a practice at it later on this week.

 Sometimes it feel like I did nothing yesterday, but I did do some shopping, and I did do some laundry. I also tested out the other motherboard I was given recently. Having fitted it into the case vacated by the motherboard I am now using on my server, I powered it up, and it successfully booted from a Live CD of Linux Mint 10 (AMD 64 bit edition). It seemed quite nippy even just running from a CD. I have high hopes that once I have fitted a couple of hard disks in it, and installed some software on them, it will make a very good PC.

 Apart from a bit of photo editing, I still can't account for doing any more things yesterday. In theory it should have been a very boring day, but it seemed to have passed very quickly, and I can't recall feeling bored at any time. While I wasn't bored I did feel very unproductive, and that definitely induced me to eat far too much. In just the one day I probably undid three quarters of the gains I made during the week. So although I haven't got to start again from the beginning, I will still have to put a lot of effort into improving my less eating skills during this week.

 I only did a little bit of photo editing yesterday, and all I have to show for it is two pictures.
Convulvulus flower
 Above is a close up of a Convulvulus, or Bindweed, flower with a few drops of rain on it. It was taken in the park behind work in the middle of last week.
unidentified young bird
 I am not sure what sort of bird this is. From it's fluffiness it is presumably a chick, and it might be a thrush, but that is no more than wild speculation. It was unusual that this picture was taken in my own back garden, and even more unusually I opened the rear kitchen window to take it.
Sunday 19th June 2011
09:52 BST

The theory was that yesterday would be more showers than sunshine, and that today will be more sunshine than showers. There certainly were a few showers yesterday, and some of them were very heavy, but not as many as I expected. I am not sure where that leaves today. I think that it has been bright for most of the morning, but I can see a lot of clouds. In fact I am not exactly sure how the sun has found an opening in those clouds to shine through. Maybe there will be less rain than yesterday, but I am sure there will be some.

 After Aleemah went home yesterday, I made a start on repairing my server. The first thing was to extract the motherboard I intended to use from the case it was in. Once out in the light I could see two reasons why it's previous owner suggested it seemed to run a bit slower than he thought it ought to. One capacitor was bulging, and I replaced that. Then I looked at the processor heatsink, or at least I tried to. When I removed the cooling fan all I could see what a thick matting of horrible gunk that was completely covering the surface of the heatsink. I cleaned all that out, and proceeded to fit the new (old, but still a lot younger than the board it was replacing) motherboard into my server case.

 As soon as I powered it up it started working with no error messages. I did have important problem with it though. The operating system was trying to connect to the network via the old, and obviously no longer there, network interface. This morning I learned there is a simple way of fixing this, but yesterday I scratched around to find my own solution. It was a bit long winded, but it worked OK, and I could declare that my server was running as good as new (hopefully for many months to come).

 While I had the server out for maintenance I decided to repair my standby server as well. The main server usually sits on top of it, and it is impossible to get to like that. The fault with it was a simple, but annoying hard disk failure. I fitted a new hard disk, and then had to edit some configuration files to make it see the new hard disk. With that done I ran a script, one of the very few I have written myself, to synchronise all the files from the main server to the standby server.  With that my standby server is now up and running, and ready to take over from the main if it fails again.

 Other good stuff happened yesterday. Once upon a time I mentioned that I had a bizzare idea that I wanted a pair of red jeans, and a bit later I bought a pair of red trousers (but not actually jeans). They turned out to be faulty in as much as the waist size bore no resemblance to what it said on the label. Last week I finally found some jeans made with a slightly duller shade of red denim than I would have preferred, but nevertheless still red.

 Their cut was not exactly generous, and it was a struggle to do them up, and they would have been far too uncomfortable to wear them. After nearly a week of eating rather more carefully than I had been doing for some time I had shrunk just enough to finally wear those red jeans. I wore them when I went to meet Aleemah, and although they still felt a little tight around the thighs, they were reasonably comfortable to wear.

 If I carry on eating sensibly they will be even more comfortable. I am not entirely sure that my eating was that sensible yesterday, and in fact one bit of it was most probably stupid. After Aleemah left, and before I started work on my server, I ate a bag of mixed nuts and seeds. I can imagine that it contained quite a few calories, but also a lot of fibre - which is apparently good for you.

 Later in the evening, as my work on the servers was coming to an end I was feeling quite hungry, and I contemplated ordering a takeaway. I decided that would not be clever, and settled on what should have been a small snack until I could finish off with the servers and prepare some dinner. That small snack turned out to be a lot bigger than was intended. I had decided on eating some cold baked beans straight from the container. In between working on the server, which involved a bit of typing, some restarts, and a few other delays, I was spooning baked beans into myself without fully realising how much I was eating. It turned out to be the whole container !

 The mixed nuts and seeds plus the baked beans were all I ate yesterday. That added up to a whole load of fibre with the potential to produce a lot of gas - as indeed it started to do in the night. I first woke up this morning feeling like I might explode. The stomach ache has mostly gone away now, and now I feel a bit hungry. I could really fancy some egg and bacon right now, but I would need to go out and buy some before I could satisfy that particular urge.

 I am unsure what I am doing today. It is entirely possible that I will go out and get some shopping today, and that may include some eggs and bacon if the urge gets any stronger. I doubt I will go any further than the supermarket because I still have a load of beans continuing to ferment inside of me somewhere. Sooner or later I will be reaping the rewards of eating all that fibre yesterday, and it's not going to be pleasant !

 I still have to finish editing Chain's rendition of Freebird, and that ought to be my top priority for today, but there is something that may distract me from it. I now have an empty PC case and another motherboard to go in it. The motherboard has a 64 bit dual core processor on it, and it should make the basis of an excellent video editing machine. I won't be editing Freebird on it because I can't be bothered to transfer all my files to the potential new PC, but hopefully later projects will become a bit easier with it.

 The new PC (assuming the motherboard works and is reliable) won't help my lack of artistic skills, but should speed up some of the waiting for stuff to happen when editing. Actually, when I think about it a bit more, it may help my artistic skills a tiny bit. If, as I am hoping will happen, the playback while editing is a bit smoother, and a bit more responsive, I may find that I will want to tackle some of the more fiddly bits that I currently try to avoid.
Saturday 18th June 2011
07:19 BST

There wasn't as much rain as I was expecting yesterday. It was certainly a dull day though, and it was fairly cool. Today should bring a mixture of sun and showers. It seems hard to believe that the sun will eventually shine and bring a bit of light and warmth to this cold and wet morning, but that is what the weatherman said last night. Not that I believe that in any more than a very superficial way, but while there's hope........

