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mad-ass chilli company
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of October 2012

Wednesday 31st October 2012
07:49 GMT

 
The return of the sun was very welcome yesterday. While the air remained cold, the sunshine felt very warm. By mid afternoon the best of the sun had finished, but it did try most valiantly to put in an appearance as I made my way home from work. This morning started with a little bit of mistyness, and the temperature just passed the boundary into chilly at 7.5 C. The cloud was very broken, and I expected to see the the sun break through several times on my way into work, but I don't think it actually managed it. Since then the sky has gone very grey, and a shower could be immenent. Later on the sun could be back, and that will drive the temperature up to an almost, but not really, comfortable 13 or 14 C - or so the BBC's web site weather forecast says.

 I felt very weary as I walked to the station after work last night, or maybe I just felt heavy and lumbering. After working here for 5 years now (or thereabouts) I still cannot reconcile the fact that it always seems an uphill struggle to walk to the station, and yet I am sure that the station entrance is no more than a couple of feet higher than the exit from work. It is such a gentle rise that it is just not obvious to see, and yet I find it easy to feel. In the other direction, from the station to work, there is hardly any sensation at all of walking downhill. Anyway, it was a relief to get on the train and start heading towards home.

 It was still almost light when I got home, and that's a reason to be cheerful, but only just, and only in theory ! In reality it was sufficiently dim that I considered the day to be over, and that I couldn't be bothered to do some laundry. The laundry was not essential. Far from it in fact, but even I, in my lazy ways, know that it is better not to let it build up. So I cooked some dinner. Ate that dinner. Watched the news on TV, and then I went up to my bedroom. I did a few things on my PC, and then jumped into bed and did some reading before going to sleep.

 It wasn't early like it should have been when I went to sleep, but at least it was on time - about 9pm. I woke once or twice during the night. On one of those occasions I noticed my phone was flashing to say I had a couple of emails, but I have no idea what time that was even though I did grab the phone and read those emails. After what feels like was a good nights sleep, I awoke this morning at about the right time - 45 minutes before my alarm was due to go off at 5am. That extra time made getting ready for work so much more relaxing that the rush of the two previous mornings. It was so relaxed that I wanted to go back to bed again instead of coming to work !

 Tonight I think I'm going straight home from work, but one day in the not too distant future I think I am going to go home via Croydon again. Last night I had confirmation that the Mad-Ass chilli sauce stall at Surrey Street market should normally be open until 4.30pm, and only fully packed up by 5pm. Maybe it was just beginners luck, but last time I made it there by 4.30pm (possibly a minute or two before even that). On that occasion I think someone was sick, and it didn't open all day, but I haven't had that confirmed. The next time I go I am hoping to get lashings of assorted chilli based sauces !!

 It seems I am probably a chilli addict. For several months now I have felt myself compelled to buy a roll, or something similar, on my way into work. Superficially it is because I feel hungry, and want some breakfast. Usually I can fight that, but the realistation came to me that the real reason I buy that roll, and I do carefully select them to be suitable for the purpose, is so I can pour chilli sauce in it. It is that early morning roll, plus other stuff I may stuff into it (don't ask), that is probably responsible for making my walk from work to the station feel like such hard work. Times when it is cold, dark, and sometimes wet, like now, are not an ideal time to force yourself to both go hungry and go cold turkey, but somehow I think it has to be done. I did make a half hearted start this morning. I just bought a spicy chicken and cabbage wrap type thing, and I didn't stuff it with anything extra apart from "Hot Pepper Sauce". I also bought a pack of fruit that really should have been a substitute for a roll, and maybe will be tomorrow.
Tuesday 30th October 2012
07:52 GMT

 
Yesterday turned out very similar to expected. There was one brief flash of sunshine, but the rest of the day was various shades of grey (maybe 50 of them), and there was some drizzle. Most of the drizzle was in the evening, but I did notice the cars had been sprinkled with rain at some time when I went out into the yard around lunchtime. Today has started off rather clear, There are a few white streaky clouds in the sky, and there may have been a lot more before sunrise because the temperature only dropped to 9 C this morning. Much of today is forecast to be sunny, but it seems it won't left the temperature by more than a degree or two. The clouds return after dark, and hopefully that will keep what little warmth there is in, and the morning will be frost free.

 After work I met friend Kevin at Waterloo station to go and meet some of our old school friends.The pub they had chosen was just a short walk from Waterloo station, and had rather a good selection of ales available. My favourite was "Pressed Rat And Warthog" - obviously named after the Cream song - and brewed by the Triple F brewing company in Hampshire.
Pressed Rat And Warthog

This pump handle label, and many others can be downloaded in high resolution from the brewery's website downloads page;
http://www.triplefff.com/downloads.html

Kevin and I were in the pub for getting on for an hour before the first of our old school friends arrived. That was sort of handy because the beer softened the shock, if shock is actually the right word, with meeting up with people you hadn't seen in 40 years.

 I was still very unsure if it was going to be very boring, or very interesting. It should have been predictable that it would start interesting and start getting boring towards the end. Fortunately I decided to leave before it became boring, and so there is scope for another meeting further down the line.

 My actual reasons for leaving were threefold, but mostly around the fact that it was getting noisy in the pub. As I raised my voice to overcome the noise it was irritating my throat, and I was coughing more, and I was also hearing less and less of what was being said. The final reason was that after four and a half pints of ale, a couple of them quite strong ones, drunk on an empty stomach, I was feeling nicely mellow, and wanted to stop there before I became wobbly.

 So I said my goodbyes to all, including Kevin who had far more to say than I did, and went out into the damp drizzly backstreets of Waterloo - and almost got lost ! I didn't actually get lost, but I did take a different turning, and came out onto the main road in a different place. It is feasible that I had actually found a quicker route, but even if quicker or longer, there would only be a few yards in it.
Catford Boys School "boys"
 I did take one picture of a few of the guys, but don't ask me to name them. Throughout the whole evening I was confused as to who was who - except for Ronny Ball who I recognised fairly easily, and who I think recognised me almost instantly when he first arrived.

 I didn't have to wait too long for a train at Waterloo East station - which was good. The thing that was bad was that it was only a 6 car train, and 7.20pm, when I caught the train, is still in the middle of the rush hour in London. The train wasn't totally packed, but it was only luck that got me a seat, and there were plenty of people standing through the train.

 I arrived home cold and hungry, and immeadiately shoved some stuff in the microwave. In a short time I had dinner part 1, and several parts followed in due course. The beer hadn't given me a raging hunger that was hard to control, and it also, together with the change inthe clocks, caused me to lose all track of time.......or maybe I knew what the time was, but didn't want to believe it. I ended up going to bed far latter than I should have, but I did sleep well. So well that after briefly waking up at what would ahve been 4am BST, the time I was often waking up prior to the clocks changing, I slept right through until my alarm woke me at 5am GMT.

 It seems like a paradox when after we are, as many are wont to say, given an extra hour in bed when we change to GMT, I find myself struggling to get myself ready on time to catch my usual train to work. Both yesterday, and this morning, I came very close to missing that train. The train that follows 11 minute later goes to Cannon Street station, and that means changing trains at London Bridge, and the train that follows that, 20 minutes later, is the last train that can get me to work without being late. Being a little late is no problem with the semi-official flexi-time we use, but tapping my Oyster Card in at the station after 6.30am means paying peak rate fares, and that hurts !!!!
Monday 29th October 2012
07:58 GMT

 
It was 10.5 C at 4.30pm yesterday, and it was overcast, but not raining. It seems like nothing happened overnight because that is pretty much how I found the weather when I left to come to work this morning. I can see some very small gaps in the cloud, and in theory the sun could shine through one of them for a few moments at anytime, but the forecast for today is for the temperature to be almost constant, and for a couple of outbreaks of drizzle. The rest of the time it is just going to be grey, grey, grey and more grey.

 I had already had a fairly generous brunch very late yesterday morning. So when it came to dinner I thought I had better be a bit careful. To that end I had a couple of cans of soup. They tasted fine, and for a short time I felt like I had enough, but it didn't last. Looking in the fridge I saw the pork and pickle mini pies that I had originally bought to line my stomach before going to the gig on Saturday. Straight out of the fridge they taste cold and greasy. So I thought I would put them in the microwave for 90 seconds. That made them slightly hot, and ruined whatever texture they have when served at room temperature. It seems that room temperature is the only temperature to serve them at, although I have to confess that they are still not exactly wonderful even then. I don't really know why I buy them, except that it feels like their greasiness would help protect my stomach from an onslaught of beer, and it probably does.

 I had visions of being in bed exceptionally early last night, but I noticed that the BBC's "Countryfile" was on straight after the news at what I think is the unusually early time of 6.30pm. So I watched that for an hour before going up to my bedroom. Before getting into bed I wrote a couple of brief emails, and sent them off. Then I brushed my teeth and got into bed. I had intended to read for a short while, but I didn't feel terribly sleepy then, and that short while turned into a long while. It didn't help that I got to the "sweet" section of the book I am reading (Nemesis by Isaac Asimov). All the various threads of the story were pulling together, and I had to keep reading.

 Without a modicum of discipline I could have carried on reading until I had finished the book, but I managed to force myself to stop about 100 pages from the end of the 900 page book. Even so, it was 10pm when I put the book down (strictly speaking it was an ebook I was reading on my mobile phone), turned over, and tried to get to sleep. Sleep didn't come easy even then, but eventually I fell asleep, and in a way I probably slept quite well.

 I can't remember if it was part of a dream, or if it was a dream that spilled over into reality, or even if I was awake when certain thoughts came to me. It concerned the idea that tonight I will almost certainly, whether it be good or bad, be meeting up with some of my classmates from over 40 years ago. We went to Catford Boys school, but there was also a Catford Girls school a mile, and maybe a half away. I never had anything to do with the place. At 15 going on 16 I was still halfway between thinking girls were very interesting, but also some alien species. Such were the perils of an all boys school. I found myself wondering if any of the guys I'll meet tonight ever used to hang around at the girls school gates.

 What is practically certain is that those thoughts were tied into a convoluted dream I had. Whether the dream, or the thoughts came first is a complete unknown. All I can remember of the dream was that I was in Dulwich (not that it actually looked like any part of Dulwich I know), and I was buying food and eating it. At the same time I was anxious to get back to Catford to meet up with Kevin because we were going to Southend to see the girls sunbathing, possibly nude, on a sand bar  (that doesn't actually exist, and Southend isn't the bay that I was picturing in my dream mind). My last thoughts in the dream was that time was passing too quickly, and before we had a wasted journey Kevin, if I could get hold of him, should check the state of the tides. If the tide was in, the sandbar would be covered, and there would be no sunbathers to letch over !

 I have to confess that I was a little surprised to find that there were the first hints of daylight in the sky when I left home this morning. I had assumed that the change from BST to GMT would not have made that much difference. It was practically light when I got on the train, and my whole journey to work was done in daylight. Of course it won't last long, and soon I'll be arriving at work in the dark again. That doesn't bother me much because I know that it will soon be light, but going home still disturbs me. I noted that at 4.30pm is was so dull outside that I drew the curtains. Fifteen minutes after that it was practically dark outside, and that's the time I tend to get home from work. So for a while much of my journey home from work will be done in daylight, but by tomorrow (because I am not going straight home tonight) I'll be arriving home in the dark. For me that will feel like the day is over, and that it is not worth doing any more than eat and sleep. I can completely empathise with hedgehogs who hibernate through the winter. If only I could do the same.
Sunday 28th October 2012
15:43 GMT

 
The cold rain that started to fall yesterday afternoon eventually stopped mid evening. From then on it was dry, but at only 3 or 4 C, it felt mighty cold. When I looked out my window an hour or two before sunrise there appeared to be some frost on the cars, but my thermometer was still saying it was 3.3 C outside. Apart from a couple of brief sunny interludes it has been a very grey day, and if it hasn't actually rained, it is still a very damp sort of day. Currently the temperature is 10.5 C, and that is probably the best we can expect for today. Tomorrow is forecast to be similar, but maybe with added rain.

 A few hours after I wrote yesterday I began to feel a bit more lively, and a little less bloated. When it came to getting dressed I found that getting into my red jeans was not a struggle at all. I think I have finally broken them in, If I ever manage to lose an inch around my waist, something that would happen a lot easier next spring, I think those jeans will fit really well. So I dressed up in a bright red shirt, my red jeans, and red trainers. I even had red underpants on. Regretably I could not find any red socks.

 At 6pm I was delighted to receieve a text message asking if I fancied a lift to the pub. That would have been welcome at any time, but with it still drizzling outside, it was a real blessing. Usually I would have arranged to meet Jo and Chris (who had offered the lift) on the main road, but they had obviously read my mind, realised my distaste of walking even up the road in icy drizzle, and specifically stated that they would pick me up outside my house. I just love those two !

 The line up for the gig was Chris and Jo as usual, plus Matt on bass, Guy on drums, and special guest keyboard player Martin. I'm not sure of Martin's surname, but I do know he is not a regular member of any band, but is a regular at jam nights at a pub whose name escapes me for the moment. I think it is probably the pub opposite, or near Bromley North station.
Chain in fancy dress for Halloween
Here's the band in fancy dress for the occasion. From left to right;
Chris Mayer, Guy Harris, Jo Corteen, Matt Hemsley, and special guest keyboard player Martin.

Many others were in fancy dress too !
Halloween at The British Oak pub in Blackheath
witches at The British Oak pub in Blackheath
Fancy dress, and not so fancy dress
On the left, in very fancy dress is Matt, while on the right is some bloke just dressed in red !

 It was, on the whole, a jolly good fun time. Chain valiantly attempted some novel spooky songs, and mostly pulled them off OK. Hannah did a guest spot at the microphone, but I wasn't terribly impressed with it. There were two problems. First it was a song I've never heard before, and second her microphone quality was not very good. usually she has a good clear voice, but it sounded sort of mumbled to me. Martin made a very good contribution to the song Smoke On The Water, but maybe not quite as flamboyantly as Dave Griffiths would have done.


 One of the less pleasant events of the evening was when Andy, one of Chris' workmates, got so drunk he collapsed on the way to the toilet. A couple of his mates helped pick him up, and take him into the toilet where I am guessing a some unpleasantness took place. Faced with the condition he was in, I gave up my place in Chris and Jo's "tour bus" (as it is jokingly known) so that they could take deliver Andy back home. Chris arranged for Matt to drop off kevin and myself back in Catford. He seemed very happy with that idea, and actually delighted when he discovered that Catford has a drive in McDonalds that stays open very late.

