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

Friday 30th November 2012
07:50 GMT

  I think it was around midday that the northern half of the sky looked very wintry, and the southern half looked autumnal. For a little while around that time there were a few spells of very weak and watery sunshine, but most of yesterday was a sort of light grey colour. I don't know what the highest temperature was, but I doubt it was any higher than 7 C. This morning it was 1.8 C, and there was a thick frost on all the cars. Unlike yesterday, the cars here in Earlsfield were still very frosty as I came into work. The good news is that the sky is very clear right now, and once the sun gets a bit higher we should have some sunshine, but it will do little for the temperature which is forecast to only rise to about 4 C today.

 I was still feeling good yesterday, but the novelty was wearing off, and I could have wished to feel even better. I still felt good enough to carry out my idea of getting a bit of shopping, and then seeing who might be in The Catford Ram. As I thought I might, I found Chris in there along with a couple of his workmates. I also found that Winter Warmer was available, and had three pints of it before I left. In many ways the Winter Warmer was a disappointment. It didn't taste that fresh, and of course over the years it has been made weaker and weaker along with other changes to the recipe. Still it was either that or Guinness, and Guinness takes so long to pour........

 One other thing I did while I was drinking was to test the flash on my mobile phone camera. I've never really used before, and it was interesting to see what it could do in a fairly dim lit pub.It's not a real flash, it's just a flash from a bright LED, but it seemed to work reasonably well, although the picture of Chris, below, has benefitted from a bit of "tickling up" using The Gimp.
Chris Mayer in The Catford Ram 29/11/2012
 After my three pints I headed home to cook some dinner. In theory the Winter Warmer should have buffered the cold, but I felt quite chilly when I got home, and I could feel my chest start to complain. Fortunately it soon recovered once I was in the warm, and I felt OK once I got some hot food in me. At least I thought I felt OK.

  I wrote a fairly long email before going to bed at 9pm. Ideally I would have liked to be in bed a lot earlier, but 9pm should have been acceptable if I had managed to get to sleep properly. I felt uncomfortable in bed. Some of the discomfort was the result of generous amounts of chilli sauce on my dinner making me feel hot, and some was a sort of stuffed and/or indigestion sort of feeling. Then thirdly was a sort of backache whose location apparently changed as I tried different sleeping positions. Even when I did get to sleep I didn't sleep that well, and woke up several times in the night.

 This morning most of the discomfort I feel could be attributed to a hangover, but I'm not convinced I had enough to be like this. It still feels like my guts are a little tender, my back still feels a bit stiff, and I have a mild headache. Other creaky bits I can just attribute to the freezing cold. Of course this is still luxury compared to how I was feeling a week ago, and probably the worst aspect of how I feel this morning is disappointment for not feeling even better than yesterday.

 Now I've been sitting in the warm, here at work, I am feeling a lot better, and hopefully I'll feel even better still later on. I've booked this afternoon off work, and my intention is to go home via Croydon, and hopefully I'll be able to buy some Mad-Ass chilli sauces this time. If for any reason I don't feel like going home via that long circuitous route, I do have a backup plan. Dave from Mad-Ass, in his role as a musician, will be playing bass guitar at Chain's gig in The Chatterton Arms tomorrow night, and if I asked him nicely he could probably bring some stuff to the gig for me. However I'd like to see him in his "native habitat", and I don't want to be lugging bottle of chilli sauce home on the bus after the gig, so I'll be trying to see him today.

 I was probably being wildly optimistic to hope that my new camera might have been delivered yesterday, but even Amazon reckon it should be delivered today. Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that it arrives before I leave today. Sometime the post come early, and on rare occasions it doesn't arrive until gone 2pm. In theory I'll be leaving at midday, but we have a meeting at 11.30am. It will be quick because it is being held by someone who knows what he is talking about, but I can't see it finishing before midday. I guess I'll try and hold out to as late as 1pm for my camera, but if it hasn't arrived by then I'll just have to cross my legs and be patient until Monday :-(
Thursday 29th November 2012
07:49 GMT

  It may have been cold, but yesterday was a vast improvement of the previous few days weather. There was no sign of sunshine, but it was fairly bright. On a couple of occasions there was some rain, but I think each shower was very brief, and the rain felt more like a very fine spray, and was mostly ignorable. Today it is colder still. I measured 2.7 C when I got up, and the cars had frost on them as I walked to the station. It's only going to warm by a few degrees today, and much of the time it will be cloudy, but an occasional sunny interval is possible.

 I was a bit excited about the possibility of buying another new camera yesterday, but I was also worried about how big a dent it would make in my finances. Out of curiosity I checked Amazon to see if I could find the cameras I had bookedmarked on my PC at home. I did, and one thing that was immeadiately apparent was that the price of my fist choice of camera had dropped all of a sudden. The camera in question is a Panasonic LZ20 (review towards the bottom of the page here, better one here).

 When I first found it on Amazon, several weeks ago, I am positive it was shown as costing 169, and had been reduced in price from somewhere above 200. Yesterday it was shown as 124. The reason for the big drop seems to be that it has been superceded by a new model that is listed at 220. I decided to strike while the iron was hot, and ordered one. I now wait in anticipation for it to be delivered. It could be as early as today. It was despatched last night, and although I didn't go for the fastest delivery, previous experience of getting it sent to a business address (work) is that business addresses take priority with Royal Mail. All I have to do now is hope that it lives up to my expectations.

 I felt so much better after the long sleep I got yesterday, that I hoped to repeat it last night. I didn't get into bed quite as early because I was doing something that always makes my heart shrivel, and eyes bleed. I was dealing with my bank. Last night's dealings were simply changing the sort and account codes for my standing orders for gas and electricity, but I still hated doing it ! Dealing with banks always feels like dealing with the devil, and for me it has done 10, 20, or even 30 years before all the current banking crises and stuff took place. Banks are just so unclean. It makes me want to scrub my hands with bleach after dealing with them :-)

 So I was in bed at 7.45pm last night. I had hoped I could just turn over and go to sleep, but it didn't happen like that, or maybe for a brief instant it did. As I lay in bed I was thinking about my new camera. As I was doing that an idea popped into my head that was so bizzare it must have been a brief dream. Whether real dream or day dream, I dreamed that I was walking down a road in some unknown place when a barely clad prostitute beckoned to me from a first floor balcony, and offered her services to me. I said no, but offered her a fiver to take some pictures of the city from her balcony for five minutes. She said OK, and that was when the dream, if it was a dream, ended, and I renewed my efforts to try and get to sleep.

 I guess it must say something when photography is more exciting than sex, but I'd rather not try and think of what that something is ! If it was indeed a dream then it is a pity it didn't carry on for longer because I never did get to sleep for almost another hour. I guess I was probably asleep by 9pm, and although not early it was at least on time. I slept pretty well, and this morning I feel reasonably OK. I don't think I feel better than yesterday, and now the novelty of feeling reasonably OK has worn off, it is not so exciting.

 The freezing cold did bring the expected results as I came to work. It triggered off a bit of chestiness, and a bit of coughing, and even more predictably, made my legs feel rather stiff and creaky. I also feel, as I did yesterday to some extent, that I am close to getting backache. My back does feel a bit stiff from time to time, and occasionally aches for a short while, but so far has recovered quickly. Hopefully it will just stay as the odd twinge rather than develop into a longer spell of pain.

 I think I feel good enough to finally go for a drink tonight. I want to call in at Tesco on the way home - mainly to get some diet cola (which is my equivalent to your tea and/or coffee - neither of which I drink) - but I am sure I'll be getting other stuff too. Other stuff will almost certainly include some super high power AA batteries for my new camera, but inevitably will include some food too. Once I have got my shopping, and it would be handy if I did limit it to not much, the Catford Ram is only a 100ft away, and there is a fair chance that I'll find Chris (from Chain) in there on a Thursday night. Maybe Kevin might join us too.
Wednesday 28th November 2012
09:00 GMT

  Yesterday was bloody horrible ! It was cold, grey, wet, windy and dark all day ! Today it is still grey, but a lighter grey, and it is dry. Today's temperature is lower than yesterday by a couple of degrees, but it doesn't really feel that way. The lack of wind and rain more than makes up for the lack of a few degrees. I thought that the forecast suggested a frost this morning, but my thermometer said  7.7 C when I left for work. That may be as high as it is going to get today, and subsequent days are thought to be even colder. Maybe we'll see a frost tomorrow morning instead.

 What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I felt really crappy, but this morning I don't feel that bad at all (although "not bad" is still some way off feeling good). The much improved weather can claim some merit for it, but it is mostly down to getting over 9 hours sleep last night. Last night I had some dinner, watched the news on TV, and then almost went straight to bed.

 I don't think I was asleep much later than 7.15pm, and apart from a couple of times when I was awake for 10 or so minutes, I slept right through to 5am. The last time I woke up during my long sleep was just before 4.30am. With only 30 minutes to go before my alarm was due to go off, I didn't think I would be able to get back to sleep, but I was wrong. I turned over and considered whether to get up or not, and the next thing I knew was my alarm was sounding.

 My long sleep was aided by some booze. I don't like it in large quantities, and I am not specially keen on it in small quantities, but I had a large glass full of Calvados (apple brandy) with my dinner. I think, although I forgot to check, that it is 40% abv, the same as scotch, but I didn't seem to feel any significant effects from it, and even if I were drunk to start with it would have mostly worn off when I fell asleep again at 4.30am this morning.

 Judging from how better I feel this morning, I reckon I really needed that sleep. It has improved my cough a lot - all the wet weather had made it a lot worse - and I seem to ache less in all sorts of places. Probably my main complaint this morning was a feeling like heartburn. Maybe all that spirit burned away my stomach lining. It has improved a lot, almost disappeared in fact, since having a roll for breakfast. I have been back on the fruit for breakfast, but under the circumstances I thought something that wasn't so acid would be a better choice for today.

 With the rest of the week forecast to be dry and cold I have high hopes that I will be feeling fine to go to a gig on Saturday night. Being a Saturday, and not having to go to work during the day should help a lot too. Another positive thought comes to mind too. I re-checked my bank balance again this morning, and although it will be rather tight, I reckon I can just about afford a (probably early) xmas present for myself. I fancy upgrading my camera again, and I have been reading some impressive reports on some Panasonic cameras. It is suggested that some Panasonic cameras use the same electronics as some far more prestigious, and expensive branded cameras. One of the plus points of these Panasonic cameras is far superior low light performance, and that can be very useful at gigs. They are also supposed to have very low power consumption, and are designed to work off AA batteries - that could be useful, but is probably a more expensive option than a rechargeable lithium battery in the long run.
Tuesday 27th November 2012
07:51 GMT

  It was very grey and miserable yesterday. Fortunately it was drier than I thought it might be, but there was some very light rain as I waited on  Waterloo East station on my way home from work. From the size of the puddles, and general ambience, it was obvious that there had been some very heavy rain in Catford before I arrived there, but it wasn't raining while I walked from the station to home. It's raining again this morning, and will probably do so until at least midday. If I am lucky it will be dry on my way home, but it is forecast to be quite cold then. My thermometer said 10 C when I left home. The BBC forecast thought it would only be 9 C. They also think that the temperature will drop during the day, and it could be as low as 6 C by late this afternoon.

 I felt totally knackered even before I got home last night. Going home gave me a temporary reprieve, or at least lifted my spirits, but I had no energy or enthusiasm to wash the duvet cover as I had originally intended. After eating and watching the news on TV I shut downstairs down, and went up to my bedroom where I spent 30 - 40 minutes on my PC. I thought I was going to be in bed as early as 7.30pm, but an incoming phone call delayed me. It was actually about 8pm before I turned the lights out.

 I expected to go out like a light, and I almost did. I had turned over, got myself comfortable, and I could feel myself drifting away. Maybe sleep did come for seconds, maybe even minutes, but something caught in my throat, and I was up and out of bed trying to cough a stupidly small lump of sticky mucus out of my windpipe. It seemed to take a long time to recover from that, and I am guessing it was close to 9pm before I fell asleep again. From then on I think I probably slept well. I can't recall waking up again until about 20 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me anyway. In theory, but quite probably not in practice, I shouldn't feel too sleepy today.

 I was considering my journey into work this morning. It was not a happy one. The obvious things were that it was cold, wet and dark. Less obvious is that the change of atmosphere as I got on the train at Catford Bridge provoked some mild, but almost persistent coughing. Then there were the aches and pains that cold and wet weather brings, and I also had some mild discomfort somewhere in my guts. There were probably other things that are hard to describe, or too fleeting to remember as well. Add up all that minor pain and discomfort, and then compress it down from just over an hour to a few minutes, and I reckon it adds up to about the same level of terror and agony that comes with a visit to the dentist. Why, oh why, do I bother going to work at this time of the year ? Maybe I need, or I'm rather fond of, the money it brings in.

 Once spring gets started the pain and terror will subside, and my journey to work will be only (!) as bad as a trip to the dental hygienist - extreme pain instead of agony. By summer, assuming that summer equates to warm dry days, my journey to work will only be as bad as a visit to the doctor - painless but stressful, and mostly pointless.

 I can't recall if I mentioned it before, but out of the blue came a letter from the department of work and pensions. They felt I needed to know that my retirement age is now 66. This is actually good news. Prior to getting that letter I had a dark feeling that the new rules introduced by the grand dictator could have changed my retirement age to 67. So I get off the hook a year early, or a year late depending on how you look at it. What we need now is new rules to bring the retirement age back down again. 57.5 years old would be a good age :-)
Monday 26th November 2012
07:58 GMT

  Yesterday's sunshine didn't last for as long as I had hoped it would, but probably still a bit longer than the forecast suggested. Later in the afternoon there was a shower or two, and then, judging from the size of the puddles this morning, there was more substantial rain during the night. Perhaps the good thing about this rainy weather is that it is keeping the temperature a little higher than bloody chilly. It's just cold recently.