 I think I'll soon be warming up even if the whole house feels cold right now. Aleemah is popping in today, and I ought to do some tidying up before she gets here. I probably ought to do some hoovering as well. That is always hot work. By the time I have done the housework, and then had a hot shower, I will probably be feeling quite hot.

 This afternoon I think I'll will be taking my server off line to replace the motherboard. Hopefully it will sort itself out when I turn it on for the first time. The new motherboard has completely different hardware to the old, and that means Linux is going to have to do some quick thinking to use all the correct drivers. Normally it is very good at doing this, far better than windows, but too many changes in one go could get it's knickers in a twist. If that does happens, few reboots should sort it out (hopefully).

 At the moment, while it is chilly downstairs in my "server room" (which if it wasn't for all the junk in there would actually be the dining room) my server seems to be reasonably well behaved. It hasn't crashed for a couple of days, and I am thinking it might be strong enough to survive an update and other maintenance. If it does it could be tempting to leave it alone, but I am sure we will get at least one more warm day before winter arrives, and then it is bound to fall over unless I replace that motherboard.
Friday 17th June 2011
07:52 BST

It must have been at around 11am yesterday that the heavens opened, and we had a torrential downpour. By lunchtime the sun was shining, and it had dried up the road surfaces, and all but the bigger puddles. As my lunchbreak came to an end the sun ducked behind the clouds, and much of the afternoon was dull and cloudy. Some very light drizzle was falling as I walked to the station, but it had stopped before I got there, and the rest of my journey home was dry.

 Shortly before 7pm the weather forecaster on the BBC local TV news said that by 9.20pm, sunset, all the rain would have finished over London, and the skies would be almost clear overnight. At 9.25pm it was raining quite hard, and in the distance I heard a couple of distant rumbles of thunder.

 The clouds did eventually break up, and like yesterday morning, there was some cheerful sunshine as I had my morning shower. When I left to come to work it was getting very grey again, and now it is looking like today will be similar to yesterday. Sooner or later it will start to drizzle, and maybe some much heavier rain later on. If the forecast for this afternoon is 100% more accurate than the forecast for a mere two hours ahead last night, I am going to need water wings as I swim my my to the station.

 On the basis of less in, less out, I think I am definitely eating a lot less recently. Once again I had two dinners last night, or maybe I should say a two course dinner with a 20 minute gap in between the two. Course one was just salad stuff with olive oil and vinegar. Course two was four well cooked beefburgers, cooked in the oven to drive off as much fat as possible, garnished with my special garnish (which isn't really special at all). As soon as I got home, but after feeding Smudge, I diced up a couple of small onions, and a large tomato. I mixed them together in a bowl and marinated them in red wine vinegar, a small dash of olive oil, and some dried basil. That was my special garnish, and it was quite tasty. Tonight, the other half may well be even tastier.

 This morning I am definitely feeling the affects of my modified eating. Apart from only one productive visit to the toilet before I left for work (instead of two or more), I suddenly feel a lot more energetic. Rushing around on the way into work seemed a lot less knackering than recently. I even think my trouser belt is a tiny bit looser this morning, and my gut is not bulging above my belt quite so much. (Imagination is a wonderful thing !).

 I wish my server was in such great shape as I am kidding myself I feel. Actually, this morning, quite probably because it is cooler, it is in better shape than yesterday morning. This morning I didn't come down to a screen full of error messages. The log in screen was still showing all bright and shiny (if that were at all possible !) when I hit the alt key on the keyboard to wake up the display. Maybe it can hold out to Saturday afternoon, or even Sunday afternoon when I think I am going to replace the motherboard. Although doing that does really depend on me clearing enough free space to get the machine in the clear to work on it.
Thursday 16th June 2011
07:56 BST

A lot of yesterday was quite grey, but the sun did shine quite a few times. I thought I was going to get wet going home, but even though the sky was very grey I never felt more than a couple of isolated drips of rain. When I woke up this morning it was quite bright outside. While I was having my shower the sun was shining. It was quite pleasant as I walked to the station, but as I got closer and closer to Earlsfield the sky became darker and darker. It is now raining quite hard, though we haven't ot the strong winds that were forecast just yet. It seems that the rest of today, all tomorrow, and Saturday will be very soggy days. Sunday might be reasonable though !

 My server continues to hold on by the skin of it's teeth. This morning the x-server (which does the graphical desktop and applications) had crashed. There was a string of error messages on the screen, but the Linux kernel is still running, and so it seems are the web server, and a few other applications. I really am going to have to do something about this, but I doubt I will have the time to really get stuck into it before late Saturday afternoon. It is lucky that it is a Linux machine. If it were a Windows machine it would be totally dead in the water now !

 Apart from a mild feeling of constipation, I feel rather good this morning. Last night I concluded that up to half the calories I consumed yesterday probably came from the olive oil that I dressed my salad with. I actually had two salads for dinner last night. The first was just salad liberally drenched in olive oil and red wine vinegar. The second had less salad ingredients, but some lime and coriander flavoured skinless chicken - also with some olive oil on it.

 It is entirely feasible that all that olive oil contained thousands of calories, but maybe it wasn't so bad. At least it tends to "flush out" some of the bad artery clogging cholesterols. Having considered that last night it was nice to get a sort of confirmation in The Metro this morning.
clip from The Metro 16th June 2011
So it seems I won't be dying just yet, but maybe tomorrow or something. Who knows ?

 I was out in the park again yesterday lunchtime patrolling my favourite couple of hundred feet of riverbank. I am not sure if a slow walk for a couple of hundred feet, followed by a slow walk back again is really patrolling, and it's not exactly my favourite bit. I should say the most convenient bit. The again maybe it is my favourite because I could go to the left when I enter the park instead of going right. Anyway, enough of examining the semantics of the words that pop into my head, here's a couple of new pictures.
some sort of bracket fungus
 This fungus, that I have suddenly decided isn't a bracket fungus, is growing out of a fissure in an old tre that is falling apart. It was possibly only a week ago that a very large branch broke away from the trunk, and it has all sorts of other cracks and holes in it as it's life comes to an end.
dragonfly, or mayfly on a nettle leaf
 I keep wanting to call this a dragonfly, but it may be a mayfly, or maybe it is both. I have wanted to capture one on film for some time, but usually they just won't keep still. Finally this one alighted on a nettle leaf (or it may have been a bramble leaf - it was all a bit mixed up in that dense patch). The fine lacy wings are only just visible, but the basic shape is all there.
Wednesday 15th June 2011
07:48 BST

After a most pleasant evening I have really no idea what the weather is up to today. At first light it seemed like the sky was still fairly clear. Then it clouded over, and now the cloud is dispersing again. It almost felt warm this morning. Even with my bedroom window open all night it was still very comfortable. I think the forecast is for rain today, and at 5.30am I would have agreed with that. Now I am not so sure. Maybe there will be a few showers, but I think there will still be some sunshine today. Smudge seems to agree. She decided not to come back indoors after having here breakfast this morning.

