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

Thursday 31st May 2012
07:51 BST

  It may have been a close run thing that we avoided any rain yesterday. During the afternoon it did get cloudy for a while, but seemed to brighten up later. I measured the temperature outside to be 23° C when I got home from work, and that was definitely a few degrees cooler than the previous day. Today is forecast to be cooler still, and the temperature may not even hit 20° C at it's best. This morning has started off quite cool at 13.5° C (if I remember correctly), and it is very grey outside. It would seem unlikely that we will avoid any rain today.

 I don't know if it is the change in weather, or whether Smudge has got over a stomach upset or something, but I was happy to see she was eating quite normally yesterday. She got through 4 foil trays of cat food, and left a remarkably big, and remarkably smelly present for me in her littler tray this morning.

 As Smudge's food intake returns to normal, mine is increasingly dominated by salad. Last night I had a two part dinner. The first was grilled salmon with tomatoes, orange peppers, sliced onion, and heap of assorted salad leaves. It was liberally doused in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The balsamic vinegar came from the 99p shop, and was made by Heinz (probably for export). I expected it to be something cheap and nasty, and maybe by some standards it was, but I thought it was really tasty. It had a hint of toffee, or caramel about it that I don't think should be there in expensive balsamic vinegars in fancy bottles, but I know what I'll be buying next - more of the same from the 99p shop !

 After eating dinner part 1 I still felt peckish, or maybe I just had an idea in mind that I was impatient to test. I wondered what an anchovy salad would be like. So I heaped the rest of the bag of salad leaves on my plate along with some more cherry tomatoes, and opened up one of those tiny cans of anchovies. I tipped away most of the oil in the can and carefully separated all the slices of anchovy so I could put them evenly over the salad. With a little more olive oil, and more balsamic vinegar, it was ready to try.

 I expected, and maybe hoped, that it would be quite fishy, but it wasn't. The intense taste of the anchovies was so diluted by all the salad that they just added a sort of savoury tang to the salad. It was a very worthwhile experiment, and I will be trying it again. I imagine that, apart from the olive oil, it would make an incredibly low calorie meal even if the plate was piled 6 inches high - and that's the sort of meal for me !!

 It was a little cooler in my bedroom last night, and getting to sleep seemed very easy. I slept quite well, and only woke up once in the night, unless you count waking up 30 minutes before my alarm was due to go off as a second time. I only remember one dream, and it was about my previous job. In the dream we seemed to be moving into another new workshop, and there were extra people joining us too. One of these people was a lady engineer who I was possibly trying to chat up.

 To make conversation I was warning her about stuff to expect, and in particular the test CDs that the senior engineer would be using. Back in real life there were two tunes he used to play when testing a newly repaired CD player, and I think he played them more because we hated them rather than them having any technical merit. I'd invite you to search them out on You Tube, because I'm certainly not going to ! Search for the excretable "The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round", and the stomach turning "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On" (and make sure you select the most grass chewing, yokel warbling version there is for the full horror of this song).

 After what should have been a reasonable nights sleep, and relatively moderate eating, I feel almost good this morning. It's mainly spolied by a very mild, but still annoying headache. It's typical of the feeling before a storm, and just maybe we'll have one later. Since writing this I've seen a few drops of rain hit the window, and quickly evaporate again. I'm now keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to put a coat on to go home from work this afternoon. It's not going to be more than mild this afternoon, but that's still too hot for coats.
Wednesday 30th May 2012
07:48 BST

  The temperature was a bit lower yesterday, but it felt like the humidity was higher. During the afternoon it became cloudy, but it didn't rain. Outside it was just over 23° C, but in my bedroom it was still 27° C when I went to bed. I forgot to check the temperature this morning, but it is far fresher than of late. I am still comfortable in a short sleeved shirt and shorts, but it is on the limit. It is also rather dull this morning. Most of it is low misty cloud that the sun only managed to partly penetrate as I made my way to work. Sooner or later that cloud will dissipate, but depending on who you believe, it will either reappear thick enough for torrential rain, or for occasional scattered showers. My morning paper was the most pessimistic, and the BBC forecast last night was most optimistic.

 I went home via Tesco last night, and I bought a pile of salad, and some hot chicken. Some of the chicken was to tempt Smudge who has been off her food for a couple of days now. She is still eating, but only lightly, and a lot of her food ends up out for the foxes to eat. Even the chicken didn't make much of an impression on her, but she lapped up the cat milk I put out for her. The food that had been down all day yesterday, and that she had only picked at, I put out for the foxes. They never appeared last night, but another visitor did.
Magpie eating left over cat food
 It was a magpie. There are plenty in the neighbourhood, but it's the first I've seen land in my garden. I don't know where the foxes got to last night, but they did appear this morning. Along with the vixen were what seem to be her two remaining cubs.
Vixen and her two cubs
 They didn't have that much to eat. The pile of carefully shredded chicken that Smudge had mostly ignored overnight was suddenly very good when I tipped it out onto the garden path. I think Smudge was just being belligerent by eating quite a lot of it before the foxes had their turn. Presumably they were watching from a distance, because as soon as Smudge had finished eating they moved in for the leftovers (which did include some uneaten tinned cat food).

 Maybe because it's a lot cooler this morning, maybe it's the lack of sunshine, or maybe it was the broccoli and tomato quiche I ate in addition to chicken salad, but I don't feel quite so lively this morning. I think I slept quite well, although I do recall dreaming quite a lot, even if I don't really remember the dreams. It may have been around 3am that I woke up feeling a bit cool, and dragged the duvet cover across my torso. I have no idea how much sleep I did get last night, but I definitely would have liked to go back to bed instead of going to work today.

 It seems there is a fair chance that I might get wet on my way home from work today, but I have a cagoule with me if it really pours. Apart from drying off, and possibly doing a little laundry, I think that with the chance that my bedroom will be a lot cooler tonight, I am going to head off to bed early, and hope that I can get some extra sleep in. Maybe I'll feel a bit livelier in the morning if I manage an extra hour or so.
Tuesday 29th May 2012
08:02 BST

  It got very warm and muggy yesterday. It was ideal weather for brewing up thunderstorms, and that is just what it in a few places to the north and east of here. Luckily it stayed dry, and apart from a brief spell in the afternoon when it became slightly overcast, it was bright and sunny wherever I was. It was nearly 28° C when I got home from work, and it stayed that way until well into the night. It made for a very sultry night. In my bedroom it was still near 20° C when I got up despite leaving the window open all night. Fortunately it felt nice and fresh once I got out of the house to come to work. Today won't be quite as warm as today, and there is a chance that some cloud will bubble up and produce rain this afternoon, but no thunderstorms - or so the weather forecasters predict.

 During my lunch break I went out and about with my camera, and this time I found at least one thing worthy of a photograph.....
big bottles
I have no idea what these huge bottles, or urns, were for. They were just sitting outside one of the units of the business estate.

Without being able to hear the song this blackbird was singing it is a slightly pointless photo. I should have videoed it.

bee in wild rose flower
I didn't even realise there was a bee in this wild rose flower when I took the photo.

 Last night I finally had something for dinner that I have been meaning to have for the past week - grilled salmon. I had it on a bed of watercress with tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was as good as I had hoped for, and I must have something similar again soon. That part of dinner was all terribly healthy. Part two wasn't ! It may just be the hot weather, but Smudge has been off her food for a couple of days, and I wanted to find something to tempt her.

 The ideal temptation would be freshly cooked chicken, but I didn't have any to cook. What I did have was a can of chicken salami that I had bought from the 99p shop ages ago. I am sure I bought two of them, and was not impressed with the first. Smudge was definitely not impressed with the second, but with the aid of some hot chilli sauce I didn't find it too bad, and I ate almost the whole can except for the bit I had cut off to give to Smudge.

 This morning Smudge did have some food. It wasn't much, but she may not have finished when I left to come to work. It is possible that she was inspired to have something to eat by the vixen who lives in my back garden with her cubs. I put the food that Smudge had not touched overnight outside for the vixen and/or her cubs, and put fresh food down for Smudge. Before eating Smudge went out for a breath of fresh air, and a drink of water (outside water is always tastier than the water inside even though it comes out of the same tap - maybe the dead flies give it extra flavour !). While she was outside the vixen came for her breakfast....
cat meets vixen
 This grotty picture is a snapshot from my CCTV camera. I am sure the vixen was more scared of Smudge than the other way round. Smudge just sat there and watched as the vixen nervously ate the leftover food. Soon after this encounter Smudge came back in and started nibbling at her food. Tonight she may be treated to chicken and special cat milk as a reward for being so brave.

 This morning is another morning where I feel unusually well. I do have a slightly stiff neck, and maybe a mild bottom-of-the-head-near-the-neck ache to go with it. but that was probably just a result of sleeping awkwardly in the sticky heat last night. Apart from that I feel quite bouncy - at least I do now. It didn't start like that. The walk from home to the station didn't seem any easier than usual, but the walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station I did at almost a run. I was slightly short of breath, and sweating a bit as I got on the train after it, but it still seemed rather easy. I also seemed to do the walk from the station to work at a higher sustained pace than usual. It is surprising what a bit of sunshine can do.
Monday 28th May 2012
07:53 BST

  I think the temperature yesterday matched, or maybe even slightly topped the forecast of 26° C. The sun shone from dawn to dusk, and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. That meant that the temperature dropped a fair bit overnight. It was low enough for a lot of condensation to form on car windscreens etc. It also gave a nice fresh feeling for commuting to work. I'm guessing it was around 15° C. Today will probably be very slightly warmer than yesterday, 28° C maybe, but it might have a sting in it's tail. It might just brew up a thunderstorm, and if it does it is predicted to happen just as I am leaving work to go home !

 The only sensible thing left for me to do yesterday, bearing in mind that Catford seemed cut off from the wider world by rail replacement buses, or train connections being totally lousy, was to go for a walk in the park, and that's just what I did. I took the longest route possible, and if the tracker software on my mobile phone hadn't failed because it said it couldn't see any satelite data, I think it would have said I had walked 3 miles. I tried to take some nice photos on the way, but on the whole I was disappointed by the photo opportunities, and disappointed with the results when I did take a few snaps.
three trees
If this picture were in 3D it would look good. In 2D the tree in flower, the plain green tree, and the purple leaved tree don't stand out from the background. This photo just loses the juxtaposition of the three standing next to each other as they border the path.

pigeons in the river
This picture has some novelty value - pigeons cooling their feet in the river.

pigeon from above
Looking down on a pigeon perched on a rock in the river.

duck on the river
At least this bird is supposed to be on the river.

parrot up a tree
I'm sure this bird should either be in a cage, or a different country, and not living in the park !

I was trying to photograph a damsel fly and a mayfly that were flitting around, but they just would not stop long enough for me to get a good picture. All I managed to take was this stripy fly sitting on some tiny flowers. At least I think it is a fly. Maybe it is a bee or wasp. It looked like a bluebottle as I took the picture, but the sun made the viewfinder image a bit indistinct as I pressed the shutter. I also tried to take photographs of a few butterflies I saw. Like the mayflies, and damselflies, they would not settle. Had I been very lucky I would have a photo of a pale blue butterfly. A butterfly with brown tipped white wings, and a butterfly that seemed so fast I could hardly make out what colour it was. I am sure it was red and brown, and maybe orange too.