 While Matt queued for his burger, Kevin and I stood and discussed the recent email I got from one of my old classmates. I had forwarded the two letters received to Kevin to see what he thought of them. I suppose I am not that surprised that Kevin is quite keen to go along to their next meeting tomorrow night. I am a lot less keen, but I think Kevin felt the need to strongly encourage me to go so that he wouldn't have to go alone. Kevin could probably have spent all night (or morning as it technically was at the time) persuading me, but I was cooling off rapidly in the cold night air, and also rather keen to get home and use my toilet. So I reduced my stance from unlikely to possible, and we left it at that. I think it is possible that I will go, but I foresee myself being fairly bored after 30 - 40 minutes, and eventually leaving them to gabble on without me.

 The clocks changing from BST to GMT, and the theoretical extra hour in bed meant little to me last night, and this morning. I don't know what time I went to bed, and I'm not entirely sure what time I got up again. What I do know is that it is going to feel like that I am staying an extra hour at work tomorrow, and that even if I go straight home, some of my journey will be done after the sun sets, and I'll be arriving home after dark. That really pisses me off because it feels like the day will be over when I get home.

 So far today I've hand washed 5 shirts, edited a few pictures, and edited (in the simplest fashion) one video. Apart from that I have done nothing, and yet time seems to have raced by. It now just gome 4.30pm, and with the very overcast sky, it feels almost like night already. I reckon that unless something happens to grab my attention, I'll be having some dinner soon, and then not long after that I'll be in bed reading prior to going to sleep. The chances are that I'll be awake by 4am, in "old money", or 3am by the new, modern, GMT standard. Then I can have a long a vicious argument with myself for a couple of hours arguing how GMT is the only natural standard time that should ever be used throughout the empire and colonies, all year round, but that I really hate it for how it reacts with my working hours to bring unbridled misery !
Saturday 27th October 2012
15:16 BST

 
The idea that yesterday might be bright and sunny was a bit optimistic. The reality was that as well as a bit of sunshine there was some drizzle from a dull sky, as well as the start of the icy wind that has made today so cold. Just before sunrise I noted my outside thermometer reading just 2.4 C. It wasn't quite low enough for a frost, but came incredibly close to one. The morning was sunny, and for a time the sky was clear blue. As the morning came to a close the sky clouded over, and I did wonder if it might even snow. With the temperature now up at 6.7 C it is not really cold enough for snow, but I don't think I would have liked being out in the icy drizzle that is currently falling.

 I went home via Tesco after work, as I suggested I would yesterday morning. I didn't buy that much, but amongst the items I bought were some hot cooked chicken, and a one litre bottle of Whyte And Mackay whiskey. The former, in conjunction with a few other things, got me feeling rather stuffed, and the latter made me succomb to my anti-alcoholism. I spent 16 on that bottle of whiskey (it was on special offer) and I totally forgot to even open it ! Bah !!!!

 Although I felt exhausted after a week at work, and more so after a bad nights sleep on Thursday night, I didn't feel in any major rush to go to bed last night. I can't remember when I went to bed, and what time I fell asleep, but I think I was probably fast asleep sometime around 11pm. I slept solidly until I woke up from a dream at 1.30am. In the dream I had a back door to my bedroom that lead out to a very large, very private garden. I dreamed I had woken up on a warm summers morning, and not bothering to put on any clothes, I went out and sat on a large rock while breathing in the fresh air, and feeling the warmth of the morning sun on my skin. In a short while I felt the need to have a pee, and being lazy I decided to "water a bush" instead of going back in to the toilet. As I selected a bush a little voice in my head suggested I woke up ! It was good advice because in the real world I really did need a pee. Fifteen minutes later, perhaps sooner, I was fast asleep again having done the necessary.

 I didn't sleep all that well after that, and at 4.30am I got out of bed to turn on my PC so I could check my email, and "surf the net". I may have done that for a couple of hours before going back to bed. It was one of those occasions when it felt like I wouldn't get back to sleep, but then suddenly realising that it was gone 9am.  I had great plans for today, and I started off quite well.

 I had a shower, and then washed a big heavy towel. I was going to do some shirts as well, but the towel knackered me. I hung the towel on a cloths horse in the garden. I wasn't really expecting it to dry that well in the cold air, but at least it could drip away without getting indoors wet. Unfortunately the wind was just strong enough to blow it over twice ! I think I managed to flick off some of the grit it picked up before moving it to in front of the fan heater in the living room.

 The real downfall to doing lots of stuff today was that the next thing I did was to go to do my real shopping in Aldi. I bought lots of nice stuff from there, and it included some Aberdeen angus beefburgers (on special offer) and  some ready made mashed potato. I had those two things for a very later breakfast/early lunch, and "seasoned" them with some Mad-Ass chilli sauces - including the ferociously hot Dare Ya!. Maybe it was the after burn of the chilli sauce, but I still felt like eating after I had finished the burgers. I ate enough more to feel very stuffed, and that sort of brought my active day to a temporary end.

 I watched some TV for a while. It was almost confusing watching two old editions of Time Team at the same time. One was on TV channel "Yesterday" and the other on "Pick TV".  It was highly unusual in this day and age, but their advert schedules did not overlap. So I would watch one until the adverts came on, and then switch over to the other until it's adverts came on. After over an hour of that I decided to lay down and do some reading.

 I didn't get to read that much before I felt my eyes beginning to close. I was reading an ebook on my mobile phone, and within a few minutes of putting it down I was fast asleep. I think I slept for well over an hour, and I only woke up because the sun had found a gap in the clouds and was shining through my bedroom window like an arc lamp. When I woke up I felt really horrible. My gut still felt bloated, and other bits of me ached. I had to force myself to sit down and write this in an attempt to throw off the bonds, and consequences of sleep.

 I do feel a bit better now, but I have no idea how I am going to cram myself into my too tight red jeans for the Halloween special gig tonight. It is one gig where I really, really have to go or regret it forever, but I really don't feel like dressing up and going out right now. There are three and a bit hours before I have to go out, and I hope I feel better by then.

 In other news, I've been contacted by an old class mate from 40 years ago (Hi David). I am unsure, but I think he may have found me here on this blog somehow. The email address he used is certainly the one on my contact page. It seems there is now a small network of Catford old boys who meet for a drink every now and then. I was sent a picture of 6 or 7 faces around a table in a pub, and I didn't recognise a single person. A second email added names to the faces, and although I recognised the names (just about in some cases) I still couldn't recognise those faces, nor could I remember them as 15 - 16 year olds. Apart from a few specific memories of school, everything else is just a blur. It is possible that david has passed my web address around, so Hi to all who remember me, but please forgive me for not remembering most of you. Maybe I'll meet some of you in a pub one day, but I am trying to decide whether meeting a bunch of what in some respects are close to strangers would be very boring or very fascinating. Like many things in life, it would probably be a mixture of both.
Friday 26th October 2012
07:56 BST

 
The weather was pretty horrible yesterday. For much of the morning, and maybe into early afternoon, there was intermittent drizzle come from a dull grey sky. Perhaps the only saving grace was that it wasn't that cold, but now that's about to change. It was only 9.6 C on my outside thermometer when I left to come to work, and there was some fine misty rain to add to the general winteryness of it. We are going to see dull grey skies all day today, and the temperature is not really going to rise. By sunset the temperature will start to fall, and tomorrow will almost certainly start with a bad frost. On the plus side it is forecast to be bright and sunny for most of the day, but an icy wind coming straight from the arctic will keep the temperature in single figures.

 It is sometimes possible to have adventure and excitement on a working day..........if you stretch the definitions far enough. After I had finished work yesterday I went exploring. I was sure the odds were stacked against it, but I thought I would see if the Mad-Ass chilli sauce company market stall was still open in Croydon. Getting there from work was one of those journeys that is simple to describe, but tedious to undergo.

 I went to Earlsfield station as normal, but travelled one stop to Wimbledon instead of towards Waterloo. At Wimbledon it is just a quick up-and-over the footbridge to the platform served by The Croydon Tramlink. At Earlsfield I only had to wait no time at all for a train, and at Wimbledon I only had to wait a minute or two for the tram to depart. The Croydon trams are undoubtably a handy way to travel, but I find travelling on them to be a right royal pain in the posterior - literally ! The suspension is very hard, and the seats are very hard too. To make matters worse they always travel with a sort of grinding sound that to my ear sounds like metal bearings wearing away very fast.

 Just to add to my discomfort, the tram was full of noisy schoolkids shouting and swearing in some strange multicultural ethnic language. Just one more moan about trams before I continue the narrative: Why can't they be driven smoothly ? The mainline trains I usually commute on accelerate and brake very smoothly, but trams jerk around like crazy. It's not just the case that they accelerate and brake a lot quicker than usual trains, but that the actual process of accelerating and braking is not smooth. Maybe all the tram drivers have Parkinsons disease, and they can't help but shaking the controller as they drive.

 It takes close on half a boring hour for the tram to travel from Wimbledon to the Centrale tram stop. From the tram stop it takes 5 or 6 minutes to amble along to the beginning of Surrey Street market in Croydon, and then maybe 4 or 5 minutes to walk to the end of the street hoping to spot the Mad-Ass chillis sauce stall. Unfortunately my fears proved to be correct, and they must have closed up earlier in the afternoon. It was almost a wasted journey, but at least I know where I am going should I try again sometime.

 My luck with not having to wait for trains and trams continued when I got back to Centrale tram stop. I think it was a two minute wait until a tram arrived going to Elmers End station. I'm not sure how long that took, but it may well have been close to another 30 minutes. The time was extended when the tram broke down halfway there. It was not a mechanical failure but a software failure. We sat there for 5, maybe even 10 minutes until the driver had to completely power down the tram, and do a cold start. It worked, and we arrived at Elmers End station 4 minutes before a train was due towards Catford.

 I was surprised that I arrived home only about 25 - 30 minutes later than I usually do. That suggests that going home via Wimbledon and Elmers End would almost be a viable route. When you consider that I broke my journey for 15 minutes, or more, to visit the market, and then add on a delay of 10 minutes when the tram broke down, it almost accounts for the time I was late getting home. Without those delays I could arrive 20 minutes earlier at Elmers End, and get home at almost the same time as usual, but there is a gigantic hole in that argument. Even if I arrived at Elmers End 20 minutes earlier I might then have to wait to get the same train as I did last night. I think that there are still 4 trains an hour from Elmers End at that time of day, but they are not equally spaced around the clock, and the worst case scenario would be something in the order of a 20 minute wait after a missd train.

 I felt rather knackered when I arrived home last night. I had wanted to do the laundry I mentioned yesterday, but I just could not raise the enthusiasm to do it even though I had lots of time available. I had extra time because I stayed up late (for me) to watch the latest episode of Red Dwarf on Dave. Last nights effort seemed slightly contrived, but was still very enjoyable. Just for a change I watched on my PC in my bedroom so I could jump into bed the moment it finished. Before it started I was really looking forward to getting to sleep, but at 9.40pm, when I got into bed, I was suddenly feeling a lot less tired. That, and a bit of a tickly throat, kept me awake for a good hour. Even when I did get to sleep I didn't sleep well.

 I think it was sometime around 1am that I woke up from a dream that featured a very novel twist on reality. In the dream I met up with my late friend Nigel. He had a small baby with him in a carry cot, and I said I noticed he was carrying his lunch with him. He replied that no, he wasn't going to eat the baby for lunch because it was his baby, and by his he meant His with a capital H ! Apparently he lied about dying 3 or 4 years back because he was embarrassed to be suffering from a strange anomaly to his anatomy, and had became pregnant ! Back in real life, Nigel and I would often share a macabre sense of humour, and the idea of eating babies was probably inspired by Monty Python for me.
 I don't know where Nigel got his macabre sense of humour - or was it a sense of humour ? A few years prior to his death he was diagnosed as suffering from schitzophrenia, and was heavily, maybe far too heavily, sedated and medicated to stop him eating people :-) It was very probably the medication that caused his death from, allegedly, low blood pressure.

 This morning, after waking up quite a few times more in the night, I don't feel all that bright. Thank goodness it's Friday. I am not seeing anyone tomorrow until the evening, and so I can spend all morning in bed if I want to. Of course to do that I'll need to get some shopping in tonight, but I was going to anyway. The importatnt thing is to get on sparkling form for tomorrow night. It's halloween party night at The British Oak in Blackheath, and of course Chain will be playing there. Last year was a wonderful, and I look forward to seeing if Matt goes over the top with makeup and stuff like he did last year.
Matt - a devil on the bass guitar
 Just for a change I am going to slightly dress up for the occasion, but only very slightly. Maybe on Sunday I'll have picture or two to show.
Thursday 25th October 2012
08:41 BST

 
I think I was a little harsh when I suggested what the weather would be like yesterday. By the afternoon, much to my surprise, the sun started to break through the misty clouds. By the time I left work to go home it was bright and sunny in a slightly hazy way. I think the temperature rose to a very comfortable 16 or 17 C. This morning the temperature I measured was 14 C, or one degree higher than the BBC's forecast. Unfortunately it has gone back to being very overcast with occasional light drizzle. It is still so dull outside that all the lights are still on in the yard here. The forecast suggests it could be like this almost all day. Late tonight will see a change by way of the temperature plummetting. Tomorrow morning could see a sharp frost, and the temperature will stay in single figures until after the weekend.

 Sometime I make an effort to make this blog exciting, but it is hard work when most of the time nothing exciting happens, and the mundane has to substitute for the whizz bang. A few mundane things happened last night that were different to many mundane weekday nights. Doing laundry sounds ultra mundane, but I usually mention it because, in my slightly warped personal opinion, it is often a heroic action.

 It is possible that you who are reading this are new to my writing, or have simply forgot events from the past. To recap - at the start of the year my washing machine blew up. For reasons that are too complex to explain right now, I have yet to repair it. So I have to do all my laundry by hand. Last night I washed three long sleeve shirts and some pairs of socks. That was not hard to do, but tonight I think I will be washing a medium sized towel. If you have never tried it before you would not believe how heavy such a towel can be when saturated with water. If you tried it you might agree it is a heroic act to wash such a towel using no more than a pair of rubber gloves, three washing up bowls, some liquid detergent, and copious amounts of hot water with all the work done leaning over the bath.