 It wasn't raining as I walked from home to the station this morning. The forecast said it should be, and sure enough, by the time I arrived at Earlsfield station it was raining. In Catford I could see some stars in the sky, but here in Earlsfield, just 6 or so miles away, and coming up to two hours later, all I can see is thick grey cloud. It is so thick that it was hard to tell when night finished, and day started. According to the forecast it will be raining for all the morning, and maybe into the afternoon as well. Yet while it is raining it is also forecast that the sun will make an appearance or two. Hopefully it will be dry when I go home from work, but it is also likely to be even cooler. I think the forecast suggested it would be no more than 8 or 9 C (it was 10 C when I left home this morning).

.  I was concerned that I would be terribly bored yesterday afternoon. It could have had terrible consequences if I had been. I might have had to resort to getting the hoover out or something :-) Fortunately it didn't come to that. At 2pm my friend turned up with his laptop. He was hoping I could retrieve some files that he deleted some time ago. In theory that might have been possible, but the chances that the hard disk space had been overwritten was very high, and it would have involved an awful lot of mucking around. If he is very lucky I have a copy of the files he deleted when I made a partial backup of his laptop the last time he brought it round when it was a very sick laptop. The only trouble is that if I do have them they are on a PC that currently doesn't work.

 There are several reasons why that PC doesn't work, and the chief reason is laziness. It used to be my main PC in what was once, and maybe again in the future, my dining room. Currently it is a dump ! The last time the PC worked was just before I tried to upgrade it's operating system. It should have been easy, but there was a bug in the upgrade software which left the PC in an unbootable state. It is easy to fix apart from one tiny problem. The monitor connected to the PC has two inputs, and rather stupidly, unless the selected input has a signal on it you can't get turn on the menu that allows you to select the other input. The last time I tried to fix the PC the signal was going to the wrong input, and I couldn't see anything, not open the menu to select the right input.

 It was complete and utter madness, and because I wasn't really wanting to use the PC I just left it not working. Now it seems I have a reason to get it running again, and hope that I can find the files my friend wants on it. If I had been in the right mood I could have done it yesterday, but after not really seeing anyone, apart from people at work, for over a fortnight, I preferred to sit in the warm and chat, and chat we did ! Topics ranged from bus timetables and routes to mobile phone connectivity and radio masts ! Yes, I'll admit it, we were like a pair of anoraks, although it is my friend who is the true anorak. My desire to have a chat didn't require any prompting, and at 7pm I had to remind my friend that I had things to do before going to bed for the night.

 I was in bed very soon after 9pm last night, but I couldn't get to sleep at first. It was a combination of not feeling that sleepy, and a frog in my throat. If I had been sleepy I might have been able to ignore that "frog", but before I could relax properly I felt I had to try and cough it up. Eventually I did, but it took some time and effort, and it was probably around 10pm before I fell asleep. I woke up once or twice in the night, and each time it felt like I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep again, and each time I actually fell asleep very quickly. It came as a big surprise when my alarm went off at 5am this morning. I wonder if I had been dreaming about being awake or something.

 This morning, like yesterday morning, I tried some new shower gel I had bought from the 99p shop. It is alleged to be vanilla and anise flavoured, and in theory that should smell nice. In practice, and this mornings test definitely confirms yesterday's result, it stinks. It reminds me of the stench that wafts out of some womens hairdressers, and particularly of those that specialise in afro-carribean styles. Fortunately the worst of the stink goes when you rinse it off, and the lingering smell is not very strong, but even so, I think I'll be throwing the rest of it away.

 It only cost 99p, and I think I can bear to waste that. I haven't got much money to waste, but I was surprised to see that I have more than I thought when I withdrew some cash this morning. I knew that being off sick for a week would save a lot of money because I wasn't going out to spend any on booze, travel, and the other essentials of life, but I didn't think I would save as much as I lost through lost wages. I guess I saved a fair bit the second week when I was still feeling ill enough that all I wanted to do was to get home as quickly as possible after work, and lock myself away until it was time to go to work again. Of course on top of that was the knowledge that I had far less to start with after losing a weeks wages the previous month. So I have been fairly carefull all month.

 So with pay day at the end of this week, I am actually ending this month as well off as any other month - poor, but not drastically so ! For many people next month is a very expensive month because it incorporates xmas. Conversely, for me it is often a cheap month. This is mainly because for me xmas means nothing other than some extra time off work. Time off work is worth celebrating, but a couple of pints in the pub is sufficient for that. The spirit of Scrooge lives on ! Hurrah !!!!!!
Sunday 25th November 2012
11:58 GMT

  I can only describe yesterday as being totally despicable ! When it wasn't raining, if it ever did stop at any time, it was dull, grey and totally miserable. Sometime in the early hours of this morning it all changed. I can't remember what time it was, but when I glanced at my (radio controlled) outside thermometer it said the temperature had risen to 13 C.  By sunrise it had dropped back down to 9 C, and that sunrise revealed blue skies and bright sunshine.  According to the BBC the sunshine should continue for another half an hour, and then there will be a brief splash of rain followed by overcast skies. I reckon the sunshine will last a lot longer than that, but I would agree that the temperature, currently 11 C, is going to stay pretty flat until sunset, and maybe later than that.

 I ended up feeling quite bored yesterday. So bored that mid evening I decided to wash a few more shirts. The laundry I did earlier in the day left me feeling rather knackered. So I only intended to do a couple of shirts, but in the end I went for broke and did all 6 plus a t-shirt. Once again I ended up feeling tired and sweaty, and it took a while before I felt like going to bed. It must have been around 10pm when I got in bed. I didn't think I felt that sleepy, but I seemed to fall asleep very easily.

 I slept well again, but once again I also woke up earlier than I might have desired. After going to the toilet, checking a few web pages, and checking to see how my washing was drying, I went back to bed again. I did get back to sleep eventually, but didn't sleep that well, or for long. It seems surprising, but not unusual, that after eating too many snacks and stuff yesterday, I should have felt peckish first thing this morning.

 I managed to put off having breakfast until I had done something useful. That useful thing was to do more laundry. I had left a smelly towel soaking in stain remover overnight, and I noticed the small hand towel (that I mainly use for getting shampoo out of my eyes when washing my hair) was starting to smell as well. So I washed two towels this morning, and the bigger one was terribly heavy when soaked with water. In theory, those two towels should have been more than enough for one day, but I must have been feeling very masochistic because I also washed 4 pillow cases and a double sheet !

 I can say with some confidence that I have now caught up with the backlog of laundry that built up while I was feeling unwell. I do still have a duvet cover to do. Fortunately it is from a cheap bed set bought in Poundstretcher, and the material is so thin that it is just on the right side of being possible to hand wash without too much trouble. I might even wash it this afternoon if I get too bored, and the other stuff is dry.

 It may appear that I am feeling healthy this morning, but that's not quite correct. It really depends on what I am doing. Occasionally I still get a frog in my throat, and it takes some effort to cough it up/out. Generally though, provided I am in the warm, I am feeling pretty good, but also very bored. Once I have written this I have no idea what to do. If it were a bit earlier, a bit warmer, and if I wasn't worried about the cold air triggering coughing, I might like to go out somewhere and do some photography.

 Spending a few hours in a pub might be a nice alternative, and apart from the walk there and back, it would have the advantage of being in the warm with plenty of liquid to keep my throat from drying out. As good as it might sound, I don't think I'll be doing that. What may happen is a mate popping round for an hour or so this afternoon. I'm not sure why he wants to visit, but I have a dark idea it might concern a computer problem. It might not be the most enjoyable visit, but at least it will be something to do.
Saturday 24th November 2012
15:18 GMT

  I think that there were some sunny periods yesterday, but they were so inconsequential that they never really registered. One thing that was more memorable was how the temperature dropped in the late afternoon. I'm not sure it dropped as low as forecast, but it was most definitely cold. This morning the rain started a lot earlier than the forecast seemed to suggest, but it was more like semi heavy drizzle than the downpour I expected. It was definitely raining by 9am, possibly by 8am, and it has been raining practically non stop since then. It's currently 10 C.

 It may have been that I felt very weary after work yesterday afternoon that made it feel colder than it was, but after a day where my cough had reduced to the lowest level in ages, I found myself a little wheezy, and coughing a lot more when I got home. The weariness and the cough were bad news, and each played it's part in persuading not to go out last night.

 Both conspired together to make me feel hungry. I should have only eaten a small snack prior to going out, but a small snack didn't seemed to satisfy, and I ended up eating far too much. At the same time I became increasingly worried that if I did go out I would end up coughing my lungs up as I stood waiting for a bus in the cold night air (particularly on the way home). It was partly the realisation that I wasn't going to go out that made me eat all I did.

 By all accounts I missed a terrific gig, but on the upside, by staying in the warm I had the best nights sleep I seem to have had in ages. I had no trouble getting to sleep, nor of staying asleep. This morning I did have what might be described as a lie in - I didn't wake until 5.45am, or 45 minutes after I would normally wake up for work. That's not quite as good as it sounds because I probably went to bed about an hour late. On the other hand by not spending half the night awake coughing, I did feel unusually refreshed this morning.

 Two shopping trips, one to Aldi, and the other to the 99p shop provide some evidence of just how refreshed I was this morning. Having said that, I was quite glad to get home after the second trip. The cold air was starting to get to my lungs, and I was starting to feel a little tired. With all the shopping done I could relax and get some breakfast together. I had my heart set on some sausage sandwiches. I bought the sausages, and I bought some nice onions to slice up and put in the sandwiches. The only problem is that I completely forgot to get the bread !

 So I didn't have the breakfast of my dreams, but what I did have was equally unhealthy. I watched some TV for a couple of hours while it was digesting, and then set about doing some laundry. I had, and still have quite a pile of shirts to wash. Maybe I'll tackle those later today, or maybe tomorrow. All I did today was a pair of lounge pants, some underwear, a t-shirt, and a big heavy towel. Rinsing and wringing out that towel completely knackered me ! I needed a good lay down, and I think I might have dozed off for a few minutes while doing so.

 That brings things up to date. I don't know what I'll be doing for the rest of the day, and I don't know what sort of gluttonly I'll be getting up to later. I now seem to have a fridge and cupboard full of goodies, and I am spoiled for choice. I want to taste and experience it all NOW, but I guess I'll just have to find some patience somehow.

 One piece of good news. My new website back-up system seems to be functioning well.
Friday 23rd November 2012
08:28 GMT

  The sunshine that was promised for yesterday was nice, but it didn't last for long enough. It had been forecast to start after midday, but the best of it was before then, although there were a few brief sunny spells after that. Sometime during the night there was some heavy rain, but I didn't notice any of the thunder and lightning that was forecast to accompany it. Today is supposed to be a lot like yesterday except that today started off a bit cooler at 9 C. It seems that the sunny periods we should get will do little to raise the temperature, and 10 C seems to be the BBC's most optimistic forecast. The good news is that tonight is now forecast to be dry, but it will be very cold.

 The great thing about today is that it is Friday, although it is a shame it is not Saturday. I didn't feel all that bad when I got home from work last night, but I was still determined to get an early night. I was in bed, and fast asleep, soon after 8pm, and for a couple of hours I slept well. In a way that was surprising because I was having trouble with annoying sticky bits of mucus in my airways bothering me. Eventually it woke me up at about 11.30pm, and from then on I slept quite badly. At about 3.30 this morning I all but gave up trying to sleep.

 In an ideal world I wouldn't have that tickly, but not dry, sort of cough, and if I did then today would be Saturday. If it were Saturday today I would have not tried to fight the cough at 3am, but would have got up for maybe a couple of hours knowing that I could easily go back to bed again at any time. Today that wasn't possible because I had to be here at work.

 One thing that is doubly annoying about this ongoing cough is how it's nature changes over time, and how it is right now. It's not so different to last night even now, but when not trying to sleep it is far less bothersome. It gave me very little trouble on the trains, and it is giving me little trouble here at work. While there are suitable distractions I just don't notice a little drip of super-goo dancing about in my windpipe until it shifts to a particular area which increases the irritation, but finally makes it easy to cough up.

 The sleep I missed out on last night was most apparent by the amount of times I almost dozed off on the trains into work. I ought to be relatively busy today, which might help me to not doze off too many times in front of my PC, but I am sure it will happen anyway. It doesn't bode too well for going out tonight. I had better be careful to not let myself relax after getting home from work or I'll never get up and get out tonight.

 Tomorrow I am not seeing anyone, and I can look forward to as much relaxation as I need. That should still leave some time for a couple of important things. I need to get a few things from Aldi, and I most definitely need to do some laundry. Tomorrow is forecast to be wet and windy - not ideal for laundry - but once I've been to Aldi I can batten down the hatches, and ignore the outside world until it's time for work again on Monday.
Thursday 22nd November 2012
07:44 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was horrid. It was cold, wet and very dull for the whole day except for a brief display of red as the sun was setting. What happened during the night is a mystery, but this morning there was no rain, the temperature was 11 C, and as the red sky last night foretold, there are now blue bits of sky visible now the sun has risen. There's no actual sign of the sun yet, but it is forecast to be bright and sunny for the first half of the afternoon. I can't wait !