 I may have made some progress in diagnosing the fault on my server. I was awake unusually early this morning (4.40am) and that gave me time to shut the server down to install an extra stick of RAM in it. Since one stick failed a few months back it has been running on only half the memory it had before. It didn't slow things down too much, but having given a spare stick of RAM a good overnight testing in another machine, I thought I would use it somewhere useful.

 When I rebooted the server up I got more than a Linux error message. The SATA hard disk controller card anounced it couldn't even find and hard disks. Now the chances of both hard disks failing at the same time seemed unlikely, and so I came to the conclusion that either the controller card, or the PCs motherboard was faulty. I tried moving the SATA controller card up one slot on the motherboard, and that didn't work. When I moved it down one slot and rebooted the hard disks were found, and I only got a couple of error messages before Linux decided to do a file system check. With that done the system appeared to boot up quite normally.

 Hopefully the server will now continue to limp along, but sooner or later I will have to make a decision about a more permanent repair. The answer may well come in the form of changing the motherboard to a spare I was recently given. It is rather modern, and considerably more powerful compared to my current server, but that might give me scope to play with some other services. If I recall correctly it has four SATA hard disk connectors on board, and I may well use three of them for three hard disks - one for the operating system, one for data, and the last as a backup for the data. I think I am quite looking forward to setting it all up - or I would if I had some more spare time on my hands.

 I know I am going to feel sleepy today after waking up so early, and not getting to sleep all that early either. Other than that I am feeling quite good. Mostly this is the result of being a bit nore careful with what I have eaten recently. Last night was an exception because I did some shopping on the way home, and got tempted into buying stuff that I really shouldn't have.

 The previous night I made an interesting observation. I came home from work feeling starving. Rather than wait around for a couple of pork escalopes to cook I piled a plate high with a simple salad of green leaves, and sliced tomotoes. I sprinkled a generous amount of dried basil on the tomatoes before giving the whole plate a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar. When I stuffed all that down, like some sort of demented rabbit, I found that it was almost satisfying in itself. Later on I had the pork with yet more salad leaves.

 Last night I wanted to expand on that idea with yet a bigger salad, with more bits in it. So I went shopping for some nice big juicy tomatoes, more assorted salad leaves, some fresh basil, and some spring onions. I also bought some red wine vinegar. Unfortunately I allowed myself to stray over to the reduced price counter where I found a rather good bargain or two. There were packs of four beefburgers reduced from something like £2 to a mere 80p ! I had to buy two packs of them.

 On my way to the checkouts from the reduced price counter I passed something new on special offer. It was bags of "90% salt free" crisps. That caught my eye, and when I looked closer I saw that they had three unusual flavours. One was baked potato with butter flavour, another was Mediteranean tomato flavour, and one other that I can't seem to remember. I also bought a bottle of Morgan's Spiced Rum that was on special offer.

 Having lugged three heavy bags of shopping home I set about arranging my dinner. It was to have been a whole bag of "ranch style" salad with tomatoes garnished with fresh basil, olive oil, and vinegar, and indeed that was the first course. Meanwhile I put four of the beefburgers into the oven, garnished with some oregano and chilli sauce, to cook really well (to drive off a lot of grease).

 I am not exactly sure which ranch it is that serves "ranch style salad", as sold by Tesco, but I imagine it was a ranch from a spaghetti western with eastern influences. As far as I know they don't grow beansprouts out in the wild west. "Ranch style salad" appeared to be shredded carrots and cabbage along with a few other shredded vegetable and........bean sprouts - recently famous in Germany for hosting a deadly strain of E.Coli bacteria. It wasn't that bad to eat, and almost briefly filling, but I still had those burgers to eat.

 My garnish on the burgers worked really well to make them extra tasty even after cooking them to within an inch of their lives. Ideally I should have cooked them on a grill pan so even more of the grease drained away - the baking tray was swimming with grease when I took it out of the oven, and inevitably the burgers came out still dripping with grease. Maybe I should have let them drain on some kitchen towel, but I just got stuck into them as they were.

 Of course those interestingly flavoured, almost salt free (allegedly), crisps had to be tried too. Unfortunately they were really, really good, and I ended up making a bit of a pig of myself during testing. Well they have all gone now, and tonight I may be able to try and stick to eating almost nothing but salad.
Tuesday 14th June 2011
  My server has been down all day today, and could crash again at any moment
 sorry if it goes off air - I'll get it back as soon as possible

19:24 BST

Finally, two days that almost live up to the reputation of "flaming June". After a dull start yesterday the clouds mostly cleared away leaving a warm sunny afternoon. The whole of today has been bright and sunny, albeit with some clouds in the sky, and like yesterday the temperature has risen to 23° C here in Catford. Sadly it is all change again, and tomorrow, and the rest of the week, and maybe the weekend too, it will be wet and windy !

 This morning my server died, and I have yet to find exactly what went wrong with it. I have a dark idea that it was the main hard disk failing when it got too hot. I did a memory check when I came home, and that passed OK. The CPU seems to be at a reasonable temperature, and although there is plenty of other potential things to blame, I think it is the main hard drive dying. For the time being I am leaving off the side of the computer to let a bit more air in. Maybe that will keep things cool enough to keep things running as a temporary measure, but sooner or later I will have to find the time for a real repair.

 When it fails again, as I am sure it will, I will switch over to my backup server. The only problem with that is that it has a most definite fault, and that fault is a complete failure of the hard disk with these web pages on it. All it will do is to serve up and error 404, page not found, message, but at least that will show that sunnyside.homelinux.org still exists as a web site.

