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

Friday 30th March 2012
17:58 BST

  Yesterday was most definitely warm. Even my outside thermometer said it was 22 C when I got home from work. That was one of the rare times when my measurement agreed with the official measurement. Today is apparently a lot cooler, and yet if feels pretty good to me. After a bit of a cool and dull start, the sun came out, and it seems to have warmed up nicely. The forecast for tomorrow still says that it is going to be very dull, and a lot cooler than it has been.

 Work was a little bit hectic, and yet also very successful yesterday. I had been inventing a special gadget for the boss/director/owner of the company during the week. It is still a work in progress if it is to continue to it's logical conclusion, and if that step is to be taken it will need some mechanical design work done that will be done by others. By lunchtime I was able to demonstrate the working of my design, and much to my amazement the boss was pleased with it. I mentioned that I had been hoping to take yesterday, and today off work, but had chosen not to so I could get the thing finished. I asked if wanted me to go any further, or make any changes, and if not would it be OK to take today off. To my relief he readily agreed.

 I called in to Tesco on the way home from work yesterday evening*. I wanted three things. These were a copy of the latest New Scientist. Some Diet Coke, and some food. It was the latter that I had to be careful about, and on the whole I succeded. I wanted to eat slightly sparsely so I would feel a bit more energetic today. Possibly the only thing that may have let that down was the jalapeno coleslaw that seemed to be new, and had to be tried. It was both good and bad. It was bright pink, which doesn't seem the real colour of jalapeno chillis, and was slightly warm and spicy, but it wasn't exciting enough to make me want to get more of it.

* Some may argue that just before 5pm is actually late afternoon and not evening, but by my reckoning after work = evening.

 So today I wasn't at work, and after my semi-careful dinner last night I felt good to go out for a walk. I didn't get out as early as I could have done because it took until almost 10am before the first weak sunshine broke through the clouds. My walk was a re-visit to a route I've taken several times, but this time I made a small alteration at the end for variety. It was the walk from Eynsford station to Shoreham (Kent) station along the Darent valley.  I'm not sure how I managed the walk to be exactly 4 miles, but that's how it came out.
walking route 30th March 2012
 I thought I would travel extra light for this walk, and I didn't take a coat with me. All I had was my phone and camera. It felt chilly as I walked to the station, and it was chilly on the train for the 25 minute ride to Eynsford. Once I was off the train I started to warm up as I walked, and I hadn't gone very far before the sun came fully out. In the sunshine I soon started to feel warm enough to get a bit sweaty.

 Even though I'd walked this was several times before, there were still things to see.
class 319 train on Eynsford viaduct
A class 319 train on Eynsford viaduct - I arrived on one of these trains.
tractor in field
Being on a workday, work was going on in the fields.
a big cock
A big cock ! I think someone left the henhouse door open. There were hens scratching away on the side of the road, and this cock, looking very much like the trademark of the old Courage brewers, was sitting on a fence watching the hens.
a white horse
It's not the Vale of the white horse, but there was a white horse in the valley.
carved seat back alongside the river near Eynsford
I thought this carved memorial seat alongside the river was rather wonderful with its rabbits, birds, and even a bat.
an English ladybird
After only seeing Asian ladybirds in the park near work it was nice to see an English one.
sheep under a tree
I don't know why these sheep look so knackered - maybe there was a ram in the field somewhere.
white cross near Shoreham (Kent)
Often seen this cross from the train, but never had a clear view of it before.
across the valley of the river Darent near Shoreham
In the middle of this scene is the valley with the river running through it. Just beyond the treeline in the distance runs a motorway, but you would never know it unless you had seen a map.
religious claptrap
So to be blessed you have to climb inside the Lord before you die. Hmmmmmmm.
Ye Olde George Inne - Shoreham (Kent)
My downfall !

 I was feeling good during the walk. I wasn't rushing things, but that was mainly because I kept stopping to take photographs. As I approached Shoreham I felt like I could walk a lot further, but foolishly I decided to stop for a pint in Ye Old George Inne in the village. They had some very nice Cotleigh "Golden Seahawk" ale, and I had a single pint of it. The booze was no problem. It was the sitting down while I drank it that was the problem. When I got up to start walking again my legs were stiff, and my feet felt like lead. From the pub it is a few hundred yards to the next footpath that would take me on to Otford, and a few hundred yards after that was Shoreham station. I thought that once I got moving again I would be OK. The walk to the footpath didn't help, nor did continuing to the station. I felt like I could hardly walk another step once I was on the station platform.

 Fortunately I recovered a lot during the 25 minute ride home, and after an hour or so indoors I found the energy to walk to Aldi to pick up some of Smudge's favourite cat food, and also some human food. Unfortunately I couldn't help myself from buying some ice cream too, and scoffing that blew away any pretense of the day having any healthy value. Still, I enjoyed the walk, and I enjoyed the ice cream. So, what the hell !
Thursday 29th March 2012
07:50 BST

  It may be that yesterday afternoon was the warmest of this run of mild weather, and probably the warmest afternoon since last autumn. On my thermometer, on the north side of the house, and 12 ft above ground, said 19 C when I got home from work. A thin layer of cloud developed overnight that kept a little of the warmth from escaping into space, and so this morning has started out less chilly. I measured 7.3 C before coming to work. The BBC website suggested it should have been 10 C, but I think we measure temperature differently. Today is supposed to be the high point in this run of good weather. This afternoon should be nice and warm. Then tomorrow less warm, Saturday cool, and Sunday almost chilly. Next week could very well be cold.

 As well as a minor delay on the trains in the morning, there was a much bigger delay on the trains in the evening. A points problem, a track problem, or a signalling problem, depending on whose announcement you believe, was causing delays into Waterloo. It wasn't a horrendous delay, but unless I really raced over to Waterloo East station at an unseemly rate, it was late enough to miss my usual train home. I opted for a sedate walk across the station, and a leisurely fag outside the Victory Arch entrance. While there I became the subject of instant fame.
freak show or genuine art ?
 A delightful looking lady artist decided to sketch me. I am not convinced she got the neck area right, and I didn't think my nose was that big, but she does seem to have captured essentially what I look like. Whether her special artists eyes saw some sort of beauty, or some sort of freak show is something I doubt I'll ever know. Perhaps if someone sees her again by the steps up to the Victory Arch at Waterloo they could ask her for me. She looks like this.....
artist outside Waterloo station
 Last night I thought I would try some cans of Italian stuff I bought from Aldi somewhile back. One can was Italian Style Meatballs, and the other was Italian Style Meatballs With Pasta. In fact both had pasta lurking at the bottom of the cans. Until I found the not very nice tasting pasta at the bottom of the can I thought it was no more than a couple of meatballs floating in herb and tomato soup. That's why I opened the second can as well. That was more substantial with carrots and stuff in it, but still almost more like a soup than a main dish. Eating both cans was a very filling experience, but because they contained so much liquid the feeling over over fullness went away in half an hour as I absorbed all the liquid.

 I have no idea what the nutritional value of that food was, but I'm guessing that being canned food it was probably loaded with all sorts of stuff. As well as predictables like fat, I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't have a high sugar content as well. Whatever it was, I didn't feel any different this morning. I had enough energy for some fast walking now and again, but no desire to rush about.

 Actually there was one change this morning. I seemed to have slept incredibly well last night. I was probably asleep before 9pm, and although I woke up a couple of times in the night, I seemed to sleep solidly right up a few seconds before my alarm was due to sound. In theory I had the most amount of sleep in one night than I have had for ages. I am unsure if I feel better for it or not !

 Tonight I have to get some shopping in. Maybe I'll buy some more novelty food, or if it feels warm enough I may go for a salad, or maybe...... One thing I don't think I'll be doing tonight is going to the pub like I did on Tuesday night. It was while outside the pub, with the sun close to the horizon, that I took this picture.
tree and evening sky in Catford
 It is the same tree that I've shown before. The one where it was viciously pruned while still wearing it's decoration of blue light bulbs for Xmas. Now the garlands of disconnected lightbulbs stand out against the still light evening sky.
Wednesday 28th March 2012
08:04 BST

  If it were not for a small change this morning, you could say the weather is rather monotonous recently. Yesterday had another warm and sunny afternoon, and so should today. The difference is that this morning started off clear as a bell. There was no hint of mist, and the sky was clear as soon as the the first light of the morning hit it. That clear sky allowed the temperature to drop sharply, but it didn't get quite low enough for a frost. Although it must have come close to it.

 There was both good and bad after work yesterday. The good was that Kevin sent me a text message wondering if I fancied a quick beer on the way home. I did, and ended up having three pints of four different beers. That doesn't mean 12 pints in total. The total was three pints, but I started with 4 half pints of different beers to judge which would be the best for a final full pint.

 I managed to leave the pub in time to get a few things in the 99p shop just before it closed for the evening. Among the bits I bought was a bag of chilli flavoured tapioca chips. They are a bit like crisps, but harder and more brittle, and with a unique taste. I had some after my dinner because dinner was smaller than I anticipated. I had bought some ready made, chilled curry. I incorrectly assumed it would be half rice and half curry as most similar packets contain. This didn't. It was only curry, and much of that was just "gravy". It was very nice but rather unsubstantial.

 So I started eating the tapioca chips as a sort of weird dessert. All went until I somehow managed to bit down on a chips that was upright, and unfortunately I managed to find the exact spot where a tooth was extracted long ago, and it felt like the sharp edge of the chip had cut my gum in two. It was excruciatingly painful for a short while ! The worst of the pain was over in a few minutes, and it gradually faded away during the next 10 - 15 minutes. There was no blood so I assume I didn't really cut the gum, but the area is still very tender this morning, but only if I disturb it in a certain way.

 This morning was one of those mornings, probably the same as most mornings, where I felt that going back to bed instead of going to get my train would have been a better idea. I wasn't exactly tired, but just lazy, and suffering from the usual morning aches and pains that usually go once I've been out a bit and aired myself. By the time I got to Waterloo I felt fine, but by the time I got to Earlsfield I felt it would be better if work was far nearer the station. That was mainly because I thought that I might need to dash to the toilet. Once I actually go into work, and out of the cold air, it seemed less important, but I really must go once I've finished writing this.

 I was 3 minutes later to work than I could have been this morning. When I got to platform 1 at Waterloo I was greeted with this sight.
This train not to be moved
The 07:09 train to [I can't remember] had some sort of fault on it, and the next train going to Earlsfield was the 07:12 to  [I can't remember that one either !].

 Tonight I will most probably have some more of those tapioca chips. Now the bag is opened they'll have to be used up soon. I think I will take a little bit more care when I eat them tonight though. Other than that, I am imagine that I'll be taking a book to bedvery early in the evening.
Tuesday 27th March 2012
07:51 BST

  By yesterday afternoon it was very pleasant outside. The sun had warmed the air up, and it felt very nice to go home in shirtsleeves. The clear sky that allowed the sunshine through also allowed most of the heat out overnight. This morning started at a rather chilly 5 C, but by the end of the afternoon the temperature is forecast to rise as high as yesterday, and maybe even a degree more.

