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My Diary/Blog For the Month of June 2012

Saturday 30th June 2012
13:29 BST

  The weather yesterday was poor for the end of June, and poor compared to Thursday, but it was still very comfortable. There were a few times when it looked like it might rain, but it stayed dry all day, and until well after dark, it was pleasantly warm. During the night the temperature dropped to feeling chilly, but now, it's back up to a comfortable 22 C even with a stiff breeze blowing. The view towards the north shows some quite big piles of cloud, but most of the time the sun has kept shining. With luck this weather will continue through to this evening, and quite possibly through tomorrow as well. On Monday lots of rain is forecast :-(

 My sore feet gradually improved yesterday, but even today my left heel is still very slightly sore. It wasn't bad enough to stop me getting around, but it did slow me up. I never went anywhere special yesterday, but I did do two shopping trips. One to Tesco, and the other to the 99p shop. Those two trips revived my fatigue a little bit, and that meant that as usual, I did did little more than the bare minimum of housework to make the place look semi tidy for when Aleemah dropped in to see me after work (her work, not mine. I had the day off work).

 When Aleemah left to go home I set about getting some food together for my dinner. Unlike the night before, I felt ravenous, and I ended up eating all sorts of stuff that I really shouldn't have. Of course this wasn't helped by buying some naughty stuff from the 99p shop earlier on. Maybe if I had gone up to bed a lot earlier I might have eaten less, but I didn't feel particularly tired last night. When I did get to bed I stayed awake reading to 11pm ( I think).

 I don't think I slept particularly well last night. I remember dreaming a lot, but I have no real memory of what I was dreaming about. I can't even remember what time it was that I woke up this morning. I think it was 5.30am. I did try and go back to sleep, but after thrashing about for what seemed like ages I decided to get up. I didn't feel too bad when I did get up, but a little later I did feel quite strange.

 When I went for a shower I decided to try a new flavour of Original Source shower gel that I had bought in the 99p shop yesterday. The particular flavour was XXX Dark Mint, and it is described as causing a tingle. I would describe it as more like a cold feeling, and then only in a small area. That area was the region where a gentlemen keeps his most valuable assets, and I am not convinced it is a pleasant experience. It is not actually unpleasant as such, but it is certainly a novel experience ! Maybe the closest thing to it would be like jumping into icy water wearing a wet suit after forgetting to do the flies up (if wet suits have flies ? I think probably not).

 Having got clean (and tingly !) I went out to buy a few bits and pieces in preparation for tonight. It is tonight that my life gets very difficult. I'm off to see The Jo Bangles Band at The Crown Inn, Leaves Green.

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 The Jo Bangles band is Jo and Chris from Chain plus other musicians. I've missed the few previous gigs they've played. So tonight will be the first time. See them play is no difficulty, but it is tonight that I be picking up the acoustic guitar that Jo is giving me on a never ending loan, and that is going to cause me difficulties. Somehow I've got to learn to play something on it, or I'll feel I've got it under false pretenses. As I mentioned a week ago (or so), I did have a couple of guitar lessons when I was probably 13 or 14 years old, but gave up because I was useless at it. This time I've got to try harder, but even with that I fear I won't be able to do any better than learning to play a tune in a mechanical matter.

 Maybe one day I'll be able to hear the notes without actually playing, and be able to pick up other tunes. If there are any similarities to learning to type the outlook is not very rosy. After 20 (?) years of using a computer keyboard I can bang out words fairly quickly, but I make loads of mistakes, and it is anything but touch typing. I know the keyboard well enough that I could probably type on a blank keyboard, but blank or lettered, I still have to look at the keyboard to phyically see where I am going to put my main two typing fingers (and occasional thumb action). If I dong look iy wouls turn out simetghing kine thua (which is actually far closer to "if I didn't look it would turn out something like this" than I would ever have imagined possible !). Maybe I underestimate myself.

 Tonights gig starts at 8 or 8.30pm, and my guest spot starts sometime in 2055 AD :-) By 11.43pm, or preferably 11.23pm (the second to last bus) I should be on my way home clutching my new guitar to my chest. I don't think it will come with a carrying case, and so this morning I bought a nice soft pet blanket to wrap it in, and a couple of large plastic sacks to further protect it. Tomorrow the weather should be nice, and I could probably go out rambling, but I can see I'll be spending half the day tearing my hair out as I try to learn something about playing the guitar. There is also an even better reason for not going out rambling - there's another gig on at The White Hart pub in Orpington. If it were on later I probably wouldn't go, but this one is on at the rather unusual time of 3pm, and that's rather convenient.
Friday 29th June 2012
06:18 BST

  I seem to recall that Wednesday's weather was similar to Tuesday. It was mostly bright and dry with the top temperature around the 21 - 22 C. Yesterday things hotted up a bit. In London it apparently stayed sunny and dry, and the temperature hit 27 C. During the night the temperature fell a lot, and this morning it was only 17 C, but it is slowly creeping up. It should end up around 22 C, but there will be more cloud, and a freshening breeze - possibly !

 Yesterday was one of those rare days when I had no hesitation about what I was going to do. I intended to grit my teeth against the long boring rail journey, and go to Broadstairs for a walk along the coast to Margate. By a careful choice of trains, taking an earlier slow one, and then changing to the "faster" service, I was able to stretch my legs at about the halfway point. That was at Gillingham (Kent). While I was there it rained for a few minutes. That was a bit of an ominous start, but then the sun came out, and it was briefly scorchingly hot.

 The walk I had planned turned out to be 7.15 miles, and that was at least half a mile more than I anticipated. My mobile phone, GPS based, tracking program estimated that I burned 1200 calories on that walk, but I am pretty sure it didn't take into account the difficulties of walking over some of the terrain. The tide was out when I got there, and that meant I could take the sea path over soft sand, slippery rocks, fields of loose pebbles, and other ankle wrenching surfaces. Although it doesn't really show that I was on the beach, this is the route I took.
Walking from Broadstairs to Margate
 One significance of yesterday's walk is that it filled in a missing section of coast of a sort of vague plan I have to explore as much of is feasible of the south east coastline. Actually that is not strictly true. There is a section, perhaps as much as 100 yards, still not covered. It was because I took one road to get to the station at the end of a walk, and a different road from the station to get to the beach at the start of another walk, but it's such a small missing bit that I shall choose to ignore it. I can now say that, in 5 to almost 10 mile segments, I've walked all the way, keeping to the beach where I could, from Ramsgate to Whitstable.
The north Kent coast
 It was fortunate that I just happened to arrive at low tide, and that the tide was not due to turn for several hours, or much of my walk would have been impossible with the water lapping at the base of the cliffs. Those cliffs are of chalk, and although not as famous as the White Cliffs of Dover, they are actually part of the same geology, and almost as high in some places. They are riddled with natural, and in some cases, man made caves.
Barred entrance to Margate cave
This mysterious barred entrance is obviously a man made feature.
natural cave entrance near Margate
This cave entrance, halfway up the cliff is possibly nature despite it's very rectanglar shape. It's not obvious at this scale that the chalk is very stratified almost like giant house bricks. That would explain the flat top and bottom of the cave, and probably the upright sides to it as well.  This picture includes a man in it to give an idea of the scale.
chalk cliffs between Broadstairs and Margate
There is something very scenic about the way cliffs can erode. This stack and arch is nice.
chalk stacks near Botany Bay, Margate
These isolated chalk stacks are in Botany Bay (I think). There have been proposals for a nudist beach here. Being a total pervert, I was hoping to see a few (female) nude bodies lying around. Instead the place was over run with primary school kids having some sort of geology lesson, a fun day out, and generally running amuck.
sailing boat off Margate
Turning away from the cliffs, and looking out over a hazy sea, I saw many boats. This was a small sailing craft, but there were many big boats out there too. I know that the channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes, but I have rarely seen so many huge boats off the coast at one time. I would hazrd a guess that it was something to do with the timing of the tides.
Shipping in the English Channel
big ship off Margate
a big red boat, but it's not Radio Caroline !
This will deal with those Frenchies - Cannon at Margate
It's nice to see that Margate is ready and prepared to deal with those Frenchies if they ever decide to attack again. There are actually two of these cannon defending Margate harbour (which is a few hundred yars to the left of this picture).

 At the end of my walk I was in quite a lot of pain. My thigh muscles were complaining a lot, particularly those in my right leg. As I said at the beginning, I was walking on very uneven ground over slippery rocks, and sometimes through very soft yielding sand. If it wasn't either of those two it was often loose, and very lumpy, large pebbles. That too a lot of effort, but that wasn't all the pain I suffered.

 The worst pain, and it's legacy today, came from my heels. I decided to try out a new pair of slip on plimsoles for over half the walk. They were, as I hoped they would be, very comfortble for a while, but once they got wet, and sand got in them that very quickly changed. After walking about 5 miles I reached "civilisation" in the form of a concrete path that ran all the way into Margate. That point seemed a good time to change into dry shoes and socks (which I had carried with me in my ruck sack).

 When I took off the plimsoles the cause of my pain was obvious, and in truth rather predictable. The insoles had come unglued, and were all rucked up - particularly so under my heels. It was like walking several miles with a small pebble under the heel. Even in fresh dry shoes it was stil a very painful walk to the station. Even a pint of strong ale from a pub faily close to the station did nothing for the pain, although it did help rehydrate me prior to the two and a half hour journey home.

 When my first train finally arrived at Bromley South station my feet (and ankles) were so sore that I could hardly walk for a few moments. My aching thigh muscles didn't help much either. After those first few moments I loosened up a bit, but it was still rather uncomfortable going up and over the footbridge to catch a train back to Catford. Back in Catford I don't think I have ever walked so slowly from the station to home.

 On the way home I did find the energy to walk via the fried chicken shop. I hadn't eaten since the previous night, and after burning at least 1200 calories during my walk, I thought I had earned some unhealthy food. Oddly enough, once I started to eat I found that I was not as hungry as I thought I would be, and I only ate half of what I bought. I've thrown away the chips because they are always totally inedible when cold, but breakfast today will be cold chicken !

 It wasn't that sunny on the coast because of all the haze, but there was still plenty of ultra violet rays, bith direct, and reflected off the sea, to give me a nice bit of sunburn. Before going to sleep I gave my face, arms, lower legs ,a nd for the hell of it, my feet, a good dollop of aloe vera moisturising cream. After a bit of a tingle in a few places it seemed to calm the burn down, and I slept comfortably, although I am expecting it to sting a little when I get under the shower soon.

 Prior to the realities of yesterday I had a vague idea that I might go out again today. I thought that maybe a short country ramble might be nice, but my heels are far too sore to even contemplate that. The best I am likely to do today is get to the supermarket. I could easily still have a busy day though. Aleemah is popping in for a couple of hours after work today (leaving Saturday free for other pursuits). So I could, or might, or at least think about doing some extensive housework.

 One more picture taken on the beach yesterday before I either go back to bed, or take a shower. I think Baldrick, from Blackadder, might decribe this as a fossilied "thingy" :-)
As Baldrick might say- "It's a fossilisied thingy"
Wednesday 27th June 2012
07:49 BST

  It stayed dry again yesterday. At least here it did. Less than a mile away from here a sharp shower was reported to have stopped the tennis at Wimbledon. There were a few times when it became overcast, but overall it was a sunny, and warm day. It stayed warm into the night as well. At 9pm it was still 20 C outside, and 23 C in my bedroom (with the window open). I forgot to check the temperature before I left for work this morning, but I am guessing it may have been as high as 17 C. Today may well be like yesterday, but maybe a bit warmer, and with a greater chance of a passing shower - unless it gets too hot and brews up a thunderstorm !

