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August 2013
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2013

Saturday 31st August 2013
 06:36 BST

  It was dry and bright yesterday, but it never warmed up to any more than "just warm". It's looking rather cloudy this morning, but the forecast says most of today will be sunny. The current temperature is 17 C, and it feels neither warm nor cold. Apparently the best temperature we can hope for today is a rather disappointing 20 C - and that after a sunny morning and afternoon - if it happens. Tomorrow should see a similar temperature range, but those esteemed weather forecasters reckon it's going to be cloudy nearly all day.

 I felt neither good nor bad at work yesterday. In fact to a very minor degree I may have felt slightly under par at times. I wasn't sure if I would have a comfortable journey home, and I suppose if I am honest I didn't. Yet it wasn't any worse than the average over the last 6 months.  When the time came, there didn't seem any reason not to walk home from the station via Tesco, and on the whole I didn't feel any undue discomfort when I did it.

 I don't think I've ever been more careful about buying appropriate stuff in Tesco than I was yesterday. I didn't buy anything I shouldn't eat. That must be a first ! One luxury item I did buy was a semi lean rib eye steak. Apart from a small packet of potato hoops I ate while waiting for the steak to grill, the steak, with some chilli sauce, was my entire dinner last night - although not the last thing I ate. It was very tasty !

 Another first, or at least the first in a very long time, is that I went out after eating. Not straight after, but nearly three hours after. Even that length of time is not usually enough to get me to feel comfortable when walking after a meal, but last night I only felt slightly bad when I walked to The Catford Ram pub to see what was happening at the last open mic session there.

 It is possible that I missed out on something worthwhile later on, but while I was there nothing seemed to be happening, and I got bored and came home again. The positive outcome of this is that I managed to achieve what I thought would be completely impossible - I had just one pint of ordinary bitter last night.

 As is typical after a visit to the pub, I felt peckish when I got home again. I had already thought about this happening, and had a plan in place for it. I cooked up a tasty little dish that was very low in everything. It was a large spring onion (the type used in salads) with half a bag of bean sprouts part boiled/part steamed in chicken stock fortified with some tomato puree and pepper. It was tasty, and seemed to hit the right spot.

 I can't recall what time I ended up in bed last night, but I think the edition of QI I was watching was scheduled to finish at 10pm, and I was in bed, and asleep very soon after that. I think I slept well enough, and I only rememer waking once or twice for brief periods in the night. I finally woke up at about 5.30am - which is sort of early for a Saturday, but half an hour later than my weekday alarm is set for, and as much as an hour after I usually wake up.

 Initially I felt groggy, and with a mild sort of headache, but now that is wearing off, and I am more aware of feeling a bit hungry. My eating regime yesterday, including the pint of beer, must have worked because my blood sugar level was quite satisfactory when I checked it. It has dropped a few tenths of a point again, and is now heading into the area where it could end up a tiny bit too low by late afternoon if I didn't have anything to eat.

 I should be eating early this afternoon because I hope to feel up to going out again this evening. In the meantime I'll be having a pint of beer for breakfast. I'm seeing Aleemah this morning, and it would be impolite to walk into the Wetherspoons pub and drink nothing while Aleemah has her vegetarian breakfast in there !
Friday 30th August 2013
 07:51 BST

  There's not that much to say about the weather recently. It is just very moderate - not particularly cold, and not particularly warm. Sometimes the sky gets a bit cloudy, but it stays dry. Today is forecast to be even more moderate than yesterday. It has started out a degree or so less cool, and the top temperature wil be a degree or so cooler. One forecast suggests it should be around 17 C now, and will creep up to as little as 22 C (yesterday was about 24 C). The weekend will probably differ little from today or yesterday, but either Saturday or Sunday (I can't recall which without checking again) will be a fair bit more cloudy.

 My health improvement plan is not making the big gains I unrealistically hoped for, but I do seem to be making small incremental improvements. In some ways it is difficult to measure these improvements. For instance, I was very comfortable going home from work yesterday, but I didn't attempt to push myself to discover my limits. If anything, I took the easy option, and stopped for a breather in places where I had to before, but didn't really need to last night.

 One thing that I can measure is my blood sugar level, and that continues to drop. It was right in the middle of the healthy range when I got home from work, and only slightly high when I measured it this morning. It could have been a little lower this morning if I had resisted the temptation of the the can of Thai onion soup I had as a second course to me dinner last night.The first course was a small tuna steak with lettuce and cucumber (plus a bit of oil and vinegar).

 I'm not sure why I thought that a can of soup might be a good idea for a second course - the doubt centres on whether to have soup at all rather than whether to have it more traditionally as the first course. I particularly wanted to try the Thai soup, but I was slightly put off when I saw that one of the ingredients was brown sugar. The sugar was well down the list of ingredients, and the overal calorie count for the can was agreeably low. So I went for it, and it was very nice. The drawbacks were that my blood sugar level this morning was higher than I hoped (but still very acceptable), and I think it was the lemongrass, amongst other herbs and stuff  in the soup that made my urine smell very strange :-)

 I would have liked to have gotten to sleep earlier last night, but I was asleep very soon after 9pm, and I think I slept fairly well. I woke up a few times in the night, but only briefly, and managed to sleep right up to 5 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I can't say I felt that good when I woke up. I expect to feel rough for the first three seconds after waking as my body adjusts to the real world, but this morning the feelings continued for about an hour. It's hard to describe all the multiple feelings - it's a sort of mixture of assorted creakiness, light and heavy headed (at the same time !), blurry vision, pains here and there, a dry mouth and stuffed up nose, headache, finger ache, buttock ache, shin ache, bleeding synapses, spastic teeth, empty stomach and full colon, unruly hair, paralysed toe nails etc etc.

 Fast forwarding to actually being on the train to work......I definitely felt hungry with a very empty feeling in my stomach area. I also had a bit of a stiff back. It wasn't really lower back pain, and it wasn't really upper back pain, and none of the pain was pain of the "ouch" variety. It was just a sort of gentle stiffness that started in the neck, and probably ended in the buttocks. When I arrived at Waterloo I wasn't sure whether to try and cross the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline as fast as I could, or whether to take it at a sedate pace. I guess I ended up doing a bit of both. At the far end I was low, but not short on breath, but I stopped for a breather anyway.

 With trains from Waterloo to Earlsfield every 3 or 4 minutes, I don't need to get any specific train, and I can afford to relax a bit. Until my health started going downhill, I never used to stop and take in the view from the balcony at Waterloo East. It's where I have taken a few pictures from recently, and although there was nothing special to see today, I stopped for a minute or two to watch everyone scurrying by below me.

 This morning's walk from Earlsfield station to work seemed to be a tiny bit easier this morning (or an awful lot easier compared to some days last week). It was strange though, I could feel that I was starting to get a bit low on breath, but it never really got worse. Maybe it was because I subconciously regulated my walking to stop it, or maybe I didn't. I'm not really sure. Anyway, now I've been here at work for an hour or more, I think I feel fairly good - probably good enough that I really ought to try and get on with some work......but it is Friday !!!
Thursday 29th August 2013
 08:40 BST

  Once the mist and/or misty cloud had evaporated, yesterday was a nice sunny day, and was comfortably warm - maybe 23 - 24 C. This morning was less cool than yesterday morning, and there was no mist, but the sky was quite grey and cloudy. That cloud has since gone away, and it is starting to gently warm up in the bright sunshine. The forecast suggests that today will be similar to yesterday. It has been scientifically proved that just saying today will be like yesterday is by far the most accurate forecast there is - and it doesn't need a super computer to make such a forecast !

 I felt fairly good after work yesterday. It didn't seem to cause any extra strain to walk home from the station via the scenic route (or Tesco's as it is otherwise known). I didn't actually buy any food from Tesco, and didn't even dare go in there any deeper than the customer services counter where they also sell such things as lottery tickets and tobacco products. While I didn't arrive home in any pain, or breathlessness, it must have been enough of an extra bit of exercise to make me not want to bother doing any laundry.

 Maybe a more realistic reason was that I was pretty hungry, and looking forward to my dinner. Before I started eating I measured my blood sugar level and it was down close to normal at just 6.1. I think that may have been lower than expected, but I can't remember now. To keep it down I kept my dinner to a bare minimum. The main course was just tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, spring onion, and peppers dressed with garlic infused olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a crumbled low salt oxo cube. I am growing to rather like this almost vegan like salad invention of mine. For dessert I had a small punnet of blueberries. I also ate two 25gm bags of potato rings as a snack soon after I got in.

 I went to bed feeling mildly hungry. I don't think it was that mild feeling that stopped me getting to sleep. I got in bed just before 9pm thinking that I would soon be asleep, but I thought wrongly. As sson as I was laying down I just didn't seem to feel tired or have any desire for sleep. Sleep finally came at about 10pm, but I didn't sleep that well. I think I woke up 2 or 3 times in the night for no good reason. When I woke up at about 4.30am I decided it wasn't worth trying to get back to sleep. Several hours later, as my eyes were drooping while reading something boring on the train to work, I think I could have easily gone back to sleep !

 When I checked my blood sugar level just after I woke up this morning, it was higher than I expected. I was expecting it to be the same as last night, or even a tiny bit lower, but it had gone up a point. That was a minor disappointment, but it is still heading in the right direction being 1.5 less than the morning before. If it continues to improve like this I think I will have to take care it doesn't get too low in a few days time.........although I don't expect to keep my food consumption so low over the weekend. In fact I would be surprised if the level doesn't creep up a bit over the weekend, but that has all been factored into the master plan (whatever that is).

 This morning I don't think I feel quite as good as yesterday, but yesterday was rather an exceptional day to compare against. Compared to the day before, yesterday felt so wonderful that I must be forgiven for thinking it was better than it really was. The thing with this morning is that I didn't really push myself to the point of pain, and so I don't really have a metric to make comparisons. All I know is that I slowed myself as soon as I could feel the first hints of discomfort, and yet still made good progress in the three walking bits of my journey into work. Prior to the day before when I was in great discomfort in the morning after doing almost nothing, I would always push myself until the discomfort was getting quite high - and that could take a while before the first hints of it started.

