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August 2012
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2012

Friday 31st August 2012
 07:12 BST

  There was more rain than I anticipated yesterday. Fortunately none of it inconvenienced me. It had stopped when I walked to the station. So I didn't bother put a coat on. There was some rain while I waited for my train at Waterloo East station, but I was under shelter, and it had practically stopped a minute or two before my train drew into the station and I left my shelter to walk along the platform. That was the last rain of the day, and an hour, maybe two, later the sun was shining, and much of the sky was blue right up until the sun set.

 This morning it is rather cool, but the sky is clear, and the sun is shining. The forecast for today says that most of it will be sunny, but that there could be a rogue shower at some time. It's a bit of a shame that on this last day of August the temperature is only forecast to reach about 18 C. That's a bit of a poor shower for a summer month. Tomorrow is forecast to be a bit warmer, perhaps 22
C, but there will be a greater chance of a shower or two.

 I developed a cunning plan on my way home from work. Prior to that I just intended to go straight home, but my new plan changed that. It started with the idea that I might walk all the way to the 99p shop. Then I decided I would break that walk by calling into The Catford Ram. One of two things could happen in there. Either I would have one pint, and then walk to the 99p shop, or Chris (from Chain) would pop in, and would abandon the 99p shop and stay drinking with him and his workmates.

 The latter option availed itself, and I stayed boozing until gone 7pm - I think. I lost track of time after the second pint. It just didn't seem important. What I do know was that it was getting dark by the time I got home via the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop. isiting there was another cunning plan - tonight I will get to test how well my new microwave oven reheats food. It will be interesting to see just how terrible reheated chips are. I think once fast food shop chips have gone cold they are usually past redemption. I feel certain that microwave oven heating will do nothing for them, but miracles could happen.

 I have no idea what time I went to bed last night. I know that sunset was about 8pm, and that it was completely dark, or as dark as a London night can be, when I finished eating, and I went straight up to bed after that. It took zero time to fall asleep last night, and if I had managed to stay asleep until 5am I would be very pleased. Unfortunately I woke up at 3am, and couldn't get back to sleep. My pillows, that were as soft as a bag of kittens when I went to bed, seemed to be filled with concrete when I tried to go back to sleep at 3am. I also had a bit of a hangover that was a bit uncomfortable.

 After a few attempts at getting back to sleep I gave up. If I didn't have to come to work today I would not be bothered about it. I would have pottered around for a few hours, and would probably be successful going back to sleep then. Maybe I got 6 hours sleep last night, or maybe I got less, but I think I should make an attempt at an early night tonight.

 In other respects I feel reasonably OK. My food intake over the last 3 or 4 days has been less than usual (though not as less as when I am specifically trying to lose weight). This morning I feel a lot less bloated than I did on Tuesday morning, and I noticed my trousers seemed looser this morning, and half way to work I took my belt up a notch to stop them slipping. If I keep this up, and today is another day when I didn't get anything from the shop by the station, and I'll be fasting until I get home from work, I may be able to comfortably wear my red trousers for Halloween (should there be a suitable themed gig to go to).

 Work has become quiet over the last couple of days. Once I was left alone to get on with it, I was able to race through all the repairs that had built up, and until someone gives me a new task I have very little to do. To use up some of the time I did some experiments on an old laptop I have here. It's an ex-company one that was deemed too primitive to be of any use. It is a little slow doing some things, but with Linux Mint installed on it, it is very useable by me.

 The experiments I did yesterday concerned server stuff. The Apache web server is possibly still the most widespread web server in the world, it's currently serving this web page to you, but unless you do it for a living, it's a bugger to configure. So with a view to upgrading my server sometime, I decided to investigate some alternative web servers. I decided that I would try Lighttpd. It's one of those curious programs that start simple and yet can be stretched to do all sorts of things. In it's basic use, just serving static web pages like this one, I found it a doddle to get working. Maybe there are refinements I could make to the configuration, for security for instance, but within about 20 minutes I had it running very smoothly on the old laptop. I think I'll be using on my new server whenever I build it.

 I had less luck with an ftp server. I chose PureFTP mainly because there is an optional control panel that can be installed to configure it. I am currently using it on my server at home, but there are some issues with it that I had hoped a fresh install of the latest version on my laptop wouldn't have, but still does. The big problem is that it has authentification failures. It always fails safe, but it is a source of annoyance. I did lots of google searches about the problem, which only concerns setting up virtual users, and some solutions came up, but only with partial success, and I am wondering if some of those solutions contradict each other. I think I'll be doing more research about this today.
Thursday 30th August 2012
 07:35 BST

  Yesterday morning was pleasant enough. There was some sunshine, and it felt just a hint better than mild, but then the rain came early. There was a very light sprinkle of rain between 11am and midday, but the main show began around 1.30pm. There was a really torrential fall of rain for maybe 10 minutes. After that there was just drizzle. By 4pm, as I made my way home from work, it was still raining, but it was almost, but not quite light enough to ignore. The evening seemed dry, but there was some moderately heavy rain in the small hours of this morning.

 Just like yesterday, everything was dripping as I set out for the station this morning, but the rain had stopped. It's now bright and sunny, but slightly cool. There are supposed to be sporadic showers today, but between them there could be some sunny periods. I guess it is just pot luck if I go home in sun or showers tonight.

 I felt quite ready for bed as I left work yesterday, but some fresh air, and a walk woke me up. As I walked to the station it was drizzling, but it was light enough that I could have left my coat off without getting too wet. As planned, I did some shopping in Tesco on the way home. I had been hoping to get some hot chicken, but they had run out. As an alternative, well sort of alternative, I bought a couple of Rustlers microwaveable burgers.

 Tesco did not have many of them in stock, and the only choices were a chicken burger (the last one on the shelf) and beef with bacon and cheese (just 4 left on the shelf). I bought, and tried one of each.Hmmmmm, they're OK, but I don't think I'd waste my money on more of them in the future. I also bought, and tested, some Bachelors 76% fat free (or 76% less fat - can't remember which) beef and tomato instant noodles. Unlike the beef and tomato noodles I bought from the 99p, the sauce was strong and tasty, but sadly the noodles themselves were rubbish - also unlike the 99p shop ones which had nice noodles.

 I made sure I got to bed early last night. I was in bed and asleep before, but not much before, 8.30pm. Getting to sleep was easy. I just turned out the light, and I don't remember much more than that until I woke up in the night at 3am (I think). I seem to recall having lots of dreams, but they couldn't have been important because none come to mind now. I was soon back asleep, and if I had slept right through until my alarm woke me I would have been very happy. Instead I woke up over half an hour early.

 It was pointless trying to get another 30 minutes sleep so I got up. This morning I seemed to get myself ready to go out very quickly, and for the first time in ages, maybe this year, I caught the extra early train at 06:03. Between Catford Bridge and Waterloo I wore my lightweight plastic rain jacket, but it gets so hot and sweaty under it, so because the rain had stopped I took it off and stuffed it into my bag for the rest of the journey into work.

 It was a good move taking that jacket off when I did because the train from Waterloo had the heating on full, and was initially unpleasantly hot. It definitely felt nice and fresh when I got off the train at Earlsfield. It felt good enough to divert my walk to work through the scary estate, and into the park. I was still at work at five past seven - or 55 minutes early !
St Georges Park, Earlsfield in the early light of dawn
 Despite it still being rather damp, it was nice in the park. The sun was only just over the horizon, and all the shadows, and patches of sunlight seemed to extend into infinity.
snail in St Georges park, Earlsfield, London, UK
 I snapped this snail as I crossed over the river on the footbridge. It's head is in shadown, and it's tail end looks like it is being cooked in the sun. I took this photo, and the one before on my mobile phone camera. If I had bothered to get my proper camera out of my rucksack I could have taken a picture of a snail that looked to have an almost green shell. It was on a plant behind some railings, and out of range of my phone camera.
antique remington typewriter spotted being dumped
 I also took this picture on my phone camera yesterday. This antique Remington Noiseless typewriter was sitting on a small table by the waste bins. I expect it was probably worth a bob or two, and I think someone else thought so too. Within an hour it had gone, and is probably on Ebay now !

 It is possible that I ate more than I should have done last night (it was more than the burgers and noodles). I think I feel a little hungry this morning, but I still steered myself away from the shop with the nice sandwiches near the station. Apart from some sugar free sweets, I'll have to wait until I get home again before eating. Still, it might be worth it because I have some lamb rogan ghosh curry waiting to be popped in the microwave when I get home :-)

 It's now 8.23am. The blue sky has gone, and it's raining ! That was quick !!
Wednesday 29th August 2012
 07:41 BST

  Just a little more sunshine, a little less humidity, and a slightly higher temperature would have made yesterday a really nice day. Instead it was merely "nice". Today has started off cool and bright, but the clouds seems to be getting thicker. It's looking likely that the weather forecaster's prophecy of rain by midday is going to come true. It is then supposed to rain all afternoon, and the temperature that could reach 21 C as the rain starts, will plummet by 5, or so degrees by 6pm. It seems that the weather will be obeying the law of averages, and be very similar tomorrow. After that it might get back to being a close approximation to summer for a few days.

 If I didn't mention this yesterday, the trouble with over eating is that it makes me feel terribly hungry. After deciding that I would not have any form of breakfast yesterday, my stomach really growled at me all morning. As usual I didn't have any lunch here at work, but that didn't bother me, and by the time I got home from work I hardly felt hungry at all. Yet force of habit made me prepare an interesting microwave cooking experiment - and eat it all !

 I was going to do a pea and potato experiment, similar to some experiments I did on the gas hob a few months ago, but I remembered I had some "chargrilled mediteranean vegetable" in the freezer, and I decided to use those. I knew that they contained a lot of water, and 5 minutes of precooking them drove off a lot of liquid that I drained off them. Then I added some diced new potatoes. I seasoned them with some ground chilli, and some garlic paste before adding a small tin of drained anchovies. I covered the lot with some grated mature cheddar, and blitzed it all for around 15 minutes at full power. Maybe the potatoes could have been cooked for a tiny but longer, but it was really rather nice.

 The garlic and anchovies, while nice, would not have been my first choice had I known that I was to get a text message from Patricia asking if it was OK to come round for a quick visit. I readily agreed, and hastily tried to air the place before she arrived. I think it smelled fresh when she did arrive. She had brought my laundry back for me, and picked up her son's new laptop. She talked a little about migrating back to Argentina, and I was thinking that last night would be the last time I would see her, but shortly before leaving she asked if there was any more laundry she could do for me, and of course there was ! So I will definitely be seeing her one more time before she goes, and it is not impossible that she might make the occasional visit back to London in the years ahead.

 It was a little late when Patricia left, a little before 8.30pm, and that rather scuppered my plans for an early night. I had felt quite dozy at work, and there were a couple of occasions when I momentarily fell asleep in front of the PC. I wasted little time getting to bed, but all my haste was wasted. I felt hot and uncomfortable in bed, plus my mind was too active, and it took an age before I got to sleep. Even when I did get to sleep I didn't sleep well. I woke up once or twice with cramp, and had to get out of bed and take a few paces to relieve the muscles. On top of that I woke up once or twice to go to the toilet. It was a bit of a disasterous night, and to make matters worse I woke up for the last time far too early at about 4.20am.

 I have a feeling I am going to feel more than sleepy at work today. The good news is that having eaten almost moderately yesterday, I don't feel all stodgy like I did yesterday. This morning it was far easier to walk past the shop near the station, and not buy and breakfast. I don't feel particularly hungry now, and with luck I'll make it through the day without any bad hunger pains.

 I am not sure if I can eat quite as moderately tonight. I think I need to buy one or two items in Tesco on the way home, and I'll probably end up buying 10 ! It would take very little temptation to end up buying some hot chicken, but if I do give into that temptation I ought to try and remember that I needn't buy any extra for Smudge any more. I still find it strange that I can eat peacefully now without having her pleading face looking up at me, hoping I'll give in and give her something to eat. You would think I used to deliberately starve her, but there was always food on her plate. It's just it was rubbish compared to fresh chicken, and other stuff that I ate. Well I say other stuff, but she would always refuse any lettuce I offered her even though she reckoned that if I ate it, it must be good somehow. There was plenty of other stuff that she reckoned looked good too, but turned out to be rubbish when actually offered some.
Tuesday 28th August 2012
 07:49 BST

  There was a lot of rain overnight, but it had just about stopped when I woke up. By the time I left to come to work a lot of things were still dripping, but the roads and pavements were starting to dry. By the time I arrived here in Earlsfield the sky had gone from grey to blue, and the sun is shining. Some light cloud is forecast today, but it should stay dry, and the temperature should get up to about 22 C.

 I did intend to not eat last night, and I also intended to be in bed early, but neither happened. First of all I got tempted to try out some frankfurters. I could see a jar of them leering at me in the kitchen, and I couldn't help remembering just how good they smelled whenever somebody at work heated some in the microwave oven there. I've tried various ways of heating them before, but having now been able to do it in a microwave oven, I have to declare that to be the very best way to do it.