 As I say, washing a few shirts is easy by comparison, but leaning over the bath as you wash, wring out (by hand, obviously), rinse, wring out, rinse, wring out (repeat until the water runs mostly clear), soak in fabric conditioner, wring out, take deep breath, and relax, does take it's toll on your back. So it was also quite heroic that a little while later I washed my hair - which I also do by leaning over the bath (even when the next thing I do is have a shower).

 Those are the heroic acts I performed last night.......unless you count trying some more of Dave the drummer and bass guitarists Mad-Ass chilli sauces ! The star of last nights tasting was "Eve's Downfall". Their website describes it as very hot (9/10), but I found it almost mild, but very tasty. If I remember at the right time, it's one I will definitely be getting a big bottle of. I must find time to get over to Croydon's Surrey Street market to see Dave's stall, and spend some money there, but I fear it won't be for a few weeks yet.
Eve's downfall
Wednesday 24th October 2012
07:54 BST

 
In the Superman comics of old, and maybe in more modern Superman media, there was a place that served as a punishment for Lex Luther if my memory is correct. That place was called the twilight zone, and I was in that place yesterday (as was everybody in London, and probably further afield). Everything was flat and grey - both visually and temperature wise. There was no sensation of anything that didn't actually come up to you and bite you on the arse.

 I fear today could be similar. The sun should have risen by now, and yet there is no sign of sunlight. The grey and misty sky is now grey instead of black and starless. It's all rather depressing. The only thing out of the ordinary is that it was 15 C when I left home to come to work. That is closer to warm than I would have expected. Apparently it will be all change on Friday. If the forecast is correct there will be icy winds blasting down from the arctic, and the maximum day time temperature could be as little as 8 C. It gets worse.

 This coming weekend the clocks change from BST to GMT. I think these means that for a week or two I'll see some daylight on my way into work. That's good, even if it only lasts a short while. The thing I am really not looking forward to is more and more of my journey home from work being in darkness. Nothing saps any joy from the soul more than the day finishing before you are even home from work.

 There was still some day left when I got home from work last night, and that was after detouring on my way home. First of all I called into The London And Rye pub for just one pint with Kevin who had texted me earlier to say he was in there. After my one pint I went home via the 99p shop where I bought some stuff that was very low in calories, and some that was very high ! The low in calories included stuff like shower gel, and the high is best not talked about.

 When I arrived home I didn't feel terribly motivated to do the laundry that I wanted to do, and instead of tackling that I started cooking my dinner. Dinner was probably fairly healthy considering it was far too lean grilled pork chops with steamed broccoli and leeks. Of course any health benefits from suc a meal were instantly negated when I also ate some of the stuff from the 99p shop that shall remain nameless (mainly because I can't remember the name of the high sugar and fat content stuff that was oh so nice !).

 I finished dinner just before the weather forecast for London came on TV, and just in time for my mate Lee to phone me and babble on through the weather forecast, and most of The Simpsons being shown on Chan 4+1. Having gleaned no information from the weather forecast, and had any enjoyment of The Simpsons ruined, I initially looked forward to half an hours entertainment from the second half of Star Trek TNG on Pick TV, but then somehow duty called, and I turned off the TV and went to do some laundry.

 I only washed half the shirts I could have done, but all the underwear. Maybe I'll finish the rest tonight. One of the shirts I washed last night was from a couple of new shirts I received from an online order recently. Today I am wearing another brand new one, and I am not keen on it. It's not my favourite colour, but I wanted a bright grass green shirt - just to be different. The best I could find from my usual online supplier was described as green, and the picture on the website made it looked a bit faded. I would describe the colour of the real thing as peppermint. It is a very pale green heading towards turquoise. I hate it, but I'm still wearing it because presumably someone, somewhere, thinks it is an OK colour.

 I was a little late getting to bed last night, but I slept well for a change, although I did wake at some time in the very early hours feeling like I was choking on my pillow. Sleeping well, and keeping my room warm at night seems to be working well to heal my cold ravaged body. This morning I was only coughing and spluttering for 72 hours, instead of 6 days before I was ready to take a shower. I think that by the time summer arrives to cure my ravaged lungs, throat and nose with sunshine they might already be cured if I make the same progress I've made recently.
Tuesday 23rd October 2012
07:52 BST

 
Yesterday was another day that was really rather unpleasant. In varying degrees it was misty all day long, and I can't recall a single trace of the sun showing. From time to time there was some very light drizzle - often so light as to be indistinguishable from the damp mist. The only saving grace is that the temperature somhow rose to almost 17 C, although it was wasted on such an otherwise poor day. I fear today will be very similar to yesterday, but a bit cooler.

 At times I didn't feel too bad at work, and at other times I found myself drifting off to sleep. I kept my room very warm for most of the day, and as well as contributing to my sleepiness, it also helped to reverse the relapse into coughing and spluttering that restarted after getting cold and damp a few times over the weekend. It seemed to work, and last night I was able to get to sleep, and mostly stay asleep with no trouble. I feel better for it this morning.

 It was a joy when work finished yesterday, and I was able to go home. Had it been a brighter day I may have found the enthusiasm to do some well overdue laundry. I seem to have quite a big pile of shirts waiting to be washed now, and tonight I am going to have to grit my teeth and make a start on them. Apart from not having the enthusiasm last night, I also had a bit of a distraction. It started when I emailed this photo to my friend Patricia in Argentina......
Chris Mayer and Bill Kelsey
 In a surprisingly short time she had sent a most surprising reply - part of which read - "Seriously, seriously, seriously this is the best picture you have ...it is probably the combination of the backlight and the wavy hair, your wrinkles around your eyes make you look very Sean Connerish, the 2 day beard, excellent photo, put it on your profile and you will soon get hit by loads of ladies!!!" I've never been compared to Sean Connery before, and I doubt I ever will again, but what a boost to the ego !!

 Maybe I should cultivate the action man look, but I reckon I would probably be dead before I got there. By pure coincidence I did cook myself a very healthy meal last night. It was grilled chicken, grilled chillis, and steamed brocolli and leek. It was close to being completely fat free, and very low in carbohydrates. If I hadn't had some other junk food, I might even have lost an ounce or two. If I could find the inspiration to survive on nothing but similar meals, as I have done in the past, I could get very fit, and into smaller jeans. The trouble is that there is no inspiration during these autumn and winter days. Ideally I need someone to take me under their wing and provide better inspiration than even summer weather. Now do I know any women who are up to the task ? Actually I can think of several women who could inspire me if only it was possible for a drastic change in relationships.
Monday 22nd October 2012
07:59 BST

 
On the whole, and without prejudice, taking all factors into consideration, and rounding up the results to the nearest rational number, I would give the weather a 4 out of 10. It was incredibly uninspiring. It wasn't cold enough to merit a mention, and the occasional drizzle was hardly memorable. Basically it was cool and dull, dull, dull grey all day. Today has started off rather differently, and some forecasts suggest it could end up very differently. It's probably about 13 C this morning, and it's very misty.

 So far this follows the forecast on the BBC's web site. If that continues to be right the mist will turn to fog before it lifts, and will return as mist or fog around sun set. During the day there will not be a hint of sunshine all day, and there will be some drizzle towards the end of the morning. The temperature will remain almost constant through the day.

 An alternative forecast comes from the pages of The Metro this morning. It's not that specific about what areas of the country it refers to, but they think that warm air sweeping in from north Africa will send the temperature soaring to 20 C by the end of the day. They do acknowledge that there could be some rain, and when it falls it could be contaminated with red dust from the Sahara desert. So expect some outbreaks of foot and mouth disease soon ! They contrast this forecast warm day with the end of the week when they say winds from the arctic will bring temperature into negative figures.

 It's strange how a day doing very little physical activity can still wear you out. I thought I was having an extremely lazy time yesterday, but on further consideration I think I was pretty busy. At least I didn't seem to have hardly any time when I became relaxed enough to either snooze or get bored. A lot of the time I was at my PC wrangling pictures and videos. One bit of video came out quite well.........

 The band is Kimera, and I recorded the video at The Oval Tavern last Saturday. I've yet to find out all their names, but the lead singer is called Jamie, and the drummer is called Dylan. Both those two have been shanghied in the past to play with Chain. Jamie certainly has a distinctive singing style, and if his singing gains a little finesse he could be quite good in the future.

 I often felt a bit hungry yesterday. In an attempt to avoid eating too much I just had soup for lunch, and by soup I mean three different flavours. I had bought a couple of containers of fancy soup from Aldi that promised much, but failed to deliver. One was Yorkshire pea, mint and apple. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good. The same was true of the tomato and Teviot cheese and stuff flavour. Even some Mad Ass chilli sauce failed to buck up that later soup. So I opened a can of cheap old Aldi tomato soup, and with the addition of some of one of the very hot chilli sauces, it was delicious.

 For what you might call supper I heated up a pack of Indian snacks. The clear plastic tray they came in was not microwave proof, but I heated those snacks up in it anyway. Fortunately it only became very soft rather than melting. It was with those snacks that I found my first disappointing chilli sauce. I think it was called "Mild Mole", and it was surprisingly bland - so bland that I could hardly taste it, let alone get any heat from it.

 I think I had a bit of a relapse yesterday. During the day my throat was sometimes a bit tickly, and my nose often became blocked. It was all very mild, and mostly ignorable during the day, but once I went to bed it became far more prominent. The tickle in my throat was tiny, but still very irritating. The closest, but entirely innaccurate, description of what it was like was to say it was like having a loose hair precariously balanced at the end of the windpipe. It wasn't really doing anything bad, but it was impossible to ignore. Eventually I was coughing so frequently that it was irritating my throat, and making things even worse.

 It was hard to get to sleep under those conditions, and it didn't help that my brain suddenly decided to start thinking of all sorts of things just when I wanted it to shut up and go to sleep. It was well past 10pm, and possibly even after 11pm before I fell asleep. I think I slept OK from then until about 4.15 this morning. I haven't slept since then, but I'll probably have several very brief snoozes while I use my PC here at work. I'm still coughing this morning, but otherwise I don't feel that bad at all. I'm probably stuck with this cough, at variable levels ranging from hardly any cough to severe hacking cough, until the warm sun of late next spring drives it from my body.
Sunday 21st October 2012
10:45 BST

 
The sunshine did not last all that long yesterday, but it stayed close to being warm until after dark. By the afternoon it had returned to being overcast, but only enough to be grey rather than gloomy. Sometime around sunset the rain started. Initially it was very light, but later it became a little heavier. Today has started out overcast. It's currently grey outside, and looking rather damp without it actually raining. It's not much, but the temperature is an almost comfortable 13 C. I would not be surprised if there was some rain today - the weather forecast suggests light rain from about 2pm onwards.

 After Friday nights gig I wasn't feeling exactly full of beans yesterday, and the prospect of travelling all the way to Croydon did not appeal. Just to make it even less appealing there were no tram services into Croydon from Elmers End station. Nevertheless, I gritted my teeth and set out with a grim determination (as they would say in the boys adventure books from my childhood). With no trams I had to endure a tedious bus journey to Forest Hill station, and when I say tedious I mean bloody annoying - at least the small troupe of incredibly noisy and excitable girls at the back of the bus were. When I got to Forest Hill station I found that someone had forgotten to touch in their Oyster card when they had travelled from some other station. This was the reception they got..........
a million, billion policemen at Forest Hill station
 I had about a 10 minute wait for the next train to East Croydon. Travelling on the train was far more comfortable than the mobile lunatic asylum that had delivered me to Forest Hill. I guess it was something like a 15 minute journey before I arrived in Scumtown Croydon. I thought that it was going to be a long walk to The Oval Tavern, but to my surprise it didn't seem that far at all. Through random chance my arrival time was just about perfect with the band on before Chain just finishing.

 The curious thing about The Oval Tavern is that it suffers from the inverse TARDIS effect - it's smaller on the inside than it looks from the outside. It made photography a bit tricky in such a cramped area, and a couple of pillars were a continuing annoyance. However I managed to get a selection of good pictures.

 Chain's performance was not up to their usual standard in my opinion. I don't think that Jamie, borrowed from Kimera, who played keyboards added much to the performance. Dylan, also borrowed from Kimera, who was the drummer was both good and bad. On songs he was unfamiliar with he sounded a bit strained, but on one song, Whole Lotta Love, he excelled himself with a brief improvised drum solo. Well maybe not totally solo, but it was his contribution to the song, possibly unexpected by the others who skillfully went along with it.

 Kimera were a bit of a surprise. Jamie as a keyboard player was uninspiring, but as a singer he really lays into it. Maybe he still has to learn some finesse, but he certainly has a style. When playing their own stuff, which presumably they had rehearsed (unlike Chain who essentially made it up as they went along) they sounded pretty good even when tackling some quite "advanced" songs such as Niel Young's "Rocking In The Free World". The one very curious anomaly was when they covered "Sweet Child Of Mine" - which was also covered by Chain. I'd swear that Dylan's drumming on that was far better than when he did it for Chain. While the drumming was better, the vocals were far worse. I think the song was outside Jamie's range. It was much nicer listening to Jo who was by the bar, and just in earshot singing along to it as well!
Kimera on stage at The Oval Tavern, Sat 20th Oct 2012
This pictures shows some of Kimera........
Kimera
....and this picture adds a guitar player.

 I'm not including any pictures of Chain playing here, but I have uploaded some to my alter ego's Myspace account. Instead I have a couple of other pictures.....
Chris Mayer from Chain standing next to some handsome looking chap.....
On the left is Chris, and on the right is some handsome looking chap (cough) !!
(Thanks Jo for taking the picture on my camera)
Jo Corteen and Chris Mayer
Here's the lovely Jo and the lovely (but not in the same way !) Chris ;-)

 It must be the season, or maybe it was the red trousers I was wearing yesterday, but I met another strange lady yesterday. Her name was Sarah, and she earlier been to a Zombie training class (or something like that). She arrived at the pub looking suitably blood stained, but had picked off most of the fake scabs on the way there.
Sarah the zombie with Jo at the bar of The Oval Tavern
 Sarah was most delightfully weird, probably quite toxic, and even in (fake) blood splattered clothes (or maybe because of it ?) very attractive. I had a couple of very entertaining interludes chatting to her in the pub beer garden. I think she implied she is a regular at The Oval Tavern, but sadly it's not a pub that I frequent (yesterday was the first time ever) becuase I'd like to see her again. I wonder what she looks like when not splattered in blood ?I wonder if she would even recognise me again when she was sober ?