 I was busy at work yesterday, and annoyingly too busy to start on a project that I hoped to have completed by the end of today. Unless I can finish it before then end of tomorrow it will be awkward taking off Thursday and Friday. Those days, particularly Thursday, are forecast to be warm and dry, and it is my wish that I would go out for a ramble on one or both those days. I always seem to find that days out work better on a weekday. There's more trains, and less people around.

 As an alternative to Thursday and Friday I could, and still might, take off next Monday and Tuesday. It's on those days that we have another ISO inspection, and stress levels will be very high, and certain people panicking. Even this morning I've had an internal email suggesting my bench area is not as tidy as some useless pen pusher thinks it should be. There were even photos in the email of my desk, and a few other places that fail to conform to someones exalted desires. The only problem is that the picture of my desk shows work in progress. If it were anything else I would be doing nothing. I feel mighty irritated about this. Mightily irritated indeed !

 I was hoping that when I went home last night it would actually feel like I was leaving an hour early because of the clocks changing. It did a tiny bit when I thought about it hard, but it wasn't that wonderful. After I had eaten a lighter meal than usual, and watched the news on TV, I still had the urge to take the first steps towards going to bed even though it was still bright daylight outside. It was almost still light when I did get into bed with the Mammoth book of extreme science fiction. A few minutes later I had to get out of bed again to reply to an email that had come through to my phone that was on charge on the other side of the room. After dealing with that I got back into bed to resume reading. I was closer to the end of a short story than I thought, and so at around 8.30pm I turned out the light, and was asleep in no time at all.

 As seems to be monotonously the case now, I slept well for about 4 hours, and a lot less well afterwards. I woke up the first time from a dream whose theme is the only bit I remember. In this dream, someone, and I don't think it was Google, had been scouring the internet, and film archives, for both pictures and video of Catford through the ages. It was by no means complete because old pictures of Catford are relatively rare, but it was good enough in places to take a virtual walk down the high street in the mid 1960s. I think this facility does sort of exist for some areas of London, and there is a (paid for ?) app for the iPhone (maybe Android too) that allows you to overlay certain old street scenes over "reality", but I think that is probably limited to more famous places.

There are a few nice pictures of old Catford here :-

 During the second half of my sleep, one dream stood out for being "exciting" (for want of a better word !). I was at home with a special friend of the female variety, and the intention was that we would be indulging in certain well known intimacies. The only trouble was that two of my mad friends of the male variety were hanging around, and I couldn't get rid of them. One insisted of going through my entire record/CD collection by spreading it out all over the floor, and the other was just generally making a mess and getting in the way. By the end of the dream I had resorted to emulating language more associated with the extremes of Tourettes syndrome. Although there was some satisfaction in dusting down, and exercising some of the words and phrases kept for special occasions, I felt quite stressed when I woke up from that dream !

 I am expecting that much of tonight will be a re-run of last night - except for the dreams. Maybe tonight I can finish the second dream with out my loony friends being present. That would be nice. I haven't had a good "intimate" dream for ages, and just for a change it would be nice if I didn't wake up just before the best bit !
Monday 26th March 2012
08:06 BST

  It may have just been me, but yesterday seemed very cool. There seemed to be quite a lot of sunshine that should have warmed things up, but there always seemed to be a very chilly breeze coming through any open window. This morning started at just 7 C. It definitely felt chilly as I made my way to the station in the first faint light before dawn. I'm not sure when sunrise was this morning, but I first became aware it was daylight somewhere between Catford and Waterloo. At Earlsfield there was a bit of mist over the top end of the cemetary, and the sky was looking very hazy. The sky is clearing now and turning blue, and with a bit of luck it will be a bright sunny day, and be feeling warm when I go home.

 I feel relatively good this morning after a restful weekend. I had no trouble getting up effectively an hour earlier this morning. That was despite, or perhaps because of, sleeping for as much as two hours yesterday afternoon. I had hoped not to do that because I thought it would stop me getting to sleep in the evening. I did read in bed for a bit longer than I meant to, but at around 9.30pm I turned out the light, and I think I fell asleep very quickly.

 I slept well last night. I did wake up briefly a couple of times, but on each occasion I fell asleep again with no trouble. At some point in the night I had a dream that introduced a novel concept. I can't remember what happened in that dream, but it featured what could loosely be described as a railway caravan. In a subsequent dream or two, and also in moments of wakefulness I considered this idea. The basic idea was a railway coach, or wagon, fitted out like a caravan. It could then be attached to a train to be taken anywhere on the rail network. It could never work these days. Health and safety rules would see to that without having to consider that the rail network, and the trains that run on them are so inflexible in these modern times. Once upon a time when health and safety was all about not getting hurt instead of a book of inflexible rules, and railway stations had sidings and other spurs, it would have been feasible, and I'm not so sure that something similar didn't actually exist during the golden age of railways. The closest to it would have been static camping coaches that most of the railway regions set up.

 The change from GMT to BST yesterday was a very positive thing with just an almost ignorable penalty of temporary set back in sunrise. The ather excellent thing is that today, and for the next few days until the novelty wears off, it is going to feel like I am going home from work an hour early. Under a blazing sun (hopefully) that is going to feel good. It is even possible that it might inspire me to eat a little less tonight. It would be good if it did because I think I ate far more sparsely than usual yesterday, and two days of less eating could make me feel even fitter tomorrow morning. It is even possible it could be the start of a trend. If the trend continues, and I manage to complete a few tasks I have here at work in time, I'm hoping to take the end of the week off. If by then  I am feeling exceptionally good, I might just tackle a moderately long walk on Thursday or Friday.
Sunday 25th March 2012
11:04 BST

  Friday turned out to be a nice warm day with plenty of sunshine. Yesterday was also very good with plenty of sunshine, and the temperature probably in the region of 18 C. Now we have officially started British Summer Time the weather has taken a small turn for the worst. If it were still GMT it would be midday now, and the temperature has barely risen. It is only a rather cool 9 C currently, and with the sun only just beginning to shine through a misty white sky, it doesn't seem that it will get very warm today.

 The highlight of the week, and maybe the whole month, was Friday night. As I wrote on Friday, I had to work hard to convince myself that going out would be better than doing what my body was suggesting - putting my feet up, turning on vegetable mode in front of the TV for an hour or two before going to bed early. Happily I made the decision to go out. That decision, as I knew all along, was the best decision, but at that point I had no idea just how right it was to be.

 Jo and Chris picked me up from near home to take me to the gig. Their were roadworks in Greenwich that caused some long tailbacks, and although still in plenty of time, we were a lot later getting to the venue than planned. We weren't the latest by a long shot. Guy, the drummer, had left home with his kit very late, and after the delays caused by the roadworks, he didn't turn up until the rest of the band had started without him.

 The gig started off with Jo just playing solo. I think it was the second song she did that made going to the gig worthwhile all by itself. She played, and sung a hauntingly beautiful cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". It was note and word perfect, and I think it sent shivers down my spine. The rest of the gig was excellent, but that really was the cherry on the cream on top of the cake !
Jo Corteen sings Wish You Were Here like a bird
 I think the picture above is of Jo actually singing Wish You Were Here. The clue to whether it really is hangs on the clip on the neck of her guitar. I know nothing of guitar tuning, but if the song needed that clip on then it was, and if not it wasn't !
Chain tucked into a corner of The Crown pub in Greenwich
 The "stage area" was in a far better place at the front of the pub for this gig, but it was very cramped. I am quite surprised the whole band (now with Guy and his drums) fitted in, and that they weren't tripping over each other.
new Chain fans enjoying themselves
 I wasn't the only one enjoying myself on the night. This happy trio posed for me after I noticed the young lady on the left playing very enthusiastic air guitar while Chain played Lynyrd Skynyrd's classic song "Freebird".
a happy fan wanted to hear Layla, and he did !
 This gentleman wanted to hear Layla played. It was on the set list, and Chain obliged. He was slightly drunk, and looked the type who on an off day might be a football hooligan (as many who drink in the pub seem to my innocent eyes to be), but he just abut managed a smile when I turned to him at the end of the song and said "pose !".

 It was one of those weird nights when several people thought I was the bands manager, and several more thought I was a bouncer or something. Twice I walked into the toilets to find a couple of lads in there finishing a conversation about "the match" (or some other esoterica that I know nothing about). On both occasions they quickly moved out of my way with a "sorry mate" as if I would have bitten their heads off if they didn't move. It was quite a powerful feeling, but not one I'd like to exploit for fear of having my own head bitten off and flushed away.

 At the end of the gig I did a little bit of what I actually was, beyond being a fan - a roadie. With all the gear safely loaded I had earned my lift to within 100yds of home. As I walked those last hundred yards at 1 o'clock in the morning I was treated to some interesting sights. First there was a fox who went to run away until I said "hello foxy". With that he turned to look at me. Before we could get a conversation going a man came out of his house to walk his dog. The fox sauntered off in one direction, and I in my direction. Just round the corner I could hear a magpie (or it may have been a crow) "shouting" at something. I couldn't actually see the bird, but as I looked up I saw a cat halfway up a very small tree. I'm sure the tree was too small at around 20 -25ft tall to have a nest in it, but maybe it did. The cat obviously had some reason for being up there, and the bird, if it was indeed screaming at the cat may well have had a nest that I couldn't easily see in the dark. (note to self - try and remember to take a better look next time I pass that tree).

 It was 2am before I was in bed, and probably two minutes after that, that I was fast asleep. It all seems very hazy now, but I think I slept solidly for 4 hours before my sleep was interupted by waking up frequently for no obvious reason. Eventually I gave up trying to sleep and got up. Once I was washed and dressed I went up the road to buy some cat food (and totally forgot to check the tree that had the cat in it). I found that Aldi had new supplies of Smudge's favourite food - turkey and chicken pate - and loaded up on that, plus some stuff for me.

 I didn't buy that much human food because I had a fair bit ready to go back at home. Ideally I would have liked to have a takeaway last night, but I had some leftovers that had to be used up that I incorporated into a slowly cooked stew. Before I started cooking that I had a load of laundry to do. I had let it accumulate all week again, and it made me ravenously hungry fighting with it. Before I could more than one small sandwich I had a call from Patricia who was shopping in Lewisham. She wondered if it was OK to pop in for a chat, and to give me some duty free fags she had picked up on a business trip to America.

 So I frantically did some tidying up, and then Patricia arrived. She talked about the business trip she had just made, and about the company she visited (who she does translations for). Funnily enough it is one of the companies that we order spares from at work. When she left she took away a small suitcase that I had been looking after for her for the last couple of years, and she also took away a bag of four duvet covers to launder for me. With luck I might get them back next weekend.

 It was bright and warm for a lot of yesterday, but by the time Patricia had left it felt too late to go out for a walk in the sunshine, and I was also feeling the effects of the late night. So I decided to put my feet up and do some reading. Later on I finally got around to reviewing, and editing, the pictures I had taken at the gig the previous night. I usually try and upload some to Myspace, or display them here as quickly as possible, but it wasn't until late in the afternoon that I seemed to find the time and inclination to make a start on them. I still have two video clips to check and see if one or the other has come out well enought to show in public. The second to last thing I did was to write a long(ish) email. The final thing was to have a flick around the TV channels. I ended up watching the last 90% of the James Bond film "Moonraker".

