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

Sunday 30th September 2012
10:07 BST

  It wasn't noticeable because it happened as darkness fell, but the sky clouded over last night, and that kept some of the meagre heat in. It's 12 C this morning. That's not exactly cold, but with the sun being obscured by mostly white clouds, I don't expect it to get significantly warmer today. On the other hand the BBC reckon it is sunny now, and it will stay sunny for several more hours, and that will allow the temperature to creep up to 16, perhaps even 17
C. That's not exactly luxury, but probably not bad. As darkness falls it is supposed to get much cloudier, and tomorrow is forecast to be wet.

 I wasn't entirely idle last night - but just mostly idle ! I brought in my duvet to accelerate it's drying in front of the fan heater for a few hours. To my surprise it was perfectly dry this morning, and smelling nice and fresh. I reckon I did well to wash that duvet by hand. It was possibly one of the thicker/heavier ones. I have some Poundstretcher specials that are not quite tissue thin, but getting close to it. I think I should use those on my bed for the near future because they should be easy to launder by comparison.

 One thing I did last night was to scan some photos a mate sent me. Quite why he thought it important to send them to me is a mystery, but he goes through spells when he has grand clear outs for no apparent reason. Most of the photos were of no great significance. They date back to after I moved here in 1983, and my best guess is that they were taken in 1984 or 1985. I thought a couple were worth reproducing. I've done them as a composite, and they show me with and without a beard (a surprisingly well trimmed beard !). The "with beard" is taken in my old radio studio, and the without beard shows me doing something with my first proper camera - a Practika Super TL.
Me with and without a beard circa 1984
I am contemplating growing a beard this winter.
It will be the first for several years, and if I do I'll stop shaving when the clocks change.

 Today I have a completely clear day. All my laundry is done. The sink is clear of washing up. I don't need any shopping, and it is highly unlikely that I'll be seeing anyone. So what shall I do ? First of all I shall let my breakfast settle. It was a couple of slightly past their best breakfast rolls stuffed with grilled bacon, mustard and tomato puree. If the rolls had been fresh it would have been the food of the gods. Instead it was just extremely yummy !

 Once my breakfast has settled I have a strong feeling that I am going to go into the garden and tackle some more of the jungle. If that goes well, and I don't end up breaking myself I might wash the kitchen floor again. Not only might it be a good idea if I tramp in some mud, but the next wash should start to bring some really positive results. A few more sessions of serious washing should get me to the point when I can use some liquid polish on it for really serious results. It's quite exciting, and yet really daunting to think I might get it that good for the first time in 25 years !
Saturday 29th September 2012
17:43 BST

  Unlike the day before, yesterday did not end that nicely.  The sunshine that the BBC weather forecast icons suggested never happened, but the rain icons turned out to be correct. The rain was not heavy, but it was still irritating. It eventually dried up, and the evening was, as far as I know, dry. Overnight the clouds dissipated, and the morning started off rather cool, but there has been almost continuous sunshine all day so far, and that is despite there being a scattering of fair weather clouds in the sky. On dark clothing the sun felt very warm, but the air temperature has been disappointedly low. Currently it is just 13.7 C. Tomorrow should stay dry, but it will probably be far cloudier.

 On my way home from work I went to see what they had in Lidl. On the whole, not much, but I did buy a couple of lamb biryana curries that I think were reduced to clear. I was also very daring and bought something that was a bold experiment in defying stereotypes. I am not a sporty person by any means, but I allowed curiosity to override my usual shunning of anything sporty. I bought a pair of compression exercise pants (although I can't remember the exact description). I imagined, and I wasn't far wrong, that they would be a sort of tighter, but stretchier version of the thermal long johns type underwear that I occasionally wore last winter, and wore a lot in the bad winter the year before that. They are surprisingly comfortable, and although they are so tight in places that they are probably obscene to wear by themselves in public, they are actually very nice to wear around the house in private. They are so stretchy that they are great for doing housework in - as I found this morning.

 I don't think I did anything else of any note last night, but this morning, after quite a reasonable nights sleep, I did get a bit busy. After having got washed and dressed I started the process of washing a duvet cover. Once wet it was fiercely heavy. That didn't matter at first because I decided I would just let it soak for some hours in a mix of detergent and oxy stain remover. It didn't have any bad stains, but I thought the stain remover might do some of the work that I would normally do by mechanical agitation.

 With the duvet left soaking I did some tidying up prior to Aleemah coming to visit me with the traditional DVD. This time it was an old Dr Who story called "Planet Of The Spiders". It was the final story featuring Jon Pertwee with him regenerating to Tom Baker in the closing scenes. Once Aleemah had gone home again I got back to the duvet cover. It was too big and heavy to rinse out in a bowl as I usually do, and I had no choice but to use the whole bath to do the rinsing. I think that went OK, but I didn't attempt to use any fabric conditioner. There was no way I could wring out more than half the water. Luckily it is a dry day today, and I could just allow it to drip merrily away on a clothes horse in the back garden.
duvet dripping and drying in the back garden
Snapshot of my duvet drying taken on my "fox-cam".
(The lack of infra red filter makes the bushed in the background look purple instead of green)

A little later this afternoon, in a fit of unbridled masochism, I did another load of laundry. Well maybe it wasn't that masochistic because it was all small stuff that took very little effort by comparison, and was easy to wring out. Apart from bringing in the duvet once it starts to get dark, that last bit of laundry was probably the last thing of note that I will do today. I think I'm going to go into maximum laziness mode for the rest of the evening. Maybe all I do is to consider what to do tomorrow. It's going to be cloudy by all accounts, but it will probably stay dry. Maybe I'll do some more "gardening", or maybe not !
Friday 28th September 2012
07:55 BST

It was a horrible morning yesterday, but by the afternoon the clouds had thinned and broken, and much of the afternoon was sunny. I am unsure just how warm it got, but a combination of walking to the station, having to climb both staircases (the lift was misbehaving), and the sun on my dark coloured coat, left me feeling warm enough to do he rest of my commute home in shirtsleeves.

 As soon as the sun went down it started to cool off, and this morning the temperature was only 9.3 C. Maybe it was the lack of wind, but it didn't feel that cold to me. According to the BBC weather forecast, much of this morning will be dry, but rather dull, and then in the early afternoon, and possibly as I make my way home from work, it will rain, and the sun will come out ! It could make it to 17 C today. That's probably the same as yesterday, and it doesn't feel too bad.
30 minutes before sunrise in Catford
This was the view east as I set off to come to work this morning. It's still 30 minutes before sunrise, but the clear sky to the east was already glowing while the dark clouds overhead provided a contrast against that glow.

 I didn't feel like rushing around after work yesterday, but I still did the long walk via Aldi on the way home. It felt pretty knackering, and it was a relief to get home. I didn't buy much in Aldi. I got a few essentials, but I was looking for something exotic, although what that might have been is a mystery because I couldn't find it ! It is possible, although unlikely that I could try looking for something exotic in Lidl on the way home. Maybe they have Bolivian armadillo curry with extra cocaine or something :-) Maybe something with fish might be tasty. It is Friday afterall, and I am as good a Catholic as I am a Hindu, Jew, or Muslim.

 I did give some thought to laundering a duvet cover last night, and if I had started it before starting to cook my dinner, I might have even attempted it. Once I had started cooking, the next logical step was to eat it. Once I was full of dinner I just couldn't be bothered to start mucking about with copious amounts of hot soapy water. Instead I chose the wiser decision of having an early night. It would have been a great idea if only it had happened. At the last minute I decided I had to check something on the internet, and from then on my fate was sealed.

 I finally got to bed thirty minutes later than my optimum time. Fortunately it was one of those nights where you only give it a few minutes before thinking you'll never get to sleep, and then finding that 5 hours have passed. I only woke the once during the night - as far as I can remember - but I definitely woke up, and started to get up,  half an hour before my alarm was due to wake me. So once again I've lost out on at least an hours sleep, and I can feel my eyes wanting to close everytime I stop to think about what I am about to type.

 I have no plans at all for tonight beyond trying to get a full eight hours sleep (or nine if I can manage it). Maybe I'll go home via Lidl. Maybe Kevin will entice me into the pub, or maybe I might launder that duvet cover. My plans for tomorrow are a bit more concrete at times, and still very elastic at other times. I know I'll be seeing Aleemah for a couple of hours around lunchtime. Before then I'll do varying amounts of housework, but afterwards I might do anything - including gardening. Tomorrow is supposed to be bright and dry, and it might be nice for a bit more jungle clearance. Or I might just watch TV !
Thursday 27th September 2012
07:50 BST

There can be no argument about it, Autumn is here, and winter is not far away. Yesterday was cool, and often wet, although the afternoon wasn't too bad. This morning I woke up to a light, mist like rain, and the clouds had kept the temperature up to 12 C. The rain was hardly noticeable as I walked to the station. So I stayed dry, but at Earlsfield station the ground looked very wet, and people were putting their umbrellas away as they approached the station. No rain was forecast for this morning, but the sky is very grey at the moment, and the odd shower seems more than likely. If the weather does as the BBC says it should, it will be brighter this afternoon, and there could even be a glimpse of the sun, but as the sun sets the clouds are forecast to thicken again, and it will probably rain.

 I didn't go into work yesterday. There were three reasons for this, and although each reason wasn't a reason by itself, when combined they seemed good enough for me. The first reason was that I woke up with a pounding headache. It was possibly caused by sleeping awkwardly after waking up at something like 3am with excruciating cramp in my left calve muscle. The legacy of that cramp, and sore leg, was the second reason. The third reason was that I had cut myself while shaving.

 Drawing the odd drop of blood while attempting a very close shave is nothing that unusual, but on this occasion it was not so much a cut, but a slice. I had sliced off the top of a small, almost unnoticeable, spot. It is astonishing how much blood come come out of such a small wound ! I had to spend a fair time dabbing it with tissue until it just about stopped. In the ordinary course of events, on an ordinary day, that would be the end of the story, but yesterday it wasn't.

 While getting dressed for work, because I was intending to go in despite the headache and sore leg, I must have scratched at the newly formed scab on my face. It felt a little itchy, but I did my best to ignore it. I was almost ready to leave for work, and went for one final visit to the toilet. As I passed the bathroom mirror I noticed that I had partially dried blood down my cheek, and my shirt collar was bright red !

 It was at that point that I felt so fed up that I decided to call in sick. I took off my shirt and left it to soak before the blood dried, and then took off the rest of my clothes and got back into bed. I think I fell asleep for a bit, but my head was still hurting, and I couldn't find a comfortable position. I don't think it was that long before I got up again, and had some noodles for breakfast. Then I watched some TV, and was generally very lazy.

 I guess it was getting on toward midday when I decided to go out to the 99p shop to buy some washing liquid and fabric conditioner (as well as other stuff). I don't know if it was because I had just been laying around, or whether it was related to the diminishing headache I had, but I felt most peculiar while walking to the shop, and although a lot less so, still odd when I walked home again. I feel sure that my doctor would blame it on blood pressure, and he may well be right. Perhaps I'll be dead soon.

