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My Diary/Blog For the Month of April 2013

Tuesday 30th April 2013
I don't know how long the links at the top of the page were pointing to the wrong months/years, but I have now corrected them to point to the previous and next month as they are supposed to.

08:12 BST


  It was nice and sunny yesterday, but until it slackened off mid to late afternoon, there was a strong breeze that made it feel a lot cooler than it was. At 5pm, soon after I arrived home from work, it was 15 C, and with less breeze it was nearly on the edge of begining to feel warm. The temperature dropped a lot during the night, and it was a mere 6 C when I left to come to work.. It felt very chilly despite it being all bright and shiny outside. It looks as if today will be very similar to yesterday. There will probably be a lot of sunshine, and if there is less breeze it might even start to feel quite pleasant by midday, or perhaps a little later. Of course, if the breeze is as strong and cold as yesterday then it is going to stay feeling chilly in the bright sunshine.

 By the time yesterday afternoon came round I was definitely flagging after my lack of sleep on Sunday night/Monday morning. However, once I left work I did perk up a bit, and later, after eating dinner, I seemed to perk up even more - which may not have been a good thing. I had a variant on a BLT for dinner last night. The variation was partly substituting gammon steak for bacon, and mostly because it was not a sandwich but a gammon steak salad. The ready mix salad in a bag contained a high proportion of the required lettuce for a BLT, and I added the tomatoes seperately.

 It wasn't really a very healthy meal, but not terrible either. The gammon wasn't that lean (thankfully), and I was extremely generous with the chilli flavoured mayonaisse. If I had only eaten that I would still be doing reasonably well, but I also munched all sorts of other crap between the time I got home, and the time I went to bed. The peanuts and raisins may well have been the worst thing of all. After two nights of eating badly (not to mention what I have had for breakfast these last couple of days), I reckon I'll soon be back on the previous setting of my trouser belt !

 I should have gone to bed extra early last night, but spending to long messing about with photos and video on my PC delayed me enough that I only got to bed as little as a quarter of an hour early. I good hour, or preferably two hours might have been more desirable. On the whole, I slept well, but I did wake stupidly early at 4:15am (or thereabouts). After a visit to the toilet I tried to get back to sleep, but didn't seem to be able to get sufficiently relaxed again to go back to sleep for such a short period of time. So once again I am going to have to aim to get to bed extra early tonight.
Monday 29th April 2013
08:39 BST

  There was frost on the lower roof of my house yesterday morning. Fortunately the sun is getting quite strong now, and it didn't take long to raise the temperature to a more comfortable 12 or 13 C, but that was about the best it could manage. It was mild without actually being warm. If the sunshine had been more continuous it may have actually got warm, but the sun kept ducking behind clouds. I noticed what looked like rain drops on cars as I walked to the station this morning - suggesting there could have been a shower last night, but since daybreak the sky has been either clear, or with thin broken clouds letting a lot of sunshine in. The forecast for today suggests the temperature will peak at around 13 or 14 C, but looking at the sky right now, with hardly a cloud in sight, I am wondering if the temperature could get even higher - maybe 16 or 17 C.

 One feature of mid evening on Saturday was rain - copious amounts of it at times ! That was one of the reasons I didn't go out on Saturday night. I thought all that cold and wet would have a bad effect on my back after I pulled a muscle while shopping earlier in the day. There was one other reason, and that was constipation. It wasn't really uncomfortable, but noticeable enough to deter me from going out. So I stayed in, and another day passed without beer.
 
 After a beer famine lasting the whole week I finally had a pint and a half early(ish) yesterday morning when I went to the pub with Aleemah so she could have her traditional vegetarian breakfast in there. After that we watched the movie "Chatroom", and I have to say I thought it was a bit rubbish ! Aleemah didn't go home until about 3pm, and that didn't leave me much time to prepare for the evening.

 As soon as Aleemah left I rustled up some breakfast/dinner. I had a big spicy smoked sausage with a pile of salad, and lashings  a generous dollop of chilli flavoured mayonaise. It seemed one of the more innocent choices I could select considering I had a little less that 3 hours to let it settle before going out. Ideally I would have preferred to have eaten at least 5 or 6 hours before going out. Maybe if "going out" meant more than going round the corner (figuratively speaking) to The Catford Ram.

 It was another open mic session last night, and this week was worse than the previous week, and getting close to a farce. There were hardly any musicians there at the start. Warren, the organiser, was obviously there, and he is a drummer. There was also the same bass player who had been there on the two previous occasions, and for a while that was all. The next players to turn up were the dreaded steel drum mob. It may have been while they were still setting up that Paul Gunn arrived. He is Chain's alternate drummer, and later on, towards the end, he did get up on stage, and played along with the others.

 At one point during the evening there was a four piece reggae band featuring a young woman on keyboards, and a young woman singer. I mention that they were both young because the songs they covered were possibly older than they were. I am not a fan of reggae, but I have to admit they were pretty good, and three cheers for them not going down the excretable rap and/or drum and bass route that they could have got lured into.

 After the three gospel singers (well they look like part of the halleluha brigade) had done their best to emulate Tamla Motown singers, and done it passably well, Paul Gunn went up to play the drums. It was near the end of the gig, and like previous weeks, it becomes more of a jam session. By this time an electric acoustic player had turned up, and we finally had some guitar sounds. There was also a harmonica player who had tried to contribute to a few things earlier. The next 20 minutes of music was a sort of jazz-blues or blues-jazz mixture/medley - and it sounded rather good.

 When Paul stepped down another drummer stepped up, and one of the songs they jammed through was Whiter Shade Of Pale. It had worked well the week before, but last night someone tried to sing to it, and completely massacred the song ! It was worth going last night just to remind myself that my singing is not the worst in the world - second worst maybe, but definitely not the worst. I can remember at least a quarter of the words to the song, and I can even get 1 note in 5 closer than an octave to the right note - and that's better than the useless git last night !

 I didn't think that I had drunk all that much last night, but when I got home I felt ravenously hungry. I ended up eating two 300 calorie, healthy steamed meals, and then still had the munchies while I stayed up stupidly late watching a film on TV. It was gone midnight when I got into bed, and if I was asleep by half past midnight I would be quite surprised. If I am lucky I got a bit more than 4 hours sleep last night.

 I don't feel too bad about the lack of sleep ----- yet, but I feel that the afternoon is going to seem like it's going on forever as I wait to go home from work, and prepare to try for an early night tonight. Maybe I've been too concerned about another problem to feel tired (although every time I type the word tired I start to feel it more and more !). This morning I needed to make calls at Waterloo and Clapham Junction station toilets to stay comfortable, and you don't use the toilets at Clapham Junction unless you really need to !
Saturday 27th April 2013
13:32 BST

  The rain first thing yesterday morning turned out to be the only significant rain of the day. Later in the morning there were a few times when some very light rain could be felt blowing in the wind, but it hardly made any impression. There was even some occasional sunshine from time to time, but mostly it was just rather cool compared to the preceeding couple of days. Today has seen more sunshine than the earlier forecasts seemed to suggest there would be. It is dry for now, and the temperature is currently a decidely cool 10.5 C - which is a smidgen above the forecast. That same forecast suggests there is a chance of a light shower any time this afternoon. There are some grey clouds about, but most of them are white and fluffy, and don't look like the type to drop rain on us. Maybe that will change later. The evening is forecast to be dry, but cloudy enough to keep the temperature dropping below 5 or 6 C.

 No opportunities arose to go out last night. So I stayed in and stuck to my plan to have a chicken shish kebab. In fact I added to my plan to meet the minimum price for delivery of the kebab. I ended up with quite a substantial meal which left me feeling stuffed. Instead of doing anything more "cultural" (!!) I watched an unusual amount of TV last night, but I didn't let it stop me getting to bed too late.
 
 I forget what time it was when I went to bed, but I think it might have been around 10pm. I was still feeling the effects of my large dinner, and it seemed like I was too uncomfortable to get to sleep. Evidently that was wrong because the next thing I knew was that I was waking up some 3 or 4 hours later. I actually slept quite well. With hindsight it was almost inevitable. I woke up at my normal time of 5am, and I did get up for about 90 minutes before I decided to go back to bed for an extra half hours sleep. That half hour stretched out into several hours. Although I woke up once or twice for brief periods, it wasn't until nearly 11am that I finally got up, and stayed up. I must have had a huge sleep deficit !

 There were a lot of things I thought I might do today, but so far all I have done is to go shopping at Aldi. After over eating last night I thought that it would be difficult walking to Aldi and back, but to my surprise I was able to sustain a reasonable to good pace without any significant discomfort. Unfortunately, at some point, and it may have been while unpacking my shopping at home, I seemed to pull a muscle in my back. I am fully comfortable sitting here typing, but some movements give a real jolt of agony !

 I am currently unsure of the full extent of pain free movement I have, and if I am unsure if I ought to attempt some of the things I was going to do today. Clearing up the floor of the back room, and some general hoovering may not be a good idea, but maybe I'll carefully try a bit of both and see how it works out. If I had any, I suspect it would severely cramp my style if I were to attempt any dancing tonight.

 In fact I wonder if it would be wise to go out at all tonight. It is going to be cold and damp, particularly on the way home, and that doesn't seem to have a good effect on me these days. If I do go out it will be to see Life Of Brian at The Crown pub in leaves Green - just one stop before The Kings Arms that I wnt to last Friday night on the 320 bus from Catford. I've never seen the band before, but I have seen Brian when he did a guest song or two at The Jo Bangles gig at The Anchor And Hope pub in Charlton a few Mondays ago. I am pretty sure that Chris Wells, who forces me to dance against my better instincts, will be there tonight. So I'll have to consider it very carefully before pulling out of going.
Friday 26th April 2013
08:28 BST

  What a difference a day makes ! Yesterday was bright and sunny. Towards the end it did get a bit breezy, but with the temperature hitting 23 C it was the most perfect day we have had all year. This morning marks a drastic change in the weather. We have now raced through the year to autumn ! This morning it is barely 8 C, and it is raining, or if it is not raining right now, it was recently, and will definitely be so again. If the temperature hits 13 C we will be very lucky, and the best is likely to be closer to 11 C. Tomorrow may see less rain, but it will remain dull, cold, and miserable.

 I feel quite good this morning, and that's despite the atrocious weather (or maybe because of it). Being a Friday is always a good idea because that means the weekend is just a working day away, and even the prospect of Monday doesn't dampen things too much because that is the day before pay day. It would be better if it were actually pay day, but the day before feels good enough for now.

 The other reason why I feel quite good this morning is because I behaved myself last night. With no drinking going on I went straight home. Before I prepared dinner I washed six shirts, plus a few bits and pieces, and hung it all outside to dry. I brought it all in just a couple of hours later, and in that warm breezy air it had almost dried. In another hour I am sure it would all have been bone dry, but there wasn't enough daylight left for that.

 Dinner last night was far healthier than recent dinners. It was microwaved fish and salad followed by a punnet of strawberries for sweet. I could have made it even healthier if I had cut down on the extravagant amount of dressing I put on the salad and fish, but I had a bottle of dressing to use up, and it all sort of rushed out the bottle (/fibbing mode off). Well I may have overdone the dressing, but the net result was that I did not feel quite as full when I went to bed, and this morning I was able to rush around a lot more without getting too uncomfortable.

