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

Thursday 28th February 2013
07:52 GMT
  To my great surprise, yesterday's weather was pretty much as forecast. It didn't seem likely in the morning, but there was some sunshine in the afternoon, and the temperature did rise to within a degree or two of the 8 C forecast. There seems to be reasonable chance that today will end up very similar. It doesn't feel quite as cold as this time yesterday morning. Although the thermometer says it is. The cloud is a little thinner giving a slightly lighter sky. By the afternoon there should be some sunshine, and if we are exceedingly lucky, the temperature might just hit 9 C. After today things go downhill a bit, but, fingers crossed, not drastically.

 It was so nice to leave work again at midday yesterday. The sunshine was still at least an hour away, but it was dry and the clouds were light in colour. My walk to the station felt the easiest it has been since mid January. Overall, I was in a good mood, and even just missing a train at Waterloo East station didn't really dampen my spirits. I caught the first train to London Bridge, and only had a 4 or 5 minute wait until the slow train from Cannon Street arrived. I guess I got back to Catford about 15 minutes later than I might have done if I hadn't missed the train I was aiming for.

 Back in Catford, I wandered down to Iceland where I stocked up on frozen fish and (not frozen) salad. I also bought some cold, but ready cooked chicken wings flavoured Chinese style (allegedly). Generally speaking they are mostly bone, and there were suprisingly few in the pack. So in a sort of very warped way I could justify them as a low calorie snack/treat. In theory I should have been eating extremely healthily yesterday, and in one respect I did, but in another respect I badly over ate.

 The trouble was that I decided I would investigate the fresh fish stall in the market area outside. I have never taken a serious look at it before, and I thought it was time I did seeing as how I am eating a lot of fish now. They had some nice looking boneless salmon steaks that in retrospect were a bit cheaper than the frozen salmon I had bought in Iceland. Initially I thought they might be a little bit more expensive, but until I went to cook them, I didn't realise how big they were.

 I should have frozen the excess, but my small freezer is filled to the brim. So I had salmon and salad for lunch, and salmon on it's own for dinner. It was rather a lot, but on the plus side the fish oil is very good for my creaky joints, and it is alleged to be good for the heart by dispacing bad cholesterol. On the minus side, I have no idea how many calories all that fish oil contains, but my darkest thoughts are that it was a lot.

 Apart from a slight constipated feeling, I do feel about 25% fit this morning (which is an improvement), and although it has been possible for some days now, it is now feeling comfortable to do my trouser belt up one notch tighter. I travelled all the way to work with my belt on the tighter notch, and it is still comfortable now, although I might be tempted to slacken it off while I am sitting down doing nothing today. I think I am probably still on track to drop a trouser size sometimethis century.

 I am really looking forward to finishing work today. If I have as little to do today as yesterday morning, and the morning before, it is going to be a very boring day, and that feeling will be intensified by knowing that by 5pm I should have the first of several pints of Guinness in my hand :-) I think there is a fair chance that Chris and some of his workmates will be in the pub tonight, and I expect Kevin will be there too now he knows that I make Thursday nights a regular appointment.
Wednesday 27th February 2013
07:49 GMT
  Dull, dank, and drizzly just about sums up yesterday's weather. There was not a hint of sunshine, and even if the temperature did rise a few degrees, it was still unpleasantly cold. This morning started off at around 3 C, and the cloud and occasional light drizzle has continued, but maybe there is hope for something better. If the forecast can be believed, the cloud will break up during the morning and there could be some sunshine by this afternoon. Maybe that sunshine, or maybe a change in wind direction could bring the temperature up to 8 C. That is only a few degrees short of approaching the very low end of the comfort zone. Sadly, today may only be a brief blip un the unrelenting horrible weather, and after today we will be back to cold and dark miserable days into the foreseeable future.

 It was very unpleasantly cold in my office again yesterday. So it was a sort of relief to leave just before midday to go and see Dave, and fix his PC for him. Getting to his place is relatively easy from here. I got a train from Earlsfield to Clapham Junction station where I changed for a train to Selhurst - Dave's nearest station. Then there is a ten minute walk to his house. That walk had a very mild uphill element, but it shouldn't have felt as hard as it did.

 It took a long time to fix Dave's PC, but most of that time was waiting for driver downloads to finish. They seemed to be downloading very slowly for some reason, and I blame Sky Broadband for the lack of speed. I've never liked Sky, ever, and recent events involving the Murdoch's have done nothing but make my feeling against them even stronger. I find the recent overload of Sky adverts in, or on, any media you care to name to be quite offensive as it amounts to almost an attempt to brain wash rather than advertise. I can only imagine it is a desperate attempt to increase their subscriptions after so many people dropped them after their disgust at the antics of News International (News Of The World, The Sun, and probably other seedy publications). With luck, the cost of the advertising will steer them into bankruptcy.