 It was most definitely worth fighting off the fatigue to go to The Oval Tavern yesterday. There was good beer, great company, and great music. By itself that would have been enough, but collecting my selection of chilli sauces from Dave Etheridge (bass player and drummer, as well as purveyor of Mad Ass chilli sauces) was an added bonus, and meeting Sarah was a delight too. It felt good to finally wear my red jeans too. Those jeans are "built" to the same specification as any other of my trousers/jeans but have always seemed to be very tight. I wasn't sure if I would survive OK wearing them, but in the end I hardly noticed I was wearing them. Jo commented that they looked good, and maybe being similar to the colour of blood, they inspired Sarah to talk to me as well (it was she who made the first approach if you discount me saying "after you" as we crossed on the stairs).

 It was raining when we left the pub. I was specially privileged to be offered a lift back to West Wickham station by Jo and Chris, and that made my journey home so much easier. Jo, who was driving, has exquisite timing. We arrived at the station just as a train pulled in, and within seconds I was on my way back to Catford. It was still raining when I arrived, but it was ignorably light, and arrived home no more than very slightly damp.

 Once I had got changed I grabbed some sandwiches that I had bought from the supermarket in the morning, and tested some of those chilli sauces. There was one, described as apple and chilli ketchup that was quite mild, and went wonderfully with a BLT sandwich. I'm glad that when I came to try some "Dare Ya !" chilli sauce it was on a cheese sandwich. That sauce is described as rating 11 out of 10 for heat. Initially it had a very pleasant tangy flavour, and then my tongue caught fire !!!! The rest of that 35ml sample bottle is going to have to be treated with respect !

 I have no idea what time I went to bed last night. I don't think it was particularly late - maybe not that much after 9pm, and possibly before then. I slept solidly until waking up absurdly early - about 4.30am. I wanted to get back to sleep, but I seemed to be really bunged up. It was like being back with the cold I had the previous week. After loads of snorting, coughing and spluttering I managed to get back to a state where I could get a bit more sleep. Maybe I got and hour, or maybe I got two, but I woke up feeling dreadful like I had some sort of delayed hangover. It's taken many hours before I now feel OK.......or mostly OK, but I do feel pretty fatigued after two days of gigs. I think I'm going to have a very lazy day today !
Saturday 20th October 2012
13:06 BST

 
Yesterday was a very soggy day. It wasn't until mid to late evening before the rain stopped for any length of time, and even then the air, and everything else was cold and damp. It's all change this morning. At first it was a bit overcast and misty, but now the sun has burnt a path through the misty sky, and we have some sunshine. It's almost getting warm too, with the temperature now up to 16 C. That may be the best it will manage, but it's not bad compared with recently - and three degrees higher than the current forecast says it should be. There might be some rain after dark, and tomorrow is forecast to be cloudy again.

 Work was a mixture of frustrating and amusement yesterday. Without giving much notice, one of our departments was desperate to set up some tests to run over the weekend (and beyond). We had enough test jigs for 5 units, but they wanted to test six units at first, and then changed their mind and wanted eight units on prolonged test. So there was a lot of flapping about, and it came down to me to build another three test jigs. It is somewhat ironic that it was the same department who wanted the testing done that instigated the massive clear up recently. It seems that during that clean up some vital parts for the test rigs were thrown away, or if they weren't thrown away they were "tidied up" to a place that no one can find ! Prior to the great tidy up I could have found them instantly using "my" filing system !

 It was nice to get home again after that, but I wasn't home for all that long.......although initially I would have liked to have been. Last night saw Chain playing in The William IV pub in Elmers End. It's a nice easy place to get to by train on the way there, and easy to get home again by very late running busses. The only trouble was that I allowed myself to get too settled, and it took a lot of will power to get dressed up, and out into the rainy evening. Fortunately the promise of beer and great music was a strong enough lure last night.

 It was an enjoyable evening. It's a shame that carol was not there last night, but I expect I'll see her at some other gig later on. Last night another woman provided a few minutes of amusing diversion. I have no idea what her name was, but I do know that she lived locally, and was quite drunk. Now I don't know if I was just indulging in nostalgia for the 1960s, or if I have an undiscovered sexual fetish, but I found her shiny black PVC coat to look really nice. Shame I didn't get a picture of it. I did take many pictures, but I've only edited one so far.
Smoke on the..............stage !
This is what happens when you play Smoke On The Water in the William IV

 I think last night was my second favourite combination of musicians. Jo and Chris' guest musician were; Ravi on bass guitar, Dave Griffiths on keyboards, and Dave Etheridge on drums. Only one change would have made it better - Matt Hemsley on bass guitar instead of Ravi. I love Matt's in-your-face bass playing, although someof it could be attributed to a more powerful bass amplifier.
I shot a bit of video last night as well.


 Closing time at The William IV is midnight, and I caught a bus soon after midnight. Unlike the 208 bus from Orpington, the 54 from Elmers End Green does not hang around, and it didn't feel like it was long before I was back in Catford. I was feeling rather tired, and also rather peckish. So once again I found myself lured into the fried chicken shop for some of their absurdly spicy grilled chicken wings. I munched those while watching "Sounds Of The 70s" on BBC4. There were some great bands, singing great songs in the 1970s. It is a bit of a shame that I don't think that we ever realised what a golden age for music we were living in at the time.

 After that programme there was a documentary programme about Ray Davies of The Kinks. It was very interesting, but I could hardly keep my eyes open. In fact I fell asleep for a few seconds while watching it. That was my cue to go up to bed. I was very surprised to see my clock saying 02:18 when I got into bed. I slept really well for  maybe 4 hours, but it was difficult to stay asleep much past my normal waking hours. I think I managed to force myself to keep sleeping, albeit a bit intermittently, until 8.30am.

 Since then I've been shopping in Aldi, edited and uploaded the video from last night, and generally done little else aprt from writing this. I now feel I want to lay down, and maybe catch up on a bit of sleep, but there is no sleep for the wicked, and I guess I must be wicked in some way.

 In a little over an hour I am off out to see another Chain gig in The Oval pub in Croydon. This one is in aid of Croxjam - a charity event in Croydon in aid of Oxfam. Gig are taking place all day in many different venues in Croydon. Usually most of these venues are free entry, but today there is an entry fee of a couple of pounds, or for 5 you can get a wrist band that gives entry to all the participating venues (mostly pubs as far as I know).

 I'm just going to see Chain, and the band that follows them. That latter band is Kimera, and Chain are borrowing their drummer and keyboard player for their set. The drummer is Dylan who has played with Chain on a number of occasions, and the keyboard player is Jamie who played with Chain at their gig in The Crown at leaves Green a few weeks back. Being a fan I obviously want to see Chain, and I am curious to see Kimera, but there is one other reason I have to go. Dave, who played drums last night, will be playing bass guitar today, but more importantly he will be bring me some chilli sauces made by his Mad-Ass chilli sauce company. 15 will be getting me 10 little sample pots of his hotter ranges of sauces, and some of them are described as excruciatingly hot ! I'll be quite keen to get home again after the gig to try some of these sauces. It's quite possible that I'll regret it in the morning, but as they say, no pain, no gain !
Friday 19th October 2012
07:46 BST

 
Yesterday was one of those rare days when the weather forecast turned out to be perfectly correct. This should not have come as a surprise considering how vague it was. The chance of a sunny spell gave some sunny spells, and the chance of a shower gave a shower or two. It would be nice to think there forecast for today will be wrong, but so far it is proving to be right. This morning will see some rain, and it has been raining, but then it should stay dry, but overcast and very grey, as it is right now, until this evening when there will be more showers. The temperature for the day is forecast to flatline at 13 C until after dark when it will drop a degree. It all sounds very depressing.

 I definitely felt a lot better yesterday, and the best indicator of it was after I left work. I had quite a comfortable ride home, and when I got back to Catford I detoured to go home via Tesco. I did feel a little weary after getting home with some moderately heavy shopping, and so I didn't do my laundry until after I had eaten my dinner. Maybe that was a mistake because wrestling with two towels was seriously hard work, and with a gut full of food I was soon sweating like a pig. Before I tackled the towels I did some lighter stuff, and that got me sweating a lot. In an effort to keep cool I actually did all the rinsing of the towels while totally naked, which is not a completely rare state in my bathroom  - I find showering while fully dressed to be a not terribly effective way to get clean !

 To get myself even hotter and sweatier, not that I particularly wanted to, and would actually have preferred not to be, I then washed my hair. With that done I could wrap a towel around my head and finally relax for a bit. I couldn't have done any of this, except perhaps the lightweight bits of laundry, while my cold was raging at full intensity - although the steamy air would have worked well to help clear out my airways.

 Even after all the hot soapy water stuff I still had plenty of time before the third episode of Red Dwarf X was shown on Dave. That time, and the time while Red Dwarf was on gave my hair time to dry - which was sort of handy. While watching Red Dwarf I had an email come through saying my web server had crashed (Thanks Ruby). I'm not exactly sure what had gone wrong with it, but I think it might have been a momentary power cut sometime during the day. The server would have rebooted OK, but the hard disk with all my web pages on it is only connected as a temporary drive, and needs to be manually mounted before it can be read. I am thinking that it is about time I sorted out my proper server box before my temporary solution becomes almost permanent.

 After watching Red Dwarf, resetting my web server, and writing two emails, I got to bed extremely late compared to most of the last fortnight. More annoying was that I felt completely wide awake, and it was well gone 10pm, and it may have even been past 11pm before I fell asleep. I slept well when I did get to sleep, and I slept non stop to 3am this morning. I was awake then for 20 - 30 minutes, but then slept right through until just before my alarm was due to sound. It didn't add up to that much sleep, and given the chance I would have had another hour or two in bed this morning.

 The downside of sleeping so solidly was that when I woke up this morning I felt very congested. It's only now that I feel I am breathing freely again, although it wasn't that bad earlier. I survived my commute into work with only the occasional cough, and a couple of tissues. That wasn't anywhere near as good as it should have been, but also nowhere near as bad as I suffered at the beginning of this week.

 I'm now looking forward to tonight, and looking forward to perhaps feeling even more recovered by then. Tonight Chain play in The William IV pub in Elmers End.  It's one of the venues that is easy and quick to get to, and the buses run very late for getting home again.  If the weather forecast for today turns out to be uncannily accurate there should be a window in the evening rain when I am travelling there, and the same for the journey home again. As well as these positives, the line up of musicians for tonight should be a good one. Big Dave should be on drums, and Dave Griffiths has been shanghied to play keyboards. Ravi will be on bass guitar. He's good, but I would prefer Matt for his more "in your face" style of bass playing. Great music, and plenty of beer on a Friday night - it's enough to make all the suffering through the week almost seem worthwhile !
Thursday 18th October 2012
08:07 BST

 
I'm not sure if the temperature hit 16 C yesterday, but it did trigger some memories of what not cold was once like in the good old days before autumn started. Sometime after dark there was some rain, but I'm not sure exactly when, and how much there was of it. I do know that it was nearly 13 C when I left to come to work, and that there was some light rain as I walked to the station. By the time my train arrived it had all but stopped, and I haven't seen any since. There could be the odd shower later, but I believe today should be mostly dry, and there is an equal chance of a sunny interval now and then. I think about 15 C is the very best we can hope for today, and even that might be optimistic.

 Just before 3pm yesterday, I received a text message wondering if I fancied a pint on the way home. I felt a bit tired and wanted to go straight home, and yet I still fancied a pint, but only on the understanding that it was qoing to be a quick one. Such understandings usually fall by the wayside, but when Kevin, who I was drinking with, heard how croaky I was, he realised that it would be unfair to try and detain me too late. I was home soon after 6.30pm.

 It was nice having a couple of pints even if it was in the worst pub in the world. OK, it's cheap, but that just attracts cheap people, and the atmosphere suffers because of it. I'm not sure if there was ever a time when I have actually liked The London And Rye pub in Catford. I think my feeling about it have always ranged between neutral and hate. Last night was particularly irritating for three reasons. First of all they hadn't taken off the pump label for the Dragons Revenge beer from the Nelson Brewery in Chatham near the historic dockyard. I strongly felt that I wanted to try it, but when I was told that it was finished I felt a strong wave of annoyance.

 Then there was the bloke sitting outside the pub with tinny reggae music blaring out of his mobile phone. That seemed a good enough reason to imagine new and novel ways to painfully kill someone. Back inside the pub they had the sound up on one of the TVs, and it was showing a football match that was inciting some to get noisy. Even a Hydrogen bomb seemed lacking for my purposes there.

 Of course as I grow older I follow the tradition of getting grumpier. Last night gave me great cause to feel grumpy, but then again so did my commute to work this morning. To my dismay I couldn't help but noticing how many traitors were wearing items of clothing with North America place names on them. Don't these sad people realise that we are at war with North America, and have been since 1776. If I were in charge I would have them all lined up against the wall to be shot !

 The walk from work to the station yesterday was not pleasant. I was feeling less knackered than previous days, and I was attempting to walk faster. All my effort succeeded in doing was to stir up all the mucus in my lungs, and leave me coughing and wheezing. It took some time to recover from that. Maybe it was a hangover from that, or perhaps the cool damp night air when I walked home from the pub that triggered a relapse of my illness.

 When I went to bed, a little after 8pm last night, I couldn't get to sleep because of coughing and sinuses block with gallons of mucus. It didn't feel good at all. The cure was to switch on my fan heater at half heat. I didn't feel cool before that, and maybe I even felt a little too warm when I attempted to pull the duvet over my whole boday, but once the room started to warm up I began to feel better. I left the heater on low all night, and I seemed to sleep practically non stop all the way through to within 2 minutes of my alarm sounding.

 It was quite a good sleep. It even contained an almost soft porn dream ! I seem to feel an awful lot better for it. It is almost as if I might have finally killed the virus that was wreaking havoc with my body. Perhaps all I need to do now is to repair my ravaged body, and I be back to feeling fine. There is quite a bit of repair work to do. All the coughing has left several sets of muscles feeling strained and abused. My lungs feel like they have probably been tenderised, and my sinuses have been stretched beyond belief. All these things will heal to some extent, and maybe now I just have to be patient, and try not to overstress the already overstressed bits.

 That probably means I shouldn't attempt to lug home 4 (or more) litres of diet cola, and perhaps some other heavy stuff, from the supermarket on my way home. Maybe tonight I shouldn't attempt to wash, amongst other stuff, a big(ish) towel because it will be incredibly heavy to manipulate when wet. The trouble is, I think I will be attempting these things tonight, and I want to wash my hair tonight as well. The final thing I should do, but will anyway, is to stay up very late (by recent standards) to watch tonight's episode of Red Dwarf.

