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My Diary/Blog For the Month of November 2011

Wednesday 30th November 2011
08:08 GMT

  The rain that should only have fell around midday yesterday, fell for most of the afternoon. It probably stopped at around 6pm, the time it was supposed to start again ! Fortunately the rain was often no more than a light drizzle, but there were a few times when it became a little heavier, and a few times when it stopped completely. All the cloud probably made yesterday a tiny bit less cold than it could have been, but the wind felt very chilly. Today has started off with a lot of clear sky, and once the sun gets higher in the sky there should be some sunshine - except that is what the forecast wants us to believe. By midday, when the sun is scheduled to shine, we will probably have a blizzard, or tropical storm.....or something.

 Smudge was in a funny mood yesterday evening, and this morning too. For the first time in ages she decided that she might go out. It was drizzling at the time, but she still went out, and showed that she could still climb to the top of the 6ft high fence with complete ease. Having had a look round for a minute she decided that maybe going out in the rain was not such a good idea. Using all her cats skills she not so much leapt down, but seemed to almost float down onto the adjacent window sill. It's a jump of something like 4ft, and her landing was so soft it might as well have been on to a soft mattress.

 I opened the window for her to come in, and of course she decided to be awkward and sit half in and half out so I couldn't close the window on the cold draughty air outside. After a while she decided to re-inspect the food I had put down for her. A few sniffs and she declared it to be rubbish, unfit for cat consumption ! It was the same food that she declared to be the best in the universe all last week, and I made a point of buying almost all the stock they had in Aldi. Now she has changed her mind, and wants something else. She didn't eat it last night, and she has turned her nose up a fresh plate of it this morning. This morning she followed me everywhere in case I had some mystery wonder food for her, but no, she'll have to make do with what I left her with this morning.

 Maybe I'll find something to tempt the poor cat's jaded pallet tonight. Last night I made a vegetable stew because I didn't want beef stew for a second consecutive day. It was fairly nice, but not wonderful. Tonight I could have the diced stewing beef that that I could have had last night, or I could go for something completely different. I think I do fancy something different, and because I'll soon be needing another bag of cat litter, I have the perfect excuse to go in Tesco on the way home and indulge in my fantasies, and my best guess as to what Smudge's food fantasies may be (which will probably be tragically wrong !).
Tuesday 29th November 2011
07:47 GMT

  In theory there could have been some sunshine yesterday. For most of the day, and then into the early evening there were gaps to be seen in the clouds, but wherever I was, none lined up correctly to let the sun shine through - even for a few seconds. this morning the clouds are scudding across the sky, and maybe the sun will find a small gap to shine through today. There isn't forecast to be any sun today, but then again there wasn't supposed to be any rain this morning either !
the weather forecast for Catford 29th Nov 2011
 According to the BBC's interpretation of the weather forecast there should just be light cloud this morning. That "light cloud" seemed to make the roads awfully wet before I left to come to work, and drizzled on me a few times as I made my way here. The one thing that is right on the screenshot is the temperature. I think my thermometer read just a little over 12 C in complete agreeance with the forecast.

 The only thing worth writing about last night was my dinner. I had high hopes for my beef and potato, etc, stew, but I was slightly disappointed. There was nothing actually wrong with it. The meat turned out to be almost melt-in-the-mouth tender, and the seasoning was OK. I think the biggest trouble was that I was expecting it to be super wonderful, and it was only very good. Such are the tragedies of this thing we call life.

 For reasons that seem obscure, I woke up slightly wet and sweaty this morning. If I was just recovering from a cold or illness I would take this as a good sign, but I don't know what to make of it this morning. I am sure my bedroom was no warmer than usual overnight. I used the heater less last night so it could even have been slightly cooler than recently despite the outsde temperature being high compared the the last few days.

 I did feel a bit odd as I made my way to work, but apart from a mild mix of something like stomach pain and lower back pain, I can't put my finger on exactly why I felt odd. A few times I felt distracted by nothing in particular. It was something akin to feeling lightheaded, but with no dizziness or nausea, or anything remotely like them. Perhaps I could describe it like I had put my body on automatic while my brain was occupied with something else. It is probably lucky that the universe didn't end because I think what I was suffering from was a recursive paradox. Some curious glitch in the space-time continuum sent a signal back from the future to my brain saying it would soon be thinking about the problem of the problem of thinking about itself in the future present. In other words I was pre-occupied by thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why I was pre-occupied in thinking about why and so on !! Had I not had to stop to touch my Oyster card to the reader on the barriers at Waterloo, it is possible that such recursive thought processes could have compressed thought matter to the point where it would spontaneously fuse in a glorious explosion of thought radiation that would forever change the universe in a more glorious way. So, you can blame Oyster cards for life going on pretty much as usual today.
Monday 28th November 2011
08:25 GMT

  The wind kept changing the weather yesterday, but during the afternoon the speed of the changes slowed, and the final change was to clear sky.
crescent moon in a clear late November sky
 I took the above picture sometime after sunset. There is still some glow of daylight on the western horizon, and a thin crescent moon hangs in the sky (not that it looks like a thin crescent in this mobile phone photo, but trust me it was !).

 That clear sky meant that this morning the temperature was down at 2.7 C on my outside thermometer. That is about 4 metres off the ground. At ground level, and particularly at car roof height, it was cold enough for a good frost. The sky is not so clear now, but there are still plenty of gaps between the clouds to let some sunshine through.
sunrise over Earlsfield cemetary 28/11/2011
 I took the above picture from the top of the footbridge at Earlsfield station. Below lays Earlsfield cemetary, while off in the distance the sun has just risen high enough to just peep over the tops of the distant houses. There should be some sporadic sunshine today, but it is going to be a chilly day with temperatures struggling to get into double figures.

 I had another play with the video I shot at Chain's gig at Petts Wood yesterday, and I really don't think I can do much with it. If only there had been a bit of light at the front of the stage I could have pulled some faces out of the gloom. If could boost the brightness to the point where everything looks ridiculously wishy washy, and other artifacts appear, but that would be stupid. The best I could manage in reality would be to raise the brightness and contrast to make the band look very slightly less than silhouettes, but no more. I might still try and stitch something together for one song, but like I wrote yesterday, I have no real enthusiasm for it.

 More successful was some scanning, and then photo editing of some more old photos from my collection. I'm not sure if there are any I did yesterday that are relevant to here, but a few are good for "blackmail". No, I lie. None of them are really blackmail material, but one of them was worth a laugh when I showed (by email) the two people in the photograph. One man appears to have his hand on the others knee. It may have been larking around, or it may just have been a split second in time caught by the camera. Who can remember after all these years (the photo probably dates back to about 1990 or earlier).
hand on knee
 I know I have only been at work for a short while this morning, but already I am looking forward to going home again. One of the things I did last night was to cook up a stew for tonight. This one is beef stew with new potatoes, carrots, shallots, mushrooms, and when I've added them tonight, mange tout. I think it is going to be a good one, and I can't wait to tuck into it tonight. One of the added advantages of cooking these stews the night before is that the meat appears to continue to tenderise as the pots cools off after the intial cooking, and may even continue overnight and through the day. I am using some the cheapest diced beef I can buy, and it always seems to come out very tender in these stews I've been making the last week or two.
Sunday 27th November 2011
11:38 GMT

  The sunny periods of yesterday morning did not repeat themselves in the afternoon. It stayed rather dull, and a bit cool, though not as cool as the same day last year when it was barely above zero. This morning started off at 12.7 C and after one light shower and a quite a bit of sunshine, it has now dropped to 12.6 C. The sun continues to shine as I write, and there is a lot of blue sky, but the wind is moving the clouds really quickly. Anything could happen for the rest of the day except the temperature rising to any noticeable extent.

 Yesterday afternoon/evening was rather good except for one small detail. It was the ceremony, and all the hoopla surrounding the turning on of the Petts Wood Xmas lights. I went along to see Chain playing their two sets in the carpark of the Daylight Inn. I took some reasonable photographs, and some video footage. It was the video that was a disappointment.

 I took along my two mini camcorders - the JVC I have had for a couple of months now, and the new Sony that I bought during the week specially for yesterday. Both camcorders struggled with the poorly light. The back of the stage was fairly well lit, but there was no lighting at all for the front of the stage. The new Sony camcorder did the best job. It managed to keep focus, and I think that there is room to brighten things up a bit without making the video look too bad. The JVC had real difficulties - particularly with focus. Neither camera has manual focus, and the low light levels the depth of field would have been attrocious anyway. One other good thing about the Sony, and it was the reason I hoped for when I bought it, is that the video files it records have the correct meta information to tell VLC player (for example) that it is a 16:9 wide screen view. While the video may ultimately be unusable, my Canon still camera did a good job as usual.
Jo with red fairly lights on her mic stand
 I didn't know if Chain had any, or if they wanted to use any, but I took along some cheap 99p shop battery operated LED fairy lights to put on the mic stands (or anywhere they wanted them). My offer was snapped up with no hesitation, and I think it gave a sort extra xmassy feel to the gig.
Jo Corteen with hat on
 Sometimes Jo wore a hat, and sometimes she didn't. Usually it is a prop she puts on when they cover Guns 'N Roses "Sweet Child O' Mine", but on this occasion it was to provide a little extra warmth,
Chain on stage at Petts Wood
 You can see just how dark the front of the stage was in the photo above, and see all my fairly lights glowing. I've donated the fairly light to Chain to add to their kit, and maybe they'll be used again closer to Xmas (or even the next gig at The Crown in Greenwich next Friday night).
Chris Meyer wrapped against the cold on stage
 Chris Meyer was wrapped up well against the cold in his famous Victorian style horseman coat.
Steve Cox of Chain wears a beenie hat
 Steve Cox only needed a beenie hat to stay warm.
Matt Sharp playing the drums for Chain
 Meanwhile, Matt Sharp was playing the hard man by only wearing a t-shirt while drumming.
Jo Corteen with what looks like a manical grin
 Jo wide eyed with a grin like a maniac - but it was only how the camera found her in the split second that the picture too to take.
Chris Meyer in action at Petts Wood
 I'm not sure what time the gig actually finished, but I think I was home again by about 8pm. On the way home I treated myself to some fried chicken and chips, and there was sufficient left over for a light lunch that I will be having soon. As I ate I watched some TV, and then I turned on the PC to check the pictures I had taken. I was certain that I would have a few good still pictures, which I did, but I was more interested in how the videos looked. As I have said, I was quite disappointed with the results, but happy that the Sony video files played correctly in VLC player.