 I didn't get to bed as early as I thought I should last night, but maybe that was not such a loss. I presumably had enough sleep because I woke up half an hour before my alarm was due to sound, and I felt reasonably refreshed. Of course it is possible that I woke up early because I was having a nightmare - which I think I was, but I can't remember a single thing about it now.

 Tonight I have the luxury of staying up late - if I want to. As far as I know, I will be staying in tonight. There are no gigs going on that I am aware of, although that could change during the day. So for the moment I look forward to putting my feet up, and slowly vegetating until my bed tempts me away from the gogglebox. I might have a celebratory, and rather healthy meal to celebrate doing bugger all tonight. I could have some grilled skinless chicken with heaps of salad. That would be very healthy, I could even douse it in chilli sauce without upsetting the calorie balance too much. Even a pitta bread would do little to spoil it. So that will be a chicken shish kebab then :-)
Thursday 25th April 2013
07:47 BST

  I'm not sure that the temperature hit the most optimistic forecast of 22 C, but it certainly hit the more realistic forecast of 20 C yesterday. It was another gloriously bright and sunny day. There was a temporary change during the hours of darkness when some rain fell, but this morning dawned fairly bright with some broken cloud. There will be a little less sunshine today, and the temperature may only reach 18 C. Once the sun sets it will be all change again, except this time it won't recover in the morning. There will be rain, and tomorrow will be much cooler, and Saturday promises to be a really cold and dismal day !

 Yesterday I worked really hard for a change.........well, hard by my standards. It was a relief to go home after work, but even going home felt like hard work. For some reason my legs felt like lead by the time I got back to Catford. Whether that had anything to do with changing my plans by shopping in Tesco instead of Iceland is anyone's guess. I did have a vague idea that I fancied one of Tesco's ready prepared mixed salad bowls, and for some insane reason I thought I would be less tempted to buy some unhealthy food in Tesco.

 I suppose it was half and half. The two bowls of mixed salad, and all the fruit I bought were good, but the half price sandwiches, and the hot chicken were definitely not in the spirit of things. The fatal mistake was using the sandwiches as snacks. The greasy hot chicken was bad enough by itself. By the time I had finished eating, and gone up to my bedroom, I was feeling uncomfortably stuffed !

 Despite that, I slept well, and I think I got at least 7 hours sleep last night. I did have one strange dream that I can recall a few bits of. It concerned Chris Wells, my dancing tormentor. In this dream she was making ice cream to sell from a tub mounted on a push bike. Something had gone wrong while she was making it, and she decided she couldn't sell it, but I could have as much as I wanted. As far as I could see it looked delicious. To go with it I sliced off a thick slice of pineapple from something that looked like a large ham, or perhaps something like the "things" they cut slices of doner kebab meat from. I think I was going to make some sort of pineapple ice cream sandwich, but I woke up before I could taste it. I must have a really warped mind to have invented that little dream !!

 This morning I probably don't feel much worse than many recent mornings, but no worse is still not very good. Not only that, but I hate Thursdays. I know it is traditional to hate Mondays, but I've never really gone for tradition. I've worked three days this week, and that feels like it should be enough for anyone, and yet here I am again at work again. It is depressing to think I have to work a whole day before it is Friday, and I can look forward to the weekend starting as soon as I finish work. To depress me even further there is no Thursday night drinking in The Catford Ram tonight. Chris Mayer is off with a cold, and the other guys are going to a different pub. I could join them there, but I think I'll be feeling too lazy (and to be honest I probably ought to go straight home tonight to get some laundry done). Oh well, at least tomorrow is Friday - one of the better days of the working week.
Wednesday 24th April 2013
08:02 BST

  It was definitely nice yesterday. The sun shone all day, and the temperature peaked at around 20 C. If think we lost half of that overnight, but 10 C is a fairly reasonable temperature to start the day compared to some of the icy mornings we have endured while winter overstayed it's welcome by a month or two. Today is supposed to be very similar to yesterday. Some extreme optimists suggest the temperature could even hit 22 C in a few parts of London. It is to be welcomed if it does reach such heady heights.

 Apart from still falling asleep while reading stuff on the internet at work, I felt quite good in most aspects except one yesterday. I was wearing a brand new pair of shoes with a tatty pair of socks, and after wearing them all day they began to feel uncomfortable.
my new red Vans
These bright red Vans are the offending shoes. They need wearing in to get comfortable.
Aruba blue Converse hi tops
This morning I am wearing far more comfortable Aruba Blue Converse Hi Tops.

 One extra reason why my feet felt uncomfortable in those new shoes was that I did something I haven't done for a long time yesterday. It was so nice and sunny that I just had to do a short walk around King George's Park here in Earlsfield. There are roughly four different lengths of walk around the park ranging from about half a mile to about 2 miles. I am so terribly out of practice that I just did the short walk. I might have been able to do the next longest if I had taken it a bit slower, but I only had a short time available to me. Maybe I'll try it today.

 When work ended I was looking forward to getting back out into the sunshine again. It was definitely very nice, but one foot felt very sore. It felt bad enough that I caught the bus the two stops to the station. Once I was sitting comfortably on the train I should have taken the shoe off and try and adjust my sock for better comfort, but I didn't - which was a pity. Back in Catford I was walking so awkwardly that my ankle became really sore. It was a great relief to get home and get my shoes and socks off.

 I was going to do some laundry when I got home. I reckoned that in the few hours before I went to bed the laundry would almost have dried if I put it outside. Unfortunately I got side tracked dealing with some email and stuff, and I left it a bit late to start sloshing around up to my elbows (or more truthfull, wrists) in hot soapy water. Besides which, I was hungry and wanted to eat. After eating I felt too full to lean over the bath while bashing shirts against a rock (or the plastic bowls we use around these parts).

 Nothing went quite as planned last night, and I didn't even get the early night I promised myself. It was a little past 9pm when I fell asleep, but on the whole I did sleep well right up the time my alarm sounded (if you exclude the once or twice I woke up briefly to pee). I had one significant dream during the night. In the dream I had spotted my ex-friend Sarah Butler at the other end of a railway station platform where she was working. I tried to walk down to her, but when I was about halfway there she walked behind an obstruction (a vending machine I think) and I couldn't find her again. I guess I still miss her a lot even now.

 The fish and salad I had for dinner last night has probably helped me feel a bit better this morning, and I have no doubt I would feel even better if I had remembered the punnet of strawberries I had in the fridge, and had those after my salad instead of the dreadful stuff I did have. A little later I had the strawberies anyway. Having now used up virtually everything I ought to avoid eating, I wonder if I should tempt fate by going into Iceland on the way home tonight. I have plenty of fish in the freezer, but no fresh vegetables or salad. I don't know if I'll feel the same tonight, but I think I fancy fish with raw vegetables for dinner, and I'll have to buy those vegetables if I am to have them.
Tuesday 23rd April 2013
07:57 BST

  It was fairly pleasant yesterday, and could only have been improved if it were a bit warmer. It was bright and sunny most of the time, but 14 C is still too low to be comfortable without wearing warm clothing. Contrary to some forecasts there was no rain at all yesterday, at least none that I was aware of. Considering the clear blue sky this morning, it is surprising that the day started off at 10 C. I heard somewhere that at this time of the year, and when the sun is shining, the temperature should go up at about a degree an hour. So the forecast that today could reach 18 C, or maybe even higher, could well be right.

 If it had just been a couple of degrees warmer it would have been a more pleasurable experience going home from work yesterday. Leaving here is always a pleasure no matter what the weather (even in the middle of a cloudburst like last Thursday !), but there is pleasure and pleasure, and the real pleasure will arrive when it is warm enough to go home without needing a coat. Maybe today will be such a day, but I had to wear a coat this morning, and I'll be wearing it to take it home again.

 I did have a sort of idea that I would try and eat lightly last night. Of course that idea evaporated once I was exposed to the contents of my fridge and cupboard. The main part of dinner was perfectly OK. I had a couple of well grilled lamb burgers with salad. I thought the lamb burgers would be very fatty, but surprisingly little grease came off as I grilled them. What sort of spoiled things was the  other stuff I had - which included two Kit Kat  mint chunky bars !

 Another idea that might have just scraped in under the bar was to get an early night. I am sure I was fast asleep before 9pm. Maybe not much before 9pm, but at least it was before ! On the whole I slept well. I did wake up a couple of times, and on one occasion I was probably awake for 10 or 15 minutes, but I was fast asleep when my alarm sounded at 5am. I feel pretty confident I got my full 8 hours beauty sleep for the first time in ages, and I think I feel better for it.

 Back when the temperature was consistently in low single figures, I had this notion that 10 C would mark a turning point, and so it was this morning. I didn't push it too far, but I was able to rush about getting breathless once or twice without incurring any significant pain. As things get warmer I hope I'll start to feel that I can tackle some walks of 3 or 4 miles, and then work back up to 8 - 10 mile walks again - if the summer manages to last long enough. In a fair world, if the winter can last almost 6 months, the summer ought to be able to last a similar length of time (it's proof of either a bungling, or non existence of God, that it won't).

 I think my plan for tonight is going to be the same as my plans for last night. With less naughty food left at home there is a better chance that I'll come closer to my eating plans, and I feel I am in with a good chance that I'll be getting to bed early. Maybe tonight I'll be in bed while the sun is still shining. As far as I can remember there was still some weak daylight coming through the curtains when I fell asleep last night. All being well, I'll wake up tomorrow feeling great (and pigs might fly !!).
Monday 22nd April 2013
07:57 BST

  After a fine day yesterday, it is a bit of a shame that this morning has started off rather cool and grey. It's not desperately grey, and there are blue patches beginning to appear now. Sooner or later we should get some sunshine, and then the temperature should  rise fairly quickly, but it's only forecast to rise to a poor 14 or 15 C. Some versions of the weather forecast suggest there could be some light rain during the evening, but I think I'll choose to believe the forecast that says it will stay dry.
 
dressed in sinister modeThe open mic session at The Catford Ram last night was both good and bad compared to the previous week, but that was also good and bad in a different sort of way.

 I decided to dress up in the closest I could manage to "sinister" for last night's session, but I still looked like a club bouncer - perhaps a more upmarket one (or not ?).

 One of the failures last night was a lack of musicians, and a bigger lack of singers. I think the rather good bass player, and Miko who is a good lead guitar player, were up on stage playing for most of the evening. There was also a great lack of any classic or contemporary rock music, although a rather passable version of "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" was played - but without anyone to do vocals !

 Of course the highlight of last night's session is that Chris (Wells) turned up, and of course that meant dancing. There was not a lot I could dance to, and I certainly felt very exposed surrounded by West Indians who could all dance like disco legends (or something). So I didn't do much dancing with Chris, and what I did do I tried to do at the back until I had drunk enough beer, and allowed myself to be lured to much nearer the stage. Luckily enough the timing was about right for a nice slow one involving lots of hugging and stuff. That is the sort of dancing I really enjoy !