 Yesterday I was out in the park again during my lunch breal at work. I found a few things to take pictures of.
cat hunting on the banks of The River Wandle
 This tabby cat lives in one of the houses that back onto the other side of The River Wandle to the park. At least I think I have seen it coming out of one of the back gardens some time ago. When this picture was taken it was looking up at me on the footbridge that leads into the park. Once I was a little distance from the footbridge it somehow climbed up the steep bank, onto the footbridge where it crossed to the other side of the river to continue hunting on the park side of the river.
tabby cat looking like a wild cat on the river bank
 A little while later I found it again lurking under a bush. After making a few silly noises at it I attracted it's attention, and took this nice photo. It was dark enough under that bush that even on a bright sunny day I had to use my flash.
harlequin ladybird
 Last year, even into early winter, I was taking pictures of harlequin ladybirds on the iron work of the footbridge. The warm sunshine has brought them out again. Last year I just used my mobile phone camera, but this year I managed to use the macro setting on my new camera for this nice close up.
close up of red eyed fly
 Also posing for me on the bridge was this red eyed fly. Quite why it was so patient to sit there as my camera lens crept up on it I don't know. Just after taking this picture it flew away.
Unidentified bird in a tree One final picture is this bird in a tree. I am not sure what sort of bird it is, but I think that it is a wagtail of some sort. I see a lot of them, running around with their tails bobbing up and down, near the river.
Monday 13th June 2011
08:11 BST

Flaming June is a flaming washout ! I will admit that yesterday was not as wet as I was expecting it to be. I think the sun managed to pop out a couple of times, but on average it was just dull, dull, dull ! At least it was dull until close to sunset. It seemed to be lighter outside when I fell asleep than how it seemed when I woke up this morning. It hasn't rained all the time I have been commuting, but the cloud looks thick and heavy. I would be most surprised if it didn't rain today, although there is a hint that something is changing.

 I am not sure of the exact significance of it, but the wind is carrying more warmth with it now, and it was nearly 17° C when I started off to work. It doesn't seem that long ago when 17° C would have seemed luxury even for an afternoon temperature. As a start it's not bad, but in an ideal world it would prime the day for a temperature of a nice cosy 30
° C instead of the 21° C forecast for today.

 It is a typical Monday morning and I feel a mixture of different things. After a weekend of little to no exercise, and eating far, far too much, I should be feeling rough. In one tiny respect I do, but otherwise I feel rather good now I am at work. The one small anomoly must be something to do with what I ate, but unless it was the broccoli, stilton and bacon soup that caused it, I am at a loss to explain why I seem to be farting at an Olympic level this morning. I thought it was the excess I ate that left me feeling quite bloated when I first woke up. It wasn't, it was several thousand litres of ozone destroying, Earth warming, methane under pressure in my gut. I think/hope it is all gone now, but it did lead to a slightly uncomfortable train journey or two this morning.

 There were two things I wanted to do this past weekend, and I failed to do either. The first was to do some walking or rambling, or hiking - whatever you may choose to call it. The second, and in some ways the more important, was to finish editing the video for Freebird. I did make progress, quite good progress in some respects, in stitching together the outputs from four cameras, but the more I did the more I wanted to do to make it as close to perfect as I can. Ideally I want to do some very fast cutting, timed to the beat of the song, between different shots.

 There are lots of possibilities to explore, but the cutting the video up at less than one second intervals gets really tricky and time consuming - and once started, as I have, there is no going back. Once the sequence starts it has to complete of the video will look crap (or crappier). One bit of good news, though you'll still be waiting some time before seeing it here, is that I managed to use a video effect that is ever so arty. I think that section of the video looks really good, and that has raised the whole bar that I am now aiming for. It could also be said that I have dug myself into a deep hole, and I am hoping that if I keep on digging I'll eventually get out of it !
Sunday 12th June 2011
07:46 BST

 Yesterday was not as wet as I thought it would be. Occasionally there was bright sunshine, but overall it was fairly dull, and rather cool. Today may well be very similar. It was bright and sunny at sunrise, but it's now getting quite dull outside. All the blue seems to have faded into a milky white colour. With the temperature a mere 14.5° C right now it seems a very poor show for June.

 Most of my plans for yesterday came to nothing, or at least the healthier ones did. I eventually got out to do some some shopping from Aldi sometime after 11am. It didn't feel quite as cold as I feared it would as I walked there. I started out under a threatening sky, but arrived under bright sunshine. When I came out I found I had just missed a heavy shower. It was dry while I walked back home with three heavy bags of shopping - I didn't feel so cold after lugging that lot back !

 I did end up buying rather more than I could comfortable carry. I managed to avoid buying  my favourites snacks while in the shop, and most of what I bought was mostly harmless. One item, that I had for a late lunch, was not exactly harmless. It was a large chilli con carne ready meal. I shudder to think how much fat and calories were in it, but it was quite tasty. Later on in the day I had a large salad. That would have been fine apart from the pastrami which probably has a high fat content, although it is not supposed to.

 I never did get out for any sort of longer walk than the fairly short one to the supermarket. Instead I spent quite a few hours watching TV. Some of that TV time was while my computer was doing stuff by itself. I finally made a start at editing one more video from the material that was shot during Chain's performance at The Hither Green Festival on Saturday 21st May 2011. It has taken a while to get back into doing that, and I am thinking that the current song I am working on, Freebird, will be the last I will do. Once that is done I hope that Iain will have a go at editing some more of the material.

 It was while doing the editing that I realised that Windows was running rather lumpily. A quick check showed that the hard disk was very fragmented. Defragmenting the disk took a long time, and I had to run the defragmenter several times. It was while all the defragmenting was going on that I watched quite a lot of TV.

 Today I hope to finish the editing of Freebird. So far it is going rather well apart from a tricky few seconds where every camera view is useless. I think I will be able to fill that in with a crowd view, but it may look a bit out of place. I have a feeling that this may turn out to be one of my better, or maybe best, music videos. With four different camera angles to choose from the artistic decisions are sometimes hard to make, but more often the choices make themselves (some of the amateur camerawork is basically unusable !).

 So far this morning I have been unusually busy. Perhaps the most important job for the morning was emptying Smudge's litter tray. It was well overdue, and very stinky ! At the same time I also removed a small dead bird, presumably a present from Smudge, from just outside the back door.

 The other thing I have done this morning is some maintenance on my server. I installed the latest software updates, which was important, but maybe not as important as doing a somewhat overdue backup run of my most important files. There were several gigabytes of that could easily have been lost if the main hard disk had crashed.

 The next thing I ought to do is to shave, wash my hair, and shower, but I am thinking I might enjoy a lie down before doing that. It doesn't feel like I'll be going out today, but it is cold grey and miserable out so I don't think I'll miss that, and I really do want to get that video editing finished today.
Saturday 11th June 2011
09:58 BST

 There was more rain yesterday, but also some warm sunshine. Like the sunshine, the showers were fairly brief, and much of the day was fairly dull. One period of sunshine coincided with my lunch break - which was rather good, and one shower coincided with my walk to the station from work - which was fortunately quite light. Today has started off cool and bright, but copious amounts of rain are forecast for later today. At the moment it is approaching 16° C, and it will probably only get a few degrees warmer than that at the end of the day.