 Yesterday's cold and rain left me feeling very "chesty" last night, and I was still feeling wheezy as I walked to the station this morning. Fortunately it didn't effect my sleep too much, and I probably got close to 8 hours sleep last night. I had intended to get to bed early last night, but it turned out that I actually went to bed just a little later than normal. It was only about 10 - 15 minutes late, and I can't remember having any difficulties getting to sleep.

 Apart from feeling rather cool when I got home last night, I didn't seem to be afflicted with the deep to the bone weariness that I felt the evening before. Once I had eaten some dinner I started to approach feeling perky, and if it had been daylight outside I may well have really felt perky. In practice I felt just good enough to do two simple tasks - one of which I had been meaning to do for a while, and one that was only first possible last night.

 The task that became possible was to plug in a brand new 8GB USB memory stick into the PC that has acted as my temporary web server for far too long now.  Apart from burning an occasional DVD disk, I had no backup for my temporary server. I have now ! I'm now using the unlikely titled "Lucky Backup" application for Linux to do an automated backup of all the web server files to the USB stick at 5am every morning. At least that's the plan. After 5am tomorrow I'll be able to check that it is doing it's job OK.

 The other task took a fair bit longer than the 20 minutes I spent on my temporary server. A few weeks ago I attempted to upgrade the Linux distribution on my Aspire 1 netbook. Unfortunately I had been cutting disk space to the bone on the original triple booting installation, and the upgrade failed leaving the netbook unbootable. Last night I felt I had the patience to sort it all out, and that is just what I did. Once again the netbook will either boot into Linpus, the original operating system for it, Windows XP, and now, Linux Mint 13. There is more work to do on it, but that will be easy. All it needs is to update some software. It's actually quite a lot of software, about 400MB of it, but essentially it is just click one button and let it get on with it - and unlike bloody Windows, it won't need a reboot after doing it !!

 I've already moaned that the cold and the wet yesterday made my chest feel very "chesty" or wheezy, but I felt it important enough to say several times. In some respects it made me feel like I was getting worse rather than better, but on reflection it is a different type of chestiness than during the height of my recent illness. So maybe I am still improving even when occasionally going sideways. There is one other observation that backs this idea up. I suddenly realised that although I still have to blow my nose quite frequently, it is a lot drier now, and on many occasions the tissue doesn't even get damp. It may sound like an exaggeration, and maybe it is, but it feels like I am only using one hundreth of the tissues that I was using during the worst "nose fountain" episodes of that illness.

 Fortunately it is Thursday today, and it is just a week and a day to go before payday. The significance of it being Thursday is that tomorrow will be Friday, and Friday is always a good day. Tomorrow could be good, but it could also be bad. Chain are playing a gig in Bromley tomorrow night, and it will be better than good if I feel good enough to go to it. My big fear is that it will be a struggle to get myself out of the door to go to it, and that when I get there I'll end up coughing and wheezing so much that I won't enjoy it.

 There could well be an added problem if I do go. The weather forecast suggests that tomorrow night will be very cold, and very damp, and that's not ideal weather for hanging around waiting for late night buses. I could end up in bed all day Saturday trying to recover from something far worse than a hangover. Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and things could well be different by then.
Wednesday 21st November 2012
07:51 GMT

  During the morning, yesterday felt strangely mild. I think there were reports that some places saw temperatures as high as 15 C. I doubt it was that high here, but it wasn't bad, and if there had been some sunshine it might even have been good. The temperature may have stayed the same in the afternoon, but a stronger breeze made it feel chilly again. This morning it is 12 C. That's not bad, but the penalty for it is that it is raining. There could be a lot of intermittent drizzly to light rain this morning, and into the first part of the afternoon, but it should dry up after that.

 There are many things I could, and will moan about today, but I want to start with a moan that is significant right now. The time has arrived when well over 50% of my commuting is done in darkness, and I don't like it. There is still 15 - 20 minutes of daylight left when I leave work at the moment, but I noted that it was completely dark as I waited for my train at Waterloo East last night. It won't be long before I finish work in darkness. With this morning being so overcast it is hardly daylight outside even now. So it was almost like my entire journey into work was done in darkness, and, as I mentioned before, I don't like it !

 There were a couple of occasions when I was coughing excessively yesterday, but overall I definitely felt a lot better than I did the day before, and that was after getting far too little sleep during the night. I felt very weary when I left work to go home yesterday, but things picked up after a hot meal (an almost healthy one !). I felt good enough to do something that I have desperately been wanting to do for the last 3 or 4 days, but just couldn't face doing. That was to wash my hair. Prior to last night it either felt too cold, or I didn't have the energy, or I just couldn't be bothered. It does feel good to come to work with clean hair today.

 Apart from tiredness, I didn't feel that bad last night, but mindful of that tiredness, and my stupidity the night before, I made sure that I was in bed, with the lights out, by 8pm. I hardly had any trouble getting to sleep, and I seemed to sleep soundly until sometime after midnight. I guess I got a good 4 hours sleep that was only disturbed by a dream that had an infuriating ending !

 Occasionally you come across discussions about where the seat of the mind is. On the whole it seems to be in the brain, but some suggest extra dimensions for it's source, and all sort of weird and wonderful stuff based on the idea that the observer can't observe itself (or something like that). Last nights dream was probably a good demonstration about the mind/self duality.

 Just when I thought my brain loved me it turns out it is a complete bastard (and I will be punishing it with extra alcohol at the weekend). I was having this moderately interesting dream about fleeing from the Nazis (or some other nasty bastards) through deep forests. I had a companion who was female, but I can't remember any more about her. Eventually we came across a safe village, and in the village was a tavern where we booked a room to stay in overnight.

 We entered the room together, and do you know what my bloody brain did ? It censored me ! It was my dream about my body, and I have a right to know what my body got up to in that room, but my brain decided I was actually viewing a 1950's movie, and cut to an artistic close up shot of the lock closing on the outside of the door ! I woke up in complete disgust at this shoddy behavior by my own brain. If I could I would trade it in for a new one. My only real recourse is to kill some more of it with booze !

 I did try and get back to sleep as quickly as possible after waking up, but as soon as I turned over I felt all congested again. Most of my coughing was dry, but it made my eyes water enough to require frequent nose blowing. It wasn't quite as bad as last week, but it was still annoying, and it kept me awake for about an hour. Eventually I fell asleep again, and I probably just about managed to squeeze in another 4 hours sleep before waking 5 or 10 minutes before my alarm was due to go off.

 In theory, after getting 8 hours sleep, I should feel tired today, but I still have quite a deficit to make up, and I was sleepy enough to fall asleep on the train to work this morning. Tonight I feel I ought to try for another early night, and hopefully I'll have more rewarding dreams ! More importantly, I hope I'll get another full 8 hours sleep. More would be nice, but there just aren't enough hours in the night for much more.
Tuesday 20th November 2012
08:00 GMT

  Yesterday was cold, but not deperately so. The worst thing about yesterday, even worse than the lack of sunshine, was that it was raining when I left work to go home. Maybe I shouldn't complain much because it was very light rain, and might even have stopped before I go to the station. There was a little more intermittent light drizzle as I walked from the station to home, but it was completely ignorable. This morning has started out wet, but milder than recently. There was some very light rain as I walked to the station, and a few odds drops blowing around in the breeze as I walked from the station to work. There will be more showers during this dull grey day.

 I might have felt almost reasonable this morning, but I don't, and it is mainly self inflicted. I began to feel a bit better as my room slowly warmed up yesterday, but it was only during the afternoon that I really noticed a difference. We had a meeting during the afternoon, and I feared I would be hacking my lungs up all through it. My fears were unfounded, and I got through that meeting with hardly a cough at all.

 The meeting went on longer than scheduled, and I was late leaving work. I knew I had no chance at all of getting to the station before 4pm, and being able to touch in with my Oyster Card in time for an off-peak fare. So I didn't feel compelled to rush, and yet I didn't seem to go that slowly either. It was probably the second indicator of the day that I am starting to recover from my recent illness.

 I didn't even seem to cough that much on the first train, but on the second tarin from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge I needed to clear my throat violently a few times. The same , or worse, happened as I walked from the station to home. Once I got indoors I didn't feel that bad, although I did feel very hungry. Feeling that hungry was a bad idea because I had loads of choice of foods to eat. I had some stuff that needed to be eaten before it spoiled,and I ate all that. Plus I ate some stuff that would have been quite happy sitting in the fridge for a few more days. I felt quite stuffed after that.

 Not only did I feel stuffed, but I also felt cold and tired. It seemed to take a long time for my front room to warm up last night, and I gave up waiting for it and went up to my bedroom. It was far warmer up there. I spent 15 - 20 minutes checking email and the internet before deciding I would have an extra early night. It wasn't even 8pm when I lay down on my bed and started getting myself in the mood for sleep. It felt very nice just laying there, but too early for sleep.

 After a while I got up again. I didn't really intend to stay up that long, but I had had a sudden desire to listen to an old cassette tape I had come across while looking for something else a few days ago. It was a recording of my favourite live band from 1980. They were called New Cross, and seemed to play every Thursday night at the now demolished Apples And Pears pub near Rotherhithe. They were definitely a band of their time and mixed a variety of styles that were popular at the time. I guess they were 5% disco, 25% punk, 20% new romantic, 20% rock and roll, 30% something inadequately described as "pop", and somewhere in that lot , a lot of influence from bands like Madness. It was probably a unique sound, and all their material was all self written - and written rather well in my humble opinion.

 Back in August 1980 I lugged a big reel-to-reel tape recorder in to the pub, and set it up at the side of the stage to record their whole gig. It was roughly two 30 - 35 minute sets, and last night I listened to the whole gig with headphones while on or in my bed.  I'd like to say it brought back some happy memories, but 32 years later most specific memories have faded. So I think it would be more accurate to say it brought back a happy ambience - all the good memories sort of merged into just one feeling of happiness.

 When it ended I should just have turned over and gone to sleep. Had I done so I would still have got to sleep almost an hour late, but I wasn't even that lucky. While listening my breathing seemed perfectly normal, and I wasn't coughing or blowing my nose, but as soon as I turned on my side it all went very wrong. My airways felt congested with mucus, and one nostril seemed to have something in it that would not shift. It was gone midnight when, after much blowing and coughing, I finally fell asleep. If I had resisted the temptation of the music I may well have been asleep before 9pm.

 This morning I do feel desperately tired after only getting half the sleep I deserve. Other than that I think I can still detect an improvement to my recent ill health. Having put on my warmest coat on a morning that isn't that cold, I got to work feeling very wet and sweaty this morning. I seemed to have far less problem coughing on the trains this morning, and unlike yesterday, I walked from Waterloo East to Waterloo across the link non stop, although admittedly at a fairly sedate pace.

 If I can discipline myself to get plenty of sleep for the next couple of nights I reckon I could be feeling quite good by the end of the week, That will be just as well if it happens because Chain are playing a gig this coming Friday night. I definitely don't want to miss it. They are playing in Bromley, and that is nice and easy to get to - it's just a shame that Bromley, after dark, is a bit too much like the wild west for my liking !
Monday 19th November 2012
08:49 GMT

  The bright sunshine continued for most of yesterday afternoon, but after the sun went down the temperature, which wasn't all that high to begin with, started dropping. The forecast suggested that the coldest temperature would be at around midnight, and after that it would slightly warm up again. The last temperature I noted, at around 10pm last night, was 5.4 C. I'm not so sure that the forecast small rise in temperature actually happened because it was 4 C when I woke up at 5am, and as I made my way to work I noted that all the cars had frost on their roofs. The sky is a patchy light grey at the moment. Some of it is just a high mist rather than cloud. Later on there could be some spells of sunshine, but as night falls again there could be some showers. It is likely to be a very cool day with the temperature only reaching 11 C.

 I didn't feel too bad shortly before I went up to bed last night, but it didn't last. It was possibly a couple of degrees warmer in my bedroom compared to the living room, and although I did nothing more taxing than checking a couple of things on my PC, I suddenly found I was pouring with sweat. I felt far too hot to get into bed, and instead I just lay down with the duvet kicked off to one side. Gradually I cooled down, and began to feel comfortable, and ready to fall asleep. So I pulled the duvet over most of my body, just leaving a leg and an arm not covered, and then turned on my side to go to sleep.

 Within minutes I went from calm and comfortable to coughing really hard to try and dislodge some sticky bit of mucus that felt like it was choking me. It was almost 10.30pm before I was able to feel like I could sleep again without coughing my lungs up. It didn't bode well for coming to work today, and my fears all came true when I travelled into work.

 I woke up feeling fairly OK, and even a hot steamy shower didn't seem to invoke any coughing from steam released mucus. I dressed as warm as I could, and set out for the station. I felt very strange, in a not nice way, as I walked to the station, but nothing happened until I had been standing on the platform for a while. Inevitably I started to cough, and it got worse until my eyes were streaming, and my nose running. It was everything I feared about coming to work this morning.

 Of course it didn't end there. Once I was on the train I was still intermittently coughing, but to add to my misery I started to drip with sweat even though it was not particularly warm on the train. The very worst bit of the journey was on the long walk between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations. I completely ran out of breath, a bit like an athsma attack, halfway, and had no option but to stop and pretend to admire the view out of the window for a few minutes. By comparison, the rest of the journey into work was mildly uneventful.

 It still feels cold here in my office, and I don't feel that wonderful. It will be better once the room has warmed up more, but I think it is going to feel like a very long day. I now have to convince myself that I'll feel better once I start to concentrate on doing some work, but with so many different, mostly small little jobs to do, I am finding it hard to choose one, and motivate myself to do it.