 I seemed to feel quite good yesterday morning, but by the afternoon I was yawning and feeling rather fatigued. Getting out of work, and into the fresh air, and travelling towards home perked me up a lot. After sitting down, and having some dinner, I felt perfectly OK. Dinner was, once again, not as light as intended, but at least this time I snacked on a pile of salad, and a bottle of pears. The latter probably did my blood sugar level no good even though I drained them of the rather syrupy looking alleged fruit juice. May I should have washed them too. I might remember to do that the next time I open up a bottle of them.

 I perked up so much during the evening that it was a struggle to convince myself to go to bed when I did. I was in bed by 8.30pm, but I did some reading before attempting to get to sleep. While reading I felt perfectly alert, but when I put my book down at 9pm I suddenly started yawning. I assumed that I would fall asleep almost instantly, but as soon as I turned over to go to sleep I felt really hot. At 23 C in my bedroom it was hotter than it has been for possibly weeks, but it didn't seem to feel any more than comfortable as I lay on my back (naked, in case you ask) reading. Happily, within maybe ten minutes of thinking that I wouldn't get to sleep while feeling all hot and sticky, I fell asleep.

 I slept well again last night. I can only recall waking once during the night, but I did wake up half an hour early. Which was a bit annoying. My dreams, or the few brief snatches of them that I can remember, were back to more mundane subjects compared to the thrills of the night before. The only bit of dream I can recall was about buying a new mobile phone from a department store. It was certainly a novel sort of phone because it was tiny, but somehow it had a very big screen, and it also featured a small flip out (in some unremembered way) qwerty keyboard.

 I don't think I feel particularly healthy this morning. In many respects I feel reasonably good, but I do feel rather creaky. By the time I reached Earlsfield station I seemed to be loosening up, but I didn't enjoy the walk from the station to work even in the sunshine. It doesn't look particularly good for tomorrow if I feel like it again. I have booked tomorrow, and Friday, off work as holiday.

 Tomorrow is forecast to be warm and dry with plenty of sunshine, and if I can raise then enthusiasm I will attempt to visit the seaside. Friday could see a change in the weather in the worst direction - wet and windy - but if it actually turns out half reasonable I may take a wander somewhere. So tonight I ought to take particular care with what I eat, but whether that happens remains to be seen. Should it turn out that I can't be bothered to spend hours on the train getting to the seaside, then staying in bed is almost as good as the beach;-)
Tuesday 26th June 2012
08:00 BST

  It stayed dry yesterday, and on the whole, it was a nice bright day. I don't know how high the temperature went, but it felt neither warm nor cold. Today may see a few small changes compared with yesterday. I believe it may end up slightly warmer, but there will be more cloud, and apparently there is a better chance of catching a small shower - possibly around midday. As I write this the sun has gone behind some of the high white cloud that is covering over half the sky. Until now it has been sunny.

 I was quite surprised that I didn't feel all that bad at work yesterday. Evidently I was less hung over, and less sleep deprived than I thought I was. Even when I got home from work I did not feel particularly tired, and that was after allowing some time to pass while the general euphoria of getting home from work slowly dissipated. Maybe there was a trace of fatigue creeping in because I didn't manage to eat as lightly as I had intended. In fact I had the raving munchies, and if there was a horse handy I would have eaten it :-)

 Going to bed early did not come naturally, and I had to force myself to go to bed at 8.30pm. What was telling was that once in bed I fell asleep almost instantly. I think I probably slept really well. I woke up a couple of times in the night, but had no trouble getting back to sleep again. That was true even when I woke up at that awkward time of just 50 minute before my alarm was due to go off. If I remember it correctly, I woke up, looked at the clock, and then turned over and went straight back to sleep.

 Getting back to sleep so easily after the couple of times I woke up was probably because I seemed to be having some rather good dreams, and hoped to have another one (dreams being far superior to reality). It seems obvious that my brain is slowly rotting away, and I am mentally regressing back to teenage years. How else can you explain the increased frequency of erotic dreams I have been having lately. From 2 or 3 a year a few years back, to as many as a couple per month recently.

 Last night I hit the jackpot and had two, count them, 1 plus 1, erotic dreams in one night ! Even better was that they were relatively consistent, and I didn't do my usual trick of waking up just as the good bit happens. I shan't attempt to recount the details, but each one had a sort of interesting bit that I will recount. In the first dream, once we had concluded what we were doing, I stood up and walked over to the other side of the railway booking office to check the timetables to see when our next train home was. Maybe we were so engrossed in what we were doing that we didn't realise that we were in a booking office, but then again what was a bed doing in that booking office in the first place ? Maybe I just got confused and the booking office sequence was part of another dream.

 The second erotic dream was noteworthy only by the paradox in it. It was dream about tiredness and sex. After we had finished what we were doing I said to my partner (who had a name, but I don't think she exists in reality) "I expect you might have preferred to be asleep like I was". I'll admit it was not the most romantic remark, and aside from the rather weird idea of dreaming about sleeping, it sort of implied that I had been asleep while doing what I had been doing. Until I typed those last few words I had been thinking along the lines of it being an impossibility, but now I've changed my mind. Meet superstud, who can give women 24 types of pleasure even while asleep ! (Best said in a Rik Mayall "Lord Flasheart" voice).

 It is not surprising that I feel rather better this morning than I did yesterday morning. I suppose this morning I feel rather average, and after eating what I ate last night, and to some extent, after eating the tub of brown lentil salad this morning, it may well be a few more days before I will feel particularly good again. That may actually be fine because I am thinking of taking a couple of days holiday on Thursday and Friday, and on the day when the weather looks bets, I may take a trip to the seaside. Feeling particularly good then would make it so much more enjoyable.

 To that end, I'll try a bit harder to eat a bit better tonight, and try and make sure I am in bed early enough again. After last night there is less food to choose from for snacking, and so eating better will be a bit easier, and getting to bed shouldn't be too much trouble. Maybe I will feel even better tomorrow after all.........or maybe not.
Monday 25th June 2012
08:21 BST

  As far as I recall, the weather on Saturday was fairly benign. It wasn't hot or cold, nor was it bright or dull, and I can't really recall any particular rain, although I feel sure that there was at least one shower. Yesterday morning was bright and sunny, but then it got dull, and around midday there was a particularly heavy, but brief shower. After that I think it stayed dry, and there were some sunny intervals. This morning has started off splendidly. The sky is mostly clear, and there is lots of warm sunshine. It was only 14 C when I left to come to work, but it felt almost warm to me, and it is forecast to hit at least 20 C by this afternoon. It might get a bit cloudy from time to time, but should stay dry all day today, and possibly tomorrow too.

 Instead of seeing Jodi or Kevin I did some intensive, booze free, relaxing on Saturday. I don't think I achieved anything of note, and I'm not entirely sure the time seemed to pass so quickly. Obviously I wasn't bored or the day would have dragged by. Yesterday morning I was far more productive. Before showering I emptied the rubbish bins, and emptied Smudge's litter tray. Then I did some laundry, and hung that up to dry before showering and washing my hair. After that I sat around for a while to let my hair dry. Once it was dry I went out and got some shopping.

 I was after the usual stuff - some food for me, and some food for Smudge. That meant it had to be Aldi because Smudge doesn't really like the cat food from, say, Tesco. Unfortunately they didn't have much left of her favourite flavours, and so for some meals she has had dog food in her favourite flavours.I've never read the fine print about the ingredients to see if there is some significant difference between cat food and dog food. They look and smell the same to me, and Smudge is quite happy with either.

 As soon as I got back from Aldi there was a short period of very heavy rain. I can't help but feel my timing was rather good because I wasn't wearing a coat when I walked back from the store, and if I had stayed in the store for five minute more I would have got absolutely drowned on my way back. That was probably the last rain of any significance yesterday, and I was in the right place at the right time when it fell.

 I guess it was around half past two when I went out again to meet Jodie for a pint and a half in the Catford Bridge Tavern. I quite like it in there, but to get it that nice they seem to have to keep the beer prices very high to keep the riff raff out. Sadly they still congregate outside the pub - freely using the tables out there while drinking stuff they have bought elsewhere, and of course having the occasional punch up. Yesterday there was a bit of trouble just a few minutes before we got there. Some idiot is alleged to to have smashed a glass ashtray over another idiots head. When we came out of the pub a large area was roped off by the police as they investigated what had happened.

 We left the Catford Bridge Tavern to wander down to The London & Rye Wetherspoons pub to join up with Kevin. In there we had another two pints before Jodie went on her way, and Kevin came back to my place with the hard disk fom his PC to see if I could resurect it, or read the data on it after it had crashed. The best I could do was to use a spare PC running Linux that was able to mount the disk, and we were able to copy the entire contents to a backup, but I couldn't manage to get it to a state where the computer would boot from it.

 All that took a very long time, and while it was going on we sampled some of my Irish whiskies, and some 18 year old Scotch whisky. By 10pm, when Kevin finally left, and I had an assortment of food under the guise of my dinner, I was fairly drunk again, but nowhere near as drunk as I was on Friday night ! Still, it was a good laugh, and the fact that I was three hours late getting to bed, and I have all the symptoms of alcohol poisoning this morning, is possibly a small price to pay to complete my birthday celebrations. It's just a pity there was such a deep black hole in the middle of them.

 Now it's probably time to do some work, but I am not feeling terribly keen about it. I don't feel physically bad at all at the moment. At least now I'm here and sitting down I don't, but earlier I was definitely feeling the strain as I made my way to the station, and travelled to work. I deliberately bought two half litre bottles of water on my way in to help flush my sytem through, and the first half litre has almost gone. Once that bottle of orange and peach flavoured water is finished I'll be filling the bottle from the water dispenser, but before that, and before it gets too warm, I also have some strawberry flavoured water to finish.

 I am slightly concerned that I don't feel too bothered about being at work today, but there is still time for my first line manager to come in, once he gets back from a visit to the dentist, and say something that will really piss me off again. It would be hard to top last Friday's feelings, but I'm sure he could manage it if he tried. If he doesn't there are others who could, but are possibly less likely. In the meantime, if I am lucky I will be able to ake a start on a backlog of repairs I have to do. I enjoy doing them, and if not bothered by other petty things I should be able to knock off quite a few today, although that does rather depend on getting my microscope back from the bloody quality department !

 I have a pretty firm plan for tonight. If it happens as I would like it to happen, I'll be having a light(ish) dinner, and before 8pm I'll have done some reading in bed, turned out the light, and fallen fast asleep - hopefully almost non stop until 5am tomorrow morning!
Saturday 23rd June 2012
11:18 BST

  The weather was possibly kinder than I thought it might be yesterday. There was far less rain than there might have been, but at the same time there was also less sunshine than I hoped for. The only rain of any significance, and the last that I was aware of, was while I was going home from work, and waiting for my train at Waterloo East station. I was sheltered from the rain, so it was no big deal, but paradoxically it was also the time when the sun seemed to shine it's strongest. This morning has been dry, and for the most part, often sunny. It doesn't feel like there will be any of the forecast showers for some time to come.

 Normally my birthday is a very low key day, and I treat it like any other day. Yesterday was an exception. I regard it as starting the evening before (Thursday) when Jo gave me the wonderful present I mentioned yesterday. I described it as a framed copy of the album artwork for the Led Zepplin II album - or a good facsimile of one. I was prompted to look more carefully, and my present got even more wonderful. Inside the frame is actually the whole album complete with the disk ! I feel most humbled to think that all I did to earn that present was drink beer and listen to wonderful music !