 If you don't count the ornage I ate for lunch yesterday, I managed to fast for nearly 24 hours yesterday. I think I feel better for it this morning, and I am sure I felt better for it by the time I got home from work yesterday. I didn't even feel particularly hungry until I started to eat, but I was feeling a bit drained.

 I started off with fairly good intentions when I ate last night. My aim was to just have some cans of soup, but while heating up the first can I noticed that I had an open packet of grated cheese in the fridge that had been open for quite a few days. Rather than let it start to go green I put half in my bowl of tomato soup, and the other half in a bowl of pean and ham soup. That instantly killed off any pretense of a low calorie meal. I did have a third can of soup, and that soup, lentil and bacon, I left alone apart from a dash of hot chilli sauce.

 Had I left it there I think I would still be satisfied, but later on I had some biscuits. The combined total of all I ate last night might still be counted as modest compared to most of the meals I ate through the rest of the week (and beyond) so I think I am winning. The trouble is that I feel starving right now. If I were going out like I ought to that would be no problem, but I have a few other distractions.

 Smudge reckons the flavour foods I have given her the last couple of days are not what she expects, and with stocks running low anyway, I think I need to get some shopping in before going out. That will mean many temptations, and while I feel very hungry they will be hard to resist.

 Another distraction is that last night I transferred to my PC all the video for the song Freebird that Chain performed at The Hither Geen Festival on Saturday 21st May. It has taken so long to get this far that it will be the last song that I will edit. I do feel quite keen to get stuck into it - partly to get it out of the way - partly because it is an excellent song, and partly because I think I have some good material to work with.

 On the other hand I do have a slightly masochistic desire to take a walk through some muddy fields in the rain. Quite why this should be an attraction is a mystery. It is cool enough to make walking unpleasant (I actually have the heater on as I write this), and yet underneath my wet weather gear I would soon end up very sweaty. Perhaps I should do what I considered last weekend, and that is to just go for a walk in the park when it is raining rather than heading out into the countryside. It won't be as interesting, but at least I won't have to endure 30 - 40 minute train rides laden down with dripping wet weather gear.

 While I was out in the all too brief warm sunshine yesterday lunchtime I spotted the heron that hangs around in King Georges Park alongside the River Wandle. It was rather handy that it wasn't in the river on this occasion, but posing on the roof of a building on the other side of the river bank.
Heron posing on the roof of a building
It is, as it looks, a very big bird !
Friday 10th June 2011
08:24 BST

 June continues to feel like April. There were more showers yesterday, but none of them were particularly heavy. While this mixture of sun and showers goes on it remains fairly cool. Although having said that I did feel very warm and sticky when I walked to Earlsfield station with my coat on in the rain. Once I was on the train I took my coat off and stuffed it in my bag. That made the rest of my journey home far more comfortable.

 It has started off bright and dry this morning, but once again rather cool. I don't know how long it will stay like this. Most forecasts seem to agree that there will be more showers today, and The Metro's forecast is particularly pessimistic with a suggestion that we could see a thunderstorm at some point today. I reckon that today will be similar to yesterday with alternate sun and showers.

 I felt really bad when I got home from work yesterday. Some of the symptoms could be blamed on walking awkwardly in uncomfortable shoes. More symptoms could be blamed on my recent diet. With all my experimenting in the kitchen, I have been eating far too much lately, and it is catching up with me. Last night I only ate about half of what I ate the previous night (or maybe the night before that when I definitely overdid it by a factor of three !).

 I think I feel better for being more careful last night, but that wasn't the case when I first got up this morning. I felt dreadful then. I went to bed quite early last night because I felt completely shattered. Within minutes of my head hitting the pillow I was fast asleep. Three or four hours later I woke up with really painful cramp in my left leg. After leaping out of bed, and putting some weight on my leg the cramp stopped, and walking to the toilet helped to soothe the muscles a little more before I got back into bed. I fell asleep without trouble, but upon waking up my leg muscles still felt a bit sore.

 Other bits of me seemed to ache as well as my left leg. A couple of ibuprofen tablets, a hot shower, and coming to work seemed to have worked well, and I think I feel OK now. Tonight I really want to try and eat as little as possible. I am aiming to just have a few cans of soup. That should set me up well if I venture out for a long(ish) walk tomorow. I think I am going to put a bit more effort into persuading myself to go out tomorrow even if it is raining.

 As well as not feeling crap there is another reason to curb my appetite at the moment. I have finally managed to buy a pair of red jeans. They are not quite the bright red that I wanted, but they are close enough. Unlike the last pair of red trousers I bought, I can actually fit in these new jeans - but only just. I know my gut has expanded a bit recently, but all my other jeans/trousers built to the same specification still seem to fit, and often with some to spare. The new jeans are not only tight about the waist, despite having the same marked waist size, but are also quite tight around the thigh. The only problem with the latter is that it makes the pockets less roomy, and I do like big pockets that I can cram all sorts of stuff in ! If I can just lose an inch around my gut I will be able to wear these new red jeans comfortably.
Thursday 9th June 2011
07:52 BST

 I get the impression that the weather at this end of June is more like I would expect at the end of April. It is highly variable, and not as warm as "flaming June" should be (or ought to be). Yesterday, which started bright and sunny before getting very cloudy, did brighten up again - a bit - but between 2 and 3pm there was some quite heavy rainfall. At 3pm the sun was out again, and shining on some expansive puddles. At 4pm the puddles had all dried up, and I walked to the station in bright sunshine. When I arrived at Waterloo station the sun was hidden behind dense clouds, and it was raining moderately hard. I had not bothered to put my coat on, and did get slightly damp when I went outside for a smoke.

 Back in Catford the sun was still behind clouds, but it wasn't raining, and I was able to walk the last bit of my way home in the dry. Halfway between the station and home the sun came out, and I think it stayed out all evening. It was fairly cool this morning, but there is little cloud in the sky, and the sun is shining brightly as I write this. The weather forecasts suggest it won't last, and more showers are expected today.

 My pastie experiments continued when I got home last night. I tried out the JusRol ready rolled puff pastry this time. Apart from it being square instead of round, and not the ideal starting shape to make a pastie, it did work well. I filled it with chicken and mixed vegetable (exactly the same as my first experiment on Monday night), and it was just as tasty. The JusRol pastry, while mostly satisfactory, was still not quite as good as the paratha bread dough I used the first time. I would attempt to seek out some more of that paratha bread dough, but I think this experiment is now drawing to a close, and it's time to move on to some other culinary experiment.