 The thought of death didn't stop me doing my next task that should have been very hard, but was actually a lot easier. I washed a sheet. It did need a lot of manhandling as I washed, rinsed, rinsed, rinsed, and fabric conditioned it, with each step requiring lots of muscle building wringing out. With less affort than I anticipated, but still enough to get me sweating, the deed was done, and I hung it up to dry. With the aid of a little warm air from the fan heater set on low for a couple of hours, and then left to it's own devices overnight, I found it was dry this morning.

 If I can wash sheets that easily, I ought to be able to wash duvet covers. They are only the equivalent of two sheets stuck back to back - sort of. It would have been more sensible to try it during the last warm dry days of summer, but I am thinking there is a small chance that I'll try and hand wash my first duvet cover tonight. It all depends on how much energy and enthusiasm I can muster tonight. Of more importance is that I want to go to Aldi on my way home from work tonight. I am not actually desperate for anything from there, but it would be useful to get a few things in. The only trouble with this idea is that it is a long walk to home via Aldi from the station, and I may just feel too knackered after such a walk - particularly after lugging heavy stuff home. I probably ought to bear that in mind, and not buy anything too heavy if I do go there tonight.
Tuesday 25th September 2012
08:03 BST

The rain slowly dried up yesterday, and it looked quite pleasant with some blue in the sky in the last hour or so before the sun set. It never really got warm yesterday, but a couple of hours after sun set it was a reasonable 13 C. Maybe a bit more cloud returned while it was dark, and that stopped the temperature plunging down low enough for frost. It was just under 10 C when I got up this morning - rather chilly, but it could have been worse ! Since the sun has risen there has been an occasional cloud in the sky, but right now all the sky I can see from my ofice window is bright blue, and the sun is shining. If it could keep it up it would possibly make for a warm day, but I believe the forecast is for more cloud and rain (although perhaps a mere trickle by comparison to more northerly places like Cumbria who are forecast to get severe storms).

 I tried my best to have a long snooze yesterday afternoon. It should have been easy considering how much sleep I'd missed out on over the weekend. I did manage to fall asleep, but I don't think it was for more than 15 minutes. After that I should have felt very tired by the evening, and fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I hardly did anything of note yesterday afternoon and evening, but doing nothing seemed to be a big enough distraction that I did not get into bed until nearly 9pm. The main problem is that I just didn't feel tired or sleepy.

 I think it could have been after 10pm before I fell asleep. I did sleep fairly well once I was asleep, but I was awake again 20 minutes or so before my alarm was due to go off at 5am. Initially I felt very alert, but by the time I was showered and dressed I think it would have been very easy for me to go back to bed, and sleep for several more hours. Sometimes a good shower can wake me up, and sometimes it makes me feel sleepy. Maybe it depends on the season. After sweating away on a hot summers night it is refreshing to have a shower. On a cold autumn (or winter or spring) morning all that hot water has a soporific effect.

 I don't feel that wonderful this morning. I had no inclination or energy to rush around while commuting into work, and did the whole thing at a sedate pace. Currently I have a mild headache, and I definitely feel like doing some intense relaxation ! I expect I'll be falling asleep in front of my PC a lot today. I have a strong suspicion that if I have an early night tonight I will have little trouble getting to sleep.
Monday 24th September 2012
12:29 BST

The main weather feature yesterday was rain - lots of it ! It was also cool enough that from time to time I had to fire up the heaters. This morning saw copious amounts of rain, and although lighter, it is still raining now. Currently it is 14.5 C, and that's a degree and a half more than the BBC predicted. If the trend is correct, rather than the actual temperature, it should warm up by a degree or two my mid afternoon, and there could even be a small period when the sun might break through later in the afternoon.

 I continued doing nothing of note yesterday afternoon as I conserved my strength for the evening. The rain did dampen my enthusiasm for going out, but I knew it was a gig not to be missed. So I got the 19:29 train to St Mary Cray station where I caught a bus for the short ride to The White Hart pub in Orpington. I got there just in time for the sound check - which was definitely needed. Matt Hemsley, ex-owner of TMT Music (now closed), organiser of Party In The Priory, and bass player for the night, had provided the P.A. and also a small lighting rig. Once the P.A. was set up properly, and my ears had grown accustomed to the sound of it, it sounded great. Initially it sounded rather bright. Rather like the sound of a CD after the more mellow sound of a vinyl record.

 Dave Griffiths provided some excellent keyboatds, and the multi talented Dave provided some excellent drumming. The last time I saw him he was playing bass at a gig in The Catford Ram. His day job concerns chilli sauces ! I'm not sure if he makes the sauces, runs one of the market stalls where they are sold, or runs the web site, but he evidently is very keen on his product.....
Dave and his missus show off their mad-ass tattoos
Here's Dave wet from enthusiastic drumming, or from the pouring rain, and his missus on the right showing off their mad-ass chilli tattoos. And in close up......
mad-ass chilli tattoos
As well as being a very wet night, it was also a colourful one.
Chain at The White Hart pub in Orpington
Chris Mayer from Chain in a whirl of colour
Chain under purple lighting
Chain at The White Hart, Orpington
 It really was an excellent night, but there was one problem, or annoyance at the end - getting back to Catford. There was no problem actually getting a bus home from Orpington. There were several more day buses available after the 23:26 service that Kevin and I got, and after that, although at reduced frequency, there are nights buses from right outside the pub. The huge annoyance was that the timetable, that the bus driver followed exactly, seems to need the bus to travel at about 3 miles per hour ! It was only a half hour or so journey, but at that speed it seemed to take for ever, and feeling was made three times as bad because I was busting for a pee by the time we were halfway back to Catford.

 We arrived back in Catford just 5 minutes before the London And Rye Wetherspoons pub was due to call last orders. We had already decided that we would probably call in for once last drink, but as soon as I got off the bus I just sprinted straight into the pub, and straight in their toilets ! Once I could uncross my legs we had a pint, and a double Jamesons Irish whiskey to finish off. As I walked home I noticed that the chicken shop was still open, and they had plenty of cooked chicken wings available. So I called in and bought some.

 I munched my chicken while flicking around the TV channels trying to find something worth watching. I think I found something, but I can't remember what it was. Whatever it was obviously caught my attention because it was almost 2am when I got in bed and fell asleep. That's my second extra late night. In theory I should have slept through to midday, but I was awake again before the sun had risen.

 I tried to get back to sleep again, but it just wouldn't come. I didn't exactly get up then, and it wasn't until around 9am before I showered and dressed properly. What I did before that is probably unusual enough to be mentioned in despatches - I washed the kitchen floor ! My excuse for hardly ever doing it before (apart from isolated spills etc.) was that I didn't want to leave it wet with soaps, bleaches, or other stuff that might harm Smudge's paws. Now I have no excuses, and now I have taken off a couple of layers of grease from around the gas cooker, I'll have to do it more often until all the floor tiles are visible :-)

 Washing that floor while it was damp and raining may not have been the choicest time, but it seemed to dry a lot quicker than I imagined it would. That may not be the case for my trousers after I went shopping to Aldi a bit later. It was raining when I went there, and I had my hooded waterproof top on. So I felt cosy and dry. Once I had paid for my shopping the rain turned to an utter cloudburst.  That tempest of rain just rushed over my waterproof top and straight onto my trousers.

 My bottom half was dripping when I got home, and so was my shopping. I had to tip about half a cupfull of water out of one shopping bag ! I bought a mixture of good and bad stuff from Aldi, and it was sort of bad that I had for breakfast - German bratwurst sausages in French bread with tomato and chilli sauces. Tasty !

 It's now roughly half way through this special day I took off work, so I could stay out late last night, and I have no plans to do anything at all except rest, read, and possibly snooze.....or will I ? If I find I can't rest I may do some laundry, or I may do some tidying up in the front room, but none of these things are important right now. So it's time to lay on my bed and see what happens :-)
Sunday 23rd September 2012
11:49 BST

Yesterday was mostly bright and sunny. Although it was comfortable, the temperature remained fairly low. It's all change this morning. It is now officially autumn, and the weather gods know it ! This morning it is grey, wet, and rather cool. It's currently 12.4 C, and it feels unlikely it will get any warmer today. According to the BBC weather forecast, it is actually going to get cooler, by one degree, in the next hour ! Not until midnight will it start to warm up - if you can call two degrees significantly warmer.

 Friday night was both good and bad. One thing that was good was that the rain had all but fizzled out when I left to go to the gig. I had tried my best to eat very moderately when I got home from work, but only achieved just about moderately. With more in my stomach that would have beenn ideal, I didn't fancy walking up the hill from the station to The Swan pub in West Wickham, and even less so in the event that it could easily be raining. So I devised a cunning plan. I got off the train at the station before, Eden park, and caught a bus from the bus stop right outside the station that deposited me right outside the pub. The only problem with that plan was that the three times an hour bus leaves 2 minutes before the train arrives !

 After a long wait for the next bus I arrived at the pub. As much as I try, I can't learn to love that pub. I don't like the Crystal Palace football club theme of the pub, not that I have anything against Crystal Palace, I hate all football clubs equally. I also don't like the shape of the pub. It's because of the shape that it tends to be an all seated affair. In other venues I tend to stand up for most of the time the band is playing. For one thing it makes photography easier, and I like to move around a bit - though not actually dance - I leave that to others.......
dancing to Chain at The Swan Fri 21st Sept 2012
I can't remember the song that inspired this troop of dancing girls. Apart from Chris in the middle, I don't know their names, but I do know the girl in the white top, black leggings, and black boots had a most wonderful bottom - particularly when it was jiggling only a foot or two in front of my face ! Also in this picture is the govenor of the pub sitting on the bar stool.
the govenor of The White Swan, West Wickham, tries his hand at drumming
During the interval had tried his hand at a bit of drumming. Maybe he has done it before because it didn't take him long to get a good rhythm going.
Chris Mayer and Jo Corteen at The Swan pub in West Wickham Fri 21st Sept 2012
I'm annoyed that I just clipped Jo's head in this picture. It would have been a good shot otherwise.

 I didn't stay until we were thrown out of the pub, but I did stay until the very last note had been played, and had time to say goodbye before leaving the pub to get the 00:23 bus. That made for a bit of a change because on previous occasions I've left in time to get the last train home at the ridiculous time of seventeen past ten. Going home by bus was not as painful as I thought it might be.

 The bus from West Wickham was a minute late, but easily made up it's time on the almost empty roads to Elmers End Green where I had to change buses. If I had been on the previous service it would have made for a better connection - 4 minutes instead of about 15 minutes. During that wait I found I had to indecently expose myself to a brick wall in a dark bushy corner of the forecourt of some sort of commercial premises. Once my bus arrived it was almost full speed ahead back to Catford. I think the timetable suggested it should take about 16 minutes, and it was probably was around that time. I must commend the bus driver on his speed, but more so for stopping just beyond my bus stop, which was out of use because of roadworks, instead of continuing to the next stop. The next stop was only a few hundreds yards down the road, and would have been no trouble to walk back from, but it would still have been mildly annoying.