 I didn't mean to spend that much time at the PC because I was feeling very tired, but I must have spent a fair time because I am sure it was 11pm when I turned out the light after getting in bed. It took almost no time at all before I was fast asleep, and I slept solidly through to 5am, or even later. I don't think I even got up for a pee in the night. I know I was certainly busting for one when I woke at around 5am. The only thing I do remember about the night was I had a dream that was not just erotic, but positively blue ! It was rather pleasing. Such dreams come so rarely that I am sure the last one of that intensity was probably 20 years ago or more.

 Today I think I will be mostly lazy. I have popped out to the 99p shop for a few odds and ends this morning, but that is probably the most energetic thing I'll be doing today. If my creative juices start to flow I may have a play with the video I took yesterday, but overall it is so underwhelming that I feel no urgency at the moment.
Saturday 26th November 2011
12:59 GMT

  Yesterday was bright, but there was a really chilly wind blowing. When I was coming home from work the sky seemed so clear that some time after sunset there was still a bright glow on the western horizon. Sometime after that more cloud came over and might have brought a bit of rain in the night, but mostly it kept the temperature up enough to stop any frost. This morning saw some sunny intervals, but it seems cloudier now. At the moment it is 12.7 C outside, and that is probably about as high as it is going to get.

 I really wanted an early night last night, but I opted to re-install Debian Linux on my spare laptop. This time I did the installation with a network cable plugged in, and the installation went correctly. It also took far longer ! There were 1427 new or updated files it downloaded from what must have been a very slow server. At 11pm, or thereabouts, I left it to it, and it finished downloading all those files at about 7 o'clock this morning ! Everything now works as it should, but it feels very slow and sluggish. As much as I would like Linux on it, I am seriously wondering if it might be better if I installed Windows 2000 on it.

 I could have done some experimenting on the laptop today, but I have had a distraction. One of my friends has sent me some scans of photographs taken in, or around, 1984. One interesting thing about those photos is it shows my gut to be bigger than it is now. It is sort of exciting to know that in the last 27 years I seems to have lost a bit of weight !
tie die t-shirt in 1984
 The photo was taken during a party, or gathering, at my friend Lee's ex-girlfriends house. The date of 1984 is very approximate, and it could have been a year or two later. The tie die t-shirt was homemade. Many pints of beer must have gone into that gut !
another view of my gut and tie die
 Now was I taking a nap or having a heart attack in this picture ?
phone call
  I can definitely date this picture to after November 1983 when I moved into this house. At the time I moved in I was still managing to keep off a lot of weight I had lost a few years earlier. From the size of my gut I guess it was taken a year or two after I had my very own kitchen to experiment in :-)
me in black and white
 I can't think why I had that silly moustache. Maybe my razor was faulty. The Casio digital watch I am wearing dates the picture to after I was working in Beckenham telephone exchange. That dates the picture to earlier than 1992.
Marion Treby
 Once upon a time I had what could loosely be described as a girlfriend by the name of Marion Treby. I wonder what ever happened to her ?

 That's probably enough pictures for the moment. I believe I will shortly be receiving some more, but now I have to get ready to go out and see Chain play at Petts Wood for the occasion of the turning on of the Petts Wood Xmas lights. Last year was fun, but it was also bitterly cold with the temperature hovering just a few degrees above zero, and a few tiny flakes of snow fell (about 6 of them if I counted correctly). This year it will be a tiny bit warmer, but still rather chilly around the ears. Hopefully I'll get an interesting video or two out of it - like I did last year.
Friday 25th November 2011
07:32 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was OK. It's hard to describe it any better than that. It wasn't that cold, and it wasn't that dull. During last night there was some light rain, and there was some sporadic light rain as I came to work this morning. All the cloud seems to have kept in what little warmth we have. It seems hard to believe, but my outside thermometer said it was 12.7 C at just gone 5 am this morning. The top temperature for today is, as far as I can remember, only forecast to be 13 C. So the sun, that is forecast to come out for a couple of hours in the early afternoon, is going to have to do very little work to raise the temperature by just 0.3 C.

 This morning either I have a lot more energy than I thought I had, or everyone is walking very slowly today. I didn't feel like rushing around on my way to work, I actually felt like I wanted to go back to bed, but I seemed to be walking so fast that I was getting mildly annoyed with the amount of slowcoaches in my way.  Yesterday morning's little problem is but a mere memory, and the toilet paper manufacturers will have to stop rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of all the extra income that they might have got.

 Apart from buying some stuff in Tesco, and doing some laundry, I was very lazy until late afternoon going on into the evening. I had this idea that I would try to install Debian Linux on an old laptop. The thing is with Debian is that it is very old school Linux, and doesn't come with a friendly, hand holding, installer - well it does, but it doesn't work with 10 year old Dell laptops. The theory is that you can configure Debian to work on almost anything, and I almost did - but not quite.

 Another theory is that having got a working desktop, albeit at the wrong screen resolution, I had 99% of a working system, but there was a tricky little problem. When I did the base installation I didn't have a network connection, and unbeknown to me a lot of stuff was omitted. The most important of which was the software to install more software. With patience I could download everything needed, and install the software to download and install more software. I was attempting to do that when I realised it was two hours past my bedtime, and decided it would be easier and quicker to start installation from scratch - with a network connection !! - tonight (or tomorrow).

 It may well be that I'll amuse myself installing Debian Linux from scratch tonight, or I may do something else. One "something else" would be to try and install Fedora Linux instead. Another "something else", and one that may be more likely, is to vegetate in front of the TV before getting to bed unfashionably early - say 8pm !
Thursday 24th November 2011
09:13 GMT

  The main thing about yesterday was that it was very slightly less cold than the day before. There was a little watery sunshine once the mist and fog had lifted, but it was nothing very exciting. At 8 am it was 9 C this morning, and I either missed any mist, or it was fairly clear. Now there is some hazy cloud in the sky with a few blue patches showing through, and occasionally a bit of sunshine. It is never going to get warm today, but there is a chance of more weak sunshine.

 On my way to work yesterday I took a picture on my mobile phone camera that turned out rather well. It was quite good as it was, but some gentle touching up last night made it even better (in my humble opinion).
train speeding through Catford Bridge on a misty morning
 I took the picture at about 05:55, and it shows one of the empty trains speeding through Catford Bridge station towards Hayes (Kent) where it will form one of the services to London. I thought it looked a bit better when I added some sparkle to the lights to emphasise the mist. This morning I wonder if I overdid it a bit.

 My dinner last night was exceptionally nice - though it did come at a price. It was a pork stew with carrots thickened by adding a can of processed peas and overcooking it. Inadventenly I overcooked it to extreme. I hadn't realised just how thick it had become, and when I went to serve it up it was just starting to burn in the bottom of the pan. I caught it just in time before it burnt too badly, but the saucepan is still going to take a bit of scrubbing.

 It was so nice that I possibly ate rather too much of it. If I had thinned it down I might have squeezed one and a half dinners out of it. Some added vegetable would have topped up the spare half into a full dinner for today. Now whether it was because it was so rich, and I ate so much, or if it was something else entirely, but this morning I made an executive decision that it was more prudent to stay in a house with a toilet than to go on a train without.

 For a while I did feel quite uncomfortable, but the worst had passed before it was ultimately too late to go into work a bit late. At the moment there is no panic for stuff at work, and I still have several days holiday to take before xmas. So I opted to call in sick, but to take the time off as holiday. I still have a few twinges left over from earlier so I won't be doing anything away from home for a few more hours, but later on I will go out and get the shopping that I intended to get after work.

 Maybe I'll do two shopping trips. There are a few things that I have to get from Tesco, but there are also things that it would be more economic to buy from Aldi. From Tesco I need some black diamond and lotus flower fabric conditioner. There is no equivalent to that from Aldi. Then from Aldi I need some catfood. Smudge has already told me off for suggesting that she ought to eat (alleged) tuna flavour Whiskas Supermeat. I don't know what addictive substance they put in Aldi's catfood, but Smudge almost refuses to eat anything else (unless she is really starving).
Wednesday 23rd November 2011
07:28 GMT

  It would be unfair to say there was no sunshine yesterday. There was some. It was weak and watery, and lasted for all of five minutes, but it was definitely sunshine. The rest of the day was overcast, but it didn't feel quite as cool as the day before. The temperature fell to 5.4 C this morning. When I first woke up at 4:45 it seemed clear outside, but by the time I left to get my train a good mist, or maybe light fog, fell. It is still foggy now, and will probably continue for a couple more hours. When it finally lifts we could get some sunny intervals, and the temperature may eventually creak up to 13 C. After that it is downhill again, and I think the forecast is for a thick frost tomorrow morning.

 I have mixed feeling about how I feel this morning. I managed a fairly good nights sleep last night. For the second night running there were no more scratching noises in the night. I am starting to think that what I heard in the early hours of Monday morning was not from under my bedroom floorboards by the window, but was something on the outside of the house. Last night it seemed that Smudge also thought that something interesting was going on outside. I never let her out the front of the house to keep her away from the road, but when I got home from work last night she made a special effort to rush past me into the front garden. She wouldn't come in again until she had made a good inspection of the garden from the front door step.

 Although I was asleep in reasonable time, and only woke up once for a brief visit to the toilet, I still feel like a bit more sleep would have been nice. Part of my brain obviously thinks otherwise, and woke me up 15 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I awoke feeling like I had a bit of hangover - though I hadn't drunk any booze last night. Most of that wore off before I left to come to work, and now I feel OK but not OK. Some undefined thing is making me feel like it would be nice to be able to relax in the warm right now, and it is something more powerful than just the feeling that I would rather be lazy rather than go to work. I suspect that the only cure would be to drink gallons of beer while sitting in a nice pub beer garden on a hot summers day - something not that easy to arrange on a foggy winters morning.

 One of the worst things about today is that it is not Friday. I spent so many hours yesterday thinking it felt like a Thursday instead of a Tuesday, that part of me deperately wants to believe that today is Friday. A lot of my eagerness for it to be Friday is that on Saturday I have things to do. It is the day that Petts Wood officially lights up their town xmas lights, and Chain will be playing two sets there. This will be an excellent opportunity to test out my new camcorder.

 I am in two minds about getting some shopping on the way home from work tonight. I don't need any food for tonight. Tonights dinner is prepared and cooked ready to be heated up when I get home tonight (though I may add some more seasonings to it while it simmers for 10 minutes). If I go shopping tonight I can get some stuff to make tomorrow nights dinner. I'll probably buy some junk stuff as well, but with a meal waiting for me I probably wouldn't eat much of that junk tonight. On the other hand if I wait until tomorrow night then I may be tempted to eat a pile of crap instead of making a dinner that has a vague resemblance to a very slightly healthy meal.

 Last night I had a really wonderful beef and mushroom stew. The secret to it was not to put in any carrots (!) and to put in butter beans instead. Unfortunately I can't extend my holiday from carrots any longer. I have only got through about half the monster sized bag of carrots I bought last whenever it was. There are hints that they may not last much longer. So tonights dinner has loads of carrots in it alongside some pork and other stuff.