 Tonight I could probably go for a beer, but I'm not going to do that. I could also get some shopping in, but I don't think I am going to do that either. I've run out of tomatoes and peppers, but I do have some lettuce and cucumber left, and maybe I could have that with some tuna, or perhaps some beans of one type or another. An alternative, if I don't feel too warm tonight, would be to have a couple of tins of soup. Some time ago I bought a couple of cans of Thai onion soup, and so far I have yet to try them. I'll have to check the ingredients first, and if they don't have any added sugar (which I fear they may have), I reckon they might be very tasty indeed ! If I don't have tuna salad I could have one can of Thai onion soup, and one can of tomato soup with lashings of chilli sauce in it ! (I have checked some of my chilli sauces, and at least two of them appear to be very low in sugar).

 Nearly forgot this: Yesterday morning Waterloo Station concourse was invaded by tea terrorists handing out packets of poison in return for writing something on a piece of paper. I took a picture from the closest I dare approach such an abomination !
Tetley tea stand Waterloo Station
                  concourse Wednesday 28th August 2013

Wednesday 28th August 2013
 08:23 BST

  After the cold clammy start to the day, yesterday's weather turned out rather nice. There were reports that some parts of London hit 26 C. I don't think it was quite that warm around these parts, but the direct sunshine felt blisteringly hot when I stood in it. This morning was quite misty, and that mist is now rising to give the sky a very milky appeareance. The sun should break through sometime this morning, but it is forecast that there will be more cloud today, and in consequence it will be a couple of degrees cooler than yesterday.

 It was in considerable discomfort when I wrote yesterday. It took until 11am before I felt a lot more, but not completely comfortable. I did wonder if I could get home without killing myself, but when it came to leave work I found that I felt far better than I could ever imagine. I took things fairly easy going home, and it seemed easy going - possibly more so than it has been for quite some time now.

 I decided to eat as lightly as possible last night, and I managed to do so well that my stomach was really growling with hunger this morning. Last night, all I ate was two 25gm packets of Aldi own brand potato hoops, a punnet of strawberries, and two cereal bars. It is possible that the combined amount of calories in that lot comes in at 1000 calories, and the balti chicken wrap I had in the morning was probably only 200 - 400 calories. In theory that should have been good for a bit of weightloss, but I think it may have a small sting in it's tail.

 This morning I checked my blood sugar level for the first time in (possibly) 12 months. It was rather high, but still in single figures. Above 10 would have been cause for a lot of concern. My aim would be 4 to 6. So 8.6 was not terrible, but higher than desired. I am sure to 95% accuracy what the root cause is, but I am slightly unsure just how much the two cereal bars contributed to it last night. The are billed as terribly healthy, and claim to be only 70 calories per bar, but they do have a lot of sugar in them.

 While those cereal bars may have contributed a point or two, it is undoubtably beer that has been my major source of excess sugar, and I do seem to have had a lot of it recently - very much so last Thursday night !! I think I need to limit myself to one session a week for a while until things get better.

 This morning, my journey into work was slightly weird - weird as in I was expecting to get very uncomfortable, and seemed to be on the very edge of it, like an old wound that still feels like it is probably tender, but you are reluctant to prod it. Like last night, it was actually one of the more comfortable journeys for quite some time now. Of course every day is different, and some are better or worse than others, but taking an average over the last couple of months (and perhaps more), today was an improvement.

 Tonight it would be useful if I felt even better still, and that I can raise the enthusiasm to do a little laundry, but the important plan for tonight is to have the most sugar free dinner I can manage. Maybe it will be low fat too, and most probably low calorie. A small punnet of blueberries will be one part of it, and maybe it will include lettuce and tomatoes too. The latter two will almost certainly mean an excuse to try out some garlic infused olive oil as a dressing along with some balsamic vinegar. Maybe that is all I will eat tonight, but I might include some fish in there somewhere - tuna salad perhaps.
Tuesday 27th August 2013
 08:25 BST

  The weather has been doing it's best to cough up a bit more summer. Yesterday was bright and warm, and apart from the very cool misty start, there is a good chance that today will be very similar. Top temperature today could be around 24 C.

 Yesterday was a pleasant day. In the afternoon I went to a sing song and BBQ at the H.G.Wells centre in Bromley. There was beer and music, but I decided against having anything from the BBQ. I feel I have to cut down on all sorts of things at the moment, and maybe even beer, chilli sauce, and even tobacco might have to be cut down on somehow. The chest pains that have been building over the last 18 months are definitely getting worse. In fact this morning it seems to be a permanent fixture. It seems it could even be a possibility that work will have to call an ambulance for me at some point today unless it settles down. I wonder how I'll make it to work tomorrow if it's like today. In fact I wonder how I ever made it to work today. Oh well, these things are sent to try us.
Sunday 25th August 2013
 09:40 BST

  The weather has changed a lot over the last few days. Last friday was hot and steamy with plenty of delicious sunshine. Saturday was a lot cooler, duller, and wetter. This morning started off very wet, but it may be starting to brighten up now. The forecast says there could be some more showers until midday, and then the afternoon will get sunnier and sunnier until early evening. Sadly, the top temperature today will only be a cool 21 C - winter is on it's way !

 I'm tempted to say it's been an eventful few days since I last wrote, but there were only a few events, and one of them was on Thursday night. I wasn't sure if Chris had got the message I sent him suggesting that The Thursday Gang should drink in The Catford Bridge Tavern, nor did I know where else they might be drinking, or even if they were drinking at all. So I went to the tavern straight from the station and waited to see if anyone turned up. I started my first beer a little before 5pm.

 After about half an hour I got a text message from Kevin asking if we were drinking in The Catford Ram. I replied saying I didn't know where the official venue was, but that I was in the tavern. Kevin is still having trouble with his feet, but they are starting to heal, and he said that if I was patient he would come and join me. It took about 30 minutes before he arrived, and he started by sampling the 9% Limoncello IPA that I had recommended. He agreed that it was rather good !

closing party at the
                  Catford Bridge Tavern on Sunday 25th Aug 2013
We carried on drinking, and occasionally popping outside for a smoke. It was while I was outside I took the photo on the left announcing that today would be a closing party at the pub.

 By 9pm we were both fairly drunk, and getting ready to leave, but decided to have a quick smoke before one last half of Limoncello. It was a happy coincidence that while we were outside we spotted Chris coming up the road heading for the station.

 He bravely decided to pop in for another pint to say hello, and ended up having two or more.  After one more drink Kevin decided he just had to start making his way back home. I  tried his usual trick  on me of presenting him with one more drink whisky (for the road), but he declined it and went on his way. I stayed drinking and chatting with Chris until we both decided it was time to go.

 Chris went to the station, and I went to the chicken shop for some dinner (I hadn't eaten since the morning). At that point I think it would be true to say I was very drunk, and I ordered all sorts of crap. From then on my memory is very hazy to say the least !

 I have no idea what was on TV (or even if it was on, but I expect it was) as I munched through my assortment of chicken shop products. The only vague memory is that I threw away a lot of the "french fries" because they seemed superfluous to my enjoyment, and I was vaguelly aware that I was eating far too much even without them.

 On Friday morning I felt pretty rough. It wasn't particularly painful, and I managed to do a shopping trip to Tesco. Even though I didn't buy much it was hard work getting it home. I had to stop a couple of times to get my breath back. It didn't bode well for going out in the evening, but I managed to eat the bare minimum, just one pack of sandwiches, to give myself the best chance of doing so.

 It wasn't as hot as the earlier forecasts suggested it would be - 30 C - and was probably closer to 25 C, but the alcoholic poisoning made me feel very hot and sweaty. I spent a lot of the day catnapping until at 6pm I decided that I ought to start getting ready to go out to see Chain's gig in Greenwich. I was wondering how I would ever make it there when I received a text message from Jo and Chris offering to pick me up from home.

 So with my hair still wet a good hour or more after washing it - partly because of the very humidity, and partly because I was still very sweaty - I jumped in "the tour bus" and we headed for the pub.
The Mitre Hotel pub by
                    night 23rd August 2013
 Of course it was still daylight when we got to the pub, and the picture above was taken a little later in the evening. I still wasn't feeling that wonderful, but I gave a hand taking some of the gear into the pub, and setting even less of it up. That left me feeling exhausted for a while, and maybe longer.
3 classic telephone
                        boxes by The Mitre pub in Greenwich - Friday
                        23rd August 2013
 One feature of The Mitre pub is the three classic phone boxes - only one of which has a working light in it - just to the right of the front of the pub.

 I enjoyed the gig, but I didn't enjoy how my body felt while enjoying the gig. I had hoped my first pint of Guinness would settle me down. Some how I managed to make it last a lot longer than usual, and I feeling so bad that I couldn't finish the last quarter of my second pint. I was feeling like I was melting in the heat, and I was feeling like I could almost throw up. Strangely enough I didn't seem to have the shakes......
The spire of St Alfege Church taken in
                            natural light from the back of The Mitre pub
                            Friday 23rd August 2013

 There is sort of proof that I didn't have the shakes. The picture on the left is a hand held shot, using a fair amount of zoom, and taken just in ambient light. It is the spire (or whatever it is called) of St Alfege Church as seen from the beer garden at the back of the pub. It rather surprised me by how well it came out. I have a vague recollection of the camera saying it would have an exposure time of about a tenth of a second - that is a long time to keep the camera steady ! I think one hundreth of a second is generally recommended as the very longest time for a hand held picture of a static object, and at least a quarter of that for a moving object to minimise (but not eliminate) motion blur.

 By the end of the gig I was feeling very fragile, and I wondered if I ought to attempt to do any roadying, but I did it anyway, and that may have been a good thing. I seemed to cool off during my trips in the fresh air, and the exercise seemed to be beneficial too. When Jo and Chris dropped me off back at home I was for the first time feeling quite OK. Being dropped off at home avoided any temptation of the chicken shop - not that I should have been tempted after drinking so little.

 When I got in I had another couple of sandwiches that I had bought in Tesco, and once I had eaten those I turned on the PC and started editing the pictures I had taken. Initially I felt fine, but as 2am approached I started to flag, and I was fast asleep in bed by 2am. I slept well, but not for as long as I had hoped for. So after being up for a while I went back to bed, and did that twice.

 I was planning on going to Aldi to complete my shopping for the week, or most of it, but I couldn't seem to find the get up and go to do it. Instead I just went to the corner shop, in light drizzle, and bought a couple of things from there. The funny thing is, it was easy to do, and I could have gone to Aldi without any stress anyway.