 The reason I didn't get to bed early was because I got hooked on TV. It started with watching an episode of Star Trek (the new generation) on Pick TV, and then I started flicking around the channels. I found BBC3 showing one of the Lara Croft films, and I wondered what it was all about, never having watched any before. It was very much like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, but with Angelina Jolie in the lead instead of Harrison Ford (I really should research these things before guessing the mans name). It was a fair enough way of wasting an hour or two, but mostly not very exciting, and I don't find Angelina Jolie terribly attractive.

 Instead of getting to bed half an hour early I got there half an hour late, and I only slept moderately well. I would have dearly loved to go back to bed instead of coming to work, but I guess I'll survive. I didn't feel too good when I left home. I felt quite stodgy after three days of eating too much, and exercising too little. Once I got moving I felt better, and although it left me hot and sweaty, and starting to breath deeply, I seemed to do the walk from the station to work in record time for some unexplained reason. I couldn't seem to stop my legs from moving so fast. It's probably a brain tumour or something, but it didn't seem to overcome my resolve to pass by the shop near the station, and not eat anything today until I get home from work.

 Maybe I joke, or maybe I do need a brain mechanic. I used xen meditation (which is like zen, but contains less calories, and involves staring out the train window more) to fixate in my brain that I was going to fast through the day. In it's confusion it must have throught that fast was something to do with using my legs quickly rather than not eating.
Monday 27th August 2012
 17:47 BST

  It got fairly cloudy yesterday afternoon, but the sun still managed to peep through the clouds frequently, and overall it wasn't a bad day. This morning did see a couple of light showers, but they fizzled out, and although it has been more overcast than sunny today, it has been pleasant enough most of the time. It is rather grey outside as I write this
, and that makes it feel cooler than the 22 C registered on my thermometer. It seems there will be some rain after dark tonight, but tomorrow will probably be similar to today.

 Last night's sleep was sleep in two parts again. I woke up, pottered around, and then went back to bed again. This morning my second sleep did not last long, and I got up feeling nicely refreshed. I had high expectations that I was going to do a lot today. As usual, some hoovering killed that enthusiasm, but not before I had done a passable job on the living room carpet and rugs.

 Before I relaxed too much I went out to Poundstretcher and bought some new mats for the bathroom. If I had any green credentials I would have arranged to give the old ones a good washing, but they were pretty smelly, and getting the blood stains out of one of the mats would have been too much like hard work. The blood was my blood in case you were wondering.

 I've concluded that my attempts at getting this house looking spic and span (or something) is like nuclear fusion power. We know how to do it - almost ! For the last 60 years it has always been just 10 years away from being a reality. One day it will happen, and maybe one day my house will be clean and tidy.

 One of the reasons I slowed down today (and yesterday and the day before) has been the lure of my new microwave oven. I've been too tempted to experiment with in, and in consequence I have over eaten every day with the possible exception of today if I can avoid eating any more today - which is theoretically possible, but in practice.......

 Yesterday I did some experiments with instant noodles. The 99p shop has a variety to try. One type was labelled as ramen noodles, and they were ribbon like instead of round. They were rather nice. Some round ones I tried were really rather insipid. Apart from the dried noodles they just had a sachet of rather bland tasting flavouring. The ramen noodles had a very small quantity of dried vegetable to add along with a much fuller flavoured flavouring.

 Today, amongst other stuff I've eaten today was a couple of ready meals from Tesco. They come in microwave proof containers the same as many takeaways use nowadays. One was a Thai dish with beef and coconut. It wasn't bad, but neither was it wonderful. The other was Chinese dish of duck and noodles, and I don't know if it was off, but I didn't care for it at all.

 Tomorrow, having eaten most of the unfrozen ready, or instant, meals in my fridge, it's back to experimenting with peas and potatoes. I think (or hope) that the microwave version is going to turn out rather well. For one thing it won't be in the form of a stew. I'll just be cooking the peas and potatoes in their own juices. It will increase the amount of calories tenfold (possibly) but I'm going to sprinkle some grated cheese on top when I zap it with microwaves. One final touch, that might be foolish, or it might be a touch of genius, will be the addition of some anchovies.

 I haven't mentioned wildlife for some time. Starting indoor, I had a GIGANTIC spider in my bathroom a couple of days ago. I heard a rustling behind the litter bin in there, and I feared that it was mouse. That would have been rather tragic after Smudge dying, but it wasn't a mouse. The rustling continued until this huge great hairy beast emerged. Considering that I was sitting on the toilet at the time I felt rather defenseless, and in a vulnerable position. Sadly (maybe :-) ) the spider just happened to pass under my foot. It didn't survive.

 Cutting back some of the jungle that I call my back garden doesn't seem to have dissuaded a lot of the birds I see in it plucking insects off the bushes and trees. The robin that used to scold Smudge so persistently is still there, as are a few other small birds. One bird I see quite frequently now is a bit peculiar, and I probably should do some research about it. I think it is a transgendered blackbird. It has a black body like a male blackbird, but it's neck and head is brown like a female blackbird.
Sunday 26th August 2012
 10:47 BST

  As expected
, the warmth did trigger off some thunderstorms late yesterday afternoon. The rain was really torrential for a while, but somewhere got it a lot worse. I don't think that the thunder and lightning, where presumably the rain was heaviest, got closer than a few miles from here, but it still made plenty of noise. The good thing is that is cleared the air, and it was a cool fresh night. This morning dawned bright and sunny. It's currently 18 C outside, and getting warmer all the time. Today is forecast to be dry and sunny this morning, but with more cloud in the afternoon.

 After doing some tasks in the morning I sort of gave up doing anything significant yesterday. I ended up getting to bed fairly late, and it is hard to imagine where all the time went. Some of the time I spent in front of the TV. I had a few recordings to watch, and later on I started watching a really cheesy scifi film. It was called "My Stepmother Is An Alien" and starred Dan Akroyd and Kim Basinger. As a scifi story it had it's moments, but it tried too hard to be too cutesy. I think it was mostly aimed at kids, and yet it may have been better if it was a bit more adult (probably with more boobs).

 I think it might have been near midnight when I got to bed, but I wasn't really watching the time. I recall falling asleep very quickly, and I slept solidly until nearly 6am. Like the morning before, I got up for a while, and then went back to bed again. Unlike the morning before, I only slept for another 60 - 90 minutes, although I may have slept longer if my phone hadn't chimed with an incoming email.

 So far I've been a bit busy. I've swept a little of the garden path - just the bit running from the back door to the back of the house - beyond there it is still rather untamed ! I've done some laundry, and hung it outside to dry. The gusty breeze should dry it quite quickly - or so I hope. Finally I've emptied several waste baskets. Now I am not sure what I will do next.

 I need to do more hoovering in various places around the house, and I expect I'll do some of that. I probably ought to make a big effort to tidy up my living room. There is still unsorted stuff dumped in there from when I brought loads of my stuff home from work. I should probably make a start on either of those two things before I do one other thing I have a hankering for - going to the 99p shop.

 I do fancy a short walk, and so it may be the 99p shop will come first. I am hoping that they still have some lavender and aloe vera moisturising creme left. One useful attribute of the stuff I bought from there some time ago is that it protects my ankles from flea bites. After my severe hoovering of where Smudge was laid out after she died it's fairly safe to walk across that bit of carpet, but it's still a bit dicy where she actually died. It's the most urgent part of today's hoovering plan, and because it involves an armchair it is going to be a really fiddly bit of hoovering !
Saturday 25th August 2012
 13:57 BST

  During the night there was some rain, possibly heavy rain, but this morning seemed bright and dry. The forecast for today was for rain, but so far all I've seen is a couple of very light showers. The potential for worse, far worse has been there though. There have been some very heavy looking black clouds passing overhead from time to time. It's currently 23 C, warmer than I expected, and rather nice, but it could have a sting in it's tail. That warmth could add enough energy into the atmosphere to trigger thunderstorms later on today.

  I felt really sleepy last night and I should have been in bed earlier, and asleep earlier than I did. I'm not sure what time it was that I fell asleep, but once I did I went out like a light. I slept well until just a little later than I would normally get up at 5am. I half got up then, and spent a couple of hours catching up on my usual web browsing before deciding that going back to bed might be nice. I didn't really expect to get much sleep, or even any at all, but I did ! It was 11.45am when I woke up again. I think I feel rather refreshed after all that extra sleep, or at least I do now. Initially I woke up feeling rather dazed and confused (as Led Zepplin would say).

 Since then I have achieved three things if you count showering and getting dressed as one of them. I've done the most essential hoovering in the areas where the fleas abandoned Smudge's dead body, and a little bit more. I've still got a lot to do, and awful lot, but the rest is mainly cosmetic rather then essential, but of course every bit will help.

 The third thing I've done is I've been to Lidl to get some shopping. I didn't but a lot in there because I didn't want to carry an excessive load back from the most distant supermarket in Catford that I use. Once the deed was done I realised that I still bought too much. I seem to have bought loads of very tempting stuff that it will be hard to not consume too soon. Some of it is ingredients for microwave cooking experiments, and it's going to be hard to resist cooking far too much for myself today and tomorrow, and maybe the day after.

 There were only two items that I had on my mental shopping list prior to getting to Lidl. One was some of their own brand diet cola. It's not bad for a supermarket own brand cola, and although not quite as nice as genuine Diet Coke, the difference is only small, and far outweighed by the fact that it is only 39p for a 2l bottle. I bought three bottles. The other thing I was hoping they had, and they did, was tomatoes. Not any old tomatoes, but these rather interesting ones....
assorted colour tomatoes from Lidl
 All these different colour tomatoes all taste like basically like tomatoes, but there are subtle differences that make them intriguing from time to time. Some are sweeter, and some less so. Funnily enough I seem to recall that the green one with the red streaks, almost like khaki, is one of the sweeter varieties, while one the most red ones is most tart.

 I'm not sure what I'll be doing next. I don't think it will be more hoovering, and I don't think it will be laundry. Both are fairly important, but I think I fancy either some reading, or some TV, or maybe some cooking..........

Friday 24th August 2012
 20:31 BST

I don't think that the rain forecast for last night actually fell, or if it did I saw no evidence for it in the morning. This morning started rather fresh, and a little overcast, but the day brightened up, and warmed up as the morning progressed. At around 3pm there was a very light shower, but it didn't last long, and it has been dryn ever since. It seems a pleasant enough evening, and at the moment it is 19 C. Tomorrow is forecast to be very wet.

  As I suggested I might do, I called in to The Catford Ram on my way home from work last night. I had one pint while I waited to see if Chris was drinking in there, but he never turned up. It's probably just as well because I was terribly tired last night. After I got home I cooked some salmon on croute in my new microwave oven. The pastry didn't turn out that well, but that was no surprise. It was still tasty though. It wasn't long after eating that I went to bed.

 I guess it was only a little after 7.30pm when I got into bed, and after reading until 8pm I fell asleep really fast. I slept very well apart from a brief period of being awake around 3am, but I did wake up half an hour before my alarm was due to go off. If didn't have to go to work today I could easily have slipped back in bed again, and maybe slept for another hour or two.

 One of the things I discovered last night, and then again tonight as well, was that Smudge had a lot more fleas that I thought she had. She would really only ever allow me to comb her head and back, and I would usually pull out a couple of fleas. When it became more than a couple I would give her more flea drops. It now seems the poor thing had far more in places that I couldn't comb. If I walk across the place where I left her body I get instantly attacked by fleas on my ankles. I did give the area a spray, but the can of household flea spray ran out before I could give a more extensive spray.

 What I have do as a matter of some urgency is to give that whole area the hoovering of it's life, but I am far too weary to do that tonight. I think that tomorrow I have a lot of housework to do. It's supposed to be a wet, miserable sort of day, so there should be few distractions, although I think I will be going to Lidl to get some shopping. I haven't been there for some time now, partly because they seemed to stop stocking the cat food that Smudge liked. That is not an issue now. So I may visit there more often now. That's for tomorrow, but right now I think I am off to bed. Although I got a full 8 hours sleep last night, and perhaps a little more,I am still suffering from a lot of sleep deficit from the night before last.
Thursday 23rd August 2012
08:19 BST

  Many thanks to all who sent condolences to me after my cat died.

 Yesterday was a dark day for me, but weatherwise it was quite pleasant. It was fairly sunny, and by the afternoon it was pleasantly warm. Today seems as if it will be very similar. This morning it is bright and sunny. The day started feeling very fresh at just 14 C, and with a light breeze blowing. By this afternoon the temperature should rise to at least 21 C, but after that things go downhill. Sometime after dark, rain is expected, and that might continue to fall intermitently through tomorrow. The curse of the English bank holiday comes early ! (Next Monday is a bank holiday).

 I felt a bit sad from time to time while at work yesterday, and I was dreading going home. My worst fear was getting home to find Smudge had moved from where I left her in the morning, and that if I had taken her to the vets straight away something could have been done. Those fears were unfounded. She hadn't moved an inch when I got home, and my diagnosis that she had died in the night was correct. That still left me with the unpleasant task of disposing of her body.

 She was already loosely wrapped in one blanket, and I wrapped a second around her a bit more tightly. Than as I picked her up to place her in a bin liner she left one parting gesture. She farted. It was the most disgusting smell ever, and with me already feeling sick it nearly sent me over the top. Once she was bagged I gently lowered her into the wheelie bin. It wasn't the most elegant burial, but I wouldn't expect any more for my own dead body.