 Apart from the tedium of slow downloads, and Windows need to restart after any change in it, I had a nice time with Dave, and it was nice to meet his cats Clank and Ratchet. (If any cat can be said to be "owned" then on is more properly Dave's wife's, Sarah). As a reward for my efforts I was given some pre-release samples of more Mad-Ass chilli sauces. I got one big bottle, and 4 small bottles. I think they are all towards the mild side compared to some of Dave's hottest sauces, but maybe one will catch me out. Dave reeled off the names so quickly that I didn't have time to remember them properly, and the quick scribbled name with a felt tip pen on the lid is not easy to decipher. When they go on sale they will have proper printed labels.

 If I blamed the very slight uphill bit of the walk to Dave's house for getting me close to winded, then I can hardly blame walking back down to the bus stop outside the station for also feeling like hard work. I think I can blame getting frozen for two consecutive mornings in my office though - even if it is nonsense. (This morning one of my workmates, who gets in extra early, put the heater on for me, and left the door open to let some outside heat in, and this morning I can actually feel my fingers as I type this). Having got to the bus stop I only had a short wait for a bus direct to Catford.

 It was 6pm when I got on the bus, and I guess it was the remains of the rush traffic that made for a slower than I imagined journey back to Catford. I timed it, and it took 42 minutes from bus stop to bus stop. It was nice to get home and into the warm, and to get my dinner cooking. The chicken I marinaded overnight was quite tasty after I grilled it, but I thought it needed some extra chilli sauce - and of course I had many to choose from. I chose one of the new ones, and it was not too hot, and rather tasty. So tasty that I found I needed more, and the only way to have more was to find some extra food to put it on.

 I chose a tin of reduced sugar and salt baked beans. I had the beans cold, and had half with one sauce, and the other with a different sauce. The latter was to use up one of the small jars of a rather hot sauce that I got from Dave last Friday. I'm not sure how I will fare this afternoon after so many beans and chilli, but it will probably be "interesting" ! After I had had my fill I went up to bed, and after a short while on the internet I got into bed, and read for a while.

 By 9pm I had turned out the light, and unlike the night before I was asleep almost instantly. I slept solidly until 3pm when I woke up feeling like it was time to get up. Fortunately I managed to get back to sleep again until my alarm woke me at 5am. I felt vety odd as I got up. If I had acted as I felt, I would have turned on the TV, watched some for an hour while drinking a large scotch, and then gone to bed as if it was late at night. It really did feel like it was approaching bedtime at 5.30am this morning !

 As well as an inverted sense of time, I also ached quite a lot. My lower back felt stiff, and my chest and shoulders both had a sort of dull ache. I did wonder how I would feel walking to the station. After how I felt when walking yesterday, and with a sort of chesty ache before I had even started, I feared for the worse, but oddly enough it was almost an easy walk, and that was repeated when I walked from the station to work. Had it been nice and warm, maybe 20 C, I think I would have actually enjoyed it for a change.

 Today I am also "on holiday" this afternoon. I took the precaution of booking two days off in case Dave had to change plans, or if the job would need two visits, but none of those now apply, and I am free to do what I like this afternoon. I don't think it will amount to much though. I think I might buy some more salmon and salad on the way home, and wash a couple of shirts when I get there. Apart from that, I foresee myself turning the heating up high, and spending the afternoon, and evening doing nothing in the most hedonistic way I can manage !
Tuesday 26th February 2013
07:47 GMT
  I was not impressed by yesterday's weather at all ! It may have been a degree less bone chilling cold than the previous day, but it was dull grey, and thoroughly depressing. It doesn't look like today will be much better overall. Admittedly the day has started at about 3 C, which is a tiny, tiny improvement, but it is wet this morning. It's not actually raining, but more like a thin wet mist that is just thick enough to cause a halo around the street lamps. Today could reach 6 C. Once again a tiny, almost insignificant improvement, but the real long shot, that would make a big difference, is the implausibly tiny chance that the clouds could turn from dirty grey to dirty white later in the day.

 I was freezing cold for over my half my day at work yesterday. This tin shed that we work in has almost no insulation, and my tiny heater struggles to raise the temperature to comfortable levels in this weather. It was made worse by being left unheated over the weekend. Outside my office it is heated by a huge great gas powered fan heater sort of contraption, but my office has no heating apart from a little domestic fan heater. It's pretty cold in here right now, but not as cold as yesterday.

 It was a great relief to go home yesterday, and despite my excess food consumption over the weekend, the walk from work to the station was no worse, and possibly even slightly less uncomfortable than it was last Friday. When I finally got home I felt ravenous. Surviving the artic conditions in here really gives me an appetite, and I couldn't wait for my dinner to cook. So I looked around at something ready cooked, and ready to eat as soon as the lid was opened. The only thing I could see was a small tin of spam, and I ate the whole tin !

 My real dinner was far more healthy. It was salmon steamed in it's own juices in the microwave oven with salad mixture and some small tomatoes. If I had remembered I had those little tomatoes in the fridge I would probably have munched on them instead of the far unhealthier spam. They would probably have been nicer too. The salmon was really delicious, and I think that salmon must be my favourite fish.

 I was in bed well before 9pm last night, but until 9pm I was just reading. For some reason I felt unusually tense, and when I turned the light out to try and go to sleep I found I was too tense to sleep. I say tense, but it was more the feeling of feeling tense rather than actually being tense (if that makes any sense). After tossing and turning for a bit I turned the light back on, and poured myself a large scotch. That seemed to do the trick, and I was asleep by 10pm, or soon after.