 After a weekend of eating all the wrong sorts of stuff in excess quantities, and after the boozing and late nights, I feel rather rough this morning. I was falling asleep on the train on the way into work, and the cool air played havoc with my lungs as I walked to the station, between stations, and from the station. Maybe tonight I can resist eating some of the naughty stuff I have in the fridge, and stick with well grilled burgers with salad. Then not too long after eating, go to bed nice and early. Looks like I'll have to leave my server rebuild for yet another night.
Sunday 21st April 2013
16:26 BST

  Yesterday was deliciously sunny, and the rain forecast for the evening never happened. I think the temperature was abit higher than forecast too. I estimate it might have been closer to 15 C than the 13 C forecast. The temperature did drop almost low enough for a frost overnight, but lots more sunshine has raised the temperature to a little over 15 C, or a degree higher than forecast. It seems that temperature tonight might not fall as far as it did last night, and tomorrow could start similar today, but the cloud will become a lot thicker in the evening. The forecast for tomorrow is not really to be trusted, and that for next Thursday is just pure pie in the sky, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it really will be 20 C then !

 I had a fairly quiet day yesterday. Sometime after midday I went to the 99p shop where I bought both the necessaries, and some naughty stuff (including peanuts and chocolate bars). A bit later I washed a sheet, but after that I did very little of note. Although I was mostly comfortable when I went to the 99p shop, I didn't really trust the cold night air and so stayed in instead of going to the gig - which is a shame because the reports I've heard suggest it was a really great occasion.

 Instead of going out I treated myself to a takeaway. This was a slightly silly thing to do because I had already quite enough for one day, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Most of my takeway was specially chosen to be not too bad, such as grilled skinless chicken with heaps of salad, but at least one item, that shall remain undescribed, was definitely not the sort of thing I should have been eating. I felt quite stuffed when I finally went to bed at a little before midnight.

 I slept well for about 5 hours before getting up for an hour or two, and then I went back to bed and probably slept for another two hours. I seem to remember I had quite a few dreams, and although I can't remember many details, I do seem to remember that one or more of my dreams involved being in some sort of classroom. I can't be sure, but I think it was some sort of adult education rather than school.

 After eating so much yesterday I wondered if I would feel rotten when I went out to the cash machine, and came back via Tesco this morning. Maybe it was because the sun felt quite warm, even though the air temperature was only 7 or 8 C, that I found I didn't feel that bad. I didn't care to rush about, but I think I could have withouit too much discomfort. Maybe I am still mending after all, and feeling rough on Friday night was just an isolated incident.

 One of the things I've done today, weeks, if not months after I meant to start, is to begin the rebuild of my server. I got every last bit of junk and rubbish off the beaten up old desk I used as a workstation, and then washed andsort of polished the top. Then I hauled the server up on that, and gave it a good hoovering out - and it needed it badly ! While doing so I noticed that one of the capacitors on the motherboard had a bulging top. I could have, and eventually will replace that capacitor, but for now I have a cunning plan.

 The old Compaq PC I had on that desk, which served as my main PC for many,many months, maybe a even a year or two, had suffered a minor fault - one of the sound channels had mysteriouslt died. I don't need any sound on my server, and so I did a motherboard transplant. So far I have only got as far as connecting up the CD/DVD rom drive, and tested it by booting up a live Linux disk. The next task will be to install the three hard disks I'll be using. One will be a boot disk with plenty of spare space for miscellaneous uses, and the other two will be the 3 TB disk I bought a month or two back. I'll either be using them in a raid array if I can get it to work, or one will be a back up for the other using a daily run of some backup software.

 Maybe I'll do some more work on it tomorrow, and if not then, then some other time not too far into the future - I hope. I definitely won't be doing it tonight because in little more than 45 minutes time I'll be off out to the open mic night at The Catford Ram pub :-)
Saturday 20th April 2013
09:29 BST

  The rain that was forecast for yesterday never arrived, and it turned into a fairly pleasant, if rather cool, day. It stayed clear right through the night, and by midnight the temperature had probably dropped almost low enough for a frost. The clear blue sky continues, and the sun is doing it's best to warm things up, but currently the temperature is a poor 7 C. The top temperature today is forecast to be a less than delightful 12 C. I would have hoped for a lot more for such a sunny day. After dark the temperature will plummet down to withing a few degrees of zero, and then a sunny day tomorrow might bring it back up to 13 C before it starts to rain in the evening.

 I was quite productive yesterday, and I was also quite lazy. I did two loads of laundry. One was just simple stuff like shirts and underwear, but the other was three medium sized towels. They take a lot of fighting when soaked with water ! I hung the towels outside in the graden, and when I brought them back in early in the evening they were almost dry. One other thing I did was to do all the washing up, and a bit of a clean up in the kitchen. I probably could have washed the floor in there yesterday, but I thought I would wait for a warmer day when it can dry a lot faster.

 Last night's entertainment was to go and see The Bob Dylan Experience playing in The Kings Arms pub in Leaves Green, near Biggin Hill, Kent. It's quite a small pub, and the room where the band played was really too small. That meant I often watched the band from the other bar because there was no room to stand in front of the band without getting in everyone's way.
The Bob Dylan Experience - Kings Arms - Friday 19th April 2013
The Bob Dylan Experience.
Bob Dylan Experience
Guitar, bass and drums.
Lead singer - Bob Dylan Experience
Leader singer and Bob Dylan soundalike.
Bob Dylan Experience

 It was quite an enjoyable night even though I am not a great Bob Dylan fan - though I do know a few of his songs well enough to question just how well the band covered those songs. One song in particular, All Along The Watchtower sounded like it was an excellent cover of the Jimi Hendrix version of the song. In fact it came out much better than some bands I know who actually aim to cover the Jimi Hendrix version !

 The band finished at a convenient time allowing maybe 10 - 15 minutes to say goodbye to Chris Wells, Hannah Wells, and Jo Corteen before Kevin and I had to dash across the road to catch the last bus home. OK, it was a leisurely stroll, but it definitely was the very last bus back to Catford - and it was a couple of minutes early ! A few minutes later and we would have faced a very unpleasant journey home.

 The last stop on bus route 320 is Catford Bridge station, and that is right next to The Catford Bridge Tavern - which closes at 1am ! Kevin and I could not resist popping in for a final pint or two before going home. We had 4 halves of different, and rather tasty beer in there. It is possible Kevin may have stopped for another because I left before him, and went home via the chicken shop (How predictable !).

 It was probably just a few degrees above zero as I walked home, and I could really feel it on my lungs. It's interesting in that when I went to get the bus to go to the gig it was 12 or 13 C, and after walking quite fast, I was only slightly short of breath, and in no discomfort. By comparison, the previous time I went to that bus stop it was close to freezing, and I almost had to crawl there because I was in considerable pain. By the time I got home last night I was so very glad to get into the warm and sit down.

 Even this morning I can feel the effect that the walk had on my chest, and I am wondering if I'll end up all wheezing and in discomfort if I walk to the 99p shop a bit later - which I would like to do. It also makes me wary of going out in the cold tonight. I would like to see a band called Led Hammer, who appeared at the open mic session in The Catford Ram last Sunday. They are playing The Royal Albert in Crystal Palace tonight. It's a fairly easy, but typically boring, bus ride there and back, and it doesn't involve much walking, but maybe even not much is too much if the air temperature is close to freezing - as it may well be again tonight. Perhaps I had just better see how I feel tonight. If I don't see them tonight there should be anothe chance tomorrow night at The Catford Ram's second open mic session.
Friday 19th April 2013
11:02 BST

  Yesterday afternoon can only be described as horrible ! It was cold, and very wet with a thunderstorm just before 3pm. It wasn't until early evening that the clouds dispersed to give a rather cool, but pleasant few hours of sunshine until the sun set. This morning has been mostly light grey, but dry. It is not very warm, and the few short sunny spells have only managed to get the temperature up to 12 C.  This afternoon is forecast to be sunnier, but also to bring some more rain. The rain should (hopefully) be finished by around 8pm, but by then the temperature will slowly dip down to about 5 C in the early hours of the morning.

 All my late nights and/or poor sleep really caught up with me yesterday, and I found myself drifting off to sleep many times at work. It was a bit of a quiet day, which didn't help. It should have been a relief to head homewards again after work, but it was absolutely pouring down when I left, and I only had a light coat on. By the time I got to Earlsfield station I was cold and very wet. Fortunately that was the worst of it over, and from then on the sky started to clear.

 Being a Thursday night, I didn't go straight home, and went to have a drink in The Catford Ram with "the Thursday boys".
sign outside The Catford Ram - 18/04/2013
 There was a sign outside the pub advertising the coming attractions. I think I know someone who might think they like Saturday night, but I'll only probably going on Sunday night to the Open Mic session. Hopefully it will be as good as last Sunday.

 I think I had 4, but maybe 5 pints of Guinness while still sitting in my damp coat before I made my excuses and went home for some dinner. It was another two course meal like the night before - but worse. The chicken supreme was basically tastless, and the "Indian flavoured" quarterpounder lamb burgers were almost as bad as the so called Chinese flavoured one I had the night before. I'm glad that all that rubbish food that promised so much, and delivered so little (except for loads of fat and calories) is now all finished, and I can get back to cooking some better stuff. I really don't know why I allowed to let myself be suckered into to buying it...........probably because it seemed to have the potential to be very nice even if deep down I knew better.

 I didn't get to sleep as early as I should have, but at least I didn't get to sleep late last night. I actually slept quite well, and only woke up 20 - 25 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. When I did wake up I felt very stiff, and my upper back and shoulders were quite painful for a while. I guess that's what comes with walking around, and sitting in a pub with a damp coat on. I decided that it would be too uncomfortable to go to work like that and eventually called in sick. Of course by the time I called in the Ibuprofen I had taken had started to do it's stuff, and I was already on the mend, but by then I had left it too late to go to work unless I wanted to get in two hours late - which I didn't. Now, several more hours later, and after being up and moving around instead of laying still in bed, I hardly notice there is anything wrong at all, but it probably serves as a warning to be more careful in the future.

 As I write this I have still to get up and dressed properly. I've had some breakfast, but I've done nothing else of note. Breakfast was the last of the cheap and nasty dodgy food from Iceland. It was so called Mexican flavoured quarterpounder beef burgers. When well cooked, to remove as much grease as possible before they shrunk to the size of 2p coins, they weren't actually that bad, but I will still resist the temptation to buy any more of that range of burgers. I think I'll stick to Aldi's Aberdeen Angus beef burgers. They are, admittedly, possibly twice the price, but so much nicer, and they definitely have far less grease in them.

 It is not set in stone yet, but tonight I am very likely to be going to The Kings Arms pub in Leaves Green to see The Bob Dylan Experience. The pub is on the 320 bus route from Catford, and it will be about a 45 - 50 minute ride to get to the nearby bus stop there. I am not a great fan of Bob Dylan, and maybe not a fan at all, but it seems that a few other people I know are going, and apart from some of the song lyrics, it could be a fun night out. I am not sure that any of the music will be danceable to, but my "dance partner/slave driver" will be there as well, and if it is possible to dance to Bob Dylan then she will find a way, and drag me to it kicking and screaming :-)
Thursday 18th April 2013
08:04 BST

  Yesterday conformed to the recent pattern of a dull morning, and a sunny afternoon - except it wasn't quite as good as the day before. Yesterday's clear, or semi clear sky continued into the night, and this morning feel rather chilly. I noted that my outside thermometer was showing less than 10 C (actually 9.8 C) when I got up, and there is a chilly wind to make it feel even cooler. The intermittent sunshine will have a hard time warming things up, and the forecast for today reckons the high will be a good few degrees cooler than yesterday at a disappointing 15 or 16 C. Later this afternoon, quite possibly as I leave work, it is forecast to rain, and some of it could be a bit heavy.

