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May 2011
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of May 2011

Tuesday 31st May 2011
07:58 BST

 After the (almost) warm, but dull grey start, it did brighten up yesterday. Much of the afternoon was bright and sunny, but at around 5pm the clouds gathered again, and it started to rain. Much of the time it was just drizzle, but there were periods when it was much heavier. I don't know how far into the night it rained, but this morning it is bright and sunny.

 I had a very pleasant time at the Holy Ghost Fathers fete. I was only there to watch Chain playing, but there was other stuff going on. Being a Catholic run establishment there was a beer tent there, and I had a pint, possibly one of the last pints, of cask conditioned ale from the polypins of ale they had there. I think it was one of the last pints because it was rather cloudy, and didn't taste all that nice.

 Just lately I have not really commented too much about how Chain's gigs have sounded. Usually it can be taken as read that they played well, and I completely enjoyed myself. Not this time though. The heat from the sun really detuned Chris' guitar, and the end of their signature tune, "Chain", ended in severe disharmony. After a quick retune everything was back to normal.
Jo with a curious smile on here face
 It is unusual to see Jo wearing anything but black. I am not sure what the curious smile is for, but I am sure it wasn't while Chris' guitar was playing in a totally different key to hers.
view of the bands marquee
 There were two bands due to play at the fete. Chain had the righthand half of the marquee, and the other band, The Spice Band, had the lefthand side. The support band, as I choose to call them, sounded very professional, but ultimately horrible. They were a seven piece act with keyboards, trumpets, and a saxaphone. While the amount of applause Chain got was quite sparse from a thinly spread audience, the amount that The Spice Band got was even less, and usually completely zero.
The Virgin Mary or someone
 Amongst the audience were several statues of (I presume) The Virgin Mary (or maybe a nun or two). The one pictured above was quite small, and placed in some sort of shrine. Another was a full life sized statue, and can be seen behind, and to the left of the marquee in the picture above this one.

 I did take a couple of pictures on the way to the gig.
suicidal squirrel
 I think the squirrel was contemplating suicide by jumping in front of the oncoming train. Happily it raced back into the trees and shrubs behind the platform once it realised the train was coming.
squirrel on the platform edge of Catford station
 It was a bit of a shock to the system to come to work today. It was no problem getting up at the right time, but it was staying up that was the problem. Over the long bank holiday weekend I was still waking at, or before, 5am, but after feeding Smudge, and attending to a few other things, I went back to bed, and sometimes I even got some extra sleep. It is fortunate that I did get an almost reasonable amount of sleep last night.

 I could have got more sleep, but I had a really extraordinary dream last night. It happened little more than a few minutes after I first managed to fall asleep. I was dreaming that I was waking up, and I was waking up because I was about to crap in my own bed, and had passed the point of no return. This was so alarming that something deep in my brain forced me to wake up for real, and I found myself in exactly the same position and posture that I was in during the dream, but thankfully minus any unpleasantness.

 Many science fiction writers have tried to imagine, and describe, how it might feel to go into hyperspace to escape the speed limitation of light when travelling in space. They describe it variously as like feeling you have been momentarily turned inside out, turning through a corner while still travelling in a straight line, or other weirdness. The transition from dreamed waking to real waking, was similarly very weird. The dream seemed so real that I had to gingerly get out of bed and go to the toilet to make sure that I had not had any sort of accident. Of course I hadn't, but the whole affair did lose me 15 - 20 minutes of valuable sleep.
Monday 30th May 2011
06:37 BST

 There was less sunshine than I'd hoped for yesterday, but it wasn't a bad sort of day.  I am guessing that temperature stayed up at around 22 C, but maybe a degreee or two higher by the evening. By later afternoon it did feel that there could be a storm brewing up, but the wind eventually blew the worst looking clouds away. This morning has started off rather grey, but also a fairly comfortable 15 C.  If I understood the weather forecast last night, the weather patterns around London are so fragmented that it is impossible to forecast the weather for small areas. There could be passing showers appearing anywhere at anytime, or maybe no showers at all. Ideally it should be sunny in Bickley this afternoon, but until it happens no one can predict it.

 It was not until the evening before I managed to get into the right frame of mind to continue my video editing. Before then I became distracted with another side project. In my efforts to be less reliant on external social networking websites, and in particular Myspace, I decided to investigate some software to generate photo albums suitable for inclusion on my own server.  I found one bit of software that is relatively easy to use in a simplified fashion, but less so when trying to customise the look and feel of the web pages it generates.  You can see some temporary test pages it generated here. Sometime later I will investigate something a bit more sophisticated, and will then provide links to any new photo albums that I might care to put up here.

 Eventually I got back to finishing my latest bit of video editing. I am not completely happy with how it turned out, but I think I have made the best use of the material I had available.  It was an interesting problem that for this video I had the output of four different cameras to choose from ! The bigger problem with it is that it does not demonstrate Chain at their best.

There are some songs where Chris takes the lead vocals, and it sounds OK, but this is not one of them. Perhaps the song needs male vocals, but once Chain see this video (on either Myspace or You Tube) they may take steps to improve up on it. As far as I am aware no one from Chain reads this page so I'll leave them to work out what is wrong with the performance, and see if they make any improvements themselves. There is some precedent for this. After seeing, and hearing themselves performing a cover of the Eagles "Hotel California", and with a bit of prompting from me, they swapped to Jo doing the lead vocals, and it sounded so much better for it.

 Chain do admit that they find my recordings to be very valuable in helping them see themselves as others see them. This comes in very handy for earning a free drink now and then ! Next up to be edited is their cover of Bon Jovi's "Dead Or Alive". I've only checked the first few seconds of the recording from camera 2, and it appears that my conscripted cameraman is still having a lot of trouble keeping the camera still. It could be another "interesting" editing session !

 It took some time to upload the video to both You Tube and to Myspace, but when it was all done I was able to get to bed, and fall asleep before midnight. That is still very late for me, but I did manage to get at least six hours sleep. I don't think it was the highest quality sleep judging from the fragments of dreams that I could remember when I first woke up (but which are fading very rapidly now). One dream concerned the man who runs the swingers club on the business estate where I work. Ideally it should have been a highly erotic dream, but it wasn't ! It seemed to concern the club owner rebuilding a vintage car - an Austin A35. Maybe there was some obscure erotic purpose for doing it, but if there was that part of my dream has evaporated.

 I have two plans for today. Plan A is to see Chain playing at a church fete in Bickley. It could be quite scary being in amongst a load of very religious people, and I get the strong impression that this particular church is in a network, or sect, of Catholic churches who are very keen to get new recruits - or that's my impression from looking at their very serious web site. So serious is their web site that I can't even find mention of today's fete on it, and the link above is to The Newshopper (local paper) web site.

 If it seems likely that it will be raining this afternoon, and looking out of my window suggests it may well be, Chain will not be playing, and I'll not be going to the fete. Plan B is probably to make a start on editing up the next Chain song as played at The Hither Green Festival on Saturday 21st May, but plan B is so flexible that anything could happen. The only over riding factor is that it's back to work tomorrow, and somehow I have to find myself in bed, ideally fast asleep, as near to 9pm as I can manage it.
Sunday 29th May 2011
13:48 BST

 Yesterday was by far the worst day we have had for some time now.  It's only saving grace was that it stayed dry. Otherwise it was just cool, grey and miserable. Today is a big improvement.  The sunshine may be intermittent, but the temperature rose quite quickly this morning. It is now 22 C, and it could get a bit warmer. I haven't seen a weather forecast for several days now, but it feels like the warmth today could brew up a storm later. Maybe that won't happen because it is quite breezy at the moment.

 So far for this long bank holiday weekend I have only achieved a fraction of what I thought I might manage.  I was quite lazy yesterday afternoon, but as evening approached I made a start on editing my nect Chain video.  There was the added complication of having a fourth source of video for this one, and that slowed things down a bit, and eventually my brain gave up on it.  I did get as far as having an almost complete test version of the video, but I still have some more video to add to it, and with hind sight there are some transitions between camera viewpoints I am not happy with.  Still, it was a solid basis on which to continue later on this afternoon.

 I didn't get much extra sleep, but I stayed in bed unusually late this morning. When I did finally decided to get washed and dressed my first task was to go out and get even more shopping. This time it was in Aldi - who do the cheapest, and apparently nicest cat food (well Smudge never complains about it). Of course I also bought stuff for me, and in amongst all the unhealthy food I stocked up on was a three pack of Tequieros tequilla flavoured beer. I am drinking a bottle of it now, and I have to say that it does taste rather nice. It is washing down some burgers I had a little while before strating to write today.
Tequieros tequilla flavoured beer
 I think my next move is to have a nice lie down and do some reading, or snoozing. It's hardly the energetic, healthy, outdoor pursuits I mistakenly thought I might do over this long weekend, but the lure of the outside seems to be quite low recently. It means I am putting on excess weight that I'll have to try and deal with at some point. While a nice walk can feel good, it also feels good to strain my artistic talents and do my video editing.
Saturday 28th May 2011
13:42 BST

 It took a long time, but eventually yesterday turned out to be a nice day, or maybe a nice evening to be precise.  Sometime during the night it all went wrong again. So far today it has been cold, grey and miserable, but as yet, not wet.  As I write it is only about 18 C outside, and I very much doubt it is going to get any warmer.  There is not wind today, but what there is makes it feel even chillier outside.

 Last night was rather a good night. As an experiment I too along my small netbook to the The Catford Ram to try recording Chain directly from their stage mixer. It was a success in that it all worked electronically, but artistically it was mostly a failure. As I was warned, without the drums being miked up, it did sound a bit weird. It wasn't a complete waste of time though. I think a couple of songs may sound OK with the drums only being in the background, and I think I can do something with some of the banter between songs.

 As well as being happy with the recording experiment, I was also most happy just to be there listening to some great music, and drinking my couple of free pints of Guinness bought by Chain for my videos. To round off a great evening I went home via the chip shop for some traditional "cod and chips" to eat at home. It may be a high calorie, high grease, food, but I sometimes think I should not have fish and chips as rarely as I do. It was a very nice supper !