 I'm sure it is of some significance, or would be if the writers realised it, but like the tenth version of the Mac operating system is called OSX, the tenth series of Red Dwarf is shown as Red Dwarf X......or RDX ------- a powerful explosive often favoured by terrorists as well as for industrial and warfare applications. By the way, now you have clicked on the link to RDX, which shows how it is made, you are now officially a terrorist suspect. Please remove your clothes, and put on the orange boiler suit. Now stand motionless in a cramped position as you await your free trip to a heavily sound proofed interogation suite followed by a long holiday beside the Cuban sea.
Wednesday 17th October 2012
08:09 BST

 
Yesterday was a fairly pleasant, mostly sunny day. I forgot to check the temperature when I got home, but it didn't feel as cold as I expected the forecast 14 C to feel. It wasn't a particularly cold night thanks to all the clouds that appeared in the night, and made for a very soggy journey into work this morning. The cloud has thinned out now, and it is looking feasible that the forecast for a lot of sunshine through the middle of today could be correct. It could even feel warm this afternoon if the forecast for a top temperature of 16 C turns out right as well.

 I can't say I felt that wonderful yesterday, and yet it was a big improvement on the day before. At the end of the working day I felt tired, but it wasn't  deep seated fatigue. When I got home I found the energy to do some laundry before settling down for the evening. Hand washing two long sleeve shirts, two t-shirts, a small table cloth, and a pair of pants came close to using up what energy I did have, and it was a bit of a relief to wring the last item out before hanging it all up to dry. There was one thing I did do before the whole soapy water business, and that was to take a photo.
black and purple interior design
 I took the picture above to send to my friend in Argentina to show how my living room has changed since she last saw it, and I thought I might as well show it to the world too. The colour of the chair covers is supposed to be black, but on my work PC they seem to look like a very dark blue. The cushion covers are purple, as are the curtains. If only I had the time and energy to completely de-clutter the room, and then giant heaps more time and energy to clean and repaint the walls and ceiling, it would almost look like a show home......a slightly gothic show home, but.........................

 Once again I was in bed very early last night. I didn't attempt to get to sleep extra early, but read for a while. Even so, I was probably fast asleep not that long after 8pm again. I definitely remember waking up at least once to go to the toilet, but essentially I slept right through to 3am when I woke up. I felt slightly stiff and stuffy at that point, and I got out of bed to stretch my legs for 10 or 15 minutes. It seemed difficult to get back to sleep after that. My nose still felt a bit bunged up, and my throat was a bit tickly. After that I was quite surprised to find my alarm sounding at 5am.

 I'm unsure how much sleep I got last night. In theory it should do me good, and yet this morning I didn't start out feeling that good. At 5am I felt even worse. A hot shower, as it usually does, relieved many symptoms, and time and exercise improved things further. I am considering the possibility that I am just being impatient for this cold to be completely over when I moan about it. I may not feel that wonderful even now, but if I force myself to consider how bad I felt last week, I really should consider how I feel now to be luxury by comparison. On a less positive note, I also have a sort of latent fear that this sort of cold is only completely cured by summer weather.........and it's going to be a very long wait for that to happen again.
Tuesday 16th October 2012
07:47 BST

 
There were several showers yesterday. Most were inconsequential, but I wasn't too happy about the one that started just as I was leaving work to go home. Fortunately it wasn't very heavy, and hardly seemed to get me damp. There was more rain during the night, but apart from the puddles, it was dry, and at 10 C, not that cold when I set out to come to work this morning. It seems very overcast right now, and that made it seem like all my journey into work was done in darkness. If the weather follows the plan set out for it by the weather forecast, it should brighten up in a few hours time, and become bright and sunny until late afternoon. At this time of the year we are very much at the mercy of whatever wind is blowing. The air being blown in this afternoon is predicted to be just 14 C, and the sunshine will do little to change it.

 During the course of yesterday I sometimes felt bad, and at other times, very bad. It's possible there may have been the odd minute here or there when I didn't feel that bad. I felt dreadfully tired before I finished work, and going home was a bit of a slog. I usually perk up a bit as my train aproaches Catford, but not yesterday. It was just one foot after another until I got indoors.

 After changing into slobbing around clothes, I set about cooking some dinner. I thought I was going to pull the meat off of the chicken wings that were left over from Saturday night, and combine them with some peas and one of the left over containers if pilaw rice. When I checked the wings I found there was actually very little meat on them, and so I heated them up as a snack by themselves. Instead of chicken in my rice and peas I chopped up a chorizo sausage, and used that. It turned out to be quite tasty.

 The hot food perked me up a bit, but I still felt drained. So once the news had finished on TV at 7pm, I shut everything down, and headed upstairs, and ultimately to bed. I needed to write a short e-mail before going to bed, and once that was done, and I had checked a couple of web sites, I jumped into bed. It was still only just gome 7.30pm, and I was going to start reading. I read a couple of lines before deciding that I could try and go to sleep. It didn't come instantly, but I think I may have been asleep before 8pm.

 I slept remarkably well, and the first time that I became aware of was 3am. I think I probably woke briefly once or twice, but essentially I broke all recent records by sleeping for 7 hours. I awoke from a dream that I can't exactly recall, but I know what it was about. I know I was getting annoyed when some intolerant busybody was trying to get an old, well liked book re-edited to make it more politically correct. One particular sentence in the book seemed to be the core of the dispute, and it contained a very rude word. I wish I could remember the sentence, and what the rude word was. All I can remember was that it wouldn't work without the rude word. Now I happen to like rude words when used in context, or otherwise appropriately. I don't like them being overused because it devalues them. There is no point in telling someone to fuck off unless the fuck hits them in the face like a sack of bricks !

 After waking up at 3am, and desperately trying to commit to memory the dream(s) I now seem to have forgotten, I tried to get some more sleep, and I did have a tiny bit of success. When I woke at 3am my mouth was dry, and my glass of drink was almost empty. I had been downstairs to the kitchen to top my glass up, and used the toilet before I had my first throat and nose clearing sessions. That is a definite improvement over yesterday. Once I started coughing it was difficult to stop, and the more I coughed the more my nose would fill up. Eventually it calmed down, and I was able to get a couple more short sessions of sleep before getting up properly.

 It is still a little to easy to provoke a tickly throat, and hacking cough this morning, but it is definitely improving, and from time to time I feel fairly OK. The train journey from Catford to Waterloo was a lot more comfortable this morning. I was coughing a fair bit, but not the eye bulging, blue faced hacking fits that I had the day before. I found the walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station easy on my legs, but the rest of my body really wanted to lay down and relax. There definitely was a strong temptation to stop walking, and maybe even sit of the floor, but I resisted that desire, and plodded on.

 The rest of the journey into work was less dramatic. I felt comfortable for most of the ride from Waterloo to Earlsfield, and I didn't feel any more extreme fatigue as I walked from the station to here. My main complaint it that the closer to work I got, the more I seemed to be coughing. It was a relief to get into work before I turned blue.

 Right now, as I sit quietly in my office typing this, I don't feel too bad, and compared to much of the previous 7 days, actually quite good. It really feels like I am getting better at last. I know that the remnants of the cough may well linger on for weeks, but there is far more to this illness than just a cough even if the other things are harder to define. The real acid test will come late this afternoon. If I don't feel terribly fatigued by the end of work, and if I am not close to collapse when I get home, then I'll know that things really are getting better.
Monday 15th October 2012
08:58 BST

 
The sun continued to shine intermittently until sunset last night. This morning was very chilly, and I wondered if there would be a frost. I saw no sign of any, but the cars I passed on the way to the station were dripping in condensation. My entire journey into central London was in darkness, but sunrise was heralded by a bright red glow on the eastern horizon soon after my train left Waterloo station. That red sky traditionally means bad weather, but the latest forecast predicts some sun and showers later this morning until midday, and from then on it will just be dull until some more showers after sunset.  It seems the highest temerature today is going to be a mere 12 C.

 I took things easy yesterday afternoon, and divided my time between reading and TV - except when I was doing some cooking. Well, maybe not cooking as such, and more like re-heating. I had my third big meal from Saturday night's takeaway, and I still have a small container of chicken wings, and a couple of containers of pilaw rice left to use up in some creative way tonight. Actually there was one more diversion yesterday afternoon - scanning a scamming letter.
Phishing e-mail
 The letter above arrived through the post on Saturday. It would be nice to think it is all true, but I am 99.999% sure it is just the start of another scam. If I replied to the email address it would not be long before there would be a request for some sort of advanced fee to release the money, and then a request for my bank details to pay the alleged money into. Soon after that my bank account balance would go down to zero, or even into negative numbers. Maybe the biggest hints to it's inauthenticity is that I have never heard of a relative called Charles, and I have never heard of any relative of mine even going to China for a holiday, let alone living and working out there.

 I managed to get to sleep by just after 9pm last night, and I slept really well (as far as I can tell) for nearly five hours. After that things went downhill, and I got little sleep afterwards. Maybe the annoying thing is that it felt like it would be easier and easier to get back to sleep the closer it became to the time I had to get up. Right now, as I type this at work, it feels like I could fall asleep very easily. It is going to need a lot of patience before I finish recovering fully from the illness that I still suffer from.

 As well as the tiredness, the frequent coughing, and an occasional hankyfull of nasal mucus, I found I was lightly suffering from another ailment too. The breakfast of takeaway leftovers I had yesterday included a large portion of onion bhajis. Now I suspect it is those onions that have finally passed through my system, and caused me to visit both the toilets on platform B at Waterloo East station as well as the toilets on the mainline station ! That problem seems settled now, and I hope the other problems dry up soon as well.
Sunday 14th October 2012
15:23 BST

 
The weather followed its expected path yesterday. It was bright and sunny until half way through the afternoon when it got progresively cloudier. Around sunset it started to rain, and within an hour or two it was falling quite heavily. I think it stopped a few hours after that. This morning was bright and sunny, and even now there is still plenty of blue in the sky, although the sun appears to be behind a rather dark looking cloud as I write this. The next rainfall is not forecast to happen until later tomorrow night. For all this sunshine it remains rather cool. This morning came perilously close to being frosty. I measured just 5 C early this morning, and it's only 11 C now.

 The movie Aleemah brought yesterday was Prometheous. I didn't realise it at first, but by half way through it I had worked out that it was a sort of prequel to the Alien trilogy. That sort of explained why I didn't like it that much. Like the Alien trilogy it was a very loose random plot to stitch together some action sequences. After it had finished I felt very tired from the effort of trying to be interested, scared, and excited, or whatever else it was the film's producers were hoping I might be ;-)

 On a more positive note, Aleemah was sort of impressed with the improvements I've made to the living room. She actually declared it looked quite tidy........although I think she may have forgotten to add "by comparison" ! After Aleemah had gone home again I rested on my laurels, or maybe I just rested. While the worst of my cold is now behind me, I'm still not exactly bubbling over with health, and I wanted to recharge my batteries as much as possible so I could go out in the evening.

 Later on, as evening approached, I discovered that my friend Kevin had also been suffering fromm the same bug through the week, and he had doubts about going out in the evening. The last I heard was that he was going to pop out to Tesco and see how that felt before committing himself to a night out.  I suspect he didn't go, as I didn't didn't.

 I think that it was four separate things, in variable proportion, that kept me in. The most obvious was that I was still not feeling 100%, and together with the second reason, that it was pouring with rain outside, made up most of the reason why I didn't go out. To go out in that pouring rain would have been foolish in the state I was in. The other two reasons were really conditional on the first two being valid - as they were.

 I found myself involved in a long and interesting conversation on the phone. If I had been confident that I was definitely going out I could easily have stopped that conversation well before it was time to go out, but time was slipping past in a most comfortable and agreeable way. The final reason was not really a reason, but it did add some weight to the others. During the afternoon a menu dropped through my letterbox, and it aroused my curiosity - a lot !

 The menu was for a small corner shop in catford called The Taj. It's been there for quite a number of years, but I had never tried it before. One reason for that was I couldn't quite work out what sort of cuisine described their food. The peri-peri grilled chicken had a sort of Portugese ring to it. The nan bread, pillaw rice was Indian, but the few curry dishes they did sell did not seem to coincide with anything from a typical Indian restaurant menu, and the kebabs suggested middle eastern influences.

 The menu that dropped on my door mat had all these things, and more, but also had a set family meal on it for 24.99. It seemed to include many of these types of food, and would be a good introduction to what to expect of the place. It was a bit expensive for a whim, but I assumed there would be enough left overs to feed me today. I was not wrong ! If I make use of all the rice there is still plenty left for dinner tonight, and part of tomorrow's dinner as well - and that's after having a big breakfast of it this morning !  It was all rather nice, very nice in fact, and my only complaint would be that the meat curry was a tiny portion. As was the potato baji. However there were heaps of grilled chicken, and more nan bread and rice than you could shake a stick at !

 I went to bed late for a weekday, but early for a Saturday night, feeling rather good. It seemed to be reflected in the way I initially slept. I had little trouble getting to sleep, and slept solidly for at least 4, and maybe 5 hours. After that sleep became a bit sporadic for the next three hours. I was probably awake for most of that three hours, but after that I seemed to fall into another good sleep for a couple of hours.

 I finally awoke feeling rather groggy, but I seemed to get my act together well enough to tackle washing a duvet cover. It was one of my older ones, and so was big and heavy - unlike the brand new one on my bed that seems little thicker than tissue paper. I don't think I washed the duvet cover that well, and it could probably have done with another rinse, but I reckon it will do. I hung it across my two clothes horses in my back garden where it could drip away to it's hearts content. I notice now, quite a few hours after putting it out, that the dripping stopped long enough ago that the ground has now dried out under it, and the wind is begiing to move it. It won't be dry when I bring it in within the next hour or two, but I think it will be halfway there, and mostly dry by the morning. If I feel OK when I get home from work tomorrow I might tackle the sheet or pillowcases.

 I'm not sure how I feel today, and this afternoon in particular. As far as my cough goes, I am now going for long periods with no more than just the occasional singular cough, but also, like happened twenty minutes ago, I get the occasional period of a really tickly cough that it is hard to stop until my throat is almost feeling raw. Apart from the cough I have been feeling OK most of the time, but about an hour ago I came across feeling dreadfully tired, and I needed a lie down for 20 minutes. I sort of fell asleep, and I either got woken up by, or waking up resulted in, my last particularly vicious spell of dry coughing.