 With all this talk of meals that have some positive attributes to health, the big question is are they doing me any good. I think it is possible they are. In the gloomy depths of winter I could, and often have eaten far worse things that have had a detrimental impact on how I feel (and my waistline). At the moment I think I am at least holding things in a stable situation, and in moments of insanity I sometimes think I am making some improvements. If my trouser belt is no looser it is certainly no tighter !
Tuesday 22nd November 2011
08:03 GMT

  We are definitely in the thick of autumn now, and winter will be here in almost a blink of an eyelid. Most of yesterday was dull and gloomy, and also rather cool. This morning the temperature was 10 C, and that was only a degree or two lower than the best we had yesterday. I think there may have been some rain overnight, but maybe all the damp I can see is just condensation on this dank and misty morning. having said that, it does look like it keeps on trying to rain. I am sure I saw a few spots land on the train window as I made my way to work, and some spots seem to have landed on my office window now. It doesn't seem like it is going to be a pleasant day.

 Last week I was going on about getting close to running out of toilet paper, and how I had bought some from Iceland. I forgot to mention it was on Sunday when the last of the old finally ran out, and I tried out the stuff I got from Iceland. It may be a reason to shop in Iceland more frequently than every 3 or 4 years. Their "Soft Petal" toilet paper, at just 1 for 4 rolls, turns out to be quite good - almost as good as my preferred stuff from Aldi at 1.85 for a 4 roll pack.

 That was good news for Sunday, but there is bad news about yesterday. I had trouble on the trains yesterday. There were some delays and cancellations in the morning, but they had little impact on my journey to work so I didn't mention it. Last night there were even more delays and cancellations, and they did have a huge impact on my journey home.  I am unsure what the morning problem was, but the evening problem was due to points failure just outside Waterloo station.

 I arrived at Earlsfield station a minute or two earlier than usual to find a lot of people on the platform. Checking the departure indicator I saw that the first couple of trains were cancelled, and the next after that was running late. I waited around 15 minutes before a train arrived (usually it is less than two minutes). The train travelled to Clapham Junction, the next station, at normal speed, but from there onwards we had to wait several minutes at each signal before getting the green to depart. That delay increased for the last couple of signals before Waterloo.

 I arrived at Waterloo around 40 minutes late. Not only had I missed my usual train from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge, but I missed the one after that as well. The first train I could get was the 17:02 nearly 90 minutes after I had originally left work. To rub salt into the wound it was only a 5 car train instead of a 10 car. It is possible that it is normally that long because much to my relief it wasn't horrendously overcrowded. I didn't count them, but it sort of seemed like more people got off at London Bridge, the first stop after Waterloo East, than got on. I still had to stand the whole way home, but at least there was room to breathe on the train.

 There was still more bad news yesterday. My Chinese workmate who I hoped may have got me some cheap batteries for my cameras and stuff while he was on a business trip to China, didn't have time to get any. There was only one battery in particular that I wanted, and that was for my little JVC camcorder. When I first bought it spare batteries were very expensive, but I checked again yesterday and there are now far cheaper ones available at last. So not getting a battery direct from China is less disappointing than I originally thought. Not only that, but I have a cunning plan - albeit a rather more expensive one.

 On reflection, I don't really like that JVC camcorder. One particular problem with it is when you use it in widescreen mode. Instead of having more pixels across the screen it just stretches the existing ones out. Superficially it looks good, but many PC applications assume that if there are 720 horizontal pixels it must be a 4:3 picture instead of 16:9, and of course everything looks the wrong shape. I am going to have to make sacrifices elsewhere, but to get around this problem I have ordered a new Sony camcorder. It was on special offer so those financial sacfrifices will be a tiny bit less severe, but it could turn out to be a costly mistake. Apart from descriptions like "high resolution" there is little information about the video it takes. The pictures of the unit show a widescreen picture in the cameras viewfinder. So I only assume it takes 16:9 pictures.

 It is quite possible that this bit of wild extravagance is just one stop on the road to ruin. It is all very well attempting to get modern with widescreen videos, but I still have a 4:3 TV, and at some point I will have to take the plunge and get a new TV. That will be irksome though. My current TV is an old school Sony that is still running well, and in theory it could still run well for a good few years yet. Inevitably it will go wrong, and while I was in the TV servicing trade I knew that I could patch it up with my eyes closed, but these days it would be near impossible to repair without the backup of a proper TV workshop. I now half hope it will go badly wrong and force me into buying a modern TV, and I half hope it will carry on working for another 10 years !
Monday 21st November 2011
07:39 GMT

  The temperature dropped very fast when the sun went down last night. Just before I went to sleep, or maybe it was I woke up around midnight for a pee, I noted that my thermometer was saying it was 5.4 C outside. Sometime in the early hours of this morning some slightly warmer air must have blown in from somewhere because the temperature rose again to 8.7 C just before I left to come to work. Not only was that air a bit warmer, but it must have been humid air. This morning everything is dripping with condensation. The temperature right now is most probably within a couple of degrees of the highest we are likely to see today, and that's not exactly warm ! To add to the misery some drizzle could easily fall out of the dull grey misty sky.

 It wasn't always like this. As recently as last Friday it was bright and cheerful, and I have finally prepared the pictures to prove it.
a young oak tree in it's autumn colours
 Behind the young oak tree displaying it's autumn colours the sky is bright blue with white fluffy clouds.

fungi growing from the bark of a tree
 I noticed these fungi growing from the bark on the side of a tree. They were nicely lit up by the bright sunshine.

view towards Wandsworth
Beyond where I normally walk there is more of King George park. It goes all the way from Earlsfield to almost the heart of Wandsworth. This is the view, towards Wandsworth,  across a field where footballists enact their sexual fetishs with each other.

 Preparing these three photos was one thing I did yesterday afternoon/evening. Another was to precook my dinner for tonight. With luck it will be a good one. It's a skinless chicken breast stew with (inevitably) carrots, potato (the last, and smallest, of my baking potatoes), leek and assorted mystery herbs and spices. (Mystery because I haven't added them yet, and will do so when I heat it up tonight). In theory it should be a reasonably healthy sort of meal, and probably a lot healthier than what I ate yesterday. In terms of quantity, I didn't eat all that much for a Sunday, but a too large proportion of what I did eat was just junk. Delicious satisfying junk, but still junk !

 There are a couple of reasons why I should feel a lot worse than I do now. In fact I feel whatever the next notch down to very good is, or at least one notch up from good. I expected yesterday's junk food to have some adverse effect, and a mostly lazy weekend usually causes me to sieze up, but this morning I feel relatively limber.

 There is one other reason why I will probably feel bad later, and that is lack of sleep. I went to bed in good time, and slept well until sometime around 3.30am. I was awoken by a scratching sound. At first I thought it was Smudge trying to attract my attention, but it wasn't her. As I listened more intently I became wider and wider awake. The noise seemed to becoming from near the window. I hoped that maybe it was a bird on the window ledge, but then I realised it was coming from under the floorboards. I can only conclude that there is one or more mice under my bedroom floor.

 The only reason that seems unlikely is that I cannot think of any way they could have got there. I know there are no air bricks or other vents to the outside world, and as far as I know all the wiring is embedded in the walls as it goes up from the ground floor.  Well if mice have managed to get up there I hope they can find their way out again, and I also hope Smudge catches them in the act.

  Aside from any physical damage the mice could do, they also did me some "damage". After the adrenaline rush of waking up in a fight or flight mode with all my senses buzzing to work out what the threat was, I found it impossible to get back to sleep again. So I only git six hours sleep last night. Once upon a time that was enough, but now I very much prefer to aim for eight hours if I can get it. I hope that tonight the pesky rodents can keep quiet, or doing whatever they were doing somewhere else in the house (preferably in sight of, and less than a claws length from Smudge - or even better still, outside).

Sunday 20th November 2011
16:26 GMT

  It is a pity that with so much sunshine it should stay so cool yesterday. From indoors, and in particular my bedroom where the sun was shining through the window all day, it looked like a summers day outside. By 4.25 am this morning the temperature had dropped to just 5.4 C. At sunrise the temperature had risen by a degree or two, but it became very misty. Now, just a little while after sunset, it is only 8 C, and it is still quite misty. Tomorrow may be a degree or two warmer, but it will be a very grey day with the possibility of drizzle and more mist.

 I did little of any significance yesterday afternoon, or in the evening. I was in bed, and fast asleep by 9 pm (I think). I didn't sleep all that well and woke up a few times during the night. Several times were just for a pee, but I have no idea why I should wake up at 4.25 am. I did actually get up then for 30 - 40 minutes, but went back to bed and slept for another hour or two. I can recall having lots of dreama, but can only remember disjointed fragments of a few of them. Apart from one that involved a mystery woman and some enthusiastic kissing, they all seemed to be set in some sort of hybrid place made up from elements of past places I have worked in.

 I do remember one particular bit of dream that was spectacular enough to be worth remembering. It was set in a workshop where HiFi units were being repaired. Someone turned on one faulty unit and smoke came out of it. A puff of white smoke would not be that rare from a faulty HiFi as some resistor or something burned up, but this was rather spectacular.  I can only liken it to the coloured smoke that The Red Arrows emit from their aircraft during a display. First dense white smoke came out. Then the colour changed to purple, then red, then green, and finally to blue. It was all rather pretty, and rather like some sort of psychodelic trip (if we are to believe the movies).

 All this does leave some unanswered questions. First and foremost who was the mystery woman, and why don't I know her in real life ? Secondly, why do so many of my dreams revolve around work ? Is my life so shallow, so unexciting, that being at work is the most exciting thing I do ? The answer to that, at least for the last few years, is probably yes.

 Today I seem to have done more than yesterday. For instance, this morning I actually did some hoovering !! My friend Aleemah came over this morning with a DVD for us to watch together, and I thought I had better make some sort of attempt to make the place look less of a tip than it really was. When I had finished there were parts that actually looked presentable. Behind the scenes was another matter entirely !

 It was cold when I went out to meet Aleemah at the station, and it seemed a good time to try out my new winter coat. It was ceratainly warm enough in it, but I am left wondering just what sort of shape person it was designed for. Around the body it was rather loose with plenty of room around the gut and around the chest, but it was annoyingly tight around the armpits. In a relaxed pose it was perfectly comfortable, but reaching out to anything was slightly difficult. I am left wondering if with more wear it will loosen up, or if I will end up splitting it in some way.