 So far today I have done some laundry, and done some shopping. I have also cooked and eaten an even more unhealthy meal - a sort of cross between a mixed grill and a full English breakfast - egg, bacon, sausage, burger, and (oven) chips. This was, of course, dressed with an excess of tomato sauce ! Now, once I have finished writing, I need an extended lay down, and probably a snooze.

 Later on in the afternoon, or early evening, I will probably tackle editing another of Chain's song we recorded last Saturday. Having done two fairly straight I am thinking I might experiment with some special effects in one form or another instead of just plain cuts between cameras. This morning I bought a new bottle of Scotch to inspire me in my efforts, and to make for a mellow evening. Perhaps if I take the scotch easy, and the weather is a bit brighter, I might even manage to get some exercise tomorrow, or maybe not......
Friday 27th May 2011
 08:31 BST

 I can only describe yesterday as being mostly wet. During the morning there was at least one heavy downpour, and several lighter showers. For some time during the afternoon the sun put in an occasional appearance, but all the time there were still heavy looking clouds lurking nearby. The sun was shining as I walked to the station on my way home. On the south side of the train there were some light coloured clouds, while on the other side the dark grey, and even black, clouds writhed and boiled like some picture of a cold and damp hell.

 By Waterloo my luck had run out, and as I waited for my train at Waterloo East, under shelter fortunately, the rain bucketed down. At Catford there was just some fine drizzle, but some sixth sense told me it was finally time to put on my coat. As I walked home the drizzle turned into a full blown downpour, and some miles to the north of me I saw a massive bolt of lightning come crashing straight down. For the next hour or two the rain torrented down, and the thunderstorm passed directly overhead. Another hour or two after that and the rain stopped, and the sky began to get lighter in the last hour before the sun set.

 This morning started off grey and miserable, and by the time I arrived here in Earlsfield the rain had started again. For the last couple of hundred yards to work the rain became quite heavy. It might have stopped again now (45 minutes later), but there could easily be much more this morning. There is hope that the rain will be over by mid afternoon, and that it could be a pleasant evening.

 It would be nice if it was dry and bright, but I will still have a pleasant evening regardless of the weather. In fact I am looking forward to an excellent evening as Chain play in The Catford Ram tonight (starting sometime between 5.30pm and 6pm). They were pleased enough with the two videos that I have edited together that I have been offered some free beer tonight. That raises the evening from wonderful to ecstatic ! First though, I've got to get through a days work :-( It's just as well that I feel a damn site better today than I did yesterday.
Thursday 26th May 2011
 07:58 BST

 It was a rather glorious day yesterday. After the cool start the sun soon warmed things up. I don't know just how warm it got, but if it had got a degree or two warmer I might have even been tempted to call it a hot day.  The sky stayed clear almost all day, and then into the night. I expected it to be very chilly this morning, but it seemed to be quite pleasant at 14.5 C. It was also bright and sunny when I left home to come here to work.  In the hour it takes to get to work the clouds started to close in, and by the time I reached work the sky looked  ready to rain. That is the forecast for today, and today I think that forecast might be right.

 Yesterday seemed to be a very productive day. It started out with me going to The Nationwide building society and gently calling them fools and idiots for closing the Catford Branch (though not exactly in those words). Then, as planned,  I closed my account in protest. Unfortunately they couldn't transfer all my money directly to another bank, and I had to accept a personal cheque that I have posted to my savings bank.

 With all the finance out of the way I was free to go over to Dulwich to meet up with Ivor, Howard, Iain, and Kevin. It was the first time I've seen Ivor and Howard for maybe as long as 12 months now.  Howard and myself arrived at the pub first having got on the same bus, and I think Ivor arrived next followed by  Kevin and Iain. Once Howard and Kevin got chatting no one could get a word in edgewise so I decided to go looking for Max and/or Ruth who used to be regular visitors to The Herne Tavern mnay years ago when we all used to drink in there.

 I had several leads as to where I might find Max, but it involved a lot of walking. I am not sure just how far I did walk, but I would be very surprised if it were less than three, and more likely it was closer to four miles. I never did find Max, but I did manage the briefest possible of hellos to Ruth. Having visited several pubs along the way I finally decided to stop off in one pub to use their toilet. Rather than just abuse their hospitality I thought I would buy a drink and become a temporary customer. Next time I won't be so generous, and I will make a point of using their toilet whenever I feel the need. The reason was that they had the cheek to demand 6.10 for a double Bells whiskey. I have no idea of the actual price, but in a Wetherspoons pub I am sure it would  have been at least a Pound, or even two, cheaper.

 After my exploring I met up with Kevin, Howard and Iain again in The Capitol - the Forest Hill Wetherspoons pub.  I think I had one or two more drinks in there before Kevin, Iain and myself caught a 185 back to Catford. They stayed on the bus past the stop where I got off, and I think they were going for one more drink in the Catford Wetherspoons pub. At that point I was starving hungry, and looking forward to some breakfast (at 7pm, or whatever time it was) having not eaten anything during the day.

 The bus stop is almost right outside the Favourite Chicken shop, and that seemed like the ideal place to buy my breakfast. I placed  my order, and said I would be outside having a cigarette.  It was quiet in the shop so the kind man behind the counter brought my takeaway order out to me. I had ordered a fair amount, but when I got home and started eating I found I was less hungry than I thought I was. I still have a substantial portion of chicken waiting for me at home tonight.

 I am not sure what time I went to bed. I was watching something on TV that either finished at 9pm or 10pm.  Once in bed I went out like a light. I slept solidly until 3am this morning when I woke up. I am undecided as to what woke me up. I did need to have a wee, but not that badly. As I woke up I could feel cramp developing in my left calf, but at that point it was not painful. Maybe it was some noise outside that woke me up.

 With the feeling that I was about to have a very painful cramp spasm in my left calf I quickly leapt out of bed. That was the best thing to stop the cramping, but the worse thing for everything else. The most immeadiate thing was the pain from a blister on my right foot - it was (and still is) very painful. With hindsight it was not a good idea to do all the walking in my yellow trainers. They are very comfortable to wear, but they are not so good for long distance walks ! Not only could I hardly stand on my right foot, but I felt a sort of mixture between dizzyness and disorientation. I came very close to falling over.

 Having had a wee I got back into bed and tried to get back to sleep. I was almost there when a sudden thought came flitting through my mind. I couldn't remember bringing my laptop home (I had taken it to the pub to show off my Chain videos). I had horrible thoughts that I might have left it in the pub. After fretting about it for a few minutes there was nothing left to but to go downstairs to see if it was there. Thankfully it was, and I went back to bed feeling quite relieved, but I still found it very hard to get back to sleep. I think I might be lucky if I got an extra hours sleep before it was time to get up and come to work.

 I felt awful as I set off to come to work. It is odd, parhaps even a source of worry, that modern hangovers don't feel like the good old ones. Once upon a time it was all blinding headaches and a mouth like the bottom of a parots cage. Now it is very mild headaches and a feeling like having a fever, and when you come over all shaky feeling (with the shakyness feeling coming from inside). It is probably high (or low) blood pressure making all my organs feel weird and close to death. As is quite normal these days, just making it to work burns away a lot of the "evil humours" (as medieval doctors might put it - and were probably right). I feel I might even live now. Sadly it has done little to relieve the pain of my blistered foot. I am wearing my most comfortable walking shoes today, and that makes it possible to walk, but it is still an unpleasant experience. 
Wednesday 25th May 2011
 06:55 BST

The weather yesterday was not that good, though it was an improvement on the day before. On the plus side it was far less windy, and it was a lot brighter, particularly in the morning, but the sky never really became blue until very late in the afternoon. I feel certain that the temperature never reached 20 C, and may have been several degrees lower than that.

 This morning has started off rather cool at just 10 C, but the sky is definitely quite blue, the sun is shining, and if it keeps on shining we may end up with a very warm day. I am sure I saw on TV last night a forecast that the day could end up with the temperature up at 25 C. It will be nice if that happens, but if that is true then the forecast for lots of rain tomorrow might be true as well !

 I almost got out yesterday morning, but one thing after another delayed me, and in the end I stayed in. That wasn't so good for my health, but it did allow me to get productive. I have almost sorted out the kit required to record sound directly from Chain's stage mixer. Hopefully I'll be trialling that on Friday when Chain play in The Catford Ram at 5.30pm (or more likely 6pm). I also edited up another song from The Hither Green Festival.

 Never be taken in by advertising, or claims made on the packet ! For instance Tesco's Aloe Vera Luxury Soft toilet paper claims, in small print on the back, to be twice as soft as Andrex's similar product. What this actually means is that it is twice as likely to tear or rip just when you would strongly prefer it not to happen.  If you want aloe vera impregnated toilet paper then buy Saxon brand from Aldi. It is three times as strong as Tesco's, and two sheets always seems to be stronger than three sheets of Tesco's brand. It is also a little cheaper, slightly longer, and by only using two sheets instead of a still highly unreliable three, it represents a huge economy (and feels equally smooth in use !).

 Last night I treated myself to a big Indian takeaway. It was the first "Indian" I have had in absolute ages, and it was much the nicer for doing so. It was rather a large meal, and came on top of eating a fair amount earlier in the day. I went to bed feeling rather bloated, but to my surprise I don't feel too bad this morning. That is of course a relative "not too bad". I don't feel like doing anything too energetic yet, but later in the day that could become possible if I don't have anything more to eat.

 I will definitely be going out today - maybe twice. The first thing I want to do is to get to The Nationwide building society. The Catford branch closes on Friday, and I want to close my account in protest against the closure. I doubt it is possible, but if it is I'll get them to transfer my meagre savings into my Tesco savings account. It will be nice if they can do a transfer like that because it will rub their noses in it more. Failing that I'll ask for a cheque that I'll have to post off to Tesco.