 It is a pity that after such a great start to my very unusual birthday celebrations, my day at work started off so depressing. Happily I had worked out most of the venom by the time I left work, but if I could put the effort into work that I put into paranoid delusions, plotting, scheming, and generally trying to work out a way of leaving work without ending up destitute, I would probably be a rich man by now.

 They say that even if you are paranoid it doesn't mean they aren't still out to get you (Well, slightly paraphrased they do), but if you are paranoid you might as well get your moneys worth. I definitely feel persecuted. This business of me against them has been going on a long time through three different jobs. As far back as 1980, possibly earlier, they thought they knew a better way of organising my personal work space to fit in with their ideas of happiness and efficiency. Everytime things changed my productivity and happpiness would plummet, and slowly I would change things back to how I liked it to restore both my happiness and productivity. After all these years I am now very tired of fighting these people, and if there were a way out of it I would jump head first. Even through my persecution paranoia I have no doubts that I am not irreplaceble, but if ever I do find away out I know that for a brief moment (and maybe quite a few of them) they will regret it. Replacing my combination of knowledge, experience, and creativity will be very hard for them, and the fools might not even fully realise it until it's not there.

 Once I got home I decided to both chill out and celebrate with rather a lot of scotch whisky. I did have a couple of opportunities to go out to do this. I could have had a drink with Kevin and/or I could have gone to watch a band playing in The Catford Ram, but when I arrived home I felt totally shattered after my day at work, and lack of sleep the night before. So I got gloriously drunk, and treated myself to a Turkish meal. It arrived fairly quickly after I ordered it, but by that time I was seriously drunk and although I remember enjoying it, I can't  remember exactly what I ate, and what in particular about it I enjoyed most.

 From then on everything is just a blur now. I can't remember how I got the scratch on my hand that I found this morning. It looks as if I hit it on something sharp, but I was probably so drunk that I didn't even feel it when it happened. I also have no idea what time I went to bed last night, but I think it was probably very early. It might have been very soon after the local news finished on TV at 7pm. I can't remember anything about the news, but I have a vague recollection of turning the TV off after it finished.

 I do know that I woke up, or was woken up, at 1.30am by a loud voice outside my bedroom window. As far as I could tell it was just a conversation taking place between two, or more people, with possibly the loudest conducting her very heavily West Indian accented side of the conversation from her doorstep to someone in a car. All I know is that I couldn't understand a word they were saying.

 At that time of the morning my hangover was rather fierce, although in some ways it wasn't actually painful. I definitely had some mild shakes, and a certain amount of dizzyness. Perhaps it was something like the DTs. I couldn't get back to sleep in such a condition, and after half an hour of trying I resorted to turning on my PC and "surfing the net". I can't really recall what I looked at now, but I know I followed loads of links on wikipeadia, and other links to such diverse websites as the BBC, and even some porn sites. Given enough time I might have read the whole internet !

 It was definitely light outside when I finally got back into bed, and eventually I managed a couple more hours of sleep. Since then I've done little more than experiment with some ripping software for old Video CD disks, and a few other bits and pieces on my PC. After that I shaved, shampooed, and showered. Now I'm writing this. Later on I'll probably be having yet more booze as my birthday celebrations continue. This time it will probably just be a couple of beers with Jodi in the Wetherspoons pub. It is possible that Kevin might join us, although if he does it will likely be when Jodi is leaving. Should he join me for a drink it could be more than a couple of beers........
Friday 22nd June 2012
08:17 BST

  After a dreary morning, and more drearyness in the afternoon, it did brighten up for a while yesterday. Around 3pm it looked like the sun might break through in time for me to go home from work in sunshine, but it was a false start. By the time I did leave work the sky looked very threatening again, but eventually the sun did shine through the clouds shortly before I arrived home, and that sunny spell continued for a couple of hours. By sometime after 8pm it was drizzling again, and there was also quite a strong wind blowing.

 Today has started off mild, like a nice April day maybe, and just like April there have been some light showers. Happily, I avoided most of them on my way into work. The rest of today is forecast to be mostly grey with the chance of a shower now and then, but also with the chance of some sunny spells as well. As I write this it is drizzling again.

 My plans for another very healthy meal were scuppered by a very pleasant happening last night. During the afternoon I was sent a text message asking if I would be going to The Catford Ram pub last night. If it had been anyone else I might have said no because it would interfere with my healthy eating plans, but this request came from Jo (from Chain). Chris (from Chain) frequently has an after work drink in there on a Thursday night, but I've never known Jo to be there before. I did have a strong suspicion why she might come, but I never guessed the full reason.

 I got to the pub in advance of Jo, but Chris was already there with some of his workmates who I've met before several times. When Jo arrived I knew she was going to wish me happy birthday for today, and maybe I thought there was a possibility that she might give me a birthday card, but I certainly never expected to get a very nice present. It was a framed album cover (or good facsimile) of Led Zepplins second album.
Led Zepplins second album - Led Zep 2
 I look forward to hanging it up in my living room soon. I did also get a card from Jo, and I've never seen anything like it before. It was in the shape of a 7 inch single, and came in a close approximation to a record sleeve instead of an envelope. Potentially there is even more to come. I mentioned that at the last gig, while drunk, that I had asked Matt (the bass player, and owner of TMT music in Orpington) what the going rate was for an old, secondhand, beaten up guitar might be because I sort of fancied trying to learn to play a few notes on one. His answer was anywhere between 20 and 20,000 depending on make, model, condition, and a myriad of other factors. Jo said that she has a guitar that she can give to me on a never ending loan. (The latter because I said that it should probably go to someone who actually has a chance of using it seriously). I once had a few guitar lessons back in my early schools days, and I was pretty useless at it. Whether I can teach myself any new tricks is debateable, but maybe with the aid of the internet I might do better this time.

 It was a lovely night, last night, and only spoiled slightly be a band who started playing in the pub after Jo and Chris had gone home. They were a rock and roll band of the old school variety, and although evidently good musicians, with a good stage sound, I just did not care for their choice of music. It was worse than the light drizzle I experienced as I walked home in my shirtsleeves (I didn't need a coat when I left home because it was bright and sunny, and so I took a chance). On the way home I bought some fish and chips because it was already nearly an hour after my bedtime, and I didn't want to waste time preparing my dinner when I got home.

 In fact I could have prepared something better for me when I got in because I ended up watching TV until 11pm (or thereabouts). I don't know what time I finally got to sleep, but it couldn't have been much before midnight. In consequence I got very little sleep last night, and I shall be looking forward to me bed very early tonight (or if it were possible, anytime this morning).

 After such a good night it is so depressing to have to come to work today while feeling tired, and very slightly hung over. That is not the worst of it though. Apparently the company are embarking on the 5S system. I have no idea what those five esses stand for, but it sounds like a load of shits to me. Another attempt is being made to wreck my mental health by trying to make my work environment conform to conditions that are an anthema to me. A short, but mega irritating "lecture" this morning has completely ruined my day, and I just can't wait for the day to come when I can quit this bloody job.
Thursday 21st June 2012
08:37 BST

  Yesterday was a very nice day indeed. It was bright, sunny, and dry, and the temperature rose to 24 C. It seemed a pleasant evening too, but sometime after dark the clouds gathered, and rain fell. I don't think the rain was particularly heavy during the night, but it seems that is was very persistent. At 5am, when I put some waste in the wheelie bin, the rain had stopped, but the big puddles suggested it had been falling quite recently. An hour and fifteen minutes later, as I set off to come to work, the rain was falling quite freely again. It had stopped again by the time I arrived at Earlsfield, and it even looked like it might brighten up a bit. It didn't, and it may be a good thing if we don't get any extended periods of sunshine. The heat from a few hours of sun could easily be enough to power a rip roaring thunderstorm with torrential rain. If it has to rain today I would prefer something gentler than a tropical storm !

 It really was wonderful to get out into the warm sunshine yesterday even if it was for medical stuff. It was also interesting to see all the work being done at, and around, London Bridge station. I see a lot of the building works from the train as I go by on my way to work, but seeing from ground level gives another perspective. Currently it looks all shiny and modern. It's a shame such architecture wears so badly that it will all have to be pulled down in 30 years before it falls down.

 One of the changes at London Bridge is the bridge that went from the forecourt of the station to an entrance on the second floor of Guys hospital, is no longer there. Getting to the part of the hospital where they do the eye screening now takes a rather long walk to the main entrance of the hospital down at ground level. However, I discovered a short cut on the way out. If you follow the street signs to the sexual health clinic they take you to a far closer entrance to the station, and from that entrance it is just a 20 second walk to the lift that deposits you right outside the eye screening clinic on the third floor. If I ever have to go there again it will be far easier. Fortunately I think I have managed to change future eye tests back to Lewisham Hospital, and that it a most convenient 10 - 15 minute walk from home.

 The first part of the proceedure I had yesterday was to give a few details such as what medication I might be on (none), and my date of birth - many times !(they seem to have a fetish about my date of birth, and almost prefixed every sentence uttered with a request for it). Then after a simple eye check using a chart on the wall, some drops are put in each eye to dilate the pupils. This time I had my wits about me, and a lowish resolution, but front facing camera on my mobile phone. So while I waited in the waiting area for my eyes to go "funny" I took a picture.
pupils dilated prior to DECCS eye screening
 I don't know if my pupils ever get wider than in the picture above, but that it a good third wider than they were this morning when I looked in the bathroom mirror (and on such an overcast morning it was pretty gloomy in there at first). The next step is to get the back of the eye photographed by a microscope/camera combination that has a flash gun like an atom bomb going off. It's two snaps of each eye, and then the nurse/technician gives a preliminary instant diagnosis (no obvious problems, but awaiting proper analysis). After that, with the purple patches floating about in front of the eyes - the result of the flash photography - just about fading away, it's out into the harsh actinic light of the outside world.

 I suppose it always feels good to get these things over with, and a return to freedom from the oppressive yoke of the medical proffession, but I was feeling even better than that. Some of the gut I've lost, and the summer heat gave me unusual levels of energy. For the first time in ages it felt almost effortless to run up the escalators at London Bridge station. If it wasn't for the glare I could done something more energetic, like walking around a bit of London, but I needed the shade.

 I am unsure why, but I didn't suffer more from glare to the extent that I have on previous occasions - even on duller days than  yesterday's exceptional brightness. The worst part was walking from the station to home. Maybe it was the direction I was walking in relation to the angle of the sun, but I had to shut my eyes for most of the walk. I was a case of opening my eyes about every fifth pace to check for problems, and walk the other four paces blind.

 Once home, and in the shade, I treated myself to a couple of sandwiches I had bought in the morning while shopping in Aldi. Having those sandwiches did spoil my efforts at reducing my food intake in more than just the one way. I think they triggered a feeding frenzy that I was unable to completely control. There could be two other reasons for "getting the munchies" during the early evening. I have no idea just what did it, but it was a hell of a fight to not roast a cow, put it between two loaves of bread, and stuff my face with it.

 The first of the other reasons could be the result of an experiment I tried. For my dinner I made a main meal almost identical the one I pictured yesterday, but instead of peppered mackeral I used pastrami. Also, instead of a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar I squeezed the juice out of half a lime on it. I think it probably worked quite well. I couldn't really taste the lime, but the meal did have a certain tang that was different to that given by the balsamic vinegar. The other possible reason for my food frenzy was the half a fresh pineapple I ate. It was both sweet and tart at the same time, and the tartness may have made me feel peckish. When I did have some extra food I did manage to choose some stuff that was relatively benign.