 In an ideal world I would have been in bed early last night. With the clocks changing I'll be, in effect, getting up an hour early every morning until the clocks change back in the autumn, and it would have been wise to get into ,practice for that as soon as possible. In fact it was midnight before I was in bed and asleep. I did get a lot of sleep, but it was in two parts. I woke up at something like 4am, and then didn't get back to proper sleep until a few hours passed of light interupted sleep. It feels like it would be a nice idea to have a long snooze this afternoon, but I ought to try and resist that if I can. My aim is to be in bed, and if possible, fast asleep very early tonight so I can get a full eight hours in before getting up what will feel like an hour early until I get used to it.
Friday 23rd March 2012
07:59 GMT

  Once again it was a fine end to the afternoon yesterday. The top temperature in London was reported to be somewhere in the region of 18 - 19 C. I'm not sure if it was that warm in Earlsfield or Catford, but it was certainly mild enough to go home in my shirtsleeves. Maybe it was the breeze picking up a bit when I left work that took the edge off the mild air. Today started off very foggy. In Catford visibility was down to a few hundred feet in places. At about 7 C it was quite chilly, but the sun, that has now all but dispersed the fog and mist, should soon warm things up to something approaching yesterday's temperature.

 I went home via Tesco last night. I mainly wanted a copy of New Scientist, and a bottle or two of diet cola, but inevitably I bought some food too - though not much. Amongst that food was the inevitable hot cooked chicken, and it was also inevitable that Smudge managed to eat as much of it as I did ! I actually bought three bottles of diet cola. Two were Diet Coke, and the other was Tesco's own brand. Once upon a time the latter was very nice, and then they changed the recipe about 6 years ago, and it was bloody awful. In a burst of extreme foolish optimism I am hoping without any obvious clues to generate that hope, that the recipe may have changed again to something closer to cola than the rat poison and sewage taste that they have peddled for the last 6 or 7 years.

 Last night was another night when I was in bed incredibly early. I was reading New Scientist last night, and the most comfortable place to read was my bed, and as I didn't intend to do anything else I thought I might as well brush my teeth early too, and get into bed. A side effect of this is that once I felt I had read enough, I turned the light out and went straight to sleep. I think it was barely gone 8pm before I was fast asleep, and I slept well for 4 hours.

 A little after midnight I woke up for no obvious reason - I can't even recall waking from a good, bad, or indifferent dream. It took my something like an hour before I could get back to sleep. During that hour I resorted to doing a little more reading, and even reading a couple of emails that had come in while I was asleep. Every 5 or 10 minutes I would try to get to sleep, but I either wasn't sleepy, or I didn't feel comfortable. Once the hour passed I laid my head on the pillow and seemed to go to sleep again almost instantly. I almost slept right through to 5am this morning, and only woke up 10 or 15 minutes before then. In theory I have had loads of sleep, and I should be feeling wonderfully refreshed this morning. Well I feel OK, but if I wasn't here at work it feels like I could still be in bed now........Maybe not actually now, but I would still have liked to go back to bed instead of coming to work, and maybe I would have slept from 6am to perhaps 7.30am.

 Writing about sleeping is making me yawn, and I expect I could well be doing more of that tonight (yawning !). Chain are playing in Greenwich tonight, and there is a chance that I'll be offered a lift to the venue (The Crown pub). The only problem is that I'll be picked up at about the same time I have got into bed the last two evenings, and Chain will start playing about the time I fell asleep then. It's going to take several pints of of good ale (which hopefully the new landlord will still be getting in), and great music to get me over the hump, and on to my second wind tonight. The steepest part of the hump will be just before 7pm. I just know that at that time I'll be trying to think of excuses for myself to not bother going out, and to go to bed, but most times I also manage to convince myself that I have to go out, and that I'll regret it if I don't.
Thursday 22nd March 2012
07:56 GMT

  We are at the start of a summer drought, and yet I am more than happy for the sun to stay shining. There was a lot of sunshine yesterday, and that drove the temperature up enough for me to go home from work in my shirtsleeves. The temperature dropped a lot during the night, and I think it was around 5 C when I woke up, but it seems to be warming up already. It is a delightful morning that started off with some thin mist here and there, but the sun has already driven that off, and today promises to be rather good. Of course this was not how it was forecast a few days ago. Then they were saying that today would be dull, and probably wet. With luck, reality will see the temperature rise to 19 C, and there are hints that some spots could see 21 C.

 Sometimes I don't know how to take advantage of things dropped in my lap. On my way home from work I dropped off a CD with the pictures on it that I had taken when Chain played in The Catford Ram last Friday night. It was for the governor of The Catford Ram who may eventually use a picture or two on his pubs very out of date website (http://www.catfordrampub.co.uk/). The website is so out of date that the next gig at the pub is listed as Chain in October 2011 ! I knew that it would probably be worth a free pint or two, so why did I just ask for a half of bitter instead of a double Scotch or something ? Well maybe once he's seen the pictures it might still be worth another freebie when I drink in there next.

 Last night I found myself in bed exceptionally early. I slept well until waking up nearly an hour early. I could consider this to be annoying, but I think it is probably good practice for when the clocks change from GMT to BST this coming Sunday. While I was sleeping I had a dream that revealed a strange sort of prejudice I seem to have. I am not sure what the setting of the dream was. I've already forgotten the minor details, and I am not sure if I even remember the main details correctly after thinking about them a lot while awake, and considering alternative possibilities.

 As far as I can recall I was in some sort of cross between work and a classroom, and sitting next to me was a woman. She was rather plain looking, but not unattractive. I can't recall what she was wearing apart from a pale orange cardigan. She was chatting with me, and from the way she was driving the conversation I concluded that she was hesitantly chatting me up. What I considered doing was telling her that if she was chatting me up I could avoid her any difficulties by just saying "yes, she had a date". I didn't though. The other thing I was considering (for some strange reason) was that a pale orange cardigan was the badge of the perpetual spinster, and that any relationship with her would be fruitless. It was while considering these two ideas that I woke up. Then, while awake, I considered the pros and cons of the dream, and imagined alternative scenarios.

 Somewhere along the way those imaginings and the dream probably got mixed up, but the pale orange cardigan definitely featured in the dream ! It is a very strange prejudice to have, and I wonder where I picked it from, or how I managed to invent it. I could easily be wrong, but I can't recall ever seeing a pale orange cardigan before. I assume they must exist, but I would suggest that if you are of the female gender you don't ever wear one unless you want to sit on the shelf until the end of your days.
Wednesday 21st March 2012
07:59 GMT

  There was more sunshine than I expected yesterday. It was all in the form of sunny intervals between duller intervals, but some of those sunny spells were reasonably extensive. It probably caused the afternoon to be a little warmer than the 12 C that I thought it might reach, but it wasn't quite warm enough to go home in my shirtsleeves. I think today will be much like yesterday except that I think at 9 C it has started off less cold than yesterday. Maybe that will mean the temperature will just cross the threshold where it is fully comfortable to leave my coat off when I go home tonight.

 There was a prolonged sunny interval during most of my lunchbreak, and I went out for a look in the park. Much of it is still very drab with no real signs of spring, but one part did boast a display of miniature daffodils.
Daffodils in St Georges Park, Earlsfield
 As you can probably tell, the sun went in just as I took this photo, and without the bright sunshine those daffodils are not very spectacular. A few moments later the sun came out again. I should have taken another wide angle shot, but went for a close up instead.  With a bit of sun, and some pale blue sky, these daffodils look far more exciting.
close up on daffodils
 On the whole, those daffodils were only a mild tonic, but fortunately I only needed a mild tonic to pick me up. During the morning we had our health and safety session at work. To my surprise it was not as nearly painful as I expected it to be. For one thing it was all over in about 30 minutes instead of the 2 hours suggested by the diary entry for it. The other good thing was that it was not a lecture, but a sort of test loosely based on a game of bingo (with Easter eggs as prizes). I was mostly able to sit back and relax, and let most of it waft over me.

 It was an interesting demonstration of "book learning". The department in whose care we place our lives can quote rules and regulations to any question, but have yet to demonstrate to me that they have any idea about real safety. I doubt they even realise it, but their small minds wouldn't even recognise a risk, or even an accident unless it was previously described in their precious little book of rules.

 I had another, but once again fairly mild annoyance yesterday. My train from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge seemed to be full of schoolchildren. Fortunately they seemed unusually well behaved, but they were taking up a lot of seats, and I had to stand all the way home. That got me thinking about rail passengers. There seems to be two types. One type travel on SouthEastern trains, and the other on Southwest trains. I travel on both, and that allows me to make detailed comparisons.

 On SouthEastern trains people seem to be more considerate. At the station they stand to the side of the doors to let people off the train first. When traversing the station they don't push and shove through the narrower places. Southwest trains passengers are completely the opposite. There are times when getting off the train I just have to launch myself into a bunch of people obstructing the doors, and hope for their sakes they manage to get out of my way. Of course this rule is not universal !

 While in my previous job there used to be a very nasty bunch of schoolkids who used the train to get home, and there was a period of time where the police used to ride the same train to stop them wrecking it. That was in the evening (afternoon). Going to work, against the flow of the commuters into London, was usually a very pleasant experience for the nine minutes I was on a very sparsley occupied train. Then for a few consecutive days there was a small gaggle of schoolkids who got on the train where I got off. For those few days they tried to emulate Southwest train passengers and block the doorway while trying to barge onto the train while I was getting off. They thought it was great fun until one day I "accidently" trod on one of their feet. Oddly enough they instantly parted when they found me trying to get off the train. I think they learned a valuable lesson that day !
Tuesday 20th March 2012
08:03 GMT

  With the sun shining for far longer than the forecasters expected, it turned into an almost warm afternoon yesterday. Then the patchy cloud thickened and kept a little of that warmth in. This morning there was no frost, but it was still very chilly as I came to work. There is a fair amount of patchy cloud in the sky now, but the sun was shining quite frequently as I came to work, and maybe there is a reasonable chance that we will see more of it through the day. The top temperature today is forecast to be 12 C, and sadly that is a couple of degrees less than yesterday.

 After such an awful day last Friday, yesterday was not bad. I could grudgingly admit to liking a few minutes of work here and there. Sadly today has the potential to be seriously bad. Between 11am and 1pm I, my department will be subjected to a health and safety lecture - which is always tragically bad for my mental health (and possibly my continuing employment). It is possible it could be bad for my physical health too if I am let anywhere near sharp knives, guns, atom bombs or other handy ways to commit hari kari and/or murder, mayhem, rape and pillage.

 Regardless of whether it is a good day, or a bad day at work, I am always most keen to go home, and last night was just about warm enough to enjoy the luxury of stuffing my coat in my bag, and going home in rolled up shirtsleeves. It was only just warm enough by a minute margin for that, but still quite enjoyable. It's the first day of spring today, and it can't be too long now before I can leave my coat at home, and come into work in a short sleeve shirt. Well maybe, on consideration, it will be a long time. The clocks change back to summer time this coming Sunday, and at last I will get back the evening daylight that was stolen from me last year. It also means a temporary return to getting my morning train while it's still dark, and if it's dark it will almost certainly be cold.