 I didn't sleep that well as far as I am aware. I had lots of strange dreams, and I woke up feeling cold and stiff, and once again feeling like I was tense. It was very similar to the very first hints of discomfort I was getting when walking to the stations. That feeling stayed with me all the way to work, and is now dissipating. Walking to the station, then between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations, and finally from Earlsfield station to work were all relatively comfortable, but I am still walking slightly slower than is my normal speed. Once it is warmer I feel confident that I can resume full speed again.

 Tonight I have an extra special dinner lined up. Last night I scored some skinless and boneless chicken breasts, and rubbed in a generous amount of Mad-Ass "Thyme and Lime" sauce as a marinade. I feel fairly sure they are going to be really delicious when grilled  and served with some salad. In theory I could have an alternative dinner. This afternoon I should be going over to see Dave of Mad-Ass to fix his computer. He did say he would feed me. That is both intriguing and scary considering what he cooks up there - molten lava in a bottle !! With no disrespect to Dave, I think I will stick to my usual modus operandus and not eat while I am out and about far away from home.
Monday 25th February 2013
08:09 GMT
  Yesterday afternoon stayed dull and grey, and during the evening the temperature dropped a bit, but not cold enough for frost this morning. Instead of frost I found it was damp outside with evidence of some recent light rain. It was just 2 C when I walked to the station to come to work. As forecast, there is no sign, and maybe no hope that any chinks will appear in the cloud to let a flash of sunshine through. It looks as if the forecast may be right that today will be heavily overcast, and the top temperature a paltry 5 C.

 I didn't feel inclined to do anything yesterday afternoon, but it wasn't an entirely wasted afternoon. I spent some time on the phone to Dave Etheridge of Mad-Ass chilli sauces, and guest drummer or bass player for Chain. Sometime, possibly tomorrow afternoon unless there is some sort of mad panic on at work, I'm going to visit him and help him out with a sound problem on his PC. I'm quite looking forward to that because there is a possibility that Katherine (or Catherine maybe) could be working in his Mad-Ass kitchen, and I would like to see her again outside of the gig environment, and maybe have a chat where we can both hear what each other are saying.

 Later on in the afternoon I took a look back at all the pictures I took in 2004. Many were taken on my first mobile phone with built in camera, and to be honest, they are pretty rough. It seemed a great novelty at the time, but poorly focused and lit 352x288 pictures are hardly going to set the world alight ! However there were a few that didn't look too bad, and I might do something with them some day.

 If I had rigidly stuck to a plan that I didn't really have, I would only have eaten the couple of the surprisingly low fat for a burger,  grilled burgers and salad I had for lunch, but that meal didn't satisfy - doubly so after slowly sipping quite a lot of whisky over the course of the afternoon. So I opened up a can of what could be loosely described as meatball and pasta soup. It was far runnier than I thought it would be, and that is why I describe as being almost like soup. It was nice and warm, and momentarily filling, but I wanted more. So I opened up a second can that was also labelled as meatballs, but without the pasta. The first can I bought from Aldi as part of their Italian season, and the second can was from their Octoberfest season. That second can was far nicer and filling, and a small quantity of Mad-Ass "Smokey Dare Ya!" stirred into the sauce was really nice.

 The trouble with eating two large-ish cans was that I was still feeling a bit full when I went to bed, and this morning I didn't feel anywhere near as sprightly as when I walked to Aldi on Saturday morning. When I got to Catford Bridge station I could feel the aches coming on that I had managed to cure by healthy eating during last week. So I've taken a step backwards, but I reckon it will only take a day or two to recover from it, and that leaves three or four days to improve on what I managed last week.
Sunday 24th February 2013
14:44 GMT
  The weather continued cold and grey yesterday, and today it has just carried on where it left off. I thought I saw one or two tiny snowflakes go drifting by at one point, but no more. There has been no sign of any sunshine. So once again the forecast was hopelessly wrong. The clouds may keep the temperature just above freezing tonight. Tomorrow may hit 5 C, and it should stay dry, but overall it will be another miserable grey day.

 As I predicted, I was thoroughly lazy yesterday evening. I split my time between laying down and reading, watching TV, and despite getting sore buttocks from spending so much time sitting in front of my PC for so long yesterday, I spent a little while longer at it. The one thing I did, twice, was to do some cooking. My lunch was prawns and salad leaves with a far too generous helping of lava hot chilli sauce.
Latest chilli sauce collection from Mad-Ass
 Prawns and chilli can go well together, but they lack any grease to leave a protective coat to the inside of the mouth, and need a far milder chilli than the "Smokey Dare Ya!" that I foolishly, and rather painfully tried with them. Later on I cooked some pork loin chops for dinner, and although grilled, they were still greasy enough to protect my mouth. I tried all five sauces in the picture above with those chops, and the "Adam's Apple Ketchup" was naturally the best sauce to go with them, the others were fine in moderate quantities.