  I think the fried chicken shop may have still been open, and if they were they would probably have been quite generous as they cleared the last food. I've scored quite well in there just before they closed once or twice in the past, but on this occasion I resisted the temptation, and went straight home. I arrived indoors a little while after 1am. I didn't go completely hungry before going to bed. I had three small bags of Hula Hoops (or potato rings) while I checked my email etc until almost 2am.

  It would be tempting to say that I slept well after all that, but the complete definition of that would mean that I would have had to slept right through to gone 9am. Instead I started to get up at 6.30am. I didn't really need to get up that early, but I had stuff to do before a visit from Aleemah, and I didn't dare go back to sleep again. The curious thing is that I didn't feel all that sleepy through the day, and didn't even attempt to get to bed early last night.

 Aleemah brought around a DVD of a BBC film called the "The First Men In The Moon" It was a rather good adaptation of H.G. Wells story of the same name. It was funny without being slapstick, and the story was very neatly woven in to the Apollo moon landing in 1969. The special effects were effective without being in your face. In short, it was a movie that Hollywood could not possibly do, and could really only have been made by the BBC, or maybe Channel 4 - entertainment that doesn't treat the view as a sort of mindless dribbling idiot !

 If I had had time it might have been ideal to do some laundry early in the morning to allow it maximume drying time in the garden, but I had to wait until early afternoon when Aleemah had gone home again before doing it. It was only three shirts, and one t-shirt, and in the hours that they were outside they managed to dry a bit, but I had to let them dry more indoors overnight, and finish them off with a bit of warm air from the fan heater until they were fully dry this morning.

 Apart from that bit of laundry, I did very little for the rest of the day. I did clear most of the kitchen floor with the idea that I might wash it. Doing that only took 5 minutes, but I couldn't raise the enthusiam to actually wash the floor, and with today being horribly damp, I doubt it's worth doing today either. I did do one other thing in the kitchen - experimental cookery !

 The first thing I prepared was probably very healthy. I gave some skinless chicken strips a few moments marinade in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, garlic puree, and some black pepper. Then I grilled them. Most of the oil and grease dripped off them, and served with plain peas, it was possibly a low calorie, low fat, healthy, and very tasty sort of meal. Later on my, my dinner was less healthy. I ordered a big Chinese takeaway. There was a sort of very vague healthy(ish) aspect to that meal. I ate less than I could have because I was looking forward to microwave re-heated left overs for breakfast this morning. Tasty !!

 I've done nothing of note so far today - except have my "Chinese" breakfast, and take a quick stroll to the corner shop for some Diet Coke. I am considering washing a couple of pillow cases this afternoon, but they are not important just yet, and so maybe I'll wait for a drier day. What I will do is to wash my hair after having a shave, and before having a shower so I can look, and smell my best for an exciting gig tonight. Sunday night is an unusual night for Chain/Jo Bangles to play, and apart from Party In The Priory, Orpington is an unusual place for them to play. It should be an excellent night with Matt Hemsley on bass and Dave Griffiths on keyboards. It would be extra nice if Matt Sharp was on drums, but I don't think he is.

 I'll be getting to Orpington by train and bus, but coming home it's to be just the bus. That will be slightly irritating, but at least on a Sunday night it is over half an hour quicker than on a Saturday afternoon when the roads and buses are clogged with shoppers. I feel sure that it will be another very late drunken night. Lucky I booked tomorrow off work !
Friday 21st September 2012
07:48 BST

Yesterday probably saw more sunshine that the forecast suggested there might be, but it did little for the temperature. I can't be certain, but I think the temperature peaked at something like 16 C. The first part of today will probably be very similar to yesterday, but instead of thinning, the clouds will thicken in the afternoon, and rain is forecast for tonight. The only really positive thing I can say about today is that it was less cold this morning at 12 C.

 There was cause for celebration yesterday. At long last all, at least I think it was all, the signs for the Olympic games have finally been taken down at Waterloo East station. It was close to a joy to be able to walk along the corridor and be able to see that my train was on time without some offensive pink thing blocking the view of the departure indicator.

 One of the first things I did when I got home last night was to wash four shirts. There was no way they would even start to dry if I put them in the garden, at least that was what I thought. I put them out there anyway so they could drip away to their hearts content, and then just as it was starting to get dark I brought them in. They had stopped dripping by then, and I left them on the clothes horse in the living room. To my surprise they were practically dry this morning. Maybe those 90 minutes in the garden was worthwhile.

 After doing my laundry I set about making dinner, and on this occasion "making" doesn't mean popping a ready meal into the microwave - but not far from it ! I tried baking some small sweet potatoes, and although they needed more cooking than the rumours suggest they might, they turned out well. The hot dog sausages turned out well as well, although they were out of a tin. What didn't work were the peas. I assumed wrongly that they would cook very quickly in the microwave, but they were barely defrosted when I ate them. I think that next time I'll give them the same time as the sweet potatoes.

 I did attempt to get to bed early last night, but that failed. I did get to bed very soon after 9pm, but I didn't seem to feel sleepy at all. Obviously I was because after seeming to be awake for half an hour, the next thing I knew was that it was 2am (or 3am - not sure), and I woke up needing a pee. It didn't seem to take long to get back to sleep after that, and this morning I had the rare treat of being woken by my alarm at 5am.

 I don't feel too bad this morning. The sore cheek/neck/lower jaw/under or near the ear (it's really hard to describe exactly where it is) that was worrying me yesterday seems greatly improved today. Perhaps the only thing that I would complain about is a certain lack of sustained energy. It just seemed too much effort to rush around this morning, and I have been walking at a slightly more sedate pace. I blame the weather for part of it. I'm sure there must be some lizard blood in me. When it's cold I just get so sluggish, and I am really only at my peak performance as the air temperature approaches blood heat.

 I hope I can find some energy tonight. I'm off to see Chain playing in The Swan at West Wickham, and I am not looking forward to actually getting there. By 7pm tonight, round about the time I'll be leaving home, it is forecast to be raining. That's one reason, and the other is that having got to West Wickham station I have to walk up the hill to the pub. It's not that it is hard work, which it slightly is, but that it is hard enough for me to break out into a sweat. There is nothing worse than greeting your friends while dripping everwhere.

 At least getting home from there is easier than I thought it would be. On previous occasions I've left the gig quite early to get the last train. Tonight I might leave ever so slightly early to get a good bus connection. If I get the bus from almost outside the pub at 23:03 I should arrive back in Catford, after changing buses at Elmers End, at 23:31 - that is not much slower than getting the train ! I discovered another interesting fact about bus journeys yesterday. It should be blindingly obvious, but buses that go through major shopping centres take longer to complete their journey when the shops are full of shoppers. On a Saturday afternoon the 208 bus timetable allows 72 minutes to get from Catford to Orpington. On Sunday night, when I was dreading having to get the 208, the same journey, admittedly in the other direction, is timetable to take 41 minutes. That brings it into the bearable range - just !

 On the subject of transport. I haven't moaned about Earlsfield station for the last couple of days. That's because there has been some good news that I forgot to mention. For the last two nights the new lift from the ticket hall (at road level) to platform 3 has been available. After walking from work to the station, which is very slightly uphill, it is nice to be able to take a breather of a few seconds while the lift takes me up to platform level. Once up there I still have to walk the entire length of the 8 car long platform, and then cross over by the temporary footbridge to platform 2, but with much higher treads, it seems far easier to walk up than those silly low treaded stairs up from ground level. I can now get to the right platform without feeling like my heart is about to explode.
Thursday 20th September 2012
08:03 BST

It seemed to take a long time before it warmed up yesterday. Even when it did, it was hardly anything to write home about, although it might just have been half a degree or so warmer than the forecast. When the sun shined it was very bright and hot, but it was too often obscured by big heavy clouds. This morning started off a little warmer. The temperature was just a bit below 11 C, and just a degree or two made all the difference. A lot of today is forecast to be overcast, but it should stay dry, and there could be some sunshine this afternoon, but the temperature is only forecast to rise to a very uninspiring 16 C.

 I thought I had last night all mapped out, but an unexpected text message had me drinking with Kevin after work. It was a fairly leisurely drink that finished at about 7.30pm. I think I had about three pints and a couple of shorts. It was about right to feel good without feeling drunk, but enough to lure me into a takeaway to buy some dinner instead of cooking my own. By the time I got in it was too late to wash my hair, and too late to wash my shirts. It was also too late to get an early night. It must have been almost 10pm when I fell asleep.

 On the whole I slept well, and only woke up a couple of times in the night. When I woke up for the last time I felt pretty dreadful. One of my cheeks, or the area near it, felt sore. I think I have probably got another little infection under one of my teeth, or more likely the big hole where a tooth fell out a couple of years ago - it was one that originally had a root canal filling, and was held in by a titanium screw. I think it got badly damaged when the adjacent tooth was excruciatedly extracted some months before. I've had this before, and it usually clears up in a few days. While the problem persists it is tender, but if untouched is not painful in the least. It's mainly after sleeping on it that it feel sore. Other bits of me felt sore too - legs, knees, ankles etc, but not my head. Even after last night's booze my head felt clear.

 I did something I rarely do this morning. In fact so rare I can't remember ever doing it before, although I guess I must have. I went straight from my bed to the bathroom where, after a few moments on the toilet, I washed my hair. I usually have to build up to washing my hair, but it just had to be done, and I wanted to give it the longest time possibly to dry before leaving for work. So I did all my email checking, and checking some of my favourite web sites after washing this morning. It certainly made a change, and if I could bring myself to do it more often, it is actually the better way to do it.

 So tonight I don't have to wash my hair, but I'll have one more shirt to wash. The good thing is that my long sleeve shirts seem to be easier to wring out, and so drip less when I hang them up to dry. I guess it's probably worth hanging them outside for an hour, maybe an hour and a half before the sun sets at 7.02pm, but I don't expect them to get any more dry than just enough to not drip when I bring them inside for the night. By the time I bring them in the news will have finished on TV, and after that I think I will slowly make my way to bed. I think it would be nice to try for another 9 hour sleep tonight.

 Getting in extra sleep will make tomorrow night easier. I should be going to see Chain play at The Swan in West Wickham, and this time I think I am going to stay a lot later. It is so tempting to get the last train home because it is so simple, but that last train is ridiculously early. The alternative is two buses. I had a quick check on bus times, and if it works as well as the TFL journey planner claims it should, it shouldn't take that long to get home by bus.