 Sometimes, like when I tried to race up and over the footbridge that crosses the railway line, I felt a bit knackered on my walk, but just a moments stop to take a picture seemed enough recovery time. Evidently I was capable of a lot more, as I feel I should be, because I had only been home again for 15 minutes when I decided to go out again. It was only a short walk to the 99p shop rather than a major trek, but it added another half mile to my total.

 As I've mentioned in the past, the 99p shop has all sorts of odd things in it, but you can never be sure they'll have the same thing twice. The thing I rely on it more and more is for stuff like shampoo and shower gel. Some of that stuff can cost a lot from supermarkets. For instance, Tesco are currently selling Original Source shower gel for £2.20, and the identical product from the 99p shop is.......99p ! Yesterday I found a new flavour shower gel - Lavender and Tea Tree Oil. I tried it this morning, and it's not bad.

 I had hoped to go out one more time, and if I had it would have been to the pub for a beer with Kevin. Unfortunately he was not available. I expect he was doing some family thing as is often the case. It is rare to find people free at the weekend (as others have noted). So instead of a few beers for lunch I made myself a ham salad that I liberally sprinkled with virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. As a dressing it was far, far, nicer than the fat free vinegaraite dressing I tried last week. I did try and limit my consumption yesterday. I did succeed in limiting the type of stuff I ate, but I did do a lot of nibbling during the afternoon, and early evening.

 Some of the stuff I ate was very fibrous, and getting some of those fibres out from between my teeth was a pain - literally. I think I damaged my gums in a few places using a combination of floss and toothpicks. At times it has felt almost like toothache, but I think once the gum heals I'll be OK. Tonight I must stay clear of coleslaw and other cabbage products ! Nevertheless, maybe the pain was worthwhile because I do feel fairly good this morning, and there seems some added slackness in my trousers this morning. I don't think it would be too painful to heave my belt in by one notch compared to last Monday.
Sunday 27th May 2012
08:41 BST

  After a nice warm day it cooled down a bit last night, and the night air felt a lot fresher. This morning the temperature is a fresh feeling 18.5° C, but with clear blue skies, and bright sunshine, it will soon warm up. The top temperature today is forecast to be 26° C.

 I think that I slept quite well last night, although it was stil some way from being perfect. It was still light when I got into bed, but I read until just after dark. I estimate that to have been around 9.30pm. Once I switched off the light I was soon asleep, and I slept fairly soundly, as far as I can recall, until 3am when I woke up from an annoying dream. I can't quite remember the details of that dream, but I can remember the theme of it.

 The theme was ISO9001 gone mad ! Something, and I can't remember what, that could be exchanged verbally with someone in a few words, was turned into an ever increasing amount of written reports. Every report would spawn another, or even two or more if it contained more than one piece of information. It was like breeding rabbits. You start with two and before you know it the whole world is knee deep in rabbits. I think I had to wake up because I was beginning to get close to my brains capacity to keep track of all the reports.

 I stayed up for a little while and attended to a few things like going to the toilet, checking email, and generally pottering around, and then I went back to bed and slept for probably a few more hours. I am now up, showered, and ready to dress, but I am not sure if it worth it. I feel rather annoyed at the moment !

 I was all set to go out today. Ideally I would have liked to go to the seaside, but everyone else will be doing that, and it would feel crowded and unpleasant. So I thought I might venture into the countryside, and more than likely end up walking from Eynsford station to either Shoreham (Kent) or Otford stations. The trouble is that the trains don't want to go where I want to go !

 There are no trains from Catford Bridge today, and trains from Catford are probably diverted to Orpington instead of going to Sevenoaks. Trains between Swanley and Sevenoaks are being replaced by buses it seems. So I looked again at the idea of going to the seaside. No train from Catford Bridge means not getting a train to Elmers End station, and not getting to Elmers End station means not getting a tram to Croydon where I might, or might no be able to get trains to various places on the south coast.

 No trains from Catford Bridge means I can't get up to London and travel coastwards from there. So I looked into travelling to Hastings via Orpington which I can get to. Well it works OK, but with the extreme, going on suicidal, tedium of the trains to Hastings departing from Orpington two minutes before the train from Catford arrives ! There is still one possibility, although it is a ghastly one. I think, though I have yet to check, that I could get a bus to Lewisham. The Docklands Light Railway to Limehouse, and then a train towards Southend. On a warm sunny Sunday like today it would be absolutely horrible around Southend. All the scum of the universe will be there, and I don't think I could enjoy that.

 It is feeling very much like I am trapped in Catford today. I could jump on a bus, but there is nowhere terribly interesting to go to that wouldn't involve sitting on a hot, and possibly crowded bus, for eternity and a century. I think all I'm left with is a walk around the park, and I don't think that will be very entertaining......................I wonder if Kevin feels like an extended lunchtime beer today ? Booze just might be the answer !
Saturday 26th May 2012
17:01 BST

  I'm not so sure that yesterday was any cooler than the day before. There was light breeze that made it feel a little fresher, but when the breeze dropped it felt just as warm. Today is definitely a degree or two cooler, but it is still very nice. The sun has shone all day, and the sky is a lovely blue. Currently it is just nudging up to 25° C outside, and 27° C inside my bedroom. Tomorrow is forecast to be a degree warmer, and the next few days after that will all be mostly bright and sunny.

 Yesterday lunchtime I did something I've never done before. I felt so good that I did a tour around the top end of the park behind work. It's almost a mile walk, and what made it different was that I did it wearing flip flops. I've never walked so wearing flip flops before. Mostly I wear them around the house, and at work when it's warm. They are good for that, but I am not so sure that they are ideal for mile long walks at a less than sedate pace. Maybe I need practice, but I found my foot muscles getting a bit fatigued by the end of the walk.

 While I felt quite good at work, I started to wilt when I got home from work. Mostly it was the lack of sleep due to the hot nights catching up with me, but I think I was also a bit dehydrated. Then there were my feet that were demanding I rest them a bit. None of that put me off getting ready to go out and see Chain playing. I ate just enough to line my stomach in preparation for an onslaught of beer. I laid out my fresh gig clothes, and then I washed my hair and had a shower. I think it was the shower that did it. After I was dry I laid on my bed and didn't want to get up again - even more so as I lay there thinking of the bus journey to the pub, and how hot and crowded that pub gets.

 So I put my gig clothes away again, and after some time laying on my bed I went downstairs and turned on the TV. Initially I found nothing on that didn't insult my intelligence, or piss me off in other ways, but when I consulted the programme schedules I found something on in 20 minutes that made missing the gig almost worthwhile. It was a documentary about the making of the Pink Floyd album  "Wish You Were Here". Some of it seemed familar, other bits totally unfamiliar, but all of it very enjoyable.

 Last night was another night when I didn't sleep that well - or maybe it just seemed that way. I don't seem to feel terribly tired today, but maybe that's because I have been moderately busy. Perhaps I am due to crash soon. For yet another morning I woke up for no obvious reason at around 4.30am. It was too early to do much more than feed Smudge, and potter around a bit. After a while I started some light todying up, and by 8am I started some hoovering. All this activity was in preparation for my friend Aleemah visiting with another DVD to watch. This time her selection was a bit more interesting. It was the mid 1990s TV series Neverwhere. We watched two episodes today, and next week, or whenever we'll watch another couple.

 Before watching the DVD we had breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub. I had three halves of beer, and Aleemah had her usual vegetarian breakfast. Than I dragged Aleemah around the shops. As well as the traditional buying of catfood in Aldi, I wanted to buy some shoes. I had a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to try some espadrilles, or something very similar. They look very comfortable and relaxing, although I know all too well that looks can be deceptive. First off we went in "Shoe Zone", and they had some black slip on plimsol like things. I wanted white, but that was not an option in mens sizes. Also I didn't like the design. It seemed very "African" to me, but they were incredibly lightweight, and relatively cheap. So not knowing if there were any other options elsewhere, I bought a pair.

 Next we went into Peacocks. They had some genuine espadrilles in black, and some more like plimsols in black and white stripes. I bought one of each, and I've now tried out each pair with rather mixed results. The genuine (in style) espradilles fit well, but the sole seems very hard and inflexible. The pair from Show Zone are relatively comfortable, but I still hate the style. It is ironic that the pair that feel best, rather good in fact, are the black and white striped ones. I really hate the look. It looks like something worn in a concentration camp. Maybe I'll get used to it, but for now I don't think I'll be wearing them in public - which is a shame because I have a feeling that they would be good for wearing next time I am splashing about in the sea.

 Apart from testing shoes, I've also been "productive" this afternoon. The warm breezy weather is ideal for drying stuff, like towels, that are too hard to wring very dry when washed by hand. I've done quite a lot of laundry, and currently I have two towels, and a pair of lounge pants dripping away in the garden - being guarded by Smudge who is sitting on the back room windowsill.
Smudge guarding my washing
 I also have a few shirts and some underwear drying on a clthes horse indoors. I think that's enough for one day, but I might do some sheets and pillowcases tomorrow. For the rest of today I am going to be thoroughly lazy !
Friday 25th May 2012
07:56 BST

  Some say that the temperature reached 28° C yesterday, but I would be a little less generous and say the highest I measured was only 26° C. Maybe that is being a little too less genrous. I did measure 26.7° C last night, but I think that was inside my bedroom at about 10pm. This morning has started off bright and clear, and it is almost warm at nearly 18° C. The breeze is a little cooler today, and the forecasters tell us it will mean that the top temperature today will be a degree, or two less than yesterday.

 Last night I went home via Tesco, and bought myself a very large dinner. The core of this large dinner was a "family size" pot/container/tub (whatever) of salad. I supplemented it with a couple of spare tomatoes, and some sweetcorn. It ended up being very big indeed, but to give it some flavour I added some skinless and boneless peri-peri flavoured chicken, and lashings of fat free vinaigrette dressing. I'm not sure how fat free vinaigrette is supposed to work - oil is an essential ingredient. In fact it didn't really work, and I think I should have stuck to my usual mix of virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

 Not eating at all until I get home from work, and then trying to be a bit more selective with what I eat, seems to be having a good effect. I almost felt lively this morning, and it really all due to the sunshine. The warmth has prompted me to dig out a pair of shorts. Surprisingly enough they, and a few othe pairs I tried on, seem to fit just as well as they did last summer. I'm also wearing a new pair of shoes this morning. I noticed them in Tesco, and thought they seemed OK. They are similar to plimsols, with a flat bottom, and no lumpy bits (such as heels that are hollow and crush under my weight), but are not just plain canvas. On first wearing they seem quite comfortable.

 In theory I shouldn't feel as good as I do this morning, but maybe it is just a temporary thing. It felt very hot and uncomfortable in my bedroom last night, and getting to sleep, and staying asleep was not easy. I slept very badly, waking up quite frequently, until well past midnight. When I finally got into deep sleep I was rudely awakened. This time it was not Smudge. She had behaved herself well in the night. It was my spare mobile phone. It's battery went flat, and somehow all it's electronics went unstable. At 4.40am I was awaked by a sound not unlike having an elephant sized wasp flying around the room. I don't know how long it lasted in all, but once I realised what it was it stopped with a sort of strangulated gurgle.