 With my finances sorted out I will be free to go out a second time. My second destination is likely to be for a lunchtime drink at The Forest Hill Tavern. Mainly this will be to meet up with my friend Ivor who I haven't seen for too long now. The drink is being organised by friend Kevin. If it's on I'll go, but if not this will be my last chance to get out for a healthy walk. I am torn between visiting the seaside, or walking across the fields, and through the woods of somewhere undecided so far.

 Tomorrow I am back at work for two days before the three days of the bank holiday weekend. On at least one of those days I should be able to get out and about, but I think I'll probably avoid crowded beaches and crowded trains by staying inland, but that is days away, and anything could happen before then.
Tuesday 24th May 2011
 05:09 BST

The main feature of yesterday's weather was the wind. It was really gusty from time to time, though only half the strength that the northern end of the country got. For most of the time it was overcast, and not that warm. Today should see a big improvement. Just as it should have been getting dark last night it actually got brighter as the last of the cloud disappeared. That lack of cloud means that this morning it has started off at a fairly chilly 9 C, but the sky is still clear, and with less wind than yesterday it should end up as quite a warm afternoon.
 This morning I feel very stiff and creaky, but maybe not as bad as when I went to bed last night. I went to bed with an aching lower back, and feeling completely shattered. It was the end result of sitting at my computer for hours on end, most of the day in fact, making this -

It was my first attempt at editing a three camera recording of Chain playing at The Hither Green Festival last Saturday. I am quite pleased with the overall result, and I learned a lot while doing it. One thing I learned was that cameramen need directing ! One of us should have done a close up of Jo when she first started to sing. It wasn't ideal to have all the cameras on auto everything, but under the circumstances there was little we could do to match things like the brightness of the pictures.

 It could be argued that it was amazing that the pictures from the three cameras were not even more different. There was something like a 20 year difference in ages between the oldest, my Sony VX1000, and the youngest, my JVC Experio micro cam. (I just coined the term "micro cam", but I think it is apt considering that the JVC is only about double the size of just the battery pack of the Sony.)

 I have five or six more songs "in the can" that I could edit together. Having learned some new techniques for editing a multi camera recording, I could probably do it a lot faster than I did yesterday - maybe even better too - but not today. Today I really ought to get some fresh air. A nice walk in the sunshine will ease all the aches and pains from sitting at my computer for hours on end yesterday. I don't yet know where I'll go, or when I'll start. I think I might try and get another hour or two of sleep before I make that decision.
Monday 23rd May 2011
 07:13 BST

 Before the usual weather stuff I have to moan, and moan big time ! I really, really, really, really, really hate Myspace ! (Yes  I have Myspace account !). It seems whenever I try and send a message to one of my Myspace friends that is more than a few lines long it triggers an outgoing spam filter and my account becomes blocked. It is getting really tedious now, and it has spoiled the start of my day. [Ruby, if you don't mind me having your personal email address contact me via the "contact me" on my home page.]

 Now the weather. After the very wet morning yesterday it did brighten up with many sunny intervals. It never did really get that warm though. This morning the sky is a sort of slightly milky grey colour. At 14 C it has started off not too bad, and if the sky clears, as apparently it should do, we should get a pleasant warm day.

 I will admit that I was very lazy yesterday. There were many things I wanted to do, and not least among them was to make a start on doing something with all the video that we shot on Saturday. It is proving hard to make the first step in the process. Once I get going everything should be OK.

 I have the next three days off work, and I am torn between getting out for a long walk, or devoting all my time to video editing. The first dilemna of the day is whether to have any breakfast. I do feel a bit peckish right now, but if I eat now I will never get out today. On the other hand that could be a good thing in terms of getting to grips with my video editing.

 Maybe what I should do to warm up is to do something with the few minutes of video of the lady morris dancers who were performing before Chain on Saturday. It's not a very exciting thing, but it might amuse someone, and it will need very little work to just top and tail the video. I'll probably upload it to You Tube (I'll post a link here tomorrow if I do).
Sunday 22nd May 2011
 05:57 BST

 It was a beautiful day yesterday. I don't know how warm it got, but it was very nice out in the warm sunshine and light wind. This morning it is all change. It was probably dry overnight, but since about 5.30pm it has been raining, and occasionally some of the rain has been quite heavy. Unless anything has changed since the last weather forecast I saw, the rain, and sky, should clear up sometime this morning leaving a much brighter afternoon. Looking out the window now I find that hard to believe !

 Yesterday was more successful that I thought it might be. Both Kevin and Iain came to watch Chain play at The Hither Green Festival, and the area in front of the band was not crowded. So I was able to undertake my master plan of recording Chain using three camcorders. It actually gets better, or worse, because Kevin took some video on his stills camera. It will be a bit of a nightmare editing up to four different sources together to make one video, and even when I do it I will only be doing it on a song by song basis.

 Eventually I will come up with probably just a couple of songs that I'll post on You Tube and elsewhere. Meanwhile I'll be giving copies of all the video to Iain who will attempt his interpretation of the songs. In theory he has some better video editing software than me, and being "between jobs" he has more time to play with the video. I have Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday booked off worked. I was intending to do other things, like a few healthy walks, but I can see that I will probably be stuck behind my PC for a lot of that time editing video.

 It was a treat to work under bright natural light. Some of the stills photography I managed to squeeze in between videoing needed very little work to be presentable.
Steve playing lead guitar
Jo on guitar and vocals
Hither Green local lad Steve on bass guitar
 As I suggested I might yesterday, I dressed specially for the occasion. At most indoor gigs I tend to where the same "uniform" as the band - black shirt, trousers, and shoes - but yesterday I had on a bright yellow shirt, light blue jeans, and red trainers. I was told I looked "colourful", and that was precisely the effect I was looking for. Curiously enough, if I felt any self awareness from dressing unusually boldly it actually felt rather good.

 After the gig Kevin, Iain, and myself took a very pleasant walk through Mountsfield Park down towards The London And Rye Wetherspoons pub. It looked very crowded from the outside, but there were spare tables inside. I wasn't drinking on a totally empty stomach, but the three and a half pints of beer, and the double Fireball whisky I drank seemed to get me feeling fairly drunk.

 When I got home I felt famished and tucked into some food with great gusto. Then as I sat back to watch a bit of TV the hangover kicked in. I felt rather bad, and it was a struggle to concentrate while previewing some of the video we took yesterday (some of which looked rather good). It was also a struggle to concentrate while editing the still photos and uploading them.

 What I failed to notice was that it was a lot later than I thought it was. With daylight lasting so long at this time of the year I didn't realise that it was almost bed time as I struggled to think straight. It was a relief to get into bed and fall asleep quite quickly. After the first 3 or 4 hours my sleep became a lot less deep, and I woke up many times. One reason for that was that I was feeling too hot under the duvet while outside the duvet the temperature of my bedroom fell quite sharply in the night because I had the window open. A little after 5am I gave up the struggle of trying to sleep, and accepted it was time to get up.

 I would love to make a start at transferring yesterday's video onto my PC for editing today, but my friend Aleemah is coming to visit, and I need to do a lot of housework to try and make the place look almost presentable. Perhaps later in the afternoon, once Aleemah has gone home again, I may make a start at ransferring that video, but I also intend to cook myself a rather late Sunday dinner (or something). After eating I may well chill out in front of the TV, or quite possibly lay on my bed and have a snooze. Maybe I'll eventually start the video transfers later this evening, and perhaps continue tomorrow morning.
Saturday 21st May 2011
 07:22 BST

 There were a few times yesterday when I thought the weather was about to change for the worse, but overal it was a very nice day. I don't think it ever got more than mildly warm, maybe 20 C maximum, but that was still very comfortable. Today has started out bright and sunny. The clear sky means that it is rather cool this morning, but it will soon warm up. There is a chance that the temperature could hit 25 C by the end of the day. By then it might be cloudy, and then after dark there is a chance of rain - or so we are told !

 I bought some shopping on the way home from work last night. Principly I bought the latest edition of New Scientist magazine, but I also bought a small amount of cat food, some bottles of Diet Coke, and some food. A lot of the food I bought was frozen food, and that has gone straight in the freezer. Some of the food, like the broccoli and tomato quiche, and the cooked chicken, I ate last night.

 After one shopping trip last night I shouldn't need to do any more shopping, but I think I'll take advantage of a quiet morning to go to Aldi and top up on more cat food, some more bottles of their own brand, and quite pleasant, diet cola, some other assorted foods, and a rummage around their non food products for clothes, toys, and anything that looks both tempting and affordable.

 The hightlight of today is to go up the hill to Meridian Plaza in what used to be Hither Green Hospital where Chain are playing at 3pm (possibly billed as The Steve Cox Band). I think they will be performing in the open air, and it should be an excellent opportunity to shoot some video under bright light.

 I am hoping that at least my friend Kevin will be there too because I am taking three camcorders with me. It will be handy if I can get Iain along too. I am thinking of using my semi-pro Sony VX1000 camera on a tripod to capture a static view of most, or all, of the performance. Then I'll use my tiny JVC camcorder for some "dynamic" handheld shots. Finally I'll hand my Samsung camera to either Iain or Kevin for anything else they can capture while guarding the Sony camera from the hordes.

 My tiny JVC camera suffers from one small problem - it is so lightweight it is hard to keep it steady. So I have devised a poor man's "steady-cam" type of thing. I have an old hand grip off an old camera that will give a better way of holding it, and screwed into to the bottom of the hand grip is my mini tripod. That gives just enough dangling weight to hold the camera stable while moving it around - or seemed to when I tried it out last night.

 The gig today is actually day one of The Hither Green Festival. So there will be a lot more going on than just Chain playing. Before them, and probably at about the time I aim on getting there, the entertainment is provided by some Morris dancers. I am told they are very entertaining. I am not entirely convinced by that, but it could be an indicator that there is beer nearby (I do know that Morris men usually love their beer). I expect I'll take a few pictures of them, and maybe a bit of video as well. I doubt that I'll enjoy the entertainment after Chain. The next "act" in the line up is some Caribbean singers (or choir).