 Last night I slept rather better than usual. It was so good that I really, really, really wanted to go back to bed after I had served Smudge here breakfast this morning. Whether my better than currently usual sleep had anything to do with what happened before I went to bed is debatable. It was actually about 20 minutes after I had eaten my dinner that I became aware of a powerful urge to get to the toilet. Between then and getting into bed, with many, often close spaced visits to the toilet, I think I drained my entire digestive system down - maybe including what I had just eaten. Fortunately it all happened in the correct direction. I can't think of any reason why it should have happened, but so effective was it that this morning I pulled my belt tight, and found it had moved on a notch. It's a shame that won't last.

 Tonight would be an ideal time to capitalise on this small, and unconventional loss of weight, but there could be a problem. I need some cat litter, and that means a trip into the land of temptation - aka Tesco. I do have a menu set for tonight already, and it's sort of moderate in a way, but it could so easily be superceded if I spot something nice on Tesco's reduced price shelf. Maybe if I keep reminding myself that there is a small chance that this coming Saturday could see some fine weather, and that I'll need to feel moderately fit to venture out into the wild, then I may end up eating slightly sensibly.
Monday 19th March 2012
08:16 GMT

  Yesterday stayed dry, and there were more sunny periods as the sun found gaps in the clouds. Sometime after sunset the clouds went away, and the temperature dropped. This morning has started with bright sunshine from a clear blue sky - and a lot of frost ! The air is already starting to warm up, and the temperature is forecast to rise to a reasonable 13 C by this afternoon. The sunshine now is several hours in advance of when it was forecast to come, and if it can keep shining it may raise the temperature to higher than the forecast 13 C.

 I had more laundry to do than I thought I had when I came to tackle it yesterday afternoon. There were five work shirts to do plus a t-shirt, some underwear, a pair of lounge pants, and a towel. The towel was the hardest thing to tackle. Fortunately it was not a full size bath towel, but it was of a type that seemingly holds gallons of water, and become very heavy when wet. It was a bit of a struggle, but I managed the towel OK. The rather excellent thing is that my hand powered wringing out must have been good enough for even the towel to be dry this morning - though I did leave the fan heater on half power overnight.

 So far this morning I am not completely pissed off with work yet. That may come later depending on events. Overall I feel reasonably OK. I managed a fair nights sleep last night. I didn't sleep enough to make up for the deficit of Friday night, but Saturday night's sleep was fairly good. I woke up earlier than I would have preferred this morning from one of two dreams I can partly recollect.

 The most significant part of the first dream was about a pair of underpants. Earlier in the dream I had been having trouble trying to catch a bus to Lewisham. I seemed to end up in Crystal Palace which is in the opposite direction to Lewisham. That was OK though, because it seems I was staying in a hotel built partly over the remaining foundations of The Crystal Palace building (the one that burnt down last century). I was in my room there and decided to go out to a local shop to buy (I think) some cigarettes. I decided that this time (!!) I should put some clothes on to go out in, and decided on a red pair of underpants. The only trouble is that when I picked them up they were no longer red. The outside was black, and the inside was a bright powder, or electric blue. I wanted to show the blue side, but got frustrated because it looked ridiculous wearing them inside out.

 Fortunately I woke up before the conflict became too taxing. That was at about 1am. I was soon asleep again, and didn't wake up until sometime around 4.15am - an annoying 45 minutes early. I woke from a dream about some new fad in the field of weird and wacky health foods. There was this stuff that was either called Jonas Milk or Jodas Milk that was some sort of dried herb that you could add to stwes and soups, or make some sort of herbal tea from. I was asking someone if it bothered than that the stuff smelled like an elephant had left a deposit in the corner of the room.

 I can't remember too many details about that dream - apart from one interesting fact. The "storyline" revolved around the smell of this herb, and yet I cannot recall actually smelling anything in the dream. When I think back I cannot recall a single instance where my sense of smell has been used in a dream. I've seen, heard, and felt things, but I am sure I have never smelled or tasted anything in a dream. I wonder why not ?

 Tonight I have nothing planned apart from TV & dinner and then reading in bed. It's not much to look forward to, but better things are afoot. Sometime later in the week I am expecting a visit from Patricia who has some duty free cigarettes for me. Now that's something to look forward to :-)
Sunday 18th March 2012
11:23 GMT

  A lot of weather has passed in the last couple of days. Friday ended up occasionally sunny, but quite cool. Yesterday was cold and wet. This morning started off bright and sunny. It was rather lovely, but the temperature was only a rather chilly 4 to 5 C at daybreak. As I write the temperature has crept up to 10.5 C, but as the forecast suggested would happen, it is now getting cloudy. Later on it might rain again.

 I was incredibly pissed off at work on Friday. Had there been any chance beyond the rarest of fluke chances of ever earning a living again I could have cheerfully resigned. On this occasion it wasn't anything in particular, or even any person that left me feeling that way. It was little bits of this, and little bits of that, plus it was the end of the week and I was feeling tired, and home time just could not come quickly enough.

 I was probably looking forward to the evening just a little too much. The reason was that Chain were playing in The catford Ram. It's just so handy to only have a five minute walk from home to have a wonderful time listening to great music while quaffing large quantities of beer. What makes it even better is that at The Catford Ram the gig starts at approx 6pm, and finishes at a time more in keeping with my normal hours (i.e. bedtime at around 9pm). Of course I didn't actually go to bed at 9pm, and it was closer to 1am ! The very most wonderful thing about Friday night was that I hadn't seem Chain play for nearly two months, and I hadn't indulged in any binge drinking* for practically the same length of time.

 * binge drinking as defined by the government of anything more than a thimbleful of any liquid that has been within 200 metres of alcohol.

 So after work I rushed home as fast as the train service would let me. (i.e. I got home at my normal time). Once indoors I fed Smudge, got changed, picked up my video and photo kit, and then walked at a slightly sedate pace to the pub so I could arrive there looking my coolest (or something). Part of my video kit was my new, and up till then, untried LED video lamp. It made a real difference to the one video I shot. Video shot in the Ram is usually dull, and even post processing can only do so much to make it look a little more vibrant. I didn't need any special processing to produce this.....

 Prior to Friday night there was some discussion about how the gig would turn out on the new stage that the pub installed. I don't really know what anyone else thought about it, but I think it worked very well. There could be argument that it puts a barrier between the band and the audience, but it's too insubstantial for that, and just added a sort of neatness to the performance.
Chain on the new stage at The Catford Ram
 Friday night was evening before St Patrick's day, and the pub was already themed up to celebrate it. There was free Irish stew available from 5 to 8pm, and of course loads of Guinness hats pinned up around the place. I was drinking Guiness, and that gave me an idea for a crap, cliched photo........which sort of turned out OK !
Guinness and great music
 No St Patrick's celebration would be complete without someone, Elizabeth in this case, playing on the penny whistle. It was a good excuse to nip outside for a fag while this musical interlude passed.
Elizabeth on the penny whistle accompanied by Steve Cox on guitar
 I had a wonderful time in the pub. It went on for longer than I imagined it would. Chain had packed up and gone when the landlord presented me with another pint of Guiness, and Kevin with a double Jameson's whiskey (which I would have preferred). The reason for this was (I think) that he was after some of my photography to use on the pubs woefully out of date website. I'll be dropping off a CD with some of my pictures, plus the link to the video, to him in a day or two. It might even be worth another free beer if I'm lucky !

 After I left the pub I bought some fish and chips for dinner when I got home. As I was eating them I put on the TV and found BBC3 were showing "George Harrison: Living In The Material World" a documentary/autobiography about George Harrison. The odd thing is that I had seen it before, but hardly recognised it. Maybe it's actually better to see it while drunk, and feeling high from all the excitement earlier.

 I think it finished at something like half past midnight. I think I remember that my clock said 00:45 when I turned the light out to go to sleep. It may not have mattered too much going to bed at such a late hour if I had managed to get to sleep quickly enough, and if I hadn't woken up at least three times in the night with severe cramp in one or other of my legs. Each time I had to leap out of bed to put some weight on my legs to kill the excruciating pain. I can't remember if it had happened again when I woke up at 6am, but at that time I didn't think I could get any more sleep. So I effectively got up after less than 5 hours of very bad sleep.

 After a while I did a bit of housework to make the place look a bit better because Aleemah was visiting late in the morning. I was OK while she was here, but after she left a deep tiredness came over me. I did manage to doze off during the afternoon, but I doubt I got any more than an hours sleep, and probably less. This was unfortunate because I could have gone to another Chain gig last night. It was at one of the venues where Jo and Chris have to pass through Catford, and they offered me a lift there and back, but even with that kind offer I felt too tired to go out.

 The most annoying thing about all that was that I seemed to get my second wind five minutes after the time they would have picked me up. For several hours after I didn't really feel all that tired. So I decided to tackle the video I had shot in the pub the night before. I did a simple bit of editing, and then uploaded it to You Tube. It seemed that as soon as I had hit the upload button a deep weariness came over me, and I couldn't wait for it to finish so I could get into bed and sleep. It was still unusually late when I got to sleep, but I slept fairly normally, and got about an average amount of sleep.

 This morning I woke up feeling a bit bleary eyed, but that soon passed. With the sun shining brightly outside I was almost tempted to go out for a long walk somewhere. That was until I took some rubbish out to the wheelie bin. The sun may have been bright, and much of the sky was blue, but it felt bloody freezing outside ! That put me off the idea of going out, but the deciding factor was that I still had over 40 pictures on my camera from Friday night that I had hardly looked at. So the first job for today was to review the photos, and edit the best of them.

 Having done that I started writing this. Since starting the sun had gone in, the sky looked as if it was about to rain, and now the cloud seems more broken again. There was even a few more minutes of bright sunshine just now. Well, there's too many very dark looking clouds to put me off considering going for a walk today, and in a way that is a good thing. I now have quite a heap of laundry to do, and I can't put off doing that any longer. While I'm doing that I think I'll put some dinner in the oven, and if I time it right I'll not have to wait too long to have my Sunday dinner afterwards.
Friday 16th March 2012
08:00 GMT

  We had a taste of summer yesterday. Once the fog lifted the sun came out, and it was shining all day. By the time I left work to go home it was warm enough to go home with my coat stuffed in my bag, and my shirtsleeves rolled up, in perfect comfort. It seems unlikely we will experience such luxury today. The temperature may have been a degree or two higher than the same time yesterday as I came to work, but a bit more breeze made it feel just as chilly. Much of today will be cloudy, although there may be a little bit of sunshine later this afternoon, but it won't be able to warm the day up to anywhere near what it achieved yesterday, and the stronger breeze won't help either. Tomorrow rain, and possibly lots of it, is forecast.

 There are very few occasions when going home from work is enjoyable purely for the sake of travelling. Yesterday was almost one of them. Of course going home from work carries it's own rewards on any day - even in the foulest of weather - but there have been a few rare occasions when the journey itself was enjoyable. Yesterday it definitely felt good to be going home with no coat, and shirt sleeves rolled up. The bright sunshine was cheery too, but it all wasn't good enough to justify going to work in the first place. Currently the only joy in work is bringing home a pay packet at the end of the month. Even the fire drill we had yesterday was boring. It would definitely have been better if their were smoke and flames !