 Tonight I need to feel pretty good. Chain are playing a gig at The British Queen pub, and I want to go to it. My careful eating has to be set aside for tonight unfortunately. I will be eating a few small greasy pork pies for dinner before I go out. I definitely need that grease to line my stomach before consuming multiple pints of beer, and a few mini pork pies are a pleasant way of eating that grease.
the start of an apple
 While I was in the park yesterday lunchtime, I noticed that the apple tree on the river bank, the one that produces small hard and sour apples, was just at a stage where the first recognisable apples of the season where starting to grow. Right in the middle of this picture is a furry looking object that is a very, very young apple. It still has the shrivelled remains of the petals of the flower that it started from. It's not so obvious in this photo, but it already has a patch of red under that furry exterior.
Thursday 24th May 2012
08:04 BST

  I am wondering if I should be generous and describe yesterday as hot. By the time I left work to go home it was certainly very warm, but at least in Catford, my thermometer said it was no higher than than the day before - 25° C. The ground is certainly starting to soak up some of that heat because this morning it was nearly 17° C when I left home to come to work. Although not chilly, it certainly is a murky morning. The sky is light grey, but it is thin enough to show a pale disk of the sun through it. Once that thin misty cloud has burnt off, the sun could raise the temperature as high as 28° C in some parts of London.

 With the sun shining I had to take another wander into St George's Park behind work. It was very nice in there, and I wandered a bit further than of late to try and find something to photograph. I found a few things.
hawthorn flowers
They look a little like wild rose flowers, but these are (I hope) hawthorne tree flowers.

unknown tree and its fruit
These are the fruits of a tree I can't name. The leaves are a bit like a lime, but it's not a lime tree.

pigeon in a tree
Sometimes it's nice to see a pigeon in a tree instead of under the canopy of Waterloo East station where they sit and crap on people.

Fosters walk - Wandsworth
I often forget that the path I usually follow has a name - it is Foster's Way.

 I decided not to try any heroics, and went home from work via Earlsfield - Waterloo - Waterloo East - Catford Bridge as usual. Earlier in the day I had been feeling starving hungry, but by the time I arrived home that had passed. In some ways I didn't feel hungry at all, but force of habit had me having a small nibble as soon as I got home.

 Before I started even preparing my dinner (not that it actually need much preparation) I set about doing a few odd jobs. I had arrived home damp with sweat. After I emptied Smudge's litter tray, and cleaned up, my forehead was dripping everywhere. After I hand washed 5 shirts in hot soapy water all my body was dripping everywhere ! There was almost a cascade running down my chest. That put me off the idea of eating what I thought I might eat - fish and broccoli in gallons a lot of "gravy". Instead I had a corned beef salad. Of course the corned beef was not exactly a healthy option, but I did cut off the denser patches of fat.

 This morning I expected to feel better than I did. I woke early, which was a bit of an annoyance, and I definitely feel like a few more hours sleep would have been nice. I was asleep on time last night, and I thought I slept well, but I didn't wake up feeling refreshed. My other complaint is that my legs feel very stiff this morning, and my right ankle is slightly sore.

 I think I need more oily fish again, and that is what I am aiming to eat tonight. I need to get a little shopping in on the way home from work, and with the money I have saved by not buying breakfast and lunch from the Londis mini mart near Earlsfield station, I guess I can afford some of Tesco's horrendously expensive fish tonight. Ideally I'd like some grilled salmon, but what was once quite cheap now makes my eyes water if I buy it.
Wednesday 23rd May 2012
07:51 BST

  Another degree or two and I would have described yesterday afternoon as hot.  It took a little while for the sun to come out  after it had "burned off" the mistiness, and thin grey cloud, yesterday morning, but once out it quickly warmed up to 25° C. With relatively clear skies overnight, it is surprising that the temperature stayed up to nearly 15° C by this morning. It is a rather delightful morning. There is no grey, and the sun is already bright and cheerful. I think that the prediction that today could end up a degree warmer, or maybe even two, could well become reality.

 With the sun shining I just had to take a short walk in the park behind work to see what was happening. There was nothing particularly photogenic, but I took a few snaps anyway.
small oak tree with blue sky behind
If I had time to find them, I have pictures of these same trees in autumn and early spring, but here they are in early summer.

the dead tree lives
The tree sort of fascinates me. It's old and gnarled, and big lumps of it fall off, but still it clings to life.

cow parsley running wild
I've always called this cow parsley, but I could be wrong. One thing for sure is that is growing ferociously along the river bank !

blue flowers
Another part of the river bank had loads of these plants with blue flowers. I haven't a clue what they are called.

 It was sort of lucky that I didn't eat until I got home from work last night. When I arrived at Earlsfield station I found that there were no trains running because someone had tried, or succeeded in committing suicide at, or near, Wimbledon station (the next station down the line from Earlsfield). I had two choices. The first was to get on a crowded and sweaty bus to Clapham Junction, or I could do something I had considered earlier, but rejected because I was not wearing comfy shoes.

 That other choice was to do something I hadn't done since last year, and that was to walk to Wandsworth Common station, and get the train to Forest Hill (and then a bus to home). With less than comfy shoes, and badly out of condition, I was wary about doing the walk, but I did it anyway. It is a long, long hill from Earlsfield station up to Wandsworth Common itself, and I took it at a very sedate pace. At least I thought I did, but it didn't seem to make the almost 2 mile walk take much longer. I still got to the station in plenty of time. My memory is a bit hazy, but sometimes it feels like I actually got to the station earlier than in the past !

 It was certainly sweaty work walking in the bright sunshine, but I always think a bit of a sweat is probably good for you, and maybe it was. It wasn't only South West trains who were having trouble, but Southern trains too. A train had failed at Thornton Heath, and was causing big delays in trains getting to Victoria station, and so there was a lack of trains to form services from Victoria. Happily for me there were 30 minute delays on a 30 minute interval service. So the train I caught was at the normal time for me, but 30 minutes late for the railway.

 Walking to Wandsworth Common station is actually pleasant in a masochistic sort of way. It feel good to rise up and beat the challenge of the long hill, and then walking across the common itself, which is down hill as well, is usually pleasant. Less fun is getting the 185 bus from Forest Hill to home. Last night it wasn't as bad as other times, although the slowdown due to road congestion as the bus nears Catford is always annoying.

 I arrived home with aching feet, dripping with sweat, but not desperately hungry despite not eating since the previous night. I was mildly hungry though, and my hunger increased markedly as my dinner was almost cooked. I managed to moderate my eating last night to a reasonable degree, and I definitely reduced my sugar intake a lot. The only unknown in that respect was the tinned peaches I ate. They were supposed to be in unsweetened fruit jiuce, but who knows (or bothers to read the label) how much natural sugar is in "natural" fruit juice. Just to be sure, I drained off the juice before eating those peaches.

 I didn't get to bed, nor to sleep, as early as I intended last night, but probably still a fraction earlier than usual. I think I slept well, but maybe I was thrashing around a lot because I found Smudge sleeping on the floor, instead of my bed, when I woke up this morning. I have a slight headache this morning, but other than that I feel pretty good for a change. Once again I made a point of not buying anything to eat while I am work today, so I should be keen and hungry when I get home tonight. I have different, but maybe still not comfortable shoes on today, and I don't think I'll be walking to Wandsworth Common after work, but if the sun is shining fiercely again it might be tempting.
Tuesday 22nd May 2012
07:45 BST

  Yesterday never realised it's full potential. The sun came out a lot later than forecast, and a lot of the time it was rather diffuse. Eventually it raised the temperature to a tad under 18° C, or about a degree less that the lowest expected. The cloud returned in the evening, and that kept the temperature up. This morning started at 13° C with some mistiness and grey skies. If the sun can "burn off" the mist and cloud a lot earlier than it managed yesterday, the temperature could reach a comfortable 25° C today.

 I felt rather tired when I got home from work yesterday, and I must have been feeling hungry as a result of that tiredness. Of course it was a false hunger, but that didn't stop me acting on it. I had a double portion of new potatoes for dinner - the first with a chunk of roast leg of lamb, and the second with some pickle and cheese. I also had some cake as "afters". It left me feeling very stuffed, almost uncomfortably so, but if I had any room I could quite easily have eaten more.

 As soon as the news was over on TV, during which I had eaten my dinner, I went straight up to my bedroom. I checked a few things on my PC, but was careful not to get carried away doing so. By 7.30pm I was shutting everything down, and by 8pm I think I was fast asleep in bed. I didn't sleep all that well, but I think I got a tiny bit more than 8 hours sleep. Once again Smudge insisted on sleeping on my bed, but I paid less attention to her, and where I was putting my feet as I slept (I think). I still woke up quite a few times during the night, and I had some peculiar dreams, but overall I am quite happy with the amount of sleep I got.

 I woke up at around 4pm, perhaps a little later, and didn't think I would get back to sleep, but the next thing I knew was that my alarm was sounding. I woke up feeling rather sweaty, although most of the sweat was confined to my head (mainly forehead). I am pretty sure it was caused by my blood sugar level being way too high after such a huge dinner.

 That sweating was made worse by a hot shower, and even though 13° C, as it was when I left for work, is a little cool for no coat, I did come to work in just a short sleeved shirt. Most of the time, and particularly on the trains, I felt reasonably comfortable, but it was not enough to dry my head off entirely. After walking at a fair pace from the station to work my forehead is still damp. One thing I didn't do today was to stop at the Londis mini-mart  near the station for a sandwich, or even a pot of brown lentil salad. I thought that last nights dinner was big enough to see me through the whole day.

 Tonight I am going to try and eat far more frugally if I can. It may be easier if I don't feel so tired as last night. Maybe if I feel particularly good I might even find the time and energy to wash the dusty summer shirts that I was going to do last night. Most importantly of all though is to attempt to get in another early night, or at worst, to be asleep by 9pm at the latest.
Monday 21st May 2012
07:58 BST

  For the most part yesterday remained dry, cool, and dull, but there were a few times when it got a bit brighter. This morning almost continues where yesterday left off - except that it worse. At just 10.5° C when I left home to come to work, it is considerably chillier, and the sky is even more murky and dull. If the forecast is correct it won't stay like this. Sooner or later the cloud should get a lot thinner, then the sun will come out, and the temperature is forecast to almost double. 19° C is predicted for this afternoon, but tomorrow it is supposed to get a lot better. There should be much more sunshine, and temperatures could hit 25° C - and that's on it's way to being hot.

 I had a relaxing sort of day yesterday. Going to the supermarket was the most tiring thing I did all day, but of most significance was a bit of video work I did late in the afternoon. It took little effort because all I did was aim a camcorder out of the window.

 I had been given some "poultry in jelly" cat food for Smudge, but she really doesn't know how to eat it. She just licks the jelly off, and leaves the rest. So I put out her leftovers in my back yard, and waited for the fox family to turn up. It was not very bright outside, and the pictures lack sparkle, but it shows the vixen and two of her cubs nicely. One seems to have a problem with a rear leg. Hopefully it is just a small cut or thorn that will heal. Last week I saw 4 or 5 cubs, The whereabouts, or fate, of the others who did not show up for free food is unknown, but I hope they are alright somewhere.