 My late nights/lack of sleep were definitely catching up with me yesterday, and it was a relief to leave work and head for home.I didn't go straight home, and went via Iceland (the supermarket, and not the country !!). I should have put my blinkers on so I only bought the items I intended to buy. Unfortunately I spotted several things that I had an urge to try out, and they were all terribly unhealthy sort of things.

 Instead of the microwaved fish and salad that I had intended to have for dinner, I had a two part dinner of very naughty stuff. The first course was a ready meal of potato cubes, baked beans, diced frankfurter, and cheddar cheese. It was more snack sized than meal sized, but probably contained horrendous amounts of fat and sugar. The really ironic thing is that it didn't really taste that exciting. Part two was "Chinese flavoured" pork quarter pound burgers. I can't believe they were quarter pounders - particularly after they were well grilled, and half a gallon of fat came out. I had those on a thick bed of salad, and once again their description sounded far more exciting than the reality of their taste. I should have stuck to the fish which I know would have been nice and tasty, but I guess I'll never learn.

 I couldn't be bothered to watch the news on TV, and if I had I know that the saturation coverage of Thatcher's funeral would have greatly pissed me off. Instead I went straight up to my room after eating, and started sorting/editing the pictures I took outside the pub on Monday. The tragedy is that I didn't prepare any for display here, but I will sooner or later. What I did do took quite some time, and I felt very tired by the end.

 I reckon I was asleep before 9.30pm last night. It wasn't as early as I think I might have desired, but once asleep I seemed to sleep quite soundly until about 4.30am - half an hour before my alarm was due to go off. Maybe my sleep was not as good as it seemed because I didn't feel very refreshed when I woke up, and I was almost falling asleep on the train as I made my way to work. I felt very chilly when I woke up, and the bathroom, where the window was open all night, felt positively icy ! I still felt very chilly as I walked to the station with the cold wind getting into all the crevices. It didn't exactly please me when I found there was no heating on in the train carriage I was in.

 I still feel rather tired, but at least I have warmed up now. My big fear now is that it will pouring with icy feeling rain when I go home after work. I should have put my winter coat back on this morning, but I only wore my lighter spring and early autumn coat today, and it will provide very little protection against a downpour. It's probably lucky that if I do get wet I will be able to drown my sorrows with several pints of Guinness when I meet up with the Thursday night boys in The Catford Ram on my way home.
Wednesday 17th April 2013
07:52 BST

  We seem to be stuck in a weather pattern where the mornings start out rather dull, and then things improve until the afternoons are bright, close to warm, and sunny. That was the pattern yesterday, and (fingers crossed) today will be very similar. The temperature rose to about 16 or 17 C yesterday. It still wasn't high enough to actually feel warm, but it was definitely not cold. This morning started at 12 C, which may be a degree less cool than yesterday, but there is one change this morning - rain ! It was only very light rain, more like a mist, but the colour of the clouds provides some pretty strong hints that it could get worse before it gets better. The "official" forecast doesn't mention rain, but does mention the dark clouds this morning. By midday the clouds are supposed to break up, and it should turn into another bright sunny afternoon with a similar temperature of around 17 C.

 My hangover dissipated during yesterday morning, and by the afternoon I was feeling close to better than OK. Rather suprisingly, my lack of sleep didn't seem to be an issue at all. I was expecting to feel desperately tired when I got home from work, but maybe my recovery from the morning hangover was exhilarating enough to sideline tiredness. Initially I stuck to my plan of eating a light meal, and going up to my bedroom soon after eating instead of watching the news on TV. My dinner was very light. It was microwaved sea bass with peas and just a sprinkle of white pepper and balsamic vinegar. I followed that with some prawns.

 I felt rather good, and stupidly wide awake after eating dinner, and as a result I didn't start making plans to go to bed.  I started work on a backlog of photos that needed sorting/editing and stuff. A couple of hours of that, interspersed with some online time, gradually got me more in the mood for sleep, and buy 9pm I was in bed with the lights out, and fast asleep. I slept solidly for 5 hours, and then rather more poorly for maybe an hour out of three before it was time to get up.

 So maybe I got 6 hours sleep last night instead of the 9 hours that I was hoping for. This morning I definitely feel sleepy, and at one point it was hard keeping my eyes open on the train between Catford and Waterloo. One other negative thing is that I occasionally feel like I have a very mild cold this morning. My nose feel a bit stuffy from time to time, and maybe I have coughed a bit more, but I suspect it more likely to be my mild allergy to some unknown tree pollen or fungal spores that happens early on in spring and autumn most years.

 In other ways I am feeling rather better than I have done for ages. It seems that the warmer weather, and increased sunshine is doing what I hoped it would do, and that is to speed up the recovery of my shattered lungs and windpipe. This morning I walked from the station to work at a reasonable pace, and suffered very little discomfort. I think there is reason to hope that once the days are consistently warm and sunny I will be building up my endurance for some long walks on some of the hotter days of the summer.

 Tonight I am going to have another go at getting to bed a bit early, and I don't know how it can be possible, but I am going to try and stay asleep until my alarm goes off at 5am. If that works it should leave me in a god position to enjoys a few pints with the boys tomorrow night, and maybe gigs on Friday and Saturday nights.
Tuesday 16th April 2013
08:38 BST

  It took it's time changing, but yesterday ended up as a fine day. It must have been early afternoon before the clouds really broke up, and it was bright and sunny until sunset. I never got a chance to check the temperature, but even at midnight it felt like it could still have been 15 C, and maybe it was a degree or two higher at the peak. This morning it was about 10 C and very overcast with at least one short period of light drizzle. The clouds look like they are breaking up now, and hopefully today will end up as good as yesterday.

 As I had planned, I went straight from work to The Hope And Anchor pub in Charlton to watch Jo Bangles, otherwise known as Jo Corteen and Chris Mayer from Chain, doing an (electro) acoustic gig. Getting to the pub was less traumatic than I thought. I followed my normal route home as far as Waterloo East station where I caught a train to Charlton 10 minutes earlier than my usual train to Catford. I was concerned about the length of the walk from the station to the pub, but during the afternoon a consultation with Google maps showed it to be only a little bit further than the walk from Earlsfield station to work - and I manage that most mornings without dropping dead.

 It was an excellent evening, and with hindsight it went on far too long for reasons I'll explain later. Watching Jo an Chris play is always a pleasure, but there was more. There were a couple of other singers who did guest spots. Paul, the landlord of the pub did some karaoke during the interval. He is an excelent singer - it's just a shame he chose some bloody awful songs to sing to. Liz was at the pub, and she went up and sung along to a couple of songs with Jo and Chris. One other guest was Brian from the band Life Of Brian which was the band that Chain's drummer Paul Gunn used to play with. Finally there was the pub itself and the views along the river. Both were rather good.
Police helicopter above the river Thames
One of the views from outside the pub - a police helicopter hovering over the river.
City Of Westminster cargo ship
The City Of Westminster - a suction dredger (more info here)
the sun going down behind the O2 and Canary Wharf as seen from near Durham Wharf
Sunset looking towards the O2 dome and Canary Wharf
group photo
a group photo taken at the end of the gig - taken by Jo using my camera.
(There is a similar one which I took with Jo in the picture, but I've run out of time to edit it for display today)

 I had assumed that the gig would be over by, or before, 8pm, but I think it was possibly past 9pm before we left the pub, and Jo and Chris drove me and Kevin back to Catford. We were dropped off in the middle of Catford, and because I had already drunk a lot of beer and found the idea of a toilet rather appealing, I quickly agreed with Kevin's suggestion that we call in at the Wetherspoons pub for a "swift half". That swift half turned into two pints and a double scotch !

 The bar staff had started to clear up when we left the pub. So it must have been near midnight, and I was definitely feeling drunk enough to go home via the fried chicken shop. I managed to restrict myself to a portion of grilled wings and a portion of chips instead of just asking an awful lot more. Then I staggered home to eat it. I lost all track of time from virtually the moment I had arrived at the pub, and I had even less idea of what the time was when I went to bed, but I think it must have been close to 1am !

 It came as a horrible shock when my alarm went off at 5am. I woke up feeling dreadful, and probably still drunk. I couldn't get myself ready to get my normal train, and I ended up getting a train half an hour later. There was no problem with that apart from having to pay the full peak time fare instead of the off peak fare that I normally pay because I get to the station before 6.30am. I felt bloody horrible as I walked to the station, and although it was quite cool this morning, I was sweating quite frequently as I made my way painfully to work.

 I've been at work for two hours now, and my hangover is slowly wearing off, but what won't wear off is the effects of my lack of sleep. I've already had to correct many spelling mistakes, and even missing words in the preceeding paragraphs. I'm sure there are probably many I've still missed. My master plan for today is to hope that the work day doesn't seem so long, and then, once I get home, to get to bed as early as possible !
Monday 15th April 2013
07:54 BST

  For the first time since last September* it actually felt warm yesterday. The temperature might have exceeded 20 C at it's peak. It clouded over during the night, and that kept some of the warmth in. Today has started at 12 C according to my thermometer, but it does feel colder than that. If the forecast is correct the cloud will break up soon, and we should have some sunny spells, but not enough for the temperature go so high as yesterday - which was very sunny. I think that 15 C is the best we can expect. That's not bad, and maybe just nudging into the comfort zone by the skin of it's teeth.

* I think I heard mention of last September on a BBC TV weather forecast - so take that with a pinch of salt !

 I was quite happy with how little I ate yesterday. I had an unusual breakfast of well grilled beefburgers and salad, and apart from a couple of packets of Hula Hoops during the afternoon, I had nother else to eat all day. This is quite suprising considering I had very little to occupy my mind. The only thing of significance I did during the day was some laundry. I hung that laundry out in the garden to dry, and after 3 or 4 hours my shirts were dry (although some socks were still damp when I brought them in).

 I guess I am forgetting that I did have one thing occupying my mind, and that was that I intended to go out last night - which I did. The Catford Ram were holding the first of their Sunday night open mic nights, and I was as apprehensive about it as I was curious. I had a very strong feeling that it was going to be dominated by, for want of a better description, "black music", and indeed it was, but I held on to a hope that there could be other stuff - and I was pleasantly suprised ! My rebel streak, or something, made me dress up heavy metal/biker style for the evening.....
Steppenwolf t-shirt and leather jacket
Thanks to Dylan Tidman for taking my picture on my camera.

 The session started off late with some Tamla Motown sounding stuff. It was OK, but failed to raise any excitement. Before the next "act" Led Hammer walked into the pub with their "manager". I'd not heard of Led Hammer before, but I knew their drummer, singer and manager. The drummer was Dylan Tidman who has drummed for Chain in the past, and for his "day job" band - Kimera. The singer was Geoff Paige who has sung some guest vocals for Chain in the past. The "manager" was not actually a manager - or is he ? It was Rod Tidman who is Dylan's dad.