 I also threw out the litter tray, and had a clean up around where it had been. While the downsides are still rather sad, there are positive aspects to think about. No longer will I have to clean up a smelly litter tray, and no longer will I have the (occasional) stench of rotting uneaten cat food polluting my kitchen, and even worse, my wheelie bin. Opening the latter on a hot sunny day can often take your breath away !

 There are other advantages too. No longer will I feel obliged to rush back home to feed her after I've been out all day. I may well take advantage of that tonight. I'll probably pop into The Ram on my way home from work and see if Chris (from Chain) is drinking in there as he so often does on a Thursday night. There is a band supposed to be playing in there tonight too. I have no idea what they are like, and they are possibly awful, but if I do end up drinking with Chris I may stay even later to see what they are like.

 For all these upsides to losing Smudge I'd rather have her back. It did feel sort of odd going to bed last night knowing it was an empty house. Some of the evening wasn't too bad. My freind Patricia came by to drop off some laundry she had done for me, and to leave her sons new laptop with me so I can install some anti-virus, and other software on it. It was the perfect time for a bit of company, but it also revealed another crisis on the horizon. In mid September Patricia is moving back to Argentina, and this time it will probably be for good. There has been no romance involved for a couple of years (in fact any romance at all was all in my head), but she has been a good friend, and I will miss her when she goes (and I'll have to find an alternative way of getting big stuff - mostly bed linen - washed).

 It took a little while before I got to sleep last night. I wasn't really watching the time, but I think it was probably well gone 10pm when I finally fell asleep. All should have been well from then on, but at around 2pm I was woken up by the sound of a powerful diesel engine, and the shriek of rusty brakes. It was some sort of engineering train on the railway near my house. I guess it was cleaning and resetting the ballast between the rails or something. Every 30 seconds or so it would lurch forward a few feet, and then the brakes would squeal on. Then there would be a quieter sound of stones being moved followed by the engine revving up to move again.

 I don't know how long it kept me awake, but eventually the sounds became feinter and feinter as it moved up the line. I finally fell asleep again, but was awoken when it came back, presumably down the other line ! I lost quite a few hours sleep last night, and I feel quite dozy, and a bit headachey this morning. Maybe I won't stay in the pub as long as I could, or maybe not at all. It will be nice to get into my bed and have a good nights sleep if I can tonight.
Wednesday 22nd August 2012
08:04 BST

  Most of yesterday was fine, but it did try and rain on me as I walked to the station after work. It was a pathetic attempt at rain, and I just ignored it. Occasionally there was some sunshine, and it stayed warm, if a little humid through the whole day. Today has started bright and fresh. I am unsure of the current temperature, but I would guess it is around 15 C. A good breeze will help today feel fresher than yesterday, but will keep the temperature a little lower than yesterday at little more than 21 C. Apparently there is a slight chance of a passing light shower today, but overall it should be a reasonable day.

 On my way home from work last night I took a look in Tesco and found they had some "Value" microwave ovens for just 32. So I bought one and staggered home with it. One reason they are so cheap is that it lacks all the bells and whistles of more expensive models. It just has a couple of power level settings, and a mechanical timer. Well that's all I need, and it seemed like the perfect option for me. I tried it out cooking some garlic and herb flavoured chicken thighs, and they came out extremely well. I don't think I am going to have to do anything illegal now like reconnecting my gas cooker. In all probability my new microwave oven will do all the cooking I need.

 Last night Smudge, my cat, seemed a bit poorly. For some time now she has seemed like she was getting old. It's hard to describe what made me feel she looked old - you can't see the wrinkles or the zimmer frame ! When I went to bed it seemed like she was very tired. She had eaten some food, and used her litter tray, but just wanted to lie on the back room floor looking through into the kitchen. It was almost as if she had spotted a mouse, and was keeping an eye out for it, but she wasn't really alert enough for that. Although having said that, cats are very good at looking relaxed while still on high alert. The giveaway this time was that the end of her tail was not twitching.

 During the night I had a starnge dream. I dreamed I was in bed asleep, and someone was nudging me awake. When I opened my eyes all I could see was an indistinct animal walking away from me into the distance. When I woke up for real as my alarm went off, I had a feeling that something was wrong. I went downstairs, and there on her pet blanket was a very cold and stiff Smudge. It seems she had made one more visit to her litter tray, made a small deposit (that missed and ended up outside the tray) and then went and layed down on her pet blanket and died.

 There was little I could do this morning but wrap her up in the blanket and take her into the back room where she still is now. Tonight I have the unpleasant task of disposing of her body. It won't be very elegant, but she will just get a wheelie bin burial, but that would be more than enough for me when I snuff it. I'll also be able to dispose of her litter tray. I'm not sure what to do about all the catfood I have stockpiled. It is possible that word about her death will spread through the cat neighbourhood, and another stray will present itself for free food and warmth - that was how Smudge came to adopt me 5 or 6 or however many years ago it was.

 I can't actually put a date on when Smudge adopted me because it was a slow process. It took weeks to earn her trust before she would come into the house, and a fair time after that before she was happy to stay in for long lengths of time. Like most feral cats she didn't like being picked up. She gradually learned to tolerate it for short periods of time, but was far happier to just sit on, or near my lap, in a manner and time of her own choosing.

 I'm not sure if I want a replacement cat this time. If it happens, it happens, but there are freedoms that I missed out on while caring for a cat. Apart from tonight, for obvious reasons, I will no longer have to rush home to put food down, or add extra litter to a smelly litter tray, and although I don't really know how to have one, I could have a holiday, or spend the odd night away from home now.It's going to feel strangely quiet at home now.
Tuesday 21th August 2012
07:58 BST

  Sunday ended up being very sunny, and very warm. The temperature definitely hit 30 C. Yesterday was a little cooler at only 25 C, but it was still nice and sunny and dry. Overnight the weather changed, and this morning is very cloudy. The temperature dropped to 18 C this morning, and that should have felt very fresh, but high humidity has taken the edge of the freshness. Much of today will be cloudy, or so it's forecast, and that forecast includes a high probability of light rain later this afternoon. The temperature is forecast to only hit 21 or 22 C at best today.

 Yesterday was a mostly nice day, but one with an annoying sting in it's tail. I took the day off work so that the gas board could fit a new gas meter. Apparently the reason why it had to be changed was that it was measuring in imperial units (cubic feet of gas), and not in metric units as per how it appears on the gas bill. The appointment for the work was set from any time from 1pm to 8pm, but with a request for the job to be done as early as possible.

 During the morning I found time to go to Aldi and stock up on cat food, and stuff for myself. I also cleaned up Smudge's litter tray, and the surrounding area. Then I tackled a job that should have been done ages ago. I cleaned the second end of the kitchen worktop. I had done the left hand side maybe a couple of months ago, and used some cheap wooden "shoe racks" from Poundstretcher as shelves to store tins on. I did that job mainly to clean up after I had a mouse (or mice) living in the kitchen during the winter.

 The right hand side of the worktop contained even more clutter, tools, and other misc stuff. It was also where I had put down loads of bait that was supposed to kill the mice. All it, or more likely all they did was to strip off the green poison from the grain, and live a life of luxury on free food ! That corner of the worktop really was pretty disgusting with green flakes from the bait, and block dropping everywhere. The only thing that wasn't there was a dead mouse ! So much for Rentokill mouse bait ! (and I spent a fortune on about 5 boxes of the stuff).

 The reason for this massive clean up and disinfection was that I knew the gas fitter would probably want to see my gas appliances, plus there was a good chance that I might have needed to open up the water heater to relight it after my gas supply was restored. There is quite possibly another reason why it's just as well that I did clean it all up. It is probable that I'll be investing in a microwave oven in the near future, and having made that end of the work surface tidy, and having thrown away some old junk, there is now room for the microwave oven.

 The gas fitter arrived early enough at about 1.45pm, and proceeded to fit the new gas meter. When it was done he checked for leaks, and pronounced that there was one. It turned out to be my gas cooker, although with hindsight I am sure that it has a pilot light inside it that would account for the gas leakage. The pilot light functioned so poorly that for the last 25 years I have ignored it, and had forgotten about it. My oversight meant that my cooker is disconnected, and effectively condemned. It has had a long life though. It was second, or even third hand when I got it in 1983. So it hasn't done bad, and may still have life left in it if I do something unethical (or even illegal), but I can feel the day of the microwave getting closer all the time.

 Once the gas fitter had left, having taken longer than the suggested 30 minutes for the job, I changed clothes and rushed over to Orpington via my new route I used for Party In The Priory. I wanted to hand of a disk of pictures and videos taken on Saturday to Matt who organised the party, and who occasionally steps in as bass player for Chain. His shop, TMT Music, was supposed to be open until 5.30pm last night, but I guessed that he might close early after a completely exhausting weekend for him. I was right because when I got there the shop was closed, but I was lucky enough to find his wife waiting for him in the car. She said that he was just locking the back of the shop up, and would be along in a minute. In less time than that he appeared and I handed him the disk and another little present in appreciation of a great Saturday. After that it was back on the bus to the station, and I was home again about 90 minutes after I had first left. If only I could do a round trip to work in that time I would be very happy !

 Considering the disconnected state of my gas cooker, it was fortunate that I had already planned a salad for dinner last night. I must admit it was a bit of a strange sort of salad, but quite tasty. It was prompted by an special offer I saw in Aldi in the morning - jars of small, ready to eat, cocktail sausages ! I just drained them, and tipped them on top of a family sized bowl of ready prepared salad, and garnished the whole thing with olive oil, vinegar, and English mustard. Tonight I planned to have garlic and herb chicken thighs. They are ready defrosted in the bottom of my fridge. All I need now is some way to cook them. I have an idea, but I can't tell you what it is yet. To take your mind off it, here's some music....
Sunday 19th August 2012
13:43 BST

  It was hot, very hot, yesterday ! It was actually a relief during times when thin clouds obscured the burning hot sunshine. I think it is quite possible that it did reach 30 C as the forecast suggested it might. We seem to have lost a lot of the sunshine today. Since this morning there have been a lot of clouds in the sky. Occasionally the sun has broken through to give to longish periods of sunshine, and there is a hint that there could be even more this afternoon. It's currently 28 C and I think it is still rising. The only problem is that this heat is brewing up thunderclouds. There has been thunder rumbling in the distance, and we did have some well spread out, but very heavy raindrops falling a little while ago. It looked like the thunderstorms had reached here, but it's all died down again, and the sun is shining.

  I had an excellent time yesterday. Compared to the silly routes I took last year, and the year before when I went to Party In The Priory, my new route was very straightforward. I caught a train from Catford station. 18 minutes later I was at St Mary Cray station. I just missed a bus there, but 6 minutes later I was on another bus, and 6 minutes after that I was outside the venue ! That compares rather favourably with sitting for 72 minutes on a slow, crowded, hot, and sweaty bus !

  I have no idea how many pictures I took, or how much video I shot. I do know that I whittled the pictures down to just 45 good, or reasonably good ones, and here's a selection from those 45. Maybe more to come later.
Party In The Priory 2012
Like previous years, the place was not that busy. What this picture doesn't show is all the people sheltering from the fierce sun in any shady nook they could find. You could feel your skin fry under that sun !
Hannah Wells of Unsung Exposed
One of the people I went to see was Hannah Wells and her new band Unsung Exposed. She's sung a few guest spots with Chain in the past, and has a very good voice. Sadly she was a little nervous, and her new band were a bit young and raw.
Eight Days From Sunday
Another young band finding their feet were Eight Days From Sunday. Their style was heavy, almost thrash metal. It wasn't terribly polished, but I found it rather refreshing.
All You Need
Liz Wass, occasional backing singer for Chain, and here fronting her own band, All You Need, has such a powerful voice that she should really be fronting a heavy metal band instead of a 1980s pop covers band.
Dupe (or Duperock)
This is Dupe with the ever entertaining Dave Griffiths on Keyboard, a rather good guitar player, and a singer with a frog in his throat. They put in an excelelnt performance despite all sorts of set backs including the generator running out of fuel during their set ! I do have a good video of that happening, and I am wondering whether to make it public or keep it a shared secret between me, the band and the rest of the audience.
night falls as Chain do their set at Party In The Priory 2012
Chain came on just as the sun was setting. It made it all rather colourful, but there was a fly in the ointment. None of the stage lighting was aimed at the band. So close ups were almost impossible in the dim light.
Chain by night
One closer shot that did come out more or less right.

 This year I had company at the party. Kevin was there, as was Jodie and her friend Mark. Once Chain's set was over we decided to call it a day, and miss the last band of the day. We all decided that what we needed was a pub with a real toilet instead of the portaloos that were provided on site. Half a mile up the high street was a Wetherspoons pub, and we went into that for some decent ale and their toilets. Then by carefully consulting the internet on our mobile phones, Kevin and I worked out the best timing to get a bus from outside the pub back to the railway station (Jodie and Mark went home by car). Two things went wrong with that, but they cancelled each other out. The bus seemed to arrive at the station late, but the train was also running late. So it all connected up OK.