 I am unsure how I managed to convince myself to do it, but I avoided buying the sort of breakfast that I really want, and only bought a pack of fruit to eat until I get home again. Perhaps I convinced myself that all the vitamins and stuff would be good for me, or maybe I'm still trying to keep my calorie intake lower than usual. I have to say that if there is anything I am proud about for last week, it is that I am sure I ate far less than I might have done for a boring week at home...............although I suddenly realise that I am conveniently forgetting about the two pizzas I had delivered. I guess they more than make up for any abstinence during the rest of the week. Oh well, you can't win them all :-(
Sunday 18th November 2012
13:18 GMT

 After the horrible gloom of yesterday it is nice to report that today is bright and sunny. It doesn't seem to matter that it is only 7.5 C outside. With a blue sky and bright sunshine it feels that everything is right with the world - provided it is only seen from indoors !

 I guess I felt moderately bad yesterday evening, but while I kept quiet and inactive it didn't feel that bad. Eating more pizza was a nice distraction from reality for a while. As I suggested I might do when I wrote yesterday, I ordered two medium pizzas instead of a large one. One was a fish pizza, and the other a spicy meat pizza. I couldn't help myself from testing some slices of both, but as intended, I managed to leave easily enough for a nice cold pizza breakfast this morning.

 I am undecided as to the share of the blame, but the scotch I was drinking late in the afternoon, combined with a stomach full of pizza, plus the effects of the virus/bacteria that is afflicting me, left me feeling tired and sleep earlier than I might have imagined I might be. It wasn't much later than 9pm when I got in bed last night. I was going through one of the periods where my cough was just about controllable, and I quickly fell asleep.

 As far as I know I slept incredibly well until I woke up from a dream at around 4am. It was a very strange form of dream. I dreamt about a real person whose name I can't remember, and who has actually set up a company whose name I can't remember either, but is concerned with the future salvage of space junk. I can only describe the dream as like a sort of slide show with some narration. I think it must be very unusual to have a dream that features no people, and no movement beyond a periodic change of scene.

 Ideally I would have gone straight back to sleep after a visit to the toilet, and maybe even resumed the dream, or something similar, but I started up a difficult to control cough, and my nose started to pour with snot. Soon things became worse. I was feeling cold, almost shivery outside of my bed, even with the heater on, but as soon as I pulled the duvet over me I felt too hot, sweaty, and sticky. While this was going on I took my temperature and it was a very healthy (for a cadaver) 35.8 C about 1.5 C below normal). Eventually I settled down, and after a false start or two, I settled back into a deep sleep. At least I assume it was deep because the next thing I knew was it was 9.30am, and the sun, which hadn't even risen when I fell asleep again, was shining brightly outside.

 A little later, standing under steamy water in the shower felt rather nice until I started to spread shower gel around, and then had to wash it off again from all the hard part of the body to reach. Towelling myself afterwards seemed like almost hard work. I was more than happy to finish my shower, and I was almost tempted to go back to bed again for even more sleep. The steam from the shower helped loosen up some of the mucus in my airways. That made it easier to cough up - which would have been good if there had not seemed to be an infinite supply of it from somewhere.

 Eventually I settled down, and I boldly set out to get some shopping from Tesco. Walking in the sun was nice as it always is, and it distracted me from some of the effects of my ailments for a while. My principal target in Tesco was fruit, but I also bought some some hot chicken, and some cheap and unhealthy ready meals. While I was in there I took a look at the cough medicines and stuff. I really can't believe how expensive all the remedies, most of dubious effectiveness, seemed to be. It definitely helped me to understand why my doctors would want to get the receptionist dishing out prescriptions for simple over the counter remedies. For those who get free prescriptions, who may well have been a very high proportion of those who were there, it probably made the difference between eating and not eating.

 I didn't feel nearly as bad walking back from Tesco as I did when walking back from Aldi last Thursday. Sadly not feeling as bad is still a long way from feeling good, or even neutral. On the assumption that a miracle is not likely, it does leave me worried about going to work in the cold, dark, and damp tomorrow morning. Coughing and heaving on the way to the station is bad enough, but it is going to be doubly horrible coughing, wheezing, and going blue in the face on a packed commuter train. I think I will be OK once I am at work provided I take the precaution of making sure I have plenty of tissues handy, and probably break all the (possibly) unwritten rules by keeping a hip flask of sctotch on standby for emergencies. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that actually doing something will be more therapeutic than lolling around here on my own all day.

 Talking of which. The sun is still pouring in through my bedroom window. If I can control the cough, and the stray bits of snot hiding somewhere in my sinus system, I have a very strong urge to lay on my bed, and drift off to sleep to the symphony of the bright sunshine - perhaps pretending it is summer again when an illness like I am suffering from would be over in a flash, and be fairly inoffensive to start with.
Saturday 17th November 2012
13:22 GMT

It's almost another deeply dull and miserable damp day, and it would definitely have been if there hadn't been a brief glimpse of brightness a little while ago. Heavens knows where it came from, or where it went to, but for nearly as much as a whole minute there was a bright glare from the sky. Maybe it was the start of WW3, or maybe it was the sun. All I know is that it is currently 12.8 C, and that the ground is still wet from an extended shower sometime this morning.

 It is possible I was feeling not bad last night. I can't really remember, but I do know that I had a pile of healthy fruit for the bulk of my dinner last night, and that I never got around to having more than a sip from the new bottle of scotch I had bought in the morning. So much for thinking I might get very drunk last night !! In fact I was very boring and was asleep in bed by 10pm.

 I slept rather well. Better than I might have expected to. It was almost as if I was getting well again. That idea almost went out of the window when I woke up at 2am with a dry mouth, and a tickly cough. Sometime before I went to sleep I had felt a little sweaty, and my nicotine patch had fallen off. At 2am I felt like a fag, and as I was coughing I thought I had nothing to lose. I was wrong ! One drag of a fag and my cough went into overdrive with two stage turbo booster for a few minutes ! After a few minutes of turning all the shades the face can possibly be as you slowly die it all stopped. The funny thing is that I felt like I could breath far easier after that, and not too long later I was sleeping like a baby again.

 I woke up this morning feeling very different. If I discounted the stiffness, and the slight headache, both of which are not uncommon occurences for me on any morning at any time, I seemed to be feeling unusually good. After I had thrown off the shackles of sleep I decided to put my new feeling of goodness to the test - and failed miserably !

 The best test I could devise was to see how I got on tackling the little pile of laundry I had been accumulating. The significant bits were three sweaty t-shirts, and pair of pyjama bottoms. It seemed like bloody hard waork, and at the end I was dripping with sweat, shagged out, my nose seemed full of snot, and my airways seemed full of mucus again. After hanging the stuff up to dry I lay on my bed to recover, and maybe it was a good sign that recovery seemed quite rapid.

 After that my main problem was boredom. Cooking some sausages. Eating the sausages, and watching an hour or two of TV helped a bit, but in the end I decided to try and get some more sleep. I lay on my bed, and initially I felt OK, and was on the very verge of falling asleep, but........

 Have you ever started to doze off while sitting outside on a beautiful summers day with not a care in the world. Everything is wonderful, peacefull, idylic, and slowly sleep creeps up until..........a fly settles on the end of your nose. A quick flick and it's gone. You relax again and slowly you sink back into that semi comatose state until the bloody fly pays a visit again !

 There were no flies in my bedroom as I lay on my bed heading towards the land of morpheus. No, there's something worse than flies, and it is called the sinus system. The entrances are somewhere inside the nostrils, and from them extends a network of small channels and crevices longer than the London Underground system, and more convoluted than middle eastern politics. From somewhere in this system, possibly extending outside the normal 3 dimensions we are all familiar with, to the unknowns of the fourth dimension beyond the limits of the known universe, came a tiny drip of snot that sat there teasing me. If I breathed in too hard it would end up tickling my still sensitive bronchal tubes, and if I breathed out too hard it would fly out a nostril and come to land in my eye (or somewhere equally inconvenient).

 Now the problem of this little drip of sticky snot was that it was only sitting there teasing me while I lay on my back, and that is not a great position to have a good blow into a tissue. As soon as I got upright this dastardly drip retreated into the dark recesses of my sinus system and hid from anything I might try to remove it. After lots of laying down, and getting up again, I managed to expel it into a tissue, but by then the idea of a nice lazy snooze was ruined.

  Eventually I was saved from terminal boredom by a phone call from a mate. For the last couple of hours we chatted about topics ranging from weight loss, computer viruses, and bicycles. At the end of that very long call I feel sort of OK. I am surprised that all that talking didn't end up with terminal coughing. I think I really do feel, within certain select parameters, a lot better than I have felt for some days now.

 Outside of those select parameters I note that I am slightly sweaty, but I still don't feel "bad". Some of this feeling of not "bad", maybe quite a lot of it, is because I have slowly been sipping at quite decent quantity of scotch while yakking away. It doesn't matter though. For the first time in ages I feel OK. The fact that I could still be terminally ill doesn't matter at this instant in time, and that could be therapeutic in itself. If the idea that I am recovering is self delusion, so be it !

 To further my feeling of well being, hopefully before the hangover starts, I feel I might have more pizza tonight. I haven't commented on the pizza I had the night before last yet. It turned out that it was rather good, but with hindsight I made a few mistakes. I ordered a large pizza, plus some trimmings. It turned out to be an awkward size. It was a little bigger than I needed, and yet too small to leave a useful amount to be reheated for another meal (probably breakfast) the next day. If, as seems very likely now I have the idea buzzing around my brain, I order some tonight, I feel I'll order two smaller pizzas so I can save one for tomorrow. I'll probably eat all the trimmings tonight though, and if the the significant part of that is salad then no harm will be done :-)
Friday 16th November 2012
16:24 GMT

 There is nothing positive that can be said about the weather beyond saying that it is not raining, and it is not snowing. Since yesterday it has been dull and grey with a temperature of 10 C plus or minus a degree or two (currently 11 C). The only change on the horizon is that the forecast for this coming Sunday is for an even colder, but far brighter day.

 This morning I was going to try and get to see a doctor, but it all went wrong. If I understand correctly, there is a walk in service, no appointment required, first come first served, every morning between 8am and 9am at the "group practice". So I got up nice and early (although late compared to when I am going to work). By 7.15am I had taken a nice hot shower, but the effort of that left me feeling rather hot, and a little tired. So before I got fully dressed I lay on my bed to cool off and relax. The next thing I knew was that I was almost shivering with cold and it was almost 9am. I had blown my chance of getting to the surgery in time.

 Apart from waking up feeling almost shivery, despite the room temperature being about 23 C, I sort of felt a bit better for the extra sleep. So I continued to dress and set forth to Aldi to get some much needed supplies. I didn't feel all that wonderful walking there, but at a slowish pace it wasn't too bad. Coming home was a different story. The cold damp air started getting to me, and I had to stop once to have an extended cough.

 The worst thing about coming home was that the worse I felt the faster I wanted to walk, but the faster I tried to walk the worse I felt. I arrived home coughing my lungs up, and with snot running out of one nostril. Not a pleasant sight, but fortunately I was on my own doorstep when I felt the first drip escape from my nose. Once indoor I could put my bags down and have a jolly good blow !

 It took less time than I imagined to get over that walk back, and most of that time was taken up with preparing a breakfast that only Homer Simpson would approve of. I was not in the mood to make value judgements about what I was eating, and just went for what seemed like a good idea. I have to say that gammon steak with melted chedder cheese and a decent topping of "seasonal salad" is as nice as it is unhealthy !

 Since then, and that was about 10am, or maybe a bit later, I have done almost nothing. I watched an episode of Sherlock Holmes on TV while eating, and once that finished I went up to my bedroom where I spent a little time reading some IT news on the internet, and a lot more time just laying on my bed listening, and occasionally dozing off to some music. It is probably typical that the music I selected was very introspective music, and so for some of that time I was feeling sorry for myself, and occasionally almost the opposite.

 While feeling ill is not the best feeling in the world, and feeling isolated from the world feels pretty lousy, the worst thing in some respects is worrying about how I am going to explain this week off to work. Just writing "a cough" on my sick self certificate feels so much like an anti-climax. One of the more important reasons for trying to see a doctor this morning was to get a diagnosis I could write on the certificate.  Lung Cancer, TB, Acute Chronic Bronchitus, Lung Worm, Beri Beri, Bubonic Plague, Polyseptic Necrotising Alveola, Baird's Disease, all sound far more exotic than the plain eggshell white of "a cough". Oh well, that's their problem. My problem is going to be another month of very reduced wages - no exotic toys for me this Xmas !

 One thing I have done this afternoon is to experiment with the antitussative properties of Theobromine as found in dark chocolate. I think it may have helped a bit, but this cough can be so variable that it is hard to come up with a definitive answer. While quietly laying on my bed I have not been afflicted by any violent coughing, but maybe I wouldn't have been anyway. One interesting thing I found by following some wikipedia links related to coughing is that the developement of this cold is rather similar to that of adults with Whooping cough. Very similar indeed ! It is a very infectious disease, and so I reckon I should be praised for isolating myself (even if I had little choice), and it's a grand failure on behalf of the health service for not treating me with antibiotics to help prevent me spreading it further. One thing I had never heard of before is that it is sometimes called the 100 days disease, and I can potentially look forward to coughing for some time yet !