 I spent most of yesterday relaxing, and didn't achieve anything of note. In the early evening I decided to treat myself to some grilled meat, a pile of salad, and some pitta bread - yes I ordered a kebab....or to be more precise, two small ones - a chicken and a lamb. Prior to eating that, the most significant thing I had eaten all day was a large quantity of "Frank's Diabetic Ice Cream". Then I surprised myself by going to bed at 9pm, and after reading for a bit I was fast asleep by a quarter to 10pm.

 Once again I slept in several stages. I woke at 3am for about an hour, and then slept to 7am. I didn't think I could possibly sleep any more than that, but I was wrong. Perhaps an hour later, or maybe as little as thirty minutes later I was asleep again, and I slept until just after 9am. In theory I feel absolutely fine now, and soon I'll put that to the test by finally getting to Aldi to get that shopping.

 I'm not sure what I'll do for the rest of the day. I could go to the Catford Bridge Tavern to look in on their closing party, but I don't feel particularly inclined to do that. Maybe I might go to a Chain gig tonight. It's in Shirley (near Croydon) and not a straighforward place to get to. It will mean getting a train to Elmers End, and then change to a choice of two buses. One bus stops some distance from the pub, and the other stops almost outside, but..........It takes a really silly route that goes in a huge circle, and the pub is over three quarters around that circle. That will be really annoying, but I might do it. I'll see how I feel early this evening.
Thursday 22nd August 2013
 08:12 BST

  Much of yesterday was bright and sunny, but it did get cloudy for a while during late afternoon. It even rained, if you can call such fine mist like droplets rain, while I was waiting for my train back to Catford. It was all over in minutes, and it was evaporating off my shirt almost as quickly as it was falling. The rest of the evening seemed to be bright and clear again until sunset. This morning is a rather foul morning. It seems that the weather forecast for today got the first few hours right.......
weather forecast for 22nd Aug
 It is very wet, and that 18 C was feeling very sticky under my raincoat. The humidity was a bit high yesterday, and this morning it feels very humid. I suspect that a mere 21 C is going to feel very sticky when I leave work to go home. It could make for an unpleasant journey - a bit like this morning when it was so dull that all the lights were still on at the station as people huddled under their umbrellas.
wet and gloomy -
                      Catford Bridge station at 06:30 Thurs 22nd August
 Last night, straight after arriving back in Catford after coming home from work, I met Jodie to have a few drinks in The Catford Bridge Tavern. It was rather pleasant having some decent pints of ale that put the ales in the (Catford) Wetherspoons to shame. I think the staff in the Wetherspoons have a very different taste to mine when it comes to ales, and keep on using the same old breweries that produce ales I don't like. Back in The Catford Bridge Tavern there was one beer I liked - a lot!!!
9% and delicious
I am unsure if the beer is called Limoncello IPA, or if it is IPA brewed by Limoncello, but it was far too nice for a beer as strong as 9%........or maybe being 9% was part of the attraction. I didn't intend to drink much last night, and indeed I only had three and a half pints (in half pint measures), but the last two were of Limoncello :-).

 I was a long, long way from legless when I left the pub, but I most definitely felt rather good in a way that only being partly drunk can give. Normally that would make me feel ravenously hungry, but last night I didn't seem to want any more than a quick snack.....and that's what I had.

 I had a big (but not huge) bag of chilli flavour potato snacks, and a small can of barbecue flavour coated peanuts for my snack/dinner substitute. It was a relatively small amount for me to eat (not withstanding the high calorie/fat content), but somehow it satisfied me, and maybe two hours after getting home, I went to bed not feeling like I had eaten too much or too little.

 With the help of the booze, I slept solidly (as far as I can tell) until 3am when I woke up with no obvious hangover, and feeling wide awake. I didn't even attempt to get back to sleep until it was almost time to get up for real. I managed to fall asleep just 5 minute before my alarm woke me again.

 There is a possibility that I'll be back in The Catford Bridge Tavern tonight with the Thursday gang, but I am awaiting some sort of confirmation of that. If I am not there then there is a plan B. That is to do what I should have done last Thursday, and go along to The Barrel And Horn in Bromley to take some photos and video of Matt Sharp performing.
Wednesday 21st August 2013
 07:53 BST

  The air seemed quite calm yesterday, and that made the direct sunshine feel deliciously warm. By late afternoon it was feeling comfortably warm even when not in direct sunshine. This morning has started off feeling very chilly again. There seems to be two possibilities for the weather today. One, from Accuweather seems to be roughly similar to the forecast on BBC TV last night, and the other on the BBC's web site at 5am this morning seems to be rather pessimistic, and, looking out the window, patently wrong ! The worst case scenario is that much of today will be cloudy, and the top temperature will be an almost chilly 20 C. It's bright and sunny right now, so that must be wrong. The better forecast is for today to be mostly sunny with a very low chance of a shower, and the temperature at least 24 C. The weather forecaster on TV last night said that some parts of London could even hit 26 C today. That will feel rather pleasant, although rather sticky.

 When I got home from work yesterday, the towels I had hung out to dry the previous evening had been baking in the sun, and were obviously dry. I'm not sure they smelled as fresh as I was hoping though. They did smell fresh, but not some sort of undefinable freshness that I hoped for - whatever it was !

 I had a rummage in the back of the freezer again last night, and came out with some tuna steaks. I cooked those with a heap of sugar snap peas, and some garlic puree and a bit of balsamic vinegar. I know many people would not like the vinegar, but I thought it gave the meal a delicious tart flavour. It's an idea that I must use more often. I also found, and ate, a tiny tub of ice cream in the back of the freezer. So dinner last night was not the very healthiest it could have been, but I think I might have gotten away with it. This morning I am wearing a 1997 Catford Beer Festival t-shirt, and it is faintly possible (but I can't really remember back that far) that it fits better now than it did 16 years ago.

 Even if some of my culinary experiments and whimsys have altered, or improved, how my clothes fit, they don't seem to have made much of an improvement to my overall health recently. A few weeks ago my health seemed to improve a bit in a quick jump, but has stayed almost static since then - although everyday is different. Possibly what I need is more beer, and tonight I will have some. I'm meeting Jodie in The Catford Bridge Tavern after work. The pub is due to close down on Sunday so we are making sure we visit it at least once more before then. Maybe it will re-open as a pub under different management sometime in the future, but there is a huge risk it could be by a load of idiots who have no idea how to keep and serve beer, or maybe it will just become another fast food outlet. It was the place where I first learnt to drink at the tender age of 16, and it would be a shame if I couldn't have another drink in there at the age of 60.
Tuesday 20th August 2013
 07:50 BST

  I can't help it - I'm going to describe yesterday's weather as bland ! Apart from the recently unusual bright morning, it was ignorable weather. It wasn't hot and it wasn't cold. It was mostly bright, but not dazzling, and it stayed dry. Today has started with about 50% cloud cover, but it is high cloud, and shouldn't bring any rain. It is also started rather chilly. I thought I saw 14 C on my thermometer, but the (allegedly) live forecast says it was between 12 and 13 C. We are, or may be, on the run up to a period of far warmer weather over the weekend, and today might be a little sunnier than yesterday, and maybe a degree or two warmer.

 The first thing I did when I got from work yesterday was to wash a couple of small towels. I hung them outside to dry. I knew that they would never dry before sunset, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that when I get home tonight I'll find them not only dry, but baked in some warm sunshine. There is something about washing baked dry in sunshine that makes it so much nicer. Well, maybe not so much nicer because with out being baked it is just "dry". It only becomes nice when crisply dry and warm to the touch.

 After laundering those towels I set about making my dinner. It was a simple dish of mange tout, carrot batons, haddock (found in the back of the freezer), a fish stock cube, quite a lot of garlic puree, and just enough water to raise steam when the whole lot was bunged in the microwave to cook in a microwave proof saucepan. In theory it should have been quite a healthy sort of meal, but I do harbour a certain mistrust of carrots. After I had eaten it all I had a strong cumpulsion to eat a huge serving of chocolate ice cream with a hot fudge topping (something I don't ever think I've tried before - it is a bit American after all !).

 It is rather fortunate that I didn't have any chocolate ice cream in the freezer, and I didn't have any fudge - hot or cold - but such is the hallucinatory power of carrot overdose that it would have been an impossible urge to resist. What I did have afterwards was a couple of handfulls of dry roasted peanuts. It wasn't the best choice, but still better than half a gallon of ice cream covered with a pint of hot fudge !

 I slept far better last night....or I think I did, but maybe I've got doubts now. I think I was asleep by 10pm, and it wasn't until about 3am before I woke up the first time. I wasn't awake long, and the next think I knew was my alarm sounding telling me to get up. After my carefully contrived dinner, and what seemed like a good sleep, I was expecting to feel quite good this morning. The only trouble is I don't. I actually feel very slightly less than average this morning. Maybe some of it, or at least some of the stiffness, I can blame on the cold morning air, butthere is more to it than that. I half expected to be able to stride to the station in record time when I started off to come to work. I started off well, although maybe with too much enthusiasm, because by half way I found myself getting quite uncomfortable.

 Perhaps if I had walked at a more sensible pace I could have kept that up all the way with no discomfort instead of almost crawling the last few paces in a lot of discomfort. It was pretty stupid attempting my high speed start when I knew before I left the house that I was feeling creaky and had a bit of an intermittent mild headache. Even my morning shower felt like hard work ! Maybe I'll feel better when I go home after work, and the temperature is more suitable to a cold blooded reptile like me.

 This morning I remembered that I had a picture on my mobile phone that I took on Saturday morning. It didn't really effect me, and that's probably why I didn't mention it before, but on Saturday, when I got to the station to meet Aleemah, I found the main south circular road blocked off. A few hundred yards down the road from the station there had been a bad accident. As far as I can guess, a large Marks And Spencer lorry had squidged someone - possibly a cyclist. In this day and age every road accident is treated as a terrorist outrage, and the road has to be closed for hours and hours while hordes of forensic officers look for spent bullet casings, illegal dog fouling, blood stains, parking on a single yellow line on a month with an R in it, walking a frog without a licence, and other less subtle infringements against the state. Here's a picture of a police van, that may have done a handbrake turn to impress the lads, parked at right angles across the road to make sure no naughty buses managed to sneak by. The M&S lorry, with added blue tarpaulin draped on it in places, can just be seen beyond the bus stop to the left of centre of the picture.
Police van blocking the south
                  circular near Catford Bridge station Saturday 17th
                  August 2013
Monday 19th August 2013
 07:59 BST

  Apart from one shower mid morning, yesterday was dry and bright with periods of sunshine, but it didn't get very warm. I think the top temperature was a barely warm 22 C. It was a mostly clear night, and that allowed the temperature to drop as low as a chilly 14 C. That's almost forgiveable because it is a beautiful morning with blue sky and weak feeling sunshine. The sunshine should continue through much of the morning, and maybe even into the afternoon. That should raise the temperature to about the same as yesterday, or possibly a tiny but higher. The long term forecast suggests that the end of this week will be a bit warmer with temperatures heading into the warm regions of above 25 C. Some deluded fools who think they can predict the weather more than an hour in advance, reckon that the coming weekend could see temperatures back in the hot region around 30 C.