 For this special occasion I have decided to get dressed up in keeping with growing old disgracefully. I intend to wear a lemon coloured shirt with light blue jeans. As yet I haven't decided what colour trainers will clash with that the most. I can't decide whether it should be the green, red or purple trainers. If I were truly bold I would wear one green and one purple trainer (they are otherwise identical), but I don't think I am quite ready to go that far just yet !
Friday 20th May 2011
 08:07 BST

 It was surprising just how nice yesterday turned out to be. After the cool start the day warmed up nicely. This morning started at a fairly respecatble 13 C, and it is bright and sunny now. Occasionally some clouds drift across the sky, but they are very small cloudlets grouped together giving what I think is called a mackerel sky (on account that the clouds look like the scales on a fish). It is it quite possible that it could end up at least as warm (22 C) as yesterday afternoon, and maybe even warmer.

 I didn't feel like rushing around on my way home yesterday. Apart from one short period of time when a few denser looking clouds passed over, possibly threatening rain, it was warm and sunny as I made my way home, and if I had felt like rushing around I would have gone home via Hither Green to see the site where Chain will be playing at 3pm tomorrow. For now I will just have to rely on a few pictures I have found of Meridian Plaza, on the junction of George Lane and Hither Green Lane, to get the feel of the place. I could visit it tonight, but I think I need to get some shopping in instead.

 Interestingly enough, some sources list tomorrows gig as The Steve Cox Band. Steve is the bass player from Chain, and is a local lad living in Hither Green. Presumably he was the point of contact by the Hither Green Festival committee, and presumably that is why the band have been billed as such. It will be interesting to see how they name themselves on stage. Perhaps for one show only they will be The Steve Cox Band. Maybe there will be more (or less) than the usual members of Chain playing. Before they are on stage the entertainment will be some morris dancers. There is one chance in a million that I will know one of the dancers. That is not a very big chance, but then again I only know of one person, a work colleague from years ago, who was a morris man. The entertainment afterwards is a Caribbean choir. I don't think I'll be staying to watch them (unless they do any Black sabbath numbers).

 I was out in the warm sunshine yesterday lunchtime, and a few more photos appeared in my camera......
Bees on a blackberry flower
Here's some bees buzzing around some blackberry flowers (above), and below some young developing crab apples.
Immature crab apples
 I seem to be following the development of this crab apple tree. On Tuesday 12th April I had a picture of this same branch (I think) in blossom.........
crab apple blossom
....and five days before that I had a picture of just the flower buds.
apple blossom buds
Thursday 19th May 2011
 08:19 BST

 I am still not sure just how inaccurate the weather forecast for yesterday was. I am sure it didn't forecast that there would be rain in the early morning, and I am sure it didn't forecast me leaving work in bright sunshine to go home. It was at 4pm, when I am going home, that rain, possibly even heavyish rain, was forecast. Eventually it did rain - three hours later at 7pm. Even that didn't last that long, nor was it particularly heavy.

 After that rain the clouds dissipated leaving a mostly clear night. Under those circumstances it was no surprise that it was a rather cool 10 C when I left home to come to work. I think today is likely to be rather sunny, and it might get fairly warm by this afternoon. Yesterday reached about 22
C, and with any luck we might see an extra degree or two today. If I am not lucky then it could do what it was supposed to do yesterday, and pour with rain just as I am leaving work to go home.

 I was quite surprised when I found that I was not running on empty when I arrived home yesterday. The day before I felt I could hardly drag one foot in front of the other as I walked from the station on my way home. I was in no condition to sprint home last night, but I was happy walking at a moderate pace, and once I was indoors I didn't feel like collapsing. I had enough energy to edit some photos, and not jump into bed at the first opportunity.

 I did end in bed, and fast asleep earlier than usual though. After doing the photo editing on my PC (and checking emails etc.) I went to bed at 7.45pm, and read until about 8.15pm. Once I turned off the light I very quickly fell into a deep sleep for 3 or 4 hours. I can't remember when I woke up, but I think it was before midnight. After a visit to the toilet it took another 10 or 20 minutes to get back to sleep, but then I slept through to 4.30am. That was an awkward time - too early to get up, and too late to bother going back to sleep again. So I got up.

 It is difficult to know just how much sleep I did get. I remember dreaming more, but apart from a few vague snapshots of those dreams I can't remember what I dreamt about. However if the extra sleep last night improves things as much as it did yesterday, I should feel quite alert today. I am not totally convinced of that right now. Although I couldn't force myself back to sleep at 4.30am, I felt like I wanted to go back to sleep instead of coming to work.

 The one thing I did last night was to sort through, and edit some recently taken photos.
Ring necked parakeet
 I was walking in the park yesterday when I heard a shriek. I looked up and this green thing flashed across the sky and settled in a treetop. I already had my camera on and ready to go, and had just enough time to take the snap above before this Ring Necked Parakeet flew away again. I really had to boost this picture up to stop it just being a silouhette against the bright (but actually cloudy) sky.
white pigeon
 A couple of days ago I spotted this white pigeon in the park. I was unsure if it was actually a pigeon or maybe a dove or something, but some limited research suggests it is just another dirty pigeon. Talking of dirty pigeons............
Randy cock pigeon
 This randy cock pigeon is strutting his stuff trying to impress the hen pigeon. I had to get back to work after I had taken this picture so I don't know if he managed to impress the hen enough to have his way with her.
two dogs in the park
 I don't often take pictures of pets in the park, but nothing else was going on, and the standing dog was posing so well that I thought I'd take a snap.
young Linden tree fruit
 These are (I hope) the immature fruit of what is popularly called a lime tree. As I learned during my research yesterday it is more accurately called a Linden tree, or sometime a Basswood tree. I think it has other names too. Obviously there are subtleties to this tree that I can't yet see, but I'll try and keep my eye on this fruit to see how it develops.
Wednesday 18th May 2011
 08:05 BST

 The weather continues in uninspiring mode. Overall it was very grey yesterday, and feeling cooler than the day before. This morning it has been raining. There was a bit of light misty rain just before I was due to leave for work. That had just about fizzled out when I did go out. At Waterloo the rain was falling freely enough to get anything in it wet, but here in Earlsfield there was no rain, but enough puddles on the ground to suggest that there had been a fair bit of rain earlier.

 With the sky looking like it is now there could be more rain at any time. Just 12 hours ago the forecast said that this morning would be dry, but there would be showers this afternoon. There may well be showers this afternoon, but if they can't forecast just 12 hours ahead then the forecasts for 10, 20, 50, a 100 years ahead, all based on climate change, seem most suspect to me.

 I didn't take the detour on the way home last night to take some pictures of the clocktower and plazza at the new developement at Hither Green. For one thing it was so grey and gloomy that any photos would look dull and lifeless, and I thought there was a strong possibility it could rain. Perhaps the bigger reason was that I felt very tired and eager to get home to put my feet up.

 While reading stuff of my PC, here at work, I fell asleep many times yesterday. If I had a more comfortable chair I might even have fallen asleep for most of the afternoon. Instead I just kept finding that my eyes had closed ! It is surprising just how much difference losing a mere hour or so of sleep a few nights running can make. Of course last Saturday night/Sunday morning I lost more than an hours sleep. I lost about 4 hours sleep because I just can't seem to sleep in the morning. I thought I had made up some of the lost sleep with naps during the day, but evidently not.

 Last night, after eating a large plate of home made paella, and after watching the TV news between 6 and 7pm, I went up to my bedroom. I resisted the temptation to do much more than check my email on the PC, and by 7.30pm I had brushed my teeth and got into bed. I read for 15 minutes before turning out the light, and I fell asleep almost instantly. Four hours later I woke up, and it took a little while to get back to sleep again, but I managed it and slept for another four hours, though not as soundly. After that I think I managed another hour of light sleep.

 This morning I do feel a bit more alert, but I don't feel very energetic. Perhaps my home made paella is still sitting a bit heavy in my gut. Whatever the actual cause, I definitely didn't want to rush around this morning. When reporting how much energy I feel I have I usually discount everything until I make the final walk from the station to work. That gives me a chance to shake off any stiffness from sleep etc. The walk from the station this morning seemed like hard work. Maybe it was the dull grey sky making want to walk faster, but I couldn't do it, and had to walk at a more moderate pace.

 With the even stronger likelyhood of rain this afternoon, and my feeling of lack of energy, I am not going to even consider going home via Hither Green tonight. I expect tonight will almost be a re-run of last night - but with two small differences. I'll probably cook something based on pasta instead of rice tonight. Secondly I have a little technical job to do.

 This morning, not very far from home, I found my first ever USB memory stick. I am very curious to know what is on it, but there is no way I am going to try an unknown device like that on a Windows PC. So I have to contain my impatience until I get home when I can try it on a Linux PC. The chance of their being any malware on the memory stick that would affect a Linux PC is so low as to be almost ignorable. While the chance that there is something nasty on it that will corrupt a Windows PC is so high that I just will not take the chance.
Tuesday 17th May 2011
 08:17 BST

 The weather yesterday was very bland. So bland that I can hardly recall anything about it. Sometime during the morning the cloud became more broken, and I think there were a couple of times when the sun shone. I can't recall any rain, but I do remember opening my office window. So it must have got a little bit warmer.

 This morning it is bright and sunny with just a few fluffy clouds here and there. I didn't check the temperature before I left home, but I think it is probably a degree warmer than yesterday. Coming to work with no coat and my shirt sleeves rolled up felt quite comfortable even though not exactly warm. The clouds are moving quite fast at the moment, and I guess that means anything could blow in. It will probably stay dry, but I think a weather forecast suggested it would be quite cloudy today.

 Last night I shared one of Tesco's pre-cooked hot chickens with Smudge. It is a useful reminder of just how small these chickens are when I say that Smudge, who is only a small cat, ate about a third of the entire chicken. I had some mixed salad leaves, and some jalapeno flavoured potato snacks with mine, but of course just had chicken on it's own. I also ate other stuff during the evening - some of it good, and some of it bad.