 There was one other thing about that new coat. It is slightly heavy, only slightly, but it was the straw that broke the camels back. Just after Aleemah left to go home I heard a thud from the hallway. At first I thought it was something heavy that had come through the letter box, but upon checking I found my rack (rack ?) of coathooks, and all my coats on the floor. So the other useful thing I have done today is to rehang that rack of coat hooks. This time I have used almost 3 inch screws instead of the silly little ones that came with it. I think I have some confidence that it will be up for a long while now.

 Apart from hanging up some washing once the washing machine has finished, I don't think I'll be doing anything else today. Instead I am looking forward to tomorrow when I go to work. With luck one of my workmates will have brought me back one or more spare batteries from his trip to China. There is a place in China that sells ridiculously cheap batteries - and they don't seem to explode like Chinese lithium Ion batteries are famous for. On his last trip he brought back a couple of spare batteries for my mobile phone. They were just 2 each, and they came with free chargers. I am hoping he will be able to find me a spare battery for one of my camcorders, and I hope it will be very cheap too. That battery was the most important, but I gave him a list of several other batteries that I would like if they were available and very cheap. Maybe he will have found all of them, or maybe none at all.

 I am quite excited with anticipation with what I may get tomorrow, but at the same time I am also party expecting that he won't have found any of the batteries I would like. It won't matter too much. It was only the one battery that was of any importance, and sooner or later they will probably be available from amazon.co.uk fairly cheaply. (I just checked, they are now).
Saturday 19th November 2011
11:44 GMT

  I really have no idea how high the temperature reached yesterday. There was a fair bit of sunshine, and in my dark blue shirt it felt very warm, but it did little to warm anything else up. I would take a guess that the top temperature may have been around 14 C. The thin cloud once again allowed a lot of heat to escape once night fell, and it was down to 9 C by 9 pm last night. This morning it only seemed to be a degree colder. For most of this morning the sun has been shining, and in my south facing bedroom the temperature is being held up to 24 C just by the sun alone. Outside it is still only 10 C.

 I finally picked up the newest edition of New Scientist from the refreshments shop on the platform of Waterloo East station on my way home from work last night. I have no idea why is was so late appearing in the shops, but with it grasped firmly in my hand I continued home to add the final ingredients to my pork stew. Those ingredients were cabbage and leeks. On the whole it was a disappointing recipe. I think pork needs to be roasted or fried to develop a good taste. The only time boiling it works is when it is ham.

 I had two linked plans for last night. I would take New Scientist to bed quite early to read for a bit, and then I would turn out the light early and attempt to get fast sleep before 9 pm. That didn't happen because I looked up some information about Nikola Tesla on Wikipedia, and ended up following all sorts of varied links to other bits of wikipedia. One series of links ended up with stuff about red mecury.

 Red mercury is an almost fictional chemical that terrorist, rogue nations, and other villains would like to get their hands on because it is alleged to have wonderful properties  in various, but particularly nuclear, weapons. Of course it is all old hat now, and the in thing for the modern terrorists, rogue nations, villains etc, is methyl mercaptan. Now it just so happens that I can lay my hands on a lot of this - though it needs to be purified - bring your own rubber gloves !! If any villain wants some I can deposit it in one of the stalls at Waterloo station, and you can just leave a wodge* of used 50 notes behind the cistern for me to pick up later.

* a wodge, in this instance, is probably about an inch thick stack of notes.

 I had a bit of a lay in this morning. That is another thing that didn't go quite to plan as I imagined it yesterday. The idea was that I would go to bed early last night, and this morning I would get up early and go for a walk in the fog that was forecast. The first fatal flaw in this plan was that I didn't go to bed early. The second fatal flaw is that I didn't get up early, and the final fatal flaw was that there didn't seem to be any fog this morning !

 What I have done this morning is to go out and do some shopping in Aldi, and to do some laundry. There was a strange aspect to going shopping. I went to Aldi, and that is only a 5 minute walk up the road. Even though my thermometer was saying it was only 8 C outside, I decided to not bother with a coat, and even worse, to wear a short sleeved shirt. Quite why I had a feeling that it wouldn't feel too bad eludes me, but I was right. It didn't feel as cold as it was, and it was certainly more comfortable when lugging back a lot of heavy shopping.

 I think that this afternoon I am going to read New Scientist - probably laying on my bed, and probably dozing off to sleep now and then. Later on I will give some thought to going to a gig. Chain are playing in The Birchwood pub in Abbey Wood. It is not far away in the greater scheme of things, but it is one of those places that is a pain to get to, and I've never been there before. Maybe tonight could be my first visit, but at this point in the day is seems unlikely.
Friday 18th November 2011
07:51 GMT

  The sun did it's best to shine yesterday, but there was too much cloud for it to break through for more than a few minutes at a time. Today may be better. The sky is partly clear now, and what clouds there are, are fairly thin and whispy. The downside to that is that the temperature dropped to 6.8 C according to my thermometer at 5 am. The BBC weather forecast on their ghastly new web pages was predicting it would be 10 C this morning, and to back that up they had a live observation from 4 am this morning saying it was 10 C. I am left to wonder if they actually know where Catford actually is. Perhaps they think it's in East Anglia, or Wales, or somewhere.
part screenshot of BBC new weather web page
 As can be seen in this screenshot, today is supposed to have sunny intervals through the most significant part of the day, and the temperature will be a barely mild 13 C or 14 C depending on whether you look at the maximum in the top left corner, or the three hourly intervals across the middle.

 I was disappointed last night in two respects. Firstly it seems that the latest edition of New Scientist magazine had not reached the shops yesterday. WH Smith's were still selling last weeks edition, and Tesco didn't have any editions at all. Secondly, I thought that Iceland was very uninspiring. I bought some toilet paper, and some diced pork that I have made a stew from ready to be reheated for tonight's dinner, but there was nothing in there that really caught my imagination. Maybe that's why I don't shop in there. I did note that unlike Tesco they do sell frozen, ready to cook, "Southern fried chicken", and that could be a reason to visit the store again one day.

 At last Friday is here, and the weekend follows. I don't feel exhausted like I was last Friday. So the rush for the weekend is a little less intense than it was last week, or the week before that if I recall correctly. Overall I don't feel too bad today, but it did feel like I had a little heartburn for the first couple of hours after waking up. It could be what I thought might be an ulcer sometime nearer the beginning of the year rearing it's ugly head again, or it could be any manner of things from impending heart attack or cancer of the oesophagus to fantastically ingrowing chest hair. Maybe I'll cut down on the chilli sauce just in case it is an ulcer. I had too much devestatingly hot sauce on a roll a bit earlier. It was masochistically wonderful at the time, but just as I was starting to write this paragraph it gave me a red hot flush, and for a few seconds my face flooded with sweat. It's over again now, but chilli does that sort of thing sometimes.
Thursday 17th November 2011
07:57 GMT

  There was quite a bit of blue sky yesterday, but unfortunately it never seemed to be in the same part of the sky where the sun was trying to shine. Today, we are promised, should be different. It doesn't look like it right now, but much of today is supposed to be sunny. Right now the sky looks very cloudy, and that cloud helped to make this morning a little less cold than yesterday. Just before leaving for work my thermometer read 10 C - a couple of degrees higher than yesterday. Today's weak winter sunshine, if we actually get any, is only supposed to raise that to about 14 C.

 The beef stew I precooked ready to warm up last night was as good as I had been fantasising about for much of the day while I was at work. It is probably very strange for such an idea to become so fixed in the mind, but it happened, and my main driving force through the day was to get home and eat it. I didn't eat it instantly, but gave it another half an hour of simmering with some added kidney beans and sliced jalapeno peppers. What I made was possibly close to an original type of chilli con carne - if such a thing actually ever existed.

 Today I may spend hours fantasising about what awaits me when I get home tonigh. It is another unique, as in made up on the spot, recipe for lamb stew. Once again I have added quite a lot of carrots from the monster sized, price reduced, bag I bought from Tesco the day before yesterday. In addition to the carrots I added some leek, more jalapeno peppers, and some tomatoes. I am expecting it to be rather good.

 Tonights dinner uses up the meat I bought from Tesco on the occasion when I totally forgot to buy toilet paper. Fortunately my last roll is going down slowly, and will still last another day or two, but I think I really ought to get some more tonight. Being a Thursday, I would usually be going in Tesco to buy New Scientist magazine, plus other stuff. Tonight I am thinking of doing something different. I may buy the magazine from WH Smiths, and then get some shopping from Iceland. On the whole I don't like Iceland as a supermarket, but occasionally it is interesting to pop in and see what they have. I haven't done that for several years now, and it seems to be high time I visited again.

 I like to get into work early, but sometimes it is not always easy.
cancelled train fom Catford Bridge 17/11/2011
 My favourite morning train was cancelled this morning for unknown reasons. Had I checked the rail website earlier, and if they had given an early enough warning, I may have been able to rush to get the 06:03 train, but I left it too late. The train I did get was the 06:42. It still gets me into work around 10 minutes early, but it is an annoying train to get for other reasons. One reason is that it costs a lot more unless I am prepared to get to the station early to touch in with my Oyster card, and then hang around on a cold draughty platform until it arrives. If I touch in before 06:30 I do my whole journey into work at off peak rates. I am not sure why, but I get charged a cumulative fare of just 2 from start to end (the same is true going home if I touch in before 4 pm). After 6.30 am I get charge peak rate, and I am sure that I get charged 2.80 from Catford to Waterloo, and then another 2.80 from Waterloo to Earlsfield.

 The other disadvantages of the 06:42 train is that it is a lot busier, and I was lucky to get a seat this morning. I also have to change at London Bridge to a Charing Cross bound train. I guess those are just irritations, and it is the extra cost that really makes me annoyed. I could have avoided it by getting to the station early, but I was doing more rail related stuff. Having not got around to reviewing the photos I scanned into the PC last Sunday last night, I decided to do it this morning. I only came up with one to show here, and it is another treat for trainspotters.
slam door 4CEP train at Catford Bridge
  This is Catford Bridge back in 1994, when it still had red lamp posts, and a slam door train is racing through towards New Beckenham where it will almost certainly take the spur towards Beckenham Junction station, and the main line towards the coast. These coastal trains (known as a 4CEP) never stopped at Catford Bridge, and were a fairly rare sight there at the time. Now it is quite common for the plastic replacements of these slam door trains to be diverted along the "Mid Kent Line" (as the line is known) when engineering works take place at weekends.
Wednesday 16th November 2011
07:47 GMT

  I suggested there would be some sunshine yesterday, and there was. In fact there was a lot of it. Once the misty clouds had dissipated around 9am the sky stayed mostly blue, and the sun shone sideways until almost sunset. I say the sun shone sideways because it is so low in the sky that you can hardly call it shining down. With the sun like that it hardly carried any heat, and the temperature only rose to about 12 C. This morning my thermometer said it was only 6.8 C outside. So I think today is going to feel rather cool even if the sun does come out - which it may well do later on.