 I am convinced there is something wrong with me, possibly something serious, or possibly something that only hot sunshine, fresh air, and exercise can cure. I felt very odd yesterday, but less so this morning if I take into account that I had another very bad night. Last night I felt tired but not sleepy. To make matters worse, I had Smudge sleeping on my bed again last night. I didn't have the energy or will to try and keep her out of my bedroom after the "fight" I had with her the previous night. So once again I had a lot of difficulty trying to find the most comfortable position for sleep, and a lot of difficulty relaxing.

 I don't like to think how little sleep I got last night. I'm sure I was still awake as midnight approached. I awoke at around 3pm to go to the toilet, and it seemed an age before I fell asleep again. I didn't even manage to sleep until my alarm sounded, and woke up 20 minutes early. So I haven't started the day in the best way, and if I could I would be back in bed now. It's left me with a bit of a headache.

 I have several aims for tonight. The first is obviously to try and get to sleep as early as possible. The second is to empty Smudge's smelly litter tray. The third is to remember that somewhere in the back of my fridge I have some seldom used butter that I can put on some new potatoes that will be part of my dinner. The final thing is not important right now, but could be in the coming days. I was looking at my short sleeve shirts, and some light coloured ones that I haven't worn since last summer are looking grubby. If I find the time, patience and energy I might lightly launder them tonight. With most of this weeks weather forecast to be a close approximation to summer like weather, some light coloured shirts could be handy.
Sunday 20th May 2012
13:13 BST

  Although the sun came out briefly while I was writing yesterday, it didn't stay out, and the day continued being lightly overcast. It seemed to stay mild, almost warm, into the evening, but at some point the wind changed direction, and this morning felt particularly chilly. It is currently 14° C with dull grey skies, and I don't think it will get any warmer today.

 I did my laundry yesterday afternoon, as I intended to, but as I half predicted, I didn't do anything else of any note. On the one hand it felt like I had mostly wasted a day, but on the other hand it felt good to have a rest. In an ideal world I would have had a good nights sleep last night. It didn't happen for several reasons.

 The first reason that I didn't feel all that tired. The second, and more significant reason was that I was having cat trouble. I had allowed Smudge to sit with me while laying on my bed reading during the day. She saw no reason why she shouldn't stay on my bed all night as well. I tried to keep her out of my bedroom, but she kept scratching at the door, and sounding like she was trying to burrow through the carpet to get in. In the end I had to give in and open the door. She then leapt on my bed, and kept trying to sleep where I wanted to out my feet.  On one occasion I woke up to the sound of her falling onto the floor. I don't know if she had just overstretched herself, or if I had inadvertently kicked her off the bed.

 I have no idea how much sleep I got last night, but it feels like it was not enough even though I did my best to lie in as long as possible. Eventually I had to get up, wash and dress. Currently I feel like a fruit salad after washing my hair with yoghurt and kiwi fruit flavour shampoo, conditioning it with blueberry flavour conditioner, and washing my body with orange and ginger flavoured shower gel ! It is amazing what you can buy from the 99p shop !

 I feel very peculiar today. I can't really describe it. One leg want to run, the other wants to rest. My head would like to lie down, and my body wants to eat, but feels full. Every so often these symptoms switch around in unpredictable ways. I also can't make up my mind if I am sometimes feeling too warm or too cool. It's probably some terrible disease previously unknown to mankind, but providing it gets better in time for work on Monday I can live with it.

 Very soon now I'll be dishing up my Sunday dinner. I thought I'd have something special today. So I am having roast lamb with roast vegetables. I was going to have some new potatoes with it, but I noticed the bag of mixed vegetable had potatoes in it, and that is enough potatoes for one meal. The new potatoes will go nicely with leftover lamb tomorrow night.

 Once I've eaten I am going to have a lay down, and probably a snooze. The only danger with that is that experience suggests I'll suddenly get a bee in my bonnet about doing something just when I ought to be winding down for the evening. I do want to do an operating system re-install on a spare PC sometime. Ideally I would do it this afternoon, but it is the sort of thing I end up doing late in the evening, and making myself late to get to bed. I wonder if I can avoid doing it tonight ?
Saturday 19th May 2012
12:41 BST

  I don't recall there being any more rain after the gentle sprinkle on my way home from work. The cloud thinned out overnight, and earlier this morning it seemed to be fairly bright - almost sunny. It is still fairly bright outside, but there isn't a chink in the white cloud to be seen. It should stay dry now until early morning when, if the forecast is to believed, there will be some showers. After that it will dry up. I hope that forecast is correct, and doubly so for later next week. Currently they are forecasting temperatures of over 20° C from Monday, and with lots of sunshine for Tuesday. Currently it is nearly 19° C, and in direct contradiction to what I just wrote about not a single chink in the cloud, the sun has just come out !

 As so often happens, I gained my second wind last night, and instead of getting to sleep really early I didn't turn out the light until 10pm. I did get to bed relatively early, but spent a long time reading. Maybe it was getting lost on another world that distracted me from how tired I was. I slept well until 3am when I had to get up to go to the toilet. As soon as I moved Smudge came up to see what was going on, and I decided to serve her breakfast so she would not disturb me later. I didn't feel too bad, and I didn't initially feel all that sleepy at that time. So I stayed up for an hour or so, checking my email, and a couple of web sites, before going back to bed again. I didn't sleep so soundly after that, and frequently woke up (or so it seemed). Eventually at around 9.30am I decided I ought to get up.

 I really can't account for the hours between getting up and taking a shower. I just pottered around. After showering I had a sort of light breakfast. It was a small wholemeal/granary (the type with hard teeth shattering lumps in) French stick with some sliced peppered beef in it. I had found the sliced beef at half price on Tesco's reduced price shelf, and, as it turned out, correctly assumed that it would make a good sandwich. After that I was joined on my bed by a purring pussy cat while I did some reading. After coming to the end of a chapter I decided to write this.

 The next thing I have to do is some laundry. After that my time is my own. I could go mad with the hoover, but that would disturb Smudge, so I might lay down and read some more (any excuse !!). Tonight would be a good night to get some sort of takeaway in except that I have spent far too much on "entertainment" this month, and I ought to save my pennies. Not only that but I am looking forward to some liver and bacon with colcannon (mashed potato with cabbage) that is ready and waiting to be cooked in my fridge.

 All that is left is to describe my dreams from last night - except that I have mostly forgotten them. The odd thing is that I can better remember thinking "that was a good dream. I must remember to describe it".  One fragment of dream survives, but the details are missing. I dreamed I was going somewhere, and my method of transport seemed to seamlessly change. One moment I was on a train, and then on a boat, and then on a train again. One vivid flash of dream was seeing a fire engine come rushing down a railway line. I think, but can't be sure, that it actually had flanged wheels for running on railway track. Other than that, it was just a "standard" bright red fire engine with flashing blue lights, and a bell (I think). Just like in real life when you see a freight train go past, I had no idea where this fire engine had come from, nor where it was going to. It just went past.
Friday 18th May 2012
18:59 BST

  As far as I can remember, yesterday was dull and cool. Today has been similar. There were a few brief sunny spells, but it grew very dull as home time from work approached, and as I left there was a very light sprinkle of rain. There have been more light rain showers since I arrived home.

 The most significant news about today is that my broadband connection failed sometime this morning. I have no idea what time it was restored. I had to reboot my firewall when I got home, and then everything was fine.

 Last night I went to my third gig in seven days. That's a bit of a record for me. Last night's gig was in The Catford Ram, and being only five minutes walk away I let curiosity get the better of me. The band were Steeling Dan, and unfortunately, although I knew it when I decided to go, they are a Steely Dan covers band. It is quite an unusual choice. I guess they have their fans, but wall to wall Steely Dan covers are not exactly to my taste. The band usually perform as a 10 piece, but maybe considering the size of the stage at The Ram, they performed as a 3 piece.
Chris Clark from Stealing Dan
This is Chris Clark who plays keyboard, trumpet, and also sings.
Polly Raymond from Stealing Dan
Polly Raymond who sings.
Ian Salmon from Stealing Dan
Ian Salmon on guitar.
Chris Clark playing trumpet
Chris Clark blowing his own trumpet.
Stealing Dan on stage at The Catford Ram
.....and the whole band on stage.

 Also in the audience was Chris Mayer from Chain who I think was thinking about a couple of lines from the Dire Straits song "Sultans Of Swing" that he sings at many Chain gigs. Those lines are;-
"The don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band,
It's not what they call rock and roll,"
And of course Stealing Dan do play a trumpet on some songs !

 To give them their due, once they had warmed up, and got used to a strange pub, they did perform well, but it just didn't appeal to me. To matters slightly worse for me, they were as much as three quarters of an hour late on stage. I knew I wouldn't be staying long, and had planned to be home in bed, and hopefully fast asleep by 10pm, but to give the band a fair hearing I had to stay a lot longer than I intended.

 It was even worse than that. When I got home I had some dinner waiting for me that I had prepared earlier. As I ate it I turned on the Tv and found a fascinating programme on BBC4 about the BBC Television Centre. As I schoolboy I had been given a private tour around the place conducted by a neighbour who worked there. I remember very little of that tour beyond knowing that it was a place designed from the ground up to make television programmes, and it was unique. It is closing down now with most of the BBC moved "up north".  To the many people who worked there over the years it was home from home, and so of course the programme about it was laced with nostalgia. Even I felt quite nostalgic about it - not so much because I remember it, but more that it had such purpose, and that is now gone.

 I can't recall exactly when it was that I finally got in bed, but it must have been approaching 11pm. Initially I slept well, but that eveil cat of mine decided to try and wake me up at 3am by scratching on my bedroom door. I didn't sleep well after that. So for most of today I have felt shattered. The quality department still have my microscope, and the production department stole my illuminated bench magnfier this morning. So today I probably spent more time asleep in front of my PC than I did working. It was a bit boring, but at least I got paid for it :-)

 Tomorrow I don't have to get up early. In fact I don't really have to get up at all. So in theory there is no rush for me to go to bed early, but I think sheer fatigue is going to see me in my bed not long from now !
Thursday 17th May 2012
08:16 BST

  There was quite a lot of sunshine yesterday, and it warmed up just enough to be comfortable to go home in shirtsleeves (but only just). Today is forecast to stay dry, but it is going to be cloudy. Since getting up and coming to work the sky has, on average, been milky white. Occasionally it seemed darker, and a few times the cloud has been thin enough to let through some very difuse sunshine - just enough to cast a feint shadow. While is not as cold as yesterday morning, it seems likely that the afternoon will be cooler than yesterday.

 It was nice to Patricia yesterday even if it was only for about half an hour. It's a shame that she turned up a bit later than I expected because it delayed my dinner when I was feeling hungry. I don't know if it was because when I did come to eat it, it was starting to get cool, and that I probably bolted it down, but I went to bed feeling almost like I might throw up later in the night. Something was definitely not right, and although I didn't throw up, I woke up with a sore stomach. It made for an unpleasant journey to work. It wasn't just my gut that was uncomfortable. I also felt quite peculiar once or twice. Give the choice I would have preferred to have a lie down rather than travel to work.