 Back in Catford we called in to The Catford Bridge Tavern to make sure we had fully re-hydrated ourselves after staying out in the hot sun all day. I had a pint and a half, and kevin had two pints (or more if he stayed on after I left). It was gone midnight when I got home. I think I had been out for almost 12 hours, and I was feeling a bit peckish when I got in. So was Smudge ! She had been out all day, and gave me a cross look when I let her in. I had a couple of sandwiches waiting for me in the fridge, and they seemed to satisfy me before I went to bed at some time around 1am.

 I slept rather well after all that, but not for as long as I would have hoped. By 7am this morning I was reviewing the photos and video I shot.  Not much later and I started editing the 45 pictures I had selected. That, and uploading them to Myspace took up most of the morning. Since then I have done a heap of laundry. I put the first lot outside to dry in the garden just seconds before we had the heavy downfall of rain I mentioned earlier. So I took it all in again, and of course since then it has been dry and sunny outside.

 My next task is to do something with the video I shot, but that may have to wait a bit because I am thinking of doing either of two things right now. The first idea is to have a lie down, and maybe a snooze. The second idea is to have a shower and get dreassed properly so I can go to the corner shop to buy some diet cola. Logically I should do the second idea first. I have been putting off having a shower for fear of the pain on my sunburnt arms, but I am beginning to think they aren't as sunburnt as I thought. When I think about it, I haven't felt so much as a tingle from them since going to bed last night. It seems the main damage from yesterday is the huge chunks of flesh ripped out by the car sized mosquitoes that were flying around the park last night like the Luftwaffe in the second world war. I expect we'll all be dead from malaria before the week is out !
Saturday 18th August 2012
09:02 BST

  I don't think there was a single instant when the sky was filled with white cloud as forecast by the BBC yesterday. By mid morning the blue areas of sky grew big enough to fill half the sky, and often more. Four or five hours before it was forecast we had brilliant blue skies and strong sunshine. I guess it got hot, but it didn't seem that hot to me. Even the evening, and into the night seemed relatively fresh rather than the hot and humid that was suggested. This morning the sun is shining brilliantly, and it really feels like a summers day. The temperature is forecast to hit 30 C in some parts of London today, and tomorrow might even see that raised by a degree or two.

 I was quite surprised that I didn't feel too bad at work yesterday. It being a Friday would have helped a lot, but even so I expected to feel exhausted at the end of the day. I didn't feel much like racing to the station after work, but I seemed to keep a reasonable pace. Perhaps even more remarkably after a full five days at work, I didn't feel inclined to get an early night either. I think I went to bed at about my normal time of 9pm, and then read for maybe as much as an hour before feeling sleepy enough to turn over and go to sleep.

 It was too warm to get under the duvet, but I didn't feel all hot and sweaty as I expected to. I guess whatever it was that was ailing me for as much as a couple of weeks was finally over once I took those days off work last week. Now if only I can start to eat a lot healthier food, and maybe lose a couple of pounds (or ideally a lot more) I really will be feeling fit as a fiddle again. I don't think that will happen today. In fact I know it won't. I have already eaten some stuff to line my stomach against an onslaught of beer today (assuming that there will be some beer worth drinking). For today is the day I go to Party In The Priory music festival.
VIP ticket for Party In The Priory 2012
 I've got a VIP ticket that certainly gives me free admission, but I suspect little else. The Party In The Priory website is not very helpful in giving times when all the bands are on, and is actually misleading because their listing of bands is not in the order they will appear. Fortunately I have found out the times for the bands I particularly want to see, and found out the approximate times of some other bands based on searching their websites etc.
  • Van Susans -              11.30
  • Silent Crowd -            13.30
  • Roger Blackman -      14:15
  • Unsung Exposure -    14:45 (Hannah Wells accompanied by Jo)
  • Live Politics -             15:00
  • Complex Reality -      16:00
  • All You Need -          17:10
  • Now And Then -       17:30
  • Rob Bartlitz -             18:00
  • Dupe -                       18:10 (featuring Dave on Keyboards)
  • Delilah's Eye -           19:10
  • Chain -                       20:00
  • Pinky's Dream -         20:00 (I would guess they will actually be on at 20:25 or thereabouts)
 The ones highlighted in pale yellow are the bands I want to see, and their onstage times came straight from the horse's mouth - or more accurately, from Jo Corteens mobile phone as a text message. I've never seen Dupe play before, but it is the band where Dave the keyboard player was borrowed from to play with Jo Bangles at a couple of recent gigs. So I look forward to seeing him in his native band.

 I think that for today I'll be taking along my old Sony VX1000 camera. It doesn't do proper widescreen recordings, but it's standard screen format (4:3) usually produces some cracking pictures, and being quite heavy it pans and tilts so smoothly. I did consider doing a multi camera extravaganza, but while previous multi camera experiments were good fun, and came out well, I am currently under the impression that a single camera can convey just as much entertainment, and is far easier to do. I expect to capture a lot of footage today, and no doubt some of it, together with a pile of still pictures will appear here, there and everywhere sooner or later.

 On my way to work yesterday morning I had my camera with me, and was able to retake a picture I had attempted using my mobile phone camera. The original picture was almost OK, and gave a hint of the vertiginous nature of the scaffolding built down from the top of the tower at Guys hospital. The picture I took yesterday really shows just how scary that dangling scaffolding really looks, and just how terrifying it must have been to build it !
scaffolding at the top of Guys Hospital tower
Friday 17th August 2012
08:01 BST

  I am more and more convinced that I live in a different reality to the weather forecasters. Yesterday was not humid, nor was it notably warm. Eventually there was some sunshine, but it was more often hazy than bright, and contrary to the forecast, there were some showers in he late morning, and one brief was was very heavy indeed ! The afternoon was dry, and it continued dry until sometime during the night. I think it was raining when I first woke, but it had stopped, and the ground was already drying when I left to come to work.

 The BBC's website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2634812) is currently saying there should be white cloud in the sky. They are partly right if you ignore the large blue patches. During the day the temperature is supposed to rise from 19 to 27 C, and at 4pm the sun should finally break through the cloud to shine at full strength. At least that's what they say. I am torn between a part repeat of the yesterday, with some showers this morning, or the cloud clearing a lot quicker with bright sunshine this morning. Provided it is bright and dry tomorrow, I don't really care what the weather will be today provided it doesn't do anything extreme.
early morning near Catford Bridge station
This was my view as I walked to the station this morning.
It was still a little dusky, but not so much that the streetlights needed to be on. You can see that the cloud was already quite broken up, and although the camera on my mobile phone couldn't capture it properly, the band across the middle of the picture was really quite blue.

 My drink with Jodie went off smoothly last night. She arrived in The Catford Bridge Tavern about 5 minutes before me, and had already discovered a rather nice ale to drink. I started with a half of that, plus a half of another not so nice ale. I had a full pint of the first ale after that, and that was it. Jodie had her tickets, plus some travel hints, and she caught the next train home while I walked down the road to my home. I was indoors in time to see the end of the BBC national news. Now there are no olympics on, it seems that other stuff is happening in Britain and around the world !

 After the BBC local news for London I started to watch Star Trek on Pick TV, but it was not an exciting episode, and I was feeling rather more tired than usual (although possibly about right for having two pints of good ale inside me). Fifteen minutes after it started I gave up, and went up to my bedroom to spend a few minutes on the internt, and a few more minutes answering an email. Although I can remember what it was I was reading in bed, I can't remember what time I got into bed, and I have even less idea what time I fell asleep. I think it was probably before 9pm, but it may have been sometime after.

 I am sure it was supposed to be a hot and sultry night according to our deranged weather forecaster, but I found it to be almost cool and fresh. Initially I think I slept very well, but my sleep became erratic in the small hours, and I nearly got up at 4.10am this morning. I did manage to fall back to sleep again, but only got another 30 minutes at best. One problem was that I was all stuffed up. I guess it was hay fever or something because I am fine now, but it seemed to take an age, plus lots of tissues before I could breathe clearly through my nose this morning.

 That was probably the worst ailment, but I had a good selection from the pot pouri of aches and pains I can suffer from. None of them were serious, and all of them were enough to make me want to go back to bed instead of going to work. Yet here I am, at work for the fifth day running, and really looking forward to getting back home again so I can start the weekend !
Thursday 16th August 2012
07:55 BST

  There is a scientifically (or statisticly) proved fact that no matter how many supercomputers you throw at weather forecast it always turns out to be more accurate to say that today's weather will be just like yesterday's. On that basis I wondered if I really would be drowned on the way home from work, as predicted by the weather forecast, or if I would go home in bright sunshine. It turns out that neither of us was correct, by my forecast was closer to reality than the official forecast.

 There was a light shower of rain much earlier in the afternoon than forecast. Then it all but dried up. As I walked to the station I felt a few spits and spots of rain, but nothing that would warrant putting my coat on. I did put it on "just in case" but as sson as I got on the train I took it off to avoid overheating. I didn't need it the first time, and I certainly didn't need it again. By the time I got home the clouds were getting quite thin. Today has started off feeling slightly fresh, but it is forecast to be warm and very humid, probably with some bright sunshine. There are a few heavier looking clouds in the sky at the moment, and if today is like yesterday there could be a shower sometime around midday, but hopefully it's the turn of the weather forecasters to make the more accurate prediction.

 I felt very sleepy at work yesterday, but otherwise mostly OK. That sleepiness really only dissipated once I was on my way home, but it was still very nice to get indoors where I could slouch to my hearts content. I would probably have been in bed extra early last night but my efforts in that direction were thwarted by the Freeview TV channel Pick TV showing an episode of Star Trek (The New Generation) between 7pm and 8pm. I think I may have been the first episode of that particular generation of Star Trek, and it was only be watching it again after all these years did I realise how much the series improved as the main characters improved. The episode I saw last night managed to combine very wooden acting with over the top acting.

 I was in bed, and possibly asleep by 9pm last night, and once again I slept very well until I woke up far to early. I guess it was something like 4.25am when I woke up from a dream that featured an unusual subject. I dreamed that I was helping to disarm a bomb that had been built into a huge power supply cabinet for a telephone exchange. I don't remember any fear in the dream. It just seemed like the thing a Technical Officer in the pre-privatisation era of British Telecom would be expected to do. My colleague, whose name escapes me, and I managed to disarm the bomb successfully, and without any loss of telephone service.

 I am not sure how I felt when I first woke up. I think I was too busy reliving the triumphs of my dream, but a little later I began to feel that it would have been nice not to have to come to work today. I had a minor, but still annoying, and potentially worrying, stomach upset. It's just the sort of thing you don't want while travelling no matter how much you try and convince yourself that the problem has been dealt with befoe leaving home (as indeed it was). As I walked to the station it was my right ankle that gave me more problem than my guts. It was stiff and sore until I had walked far enough to loosen it up a bit (but still not completely).

 While I was on the train I began to get a bit of a headache. I guess it was a tension thing because I really would have preferred not to come to work today, or indeed any day ! When the train got to London Bridge station I got off to wait for the next train to Waterloo. It is only a minute or two wait, and the big difference is that the following train stops in the platform with the toilets on them at Waterloo East. I didn't actually need the toilet, but I just wanted to make sure. While waiting that one minute at London Bridge I glanced up at Guy's Hospital. It is being re-clad, and bits of it are covered in scaffolding - particularly the top of the tower section.
Guys Hospital near London Bridge
 I took the picture above on my mobile phone. It would have been so much better if I had used my proper camera with it's zoom lens. The part I would have zoomed in on is all the scaffolding from the roof down to the part that sticks out on the left hand side of the picture. If you look carefully you can see what looks like a black bar almost hanging in space. It is actually a plank of wood supported by scaffolding that is hanging down from above. The guys who construct scaffolding like this obviously have no fear of heights at all. It make me go tense just considering how they can build scaffolding from the top down with nothing below except a very long drop onto hard ground !

 I am not sure why I am looking forward to tonight so much. I always look forward to getting home from work, but tonight will be slightly better than most. I'm popping in the pub on the way home to meet up with Jodie to give her tickets to Party In The Priory. Although Jodie can tax my brain at times, it should still be a pleasant drink, and in some ways more pleasant than a drink with Kevin (which I could have done last night). I'm meeting Jodie in The Catford Bridge Tavern. That's right outside the station - so no long walk down to the high street. The second good thing is that I know that it is definitely only going to be a quick, probably two pint, drink with no temptations to carry on drinking far later than I should.

 Of course the best thing about today is that it is Thursday. That means tomorrow is Friday, and at the end of work tomorrow the weekend begins. Until last night I was worried that Party In The Priory might be a washout again, but according to last night's weather forecast the greatest worry now is being fried by the sun........or if the humidity is as high as it may well be, being poached in the sun!
Wednesday 15th August 2012
08:02 BST

  I am sure that rain was forecast for yesterday afternoon, but after a dull start the sun broke through, and after work I walked to the station in sunshine instead of rain. I don't think it felt quite as humid as the day before - which made for a slightly more pleasant day. As sundown approached a refreshing breeze started up, and my bedroom felt a litlle bit fresher than the night before. It stayed dry overnight, and once the sun finally managed to rise, it was frequently sunny as I came to work. It's looking rather gloomy rather earlier than expected now, and maybe the rain forecast for this afternoon will start earlier than forecast........or maybe this afternoon will be bright and sunny again !