 There was a bit of a wait for Led Hammer to play. Before them there was on old Jamaican guy who sang Smokey Robinson songs rather better than his attempts at Bob Marley. He was a nice chap - shook my hand for taking his picture while on stage. I didn't take that many pictures last night, but once I've had a chance to select the best, and done any editing needed, I'll show them here. Finally, after the steel drums, Led Hammer took to the stage for a measly two songs before they gave way to someone else.
Led Hammer on stage at the open mic night at The Catford Ram - Sunday 14th April 2013
Led Hammer on stage at the open mic night at The Catford Ram - Sunday 14th April 2013

 I really enjoyed Led Hammer's short set. Dylan is a good drummer, and their guitarist, whose name I didn't catch, really put his all into his guitar playing. After their two songs they were pulled off to make way for an acoustic set by a couple. I didn't think much of them, and I had no idea what the two songs they played were. Then we had more reggea and soul music, and I was just about to leave when - literally at the door of the pub - when Led Hammer were recalled to the stage. This time I was ready with my camcorder, and videoed the two Jimi Hendrix covers they played in full bombastic style !! Hopefully I'll be showing one or both those videos here soon.

 I think it was gone 10pm when I got home - which was ridiculously past my bedtime ! In theory I should have gone straight to bed, but I wanted to quickly review my photos and video, and I also wanted a bit more to eat. While I transferred the photos and video to my PC I cooked, and cooked extremely well, a couple more beefburgers. It is lucky I caught them before they were more cremated than cooked. They were definitely crunchy, but still tasty as I ate them with just a splash of tomato sauce and nothing else. Even when I was in bed a bit later I didn't go straight to sleep. My brain was still buzzing, and I read until midnight before very quickly falling into a deep sleep.

 After just 5 hours sleep I don't feel so bad this morning. This is suprising because I ought to have a hangover at the very least, but no hangover, and the less than ideal amount of sleep has not caught up with me yet. Eating far less than many typical Sunday's has also contributed to my well being. I'm still not ready to commute at full speed without encountering pains yet, but I feel I'm getting closer to it. Maybe I'll make a few more improvements today, but there could be a big temptation that would largely nullify any gains made at the weekend.

 In theory, I'll be going straight to Charlton after work to see Jo Bangles (Jo Corteen and Chris Mayer as an acoustic duo) playing at The Hope And Anchor pub right by the River Thames. They are due on very early - either 5pm or 5.30pm (I forget which) - and I should be able to get there in time. The only downside is that the pub is a bit of a walk from the station, and I think it might be a painful walk with the possibility that I will have to stop half way for a few minutes to get my breath back. If I make there I will probably be able to get a lift home again. I rather hope that a lift is forthcoming, and that I will be dropped off outside home to avoid the temptation of the fried chicken if I am dropped off on the main road. Assuming I don't get lured into any fried chicken shops I should just be having plain microwaved fish, maybe with some peas, for dinner tonight. Soon after that I should, or ought to be in bed and fast asleep catching on my lost sleep last night !
Sunday 14th April 2013
10:51 BST

  Friday night started out very wet, but by the end of the evening the rain had mostly stopped. Fortunately it wasn't that cold (but neither was it warm). Saturday was a much nicer day. There were a few light showers during the morning, but overall it was a bright day with a lot of sunny intervals. I forget the top temperature, but it was definitely in double figures, and somewhere around 15 C is my best guess. This morning it is gloriously sunny, and it is warming up to be a pleasantly warm day when the rather stiff breeze does not spoil it too much. It's almost 16 C, and the most optimistic figure for the top temperature is a rather comfortable 20 C !

 On Friday I managed to restrict myself to a couple of cans of tomato soup, and a couple of packets of Hula Hoops, so I wouldn't feel too stuffed when I went out. I was slightly reluctant to go out when the time came because it was raining, and I was feeling very tired. It would have been so easy to stay in the warm and the dry, but curiosity got the better of me, and I had a sort of premonition it might be a great night - and it was !
Jo Corteen - The Hob, Forest Hill - Fri 12th April 2013
Jo Corteen at the mic.
Chris Wells and Kevin Crowhurst
Joining me in the fun and frolics were Chris Wells (my "dancing" partner) and Kevin Crowhurst.
The singing dog
Another member of the audience. She sang along to part of one song !
slug on the wall of The Hob in Forest Hill
I couldn't help but notice that there were loads of slugs climbing the walls outside in the patio area.
Outside The Hob at midnight
After the gig there was a little horseplay !
While Kevin holds Ravi's sack trolley stable, Chris climbs on for a lift home while Jo gives them a hard stare - the sort that says "it will all end in tears" - and Ravi looks on incredulously while Paul just smiles.
Outside The Hob in Forest Hill
Chris looking very relaxed as he lays back on the trolly.
Much to Jo's relief, Chris didn't fall off, and Ravi was happy that his sack trolly came to no harm.

 It was most definitely worth going out in the rain for the gig. The band played well, and lots of dancing was done - almost exclusively with Chris Wells, but also with Jo ! I'm not sure how I came to be dancing with Jo, and I am even less sure who started it, but I think we did a variation on a dance that was possibly called the bump. It involved a lot of bumping the hip or bum to hip or bum - nice !

 I do remember what was responsible for this extra dancing - the DJ (or CD player operator), unlike most, played some very complimentary music after the band had finished. I think he started of with some Led Zepplin, and later included AC/DC, Hawkwind and other great stuff. It is a shame that Chris Wells had gone home by then (she had to be up early for work on Saturday) or I have no doubt there would have been even more dancing, but dancing with Jo was definitely a bonus !

 I'm not sure what prompted Chris Mayer to get on the trolly outside the pub. I suspect it was instigated by Kevin, but it was good fun, and a good chance to get a full band picture. Chris and Jo gave me a lift home afterwards - which I was most grateful for. It was well past midnight when we left, and I was feeling very tired and exhausted. When I got in I felt rather peckish, and rummaged in the kitchen for some food. I found some chicken Thai curry, and some chicken potato and leek in the freezer, and I had both of those (both small to medium sized portions) for my very late dinner.

 Once I had eaten I went to my room, and although I felt dog tired curiosity got the better of me, and I downloaded the photos and video I had taken to me PC. I've never tried this before, but let's see if I can embed a video I uploaded to Facebook.

This is Chain, with Jo Corteen on vocals, Chris Mayer on Guitar, ravi on Bass and Paul Gunn on drums performing
"You're So Vain"

 It was 3am when I finally got to bed, and I fell asleep very quickly. I slept well for about 4 hours until I woke up far too early.I needed to get up reasonably early to tidy the place up, and remove the remains of my dinner before Aleemah visited me. She brought around her triple box set of Spiderman movies on DVD. As I have mentioned for the last couple of week, I am no fan of Spiderman. The second movie was probably the best, but I found the third, and thankfully the last one, to be verging on the tedious.

 I didn't really do anything of significance after Aleemah went home again. Earlier on, after I had met her at the station, and after we had breakfast in the pub (beer for me, and a vegetarian breakfast for her) we went into Aldi for some shopping. That shopping included some lamb leg steaks, and I had those for dinner after Aleemah left. I thought that they would be very nice, but they were as tough as old boots. Maybe I should have cooked them for a lot longer, but I assumed they would be really tender when cooked lightly enough to still have the merest hint of pinkness at their centre. I was obviously very wrong ! The lamb chops I had were much better !

 For much of the afternoon I rested, but by early evening that became boring. Ideally there would have been a gig I could have gone to, but Chain were playing at a place with no realistic public transport links, and after my meaty dinner I was in no fit state to travel even 4 or 5 hours later. While watching some early TV I became increasingly peckish. There was all sorts of stuff I could have eaten, but I managed to restrict myself to a punnet of red grapes. I suspect that they contributed far too much sugar to my diet, but otherwise should have been quite good for me.

 By 10pm I was ready to drop, and I got into bed. I was soon asleep, but I didn't sleep well. I seemed to be having lots of dreams, and some were rather unpleasant - almost nightmare like. I can't remember the time - it could have been somewhere around 2 - 3am - but I got up for a while to try and reset my brain. After maybe an hour I went back to bed, and slept fitfully until sometime around 8am.

 Since then I have had some breakfast, but done nothing else apart from some washing up. The next thing I will do is to get some laundry done. I'm a bit worried about the wind, but I think I'll be hanging it on a clothes horse outside to dry (or partly dry). In theory it should dry quickly, but not as quickly as if it was directly in the sunshine. Unfortunately there is no place I can get to that will get direct sunshine in the current state of my garden. It is possible, maybe even probable, that I shall spend some time doing more hacking and slashing in the garden today.

 One thing I can't do is to do any more significant amount of eating for the rest of today. I can't allow myself to feel too stuffed because I intend to go out tonight to see what is happening in The Catford Ram. There is an open mic night, and I know that Matt Sharp, heavy metal drummer who has played for Chain in the past, will be there. He won't be drumming, or least probably won't, but will be playing acoustic guitar. Some of tonight may be good, but I fear I'll hate most of it. I hope Matt is on nice and early so I can go home early if I hate most of what come afterwards.
Friday 12th April 2013
08:14 BST

  The rain soon finished yesterday morning, but the hoped for sunshine was a bit disappointing. There was some direct sunshine....but only about 15 seconds of it ! Most of the time there was just a sort of hazy brightness, but it seemed enough to warm things up to about 13 C by my reckoning. Not so long ago that would have been luxury, but now it didn't feel any more than "not cold". Sometime after dark the clouds thickened up, and overnight there was some heavy rain. It is still raining now, but although more than drizzle, it is not particularly heavy. Apparently it could rain, on and off, for a lot of today. There could also be a few sunny spells. The temperature was 8 C when I left to come to work, and it should slowly drift up to 12 C, or (fingers crossed) a degree or two higher.
Brazilian blow dry poster
 I'm not sure when I first spotted the poster in the picture above, but for some time it had been intriguing me. What the hell was a Brazilian blowdry ? I know what a "Brazilian" is, but I was unsure why it would need blowdrying. It wasn't until I stopped to take the picture that I read the rest of it, and the information that it is "the amazing new hair straightening treatment". Well that answers that, or does it ?

 For the umpteenth time it was great to leave work and head for home yesterday. I did have the option of jumping on a bus to join the Thursday night drinking gang, and I was very tempted to do so, but I decided I ought to go straight home and try and be a bit more constructive - and I was ! Before cooking my dinner I washed a sheet and a couple of pillow cases. I had an interesting accident with the sheet while hanging it over a couple of clothes horses. As I flipped the sheet over it caught the reeds of a reed difuser room fragrancer. The bottle tipped over, and spilled spruce aroma onto the sheet. In such quantities it is quite powerful, and I am hoping that the fragrance will have mostly dissipated when the time comes to use that sheet. It might actually be pleasant, and would certainly make a change to normal detergent aromas, if the sheet still retained a mild spruce smell when used.

 I could have had fish and salad for dinner, but instead I opted for some bami goreng (I think that's how it is spelled). It, or maybe they, are Indonesian noodles (allegedly) with a few little flecks of vegetable, some egg, and liitle chinks of ham. With a bit of chilli sauce (but not too much like I managed last night) they are very tasty. They come in quite a big pack, and I fear looking at it's nutritional value, but I suspect it is not quite as innocent as fish and salad.