 Now I am at work I don't feel that bad - at least while I am sitting down in a semi warm room. I don't feel like rushing around though - not that I usually make a habit of doing that anyway. I just hope I am feeling good for tonight. I intend to go home via Tesco where I'll be buying New Scientist, cat litter, and probably a couple of sandwiches. In theory, a couple of sandwiches should be a light enough meal that I can get out again in the evening.

 I am still intending to go and have a look at Stealing Dan, the Steely Dan tribute band, in The Catford Ram tonight. The need to go is slightly less now that I've heard they are playing as a three piece instead of a ten piece band. I wanted to have a chuckle at a 10 piece trying to cram onto the small stage in the Ram. So now I am going just out of idle curiosity. I'll take a few pictures, drink a couple of pints of Guinness, and if I am disciplined enough I might still make it to bed by 10pm. Even 10pm is going to have me yawning at work tomorrow, but by then the weekend will be almost upon us.
Wednesday 16th May 2012
08:12 BST

  I had hoped that yesterday would stay mainly bright and dry, but the clouds got thicker and thicker. Sometime soon after 4pm there was a distant peal of thunder, and then the rain came bucketting down. Mixed in with the rain was some hail. It didn't last long at that intensity, but it rained on and off until the early hours of this morning when the clouds all went away agaain. This morning is gloriously bright with clear blue skies. Much, maybe most of today should be like it is now, and unfortunately that almost includes the temperature. It was very chilly when I left for work, almost cold enough for a frost, and it seems the temperature is not going to rise much beyond 14 or 15° C all day.

 It was very nice to have yesterday to recover from the happy excesses of Monday. Some bits of me feel rather good this morning, but the overal effect was spoiled by an excess of wind. I didn't feel all that comfortable on the train this morning, and much to my shame some people sitting very near by may have briefly felt uncomfortable too :-( At Waterloo East station I made a beeline for the toilets on Waterloo mainline station. I did it mainly as a precaution rather from urgent need, but my legs seemed in such good condition that I think I did it in record time. Even walking from the station to work seemed strangely effortless, and I possibly did that in record time by pushing myself to the point where it didn't seem effortless (if that makes any sense).

 Nothing of any note happened after I wrote yesterday apart from going to bed very early. I didn't have the afternoon snooze I thought I might have, and so I thought I had better get to bed nice and early. I'm not sure what time I did get into bed, nor am I sure what time I turned the lights off, but I think I was asleep not all that long after 8pm. I slept quite well last night, and maybe that's why I feel pretty reasonable this morning.

 Tonight I should be getting a visitor. Patricia says she'll drop off some bed linen she has washed for me. I don't think she will be staying that long, and that's both a pity and a good idea. The good idea bit comes about because I wan't to try and get an early night again tonight. If I do what I want to do on Thursday night I will be getting to bed either a bit late, or very late. There is a band who I have never heard of playing in The Catford Ram, and I fancy going along to see what they are about. The are a Steely Dantribute band, and that could be both very good and very bad. If they play some of the stuff I like it will be good, and if they play some obscure album tracks then it will be bad. If they concentrate on the jazzier, funkier side of Steely Dan then I'll be out of the pub in seconds !
Tuesday 15th May 2012
12:53 BST

  The rain yesterday came in the form of occasional showers. One or two were slightly heavy, but most just medium. Once or twice the sun came out briefly. It was neither warm nor cold. Today started off quite damp, but the sun is shining as I write this. The white fluffy clouds suggest it should stay bright and dry for some time to come - possibly for the rest of today, and also tomorrow.  With the temperature currently at just 11° C it feels rather chilly outside.

 Yesterday was a load of fun. I eventualy met up with Ivor (and Iain) in the Catford Wetherspoons pub at around 1pm. Later on, perhaps around 3.30pm, Kevin joined us. He had a cold and was not intending to drink much - or so he thought ! Apart from Ivor, who was driving, and paced himself with a steak dinner, some weak beer, and some coffee, we had loads of beers, and inevitably the talk became silly.

 We were definitely going to buy a boat, fit it out as a radio ship, and moor it off the Essex coast to broadcast 24 hours a day some good music. Sadly, in the cool clear, and somehat painful, light of the morning it doesn't seem to be possible. It seemed easy after 5 pints of strong beer ! It really was good to see Ivor, and have a drink with him for the first time in possibly a whole year. It is a sad fact of life that as we grow older many people move away from earlier locations.

 After Ivor had to leave we moved on to The Catford Ram. It is a more expensive place to drink, but we did get a drink on the house while Iain had some serious business discussion with the manager about re-doing the pubs web site. At the moment it is terribly out of date because it was set up by the previous manager, and the current manager doesn't have "the keys" to make any changes. Iain is possibly going to have to rebuild it at a different web address if he can't get to take over the original.

 I'm not sure what time we left The Catford Ram, but it was late enough for it to feel like it was getting dark. I was too drunk to know if it was sun set, or just thick dark cloud. I had eaten a small amount before going out, but I was ravenously hungry when I got home. I had the ingredients to cook a nice dinner, but I couldn't be bothered. So I ordered a Chinese takeaway. My drunkenness was easily measured by the way I ordered the food. I ordered far too much. As well as stuffing myself silly last night, I've had cold Singapore fried rice for a late breakfast, and I'll be having beef and mushrooms (I think) with egg fried rice for dinner later. I just wish I hadn't started on whatever it was I started last night (beef in black bean sauce possibly). It was really delicious, but I could only manage to eat half of it, and I left it uncovered overnight. So I threw the other half away this morning. If I had covered it up I could have eaten the other half as part of my dinner.

 All that beer, and then the Chinese food left me with a raging thirst overnight.  I got through a whole pint of diet cola in  small sips throughout the night, and when I got up it didn't take long to drink a whole pint of lime cordial (with ice). The next pint of lime took longer to drink. It wasn't until half the morning had gone that I found the energy, and lack of hangover pains, to finally do a huge pile of laundry. I think I did 7 (possibly 8) shirts, and a pile of socks and underwear. I really should learn not to leave it so long in the future, but I don't suppose I will pay any more heed to this lesson that I did last time.

 There was a plan for another drink late this afternoon with just Kevin, but yeasterday's booze didn't seem to do much (long term) for his cold. I don't think he noticed feeling bad last night, but apparently he feels awful today, and has called it off. This is just as well because I don't think I fancy any more booze right now, and not only that but I spent far too much yesterday. Suddenly it seems like a long time to the end of the month, and pay day ! Yesterday was a chance to repay some of the kindness shown to me when I was last out of work as Kevin is now. Both Ivor, and even more so for Iain, are on quite reduced incomes currently. I was the only one with a full time almost, but not really, well paid job. So I emptied my wallet (and then used my credit card to order the Chnese meal(s)).

 Now the laundry is done there is nothing I have to do today, and there is nothing I intend to do today. I am now going to lie on my bed reading, and if I fall asleep, so much the better !
Monday 14th May 2012
10:34 BST

  Quite a lot of yesterday was bright and sunny, but I don't think it got any warmer than the 17° C I measured just after midday. As the evening drew in there were signs that the clouds were starting to gather again, and this morning started quite dull. We've already had one light shower well in advance of the forecast time (midday, or a bit later), and there is surely more to come. Tomorrow is forecast to be wet, but Wednesday is currently forecast to be bright and sunny with a cold wind blowing.

 I had a very lazy afternoon yesterday. I probably spent most of my time either eating, reading or watching TV. I never did get around to doing any laundry, and I hardly got any sleep during the afternoon. I didn't even go to bed very early. By nightfall I seemed to get my second wind, and I carried on reading until I had finished my book. That was around 11pm. I slept well until 4.30am when I got up for the toilet, and to feed Smudge, who I found lurking outside my bedroom door. By a little after 5am I was back in bed, and I managed to add another two hours of sleep before waking up again.

 I am not at work today. I took the day off to try and meet up with my friend Ivor for a lunchtime pint. So far I've washed my hair, showered, and been out to get some money from the hole in the wall. I also bought some stuff from the 99p shop. Now I am waiting for Ivor to call round to pick up a couple of things from me. Later on, possibly mid afternoon we should be meeting up for some drinking. I think I am looking forward to that, but there could be a minor problem that might spoil the drink. It depends if anyone changes the subjects of conversation from wine, women and song :-)
Sunday 13th May 2012
12:36 BST

  The temperature yesterday afternoon/early evening could best be described as comfortable. It was neither cold or warm, but somewhere in between, and that was with it staying mostly bright and sunny right up to sundown. It lead on to a nice sunset.
sunset outside The Chatterton Arms in Bromley
 The picture above was taken outside The Chatterton Arms in Bromley. All those reds and oranges in the sky usually mean fine weather, and indeed, this morning is bright and sunny. Right now my thermometer says it's nearly 17° C, and that is an improvement over yesterday, and a big improvement to the 8° C that the temperature dropped to in the middle of the night. With luck, today will stay a fine day, and with even more luck it will be fine tomorrow - although the BBC website s forecasting a fair amount of rain tomorrow.

 The music continued last night with a second gig from Chain at The Chatterton Arms. It was not as exciting as Friday night - no women chatting me up - but still very enjoyable. The only bad thing was that I was feeling tired towards the end, and I had a stomach ache developing. So I left soon after the gig finished rather than hanging around, and reprising my rôle as a roadie. I did plenty of roadie-ing* at the start of the gig. I was the first to arrive, which bemused me a bit, but once the band arrived I did plenty of humping gear around.

* There seems to be no real word for the act of being a roadie. There's a brief discussion about it here - http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/37252/the-activity-of-being-a-roadie

 Last nights line up was Jo on rhythm guitar, Chris on lead guitar, Guy on drums, and Matt on bass guitar. Once again Matt's powerful (500W) bass amp really thumped away, and yet while it wasn't loud, it was powerful enough to rattle the windows of the pub ! On Friday night I had mentioned to Matt just how good the song Crossroads sounded with his powerful agreesive bass sound. He thanked me, and also mentioned just how complicated the bass line is for the song. Last night Crossroads was played again, and presumably following Guy the drummers lead, it was played even faster. As it was played I watched Matt's fingers on the guitar fretboard, and as he suggested, they were moving around all over the place.  I was very impressed.
Chain at The Chatterton Arms
Matt, Jo, Guy, and Chris. Compare this picture of Matt with this one......
Matt from TMT Music playing with Chain
Matt wearing a wig held on with a heavy metal bandana. I'm not sure why he put it on half way through the gig, but it looked good.
Guy Harris wearing Jo's "Sweet Child 'O Mine" hat
Another unusual sight. When Matt's bass vibrated Jo's special "Sweet Child 'O Mine" hat off the table where it was ready for her to wear, Guy picked it up and tried it on. It sort of suited him.

 After I left the pub I was lucky enough to only have to wait 3 minutes for a 208 bus. I think some road works meant that the stop I wanted to get off at was not in use, but the next stop was actually the one at the very end of my road. That would have been fine, but as is traditional after a gig, I wanted to get some dinner ( I hadn't eaten since very early in the afternoon). I chose, as I very often do, some fried chicken, grilled wings and a portion of "fries".