 After Friday night's gig there is an even better one on Sunday night. I can't remember if it's billed as Chain or Jo Bangles, but it should probably be the latter. The great thing about it is it will be featuring the excellent Matt on bass guitar, and Dave Griffiths on Keyboards. Hopefully Matt the drummer will be on drums, but I am not sure about that. Being on a Sunday it will be ending earlier than most gigs, but it may still be too late to get the last train from St Mary Cray station (the gig itself is in The White Hart in Orpington High St.). The alternative is one mega long bus journey whose only saving grace is that it is almost door to door. With luck Kevin will be there, and if it comes to getting the bus we can keep each other amused as we slowly trundle through the streets of S.E. London and Kent.
Wednesday 19th September 2012
08:05 BST

I'm sure that rain didn't feature in the weather forecast for yesterday, but it did rain. Maybe it wasn't mentioned because the two showers that I noticed were so brief, and so light that they were hardly noticeable. At about 17 C it wasn't actually warm, but while the rather cool breeze wasn't blowing it was perfectly comfortable. Overnight the temperature dropped a lot, and this morning it was a definitely chilly 8 C (and there was no heating on in my train from Catford). It seemed very dull and gloomy as I came to work, but I guess that was because the sun had hardly risen. Forty minutes later and the sky looks blue, and the sun is shining. It is forecast to shine all day, but we are warned that the top temperature today will only be 16 C.

 I felt terribly tired yesterday, and it was a relief to go home after work. Walking in the fresh air perked me up a bit, but once I was home I was very keen to get to bed. Apart from a bit of cooking, and watching the news on TV, I did very little last night, and I was in bed by 7.45pm. By 8pm I was fast asleep. I woke up a few times in the night, but only very briefly, and essentially I slept right through until woken by my alarm at 5am.

 I woke up feeling lousy. I had a moderate headache, and I felt cold and stiff. The cold is understandable - we were only a few degrees away from a frost, and I guess the stiffness was partly due to the cold as well. The headache, which to a lesser degree I still have now, is probably something terrible, but I'll live - probably :-)

 After 9 hours sleep I shouldn't feel too tired today, although I still have a sleep deficit from the night before, and probably a few nights before that. So tonight I will aim to be asleep by 9pm at the latest. Hopefully I'll have the energy to do what I wanted to do this morning. I wanted to wash my hair, but it was too cold to come to work with wet hair, and I just didn't feel like doing it. I think I had better try and wash my hair before preparing and cooking my dinner. That will give it some extra time to dry. While splashing about in hot water it would probably be a good idea to wash a couple of shirts before cooking as well. I can then leave them outside for an hour to drip away, and start to dry. I'll bring them in to finish drying inside before the sun actually sets.

 There was a small delay before I started writing all this. I had spent a bit of time fighting Tesco's web site. I wanted some new bags for my vacuum cleaner. The ones I actually wanted didn't seem to be listed, but some remarkably similar ones were. So I decided to order a couple of packets. Before doing that I had to try and login in to the site. My password was rejected on my first attempt. So I clicked on the "forgotten password" link. That came back and said that it had never heard of my email address, but gave a link to reset my password. Strangely enough that link did know my email address, and a sent a message to my email address.

 The next non-obvious thing was how to pay on my Clubcard Plus account. With  no obvious help on the page I had to experiment. What seemed to work was to enter the card number as if it were a credit card. With that accepted I had to choose a delivery address. It already had my work address from where I once bought a shirt or something, and I selected that. Then up came a page offering different delivery options. There was standard, express, and "call and collect". Now I presume that call and collect means picking up from my local store, but if that's the case why was it still showing my work address as the delivery address. It seems to be a pretty crappy website ! It cost 3 to have it send here at work by standard delivery, but it saves mucking around, and I'm not desperate for those vacuum cleaner bags. I have an almost empty one in the cleaner, and one more unused one. With hindsight I should have gone for the call and collect option - it might even have spurred the store on to actually keep them in stock !
Tuesday 18th September 2012
08:00 BST

I find myself having difficulty describing yesterday's weather. It wasn't hot and it wasn't cold. There was no rain, but there was sunshine. I guess the best description is "comfortable". At some point this morning there was a light sprinkle of rain. I don't think it was forecast, and if I hadn't seen the rain drops on the wheelie bin, and some on my front path, I wouldn't have even realised it had happened. It was 12 or 13 C when I left to come to work this morning. That was cool, but still in my comfort zone without wearing a coat, and with my shirt sleeves rolled up.

 It would have been too cool for just standing around in, and that might explain why I saw some people dressed up enough for the arctic. Maybe they just like standing still for long periods of time. Apart from sitting on warm trains for half the time, I'm almost constantly on the move for the rest of my commute into (and from) work. It's not going to be particularly warm when I go home today. It should be bright, and probably sunny, but the top temperature is forecast to be only 16 C today. The next couple of days are forecast to be almost clones of today. So let's hope that today is better than forecast.

 I had hoped to go for a quick drink on my way home last night, but it turned out to be impossible. So I went straight home, and tested my electric grill for the first time. What can I say ? It worked OK, but didn't really have any magical qualities. I don't think I was really expecting any, but it would have been nice to say something good about it. It cooked my bacon OK, and it also cooked some beefburgers OK. The only disappointment was the French stick I had bought on Sunday to make my bacon sandwich was already rather dry.

 If I could run the grill and microwave off the same extension lead at the same time, which I probably could, but I prefer not to stress things too far, I could have wet the bread and given it a minute in the microwave to restore it. Instead I dribbled some chilli infused olive oil on the bread to make it feel less dry. Maybe a French stick does not make the ideal bacon sandwich. The sandwich I constructed was good, but not that good.

 There's not much to say about the beef burgers. The smelled wonderful while cooking, but like most beef products I try, they just didn't taste more than a tenth as good as the cooking smell........maybe even a twentieth ! What they may have done is to sit heavily on my stomach, although it didn't exactly feel like that. All I know is that I slept terribly last night. It didn't feel like I had overeaten, and much of my discomfort came from my neck and head as I rested them on my pillow. No matter how much I adjusted my pillow(s) it was either a quarter of an inch too high, or too low. I just couldn't find the optimum adjustment - plus me head could feel lumps in the pillow that my hands couldn't. On top of that I had one spell when my face felt very hot, and several hours later I did have to get up and go to the toilet to pass more than water.

 I probably got a lot more sleep than it feels like I did, and it feels like I only got a few hours.  So far this morning I don't feel too bad, but I seem to be lacking in energy. I was only rushing about at about 75% of my normal commuting speed this morning. I tried going faster but it just seemed too much effort. It was actually nice to stop halfway along the mad mile, the long dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station. I stopped to take a photo.
Olympic signs still up at Waterloo East 10 days after the whole Olympic vilage is closed
 It must be 9 or 10 days since LOCOG took the money and ran. 9 or 10 days since the whole Olympic village was shut down, and closed to the public, but at Waterloo East they still keep the flag flying. Perhaps by some miracle of bizzare technical development, an impossibility will become possible, and they really will be able to offer a train service direct to Rio De Janeiro in Brazil. It will probably be the same technology that allows pigs to fly.

 I have no special plans for tonight, apart from to get to bed very early if I can. I think after last night I should have little trouble getting to sleep, but maybe I'll seek the assistance of a little bit of booze. The only problem after that will be staying asleep, and I don't think I have any solutions for that.
Monday 17th September 2012
07:43 BST

Typically enough, the weather forecast was out by a couple of hours yesterday. I suppose they did get it right in respect of the morning being dull, but with sunny intervals in the afternoon. They said late afternoon, and reality said mid afternoon. The temperature only rose to the high side of mild. Then as soon as the sun set the temperature dropped - no surprises there then. What was a surprise is that it was 15 C, and rising when I left home to come to work. I thought that would feel cooler than it actually was. I wore my lightest coat as I walked to the station, but took it off before the train arrived. Commuting can definitely warm you up ! This morning should see some sunshine, but the afternoon is forecast to be rather dull, and the top temperature today might be a very mediocre 18 C.

 I bought some nice crusty bread, and a packet of bacon while shopping in Aldi yesterday morning. This morning it is still unused. My plan for a nice juicy bacon sandwich fell be the wayside when I had what could be called a panic attack, but wasn't. I suddenly realised that a bag of southern fried chicken like chicken wings and thighs I had bought said "not suitable for microwave cooking". That sounded like a challenge. So rather than try my new grill out with the bacon, I decided to see what would happen if I gave that chicken a very unhealthy blast of hard microwaves.

  The coating may not have been as crunchy as it may have supposed to have been, but it was all very tasty - far too tasty in fact. I felt like I had eaten enough for the whole day. In terms of proper meals, I didn't eat anything else, but I could often have been found nibbling huge handfuls of twiglets, and various other stuff that I shouldn't have. Some of the snacks I ate had rather a lot of sugar in them, and elevated blood sugars levels were the most likely reason I felt a bit sweaty as I rushed around during my commute to work (although the train from Catford did seem to have it's heating on rather high).

 With a gut full of chicken I should have been most sluggish, but somehow I wasn't. I did lots of things in the afternoon. I finished washing the t-shirt that I had left soaking for several hours. I also added a towel into the soak becuase it was starting to smell.Wringing out towels needs a lot of energy, but even that didn't seem to stifle my enthusiasm. After a short break, and some twiglets, I got it into my head that I wanted to put up a small shelf in the kitchen, and I did.....
a new shelf in my kitchen
 The keen eyed anorak might recognise the shelf. It is actually the trinket tray (as they are known in some quarters) from an ancient Southern Region 4-CEP train. It was given to me as a souvenir by an old friend who was stripping a scrap carriage of spares to restore another carriage. They are built like the proverbial brick outhouse, and none needed replacing in the restored carriage so there were spares of these aplenty.

 The only trouble with the photo above (apart from photographic defects) is it makes the adjacent door frame look terrible. It is not that bad in real life, and it wasn't until I had viewed the picture on a PC that I realised just how horrible it looked. Had I know I might have altered my prioritiesm and given the door frame a good clean. What I actually did was to clean the kitchen windows for the first time in many a season. I also cleaned the bottom half of the windows in my back room. All those windows looked more terrible in real life than the door frame, and the back room windows were particularly bad where they were covers in flecks of cat drool and stuff.

 All this domestication is coming as a bit of surprise. Window cleaning yesterday, and hoovering, including the stairs (!) the day before, is rather unusual for me. More often than not I would (but never actually did) argue that it's my filth, and I don't mind living in it - which sounds sort of awful, but it's not a show home, and the bits I actually "use" are usually mostly clean. If I was in the habit of licking door frames I am sure I would keep them spotless. Well for some reason something inside of me has flipped, and I seem to be doing more housework now. I don't know how long I can keep it, or even want to keep it up, but for the moment the back room windows are bright and shiny !

 Tonight must be the night when I have my bacon sandwich. The bread won't last any longer than that. I don't know what else I'll do. I doubt it will be hoovering, and I doubt I'll be washing any more windows, but I might try and make that kitchen door frame look less evil when photographed.