 Shopping in Tesco on my way home from work was annoying in some respects, but it did have some good points too. The first annoyance was that I forgot to buy any toilet paper, and I think I only have enough at home to last a few more days. The second annoyance was that I bought an 8 litre bag of cat litter that I don't actually need yet, and had to lug it all the way home with using my rucksack. The reason I bought it was because I had a money off voucher for Tesco cat litter. It was only when I presented it at the checkout that I found it is was only valid for 10 litre bags, and I am not sure if they even had any of those in stock !

 The good points of last nights shopping was that I found lots of reduced priced vegetables. The best was like the recent bags of baking potatoes I bought recently. Except this time it was a monster bag of carrots for 35p. I am not sure what I am going to do with so many carrots, but I'll probably manage to get through a lot of them before the last start to deteriorate. I also got a nice ag of ready prepared "casserole vegetables" at half price, and some half price leeks and peppers.

 By comparison, the meat I bought to go with those vegetables was expensive, but maybe not quite as expensive as I imagined it would be.  I mentioned yesterday that I fancied a lamb stew, and that is exactly what I had last night. It was every bit as delicious as I hoped. If the lamb had been a bit leaner it would have been a fairly healthy sort of meal (and also been far less flavoursome). It's just a shame about the other crap I also ate last night !

 One of the advantages of making a stew, with everything cooked in one pan,  is that there is less washing up to do, and last night I took that to new heights. I didn't bother to wash the saucepan up because as soon as it was empty I filled it again to precook tonights dinner. Tonight I am having that wartime favourite (or at least there was a song about it that seemed as if it was popular during WW2), boiled beef and carrots. Rather a lot of carrots in fact ! I may add some green vegetables when I heat it up tonight, or maybe not.

 Apart from carrots everywhere, I also prepared some more of the photos I scanned into the PC on Sunday. This lot are probably boring, but a little history is involved. The first two are definitely only for train spotters and historians. The rest could be of interest to local historians - local to Catford that is.
class 319 in Connex south central livery at London Bridge
Sometime back in the early 1990s it was Connex who ran services on the South Central part of the rain network.
Here's a class 319 ("Thameslink") train in Connex livery on a Charing Cross to Horsham service at London Bridge station.
class 325 mail train
These class 325 trains no longer run in the south east, but I believe they are still used up north.
I can't recall when or where I took this picture, but I am guessing it was the mid 1990s.
  Now on to some local history. Catford station, prior to 1996, should probably have been famous for it's wobbly platforms. The station is built on an embankment, and over the years the piles that supported the platforms gradually sunk in places. In 1996 the station was closed for several months while new piles were driven and the platforms restored to a fashion that even the Health And Safety Executive nutters party would find reasonably OK.
Catford station closed in 1996 for building works
Notice on the entrance to Catford station saying when it would re-open, and where to get replacement buses.
sunken platform supports at Catford station
 You can see just how much the platforms undulated in this picture. The far end of the platform is built on a bridge, and here the platforms are at the correct height. In some places the platform was a good 12 inches (30 cm) below the correct height, and that made it difficult for the industry standard "little old lady" to get on and off the trains safely. Also in this picture is a Eurostar train disappearing around the bend in the distance. Until the new International station at St Pancras opened, they were a regular sight through Catford.
view towrds the country end of Catford station in the early 1990s
 In this picture, once again taken before the wobbly patforms were rebuilt, there are many things that are no longer there today. The typical Southern Region concrete fencing has now been replaced by iron railings. The red ticket collectors booth has gone, and the old style "Solaris" platform indicators are now the type with dazzling orange LED displays. One other major change is that the lampposts are no longer Network Southeast red. (I think they are now either grey or blue).

 
Tonight I may well prepare a couple of pictures of Catford Bridge station. That has changed a lot over the years, but only by lots of small changes that don't seem worth recording until you suddenly realised that it is very different to the station of yesteryear. Other than that I am expecting that I will have a lazy evening, and hopefully I'll be in bed nice and early. I managed to be in bed by 8.45pm last night, and I think I was fast asleep before 9pm. So I don't feel like I'll be feeling quite as tired as I became yesterday afternoon today.

 On the whole, I feel reasonably good so far this morning. With the benefit of hindsight, I am sure that I had some sort of bug last week. I know it was extra cold this morning, but I put on my old winter coat for the first time this season. I was worried that I would be too warm in it, and that like last week I would end up coming into work dripping with sweat. It wasn't until I was sitting on a very warm South West Trains train that I felt a tiny bit of dampness. Once I was back out in the open air I was able to walk to work at a fair pace without raising any extra sweat. I guess whatever it was I had last week has now gone.
Tuesday 15th November 2011
07:58 GMT

  The only thing I want to say about yesterday was that it was very cool, and very gloomy. This morning has started off fairly bright. The temperature was lower than recently at just 9 C, but with hardly any breeze it didn't feel that cold. There should be some sunshine today. It was forecast for around the middle of the day, but from what I can see from my office window it could start to shine any time now. With hardly any breeze, and the possibility of more susnhine than forecast, there seems to be a chance that it might end up feeling almost as if it was warm today.

 I did little last night, but it seemed to take a long time to do it. I ended up in bed far later than I should have done, and this morning I definitely had to rely on my alarm to wake me up. I am going to try and forget that I am thinking this, but I am thinking that I am going to feel rather tired by the afternoon. Other than that, I don't feel too bad at all. I would go as far as to say I am running at normal parameters for this time of the year. In other words stiff and creaky :-)

 One of the things I meant to do last night was to prepare and upload, for display here, more of the old photos I scanned into the PC on Sunday. I think I just forgot all about doing it in the end, but thanks to the wonders of modern science there is one picture that is ready to show that I have retrieved from my sent email folder.
Yes, it's me posing in a Magnum t-shirt
 This picture would have been taken around 1985, or perhaps a year or two later. I have no idea what I am holding in my hand, and I have no idea why I seem to have such ginger hair. I tried altering the colour balance, but when my hair seemed about how I thought it should be I ended up with a green face ! Maybe I'll get some more pictures ready for tomorrow, but no more of me. The one above is quite enough for one season.

 It seems I have three things to aim for tonight. One is a no brainer. I'm going to buy some food on the way home. Inevitably it will be from Tesco. I think I fancy a lamb or mutton stew for dinner tonight, but I doubt I'll be having that. The cost of lamb and mutton, particularly some sort of cut that would cook quickly, is just too expensive for a mid week dinner. I still like the stew idea though, and maybe I'll find some cheap chicken or pork to use in it.

 My other two aims may be contradictory. One is to work on those photo scans, and the other is to get to bed early. Depending on how that goes you may be able to look forward to seeing a now extinct class 325 Royal Mail postal emu, or the even more exciting look at how wobbly the platforms used to be at Catford station. I bet you can't wait !!!!
Monday 14th November 2011
07:28 GMT

  The sun remained shining well into the afternoon, and probably until sunset yesterday. Indoors, with the bright sun streaming through my window it felt very hot. Outside it was pleasantly mild, but the temperature probably only reached 15 C at best. The clear sky that let so much sunshine in during the day, let a lot of the heat out overnight. It was a cool 10 C when I got up this morning, and now with the sky overcast again it will struggle to get to within a few degrees of yesterday. Today is supposed to be dry, but I could feel some misty moisture on my face as I walked from the station. From the look of the sky there could be drizzle at any time.

 I feel quite rested after my weekend away from work. I was worried that I had rested too much, but I feel basically OK this morning. A bit more sleep last night might have helped to avoid the possibility that I will be very tired by the time I finish work, but so far I've been able to make a very early start to the day. I seemed to be ready to go out and catch the 06:03 train this morning, and my journey into work was quite leisurely with half empty trains, and no pedestrian congestion at the usual pinch points on my commuting. Of course I would feel even better if I had not dripped chilli sauce all over my clean shirt while eating a chilli sauce soaked roll for breakfast here at work.

 I did something different yesterday afternoon. I did some photography by proxy - which is a high faluting, but crap way of saying I scanned some old photos into the PC. Even with my relatively fast scanner it took a fair time to do it, and it is a boring process. There were so many old photos I could have done, but I ended up scanning just 27. Most of them will end up on these pages (and elsewhere) as time permits, but for now I am concentrating on my pictures of an old friend by the name of Nigel.
Nigel Barnes aka Nigel Grant
 Some photos came out better than others, and the one above is possibly one of the worst.
 Nigel was a fellow radio pirate back in those heady days of 1980 through to 1999. He was always a larger than life character and fun to be with. I don't know exactly when it started, or how much it affected his personality before it took hold of him, but he was diagnosed as schitzophrenic sometime around 2005. He was put on a course of very heavy duty drugs and for several years he became little more than a zombie. Occasionally hints of the old Nigel would shine through, but it was hard work bringing them out.

 Eventually his drugs we changed, refined and retuned, but they were still to take a heavy toll on him. For 6 months, maybe a year, enough of his old personality returned, but turned down to 9 instead of 11, for him to seem like the old Nigel. Then in 2008 he had some sort of bad reaction to one of the drugs. He was in hospital but that didn't save him. His blood pressure dropped to the point where he died.

 There is no anniversary to celebrate. The timing just happens to be when I had the time, inclination, inspiration, and patience to go through the old photos. Now they are in digital form I can share some pictures of someone who I regarded as a great mate.
Nigel Grant with old girlfriend Susie
This is Nigel having his ear licked by his once girlfriend Susie
Nigel Grant at the RFL studio
Nigel recording a radio programme at the RFL studio.....side view
Nigel in the studio
....front view
Nigel Grant smoking a fag in the studio
.......and smoking a fag
Nigel Grant
..another fag
Nigel Grant with fans (and me)
...and here he is with a couple of fans...and me !

 Tomorrow I might show a couple of pictures of me in the mid 1990s, or I might show some pictures of trains and the two stations in Catford, or I might not show anything. Some of it depends on how much time I feel I can spend on cleaning up the scans of these old photos. Some need very little, and some need a lot - my skills as a photographer don't seem to have changed much over the years !!
Sunday 13th November 2011
11:34 GMT

  On the whole yesterday wasn't bad. It stayed dry amd relatively mild. With just thin clouds over us the temperature dropped to about 10 C this morning. Sometime before it got light the clouds thinned out completely, and for the past few hours the sun has been shining. So far the temperature has risen to 13.5 C and before the clouds gather again (around sunset possibly) I expect the temperature may well rise a good few degrees more.

 After sleeping so much yesterday morning, and the previous night, I didn't try to go to bed very early last night. It wasn't terribly exciting staying up so late. There was some stuff on TV, but I spent a little time experimenting with a couple of webcams to see if I could get them to work with Google+ video chat. I did have some success, but unfortunately it wasn't the better quality webcam that worked. Should I ever have to indulge in Google+ video chat (or similar things) I think it would be more convenient, though less safe, to reboot into Windows XP rather than Linux Mint 10 (64 bit edition) that I currently use for any web facing stuff.