 I am not sure what it was that I have eaten recently that has made a big change to my digestive processes. Over the weekend I was suffering from occasional volatility of the gut. This morning I am suffering the exact opposite. While it is occasionally a bit uncomfortable it does at least not pose a threat to the underwear when far from a toilet (like on a bus or train). When I was younger I always wondered why old people always complained about their bowels. I am beginning to think that I know now.

 Something else that was very constipated yesterday was Myspace - the social networking web site. I am a member of Myspace, and amongst other things it is occasionally useful to use their video servers to embed a video in my pages here. For some unknown reason it kept reporting that I had been "phished" and needed to change my password whenever I tried to send a message to one of my Myspace friends. Something nearer to truth is probably that Myspace had another bug introduced when they are forever fiddling about with the code that generates their web pages. I may have been unlucky enough to have been signed in at the wrong time, and the bug planted some sort of cookie that kept messing things up for me (possibly a so called flash cookie that are hard to get rid of).

 I think everything is sorted out now after reporting the problem to Myspace, and doing some stuff my end. I managed to send one brief test message this morning, and that went OK. Later today I will attempt to do what I was trying to do all day yesterday, and send a longer message to my Myspace friend Ruby. In the meantime Ruby, if you are reading this, try doing a google maps search for 32 Chatterton Road, Bromley, Kent. Click on street view and you should see The Ruby indian restaurant. Spin round 180 degrees and you'll see The Chatterton Arms pub where I was on Saturday night.

 My only plan for tonight is a very tentative plan that I probably won't do. If I do I'll not be going straight home, but waiting an extra 6 minutes at Waterloo East station for a train to Hither Green station. From there I'll go up the hill to Hither Green lane to visit the site of the old Hither Green hospital. The site has been completely redeveloped now, but one feature has been left. That is the old water tower/clock tower. It is on the clock tower plaza that Chain should be playing next Saturday afternoon at 3pm as part of the Hither Green Festival. I used to live just five minutes walk from the old hospital, but now I have no idea how it all looks. So I thought I might do a quick "reccy" to see the lie of the land before the gig takes place (which I hope to video).
Monday 16th May 2011
 07:54 BST

 Maybe it was just me, and to some extent it was, but it felt cool enough yesterday afternoon to put some heating on. This morning it appeared to be 13 C as I left home to come to work. A few months back that would have been luxury. It wasn't so cold that I needed to put a coat on, but at some points I thought a coat would not be a bad idea. This was mainly because the sky looked quite threatening. It could have been the effect of getting off a warm train at Earlsfield, but it really did feel like it was about to rain.

 I do have might very lightweight coat (with hood) in my bag, and it is possible I might need it today. There is a possibility of scattered showers today, but overall it is predicted to be a fairly dry week here in London. In the highly unlikely event that the forecasters have made a prediction that is on the same planet as reality, we can probably look forward to a warm and pleasant weekend coming up. One independant forecaster says, according to The Metro, that next week could see the start of another mini heatwave.

 If that forecast was correct, and maybe in a case of blind optimism I might choose to believe it, I probably ought to book a few days off work and try and do some exercise. In terms of exercise, or walking as I prefer to call it, I wasted most of the weekend. Apart from going out on Saturday night to see Chain play I just lolled around getting fatter. My only claim to doing something useful is that I did three loads of laundry over the weekend. I did clothing, towels, and bedding. With a bit more effort I could have washed my smelly black jeans for the fourth time. Instead I am wearing the stinky things again today. One day that sooty, tarry, blocked drain smell will go, but I fear it won't be until I have washed those jeans so many times that all the dye has come out, and I am left with white jeans !

 This morning I am feeling the effects of a lazy weekend. I have eaten too much compared to my energy expenditure, and my back, legs, and other bits are feeling a bit creaky. The one positive thing is that my dodgy guts appear to have calmed down. I also managed to get a reasonably decent sleep last night. I did get a bit carried away on the interent, and so didn't get to bed as early as I probably should have, but the nearly 7 hours of sleep I did get was mostly uninterupted. It is possibly a good sign that the only bit of dream I can remember was just a brief flash of dream as I woke up. That tends to suggest that when I was asleep I really was soundly asleep.

 Tonight I think I ought to try and make sure I am in bed, and preferably asleep by 9pm. I also ought to try and restrict the size of my dinner. That may be less easy. I really do need to stop off on the way home from work to buy some toilet paper. I started my last roll this morning, and although it should last many days, I am paranoid about running out, or worse than that (because it did happen once) the last roll falling into the bath and coming out soggy and almost useless. So I'll be going into Tesco, and I could be coming home with all sorts of wonderous foods !
Sunday 15th May 2011
 12:07 BST

 Saturday morning started bright and dry, but I slept though most of it. It didn't last though, and before the morning was over the sky was filled with clouds in assorted colours ranging from white through to black. During the evening there were a few showers, but by about 10pm the clouds thinned again. Much of this morning has been bright and sunny, but once again the clouds are gathering, and the likelyhood of rain seems ever higher. At the moment it is 16 C, and I doubt it will get more than a degree or two warmer at it's highest today.

 I had a very lazy day until the evening yesterday. I got up fairly early, and pottered around for a while. Then I went back to bed. I didn't get that much sleep, at least not quality sleep, but I was in bed until about 11am. I then had what should probably be called brunch, and watched a bit of TV. Then for much of the afternoon I lay on my bed finishing off the book I was reading.

 In the evening I went out to watch Chain playing in The Chatterton Arms just the other side of Bromley. It was wonderful to listen to some great live music while downing many pints of Guinness. I managed to take a few good photos too.
Group photo of Chain
 For the first time I managed to get them lined up for a group photo. Pictured above is Steve, Matt, Jo and Chris. It was all a bit of a rush, and I had downed about five pints of Guinness when I took the photo. With just a little more time, and a bit of forethought I would have arranged that the mic stand was not in front of Chris.
"down the neck" picture of Chris playing
 Another unusual photo is this "down the neck of the guitar" shot of Chris playing an unidentified (to me) chord.
nice shot of Jo

 Perhaps my favourite photo is this one of Jo. I am not sure if it was a depth of field effect, or a bit of motion blur, but the combination of an almost hard foreground, and a soft background seems to have worked nicely. The one thing that spoils it, though perhaps I shouldn't really say it, is the less than convincing "red eye" removal. I have shrunk the image down to half size which lessens that effect, but the full size is still viewable if you right click on the image and select "view image" (in Firefox, and probably other web browsers).

 Steve (the bass player) had his car with him last night, and offered me a lift back to Catford. That was very handy for reasons I'll come to soon. With my journey home taken care of I was more than happy to stay to the very end, and hump some gear out to the cars. I am not sure what time we left the pub, but it was well gone midnight, and gone 1am when I got home.

 It was 2am before I was in bed and asleep, and yet I still woke up at just gone 5am. I rushed to the toilet, did the neccessary, and went back to bed only to be awoken again by Smudge an hour later. Having fed Smudge I went back to bed once again and may have slept a further hour. Then I got up again and started editing the pictures I took last night.

 I did try to go back to bed again after that, but I had another problem. It is possible, though maybe not likely, that I have been suffering a legacy from the Aftrican food I ate last Thursday night. What is definite is that my guts have been very volatile for the last 24 - 36 hours. I thought things had settled down by yesterday afternoon, but as soon as I got to the pub (and ordered my first beer) I had to dash to the toilet. Happily that was the only time I had to do that at the pub (although with all the beer I drank I made several more visits for less dramatic reasons). Although I felt quite stable at the end of the night it was still a relief to get the lift back to Catford with Steve instead of the tedium of a bus journey.

 This morning my guts have given more trouble. I am tempted to say that everything is now OK, but I thought that early yesterday evening. With the sky looking ever more threatening, the potential for my stomach to revolt again, the vestiges of a hangover still lingering, and after so little sleep, I don't think I will be going out exploring today. It's now too late in the day anyway. It's not too late to go out and buy some more toilet paper (I just started my last roll) as well as catfood, and something nice for me to eat, but I don't think I'll be doing that either somehow. Instead I think I'll just be relaxing for the rest of today.
Friday 13th May 2011
 07:49 BST

 There was some rain yesterday. I counted three drops on the window pane, and two drops hit me when I went outside. It is surprising there wasn't more considering some of the black evil looking clouds that passed overhead around lunchtime. Later in the afternoon the clouds thinned, and practically went away leaving a pleasant evening. This morning started off rather cool at just 10 C, but it is bright and sunny, and should warm up soon. Today is forecast to be cloudy, but probably dry.

 For various reasons that I don't intend to expose here, I was not feeling that great while at work yesterday. I perked up a bit when purely by chance I arranged to meet an occasional friend, Dee, for a quick drink. I got to the pub a bit earlier than I thought I might, and I was just finishing my first pint of Guinness when she arrived. I had two more pints while we gossiped. I considered buying a third, but the call of dinner became stronger than the call of booze.

 After we said goodbye I headed off to the African restaurant to try a couple more of their offerings. I am still unsure exactly what it was I had even when examining it carefully when I got it home. One dish was spicy rice, fish and dodo (plantain), but it wasn't quite the same as the last time I tried it. Judging by the weird bones I found I think it may have been a fish head or something. It was very tasty though. The other dish was fried rice with dodo and meat. I think the meat was something like ox tail. Once again it was very tasty, but there wasn't all that much of it.

 It was amazing how everything happened so fast last night. After three pints in the pub, a fairly long wait for my food, eating my food, and finally checking my email and other computer stuff, I thought it must be gone 9pm. To my surprise I found myself getting into bed at 8.15pm ! That was actually quite handy. I was feeling tired, and quite ready for bed. I read another chapter of the book I am reading, and at about 8.45pm I turned out the light, and was asleep minutes later.