  One thing I was hoping for this weekend was one final visit from Patricia. She wanted to return a tablelamp to me before she goes, but I think she has missed her chance for that. I didn't really want the tablelamp back, but I was hoping for one more hug.  Well her flight to Argentina leaves early tomorrow morning, and she is going to the airport tonight, or maybe even earlier. It seems I won't be seeing her again for a minimum of six months, and probably a lot longer than that. Luckily I took one last snap of her on Friday.
One last look at Patricia
Sunday 16th September 2012
09:06 BST

Yesterday ended quite nicely, but once the sun set the temperature did start to drop. Then it stopped dropping as the sky filled with clouds. This morning it is a fairly mild 17 C. Sadly, a lack of sunshine until an hour or two before the sun sets means that the temperature will probably only rise by a few degrees. I find it surprising that no rain is forecast until Tuesday, and even then it might only be a shower. That forecast could well change, but one thing is for certain, we are heading into autumn quite fast now. It doesn't feel like it will be all that long until this will happen.........
snow on 19th December 2010
 I knew there was practically no chance of Patricia dropping round with my tablelamp last night, but I used it as a reason not to go out last night. I wanted to go and see the band playing in The Chatterton Arms, but I just didn't feel like travelling. What I really wanted to do was to get a Chinese takeaway, and for one weird reason. Since getting my microwave oven I have been looking forward to the day when I can get a big takeaway in one night, and use the microwave for what they were probably intended for - reheating last nights takeaway leftovers for breakfast ! I considered that I had already eaten my fill for the day, and so I didn't order a takeaway, and I'll have to wait another day to have microwave reheated takeaway for breakfast :-)

 I was late getting to bed by weekday standards last night, or in bed early compared to most other peoples weekend standards. By my standards, for a Saturday night when I am not at a gig, it was probably about usual. I slept well, but annoyingly I only managed to sleep in until 5.30am. Ideally I would have slept until, say, 8am. So I'll probably be catching a snooze this afternoon - unless that is when Patricia decides to drop off my tablelamp.

 This morning I haven't been totally idle. I've washed, and hung out to dry, five shirts. I've also left a t-shirt, which has some stubborn spilled dinner stains on it, soaking in bio washing liquid with some oxy action stuff tipped in for good measure. My next task is to "launder" my body. The big question is.....shall I have a shave as well ? Yesterday morning I tried too hard, with a brand new, very cheap and nasty, disposable razor, to have an extra close shave. Apart from the blood everywhere, and the scabs, it was highly succesful :-) Maybe I'll give the scars an extra day to heal before attacking my face with a razor again !

 Once I am up and properly dressed it will probably be time to go off to Aldi and buy some shopping. Today I have a hankering to try my electric grill for the first time. I can't make up my mind what I want to try first. Some bacon would be nice. I could put that in a fresh roll for a tradtional bacon butty - described by some as food of the gods. Alternatively I could go for the healthy option of some boneless and skinless chicken with herbs and spices served with some salad. I think I had better wait to see what is available in Aldi before raising my hopes too high.
Saturday 15th September 2012
16:36 BST

As had been promised (or forecast), yesterday was a nice sunny, and slightly better than mild day. It was the build up for today. It was cool first thing this morning, but not desperately so. Lots of continuous sunshine soon warmed things up. It's currently 21 C, but the sky has become much more cloudy in the last hour or so. It's unlikely there will be any rain today, and tomorrow is supposed to be dry too, although it will often be cloudy, and the temperature could be a degree or two less.

 Once again I rushed home from work in high anticipation. In doing so I almost gave myself a heart attack as I attempted to rush as fast as I could up the two sets of steps/stairs at Earlsfield station. I definitely felt I had reached my limit by the time I was on the platform waiting for my train. It was a fairly stupid thing to do because it would only be a 3 or 4 minute wait for the next train, and that would still get me to Waterloo East in plenty of time for my train to Catford Bridge station. I guess it was good exercise though.

 I had my doubts as to whether I really would see Patricia last night. I had to wait patiently for nearly an hour before she notified me that she was definitely coming over, and then I had to wait patiently for another hour because she was meeting one of her other friends for a coffee in Lewisham before coming here.

 My patience was eventually rewarded. We had a lovely chat over two halves of cider each. During that chat she confirmed a suspicion of mine that she wasn't going to Argentina permanently, but, in effect, only for the winter (summer in the southern hemisphere). The only problem is that she still maintains that it is too expensive to live here, and thinks that she is more likely to move to Spain (where her sister already lives). So it wasn't absolutely the last time I'll see her. With flights to and from Spain being considerably easier than from Argentina, she will probably make occasional visits to London.

 It is possible that I'll be seeing well before that. Last night she intended to return a table lamp that I had forgotten I had loaned to her, but she had forgotten to bring it. I told her not to bother about it, but she says she will try and return it anyway, and it may even be today. Tomorrow is more likely, but that will be the cut-off point because she'll be leaving for the airport sometime on Monday.

 We had a very couple of hours in each other company, and I enjoyed it tremendously. It is sad that it is only on rare occasions like last night that we actually feel very close to each other. There was a lot of hugging and even a damp eye of four. I am, it seems, one of her very best friends. There have been times in the past when I would have disputed that, but it seemed very genuine last night.

 When accused of being a very nice person (or words to that effect) I disputed it and said that I was actually evil, and to prove it I was going to do the same thing that I naughtily did a year ago when she was leaving for Argentina possibly for good (it obviously wasn't, but there was a bigger chance on that occasion). On that occasion I grabbed her head and planted a kiss on her lips (normally it would only be a peck on each cheek). Last night there was no half hearted attempt to dodge my kiss, and if anything the opposite was true. If it was a beginning I would be in ecstacy, but it seems these things can only happen at the end.

 I should have felt sad last night, but maybe lots of past practice meant that I wasn't. All in all it was one of those rare moments to treasure, and with that I went to bed feeling quite happy. I slept well until just gone 5am. Getting up so stupidly early for a Saturday was pretty useless. I did have a lot of stuff I wanted to do, but most of that was hoovering, and I don't think my neighbours would have enjoyed me doing that before the sun had risen. I waited until 8am before I got the hoover out.

 I started off with the back room where I am still finding a few of Smudge's discarded fleas. Thankfully they are starting to get rare now, but the survivors are getting pretty hungry ! Next I did the living room, but what I did after was enough to cause astonishment to anyone who knows me and my house well. I hoovered the stairs ! Admittedly I didn't do a very good job of it, but it may have laid the foundations for more hoovering in the near future. Finally I hoovered my bedroom.

 Later this morning I saw Aleemah. While she ate breakfast in the local Wetherspoons I had a couple of halves of ale. One the ales was a very dark, practically black ale brewed in Scotland. Initially it seemed to have a very intense liquorice like flavour, but after a few mouthfuls I got the flavour, and it was very nice. Maybe a full pint of it would be too much, but a half pint was very enjoyable (for breakfast !).

 Aleemah brough over the DVD to a recently made Disney version of Alice In Wonderland. It was one of those films that is good and bad in equal parts. So I both enjoyed, and didn't enjoy it. Maybe if I could forget my prejudices towards Disney (too sickly, sweet and nice) I might have enjoyed it a bit more.

 Once Aleemah had gone home again I made myself some lunch. I started with some instant noodles, but felt I wanted something more substantial. So I microwaved up a large spicy frankfurter like sausage with some tomatoes, and a few other bits and pieces. that managed to fill a hole, and maybe overfilled it. I had to let it settle for nearly an hour before I could tackle washing some t-shirts and underwear. I've still got some shirts to do, but they can wait until tomorrow.

 Tonight I should be seeing Chain/Jo Bangles playing at The Chatterton Arms. As I write there is some doubt in my mind about whether I will be going or not. It's unlikely that Patricia will be returning my table lamp this evening, but it would take precedence. Maybe it's because my lunch is still settling, and maybe it because doing my washing has used up more energy than I thought, or maybe doing my washing so soon after eating lunch has left me with slight indigestion as well as tired. Whatever it is, I am far from feeling ready to get myself dressed and polished up to go out, and I don't feel like a moderately long bus ride. I have tokeep reminding myself that once I am there, and have drunk my first pint of Guinness, I will be feeling wonderful, but right now I feel sort of bleaurghhhhh !
Friday 14th September 2012
07:56 BST

The wind definitely kept the temperature down yesterday, but it was comfortably warm by the afternoon. Once again there was no rain, but it looks possible this morning even if the forecast says otherwise. It is rather cloudy this morning, and that has helped keep the temperature up a bit. It still felt cool enough to wear a light coat to work, but just mild enough to wear a short sleeve shirt under that coat. We are promised a sunny afternoon, and it could be a bit warmer than yesterday, but still only 19 - 20 C.

 I drove myself to almost the point of collapse going up and down the stairs at Earlsfield station yesterday afternoon, as I raced home in anticipation of that very last visit from Patricia. Once again I was left disappointed as once again she had stay in to show someone else around the flat that she will soon be vacating. She has promised faithfully, repeating the word three times in her last text message, that she will make it tonight. I don't think it will come as a surprise if she doesn't come, but I live in hope.

 The consequences of her not turning up last night were twofold. I got to bed, and was asleep on time, and maybe even a little early. That was good. What was less good was that with no distractions I ate far too much. Included in all the stuff I stuffed myself with was a Tesco ready meal. It was alleged to be chicken chow mein in Ken Hom's special sauce. It was perfectly wholesome, or as wholesome as a microwaved ready meal can be, but I disliked it strongly. I can't explain what was wrong with it except to say there was nothing I liked about it !

 It's now five days since the end of my longest ever running nightmare, and yet still I get flashbacks. I had one on Waterloo station at just past 7am on my way into work this morning.
Waterloo station 5 days after the games had finished
At Waterloo East there are other reminders too....
Waterloo East station 4 days after the games had finished
Waterloo East 3 days after the bloody Olympics had finished
 The sign in the picture above is the most bloody annoying sign ever - and not because it doesn't actually say why you should alight at Blackheath. The really annoying feature isn't obvious from the place where I took the picture, and the angle I took it at. Further back down the corridor, perhaps where you might want to make a decision as to whether the first train to London Bridge station departs from platform A or Platform C, the sign mostly obscures the departures display. Personally, I like to know as soon as possible whether my train to Catford Bridge is running, and what time it is expected. If I know I have sufficient time I might want to go to the shop on platform B/C to buy a sandwich, drink, magazine, or anything else they might sell. Or sometimes I might want to use the toilet on platform B. To read the display that tells me the time, and the time expected for my train, means walking past the slope down to platforms B and C, reading the display, and then turning around and walking against the flow to get back to the way down to those platforms. Whoever hung this sign, and several others in stupid places, really didn't give much thought to the consequences !
Thursday 13th September 2012
07:49 BST

I guess this morning is warmer than yesterday. It felt chillier, but at 10 C it is actually 2 warmer ! The reason may be that yesterday was better than expected. There may have been more sunshine that I expected, and rather less rain than forecast. The total amount of rain that I was aware of was none at all, but I saw plenty of very heavy, very black, clouds passing overhead. The sky is almost clear at the moment, and the forecast is for a lot of sunshine today. The one flaw that stops it being a nice day is that the wind is rather cool, and blowing away any heat left by the sunshine. Without that wind the afternoon may have been a rather nice 25 C. whereas the forecast suggests we'll be lucky if it tops 20 C.