 This morning I am not sure how I feel. Everything feels fine until I try and walk fast. It feels a lot like hard work this morning. Some of it is because I am walking slightly awkwardly in uncomfortable shoes. I am not entirely sure why they are uncomfortable. They are supposedly identical to another pair that I thought were comfortable enough to inspire me to buy a second pair, the pair I am wearing today, before the style disappeared from the shops never to re-appear like many cheap shoes tend to do. What I ought to do is to try the original pair again tomorrow. They are a bit tatty and worn, but still serviceable. I don't think it would be a good idea in case it is my feet that have changed, and the old shoes are just as uncomfortable as the new. I am not sure why they should be uncomfortable because they fit perfectly with no pinching, nipping, or rubbing, but it feels like walking on lumps of wood !
Wednesday 8th June 2011
08:21 BST

 Yesterday was not bad. It was mostly bright and sunny, and it didn't rain all day (and all night). The only bad thing was that it never really warmed up as much as I thought it might. Without a lot of warmth to start with, and with clear skies overnight, this morning started off close to chilly. Initially it was bright and sunny, but the clouds slowly gathered, and by the time I reached work it looked as if it might rain at any moment. I think the weather today could be highly unpredictable. It is nearly an hour since I arrived at work, and in that time the cloud has become very broken again. Maybe I'll get soaked going home, or maybe sunburn. Who can tell ?

 I can still detect where I was stung yesterday, but it is not causing any discomfort this morning. It was still a little sore when I eventually went out to Tesco yesterday. I was hoping to buy some more frozen, ready to cook, paratha breads, but it seems my local Tesco has none on the shelves at the moment. As a substitute I bought some JusRol shortcrust pastry. Despite how it's name suggests, the stuff I bought was ready rolled out into a dinner plate sized disks - two of them per packet.

 Last night I experimented with making a sort of fish pastie by making up the pastie with salmon and cabbage. I used both disks of dough, and in one pastie I also added some grated cheese as well. The results, while acceptable, were nowhere near as nice as my original experiment. The pastry was wrong, the cabbage was a wrong choice, but the cheese did help the second one I ate. Two of those made up quite a large dinner, and when I experiment some more tonight, using JusRol puff pastry and with a chicken filler again, I think I had better only make one up. I'll eat it was some green salad and tomatoes. As a meal it may begin to approach being healthy, but we'll see how it all works out for real tonight.
Tuesday 7th June 2011
10:51 BST

 The rain slowly, slowly came to a stop late yesterday morning. Sadly the sun never managed to break through the clouds, and it remained cool all day. During my lunch break the cloud was thin enough that I could feel the heat of the sun gently warming my dark shirt, but that cloud still blocked any visible rays of sunshine. While on my lunchbreak I observed the River Wandle, along whose banks I take many of my wildlife photos, was running very high after all the rain. Official records suggest that 32mm of rain fell in the previous 24 hours, but I still estimate it was more than that.

 This morning it is all change. The clouds broke up over night letting even more warmth escape. So it was fairly cool at sunrise this morning, and it is still only 16° C now. There is a good chance that a few more degrees will be added to that if the sun continues to shine as it has for most of the morning. The sky is not cloud free right now, but the clouds that are up in the sky are mostly harmless white fluffy ones.

 I am off work today due to a slight incapacity. At the end of last week my right hand was very painful for almost unknown reasons (though it could have had something to do with having to squeeze some cutters very hard many times as I was cutting through some very strong steel wire - but that was 3 or 4 days before the first signs of pain manifested themselves). This morning it is my foot that is painful, but not for unknown reasons. The reason was evident as a thin smear of black and yellow stripeyness on my bathroon floor.

 I often have bees or wasps fly in my bathroom window, and I try to pay as little attention to them as possible - although trying to ignore them while stark naked for showering usually goes beyong my limits of bravery. On a few occasions, usually on a particularly chilly morning, I will sometimes see a bee or a wasp "resting" on the bathroom floor. This morning I didn't see it, but in the last second of it's life it saw my foot, and reacted appropriately for one whose life is threatened. It's last thought as it was compressed to a mere smear must have been "got you !".

 I am unsure if it was a wasp or a bee. I had to pull the sting out which was attached to a bit of body, but it did come out cleanly like a wasp sting. I presume that unlike a bee it only left the sting in me, with bits of body attached, because it's body was not exactly intact after being trod on. Whether bee or wasp it was still rather painful. The initial pain had died down by the time I should have left for work, but it still felt like trying to walk on a very hot pebble. Now, over five hours after it happening, it is still slightly sore, but the worst is over. Give in another hour and I'll be comfortable enough to go and do some shopping. Until now I have been walking around either on the tips of my toes, or on the ball of my heel. Easy enough indoors, but too comical ( and tiring) for outdoor use.

 One particular reason I want to get some shopping in today is to repeat some experimental cooking I did last night. I made an unholy mutant of a cross between a Cornish Pastie, and a South American empenada. In the back of my freezer I had a couple of ready to cook frozen Indian parathas. Once upon a time I had successfully used these as a substitute for the dough to make empenadas. The two I had at the back of the freezer where left over from that experiment, and over the course of a year, maybe two, they were getting a bit dry and brittle. Thawing them out under hot water helped in that respect.

 I filled the two parathas with some flavoured chicken and some mixed frozen vegetable (mostly peas and diced carrot). I then folded over the paratha into a cornish pastie shape, and sealed the edges as best I could. They went into a hot oven on a (badly !) greased baking tray for about 30 minutes. For such simple ingredients, and without any extra seasoning, they came out truly delicious. Tonight I aim to make a fish version (maybe with cabbage or something) if I can find some frozen parathas, or a likely looking substitute.
Monday 6th June 2011
08:02 BST

 Sometime around midday, perhaps an hour before, maybe an hour later, it started to rain, and it is still raining now.Sometimes it seems to be almost stopping, and at other times it has been reasonably heavy. A couple of yards away fom my back door there is an old 2l plastic ice cream container that I placed there to provide a source of water for Smudge (or any other animal wanting a drink). It is not a very accurate way of estimating rainfall, particularly when you are only looking at it from a distance, but it seems to have an extra two inches of rain water in it. That seems to be quite a lot.

 The rain should eventually stop, and there is some sort of hope that this afternoon could see some sunshine. If the sun does put in an appearance for any length of time the temperature could rise to around 20° C from the 12
° C the day started with.