 I called into Tesco on my way home from work. A lot of what I bought was sensible sort of stuff, but one item definitely wasn't sensible. Sitting all alone on the shelf was a mixed fruit trifle marked down to something like half price. So I bought it, and what's more, I ate it all ! There was other reduced price stuff on the same shelf, but those could have been even worse for me. This morning I feel rather rough. I assume that my blood sugar level is far too high, though I haven't measured it. Likewise, I haven't measured my blood pressure, but that is probably very high. The blood pressure could just be my imagination brought on by a sort of guilt, but I can't imagine that a mixed fruit trifle was not loaded with high levels of sugar.

 There are other resons for feeling slightly rough this morning, although they might be indirectly blamed on the trifle and other stuff I ate. I don't think I slept well last night, and I did get up half an hour early this morning. When it came time to leave for work I had a hard time deciding whether to go to the front door, or back to bed. The front door won out, and off to work I went. I was only wearing my lightweight coat, and I think the chilly air got to me faster than I thought it would. It made my arms and legs feel stiff as if they needed oiling. Maybe it wasn't so different to most mornings this winter, and it was just that yesterday's warm weather left me spoiled.

 I'm sure I had several dreams last night, but one was interesting, disturbing, entertaining, and just plain weird. Most of the details have now faded from memory, but the basis of the dream was that I was in a hospital, or clinic being seen by a combined doctor, psychiatrist and psychologist (and maybe he had skills in other "ologies" as well). I have no idea why I was there, and in some respects I am not entirely sure it was actually me. At some point in the dream the doctor started reading out my medical history, and I didn't recognise any of it. One entry concerned being hospitalised in Greenwich hospital for some intestinal problem.

 Greenwich hospital doesn't actually exist, although there was once a Greenwich Seaman's hospital. At the age of around 12 I once spent something like 36 hours in Lewisham hospital with a suspected appendicitus. That turned out to be no more sinsister than just piss and wind, and I was certainly never operated on as was reported in my dream. The rest of the dream didn't make much sense, but it did have the potential to get interesting as it finished. At the very end the doctor wanted to judge my "sexual response" and asked the nurse to take off her skirt so I could see her underwear.  All I got was a quick flash of knickers before I woke up. I hate it when that happens !

 Tonight should be a good, or hopefully an excellent night. Chain are playing an early gig in The Catford Ram. It doesn't need to be St Patricks to consume many pints of Guiness there, and maybe in honour of St Patrick I'll have an extra pint tonight while listening to some great, and not so great music. The not so great will be if there is an Irish interlude like there was last year when someone with a fiddle screeched on for 20 minutes in the middle of the gig.  Chain should be on the new mini stage they have built in the pub, and that might make for a few novel photos. The new stage also has some lighting, and if it's on, and well set, it might make for some interesting video too. In any event I'll be taking along my new video light with it's 160 bright white LEDs, and hoping it won't dazzle the band too much.

 After the gig I think I might fancy some fish and chips to end a great night. It's lucky that these early evening gigs finish early too. Tomorrow Aleemah is visiting, and that means I'll have to rush about trying to do some housework relatively early in the morning. So only a slightly late night for me tonight.
Thursday 15th March 2012
08:09 GMT

  I shouldn't be so pessimistic ! Against all my expectations, yesterday after was sunny ! The expectation that it would not be quite as warm as the day before was right though. There was little cloud overnight, and that allowed the temperature to drop to 4.6 C this morning. It also caused quite a thick fog to form. In places visibility was down to a hundred metres or less. Here in Earlsfield the fog is now lifting, and the sun is getting brighter. There are predictions that today could exceed 18 C, and that is rather good, but it also marks a temporary peak. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot duller, cooler, and rain is forecast for the weekend.

 Yesterday morning I managed to take a very poor picture of something I have waited some time to photograph. The picture I took on my mobile phone was so bad that I had to enhance it.
misspelling on 465026
 What the picture shows is part of the platform edge of platform 6 at London Bridge station, and the skirting of SouthEastern train 465026 near to one of the doors (pale blue with yellow stripe on the step). My main "enhamcement" was to re-letter the fuzzy lettering that says "HEATER CONTRACTOR CASE". When I first saw that label I thought the idea of a heater contractor was novel, and unlikely, but still just possible. Domestic central heating usually has an expansion tank. So why shouldn't a train have a contracting tank (or something). Mysuspicions that it was a misprint were soon confirmed when every other train I saw had "HEATING CONTACTOR CASE" written on it. A contactor being the name for a huge, heavy duty switch. The misprint has been in existence for well over a month, and my guess it will stay as it is for years to come !

 Last night I spent a bit of time playing with a new toy that was delivered to me yesterday. It is an internet connected pan and tilt (but not zoom) security camera. Compared to the ones that the company I work for makes, it is a toy, but a very good one. It cost a tenth of the price of a professional security camera, but is still very effective. I was lucky that I managed to order mine while they were on special offer, and 10 cheaper than I notice they are today. It has password access over the internet. So I can't link to it here, and it might not even be switched on tomorrow, but today I can watch my cat sleeping all day while try and stay awake at work. While I can't link to it, or embed it, I can show a snapshot of what I saw a few seconds ago - and probably not too different to what I'll see all day !.
picture from catcam
 Today is Thursday at last. It is a wonderful thing that it's Thursday because that means tomorrow is Friday ! On the whole I feel reasonably OK, but I am suffering from echoes of a terribly depressing dream I had last night. I won't attempt to describe it, or what it was about. Most of the detail apart from the theme of the dream has evaporated anyway, but it was truly depressing, and has taken the edge off the morning. Hopefully the bright sunshine will burn off the rest of the memory of it.

 Tonight I ought to be very busy. Whether I will or not remains to be seen. I definitely need to go cat food shopping (and something for me might be nice too). I really should wash my hair tonight so it's nice and clean for when I see Chain playing in The Catford Ram soon after work tomorrow. I probably ought to do some laundry tonight as well. There is one more thing that I should have done this morning if had enough time, but I will 500% have to do tonight, and that is to empty Smudge's litter tray. It is most definitely full !!
Wednesday 14th March 2012
07:58 GMT

  Yesterday didn't feel as warm as the day before, but just like then, the sun did eventually break through the clouds, and it was pleasantly sunny by mid afternoon. The sky stayed clear long enough for the temperature to dip to only a few degrees above zero during the night, and then the cloud came back. Once again we have a murky start to the day. It is supposed to stay dry again today, but there seems less chance of another sunny afternoon. If that part of the forecast turns out to be true, then maybe the next bit will too. Tomorrow is forecast to get quite close to being hot with temperatures in London reaching 18, or maybe even higher !

 I took advantage of the sunshine last night (or late afternoon - however you describe 5pm) and took a walk through Catford on my way home. From the station I walked down to the high street, and then along to the 99p shop before turning off the high street and towards home. Along the way I noticed that Shoe Fayre had some ertasz Converse trainers on display, and called in to buy a pair.

 The only had one colour which was a sort of denim blue, but that was fine by me. At 7.99 they are considerably cheaper than genuine Converse trainers by a factor of about 5 to 1. Of course they also wear out about 5 or 6 times faster. So they are no more economic than buying the genuine article, and probably less so by a small margin. On the face of it they do not sound as if they are a good investment, but there is more to it than that. There is the facile argument that it's boring to wear the same colour trainers all the time, and so the short life of them allows more variety. Then there is the far better argument that for some reason these cheap Chinese knockoffs are much more comfortable than the genuine article. I am wearing them this morning, and so far my feet feel good !

 After Shoe Fayre I called into the 99p shop to check their 99p DVDs. It was the real reason why I went home via this roundabout route. I felt like being generous (on a microscopic scale) and buying another copy of the DVD about Cream (the 1960s supergroup) to give to Chris from Chain when I seem they play in The Catford Ram on Friday. I think I have already mentioned how I bought the first copy and found that I was quite wrong about it being a load of rubbish. I hope that Chris enjoys it as much as I did.

 I turned out the light, and went to sleep a little after 9pm last night. I slept really well until I woke up at 1am. Then I had one of those occasions where whatever you try you can't get back to sleep again. I tossed and turned for over an hour before I fell asleep again. Then I slept well again. I had some dreams that I recall as being enjoyable (but can't remember what they were about now), and I was asleep so deeply that my alarm had to sound for a good few seconds before I came to. Usually I am awake before the alarm sounds. I felt a bit sleep at work yesterday, and it seems likely I will again today after losing an hour of sleep last night.

 I didn't feel too wonderful this morning. The worst thing was the realisation that it was only Wednesday rather than Thursday today. It felt like a Thursday to me, but my calendar says different ! I left for work with a slight pain in the gut that improved at first, and then got worse again. It was just a bit of trapped wind rather than anything sinister, but I hate travelling in such a state. I seem OK now, and at least if it happens while I am at work I am near a toilet.

 While I might have been very slightly uncomfortable when I arrived at Earlsfield station (which has no toilets) I still found time to get my camera out for a bit of train spotting. Earlsfield station is not very far from Wimbledon train depot, and sitting outside the depot was an old slam door train. I think it was on the mainline ready to go somwhere. In an ideal world I could have waited long enough to see if it moved, hopefully towards me, but work beckoned, and the only answer was full zoom on the camera, and a bit of cropping of the picture. It's not a good enough picture to identify the unit, but there is no dispute it is a slam door train.
Unidentified slam door train near Wimbledon depot 14th March 2012
  I've got no plans for tonight except to try and make sure I get to sleep on time or earlier. I think I'll spend most of the evening pining for Thursday. You may ask what is so special about Thursday, and my answer is that it is the day before Friday - the end of the week.
Tuesday 13th March 2012
08:07 GMT

  Yesterday ended up as a gloriously sunny day. Although the air temperature didn't get that high, it felt delighfully warm in the sunshine. My outside thermometer was only showing 12 C when I got home from work, but that is sited on the north side of my house. On the south side, the bright sun made it feel more like 18 or 19 C. As the sun set the clouds appeared again, and they helped keep the temperature up overnight. It was 9 C when I left for work. That's cool, but not terribly so.

 The worst thing is that the clouds are still here this morning, and apparently will be here all day. Today is not going to feel as warm as yesterday, and there is always a possibility that it might rain. Rain was forecast for 6am this morning. I think I felt some moisture on my face when I put some rubbish in the wheelie bin at that time, but there has been no evidence of any rain since then.

 I was feeling good when I got home in the sunshine last night. In theory I should have been in the right mood to do some more tidying up in my living room - I was, but only a tiny little bit. I think I spent no more than five minutes doing just a little bit more, but that was all. I think the place looks better already, but it is only relative. If you knew what it looked like before you would see a great improvement. If you hadn't seen it before you would probably think my living room looks like a mess. Of course it is, but Smudge and myself don't seem to mind it, and we're the one's who count, so there !!