 It could be that there is a deeper underlying reason why I felt like eating so much last night. This morning I had quite a stomach ache, and annoyingly it developed after I had left for work. All I can say is thank goodness for the toilets at Waterloo East, Waterloo, and Clapham Junction stations ! It feels like I lost half a stone on the way to work, and I know that I lost a few tenths of an inch around my waist. After my second visit to a toilet I did my belt up and found that I had pulled it up to the next notch will very little extra effort. It was a little uncomfortable like that, particularly when my stomach was feeling tender, and of course it's probably only temporary. With my belt on the "normal" notch it definitely feels getting close enough for an accident worthy of an English stage farce to happen. (Why do trousers fall down in such plays ?).
Wednesday 20th June 2012
08:50 BST

  Yesterday ended up reasonably warm. I measured just under 22 C when I got home from work. There were a few times when the clouds were thick enough to bring a spot of rain. An odd shower, probably around midday day, was predicted, but never happened. There seemed to still be a lot of clear sky when I went to bed last night (before sunset), and this morning it is bright and clear. The temperature now is just over 18 C, and there seems every possibility that it will rise to the forecast figure of 23 C, and maybe even a little higher if the sun continues to shine.

 I had a slightly better than tolerable day at work yesterday. Maybe I could grudgingly admit there were a few minutes when I actually enjoyed myself. The sunshine probably played a major role in that, but it was nice to get home again. Once home again I set about preparing my dinner. This time I took a picture of it. I used my mobile phone to take the picture, and that may have been a mistake because the result is not exactly sharp and well balanced !
dinner - mackerel salad - 19th June 2012
 Dinner was peppered mackerel on a bed of green salad leaves with beetroot along with tomatoes, cucumber, and a few croutons. I dressed the salad with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. For dessert I had the little punnet of blueberries. I think that little lot was a reasonably healthy meal - although I probably was a little too liberal with the olive oil. If I had just eaten that I would have been doing exceptionally well, but soon after I had a handful of almonds. Later still I ate the rest of the croutons, but that was all I ate yesterday.

 It certainly was a light enough meal that I felt capable enough to do some more hand laundry. I washed two double fitted sheets, and another two pillow cases. One sheet was cotton, and that was pretty heavy when saturated, but the other sheet, and the two pillow cases were satin (or maybe sateen ? - Poundstretcher quality satin !). The satin was light and easy to handle, but really difficult to wring out. I dried it over a clothes horse, and it still dripped so much I had to put bowls under all the places where it dripped.

 Doing that washing made me feel rather hot, and by the time I had finished it I was dripping with sweat. Fortunately it was still early in the evening, and I had just enough time to dry out before I went to bed. I slept quite well last night. I am not at work today, but I still got up at 5am, did a few things like feeding Smudge, and then I had the luxury of going back to bed again. It seems I didn't really need much more sleep because I don't think I managed more than an hour of extra sleep.

 I think I feel pretty good this morning, and that has been extra enhanced by being able to have a very leisurely shave, shampoo and shower. The next thing I'll be doing is going out to do a bit of shopping, and then later on I'll be going out again for the reason I am off work today. I'm going to Guys hospital near London Bridge for my eye screening. Going there will be fine, but coming home with my pupils still dilated from the drops they put in your eyes, is going to be an unpleasant experience in this bright sunshine. I think I am going to do something I really don't like doing - wearing a hat. I have a rarely worn "Youngs Triple A bitter" baseball type cap, and I think that if I pull that low over my eyes it might provide some protection from the glare.
Tuesday 19th June 2012
07:46 BST

  I'm not sure if the rain forecast for yesterday evening actually happened. It was dry and bright when I went home from work, and I didn't hear any rain in the night. This morning, clear skies allowed the temperature to drop to a little under 12 C, but it is bright and sunny, and should warm up to around 20 C by this afternoon. There is a possibility that there could be a brief shower sometime to do, but it is going to be the closest to a summer day since the brief bit of better weather we had back in March (or April ?). Tomorrow is set to be warm and bright too, although for reasons I'll come to soon, it is actually not what I want !

 It was most irritating being back at work yesterday morning, but the day did improve - quite a lot in some respects - but it probably made going home again that much sweeter. I called in to Tesco on the way home to buy some cat litter that I needed rather urgently. While there I did some carefully select buying of food. I don't think anything I bought could be considered particularly unhealthy except for, maybe, some croutons.

 Dinner last night was back on track to something close to some of the more ideal dinners I was having over a week ago. The main course was salad with smoked salmon trimmings. "Trimmings" is a very cheap way of buying smoked salmon from Tesco. Ounce for Ounce it is probably something like a third of the price of "proper" smoked salmon. It is a very oily fish, and that oil does contain many calories, but it is good in many ways. My knees and ankles always feel better after they have been lubricated with fish oil.

 For a second course, dessert, sweet, seconds, afters, call it what you will, I had a punnet of strawberries. So far so good, but I did have "thirds", and that wasn't so good. It was a third of a big packet of peanuts - the most calorific food in the universe ! I started eating the rest of the bag during the previous two days. It is possible that is a record. In less careful times I could happily polish off a bag in one sitting !

 Overall it was a reasonably light dinner, and certainly light enough that I managed to do some laundry not long after eating it. I hand washed 8 pillow cases, and two medium sized towels. The pillowcases were easy, but wrangling those towels too a lot of effort. It is surprising how much water they can hold, and just how heavy they can be when fully saturated. It makes me wonder how many calories I burnt doing that laundry ? By the time everything was wrung out, and hung up to dry, I felt as knackered as after a 5 mile walk - with one significant difference - I recovered far quicker. It's probably my imagination, but sometimes it feels like I am converting some of the fat in my arms into muscle and sinew ! Having a working washing machine might be convenient, but in moments of madness I think not having one is actually beneficial to me.

 This morning I probably felt better than I have done for a good few days now. Of course, coming to work in the sunshine does provide a mental lift that can filter through as a physical lift (somehow), but I am not sure if it makes me rush about a lot faster at Waterloo, or even make the walk from home to the station seem smoother. If I tried hard enough I could evn imagine that my trousers felt a microscopic bit looser this morning.

 I have no plans for this evening beyond attempting another very light dinner. Once again it will be mainly loads of salad with some smoked mackerel, and followed by some blueberries. Then come tomorrow, and the (probably) bright sunshine will be a nuisance. It is tomorrow that I go for my annual eye screening. It's where they put drops in the eys to dilate the pupils so they can photograph the back of the eye. The drops sting a bit when first applied, but the test itself is completely painless. It's after the test that the trouble starts. Going out again into the bright sunshine with the pupils still dilated is horrible. Everything is far too bright and dazzling. It is the one occasionan when a dark gloomy day gives reason to cheer instead of wrist slashing depression.
Monday 18th June 2012
08:59 BST

  I don't know what time it started to rain last night, but it was still going when I came to work this morning. It made for a rather damp start to the day, but at 14 C it was horribly unpleasant. The rain has stopped now, and it's starting to brighten up. There could be the odd shower in the meantime, but at 4pm, when I'm going home, it is forecast to be bright and sunny, and at 20 C, almost warm. Later in the evening more rain is forecast.

 There were many things I could, and perhaps should have done, but I did practically nothing yesterday afternoon. I spent just over two hours on the phone when a mate phoned me. Like me, he has been trying to lose a bit of weight, and I have to admit he is doing far better than me. After feeling ill at the end of last week I have been eating more than is feasible to to lose weight, and yesterday I was feeling like I had put back on a lot of what I had lost in the preceeding couple of weeks. Maybe I was a bit too pessimistic though.

 This morning my trousers, whose looseness, or lack of it, I use as a substitute measure in place of bathroom scales, seem to be as loose as they were last week. Maybe I have been watching what I have eaten a bit better than I thought I had. On reflection, I could definitely have done a lot worse than I actually did in my choice of eating yesterday. Most of the stuff I did eat was not exactly ideal, but I didn't eat that much of it - which could be considered unusual for a Sunday when not much is going on.

 After a slightly unsure start, I found myself feeling quite good as I made my way to work. I'm not so sure I feel that good now, but some of that is just the irritation of being here. Quite a few things have irritated me, and make me not want to be here, and at least one of those things is really nothing to do with me at all. It is totally irrational that I should feel so depressed about seeing orders to clear up/tidy up a room that I don't use, and is not my responsibility, but it just another symptom of the change that has come about in the company once non engineers were given too much power. What may look untidy to some desk jockey is important work in progress for an engineer. I've gone from feeling quite good, even with the rain that would normally dampen my spirits, to feeling quite depressed, and wishing there was an alternative to work. I think I probably always wanted to be a lumberjack !
Sunday 17th June 2012
11:35 BST

  Apart from a couple of brief light sprinkles of rain, yesterday was mostly dry, and often bright. I'm not sure of the temperature, but it felt a bit less cool than recently. This morning seems to be a continuation of yesterday. Currently it is almost 19 C, and the cloud cover is about 75% - which leaves some good opportunities for the sun to shine through. With luck it will stay dry until the early hours of tomorrow morning when rain is forecast.

 Yesterday morning saw the usual panic of trying to make the house look plausibly presentable before Aleemah visited with the last two episodes of the BBC TV programme "Neverwhere" on her DVD. After Aleemah left I rustled myself up some lunch. I did make a half hearted attempt to make is semi-healthy, but there was no way the cheap fatty corned beef I used could ever be described as healthy. The rest of it, a pile of assorted salad stuff, was OK though. However there was one ingredient that may have been an even worse option, though very tasty ! It was rather a lot of scotch bonnet chilli sauce ! I'll explain why it wasn't such a good idea later.

 After (and during) my lunch I watched some TV. I soon got bored with that, turned the TV off, and went upstairs to my PC. After checking my email, and a few other bits and pieces, I laid down on my bed and started some reading. It wasn't long before my eyes started to droop, and I ended up falling asleep for (I think) nearly two hours. While I had been laying down, or other stuff that required no physical activity, I felt fine, but then I had to start getting myself ready to go out to Chain's gig at The British Oak in Blackheath.

 As soon as I started moving that chilli sauce kicked in, and soon I was sweating like a pig. It's not a good start to an evening out ! I had to walk to the bus stop very slowly to avoid overheating. Once I was on the bus I started to dry out out. For once it would have been good if the bus ride had taken longer, but maybe because it was the first time I had travelled in daylight it seemed far shorter than I remembered it. It's a five or six minute walk from the bus stop to the pub, and it seemed very hard going for some reason, and I arrived at the pub all sweaty again.

 The solution to the sweating problem was, paradoxically, plenty of beer. Beer has a reputation for making some sweat, but for me it had the opposite affect. After a few pints, and lots of good music, I was dry as a bone. Walking back to the bus stop, for what was possibly the last bus, seemed extremely easy, a mere quick stroll, and the bus ride back to Catford seemed to be quite quick. There was one moment of doubt going home. When I turned the corner at the end of the road I saw what I thought was my bus pulling away from the bus stop. The Countdown display at the bus stop was not much help.......
display at Blackheath, Royal Standard bus stop around midnight Sat 16th June 2012
 The display should have been displaying the next few buses from that stop, and how long the wait for them would be. Incidently, for anyone who is curious, the stop ID 44007 seems to refer to the display and not the bus stop itself - that has an ID of 52060 (from memory). While that display was of no use to me, an app on my phone was far more useful. It said that my bus was still due in 4 or 5 minutes, and indeed it turned up exactly on time. The bus I had just missed by a few seconds must have been running incredibly late for some reason.