 Yesterday I think I managed to elevate the art of being lazy to new heights. Apart from throwing a few things in the washing machine, and a little bit of work on the PC first thing in the morning, I basically did nothing of any importance yesterday. Apart from a brief visit by a friend to pick up an external hard drive (to back up some of data while re-installing Windows) I saw no one and went nowhere. I am ashamed to admit that I didn't either wash, shave or brush my hair. The most surprising thing is that I was neither bored, nor did the day seem very long.

 I spent some of the day laying on my bed reading, but I didn't seem to read that much. A couple of times I dozed off, but it felt like only for a few minutes at a time rather than any form of deep sleep. At one point I considered going for a walk in the park while it was pouring with rain. I think that was when I was getting the washing out of the washing machine. By the time I had hung up the washing to dry, the idea of a walk in the park had slipped quietly away, and I resumed my studies in being almost inert.

 Maybe the blank minded state I must have achieved during the day starved my brain of images. During the night I am sure my dreams came alive with images, and some of them were not pleasant in a sci fi horror story sort of way. I am fairly certain that I often knew I was dreaming, and conciously pushed the storyline when it became stagnant. The background to a rather disjointed storyline was alien invasion and abduction.

 My strange aliens didn't have a flying saucer, but were in windowless armoured trucks that ran on the railway. They would dash out of the sidings at Catford Bridge station (that were ripped out years ago) between regular trains, and abduct people on the railway. At least I think that is what they did. My brain had already cut to a different scene before the abduction took place, but it was obvious it was going to happen. At one point I had to take evasive action to avoid being abducted myself. Maybe I was eventually abducted because I could see some of the people who were abducted, and see them having medical experiments conducted on them. Curiously enough I can't recall if I saw an actual alien in any of my dreams.

 In my dreams I saw some quite horrific things, and I had to take some evasive action, but somehow it didn't seem like a nightmare. A lot of the time I seemed to have some sort of internal dialogue with myself. It would be like "here's a scene, now put some action in it", or "that scene has played out, what shall we do next". That may sound like lucid dreaming, but the events during the night are fading fast, and while I can remember elements of the dreams, it is really only a feeling that I had control rather than an actual memory.

 I have come to the conclusion that I don't feel that bad this morning. I don't feel up to rushing around, but I have no significant aches or pains. Even my right hand, which was very painful up to lunchtime on Saturday, has healed to the point where I have to try very hard to find any remaining soreness. I suspect that by midday I will be feeling like I would rather being laying down that being at work, but that will have to wait until I get home tonight - when I can foresee a lazy evening happening before an early night !
Sunday 5th June 2011
10:04 BST

 Yesterday was a really nice warm day with plenty of sunshine, but it did become a lot fresher late in the evening. At it's hottest it may have reached 25° C. Today has started off bright, but overcast, and the temperature right now is higher than I might have expected at nearly 18° C. As I recall, this was the forecast temperature for today, but by this afternoon it could easily be higher unless some arctic wind blows in (and I have a vague memory that a cooling wind was mentioned in the last forecast I saw).

 I woke up yesterday to find that my painful hand was still just as painful, or maybe more so. I had rubbed in some ibuprofen gel before I went to bed on Friday night, but that evidently did nothing. A couple of ibuprofen tablets taken in the morning did seem to bring some very useful relief, and a couple more later in the afternoon improved things still further. I did have some problems with it last night, but I'll explain that shortly. This morning my hand is still slightly sore if I flex it in the right way, but for most actions it is perfectly OK.

 Last night Chain were playing in The British Oak pub on (for me) the far side of Blackheath. It is not a particularly difficult pub to get to, although there is a bit of a walk after the bus stop, but getting home is not so easy because the last bus runs before the gig has finished. The previous time I went there I was honoured with a lift home from Jo and Chris (from the band). Last night I was even more deeply honoured to be offered a lift there and back.

 In return for my lifts I acted as amateur roadie again. Lugging in a lot of the gear, and even setting up the big "Mackie" speakers on their stands caused no problem for my sore hand. What was a bit painful was shaking hands with people. Every squeeze of the hand served as a good reminder that my hand was not healed from whatever was wrong with it.

 The evening had many good points. For a start everyone was there quite early, and with my help bringing a lot of the gear in, and a modicum of help setting it up, everything was ready to go with plenty of time before the show was due to start. At that point the bar was quite empty. A lot of people, who would later change bars were in the other bar, and there were people out on the tables out front, or in the beer garden, but for 20 minutes or so we had the bar to ourselves.

 With an empty bar, and all the gear set up, Chain decided to have a short rehearsal. It went remarkably well, and it was most interesting to watch the process. Sometime earlier in the week they had decided to add "Layla" to their repetoire. They had each individually learnt the song, but had never played it together before last night. The first run through threw up a few problems, but these were mostly sorted out in the second run through, and on that basis they included it into the show - and I have to say it sounded rather good except for the very end where they need to work out a more positive ending.

 It seems my teasing about Guy, the drummer, not wearing a black shirt like the rest of the band bore fruit.
Guy finally gets a black shirt
Steve on the left pointing to Guy's black shirt with Chris in the middle.
Exotic dancing at The British Oak
 One of the problems with The British Oak is that the decor is so dark. It just seems to suck all the light out of my camera's flash. So the picture above is a bit grainy, but it does show a man, apparently called Ivan, throwing a few shapes while having a dance with his Indian partner. He was terribly enthusiastic, and I think he drew more applause than the band.

 Many pints of beer were drunk last night. I seemed sober enough to do my roadie work in reverse without mishap, but it seems that I have a bit of a hangover this morning. In an ideal world I would be frying up some eggs and bacon right now. I do have some bacon, but no eggs so I might have to resort to something else to act as a hangover cure.

 I have no definite plans for today. Ideally I should go out and do a bit of rambling, but a combination of dull weather, lack of enthusiasm, and lack of energy right now makes that seem unlikely. I think it is far more likely that I will end up editing some more video of Chains performance at The Hither Green Festival on the 21st of last month.  There seems little time for doing that in the evenings after work, so this afternoon is probably a good opportunity to make some progress doing it. I think it may take until the afternoon before I get over the effects of last night !

 One more picture to include before I finish. I took the picture below a few days ago. It is still not quite as good as I had hoped, but it was the best of several.
bee on a bramble flower
A bee on a bramble flower showing a good stock of pollen on it's leg.
Friday 3rd June 2011
08:08 BST

 The temperature stayed up reasonably well overnight, and this morning has started off very mild. The only clouds I can see in an otherwise blue sky are very high up, and very thin. By all accounts it could end up as very warm day today. Apparently yesterday didn't quite reach the 25° C that some expected, but it may well reach that today, if not a little bit higher.