 After going to bed so early the previous night, and then waking up so early yesterday morning, I decided to go to bed a lot later last night. I think I may have been a bit over keen though. It was gone 11pm when I finally got to sleep, but I did sleep more or less soundly until my alarm woke me at 5am. It would have been very easy to go back to sleep again, but apart from that I didn't feel too bad except for the predictable result of eating a small tub of three bean salad, and a small tub of chick pea salad for breakfast yesterday. All that fibre is supposed to be very good for you, but maybe not so good for the planet if the theories about methane and global warming are correct.

 I am very much looking forward to tonight despite a few apprehensions. Chain are playing at a venue they have never played at before. It is a pub called The Hob in Forest Hill which is just a 20 - 25 minute very boring bus ride away. Having never seen a gig in there before I am left wondering what it will be like. I am also wondering how I am going to arrange things once I get home from work. I'll want to have something to eat, and it will have to be a very small meal as early as possible or I'll never be able to move when it comes time to get the bus. The gig is advertised to start at the unusually late time of 10pm, and so it is not worth leaving home until a lot later than usual. I wonder how I am going to stop myself getting too warm and comfortable, or even from falling asleep, while I'm waiting.
Thursday 11th April 2013
07:57 BST

  The forecast for yesterday's weather had hints of truth in it. After the cold dull start it started to brighten up. The forecast was that there would only be about an hour when it would get bright with occasional sunshine, but it started to lighten up a lot earlier in the morning, and then there was a lot of hazy sunshine all afternoon. As the temperature hit 10 C, and then went on to a high of nearly 14 C it felt like a spring day. The rain that was forecast from mid evening didn't start to late in the evening.

 That rain continued through the night, but fortunately had reduced to more like a misty spray by the time I left home to walk to the station. It was nearly 8 C when I started out, and that was mild enough that my hands did not feel painfully cold as I walked. It is likely the grey skies will continue for a good few hours yet, and there could be more light rain, but this afternoon could be pleasantly bright and dry - maybe even sunny before more rain is expected this evening.

 Yesterday I did something I haven't done in ages. I went for a (very) short walk in the park at lunchtime. I only had my rather poor mobile phone camera with me, but it did take a couple of useable pictures.
St Georges Park, Earlsfield on a spring afternoon
It was bright and almost warm in the park, and although it was hazy, there was some sunshine.
spring flowers in St Georges Park, Earlsfield
I've never seen them planted there in previous years, but this year there is a whole arc of spring flowers planted and in bloom.

 It was nice to leave work and go home yesterday. I felt fairly good, but still rather lazy, and I caught a bus the two stops to the station. Back in Catford I strolled down to Iceland where I did my best not to buy stuff that I would like to eat, but should avoid if I am ever going to feel fit once the real warm weather arrives (which could almost be as early as this coming Sunday). I mostly succeeded, but I couldn't resist some "firecracker" prawns. I wish I could have because they were rubbish when cooked in my microwave oven. Maybe if they were fried in some nice fishy oil they may have had some sort of flavour, but I found them depressingly bland.

 Those prawns in their slightly spicy breadcrumb-like-stuff coating were my only substantial deviation from the ideal, but the potato salad and the chilli coleslaw were probably unneccesary - particularly as I ate the whole tub of chilli coleslaw. Although the bulk of it was just cabbage, I am sure that it probably contains all sorts of stuff like dodgy oil and sugar. I only ate half the tub of potato salad that I had with some microwaved salmon, tomatoes, cucumber, and salad leaves. Of course I partly spoiled that by adding a drizzle of olive oil on the salad, but I don't that was too bad.

 To substitute for some dodgy snacks when I inevitably got the nibbles I also bought, and of course ate, a medium size punnet of strawberries. I'm surprised I am not doing red poo or something because I also had a punnet of strawberries for the bulk of my breakfast yesterday. Overall, it was one of my better days when it comes to eating healthily, and I think that this morning I feel better for it, but I could feel better.

 One thing that distracts me from feeling even better is that old bogey - lack of sleep. I went to bed extra early last night to catch up on not getting the amount of sleep I thought I wanted the night before. I was in bed, reading, by 7.45pm, and I think I was asleep as early as 8.15pm (but it might have been later). I seemed to be sleeping really well until about 2am when I woke up feeling quite refreshed, and hardly sleepy at all. Now I come to do the maths, I realise I must have got over 5 hours of pretty good sleep. Maybe that is all I actually need now the days are longer and more frequently brighter (this morning very excepted !).

 I lay in bed doing my best to get back to sleep, but eventually I got up and turned my PC on. After checking a few things online, and also after visiting the toilet, I got back into bed. After a while I fell asleep again, and I think I possibly slept for another hour. I don't feel particularly tired right now, but I still have this nagging feeling that I didn't sleep for long enough last night. Maybe tonight I'll go to bed a bit later, and try to stay asleep until it is time to get up.

 Long before than I have a choice to make. Tonight the "Thursday gang" are drinking in a different pub. It will mean getting a bus from the station to get there, and possibly a couple of stops on a bus to get home after a boozing session. The choice is obviously - to go or not to go ? Having a drink with the lads is always a pleasurable time, and that is a plus point. The alternative is to go straight home, maybe do some more laundry (I washed a duver cover last night), and then eat something sensible instead of probably drunkenly buying fried chicken and chips on the way home from the pub.

 Said like that, the obvious choice is to go straight home. Perhaps I can convince myself that it is even more obvious when I consider there are two gigs to go to this weekend. Being fit and healthy would be handy for my next enforced "dancing lesson" probably on Friday night ! (Being fit and healthy would be handy at any time !) There is also a gig (and possibly more "dancing") on Saturday night. Saturday had been cancelled because the venue (O'Neill's in Bromley) had accidently booked three different bands instead of just one for the night ! By one of those happy coincidences, the karaoke master (or whatever you call the twat who presides over that evil Japanese import)  had to cancel his "appearance" at The William IV pub in Elmers End, and Chain were happy to fill the breach with some real entertainment !
Wednesday 10th April 2013
07:51 BST

  Yesterday started off very grey, cool and raining. Later in the morning the rain stopped, and there were a few bright intervals during the afternoon. I think the temperature peaked at 12 C if my memory serves me well. This morning has started dreadfully dull and grey. It's also rather cool. The temperature is a rather awkward 5 C - awkward because it doesn't feel dreadfully cold at first, but slowly, slowly sucks all the heat out your body ! The temperature today should reach 10 C, and at some point late this morning, or maybe early afternoon, the sun may put in a brief appearance. Later on, perhaps shortly before sunset, rain is forecast.

 I'm unsure why I didn't get around to writing anything yesterday. I had plenty of time to do it. Maybe I had too much time and kept thinking I would write later on, and later on kept getting later and later until the day was over. I took a days holiday off work so I could do a minor bit of plumbing - which turned out to be so ridiculously minor that it took no more than a few minutes ! That left the whole day to do something constructive........

 Apart from washing a bed sheet, and a pair of jogging pants type trousers, I actually did very little - and it was glorious - particularly while it was raining outside.  While it was wonderful saying "ya boo sucks" to the rain while I stayed in the warm, there were some consequences that were not so good. I had intended to go out and buy some healthy sorts of food, but I never got around to it. I had started off badly with some smoked mackerel and new potatoes for breakfast. It was more like a dinner, albeit not as big as my usual size for dinner, and I had some stupid hopes that it might throttle my hunger later in the day.

 I ended up having dinner earlier than usual, and it was quite a big dinner ! I had a rummage around in my freezer while meaning to take out some frozen fish that I might have had with some salad. I found two bags of food in there that I think I bought from Lidl quite some time ago. One was "lean beef with black bean stir fry". The idea was that you would empty the contents of the bag into a frying pan or wok, and give it a quick fry. I don't have a frying pan these days (actually I do, but I don't have the gas ring to heat it up) so I just tipped it all into a pyrex dish and shoved it into the microwave. It came out like a very lumpy soup, but was quite tasty. The only trouble was that it was a lot smaller than I imagined, and it effectively turned into a soup "starter".

 The other bag was a ready mix Paella that also was supposed to be fried, but the packet did give instructions for microwaving as well. Unlike the stir fry it was a far more substantial meal, and the two together left me feeling fairly stuffed. I didn't notice it so much at first, but it seemed to lay there like a lead weight in my stomach as I lay in bed later on, and delayed me getting to sleep by over an hour.

 Once I got to sleep I seemed to sleep quite soundly until about half an hour before I was due to get up anyway. That all adds up to far less than my preferred 8 hours beauty sleep, and I probably owe my body at least 2 hours sleep now. I didn't feel too bad when I woke up. Although I did wake up with sweat on my face. I have a vague recollection of a dream, possibly a powerful one, but no recollection of anything in the dream that might bring me out in a sweat.

 I still felt fine after having a shower and getting dressed, and it was not until I was getting near he station that I began to feel rough. For one thing I had underestimated just how cold 5 C can feel, and how it slowly creeps up on you. So by the time I arrived at the station my fingers were going painfully numb. Also the cold air was doing it's thing with my chest. It was a great relief when my nice warm train arrived. I can't say I enjoyed the walk from Earlsfield station to work either. I arrived at work my shoulders, neck and top of my chest aching badly. I can't wait until the mornings warm up to at least double figures !

 Tonight I think I'm going home via Iceland where I shall buy some Diet Coke, and some assorted foods. I shall do my best to only select stuff that is moderately, or better, healthy, but inevitably I'll spot something that just has to be tried ! Which is a bit of a pity because I want to feel as fit and healthy as possible for Friday night when Chain are playing in The Hob in Forest Hill, and for when my dance tormentor talks me into dancing with her again (although I am almost enjoying it now if the truth be told !).
Monday 8th April 2013
07:47 BST

  In all honesty I can't describe yesterday as warm, but it came very close to it. By about 4pm the temperature had peaked at an impressive 12 C thanks all the bright sunshine. That came as a pleasant surprise, but the bigger surprise is that the temperature was still around 4 C this morning. At least it was in Catford. I was able to walk to the station without gloves for the first times in ages, and when I got there I could still feel my fingers. It actually felt cooler when I got to Earlsfield for some reason. Today will be nowhere as good as yesterday. It is going to be rather grey until mid to late afternoon, and the temperature may only reach 8 C. There is worse to come - it is likely to be cool and raining tomorrow.

 I thought I was going to have a very inactive afternoon yesterday, but maybe the sunshine inspired me to do more. I passed up on the chance for anything terribly healthy like a walk in the park, but I decided to catch up on laundry. I had several odd items that needed washing, but there was no urgency for any of them (hence why I had let them accumulate). They are all done now. Initially I hung them outside expecting them to dry quite quickly, but that was just wishful thinking. A few hours later I brought them back indoors still rather damp. The useful thing is that they had stopped dripping long before I brought them in. I had decided not to waste my breath trying to wring them out too hard because I was happy to let them drip while outside.