 I was late going to bed last night by weekday standards, but maybe early by Saturday night standards. I went to bed because I thought I ought to, rather than because I felt particularly tired. Maybe that was a mistake because once I turned the light off I realised I didn't feel the slightest bit sleepy. At about 11.30pm I got up and spent half an hour or so writing an email. That seemed to do the trick, and I was soon asleep.

 I woke up feeling almost like I had enough sleep after just a ridiculous 5 hours sleep (approximately). So I mooched around to pass some time before going back to bed again. Evidently I must have needed more sleep because quite a lot of time passed without me realising it even though it didn't feel like I had hardly slept at all.

 So far today I have showered and washed my hair, done some laundry, and cooked some lunch. Lunch was a couple of Aldi "mystery Scottish meat" (labelled as Aberdeen Angus) quarter pounder burgers with more salad leaves. After being grilled that were not that greasy, but greasy enough to protect my mouth from some random dollops of chilli sauces. To my surprise, the "Thyme And Lime" went well with them, and a cautious thin spread of "Double dare Ya!" gave a nice tang to the flavour. What didn't go so well was the little bead of pure "Double Dare Ya!" that fell on an innocent lettuse leaf. Chewing on that really burnt my mouth !

 Now it is mid afternoon and I have run out of constructive things that I want to do (but not things I ought to do !). Not only that, but I am feeling worringly peckish. I have some nice apples, and easy peeler oranges that I could munch on, but I don't feel that would satisfy the itch I have. I'm not sure what to do about it, but at least I haven't anything too naughty in the house to tempt me too far down the wrong path. Maybe some hot soup would do the trick, or perhaps I could cook some fish. Maybe I'll resist the temptation completely.......or maybe not !
Saturday 23rd February 2013
14:59 GMT
  Yesterday was bloody cold !!! There were also a few very light flurries of snow. During the evening the wind dropped, and it didn't feel quite as cold (unless it was the beer !). This morning started off below zero, and there have been some more serious flurries of snow. For a few moments it even started to settle. It seemed to stop around midday, and now it's just a miserable cold and grey sort of day. Tomorrow the temperature could reach the dizzy heights of 3 C, and there could be a sunny interval or two, but there could also be a few periods of sleety rain.
icicles hanging from the canopy of Earlsfield station
This rather fuzzy pictures shows new formed icicles hanging from the platform canopy of Earlsfield station on my way home from work last night.

 It seemed to take forever for my office to warm up yesterday, and it wasn't until after lunch that I felt comfortable. Then I got frozen on the way home again. I partly thawed myself out with a can of mushroom soup, and then warmed myself up properly with pints of Guinness in a warm pub when I went out again to watch Chain playing in The Catford Ram. It was a most enjoyable night !!
Dave Griffiths on the keyboards
Dave Griffiths always brings that something extra when he is there with his keyboards.
Dave Griffiths
Either Dave Giffiths or Cousin It.
Ravi on bass
Ravi provided bass guitar for the evening
Chris Mayer - lead guitar
Chris Mayer getting lost in the music.
Dave Etheridge on drums
Dave Etheridge on drums.
Jo Corteen singing like a bird
Jo Corteen on vocals
Chain at The Catford Ram
Everybody on stage at The Catford Ram
Dancing girls
The song "Maggie May" always gets the girls dancing !
Sarah Etheridge and Katherine
Sarah Etheridge and Katherine
 Apart from great music, lashings of beer, and good company, there was also another bonus last night. I got a new consignment of Mad-Ass chilli sauces kindly supplied by Dave Etheridge. Sarah Etheridge, in the picture above is Dave's wife, and sitting with her is the rather lovely Katherine who is a recent recruit to the Mad-Ass kitchens. As well as two full sized, paid for, bottles, I was honoured to be given three small bottles as free samples.

 One of the small bottles was of "Dare Ya" - the hottest sauce in the range.......until "Double Dare Ya", an even hotter version came along ! The third was a smoky version of "Dare Ya" made with some smoked chipotle chillis. I haven't tried the smoky one yet, but I did try the "Double Dare Ya", and it has a wonderful flavour - provided you use it very sparingly !!

 A curious thing happened during the evening. Most probably fueled by beer, I jokingly asked Dave Etheridge if Katherine was free and single, and like men with big guts. He laughed and then wandered off. A little later he came back and said yes, Katherine was free and single, and said I should definitely chat her up ! (No mention about the big gut bit though). Later on, I didn't chat her up, but I did relate the tale to Katherine, and how I had sort of embarrased myself. She thought it was amusing, but I had rather given the game away.

 I spoke with her briefly a few more time during the evening, but it wasn't exactly chatting her up. (How do you do that anyway ?). At the end of the evening, after I had helped lug some gear out to the bands cars, I said goodbye to Dave, and thanked him for the sauces, gave Sarah a peck on the cheek, and thanked her for the sauces, and then I did the same to Katherine - and got a hug in return. I wonder...........

 After only eating a few bits of fruit during the day, and the can of soup before going to the pub, and after all the beer, I was feeling more than a bit peckish ! So I thought to hell with my diet, and went to the kebab shop. I started with very good intentions and ordered a relatively healthy chicken shish kebab. Then, as I salivated, I also ordered a portion of chips to go with it. In a final desperate act I also ordered two battered sausages. There was a microscopic bit of reason to my madness. I reasoned that the kebab would be fine cold, and that I would have it for lunch today.