 I felt sleepy at work yesterday, but I don't think I had anything else to complain about except that my legs felt rather stiff for most of the day. At the end of the (working) day I found the energy to go home via Tesco where I bought some diet cola, two large bowls of mixed salad, and some stuff that definitely wasn't healthy - including a hot cooked bacon joint. That bacon joint, together with a pile of salad and some English mustard, was rather tasty, but not exactly low in fat (though it was very high in bone)!

 I'm not sure was more significant between boredom and tiredness, but I was in bed by 8pm last night (possibly a little bit earlier). Initially I thought I might read for 20 - 30 minutes, but an incoming phone call disrupted that. It was still rather too warm to cover myself with the duvet last night, but it seems I found myself a comfortable position without out, and I was fast asleep by 9pm. I think I must have slept incredibly well for a change. I have only the vaguest memory of waking up once in the night, and seemed to sleep soundly until I woke up feeling not too bad at 4.30am. That was half an hour early, but I got up anyway.

 I think I definitely have an allergy to work. After my first day off sick last week I seemed to recover so well that on Saturday I was feeling the best I've felt in ages (though I'll admit that 6 cans of Stella Artois probably helped a lot). The Sunday after was not really a fair comparison because of my hangover, but even so, once that had subsided I felt pretty much OK. I didn't feel like running a marathon, and my eyes and back were feeling the strain of too much time spent at my PC, but I can't recall any aches and pains that I couldn't easily account for. Now, on the third day back at work after the weekend, my cough seems to be perking up a bit, or at least it did on the train this morning, and I have a very mild headache type feeling.

 I decided to wash my hair this morning. That usually makes me feel good, and it did again this morning, but only in one sense. In another sense it just added extra heat to my body, which along with a hot shower, left me dripping with sweat from the time I got out of the shower until I was almost at work ! That sweating is undoubtably a strong message that I should cut down on my eating, but I just don't feel mentally settled enough for that. I may have had a few good days recently, but work goes on forever, and forever, and forever............

 I walked into my office this morning, and after the recent (but still not fully completed) clear up, the room looked so bare and stark. It very much reminded me of when I first moved into the house where I now live. That was cold, stark, and very bare. I couldn't wait to get some warmth in the place. To get some furniture. To put up bookshelves, and load them with my books. To make a home, A place of safety and warmth, and sometimes a place of happiness. My new look room at work has all the charm of a white tiled public toilet !
Tuesday 14th August 2012
08:01 BST

  The worst thing about yesterday was the humidity. Occasionally it was bright, and there were a few light showers. It wouldn't have made for a splendid day, but it wouldn't have been that bad, but the humidity left me feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. As darkness fell a bit of a breeze stirred the air up, and blew some fresher air into my bedroom, but it didn't last long. During the night a lot more rain fell, but it had stopped by the time I left to come to work. It was nearly 20 C when I left the house, and that should have been refreshing, but once again high humidity meant a sticky journey to work. It's grey and cloudy now, and although no significant rain is forecast for today, it feels like there will at least be a shower or two. The top temperature for today is forecast to be 24 C.

 I didn't feel to bad at work yesterday. It was also a fairly stress free day, but I still began to feel very tired later in the afternoon. It was a joy to leave work to go home, but my joy was tempered by walking out into a very light rain shower as I walked to the station. It was not heavy enough to get me wet, and in some ways was quite refreshing. That walk to the station was one of lifes curious paradoxes. I felt lacking in energy, or maybe it just felt like I couldn't swing my legs fast enough. I wanted to move faster to get out of the rain, and as I said, the rain felt like it should be refreshing me. I felt almost annoyed at my (seemingly) slow lumbering speed, but when I got to the station I found that I was no later than my average arrival time there, and possibly a tiny bit earlier.

 It was nice to get home and be able to relax.........but not before letting Smudge in, and feeding her ! It was also nice to turn on the TV and watch the last half of "Pointless" instead of a load of silly people running round in circles. Unfortunately the TV news, both national and local, was still at least 50% dominated by pictures and stories about people who had run around in ever decreasing circles. It was an improvement on last week, but there is still a long way to go !

 This will surprise some people. It's what I wrote elsewhere on the internet yesterday morning -
My prejudices are too deeply ingrained to allow me to have seen the closing ceremony of the things, but I did read some reports about it. It seems the crowning glory, the greatest achievement ever, of the things was The Who (or what's left of them) showing the entire planet that they were one of greatest rock and roll bands ever to rule the planet. Hmmm, I seem to be admitting that the things did have a purpose after all. Who'd have thought it ?

 I thought I should get to bed nice and early last night, but time seemed to fly by too fast for that. I did manage to get into bed with the light out at my normal time though, and the last gasp of the breeze that blew as the sun went down, seemed to blow in just enough fresh air that it wasn't long before I fell asleep. I think I slept well, at least I didn't have any long waking periods in the night, but I didn't feel very refreshed when I woke up. That was a shame because I could have done with a little extra energy and enthusiasm this morning.

 I caught my train as usual at 06:33 this morning, and we had got as far as Lewisham before the driver announced that there had been some sort of incident at Charing Cross station. Three platforms had been closed there, and our train would be diverted to Cannon Street. In itself that was only a minor annoyance. The big annoyance, and the need for extra energy was at London Bridge station.

 My train pulled into platform three, as is usual for a Cannon Street bound train, and as usual I, and many others, crossed over "via the footbridge" (as the platform announcements like to stress) to platform six. I had noticed two Charing Cross bound trains held at signals just outside the station, and the platform displays said one was due in one minutes time. So far so good. Then came an announcement that the next Charing Cross train would depart from platform three. Sure enough, one of the trains waiting outside the station started moving, and crossed over the points towards platform three.

 As we, and by we I mean over a hundred people, arrived on platform three they were announcing that it was a Cannon Street train, and that passengers for Charing Cross should change platforms "via the footbridge" to platform six ! So we all raced back to platform 6 again. I noticed the other train that had been held outside the station start to move, but it crossed over on a crossing I didn't even appreciate existed, and went into platform eight. Now that was very unusual because platform eight is a terminal platform, and is only ever used by Southern Trains Ltd, and never by SouthEastern Trains Ltd. That train, which still clearly said Charing Cross on the front as it entered a dead end platform was a SouthEastern train. Soon after that a Charing Cross bound train did arrive on platform 6, and with the front part packed like a tin of sardines, and the rear portion (where I got on) only packed like a tin of mackerel, we headed off to Waterloo East station, and although ten minutes later than usual, my journey to work continued as normal from there.

 Here I am at work now, still feeling a little tired. I think it's probably commuting that is killing me as much as being at work, although work has still got a lot to answer for, particularly over the last few months. Life here is a bit more settled now, and perhaps the odd occasion will arise when I do enjoy myself like I used to before we became a paperwork factory instead of a hot bed of ingenuity and real saleable products. Ahh, those were the days !
Monday 13th August 2012
07:54 BST

  It stayed remarkably warm and stuffy in bedroom, but outside the temperature fell away once darkness fell. By this morning, when it was still quite dark when I got up at 5am, it had fallen to a relatively fresh 17 C (but it was still 23 C in my bedroom). As the sun rose it managed to peep through the clouds enough to give a rosy glow to the chimney pots of the house seen to the back of my house, but before it got any higher above the horizon the clouds thickened enough to block it out. Maybe it will show again sometime this morning, but by the afternoon it is forecast to rain. It is also forecast for it to be considerably cooler today with the top temperature a barely adequate 20 C.

 During the evening I did more work uploading photos and videos, but by 9pm I was in bed. Ideally I would have been asleep very soon afterwards, but it was horribly stuffy and sweaty in my bedroom, and worse than that, or maybe because of it, my brain would not switch off. It tackled easy subjects, and scary subjects. The easy, or relatively easy, was considering what songs from their standard repetoire I would suggest Chain should play at Party In The Priory this coming Saturday. The scary part was considering what I would do if, knowing my past life as a pirate radio presenter, they should ask me to get on stage and introduce them or something. The correct answer to that, as crude as it sounds, is also probably the only true descriptive answer, and that answer is shit bricks !

 Eventually I got off to sleep. At first I was a bit restless and thrashed about a lot, but as the temperature dropped a bit, and the sounds coming in from people and vehicles outside gradually subside, I finally managed to get some better sleep. I woke this morning after as little, or maybe even less than 5 hours of sleep worth counting, and didn't feel too bad. By the time I had fed Smudge, and had a shower, I was dripping with sweat again, but feeling about usual for these days.

 Although I didn't feel ill or uncomfortable this morning, I didn't feel like rushing around much. I kept up with the average commuters, and overtook the slower, but I wasn't inclined to race the fastest (except on one occasion when a woman with a pram taking up two lanes inspired me to pass and accelerate away from her at a speed that would impress some of those runners whose exploits have dominated the entire universe for the last fortnight).

 Although I would rather not be back at work, I don't feel that bad about right now. Maybe at the end of the day I'll be sick of the place again, but for now I am OK. It was certainly a more pleasant commute without all those lost souls, and their pink and purple uniformed human guide dogs cluttering up the place. All the silly signs are still up. So that important information, like the time and destination of the next train, are still obscured by great pink signs saying this way to the venues.

 Well, apart from the (hopefully) lower key bash of the fairly 'armless (sick joke) athletes for another bloody fortnight, it is all over at last. I couldn't be bothered to even watch the closing ceremony such is my disinterest of the whole weird phenonema. All I know is that there were no reports in the papers this morning suggesting certain events predicted by conspiracy nuts in the under belly of the internet had happened.

 I suspect that most of these weird predictions probably originated from the southern states of the USA where inbreeding is believed to be rife, and the genetic results of include strange brains as well as webbed toes. The most exciting predictions were that the CIA would explode a nuclear weapon at the games. The "terrrists" would be blamed, and the New World Order could start World War three as they have apparently been longing to do since they were founded three thousand years ago, or something........ Another group predicted that the aliens would land, and a new era of world peace would start. Maybe the aliens met up with the CIA in a pub somewhere intending to slug it out as to whose plan would win through, but after a few pints of good ale just decided to hang out in the beer garden and get wasted.

 As far as I can tell, not, as I've said, having witnessed the event, by far the most important thing that has come out of this sort of fortnight war by proxy, is that the whole world (except for me) will have witnessed that The Who are one of the finest rock and roll bands ever to have ruled the planet !

 On a slightly smaller stage, but still pretty excellent in my opinion, are The Jo Bangles band, and one of the last things I did last night was to upload a video of them to You Tube. Here they are singing that Rod Stewart classic, Maggie May.
Sunday 12th August 2012
15:21 BST

  The weather was really good yesterday. It was bright and sunny, but a nice breeze stopped it getting too hot. Unfortunately that breeze didn't extend into my bedroom where it seemed exceptionally hot and stuffy all night. This morning it was 22 C by 9am, and since then it has risen to 27 C. A mixture of sunshine, and hazy sunshine has kept it bright all day. There seems more cloud than there was earlier, and maybe the clouds will brew up into thunderclouds just in time for the end of the olympic games (tee hee !). Apparently tomorrow could see some showers, but it will probably stay quite warm.

 Yesterday was amazing ! My train arrived at West Wickham station a couple of minutes later than it's correct time of 12:22, but that was of no consequence. Jo and Chris were waiting for me in the "tour bus" ready to go to Highams farm for the Highams Festival. When we were arrived at the gates we were presented with our VIP wrist band passes. It felt a great privilege to get one so I tried a bit harder to be useful at some light roadie duties (including drinking free beer), and being official band photographer :-)
VIP wrist band for Jo Bangles gig at Higahms farm
 I equated a VIP wrist band to an "access all areas" pass, and though there was little to actually abuse, I did take some experimental pictures from the back of the stage. I don't think any were particularly useful to show here, but it was a good ego trip being able to take them.

 The line for this Jo Bangles gig was Jo and Chris, as usual, Ravi on bass, special guest drummer Paul, and Dave on keyboards. With a big powerful P.A. it all sounded rather wonderful. The bass bins were particularly powerful. I was standing right in front of one when the drummer was being sound checked. I'm sure it drove all the bubbles out of my beer !
Jo bangles band on stage at Highams farm
Paul the drummer is hidden behind Jo, but from left to right.......
guest harminoca player Eamon, Ravi on bass, Jo Corteen, Chris Mayer, and Dave Griffiths on keyboards.
Paul - guest drummer for Jo Bangles band
.....and not hidden behind Jo, here's Paul and his drums.
looking down the stage at The Jo Bangles band
Looking down the stage - Ravi, Paul, Jo, Chris and Dave.
Dave Griffiths plays keyboards
Dave plays the keyboards.........
Dave Griffiths plays the tambourine
........and the tambourine (or whatever that instrument is called).
group photo - Jo Bangles band 11th Aug 2012
Jo Bangles band lined up in the bands car parking area at the end of their set.