 If I had slept all night as soundly as I did for the first five hours I would be feeling pretty good this morning. Instead I woke up at some silly hour, and couldn't get to sleep properly for a couple of hours. This wasn't helped by going to the toilet, getting back into bed, only to have my bedroom door scratched at as Smudge thought it might be a good idea to be let out so she could go to the toilet as well. I think I finally got back into proper sleep less than an hour before my alarm sounded and it was time to get up again.

 I woke up feeling really bad, but as usual a good shower, and coming to work have loosened up all the stiffness, and added some oxygen to my blood. Right now I don't feel so bad, but I think that I will probably be feeling quite tired towards the end of the working day. Tonight I will have to choose between an early night or a late morning. I am not very good at doing late mornings so I may well be in bed unusually early tonight.
Thursday 12th May 2011
 07:48 BST

 Much of yesterday was dull and overcast, but it did brighten up towards the end of the day, and it was still on the comfortable side of mild. The remaining clouds evaporated in the night, and this morning has started at a rather cool 10 C (possibly a bit cooler still near ground level). Right now the sky is almost all blue, and the sun is shining in a cheerful sort of way. Scattered showers are forecast for today, and overall it wil be a bit cooler. Whether those scattered showers fall where I am at the time remains to be seen.

 I had a brainwave yesterday. It has been a bit of a puzzle as to why my left foot gets sore so quickly in a specific area of the foot. It depends on the type of shoe I wear, but at it's worst it feels like there is a lump on the sole of my foot just behind where the toes join on. Something, and I don't know what, made me think back to when I was a kid - maybe 8 to 10 years old. I remember treading on a nail sticking up from a piece of wood (I think it was when I was nailing together a sort of go cart thing). The nail went through my shoe, and very deep in my foot.

 My recollection of it was that the amount of fuss that caused was far worse than the pain I suffered. Apart from a good bit of disinfecting in potassium permanganate solution, and a sticking plaster stuck on, there was no further medical intervention (although an attempt was made to persuade me that I should allow myself to be submitted for a tetanus injection).

 I now believe that the lump I feel under my left foot is scar tissue left over from that accident. It has taken a long time for it to become an occasional nuisance. Maybe if I had graciously allowed myself to be submitted for medical attention the outcome could have been different, but I very much doubt that. Presumably I could seek some sort of surgical solution to the problem now, but it is an irritation rather than a problem, and my thoughts on doctors have not significantly changed over the last 46 years - avoid at all costs !

 Sometimes life goes a little weird on you, and changes have to be made. I made a small change this morning. Instead of my usual breakfast of Diet Coke, I thought I would go out on a limb and have some sugar free ginger beer - and very nice it was too !

 Other changes in my life include having hallucinations while on London Bridge station at 06:51 this morning. One of these hallucinations was so strong it came out on camera.
London Bridge : 06:51 : girl with arrow through head
Yes, that girl does have an arrow through her head !
Wednesday 11th May 2011
 08:01 BST

 My feelings about the chances of rain yesterday were completely wrong ! It did get a bit cloudy a couple of times, but on the whole it was a very nice day which ended pleasantly warm. It will be interesting to see how today turns out. When I left to come to work it was very grey, and almost misty, but I can now see patches of blue sky, and even some sunshine. The forecast is for rain showers starting late in the morning, and some of them could be heavy, but they are supposed to brief as the wind pushes the clouds around. It doesn't feel windy at ground level, but maybe it is higher up in the sky.

 My visit to Lidle, on the way home from work, was only partially successful. They were surprisingly low on cat food. I got enough for the moment, but I didn't find that much there to excite me. Maybe three items may be worth a mention. First there were one litre cartons of  spicy (or "hot" - I can't quite remember) tomato juice. While it was OK, it wasn't as exciting as I hoped. The tomato juice base seemed quite thin, and the taste of the spices was not that wonderful. I guess I was expecting just a sort of tomato and chilli juice drink.

 To go with that spicy tomato juice I bought some odd things like tortilla chips, but curled into a tube instead of being flat. They were quite pleasant, but not exciting enough to make me want to buy more.The third item, or items, I bought were two pots of herrings in cream sauce. The cream is actually yoghurt (assuming they were the same as the previous ones I have bought), and in theory they should be quite healthy, but maybe not. I ate both pots last night, and that amount of herring should provide enough fish oil to keep my joints lubricated for a while. When combined with the other stuff I ate it left me feeling a bit bloated, and quite windy this morning. It made for a slightly uncomfortable journey into work.

 My journey into work was also uncomfortable because I am wearing the most comfortable, clean, and yet smelly jeans I own. They are the black stretch jeans, and despite being washed four times now, or four times as many as some pairs of jeans I have owned, they still stink of smoke and tar. The stink is from the Chinese black dye used to make them (I strongly suspect), and is probably made from all sorts of toxic components from coal tar. Other people tell me they don't even notice it until I mention it, and even then it is hardly noticable, but in my paranoid state I imagine I am sitting in a whole cloud of stink ! If I keep washing and wearing them the stink has got to fade away completely. So today I have swallowed my pride, and I am giving them another airing in public.

 My dreams from last night seem to have left some memorable impressions. Most seemed to involve some sort of altered reality. While that may seem normal for dreams, it was the curious way that old and new seemed to meld together that seemed like some sort of novelty. One or two dreams seemed to involve an old girlfriend from thirty years ago set in modern, or even future times. One scenario had me taking her to the telephone exchange where I onced worked so she could start a job there. That was set in the future with me retired, and the telephone exchange changed almost beyond recognition - at least at it's periphery. At it's core there was a mix of the last equipment I worked on in there, and very old stuff that was never installed in there (but I had worked on in other buildings).

 A further dream (or maybe a continuation of the last) had an even bigger split in time in it. It still featured that old girlfriend, and we had gone back to my mum's house for some reason. While she wandered off to my room I went to the kitchen to wash a couple of drinking glasses up. That kitchen, and it's view out of the window, was a heavily modernised version of the kitchen at the house I lived in over 45 years ago. Having got my clean glasses (and I think a bottle of scotch) I went upstairs to find my room. I couldn't remember which door it was behind initially, but having selected the correct one I found my old girlfriend waiting for me in  there despite her never having been in that house before.

 One other curious thing about those dreams is that I distinctly remember that old girlfriends email address - as told to me in the dream (I would be sort of curious to know what it is in real life). It was her name@racingutilities.co.uk. Having remembered that so distinctly I looked up the website www.racingutilities.co.uk and it doesn't exist ! Perhaps I ought to register such a useful name and then try and sell it to someone whose business is in utilities for racing. Of course that would be unethical, but more importantly I just can't be bothered. If YOU do then you owe me a pint (or six) !
Tuesday 10th May 2011
 08:05 BST

 It was a nice day yesterday. The sun shone for most of the day, and it ended up quite pleasantly warm. With luck today should be similar. This morning it was reasonably OK coming to work with no coat, and with my shirt sleeves rolled, and it can, and is getting better hour by hour. Sooner or later we will probably get the rain that is threatened to arrive eventually, but it doesn't feel like it will be today.

 When I think back it seems like I ate unusually sparsely last night - in comparison to many other nights recently. Usually that would leave me feeling quite good in the morning, but not today. I do feel fine, but without the extra sparkle I thought I might have. I didn't feel like rushing around as I made my way into work, and the longest bit of walking, that from the station to work itself, seemed to be a bit of a drag.

 It seems unlikely that I will be eating sparsely tonight. I think I am going home via a supermarket, and I think tonight it is going to be Lidl's. My principle purchases will be cat food and Lidl's own brand diet cola - which is surprisingly nice, and considerably cheaper than Diet Coke. That does leave room in my shopping bags for all sorts of other indulgences, and they do have a lot of interesting things to try in that place. I expect my dinner might be a little bit different tonight.

 Nothing of any great significance has happened recently. I think I have a few pictures on my camera that I haven't checked and edited, but I did take a picture on my mobile phone this morning. It was of some graffiti scrawled on the inside of the door of one of the cubicles of the gents toilets on platform B of Waterloo East station. I think someone doesn't like Londoners...
graffitti in Waterloo East station toilets
Monday 9th May 2011
 08:01 BST

 Saturday night, and Sunday morning where rather wet. On Saturday night it seemed like a storm was brewing, but we had no more than heavy rain. Much of it fell as I slept, but it was still raining moderately heavy until almost 9am. Then the cloud broke up, and an hour or so later it turned bright and sunny. It was quite warm too.

 There was some cloud overnight, and that kept the temperature up to a quite pleasant 12 C as I woke up this morning. Estimates for today's top temperature vary, but at the minimum it should reach 20
C, and 24 C is a possibility. Most days this week are forecast to be quite good, but the chance of rain increases as the days go by.

 On Saturday night I managed to get a bit drunk. I didn't go anywhere, or see anyone, but I was listening to the radio while doing stuff on the internet. While reading and typing I managed to make what should have been just a night cap into a bit of a session. It did become a bit difficult to type in such a condition, but looking back at what I did write showed little sign of the state I was in - which is some relief !

 It was quite surprising that I didn't wake up to a bad hangover yesterday morning. I did have a hangover, but it was very mild. That was just as well because I had to do some housework in preparation for Aleemah to visit. Hoovering is never to be recommended at any time, and with my mild hangover I am surprised that I managed to do so much. I got my rewards though. We went to the pub so Aleemah could have some breakfast, and I had two halves of two different beers.

 After Aleemah left I got down to some serious laziness. I spent a long time on my bed reading. The rest of the time I spent eating and watching TV. I am not sure if I ate a lot or not yesterday. I did have two meals in very quick succession, but that was all I ate.

 This morning I feel a curious mix of fatigue and energy with a bit of lower abdominal pain thrown in. The pain is just trapped wind - or so I hope. The seemingly impossible mix of energy and fatigue is hard to understand. After showering, shaving, dressing, feeding Smudge, and all the other stuff I do before leaving for work, I was both ready to leave for work, and feeling like I was ready to go straight back to bed again.

 I am at work now, so I didn't go back to bed. While traveling to work I had an insane desire to do the walking parts at top speed, and even run up the subway stairs at Waterloo East station. The latter was particularly odd because I seemed to be able to do almost with ease. At the top I wasn't gasping for breath, and it didn't feel like me knees were on fire.