 I arrived back in Catford just early enough to buy some traditional fried chicken and chips on the way home. I could, and maybe should have opted for the healthier grilled wings, but they are so spicy that after my earlier excess of chilli sauce I thought that maybe it would be better to go for the greasy option. I munched my way through that food while watching some TV, and finally ended up in bed by sometime after 1am. I guess I managed around 6 hours of quite good sleep before waking up, and getting the urge to go through last nights photos instead of going back to bed like I probably should have done. I took quite a lot of photos last night, and here's a very small selection of them.
really bright rope light
One new device that Chain tried out last night was an extemely bright rope light. It was originally designed for illumination rather than decoration, and had been thrown away because it was the wrong colour (or something like that). It made photography from some angles rather "interesting" - particularly so when I didn't have the flash set to always fire regardless of what the camera saw. If there was a little fill light so I didn't have to turn the brightness right up to the point where all the noise shows, this might have been a good photo.
Jo Corteen from Chain singing without her guitar
Jo looking very serious while she is probably singing "Paranoid"
Matt from TMT music playing at a Chain gig viewed from low down
 There is a very good reason for this strange shot of Matt playing his bass guitar. My friend Kevin was using Jo's mini camera/camcorder to video a song. I didn't want to walk through his shot. So I was going to crawl along the floor, but instead I just sat on the floor looking up, and decided to press the shutter.
Friday 15th June 2012
14:54 BST

  I felt quite chilly during Wednesday morning, but gradually the day warmed up, and when the sun shone on my dark jacket I felt fairly warm on my way home from work. On Wednesday night/Thursday morning the temperature once again dropped quite low. It stayed dry until the evening when the rain started to fall very heavily. This morning was dry and bright, and it didn't feel that cold. Later in the morning there was some rain, and from time to time the wind was very gusty. The sky is now very overcast, and more rain (and strong winds) are most likely. It is possibly not as wet as forecast, and that may mean that tomorrow might actually be quite reasonable if the forecast is wrong in a similar direction.

 The not so good feeling I had on Wednesday morning improved during the day, but not by much. Yesterday morning I woke up feeling quite shivery. I didn't take my temperature, but I am fairly sure I had a temperature. One particular area felt very cold. It was my lower back. It felt like it had a continuous draught on it, although it only felt marginally stiff. Tow other bits were affected. One was my legs that sort of felt wobbly, and the other was my brain. It felt like it had been wrapped in a wet blanket, and the reality outside was sort of fuzzy.

 Later in the day I warmed up, and I found the energy to go out and get some shopping. It was a strange experience going out. I didn't feel tired or exhausted, but it did feel like I was wading through treacle. Everything seemed so slow, and I couldn't make myself walk fast. Later on I did some laundry, and although it was rather cool in the bathroom with the window open, and the water I was using was not very hot, I was soon sweating buckets - which felt quite good.

 During the day I managed to get in something like an extra 4 hours sleep. That meant that I wasn't very sleep when I went to bed, and I stayed awake reading until a long, long time after my bedtime. Before I finally fell asleep I noticed my stomach was making some odd noises, and the occasional belch was a bit eggy. Despite that I eventually fell asleep, and I slept very well until almost 4am when I woke up with stomach ache. I went to the toilet, and initially nothing much happened. The next 4 (or 5 ?) visits, all within the next hour, were more productive. It was like comparing the productivity of a British Leyland worker to an Irish navvie digging a canal or railway cutting. On more than one visit my productivity would make the Irish navvie look a bit of a slacker !

 Now whether this whether this gastro intestinal explosive purge was in any way related to how I was feeling yesterday is a mystery, but it was certainly yet another reason not to go to work today. Even now my guts do not feel perfectly settled, although nothing has happened since about 10am today. The rest of me is feeling relatively OK, but I do still suffer occasionally from the brain wrapped in a wet towel feeling. Sooner or later I will try a bit more laundry, and see if I can sweat out a few more toxins (or something).

 Although I seemed to sleep very well while I was initially asleep last night, there was one dream that has stuck in my memory. This is partly because it was an erotic dream that was unusually succesful, but of course not completely succesful, and partly because it featured a real person that I can't think of any reason I should dream about. Her name was Dianne. I haven't seen or heard from her in maybe 10 years. In the dream she was younger than a picture I took of her in 1985.
Diane and me in 1985
 Of course I looked a bit younger then too ! I shan't attempt to describe the erotic nature of the dream, but I can describe the end without descending too far into toilet humour........well, actually that can't be avoided. We were generally having a good and satisfying time when I had to stop to go to the toilet. Dianne was asking me to hurry up, but I said I couldn't go while she was hassling me. That was just as well because I woke up at that point, and of course I was busting for a pee !

 So far today I've been out again for more shopping - catfood from Aldi - and I have emptied, and cleaned up around Smudge's litter tray. I've also just has a most satisfying conversation with a man who claimed he was from Virgin Media. He was trying to sell me stuff, but he made one fateful mistake - he asked me for my password and account details. I was suspicious about that even though I really think he was from Virgin Media. He would need me to confirm those details if he had managed to con me into signing up for, for instance, their useless cable TV service. The easiest, and most satisfying way of getting rid of him was to give him a long lecture about security. In particular how it is the stupidiest thing in the world to give your password to someone who has phoned you. If I had phoned him, or maybe a bank, using a telephone number number I knew to correct, I would have no worries about passing over ceratin details, but to a cold caller - NEVER !

 Those guys earn most of their money by commision, but I had no moral qualms about keeping him talking (or mainly listening) for as long as possible. I think when he was able to get a word in to say goodbye there was a distinct peevishness in his voice.  If there telemarketeers want to do business with me they had better learn the rules of basic security ! The fact is, if he really did have something that I might buy he didn't need to know any of my details to explain it to me, and if in the highly unlikely event he did convince me he could have given me something like a reference number and I could have phoned their sales department back on what I knew to be a valid number. Thier stupid method changed an unlikely sale to a definite no sale.

 While on the subject of anecdotes....I made a useful discovery earlier in the week (or maybe it was last week - I forget now). I bought some ready meals from Aldi, and when I got them home I discovered that they were designed to be cooked in a microwave oven - which I don't possess. I wondered what would happen if I put it in a conventioanl oven. I didn't have anything to lose. So I just treated it like any other ready meal. I put it in the oven, gas mark 6, for about 30 minutes, and the result was a slightly soft and distorted plastic container, and a perfectly good meal. In future I shall not be be put off buying microwaveable meals.
Wednesday 13th June 2012
07:48 BST

  It happened similar to how it was forecast. Yesterday's rain dried up during the morning, and from then on it was just cloudy and dull. Sometime during the night the cloud dissipated, and the temperature dropped. This morning is bright and sunny, but at just 8.5 C it feel very chilly. If the sun can stay out for long enough it should warm things up to a forecast 17 C. That's pleasant by comparison, but still not particularly warm. If we are seriously lucky it might get a bit higher. Eventually it will cloud over again, and more rain is forecast for later tonight.

 After feeling unusually good yesterday morning I began to feel like I wasn't firing on all cylinders as I made my way home from work. It was almost as if my blood sugar level had fallen too low. So I was quite keen to have some dinner last night. Unfortunately maybe I was a little too keen because I did eat more than I would have liked. I actually went to bed feeling quite replete (which is a lesser degree to stuffed).

 It was my intention to get to bed very early again last night, but I was thwarted by having to stay on the phone for ages talking a friend through a computer problem. As is so often the case, it was the person and not the computer that was at fault, and it took a lot of patience to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

 It was 9.30pm before I got into bed, over an hour later than I would have liked, and because my stress levels were quite high I did have some difficulty getting to sleep. Eventually I did get to sleep, and on the whole I slept well, but woke up far too early in the morning. I guess I probably managed 6 hours sleep, and if it were not that I still think that I have a sleep deficit from the weekend, it would be enough for a one-off event.

 I say I slept well, but I wonder if I really did, or maybe it was the quantity and nature of the food I ate last night, but I don't feel that bright this morning. Even the bright sunshine doesn't seem to have a lifting effect, and I did try and expose myself to a little more of it this morning. In a feat of bravado I walked through the council estate near work where there is another footbridge across the river into the park behind work.

 The council estate, normally (or so I choose to believe) the scene of gang warfare, rapes, drunkenness, wife beating, robbery, assault and battery, not to mention horrible cooking smells, was very quiet and peaceful. It almost made the place look innocent. It was very quiet and peaceful in the park too. If it had been approaching warm, instead of feeling like winter, it would have been very enjoyable to make that small detour, but it didn't really do much for me.

 I think that tonight I had better make a stronger attempt to eat less and sleep more. Maybe that will lift the general physical and mental malaise I feel right now. I feel that had I the choice I would probably be just about getting out of bed after a second attempt at sleeping this morning. Instead I am at work feeling like I don't want to be here.
Tuesday 12th June 2012
07:41 BST

  Yesterday wasn't all wet, but 90% of it was. During the afternoon there was a brief respite from the rain, and fortunately once it restarted it was mostly very light until after I was safely home from work. Then it rained all night, and it is raining now. The weather forecast suggests the rain should gradually die away during the morning, and from then on until mid evening it will just be dull miserable clouds. This pattern will probably repeat for the next few days. It's been so miserable these last couple of days that I haven't bothered to check the temperature. It's not cold as such, but it is far from warm.

 Last night I went home via Tesco because I wanted something different to eat than what I had in the fridge - which was mainly salad. I did end up buying more salad, but it was of the "ready mix" variety instead of individual ingredients. I ate that with some hot cooked chicken (which I generously shared with Smudge). I also had a sandwich, and I had some cookies. I found my body craving for something sweet, and the cookies had some very sweet raspberry jam, and probably some syrup too, in them.

 This desire for something sweet didn't seem like an ordinary craving, or I might not have given in to it. It was almost as if my body needed it, and judging how I feel this morning, that might not sound as crazy as it seems. For the first time since, and possibly earlier than the weekend, I slept a full 8 hours last night, and I slept comfortably. This morning there is definitely an extra spring in my step, and at the best of times that would be unusual on such a foul morning. Whether I can attribute all or any of this to what I ate last night will probably for ever be a mystery. Tonight I will not be repeating it, at least not the sugary cookies.

 None of the choices I have for dinner tonight are as healthy as I could have selected, but with care should not set back plans to start using some older, and slightly smaller shirts in the not too distant future. It is even possible that I could have worn one today, and if I had the opportunity to change it if it was uncomfortable after a couple of hours, I might well have done so. Now that the worst of my gut overhang has gone I am starting to feel a definite looseness in my jeans, and I am definitely using a hole in my belt that although well worn, is still one notch in from another well worn hole that I was possibly using last week (maybe).
Monday 11th June 2012
07:54 BST

  For once the weather forecast turned out to be about right. There were a few light splashes of rain late yesterday afternoon, but as forecast, the rain really started in earnest at about 7pm. As far as I am aware in continued through the night, and continues even now. By varying degrees, the whole of today is going to be wet and miserable. So much for flaming June !

 The one useful thing I did during yesterday afternoon was prepare some of the photos I took in Crystal Palace Park yesterday. Let's start with some dinosaurs !
big dinosaur in Crystal Palace park
prehistoric monsters
memorial to merchant seaman who served during WW2
Obviously this last picture is not a dinosaur. Until this morning I wondered what it was. Apparently it is a memorial to merchant seamen who lost their lives during the second world war. Some call the monument HMS Crystal Palace.