 It was really a terrific gig that went beyond hearing some great music through a great P.A. system. One of the perks of being part of the band was that we were given beer vouchers ! They were real beer vouchers too rather than the old joke of calling 10 notes "beer vouchers". With Chris and myself being the only two who were not driving, we made sure than none went to waste ! I did pay for one can of Stella Artois, the best beer available, but all the rest, how ever many that was, were either bought for me or were paid for in beer vouchers. All I know is that my idea that I could allow myself to get drunk definitely came to fruition by the end ! Incidently, as I suggested yesterday, there were real toilet there rather than portaloos - nice, but not essential.

 The entertainment didn't end with the end of Jo bangles set. The next band had originally been listed as The Counterfeit Beatles, and I was looking forward to seeing them after hearing some good reviews. For whatever reason they pulled out, and the next band were billed as being M.O.D. I didn't think it was likely that they would be the thrash metal band of the same name, and they definitely weren't ! The M.O.D. we saw yesterday were a sixties mod era tribute band, and they were really terrific ! They played covers of Kinks, Who, and many others, and played them really well. They even did what is probably my favourite Who song "5.15" - I just love the line "Out of my brain on a train" for some unexplained reason. I haven't got any names for them, but I do have pictures.
The M.O.D. onstage at Highams farm
Their one single fault of their entire appearance was that check shirt ! It just didn't seem to fit in :-)
The M.O.D. bass player and lead guitarist/vocalist
The M.O.D. drummer
I'd forgotten that I did have one picture taken while abusing my VIP wrist band by lurking behind the stage.
foot tapping bass player from The M.O.D.
The bass player could be a throwback to the 1960s........
leader singer and drummer from The M.O.D.
.....the lead singer even more so with his Ronny Lane scarf.

 At the end of The M.O.D.'s set we all headed for home in high spirits. Jo and Chris took me back to West Wickham station. Their timing was most serendipidious. I just had a 2 minute wait for my train, and 20 minutes later I was home feeling wonderful except for a growing hangover, and a gnawing feeling of emptiness in my stomach. The answer was a takeaway meal. Given my drunken state it was no surprise that I ordered enough for breakfast as well ! Last night I ate a huge burger and a small pizza. For a sort of late breakfast I had cold chicken and cold stuffed potato skins :-)

 I really wanted to do something with the pictures and video I took yesterday, but I was feeling too tired, stuffed and hungover to do more than transfer the files to my PC. then I tried to go to bed. It was ridiculously hot and stuffy in my bedroom last night, and I slept very badly even after I remembered to switch on my fan at 1 or 2am.  Eventually I gave up trying to sleep at 7am. One reason for this was that I seemed to suffering from a post festival stomach upset. I believe this is quite traditional, although I didn't touch any of the food there.

 The stomach upset passed quite quickly, but I felt too restless, and still too hot and sticky to attempt to go back to bed. So I made a start on reviewing the pictures I took last night, and preparing a couple of videos I shot for upload. I have uploaded them to my alter egos Myspace pages, you can see them there, but I'll wait until I've uploaded them to You Tube before embedding them here. It seemed to take ages to go through the 133 pictures I took yesterday, and then select some for upload. In actual fact I took even more than that - Paul, the guest drummer, saw me taking pictures, and asked if I would take his camera and take some for him. I guess I took a similar amount for him. I hope he likes my sort of skills as a photographer.

 It's now late in the afternoon and I am still hot and sticky, and as yet I haven't even taken a shower today - such decadence ! I think I'll give myself a quick rinse down before I go to bed though. Hopefully I'll sleep OK tonight. It's sadly back to work again tomorrow, but it won't be long before I take another day off. Those pesky people at the gas board still want to change my gas meter, and they are rather hoping I'll be home for them on Thursday 16th Aug. I guess this time, unless something urgent crops up at work, that I will be. Maybe I'll take the Friday off as well, but I am now seriously short of annual leave. I think I only have a disastrous three days left now.
Saturday 11th August 2012
08:53 BST

  It did feel hot from time to time yesterday, and yet the temperature only rose to around 26, or maybe 27 C. Most of the day was very sunny, although there were a few occasions when some very thin cloud made the sunshine a little hazy. During the night the temperature fell enough to give this morning a fresh feel - outside. It's currently 19 C outdoors, but still a rather muggy 23 C inside my bedroom. Today is forecast to be sunny and warm, but a fresher breeze will keep the temperature down to 24 or 25 C.

 My plan to go out exploring yesterday came to naught. While I pondered all the variables of destinations and routes to be taken I started messing around deep in the bowels of my computers operating system. It started out as curiosity, but I got carried away. I recently bought a new keyboard for my (main) PC, and it has "multimedia" keys on it. I noticed that the volume control buttons worked, but the Previous, Play/Pause, and Next buttons didn't work when using Audacious (a music playing program very similar to the early, and very best versions of Winamp).

 A little bit of research showed that just enabling the "Global Hotkeys" option in the plugins menu would enable those keys to work. It wasn't quite that simple because my keyboard uses a combined Play/Pause button, and I had to delete the option for just a simple play button or it would default to just restarting the track playing whenever I pushed the button. The only trouble is that I also accidently deleted the "previous" button option.

 Unfortunately the way the configuration option works is that you select the operation you want carried out, and then press the key you want to use to cause that operation. The trouble is the button on my new keyboard was not recognised as a proper button. In an ideal world you would be able to just type in some words like "X86AudioPrev" which is what I had accidently deleted, but you can't. So I spent a long time trying to find a text based configuration file that I could edit using a text editor. As far as I can tell such a file doesn't exist in the usual way. There does seem to be a binary file that is probably full of C code that I could probably edit if I felt very brave, and maybe one day I will, but for the moment I'll have to use a mouse click on the player interface if I want to skip back one track in the playlist.

 I'm not sure how many hours I spent mucking around under the bonnet of my operating system (Linux Mint 10 - 64 bit edition) but by the time I had finished it was a bit late to go out, and I also fancied resting my brain with some quiet reading. I didn't really achieve anything of note yesterday, but time seemed to fly by until it was bedtime. Then time went by very slowly because it was sweltering in my bedroom, and I couldn't get to sleep.

 Eventually I did get to sleep, but initially it was quite a light sleep, and several times I was woken up by noisy people in the road outside. I'm guessing one extended family had arrived back from some sort of day out, and it seemed to take an age for them to say their goodbyes and bundle their noisy kids into the car and drive off. Finally I had some good sleep, but I woke up feeling rather hazy rather than fresh.

 Since then I've read some bit on the internet, put my camcorder on charge, and washed and shaved. The next two things I have to do are to go out and top my wallet up, and to pack up my camera bag ready for an interesting day out. I've had it confirmed that I'll be picked up at West Wickham station by Jo and Chris, and whisked away to The Highams Festival where I'll be acting as roadie for Chain, and thus get free entry to the gig :-) Presumably I'll be getting a laminate saying "access all areas" or something similarly prestigious. It might be my imagination, but I think I recall hearing that one of the privileges of being a band, or with the band, is the use of proper toilets in the backstage area instead of portaloos. If it is true, and with hardly any long duration travelling to do (on buses for instance), I can see my beer consumption being more appropriate for a gig :-)
Friday 10th August 2012
07:47 BST

  It was almost like summer yesterday. The sun shone brightly most of the day, and it was definitely warm - almost, but not quite hot at around 26 C. Today has started off feeling quite fresh outside, although a still bit sticky indoors. In the last hour the temperature has crept up from 17 to 18 C, and by late afternoon it could reach 27 or 28 C (although the BBC's forecast for this area is not quite so opptimistic). There are a few clouds around, and if it gets too hot it could brew up an isolated thunderstorm, but it doesn't feel likely.

 I was definitely feeling so much better yesterday. I was almost back to normal. Lugging back a 10 litre bag of cat litter and 4 litres of diet cola, plus a few other moderately heavy items from the supermarket didn't seem to tax me too much, and it wasn't that long after getting that lot home that I tackled some laundry. One item in that laundry was a warm fleece top that was very heavy once wet, and needed lots of manhandling to wash, rinse, rinse, rinse, etc and then plunge into fabric softener. The real test of strength was wringing it out at each stage, and that was quite taxing. Getting it even half dry was a near impossibility by hand, but fortunately I was able to hang it outside and let it drip. Everything I washed yesterday is now dry this morning thanks the the warm weather.

 Those two chores did leave me rather tired, and I stopped for a light(ish) lunch, and a lay down before I tackled the next chore. It was very hard work, and left me dripping with sweat. I cut down a 20ft high tree whose trunk was about 2" across. It was one of two that, along with a completely out of control buddleia bush was blocking most of the light into my kitchen (and providing lots of privacy for the foxes earlier in the year). I had just enough energy to cut off, and bag up for the wheelie bin, most of the small branches, but I still have the main trunk to cut up and dispose.

 One another occasion I'll tackle the other tree. It's about the same thickness as the first, but it has already had it's top lopped off, and will be easier to handle. I have started lopping off bits of the buddleia bush, but that is going to take an awful lot of effort to completely remove. Ideally I will do it when the weather is cooler to stop me overheating. The flaw in that plan is that I just don't seem to like doing anything taxing when it is cool.

 I guess I spent under an hour in the garden, and maybe only 30 minutes, but it was enough to leave me feeling knackered. probably prematurely knackered, but at least it wasn't the deep seated lack of energy that I had been experiencing the previous week (or was it fortnight ?). I guess that I am pretty much cured of my illness for the moment, but only if I can spend a day at work without feeling exhausted and miserable at the end of it will I be able to say that I am 100% cured.

 I spent the rest of yesterday just relaxing. I allowed myself to watch the news on TV, and to my surprise it was only about 70% mind numbing olympics stuff. Other stuff is happening in the wider world it seems. After watching the news I tried to get all relaxed, but it never fully worked. I could feel the results of all my physical exertion, but I didn't feel sleepy enough to get to bed early. When I did get to bed it was so hot and sticky in my bedroom that sleep was very difficult to attain. I just lay on my bed gently dripping for as much as a couple of hours.

 I have no idea what time I went to sleep, but it could have been getting on towards midnight. Sometime in the night it began to cool down, and I woke up feeling cool enough to partly get under the duvet, and I woke up at 5am fully under the duvet. I woke up feeling quite awake, and for the first time in ages I was not feeling stiff and aching. I felt so good that after an hour I started some housework.

 The first thing I did was a little more laundry. I had a small towel that I had soaked with sweat, a couple of tea towels that were pretty horrible, and finally a pair of shorts that I noticed were pretty stinky. Those shorts had a strong smell of seaweed about them. I guess the last time I wore them was to the seaside, and it was only when I used them for working in the garden, and got them hot and sweaty that I realised how much they needed washing.

 That washing is now outside dripping and drying. The other task I did was to empty Smudge's litter tray, and change the newspaper that surrounds it. Doing that, plus taking out the rubbish, should make my kitchen smell a bit sweeter for a couple of days. That's probably all my morning burst of energy used up now, and I am contemplating having a lie down now. Later on, and maybe not too much later, I feel I ought to try and get myself out for a walk in the sunshine.

 I am not sure where to go today. There are two basic choices - a ramble in the countryside, or a walk by the sea. Getting to the seaside is always a great bother, and I am not sure if I want a very long walk, but if I do it today it might be quieter, and slightly more civilised than at a weekend. So I think it has to be the seaside, but where ? I am definitely not travelling through east London, and very particularly through Stratford. So the Essex coast is definitely out of bounds. I've done all the easy walks along the south east coast, and I don't feel up to some of the more testing parts that I have yet to tackle.

 That more or less leaves the south coast. Another visit to somewhere between Goring and Angmering might be OK, but getting there and back is always a source of frustration. One route I had not considered before was getting the bus to Forest Hill station, and getting a train there to East Croydon where there are trains to all sorts of places on the south coast - usually quite fast trains. The problem is that the direct trains from Forest Hill arrive at East Croydon at the same time as the coast train leaves ! The alternative is a train from Catford Bridge to Elmers End, and from there a tram to East Croydon. Apart from my arrival time at East Croydon being unpredictable, it's not that bad going there. It's the coming back that is a right royal pain. It seems that anytime from the afternoon to mid evening the trams are unpleasantly busy, and just miss connecting with trains back to Elmers End. I think I need to consider my plans more carefully before I make a decision.

 What ever I do today I must make sure I retain some level of fitness for tomorrow. Tomorrow Chain are playing at the Highams festival. Officially it is a two day event, and tickets are horrendously expensive (although mild compared to more prestigious events like Reading or Glastonbury). It's also tricky to get to involving changing buses to a very sparse country service, or negotiating one or more very fierce hills. I'm lucky in that I'll be Chain's official roadie for the day, and will be getting a lift from West Wickham station. At least that's was the plan. It's not all been confirmed yet, but I think there is a good chance that it will happen.

 The band on after Chain are The Counterfeit Beatles, and I've heard they are rather good. I am not completely tied to Chain's "tour bus" (!), and before I found out who the following band was I was thinking of making my own way home if Chain decided to stay, and I got bored or tired. My guess is that they will want to stay on and watch The Counterfeit Beatles themselves. So it may all work out rather well. The weather promises to be excellent for an outdoor event as well.
Thursday 9th August 2012
09:53 BST

  The weather yesterday must have been very bland because I can hardly remember anything about it. It wasn't hot and it wasn't cold. I think there was some sunshine, and there might have been a brief shower, but I am very unsure about that. This morning has started off bright and almost warm at 19 C. If the last forecast I saw is to be believed it should be sunny all day, and end up in the region of 26 C. Tomorrow could be even better.