 These periods of good and bad do make me wonder what my day at work will be like tomorrow. I have horrible visions of almost turning blue with a fit of dry coughing on the train. Such a thing is most often triggered by a change of air quality - going from cold fresh air outside to hot and humid inside. I'm also not looking forward to a spell of extreme fatigue like I had a bit earlier today while I am trying to work. The only reason for optimism is that every day sees a further improvement in how I feel. As I sit here writing I feel almost, but not quite, rather good. Having said that, I do feel I have a slight yearning to lay down and do some reading, but that may be because I can't think of anything better to do right now !
Saturday 13th October 2012
08:35 BST

 
There was a lot of sunshine yesterday, and I suspect the day ended up warmer than was forecast. Unfortunately I didn't check my thermometer to see if that was true. It looks like it stayed dry overnight, but the cloud is thick enough to make for a very grey start to today. Maybe the cloud appeared quite late in the early hours of this morning, because the current temperature is a rather cool 8.4 C right now. I can see some blue patches of sky towards the west, and maybe we will get the sunny intervals that are forecast for a bit later. If we do then we'll probably also get the rain showers forecast to start at around 4pm.

 I'm not sure why I didn't get around to writing anything yesterday. I was up and doing stuff for part of the day. maybe I just kept putting it off until I had run out of day. I felt tolerably well yesterday, but a lack of sleep made me decide not to go to work for the fifth day running. The big clue came when I realized I had momentarily fallen asleep while sitting on the toilet. Until then I was actually getting ready to go to work. It was probably just as well because although I said I felt tolerably well, that was based on averages. There were times when I felt really quite good, but other times when I just wanted to sit down and relax - and not just because I felt lack of sleep tired.

 On Thursday night I probably had my best sleep since the start of my cold. I got several chunks of sleep that lasted an hour or two, and possibly enough of them to add up to over 5 hours. It did little to make up my earlier sleep deficit, but definitely felt like I was heading in the right direction. Another sign of improvement, although it actually felt/feels worse, is that my chest is definitely drying up. The intervals between coughs increased a lot yesterday, but it was turning into more of a dry cough - the sort that once started is hard to stop.

 After a relaxing morning I embarked on a project that I had intended to start earlier in the week. I finally pulled out the big old armchair that sits under the living room windows, and gave the carpet a good hoovering. Apart from the dust and cat fur, there was a rather unpleasant amount of dead flies, wasps, and bees behind that chair !  While the chair was out I washed the windows, replaced the net curtain, and put up some brand new curtains. It all looks rather bright and shiny now. I may be able to wash the old curtains, but the net curtains were beyond repair. I'm not sure where I'll find a new spare one.

 After having re-assembled the living room I felt like I had done enough for one day, and entered a state of deep laziness. I did have thoughts about watching some TV in the evening, but it can be surprising just how little entertainment can be on TV some evenings. I found a couple of things to watch, but by 8pm I had enough, and slowly made tracks towards bed. I didn't actually go to bed straight away, but did some reading before turning the light out.

 Last night I think I slept even better than the night before. I still woke up plenty of times in the night, but once again I managed to stay asleep for periods of several hours between waking up. I'm not completely sure, but I think my first spell of sleep may have lasted over three hours. There was one occasion when I woke up dripping with sweat, but it wasn't repeated. When I finally decided to get up I felt a bit like I had a mild hangover. I had a bit of a headache, and a bit stuffed up. The headache has gone now, and to a certain extent so has the stuffed up feeling.

 In under an hour as I write this, I think I'll be going to the station to meet Aleemah. That should be an interesting test of how good or bad I feel. A brief walk to the corner shop yesterday morning felt a bit strange going there, but better coming back. Of course the real test will be to see if I can avoid coughing all through the DVD that Aleemah will be bringing over. What happens while she visits will partly determine what I do tonight. I really would like to go to a gig tonight. Jo Bangles is playing in a new venue (O' Neils in Bromley), and it is an easy to get to place. That's an important lure, but I also want to see if Carol, who I enganged in conversation at the last gig, will remember me. So it's really tempting to go, but I am not sure if it's wise to do so.
Thursday 11th October 2012
13:12 BST

 
The weather followed the predictions for yesterday fairly well. The temperature hit 14 C, and the sunshine continued until mid afternoon. Then it got cloudy. This morning it was supposed to be very wet, but in fact it was sunny for a little while after sunrise. Then the clouds got thicker and thicker. The first rain to fall was several hours late, and even then was more like a fine mist. It may have been nearly midday before it got intense enough to call it light drizzle. Towards the end of this afternoon it may get heavier. Currently it is only a few tenths of a degree below the forecast 15 C.  Tomorrow is forecast to be very sunny, but paradoxically a few degrees cooler.

 My breakfast was so late yesterday that it was to all intents and purposes, lunch. It took me some time to steel myself to get out to Aldi to buy the ingredients. I didn't feel all that good walking there, and pretty crappy walking back again. I arrived home puffing and wheezing almost in a state of asthmatic collapse, but I had the eggs and bacon that I desired. Poaching the eggs in the microwave almost worked OK, but I'm sure I can alter the technique to make it more successful, or it might be simpler to settle on scrambled eggs. The ironic things is that for all the effort of going to buy the eggs and bacon, they tasted really bland.

 Walking to, and more so, walking back from the supermarket really stirred up my cough, and to a lesser extent, my runny nose. Even so it was not the cough, or runny nose, that was most directly debilitating, but the lack of sleep caused by them. I felt tired all yesterday afternoon, and didn't feel inclined to do anything apart from watching TV and reading. At 7pm I decided I would just lay on my bed ready to get into bed once I felt I would be able to fall asleep.

 For the first few hours I had Radio Caroline on. Some of the music being played was good stuff (but a few tracks were really crappy !). As I lay there, sometimes reading, and sometimes not, I realised that my cough had improved a lot in some respects, but also how inconsistent it was. Sometimes I would cough up a lump of mucus that felt as big as a golf ball, and it was no big deal. At other times I would cough up something the size of a pea, and it was really tickly. I have this fantasy that like many small recesses in this house, there are still pockets of cat fur laying around, and that I have fur balls in my lungs :-)

 One other distraction, apart from the music and the book I was reading last night was to refine some thoughts I had towards the end of last week (or maybe at the weekend) that I don't think I mentioned here. Those thoughts were about what a complete and utter failure my life has been. It's probably best to pick up the story starting 29 years ago. The end of this month sees the 29th anniversary of buying my house. As I said my farewells to my mum's house I looked forward to new freedoms, and confidently predicted I would be dead within 5 years from an overdose of sex and drugs and rock and roll.

 It was a poorly thought out idea for several reasons, but most of all was the failure to take finance into consideration. Back in the early 1980s mortgage rates were high........very high. At one point the mortgage rate was an eye watering 17%. For a time I could hardly afford the wear on my shoe leather to walk to the pub, let alone drink anything more expensive than nothing at all.

 Drugs were completely out of the question, and sex............well it's not easy to make up for a lack of prettiness with hope, enthusiasm, and bullish optimism whenever you open your wallet and a moth flies out. At least I had my record collection to keep me warm on those cold lonely nights ! In time things eased, but it was too late. I was a broken man by then. My chance to die young and stay pretty had passed.

 Years passed, and maybe opportunities passed too. I don't know why I didn't pick up the thread again when, perhaps 10 years later, I was, in a very moderate way, wealthy again. Maybe it was because the next girl I was serious about was not into sex* and drugs and rock and roll (she was a Cliff Richard fan !).
 * For the sake of consistency in this tale I may have not told the absolute truth here.
 So I missed the boat. I didn't die before I got old.

 Now even more years have passed, and apart from next month where the four days of time off work sick is going to leave me short, I have a moderate amount of money to spare. Things should be looking up. I've gone to more gigs to see more rock and roll in the last couple of years than I did in the 20 years preceeding that, and yet it is all a failure still. Apart from alcohol, I guess I feel too old for drugs, and sex may still be interesting, but it's terribly hard work ! Even going to gigs can seem too much like hard work sometimes (although actually being there is always easy !).

 It was about midnight before I felt like I should be able to sleep last night. I was both right and wrong. I did get to sleep very quickly, but it lasted less than an hour before I woke up coughing and spluttering. Until I gave up at about 6am I estimate that on average I was sleeping in 15 minute segments with periods of 5 - 15 minutes of being awake between them. With so little sleep I didn't even consider going back to work today. I do feel dreadfully tired today, and I am sure that this tiredness is hindering my recovery. It seems I am caught in a feedback loop. At some point it will flip, and the more sleep I get the faster I will recover, and the more I recover the more sleep I'll be able to get.

 I have managed a few short naps today. Hopefully they will help, and there seems no reason why I shouldn't be able to have a few more this afternoon. Somehow I've got to feel refreshed enough to get to work tomorrow, but if I feel like I did after going to Aldi yesterday morning I'll have to almost crawl all the way from Earlsfield station to work where, if TV is to believed, I will collapse.
Wednesday 10th October 2012
09:25 BST

 
The mostly innocent, but still annoying white cloud that filled the sky later yesterday afternoon seemed to disappear overnight. This morning it is bright and sunny again. The penalty was, or course, that the temperature dipped quite low overnight. It wasn't quite low enough for a frost on the grass, but probably not far from it. My thermometer that sits on the window ledge of the back, north facing, upstairs bedroom window, measured 7 C sometime near daybreak. It now says 9 C. By mid afternoon it should peak at something like 14 C. If the forecast is correct (like it isn't at the moment - the BBC's current forecast for Catford says it's cloudy) it will be one degree warmer tomorrow, but only at the expense of lots of rain !

 I cooked myself a nice healthy meal last night. It was brocolli, bell peppers, and skinless chicken breast part steamed, part boiled in a deliciously flavoured stock that incorporated many (in the words of the advertising men) "secret" ingredients, but actually tomato puree, chilli sauce, white pepper, and dark soy sauce. It was steaming hot when I ate it, and that triggered off another bout of sweating.

 I had just about cooled down when I decided that I would go to bed and read for a while. I wasn't paying attention to the time, but eventually I felt like I was stable enough to go to sleep. I was certainly tired enough. With my cough taking a rest, and my increasingly runny nose staying dry for a moment, I was soon asleep. I may have slept seemingly well for three or four hours before I woke up to find my pillow, part of the duvet, and part of the bed soaked in sweat.

 I normally regard that amount of sweating as a good sign that my body is really fighting, and winning against the bug that has afflicted me. While it might have been a good sign, it wasn't very pleasant. I changed to a spare pillow, shifted to the other side of the bed hat was still dry, and eventually I fell asleep again. It must have been 4am when I woke again dripping with yet more sweat, and yet feeling rather chilly. I dried off by sitting in front of the fan heater.

 I don't know why I should think it, but I sort of feel better this morning despite having pretty much the same symptoms as the last couple of days. There are differences though. The nature of my cough has changed. For short periods of time I don't have a cough, and then it comes back again. It's now a sort of combination between dry and tickly, and wet and throaty. The other change probably started yesterday afternoon, and has actually got worse, although it is almost mild compared to how I've suffered in the past - my nose, while never really feeling blocked, has become very runny. I am using a lot of tissues now, and soon I'll have to get fresh supplies in.

 Since writing that last paragraph I've taken a half hour break to answer an email. Over that period of time, although a bit short to be a definitive observation, it seems my nose is drying up, and I have coughed less. Fingers crossed that I really am getting better.

 Time is passing, but I still have a hankering for some breakfast. In particular I have an almost irrational urge for egg and bacon. When these urges occur I assume that my body knows something about the food it is nagging me to eat, and knows it contains something beneficial for it. I find it hard to believe that egg and bacon can have any medicinal properties, but if that's what my body wants I had better try and get out to buy some. As I mentioned, I need more supplies of tissues, and I have run out of diet cola. So I have three reasons to go out into the chilly morning air.

 When it comes to cook my eggs and bacon I have one particular challenge - no frying pan ! The bacon is easy enough. I can do that on my electric grill, and because the fat drains away from it, it won't be terribly unhealthy. It is the eggs that are the real challenge. I guess I'll be going for poached eggs cooked in the microwave, but I am unsure of how well that will work. If I time the process to perfection the eggs may come out OK, but I can foresee the possibility of them coming out nasty and rubbery.......or worse !
Tuesday 9th October 2012
16:04 BST

 
I can't quite recall if it continued to rain past yesterday morning. I think it was dry in the evening, but I was feeling too rough, and later, too drunk to pay much attention to what was going on outside. What I do know was that this morning was not the dull grey that was forecast. Until midday, and perhaps even a little while after, it was all bright and sparkling.  It didn't even feel particularly cold, although I think the thermometer would have told a different story to my disease addled body. The last blue bits of sky had gone by 2pm, but the cloud is white. So it is not as dull as it could be.  Currently my thermometer says it is 14.3 C outside.

 I most definitely felt very ill yesterday. For most of yesterday afternoon I just mooched around. I had the occasional bowl of hot soup that gave some relief, but although I felt dog tired I just couldn't sleep.  Very early in the evening I put plan B into operation, and drank myself senseless ! That worked ! I think, although obviously I have little recall of the last events of the evening, that I fell asleep sometime around 8pm, but it could have been 9pm. As far as I am aware I slept solidly until 3am this morning. I awoke, presumably still drunk, feeling not that bad, but not too good either. I didn't seem to have a hangover that I could distinguish from the other aches and pains.

 I really wanted to go back to sleep again, but once again, like a lot of Sunday, and yesterday afternoon, I would get to the brink of sleep and then start to cough again. The good news is that the nature of my cough has changed. The dry tickly cough has gone, and now it is a much more throaty sort of cough. All this coughing has left my stomach and chest muscles feeling rather sore.

 The cough is not the only symptom to this illness. I'm also suffering from swings of temperature. I assume it is fever, but sometimes I wonder if it is. At sometime like 7am this morning I was feeling almost chilly, and it probably was because it was actually chilly, but it hadn't felt like that earlier on. Fortunately I had accidently left the heater in the living room on low overnight. It had done a good job of drying some washing, and it felt warm in there. After a steaming bowl of soup it felt stifling in there !