 On Saturday night I rather made a glutton of myself. I ordered a pizza plus a few other bits and pieces. I actually ordered an 11" pizza, but what turned up was a 15" pizza - and I ate the lot plus some of the bits and pieces. The one saving grace was that it was a thin crust pizza, and it had a rather thin, but quite tasty topping. For a while I did feel too full, and rather uncomfortable, but it all settled down remarkably quickly. By the time I went to bed I was looking forward to breakfast..........well perhaps not, but I certainly didn't feel stuffed to the gills.

 Yesterday morning I did some laundry - quite a lot of it - before I did anything else. One item was a very heavy (when wet) towel that I had been soaking overnight. The other items included  a couple of pillow cases, 4 shirts, a t-shirt, and numerous bits of underwear. I hung half of it outside to dry, and the other half I hung up indoor with a fan on it to dry it quicker, or so I hoped. The stuff hung outside, despite getting an extra rinse when there was a shower of rain, had 99% dried when I brought it in at 6pm, but the stuff inside still felt damp.

 After I had done the laundry I had done all I had really planned to do. From then on I just made it up as I went along. Some of the time I spent eating - and not all of it was unhealthy stuff ! I spent a fair amount of time scanning a load of old gig tickets I had discovered at the back of a drawer. Perhaps tonight I will shrink some of the images and show them here. All the tickets date back to the early 1990s, and after all the time that has passed since then, I've just about forgotten every gig that I have a ticket for. In many cases I have no idea who the band actually were. Well I recognise their names, but I have no idea how many were in the band, what they looked like, and what songs they might have sung.

 I can't remember what time I went to bed last night. I don't think it was particularly early or late. I did a bit of reading once I was in bed, but I seem to recall feeling very tired and putting my phone down (it was an ebook I was reading on my phone) and turning out the light. I don't think I can remember anything after that apart from a few sketchy bits of dreams before waking up at just gone 4am. It seems that my body was quite happy with however many hours of sleep I got last night because I couldn't get back to sleep again after waking up 40 - 50 minutes early.

 This morning I seem to feel better than I anticipated feeling. After all my poor eating choices over the weekend I was expecting to feel awful this morning, but I only feel about 2% less good than last Friday morning (assuming I felt OK then - I can't remember if I did, and I haven't checked). I've managed to have a very high fibre, low to moderate everything else, breakfast - lentils and chick peas. One meal choice for tonight could be quite good for me if I have it. I have a lot of carrot batons, and a pile of mangetout and sugar snap peas to use up soon. Maybe dinner will just be these vegetables cooked in the microwave with just enough water to steam them. Perhaps I'll throw in a stock cube, and some other flavouring when I cook it. Of course what I really fancy is fish and chips for dinner - a nice juicy bit of cod in crisp crinkly batter and big greasy traditional chip shop chips (not those silly bloody thin things that are America's worst contribution to the world of food) with lashings of salt and vinegar :-)
Saturday 17th August 2013
 17:06 BST

  Once again there was less rain than forecast for yesterday. From time to time some filthy ugly great dark clouds passed overhead, but the last rain of any significance fell mid morning. It was rather dull on my way home from work, but then it brightened up until sunset. It wasn't a cold day, and even late evening was still fairly mild. Today was supposed to see even more rain, but the first rain probably didn't fall until early this afternoon. There was even some weak sunshine at one point, although it is very cloudy again now. The temperature today has got up to a barely acceptable 21 to 22 C. Tomorrow is forecast to be not really any warmer, but there will be more sunshine (or it may pour with rain all day such is the accuracy of the last couple of days forecasts !).

 It was incredibly difficult to convince myself to go out last night instead of going to bed, but I managed it. The band I went to see in O'Neill's bar in Bromley were called The Bliss Manifesto. The current line up, as I only discovered earlier today, is only three weeks old, and it showed. Individually each member is a competent musician, but they don't yet come across as one band together. They lacked that subliminal spark that binds them together as a group.

 When I commented about it I was worried that they would think I was being mean, but they did freely acknowledge that I was right, and that while they had rehearsed the songs, they hadn't rehearsed playing together. I reckon that in time, once they learn to play off each others strengths, they could become quite good.........but there is another fly in the ointment, and it's one I have seen in at least one other band. Their set list contains too many divergent styles of music. Trying to combine what are almost soul songs with rock songs is a bit of a recipe for disaster. If nothing else it will confuse or split their potential fan base no matter how well they end up playing the songs.

 If all that sounds like I didn't enjoy myself then there is a kernel of truth in it. When it was good it was pleasant enough, but I did tire of it and left maybe half an hour early. Maybe I am getting used to the bus ride back from Bromley, or maybe it is because I am starting the bus ride on the Catford side of Bromley, and not from some way from the distant side, but the ride back to Catford didn't stress me too much.

 Once back in Catford I headed for the fried chicken shop after giving my brain strict orders not too order too much. After having only a very small snack before going out, and otherwise not having eaten since early in the morning, I felt I was justified in eating a bit more. It wasn't perfect, but I did manage to moderate my order of chicken and chips, but it was still enough to give me heartburn when I tried to get to sleep.

 To give the food a little more time to settle I reviewed, edited, and uploaded the pictures I had taken. At 2am I turned out the light, and tried to get to sleep. I partly succeded, but I had a very rough night, and I don't think I got much more than 4 hours sleep before I decided to get up. Since then I have felt on the edge of being very tired, but I haven't given in to it yet - mainly y keeping myself busy.

 This morning I saw Aleemah, and we had the usual visit to the pub for Aleemah's breakfast, and my early morning (10.30am) pint of beer. That was followed by watching story one of the third series of The Tomorrow People on DVD.  It's a funny old series that shares some of the attributes of Blake's 7 - wobbly sets, forced story lines, and sometimes less than believeable acting, but still rather enjoyable.

 When Aleemah left to go home I had theoretically enough time to get myself ready to go out for a rather special gig. The Two Brewers pub in Shoreham (Kent) are having some sort of special event today (probably for charity). Tickets are a whopping 50 for 4 tribute bands plus a sit down meal.  I could have gone as Chain's roadie, but the event was on much earlier than I anticipated, and I would have had to meet up with Jo and Chris at West Wickham station at around 3.45pm.

 Unfortunately I didn't fancy rushing around, and despite eating a full dinner at midnight, I was feeling like I wanted some breakfast this afternoon. So I decided that I would miss out on the gig. I had forewarned Jo after she told me me how early everything was happening, that if she hadn't heard from me by 2.45pm she was to assume that I wouldn't be going. So here I am now begiining to feel a little bored, and because of that, rather tired and sleep feeling. I think I'll be having an early dinner tonight, and then try and get to sleep by about 9pm (although I bet I don't !).

 One video is probably worth a whole album of pictures, and I've prepared the one bit of video I shot last night to show here. It is The Bliss Manifesto singing U2's "With Or Without You". They actually performed this one quite well (maybe they noticed the camcorder). Shame about some of my jerky camerawork !
Friday 16th August 2013
 07:51 BST

  It rained far less than some forecasts suggested for yesterday, but it did rain moderately hard just as I got to within a couple of hundred yards from the station on the way home. Fortunately it was not too cool, perhaps 23 - 24 C, and the light soaking I got didn't feel too bad. After that downpour it brightened up, and there was some pleasant sunshine in the early evening. Today is forecast to be quite dull and wet. It stayed dry as I made my way to work, but it is raining now, and it may well continue until mid afternoon. If I am lucky it will have stopped by the time I go home from work.

 My plans for last night didn't come to fruition after I received a text message from my friend Kevin. He is in the unfortunate position of having some serious problems with his feet that have kept him all but grounded for the last couple of week. His only trips out have been to the hospital. Yesterday his appointment there was later than usual, and he would be getting back to Catford at about the same time as I get back to Catford after work. He suggested that we meet in the Wetherspoons pub for a quick drink - booze for me, and just orange juice for him because he reacts badly to booze and some types of antibiotics.

 As is often the case, a quick drink turned into a 3 pint session, and because the only decent thing to drink in there was Stella Artois, drunk on an empty stomach, I was feeling very slightly tipsy when I headed home. So much so that I couldn't resist having a look around the 99p shop as I passed it. I did get a few useful things in there, but also some stuff I would have done better not to buy. Stuff like crisps and smoked cream cheese !

 When I got home I came to the curious decision that I wouldn't have a dinner as such, but would just have some crisps, and then go to bed to do some reading. I didn't turn out to be quite as simple as that. I ended up using crisps to scoop up large chunks of the smoky cream cheese - not exactly a very low fat meal !!! Having grossed out on crisps and cream cheese I still fancied more, and ate some more skinless peri-peri flavoured chicken breast - with fiery salad cream/mayonaisse on it.

 All that fat and stuff, as it settled in my stomach, left me feeling quite uncomfortable as I lay in bed, and I couldn't get to sleep until quite late. Even when I did sleep I don't think I slept that well. I seem to recall that I was having lots of dreams, and some of them were unpleasant dream, although I can't recall a single detail about those dreams now, but it does suggest that I was waking quite frequently for a few seconds at a time. Two consequences of sleeping poorly were that my alarm was sounding for some time before I woke up, and when I did wake up my hands were so numb that I had difficulty cancelling the alarm.