 When I got home I tucked into the sausages and chips, and they were like nectar from the gods ! Of course some chilli sauce added to that ecstacy. Well, mostly it did until I added just a bit too much Double Dare Ya. Boy does that burn !!!!! Once I had doused the flames in my mouth I went up to bed, and was soon fast asleep. I am not sure just what time that was, but I am fairly sure it was before midnight. Maybe even as early as 11pm. I slet well until 4am when I awoke needing a pee, and with a hangover. I couldn't sleep again with my head aching. So I stayed up for a bit reviewing all the pictures, and video I had taken earlier. I did make one feeble attempt to do some editing, but soon gave up, and went back to bed again.

 It didn't feel like I was sleeping that well, and woke up a few times. Each time I woke up it felt like I would not be able to get back to sleep again, but evidently I did because a lot of time passed without me realising it. Once I finally got up and had a shower, I went to get some shopping in Aldi. Now that was a revelation. Despite battling through swirling snow, and icy air, I felt wonderfully well, and it felt like I could have almost run there (of course I couldn't actually have run that distance, and I don't think I could ever in living memory have run that sort of distance).

 Apart from two indulgences, I was very good at not buying anything that would spoil my current diet. One thing I couldn't resist, even thought it was about the very worst thing I could buy, was some (allegedly) Guinness flavoured mixed peanuts and cashew nuts. I really wish I hadn't given in to them because they were well below my expectations - not actually nasty, but not very nice. The other indulgence was a packet/bag of Italian oregano and tomato flavoured little hard biscuits. I can't remember exactly what they were called, but they are like a cross between biscuit and a sort of hard bread. Whatever they are, they are very munchious* and I am eating far too many of them.

* munchious - the quality of being munchy !!

 Apart from going shopping, and eating all that's bad for me, I seem to have done nothing today except for photo, video, and word wrangling on my PC. Now my bottom hurts, and I think I might put my feet up, or more likely, have a lie down and read or snooze for a while. After that, I have no idea what I will actually do. I ought to do some laundry, and I could go to a gig tonight (I have some partial transport arranged if I need it - but I don't fancy being dropped off in Bromley at 1am, and having to wait for a night bus in sub zero temperature). What I think will actually happen is that I shall stay warm, and be thoroughly lazy !!
Friday 22nd February 2013
07:47 GMT
  It could be possible to put a positive slant on yesterday's weather by saying it was dry, there was no hurricane blowing, and it wasn't ten degrees below zero, but fortunately for my own peace of mind, I am not a politician, and can say it how it is (or was). Yesterday was bloody horrible ! It was depressingly grey, and it was finger tingling cold. Today will probably be equally grey, and maybe a degree colder. The highest temperature today is likely to be no more than 1 C, and the icing on the cake could be a few light flurries of snow anytime this morning. I think I am getting very bored with this weather !

 I think my fish and green leaves dinners are definitely having a beneficial effect. Walking from work to the station is starting to get almost painless again, and I feel sure that if it was twenty degrees warmer it would have been completely painless. My recovery time after I finally get on the station platform is also much improved too - perhaps nearly as quick as it has ever been. The rest of my journey home from work was virtually painless if you ignore my blue tingling fingers, ear lobes, nose and anything else exposed to the icy air.

 I went home via Iceland where I bought another two bags of salad, some more frozen fish, frozen prawns, a small punnet of blueberrires, and as a special treat, some "tikka" flavoured cooked and sliced chicken breast. Then I went next door into The Catford Ram where I had three pints of Guinness in the company of Kevin and Dave, but no Chris (although he did send his apologies via Dave). After the three pints I went home to have some dinner.

 While I steamed some mixed fish I had my little treat of the cold sliced skinless chicken breast allegedly flavoured with "tikka". All I know about "tikka" flavour is that is similar to Indian chicken tikka in the same way a Ford Fiesta is a bit like a formula 1 racing car. Of course I had the chicken with a sprinkle of chilli sauce to give it a more interesting flavour. Then I had the steamed mixed fish with a heap of salad leaves, and rather too much chilli sauce.

 I put some medium heat chilli sauce directly on the mixed fish (not very nice tasting offcuts of salmon, smoked haddock, and cod), and then sprinkled some far hotter thin chilli sauce onto the salad leaves. I will admit I rather over did it, and pleasure was often overtaken by pain !! Although I had had the chicken starter, the cold weather conspired to make me want to eat even more, and I finished up by eating the small punnet of blueberries - which are alleged to very good for you in some mysterious way.

 Even after a session in the pub, and a three course dinner, I was still in bed by 8.30pm. I think, but I can't be sure, that I was asleep not very long after that. I slept comfortably until 4am when I woke up feeling unusually "not that bad". It was too early to get up, but it did give me the chance to put the heater on full, and let my bedroom get toasty before I had to really get up at 5am. I hoped that I might see several feet of snow outside in the road, but sadly there was no snow, and I had to get ready to face the cruel world outside and go to work.