 With the sun shining I should be out enjoying it, but so far this morning I have been getting on with other stuff. The most important thing I've done so far is to empty Smudge's litter tray. It was very full and stinky and needed two of the alleged heavy duty rubbish sacks to take it all out to the wheelie bin. It would help if I bought lightweight cat litter, but I think that is more expensive than the cheap heavy stuff that Aldi sell. Having said that, I did get a voucher for a whole 75p off cat litter in amongst my Tesco Clubcard vouchers. Maybe it's time to splash out a bit !

 Not only have I emptied the litter tray, but I've also done another task that I've been putting off for too long. I've done all the washing up, and polished the sink ! I've also thrown a load of stuff in the washing machine and started that off. What to do now (apart from writing this) ? Maybe I'll put some dinner in the oven and take a quick walk in the park, or maybe I'll...........do something different !
Saturday 12th November 2011
13:22 GMT

  After the dull start, yesterday did brighten up a bit. I think the sun even came out briefly once or twice.  Overall though, it was not a terribly exciting sort of day. In some ways, today has been better. For one thing it is unseasonably mild at 16.5 C at the moment. Occasionally the sun has just about managed to peep out from behind the clouds, but the sky is still mostly grey. Apparently tomorrow will be much sunnier, but it will actually be a degree or two cooler.

 It felt like it had been an exceptionally tiring week as I came home from work last night. That was despite the fact that yesterday was a lot less rushed, and I did have time to myself during the afternoon. Until about 6, maybe 7pm I thought I could muster the energy to go to the gig last night. When the time came to go to the bus stop my enthusiasm failed me and I went up to my bed instead. I was fast asleep in minutes, and probably before Chain had even finished their sound check.

 After seven hours of almost solid sleep (almost because I did get up once, maybe twice, to have a pee) I got up at 4am and 30 to 40 minutes on the internet. I then went back to bed again and slept until 6am when I got up to feed Smudge. After a while I went back to bed again and got another hour or two of sleep. Even then it wasn't until almost 10am that I got myself under the shower before finally getting dressed.

 The plan for today was to go and see a bit of the Lord Mayor's parade in London, take some photos and meet up with Aleemah. By the time I was ready it was already too late to see the start of the parade, and I didn't feel like going anyway. Instead I went to Aldi to buy cat food and stuff. It felt mild enough that I went out in just a short sleeve shirt and no coat. I'm glad I did that because by the time I had lugged my shopping home I was wet with sweat.

 That sweat was indicative that my body is very much out of equilibrium. I blame it, and all the contributing factors to it, on having an hour of daylight stolen from me when the clocks changed by those vicious thugs that rule the land. Sooner or later I'll get the hang of living without daylight during my private hours, but by then the clocks will probably change back again.

 I wasn't completely knackered after my shopping trip to Aldi, but quite close to it. Nevertheless I found a small reserve of energy and went out again to the 99p shop. For some stupid reason I had an idea that they might sell some extra strong black plastic rubbish bags. What they actually sell is bags labelled heavy duty, but are anything but ! One of the tasks I have to perform very soon is to empty Smudge's litter tray. For that I need a very strong bag that is not going to develop a small split and leave a trail of cat litter across the house as I take it out to the wheelie bin (as did happen once !). I guess I'll just have to split the load between two bags again until I find some real heavy duty bags from somewhere.

 I was hoping to do something constructive today, but I am not sure if I will do. In fact I am not sure what I am doing at all for the rest of today. In theory, after all the sleep I've had, and maybe some more this afternoon, I may be able to stay up late tonight. Maybe there will be something of interest on TV tonight, or maybe I will take up a suggestion I've had for some "instant messaging". I think for the moment I am going to lay down and do some reading.
Friday 11th November 2011
08:22 GMT

  Yesterday did not live up to it's promises. It was bright, but I can't recall much in the way of bright sunshine, and although not cold, I don't think the temperature hit 16 C as it was forecast to. It wasn't until the sun had set that large patches of sky became clear leaving space for the big bright moon to shine down. Those clearer skies allowed the temperature to drop to 10 C this morning. It appears that most of today will be in various shades of grey again. It is a dark shade of grey as I write this, but hopefully it will eventually get brighter.

 Amongst the food I bought in Tesco on my way home last night were some medium big baking potatoes. For some unexplained reason they were selling off pre-packed bags that normally cost 1.75 for just 17p each. I don't eat baked potatoes that often because they take too long to cook, but last night I just had to take advantage of that offer. I was too impatient to eat to cook any last night, but I did part cook a couple of medium sized one ready to finish off tonight - possibly.

 I ate an assortment of stuff last night, and in sufficient quantities to dull the edge of how I feel this morning. The main feeling was one of slowness. I couldn't be bothered to rush around, and in consequence I missed my preferred train and caught a later one. In truth that wasn't the real consequence of taking a long time to get ready. The real consequence was that instead of a usually well patronised 8 car train I had to endure the complete crush loading of a short formed 4 car train. (My preferred train is usually a lightly loaded 10 car train.). By the time I got to Waterloo it felt like I had been lightly poached in my own juices !

 That dreadful journey definitely made me feel quite rough, and it made me appreciate having a double seat all to myself between Waterloo and Earlsfield. It wasn't until I had been out in the fresh air again at Earlsfield for a few minutes than I began to feel better. I must have been quite a lot better than I realised because my walking pace had really picked up. As I walked down the last road towards work I was followed by our storeman. He does a lot of walking, and for silly distances, but he said he had great trouble trying to catch me up.

 Tonight could be good or bad. It was only this morning that I realised that Chain were playing tonight, and not tomorrow night as I thought. I really want to go to this gig having missed out on the last one, but I am wondering how I will be able to gee myself up to go tonight. Obviously  won't be able to have my baked potato surprise when I get home because I would definitely feel too stuffed to move. That's a pity because I was looking forward to surprising myself with how much crap I could stuff in a baked potato, and looking forward to eating it. Maybe I'll just have one with very little in it before I go out, and the second when I get home after the gig.

 Today is the 11th of November, the eleventh month of the year, and in a year whose last two digits end in eleven. Some think this could be the day of the second coming of the great prophet Zarquon. Others believe the sky will fall in. Even quirkier things are believed by some loonies, but I don't believe in any of them. The one significance of today is that it is one of the 12 rare days when Americans can write the date correctly. Their infamous 9/11 did not happen in November, although the way they write it makes one think it did.
Thursday 10th November 2011
07:57 GMT

  It was truly amazing !! The sun came out yesterday afternoon. Perhaps the most remarkable thing was that it was what the forecasters predicted would happen. There wasn't enough sun to warm the cool breeze that was blowing. So it remained fairly cool. Today has started off with some mist. It is possible that once that disperses there will be more sunshine today. Apparently it will only be sunny intervals, but that's better than no sunshine at all.  There is also some hope that the temperature may reach as high as 16 C today. After today the weather is forecast to go down hill with more cold grey days ahead.

 After all the dull grey weather it was nice that quite a lot of my journey home from work last night was done in daylight. Even when daylight had faded there was a nice bright full moon in a mostly clear sky to guide me home.
Catford by moonlight
 The picture above was taken using my mobile phone camera, and it needed very little touching up (mostly just resizing). I think I am rather pleased with that camera. It certainly seems better than any other mobile phone cameras I have owned. All it really needs is some optical zoom so that I could have tried to capture some of the details on the moon's face, and it would be perfect, but trying to fit optical zoom in a small mobile phone is probably really not possible.

 Last night I almost carried out my plan of just surviving on some cans of soup. I did have two cans instead of the three I imagined I might have done, but those two cans were heavily "polluted". Once the first can of tomato soup was heated I poured in a small ag of Hula Hoops, and a generous sprinkling of grated Italian cheese (which definitely isn't Parmesan !). As I heated the second can I put in a jar of German sausages (I think they were Bratwurst - like thin saveloys). There was a fair bit of other stuff I nibbled on before I went to bed, but I think my plan sort of worked.

 This morning I woke up feeling not that bad, and by the time I left home to go to the station I was feeling very neutral - I was neither good nor bad. That is a huge improvement over how I felt at the beginning of the week. One significant thing is that I wasn't dripping with sweat even before I started walking. After a fairly fast stroll to the station I just developed a little dampness. On Monday I had sweat dripping off my forehead. I felt good enough at Waterloo to stop and take a picture.
Waterloo station at five past 7 in the morning
 If I could have held the camera a bit steadier this would have turned out to be a good picture. The relatively slow shutter speed has created some interesting blurs on the moving people, but the camera shake has added a halo of blur to static things too. It was five past seven when I took this picture. There are nearly 50 people in this photo. An hour later there would probably be many hundreds !

 I doubt if I'll be basing tonight's dinner on cans of soup. It's Thursday, and that means I intend to go home via Tesco and pickup the latest edition of New Scientist. While I am in there I expect I'll buy some food.......well, it's inevitable I will if I am honest. As yet I don't know what it might be. I think I'll just let my subconcious pick out something that is more than likely to be totally inappropriate to the quest of feeling fit and healthy tomorrow.
Wednesday 9th November 2011
07:49 GMT

  The relentless grey, and the non stop fine misty drizzle made for a horrible day yesterday. There was rain or drizzle during the night, but it had stopped before I left to come to work, and now there are hints that today may be an improvement on yesterday. It was a degree cooler this morning after the clouds seem to have thinned out. Instead of just a sheet of grey from one horizon to the other, I can see detail in the sky. There are no blue bits to be seen, but some areas of cloud are definitely lighter than other areas. One weather forecast suggests that there could be some sunny intervals this afternoon. If it happens it will be excellent. I need some sunshine to produce vitamin D to cure me of ricketts. Some melatonin would be useful too.

 Half an hour after waking up this morning I only felt as awful as I did after being at work for an hour or two yesterday. Whatever felt like an advanced form of death yesterday morning seems to be on the wane again. If my health improves as much as it has in the last 24 hours then I might even feel vaguelly human again tomorrow morning. Some sunshine would help that along, and maybe being a bit careful with what I eat tonight will help too. I've eaten all the worst offenders in my fridge, and tonight I could do either of two things. I could be inventive with assorted ingredients I have in the kitchen, or I may be lazy and just have a few cans of soup. If it was just a few cans and nothing else it could be the preferable option. I light dinner of soup would give my internal organs a chance to relax, and that may help me feel better in the morning.