There is a maze in Crystal Palace park, and this sign explains about it. Clicking on the picture will show a larger version.
Crystal Palace concert bowl
Once upon a time there was a traditional shaped concert bowl here, but now it is this rather modern design made from rusty metal (or so it appears). Concerts, sometimes with fireworks, still take place here (I think).
crow - face on
When taking pictures of birds it is all too easy to take pictures of the birds bums. It isn't very often that they present themselve to me face on, but this was an intelligent crow. You could tell he was intelligent by the way he systematically emptied a rubbish bin looking for scraps. Anyone who had not seen it happen would have blamed it on foxes.
parrot or parakeet
This parrot obliged by showing how he (or she ?) ate what looked liked some sort of unripe fruit.
gorilla in Crystal Palace park
Every park should have it's own gorilla !

 I had fully intended to get a load of sleep last night, and it started off well. I was possibly asleep, in bed, very soon after 7pm, and I seemed to sleep soundly until a hyperactive cat woke me up 70 or 80 minutes later. Smudge was a real nuisance last night. She would pretend to settle down on the bottom of my bed, and the next thing I knew she was trying to share the same pillow with me. I shooed her off 5 or 6 times, but still she came back. After the last time she decided to prowl around my room looking for alternative places to crash out. I kept getting no more than 5 minutes sleep before she would do something that woke me up again. It was probably almost 11pm before I picked her up, placed her outside my room, and shut the door on her. I could have done that a lot earlier, but on past form she would than have spent half the night scratching at my door.

 Thankfully she did scratch the door last night, and eventually I got back to sleep, but it wasn't good sleep. It was one of those nights where the pillows all have lumps, the mattress feels lumpy too, and it is just at the annoying temperature where it's too warm under the duvet, and too cold without it. I must have got over 5 hours sleep since banishing Smudge. If I had slept well the previous night, and it was bright and sunny today, it might have been enough, but I think I am going to feel like another very early night tonight - with my bedroom door firmly closed !

 I feel far better this morning than I expected to. There don't seem to be any "scars" from my heavy duty walk yesterday, and I seemed to be walking very freely this morning. If it had been warm and sunny this morning I would probably have felt most energetic, but wearing a raincoat, and with slightly damp jeans, I never really got the urge to rush about. My only complaint of any significance seems to be a bit of constipation. Maybe that's because I ate fairly lightly by earlier standards, and particularly so for a Sunday. A few more weeks of this and not only might I be able to wear the "forbidden" shirts, but also be able to wear my red jeans without feeling like I am being garrotted.
Sunday 10th June 2012
13:05 BST

  The thing about last night was that it didn't rain. The rain was supposed to start sometime around mid evening, but instead the sky was almost clear, and it stayed that way right through to around 8am this morning. Since then it has got cloudy, but as yet it has stayed dry, and although the sky is now white with cloud, it is still fairly bright outside. The latest forecast has the rain starting at around 7pm tonight, and with the rain getting heavier later in the evening.

 Early yesterday afternoon I washed half a dozen shirts. Half of those were ones that I am currently "growing into". That's growing in a negative direction. I'm hoping that within a week or two they will fit as comfortably as the ones I am currently wearing. After that laundry I did very little, and very little includes sleep.

 It was my intention to get to sleep early, or even very early for a Saturday night, so I could be up bright and early this morning. I was in bed early enough, but it was one of those nights when sleep eluded me. It must have been gone 11pm when I first fell asleep, but I only slept for something like an hour before I was awake again. That set the pattern for the night, and at 4.15am I gave up trying to sleep.

 The reason why I wanted to be up bright and early, though not as early as 4.14am, was to go out to greet my friend Ruby at the end of her 62 mile cycle ride for charity. Getting to sleep far too late, and waking far too early were just the first two errors in timekeeping for the occasion. Ruby had estimated that she might reach the finish point sometime not long after 6.30am. I had been able to track her progress on the internet as her mobile phone "broadcast" her satnav readings, and she seemed to be making very good time.

 Also using the internet I was able to track the arrival times of the 202 bus towards Crystal Palace where the finishing line was. With a 202 fifteen minutes away from the nearest bus stop I grabbed my things and rushed to the bus stop. I got that bus at 6.25am, and I was at Crystal Palace a little before 7am. Once there I checked Ruby's progress using the web browser on my phone and found she was still a long way away. What I hadn't taken into account was that her route wasn't the most direct. There were odd liitle loops neccesary to make the entire ride exactly 100km long.

 To pass the time I took a walk around Crystal Palace park. The park contains a range of altitudes ranging from fairly low to bloody high ! So not only did I walk round and round, I also walked up and down - a lot ! All the while I kept track of Ruby's progress. At one time she seemed to have stopped for a very long time, and I worried that she may have collapsed. Later I found that she, and several other riders had got lost, and added as much as another five miles to their ride. While she was lost she had paused her tracker to save battery power.

 It was very nice in the park under a bright early morning sun, and of course I took loads of pictures. I haven't had time to review and edit them all yet, but possibly one of my favourites was this.....
goslings by the lake at Crystal Palace
 I'll try and show a few more pictures tomorrow. It was tiring doing all that walking round and round, and up and down, and I did take a a couple of 10 - 15 breaks sitting down in the warm sunshine. It was warm enough to not need a coat, particularly when walking around, and I was often dripping wet under the coat I wore. By the time I finally met up with Ruby I had walked 5 miles - and it felt like it ! According to my tracker programme I should have burnt 842 calories doing that walk. Looking at the route I took I should also have been dizzy !
my route around Crystal Palace park
 I was on my second break when I was wondering if Ruby would ever arrive. She had seemed to have stayed stationary by Clapham Junction for a long time, and then seconds later she was almost at the park. I suspect that she had lost her mobile connection for some of the time when she appeared not to be moving. So despite aching feet I rushed off from where I was resting to the finish line for the ride. To my shame I arrived a few minutes late to cheer her arrival. She looked surprisingly alive for someone who had just cycled 62, plus and unknown extra amount of miles, but why she pulled the funny face instead of what I thought was a smile in my camera viewfinder is a mystery.
Ruby after a VERY long cycle ride
....and a semi close up of her medal
Nightrider medal
 We had a chat as we walked back towards the station where I thought she was getting a train back to her hotel for a well deserved snooze. In fact she thought I wanted to go to the station, and she would be cycling back to her hotel. It wasn't such a bad idea for me to get the train back as far as Forest Hill. If I had got the 202 bus back to Catford I would have had to climb (or crawl) right to the top of the park again. The train took the strain out of that, although it did add an extra pound or two to my fares.

 When I got home I felt very hungry, and very exhausted. I wanted to do two things - eat and lie down - and I did them in that order. I quickly rustled up a large pilchard salad, ate that, and then I lay on my bed where I fell asleep for half an hour or longer. As I type this I should be just about to leave to go and see The Jo Bangles Band, but I am not sure I have the energy for another two bus rides, two train rides, and two almost 1.5 mile walks ! I do feel a bit guilty about missing another gig - particularly so when it is not even raining - yet !

 One particular reason why I can't seem to convince myself to go out again is a new type of pain. I don't know if it was something to do with the shoes I was wearing (Converse All Stars), or whether it was all the ups and downs as I traveresed the park, but the front of the lower half of my legs seem to ache rather a lot right now. One other reason is that I desperately need another shower after sweating so much this morning, and it is now already 12 minutes after I planned to be on the bus towards Forest Hill.

 With the aid of morphine and amphetamine I could probably still make it in time to see half the gig, but I think I am going to have admit defeat, and by lazy for the rest of the afternoon. Once I've had a good rest I'll see if I can prepare more of this morning's photos to show tomorrow.
Saturday 9th June 2012
11:40 BST

  It didn't seem possible, but the sun came out for one second yesterday afternoon. Most of the day was deeply overcast, but there was not much rain. During the early evening there was a few more brief sunny periods. The wind that was a powerful feature during Thursday night gradually died down yesterday, but the first part of last night was still quite gusty, and this morning is very far from calm. The wind is coming from a warm(ish) direction, and that means that it is 19 C  without much help from the few brief sunny spells we've had this morning. The rest of today is forecast to be mostly cloudy, with some occasional sunny spells, but with a good chance of rain towards the evening. Tomorrow is apparently going to be very wet again.

 I felt far better, almost approaching the low end of normal, yesterday. It seems likely that I have had some sort of bug, but what it was remains a mystery for now. Coming home from work felt good in as much as I was coming home on a Friday, and looking forward to this weekend. Soon after I got home I went online to order some food. As I had mentioned in the morning, I had a yearning for a tasty takeaway.

 I found a web site that allowed me to do an online order from the kebab shop I use most frequently. Unfortunately it was not a good experience. It was only 50p, but that surcharge for using a credit card annoyed me. The fact that I asked for the food to be delivered at 6.30pm, and it arrived closer to 5.30pm was both good and bad. Bad because it shows the system doesn't work, but good because I didn't really want to wait too long before eating. Now I don't know if it was because I ordered online, but the portions of my chicken shish (grilled seasoned skinless chicken chunks) seemed smaller than usual. Not only that but I don't think they tasted as good either. The salad was it's usual size, but seemed a bit tired. I have a nasty suspicion that because my order had been despatched so early it was stuff that had been prepared for lunchtime.

 I had ordered enough for it to be quite filling even though it was theoretically relatively low fat, and low calorie. Once I had eaten it I could feel a slight bulge in my recently (very) slightly leaner stomach area. It seemed a good time to try an experiment. At the back of my wardrobe I have some shirts that don't really fit me. They range from some that I was able to wear in 2010, and a few that I have never been able to wear. The latter, three of them, all came from George at Asda, and quite frankly they are ridiculous. According to the label each of them, of which two are completely different designs, they are the same size as the shirts I have been comfortable wearing to work all year. I can hardly do up the bottons on them, and if I breathed out the shrapnel could kill.

 Last night I could do up the buttons on those shirts, and if I stood bolt upright, and sucked in my gut, I could probably wear them without throttling myself. The shirts that came from both Tesco, and Marks and Spencer are now almost wearable, and would be if I hadn't got used to shirts that are a looser fit than I would have bought four or five years ago. There is a slim chance that if I am able to continue doing what I have been doing the past fortnight, I will be able to wear a few of these old shirts again by the end of next week. Although the deeply gloomy weather forecast for next week is going to make keeping this up close to impossible.

 One of my tasks for this afternoon will be to wash some of those old shirts - just in case...... Other than that, I am not sure what I am doing. I had thought of doing a trial run to a pub I want to try and reach towards the end of tomorrow afternoon. It's the Coach House near Wallington in Surrey. The significance of it is that it is the next venue for The Jo Bangles Band. It seems that everytime I have wanted to get to a gig in the last month something has gone wrong. Last Sunday it was trains all going awry because of the crowds going up to London for the Jubilee stuff.

 Tomorrow could be quite a challenge. It's a fair bit of mucking around to get to Upper Wallingham station - possibly a bus to Forest Hill followed by a train to East Croydon where I need to change trains. If it were any day but a Sunday I could get a 409 bus from Upper Wallingham station to within a few hundred feet of the pub. On a Sunday I'll have to walk 1.3 miles cross country, and I've got a horrible feeling that it is going to involve some steep hill climbing. It would be good to see what the route is like before I commit myself to trying to do it in the pouring rain tomorrow. I don't think I will be trying it today though.