 This morning my walk to the station was practically painless, and that was after walking there only slightly slower than my normal speed. The long walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo did slightly knacker me, but I was almost back on form and overtook several of the slower walkers. The walk from Earlsfield to work was also mostly painless. Now I am hugely impatient to see how I fare on a warm day. That could be so far into the future that if I continue eating like I have been, I'll feel fit enough to almost run all the way (where almost actually means not a snowflakes chance in hell !!).

 I am also hugely impatient for the day at work to be over so I can go home and prepare for an evening of drunken debauchery (or something similar !!). Tonight brings good music, plenty of beer, and more chilli sauces ! Dave from Mad-Ass will (probably) be on the drums tonight (although he could be playing bass), and he, or his missus Sarah, are bringing me a surprise selection of sauces to try. Hopefully there will be a hot satay sauce. It was an idea I suggested to them, and they thought it would be a great idea.

 Of course the only problem with having a load of sauces to try is that I'll need to have food to put them on, and at the moment I am cutting down on food. I don't know how many different flavours they are bringing me. I just asked for a 15 or 20 selection, and that could mean many small bottles, or less big bottles. It could take as long as a fortnight to sample them all if I only have one main meal a day - although I doubt my resolve is strong enough to make that work at weekends.Anyway, roll on tonight ! I can't wait !!
Thursday 21st February 2013
08:11 GMT
  There was some sunshine yesterday, but not much, and the afternoon ended up almost colder than the day started. To increase the misery there was a moderate, but viscious feeling icy wind. I was quite surprised to see my outside thermometer reading just 3.5 C when I got home from work. Today has started only just above freezing, and it is dreadfully grey. It's almost as if the day hasn't started ! The best temperature today could be as low as a mere 2 C, and we will be lucky to see more than a flash of sunshine - if any at all. The BBC weatherman on the early TV news last night said there could even be a few light flurries of snow today or tomorrow, but the BBC website suggested heavy snow at midnight tonight !

 My fish and rabbit food diet is still working. Walking from work to the station, even in freezing conditions, was not as uncomfortable as it was at the beginning of the week, and I recover from it faster and faster. Unfortunately the shivery weather gave me a ravenous appettite when I got home, and if I had the ingredients I wouldn't have stopped at a huge cheese and bacon toasted sandwich. That would have just been for starters, and heavens knows what I would have had for the main course.

 Fortunately I didn't have the ingredients for such mouth wateringly delicious food, and I stuck to fish and green plant debris (with lashings of chilli sauce of course). I couldn't wait the 10 minutes for my salmon to grill, and so I opened a can of mackerel in tomato sauce to have as a started with some herbivorous litter (and chilli sauce). After that I had the salmon with green stuff (and chilli sauce), but even that didn't seem enough so I opened a can of sardines, and after draining as much of the vegetable oil they came in away, I had those on their own (with chilli sauce) ! In some respects my dinner did not amount to a huge physical quantity, but it did leave me feeling sufficiently full.

 I did wonder if I might have eaten too much to let me carry out my plan to wash my hair. Leaning over the bath with a bulging gut is not very comfortable, but although I would have preffered to let my dinner setttle for an hour before doing the deed, I managed to wash and condition my hair with no problems. My hair is all light and fluffy now, and that provides better insulation for my head in these arctic days. Having damp hair did delay me getting into bed, but I was still in bed by 9pm, and asleep soon afterwards.

 I think I slept well, but I did wake up a few times from dreams. In one dream I was in my friends car. It was very peculiar in that I, as a passenger, was sitting in the front, and my friend, the driver, was sitting directly behind me. It was like the arrangement seen when, for instance, fighter pilots are being trained in WW2 Spitfires. In the dream I had a hard time convincing a traffic warden that I was not the driver ! I had another dream that I think was a dream about a dream that I once had at least a couple of years ago. It concerned finding a working and useable toilet in a decaying training school.

 There seemed no sense of urgency about, and it wasn't feelings from the real world breaking through into my dream (i.e. I didn't need the toilet when I woke up),. I had to look through a host of cubicles until I found one that had all the usual equipment - a toilet pan, a cistern, and toilet paper - and was not too narrow. There was one that seemed complete, but was only about 9 or 10 inches wide !! The only downside to the best one I could find - which was fully equipped, plus was clean - was that it only had a half height door on it. Sometimes I really wonder what goes on in my twisted mind while I am asleep !

 This morning I don't feel too bad. I left home early so I didn't have to rush to the station, and even in the cold air it was only after walking to the top of the footbridge that I started to feel uncomfortable. In a similar way, it wasn't until I had climbed the stairs at work that I felt my chest start to ache after walking from the station. I still feel that if it had been over 10 C, but preferably over 15 C, I could have rushed the same distances with ease. Time will tell if this idea is true, but it could be a long time if the more pessimistic long range weather forecasts carry any creedance.