 Apart from dark (70%) chocolate I also bought some other stuff from Aldi that may help me. Having had a rather splendid breakfast, much of my dinner tonight will be a punnet of blueberries, and some kiwi fruit - both good sources of good stuff for the terminally ill. I may have more than that, but they will be the important things. I also bought another bottle of scotch. It depends how I feel, but I might get whammoed tonight. There are no gigs this weekend, and I have no plans to see anyone. So I don't have to worry about hangovers, madness, death, diarrhea, decapitation, or defenestration in the morning.
Thursday 15th November 2012
11:40 GMT
(scroll down for an update at 16:27)

  The weather forecast for yesterday was completely and utterly wrong ! From late morning until sunset it was brilliantly sunny. Unfortunately the air temperature remained a cool 12 or 13 C. This morning started off more than misty, but maybe not actually foggy. Visibility at ground level is about back to normal now, but the sky is horizon to horizon light grey giving a very somber feel to the day. Currently it is an almost cold 10 C. How it is right now is probably as good as it is going to get all day.

 To describe how I felt yesterday means breaking things down to different circumstances. The very best I felt was when I was quietly laying on my bed with the bright, and quite hot feeling, sun streaming through my bedroom window. Provided I did nothing else I felt wonderful. I felt rather less good, not quite lousy but very close, when I went to the corner shop to buy some Diet coke and a large box of man sized tissues. It is only a 2 or 3 minute walk to the corner shop, and I was starting to get quite wheezy on the walk back.

 I am rather glad I chose to just go to the corner shop and not my original aim of going to the supermarket (and possibly a quick visit to the pub on the way there). I feel very sure I would have felt awful by the time I had got home again. I was feeling fairly good when I went to bed last night, and even thought I might feel well enough to go back to work this morning. When I turned out the light I seemed to be breathing OK, and my chest didn't seem to be very congested, nor did my nose. After a few moments of congratulating myself on making excellent progress in overcoming my cold, I turned over on to my side, and with my eyes closed I started to drift off to sleep. This was just a few minutes after 9pm.

 It's hard to be exact, but 5 seconds after I had actually gone to sleep I rapidly woke up again feeling like I was choking to death. For the next 2, 3, 4, 5 ?????? minutes I could not stop coughing. My eyes were streaming, and several times I was on the very edge of vomitting. I have no idea what that was all about, but eventually it all subsided, and maybe an hour later I managed to get to sleep with no further problems. I then slept solidly for 4 hours.

 I woke up sometime after 2am, and initially I felt strangely rather good, and definitely not sleepy. I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep very quickly so I turned on my PC and read some IT news and stuff. As I did that I began to slowly feel quite rough.  It may have related to my nicotine patch running out, but I began to feel a bit headachey, and  other stuff. A couple of fags helped to quell some of the cravings, but did nothing else apart from getting my throat feeling tickly. I also felt starving hungry to the extent I ate a whole packet of apple cookies. Heaven knows what that did to my blood sugar level.

 It was sometime around 4am before I got back into bed, and a little after that before I fell into a state of poor sleep. I am sure I tossed and turned a lot, but I managed to sleep through to 7am before giving up on sleep for the morning. Since then I have felt almost like I am suffering from some mild symptoms similar to some of 'flu. I think I just blame a change in the weather for it. I'm not exactly suffering now, but neither do I feel that perky. I have a few sweaty t-shirts that could do with a wash, but I can't raise the energy of enthusiasm for that, and I can't face the idea of going to the supermarket even though I am now resorting to opening emergency tins, and rummaging for stuff at the very back of the freezer. I can probably carry on doing that for another fortnight, but the choices are a bit limited.

 Something happened yesterday that seemed interesting enough at the time to write about today. Today I am not sure I can describe it with the same enthusiasm I had yesterday. It probably concerns existentialism - except I don't really know what that is, and can't be bothered to read the wikipedia article about it. I'll just use it as a trendy sounding buzz word 'cos it sounds cool !

 It happened while my bedroom was feeling nice an warm as the sun was streaming in through the windows onto my bed, and the air felt fresh because I had the window open. I had just had a good (nasal and airways) clear out, and I laid down on my bed feeling good. I seemed to lay down in a comfortable position first time, and then my life seemed to blink. It was like a fast gear change in a car. For a tiny instant there is a loss of power, and you coast along for perhaps only a matter of feet. That is the best way I can think of describing what happened even if it bears no relation to whatever it was that did happen.

 Within a blink of an eye I found I was laying down completely comfortable, and most incredibly, considering how I had been for days, I was breathing calmly and easily through my nose as if I was in the very best of health. It was such a magical feeling that I felt wary of spoiling it by peeking at the clock to see if I was missing any time. I did check the clock after a few minutes, and it seemed about right. So that blink of an eye when the change seemed to come over me wasn't some strange period of unconciousness. It didn't feel like I had been anally probed. So I think I can rule out being abducted by time meddling aliens. The actual truth is that I was probably just startled that I could feel good again after feeling so crap recently.

 It doesn't exactly make me feel better to think that I certainly feel, on average, worse than the best of yesterday, and while that sun was shining, and I was in maximum lazy mode, I was feeling not that bad for extended periods of time. It's not very appealing to think I am possibly getting worse instead of better, and I think I have a better explanation. Today it seems I am feeling consistently fairly crap instead of some peaks of very crap and some peaks of feeling almost good (and for one 10 or 20 minute interlude, rather good). It is interesting, and I regard it as a potentialy good sign, that in the last 5 minutes I have broken out into a moderately heavy sweat for no apparent reason beyond my body having a good go at fighting the bugs. Maybe tomorrow I will be feeling a lot better, and even if it is not good enough to dare go out into the cold morning air to go to work, it may still be good enough that I don't have to re-read all I've just written to put in all (or some) of the words I missed out as I wrote it !

16:27 GMT

  I thought I had better write an update to today incase anyone in Cumbria (hi Ruby), or even in Earlsfield (Hi Lajos), is thinking that I am going downhill fast (or something). Upon consideration I am probably no worse physically than I was yesterday, and possibly slightly better. What is definitely worse is my mental condition. Basically I am very, very bored ! The lack of sunshine, particularly compared to yesterday, is most definitely a downer. Not going out of the house (ignoring the brief trip to the corner shop yesterday), and not actually seeing anyone since last Saturday (ignoring the brief, and very unsatisfactory interaction with the Doctor's receptionist on Tuesday) has left me feeling rather isolated.

 In attempt to cheer myself up a bit I have just done a very simple test. I wondered if my lungs were really shot to pieces. The only way I could think of testing them was rather crude, and rather limited, but I am pleased to say I can still blow up a small sized rubber glove to a substantial size with just one breath - maybe not even a full breath because I chickened out going further incase it split. (It was one of a pair of very cheap and nasty rubber gloves bought from the 99p shop that turned out to be far too small for me, and of the same type that always split during the first or second time I use them when doing hand laundry - they are not to be trusted !!).

 While I still seem able to expel a lot of air from my lungs, and at a considerable velocity sometimes, I still can't always shift the mucus that accumulates and leaves me coughing and choking when it falls in the wrong place. It is this very effect that makes it so difficult for me to go out. Walking does help to get the mucus moving, but when it hits a sensitive spot I end up coughing, choking and wheezing - and the effect is multiplied in this cold and damp autumn air. Had I attempted to walk to the station in this morning's fog I would probably end up blue and half dead before I reached the station. I can't help but think that had I actually made it into work it would speed up my recovery, and lifted my spirits far more than laying around here all day.

 In a couple of hours time I may lift my spirits in a different way, and one that doesn't involve booze (that I have all but run out of). I think I may order a large pizza, some sort of side order (or orders) and maybe, just maybe, some ice cream. It won't help my physical health, and ideally I would prefer to avoid all those calories, but for a brief glorious moment life will be fun again !
Wednesday 14th November 2012
08:29 GMT

  This morning has started slightly milder than I would expect at 12.6 C, and which is a full 2 C more than the BBC forecasters expected. It is currently overcast, and maybe a little misty. The mist probably won't last much longer, but it is set to be overcast all day long. No rain is forecast, but even without rain it doesn't exactly have the makings of a joyous day.

 I really wish I had some idea of what time I went to bed last night. I think it was early so I could do a little reading in bed, and it was indeed only a tiny bit of reading. I read a page or two before turning over and going to sleep. I slept really well until I woke up coughing and spluttering at around 2.30am. It seemed tio be just a dry mouth tickly sort of cough, and after a drink I got back to sleep.

 I didn't sleep for long then, maybe only half an hour, but it was long enough to have a dream whose "plotline" has now vanished, but a couple of novel ideas from it persist.  I was in a car with my friend Ivor, and it was being driven by either his first wife, or maybe the second and current wife, or perhaps a different woman altogether. It was the car itself that was very novel. I'm sure it was an Austin Corsa (which doesn't exist, although someone actually does make a Corsa). It was a very short car, and to save on length the two rear passenger seats were rotated so you sat sideways, and back to back with a fellow rear seat passenger. I'm not sure what it would feel like to travel like that, but the funny thing is I think it might actually work as a space saving feature.

 Our destination seemed to be at a t-junction on something like heathland. On our left there seemed to be some sort of marriage ceremony taking place, but which later events would suggest was actually a funeral. On our right was a field scattered with hippies. That idea was also very wrong. It was soon apparent they they were a bunch a "born again Christians" ! Suddenly, from our left and our right came singing. Those Christians had subverted a famous AC/DC song, but kept the chorus intact. So it sort of came out as if you do this, or do that you'll be on the "Highway To Hell" - clever but totally blasphemous to the sacred name of AC/DC !!!!!!

 After that short sleep, and inventive dream, I had a lot of trouble getting back to sleep again because my cough had returned in a bad way. Well maybe not bad in the sense that I was coughing my lungs up, but bad in respect of it stopped me getting back to sleep. What I was combatting was less, but stickier (or so I imagined) mucus. It would seem to slide to almost to the top of my throat, and need little more than an "ahem " to dislodge it. With so little effort required it was almost effortless, and yet it was also relentless. It seemed at one point I was doing 3 normal breaths followed by one throat clearing breath. I'm sure it is impossible to sleep when you become so aware of your breathing that you are counting each one.

 Being aware of your breathing is, I believe, part of some meditation processes, and indeed I did do some meditating myself. It wasn't your common or garden getting closer to a God or two, nor anything to do with karma and other mystic stuff. It was actually about the nature of cigarette addiction. Using nicotine patches gives a useful way of comparing reality with theory about the nature of cigarette addiction.

 Most people who have never smoked, or indeed have never had any addiction that they would care to admit to,  have a very hard time trying to believe that smoking is not something you can just start and stop. It is indeed an addiction, and worse than that, it is a two part addiction. One part is chemical addiction, and the other is deeply learned behaviour.

 Deeply learned behavior, as seems to be the simplest way to describe it, is like when an action is so usual that you don't even think about it. Assuming you are right handed you never ever have to think about which hand you should put a pen in to write. You just do it automatically. Most people can learn to write with their other hand, but it takes an awful lot of effort to become fluent at it. A lot of smoking is ritual, and it is very hard to unlearn. Far harder than you can imagine. If you don't believe that then your punishment is to try wiping your bottom with the wrong hand next time you go to the toilet, and we'll see who is laughing then :-)

 The other side to cigarette addiction is chemical addiction - familar to anyone who has taken heroin, morphine, valium, mogadone, and lots of other nice stuff you or your doctor may think good for you. It is impossible to describe the growing gnawing sensation inside the brain that happens when it realises it has a chemical it makes use of missing. It is not somethimg you think about, it just happens. Ever had an urge for chocolate ice cream ? Multiply that feeling by a hundred, or maybe even a thousand, and that is what it sort of feels like.

 The nicotine patches I am currently using stop the chemical withdrawal symptoms, but do nothing for the learned habits. Even with a high strength patch on I still get the urge to light up when certain things happen. In some cases the urge is too strong to resist, and in other cases it is bolstered by not realising the patches only last for 16 hours and not the 24 hours that I formerly believed (!). While the patch is delivering a nice healthy dose of nicotine, and while I am suitably distracted, I can go without lighting up for very long periods of time, but it feels like a house of cards ready to fall at any time. It's probably lucky that I am not trying to give up, but just to reduce my consumption enough to help my lungs recover from this cold a little quicker.

 I am really not sure how I feel this morning. The less, but seemingly stickier mucus is a great annoyance when I thought I had made good progress in recovering from this cold. It does make me wonder if my plan to go back to work tomorrow  should happen. If only it was summer, and I could travel to and from work in the warm, I would have no hesitation, but these cold and damp mornings are not exactly ideal when your chest is playing up. If I had the money to waste I would seriously be thinking about getting a cab to and from work until I am fully recovered, but that would lose me money faster than not actually earning it in the first place. So that idea is just not tenable.

 One thing I ought to do today will be a good test of how I fare in the wide open world, and that is to go and get some shopping. It is possible, if I time it right, I could combine it with a visit to a pub (preferably The Catford Ram - just around the cornet from Tesco).
Tuesday 13th November 2012
03:24 GMT

(scroll down a bit for an update at 17:55)
 The rain that was forecast to start sometime around midday yesterday, actually began to fall very late in the afternoon. I don't know when it stopped, but it doesn't appear to be raining now. Currently the temperature stands at 11.6 C - which seems high for just gone 3am on a November morning. Sunny periods are forecast for later this morning, and that should send the temperature up to 14 C - getting close to some arbitary point that I might describe as warm (but not actually reaching it).

 I'm probably going to write twice today. I'm writing this now because I am bored ! I should be fast asleep right now, but sleep is not easy at the moment. The good news is that I have been sleeping, and I possibly have racked up as much as 5 or even 6 hours of sleep tonight. Add that to the hour or two I managed yesterday afternoon, and I'm really only about 8 hours down now !!