 Having done my five minutes of something similar to housework, cooked and eaten my dinner, and watched the news on TV, I retired to my bedroom where I spent a little while on my PC, and a longer while reading my recently bought "Mammoth Book of Extreme Science Fiction"in bed. So far all the stories I have read in it have turned out to be rather good. I was worried by the tag "extreme", and imagined it might be all modern stuff that lacks the wonderment of, say, 1950s sci fi. I think it was 7.99 well spent. I notice that since buying it, the price has dropped a bit (or I failed to remember the price I paid for mine). I also notice that there is a "The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic Science Fiction", and that looks rather interesting too. In fact there are even more Mammoth books revealed by a search on Amazon. Several others seem interesting too, but it is a shame that the Lesbian Erotica one is not Lesbian Erotic Science Fiction book, otherwise it might have made for interesting bedtime reading :-)
Monday 12th March 2012
08:06 GMT

  I don't know what the top temperature reached yesterday was, but it was probably at least a degree higher than the 14.5 C I reported yesterday afternoon. It was fairly clear last night, and that allowed the temperature to drop to 6 C when I left for work. That's not cold enough for frost, but cold enough for fog and mist, and as I made my way to work I encountered both here and there. In Catford there was some mist near the river in the park alongside the railway. At London Bridge and Waterloo there was no mist, and it looked liked the start of a fine spring day. The sun was bright, and the sky was blue. At Clapham Junction it was quite misty again, and another half mile down the track, by the top half of Earlsfield Cemetary, it was foggy. Around work there were just wisps of mist to be seen.

 The sun is now burning off the mist, and very soon we should see bright sunshine here. Later on it is forecast to get very cloudy, and then, later still, to clear again. All the while the temperature will be creeping up to something similar to yesterday, and with very little breeze it should feel almost warm. Possibly it will feel almost hot in direct sunlight - at least one half of the body will. The shadow side will still feel cool.

 After a weekend of little activity I am surprised that I feel quite good this morning. With all I had to eat over the weekend I expected to feel quite stodgy this morning, but I seemed to rush around with little effort as I made my way to work. Perhaps the sight of sunshine while I was in the middle of London helped.

 My weekend was not entirely slothful. Yesterday afternoon I finally made a start at tidying up the living room. There is one corner that had become a dumping ground for everything that didn't have a better place to go. I like to keep things like bank statements and the like, but what I seem to do is to keep the envelopes they came in, and all the advertising and other spam that comes with them. This is not intentional. It is just that I don't throw away the crap at once, and it gets covered over by new crap. By sorting out all the wanted bits, and throwing away the rest alongside old railway timetable, old magazines, and other assorted detritus, I half filled a small black rubbish bag.

 Having got rid of the bulk of the stuff that I did not want, I am now left with the difficulty of working out a tidy way of storing the stuff I do want to keep. At least now I have reached the bottom of the pile, and some time in the not too distant future (I hope) I can hoover up some of the dust, and try and make some sense of what I have accumulated. Maybe I'll do more tonight. I haven't got anything planned for tonight, but after a day at work, and the hassle of two and half hours commuting each day (sometimes more), I expect I'll just slip into sloth mode again. It will most probably be TV news, dinner and reading in bed until 9pm or earlier.
Sunday 11th March 2012
12:53 GMT

  It was at least mid afternoon before there were any significant sunny spells yesterday. Most of the morning was unpleasantly dull, but even so the temparture crept up to 15 C by the time the sun put in an appearance. That was relatively pleasant, but the sun did nothing to improve it. This morning it was around 10 C, and at 7.30am it seemed to be quite bright outside. It seemed to promise a nice day, but instead of getting even lighter it seemed to get darker. Until midday it seemed to be almost gloomy, but since then the sun has come out, and the temperature is now 14 C and possibly still slowly rising. Maybe it will eventually hit 15 or 16 C before sunset.

 It was probably fairly typical that I never did follow the plans I had imagined for yesterday, or maybe I did, but in a sort of dilute way. I started off by going out to get some shopping. It was cool enough that I wore my light coat to go out, and I did not feel more than comfortable after carrying back two bags of shopping plus a rucksack with three 2l bottles of diet cola, and a 70cl bottle of Irish whiskey in it. It was probably because I didn't feel too warm even after carrying that load that put me off going out again.

 Next I did some laundry. I did 3 long sleeve shirts, a t-shirt, a pair of socks and a pair of underpants. That certainly warmed me up !

15:22 GMT

 I got distracted by a very long phone call, then by dinner, and finally by watching TV. Now I'll continue.

 By the time I had finished the laundry it seemed a bit brighter, but by then I had lost the energy and enthusiam to to go out anywhere. I considered starting the big tidy up of my living room, but two other things were to distract me. The first was TV. I don't watch much TV these days, but I got sucked into watching several programmes. There was also the siren call of a new book I had bought. It was 600+ pages of extreme science fiction stories, and once I succombed to start reading those stories I was hooked. If I could have propped my eyelids open I might have carried on reading late into the night, but soon after 10pm my eyes started to droop, and by 10.30pm I think I was fast asleep.

 I slept well last night. I only woke up once, twice or maybe three times, and one of those times was just after 5am when I would normally wake for work. Each time I woke I had no trouble getting back to sleep until I finally woke up at about 7.30am. It wasn't until a bit later that I drew the curtains back, but while they were closed it seemed to be quite bright outside. I started having ideas about going out today, but as I pottered around it seemed to start getting dark again. Eventually I abandoned the idea of going out, and started reading again.

 I did some reading, both from book, and from the internet, and while I did so the sky very slowly got brighter. This afternoon is unexpectedly wonderfully sunny, and at 14.5 C it's not that cold. Had I not recently stuffed myself with a huge dinner I might have gone out - not for a long and healthy walk, but to accept an invitation from Kevin to joing him for a quick pint. At the moment I feel far too stuffed to even walk up the road to the pub.

 That is a shame because it looks very nice outside. At 14.5 C it's just mild enough for t-shirt and no coat while walking, but indoors it's even better. The sun coming through my front windows is warming the rooms up to a very comfortable temperature even with the windows open. One indication of just how springlike it is this afternoon is that Smudge went out, and stayed out for well over an hour, for the first time since last autumn. She seemed very pleased with herself when she came back in, and I could see mud on her claws so I am very pleased too because in all probability her litter tray will last an extra day without needing to be emptied !

 I am now about to lay down on my bed and dive back into my new book. It will do nothing to improve my health, or get the place clean and tidy, but it sure will be enjoyable !
Saturday 10th March 2012
09:46 GMT

  Yesterday was a disappointment despite the weather being pretty much as forecast. The temperature was just high enough for it to be almost comfortable to spend five minutes outside with no coat on, but it stayed very dull all day. By the end of the day the temperature possibly hit 12 C, but the lack of sunshine spoiled it. This morning is very similar to how yesterday left off. It is grey outside, and also 12 C. Through the day the temperature should rise a few more degrees, and with luck the cloud may break up enough for a few sunny spells.

 Last night I ordered my second meal from http://www.turkish-kitchen.co.uk/ and this time their website worked, and I did it all on line. Well I say it worked, but there was still one small hitch. On the checkout page it said something to the effect of "If you want to pay by credit/debit card, the registered card address must be the same as the delivery address". That seemed fair enough, but implied (to me) that if you didn't want to pay by card you could pay cash (when it was delivered). I had intended to pay cash, but with no "place order" button, or something similar, I had to use my credit card. To make matters worse the transaction went via Paypal who I try to avoid using.

 My meal was delivered with a couple of minutes of the time I specified on the order form (which was nice). My order had been less ambitious than the one I telephoned through last week, and I don't think I made such a good choice as last time. A starter and main dish were both based on meatballs. The starter had the meatballs without sauce, but with some chopped onions and other salad bits and pieces. The main dish was meatballs in a rich tomatoe and herb based sauce. In reality there seemed too little to differentiate the dishes, and one was just a sort of continuation of the other. There is a good chance I'll be ordering more meals from them, but next time I'll explore some other types of stuff. Their version of a moussaka sounds interesting.

 I had some alternate plans for today that depended on the weather. The weather could have been cold or mild, and it could have been grey or bright. If it was bright and mild I was going for a walk. If it was cold and grey I was going to stay in bed all day. If it was bright but cold I was going to do some spring cleaning (sort of). I never really worked out what I would do if it was grey and mild, and that's what it seems to be right now.

 Perhaps I'll see if the day improves later on, or maybe I'll just do a little of each. That does sound like a better plan, and I have already made a start on it. I woke up at 5.30am after a reasonable nights sleep. I fed Smudge, and pottered about for a bit before I went back to bed and got at least another hour of nice sleep. So what I think I'll do next is go for a short walk - to do some shopping. Once I have finished shopping I'll have a rest before doing some laundry. Perhaps then I'll tackle tidying up the living room. There is a lot of it to do, and with it being rather grey outside I may not sustain the enthusiasm to finish it (if it ever can be finished), but at least I'll have made a start. That sounds like the beginning of a plan !
Friday 9th March 2012
08:19 GMT

  There was quite a lot of sunshine yesterday, and by the end of the afternoon the temperature had risen to a reasonable 12 C. Then it clouded over, and that kept some of that warmth overnight. It was around 7 C when I left for work this morning, and although today is forecast to be cloudy, the temperature may rise a degree higher than yesterday. With luck, tomorrow should be the same or better.

 I took advantage of the sunshine to take a quick look in the park near work during what was left of my lunchbreak (barely more than 10 minutes). There was little to see, but the sun was lighting up one old tree in a very nice way. I am unsure what type of tree it is, but I do know that it is old enough that bits fall off it - and that included a very big branch that could have severely damaged someone if it had not fallen the other side of the fence that separates people from the river (and someone just happened to be under it when it fell). It is obviously left standing because it has all sorts of nooks and crannies that are home to assorted wildlife.
Decaying tree in St Georges park, Earlsfield
 It was pleasant going home in the sunshine yesterday. It was even more pleasant that all my trains ran on time - though initially I had some confusion about it. The platform indicator at Earlsfield said the first train was one that should have departed 20 minutes previously. That is normally a bad sign that things are going terribly wrong. Maybe that train was delayed somewhere down the track, but a train turned up at the usual time with the usual passengers on it, and it pulled into the usual platform at Waterloo.

 The previous few morning I have been eating little snackpots of "Three Bean Salad" for breakfast. I haven't actually studied the nutrition information of the label, but they should be low fat, low sugar, low calories, and provide loads of fibre. In fact they are probably a nutritionists wet dream of a food. Even the little bit of fat they do have is olive oil, and that is generally reckoned to be good for reducing cholesterol. So in theory I am now fit and healthy exept that beans have to do what beans have to do, and it started during the night. I wouldn't be surprised if my bedroom smelled like an open sewer this morning. Fortunately for the good people on the trains I travelled on all the high pressure stuff was over by the time I got on my first train. It did cause a little discomfort later on, but no one was around to be inconvenienced by my later contribution to global warming.

 Tonight I am thinking of having another Turkish takeaway. Now I have a better idea what to expect I can probably order something less gut busting than the feast I ordered last time. Not getting too carried away with food tonight, and not having three bean salad this morning may mean that I feel fit enough to go out for a ramble somewhere tomorrow. In fact I have three different plans for tomorrow that ultimately depend on the weather (or how I perceive it to be). If it is bright and warm I want to go out walking. If it is bright but cold outside I want to do some severe (but not deep) spring cleaning in my front room. If it is cold, grey and damp I want to stay in bed all day. I am still unsure what to do if it is very grey outside, but actually warm. Ideally I would go to a pub for the day, but I don't think that's an option.
Thursday 8th March 2012
07:55 GMT

  The rain started late and finished early yesterday. When I came to walk to the station after work, the sun was shining, the clouds were white and fluffy, and the temperature had risen to 9 C. Sometime around sunset a cloud went over Catford and dropped some light rain for a bit, but then all the clouds went away, and the temperature plummetted. It was cold enough this morning for a frost on the car roofs, but the sky is still fairly clear, and there should be enough sunshine to bring the temperature up to 11 C today. (Hopefully it might be a bit more.).