 Nothing else is going on right now, and that is boring. Perhaps feeling awful yesterday did have it's bright points. I certainly distracted me from the feeling that life is just work, eat, sleep, and get up for work again - as it actually is most of the time.
Tuesday 8th November 2011
08:41 GMT

  Whatever happened to those bright crisp mornings that autumn is famous for ? This morning carries on where yesterday left off. It's dull, grey, miserable, and even more miserable because it is drizzling. The temperature when I left home was a smidgin higher than 10 C, and if we are lucky it might just about hit 14 C at it's best today. The forecasters tell us the weather will improve a tiny bit tomorrow, and that we might even see evidence that the sun still exists.

 I feel rough this morning. If it were not that I have some important stuff to do today I would probably have called in sick. A couple of ibuprofen tablets, and coming to work have eased the worst of how I was feeling, but I am still not feeling that wonderful. I've had a range of symptoms, but the headache and stiff neck were probably the worst. The hint of a sore throat, and some assorted muscular and joint pain remind me of the glandular fever I had months ago (although at it's worst it was ten times worse than how I feel now).

 I can't be suffering from 'flu because I have been innoculated against that, but it does feel a bit like mild 'flu. I tried taking my temperature before coming to work and it was 35.8 C. That's 1.5 C below normal, and a couple of degrees above being dead. Considering I measured that temperature 90 minutes (approx) after waking up, and had had a scalding hot shower in between times, and had been sitting or standing near a fan heater, it is quite possible that I actually woke up colder and dead, and just haven't got around to lying down yet. Oh well, there will be a chance to lie down and rigour mortis to set in once I get home tonight.
Monday 7th November 2011
07:57 GMT

  Maybe I was just not paying enough attention at the time, but I am struggling to remember if there was any significant amounts of sunshine yesterday. If there was any it must have been over in a flash. Sometime during the night, and maybe not long before I left to come to work, there was some drizzle. There could easily be more today. The entire sky is just one thick dome of leaden grey clouds. They may have saved us from a frost night by keeping the temperature up to a chilly 10 C, but by blocking out the sun today they are going to keep the temperature down to something like 14 C. Not only that, but they are bound to start leaking again.

 There was nothing of any significance on TV to distract me yesterday afternoon, and as I suggested I might do, I watched the movie "Water". It was as I remembered it to be, quite funny. A few things made me laugh out loud briefly, but much of the humour is more of the kind that just generates a sort of grin of approval. It is true, as the critics pointed out, that bits of the movie are not that good, but by heavily reporting on those bits they left out the bits that are excellent. Anyway, I enjoyed it.

 I'm not sure what it was I ate yesterday specifically, but among the excessive assortment of stuff I ate was something that caused my guts to be very volatile this morning. At one point I wondered if I would be able to leave to come to work. Fortunately things settled down in time to leave for the 6.33am train, and I was comfortable nearly all the way to work. At Clapham Junction my stomach started to rumle a bit, but it seemed to be more an empty rumble rather than a full one. In some respects this is not surprising considering what I had gone through earlier.

 On the way in to work I grabbed one of my favourite "Spicy Chicken Tikka" wraps/rolls. I am always confused whether to call it a wrap or a roll. Roll implies a bread roll, and wrap suggests a thin wrapping. In fact the filling is wrapped in something like a chappati. Having now had something to eat my stomach has stopped rumbling, and I think I almost feel fine. Ideally I would have a lay down in a warm room now, but I can't lay down here, and until the heater warms things up, it is not exactly warm yet.

 It may well be that the trauma of unpredictable guts distracted me, but in other respects I didn't feel too bad once I shook off the intial agonies of waking up. Even before I had a scalding hot shower I seemed to be feeling as limber as I ever get to feel. That is really quite extraordinary after a rather hedonistic weekend.

 I'm not the only one who has had a hedonistic weekend. Smudge has been doing pretty good for herself as well. By pretending to be off her food she managed to mug me into putting down the food she is really into - for now ! I guess I'll never know why she will go off one flavour of food, and almost starve herself to weakness until I put down a flavour of food that meets her current expectations. Saturday's, Sunday's and this morning's flavour is Aldi own brand turkey and chicken flavour. It smells disgusting to the human nose, but evidently it tastes wonderful. I wonder if it will still taste wonderful tonight, or if we will have to go through all the wastage of uneaten cat food to find the next big flavour ?
Sunday 6th November 2011
12:08 GMT

  As the weathermen amazingly managed to predict, yesterday stayed dry, but it was rather gloomy. Overnight the clouds must have broken up a bit because the temperature fell to 10 C this morning. It is still only just over 11 C now, and the clouds seem as thick as ever. It would be stunningly amazing if the latest prediction by the weathermen came true. To do that the clouds should have  dispersed 15 minutes ago to give some occasional sunny intervals, and then should clear enough to give long periods of sunshine in three hours time. I hope they have it right in essence, and that it is just their timing that is out.

 Last night I had a bit of a headache. It wasn't terrible, but it was enough to put me off going out to see Chain play in The Chatterton Arms pub. I am not sure what caused that headache. I doubt it was the three half pints of beer I had in the morning. Whatever it was may have contributed to the bad night I had last night. I didn't go to bed until fairly late by my own standards, but maybe not late for a Saturday night, and definitely a lot earlier than if I had gone to the gig last night.

 I fell asleep easily enough, but at 1.27am I woke up and had a great deal of difficulty getting back to sleep. It was one of those occasions where the clock seems to stand still, and every ruck in the sheets, or lump in the mattress feels like a brick in the bed. I managed to fall asleep for short periods until at 4am I pulled on some clothes and went for a quick walk in the park for some fresh air.

 I can't really describe what it is like when I occasionally take a nocturnal walk in the park. I find it sort of thrilling to have such a great space all to myself, and the darkness gives it an extra sort of thrill. It doesn't really work in the summer because the last stragglers are still making their way home through the park even after sunrise, but at this time of year I could have probably stayed in the park for hours before seeing another person. I didn't stay for anything like that time. It was remarkably chilly this morning, and I estimate that I spent no more than 15 minutes in there before my head felt more than adequately aired. With a clearer head I went back to bed, and eventually I managed to sleep for a couple more hours.

 This morning I have put some laundry in the washing machine, and been out shopping. There was nothing in particular I needed, but it's interesting to have a wander around Lidl now and then to see what's on special offer. Probably the most interesting, but ultimately disappointing thing I bought was haggis and black pepper crisps. Crisps are of course evil, but sometime you have to live dangerously, and novel flavours are always cause for celebration.  For all the calories and fats they contained they were not very exciting at all.

 On the way back from Lidl I took a look at a new Poundland shop that has opened in Catford.  I  know I am completely mad to think it, but that added penny to the price makes it feel that the wares are just that little bit better than the tat sold in the 99p shop. It may all be tat, but I think the 99p shop is actually more interesting.

 This afternoon I think I am going to sit down and watch a movie, and the particular movie I'll be watching, unless there is something more distracting on TV, is "Water". There is another movie called Water, but this one is the one made in 1985 and starring Michael Caine, Billy Connelly and a few other famous names. I remember watching it Channel 4, and recording it on the ancient Philips VCR video tape format sometime back in the mists of time. I was reminded of it while checking out what other films Michael Caine has acted in after seeing him in Bullet To Beijing yesterday.
Saturday 5th November 2011
18:25 GMT

  After the early morning rain the weather settled down, and to my disbelief there were a few sunny intervals yesterday. As the afternoon wore on it became cloudy again, but stayed dry, and on the whole reasonably mild. Today it has stayed mild, but there has been a few light showers. They seem to have dried up now, and those standing around in the mud watching the fireworks tonight will probably stay dry.

 I felt very tired by the end of work yesterday, and it came as some relief when home time came around. I didn't go straight home, but called in at Tesco to pick up a bit of shopping.  I didn't get that much because I still had a pot of pasta left over from the night before.  One thing I did get was a  tin of chopped tomatoes to put in that pasta to make it a bit less dry.

 I was not in Tesco for very long, but it was long enough for night to completely fall, and I arrived home in darkness (apart from the street lighting obviously). I think that accelerated my desire to get to bed because it wasn't long after the TV news finished at 7pm that I headed up to my bedroom. I didn't go straight to bed. I spent a short time on the PC, and then a little while reading in bed. I lost track of the time, but I may have been asleep before 8pm, or if not then, then very soon afterwards.

 After such an early night I should have been up quite early, and indeed I did wake up at 5am as usual, but after a bit I went back to bed and slept until 7am or so. In theory I should have been rushing around doing housework then, but I could only bring myself to do the bare minimum. It was one of those mornings where time seems to slip by unnoticed, and I had only been washed and dressed for about half an hour before Aleemah was on the phone saying she was catching the 10:04 train from London Bridge.

 After meeting Aleemah at the station we went to the pub where she had a vegetarian breakfast with coffee, and I was lucky enough to have three half pints of three different ales at 50p each. They were the leftovers from the Wetherspoons beer festival, and just like a supermarket would do they were being sold off at half price to finish them off. It's a shame that Aleemah is not into pubs and beer because I could quite happily stayed there for another hour or two.

 Instead we came back here where she tried to elevate my cultural level by playing the DVD of the movie Black Swan. The movie had it's moments, but overall I didn't really enjoy it. Somehow ballet is just not my thing ! After Aleemah went home again I had a bite to eat, and apart from doing a bit of laundry I have done nothing of any significance apart from watch the last two thirds (maybe) of a far better movie. I was just flicking around the channels and found a Michael Caine film on Channel 5.

 I'm not a particular Michael Caine fan, but maybe I ought to be because I do like most of the characters he plays. In the movie I watched this afternoon he reprised his role as secret agent Harry Palmer - but after he had retired from the British secret service. The movie was called Bullet To Beijing, and was as much a comedy as it was a drama. I didn't intend to watch Tv that long, but after watching it for a bit I was hooked.

 Right now I should be leaving to watch Chain play at The Chatterton Arms, but I have a stinking headache for some reason. If the paracetamol I have taken clears it soon I'll be going. If not I'll stay in and entertain myself another way. Perhaps I'll even go to bed early again.
Friday 4th November 2011
08:02 GMT

  If I were generous I could say that the weather forecast for yesterday was right in substance, but the timings were wrong. However I am not generous in that direction, and I actually say the forecasters got it wrong again. The morning rain quickly went away instead of carrying on until lunchtime, and the afternoon didn't brighten up. What actually happened was the day did get lighter quite early on in the morning, but I can't recall a single hint of sunshine. Then just as I was going home the rain started again. At first it was almost ignorably light, but for the walk from the station to home it was moderately heavy.

 The chances are that the rain continued through the night. It was certainly tipping it down as I was showering this morning - at least that is what it sounded like. If it was as bad as I magained it must have slackened off a bit as I walked to the station. At Waterloo East the tin roof over the platform amplified the sound of the rain to the point that it sounded like a tropical monsoon. When I got to Earlsfield the rain was more like a very heavy drizzle. It continues even now, and may well do for much of today and tomorrow, and maybe Sunday too.