 One aspect of all this rushing around was that I ended up getting quite sweaty even though it is cool outside. Having said that I have been sitting down here for well over half and hour with the window open, and it doesn't feel cool at all. The day must be warming up faster than I thought it would.
Saturday 7th May 2011
 07:12 BST

 As forecast, yesterday did, amazingly, end up rather warm. Through the day the temperature steadily climbed to at least 24 C, and possibly a little higher. Eventually the clouds built up again, and overnight there was some rain, but not as heavy as forecast. This morning has started off almost warm at 16 C, and promises to get warmer still. Unfortunately it is very overcast now, and more rain could happen at any time. Thunderstorms are forecast for the afternoon.

 Baby bird by river
 I am not sure what exactly I captured on my camera during my lunchtime wander in the park yesterday. From the fluffiness it is obviously a baby bird, and being by the river it is probably either a mallard duck, a coot or a moorhen - all of which hang around on this stretch of The River Wandle as it passes through the park between Earlsfield and Wandsworth.

 After work I went and got some shopping from Tesco - cat litter being the very top of my shopping list. Tesco have been getting very annoying lately. A few weeks ago they changed the location of all the toiletry type stuff, and appeared to have discontinued my favourite deodorants. Yesterday some of them re-appeared on the shelves. They have probably relabelled my favourite shaving foam, and at the same time increased it's price. Against all this negativity there is one positive thing. After a long wait, maybe five years, they have started stocking proper razor blades again. Now that I have the means to remove it I may consider of growing a beard again this coming winter. I don't think I will, but at least I have the option again.

 This morning I don't feel too bad, and I am considering the possibility of going out to visit another farm shop. I think the weather is going to be the deciding factor. Those highly optimistic chaps at the BBC forecast that this morning would be dry, and possibly even sunny. Looking out my window I see no evidence of that yet, but things might change in the next couple of hours.
Friday 6th May 2011
 08:19 BST

 My theory that the cloud would break up yesterday morning was very wrong. It didn't break up, it thickened, and for some of the morning it rained - some of fairly heavy. By midday the cloud did eventually break up, and from about 1pm it was bright and sunny. It didn't get that warm, but warm enough to feel pleasant in shirtsleeves.

 This morning started off a bit better than cool, and close to mild. When I first woke up it was 10 C outside. It was a great improvement on the last few days and I debated with myself as to whether I needed a coat on to go to work. I decided to chance it without. At first I thought I may have made the wrong decision, but the day started getting warmer even as I travelled. By the end of today the temperature will should be above 20
C, and temperatures as high as 25 C have been suggested. It has also been suggested that tomorrow could see and extra three degrees added to that, but also a warning that it could lead to rain or thunderstorms.

 With the rain over, and the sun shining, I took my usual look in the park during my lunch break. There wasn't much to see, but I thought I would take a picture of something often noticed, but still ignored.
Galls on plane tree leaf
 These are galls on a plane tree leaf. Quoting from www.sciencephoto.com "
A gall is an abnormal outgrowth or swelling formed by a plant as a result of attack by a parasite. They can be caused by bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects or mites or by a combination of these." I am not sure what caused these particular galls, but from a close up you can almost imagine seeing something growing inside.
close up on galls
 The one thing I must do today is to go to Tesco again. I don't need any food, but ineveitably I'll buy some. Smudge doesn't need any more food, but she does need more litter for her litter tray. For weeks and weeks it went unused, but since the weather turned cold she is convinced it is now winter, and is hardly going out at all - just like she did during most of the winter (and maybe some of autumn too). I got home from work last night to find another large deposit in the litter tray, and used the very last of the litter to cover it. Tonight I most definitely need fresh cat litter in case there is another deposit in the tray (and it all needs changing regardless).

 Other than that bit of shopping, I think I will be trying for another early night, tonight. I went to bed at 8pm last night, but I did read until 9pm. I fell asleep very fast once I turned the light out, and slept solidly until Smudge woke me up at 4am. I gave her 5 minutes to decide if she wanted to go out, be fed, or just wanted to say hello. As far as I could tell she just wanted to say hello. So I said hello and went back to bed, and was soon fast asleep again. I do feel better for getting nearly a full 8 hours sleep, and if I can do the same tonight I might feel I have enough energy for a morning walk (before the thunderstorms start in the afternoon !).
Thursday 5th May 2011
 07:53 BST

 On the whole, the weather yesterday was not too bad. After the very cold start it warmed up to 16 or 17 C, and the sun shone down for most of the day. Sometime in the evening, probably after dark, the clouds bubbled up, and in the early hours of the morning there was some rain. I was not aware of this until I left home to come to work. The rain could have fallen at any time, but the dampness, and a few very tiny puddles, practically just wet areas, seemed like happened fairly recently (maybe 4am perhaps).

 I recorded a temperature of just over 9 C when I first woke up, and that was considerably better than yesterday. It was enough that it didn't seem particularly chilly as I made my way to work. It is still very cloudy, and I think I may have detected a rain drop or two as I made my way to work. I think the cloud is due to break up, and there may be signs of that already, and if it does it could get warm this afternoon with temperatures around 18 C.

 Yesterday I noticed that a dog rose bush was in full bloom in the park behind work.
Dog rose bloom with fly
 I took a couple of pictures of this flower because the breeze kept blowing it around, and I wasn't sure which picture would be in the best focus. Just after I took this picture, and after I had turned off the camera, I noticed a fly or bee alight in the flower (I had my glasses off to use the camera, and I couldn't be sure what it was). What I didn't realise was that I had already captured a picture of a fly in the flower. The image gets a bit grainy when blown up too much, but here is a little more detail from the fly with the big red eyes ! Sitting on a flower, instead of worse possibilities, it almost, but fails to look cute.
Red eyed fly in dog rose flower
 On my way home from work last night I stopped off at Tesco's to buy a few bits and pieces, and inevitably ended up buying more than that. I find it irritating that two alternative types of food are at opposite ends of Tesco in Catford, and I all too frequently get both in case one is unavailable. Yes, that does sound cryptic so I had better say that the two choices are sandwichs and hot chicken. Of course both are really the sort of food I should avoid, but last night I bought, and ate, both.

 For once I don't think I can blame Tesco too much for having these counters at opposite ends of the store. Unlike some things which keep getting changed around in the mistaken belief that forcing you to explore will make you buy more instead of just getting pissed off and buying less (which I often do on principal, but sometimes because I can't find what I need) the sandwich counter and the hot chicken counter never change positions. For once they are in rational parts of the store instead of being almost mobile in some sort of psychological war to ambush people into spending more. With all the facts and figures Tesco mine from Clubcard data I guess they know what they are doing, and it must work on most people, but some of us just get alienated and do more and more of our shopping in Aldi and Lidl. Treat us as friends instead of enemies Tesco, and maybe we will come back for more !

 The ultimate outcome of my visit to Tesco was that I ate too much, and too much of that was stuff that I should ideally avoid, but it also included a lot of stuff that is good, like fibre containing stuff. I woke up at 4am ready to burst and had to dash to the toilet (and I am not talking about going for a wee). Having started so early I was able to bring things under control before leaving for work. Had it happened later there is always a possibility that I would have been reluctant to leave home, and gone sick for the day.

 Happily everything was under control and I had a stress free journey into work. There still is a certain "feel" about my gut that I cannot define, but the rest of me feels to be in normal working order. I think after losing an hours sleep, by waking up at 4am, I am going to start feeling tired later in the day, but it's OK for now. I can imagine that I am going to be in bed rather early tonight.
Wednesday 4th May 2011
 08:38 BST

 I felt comfortable going home with my coat off, and sleeves rolled up, last night, but at little more than 14 - 15 C it could hardly be described as warm. As far as I can recall it was bright and sunny all day yesterday, but the wind is blowing in cold air from somewhere. With the day hardly warm, and the sky practically clear all night, this morning there was a frost ! Yes, autumn is here already, and snow can't be far behind :-) There is less wind today, and so the temperature could rise as high as 18 C - if we are very lucky. Despite that blip it is still downhill from here. Doom, gloom, and rain are still forecast for the weekend.

 Yesterday lunchtime I was out and about with my camera and camcorder. I found a couple of interesting things to photograph.
Oxalis Vulcanicola
 This badly taken photo shows a plant growing in a crack between a wall and the concrete surface right outside the back door here at work. It's leaves look like clover, but many of them are a dull red colour (although they seem to be turning greener as time passes), and unlike clover it has yellow flowers. As far as I can tell it is called Oxalis Vulcanicola, and is part of the sorrel group of plants.

Wagtail and dragonfly
I shot the video above from the footbridge that crosses the River Wandle at the nearest entrance to King George park here in Earlsfield. It wasn't until I played the video back on a PC screen that I realised what the wagtail was doing. In the small viewfinder of my camcorder I had enough trouble trying to keep the bird in the picture while the sun glared off the viewfinder itself without trying to see just what the bird was doing. On the PC screen it was obvious that the wagtail had caught a dragonfly.

 This morning provided a few photo opportunities when my train from Waterloo to Earlsfield was delayed. There had been a person hit by a train at Clapham Junction, and all sorts of mayhem ensued. I was actually very lucky because I think I was on one of the first trains to run to Earlsfield this morning, and I was only delayed by 10, maybe 15, minutes. Many other people were not so lucky.