 I am rather looking forward to tonight for two reasons now....or maybe that should be three reasons. The first thing is that I am going to go to Iceland to stock up on more fish and salad..........and maybe an inocent treat, or not. Then I shall be going next door to have a couple, or more pints, of Guinness. The only trouble is that I really can't stay too late with my frozen fish getting closer and closer to defrosting with every pint I drink. The last thing I am looking forward to is for the midnight snow to be so heavy that it disrupts my trains in the morning, and I have a good excuse for a day off work tomorrow :-)
Wednesday 20th February 2013
07:45 GMT
  If yesterday had been as warm as it looked like it might be, it would have been rather a splendid day. After the foggy start there was sunshine right up to sunset, and that susnhine felt warm. Sadly it was still not powerful enough to get the air temperature up beyond about 7 C. This morning it is all change. The temperature is around 4 C. So no frost, but drizzle instead. The forecasters assure us that the drizzle will clear, and that this afternoon could be sunny again, but it will be a few degrees cooler than yesterday.

 There is good news on several fronts this morning. First off, my right foot seemed to mend itself during yesterday. It started off quite painful, but the pain slowly went away until in the afternoon I suddenly came to the realisation that it was no longer hurting. I don't think I really realised that my foot had been swollen, but my laces definitely started to feel loose in the afternoon, and I had to tighten them twice before leaving work to go home.

 It was sort of nice leaving work to go to the station (that's nice beyond the everyday ecstacy of finishing work for the day). The sun was shining, my right foot wasn't hurting, and better still, my chest did not start to hurt until I was almost at the station instead of half way there. Not only that but it didn't hurt so much, and I recovered far faster. The air temperature, although slightly improved, was not high enough to account for all the improvement. So I have to conclude that my altered diet must be doing something useful.

 Last night I allowed myself one little indulgence. I accidently made some rather nice satay chilli sauce. It started when I thought I would zap up some prawns by heating them up with a generous amount of chilli sauce, and two teaspoons full of peanut butter. Peanut butter is very dangerous stuff - it is so tasty, and is loaded with all sorts of fats and calories and stuff. Two teaspoonfuls was a bit of an indulgence, but the end result probably justifies it. My accidently made sauce rather overwhelmed the taste of the prawns even though I shook off much of the sauce before eating them.

 The rest of the sauce I poured over the salad leaves and steamed smoked haddock that was the main dish of my dinner last night. Now that worked rather well, and it will be difficult to resist making more, but I will do my best to resist it. For instance, next time I have some prawns I think I will ruin them, or enhance them, depending on your point of view, by having them with a sprinkle of vinegar and a sprinkle of white pepper. I'm pretty certain it will enhance the flavour. Only Frenchmen don't like vinegar on seafood, but what do they know about taste !

 Apart from one sneaky laste taste of peanut butter before I welded the lid back on the jar, that was all I ate last night. I didn't even bother to have a couple more of the little golf ball sized easy peeling oranges that I bought to have a sort of dessert. This altered feeding regime does seem to be working as intended. There is less pain when walking now, and as a side benefit there is a definite looseness about my trousers. It would be useful to keep this up for a few more years.

 Other good news is that it's now Wednesday, and in 4 hours or so, half the working week will be over, and the second half brings added excitement. Tonight I hope I have enough energy and inclination to wash my hair. That will get me nicely prepared for a practice run for Friday night on Thursday night. The practice will be fun, but the real thing on Friday night will be great ! Chain are playing in The Catford Ram so there will be great music, and I have can have a full government described binge drinking session !
Tuesday 19th February 2013
07:52 GMT
  It was forecast that yesterday afternoon would be cloudy - it didn't happen, well, not much ! At just 7 or 8 C it was a long way from warm, but it was bright and sunny as I made my way home from work. By sunset, maybe half an hour after I got home, it did start to cloud over, and sunset itself was not very spectacular. This is the BBC's take on today's weather..........
weather forecast for 19th Feb 2013 - Catford
 Rather amazingly they got the first part right ! There was indeed a freezing fog with plenty of frost when I walked to the station. The fog around the London side of Clapham Junction station was particularly thick, and as usual it thinned to almost nothing very soon after my train left the station as we headed to Earlsfield. Once again there was a big red ball of a sun rising over Earlsfield cemetary. Now the sky looks pretty clear, and I have high hopes that it will be sunny for the rest of the day. Shame it will only hit 6 C by the time I leave work to go home.

 I can't see the connection, but there obviously must be one, between the tickly itch I had on the underside of my right foot in the early hours of yesterday morning, and the pain that developed on the top of my foot during the day. All I know is that through the course of the day it became more and more painful. It was a great relief to get home and get my shoes off, but that was not relief enough.

 When I went to bed my foot seemed very sore and sensitive, and I had to resort to putting an ice pack on my foot. After about ten minutes of freezing it, it felt so much better. Sadly it didn't last long, but helped enough to get me to sleep. This morning there was some improvement, but it was still very sensitive, and I did wonder if I would even be able to put shoes on to come to work. I did, and I am at work, but it was not pleasant walking with that sore foot. Oddly enough it does feel like the walk has actually made an improvement to the soreness, and while I am sitting down, not moving my foot, there is nothing to notice.