 It was so good allowing myself to recuperate yesterday. I didn't have to commute, and I didn't have any of the annoyances of work to worry about. I didn't see any newspapers, and I kept my TV viewing to just a few carefully selected programmes. For long periods I just lay on my bed either dozing off or reading, and it all worked ! Once the morning was over the hacking cough that would occasionally grab me by the throat and try to throttle me seemed to go away, and I am sure my blood pressure went down by half.

 It wasn't all wonderful though. All the laying down, and other slouching modes left me with quite a back ache, and a few more bits ached as well. Although I couldn't be bothered to even wash or shave I did briefly go out to the 99p shop. The ultimate result of that was that I managed to increase my blood sugar level to something probably closer to golden syrup than human (though I never bothered to actually measure it).

 This morning I feel so much better. I slept perfectly normally, and between normal times last night. A bit better than that might have been nice, but it was still a vast improvement on the night before, and even most of the preceeding nights over the previous fortnight or so.  Most of the worst aches and pains have gone, but I feel I can still do even better with a bit more recuperation.

 There are three things I want to attempt today, and each will test my stamina, and one may be therapuetic as well as a potential disaster. The first is to go out and buy some cat litter. I could wait another day before doing it, but a walk up the road in the bright sunshine seems like a nice idea. Lugging a big heavy bag of cat litter will certainly be a good test of how I feel, and if I feel OK, perhaps after a short rest, I'll move on to task two.

 Task two is just a bit of laundry. It is not essential, but I want to take advantage of what should be excellent drying weather. Task three is to get out into the garden, and see if I can hack my way a bit further into it. It could be hard physical exercise if it seems appropriate at the time, and it could provide the destructive fury that will drain some of the venom built up in my system over the last fortnight. It might be fun too !

 Of course, if lugging the cat litter back from the supermarket turns out to remind me that I am still totally knackered, I still have an unopened paperback waiting to be read.
Wednesday 8th August 2012
09:10 BST

  The weather yesterday was "mostly harmless". It was on the low side of warm, usually bright, occasionally sunny, and dry.  Today hasn't got off to a good start - it's raining as I write this. Surprisingly enough it's 20 C right now, although that tallies with the night being just too warm for being fully under the duvet, and just too cool to not be fully under the duvet. The temperature is forecast to very slowly creep up a few degrees, and by early evening it should be 22 C with some sunshine.

 After all the extra sleep I got on Monday night I didn't feel terribly bad yesterday. Even work was not specially irritating (but still very tedious). One thing that kept me going through the day was a plan I had hatched for the evening. It was to pop into Tesco on the way home from work and buy some lovely hot chicken, and 4 cans of Tennants Super lager. The lager, at 9% is pure gut rot, but I like it occasionally, and last night I thought I might like it a lot.

 The plan mostly worked. Tesco only had whole chickens rather than wings and thighs, but one of their hot cooked mini chickens was fine for my plan. I shared a lot of it with Smudge, and we ate the whole thing. I supplemented mine with some undressed assorted salad. My initial plan was drink all four cans of the lager, but after two cans I felt I had enough, and although it was only 6.30pm I went up to bed. I spent half an hour on the internet before getting into bed, but once there I fell asleep quite easily.

 I was fast asleep, and everything was fine until a very stupid friend of mine rang me to ask some stupid questions at 9.15pm. He wasn't to know that I had gone to bed extra early, but he should have known that I am usually in bed, and sometimes asleep at 9pm. I spoke to him for 5 or 10 minutes before I hustled him off the phone and tried to go back to sleep. That time sleep never came until over three hours later. At just gone midnight I sent him a very angry text message that I don't regret !

 Once I did get to sleep again it didn't last long. I kept waking up feeling either hot or cold, or I was coughing, or on one occasion I woke up with terrible cramp in my right calf muscle. That muscle is still sore now. As 5am approached, and with my calf muscle so sore that I had to limp to the toilet, I knew that I would not be going into work today. I turned off my alarm, and once again I tried to get more sleep. I had a few brief successes, but not nearly enough to feel satisfied about it.

 I think I've given up trying to work out, or describe how I feel. Apart from something concrete like my strained calf muscle, everything else is so transient. At 5am my lower back, plus my shoulders and neck were stiff and sore. Most of that has gone apart from some lingering creakiness. The hacking cough that kept me awake for half an hour sometime in the small hours has subsided to just an occasional tickle. There are probably only two things I could complain about right now. The first is a sort of mild tiredness headache, and the other is a sore right buttock (and down a few inches into the thigh). If I can get lots of rest today, to actually let myself be ill instead of fighting it, and if I can reduce my exposure to the olympics to the absolute bare minimum, I might actually feel reasonable tomorrow.

 I frequently (far too frequently for some) say that I hate the olympics. Hate is a nice compact easily understood word, but it is not an exact fit for how I feel. Maybe bewilderment may describe things better, but I hate being bewildered ! I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I know it wasn't without warning, far from it in fact, but suddenly I find that everyone, and all the media is talking about something I don't understand. It's like someone telling a joke in a foreign language and everyone is laughing but I don't understand it. Suddenly I am an alien in my own land. I just don't get mass hysteria. It's probably the same reason why I find the idea of happy clappy Christian stuff, or dour wailing Muslim worship, or indeed anything that isn't worshipping at the alter of rock and roll to be some sort thing that repulsive creatures from outer space, as so beloved by 1950s film makers, might do.

 Tomorrow, and even more so on Friday, it is forecast to be hot and sunny. It's possible that I might take those two days off as well, maybe as holiday, and try and get out and soak up some sunshine. That and sleep is what I most desire right now.
Tuesday 7th August 2012
08:19 BST

  There was one brief, but moderately heavy shower in the very early afternoon yesterday, but most of the day was bright, and mildly warm. The temperature dropped to a cool feeling 13 C this morning, and it is forecast that it will only reach 20 C at the very best today. Much of the day will be cloudy, and there could be some rain this afternoon.

 I felt dreadfully tired yesterday. If I were a cat I might have done what my previous cat did - curled up under a ush and just died. Instead I slogged my way home from work, and bought a couple of rolls on the way so I didn't have to bother with preparing any dinner when I got in.  As well as those rolls I also ate a small to medium sized pinapple, and a half handful of walnut halves.

 By 6.30pm I was feeling suicidal as I watched the olympics dominated news, and so I switched off the TV and went upstairs to check a few things on my PC. By 7.15pm I decided to go to bed. By 7.30pm, having not bothered to do any reading as I thought I might, I was fast asleep. It's not much of a life is it ?

 If it had produced a good result I would have said that I slept well last night. I did get nearly 9 hours sleep (I think) but I still woke up feeling bad. It was a struggle to get myself to together to go to work, and it was an uncomfortable experience travelling to work. I am not sure why I bother, but I am here anyway. Maybe I just can't do without the pay no matter how badly work effects both my physical and mental health.
Monday 6th August 2012
08:17 BST

  If it wasn't for the few showers we had on Sunday it would have been a pleasant enough day. There were periods when the sun came out, and the temperature just crossed the threshold into the very bottom end of warm. This morning it started out dark. Mostly it was just the days getting shorter, but that was not helped by it being fairly cloudy. There were a few splashes of rain overnight, and this morning, but it had stopped before I left to come to work, and now the clouds have broken up giving a few glimpses of sunshine. Today is forecast to be a mix of sun and showers with a top temperature of around 20 C.

 On Saturday night I treated myself to a meal from the Turkish restuarant. Apart from the free desert they gave me that was covered in syrup, I managed to select some fairly  innocent food. I had a lot of salad type things, and my main dish was mostly grilled meat. In theory it should have been fairly healthy, but I think something in it, perhaps just the roughness of some of the salad ingredients, gave me quite a sore throat a little while after eating it.

 It wasn't a bad sore throat, but enough to be annoying. Fortunately it didn't stop me falling asleep when I went to bed an hour, or maybe two later. I slept very soundly on Saturday night until I woke up after about 6 hours sleep feeling like I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. So I was awake, but not washed and dressed quite early yesterday morning. Eventually I showered and dressed, and once the rain appeared to stop I went out to get my weekend shopping about an hour later than I had originally planned.

 As I was locking my front door it seemed that the earlier drizzly rain had stop, and the sun had come out. It was only out for a few seconds, and the drizzle actually turned into slightly heavier rain. I did get a bit damp walking down the road in my shirtsleeves. While I was buying my shopping the clouds split up, and the rain stopped. I walked home from the supermarket in sunshine for most of the way.

 I had little time after getting back before my friend Kevin was due to come round with the hard disks from his faulty PC. I had just enough time to grab a bit of lunch, and let it partly settle before he arrived. I have to give him full marks for persistence with his PC troubles. It seems like months ago when it all went wrong. It started with a faulty monitor which he thought was actually a PC problem. Multiple incomplete boot ups, where he kept resetting the PC corruped his Windows installation. For month now he has been trying to repair/recover his original installation. I can't fully understand his reason for not just re-installing a fresh copy of Windows on a second hard disk (which he has) and migrating all his data to it from the corrupt old hard disk. I would have done that after a day or two, but obviously he has his reasons why he has been faffing around for the past couple of months.

 The main thing I did for Kevin yesterday afternoon was to clone his old hard to a new hard disk so we could try all sorts of zany things on the cloning without making an even bigger mess of the original hard disk. It took a long while to do that, but eventually it was done, but no matter what I tried I could not get it to boot. Kevin, whose knowledge of Windows is, or should be, better than mine, could think of no more ideas than I could. Eventually, as 7pm approached I suggested calling it a day. I wanted my dinner, and I wanted to start getting in the mood for bed.

 I didn't get to bed as early as I intended, maybe around 8.30pm, and in the end it was nearer 9.30pm before I was in bed with the light out. That's half an hour later than I prefer with work the following morning. Once I was in bed I went out like a light. I think I woke up once in the night, but otherwise slept solidly until my alarm had been sounding for a few minutes. That is a very rare thing to happen. Usually I am awake some time before my alarms is set to go off.

 From Friday evening right through to last night, I felt pretty good - apart from the sore throat on Saturday night (which cured itself overnight). It seemed no problem to go to the Supermarket and lug back a rather heavier load of stuff than usual.The tickly cough I was suffering from last week didn't trouble me at all over the weekend. Overall I felt pretty good, but I woke up feeling yucky this morning. It's hard to describe how yucky though. It sort of felt like I had a hangover but without a headache. I felt shaky, and my digestive system for odd.

 Evidently my allergy to work was affecting me, but later on another allergy affected me even more. I have become convinced that I am allergic to the olympics. After feeling good over the weekend, and once I had settled down, feeling tolerably well as I walked to the station, not counting a slight stiffness of the right leg, I assumed I would have a reasonable journey into work. Sadly it didn't turn out like that. The free newspaper, The Metro, was unsurpringly full of olympic news. I discarded the outer pages, and the inner supplement about the olympics, but that still left 75% of all the stuff in there devoted to the olympics. As I saw more and more pictures of gasping athletes my cough became worse and worse. By the time I got off at Waterloo East I could hardly breath. As I walked along the platform I was coughing so hard that I thought I was going to throw up. It left me feeling quite weak for the rest of the journey into work.

 On the train from Waterloo to Earlsfield I mainly read the entertainment pages about celebrities I have never heard of, and music types I don't wish to hear at all. To tell the truth I skipped through most of that, but there was some news about other stuff happening around the world on the following pages, and that was all innocent stuff. As I read this non olympic stuff my cough subsided, and since then I have done little worse than occasionally clear my throat. Even the fact that my desk area has been ultra tidied up in my absence hasn't triggered off any coughing, although I might want to kill someone (or me) because of it. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, wish I didn't have to work here, but something has to pay the bills.
Saturday 4th August 2012
18:09 BST

  Yesterday seems a bit vague now, but I seem to remember it as a slightly better than mild day with a few duller periods during a mostly sunny day. There were some showers during the night, and the puddles suggest some may have been a bit heavy, but during daylight hours there have only been a couple of brief light showers. Most of the day has been fairly nice with some sunny periods. The temperature, while comfortable enough has been a bit of a disappointment. Currently it is 21.6 C, and that must be about the top temperature for today.

 Either I am becoming numb to all the changes at work, or I have given up fighting, but the day went off peacefully, although not exactly enjoyable. It was still a gigantic relief to finish work for the weekend, and head for home, and ultimately to The Catford Ram for beer and music. Luckily, for my sanity, it was an uneventful journey home, and only the presence of all the olympic transport helpers lining the platform at Waterloo East ten deep reminded that the accursed sport thing was still going on.

 On the way home I bought a tuna and cucumber French stick so I could have a quick bite to eat before heading off to the pub. When I got there I wished Matt Sharp a happy birthday, and gave him a birthday present - a framed copy of Spinal Taps "Stonehenge" picture disk single. I also gave Jo an early prototype of what might have been Matt's present - a framed copy of Dire Straits "Sultans Of Swing" CD Video clip single. CDV disks, not to be confused with VCD disks, were all coloured gold. So it looks like the gold disk awarded to artists who sell a certain number of disks ( 100, 000 ????). I thought Jo deserved it because she always has a nice word for me whenever I complain about feeling ill or knackered etc.