 I was not happy last night, and this morning I am even worse ! There was a signalling failure between Waterloo East and London Bridge stations, and I was well over an hour late getting home last night. Waiting a long time for a train from Waterloo East was annoying enough, but what happened later was infuriating ! For reasons that I don't understand, the signallers diverted the train to Lewisham station, and it was terminated there. There was no early warning about it prior to the train driver announcing it a few hundred yards before Lewisham itself.

 After another 15 minute wait a train finally arrived at Lewisham that was going through Catford Bridge. The only good thing about the entire ordeal was that train was not packed to the rafters as I assumed it would be. Then this morning, just to rub salt into the wound, my usual train was cancelled. It is only an 11 minute wait for the next train, but that goes to Cannon Street station, and to go to Waterloo East means rushing over the footbridge at London Bridge station. I knew in advance, from National Rails website, that my train was cancelled, but I still have to touch in with my Oystercard before 6.30 to be able to travel at off-peak rates. So I had to hang around on a freezing cold draughty railway station platform for an unneccesary amount of time. I hope my journey home tonight goes without a hitch or I will be forced to dust down the imaginary neutron bomb that I keep in my imaginary garage, and imagine that I am deploying it.

 After all the trouble getting back to Catford I further delayed arriving home by going home via Tesco. It was late when I got there, and I thought that all the hot chicken would have had it's priced reduced, and probably all be sold out when I got there, Maybe there had been some reduced priced stuff that had all gone earlier, but I found a few of their pigeon sized complete chickens still available, and bought one. I had most of that with some salad for dinner last night. A considerable portion was eaten by Smudge ! When I consider the ratio between the sizes of our two bodies, it is either amazing that I eat so little, or amazing how Smudge eats so much ! Of course I did also eat some half price chocolate chip cookies that Smudge didn't have, and really I shouldn't have had either, but at half price............
Wednesday 7th March 2012
08:11 GMT

  To my surprise, it didn't rain yesterday. I think that there were even a few brief glimpses of the sun during the afternoon. It certainly did warm up more than I expected. When I got home from work it was 9 C. This morning it was forecast to be pouring with rain. It was still dry in Catford when I left home to come to work, and it is dry here in Earlsfield, although a few small puddles suggest that there had been some rain recently. The sky definitely looks evil right now, and more rain looks likely. The thing that worries me is if the forecast for rain was misplaced by a few hours. The original forecast was that there would be little, if any, rain when I leave work to go home. There could also be some sunshine, but if the weather is delayed by a few hours I could be going home under a black sky and heavy rain.

 I felt a little too warm when I got home yesterday. The train had been hot, and I was wearing my warmest coat, and my long johns. Once I cooled down a bit I began to feel slightly chilly. I soon warmed up again when I tackled some laundry that I had let build up. Four long sleeve shirts, a t-shirt, a pair of lounge pants, two pairs of underpants, a bar towel, and copious amounts of hot soapy water later I was sweating ! Once the weather improves (a lot) I have some even harder stuff to do, but I am still chuffed at just how well I am coping without a washing machine !

 My plans for a very healthy fish and vegetable stew came to nothing last night, but half of the alternative was, or might have been, fairly healthy sort of stuff. After doing the laundry I was too knackered to do any cooking, or at least that's how it felt at the time. Instead of cooking I had a strange variant on a salad. I opened a couple of tins of fish (the small flat tins) and had that fish with a big hunk of raw red cabbage and a small tin of sweetcorn. I garnished that with a few bits and pieces such as olives and pickled onions. It was nice, but left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. So I finished off a packet of ginger biscuits that were starting to get a bit stale.

 Perhaps tonight I might cook that fish, or maybe not. I want to get some more cat litter tonight. I am not desperate for it, but I will be after tomorrow night. So I might as well get it tonight, and that means going in Tesco. I wonder what else I might find in there ? More significantly, I wonder what I might find on the reduced price counter ? What is available there often ends up dictating what I eat because I love a bargain when I see one. There is loads of stuff in Tesco that I just will not buy because of it's price, but when it's been reduced to half price.......whoopee !

 As much as I hate football, and all the stuff that goes with it, I feel I have to reproduce the cat cartoon from this morning's Metro !
Learn To Speak Cat (Metro - 7th Mar 2012)
Tuesday 6th March 2012
08:16 GMT

  Were it not for the bitterly cold wind, yesterday might even have got close to pleasant for a time. All morning, and slightly less so in the late afternoon, the sun kept popping out from behind the clouds, and it was bright and shiny outside. At 4pm, as I made my way home from work, the cloud became thick enough to only allow the odd flicker of sunshine through. Some of the clouds looked very dark and dense, and I was expecting to get caught in rain, sleet, or snow at any time. I am almost convinced I did see two individual snowflakes. Twice I saw something resembling a snowflake being whisked down the road in the wind, and twice I couldn't get my eyes to focus on them in time before the wind had driven them miles away. Perhaps they were just dust or other detritus, but it certainly felt cold enough for snow.

 Today there is less wind. This is rather good because the air temperature is actually lower than yesterday, but without that strong wind to blow into all the crevices it doesn't feel so bad. It also lulls one into a false sense of security. When I walked to the station I had gloves on, but I took them off once I was on the train. When I arrived at Earlsfield it didn't feel that bad, and so I didn't take my gloves out of my bag and put them on. After a few minutes of walking I could feel my fingers start to go numb.

 The rest of today will continue to be cold. I think the top temperature will be no more than 5 C. It is very grey outside, but no rain is forecast for today, and none can happen because I haven't brought any protection from the rain to work with me. It does look like it could pour down, or even snow, but the weather forecasters can't be wrong, can they ?

 Yesterday I achieved something that I have devoted absolutely minutes to over the last couple of months. I have a 10 year old (approx) Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop here at work, and I have been trying to install Linux on it. The only Linux distribution I could get to work on it properly was Arch Linux. The trouble was that I don't really like Arch Linux, but nothing else would seem to work properly. Yesterday, following a hint I found in some forum, somewhere on the internet, I tried flashing the BIOS with Dell's latest (8 years old) version. With that done I managed to install the very latest version of Linux Mint - and I do like Linux Mint ! Installation was painfully slow partly because the laptop is quite low powered, and partly because the CD/DVD reader seems to be on it's last legs.  Now I wonder just how much time I dare devote today to customising the installation to my preferred requirements.

 Last night I had an interesting dinner. I had "Tennesse rub" flavoured beef ribs with roast vegetables and roast potatoes. The meat looked terribly exciting when I first saw it in Tesco on Sunday. The reality was that the beef was nice and tender, and fairly well flavoured, but the Tennesse stuff was an anticlimax. Basically the beef ribs (at least I think they were ribs) were stewed in a thick gravy that was alleged to contain all sorts of exciting ingredients. It did have a sort of savoury flavour, but it was nothing special. So while it might have been perfectly pleasant, it was nothing to get excited about. Disappointing really.

 I guess it was because it was an (alleged) American recipe that I had a strong yearning for ice cream, and lots of it, after I had eaten it. It must be something they put in their food that we don't normally use. I didn't have any ice cream, but I did open up a cold tin of reduced fat rice pudding. Tonight I am intending to make a far healthier smoked haddock and vegetable stew meal for dinner. If I could eat that, and nothing more, it would be extremely good for me, but the effects of the cold and dark means I'll probably find some extra stuff to eat before I go to bed.
Monday 5th March 2012
07:52 GMT

  Reality finally caught up with the BBC's weather forecast for yesterday. Even while I was writing that yesterday morning was nowhere near as cold as the forecast, the temperature was falling. The temperature continued to fall, and the rain became a bit heavier, and by 3pm it was truly horrible outside. This morning reality is paying lip service to the BBC weather forecast. At around 4 C it is certainly very chilly, but the cloud is quite well broken up, and contrary to the forecast we should have some sunshine. Later on, reality may catch up with the forecast again, and if you were to believe the very pessimistic forecast in the paper this morning, there could be some wintery shows later on. I doubt if it will hit London, but the worst case scenario says that not too far away will see falls of snow. Winter is back !

 I got a call from Jodie far earlier than I was expecting yesterday to say that she was on the train, and headed for The Catford Bridge Tavern.(note: as I write this the link doesn't work, but I've included it because it might work one day !). She thought she would be meeting some other friends in there, but they didn't turn up for some reason. Once I got the call I got myself ready, and put some vegetables and potatoes in the oven to roast alongside some lamb. Then wearing my very lightweight hoody to protect myself from the rain I set off for my first visit to the re-opened and renamed pub.

 The interior of the pub is only half finished, and some areas are still screened off, but I quite liked it's basic simplicity. There were four beers on handpump. Rather unusually they were all dark coloured beers. All were in good condition, but one, a porter, was just a little too bitter/hoppy/toasted for my personal taste. Jodie seemed fairly impressed with all four. The only downside is that beer prices in there are high compared to Wetherspoons pubs, but are probably fairly consistent with other London pubs (except in the city area where the prices can really make your eyes water !).

 While at the bar I asked if he had given any thought to having any live music in the pub. I think on a matter of personal taste he was ambivalent to the idea, but there was one over riding factor that means there won't be any live bands in there for some time to come. After the previous landlord allowed things to get so bad in, and around the pub (stabbings, muggings, etc !), the new landord's licence stipulates that if any live events take place in the pub he has to have two bouncers on the door . I am not sure if that is one bouncer on each of the two doors, or two on each doors, but at 30 an hour per bouncer, it is just not worth it. If things settles down, and the pub gets a good reputation then the licence can be re-negotiated, but I am not really expecting to see any bands playing in there.

 The temperature had continued to drop while we were in the pub, but the rain had stayed at just an everlasting light shower. When we left the pub I walked Jodie round to the nearest bus stop where I set her off on a magical mystery tour. She wanted to go to Bromley, and the 336 bus goes to Bromley. It's the same bus where I've endured the soul crushing boredom of being on the bus for 55 minutes as it takes the most elaborate zig zag route to The British Queen pub where Chain often play. Jodie would be missing out on the very worst bit of the route where it does a big loop that finishes a hundred or two yards from where it starts ! Nevertheless, Jodie would still being seeing parts of Catford, Bellingham, Southend, and Bromley that she would never had seen before !

 The reason for that bus was it was the first of two buses that both go through Bromley from that bus stop, and that bus stop is considerably nearer than any stop where more direct buses stop. It also meant that I didn't have to make the walk back home any more than a few tens of yards more than the direct route. Within 5 minutes the bus arrived. Jodie went off on her mystery tour, and I walked home.