 The numbness in my hands went within a few tens of seconds, and from then on I felt OK. It wasn't just my hand that were OK. Rather surprisingly I feel quite good all over this morning. I'm not sure if it will last, and I am rather expecting to spend much of the afternoon yawning. Hopefully I'll find some reserves of energy for tonight when I am intending to go to O'Neill's bar in Bromley to watch a band whose name I've yet to find out, play a gig there. All I know is that they are a rock covers band (like Chain) and that they are friends with Matt who I was supposed to see last night. (It turns out that he was relieved that I didn't turn up with my camera and camcorder because he was shattered, and hung over, and took the opportunity to leave early for some much needed rest and sleep).
Thursday 15th August 2013
 07:56 BST

  There were a few very pleasant sunny periods yesterday. During those times, with the sky mostly blue apart from some high whispy clouds, it felt very nice, but there were also periods when it turned grey. I can't recall if there was any of the forecast rain during the evening, but sometime after darkness fell, more probably in the early hours of this morning, there were some showers. The ground was damp when I left home to come to work. I felt a few fine drops of the tail end of of an earlier shower as I came out of the house. That lasted mere seconds, and it was similar when I came out of the station at Earlsfield, but nothing I felt prompted me to put on a coat.

 My outside thermometer, outside the upstairs back bedroom window, was saying it was 19 C when I came to work, and it certainly didn't feel chilly this morning. The only downside is that it is rather humid this morning. That could get worse because after some showers around midday, the temperature could rise to as high as 25 C depending on the amount of sunshine we get today.

 I was moderately careful with what I bought when I went into Tesco on the way home from work yesterday. A couple of new flavours of salad cream - fiery cajun, and crackling fire (or something like that) - although the latter may be more tomato sauce than salad cream - were possibly a dubious purchase, and the two little sweet chilli chicken spring rolls (marked down to half price on the reduced price shelves) were very nice, but probably not the sort of things I should be eating for the moment.

 Last night's dinner was a bit of a strange affair. The main course was rollmop herrings with raw carrot batons. The middle course was a small Tesco "ready mix" punnet of apple and berries, and when that still didn't satisfy I had a small pack of ready cooked skinless peri-peri flavoured chicken. Most of that was safe, but the couple of chili flavoured, thin, air cured Austrian sausage sticks I had when I first got home, were definitely not (although possibly not as bad as I think they may be).

 It all made for quite a high protein evening, and that left me feeling a bit uncomfortable when I went to bed. I think I eventually got to sleep nearly two hours late. While it may have felt bad last night, I woke up this morning from a dream where I was making a huge fried egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich, and felt remarkably good. To some extent that feeling was still there even after a gruelling one and a quarter hour commute to work. The three bean salad, and the cracked wheat and red bean salad, both drenched with a suprisingly mild chili and garlic sauce, that I had for breakfast are now sitting rather heavily in my stomach !

 I was going to have just one little pot of salad and some fruit this morning, but I think I'll be going out tonight, and I won't have time to eat anything but the very lightest meal I can manage before going. Anything more than a few mouthfuls without 8 or 9 hours digestion time makes it just too uncomfortable for me to walk anywhere - even to the bus stop. So I've had a little extra for breakfast, and the fruit will have to wait until tomorrow.

 If I can find the energy I'll be going into Bromley to The Barrel And Horn pub where an open mic session is taking place. I am being lured there by the ofer of beer in return for taking a few photos, and maybe some video of Matt Sharp's new band. Matt has drummed with Chain in the past, but his style was judged a little too heavy metal for the band, but I liked it ! I'm not sure if he drumming tonight, and I have a suspicion he will be playing guitar instead. It could be an interesting night if only I can stop myself going to bed instead of going out (the timing of both has a certain amount of overlap !!).

 I finally got around to converting some more video to show here. This is Chain at O'Neill's bar in Bromley on the 9th August (like the previous two videos I posted here). I orginally thought the song was performed a little too fast, and several people agreed, but now I think we have all decided that it was played at the right speed even if it wasn't the usual speed. It sounds far more rocky than the original. Chain - River Deep, Mountain High.
Wednesday 14th August 2013
 08:18 BST

  It took until about 7pm before we had a splash of rain yesterday, but there were plenty of occasions when filthy grey clouds went scudding by. There was some sunshine yesterday, but very little of it, and funnily enough most of it was around the time that it rained in the evening. This morning dawned bright and clear, and maybe not quite as cold as I expected. 13 C feels fairly chilly with only a short sleeve shirt and no coat, but I was expecting it to be a few degrees cooler than that. Much of today will be sunny, and maybe the temperature will creep up to 23 or 24 C, but this evening could see a shower or two.

 For a second night my plans, which weren't really any more than a few vagues ideas, were modified by a long phone call. Fortunately last nights one didn't come through just as I was about to go to bed, but before I had even prepared my dinner. So I had dinner a little later than usual for a weekday night. In theory that should have meant that I would eat less, but it only partly worked out that way.

 My main course was just salad vegetables flavoured with a sprinkling of "Parmensan cheese-like cheap substitute", a crumbled low salt beef Oxo cube, and of course a (generous) sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil. It was quite tasty, but I guess most people would relate to it more as some sort of starter, or side dish rather than main course. To some degree I did too because afterwards I had several of the gravel bars I tried to describe yesterday. Apparently they are only 70 or 80 (two different types) calories per bar - a fact I find hard to believe, but I guess it's true.

 After some of these unusual dinners I've been having for the last week or two, I do seem to have lost a bit of weight. It may not show, and maybe it's not measurable, but I did notice that walking up the slope from the platform at Waterloo East to the long meandering walkway to Waterloo mainline station, did seem to be totally effortless this morning. In one way that wasn't actually a good thing. It just encouraged me to go full tilt to the ticket barriers at the far end, and I arrived there semi-breathless, and in a fair amount of discomfort. I really must learn to pace myself somehow !

 I think I turned out the light to go to sleep at about 9.30pm last night. That was probably a bit later than I intended, but I didn't seem to waste any time getting to sleep, and I think I slept rather well. I'm not sure if I woke once or twice during the night, but once I had done what I had to do I was back asleep again in minutes (maybe even seconds). The only annoying thing is that once again I woke up half an hour before I had to. That suggests that I have had plenty of sleep, but if I wasn't at work I'm sure I would be back in bed sleeping right now.

 Tonight danger lurks !! I've run out of lettuce, spring onions, cucumber, and anything else useful in a salad. So I have to go shopping, and try to avoid the temptations of the reduced price shelves,  other tempting bargains, and anything else that is just plain tempting ! I expect I'll give in to some things, but maybe I'll be able to do it moderately !
Tuesday 13th August 2013
 08:25 BST

  There were times yesterday when it seemed almost certain that it would rain, but somehow it stayed dry (apart from one solitary rain drop that either really, or I imagined, hit my face). It wasn't a particularly warm day, and it seemed to be cooling off even as I made my way home from work. It was certainly cool enough for me to think that maybe I ought to bring in a coat today. I think the temperature barely hit 20 C yesterday, and today it could be as low as 19 C. This morning it was around 12 C when I walked to the station, and I definitely should have put on a coat instead of relying on a long sleeve shirt to provide a tiny bit of extra warmth. Depending on which forecaster you believe, there will either be a shower sometime around mid morning, and maybe another in the afternoon, or it will look like it's going to rain, but won't actually do it. Whatever the reality is, it doesn't seem likely it is going to include much sunshine today.

 The very last, detectable only with extreme concentration, odd dizzy/lightheaded feelings completely evaporated by yesterday afternoon. The only residual negative aspects to my health were a tendency to yawn a lot in the afternoon, and a general inability to concentrate or raise any enthusiasm about my work - so not really anything new there then ! I did feel rather cool, not actually cold, but cooler than perfect comfort on the way home, but I seemed to have a modicum of energy or stamina for the last leg of my commute home from work - walking from the station to home. At the end of that 6 minute (plus 2 seconds) train door to house door walk, I wasn't feeling that perilously close to death as I have been in the not too distant past, and by the time I had briefly scanned through a letter from Royal Mail telling me my mail deliveries would be changing by being pretty much the same as they have been for the last 10 - 20 years, I had recovered all my facilties (which seems more than Royal Mail have).

 I decided to resist having dinner too early in a stupid attempt to avoid eating any more than I needed to. So I decided to write a long(ish) email before preparing dinner. It was a fine idea, and if I hadn't eaten too many salted peanuts while writing it might have worked too. I didn't mean to eat so many nuts, and I had been pouring out small portions for odd snacks over the last few days, but last night the last nuts in the bag all seemed to come out in a rush. Previous portions were about enough to fill a small sized wine glass. Last night it was at least double that.

 At least dinner was almost safe. It was a whole pile of assorted salad and raw vegetables with some smoked mackerel all dressed with vinegar and olive oil. I had a punnet of rather nice tasting, perfectly ripened strawberries for dessert. Then, because I stayed downstairs to watch some TV, I had a second dessert (or something like that) consisting of a couple of apple and sultana gravel bars. These are the bars that are alleged to be really healthy because they are made of tooth breaking gritty grains containing a few useful minerals/vitamins, and a lot of fibre - all the while conveniently forgetting that all the grit and gravel is bound together with pure sugar syrup containing millions of calories, and pancreas killing properties. I have to confess that they are quite tasty, and probably better for me than a Mars Bars, but not as good as nothing at all.

 I was going to try for an early night last night. To help me sleep better I put the duvet back inside to the duvet. The previous night I found that just the duvet cover alone was starting to feel a bit too cool for complete comfort. The slide from summer, sleeping naked and uncovered, to winter, sleeping under a thick duvet, seems to be happening with undue haste. Summer to winter in the space of three weeks ???? That's global warming for you.

 It was about 8.30pm, and I was just considering turning out the light when I heard my phone ringing. So I got up and went into the other room to find my sister calling me. My sister acts at the exchange for all family gossip. Being the weirdo of the family I don't pay that much attention to it all, but I did last night. Amongst other news and gossip was the fact that I have been out weirded by my older brother. It seems he, and my sister in law have moved without telling anybody except for one of his children (or grand children) who subsequently passed the news  up the chain. This happened as early as before xmas, and until recently me, my two sisters, and my other brother knew nothing of it. Although my crown has now been usurped, I am still weird enough to not worry about it, but the others are a bit upset, as well as mystified about it. It was past 9.30pm when I finished talking to my sister, and my chance of an early night had been blown away.