 I had intended to get some shopping in last night. I wanted a copy of New Scientist, and I could have bought that, plus some food and stuff from Tesco on the way home. That was my original intention but I changed my mind halfway home and bought New Scientist from a news stand at Waterloo.The rain slightly put me off detouring via Tesco, but the bigger catalyst was just how dark it was getting (except for an isolated flash of lightning that was followed by a distant peep of thunder). Some people (idiots in my opinion) think they have gained an extra hour of daylight in the morning since the clocks changed to GMT. I think that I have lost an hour of daylight in the afternoon, and losing something really annoys me.

 Not only have I had an hour of daylight viciously stolen from me, but I don't even get to get more sleep. I suddenly realised last night that I am tending to force myself past the point when I would naturally go to sleep to attempt to synchronise my body to the changed clocks. Having forced myself past that point I feel less sleepy and stay awake later. It is nice that once my head actually hits the pillow I fall asleep instantly, but by then it is too late to get my full eight hours of sleep.

 I am rather looking forward to the end of the working day so I can go home and relax. Well, I suppose I do that every night, but Friday nights are special because I can have a lay in if needed in the morning. I expect I'll be awake at 5am tomorrow as usual, but the difference is that I can go back to bed again. An extra hour of sleep like that feels extra sweet in a way that an early night doesn't (though is probably better for me). It's probably because it feels wonderfully anarchistic to say "sod the world, I'm going back to bed", and the joy is that it has no consequences to do it - at least not unless I overdo it.

 I can't actually stay in bed too long tomorrow. I think Aleemah is visiting and the place looks a complete mess. Tomorrow I am going to have to try and hoover out the crumbs dropped on the rug in front of the settee - it's one of the perils of watching TV while eating ! There are several other bits of the house, if not all of it, that could do with a good hoovering too, and I might possibly do a few of those places too. Of course all this asumes I don't drown in my sleep - tonight's rain may be very heavy.
Thursday 3rd November 2011
08:16 GMT

  Yesterday was not as good as the day before, but it wasn't bad. There were "sunny intervals" instead of long periods of sunshine, and it didn't feel quite as mild. After dark things changed. In the early part of the evening there were intermittent showers, and these continued overnight. The thick clouds kept the warmth in, and this morning started very mild at 15 C, but also quite wet. It may brighten up later this afternoon, but apparently there could be showers all morning that could get very heavy around midday.

 So far I have been very charmed with regard to the showers last night and this morning. I didn't go directly home last night, but stopped off at The London And Rye Wethersppons pub for what should have been a quick beer with Kevin. It wasn't as quick as I had hoped, and I had to put my foot down to finally leave at 7.40pm - at least an hour later than I had originally planned.

 The origins of my extended stay in the pub come from a difference of opinion regarding a particular beer. The Wetherspoons beer festival is over now, but the pub is still selling the remainder of the festival beers at the festival prices - which is rather good ! One of the beers was brewed by (I think) the Orkells brewery in the Belgium Saison style. That style of beer is often slightly cloudy, and slightly acidic. Kevin thought that these things indicated that the beer was going off, but past experience meant that I knew otherwise. It is a taste I particularly like, and after Kevin took his pint back to the bar to say it was off, I went to the bar to order another half pint of it for myself. This did slightly confuse the bar staff !

 I had intended to go before ordering that half pint. After drinking it Kevin offered to buy another round which I initially turned down, but after a bit more arm twisting I agreed to stay for just another half of Saison beer. Kevin bought me a whole pint ! It did rather spoil my plans for cooking a sort of healthy meal (I had a load of veg to use up) followed by an early night. To save time I stopped at the fried chicken shop to buy some unhealthy food, and by doing so I did manage to just about be in bed with the lights off by a few seconds before 9pm.

 This morning I can feel the very lightest touch of hangover, but there are more significant reasons why I felt bad enough to not want to come to work this morning. Since coming to work a lot of these things have worn off, but not all. A stiff back and stiff left leg don't seem to be bothering me now, but my right knee is still feeling very stiff and sore to walk on. I guess I am suffering the early stages of athritus or something. I suspect that next winter it may start to have a more serious impact on my mobility. The other negative things like lack of energy and enthusiasm can probably be blamed on the booze, or the weather, or some other excuse that I can't think of yet.

 It feels like somewhere in my brain there is a secret little corner that slowly gathers together observations, and then suddenly presents an idea, problem, or just a question. This morning it posed a question whose answer is quite probably useless and meaningless. The question is this; Why is it that sometimes the desire to go to the toilet is inversely proportional to the amount you excrete (number ones or number twos). This morning was a typical example of this principle in action, and this obviously triggered my brain into action to pose it as an actual question to another, more concious bit of my brain.

 Shortly before I was due to go out to get the train to work I felt the merest hint of discomfort in the nether regions. I would equate the amount of discomfort to be about the same as the weight of a medium sized coin on the palm of your hand. You know it is there if you concentrate on it, but blink and you'll be distracted enough to forget about it. Having some minutes to spare I went up to the toilet and I am rather glad I did. I came to work several stones lighter ! Of course the converse is also sometime true. The level of discomfort is quite high, and yet the result is negligable.

 In my wilder theories I sometimes wonder if this effect is because I am not wired up properly. There may be some proof of this, or it could be that everyone is actually the same. Without a greater knowledge of anatomy it is difficult to come to any valid conclusions, but I do find it odd that if I pinch a particular small area of my waist I can not only feel me pinch there, but I also get what seems like intense toothache while I am pinching the skin. I found this out when I once had a big zit there. There are one or two other areas where it is not the site of stimulation that reacts to it. I would like to know what the sensor that detects I have eaten enough is actually connected to, because I am sure it is not my stomach.
Wednesday 2nd November 2011
07:52 GMT

  I admit it, I was far too pessimistic about the weather yesterday. So stop beating me ! After the grey start the sun broke through, and from around 11am until the sun set it was rather wonderful - as can be seen in the picture below.
1st November and it's bright and sunny
 It was not even that cool yesterday. While I was standing in the park at lunchtime the breeze dropped and the sun on my back felt deliciously hot. Away from direct sunlight it was cooler, but it was still comfortable to stuff my coat in my bag and go home with my shirtsleeves rolled up.

 The clear sky continued through the night, and that let most of the warmth out. Between the time I woke up and left to come to work the temperature had dropped 0.2 C from 8 to 7.8 C. It is possible that it dropped more, but the morning sun will soon start to bring a little warmth. There seems to be more cloud in the sky now, but it is supposed to be another dry day with suny intervals. Tomorrow it may pour down for most of the day !

 Sometimes recently there doesn't seem to have been much spare time for a look in the park, and sometimes I just couldn't be bothered. Yesterday there was time, and I did bother. Not only was it nice out there, but to my surprise there were several photo opportunities.
Asian ladybird
there were plenty of Asian ladybirds about on their favourite bit of the bridge into the park
two asian ladybirds
here's two different ones in conference
purple flower
some plants thought they would have another go at flowering before winter
yellow lichen
yellow lichen on iron railings
blackberries on 1st November
they look a bit small, but some lucky bird or rodent will find these very late blackberries
convulvulus
bind weed, or convulvulus still flowering
leaping squirrel
fuzzy picture, but lucky timing when I took this picture
cute squirrel eating in a tree
cute squirrel having a nibble


  This morning I feel a bit tired, maybe a bit rough too. I came close to oversleeping this morning - I only woke up 10 seconds before my alarm sounded ! It would have been very nice to stay in bed, or perhaps slouch around the house for a few hours before committing myself to the big wide world. Now I have gone through the pain and terror of washing, shaving, dressing, feeding Smudge, commuting, and all the other stuff that comes between opening the first eye after sleep and sitting here writing stuff, I don't feel so bad, but sooner or later I am going to have to blink, and I am not sure I have the energy for that :-)

 I can't think of any distractions that should keep me from getting in my bed a lot earlier tonight. Last night I was playing with the photos I took yesterday, and the night before it was the Chain video. Tonight there are, or should be no excuses, and I hope I'll be fast asleep before 8.30pm.
Tuesday 1st November 2011
08:32 GMT

  On TV last night the weather forecaster said that they regard today, 1st November, the start of the winter months. That seems premature to me. Yesterday was mild, dry, and on the whole, sunless. It didn't feel like the start of winter, but more like the middle of Autumn. The forecast for this morning said it would be dry, but cloudy, and in fact it has rained. For a while it sounded like the rain was rather heavy, and the puddles on the ground suggest that it was. On my way to work I only encountered drizzle in a few places. The idea that today would be dry, and that there could be some sunny intervals around lunchtime, feels like it is a total fantasy, but there could be something to the idea of a few sunny intervals. Meanwhile, in complete defiance to the forecasts, the drizzle continues !

 My gut feeling is that Greenwich Mean Time is the only real means of setting the time. Once the clocks are running to GMT the sun is correctly overhead at midday, and we are running in synchronism with the rest of the galaxy, and yet I think we have made a terrible mistake that will surely be our doom. To bring peace and harmony we should keep GMT for the next 12 months, and switch to British Summer Time for the winter (of course the name should be changed to British Winter Time if such a change could ever happen).

 I reach this conclusion for two significant reasons. Firstly there is the idea of the sun being overhead at midday. In strict terms that can never happen this far north of the equator, but in the middle of the summer it is close enough. So for mid-summer we need the clocks to show midday when the sun is overhead, and that happens when the clocks are set to GMT.

 My second argument is based purely on the fact that the sun was setting when I got home last night. If we switched to BST today, I would have an extra full hour of daylight when I got home. I cannot think why an extra hour of daylight for those privileged enough to get up late every morning is so great. I can think why losing a hour of possible daylight after work is a tragedy of Shakesperean proportions. It makes me feel annoyed, and when I feel annoyed I want to destroy not just those in government, but the whole world (and if possible, the whole universe). One day I'll knock up a 1000 megaton double fission with extra neutrons bomb, and whoever designed the clock system willl be very sorry. Very sorry indeed ! (Actually he, or she, won't have time to be sorry before they end up as a thin mist of disassosciated atoms drifting through a devastated galaxy).

 Last night I had another go at using several video editing applications that run on a Linux computer. Some can do some clever stuff if you are patient enough to find out how, but many are only as good as Windows Movie Maker - useable, but very basic. The software I currently has some limitations, but mostly it suits my needs quite well. The only problem is I have to reboot and fire up Windows XP to use it. Last night I wanted to do some simple stuff to a video of Chain in action at The British Oak Halloween party last Saturday. Try as I might, I just could not tame the video using any Linux applications so I left it as almost raw unedited footage.