 All is not sweetness and light in the world of my servers. My main server is up and running OK (your reading fom it right now), but my standby server seems to have forgotten one of it's hard disks this morning. I couldn't spare long to look at it before coming to work this morning, but my initial diagnosis is that the hard disk has failed. If it is not that then I fear that the motherboard may have come to the end of it's life. It is rather an old machine now. I couldn't put a date on it, but it is quite a few years now when a 700MHz Pentium III processor was in vogue. I think it is something like 4 generations back from current processors. Translated into human terms that probably makes that machine the equivalent of over a hundred years old !

 The standby server is one negative thing, but overall I feel rather positive today. I would even go as far as to say that I feel phyisically rather good. Of course that is almost total nonsense. I was able to muster up some quite big bursts of energy on my way to work, but I still felt a nice sit down would be a good idea once I arrived here at work.

 The one area where my physical health is failing quite badly is a very small area. The finger next to my little finger on my right hand is very sore this morning. It may be something like arthritus, or it could be something completely different. For quite some time now (weeks, months, years ?) I have been waking up in the morning with a stiff right hand. I put it down to clutching the duvet like grim death to stop falling overboard (or whatever the unremembered nightmares I might have are about). Usually the stiffness, sometimes with some mild pain, goes away after a few minutes. This morning it is pestistently and unusually painful.

 Until just literally a few minutes ago, I thought it was the whole hand. Just before I started writing the previous paragraph I gave my fingers a good wiggle, and it was then I realised it was just the one finger causing the pain. I think it is coming from the area of the middle joint of the finger, but the pain is quite diffuse so I cannot be certain. A doctor might be able to make some sort of diagnosis of what's wrong with it, but they would either describe aspirin or amputation. I think they would have more luck if they just stuck to using leeches.

 Tonight I am going to try and eat a very low calorie meal - probably white fish and mixed vegetables. Last night, for the second night running, I managed to restrict my enthusiasm to a fairly moderate amount to eat, and that partially accounts for feeling slightly further away from death than usual these last two mornings. If I can manage an even more restricted diet I might have a chance to get back into the swing of doing it more often. Tomorrow I am seeing Aleemah, and I won't be eating anything until I have seen her, and then after she has gone home I still won't be able to eat too much because I will be going out to see Chain playing at The Britisk Oak pub on the far side of Blackheath. When the gig ends I have been offered a lift home by the band (maybe a lift there too), and if it is the same as last time they will drop me off right outside my front door well away from any fried chicken shops etc.
Thursday 2nd June 2011
19:07 BST

 It's been a very nice warm day today. After a slightly cool start of around 10° C it has warmed up to 22° C, and for the most part it has been bright and sunny.

 Lots of strange things have gone on today. This morning my server, which serves up my web pages amongst other things, seemed to be running at a snails pace. It may have been caused by one of three things. One possibility (which still remains as a pssobility even now) is that the machine was overheating. Another possibility was that something, maybe even an attempted hack, was using up all it's resources, or finally it was just my network connection was running exceedingly slow. Considering my service provider is Virgin, the latter is quite probably what the trouble was.

 I thought I would try and see what would happen if I remotely rebooted the machine. With hindsight that was a big mistake.  This evening I finally remembered that the last time I updated the software something went wrong, and automatic booting stopped working. Having manually selected the boot option I was quickly able to get it running again. Upon doing another update I noticed that part of that software update was to correct a problem with automatic booting left over from the previous update !

 (When I say automatically booting, for the more technically minded it was a problem with the default kernel selection in the grub boot menu. I don't know any deeper details, but the second choice kernel worked, and after today's update the default kernel boot OK again).

 There was a similar problem with my standby server. An update done some time ago had changed the boot sequence to try and boot from the wrong hard disk. I fiddled with all sorts of things before I noticed that. having noticed it the cure needed no more that 3 or 4 key strokes to correct the error. That server is now running sweetly again, and provided I am reasonably diligent in keeping it in synch with the main server it should be ready to take over at the drop of a hat.

 I think I am happy now ! There are additional reasons to be happy, and I may, or probably won't explain that in more detail when I hope to write a normal blog tomorrow. All I am prepared to say now is that an offer I have made has tentatively been accepted, and although I would not like to class it as one, it is the closest I have come to getting a date for far too many years. I have to wait until sometime in September, but it is something I am looking forward to, and may inspire me to greater things - like trying to get myself moderately healthy by then.
Wednesday 1st June 2011
08:26 BST

 If only yesterday had been a bit warmer it would have been rather nice. The sun was out for a lot of the day, and it did heat up the tin roof here at work, but it seemed to make little headway in warming the air up outside. It wasn't actually cold, or even cool, but it was still not warm. Today, allegedly, should be the start of it getting a lot warmer. The sky was very clear and blue when I woke up. That meant it was quite cool when I left for work, but the sun should warm things up, and a change of wind direction should start to blow some warm air in as well. It is feasible that today could end up as much as 5 degrees warmer than yesterday.

 Last night I did something I haven't done for ages and ages - maybe not since I was just a kid. I cooked myself an omlette. That really understates the significance of "an omlette". My omlette was no fancy high art cooking, but a throw-in-anything-not-nailed-down type of cooking. The principle ingredients, apart from eggs, were a packet of Tesco's "smoked salmon trimmings" (just as tasty but a third of the prices as the artfully cut sheets of smoked salmon), a drained tin of peas, a lot of feta (type) cheese, fried tomatoes, and assorted herbs and spices. It was rather tasty - even if I say so myself.

 I tried quite hard, and slightly succeeded in limiting how much I ate last night. I have been feeling quite stodgy lately, and it has been getting worse. With it probably ending up quite warm this afternoon, I might attempt to walk to Wandsworth Common station tonight. Based on how I felt as I trudged my way to work this morning, I would give it a one chance in three that I do that extra 2 mile walk tonight. At least I am wearing suitable walking shoes if I do end up deciding to do the extra walk.

 Yesterday I revealed how I was dreaming that I was having an accident in bed. Last night I really did have an accident in bed ! Yes, I wet the bed, but I hasten to add, not the way you are thinking ! It was just before I was going to turn off the light, and go to sleep. I decided to take a nice swig from a bottle of chilled water I had taken up to bed with me. It was a bottle I had refilled from the tap, and refilled right to the very top. That was a silly thing to do because as soon as I unscrewed the lid icy cold water poured over the side onto me, and the shock of that made me squeeze the bottle even tighter ! In all it was only about the equivalent of a pub measure of whisky that poured onto me and my bed, but being icy cold it felt twice as unpleasant.