 The grilled wings are very nice, but remarkably spicy from the shop where I usually buy them. They can be almost, well maybe not almost, but actually painful to eat. The fries were very average, and not a patch on genuine chip shop chips. The fried chicken was unusually not very nice. The "batter" seemed soggy and flavourless for some reason. So it ended up that Smudge more of it than I did (lucky cat !).

 While eating I put the telly on, and ended up watching the whole of "Carry On England". It was really hard keeping my eyes open as I waited for the end, and on a couple of occasions I failed to keep them open. It was 02:20 before I turned out the light and went to sleep. I slept well for 5 hours, but that was about all the sleep I got. If I had tried hard enough I guess I could have got to sleep again, but I half got up, fed Smudge, and sort of pottered around for a bit.

 Eventually I decided that I needed a shower, and that woke me up quite a lot. A shower always wakes me up quite a lot, but sharing a shower with a wasp makes you wake up a lot ! As I mentioned elsewhere, "Sharing your personal space with a wasp while wet and soapy under the shower takes nerves of steel !". Eventually I felt refreshed enough to go out shopping. I thought I would feel OK, but two gigs in a row seem to have worn me out. Walking to the supermarket seemed a drag, and walking back with a load of heavy shopping felt like climbing a mountain.

 Very soon now I'll be eating my Sunday dinner. After I've eaten that I think I'll be laying on my bed, and reading until I inevitably doze off. Later on, if I regain some energy I must do some laundry, but that is likely to be the most energetic thing I'll do all day. I definitetly won't be reviving plan A - a nice healthy walk !
Saturday 12th May 2012
15:35 BST

  It took some time to do it, but yesterday gradually warmed up to a fairly comfortable temperature for shirtsleeves. It was definitely a treat to go out to the pub without a coat in the sunshine. Today the sunny weather continues, but once again it is taking a long time to warm up. Even now, halfway through the afternoon, the temperature is only a fraction under 16°. If we are lucky we might see a rise of one more degree before the sun goes down.

 Last night was rather a special night involving great music, beer and women ! The traditional wine, women and song. After the long dull grey and damp misery of last weekend, this one got off to a flying start ! After work I was only indoors for 40 minutes before walking to The Catford Ram to see Chain playing.
Chain on stage at The Catford Ram
 Last night was double Matt night. On drums was Matt Sharp, and on bass guitar was Matt. There were some songs that they had never rehearsed together, or possibly not rehearsed at all, and yet it all sounded rather wonderful. Highlights for me were the Cream song "Crossroads" which Matt really drove along with a wonderful crunchy bass sound, and the J.J. Cale song "Cocaine" which Matt's bass sound complemented wonderfully.

 There were other highlights as well. I was "molested" twice by women I didn't know. The first was rather drunk, and not exactly attractive. She decided to pinch my bottom as she staggered past me, and pat it on a couple of other occasions. That was certainly a novel experience. Woman number two was far more attractive.
Heidi outside The Catford Ram
 Her name was Heidi, and initially I think she thought I was a member of the band. Maybe in a tiny, tiny way I was - for a few minutes I was the official sound checker. Even when I told her that I was not a musician she still seemed to take a shine to me. Now this is highly unusual. Being, in effect, "chatted up" just never happens to me, but last night it did. It was all the more strange considring I think he husband, or partner, was at the other end of the pub ! Maybe it was booze, spring madness, or maybe she is just a nutter. I think she lives locally, and it will be interesting to bump into her when she's sober and see what reaction I get.

 I must say it did feel rather good to be fussed over. I had my hair stroked, my back rubbed, a hug or two, and several kisses. I am unsure what may have happened if I had given her my number. She did ask for it, but then changed her mind before I could give her it. My ego was also boosted by her not wanting to believe that I was actually 15 - 20 years older than her best guess.

 The night ended with a kiss, which is always a good way to end a night, but it was not from Heidi, and not on the lips. Heidi left before I did, and the peck on the cheek was from Jo - which is not so unusual. After I left the pub I headed home via the chip shop for some fish and chips. They tasted so good after all the Guinness I had drunk. I was in bed a bit later than I thought I would be, but it was still a little before 11pm.

 This morning I woke up feeling rather good, and with quite a minimal hangover. It was not a painful hangover, but it did feel like my brain was in a wet sock. It took a while before I could face doing some housework in preparation for a visit by Aleemah. She brought over the film "The Iron Lady" starring Meryl Streep. It would not be my first choice of films, but it wasn't as bad as I imagined, and in some ways, in some parts, enjoyable.

 I now have a few hours of rest before going out to see Chain again. They're playing at The Chatterton Arms in Bromley tonight. Once again Matt will be on the bass, but normal drummer, Guy Harris, should be on drums. Tonight will be a late night, and it might go on so late that I'll have to get a night bus, but I hope I'll be on a normal bus just after midnight, and at home, probably with a bag of grilled chicken wings, by 1pm. Tomorrow I could stay in bed all day if I wanted to, but if my hangover is not too bad I might consider taking advantage of a sunny morning for a walk.
Friday 11th May 2012
07:50 BST

  It was another wet day yesterday, and particularly so when I left work to go home. For much of the day there was a lot of drizzle and occasionally some heavier rain, but just before I was due to go home the heavens just opened. It had eased off a bit when I actually left the building, but I arrived home feeling very soggy. It's all swung around again, and this morning it is bright and sunny, but also cooler than yesterday. It is on the brink of being chilly. The weather forecast suggests that today, tomorrow, and Sunday should be mostly dry with plenty of sunshine.

 Ignoring the fact that I was almost dripping wet, I went home via Tesco last night. Buying this weeks edition of New Scientist in there is always a good excuse to get other stuff as well. Smudge got treated to some cat milk, and I had some hot cooked chicken with some salad. The ready prepared salad was a bit of a luxury item, but very nice. It contained some fine green beans as well as some Greek olives. If I had left it like that it would have been a fairly healthy sort of meal, but while rummaging around I saw a triple chocolate trifle for half price on the reduced price shelf..............................

 I turned off the light to go to sleep at 9pm last night, and I lay awake wondering why I seem to be able to fall asleep reading something interesting on my PC at work, but can't seem to fall asleep in my own bed. After 5 minutes of that I was starting to resign myself to another night without enough sleep, and then the next thing I knew was it was 1am, and I needed to get up for a pee. Five minutes later and I was fast asleep again, and I didn't wake until a most convenient 4.55am - five minutes before my alarm was due to go off.

 I feel rather refreshed after getting that amount of sleep, and it was good sleep too. I can't remember any dreams until one just before I woke up. In theory, today should be an excellent day. I washed and conditioned my hair this morning, and that always makes me feel good. There is the sunshine, and there is beer and music tonight. Chain are playing in The Catford Ram. At just a five minute walk it is the easiest venue in the world to get to. The gig starts very early, around 6pm, and finishes early. So no late night, tonight - well a bit late, but I expect I'll be in bed by 11pm. Now assuming nothing bad happens at work today, I think I can say that if every day was like today, life would be worth living.
Thursday 10th May 2012
08:12 BST

  The main feature of yesterday's weather was rain - lots of it ! The only redeeming factor was that it was very mild - almost warm. The rain and mildness continued through the night, and just before I left to come to work it was still raining. It must have only stopped by seconds when I did leave to get my train, and there has been no rain since. There were even a few seconds of sunshine as I travelled to work, but all I can see out of my window at the moment is mid-grey sky.

 According to the forecast, the rain was not supposed to stop for a few more hours yet, but we may be lucky and it has definitely finished early, and day will grow brighter early as well. There is none forecast for today, but I think we may see some more sunshine today. Apparently tomorrow should be quite sunny, but paradoxically cooler than today. As I write this it is mild enough that I have my office window open - though maybe not for too long.

 My overriding aim yesterday was to hurry home from work. There was no way that I could get home any quicker than usual, but I was feeling guilty about leaving Smudge out in the rain all day. I don't know why I should feel guilty. After all, it was her idea to go out, and not to come in again before I had to leave for work. When I finally arrived home she was waiting on the window ledge for me. She was only very slightly damp, and not in a great rush to come in. Maybe she had spotted a mouse in the garden, and was contemplating whether to risk getting wet again chasing it around, or to come in for some home cooked dinner. Well we all love a takeaway, but after nearly a minutes worth of consideration she decided that a takeaway would be too much effort. So she came in, ate the food I had put down for her, then showed her appreciation for it by almost lacerating the tops of my thighs as she paddled away while purring loudly, and finally she jumped onto the back of the armchair and fell asleep.

 I had grand intentions of eating slightly more frugally than I did last night. I started off with some soup, and an almost stale bread roll. I followed that by a large can of pasta and meatballs. In theory I should have stopped there, but I fancied something sweet after that, and had some cake. The cake was a mistake, and the peanuts I ate a bit later and even bigger mistake. I went to bed feeling slightly bloated, and I didn't expect to have that much energy this morning, but I think I had more than I thought.

 I was slightly delayed by writing a comment to a blog I read, and then delayed even more by a last minute desire to go to the toilet before leaving to get the train to work. I was sure that I would miss my usual train, and have to get the one after it. So I thought I would take a more leisurely walk to the station. I just can't seem to walk slowly though, and I arrived at the station with a full three minutes to spare before my usual train was due. It felt like I had broken a new record in the time it takes to walk to the station. I must admit I arrived there quite damp with sweat, but this morning is probably the warmest we've had this year. I think it was nearly 16° C when I left, and that must lie on the boundary between mild and warm. If it were not for the threat of rain I would have been quite happy in my shirtsleeves.
Wednesday 9th May 2012
07:59 BST

  Yesterday may have got off to a damp start, but it ended gloriously. By mid morning it started to get bright, and to warm up. When I went home from work there were still plenty of broken clouds in the sky, but not a single one got in the way of the sun, and when I arrvived home and checked my thermometer I found it was nearly 19° C. Sometime during the night the clouds thickened again, and this morning is very damp, but it isn't that cold. It didn't feel that bad walking through the fine misty drizzle as I made my way from the station to work. In some ways it was almost refreshing, and I didn't even bother to put my hood up, or do up the front of my coat. Most of today will probably be very similar, but with the chance of heavier rain from time to time.

 Apart from the actual work bit, I slightly enjoyed my day at work yesterday. The bright sunshine helped a lot, but other things helped as well. For the first time in ages I found something interesting dumped in the skip outside. It was an old IBM blade server. It was a little too big to easily take away, but it opened up very easily, and I grabbed the 1 GB of RAM inside it, and the two hard disks it had. I would be curious to have a look and see what is on those disks.

 One of the reasons I didn't make more effort in saving the whole server was because those hard disks were quite small by todays standards at a mere 36.4GB each. They are also 8 years old now, and getting towards the end of their life.The biggest barrier to using them, or even just inspecting what's on them is they use the SCSI-III interface (I think), and I haven't got anything that will connect to them. In their time they would have been mega expensive compared to "consumer" grade hard disks, but now they are mere curios.