 To get my train to Earlsfield the signallers had to divert it on to the "fast lines". Once on that line there is no way back to the slow lines until sometime after Earlsfield, and probably closer to Wimbledon. Fortunately for me (and many others too) platform 1 at Earlsfield is still in use for emergency situations like this. At any other time it is, in effect, disused. A month or two ago I managed to photograph a train stationary at platform 1 when there were some other delays on the network, but it didn't actually open it's doors and call there. So it was a minor thrill to me to actually alight from a train onto platform 1.
the 07:21 to Epsom
 I managed to take this photo as soon as I got off the train. The third line down on the display was scrolling something like - Due to police activity on the line in the Clapham Junction area delays are occuring (or something like that). Looking at the times displayed it would seem that I was 20 minutes late rather than the 10 or 15 minutes that I earlier suggested.
platform 1 at Earlsfield
 By the time I had taken the picture of the information screen the train was ready to leave. I just managed to snap the picture above as the doors were closing. The little yellow indicator seen on the side of the train shows that the door is still open, and the guard (in the blue shirt - centre of picture) is just about to get back into his compartment. What the picture doesn't show is any indictation that this is indeed platform 1 - you'll just have to take my word for it !

 Tonight, assuming I am not marooned by more railway incidents, I think I will be doing something I started last night. I was having a play with a Linux command line application called ntfsundelete. It is a very powerful tool for recovering deleted files from hard drives used in Windows machines. I tried it on an old hard drive from a machine that came out of a skip, and recovered over 100 mp3 files. In practical terms that is not that wonderful because virtually all those mp3 files were of songs (if you can call them songs) that induce severe nausea if listened to. Even if the result was not worth the effort put into it, it was still interesting from an acedemic point of view.
Tuesday 3rd May 2011
 08:00 BST

  The weather recently has been complicated. Yesterday it did feel very pleasantly warm when in direct sunlight, but there was an occasion where I was in the shadows with quite a strong breeze blowing. At that point it felt really chilly outside. I fear today will be similar. The day started off very cool indeed. I woke up half an hour early this morning at 4.30am. It was 6.6 C then, and still going down. Half an hour later it was 6.5 C. The sun had risen by then, and it started to pour some heat into the world (or Catford - same difference really). By 5.30am the temperature was showing as 6.7 C, and if the sun stays out the temperature should continue to rise to a still rather disappointing 16 - 17 C.

 This morning I don't know if I feel good because I should feel a lot worse, or if I do genuinely feel quite good. After a few days of slouching around the house I finally went out yesterday afternoon. It was only to the pub, and not some healthy walk or anything, but it was really rather enjoyable. That's really rather an understatement, and it would be more correct to say I had a fantastic time. After some preliminary beers it involved quite a lot of this...
Fireball whiskey
It is, as the label bodly suggests, a whisky brewed with cinnamon. It originates in America, and so naturally it has a lot of sugar in it. That makes it more a liquer than just a whisky. I was first introduced to it a week ago by Jodie. She thought it to be disgusting, but I loved it, and I was not the only one. Both Iain and Kevin pronounced it to be so good as to be addictive.

 After all three of us bought rounds of doubles it was time to bid farewell to the pub and stagger up the road. Both Kevin and Iain were convinced I was going to go to the fried chicken shop to get some dinner to take home. They were both wrong ! In my drunken state I decided to try another takeaway from the African restaurant almost next door to the fried chicken shop. On another drunken day, perhaps a year or two ago, I tried some stuff from there, and it was sort of nice - in a way.

 The food I bought there yesterday seemed a bit more tasty, although the chicken, rice and dodo (plantain - I think) was, like the previous time, rather thin on chicken. The other dish was almost the same but had some sort of fish in it. Now that was very tasty, and if I ever go back there (perhaps after another major binge drink) I will definitely have more of that.

 It is entirely possible that I am still slightly drunk, and the full force of the hangover has not hit me yet, but after from a little volatility of the gut I do seem to be feeling in good shape this morning. Perhaps I really did need a proper rest, and having rested for most of the four day long bank holiday weekend, I am now firing on all cylinders again. Even the very worst part of the day, the walk from home to the station, seemed to be unusually easy. There are times, before I have really warmed up, and I am cold and stiff, when that walk can seem like hell.

 It is bizzare how that first walk to the station, even on non work days, can feel so hard to do. I swear that the five mile walk, up and down hill, across the wild countryside, that I did the previous weekend was far, far easier than the walk to the station that started the day out. Maybe it's all in the mind, or maybe it is just a matter of raising enough steam, but I know if anything is going to kill me it is going to be walking from home to the station in the morning !
Monday 2nd May 2011
 11:22 BST

  The problem with yesterday, and some of the preceeding days, is that while it has been bright and sunny, it has also been fairly cool. Much of the cooling effect is from the wind, and today the wind seems stronger. Even this late in the day, and with plenty of sunshine and a bright blue sky, the temperature is only 14 C. It is entirely possible that it will only go up another degree or two by the end of the afternoon.

 I seemed to spend a lot of yesterday on the internet. From the amount of stuff appearing on the social networking sites it seems that I was not the only one. It was not only reading I did, but writing too. This is what I wrote on another site :-
I was inspired by some pictures (thanks Ruby) to consider just how hard it might be to get to The Lake District. In at least one respect it is easier than I thought, but one respect is not the whole story, and easier is only a microscopic subset of easy.

As a yard stick I considered Margate. To get there means crossing the whole of Kent, and a smidgen of greater London (a little over 50 miles). Using a Network Card the walk on fare is an almost reasonable 17.70 for a return ticket. The journey takes a little over a mind (and bottom) numbing 2 hours from Catford. Choose the right time to travel and you are almost guaranteed a double, almost comfortable, seat all to yourself, but even that luxury takes me near my endurance limit.

Now to compare that journey with a journey to Penrith (North Lakes) station - about a 17 mile hike from the place in the picture (I think).

It is easier than I thought only on the basis that Penrith is on the other side of the world from my tiny perspective, and yet the entire journey only takes double that of the journey to Margate. Google says the distance is approximately 300 miles, and Network Rail says I can travel that distance in about four and a half hours (or less at certain times of the day). What's more, I believe might be the walk on fare, off peak, is just over 90.

However, here come the downsides. It is possible that to get that fare it may have to be booked 75 years in advance, and is not the walk on fare that I would hope for. The fare does include crossing London though.

From Euston the train is run by Virgin Trains, and if the rumours are to be believed their trains have very small, very cramped seats, with no leg room, and the train will be packed like a rush hour train.

At the very best I would be stuck on that train with deep vein thrombosis developing in my legs, buttocks, arms, and possibly elsewhere too rude to mention, for a lifetime. Meanwhile my nicotine withdrawal symptoms will become screaming agonies unless I was to plaster myself from head to foot with nicotine patches, and administer a general anaesthetic to keep me under while time passes.

Somehow it doesn't look like I will be visiting the Lake District until instantaneous teleportation booths become more popular. Shame really, because it does look rather beautiful round there.
I also read another hundred or so pages of the sci fi novel I started the day before. Add in a little time for TV, cooking and eating, and that just about accounts for the whole day.

 So far today I have washed, shaved, shampooed, dressed, and received three phone calls that all went on for rather longer than necessary (such is the life of someone who knows just a little bit too much about computers). What happens for the rest of today is still a bit of a mystery.

 One thing I might do, although as I learn more about I feel less and less sure, is to accompany Jodie to The Rochester Sweeps Festival parade. Apart from it not sounding very entertaining, there is the problem that it means a rather late start. Jodie is planning to get a train from Bromley South to Rochester at 1.45 pm (if I remember correctly). On days when I go out I am often thinking of returning home by then (usually having started out a lot earlier in the day). The way time seems to be slipping by at the moment, it may be that 1.45pm is not so late after all. If I do go I will have to leave in little over an hour, and having not made the effort to get ready a lot earlier, I wonder if I will have everything I need to do done by then !

 If I don't go to Rochester (and if I hear that Jodie is meeting one of her friends there it will be a definite no) I rather fancy a few beers in a local pub. I'll probably send a few text messages out and see if anyone is available. Failing that, I will continue to read my book - and that would be a good thing because I am getting to the exciting part now :-)
Sunday 1st May 2011
 09:39 BST

  As far as I can recal the sky stayed hazy all day yesterday, but it was still bright with sunshine. I think it was warmer than the day before as well. This morning has started very bright too, and once again the sky is more a milky colour instead of blue. As I write this the outside temperature is 14.5 C. If it doesn't cloud over it could potentially get fairly warm today. The BBC is less enthusiastic with their suggestion that the top temperature for today will only be 17 C. They do say it will be sunny though.

 I had a most lazy day yesterday. The truth is that I never really got up. For the purposes of this narrative I'll describe "getting up" as having a shower and putting on fresh clothes. I just slouched around all day unwashed, and unshaved, wearing the same t-shirt I had worn the previous night, and lounge pants. It was rather gloriously hedonistic (or something).
 The day seemed to pass by quite quickly as I did some reading, listened to some old BBC radio plays. I guess they took up a large portion of the day with the gaps filled in by doing a microscopic amount of housework (emptying rubbish bins), some cooking/food preparation, eating, and maybe an hour of TV.

 Today I feel like I ought to do something more positive. I have at least made a start by showering and shaving. So I can at least face my public without fear of embarrasment. When I have finished writing here I may investigate some possible destinations for a bit of walking. I have a curious interest in visiting another farm shop, or somewhere selling fresh produce (fish, possibly). If I do I will have to be careful not to come away with something like the lavendar fudge I bought at The Hop Shop last weekend. It was very nice. Too nice in fact, and impossible to eat in moderation.

 It is still tempting to be as lazy as yesterday. I started a long book yesterday, and even now it is beckoning me to read another hundred pages or more. The book is "The Mote In God's Eye" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. I originally read it 10 or more years ago. The inspiration to read it again was because I saw it in a list of books that could make good films, and realised that I couldn't remember a thing about the story. Having now made a good start at re-reading it some of the plot is coming back to me, but there is still so much missing that it won't spoil reading it again.

 Of course what I ought to do today is, at the very least, hoover the living room carpet, and in particular the mat in front of the settee. That catches the crumbs while I eat while watching TV, and it does seem to have a noticeable crumb collection right now.

 The one thing that could change the whole course of the day is that I want to get some stuff from the 99p shop today. There are a few things that I want in particular, but you never know what you will find when going round that shop. It is entirely possible that something I find in there will distract me to the point of changing the whole day.