 From leaving the pub to getting home took approximately 15 minutes. There was a 5 minute walk to the bus stop, a 5 minute wait for the bus, and a 5 minute walk to home. In that time my fingers became numb from the cold and wet. I had some difficulty trying to unzip my hoodie when I got in. That was just a minor irritation. On the whole it was a very good way to spend Sunday afternoon. Three pints in the pub. Home to a big hot roast dinner, and then an hours kip on my bed afterwards. Luxury :-)

 I can't remember when it started, but I've got an annoying tickle in my throat. It could have started as early as Saturday morning - coincidently just after washing my hair - and initially it felt like I had a bit of loose hair at the back of my mouth. Occasionally it still feels like that, but a few times it has felt a bit prickly. I assume it is some nasty virus trying to burrow it's way into my body, and sometime soon I could be on my back gasping my last breath, but for now it just mainly tickles. Maybe occasional gargling with "Scottish mouth wash" is doing something usful instead of just being nice. Apart from that, and the cold weather, I feel pretty good this morning, or at least I can think of little to complain about.
Sunday 4th March 2012
12:23 GMT

  During the night the cloud was thick enough that it didn't get particularly cold. Well, not icy cold, and some may describe as being almost mild. The main feature up to now is the light persistant drizzle. It does give a sort of clean, fresh feel to the air outside, and at nearly 12 C outside, it doesn't feel too bad. Reality is far better than the heavy rain and 9 C that the BBC's website says should be happening right now ! Later on it may get cooler, and the rain may get heavier, or maybe not.

 The funny thing about yesterday is that I didn't eat any proper meals. At the end of the day it was tempting to think that I hadn't eaten all that much, but the reality is that I did a lot of snacking through the day. In some instances it wasn't too bad. The baked, instead of fried, crisp like things were allegedly low fat/low calorie. and the couple of tins of marinated fish I snacked on were probably tolerable, but other stuff was probably best avoided. I think the large Turkish meal I had on Friday night left me feeling like I shouldn't eat a big meal yesterday.  The best option would have been to wait until evening to have a proper meal. Instead I just kept eating small amounts through the day.

 This morning I've been to Tesco to buy poor old Smudge some more of the cat milk that she seems hooked on like a heroin addict ! I also bought a chunk of lamb that I am cooking slowly, and I will have for dinner with roast vegetables and roast potatoes. There is a plan that I'll be meeting Jodie, and a few of her friends in The Catford Bridge Tavern at lunchtime. I hope the place is now fully functional after it's disastrous opening date last Thursday. I also hope that Jodie gets her timing right, or at least in agreement with my cooking. I'm looking forward to a couple of pints, and my roast dinner being perfectly cooked when I get home from the pub. After that I think a nice snooze will make a greatfinale to the afternoon !
Saturday 3rd March 2012
19:03 GMT

  Yesterday definitely ended up feeling quite chilly. It wasn't all bad though. In Earlsfield, but possibly not many other places in London, the mist evaporated by mid morning leaving blue skies, and sunshine for several hours. By the time I came to leave work it was cloudy again, and I found the closer to the middle of London, and back in Catford, the air was still slightly misty. Today has been quite chilly, and during the morning there was a bit of light rain. The afternoon, by contrast, had several spells of bright sunshine. Right now it is 9.8 C - which is not quite as cold as I would have guessed. Tomorrow is supposed to be colder and a lot wetter than today.

 Last night I ordered a meal from the Turkish restuarant that I mentioned yesterday (http://www.turkish-kitchen.co.uk/). I wasn't sure what to expect apart from a feeling that I wasn't expecting the portions to be very big. So I ordered several things to give me an idea of what it was like. To my surprise the portions were a lot larger than I expected, and contained far more meat than, say, Chinese or Indian takeaways.  I take back my observation that the portions looked expensive. Yes, each dish is more expensive than other takeaways, but you get so much more. I couldn't eat all I ordered - but I tried ! It was rather tasty - the lamb dish particularly so.

 This morning I visited the local laundrette. I was hoping that they did service washes, and I was going to drop off four duvet covers to be washed, but when I got there I found the place deserted, and everything automated. If I had brought some washing powder and fabric conditioner, and I had brought a pocketful of coins, and if I had the time, and if I had been feeling brave and bold, I could have probably used the place. Most of those reasons were reasons to high tail it out of the place, but the overriding factor was that I had to meet Aleemah, and didn't have time. Maybe tomorrow, or maybe some other time, I'll see if I can drag someone out to metaphorically hold my hand, or at least provide a bit of company, and actually use the place. Alternatively I can wait for the next tranch of filthy weather to pass so I can hand wash them, and leave them in the sun to drip and dry.

 While I was out with Aleemah I called into the 99p shop. While buying a few bits and pieces I chanced to look at their selection of DVDs. In amongst them I found a DVD about Cream - the late 1960s supergroup featuring Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. I assumed that for 99p it was probably crap, but it wasn't. I thought I'd give it a quick look after Aleemah went home, and ended up watching it end to end. I seem to be making a lot of wrong assumptions lately.
Friday 2nd March 2012
07:51 GMT

  The recent run of good weather ended gloriously yesterday.  The morning mist cleared and the sun shone brightly right up to the time it set. By the thermometer it was not the warmest day we've had, but it felt that way. Overnight the temperature dropped from something like 14 C down to  6 C, and we were treated to a foggy morning. If the mist and fog lifts quickly enough we may get some sunshine, but the forecast for today is cloud, and temperatures probably below double figures (maybe only 8 C).

 After work I met up with Iain and Kevin at Catford Bridge station yesterday. That happened, but everything else went wrong. I announced I would see them when my train arrived at 16:40. At 16:20, as I waited for the 16:23 train from Waterloo East, I began to have doubts about if I would get there on time. Three minutes before the train is due to arrive there is normally an automated announcement saying what service it is, and where it will stop. At 16:23 that announcement had still not been made, and the platform indicator was saying the train was due in 2 minutes. After a minute had passed it said 1 minute to go, but after another minute had passed it reverted to saying it was due in 2 minutes again.

 This happened many times before my train was bumped down to the second train to arrive, and the 16:29 Gravesend train was due first. At least my train was still showing on the display. There have been times when it has just mysteriously disappeared. We know it has actually been cancelled, but too often it is not acknowledged by any announcements. My train eventually arrived, and it was 13 minutes late at Catford Bridge. At no time did anyone from the railway apologise for the late running, and the only acknowledgement of it at all was a platform announcement at London Bridge asking passengers to hurry and board the train to avoid it being delayed any more.

 The next thing that went wrong was The Catford Bridge Tavern, which was due to open it's doors after it's refurbishment, and a new landlord, was not actually open. The posters in the windows still claimed that yesterday was it's opening date, but work was still going on inside. It was probably very close to completion, and it is possible that it did open much later in the evening, but we decided to have a drink in The Catford Ram instead. I had one pint of Bombadier bitter, which I didn't really enjoy, and two pints of Guinness, and which I did enjoy, before I left Iain and Kevin to carry on drinking. After they had finished in The Ram they may have gone to see if The Catford Bridge Tavern had opened, but unless it had, and had some good attraction to keep them there, I am certain they would have ended up in the Wetherspoons pub until quite late.

 After leaving the pub I went to the chip shop to buy some dinner. I settled for battered sausage and chips. In theory, and probably in practice, it was a very unhealthy meal, but once I had eaten it I did feel that I had enough. So I didn't have anything else before I went to bed, and that is unusual for me. I did stay up watching Top Gear until that finished at 8pm, and then I read in bed until gone 9pm. From then on I slept unusually well until nearly 4.30am. That's a bit later than the morning before, and only half an hour earlier than my intended time to wake up.

 This morning I think I feel quite good - almost energetic for a few random moments on my way to work. It seems obvious that my body had been short of vitamin beer during the last fortnight or so, and that last night even three pints was enough to restore the natural balance of my body chemistry. I really must make a point of not going without beer for such a long time again.

 There will be no beer tonight, alas, but I may have more unhealthy food - or maybe some of it might be healthy. I have a yearning to try some food from a Turkish restaurant/takeaway that has been operating in Catford for the last year. A few days ago I had another one of their menus dropped through my letterbox with all the other junk mail. Their choice of food is far wider than just a few variants on kebabs, and I think tonight I may well find myself ordering a small selection of stuff to try it. The only downside to this plan is that their food is slightly expensive, but I've seen worse, and maybe this time it will be worth it for the novelty value.
Thursday 1st March 2012
08:02 GMT

  The sun came out intermittently yesterday afternoon, and the temperature climbed to a reasonable 14 C. Later the sky got cloudier, and like the night before, that kept some of the heat in. When I awoke this morning it was just over 10 C, and the clouds were just clearing. As I walked to the station there was enough pre-dawn light to see the colour of the grass, and by the time my train had reached the New Cross area is was more or less fully daylight outside. There has been some light mist that cut visibility down to a few miles, but the sun should burn that off quickly.

 It almost feels like the start of a summers day, but of course it isn't. We'll be lucky if the temperature gets to anything more than 15 C, but at least it should stay bright and dry all day. From tomorrow the weather is forecast to go down hill again. In The Metro this morning there was an article suggesting a return to wintry conditions next week. Even snow might be possible !

 I continued to feel rotten until gone midday yesterday, and even then, after I had stopped rushing to the toilet, I had a dull ache in the stomach. By 3 O'clock I decided to brave a short walk to Poundstretcher to buy a new mat for my bedroom. It was nice to stretch my legs after laying down for a lot of the day. Coming back from Poundstretcher felt even better (as the homeward direction of travel usually does).

 Once I got back from Poundstretcher, and laid my new mat, I went back into lazy mode. Shortly after 7pm I was in bed reading, and as usual I read on past the time I thought I ought to try and get to sleep. When I did finally turn out the light I fell asleep quite quickly, and I slept well until I woke up at 4am. Sleeping so well could have been due to finally remembering to have a couple of large whiskies last night. Waking up at 4am was a disappointment, but maybe that was all the sleep I needed. I don't feel particularly tired this morning.

 There was a plan to go and have a few beers with Kevin last night, but he sent me a message saying that he wasn't feeling 100%, and suggesting that tonight might be a better idea. It is on two counts. I certainly feel much better today, and I hope Kevin does too. The other thing is that today sees the opening of The Catford Bridge Tavern. Back in the 1970s it was called The Railway Tavern, and it was the first pub I ever went in, and the first pub where I bought my own booze - sometime before my 16th birthday ! It was a pint of cider as far as I can recall. Sometime in the 1980s it changed into The Copperfield and slowly went down hill from there. Sometime in January it was closed down because of all the trouble there. It's new owners have almost restored the old name, and hope to restore it's reputation as a safe and decent pub to drink in. Rumour has it that the new guvnor is a real ale drinker, and hopefully tonight there will be some decent ales available. The great fear is that prices will be horrendous. That will be good to keep the riff raff out, but not so good for the rest of us.

 It was interesting to see The Raspberry Pi getting a mention on the main BBC TV news last night. It is a tiny, and very cheap computer for education and hobbyists. The idea is that it will be the ZX81/Spectrum for the new decade, and inspire another generation of computer programmers. Apparently interest has been so high that it has crashed the websites of RS and Farnell who are both distributors for it. The unit runs Linux on an ARM processor, and looks, in it's bare board form, very cute. I am very tempted to buy one myself, and see if I can learn to compile existing Linux source code to run on it, and maybe even revive my interest in programming. Sadly it doesn't run ZX Basic, the one programming language I could write hundreds of lines of code in, and I suspect the only real way of writing any real code for it is to have another go at getting my head around C.