 I felt dreadfully tired at work yesterday, and it was almost a relief to go home. If it wasn't for all the mountaineering now required to get to platform 2 at Earlsfield it would have been a great relief instead of a fearsome challenge. Incidently, when I moaned about it yesterday I completely messed up the platform numbers. There are three platforms at Earslfield. In reverse order they are; 3 - country bound, 2 - London bound, and 1 - not normally used, but country bound. Once upon a time there was also a platform that would have to be called platform 0 in the current numbering scheme. It was demolished, and the staircase to it filled in some unknown decades ago.

 When I got back to Catford last night, I headed straight to Tesco to buy some cider and other stuff. Cider is Patricia's favourite booze, and last night we were going to celebrate, although celebrate is an entirely inappropriate word, but I can't think of a better one right now, her leaving the UK for possibly, but unlikely, the very last time. It was almost as I was selecting the cider that I got a text message from Patricia saying that she had to show someone around the flat she was vacaating, and couldn't see me last night. She has promised that she will see me tonight though.

 Not seeing Patricia last night was both a disappointment and an opportunity. It gave me the opportunity to get to bed early if only another opportunity didn't keep me up late ! That other opportunity was to install an FTP server on my temporary server. Like the web server, it was very handy that I had been practicing on my old laptop here at work. Installation of the FTP (file transfer protocol) server was ridiculously simple this time, and having learned a few tricks on my practice sessions it worked first time. Even better than that was the fact that for the first time ever it worked with virtual users. Now I have a login that only gives me access to just my web pages instead of the whole filesystem. It also means I can resume writing/editing these web pages on a local PC and upload them to the server PC as I used to before my main server crashed and burnt !

 Apart from having a few shirts that it would be useful to wash tonight instead of letting them build up, which all being well I won't be doing, I have nothing else to look forward to, or should I say nothing to distract me from a pleasant couple of hours with Patricia. Apart from the sadness of her leaving there is also the sadness that I know she won't get roaring drunk, or even tipsy and molest me, but she might drink enough for a giggle.
Wednesday 12th September 2012
07:54 BST

This morning has started off at a rather chilly 8 C, but the sky is almost clear and the sun is shining. By early afternoon the sun should have added 10 C to the temperature, but soon after some rain is forecast. There is a chance that I'll get wet on the way home. If it were a bit warmer I wouldn't mind that, but with the temperature under 20 C it will not be pleasant.

  After the muscle and stamina testing of getting to the London platform at Earlsfield station last night, it was sort of a pleasure to get off the train and just walk down the stairs on the same platform without having to go up and over the temporary footbridge. It would have been even nice if I had arrived at Waterloo 30 seconds earlier. That would have given me enough time to walk further down the platform, and get on a carriage whose doors would have been closer, or ideally opposite the stairway off the platform at Earlsfield.

 One of the odd things is that although I really moaned about having to go up and over the footbridge last night, it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. The reason for that only became apparent this morning. The height of each step more closely matches my ideal step height. What really adds to the knackering experience is the steps up from the road to either of the two platforms. They are really shallow steps, and somehow it just makes it feel so much harder to walk up them.

  Attaching my server hard disk to the desktop PC that is temporarily serving my web pages didn't take much time last night, but writing a blog entry did take a long time. I am not a speedy typist, and it takes me a while to think what to write. Last night was made worse by a strange effect I've seen before. Even with my relatively slow typing, I was still typing faster than the words would appear on the screen. I had to allow time for the screen to catch up. It made me get to bed on time instead of early as I desperately desired. Fortunately things were a lot faster last night than they are this morning. I did mention yesterday that writing updates remotely would be tricky, and so they are. To write this I have set up a very slow feeling remote desktop connection, and I am actually writing all this directly into Kompozer, my web page editor of choice, running on the PC at home. At least I was......currently I am writing this into Windows Notepad, and then I'll cut and paste these words into Kompozer. This is a rather quicker way of doing it than directly !

  Tonight I am looking forward to my visit from Patricia. Some cider will be involved, and that might make it fun. I still can't believe that she is going back to Argentina forever. The amount of stuff she has left with me for safekeeping suggests that even she is unsure if she will stay there. It must be difficult for her. She doesn't like the Argentinian financial system, which she feels is unsafe, and yet she finds it difficult to justify paying the incredible high rents in London. Either England will have gone completely down the tubes by next spring, or I reckon she will be back then - which is really unfair ! By dodging back and forth between the north and south hemispheres she hasn't experienced a winter for a couple of years now. I'm jealous !!
Tuesday 11th September 2012
20:00 BST

Good news - sort of ! I've mounted my server hard disk in my spare PC, and although I've got no backup, and writing updates remotely is sort of tricky, I'm back on the air :-) Now I can be a little more relaxed about rebuilding my main server.

 The weather - or as much of it as I can recall. Actually recalling Sunday is easy. It was very warm and sunny right up to sundown. The top temperature was around 28 C. As the sun went down a cooling breeze sprung up. By the morning it was cool enough that I felt that I had to go back to wearing long trousers. Yesterday was overcast a few times, and the temperature only managed to reach around 20 - 21 C. It was forecast to rain during the night, but everything appeared dry when I went to work this morning. Today was probably a little cooler still, and there were some very heavy looking clouds passing by, but there was only one brief splash of rain in the afternoon. It looked threatening at first, but it stayed dry while I made my way home, and the sun was shining again by the time I reached Waterloo.

 I had a particularly lazy day on Sunday. I spent much of the afternoon pretending (or enjoying ?) to be a naturist by laying on my bed stark naked except for a sheen of sweat. It was sweltering inside my bedroom, and it would have felt much fresher if I had gone out for a long walk, but I just didn't feel like it. Later in the afternoon, when reading and dozing off became boring, I made the fateful decision to upgrade my server from Xubunto 9 to Xubuntu 12.

 In theory it was an easy thing to do. From the Linux command line I just typed "do-upgrade-release" and away it went. I am sure it would have been perfectly successful if I had enough hard disk space, but I didn't !!  The upgrade crashed halfway through, and left the system in a very unstable state. I managed to make some disk space, and the upgrade tried to continue, but the damage was done. Although a disaster in one sense, it was also the excuse I've been looking for to upgrade the server in other ways too. My server does more than serve web pages. It is also my media repository, and the hard disk space allocated for that was filling up too, and I had been thinking of fitting even bigger hard disks. I checked the price of those today, and I'm not actually sure I can spare the money this month, and so this disaster has come a bit early, but is less of a disaster than it could have been.

 The most significant thing about yesterday was that the "games" were officially over. That was good, but what I hadn't realised was that there was a related parade through London yesterday. It wasn't a good time to have a short formed train to go home on. Without all the revellers it would have been "very cosy" on a half length train. With them all it was murderous, and I'm surprised murder wasn't committed. Anyone could have had good reason to go on a killing spree after what we endured on a steaming hot, airless, tightly packed, carriage - including me !

 I had more railway trouble this morning. At Earlsfield station they have finally opened the new staircase on platform 1. There were some very amateurish signs put up to say it was open, but they looked like they had been knocked up by some schoolkids as a prank. So I, and almost the rest of the train followed the weary path up the huge temporary footbridge to platform 2, and all the way along the platform to find the stairs there blocked off. So it was about turn, and back to platform 1, all the way along it to the new staircase.

 Coming home again was even worse. It always knackers me to walk all the way to the station after a day at work, and then to climb the long staircase to the platform. To then have to walk almost the entire length of the platform, and then having to climb that bloody temporary footbridge almost killed me ! It didn't help that I was feeling particularly weary after work today. It was a relief to get on the train, sit down, and get my breath back.

 In theory I was spurred on by looking forward to seeing Patricia tonight - even if it was to be a very brief meeting. She brought over some stuff for me to look after. Considering that she may not even be coming back to England, it was a hell of a lot of stuff. She brought it over by taxi, and went on to return a chair she had borrowed from another of her friends. So she was only here for a few minutes, but she promised to come back again, probably tomorrow to say goodbye properly. I think I'm looking forward to that in one sense, but it will be hard to say goodbye for what might be forever.
Saturday 8th September 2012
18:41 BST

I'm not sure if yesterday was quite as warm as I thought it might be. It was certainly sunny all day, but today definitely has the edge on it. With the sun now getting low on the horizon it has cooled off a bit, and my outside thermometer says it is only 22.7 C. Inside my bedroom it is rather warmer at a sweltering 27.3 C. Today was just the warm up for tomorrow when the temperature in London could exceed 27 C.

 I didn't do much yesterday afternoon. There was plenty of stuff I could have done, but after my efforts in the morning I decided it wouldn't be too wrong to be lazy for a few hours. A few hours turned into a few more hours, and complete and utter slothfullness set in ! I could have made the excuse that I was saving myself for an evenings boozing, but that didn't happen either. With so little going on it is hard to see how I ended up going to bed so late, but I think it was past 11pm when I turned in.

 I slept very well until either 4am, or 5.30am. For some reason I can't remember when it was. As seems quite usual these days, I got up and pottered around for a couple of hours before going back to bed. Somehow I managed to get back into deep sleep, and it was only when someone phoned me at 9.30am that I got up again. That rather put a damper on my plans to visit the seaside today.

 I would have liked to set out about the time I woke up, and got the 10:03 train, but my friend kept me chatting on the phone for nearly 30 minutes. After that I shaved, shampooed, showered, and got half dressed before checking the timetables for trains to different parts of the coast. Some routes had good connections going there, and lousy options for coming back - as is typical for a weekend service.

 I had thought of going to Camber Sands, but three things put me off. First of all, time was passing all too fast and it was getting late. Secondly the service to Rye station is only hourly on a Saturday. Thirdly, I couldn't help but thinking that Camber Sands would still be busy even though the holiday season has officially ended.

 The thing that really stopped me going out was another phone call. It was interesting enough that it lasted rather a long time. One hour and forty five minutes to be exact ! That took me well past any good time for going on a long train journey. So I stayed in except for a trip to Iceland (the supermarket). I thought it was time I had another look in there, and I bought all sort of junk, and a couple of 3 litre bottles of Diet Coke. It's a slightly more economical way of buying it but with one big problem - the bottles are too big to fit in my fridge without laying them on their side.

 Some other junk I bought, because it had to be tried at least once, was some microwaveable doner kebabs, and chicken tikka wraps. Tryin them once is all I will do. The kebabs were revolting, and the chicken tikka wraps were not all that nice. I dread to think what the microwave chips will be like ! With luck the salad bowls I bought will be OK. There is no reason why they should be any different to the ones from Tesco or Aldi. I think I feel compelled to have salad for dinner tonight after the excesses of my lunch today.