 When I did get to sleep, I think I probably slept quite well. I do remember waking up feeling a bit sweaty at some time during the night. I think I had wrapped myself too tightly in the duvet, and should have left a leg and/or an arm outside in the fresh air. I do remember I woke up for a pee at 3.30am, but I don't remember falling back to sleep again, and the next thing I knew was that my alarm was sounding. Another sleep like that, although ideally about an hour longer, feels like it was would be wonderful.

 This morning I feel moderately good, or good enough. I even felt good enough to only buy one little pot of "salad", three bean salad in this case, from the shop by the station, and I supplemented it with just some fruit. I've had two ping pong ball sized plums, two similar sized mini oranges, and a very ripe and delicious nectarine. So I'm full of fibre and other stuff. I might have a bit more fruit at lunchtime, but in theory I won't eat again until I get home from work. That is going to be more salad, and there is a possibility that it will just be salad with no meat, fish or cheese apart from a sprinkle of dry grated Parmesan cheese like substitute, or maybe a crumbled low salt oxo cube. Maybe I'll have both !
Monday 12th August 2013
 07:56 BST

  The weather we had yesterday was probably the second best type. The best is when the temperature hits 30 C, and the sun blazes down from dawn to dusk. The second best is when the temperature is around 23 - 24 C with plenty of bright sunny spells, and a nice dry fresh feeling breeze - and that was exactly what yesterday was like. This morning the temperature dropped into the chilly region. It was 14 C, or less, when I walked to the station. Once most of the cloud, and quite possibly a mid morning shower has gone away, it should be another pleasant day similar to yesterday. Currently it is too cool and too cloudy to enjoy.

 On Saturday night I had two reasons not to order a takeaway. The first was that I had a cupboard (and fridge) full of food, but it was the second reason that may have been more significant. You may, or may not have seen the TV adverts for www.justeat.co.uk, and if you haven't you had better thank your lucky stars for it. I really, really, really, really hate those adverts. They make me want to kill, maim and mutilate - mainly the bloody actors in the advert, but also the scum of the Earth "creative" types whose nighmares dredged up such horrors from far below the abyss of the film makers art. I'm sure it was the same bloody lot who put me off using the 118 118 directory enquiries service for life (and beyond). So I thinking I am boycotting that otherwise very useful internet service until such time as I am feeling very hungry, and in need of some special exciting food on a boring Friday or Saturday night.

 Yesterday had it's pluses and minuses. The main minus was that I woke up around 3am with spinning eyeballs. It wasn't quite like vertigo because I didn't feel I was falling, but my sense of balance was definitely all over the place. I'm not sure what caused it, but I do have a vague recollection of my right ear popping when I blew my nose sometime late in the evening before. It was either something to do with that, or a blood pressure problem. The worst of it was over in 15 seconds, and 10 seconds after that I was able to go to the bathroom with no difficulty (staggering home from the pub drunk is dammned good practice at ignoring silly little spurious signals to the brain that you have lost your balance).

 After doing the business in the bathroom I went back to my bed, and when I laid down I became dizzy again. It only lasted a very short time again, and I just closed my eyes and let my brain and ears/blood pressure/whatever, work it out between them while I compared the sensation to be like floating in zero gravity - which I am unlikely to experience for real. If you can keep a firm mind that you are laying quite safely on your bed, and not going anywhere, the experience can be quite pleasant. I had a few more experiences of mild dizzyness through the day, but each one became weaker and weaker until nighttime when I was getting in and out of bed with no dizzyness at all.

 I didn't really think I would be doing anything (apart from a bit of laundry in the morning) or going anywhere yesterday, but very early in the afternoon I got a call from my friend Jodi wondering if I fancied a pint in The Catford Bridge Tavern. The "Tavern" is due to close down (or be taken over by another company) at some time in the unspecified future, and so it seemed like a good idea. The only problem was that at that time I hadn't even bothered to wash or dress properly, I was still getting slight feelings of dizzyness from time to time, and it was a bit soon after I had eaten a fairly big breakfast - but I said yes.

 I wondered what it would be like hanging my head over the bath to wash my hair - it was no problem at all. I wondered if I would have any dizzyness as I walked to the pub, and that was not a problem either. I knew that walking just that short distance within a couple of hours of eating would feel horrible - and it did ! I even had to stop to get my breath back half way to the pub, and I arrived at the pub feeling knackered and wheezing like a worn out boiler.

 Once I was in the pub I settled down within a few minutes, and enjoyed going through all their real ales a half pin at a time. I think it was 7 ales I tried. At one point I nipped outside for the usual, and while I was there I spotted a familiar face coming up the road. It was Gerry Scales from the band "Lost Planet Cowboys". I'm not sure why I feel so surprised that I should see him in Catford, for all I know he may live locally, but I was very surprised, and I was hesitant to say hi to him incase it wasn't actually him. Fortunately he reacted to his name, and seemed to vaguelly recognise me. I think I have only seen him at gigs 2, or maybe 3 times, and we have never been introduced, but I guess I am a fairly distinctive sort of person. He only stayed long enough to shake my hand before he staggered up the road. I don't know if he was just very tired, drunk or wired, but he didn't look so good. I hope he managed to find the train he appeared to be aiming for.

 I was a bit wary about going to bed last night in case I had another dizzy attack, but everything was fine. This morning I do occasionally feel something like, but not actually light headed. It's difficult to describe, and the best I can manage is to say it's like it feels hard to concentrate on the real world, and I would be happier closing my eyes and letting my brain drift down the paths of creativity, insanity, dreams and memories. Maybe I could just do with a few more hours sleep (or higher, or lower blood pressure).

 Here's yet another video. This is from Friday night, and it's Chain performing "Whole Lotta Love". I decided to keep the intro in instead of snipping it out because it adss a little humour. Enjoy !
Saturday 10th August 2013
 17:48 BST

  Yesterday stayed dry. By late evening it felt fresher than it did earlier in the day, and as midnight approached it was just starting to get a bit cool feeling (maybe it was actually cold, but I was running on Guinness power at the time). This morning started of bright, but not that sunny. There has been some sunshine today, and the temperature is a moderate 23.5 C right now. Tomorrow may see the return of some rain, but maybe not that much of it.

  I guess I was feeling quite excited when I set off to see Chain ply at O'Neill's bar in Bromley last night. I left earlier than I needed to, and arrived at the bar before most of the band arrived. John Sutcliff, the guest drummer for the night was there setting up his kit. I hadn't met him before, but I had been briefed that he would be playing last night, and I introduced myself. When Jo and Chris arrived I did a bit of roadying for them, carrying in some of their kit, but I found it to be really exhausting. I am really out of shape these days !

 The gig was really good, and John seemed to be a solid drummer - if a little fast on a few songs. One of the highlights was Jo singing Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" solo. I've heard her do it before, but it is a very rare treat. This time I captured it on video ! It wasn't a particularly busy night, and there were no dancers, but I still heard many compliments while outside in the smoking area. Chris and Geoff worked stunningly well together again. I really hope that Geoff can spare more time from his other musical pursuits to play with the band more frequently.

 There were roadworks in Bromley, and the buses were diverted away from the usual stop I get the bus from. I used that as a partial excuse to get away slightly early, but mostly I just didn't want a great evening ruined by those bloody officious bouncers. They really suffer from some sort of Cinderella/Wolf man complex. As soon as the clock strikes twelve (or 11pm in this case) they turn from being helpful and friendly to raving psychopaths !

 When I left the bar I folowed my nose, and went to the bus stop before the one I usually wait at. That was in service, and it carried an added bonus that I hadn't considered before. Three buses, instead of two stop there that go back to Catford. The extra bus is the little single decker bus that takes a rather circuitious route back to Catford, and that was the one that came first. Under normal circumstances that would make the journey back home seem rather long and boring, but not last night ! It was an exhilarating high speed run back to Catford, and the driver even had to use the brakes to slow down enough not to trigger the speed camera just before coming into the middle of Catford.

 I felt rather good when I got off the bus, but after not eating anything since around midday, I also felt a little peckish. So I detoured slightly via one of the fried chicken shops where I bought far more than I needed. Now whether it was because I was too excited and wanted to review my videos and photos, or whether I just didn't seem to want to eat a lot of what I bought, but I had enough chicken left over to have a bit for breakfast, and a bit for lunch today. (There were leftover chips, but they weren't particularly nice when hot and fresh - so I just dumped them).

 Today I seem to have spent more time at my PC than anything else. I have been to Aldi where I bought all sorts of junk and rubbish - including some pineapple and mango sorbet. The thing about sorbet is, it is, or should be, just about fat free, but definitely not sugar free ! The good thing about this particular flavour is that I found out it is only nice in small quantities. So I should be able to make it last quite a long time no matter how gluttonous I feel, and that should be good for me - unlike some of the stuff I've eaten today. Tomorrow I must be more careful how I eat, and I really ought to do something more productive than sitting at my computer for hours on end. One of the products of sitting here so long is the video of Jo Corteen singing Wish You Were Here against, sadly, a rather loud background noise.
Friday 9th August 2013
 13:10 BST

  It threatened to rain a few times yesterday, but as far as I am aware it stayed dry. Much of the day was bright, and the sun came out many times. It wasn't particularly warm, but just a comfortable 23 - 24 C. It was dry when I first woke up this morning, but while I was showering it started to rain, and at least one shower was quite heavy. During the morning the rain petered out, and this afternoon it is dry and bright with occasional sunny spells. There are some dark clouds in the sky, and it could easily rain again later. Currently it is a rather humid feeling 24 C.

 After work I went and had a drink with the Thursday gang in a pub in Beckenham. It was one of those pubs that looked to be fairly easy to get to. All I had to do was to stay on my normal train home for an extra three stops, but I underestimated the walk from Clock House station to the pub, and arrived there feeling out of breath and exhausted. The feeling didn't last long, and a pint of Guinness revived me completely. I stopped for three pints in the pub before going home.  The pub was opposite one of those rareties of the high street - an original art deco cinema.
Odeon cinema Beckenham, Kent 8th
                  August 2013
 I don't know if it was what I had for breakfast yesterday.........
......or if I had a dodgy pint (or dirty glass) last night, but when I first woke up this morning I had the runs. It didn't last long, but long enough to put me off wanting to get on a train. So I called in sick this morning. I thought once it was over I would soon feel as right as rain, and I thought I might do all sorts of useful things today, but that wasn't the case. I felt very peculiar for much of the morning. I've had some lunch a bit earlier, and since then I have felt that I am about back to normal. At least there has been no adverse reaction, and the peculiar feeling has gone away. I'm not sure If I am now going to do anything other than be lazy for a few more hours yet.