 I ended up eating more than I might have wished yesterday, but it was not excessive. I guess you could describe it as a fairly neutral amount. That doesn't take into account the somewhere between 50 and 2000 calories I burnt off doing my hack and slash gardening (although the reality is probably closer to the lower number !). All these things I did yesterday, along with the susnhine, seem to have had a beneficial effect on me this morning. I felt very slightly more fitter this morning. I guess I only felt like a 90 year old instead of a 100 year old ! A few more days like yesterday, or preferably a long stretch of weather as good or better than that, and I reckon it won't be long before I am feeling more like a 70 year old. Perhaps by late summer I'll be feeling like a sprightly 60 year old. Stranger things have happened !
Sunday 7th April 2013
14:11 BST

  I'm not so sure that yesterday cooled down as quickly as the forecast suggested it might, and I'm not even sure that the temperature went into minus figures at all. The first temperature I noted was around 3 C. I can't even remember what time that was, but I'm sure it wasn't too long after sunrise.  I'm sorry I didn't actually see sunrise this morning because it might have been very pleasant.  The sky would have been, and still is very clear. Right now the sun is blazing down, and the mercury has hit 10 C. That is still not exactly warm, but it crosses some sort of threshold and that makes all the difference. Tomorrow is forecast to not quite reach  10 C, but it will probably be close. There may be less sunshine, but it should be bright.

 I didn't go out last night, but still had a pleasant time doing nothing of any significance. I almost managed to avoid eating any more than my over large dinner, but failed - although I didn't eat that much in the evening.  Maybe it was that little extra to eat, or maybe it was just the season or something, but I found it quite hard to get relaxed to go to sleep. I'm not sure just when it was that I fell asleep, but I guess it was around midnight, or maybe a bit later. Even when I did sleep it wasn't quality sleep, and I woke up, and got up for a while before sunrise. Then I got back in bed and seemed to sleep rather  well until something like 9.30am.

 I had an experimaental breakfast this morning. I tried cooking some potato waffles in the electric grill. They would have been many times better if fried in dripping, but they weren't bad. I had them with some baked beans and two different ypes of sauce. One type was an Aldi own brand Caribbean flavour tomato sauce. I have to say it was pretty nasty to the extent that I have thrown away the bottle. The other sauce was once again an Aldi own brand tomato sauce, but this time it was chilli flavoured. It wasn't bad, but not a patch on real chilli sauce.

 Once I had let my breakfast go down I decided to do some hacking and slashing in the back garden. I think I've opened up about another square yard of garden, as well as tidying up some of my hack and slash efforts of last year. Initially it felt a bit cool out there, but it wasn't long ebfore I worked up a light sweat. After I had done all I could manage for the time being I came in and had a hot shower. I felt so warm after that that I decided I would put on a pair of shorts as if it were summer.

 I am still wearing those shorts now, and up in my upstairs front room, with the sun streaming through the window, it feels quite comfortable apart from a cool draught around the feet. I think I'll change back into long trousers before I do anything else, but it has been a nice reminder of what should be coming sooner or later. The other great thing is that my shorts still seem to fit OK.  It's probably wishful thinking, or I am thinking of another pair of shorts, but I sometimes think that they are microscopically looser than I remember them.

 If I am nott fooling myself, and there is an excellent possibility that I am, it seems a good basis to start getting fit again once the we get a more consistent run of weather slightly better than today. I just hope I can get fit again because that bit of "gardening" totally knackered me ! My arms ached, my knees ached, my back ached and my chest felt tight. i.e. I'm a physical wreck at the moment !

 This afternoon I will almost certainly being doing nothing that might contribute to any increase of fitness. I suppose there is a possibility that I might suddenly have a desire for a walk in the park, but I can't feel anything like that coming. What I can feel coming is a desire to watch a movie I've recently aquired. It's a 1950's sci fi B movie parody made in in 1989, and stars Patrick Macnee as one of the characters. Patrick Macnee is probably better known as John Steed from The Avengers (the real British TV series - not the cheap and tacky Hollywood rip off !).
Saturday 6th April 2013
18:38 BST

  The promised afternoon sunshine never happened, but it did brighten up, and maybe there was a little bit of sunshine in the last hour or so before sunset. I think the thermometer said that the temperature almost hit the predicted 9 C if you don't argue about half a degree or so, but it didn't feel like it to me. I still felt pretty chilly. This morning started in a blaze of sunshine, and although there were on times when the cloud won, it has stayed mostly bright and sunny all day. Today the temperature did hit 9 C, and on the one occasion when I went out, it did feel less cool than recently. The biggest improvement over yesterday was less wind. If the wind dropped completely it might even have felt not too bad. Tomorrow will probably be very similar, but overnight we will probably have to endure temperatures as low as minus 3 C.

 I felt pretty rough yesterday, and I did wonder if I was going to feel like going out in the evening. I still had doubts when I got home after work, and even more so after I had a nice relaxing hot shower. I had a hard time convincing myself that once I got to the pub I would feel immensely better. Eventually I convinced myself, and exactly as I expected, I did feel more than better. I felt wonderful ! As I knew all along, when Chain play in my local it is always a wonderful occasion !
Jo Corteen - Friday 5th April 2013 - Catford Ram
On the left, Chris' Epiphone Explorer guitar. Up on the keyboards, Dave Griffiths. Out in front, Jo Corteen.
Dave Etheridge - Friday 5th April 2013 -Catford Ram
Bashing the skins - Dave Etheridge
Chris Mayer - Friday 5th April 2013 - Catford Ram
Lead guitaring - Chris Mayer
Ravi Sharman - Friday 5th April 2013 - Catford Ram
With a purple glow in his hair - Ravi Sharman on bass guitar.
Jo Corteen - Friday 5th April 2013 - Catford Ram
Ravi. Jo and Chris.
Dave Griffiths - Friday 5th April 2013 - Catford Ram
keyboard maestro Dave Griffiths. For some reason Dave thinks that my pictures of hime make him look like a serial killer !

 It was indeed a good time, and it was another occasion when I ended up dancing with Chris (as in Chris honkytonkpavlovsdog Wells !). I must getting used to it now because I wasn't more than approaching the very first hints of drunkeness when I started. Worst still, I was enjoying it ! Allegedly there is some video evidence of it somewhere, but as yet it hasn't surfaced !

 After the gig I felt starving hungry, and I went home via the Kentucky fried Chicken shop where I bought an embarrasing amount of fried chicken and stuff. I had a pretty good feat when I got home, but there was far too much to eat anywhere near all of it. I had the leftovers for dinner late this afternoon, and I felt pretty stuffed after eating it. It's all gone now, and I'll have to wait until tomorrow for room to eat some of the lovely stuff I bought in Aldi today.

 It was very late before I got to sleep this morning, but I still had to be up semi early to prepare for a visit from Aleemah, and her DVD of Spiderman 2. If the film had been half the length I may have found it OK, but 2 hours stretched beyond my attention span for a genre that I only marginally like. What I did like was the two halves of beer I had in the Wetherspoons pub while Aleemah had her vegetarian breakfast in there. I wish I could remember the names of the two beers but all I can remember is that if I seem them again I will be more than happy to drink several pints of either.

 I've had a lazy afternoon doing practically nothing (apart from eating too much chicken). Ideally I would be sufficiently rested, and my dinner settled enough so I could go out to see Chain play in Greenwich tonight. If I was going I should be leaving soon, but time is now flying by, and I think there is little hope that I'll be going out tonight. Until I saw the current time I thought there could still be a possibility of a split second mad decision, but that point seems to have passed now. So I think I'll put my feet up and slowly decompose ;-)
Friday 5th April 2013
07:56 BST

 Yesterday was bloody horrible ! It was colder and greyer than the day before, and it snowed ! The snow was sometimes like real snow, but most of it was either like very fine hail, or sleet. Had it been a couple of degrees colder it might have been all snow, and it would have settled - perhaps a half inch of it or more. At least that would have been pretty. This morning is perishingly cold, but perhaps not quite zero, and the sky is the most depressing shade of grey imaginable. There is hope that this afternoon could see some sunshine, and a temperature as high as 8 C. That is still rather chilly, but it seems luxury comapared to yesterdays 4 C.

 I didn't enjoy myself at work yesterday. I had a quiet, but rather cold morning, and then in the afternoon I had loads of people bothering me with last minute requests for work. I almost thought I wouldn't be able to get away on time. Fortunately I did, but the grey and the cold didn't make my journey home the usual pleasure it is to get away from work. I called in at the pub on the off chance that anyone would turn up. I wasn't expecting anyone to be there last night, but I fancied a quick drink anyway. In fact one person did turn up, but that was as I was very close to the end of my pint, and I decided not to stay for another.

 It was a sort of joy to get home, and into the warm, but it didn't lift my spirits that much. After a dinner of microwaved salmon and new potatoes, plus a couple of pasta containing snack pot things, I decided that I was so bored that I would go to bed and do some reading. I was in bed by 7.45, and I read to 8.15pm when I turned off the light and was soon asleep. I think I slept for about an hour before an incoming message to my phone woke me up. After that my sleep felt very lumpy. I woke up several times in the night, and I can remember having loads of dreams even if I can't remember much of the dreams themselves. Eventually at 4.20am I gave up trying to get to sleep again, and got up.

 I guess it's just the wintertime blues, but I felt horrible on multiple levels. I had a mild headache, and a mild stomache ache. On top of that I felt stiff and creaky plus really shivery everytime I had to rush to the toilet to relieve the stomach ache. If I wasn't reeling from the loss of wages after being off sick for a week last month, I might have easily phoned in sick today, and gone back to bed. There were two other reasons that reinforced that wish. The first was that I noticed that there is a small leak from my toilet. It is only a few drips from the downpipe from the cistern when it is flushed. It has been doing this off and off for the last 25 years, and it looks like it is time to re-tighten the gland nut again,  and maybe pack it with some PTFE tape this time. The second thing is that I found the fan has siezed in my fan heater in the living room. All it needs is it's annual drop of oil, and it will be fine. I would have loved to stay home today to fix the heater (even though I have a spare that is now in place), and to fix the toilet, but here I am at work after a cold unpleasant journey.

 I really do hope that this afternoon is bright, and, ideally, sunny. I also hope that it doesn't feel so terribly cold as it did this morning. I want to get home in a good mood so I can enjoy the gig in The Catford Ram tonight. It starts nice and early at 6pm, and finishes correspondingly early (maybe 9pm) although I predict the drinking will go on later, maybe a lot later, than that. Of course the downside of the early start is that I will have very little time after getting home to scrub myself up. It would be nice to wash my hair beforehand, but there will be no time for that. Fortunately I don't think my hair is that bad at the moment.
Thursday 4th April 2013
08:10 BST

 Yesterday was cold, miserable, grey, horrid, and depressing - and that was just the weather !! The sad news is that today will be almost the same, but with the added joy of some possible wintry showers - maybe even some snow ! The good news is that today should see the worst of the weather over for another year. Yesterday's thick cloud hung around overnight so there was no frost today, but at just a degree or two above freezing, it was a close run thing. The top temperature today is forecast to be a damn chilly 4 C. Tomorrow might see some bright intervals, and a temperature of 6 or 7 C, and the weekend may include some sunny intervals, and an almost, but not, warm 9 C.

 I am definitely alergic to work ! I felt really horrible at work yesterday. During the morning it was like I had a head cold. My eyes kept running, and I was coughing a lot. During the afternoon, when it had been quite warm for a while, the head cold like symptoms stopped, but I still felt horrid in a sort of tired and achey sort of way. Of course once I left work I started to recover on the way home, and once I got home I felt fine again. It is going to be like luxury when I can finally come to work with no more than a light jacket on, and still feel comfortably warm.