 By yesterday afternoon I found I could cough my airways clean of bubbling mucus for very short periods of time. I was feeling so tired that those few seconds were enough to let me fall asleep. I didn't want to be distracted by clock watching at these times, so I have no idea how long I slept for the 3 or 4 times this worked, but I estimate that at least once it was close to a full hour. I would wake up coughing and spluttering after these short sleeps - a condition often made worse by having a dry mouth. Recovery was fairly quick though.

 One of the things that I am reluctant to say helped yesterday, and during the night, was the couple of nicotine replacement therapy patches I am wearing. They reduced the chemical craving for a fag enough that I ended up only smoking two fags yesterday. Despite changing the oldest patch to a new one late last night, I am dying for a fag right now. It might just be habit, or it might be "cold turkey", but resisting the temptation is really, really hard, and it is only the knowlege that if I do have a fag it will feel like I am drawing in knives and broken glass over my abused mucus membranes that is stopping me right now. Later on in the day, when, if all goes to plan, I've had a few more hours sleep, I will probably give in to the temptation.

 It does feel like I am healing a lot faster than last time, but I may well try and see my doctor (whoever he or she may be) sometime today. It is feasible that some anti-biotics will clear this mess up quicker than my own bodies efforts, but there could be other things that might make it worthwhile to see the doctor. Maybe I could get some free nicotine patches, or maybe I might be offered a sick certificate for an extended period of time off sick from  work. That might be appealing in some ways, but if the sick pay is still the pathetic sub minimum wage handout I got for two self certificated days off last time then it may be better to suffer (as our cruel and heartless government obviously want).

 There are two more things I could potentially get out of the doctor. One is an asthma inhaler. I think it was at least 6 years ago that I had my one and only asthma attack. I have no idea what caused it, but it really left me gasping in a similar way to how I was suffering on Sunday night. On the occasion of the attack I managed to walk to the hospital at about 1 mile per hour while going blue in the face. They had no idea what might be causing my shortness of breath, and it was only when I said that it felt like what I had seen an asthma prone friend go through that they tried an inhaler on me. It did make a useful difference, and so I was sent on my way.

 By the end of the day the asthma attack was over, and the inhaler was only half used or less. I never had a "stand alone" asthma attack again, but there were a few occasions when I had a heavy cold with bad cough, and a couple of squirts from the inhaler seemed to get things moving nicely. Unfortunately I used the inhaler up before this current illness, although I did try and see if there was anything left in it despite it being two years after it's use by date. If I describe that little story to the doctor he may prescribe a new inhaler to help on those odd occasions where it might be useful.

 The final thing the doctor could do for me is to discuss the possibility of prescribing a drug "off label" some time in the future. "Off label" means it is not being used for what it is primarily meant for. The drug is (if I recall correctly) Naltrexone, and is usually prescribed to alcoholics. It was a year or two ago I read in New Scientist magazine that researchers describe having some success in using it to help combat other addictions - including food addiction. In my discussion I would pitch it as both food and fag addiction. The latter I am definitely addicted to, and I do sometimes wonder if my excess appetite is a matter of habit or addiction. It would be an interesting experiment to try that drug and see if it does anything for me. The only trouble is if the doctor researches too deeply about it. There are also reports of it causing heart problems, and with my tendency to high blood pressure (particularly in the presence of doctors) I would probably be considered a very bad candidate to experiment on.

17:55 GMT

 It was just gone 9am when I set off to visit my doctor. When I got there I found the place looking very busy, but I waited in line to see the receptionist. When I got to her I couldn't seem to get an easy answer about how long it might take to see a doctor, or at least get an appointment with one. I think the actual answer would have been several days. They were so busy that the receptionist had been authorised to write simple prescriptions for what was probably just over the counter medicines. I suppose the advantage of that was it would satisfy those on the dole who only wanted to see a doctor because they couldn't afford over the counter medicines (which are very often quite expensive for what they are).

 I decided that it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to get an appointment for several (or more) days time, and I declined the offer of a prescription stating I would follow the usual advice of take two aspirins and go back to bed - as often quoted in comedy films and programmes. I am sure the receptionist recognised my coment as mild sarcasm, and smiled appropriately while adding that it wasn't such a bad idea in reality. On the way back home I phone work and told them the "good" news with appropriate spluttering sound effects with my voice.

 Walking to the surgery, which I did at a far more sedate pace than my usual didn't seem that bad, but I walked faster on the way back, and that did trigger some extra coughing. It quickly subsided once I got indoors, and while I've been in the warm I haven't felt that bad all day. It's probably been helped a lot by some new high strength nicotine patches I bought from the surgery's pharmacy this morning, and which have helped me to cut down my smoking to a level I would have thought impossible without. I did have a couple of fags after eating, and I am sure that if I had any whisky left in the house I would have some with a whisky or three.

 Looking back I found it surprising just how quickly this cold rose to a peak, and how quickly that peak passed. It almost feels like I am close to the lingering after effects, and the the cold itself is over. I am sure that is not quite the case just yet, but it won't be that long. I am anticipating getting some good sleep tonight. I doubt I'll manage 8 hours in one hit, but then again that is very rare these days anyway. Having had a few naps this afternoon I may not feel ready for sleep until later than usual, but, fingers crossed, when I do get to sleep I think I may manage the first 3, 4, maybe even 5 hours OK.

 Maybe I am too optimistic, or maybe foolish, but I can foresee me being back at work on Thursday. Of course it depends how tomorrow goes. I'll probably do an experimental trip to the supermarket and/or the pub to see how I feel in the outside air. If I doesn't trigger anything too bad I'll know I'll be ready to go back to work. In theory I could have done some work today, but only if I travelled in a nice warm car, and not rushed about on the cold damp railway network. The very thought of waiting for a train on a cold damp platform has just started me coughing. Before then I was feelingnice and comfortable !
Monday 12th November 2012
07:42 GMT

  I don't think the temperature dropped quite low enough for a frost here this morning, but it was probably a close run thing. It didn't seem to last that long, but there was a dazzling red sunrise this morning. It seems to be clouding over quite rapidly now, and by lunchtime it could well be raining.

 I am in a bad way this morning. The sweaty face that I blamed on hand washing a towel stayed with me all night, and my face is sweaty even now. Worse than that is the congestion in my lungs. I didn't sleep a wink last night. Everytime I tried to settle down in bed there would be a rush of mucus, and I would end up coughing and choking. At 3am this morning I wondered if I ought to call an ambulance. I was so short of breath that I was getting close to feeling like I could pass out.

 In an ideal world I would be going along to my doctors this morning, but I very much doubt that I could make it. Just walking upstairs gets me very weezy, and to some extent, walking downstairs does too. I don't think I would actually make it to the surgery - which is a bit of a pity because I think a bit of medical attention could be useful for once.
Sunday 11th November 2012
17:09 GMT

  I wasn't aware of the temperature falling away last night, but this morning I noted that it was only 4.5 C, and that we had only just missed a frost. The temperature stayed very low today. At what may have been it's peak at 3pm it was still only 7.5 C. In return for that we were treated to a brilliantly sunny day. If there were any clouds they must have been of the white fluffy variety that disappear over the horizon in the wink of an eye. There's been hardly any breeze today so it didn't feel that cold, and the sun was still packing a lot of heat as it poured through my bedroom windows. With the window open, and no heating on, it was 24 C up there. Tomorrow is forecast to start out nice, but from midday we can expect grey clouds and rain.

 I had reports that the gig I missed last night was a very good one. Well maybe I wouldn't have enjoyed it with snot dripping from my nose. I also didn't enjoy not being able to taste some chilli flavoured peanuts that I started to scoff late in the afternoon. The loss of taste, and the copious dripping of my nose seemed to be the only real thing wrong with me last night, but the worst was yet to come.

 During the night, while I was asleep, all that snot seemed to drip into my airways and lungs. At first it didn't seem so bad, but for most of today, including right now, my cough has returned just as bad as it was 3 or 4 weeks ago. With every breath I can feel the mucus bubbling and boiling just out of reach of a good explosive cough. I can't imagine this getting much better overnight, and I can't imagine being able to take any more time off work. So tomorrow is likely to be rather unpleasant.

 In an attempt to speed up the healing process I've eaten 6 Kiwi fruit so far today. That should contain enough vitamin C to re-animate the dead. Once I've finished writing I will probably have even more fruit, or I might have some hot soup, or maybe I'l just gargle on some more whiskey. I am having a great deal of trouble deciding if I am actually hungry, or whether it is just force of habit that makes me think I should eat something.

 As I write this I am sweating heavily. It could be a good thing, and it could be something to do with the illness, but I think it is more to do with having just hand washed a medium sized towel - it's quite a physical process !!  This illustrates one of the problems with this current illness. Apart from one or two specific symptoms, I feel quite well otherwise. I wouldn't have tackled that towel if I was feeling really ill, but there didn't seem to be any reason not to do it, and they steamyness of the process made it seem a reasonable idea to do it. While I was bending over the hot steamy water my chest did feel looser.

 Of those specific symptoms, the original, the very snotty nose, is now a mere shadow of itself. This is as it should be for a "cold". I can't help but think that if I hadn't had that awful cold a month ago the other symptom, the bubbly airways, and cough, wouldn't be have as bad as it is. Oh well, it will clear up eventually, but as I said 4 weeks ago, the only sure cure for this is a dose of hot summer weather !
Saturday 10th November 2012
18:03 GMT

  It didn't rain like I thought it might yesterday. It ended up as a bit of a bland day - slightly grey, and sort of not quite cold. The rain actually happened overnight, and first thing this morning it was quite heavy. By 10am it had all but stopped, and I don't think it has rained since. Today started off surprisingly not cold. It was 11.5 C when I checked the temperature at around sunrise. After another very bland day it is now still up at 10.5 C, but the forecast is for it to start falling sharply, and we could wake up to a frost tomorrow morning.

 Yesterday I seemed to develop a slightly sore throat, and my sinuses seemed to be a bit bunged up from time to time. By early evening it became apparent that the bit that was missing from the cold I had 4 weeks, or so ago, had finally turned up. I became increasingly snotty, but otherwise I seemed to feel fine. Well maybe I wasn't quite as fine as I thought I was. Instead of an excess of soup I decided to get a take away delivered.

 I opted for a lot of grilled chicken. That is partly healthy, although the chips which came with each portion of the order definitely weren't healthy ! It was very tasty, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In theory I should have been in bed nice an early, but maybe it was something non obvious to do with the return of the lurgy that had me staying up until midnight. It seems sort of odd that apart from having to blow my nose frequently, I felt really quite good.

 Today the frequency of blowing my nose has increased to silly proportions, and I am getting through tissues at an amazing rate. Once again though, apart from my nose starting to get a little sore, I actually feel rather good. It's another one of those paradoxes that my lungs feel unusually clear today, and also a lot of yesterday. There is one unfortunate side effect that might really be a fortunate side effect - I can't taste the chilli flavoured peanuts I bought when I did some shopping this morning.

 Just for a change it is possible that the bag of peanuts will last a lot longer than usual. Less fortunate is that I also bought a load of fruit this morning, and if I could taste it properly, and thus enjoy eating it, it might have done me some extra good. I have eaten a few bits, but when a nice juicy plum just tastes like a ball of very mild acid it becomes a lot less appealing.

 In theory I should be having some big steaming bowls of soup for dinner tonight, but for the moment I have opted for a few very large whiskies. Maybe I will still have some soup before going to bed, but for one of the few times in my life, I am not sure if I want to eat. I do, but I don't ! It is most perplexing. Maybe a good strong curry would break through the taste block. I'll have to see what tins I have in the cupboard.

 Another theory is that this type of cold should be over very quickly. Hopefully I'll be fine for work on Monday if I take tomorrow easy.........or maybe I should wrap up warm and do some more garden clearance tomorrow. It did feel good being out in the fresh air when I got my shopping this morning. Prior to going out I was getting through one tissue every couple of minutes, but I made it back from the supermarket without having to blow my nose at all. Of course one of the problems is that there are short periods when indoors when my nose seems to dry up for 10 - 15 minutes, and then goes crazy again.

 Sometimes my nose seems to dry up for a short while, but then starts to itch until I let out an explosive sneeze. In some ways I wish I felt a lot worse than I do. If I was all aching it would seem far more reasonable when it comes to things like not going out to Chain's gig tonight. If I stuffed all my pockets, plus my camera bag with tissues I probably could just about make it through the night, but it doesn't feel fair to sneeze all over everybody else. Tonight I was intending to try my hand at being sound engineer, and I guess not being able to do that leaves me feeling a bit pissed off. I'll have to wait to 1st December before I can try again.
Friday 9th November 2012
08:02 GMT

  The sun didn't last very long yesterday morning, but did put in a brief appearance in the afternoon. At times there were plenty of threatening looking clouds, but it stayed dry. I don't know what the temerature was, but most of the time it felt cool rather than cold. It was dry overnight, and this morning started out seeming to be bright, but there are a lot more clouds in the sky now, and it is looking a bit grey now. I think the forcast for today has changed over the last couple of days, and instead of the sunny day forecast, it is now likely to rain at some time.

 I had an "interesting" day at work yesterday. One member of the quality department, who apparently once did a bit of soldering while at university, decided he wanted to find out about the circuit board repair process, and I am not entirely sure why. The quality department like to generate reams of paperwork about everything, and I suspect he was coerced into trying to make up flow charts of how circuit boards are repaired. This is, of course, complete nonsense. Diagnosing faults down to individual component level is a philosophy rather than a science. Of course science plays it's part, but experience counts for far more. Some test instruments are an oscilloscope and multimeter, and you can define the results from these accurately, but you can define smell, a sense of abnormal warmth, or just a hunch.