 I haven't been totally idle today, although I don't have much to show for what I did do. I managed to fill two slightly small heavy duty rubbish bags with more garden debris. I've now almost pushed the vegetation back to beyond the end of the house. Much of todays collection was stuff that I had previously cut down and left piled up, and a load of ivy and other creeping stuff at ground level.

 Maybe if I don't go out tomorrow, and with the Sunday service on the trains it seems unlikely I'll want to go out, I may do some more hacking and slashing in the garden. I could possibly risk one more bag of foliage in the wheelie bin, but I think it will be simpler to just let it drop where it comes down to dry out. It will be easier to handle like that later. It should dry very quickly while this summer interlude continues. Hopefully a pair of shorts I washed will dry quickly too. Washing them, or strictly speaking, giving them a good rinse was one other thing I did this afternoon. I'm not entirely sure what it was I got on them while "gardening" but it didn't seem pleasant at the time, although it was probably just mud because it rinsed off very easily.
Friday 7th September 2012
11:31 BST

If yesterday had just been a bit warmer it would have been really nice. Instead it was merely nice. Like the previous few days it took a while to warm up, and yesterday starting at only 10 C was probably the reason why it only ever reached warm yesterday afternoon instead of very warm, or even slightly hot. Today promises to be a bit better. I'm not sure what the starting temperature was, it didn't feel quite as cold as yesterday,but it is already 18 C, and I think we are on track for a nice sunny 25 C by mid to late afternoon.

 I had another brainwave yesterday. Well maybe not brainwave, but a good idea. One of the problems with microwave cooking is that you can't really cook stuff like bacon, burgers and sausages, but you can in an electric grill. So on my way home from work I popped into Tesco to see what they had. Amongst the "electricals" I found a grill for 19.47 (I think), and round the corner the very similar looking George Forman grill. I remember the TV adverts for it, and they were most off putting, but as it was 7 cheaper I went for it. I haven't used tried it yet, and I have no advance plans for anything grilled, but it's nice to know it's there when I do need it.

 One annoyance was that Tesco didn't appear to have any 2 litre bottles of Diet coke, and I think the best alternative, bearing in mind that Tesco own brand diet cola is disgusting (unlike Aldi, Lidl, and probably other supermarkets own brands), was to buy a 6 pack of 1.25 litre "sharing" bottles. Lugging those home together with the grill, which was not heavy, but rather bulky in it's big box, was a bit of a struggle. I also bought a hot cooked chicken.

 That chicken tasted like it had been basting in it's own grease all day, and although it didn't taste off, it did taste slightly odd. I'm not sure if I can blame that on having a stomach ache this morning. It wasn't that bad, but it did make me unstable enough to fear travelling to work in case I needed a toilet in a hurry on the way there. As is so often the case my fears were ultimately unfounded, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Plus, as I've no doubt mentioned before many times, with the current sickness regulations introduced a few years ago, I feel no guilt about going sick any more because it doesn't cost the company any money. Today will either come out of my rapidly dwindling holiday allowance, or it will be unpaid. I'll decide on that on Monday, but I may decide to opt for unpaid.

 So far today I haven't been idle. Probably the most important thing I've done is to clear a little more carpet of junk in the back room, and given all the exposed carpeting the hoovering of it's life. Sooner or later I'll get the last of Smudge's legacy of fleas from that carpet. Unfortunately there are still plenty of nooks and crannies in there here they'll still be lurking, but I'll get them all in the end !

 When I got tired of hoovering the carpet I turned my attention to the kitchen. These days bits of my kitchen look almost sanitary, but the sink was looking pretty grim, and I had a lot of cutlery to wash, but surprisingly few plates. So donning a fetching pair of pink rubber gloves I ploughed into the grim depths of the sink. The sink is now sparkling (well, with a modicum of imagination it is), all the cutlery and plates are clean, and the area around the sink, and draining board looks fresh and clean.

 I didn't stop there though. I also did some laundry. Thanks to the odds and ends I did over the weekend I only had three shirts to do, and that was not exactly hard work. All my laundry, apart from the linen still on my bed is now done, but that bed linen is going to be a problem in the future. Last night my friend Patricia dropped by with the last load of laundry she will be doing for me.

 What is slightly annoying is that it needn't have been the very last. I thought that last night was going to be the last time I ever see her, but it's not the case. In 10 days time she flies back to Argentina, but now she has doubts that she will never come back here. She has asked if I can store some stuff for her. I told her the fee was the use of her body for a night, but she knocked me down to a carton of duty free cigarettes when, and if she returns to the UK. Well, it's better than nothing........

 So some time next week Patricia will drop by with a suitcase or two of stuff for me to store, and if I had ripped the linen off the bed to give to her last night I could have had one more bit of laundry dropped off too. It seems certain that the next visit will be the last, but whether it will be the last ever is unknown, and in the lap of the goddesses. I guess I'll be a little sad, but with our relationship being little more than laptop repairs in return for laundry, and the occasional hug, I won't be missing too much. I guess I'll soon have to put renewed efforts into repairing the falling sink and work surface so I can finally extract my washing machine, and repair it. Not today though.

 One thing I was hoping for today was that my friend Ivor was popping up to London, and that we could meet for a drink. I've had no reply to my test message asking if it was today that he was coming, and I think it is probably a bit too late now. Looks like I'll have to be teetotal for a few more hours yet, and if I don't go to a gig tonight it may be for a few more days ;-( My plans to go to a gig tonight are looking a bit dodgy right now. I can't seem to confirm if the band I wanted to see are really on tonight. The twitter feed for the pub, which seems to be the most up to date information, states a different band are on tonight, and worse still, aren't on until 10pm tonight. That's a bit late for me, and I have doubts I'll be going now.
Thursday 6th September 2012
 07:11 BST

The strange thing about today is that it feels like a Friday.

If it had been just a bit warmer then yesterday would have been like a summers day. The sun was shining most of the time, but the temperature didn't really manage to get much higher than around 21 C. This morning started off even cooler than yesterday morning. It was only 10
C on my thermometer. It should be sunny for most of today, and that should bring the temperature up to something similar to yesterday.

 I found the energy, or enthusiasm, or whatever it takes, to walk to the 99p shop on my way home from work last night. I think the thing I was thinking about yesterday morning, but couldn't remember, was some coco butter moisturising creme. What I actually bought last night was some coconut moisturising creme, and it smelled disgusting. There was nothing actually wrong with it as far as I can tell, and it is the same smell that offends the nose from many black ladies.  I think I'll be throwing it away, and next time I'll make sure I get coco butter and not coconut, although theoretically coconut could smell nice.

 One thing I couldn't resist buying was one of those shiny survival blanket type things. I never realised how of it was packed into such a small space. From one small packet there was almost enough to use as a really rather peculiar sheet on a small double bed. Why anyone might want to do that is anyone's guess, but it gives a good idea of the size of the thing. I had a certain amount of disbelief that anything bought from the 99p shop like it could actually work, but it does ! Before I went to bed I tried laying under while naked. Within a few minutes I thought I was going to toast. I doubt I'll be in any situations where I would truly need it, except on any rail journeys in the south east when more than two snowflakes have fallen, but it seems a handy thing to have.

 Apart from eating my dinner, watching the news on TV, wrinkling my nose up at smelly moisturising creme, and playing with a survival blanket, I did very little last night. Apart from spending an hour or so "surfing the net", I did nothing of note at all. In theory I should have been in bed a lot earlier than I was. I estimate it was 9pm when I fell asleep after only being in bed for a short while. I slept well until 3am when I woke up, and made a bit of a mistake. I needed a pee, but not that badly, so I seemed to spend ages debating whether to get up and have one, or to try and just go back to sleep. If I had just got up, had my pee, and been back in bed before my eyes had even focussed properly, I would probably have fallen asleep again very quickly. Instead I didn't really get much sleep at after that.

 So I got up extra early, and even after spending a short time trying to work out what planet a friend of mine was from based upon a couple of emails he had sent/forwarded to me, I was still able to get the 06:03 train to work, and in consequence I was the first one here ! As to my friend...........as far as the internet is concerned he is probably not far off normal, but in the real world he needs to see a brain care mechanic !
Wednesday 5th September 2012
 07:56 BST

  There wasn't a hint of a shower yesterday, and after a couple of hours of thin misty cloud covering most of the sky, there was hardly any clouds in the sky to drop any rain on us. The sun felt fiercely hot, and yet the temperature didn't get much higher than 23 C. Today should be mostly similar, although paradoxically it will be a little cooler even with the sky already clear, and the sun shining. One reason is there is that the breeze has picked up, and it's almost windy, and the other may be because the temperature dropped quite low overnight. It was just 13
C when I left home, and maybe just wearing a t-shirt and shorts was a little masochistic. They should be nice for going home again though.

 It was nice going home in warm sunshine yesterday, and the only downside of it was that I found my south facing bedroom to be very hot when I got home. One way of cooling off was the incredibly unpleasant task of plunging my rubber gloved hands into a cold bowl of washing that had been soaking for 24 hours (it would have been nastier still without the gloves). Once again I had decided to leave some washing soaking in bio detergent to get some stubborn grease spots out. It worked well on the t-shirt I had soaked, along with some other random stuff, for 24 hours the previous day. It was less successful on a tea towel that had some really horrible grease spillage on it, but it was probably still better than I expected.

 I managed to get to bed early last night, and I even got to sleep early despite it being 25
C in my bedroom. The only trouble is, I have no idea what time I did get to sleep. All I know is that when something woke me up at 10pm it felt like I had been asleep for ages. What I should have done at that point was to either close the window, and/or pull the duvet over me, but the room had cooled little by then. I next woke at 3am feeling freezing cold. After that I didn't get much more sleep at all despite pulling the duvet over me. I gave up trying to sleep at 4.30am, and if I hadn't decided to wash my hair I could have been on the 06:03 train to work this morning. Instead I got the 06:33 as usual, and that gave my hair a bit of time to dry before going out into the chilly morning air.

 I've been thinking about my long term plans. It is possible that I might go home via the 99p shop tonight. There seemed to be a good reason for it earlier on this morning, but I'm blowed if I can remember what it was now. Even further into the future, on Friday to be exact, I think I might go to a gig to see a band (or singer) who I have never seen before. They're called Black Vendetta Baby and they are playing in Forest Hill. I've watched three of their rather strange videos, and one of them is not bad. Even further into the future is Saturday. The weather forecast suggests it could be as warm as 26
C, and I reckon I ought to go for at least one more trip to the seaside. I don't know yet if I will or won't, but I also don't know if the sun will have gone nova by then either.
Tuesday 4th September 2012
 07:45 BST

  It certainly was a nice day yesterday. The temperature didn't quite hit the 25 C promised, at least not in Catford (except for in my bedroom), but it was only about a degree and a bit short. It could certainly have passed as a summers day. It cooled off a lot overnight, but at somewhere near 15
C it is still on the borders between cool and chilly. The day started off bright and sunny, but now the sky looks rather milky in colour. There  should still be plenty of sunshine today, and it will be warm again, but there is supposed to be the outside chance of a passing shower.