 To cool off I went out into the back garden. It didn't feel particularly cold out there, and the fresh air felt good in my lungs. It perked me up a lot, and inspired me to try something that with hindsight was possibly foolish. I decided to do more garden clearance. Initially it felt good, and I thought I would feel good enough to go out to the 99p shop to get a few bits and pieces a bit later in the morning. At the end, maybe 45 minutes, maybe an hour after starting, I felt totally knackered, and had to almost crawl back upstairs. That rather spoiled my plan to go out later in the morning.

 So for the rest of the morning, and all this afternoon, I've just been mooching around, trying for the odd snooze, and doing some reading. About half an hour ago I broke out into a fierce sweat. I felt so hot that I had to open the window, and take my t-shirt off. I think this is probably a good thing - at least I hope it is. It is almost certainly self delusion, but somehow I feel as if I am feeling better. Now if I can just get a good night's sleep tonight, I might even feel like going back to work tomorrow. On the other hand.......an extra day off just to make sure might be prudent even if I do wake up feeling fairly good.
Monday 8th October 2012
11:23 BST

 
Apart from it not being warm, yesterday was a nice day. The sunshine held out until gone 4pm, but it became increasingly cloudy after that. The clouds help keep the temperature up overnight, and the today didn't start as cold as it might have otherwise. Rain was forecast to fall this morning, but it didn't start until 9am, or thereabouts. Currently it is drizzling, and the temperature is a mere 12 C. The rain might stay all day, but tomorrow is, or was, forecast to be cold and grey, but dry.

 I took a chance and went to the shops on Sunday morning, and it probably did me in. I felt knackered to the bone soon after getting back again (although I felt close to normal while I was actually out). Prior to that, and the reason I went out to buy some bits, I was thinking of doing more maintenance/housework in the living room. I particularly wanted to clean up behind the armchair that sits in the bay under the nwindows. While I was at it I was going to clean the inside of the windows, and replace the net curtains. Not only are the net curtains looking really grubby, but they also have a few tears where Smudge ripped them with her sharp claws.  I have a spare set of net curtains, and while I was out I bought some new main curtains.

 I didn't do any of that because I was feeling so rough. I thought if I took it very easy for the rest of the day I might recover a bit by today. Maybe I did feel better by the evening, but the cough, and a runny nose, as well as the sweats, meant I slept incredibly badly last night. It seemed like the night took an age to pass. I would fall asleep, and then wake up again sometimes with barely 15 minutes passing on the clock. Needless to say, I didn't get to work this morning.

 At 5am, or was it 6am ? I tried an experiment. I heated up a couple of bowls of soup, and had them for my breakfast. The steam, and maybe the heat, really helped, and I managed to get back to sleep again for perhaps an hour. I've had several more bowls of soup since then, but unfortunately with diminishing returns. One thing that did help my breathing was slightly surprising, but I guess it was the steam again that did the trick for a little while.

 Yesterday morning I put a rather greasy tea towel into a bowl to soak. I originally intended that I would deal with it, and a couple of shirts later yesterday, but I couldn't face it. This morning I forced myself to do that laundry before the tea towel started turning rancid, mouldy, or something. Once I had steeled myself to start I found that leaning over the bath with steaming bowls of water in it actually felt good, and the effect lasted for 20 - 30 minutes.

 I tried taking my temperature this morning, and it said I was just 36.1
C - I think that means I was already dead, and cooling off ! I haven't taken my temperature again, but I assume the sweats I keep getting are indicative of a temperature. Currently my face is wet with sweat, and yet some bits of my feel almost chilly. Sooner or later I am going to have a hot shower. I expect to feel better after that, and also less furry.

 One of the problems with the black/blue furry dressing gown that I bought on Friday, and spent much of this morning wearing, is that it is like a moulting cat or dog. It is very warm to wear, and particularly with my body temperature being upm and down, I was often sweating. It was after I took off the gown, and put on some lounge pants to do my bit of laundry that I noticed that my sweaty arm pits were covered in black lint !  I had previously noted how much fluff was appearing in my bed, but I had no appreciation of just how much fluff my armpits (and strangely enough, around my elbows) had accumulated.

 The worst thing about this illness is definitely the cough. Without that I would just feel terrible, but be able to sleep it off. Perhaps I might have been able to get back to work tomorrow, but sleeping is so difficult while my chest and throat are bubbling away like a boiling pan, and my throat is so tickly. With a bit of luck, the hot steamy shower I am about to take will provide enough relief to allow me to get half an hour, or more, of sleep.
Sunday 7th October 2012
10:10 BST

 
On the whole, yesterday was bright and sunny. If it could just have been a bit warmer it might have been a rather pleasant day. The clear skies that had allowed the sunshine through stayed on during the night. That gave the coldest morning since last spring. It was just 5 C here at 5am. The sun is still shining now, and it is warming my room up nicely. Outside it is still a rather cool 9
C. The sun is forecast to continue to shine until 5pm, and the temperature will rise to 14 C. In the last hours before sunset the clouds will start to build up, and by morning, if the rather pessimistic forecast is correct, it will be raining.

 On my way home from work on Friday I called into Tesco again. While picking up a few vegetables, a bottle of Diet Coke, and some less healthy stuff, I spied some reduced price men's dressing gowns. I haven't owned such a garment since I was a kid, and even then I can't really remember ever wearing one. The ones in Tesco were both cheap, and instead of the hated tartan pattern that seems, or seemed to be the norm for dressing gowns, these were a plain black (or in some light, a very dark blue). I think they are made of polyester, and not cotton, but they have a nice soft fluffy feel. Anticipating a long cold winter, I decided to invest in one, and it is rather nice. If it has one shortcoming it is that it is too warm after I've had some heating on in my bedroom - such as right now !

 Yesterday I was going to go to Hampstead and say hi to an internet friend.  She, and several others, were going to something like a lecture, but not actually a lecture, and I did give thought of going to it myself. Unfortunately it went on to 5pm, and I just wouldn't have had enough time to get home, and prepare to go out again to see The Jo Bangles Band playing in The Crown at Leaves Green (near Biggin Hill airport). A secondary plan was just to go to say hi for 5 minutes, and then come home again. I very nearly did, but I became distracted by trying to convert/transcode the video I had recorded of Red Dwarf last Thursday. It became too late to travel up to Hampstead in time, but while that plan crashed, my video conversion succeeded. The very last program I tried was one that I had dismissed as being too temperamental, and hard to use. It was a Linux application called Kdenlive, and this time round it seemed to work very well.

 Not wasting a couple of hours travelling to Hampstead and back allowed me to do other stuff. Of particular note was work on, and around, my settee. It needed a small repair that I think I have done effectively, and for the first time in a very long time I have hoovered under and behind it. With some new throws on it, and some new covers for the cushions, it looks very nice (in my humble opinion). While I had the hoover out I also did a lot of the rest of the living room floor. One place I didn't do, but maybe I will today, is under, and behind a large armchair that sits under the windows in the bay. I did hoover up to the side of it yesterday, and while doing so I noticed lots of unpleasantry behind it.

 It felt good to get the housework, or as much as I did of it, done, and surprisingly it didn't wear me out. To say I was fit as a fiddle when I left to get the bus to Leaves Green would be a gross exageration, but it didn't seem to take much effort to get myself out of the door. The only significant ailment was that my throat had become rather tickly again during the day, and I was coughing a lot on the bus. A cool glass of ale in my hand provided and excellent remedy, and the cough ceased to be an irritation for the rest of the evening.

 The gig last night had it's good points, and it's bad points. The bad was a few songs that really sounded a mess. Chris and Jo played perfectly even when the drummer seemed to be playing a different tune/beat, and the keyboard player seem to be playing in the key of Z ! Along with Chris and Jo were Ravi on bass, Dylan on drums, and Jamie on keyboards.
Dylan on the drums
On the few previous occasions when Dylan has guested on the drums he has always sounded quite good, but he seriously lost it a couple of times in the first set. He settled down OK for the second set.
Jamie on keyboard
I don't know where Jo found Jamie and his keyboards. His sound was quite low in the mix, and I think that may have been for the better on a few songs. I guess he is young, and still learning his craft, but he seems to heading to the Stevie Wonder school of keyboards rather than Jon Lord (of Deep Purple).............although his t-shirt suggests a totally different school of thought. Just before the second set started he did a solo performance of Benny And The Jets. It must be his speciality piece because he was quite competent at that.
Jo Bangles band on stage Saturday 6th October 2012 at The Crown, leaves Green, Kent, UK
Here's the whole band - Jo, Jamie, Ravi, Chris and Dylan.

 While some songs were not up to par, I still enjoyed the whole evening. It was one of those nights when loads of people you know, or recognise, turn up.  There was Bob and Liz - original members of the band back when they were called The Bluesicians. Then there was Rod. Rod is Dylans dad, and he is a very nice guy. The only trouble is that he is a professional photographer, and I can get very self conscious when he is almost looking over my shoulder as I take my photos. I imagine that he is of the old school where photos were taken on good quality, and expensive, film, and each shot had to count. I just shoot loads of digital pictures, and hope that some come out presentable - and usually they do.
Carol at The Crown - Sat 6th Oct 2012
 One picture that came out tolerably well was this one of Carol. I've seen her at several Chain/Jo Bangles gigs recently, and she seems very cute. Last night I finally managed to get a a reasonable picture of her, and have a chat as well. I look forward to seeing her again next weekend when Jo Bangles are playing at O'Neils in Bromley ( for the first time I believe).

 After the gig had finished it was out into the cold night air. The cold didn't incite my bladder like it did after the gig in Orpington two weekends earlier, but it did seem to take it's toll on my chest. I was OK on the bus back to Catford, but slowly my tickly cough turned into a full throated chesty cough.

 After preparing and eating a light dinner I almost went straight to bed, but I couldn't resist taking a peek at the pictures I had taken before I went to bed. When I finally turned out the light I went to sleep fairly quickly, but I was only asleep for 2 or 3 hours before I woke up coughing (and needing a pee). After a few more breaks in my sleep I finally woke up at 9.30am with my throat feeling a bit sore. It's settled down a bit now, and if I keep myself warm it should all be under control again.

 I had plans to buy a few things this morning, and to do some housework, but I am wondering if I should treat myself as being ill today, and go into extreme sloth mode. That may be a too boring to carry out, but I am thinking of giving it my best shot :-)
Friday 5th October 2012
07:59 BST

  I think that the weather yesterday was pretty much like it was described on the tin. As the forecast foretold, it was mostly bright and sunny, and the temperature didn't rise to anything beyond "mild". It all changed sometime during the night. The clouds gathered, and the day started off wet and rather windy. The temperature at 5am was a rather surprising 15 C. That was about the highest temperature during the day yesterday. The rain has stopped now, but as the clouds thin out, and I can see a few blue flecks in the sky even now, the temperature is forecast to drop by several degrees until about mid morning. Then the temperature is supposed to rise again, but not as much as it fell. Later on in the evening the forecast is for more heavy rain, but tomorrow may be bright and sunny. In the sun it will possibly feel slightly warm, but the air temperature is only going to be about
15 C.

 I could have felt a lot better, but yesterday was the best I think I felt all week. Today I may be feeling better still, but I am unsure about that right now. I haven't got any particular complaints worth moaning about as I write, and in some respects I probably felt rather good on my way into work considering it was raining rather heavily when I left to walk to the station.

 I almost felt like rushing around when I left work yesterday, and maybe there were one or two times when I did put on a brief burst of speed. Maybe I was spurred on by getting a text message suggesting calling in at The Catford Ram for a couple of pints on the way home. The text was from Kevin, and I met him a little after 5pm. Chris (from Chain) was also in the pub along with some of his workmates. It had all the hallmarks of a long and boozy evening, but after 3 pints of Guinness I took control of myself, and went home where I had more important stuff to do.

 The first thing on the agenda when I got home was to prepare and cook my dinner. The main course was probably very healthy and good for me. It was a simple dish that could be described as poached skinless chicken and broccoli in some chicken stock. I say poached because I can't think of a better way of describing it, although I am sure there is a better technical term that sounds more exotic than "boiled chicken and broccoli". That sounds potentially nasty, but I enjoyed mine.

 The only problem with that dish is that it took far longer to cook in my low power microwave than I anticipated. I thought 15 minutes would be enough, but it actually took two 15 minute sessions at full power. I became a little impatient for it to cook, and to satisfy my rumbling stomach I opened a big tin of mackerel in tomato sauce. The sauce was very oily, and I don't think it was fish oil, which has some good stuff in it, and I threw most of the sauce away.

 After eating, the next thing on my agenda was to get a USB DVB-T "Freeview" dongle working on my PC. I have three of the devices, but my PC was only set up properly for one of them. I had to check all three to see which one was the working one. It was more complex than that because the last time I had used it was before the digital switch over. So I needed to retune to get any channels. I'm glad I allowed myself plenty of time to do it because I would have been most annoyed if it was not all set up and working in time to record the first episode of the new series of Red Dwarf on "Dave".

  It was was worth foregoing a few more pints, setting up the PC to record (although I actually watched it on the TV downstairs), and staying up late to see Red Dwarf. There were a few minor points I could complain about - such as the interior of the spaceship not looking correct - but overall I enjoyed it, and I expect it can only get better. I am assuming that this first episode was filmed first. If it wasn't then there could be trouble ahead, but if my assumption is correct than I can forgive them for being a little over the top as they try to re-capture the feel of the previous series made over 10 years earlier (or something like that).

 I managed to get to sleep a little past 10pm last night. That is late for me on a weekday, but nothing terrible, and I seemed to sleep well, although I did seem to dream a lot. The weirdest dream had me wondering if I would wake up and find something extra in my bedroom. In my dream I had seen online, and ordered a portable shower, and it seemed so real that for an instant as I woke up I couldn't tell reality and fantasy apart.

 It was one of those dreams that seems to have had no inspiration from real life, or at least none that I can think of. The portable shower itself was a work of genius, and although I am sure something similar exists for the benefit of campers, and those on safari, etc, I wonder if my dream invention was just that little bit better. The main body of the shower was jade green canvas. The shower head was fed from a 2 gallon bucket of water pumped up by a solar powered pump. (Strictly speaking it was a solar charged battery powering the pump). One innovation that in the clear light of day does not sound so good is that the waste water was filtered, and fed back into the bucket for re-use. I'm not sure I would want to shower under some else's second hand water, but I suppose it would be fine if one person just wanted to shower for longer than 2 gallons of water would allow for without re-using it.