 I also discovered who the mystery guest was. He was a keyboard player called Dave Griffiths (if I have spelled his name correctly). There were a few songs where his keyboard input really made a huge difference. Deep Purple's Smoke On The Water sounds great at any time, but with a "mad" keyboardist it takes on a new dimension ! Dave was "borrowed" from a band called Dupe, and they have a great website here that even features some mp3 downloads.
Dave Griffiths on keyboards
Here's Dave - the lower keyboard for piano, and the upper for synth.
Jo Corteen from Chain
I like this picture - it's such a beatific expression.
Jo Corteen with a very happy look on her face
Something funny must have happened.
special guest cowbell holder - Kevin
Kevin reprising his special role as cowbell holder.
the greatest line up of Chain - ever !
This has to be the greatest line up of Chain ever - Matt Hemsley on bass, Jo Corteen on vocals and rhythm guitar, Matt Sharp on Drums, Chris Mayer on lead guitar, and Dave Griffiths on keyboards !

 It was a fantastic night, and the Guinness flowed smoothly ! When it was all over Kevin and I helped lug some of the gear out, and once the band had departed we went back into the pub for one more pint. After that we went home, but I divereted via the Kentucky Fried Chicken shop where I bought some dinner for me, and because of here pleading eyes, an extra dinner for Smudge ! I ate that while watching something on TV. I can't actually remember what it was again. This either means I was very drunk, or some TV is so bland that it is instantly forgettable. I suspect it is a bit of both !

 I slept well last night - possibly too well. I had Aleemah visiting this morning, and after rising unusually late, I only just about managed to get the place looking reasonably tidy before she arrived. She brought with her a DVD of a rather good movie. If she hadn't showed it to me I doubt I would have given it a second look, but I really enjoyed it. It was called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It is superficially a comedy, but the undercurrents go much deeper.

 After Aleemah went home again I had myself a quick bite to eat - leftover fried chicken, and then set about selecting and editing the pictures of last nights gig. I have also basically top and tailed a couple of videos I shot last night. I'll upload them to You Tube sooner or later, and embed them here tomorrow, or sometime later. I was going to have Kevin pop over this afternoon for some computer maintenance, but I wanted to press on with my photo/video editing. I should be seeing him tomorrow.

 The next thing I am going to do is to treat myself to a takeaway. I haven't decided what it will be yet, but I've just been paid, I'm feeling good after last night, and I just feel like it anyway. So there !
Friday 3rd August 2012
07:49 BST

  Weatherwise, it was a rather pleasant day yesterday. I don't recall any rain, and most of the time it was either bright or sunny, although perhaps brightness dominated. It never got quite as warm as the day before, but it was still pleasant enough. This morning has started out quite mild, maybe 15 C, and also bright and sunny, though it is a shame that sunrise is now as late at 5.28am (it was barely twilight when I got up this morning). Like yesterday, there is a chance of some rain sometime during the day, with early afternoon apparently being the favorite time. Of course there could be storms during the day, but those will have nothing to do with the weather.

 I don't think my productivity hit an all time low at work yesterday - I did do some work ! With the majority of the 5S tidy up done, as far as I am concerned, I am beginning to relax a little. I no longer want to kill. Maiming would seem adequate for the moment. Of course things could change during the day when someone's idea of beauty is at odds with mine.

 Considering I was staggering under a really heavy load, I was happy that the train from Earlsfield station was normally, or just possibly even lighter loaded than usual. While that part of the journey was as happy as it can be when overloaded with stuff, I was once again annoyed by the same guy who asked me to stand behind the yellow line on the platform at Waterloo East a couple of days ago.

 While it annoyed me, I was happy to remember to point out to him that if some idiot had not hung a silly sign up that said "this way to the venues" I would not have to move so close to the platform edge to read the departures display. After I added that I couldn't wait for all this fiasco to be over he asked me why I didn't like the olympics. I gave him some answers of various levels of sanity, but when I suggested everyone had been brainwashed to feel the need to go to an event, any event, he wisely concluded that I was a nutter and made an excuse that he had to deal with a message coming through (suspiciously silently) on his walkie talkie, and wandered off again.

 I saw more of this primeval urge for some people to get tickets to olympic events on the news last night. They reminded me of heroin addicts. The wanted their hit. It didn't matter what it was, but they just had to get to the olympics to see something - anything ! As they were interviewed on TV about how they had finally got their hands on some crack a ticket their eyes had that far away look of someone experiencing inner ecstacy. Sad, very sad !

 Of course I realise I am the strange one when compared to normal behaviour (as defined by the majority). I see these people like sheep flocking together. They have to be part of the great mass. Last night I was wracking my brains to see if I could remember a time when I felt the need to belong to the masses. I was never in a gang (that's gang as defined by a group of kids hanging out together rather than the current vogue of a well armed private army defending their council estate, and drug business, from others of a similar nature). Even when I was in the boy scouts, where group behavior is the thing, I was the one who would wander off exploring on my own. I am beginning to think there was never a time when I felt I had to belong to any herd, and that includes those who flock to church on Sundays (or whatever god bothers of any flavour do).

 I am really looking forward to tonight. It's not just finishing work for the day, or even the start of the weekend, but tonight Chain are playing in The Catford Ram, and they have a surprise special guest. So some great entertainment, and a great excuse to drink many pints of Guinness - unless there is also a surprise special guest ale that is nice as well.
Thursday 2nd August 2012
07:49 BST

  There were a few very light splashes of rain during the morning, and a little of the afternoon yesterday, but sometime around 3pm the clouds broke up, and the sun shone. It was nearly 25 C when I got home from work. That rather surprised me, but helped explain why I felt more than warm on the train home. During the night the clouds thickened up again, and in the early hours of the morning there was some moderate rain. When I woke up the rain must have only just stopped because everything was wet, but it was considerably drier when I left to get my train. Since then the clouds have broken up again, and it's looking like a nice sunny morning. There is a chance of rain later, and the forecast suggests that it won't get quite as warm as yesterday (although I don't think that was forecast either).

 I had another miserable day at work yesterday. The only good thing I can say about it is that I managed to take home a lot of my personal possessions. I have more to take home tonight, and maybe a few more things on Friday. Once it is all done I can make a quick exit if I need to, and not have to worry about leaving stuff behind. By quick exit I mean either resigination, the sack, illness or death. One of which seems inevitable before the year is out.

 Getting my stuff home last night was not a pleasant experience. I had quite a heavy load to carry. I had a tatty old briefcase that I brought some tools in when I first joined the company. It has been here all that time until I took it home last night packed with my own personal tools, plus books, CDs, and bits of old computer junk. Then I had a rucksack that was full of other computer and other stuff - mostly salvaged from the bins here in the business estate.

 It was all rather heavy, and bulky, and to make matters even worse, my train from Earlsfield, which is usually only about 50% full, was packed tight with bloody olympians. So it was very crowded, very hot, and bloody irritating ! It was made even worse still by the amount of people watching live action on their mobile phone and making a right racket as they cheered whatever, or whoever they were watching. I really must make a pact with the devil to learn that skill where you can kill people purely by mental energy.

 Having got home I was further depressed, but also occasionally amused by the national and local news on BBC1. Depressed because 90% of it was about the same thing they had been broadcasting all day right up to the point when the news started - stuff about jumping and running and stuff. I did manage to find some amusement when they interviewed some people about tickets for the dreadful event. They test the participants for drugs, but why not the spectators too ? Some of those interviewed seemed as high as kite as they drooled about getting tickets to some sport they had probably never even heard of. It must be some sort of mass hysteria that people can react in such a way just because they managed to find tickets to the mixed free style underwater fencing event down the back of the ticket agency sofa.

 Once the news had finished at 7pm I retired upstairs. By 7.20pm I was reading in bed, and I am sure I was fast asleep before 8pm last night. I probably slept rather well, although my sleep was obviously disturbed enough that I can recall a few more dreams than usual. One, or maybe several dreams were rather unpleasant as they seemed to involve as many as three different gun and knife wielding gangs roaming the street (plus maybe a fourth who were all dwarves dressed in light green t-shirts, but they all seemed to be in some sort of factory).

 The best dream was also the most pleasing (which is probably rather obvious when I think about it). Like the best dreams do, this one involved women. I was in the house, or flat of a woman who I had known very well for ages, although I have no idea who she could be in real life. Another visitor was a very aloof red headed woman. She was very elegantly, but simply dressed, but maybe not that attractive. I don't think we actually spoke much, or at all until suddenly she told me that I gave her the willies. That seemed rather odd, but I suppose I could scare people. It certainly broke the ice though, and before long I was able to confirm that she was indeed a natural redhead all over ! I think we were both feeling rather good when the dream faded out.

 I didn't wake up much in advance of my alarm going off this morning, and although I could still complain about hundreds of things, I did feel far better than yesterday morning. All that extra sleep gave time for my very sore throat to heal. Sadly the hot and humid atmosphere on the first train this morning triggered enough coughing to restore my sore throat to some extent. I did feel very warm and sweaty on the train from Catford Bridge, but the train from Waterloo to Earlsfield felt delightfully cool and airy. I stopped sweating, and my cough faded away as well.

 Here at work I don't feel that bad physically, but I am definitely not happy to be here. I'll be very glad when the day is over here, and even happier once I've arrived home with another rucksack full of stuff that I'd rather not leave behind when I leave work for good. I think that tonight I am going to see if I can have another extra early night. It does seem to do some good, and a little extra energy would be very useful for Friday night when I fully intend to drown out memories of work under an onslaught of Guinness and good music.
Wednesday 1st August 2012
07:50 BST

  It never fully brightened up yesterday, but it stayed dry, and was not too cold. Today is forecast to have some sunny periods, and also a splash of rain sometime around the early afternoon. I think the temperature is due to hit just over 20 C today. To me, but possibly not in reality, it feels very warm and close this morning. I was sweating before I even left home, but it could just be symptoms of failing health.

 It started off tolerably well, but by yesterday afternoon I was ready to kill at work. If it had been announced as a spring clean, sometime in spring, instead of some slavish copying of a Japanese motor car factory, I could almost approve of the tidying up that is going on around me. There was lots of stuff that could have been recycled/thrown away, but there is a difference between that and almost stripping the place bare. To me it feel like some maniac has come into my home and re-arranged everything they haven't stolen. If work is not like a home from home then I really don't want to be here.

 So far only some prepatory work has been done, and I am teetering on the edge of resigning or slashing my wrists. On Friday it starts in earnest. I don't know what I'll do on that day. There's a Chain gig in the evening, and it would be very rude to disrupt other commuters journeys home (Olympic scum don't matter), otherwise I could throw myself under a train on the way home.

 It was perhaps fortunate that just as I was about to leave work I got a text message from Kevin wondering if I fancied a beer on my way home. I did - very much ! My only regret is that they didn't have any 8 or 9% extra strong ale, but I managed to get drunk enough by drinking 4 pints of 4.7%abv beer, plus a large scotch that Kevin, as he always does, insisted on buying me "one for the road". All that was consumed on an empty stomach so it hit the right spot.

 On the way home from the pub I bought some chicken and chips which I ate while watching something on TV. Towards the end of eating I almost managed to kill myself. My persistent, but inttermittent cough perked up as I was halfway through a mouthful of chicken. One, or more bits of chicken got sucked into the wrong place and I had an interesting experience trying to breathe while not throwing up, and expelling bits of chicken through my nose (as well as wasting the chicken I still had in my mouth). Eventually I was able to breath normally, but for some time I was coughing at a professional level, and that left my throat feeling red raw.

 I hardly remember going to bed, but I don't think it was particularly late. I probably slept fairly well. At least I can't recall waking up more than once or twice in the night. Eventually I woke up earlier than desired, and I felt dreadful. A little of it was hangover, but mostly it was all the same as some of the worst mornings of the last week or fortnight as well as my throat being extra sore. Most symptoms faded away, but as I mentioned earlier, it felt incredibly warm and close. It would have been interesting to see what my temperature was doing, but I never got round to that. Currently I feel reasonably OK, but it would not surprise me if I was crawling up the walls by the end of the day.

 There is potentially more aggro to come today, but for a change it is not related to work. The gas board are changing my gas meter today. My gas meter is outside the house, but they need access inside so they can shut off the pilot light in my water heater to check for leaks. I was supposed to phone then to say when I was available, but I couldn't be bothered. It is quite possible that when I get home I'll find my gas supply shut off, and the past reputation of the gas board suggests it could take days or weeks to get someone out to do the required safety check before the gas is turned on. Even that might not be the end of my troubles. If it is examined they might condemn my gas cooker because of it's age and state, and I might have to partly dismantle my water heater to get the pilot alight again. The last time I tried it, the built in igniter didn't work, and because it is sealed unit it has to be opened up before I can use a match to light the pilot light. If I am very lucky it didn't work last time because it was damp after I had been working on it changing the diaphragm, but now it has had a year or more to dry out it might now work. Fingers crossed ! Also fingers crossed that the drones who are changing the meters are still around when I get home from work.