 I think I'll be conserving my strength for a night out. I heard last night the O'Neill's in Bromley had asked Chain if they could do a short notice gig tonight, and they can. Apart from the end of the evening when the bouncers all turn from being nice, friendly and helpful into little Hitlers, it is a great venue. As I suspect I've mentioned before, the stage lighting there is about the best there is among the various venues where Chain tend to play. It is just (but only just) bright enough for videoing, and although I have to use a slow shutter speed, with the danger of motion blur, it makes for some colourful still pictures. Here's some video I shot on the 20th July - with a miserable drummer who I suspect will not be playing with Chain in the future (I know he won't be playing tonight).
Thursday 8th August 2013
 07:49 BST

  I've no reason to complain about yesterday's weather, but I will anyway. On second thoughts perhaps I won't because I've just remembered that I remarked to someone that it felt pleasant at some point yesterday. It was dry, and there were long periods of sunshine. My main complaint is that the sunshine didn't seem to carry much warmth. At 23 C it was more than mild, but a long way from hot. It was just sort of blandly comfortable. Today will, once again be similar, but with maybe less sunshine, and a cooler start. It was only about 13 C first thing this morning, and if felt very autumnal. There was even an earthy autumn like smell to the air in some places.

 As planned, I went hone via Tesco after work yesterday. I must have timed it just right because I picked many bargains - most of which I shouldn't have bought because they were incompatible with what I've been eating lately, and some that I'm glad I did buy. The half price Tesco "Finest" sandwiches were very tasty, and half the usual price felt about the right price. The half price barbecue flavour ribs were a temptation too far. After cooking in the heated display cabinet all day they were deliciously tender, but eating them plus the sandwiches left my feeling uncomfortably stuffed. Fortunately it all settled before I went to bed. I had visions of spending half the night suffering from heartburn.

 More healthy bargains were the half price strawberries, and the three-for-3 2l bottles of Diet Coke - although having to lug 3 bottle home is an annoyance without a back pack to transport them. Possibly the best bargain I spotted only came about because I was looking for some trainer socks. They had some. Loads of them, but for some ludicrous reason they were all of just one size, and of course it was the wrong size for me. Lurking near them were some trainers in the style of Converse lows.

 I think it was 2, or maybe even 3 years ago that I bought my first ever pair of converse trainers because I had this brainstorm that made me want some bright red trainers or shoes. Since then I have accumulated a collection featuring a wide range of colours. Many of them by Converse, some by Vans, a few by Lee Cooper, and rest an assortment of store own brand copies. I've never owned, or even wanted a brown pair before, but last night I spotted a pair of Tesco own brand, Converse like, end of stock, trainers, and they were marked down to just 5 ! Well for 5 I just had to have them.

 I'm wearing them this morning, and they aren't bad. They're not perfect, and maybe they will wear out quickly, but I think I'm happy with them. The inner lining on the right trainer seems to have a rough spot that has removed the skin from one of my corns, but in that respect they are not as bad as Lee Cooper trainers, and would have been OK if I had bothered to wear socks with them. Fortunately I did bring a pair of sock to work with me, and I'll wear them when I go home home. Perhaps the biggest flaw with these new trainers is that the sole feels very thin, or maybe just extra flexible. Walking over that knobbly pavement that is laid to warn the partially sighted of edges and stuff is very painful. I really hate those knobbly pavement slabs. Only really thick walking boots seem to provide enough protection to prevent it being painful to walk on. The only trainers that seem to provide a little bit of protection are Vans.

 If you managed to view the video yesterday, you should be able to see this clip as well. I took it on the way home yesterday, and I took it from right next to the stand so you can see the little trains going round and round. It's pointless really, but all this modern technology we have has to be used, and used frequently. If left idle it will rise up and take over the world.......or something......
Wednesday 7th August 2013
 07:53 BST

  I think I am inclined to describe yesterday's weather as being very bland. It wasn't hot or cold, it wasn't always sunny, and it wasn't always cloudy. There wasn't even any rain. The BBC says today will be very similar, but accuweather who provide the weather forecast app on my phone (at least I think it's them) rackon there could be a shower or two mid morning, and another mid afternoon. I think the top temperature today may be a degree less than yesterday at only 23 C. Apparently this sort of weather may continue until the weekend, and maybe even into next week. It's nothing to complain about, but it's also nothing to get excited about.

 There was some trouble on the trains on my way home from work yesterday. Nothing dramatic, just the usual "signalling problems in the London Bridge area". As soon as I noticed that there were delayed trains shown on the information displays I didn't wait to find out what was happening to my train. I caught the first train to London Bridge, and changed trains there. By getting a train that had come out of Cannon Street I arrived back at Catford Bridge just 10 minutes late. My usual train from Waterloo East arrived 5 minutes after that. It was mildly annoying, but I felt quite pleased that I had made the right decision at Waterloo East.

 I almost allowed myself to get distracted by the internet when I got home, but I pulled myself together, and did the laundry, plus one more shirt, I had intended to do the night before - three t-shirts, two short sleeve shirts, plus some assorted underwear. It was about the right amount to do. Not too much, and not too little. Prior to starting that laundry I did have a small snack, so I sort of intended to have a slightly lighter dinner, and failed ! I had a fish salad, and because fish can be naturally oily I didn't dress the salad with olive oil. Maybe that saved a bit, or maybe not. It's what I had when I realised I didn't have any soft fruit to eat afterwards that rather spoiled things a lot. For some reason (maybe the devil made me do it - well you gotta blame someone, ain't you) I looked in the freezer, and I spied a little tub of ice cream in there, and even worse was that there was another one behind it. They were very small, and I ate both of them. That'll have pushed up my blood sugar level a bit.

 No ice cream tonight, but I think I'm going to pop into Tesco on the way home to get some fruit - probably strawberries, but maybe blueberries, possibly kiwi fruit, or even something completely different. The real unknown, or problem, or test of my sanity is what ealse I might buy while I'm in there. I'll try and avoid buying any lard and treacle burgers, but slightly more innocent items seen on the reduced price shelf may be hard to resist.

 Yesterday I showed a picture of the model train layout on the concourse of Waterloo station. Last night I shot a small video clip of it looking down from the balcony. If I can remember how to code it, my internet connection is in a good enough mood, and your browser supports the codecs I use, you might see a true blockbuster of a video here.
Tuesday 6th August 2013
 07:53 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday got some of the essential elements right, but failed miserably with it's timings. It was dry and bright through the morning, and up to mid afternoon. During that time there were supposed to be passing showers. A little before 4pm we did have some rain, and some of it was at an intensity that far exceeds a passing shower. At 5pm, when the rain was forecast to start, the clouds mostly went away leaving a bright and sunny evening. I think that there was probably some more rain after dark, but the sun rose to a two thirds clear sky. Today is forecast to be mostly bright and sunny, and the temperature will reach 24 C.

 While this afternoon may be moderately warm, it was rather chilly first thing this morning. I am unsure of the exact temperature, but it may have been as low as 13 C, although 15 C is probably closer. The weather forecasters seem to be making a big thing about how these temperatures are normal, or even above normal for this time of year. I suppose their records don't lie, but it sounds like global warming propaganda to me. Maybe I am just starting down the road to senility, but it doesn't feel much like summer to me. I think I associate these recent temperatures and rainfall with more like late spring, or mid autumn.

 I think I just about had enough energy when I got home from work yesterday to do some laundry. I didn't feel all that bad, and I was just about ready to take the laundry into the bathroom to subject it to hot water and soap suds when I was distracted by a message coming through on the internet. I was then further distracted by noticing that a lot of my photos had been "liked" or commented on, and of course I had to check which one had received these accolades. I never did get around to doing that laundry, but maybe tonight, maybe.....

 While I was distracted from doing laundry, I was also distracted from eating. So another night passed without eating excessively. I had some Serrano ham (bought from the 99p shop !!) with a heap of salad for my main course. Serrano ham (which I am sure I have mispelled) is sort of posh stuff, but in reality is crap. One of it's notable points is that it is sliced so thinly that it is almost transparent. It looks good, but it just means it is bloody fiddly to handle. It is also supposed to have a "refined" flavour. Now I know I bought mine from the 99p shop (because it was there), and it's probably not representative of a version that would cost 9.99 for a 60gm packet, but it's delicate flavour was totally overpowered by the flavour of the lettuce I had with it. I think it would work if I fried about 10 packs of it, and put them all between two slices of buttered bread. It's just another of those cons like caviar. What is so great about fish eggs ? I suspect that any region that can't make a decent cheese scrapes some slime off something, and tries to sell it as a delicacy at huge prices to try and make themselves look important. There is a name for people like that, and it sounds quite similar to anchors.

 Coming back down to earth, or nearly down, I was looking out over the balcony at Waterloo station last night, and spotted the latest obstruction to free movement down on the main concourse.
Waterloo station concourse 5th
                  August 2013
 Alsthom, South West Trains, and Network Rail are building a big train set. It's going to be used for a couple of things. I think today there is supposed to be a "meet the managers" event for South West Trains, and tomorrow it will be used by Alsthom to show off their railway skills (at running a model railway presumably), and to recruit new appretices and engineers. I don't know what Network Rail are doing there, but it could be to remind their middle to upper management what a railway is, and help them to recognise some common items like railway track, signals, and trains.
Monday 5th August 2013
 08:29 BST

  It cooled down a lot during the night, and it was only 18 C this morning. It felt quite chilly to me, but also rather humid. My skin felt quite clammy on my way to work. It is fairly bright right now, but there is likely to be little direct sunshine today. The top temperature is forecast to be around 22 -23 C, and according to the forecast it shold be raining right now, and on and off for much of the day. If the forecast is wrong about the rain, as it seems to be for the moment, than maybe it will get a little warmer too.

 After cat napping for most of yesterday afternoon and the start of the evening, including one snooze that must have lasted well over an hour, I wasn't expecting to get to sleep easily yesterday evening, and I didn't expect to stay asleep for long when I did. I guess I was more drained than I thought I was, because once I put down the magazine I was reading in bed, I fell asleep almost instantly. That was about 10pm, and the next think I knew was that it was 4am. I haven't slept like that in ages. I even managed to get another half of sleep after that. If I didn't need to come to work today I am sure I could have gone back to sleep for another hour or two.