 Tonight I face a small dilemna. I don't have to be up that early, 8am would do fine, so I could stay up late, or I could go to bed at my normal time of around 9pm. I could also order a big takeaway, or I could cook a nice healthy fish and spinach (or brocolli) dish. At the moment I feel quite rational and think the healthy meal and early night would be best, but tonight............
Thursday 4th October 2012
07:44 BST

  I seem to recall one brief, and exceedingly light shower yesterday. Much of the day was bright, and occasionally there was some watery sunshine, but the main feature during the morning, and perhaps to a lesser extent for some of the afternoon, was the wind. It wasn't that strong, but it seemed to have a very chilling effect. Without it, the 14 or 15 C yesterday wouldn't have felt too bad. The temperature dropped to 9
C by this morning due to clear skies, but it was calm, and it didn't feel as cold as yesterday around mid-morning. Much of today is forecast to be sunny, but it is still not going to get any warmer than "mild".

 I don't think I felt as tired when I left work yesterday as I did the day before, but I still felt pretty knackered. During the day I became convinced that I was going down with a cold. Thankfully nothing more has happened since. The usual effect of feeling more refreshed as I approached Catford happened, and I went home via Tesco. I bought lots of terribly healthy stuff like broccoli, spinach, fish and skinless chicken, but I also bought some unhealthy stuff too. It was the unhealthy stuff that I had for dinner last night. In attempt to make the pork belly strips, which are a rare treat for me, a little more healthy, I gave them a severe cooking in the electric grill. That did remove a lot of the fat, but sadly removed a lot of the flavour too. They ended up fairly dry, and on the whole, not that enjoyable.

 For all the excesses of my dinner, I didn't feel like I had overeaten, but my stomach did feel a bit full when I was leaning over the bath washing my hair not that long after eating. It would have been more comfortable to strip off and get in the bath to do it. That would certainly have saved the pain I was getting in my legs by standing at an odd angle for a relatively long time. I was quite relieved when it was all over, and I could stand up straight again.

 Washing my hair made me feel quite good, or at least once it was all over, and another thing that made me feel good was the two small wine glasses of scotch I had last night. I didn't feel in the least bit drunk, but the scotch was excellent for getting me to sleep early, and keeping me asleep for much of the night. Maybe it was also responsible for some odd dreams........then again I suppose most dreams are pretty odd.

 I have a vague recollection of two dreams, or maybe more - it's sometimes difficult to know where one dream ends, and another starts. In one dream I seemed to be working in some sort of open plan office, and there was a porn film being filmed there. I'm not sure how I know it was a porn film because there were no cameras, and no actors. Maybe I just don't remember the exciting bits or something.

 The second dream may have been a series of dreams following a sort of story line a bit like a movie. It started off in a sort of pub, and it seemed I may have worked there, but I have no idea what sort of work I was doing there. Various people came in and went out of the place, and at least one of them was some unnamed "notorious" gangster (of the old school variety). The governor of the pub fearlesly told him he was barred. Somewhere, and I think it was under, or behind the bar was a washing machine, and I used it to wash some of my laundry.

 The scene then cut to me arriving home. As I opened an unfamiliar front door I suddenly felt annoyed that I had forgotten my clean washing, and the fish and chips I had bought on the way home. I entered a totally unfamiliar house even though I knew it was my house. The first room I entered was the front room. It was dim in there partly because it was all dark wood fittings, and the windows were partly obscured by bushes and ivy outside.

 I became aware of a noise, and when I looked on top of a book case I saw two doves nesting there (in the same nest). That seemed perfectly normal. Somehow I knew these two birds were thirsty, and went to the kitchen at the back of the house to fetch some water. Once again I knew the kitchen was mine, but I have never seen it before despite knowing that in side a cupboard I would find a clean ashtray that I could fill with water for the birds. As I started to fill the ashtray the dream seemed to fade out, and I probably woke up at that point.

 I woke up feeling like I had slept well, and that I didn't feel as lousy as yesterday. Various bits ached, and my chest felt rather congested, but these things eased up after a hot shower, and making my way to work. It was definitely dark when I left to come to work. There was no hint of light on the eastern horizon, and in the clear skies there were many stars to be seen. I think the sun was just rising when my train left Waterloo. It won't be long now before my entire commute is done in darkness. That's going to be very depressing !

 It would be a good idea to have a few large scotches and an early night tonight, but that isn't going to happen. Tonight see the first episode of season 10 of Red Dwarf. Maybe it will be total crap, but I feel I have to see it. Unfortunately it does not start until 9pm on Freeview channel "Dave". Oh well, I can always try for a boozy early night tomorrow night.
Wednesday 3rd October 2012
07:49 BST

  Yesterday's weather wasn't entirely unlike how the forecasters predicted it would be. They never mentioned that the morning would see some sunshine, nor that there would be a light shower towards the end of the morning. The prediction that there would be sun and showers about the time I was going home was about right, although there wasn't that much sunshine, and the rain was light enough to be totally ignorable.

 In seven minutes time, as I write these words, rain is predicted to fall out of a mostly blue sky with thin streaky clouds in it. Maybe there is a big black cloud lurking right over the top of the building where I can't see it, or maybe the weather forecast is not as accurate as climate modellers would have us believe. Maybe they just can't tell the time, and have mixed up when the black cloud, black cloud and rain, white cloud, white cloud with sunshine, and no cloud with sunshine will actually appear. With so many variants predicted for today one of them must be right. The one consistent aspect of the forecast is that the temperature will range between 12 C (which it was when I left home) to a miserable 14
C at best. As night falls it looks like the temperature is going to plummet tonight.

 I felt pretty rough at work yesterday morning, but improved during the afternoon. I still didn't feel wonderful enough to go charging around on my way home, and I sometimes wonder why I do when I can. No matter what I do I can't make the 16:23 train from Waterloo East station depart any quicker, and it's only under very exceptional conditions that I don't have plenty of time to spare when I arrive at Waterloo. So rushing around gains me nothing except making it feel like I am getting away from work quicker, and on occasions that is a priceless feeling !

 I considered shopping in Tesco on my way home. I wanted some Diet Coke, and I wanted to get a top up voucher for my spare phone. No doubt I would have bought other stuff too, but once I got to Catford I couldn't be bothered. I couldn't be bothered to wash a couple of shirts and a towel when I got in either. The first thing I did was to cook some dinner. For the first time in ages I had something approaching a healthy meal. It was inspired by the desire to defrost my freezer, and so I am using stuff up that's in there. It was a very simple meal that could be described as fish and peas casserole. I flavoured it with some extra virgin olive oil, parsley, garlic puree, and plenty of white pepper.

 It turned out to be rather nice, and simple to prepare - throw the stuff in a casserole dish and zap with microwaves for 10 plus 10 minutes. The first ten minutes was to defrost the great solid lump of fish that came straight out of the freezer. Once it had slightly softened I could break it up, and mix it up with the peas and stuff. Another 10 minutes saw it properly cooked. If I had left out the olive oil, and not eaten several packets of hoola hoops, it would have been very healthy for me, and if I could do the same, or very similar, every night for the next fortnight, I would probably feel quite fit at the end of it.

 It was such a light meal that after letting it setlle for half and hour or so, I decided that I would do my little bit of laundry before going to bed. I washed two long sleeve shirts, one t-shirt, and a medium sized towel. The towel was the hard part, and when it was all done, and ready to hang up to dry, I was dripping with sweat. It meant that I couldn't get to bed as early as I might have liked too, but just before 9pm I felt I had cooled off enough to go to bed.

 Once I pulled the duvet over me I realised that I was still cooling off, and I felt far too hot. Not being able to settle, and get to sleep the, possibly wrecked the whole night for me. I had a very unsettled night, and it's hard to estimate how much sleep I actually got. Even when I was sleeping I don't think it was quality sleep. By 4am I feeling so uncomfortable that I had to get up,and give up trying to sleep more. Lots of me ached, my legs, my back, and my neck were the principle aching areas as I thrashed around trying to get comfortable.

 I felt pretty rough after getting up, and a nice hot shower didn't provide much of a cure. Yesterday morning I felt like I was developing a head cold, and this morning it felt worse. In particular I have been coughing a lot. So far it is not a heavy cough, although on the way train to Earlsfield I coughed so hard that I nearly turned blue. Prior to that I just had the occasional tickly throat, and to help with that I decided to suck on a mentholated cough lozenge. What I failed to predict was a sudden rush of saliva once I started sucking on it. I don't know how it could have happened so quickly, but I suddenly found myself choking on my own saliva. That triggered the horrendous, blue face generating, mother of all coughing fits. It settled down after a minute or two, and now I am just having to clear my throat every five or so minutes. Even that seems to be settling down now, but in the last 45 minutes I seem to have developed a moderate headache.
Tuesday 2nd October 2012
08:07 BST

  Yesterday morning certainly was wet ! Happily though, the rain cleared up earlier than expected. By 2pm there was even a brief sunny period. It didn't last that long, and the sun wasn't very strong. The most important thing was that it was dry when I left work, and stayed dry all the way home. This morning it was 12 C when I left home, and it was dry. It was also almost dark. Now that the sun has risen it is easy to see that it is very overcast. Today should stay dry although there is a chance of a shower mid afternoon. Paradoxically it might be at the same time that there could also be some sunshine - or so the BBC weather forecast predicts. It might end up a degree warmer than yesterday at around 17
C.

 I felt dreadfully tired at work yesterday. At one point I fell asleep at my desk long enough to have a brief dream. I can't recall where I was in the dream, but it may have been out in the yard here at work. The significant thing is that I dreamed it was snowing. It was a relief for the clock to swing around to home time, and to start heading home. That woke me up a bit, but I still didn't feel like I had the enrgy to do anything once I got home.

 I had been thinking of washing a towel and couple of shirts, but I just wanted to sit down, eat my dinner, watch the news on TV and make my way to bed. That's more or less what I did. I was in bed by 7.45pm, and I am sure I was fast asleep by 8pm. I slept solidly until half past midnight, and slightly less solidly until 4am. I tried to sleep beyond that, but I couldn't manage it. At least I got roughly a full 8 hours sleep last night, and I think I feel the better for it.

 One of the reasons I couldn't sleep beyond 4am was because I felt all stuffed up. It was as if I had a head cold - a feeling that persisted until I was almost all the way to work. I felt bad in other ways too. I had some mild, but annoying lower back pain, and my stomach felt a little tender. It seems that my legs were feeling fine though, and they definitely tried to walk a lot faster than the rest of me could catch up with. Now that I am in work, and the heater has finally got my room feeling nice and warm, I don't feel too bad, but if it were possible I would still like to go back to bed for another hour or six.

 The only thing I can forsee myself doing tonight is washing that towel, and a couple of shirts. The towel is going to be taxing to wrangle when soaking wet, but the shirts are no problem. If I manage to do that bit of laundry I will feel well justified in going to bed early with the satisfaction of a job well done, and if I don't do it I will still feel justified in going to bed early for no better reason than "why not ?" !
Monday 1st October 2012
08:04 BST

  If there had been some sunny periods, yesterday would have been a fairly nice day. Maybe there was some sunshine, but I can't recall any instance when I was particularly aware of it. Nevertheless, it was dry, and the temperature was just on the right side of acceptable. This morning wasn't particularly cold, but it was, and is very wet. It seems the rain may continue right up to, and possibly past the time when I get home from work again. I can't say I'm looking forward to going home in the rain ! The highest temperature for today is only predicted to be 16 C.

 I didn't leave it all that long after having my bacon rolls breakfast before I went out into my back graden, and started another bout of jungle clearance. I managed to fill three and a half quite small rubble sacks with assorted garden debris......or filled as best I could with often spiky twigs and stuff. I only had room in the wheelie bin for one and a half sack, and the other two are lined up ready to be taken out to the wheelie bin once it has been emptied (probably) on Thursday.

 I think I put more effort into cutting, slashing, shovelling, and other forms of garden torture, on this occasion, and I have now pushed back the frontiers of the jungle to beyond a yard and a bit from any point of the house. In doing so I was able to extract something that had all but disappeared under brambles and other foliage many, many years ago.
bike rescued from overgrown back garden
 The item in question is the bike leaning against the fence on the right hand side of this poor quality screen grab from my fox/cat-cam. It was originally given to me by what could loosely be called a girlfriend. Back in 1984, give or take a year, she had run up a large credit card bill that she couldn't pay off. In a fit of misguided altruism I paid it off for her. She moved away, possibly back with her parents somewhere in the Luton/Bedford area, soon after that, and the only thing of value she could offer me was her bike. The idea was that I would sell it to raise part of the money she owed me. I never did get round to doing that, and it has been in my back garden ever since.

 Considering the bike has been completely exposed to the elements for 25 years or so, it hasn't fared too badly. The chain and gears are very rusty,  the front wheel has siezed, and the tyres are looking grim, but the handle bars still turn. It probably wouldn't take much effort to clean it up, and make it usable again. I think if I were to ride it, and there is a 1 in 100 chance that I might one day, I think I would feel better if it had new wheels on it. Currently it has racing wheels on it, and they seem so thin and flimsy that I don't think I would dare sit on it for fear that they would crumple like cardboard.

 Pushing back the frontiers of my jungle wasn't the only thing I did yesterday. When I wrote yesterday morning I sort of said that it might be logical to wash the kitchen floor again - particularly if I had been in the garden, and tramped in some mud. I didn't, but I decided I would wash the kitchen floor anyway. I've still got a long way to go before my kitchen floor looks all clean and sparkling, but it's getting there very slowly. I also cleaned the inside of one of the back windows.

 I had done the outside the previous week, but the inside was tricky to do without moving loads of stuff from the work surface. With the garden path that runs under that window now completely clear, I could fully open the window, and clean the inside from the outside. I also cleaned up the window fram, and window sill, inside and outside, while I was at it. Not only that but I also washed the windows, both inside, and outside, of the back door. While I was doing that I also cleaned the door frame that looked so grubby in the picture of the new little shelf I put up a few weeks ago.

 I felt like I had worked hard doing all that cleaning and gardening, and for the rest of the afternoon I mostly put my feet up. By 7pm I was starting to feel bored, and I decided that an early night was just what I needed, and possibly deserved. By just after 7.30pm I was in bed reading, and not feeling tired at all. I'm sure I should have felt exhausted, but I didn't seem to fall asleep until almost 10pm, and even then I woke up quite a few times in the night. At 4am this morning I more or less gave up trying to sleep.

 Maybe I will feel sleepy at work today. In fact I am almost sure I will. So tonight I had better have another go at getting to sleep early. I hope I succeed.