 One rather starnge thing is that despite the very cold air, and even colder wind, I didn't seem to suffer the pains in my lungs and windpipe to the same extent as recently as I made my way home. The same was true this morning as well. Maybe it is because my carbohydrate consumption has gone up a lot recently. After feeling so crap while at work I changed my shopping list radically for when I went into Iceland on the way home.

 My original plan was to get more frozen fish and a bag or two of salad. I did get some fish, but no salad. What I did get was a couple of frozen curries, and some assorted frozen snacks. The curries didn't come with any rice, and were mostly gravy - tasty gravy it has to be admitted, but more gravy than any meat of vegetable content. That's why they are only 1.50 a pack ! I had two of them as they were, but without rice it was a rather insubstantial meal. I wanted more, and I had in the form of cheese and stuff filled potato skins.

 Quite how many calories, or gallons of oil and fat that meal contained is anyone's guess, but I guess it was on the high side. Still it did the business of warming both my body and soul after a day at work, and apart from a slight case of the runs this morning, has left me feeling reasonably OK this morning. For instance the walk from the station to work did not leave me in so much pain this morning. What pain it did produce only lasted 3.775 seconds instead of a minute or two.

 I'm not sure how I am going to feel at work today. I do feel a little cool, but not actually cold, and I think I will be dashing to the toilet again soon, but I don't feel that bad. Time will tell ! One thing I am sure of is that by the end of the day I will feel bad enough to force me to call in the pub on the way home :-) I don't know if anyone will be in there tonight. Chain are playing in there tomorrow night, and Chris may feel tomorrow night will satisfy his drinking wishes. Nevertheless, I'm going to have at least one pint of Guinness tonight. If I only have one, maybe two, I may be able to cook myself a semi healthy dinner of microwaved salmon with new potatoes - tasty !! If there is company, and I have more than 4 pints, I may well end up getting chicken and chips on the way home - also tasty !!!
Wednesday 3rd April 2013
07:56 BST
 
blue sky


There's no doubt about it, yesterday was very sunny with a delicious blue sky, and it lasted for most of the day.

 It would have been nice if all that sunshine could have raised the air temperature by more than just a few measly degrees. The best the sun could do as it fought with freezing air being blown from Scandinavia, was to raise the temperature to a very poor, and still rather chilly 7 C. It helped, but not much.

 Today there will be less sunshine according to the forecast. In fact, after a bright start, it seems to be clouding over even as I write this. In consequence, the temperature is only forecast to rise to about 4 C, and that is barely enough to thaw this morning's frost.

 It's all a bit of a poor show for the start of April, and half way to mid summer. Our esteemed forecasters say that this wintry weather will be with us for at least another week or two, but do these experts, those demagogues who try to instill the fear of global warming into us, really know what they are talking about, or do they just make wild guesses ?
weather prediction for 10th April 2013 made on 2nd April
 The screengrab above is from the BBC's website weather pages, and is for this time next week. So the best the Met Office's supercomputers can manage, the same super computers that are making predictions about global warming, is a prediction that it will be sunshine and rain, and that the daytime temperature will be somewhere between 6 C and 15 C ! Even seaweed is more definitive that that ! If I were more diligent I would find a reference to a particular study about weather forecasting accuracy.

 Some years back a group of boffins decided to see which of two methods of predicting the weather for tomorrow was most accurate. One method was to pour as much data into a supercomputer as possible, and the other method was simply to say that tomorrow will be like today. By a big margin, it was more accurate to say that tomorrow's weather will be the same as today ! No supercomputers and flawed theories needed, just look out the window and the forecast is done.

 While 7 C was not that great, it was better than most, if not all work day afternoons last week. It still wasn't nice walking to the station after work, but at least I didn't need to wimp out and get the bus like last week. (Maybe Iwill again today if it's only 4 C.) It should have been a very nice walk with it being so bright and sunny, but the best that sunshine could do for me was to provide a bit of inspiration when I got home.

 Maybe it was sitting on a warm train in the sunshine that was a significant part of the inspiration I got last night to do something more than vegetate all evening. The other part of the inspiration was the obviousness of how much extra daylight we are getting now the seasons are moving on (also helped by the clocks changing from GMT to BST). There was no inspiration to go out in the evening because it was far too cold for that, but I was inspired to both do some laundry and to wash my hair. I might have felt very satisfied about doing both, but one thing spoiled what would otherwise have been a great evening - I ate more than I would have preferred to eat.

 Yes the curse of the cold continues ! My actual dinner was fine. I had microwaved tuna steaks with salad - low fat, low sugar, and mostly low in calories, but high in stuff that may be good for you. Ideally that would all I would have eaten, but I watched TV for two long and started nibbling. I really ought to stop watching TV because it makes me reach for a snack in some learned Pavlovian reaction. I only watched the national news (30 minutes) and an Episode of The Simpsons (another 30 minutes) but during that time I nibbled through far too much !

 I expect I'll be watching the news on TV tonight, but I am now running low on nibbles and snacks. So tonight I should do better unless I allow myself to buy inappropriate stuff when I call in at Iceland on the way home from work. In theory I am just buying some frozen fish, salad, and a bottle or two of diet cola, but sometimes something just have to be tried. I just hope those "somethings", if I spot any, are not too evil when I come to try them !
Tuesday 2nd April 2013
07:49 BST
 
  Yesterday's clear sky carried on overnight, and this morning the temperature was a good degree or two below zero with a crisp frost. The sky should stay clear until at least late this afternoon, and we will be treated to glorious sunshine. Unfortunately a very chill wind will keep the air temperature down to only about 7 C, and probably make it feel even colder than that ! Tomorrow may be slightly warmer, but with less sunshine. On the other hand, the chances of a weather forecast for that far into the future bearing any relation to reality is exceedingly slim, and anything could happen tomorrow (or even today !).

 I didn't have any formal meals yesterday, but I probably consumed a great many calories as I nibbled away at various snack foods - including the two worst - peanuts and chocolate ! This morning I feel rather hungry, but in some ways also rather better than many recent mornings at work. Getting a good night's sleep probably helped a lot. I managed to get to sleep by 9.30pm, or possibly a bit earlier, and I slept solidly right through to 4am. I got up briefly to turn the heater on before getting back in bed. I didn't expect to get any significant sleep, or even to go back to sleep, but I was fast asleep when my alarm woke me up again.

 After getting used to waking up with it being light outside, or at least close to it, it was rather depressing to have to get up in the dark again. I imagined that I would be walking to the station in the dark again, but happily enought, it was daylight - even if it wasn't quite full daylight. It should be nice to experience an extra hour of daylight after work tonight. At least I think it will be, but I doubt it will inspire to do anything while it is so cold outside.

 Maybe it will be enough to inspire me to wash my hair, or maybe wash some laundry. Of course if I feel really inspired I could do both, but that doesn't seem that likely this morning as I sit here almost shivery in my ice box of an office. Four days of no heating means my desk is too cold to touch, and the single fan heater can barely make a dent in the temperature when it is so cold outside. This morning the sun should come to my aid. It may do little for the air temperature outside, but once it hits the tin roof of my office it should soon get it feeling toasty in here (and by soon I probably mean close to midday !).
Monday 1st April 2013
18:46 BST
 
  After the bright sunny morning there was hardly any more sunshine yesterday. The sunshine helped the temperature to rise quickly from freezing to very chilly, and that was where it stuck until it went back to freezing after dark. This morning started out very grey, and the BBC forecast warned of the possibility of a light snow shower before the sky cleared to give a sunny afternoon. They got the fist bit wrong, and underestimated how much sunshine we've had this afternoon. It won't be too long now before the sun sets, but the sky is still clear blue. It may get extremely cold overnight if it stays clear. For all the sunshine we have had today, the temperature now is a very disappointing 4 C. Let's hope the forecast for tomorrow, which predicts a high of 7 C, is an under estimate !

  I had a very lazy afternoon yesterday as I recovered from three boozing sessions on the trot. One thing I did do was very quick, and damn useful. I searched the internet for a solution to a problem I had on my Freeview set-top box. It had essentially stopped showing the vast majority of the Electronic Programme Guide. It seems the problem is that with all the new channels that have appeared since the digital switch over, the memory in the tuner can fill up before it can be managed properly.

 The simple solution is to help the memory manager in the internal software out by deleting all tye contents in one go. This is achieved by first unplugging the box from the mains, and then disconnecting the aerial connection. The box is then plugged back into the mains, and once out of standby you do a channel search. With the aerial disconnected the box should find no signals, and write nothing but blanks to the internal memory. Once that is done the aerial is plugged back in again, and another tuning scan started. Once that is done, as if by magic, the EPG details appear correctly.

 I did make an effort to get to sleep relatively early last night. I wanted to try and slowly get back into my normal rythym of sleeping and waking ready for work tomorrow morning. It was a lot harder than it should have been, and I'm sure it was getting on for midnight before I was asleep. At least that is better than 3am ! One problem in trying to get to sleep was that my neck felt rather stiff. It hadn't been noticeable during the day, nor the night before, but I suspect I may have done a little too much headbanging at Chain's gig on Saturday night. Here's some pictures of the night.
Dave Griffiths and Jo Corteen
On the left, Dave Griffiths whose keyboards really enrich the sound. Centre is Jo Corteen, and on the right half of Ravi's face !
Chris Mayer
Sometimes it is really difficult to get the colour balance of a photo right - the answer is to turn the colour off !
Chris Mayer in glorious black and white !
Ravi the bass player
Ravi the (5 string !) bass player.
Paul Gunn the drummer
Paul Gunn on drums
Jo Corteen as the Easter Bunny
Jo Corteen - the Easter Bunny
Rock star pose from Chris Mayer
Every now and then I take a picture that I am really happy with, and this one of Chris Mayer in rock star pose is one of them.
toilet at The Chatterton Arms pub in Chatterton Road, Bromley, Kent
One final picture that I admit is not pleasant, but I feel I have to publicly name and shame The Chatterton Arms pub.
This is one of the two cubicles in the gents toilet. Neither cubicle has a lock on the door, and only this one with it's long broken toilet seat had, unsurprisingly, any toilet paper in it....and pubs wonder why many people stay at home drinking supermarket beer. Hopefully the new management will sort it out, but I won't hold my breath (except when I am in the gents !!).

 I haven't been totally inactive today - just mostly so ! This morning I went out to meet Aleemah in the Wetherspoons pub where she had her vegetarian breakfast, and I had three half pints of beer for a beer breakfast. Afterwards we watched the first Spiderman film. I am no great fan of Spiderman - he was a product of Marvell comics, and I was in the rival DC Comics camp. So I was quite apprehensive about it, but it wasn't as bad as I expected, and was definitely much better than watching Eastenders. I might even have slightly enjoyed it.

 I have also washed a duvet cover today. That is quite a lot of material to wrestle with in one go, and I really only could do it because it is very dry outside today. After washing it I hung it up outside to drip it's way to half dryness. t would take ages to dry out there in this cold weather, but at least when I bring it in to finish drying it should have stopped dripping. With the sun now just on, or below the horizon, I had better bring it in very soon. After that all I have to do is to try and get in the right mood to go to sleep by 9pm so I can wake up fresh for work tomorrow morning.