 One important thing for tonight is to try and get an early night (for a Saturday). Tomorrow morning I want to be up nice and early for a Sunday. My friend from Cumbria is doing an overnight charity cycle ride from Crystal Palace and back again via Alexander Palace. It's something like a 62 mile ride, and starts at 10.30pm tonight. It's a bit late to go and see her off, but I want to try and welcome her back at an estimated 8.30am tomorrow morning.
Friday 8th June 2012
07:48 BST

  Until about 6pm, yesterday was the most soggy of days. At 6pm, give or take half an hour, the rain stopped, and the sun pushed it's way through the dark clouds. The sun didn't last that long, but the pause in the rain lasted over an hour, maybe two. Then the rain came down in buckets again, and the wind grew very strong. Had I been awake to witness it, it would have been the sort of night that legends are made of - probably. This morning the rain has ranged from usually more than just drizzle, to moderately heavy. It seems unfair, but quite likely, that it will be raining for most of today, some of tomorrow, and possibly all of Sunday.

 After a soggy journey from work back to Catford I had something I think I needed - beer ! In the morning I had pre-warned friend Kevin that I was buying some flea drops from the vets very near the pub, and that I would probably be passing the pub at about 5pm, and that if he were there he would it easy to lure me in. On the way home he sent me text to say he would be in the pub. In fact we both arrived at the identical time outside the pub.

 Having not eaten in almost 24 hours (and actually 24 hours when I left the pub) I did warn Kevin that I would not be drinking much or staying late. He almost accepted that, but did insist on buying me one last half pint of beer before I left. That brought the total up to two and a half pints. It turned out to be about the right amount.

 When I got home I was feeling very hungry, but not insanely ravenous. At that level I got away with making the bulk of my dinner salad. I started off with a heap of salad with some pilchards, and when that wasn't enough I had even more salad with some piri-piri flavoured cheese crumbled on it. Even that wasn't enough so I had a small cheap and nasty shepherds pie ready meal that had been sitting in the fridge defrosted for getting on too long, and that I had already put in the oven before preparing the salad stuff.

 The shepherds pie was probably filled with all sorts of nasties, but it served it's purpose, and it, together with the beer and salad stuff may have been what I needed to feel almost reasonable this morning. I managed to sleep well last night, and I think I may have managed a few minutes over the eight hours. My dreams were better too - or at least one was. It was an erotic dream, and I can't recall having one of those for some time now. This particular one went a bit further than usual. I actually got to the "if you like that I can do it some more" stage before someone changed the channel (because that's what it felt like as a completely different scene seemed to pop up). I have no idea who the woman was, but one very unusual thing was that she was tall, she was high.....

 I woke up this morning without any strange visual effects (see yesterday), and apart from some stiffness of the legs, possibly where they got wet in the rain yesterday, I felt reasonably OK. Later on I did develop a very mild bad weather headache, but a couple of ibuprofen tablets soon put paid to that. Now I am work I feel definitely better than I did yesterday, and that was an improvement on the day before. Perhaps if I get a good nights sleep tonight I will feel very good tomorrow.

 Of course there could be reasons why I might not feel quite so good tomorrow morning. I have no plans to do anything, see anyone, or go anywhere tomorrow, and that allows me, should I so choose it, to have the strongest, most garlicky, takeaway meal known to mankind with no fear of offending anybody, or worrying about being more than 12 inches away from the toilet for most of the morning ! Quite whether I'll go that far remains to be seen, but a nice curry, or maybe a chicken shish kebab, does sound like a tempting idea for tonight. Being low fat, and with plenty of salad, the chicken shish kebab is quasi-healthy eating, and maybe I should go for that if I go for anything, but time will tell.
Thursday 7th June 2012
07:44 BST

  There was just one period of heavy rain yesterday, and it was around 11am. After that there was some intermittent light drizzle, and by the time I was heading home from work the sun came out. There was a light shower or two later in the evening, but some of the evening seemed fairly bright and cheery. This morning it was obvious there had been rain overnight, and there was a few flurries of very light rain as I made my way to work. Today is forecast to be fairly wet (so much for flaming June !!), but there could be a few sunny spells - although looking out the window I find that hard to believe. Before I left for work it seemed to be almost 15 C, and that is a couple of degrees higher than forecast. It would be nice if the late afternoon temperature was also a few degrees above that predicted.

 I stopped by Tesco on the way home from work yesterday, and managed to pick up a few bargains. I had to fight the urge to buy some very unhealthy (high fat/high calorie/high sugar) food. It is what I really wanted, and I did slip in one high(ish) sugar containing item, but I was lucky enough to find a few bargains that contained high levels of salad or vegetables. So dinner last night was nowhere near as unhealthy as I really wanted. If I am in the right frame of mind tonight I could have heaps of salad leaves, tomatos, cucumber and dressing with something like some lean ham, or maybe even fish. In reality, one salad could contain the food of satan himself - cheese ! It could be even worse, and I shall shortly explain.

 I felt amazing knackered and sleepy at work yesterday. So I did my best to get to sleep early last night, and I think I managed to be asleep before 8.45pm. I seemed to sleep very soundly again, but all I did was wake up even earlier at 4am. I did try and get back to sleep, but a strange thing happened. When I woke up at 4am I turned over to face in the right direction to get out of bed, and as I did so it was like my eyeballs started spinning round.

 I didn't feel dizzy, or even unsteady as far as I can recall. In fact I think I closed my eyes, and once I couldn't see the world spinning round I felt perfectly normal. It was all over in a few seconds, and I had no trouble walking to the toilet and back, but when I got back into bed, and turned over it happened again. I decided that the best thing was to be vertical, and since then I haven't experienced any weirdness.

 There are several things I can think of, off the top of my head, that could cause that weird sensation. The obvious one to many people would be a blood pressure problem. That is feasible, but so is an inner problem. I didn't experience any loss of balance while it was happening, but you don't need much balance while sitting in bed. It could be a bladder infection. I don't know how that would affect my sight, but it's very popular with the royals right now. It could have been caused by some sort of brain damage, maybe a stroke or cancer, but it seems to have healed a bit quickly for that......except I did have an intermittent low level headache yesterday, and I have something similar today. Well maybe I'm dying. It's a harsh way of getting out of going to work, but it could be 100% effective.

 There are other troubles in the world. I recently mentioned how I had to use bleach to clear up some mice droppings behind a random, teetering, pile of cans in my kitchen, and how it seems that once spring arrived the mouse (mice) seemed to have moved out. Well now I have several unwanted visitors back, and I can blame Smudge for them just as much as I can blame her for not managing to catch the mice. This time it's fleas. I may be thinking that the weather is cold, wet, and bloody miserable, but the fleas obviously think it's a high time to go forth and multiply. This morning I sprayed my bedroom, and last night I sprayed the living room. That should take care of most of the little blighters.

 The next thing is to treat Smudge with flea drops. Unfortunately I haven't got any left. To buy some more I will have to go to the vets that is within spitting distance of the pub. It could end up that I have a few pints of beer on an empty stomach, and if that happens I won't be wanting a simple salad dinner. If I get drunk enough it will be a bucket of fried chicken and chips. A bit less drunk and I may throttle myself back to a chicken shish kebab. If I remain in control I may be able to conjure up salad plus ! Plus what is a fuzzy question, but no doubt I'll find something that is the usual combination of very tasty, and very unhealthy ! On the other hand, I may not go in the pub at all, and if there is torrential rain I may not even bother going to the vets until another day.
Wednesday 6th June 2012
08:07 BST

  The rain started 3 or 4 hours earlier than forecast. It started a little after 3pm with some very light drizzle, and slowly got heavier. Later on it stopped, and I think much of the night was dry. This morning there was some light misty rain, but that stopped before I left to come to work. It wasn't cold this morning, nor was it warm (but it is very cool in my office right now). There was even some sunshine as I made my way in. Today is supposed to be mainly bright, though not much actual sunshine, and apart from mid morning, it should stay dry. The temperature is forecast to rise to 18 C today, and while that's not bad, I could wish for a lot more.

 It turned out that I had an exceedingly lazy afternoon yesterday. I didn't even scan any pages from the comics I am trying to digitise. What I did was to spend many periods of time laying on my bed reading. I wanted to finish a book I was reading, and as I got closer to the end the urge to carry on became too strong to counter. The one single thing I did between chapters was to do a little laundry, and it was a little - two t-shirts, a short sleeved shirt, and a pair of lounge pants.

 I was going to get a nice early night, last night, so I would be all fresh for returning to work this morning. That didn't happen. I spent longer than intended writing an email, and then I got engrossed reading a new book in bed. It was almost 11pm before I turned out the light. It took some time to get to sleep, but once it happened I slept very soundly. I woke up once in the night, and that was to go to the toilet.

 I knew I had been dreaming about something possibly worth recounting when I woke up, but I woke up with both my hands almost numb. Maybe I had been gripping the duvet out of sheer terror, or maybe I had been sleeping on them. All I know is that as I concentrated on bringing my hands back to life, all memories of my dream evaporated away to wherever discarded dreams end up. Once I had been to the toilet it took very little effort to get back to sleep, and I slept solidly until about 4.30am.

 Initially I felt wide awake, and not too bad. By the time I left for work I felt tired and grumpy because I had a very mild headache, and a bit of a gut ache. The headache may have just been because I didn't really want to have to go to work, but the gut ache was definitely for real - it came to a head (or bottom ?) just as I was writing the first paragraph today. After a visit to the toilet I feel much better - until next time.

 Now I am back at work my meals should become more regular again, and they might, or might not, became healthier again. Not all that I ate yesterday was that unhealthy. The smoked haddock and peas I had for lunch were pretty innocent, and the bottled pears I had for dessert after my dinner were fairly innocent too. The frankfurters with mustard I had for dinner were not so innocent. Each one probably contains a fair amount of fat, and I ate far more than one ! As an Englishman I am too ashamed to say how many I did eat. Had I been German I might well have been boasting about it. (Some of the frankfurters were actually German boerworst sausages - at least I think that's what it said on the jar).

 Tonight I could, and ought to have a salad. I have all the major ingredients to make one - salad leaves, tomatos, cucumber, oil and vinegar - but unless 18 C suddenly feels a lot warmer than I think it will, and there is some bright sunshine, I may find it hard to get in the mood for that. I think I am going to be tempted to stop by Tesco on the way home from work, and buy something slightly more satisfying.
Tuesday 5th June 2012
12:39 BST

  I thought there would be some significant rain yesterday, but somehow all the big black clouds held off dropping the wet stuff on us. Maybe those clouds were not as thick as they looked. The let a fair amount of heat out overnight, and this morning was a rather chilly 9 C. Since this morning there have been a few bright, almost sunny spells, and currently the temperature is 19 C. That's niether warm nor cold, and apparently good enough for Smudge to go out exploring today.  The BBC forecast it will be raining by 7pm tonight.

 Once I stopped for lunch, yesterday, I found it very hard to continue with some of the housework I was doing. I fancied doing something simpler than scrubbing and hoovering. So I decided to tackle a task I had been putting off for ages and ages. In a way it is related to the horrendous task of trying to get my living room looking neat and tidy in all four corners. There was a lot of paperwork in there that I couldn't bring myself to just throw away even though it was a hindrance to making the room look better.

 The solution to this dilemna may be to scan the papers, and store them digitally. Some of the paperwork was a few, 4 I think, copies of Viz comic that are about 25 years old. If they were in first class condition they might have even been worth a couple of quid, but they are faded and tatty.  I kept them specifically to remind me of when Viz was fresh and funny (if, like me, you appreciate toilet humour !). The last copy of Viz I bought, maybe 4 or 5 years ago was a huge disappointment, and yet I still find those ancient copies funny. So I started to scan the first copy. It is a really boring job ! It seemed to take ages to get half way through, and then I gave up for the day. I'll be doing more this afternoon.