  The biggest, perhaps insurmountable, problem in trying to define a repair process is that once you get past a few basic checks the possibilities branch out like the branches on a tree.  Having decided/proved what is faulty, there is another hurdle to cross. You can write down how to unsolder a 100 pin "chip", and you can write down how to solder a replacement back in, but not many people can do it successfully without a lot of practice and something else. That something else is undefined. You've either got it ir you haven't. One of my workmates is very competent at routine soldering (including 100 pin chips), but for tricky stuff he turns to me because I seem to have that elusive something else.

 After work I was actually feeling almost good - in a sort of fit and healthy way. I probably made it to the station in 14 thousandths of a second quicker than usual. That is still a bit slower than on a hot day when I am feeling unusually healthy, but not bad. Once I got back to Catford I headed for The Catford Ram where I was hoping to, and indeed meet up with Chris (from Chain). He's not in there every Thursday night with a few of his workmates, but sufficiently often to take a chance of seeing him. We talked about the fun after the gig last Friday, and I handed him the stickers I had made up to go on Chain's stage mixer. They identify all the channels so I will be able to make adjustments to it even when mildly drunk.

 I only stayed for three pints, and sometime into my second pint I went outside for a cigarette and had a very strange experience. There is a young black woman who sometimes approaches people outside the pub begging for money. She last accosted me probably sometime last spring (I remember it was dark outside, but still early evening). She never asks for much, and I think that last time, after a show of tears for her (alleged) starving baby, I may have given her the pound or two she was begging for.

 Last night was weirdly different. She was asking for just 99p, and that gave it a ring of truth, but I still thought she wanted the money for crack or something. Once again she said she wanted the money for her starving baby, but this time added that she had "dried up", With no prompting she decided to prove the point by pulling down the neck of her t-shirt to reveal, and give a hard squeeze to her nipple. One tiny drip of milk came out. So I guess she really was feeding a baby, and I gave her 1 - 1p more than she requested. Maybe a flash of tit was worth 2, but she seemed happy with one.

 Several of the guys in the pub had met this woman before, but had never had the treatment I got (I just made a Freudian slip - I spelled it "teatment" initially !). We still wonder if she really does just want enough for milk, or if she actaully collects a pound or two from loads of people - and spends the excess on drugs.

 Having only eaten fruit all day I was starting to feel a bit drunk towards the end of my third pint, and I reluctantly decided I had better stop there and get home. Once home I cooked some dinner. It was moderately healthy for a microwaved ready meal, but it just didn't satisfy - a feeling not helped by the booze. Against me better judgement I opened up a packet of peanuts with the idea that I might eat a third, or perhaps a half of them. I ate the whole lot unfortunately, and I still had some biscuits as well.

 Now the funny thing is, I feel a microscopic bit thinner this morning. That probably shouldn't happen, but the evidence in the tightness of my trousers suggests otherwise. This morning I treated myself to some very expensive dried, lean, chilli beef. Perhaps "treat" is not strickly accurate. Allowed myself to be suckered into buying it when I sa the packets hanging in the shop would be more accurate. However, it was lean, and there was precious little of it in the bag so I should be OK. I also bought a punnet of plums. I think I have eaten about four of them so far, and together with that dried beef they should make for a sort of healthy, low calorie breakfast. Tonight I should be sober, and maybe I'll be able to convince myself to make a large part of what I eat tonight just mere soup. If I manage that, maybe I'll be feeling good tomorrow morning.
Thursday 8th November 2012
08:10 GMT

  The sun, that graced most of yesterday morning, became hidden behind clouds soon after midday. They weren't thick clouds, and so it didn't turn that gloomy, but it was enough to make night fall early. It was practically dark when I got home yesterday. This morning there was enough clear sky on the eastern horizon to show the sky glowing prior to sunrise as I walked to the station. It was around 9 C this morning, and that is possibly higher than I expected. There are some very grey looking clouds in the sky now, but there are also still some patches of blue. It could be a mixed day today, and I believe the forecast includes the possibility of some rain later on.

 It took some time for my chest to recover from the cold and damp morning air yesterday, and I don't think I was fully recovered before it was time to face the cold air again as I went home. In other respects I feel unusually good provided I didn't try and rush so fast that my lungs ran out of air. One aspect of that otherwise feeling good was that I had no hesitation in doing a little laundry very soon after arriving home. Fortunately it was only two shirts, a small tablecloth, and a face flannel.

 Although I didn't think of it at the time, and I've only just thought of it now, leaning over the side of the bath filled with bowls of hot steamy water probably did my chest some good. I certainly didn't have any trouble sleeping, and I hardly coughed at all on the way to work - yesterday I was almost going blue in the face on one occasion.

 Maybe some credit should be due to the fruit I ate yesterday (and to a lesser extent on Monday and Tuesday as well). One of the reasons I didn't hesitate to start that little bit of laundry last night was that paradoxically, after not eating much all day, I didn't feel exceptionally hungry when I got home. Of course once I started eating it took some effort to stop. For dinner I had a fairly healthy semi-steamed fish, peas, and leek concoction, but after that I ate far too many biscuits because I was feeling most peckish after eating it.

 One mistake I made last night was to stay up a bit late hoping to watch a TV programme. One of the Freeview (and satelite) channels, Gold, has made a new "The Comic Strip" comedy called "Five Go To Rehab". Unfortunately I don't have a subscription to view more adverts on "Gold", one of the very few subscription channels on Freeview (even though most modern Freeview set top boxes don't have facilities for a viewing card), and so I will have tio seek elsewhere if I want to watch it. However, not being able to watch it was not enough to stop my brain being befuddled.

 I had this nagging feeling that there was something I needed to watch. Looking through the listings I saw Red Dwarf, and my brain jumped a day. It wasn't until just before it was due to start that I suddenly realised that it was a repeat from last Thursday, and that the new episode is actually on tonight ! Having suppressed all my urges to go to bed early I had to slowly unsupress then, and I finally got to sleep by 9.30pm (or was it 10pm - it all seems a blur this morning).

 Tonight is definitely Red Dwarf night, and I will be staying up to watch it. That is not the only thing I'll be doing tonight. I had given some thought to going home from work via Croydon to try and get more chilli sauce, but I am also thinking that tonight may be a bit gloomy, and tomorrow night may be brighter, and thus more enticing. Whether or not I do go tomorrow remains to be seen, but I have a new, and more definite plan for tonight. I'm going home via The Catford Ram to see if Chris is drinking in there after work. I'd like to hear his memories of last Friday night (and chuckle), and to give him some labels I made up to stick on the bands stage mixer. I was going to stick them on at the gig on Saturday, but if Chris has the time and inclination spare he can do it in the comfort of his own home, and save time at the gig.
Wednesday 7th November 2012
08:07 GMT

  There were several sunny spells yesterday, and overall it was a bright day. Sometime during last night it might, or might not have rained. The sky was very clear when I left home to come to work, but everything was very damp. It seemed too damp just to be dew, but maybe that is all it was. For a clear morning it was surprising that the temperature was as high as 7 C. I would have expected a frost. All I can see from my office window is clear sky, and if the sun keeps shining the temperature could rise to the mid teens. Maybe that is a little optimistic when the forecast only suggests 11 or 12 C.

 Monday didn't go quite to plan. When I arrived at the surgery to get my 'flu jab, I found the place packed. So I turned around and went back home. This year I'll just have to take a chance as to whether I get 'flu or not. The next thing on my agenda went wrong as well. I had been planning to go to Croydon to buy more chilli sauces. I suggested to my friend Kevin that he might like to join me because I know he is curious about them. He queried whether the Mad-Ass stall would be there on a Monday, and when I checked their website again I found that they are only there on Thursdays, Fridays, and some Saturdays.

 So we abandoned going to Croydon, and instead met up in the pub. There were other things I thought I might do after a quick drink, but those never happened either. The Wetherspoons pub is currently having one of their beer festivals, and one of the beers on off on Monday was a Belgium brown ale. Now Belgium brown ales are not exactly the same as the traditional, but now almost forgotten, English brown ales. For a start they taste nicer, but most of all, at 6% they are a bit stronger by a factor of 2, or maybe 3! (that is 3 exclamation mark, and not factorial 3 for those who know what a factorial is).

 That Belgium beer slipped down a treat :-)  I only had 3 (maybe 4) pints, and one of them was something a little milder, but it was enough to make sure that all I was capable of when I got home was to cook some dinner, and slump in front of the TV. Later in the evening I did have a mild hangover. I think I ended up getting to bed fairly late, but I am sure I slept quite well.

 Yesterday was a very lazy sort of day. I washed a sheet, and four pillowcases, and I finally got around to clearing the junk off a chair in the living room. It was the chair that Smudge died on, and maybe I didn't feel too much like disturbing it or something, but it's done now, and at last the chairs and settee now have matching black throws, and deep purple cushions on them. One thing I didn't have to do was to agonise over whether to throw away the old throw from the chair, or attempt to wash and clean it. The flea bite I got as soon as I picked it up convinced me to take it straight to the wheelie bin.

 I fully intended to write something here yesterday, but instead I wrote a rather long email to my friend Ruby up in Cumbria. The feedback I got from that email was pleasing. It seems I have hidden talents as a long distance councellor or something - probably something. Perhaps if I had a business card I should put on it "Your problems solved or double the fee".

 I have been trying to be careful with what I eat recently, and yesterday was no exception. For lunch I had a (very) big bowl of Singapore Noodles. Later I had some biscuits and other junk, and when dinner time came around I thought I should try and make an effort to eat very lightly. I almost did. I decided to try a can of soup that I knew might be interesting or terrible. It was carrot and sweet potato soup, and I am always suspicious of soups with carrot in them. I find that certain vegetable soups smell like vomit, and often look like it too. Last night's soup did have a vomity look, but at least it didn't smell like it. Nor did it taste like it, but it still did not taste nice. I think it effectively encouraged me to not eat any more last night, and it is not often that I only eat one can of soup !

 Up until this morning I felt fine, but the walk through the cold and damp air to the station really got to my chest. At the station I felt a bit wheezy, and once on the train my cough started up - just occasionally at first, and more and more frequently until it was a great relief to get off the train into the fresh air. Now I've been sitting in the (slightly) warm here at work I am starting to feel better again. Maybe I need more vitamins, minerals, and "stuff" to finally finish me or this illness off. Long spells in hot sunshine, and warm air would be the ideal remedy, but maybe more fruit will help.

today's fruit portion
 I bought the fruit shown above on my way into work. This pack is similar to the one I bought last week. So I've had a terribly healthy sort of breakfast this morning of a few plums, a small orange and a pear (not from this pack but left over from last week). It's quite possible I'll have more during the day, perhaps, but not limited to, lunchtime, but this is all I'll be eating until I get home from work tonight.
Monday 5th November 2012
12:02 GMT

  Yesterday's rain eventually dried up, but I'm not sure when it was finally dry. Once again it is all change this morning. It is wonderfully bright and sunny, although at just 9.4 C it is far from warm. The forecast suggests this sunshine should continue to at least mid afternoon, but then it will slowly cloud over again. Once the sun has gone the temperature will slowly fall away, and it is supposed to be a rather chilly 3 C at 5am tomorrow morning. There might even be a frost.

 I managed to do my second load of laundry yesterday, and there was quite a lot of it. I think it was 5 shirts as well as some other stuff. What I never did get around to doing was "laundering" the inside of my PC. I don't really know why I didn't get around to it. I wasn't actually doing much for much of yesterday afternoon/evening, and I didn't get to bed particularly early. Time just seemed to drift by unnoticed, or something.

 It may have been midnight when I fell asleep last night. I seemed to sleep very well until my alarm woke me at 5am. I woke from a dream that seemed to include an extension of the Croydon Tramlink in it. The odd thing was all the bridges and viaducts appeared to be made of plywood ! I did half get up at 5am, but after a while I decided to go back to bed, and I slept again until almost 9am.

 So far this morning I've been to Aldi to get some shopping. Once I've finished writing this I am off to get my 'flu jab. If I still have the inclination after the terror of going to the doctors surgery, I might go over to Croydon this afternoon to pick up some more Mad-Ass chilli sauces.
Sunday 4th November 2012
12:30 GMT

Sometime during the night there was a big change in the weather. Any chance of sunshine today has been hidden by thick grey and wet clouds. I had the curtains closed a little later than usual this morning, and I was surprised to find it was pouring with rain when I opened them. That was probably sometime between 7am and 8am. I think, at various intensities, it has been raining ever since. The good news is that it is a little less cold than yesterday. The current temperature is 10 C. Even better news is that I have just spotted a tiny chink in the clouds. If it was in the right place we could have a few seconds of sunshine. Maybe I should be more optimistic and stop believing the whole day is going to be wet and grey.

 I'm not sure what time I ended up in bed last night, but with little on the TV, and no inspiration to do anything else, it was possibly earlier than many Saturdays. Although it means I have yet more laundry to do, I treated myself to fresh ben linen yesterday, and I have to admit it felt rather good. It was good being clean and fresh, but more importantly the material felt softer and nicer than what I had been sleeping in (cheap Poundstretcher stuff !). I ended up sleeping rather well as far as I can remember, and I woke up feeling refreshed for a change.

 So far today I have almost been productive. I've done one small load of laundry, and I've done all the washing up in the kitchen - including the electric grill and the inside of the microwave oven. Once I've finished writing here, and probably taken a short breather, I'll tackle a second load of laundry. I'll have to stop there though because I won't have any room to dry any more. Washing the bed linen I took off yesterday is going to need a lot of room to dry. Ideallyn I would start it off outside so it can drip away if needed, but it's going to need a nice dry day for that, and I can't see us getting one of them at any time in the near future.