 From time to time I felt a bit sleepy while at work yesterday, but it was not as bad as I thought it might be. The bright sunshine was a good reason to feel more awake than otherwise. It was still a relief to get home though. I had contemplated walking the two miles to Wandsworth Common station instead of getting the train from Earlsfield. I carried on contemplating it as I started walking, but the lure of the quickest way home overcame any desire to walk in the sunshine.

 I did very little last night, and yet there seemed to be no time to get bored. As the first of my two part dinner cooked in the microwave I did the "rinse cycle" of the laundry I had left soaking all day in the hope that it would loosen some stubborn greasy stains - which I think it did. After hanging it up to dry I ate part one of my dinner - a rather petit portion of chips in curry sauce - 99p from Aldi !. While I ate that I cooked part two - (alleged) bangers and (alleged) mash - also 99p from Aldi.

 The chips in curry sauce were actually not bad, but I don't think I'll have them again. The bangers and mash were almost unpleasant, and I am sure I won't be having them again. Having said that, I am sure I have had them in the past cooked in my old gas oven, and they were more edible that way, but maybe still not actually very nice. Tonight I think it is going to be curry - maybe with some extra hot sauce !

 It was rather warm in my bedroom last night, and although I was on my bed by 8.30pm, I took a little time off reading to cool off before attempting to get to sleep. It did take a while before I felt comfortable, and I got to sleep a lot later than I would have desired - and it showed. I only woke once during the night, and had to be woken up by my alarm going off at 5am. It's the first time that has happened for some time now.

 I am glad my alarm woke me when it did because I was just on the point of having a terrifying nightmare. I was having a dream that was rather strange, and rather sexy. I was with a woman in my room, and there was at least one friend in the room too. I sort of recognised the woman, but I have no idea what her name was. I am not sure the name of my friend(s) either. In fact I am not sure I actually saw him, her or them, but just sort of knew he, she or they were there. I was also aware that my mum was in the next room.

 It didn't seem to be of any consequence that I was going to bed with the woman while the friend, or friends were in the same room, but I felt I had to lock the door in case my mum should come in. When the lock wouldn't work my woman friend handed me a chair to wedge under the door handle to keep it shut. So far so good ! Getting into bed with a possible audience was a bit kinky with hindsight, but it didn't seem to matter in the dream. What did matter was that once in bed my partner said we could make lots of babies ! I was so glad my alarm woke me at that point because I doubt I could have continued with the original plan after she said that !

 This morning I don't feel too bad. I'm not ready to climb Mount Everest, but the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station didn't seem to be particularly stressful, and the climb up the huge temporary footbridge over the tracks at Earlsfield station, followed by the walk to the other end of the platform and down the three flights of stairs to road level seemed OK. So I guess everything is in reasonable working order, or as well as can be expected. I don't feel too starving hungry yet, and in an ideal world I would start to feel hungry until I get home after work.

 There is one flaw in that argument. On the corner of the building is a little cafe. If I am very lucky the wind is blowing from a different direction today, but that seems unlikely. Sooner or later there will come the siren smell of frying bacon to tempt me onto the rocks of extreme dribbling hunger !
Monday 3rd September 2012
 07:42 BST

  Yesterday's weather could be described as "unexciting" ! It wasn't particularly cold or warm, but just sort of mild. It stayed dry, but it was always overcast - sometimes just white cloud, and for a lot of the later afternoon, and into the evening, much greyer cloud. This morning has started off rather grey, and cool (but not really cold). If the weather forecast comes true the cloud will break up to leave a warm sunny afternoon. It had better do because I've put my shorts on today !

 Yesterday could easily have been a day of complete rest, but I did do a few things. Just after midday I wandered down the road to Aldi and bought loads of microwaveable stuff. When I came back I had some breakfast, and later I did the first of two loads of laundry. I hung that in the garden hoping it might dry fairly quickly in the light breeze, but I think it must really be humid recently. It felt a bit humid, but sometimes how it feel is not always how it is.

 Even if it didn't dry quickly it was in the right place to gently drip, and that meant I didn't have to work too hard wringing it out before hanging it up. Later on I did a second lot, but that I did but a gut wringing out so I could dry it indoors. Apart from a t-shirt I've left soaking in some bio detergent in the hope that it will dissolve a stubborn greasy stain, I could be up to date with my laundry, although when I deal with that t-shirt tonight I'll probably throw in a towel and t-towel too.

 The other thing of significance I did yesterday was to go through the photos I took on Saturday night. The problem with the British Oak pub is that photos never really come out well there. I think it's all the dark wood panelling as I've probably moaned about on many an occasion before. There is one other pub where a similar thing happens. I took about 35 snaps on Saturday, and with some work about half were just about OK. Here's just three significant ones.
Jo Corteen singing solo
Here's Jo singing solo. I don't think I recognises the song, but she sang it nicely.
view from the bar of Chain at The British Oak
Normally I go close into the band, but for a change I thought I snap the view from the bar.
machine head
Chris' second guitar was lying on a table ready for the two Rolling Stones covers he uses if for, and it just seemed to present itself for a snap looking down the strings from the machine heads. The make and model of the guitar are on the tip of my tongue, but as soon as my fingers hit the keyboard it just slipped into one of those inaccessible bits of my memory.

 I almost certainly ate a little too well yesterday, and to make matters worse, a lot of it was hot spicy food. When I came to go to bed I seemed to be burning up. It didn't help that after not really washing all day I decided I ought to have a shower before going to bed. If after that I hadn't been dripping with sweat, I might have been in bed as early as 8.30pm, but it was a good hour later before I felt I could get into bed, and even then I couldn't stand being under the duvet. I think that it could have been as late as 11.30pm before I stopped thrashing around, and finally got to sleep.

 Once asleep I did sleep very soundly until 4am, and continued to sleep until 4.30am. I was probably on the brink of waking for that last half hour because I remembered all sorts of strange and bizzare dreams before really waking up. One dream concerned an old friend of mine, Marion, although she didn't actually appear in the dream itself. I seemed to be looking for her in her hometown in Bedfordshire. It was like something from a sci fi movie in as much as most of the town seemed to be undercover, and perhaps underground. As I walked down a very wide corridor, with doors to flats on either side, I came across a couple of scrawny horses, and a few scrawny dogs. It was like something you might see on a "travellers" illegal campsite except it was indoors (but with a genuine farmyard smell).

 I think I was lucky if I got 5 hours sleep last night. Usually I would be irritated by that, but recently I do seem to be surviving quite well on so little sleep. I think it would be beneficial to try and get to bed before 9pm tonight if I can, and although I've got few options, I'll see if I can select the least spicy options for dinner tonight. Maybe if I do that I'll sleep better. I don't feel bad for so little sleep this morning in terms of tiredness, but I think all that thrashing around, and sleeping partly, or even totally uncovered, has left me feeling a bit stiff and aching this morning.

 As I write these last words there is the first hint that the sun is burning away the clouds. It is definitely brighter, and one half of the sky is starting to glow. It might be a very nice day today.
Sunday 2nd September 2012
 13:21 BST

  As far as I recall, it stayed dry on Friday, and overall it was a nice day. Yesterday featured less sunshine, and might have been a little cooler too, but once again it stayed dry. This morning the ground was damp as if it had rained during the night, but it's been dry since. Unfortunately it is very overcast right now. Later today the clouds are due to get even thicker, but no rain is forecast. Sometime around sunset the clouds will thin again, and the forecast for tomorrow is for a bright sunny, at at 25 C a rather warm day. Today is not forecast to get any warmer than 18
C. That's not exactly warm, but it feels like the humidity is rather high, and doing anything resembling hard work seems to bring on a bit of a sweat.

 It had been my intention to get to bed a little earlier on Friday night, but with no work on Saturday my discipline slipped. In fact I think I went to bed half an hour, maybe even an hour late. That should have ensured that I would sleep late in the morning, but it didn't. Once again I woke up too early, and then had difficulty getting back to sleep again. It's hard to be sure, but I doubt I got any more than six hours sleep on Friday night/Saturday morning.

 Getting up early did have some uses though. I had a visit from Aleemah on Saturday morning, and I managed to do an unusual amount of hoovering before she came round. It must have been an unusual amount because it got commented on ! Aleemah brought along the film "Excalibur" for us to watch. It had some good reviews, but it was not to my taste, and at 140 minutes long, I was happier once it had finished !

 After Aleemah left I had some lunch, and a rest before preparing myself to go out in the evening to watch Chain play in The British Oak pub in Blackheath. I was most fortunate in being offered a lift there by Jo and Chris because late in the afternoon, and continuing into the night, I had a severe dose of wind that left me feeling rather uncomfortable at times. During the evening I had to either go outside, or into the toilet to avoid offending people. By the time the gig had ended I was just about deflated, but getting a lift home again was a double bonus for a slightly different reason.

 I stayed to the very end of the gig, and help breakdown the bands gear, and carry it out to the cars. By the time everything was all, loaded the pub had locked the toilets. This was a bit unfortunate because I had been concentrating too much on deflating myself, and not enough on dealing with the result of drinking lots of beer. It sounds silly in retrospect, but it's true. Before we set off home I had to go and water a tree in a semi shielded place by some lock up garages, and by the time I was dropped off at home I had to get to the toilet pretty sharpish ! I am ever so glad that I did not have to keep that in while sitting on a slow, meandering bus back to Catford.

 It was very late when I got home, and gone 1am when I got to bed. It took very little time to get to sleep, but I still woke up around 4am. I did get up very briefly then, but it wasn't long before I was back in bed asleep. I woke up a couple of times again, but essentially I managed to sleep through to 11am even if it didn't always feel like quality sleep. This morning I didn't feel too bad, although I shall be doing my best to getting to sleep before 9pm tonight.

 It wasn't to this morning that I realised that the wind that was causing me so much discomfort during late afternoon, and into the evening, must have been building since yesterday morning. On Friday I recieved two new pairs of jeans that I had ordered. One pair is a plain black denim, and the other is I think described as black twill (it's like a fine corduroy). I put on the plain denim ones when I met Aleemah, and they felt a bit tight and uncomfortable. It was obvious that as well as them being new and stiff, I had put on a bit of weight. At least I thought it was obvious.

 I was so bloated with wind last night that any of my trousers could have felt a bit tight. So it came as a bit of a surprise this morning when I discovered that I had worn the other new pair of jeans that are mostly identical to the old pair that I usually wear to gigs. Now I am fully deflated I think those new jeans would be very comfortable to wear, and to prove the point I wore the same new ones that I had worn on Saturday morning when I went shopping today. The legs still felt a bit new and stiff, but I had no trouble doing them up, and they didn't feel tight around the waist at all. So things are not as bad as they seem, but it is still going to need a fair bit of effort to be able to wear my red jeans along with a red top, and red shoes for the Halloween gig at the end of October. Two months to lose an inch around my waist - easy - maybe, or maybe not :-(