 I think I slept quite well last night, and I woke eager to try out my shower with it's extra long hose on the shower head. Obviously it's nothing to get really excited about, but the extra length was useful, and particularly when I was washing my hair. It was also nice to come down to a large area of clear workspace in my kitchen. I celebrated that by doing every last bit of washing up. Once I've cleaned/tidied up the last bit of work top, hoovered all the cobwebs out of the corners, and cleaned the floor (probably with a thermic lance or oxy-acetelyne) it will almost look sanitary in there.

 My next, and currently last task was to clean up around the fireplace in the living room. I started off refixing the plain sheet of hardboard that is blocking off the old grate, and keeping the soot and brickdust, that came from when the chimney stack was half removed, and flue capped off, out of the room. Then over that I fixed the two canvas prints that make it look a bit more scenic than plain hardboard. I also removed the two Wharfdale speakers that had stood guard either side of the fireplace, but haven't been used in years. I'm not sure what to do with those speakers. I don't currently have a "hifi", but they sound too nice to throw away. Maybe one day I'll wire up my tuner-amp again, but probably not. I only seem to listen to internet streams these days, and can't be bothered with broadcast radio.

 I see lots of birds in my back garden, and some I see very close up as they flit among the foliage that almost rubs against my kitchen window. Some I can identify, and some I can guess close enough to make checking on the internet worthwhile. There were a couple of birds out there a little while ago, and I tried to get a picture of one of them through the window, but each attempt failed. The birds were very small, and they are mostly brown. When seen close up they have a sort of stripy edge to their wings. That distinctive feature was enough to positively identify them, and steal a picture off the internet.
The birds were wrens. Apparently they are very common in gardens, but that's news to me.

 That brings me to now. What I ought to do is to go back to the living room and do more work down there, but I can't seem to raise the enthusiasm. I think I am going to scan a few more pages from Viz into my PC, and probably do a bit of laundry. Other than that I feel like laying on my bed reading, and I suspect I'll be doing more of that then anything else :-)
Monday 4th June 2012
12:54 BST

  The lowest temperature I saw this morning was 9 C. That was after a very rainy night, but this morning has been dry and sunny. The temperature has now crept up to almost 15 C, and with the sunshine it hasn't felt that bad. Unfortunately the clouds are getting thicker and thicker, and darker and darker. I would be quite surprised if there were not some rain later this afternoon, and judging by the menacing looks of some clouds, it could be quite a downfall.

 Last night it was almost good to get back under the full duvet to sleep. I say almost good because initially it felt just a little too warm under there, and I had to leave a leg outside. It was a little after 10pm before I turned out the light, and it was one of those nights where you lay awake wondering if you ever going to get to sleep, only to find that the next thing you know, you are waking up. I can't remember more than a few details of the most prominent dream I had, but I know it involved being on a train and/or in a station.

 Other bits I remember of not knowing where I was going or had been to. I had a legitimate ticket for the journey, and a ticket inspector had no worries about me paying my fare, but he couldn't electronically read the ticket to say where I had come from, or where I had arrived at, and there were no printed destinations on it. I also seem to remember not being very happy with my travelling companions, and being rather sulky about it. It all seems like real life sometimes !

 This morning I was woken by my alarm going off at 5am as if I had to go to work. It's a bank holiday, the first of two, and so I didn't have to get up then, but I did anyway. Then much like a Saturday, or Sunday, I decied that I might as well go back to bed again. It wasn't long before I was asleep for another hour or two.

 When I got up for the second time it was not that bright outside, and thoughts of going out for a country walk evaporated. The thoughts that took their place were the unlikely idea of trying to do some of the housework I keep putting off. To this end I went out to Poundstretcher to see what bits might be useful.

 The first item I picked up was a cheap canvas picture that I will be using to cover the disused fireplace in the living room (the chimney is blocked so can't be used without some expensive building work). The next item was a new shower head and hose. The (now) old hose had perished where it went into the shower head. I had cut the perished bit away, and had several attempts to fix the fresh end of hose onto the nipple that connects to the shower head. Several different glues held for short periods, but eventually the hose would slip out again, and I was reduced to trying to hold it in while showering. What I've done now is to join the old hose to the new hose, and now I have a nice extra long shower hose that should hold together OK.

 The final things I bought from Poundstretcher were a couple of wooden shoe racks. They are very simple affairs made of slatted wood. I didn't want them for shoes. They looked as if they would make excellent small shelves for tins of stuff in the kitchen, and indeed they do seem rather good at it. So I spent some time with rubber gloves and copious amounts of bleach scrubbing down the kitchen work surface that was previously erratically stacked with cans of this, and cans of that. The bleach was because amongst those tins were loads of little presents left by the naughty mouse (mice ?) who was scurrying around my kitchen during the winter. I'm happy to say that since the spring the poison resistant mice seem to have moved out again.

 My next task is to clean up around the old fireplace in the living room. In theory I could go a lot further than that, and maybe I will, but I feel the urge for some lunch before tackling that. Maybe lunch will dull the urge to do too much, and the lure of something good on TV will kill it altogether. Than again, the chance of anything good on TV at this time of day seems rather remote !
Sunday 3rd June 2012
19:46 BST

  The temperature didn't fall as far as was forecast for last night, and today, while cold, was a few degrees warmer than expected. Unfortunately the forecast for rain was only too accurate. It rained for a fair bit of the morning. By midday the rain stopped, but the sky remained very overcast, and then the heavens opened again around 4 or 5pm. It's still raining now, and it will probably continue into the night. Tomorrow is forecast to be mostly dry, and there could be some sunshine, but it is going to stay rather cool. Currently it is 13 C, but I think it was closer to 15 C earlier this afternoon. Tomorrow may well be similar.

 Last night got cool enough, even in my bedroom, to make me feel cold in bed. At 5am I woke up feeling a bit chilly. So I got up and fed Smudge, and pottered around a bit. For most of the last week or two I had been sleeping under the duvet cover without the duvet in it. At 7am I put the duvet back in the cover, climbed under it, and fell asleep comfortably for a couple of hours. Hopefully summer will return one day, and I can once again leave the duvet out.

 It's been one of those days where the time seems to have flown by despite not doing anything that might distract me from the passage of time. At midday I went to Aldi to  top up my stores of cat food, and a bit of human food too.  Some of the human food was supposed to be a treat for me tonight. In the end I had no reason to treat myself, but I ate it anyway.

 What was supposed to be the big occasion today was to see The Jo Bangles Band (Jo from Chain plus other muscicians) playing at a beer festival held in The Bull pub in Pratts Bottom. My plan was to catch the 17:16 train from Catford Bridge to Lewisham where I would change to the once-per-hour train to Knockholt station. From Knockholt station it is a 1.3 mile, partly cross country, walk to the pub. What I, and probably the railway operating companies, didn't foresee was the utter chaos caused by billions of clueless tourists flocking to central London to see the 1000 boat Queens jubilee flotilla on the river Thames. The timing of the trains, particularly those through Catford Bridge station was all over the place.
The 17:16 train to Charing Cross from Catford Bridge is delayed
 When I left to get the 17:16 train the national rail website said it was on time. After walking through really heavy rain I found the train was shown as delayed. At Lewisham the Knockholt bound train was due in only 10 minutes after the train from catford Bridge arrived there. So any delay of more than 9 minutes (to allow a minute to rush down the subway, and up the other side) would be fatal to my plans. At 17:25 an "expected" time was finally displayed, and it was far too late. So I gave up and came home again.

 I arrived home cold and wet, and somewhat pissed off. The only thing I had to look forward to was my treat of a dinner. I bought it specially to have when I got home cold and wet and full of beer. Well I didn't have any beer, but the chips in curry sauce, and the sausages were still nice - although the chips in curry sauce were not that nice.

 On the subject of food; What flaming idiot thought it would be a good idea to put mayonaisse in a squeezy bottle ? Trying to get thick goopy mayonaisse out of a squeezy bottle is harder than getting blood out of a stone ! The only thing that would really work would be something like a giant syringe. Whoever it was who it was who thought that the squeezy bottle would be a good idea is definitely on my list to join the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

 I wasn't expecting to be in bed very early tonight, but I reckon I'm going to be in bed as early as 10pm. If I am, and I get to sleep quickly enough, maybe I'll wake up feeling bright and breezy. If that should happen, and it is relatively bright, and maybe even sunny, tomorrow morning, perhaps I should give some thought about getting out for a walk somewhere. I'm not even sure what sort of train service we'll have tomorrow. It will obviously be some sort of Sunday service being as it's a bank holiday, but surely it can't be the catastrophe that we've had today !
Saturday 2nd June 2012
17:15 BST

  Thursday ended rather overcast. During the evening the first light rain fell, and there was more overnight. Yesterday was mostly overcast, but still mild. Once again some rain fell in the evening, and then even more overnight. Today started dry, very grey, and rather cool. During the afternoon the sky began to brighten up, and right now there is some sunshine peeping out from between the clouds. The temperature now is 20 C, but the forecast is that the temperature will soon be plummetting, and tomorrow is going to be a chilly day with temperature only expected to get to about 11 C at best. More rain is expected as well.

 I was off work yesterday because I was not feeling too good. Twisting my ankle when getting off the train on Thursday night did not help. Some stupid woman pushed a push chair right in my path as I was getting off the train, and I had to take evasive action to avoid crushing her baby. It wasn't a bad sprain, and didn't cause me any particular problem until I woke up yesterday morning. My ankle felt rather stiff, and together with feeling off colour, it seemed a good enough reason to call in sick. We don't get paid for taking sick days off these days, so I don't feel any particular loyalty to the company, and although the loss of money is inconvenient, it seems a reasonable trade off for being comfortable.

 I think the change in weather is the reason why I've gone from feeling unusually energetic back to tired and listless. Nevertheless I have managed to keep a certain amount of moderation in my eating habits these last few days. Even yesterday, when I had all sorts of temptations, I managed to curtail the wilder excesses of my appetite. Some of those temptatons came from doing two shopping trips. In the morning, once my ankle had loosened up, I went to the 99p shop. I was after a spare bottle of the balsamic vinegar made by Heinz that I found to be so nice. Sadly they seemed to have run out, but I did find a reasonable substitute. I also bought some stuff that I need to eat very sparingly.

 Later in the afternoon I went to Tesco and treated myself to hot cooked chicken and salad. I also bought New Scientist, my main reason for going to Tesco, and a big bag of cat litter. One other item of note I bought was a new Freeview set top box. My old one had a nasty habit of occasionally muting the sound for a second. The new one has both USB and Ethernet sockets, and hardly any information about them in the instruction menu. I have a theory that it is possible to play movies from a USB memory stick, but I haven't tried that yet. The ethernet socket is just noted as being for "future expansion". There are some Freeview channels that are delivered over the internet, and maybe it will work for them, although I don't those channels have anything interesting on them, but it will be interesting playing with them.

 This morning I saw Aleemah for a few hours, and we watched another couple of episodes of the 1990s BBC drama "Neverwhere". (We wateched the first two episodes last week). I'm not sure how it happened, but it seemed that the tidying up I did prior to Aleemah's visit last week seemed to have held, and I didn't have all that much to do this morning. Of course there was a lot I cold have done to make the place look even cleaner, but somehow I just couldn't find the urge to do it.

 This afternoon I seem to have been very busy doing very little. I have no idea where most of the time has gone. This is actually quite good because there is a lot of time to pass before going back to work after this long jubilee weekend and bank holidays.  Only the second half of tomorrow will be a busy time for me. I will be doing something I do so rarely that it is as good as never. I will be going for a walk in the countryside - in the cold and rain !

 The driving force behind this is to see The Jo Bangles Band playing at The Bulls Head pub in Pratts Bottom. Not only that, but the pub has a beer festival on. I think those two provide just enough motivation for me !