 There is one more task I really must do today before I put it off any more, and it's probably a task that you should do as well. Although probably not as thoroughly I as I will do. I must open up my PC and hoover it out. I can hear the CPU fan working hard trying to keep things cool. That is almost certainly a sign that the CPU cooler is full of dust. This PC is particularly prone to get clogged with dust for some reason. It was the reason I was given it. The CPU cooler was so clogged with dust that it was completely hidden. That caused the CPU to overheat, and it kept crashing. The guy who gave it to me was so frustrated with it he just bought a new one, and told me to keep this one with a clear concious when I announced it was working perfectly (installing Linux on it helped as well). Oh well, his loss, my gain, and it is a rather nice, quite powerful computer - provided I do regular maintenance on it.
Saturday 3rd November 2012
17:43 GMT

It's quite possible that yesterday was sunnier than forecast, and it definitely felt colder than the forecast. Today has been mostly sunny, although there were some dull spells. Maybe it was just me, or maybe there was less breeze, but today felt less cool than the thermometer, and the forecast suggested it might be. The current temperature is 7.7 C, and it has probably has been very similar to that for most of the day.

 There were many reasons why I felt remarkably happy yesterday. Being a Friday will always be a good thing. The sunshine was one of the strong points. Having a lot of work to do, but finishing it early felt good. The email I mentioned yesterday, which could lead to a date, was excellent, and a Chain gig in The Catford Ram was something I was really looking forward to. The gig turned out to be far, far better than I could have imagined it would be.

 Getting home from work was less stressful than usual, but once home I really wanted to have a long sit down. I couldn't do that, but the lethargy that was trying to overcome me really slowed me down getting ready to go out. Ultimately that just meant I was less early than I might have been, but still early. The band was just about already set up when I got to the pub, but the sound check was still an hour away.

 At this gig I was encouraged to play with the sound mixer. I didn't actually touch it in the end, and the two slight changes that were made were done by Kevin. One of those changes both Kevin and I disagrred with, but Chris insisted on it. Apparently Jo thought her mic was too loud. It wasn't, and turning it down actually made her vocals a bit indistinct at times. The real problem was that her monitor was too loud, but we learned a valuable lesson last night, and it was driven home by Matt Hemsley the bass player. He has had far more experience with stage mixing to the point that there is one band who regard him as a member of the band even those his only instrument is the sound mixer. He said, "ignore what the band says, adjust the mixer so it sounds right for the audience, and tell the band to get stuffed if they complain !". Next time, next time !!

Chain on stage at The Catford Ram pub
Matt Hemsley, Matt Sharp, Jo Corteen, and Chris Mayer.
Chris Mayer in close up
I don't usually give Chris the close up treatment, but this was so full of power that I thought I had to include it.
Chris Mayer and Matt Hemsley
Chris and Matt who gave such good advice on the duties of the sound man at a gig.
Bill Kelsey from Catford
I guess this must be me :-)

 After the first set Jo announced that the second set would be a little shorter than usual because she needed to pick up one of her daughters from Croydon. At first that seemed to be a shame, but by cutting out some of the pauses between songs very little was left out. It turned out to have some very happy consequences. the idea was that Chris would stay with the gear while Jo rushed off, and she would be back later to pick Chris and the gear up. So we had a sort of mini after gig party.

 There was me, Chris, Matt, Kevin and Michelle ( another Chain fan, and one of Chris' workmates). There was also Warren whom is the pubs music organiser and DJ, and once he started playing some horrible disco music, maybe half a dozen other people left in the pub. Warren was given a good talking to, and found some more acceptable music (and some equals about 50%). The beer flowed, and we had a wonderful, wonderful time :-) Fortunately I captured some of it on video. You would have had to be there, and probably drunk too, to appreciate most of it, but this 23 second clip gives the flavour of it.

 At some point Chris received word that Jo was delayed, and Matt offered to take Chris and all the gear home. I lost track of the time, but it may have been close to midnight when we left the pub, but the drinking didn't end there. Kevin lured me to the Wetherspoons pub by saying they had some wonderful Dutch beer as part of their beer festival. I agreed to go, but said I would only stop if that beer was still available. It was, but I think I only had one pint of it before going home via the chicken shop to pick up my first proper (if you can actually call fried chicken "proper") meal of the day.

 Getting that chicken seemed like an excellent idea, but I think I felt too tired to eat much of it. I had the remainder of it, and it was quite a heap, for dinner tonight. Once I got to bed, possibly as late as 2am, I fell fast asleep very quickly. I woke up little more than 5 hours later with a very obvious hangover. Fortunately it was one of the more "wet blanket around the head" rather than the steamhammers in the head" variety. In truth I was probably still drunk.

 It took an age before I felt ready to do anything useful like a bit of tidying prior to a visit from Aleemah. She brought round a very long DVD to watch. Watching it provoked mixed feelings of excitement, boredom, sadness, and elation. It was a really mixed bag. The biggest trouble with it, and what sort of annoyed me about it, was that it could be viewed as an official Muslim propaganda film, but not, I hasten to add, of the terrorism variety. The film is called My Name Is Khan.

 The rest of the afternoon, after Aleemah went home, I spent basically doing nothing excepting watching a bit of TV, and munching through re-heated fried chicken. Tonight I suspect I'll be in bed quite early. After last night I could do with catching up on a bit of sleep, and if I wake after a full nights sleep, and feel refreshed, I may find the motivation do do a large chunk of my ever growing pile of laundry !
Friday 2nd November 2012
07:54 GMT

There were a few times when the sun shone very brightly yesterday, and when it was shining through my office windows it felt deliciously hot. Outside it was rather different - it was most definitely chilly. During the afternoon it became rather cloudy, but by 4pm the sky was mostly clear again. It stayed clear for the night, and I found it a bit surprising that there was no frost this morning. Somehow the temperature stayed up at 5 C. Some of today is forecast to be lightly overcast, and some of the day will be bright and sunny. That should push the temperature up to 10 C, but it will fall away rapidly tonight. When I get out of the pub tonight it is forecast to be as low as just 3 or 4 degrees. I had better make sure I get lots of warming alcohol in me :-)

 It was rather busy at work yesterday, but I was frequently sort of amused by an ongoing saga. Here at work we use a lot of unskilled, or semi skilled labour. One part of the production process involves soldering a wire on a gold plated brass ring, and the production manager, no doubt urged on by our zany quality department, has been trying to eliminate as many variables to the process as possible (and of course generate reams of documentation).

 The problem is that it is being treated as a scientific process, and as anyone who has been soldering forn years, and probably anyone who has been involved in the very similar process of welding know, it is more an art form than a science. Just like painting, you can use all sorts of scientific processes to prepare the materials, the metal or canvas, and all sorts of chemistry to prepare the solders or pigments, but as soon as you apply the solder to the metal, or the pigment to the canvas, you are in the realm of art. The only way to make a good soldered joint is to prepare the materials well, and to watch what is happening as you do it.

 It's hard to peel back the years upon years of experience that make it an unconcious process, and to describe what I really see, and what I am looking for, but just as an artist can use different brush strokes to convey different texture, so can the solderer alter many parameters to make the solder do what he wants it to do. Of course it doesn't work every single time no matter what you do, and this is the problem. There are so many variables that one piece of holy writ does not cover all eventuallities. The workers here will follow the instructions to the letter, and some soldering will come out text book perfect, and some will be a total disaster. Most will probably just be adequate.

 After only eating 3 small kiwi fruit, a tiny apple, and a satsuma for breakfast yesterday, I felt a microscopic bit of extra energy after work, and very slightly less eager to eat when I got home last night. I went home via Tesco, and was unusually selective in what I bought. Dinner was garden peas, salmon, and some mini plum tomatoes, and would have been wonderfully healthy until I dumped the one bad thing on it I had bought from Tesco - grated extra mature cheddar cheese. I might have got away with it if I hadn't also done the same with a bowl of tomato and prawn soup. Oh, and while I'm confessing, I also bought some jaffa cakes and ate far too many of those last night as well.

 Now I don't know if it was the extra influx of fruit (noting I also had a lot of fruit the day before yesterday as well), or if it was something to do with the hairy bacon I had the night before, but by jingo did I have to go to the toilet last night !! While there are two possible explanations for that, I can't explain why, after seeming to do enough for a whole week, I still made my usual visits to the toilet this morning in a perfectly normal fashion. Maybe I do feel a little slimmer this morning, although I am a little surprised that I am not actually concave !

 I managed to wash my hair last night, but I still couldn't raise the enthusiasm to do any laundry. Maybe I'll finally get around to it Saturday afternoon, or Sunday. There is also a good chance that I'll be doing some on Monday and/or Tuesday. On Monday I think I am going to enter the lion's den, and get my 'flu jab. I just hope that I am feeling reasonably well when I go. The one place I don't want to be is at a doctors surgery when I am feeling ill - all they do is tell you how ill you are, and that is so depressing !

 Today brings many reasons to feel good. It's Friday for one thing, and Fridays are always good. Tonight brings a special treat because Chain are playing in the Catford Ram. It's a nice early start, and finish - about 6pm to 9pm - and it suddenly occurs to me that there is a good Chance that Winter Warmer will be available tonight. It's not a patch on it's former glory, and the high sugar content is regretable, but several pints of it should keep me warm on the way home. There is one other reason to feel good. I won't give details, but I have had a reply to an email I thought wouldn't get replied to, and the reply was rather encouraging.
Thursday 1st November 2012
08:17 GMT

We never got the sunshine that was promised for yesterday. There was a few very brief spells when the sun found a way through the clouds, but it far cloudier than forecast. While I waited for the train at Waterloo East, the clouds seemed so thick and heavy that it felt like they were about to fall out of the sky. However it didn't rain until after dark - which wasn't that long after I got home from work ! Even then it didn't RAIN until 1.30am this morning when it really RAINED ! I was woken up by the sound of it crashing into my windows.

 This morning it was still raining when I left to come to work. The heavy clouds gave a very gloomy commute into work. It was still almost dark when I arrived at Waterloo East station, but I could see cracks in the clouds appearing. It had stopped raining by the time I reached Earlsfield, and now the sun has come out. So far the weather has followed the forecast for today. If it continues it will be a mostly bright day with some sunshine, but still with a chance of the odd shower. It was 9.5 C when I left to come to work, and so the temperature should easily reach what was forecast for today - 10 C ! Hopefully it manage a little more than that, but with the air temperature purely at the mercy of the wind at this time of year, maybe it won't.

 Yesterday was one of those annoying days you get at work. After a couple of days of almost doing nothing, I was suddenly innundated with jobs that all had to be finished by last week (or earlier !). I don't know why, but that sort of annoyance is not the sort that makes me want to quit work. Maybe because there is a small positive aspect to it. Being busy does make the day go faster, and being bored can be a real drag. No, the next time I'll be wanting to storm out vowing never to return will be in a fortnight's time (I think). It will be the next "5S" day when the results of throwing away lots of useful stuff, and hiding wanted stuff, and generally screwing up an workable storage system will be reviewed, inspected, and all sorts of nasty things that really make my blood boil !

 Last night I got home from work feeling dis-incetisised (is that actually a word ?) to do anything. So I didn't do any of my now overdue laundry, but I did do some experimental cookery. As a result of my experiments I can state that trying to finish the half cooked bread you can buy from supermarkets etc. just does not work in a microwave oven. It just come out very hard, and very chewy. It rather spolied the bacon rolls I was trying to make last night. I was inspired to do this when I noticed that a sealed pack of bacon I had in the fridge was sporting a green furry dot on it inside the packaging. There were several possibilities. I could just throw it away, or I could cut off the furry bits, or I could die of botulism. I seem to be alive this morning, and I didn't throw the bacon away. Despite the green spot, and some furriness on a bit of the rind, the bacon didn't smell off. So I took a chance by trimming it and cooking it. I obviously didn't trim it well enough because one mouthful did have a hint of the taste of mold about it, but the rest of it tasted fine, and, as I say, I appear to be alive this morning with no signs of paralysed lungs, liver, brain, knees, or nostrils.

 I got to bed nice and early last night, and until the rain woke me up at 1.30am I slept well. After that I didn't sleep that well, but it wasn't bad , although I did wake up a lot earlier than needed. I won't try and describe a dream I had. It was far too complicated to remember, and involved people it might be rude to name. What amazed me about the dream, or perhaps dreaming in general, was how I managed to "invent" a completely fictional place. Maybe it was all pick and mix using fragments of places I know all stitched together in some random way, but the end result was a pub, set in town that had never existed before, and now the last remnants of the dream are seeping away, may never exist again.

 Today got off to a bad start when a tiny little four car train turned up at Catford Bridge instead of an 8 or 10 car train. It was not crowded when I got on, and in fact I found a bank of three empty seats, but it was not long before I was wedged in by a builder reading, or more likely looking at the pictures in The Sun, and drinking one of those foul smelling energy drinks. By the time the train arrived at London Bridge it was very, very full. In some ways I was lucky. I was near the middle of the train. The ends must have been really crush loaded as people ran from both ends of the platforms where the train should have been, and leapt for the first door they came to.

 Tonight I probably should do some laundry, and maybe I will, but there is something even more important to wash - my hair. It is pretty yucky this morning, and I need it to be clean and bouncy for tomorrow night when Chain are playing in The Catford Ram. Fortunately the next Red Dwarf X is on tonight, and staying up late for that will give my hair time to dry. The timing couldn't be better :-)