 Also a mere curio is something else I found. Just peeking out from under a pile of paper was something very similar to this ;-
old Maltese 2 Lira banknote
 It's a banknote from Malta worth 2 Lira. At least it used to be worth that until Malta adopted the Euro. However, if at any time before 2018 I happen to pass The Central Bank Of Malta I can exchange it for Euros equivalent to £3.75 at the current rate of exchange.If I wait another few hundred years it will probably be worth a lot more on the collectors circuit.

 With the warmth and bright sunshine yesterday afternoon/evening it took a lot of will power to get to bed at the proper time.Even then I did not get to sleep as early as I should have. Some claim that dreams can foretell the future. I slept badly enough to have a lot of dreams last night. One dream definitely foretold the future, and I hope another didn't.

 In one dream I was feeling cold, but had difficulty bending over to turn the heater on because I also needed a pee. Sure enough, when I woke up a few seconds later I was freezing cold because I had kicked most of the duvet off the side of the bed, and I was busting for a pee.

 The dream that I hope was not a premonition concerns probably the first young lady I had a crush on. Sadly she married a mate of mine before I could even get an innocent peck on the cheek, and to this day I have never realised the fantasies that my hormone ravaged teenage brain conjoured up. Many years later I almost had another chance, but that's another story. To go back to the original plot, I had a dream last night that featured this particular lady, and it was not a sexy dream. I have no idea what the circumstances leading up to it were, but I was looking at a web page on a PC and there was a large black and white picture of this lady, looking as she does now, and across the picture it said R.I.P. and gave her name and some dates. It is all a bit spooky because I can't think of a single reason why I should have been thinking about her.
Tuesday 8th May 2012
08:25 BST

  On consideration, yesterday was not a terrible day. It did get bright and occasionally sunny in the afternoon. If it had been bright and sunnier earlier, and also a lot warmer, I could have called it a good day, but the best I can say is that it was bland. This morning we returned to rain. It hasn't been continuous, and it hasn't been heavy. It gently rained as I walked to the station, almost stopped for a bit while I waited on the platform for my train, and then tried a bit harder while I was on the train. Between Waterloo and Vauxhall the clouds parted, and for a minute or two I was dazzled by a burst of real sunshine. Since then there has only been a few hints of light rain, and hints that the forecasted bright afternoon may even happen.

 I mentioned a couple of adverts I have seen on TV recently when I wrote yesterday. I could name those advertisers. What I can't name are the incessant adverts that try to to part a fool from his money. I refer to all the on-line bingo and betting merchants. They make it all sound so whoop-dee-doo while rubbing their hands with glee behind our backs as piles of money mostly travel one way from us to them. When I say "us" I don't actually mean us. I know that anyone reading this probably has at least a couple of working braincells, and wouldn't get enticed to fritter away their money in a senseless way, but I almost feel sorrt for the great unwashed masses who are taken in by some cheap glitter. Worse than that is how it almost corrupts quasi-anarchists like me into thinking that the "nanny state" might actually have a point, and that some imbeciles do need protecting from themselves.

 One thing I did yesterday was take the first hesitant steps towards getting myself certified. No, not that sort of certified, but certified as chartered/registered (or something) Engineering Technician. Combining my qualifications with my experience I should qualify easily enough. I am not totally sure why I should want to do this, and if the process becomes too complex, or time consuming, I'll probably give up. Theoretically, being able to put Eng Tech after my name, should open up new doors, but I am almost at the end of the corridor, and I think I've run out of doors. Still it would look good on my tombstone - if I had one - which I don't really want (just chuck me in the Thames and let nature take it's course).

 After a three day weekend of not going out, seeing no one, hardly talking to anyone, and inevitably eating all sorts of stuff, in all sorts of quantities that I shouldn't have, I don't feel too bad this morning. I seem to have a moderate amount of energy available, and in some respects too much. Unfortunately the too much is energy as defined by physics and chemistry rather than legs going backwards and forwards. My blood sugar level is probably (I haven't actually measured it for ages) far too high judging by how sweaty I got walking, albeit fairly fast, from the station to work. That even takes into account that it was as high as 12° C this morning - not bad recently, but a poor shadow of what it could probably be if it were not for global warming :-)
Monday 7th May 2012
12:55 BST

  Yesterday remained rather cool and dull, but it did stay dry. This morning I was amazed to see some sunshine. While it lasted it raised the temperature from around 9° C to 14° C as it is currently. That sunshine didn't last that long, and was gone by 10am. Soon after the first rain fell. It was brief, but fairly heavy. That was followed by intermittent drizzle. It was indistinct, but just now I thought I heard a very distant peal of thunder. Maybe someone, somewhere is getting more than drizzle.

 Last night I stayed up to midnight watching TV. The Freeview channel Dave had some back to back episodes of QI on, and watching several of those amused me. What didn't amuse me were some of the seemingly over long commercial breaks. Some of the actual commercials amused me even less. For instance who is ever going to buy anything from a mobile phone company that uses middle eastern terrorists as their sales pitch. I am definitely scared stiff of having anything to do with the company. If you are feeling brave you can see these would be suicide bombers wearing their hijabs, burkas, or whatever in this You Tube video - http://youtu.be/7DO8WQJdi48.

 Another advert that scared me silly was for an anti smoking product. It seems every time you take one of their products a retro 1970s jazz/funk/disco band invades your personal space. I think, no, I'm sure I would rather die !
unwanted jazz funk and soul music invades your personal space
Take one of their tablets and this lot will invade your ears and eyes.........shudder !

 Having gone to bed so late it might have been sensible to turn off my alarm set for 5am. I did think about it, but I knew I would be waking up sometime near then anyway. It is a bank holiday today so I didn't actually need to get up so early, but it's good practice, and I did indeed get up at 5am. By get up I really mean I went to the toilet, fed Smudge, and checked my email. Then I went back to bed again. Initially I didn't feel that sleepy. I was getting close to giving up when I noticed it was 9am !

 The one can of cat food I had bought from Lidl on Saturday was, as I expected, mostly rejected by Smudge. The gravy wasn't bad, but she just could not bring herself to eat the lumps. So this morning I went out to Aldi to buy some "proper" cat food. Smudge was lucky that they had a good selection back in, including the fish flavoured one that she likes now and then. I didn't buy that much for me, but one thing I did buy was mostly foolish, but it seemed so right. So despite my blood sugar level running a bit on the high side last week, I bought some ice cream. It's not exactly ice cream weather, but I can always turn the heating up high and pretend it is.

 I've done a little bit, a tiny bit (!) of clearing up my living room, and I am wondering if I can find the enthusiasm to do some more. The main thing I did yesterday was to throw out a very old, incredibly dusty, and matted with cat fur (it was one of Smudge's temporary sleeping places) camera bag of immense proportions. It was originally for a full sized professional camcorder and accessories. Once upon a time it seemed like a good idea for lugging my big semi-pro camcorder, tripod and accessories around in, but now I much prefer to use a back pack and leave my hands free. So I gritted my teeth and threw it away. If nothing else I should hoover around where it was, and the area it blocked off. It also gives me room to move a few bits around to make the place a tiny bit neater. As I write this I can't really be bothered, but it's the sort of thing I might start while watching something boring on TV.

 The one thing I do have to do today is prepare for work tomorrow. That means getting to bed at the proper time, and maybe trying not to eat anything too contentious that might give me the runs in the morning. One thing I won't be eating is any of the flavoured pork ribs things that I ate too much of yesterday. Not only did they not taste that spectacular, but the meat was so stringy that I spent a lot of time yesterday making my teeth and gums hurt as I picked out bits of meat from between my teeth. It was all rather ridiculous, and my gums are still slightly tender today.
Sunday 6th May 2012
14:13 BST

  The weather drags on monotonously. It could be a lot worse than it is, but it's bad enough. Yesterday was like today - fairly cool with grey skies and occasional very light showers of mainly drizzle. Occasionally, like right now as I write this, the sky gets a bit brighter, but there is no sign of even a feint yellow halo to show where the sun is. Maybe the sun will break through, but it seems unlikely today, or even tomorrow.

 The only thing of note I did yesterday was a pile of laundry. I seemed to spend an awful lot of time looking at the internet. One page in particular took ages to read from beginning to end. It was the wiki quotes page for the TV series QI. This morning I spent ages looking up all the local, and a few not so local pubs on http://www.beerintheevening.com/. It was reading all the comments about the pubs that took so long. Some comments were sad, some amusing, and tragically, many were all too accurate. There are a lot of bad and indifferent pubs out there ! Of course it has to be born in mind that pubs can change character by the hour. The Catford Wetherspoons pub, The London And Rye, can be quite pleasant when it has few customers. Early on a Saturday morning it can almost be civilised.

 I went out and did some shopping this morning. Just for a change I went to Lidl to see what they had. They had some interesting things including reindeer leg steaks (which I didn't buy - this time), and there was stuff like cat food that they didn't have. At least they didn't have any flavours that Smudge approves of. I did buy here a tin of beef with carrots in gravy, and I just put some out for her. I expect when I inspect the plate I'll find that she has licked the gravy up and left the rest. As a rule she will only eat pate type cat foods, or meat off the bone - preferably a large chicken leg bone (I won't give her anything smaller in case she chokes on a splinter of bone), but she will also gamely try and lick something off any kind of bone that I have already eaten all the meat off that I can manage.

 For Sunday dinner I had some Dauphinoise potatoes, and some pork belly strips marinades in maple syrup - both bought from Lidl this morning. The pork strips were nice, but I think they would have been even better if I had cooked them for longer. The potato stuff came out of a tin, and was not very nice. Maybe it was supposed to be spread out in a baking dish, and cooked in the oven until well browned rather than just heated up. The big problem was the emmental cheese used in it. That gave a sort of sickly taste that spoiled it.

 Once my dinner has settled in my stomach properly, maybe a few hours from now, I'll do the rest of my laundry. Apart from that laundry I have nothing else to do, or at least nothing else I need to do. So it's going to be another restful afternoon that I'll spend mostly reading. Thankfully I still have plenty to read otherwise it could be very boring !
Saturday 5th May 2012
11:26 BST

  There was no sign of the sun yesterday, but happily there was no significant rain either. There were occasional periods with some very light misty rain. They were mostly ignorable. Less ignorable was how cool it was all day. Just after sunset the clouds did break up a tiny bit, and the bright full moon was very visible as this out of focus picture shows.
full moon against an out of focus foreground
 With a few holes in the cloud the temperature dropped overnight to very chilly this morning, and even now the temperature is only 9° C. Those holes had closed up by sunrise, and so far today, and probably the rest of the day, it has been very dull outside. Like yesterday, there has been no more than occasional falls of very light rain, but the potential is there for heavier rain to fall anytime today, tomorrow, or the bank holiday Monday.

 The bad guts I suffered from on Thursday, and first thing yesterday morning, gave no more trouble yesterday. So in the evening I decided to throw caution to the wind and order a nice takeaway to celebrate. I fancied some Japanese food, but there is nowhere very near here that does deliveries so I had to cast the net a bit wider.  The place I settled on adds a £1.50 surcharge for deliveries to Catford, and also a £1 surcharge for ordering by credit card. With those extras, plus their semi high prices you might expect the food to be something extra special.