 I don't feel too bad now I am at work, but for sometime after I got up I could have listed some sort of ache, pain, itch or twitch from most of the major and minor organs as well as a broad selection of joints and muscles. I decided it was easier to explain to others that both my earlobes, part of my left hand, and my right big toe were feeling absolutely wonderful today. I am unsure if I have caught a chill, or if the way I feel is just the tail end of last weeks stress and poor sleep. I don't seem to have any cough or sniffles. That does seem to rule out a chill, but I did feel rather cool and clammy as I came to work. I'm sure it isn't as cool as I felt it to be, and I don't think it is humid enough to make my skin feel sweaty as it is/was. Maybe I've contracted some sort of rare and exciting disease that will baffle the doctors when they do the post mortem. That could be a laugh !

 Tonight I am hoping that I can achieve two things. I hope I have the energy and/or enthusiasm to do some of the laundry I could be bothered to do yesterday. There's nothing essential about doing it, but it's easier to do it in small amounts rather than letting it build up. I also hope I can resume the sort of eating I was doing for most of last week. Until I wrecked it all after eating too much on Friday night, I was beginning to feel quite good. I didn't really have a proper meal yesterday.

 It was odd because I didn't really have any reasons not to have any proper meals. It just seemed that a little snack here, and a little snack there seemed to satisfy in a way that is rare for me. I don't think that in the greater scheme of things I ate all that much yesterday. If it is possible to feel the differences measured in bits of an ounce, I do feel slightly leaner this morning. I guess it is entirely possible that if I do another week or two like last week, I'll end up being able to rush, at headlong speed, all the way from the train at Waterloo East to the train at Waterloo mainline station again without feeling like I will die at the end of it. Towards the end of last week, and, funnily enough, this morning, I was able to do it at slightly above moderate speed, and non stop, with only a moderate feel of impending heart attack. The week before I couldn't even do it non stop at less than moderate speed.
Sunday 4th August 2013
 17:55 BST

  After some storms late on Friday night, yesterday was a dry mostly bright day. It wasn't particularly warm. The top temperature must have been around 25 or 26 C. It felt quite cool this morning, but it's been another day very similar to yesterday - some clouds, but plenty of sunshine, and the temperature right now is 25 C.

 Yesterday was both a good and bad day. I saw Aleemah for a few hours around brunchtime, and then rested until it was time to go out and see Chain playing at Petts Woodstock - held at Pettswood.  The event actually started at midday, but I was really only intending to catch Chain at 5.10pm, and the next band, Kimera, at 6.50pm. I thought I might hang around after that and see what other bands were on until either boredom or fatigue sent me on my way home.

 It didn't really happen like that ! It was almost time to go and get the train to Pettswood (changing at Bromley South), and my heart said go, but my bowels said stay ! It didn't take that long to sort that out, but it was long enough to miss my train, and I had to wait 30 minutes for the next one (waiting mostly at home). So I arrived maybe 10 minutes after Chain had started to play, and it felt like an age before I could push, shove, and elbow my way close enough to the stage to take some pictures. Even then I must have been 20 - 40 feet from the stage, and still almost had to take pictures over peoples heads, but my lovely Canon camera didn't let me down.
Chain at Pettswoodstock 2013
View of the stage with a few people dancing in front using just a bit of zoom.
                  Mayer and Geoff Paice at Pettswoodstock 2013
Using a bit more zoom - Chris Mayer and Geoff Paice who both play and pose together so well.
Chris Mayer at
                    Pettswoodstock 2013
 Using even more zoom, here's a close up of Chris Mayer looking very pleased with the way the gig was going - and with good reason to !

 Chain sounded brilliant, and the dense crowd was lapping it up. Unfortunately I was less happy. I have quite a dislike of dense crowds, and yesterday there was an added dimension to this dislike. I would dearly have loved to have moved around for different camera angles etc, but without annoying even more people it was almost impossible. As it was, I was half expecting a knife in the back for blocking the view of the people I had forced my way in front of.

 There are three different names for fear of crowds, and the differences are so subtle that I cannot define them. Strictly speaking, I don't actually suffer from fear of crowds. It's more of a sort of frustration sort of thing, and to say fear would be like saying that a hangover is meningitus.........but they both hurt !

 One of the names for fear of crowds is enochlophobia, and I like the way it comes off the tongue. It also seems to be a bit of a rare breed of phobia. So I've decided to adopt it as my personal irrational fear.

 While I enjoyed the music intensely, but I spent most of the time viewing the band through my camera viewfinder. It was a sort of distraction from the crowds. I took 83 photos in all, and that must work out to something like one every 30 seconds !

 Once Chain's set was over I contemplated the time it would take to get to the back of the huge queues for the beer dispensary, and how long it would take to get to the front of that queue. The queues for the toilets were less dense, but the only ones I knew of were portaloos outside the venue area in the approach road, and it had been hard enough getting through the crowds on the way in !

 I decided I just couldn't stand those crowds any longer, and decided to go home again. I was lucky enough to see Chris, Geoff, Dylan and a few others in the car park on my way back to the station. So I got to say a few brief hellos, but that was all. In 40 minutes or so I was back home again.

 I don't think I can blame the takeaway I ordered last night as compensation for not having an enjoyable evening, but I don't feel too bright today. The pizza tasted a little odd - almost like it was made with something like strong cheddar rather than the traditional cheese. I'm not suffering from anything like food poisoning though, it feels like I have no energy, some bits of me ache, and from time to time I have felt most peculiar. Worse still is that a little earlier I was feeling like it was a little too cool for comfort even when my indoor thermometer said it was 25 C. Maybe I've caught a chill or something.

 I do have the opportunity to see Chain playing again tonight. They are playing a charity event organised by the O'Neill's pub group in the Bromley branch. It has the potential to be an excellent gig, and they have gone down very well with the audience at past performances there, but I just don't feel good enough to attempt to go tonight. I think I should put all my effort into getting myself in order for work tomorrow.

 There is a double tragedy to this. Not only will I be missing out on what is sure to be a great experience, but if one of the musicians is who I think it might be, I will be unable to demonstrate just how prejudicial my photography can be. It no longer feels worthwhile taking pictures of a drum machine even if it has the guise of a human. Here's a picture from yesterday that includes a genuine human drummer who knows how to smile.
Dylan Tidman and Chris
                      Mayer at Pettswoodstock 2013
Friday 2nd August 2013
 19:33 BST

  The weather for this week has been very variable. We've had hot sunshine, and we've had cool wet days, as well as thunderstorms thrown in as well. I can't remember the coolest day, but I know that yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far. Near Heathrow airport the temperature hit 34.1 C, although nearer home it was a couple of degrees less. This morning started out dull and wet, and a curious combination of almost, but not quite chillingly cool, and yet still rather humid. There were a few peels of thunder from some distance away during the morning, but from midday it started to brighten up, and the afternoon was very pleasant with sunshine and a temperature of around 25 - 26 C.

 Quite a few things have happened this week. I was involved in a sort of row at the beginning of the week, and this rather pissed me off - a lot ! It has been resolved now, and although something may flare up relating to it sometime in the not too distant future, it will not be of any great significance to me.

 One curious thing is that despite being mightily pissed off at the beginning of the week, I have actually eaten less. This is the opposite of normal, and I can't accurately explain why I decided to take this course of action. Doing so has been quite beneficial to my health - which comes as no surprise. The discomfort I have been feeling while walking even relatively short distances seems to have decreased by about 75%. If I am able to eat in a similar way next week it is even possible I will cure it almost completely, and that will make some long(ish) hikes possible. Those, while still coupled with some sensible eating, should bring further improvements just by themselves.

 With the coming of this new month my financial woes, which would also have had a minor influence on my reduced eating, are now over. In fact I was not as badly off as I thought. I ended the month with my bank account still in the black, and with even a very small surplus in it. However to achieve that I did have to withdraw a little bit from my savings account, make use of my emergency Oyster card for travel in the last week and a half, and I used up as much as half of my emergency jar of 2 coins that I have been accumulating for well over a year now. In a way it was annoying to break into my emergency resources, even if that is what they are there for, but on the other hand it was very satisfying not to incur any bank charges for using my agreed overdraft. I find paying bank charges to be more distressing than a visit to the dentist !

 Such was the improvement to my health that I did something this evening that I would not have considered a few days ago. Soon after getting home from work I went out and bought a load of shopping from Aldi - and it was quite a load ! Making up a huge bulk of it was three 2l bottles of diet cola, two big bottles of squash, two small bottles of mouthwash, two 1.5l cartons of juice, and two packs of liquid laundry detergent. That must have been getting on for over 10 litres of liquid I lugged back without even considering the non liquid items. I did feel rather knackered by the time I got it all home, but I seemed to recover from it surprisingly quickly.

 The only trouble with getting that shopping is that I did end up buying a few things that are incompatible with how I've been eating this week. Fortunately most have long lives, and if I can resist the temptation, I can use them up slowly over a period of time. Some didn't have long lives, and so my dinner tonight was more like a collection of snacks with diverse amounts of negative health properties. I think I have stopped eating for the day now, and hopefully I only did minor damage to the improvements I've made.

 Tonight I have the choice of two possible venues I could go to. The first is The Swan in West Wickham where Chain are playing. I don't really like that pub, and so it was unlikely that I would be going anyway. The other option is the open mic night at The Catford Ram which starts in only 45 minutes time as I write these words. I did want to go to that, but I don't think I will be going this time. It feels rather humid and sticky right now, and I think I've probably eaten too much to go out for some time yet. I may have been feeling like I had an unusual surplus of energy tonight after five days of work, but now I've been sitting down for some time it seems to have evaporated. I don't actually feel sleepy, but I do feel quite tired. I think I am likely to retire to me bed and do some reading quite soon now.

 Tomorrow brings another day, and there is plenty to do. In the late morning I'll be seeing Aleemah, and then in the afternoon I should be going to see Chain play in Petts Wood. They are playing at Pettswoodstock, and there are other bands I'll probably see too. The event (which I think continues on Sunday) goes on until quite late in the evening, but Chain are on just after 5pm, and I expect I'll only stay there for around 3 hours or so (or until a hideously bad band comes on - which could be a possibility, but hopefully not). Apart from needing to do some laundry, I am expecting to have a thoroughly lazy day on Sunday !