 The chicken in yellow bean sauce (from the Chinese food part of their menu) was actually a tiny bit better than the average from most of the Chinese takeaways round here. The Singapore noodles were nice, but slightly below average. The biggest disappointment was the teriyaki chicken bento box. There was nothing wrong with it per se, but it was very unexciting. My overall conclusion was that I totally wasted my money, and should have just gone for a Chinese takeaway from somewhere local.

 Another part of my celebration was to stay up very late (for me). I came home from work feeling totally exhausted, and if I had cooked my own dinner early in the evening I would have been tempted to be in bed before 8pm. My food wasn't actually delivered until 7.45pm, and by then I was getting my second wind. So I stayed up to watch Have I Got News For You, and then even later, QI. Even when I got into bed I did not feel specially tired, and opted to do some reading until gone midnight.

 I almost managed a full 8 hours sleep last night, but trying to stay asleep for the last couple of hours was hard work. Of course once I got up I felt like going back to bed again, but got up anyway. So far I haven't done anything of note except wash my hair and have a shower. Sooner or later I really have to get on with doing some laundry. With my sore stomach during the week I didn't fancy leaning over the bath washing stuff, so I've let it build up, and now I'll have to do two sessions of laundry.

 Apart from laundry I have no special plans for today. I don't think I need to do any shopping apart from going to the corner shop, a few minutes walk up the road, for some diet cola. I am tempted to rehabilitate my old iMac computer. It's now almost a museum piece, but with a good hard disk installed it is almost useable should I choose to use it (which is incredibly rarely). Other than that I have a load of reading material that should keep me amused for more than today.

Friday 4th May 2012
08:27 BST

  The rain that was forecast for the afternoon yesterday was a very feeble affair. Other parts of London may have got a soaking, but there was no more than the occasional bit of light misty rain where I went. I left home, to come to work, in more rain that was so light it was almost just mist. For a brief minute it tried to rain a little harder as I waited on the platform for my train, but it was still not heavy enough for me to want to put my newspaper away. I feel that today will be similar to yesterday, and carry on much the same over the bank holiday weekend - apart from the temperature, which is already chilly, and is forecast to drop even further.

 I was not happy yesterday. The excess quantity of beans in the French cassolet I ate the night before had a rather unsettling effect. What I didn't mention yesterday is that I had also consumed a small bag of pumpkin seeds prior to opening the can of cassolet and finding it to be choc full of beans. There was evidence that it was the pumpkin seeds that went right through me yesterday. I was in and out of the toilet here at work at something like 45 minute intervals right up to the last 90 minutes before going home. I was concerned about getting home safely. It's a long journey with few toilets.

 In the end there was nothing to worry about, and I was comfortable enough to go home via Tesco. I needed cat litter, I wanted a copy of New Scientist, and I wanted to get some moderately bland food. It wasn't ideal, but I opted to get some sandwiches. In deference to my abused guts I ate them without the benefit of added hot pepper sauce. They went down nicely, and possibly rushed out again this morning ! Well, I can't think I could have anything else left inside of me after my experiences at work yesterday.

 It took a little while before I felt confident to leave for work this morning, and consequently I only managed to get in on time instead of my usual 20 - 30 minutes early (which I use as an excuse to leave 20 minutes early). One good thing about getting the 07:04 train instead of the 06:33 is that it is a faster train. The disadvantage is that it is usually much more crowded (though I was able to get a seat this morning). The H U G E disadvantage of getting it is that I get charged a peak time fare (touching in with an Oyster card before 6.30am is classed as opp-peak travel).

 Tonight is going to bring some stress. I fancy the idea of getting a "takeaway" meal, but I probably ought to eat something bland if I am ever going to heal my fractious guts. Maybe it wouldn't matter though. I did have a tentative plan to try and do what I couldn't do last Saturday - travel to Ashford to have a drink with friend Ivor. Like last Saturday the weather is going cold and wet. Maybe not quite as wet, but possibly a lot colder. I don't think I fancy travelling a long way like that. If it was just to a local pub I could grin and bear it, but 90 minutes on a train there, and the same back, for an hour or two in a damp pub is not so enticing. Perhaps I should just eat what ever I fancy, and worry about spending all Saturday on the toilet when and if it happens.
Thursday 3rd May 2012
08:14 BST

  I managed to avoid seeing any rain, but it was deadly dull grey yesterday. It wasn't that warm either. I think I heard some rain overnight, but it's been dry this morning apart from seeing some rain briefly hit the windows of my train between Waterloo and Vauxhall. The sky remains a dirty grey colour, and rain is, or was, forecast from the middle of this morning to the middle of the afternoon. There is some hope that the rain will break up in time for when I leave work, and if the Gods are smiling down on me (because the sun won't be !) I might be lucky and avoid hitting any rain on the way home.

 Bearing in mind the discomfort I felt the day before yesterday as the result of trapped wind (or something), it may have been foolhardy eating what I ate for dinner last night. I thought I would take things easy and have some soup last night. The French beef and onion soup may have been a minor bad choice, but it was what I had after that, that may have past the point of foolhardy by a long margin.

 I opened up a large can that was mostly labelled in French, although it did have perfectly good English translations on it in small print that I didn't bother to read. I bought the can from Aldi who usually do specials rotating around different nationalities or types of food. Recently it was France and they had a range of French type stuff (all made in Germany probably !), and amongst it all were two types of stuff in large cans. I am sure one is actually a soup, or light stew, and I thought that the can I opened last night was a stew as well. In a way it was, but it was a bean and meat stew that was nearly all solid beans.

 The name of the stuff inside the can was Cassolet, and wikipedia informs me that haricot beans are a major ingredient in it. As well as the beans, "thousands of them", as Michael Caine might have said if the film had been called beans instead of zulu, there were a couple of bits of sausage, and two duck legs. When I first opened the can I was presented with a thick layer of solid fat. I scraped off most of that before I poured the remainder into a suacepan to heat up. It was very nice. So nice that if I find it available again I may well buy a few more cans to keep handy. What all those beans will do to me is anybodies guess. Perhaps this time I'll get away with it, or maybe I'll be spending all the afternoon in the toilet instead of working.

 Once again I attempted to have an early night, and once again I only partly succeded. I probably got to sleep no more than 10 or 15 minutes earlier than normal. I think I slept better than the night before, and was certainly sleeping well enough to need my alarm to get me up on time. I think I'll be writing an email that will need some thought tonight. So once again I'll probably be ignoring my laundry, and still not getting to sleep early.
Wednesday 2nd May 2012
07:54 BST

  It seems I was far too pessimistic about the weather yesterday. After the terribly wet start the sky started to brighten. By lunchtime, maybe before, the sun had come out, and the rest of the afternoon was bright and sunny. It wasn't quite as sunny, nor as warm, as Monday afternoon, but too far from it, and certainly nice enough to stuff my coat into my bag and go home in shirtsleeves.

 This morning is horribly grey, but apart from a couple of possibly imagined individual drops of rain, it is dry. It may even brighten up later on, but rain is forecast for later in the day - possibly as I am on my way home from work (which would be a tragedy). Weather forecasts for more than a few minutes ahead seem to be no more than blind chance, but if the forecasters have managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and  their forecasts bear any relationship to reality, then it seems that we still have plenty of dull rainy days ahead.

 I didn't feel all that wonderful at work yesterday. Just recently I have been suffering from some mild low back pain, and while that was causing some discomfort on one side of the me, the other side was suffering the discomfort of trapped wind (or something similar).  None of it was particularly painful, but the two combined did get quite wearisome. This morning I took a couple of ibuprofen tablets as a precaution. They do seem to have worked well, and on the whole I feel quite comfortable. Strangely enough, I also feel like I have more energy this morning.

 It was a close run thing, but I just about managed to stop myself being side tracked, and got to bed early last night. Ideally it could have been earlier still, maybe an hour instead of half an hour, but it seems to have done the trick. It's probably where my feeling of extra energy comes from. I'm not sure how well I slept though. I only woke up once or twice, but it feels like I had extensive vivid dreams last night. I can only remember a couple of outstanding features from two dreams. The rest have just evaporated away like dew on a summers morning.

 The first bit of dream I can remember is that I was going to a place called Uttoxeter. In the dream I was going there (or maybe even reached there) by South West Trains from Waterloo station. Upon investigating it I see that it is in Staffordshire, and that there is a racecourse there. It is most definitely not served by South West Trains ! The other bit of dream I can recall probably occured very shortly before my alarm woke me at 5am. I have no idea about the rest of the dream, but the bit I remember is sitting in a public toilet, and instead of the usual mindless graphiti somebody had drawn a 12 panel, four colour, cartoon on the inside of the toilet door. I know the first panel featured a very rude drawing, but I couldn't seem to read the caption. Evidently my mind could not invent the words fast enough to fill in the cartoon because as well as not being able to read the caption, I couldn't see the contents of the other panels. They were there, right in front of my eyes, but I was strangely blind to their contents. It was quite frustrating because I would liked to have had a good laugh.
Tuesday 1st May 2012
08:16 BST

  Yesterday was an absolutely glorious day. The sun shone all morning, all afternoon, and it did it's best to shine during early evening. By 6pm it was getting weak and hazy, but it had done it's job. I've no idea what the late afternoon temperature was, but it was very comfortable in just a short sleeved shirt. Of course it couldn't last. I estimate it was around 7pm when a brief gentle sprinkle of rain fell. There was no more until either the sun set, or was blotted out by thick dark clouds. Then it started in earnest. Sometime in the night I saw a flash of lightning, and after quite a delay, a peal of distant thunder.

 Maybe there was more thunder and lightning, but if there was I must have been in a deeper sleep than I thought I was. This morning all the deep puddles have filled again, and the rain seems relentless. I fear it will be raining for most of today, and the weather forecast suggests it may well continue past the weekend, and well into next week. It was a nice summer while it lasted yesterday !

 One thing I hadn't anticipated yesterday was a text message from Kevin inviting me to drop by the pub for a couple of pints of beer on my way home. What I should have anticipated was that it went for far longer than I intended. After three pints of rather strong Abbot Reserve ale, and a couple of shorts, I had to put my foot down, and insist on going home even though I was enjoying myself.

 It felt too late to do any cooking, and so the inevitable happened. I found myself at home with a bag of chicken wings and a portion of "fries". Not only was it too late to do any cooking, but it was also too late to do my growing pile of laundry. That is something I need to try and find the enthusiasm to do tonight. If today is as wet and miserable as, in a very pessimistic way, I think it will be, then raising that enthusiasm could be hard. Not only that, but apart from a good start, I didn't seem to sleep that well last night, and I'll be looking forward to getting into bed very early tonight.

 For the first time in ages I took a 10 minute stroll in the park behind work yesterday. I was hoping to find some colour, and indeed there was some.
dandelion flowers
As the River Wandle meanders through the park it's banks are left to grow wild.
I spotted a few great big lusty dandelions growing along the river bank.
apple blossom
The tree that produces the hard and sour little apples was in full blossom.
I initially thought they were crab apples, but I now think they are too big to be crab apples.
I really don't know what variety they are.
stinging nettles
The little white flowers on stinging nettles don't seem to be so bold when photographed as they are in real life.
new growth on an oak tree
I've never seen the flowers that produce acorns on an oak tree before, but I think this is what they look like.
It's definitely an oak tree - it had acorns on it last autumn !