 It helped that it was slightly less cold when I walked to the station after work yesterday. As well as my sore foot, I also had an aching chest by the time I reached the station, but it wasn't as bad as previous days. Some of reduced severity may be attributed to the improved air temperature, but some must be attributed to my improved eating recently. To ensure that it continued I went home via Iceland and bought nothing but plain fish and mixed green salad, some prawns as a sort of treat, and a bag of "easy peeler", almost golf ball sized oranges.

 Dinner last night was a melange of steamed salmon, smoked haddock, some prawns and a heap of salad leaves with added raw brocolli. Plus a liberal amount of hot chilli sauce ! For what could be described as a snack, some half hour after I had finished the main course, I had three of the tiny little oranges. By my estimate, and taking into account the bits of fruit I ate for breakfast, I had a very low calories sort of day yesterday, and today should be very similar.

 I wish I could feel some benefits to eating comparatively lightly for the last few days, but while I do feel like I have more latent energy, I can't exercise it while the air is so cold. I do feel less bloated, and maybe there is a bit of extra slackness to my trouser waist, but that is all. If only the air was over 10 C, and ideally 15 C, I feel I could probably let rip, and rush to the station, for instance, but not while the cold air burns my windpipe and lungs ! Once I can walk to the station with no gloves on, and not have numb fingers when I get there, then that could be the time to try some heroics !
Monday 18th February 2013
08:03 GMT
  Unlike how the BBC's weather forecast seemed to suggest, the sky remained fairly clear overnight, and this morning started cold enough for a frost. There was also some mist patches on the way into work - particularly where the railway runs alongside The River Thames. As my train pulled into Earlsfield station I could see a big red sun rising over Earlsfield Cemetary. Now it's a matter of waiting to see if the sun can burn off the mist before the forecast clouds appear. Even if we do get a lot of sunshine this morning, it seems unlikely that the temperature will rise very far - maybe to 5 or 6 C at best. I hope the forecast for the week ahead is very wrong because it suggests that by the end of the week we will be lucky to see the temperature higher than 2 C !

 I was in two minds about whether I should have any dinner last night. I thought I could probably manage to convince myself I didn't need any, but the reality was that I had to cook the salmon that I had allowed to defrost before it went off. What I did have in the end was a very healthy dinner with all sort of alleged health benefits. It was simply the salmon steamed in it's own juices, plus raw broccoli. The salmon has lots of fish oil which is good for all sorts of things, and the broccoli has properties that if you believe all you read about it, that are good enough to ward off anything from an ingrowing toenail, to an Earth destroying meteorite. Some of what is said about is nothing but lies. For instance, they say that the more it is cooked, the less it's magical qualities. That is obviously nonsense, and the truth is that raw broccoli almost tastes nice when eaten on it's own, and tastes rather less nice when cooked unless smothered in gravy, meat juices and potatoes (when it can taste quite good).

 I'm happy to report that my new mattress topper worked really well. I was comfortable enough in bed that I could easily have turned over and gone back to sleep after turning off my alarm (and in an ideal world I would have done so). Despite being far more comfortable in bed, I didn't have a very wonderful sleep. It took a long time to get to sleep because of various aches and pains. The worst was from my left wrist. For some reason it was really painful. The only stress it had earlier was to hold my mobile phone while I was reading an ebook on it, and it doesn't seem like that should have stressed it much.

 A second reason for lack of sleep was due to one of natures cruellest tortures. I woke up at around 1am with the instep of my right foot itching. I have no idea what causes it, and it has happened to me at regular 4 month intervals in the last 11 months ! It is an impossible area to scratch as you would any other itch. Even getting up for 15 minutes and trying to distract myself from it by turning on the PC had limited success, and then just like it came, it just went away for no apparent reason.

 This morning I definitely feel different. I woke up without a lot of the stiffness of previous mornings, and despite getting less sleep than I wanted, I felt more refreshed than usual. It was a bit later that I started to feel some aches and pains, they were milder, and somehow different from the usual, and I had a crazy notion that they were "anti-creases" as all the tension of sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress were slowly unwinding after sleeping on my new comfortable mattress topper.

 Even my walk to the station felt slightly different. It was still quite painful, but the pain developed a bit later during the walk, and was not so severe at the end. I seemed to recover faster as well. It doesn't sound like much of an improvement, but I was expecting things to be a lot worse considering how cold the air was, and the fact that I hadn't managed to leave home early enough for a very slow walk like I did last Friday.

 It is possible that I have found a potential reason for some of the pain and discomfort I have been experiencing this winter. Rather than the more sinsister sounding, but still very possible heart disease and/or lung cancer, it is possible that I simply have rheumatoid athritis. I do seem to lack the crippling knobbly finger joints usually assosciated with athritis, at least I do for now, but I have enough assorted joint pains from time to time to make up for having OK fingers and hands (although my painfull left wrist is getting worryingly close). There are plenty of other symptoms that I match closely, and there is a family history of it to the limited extent that my mum had it.

 The good, or maybe the bad thing about it, is that it is not fatal in itself, but does increase the risk of a heart attack depending on where the inflammation is at the time. It is an auto-immune disease, and apparently vitamin D (produced in the body from sunlight) is thought to help regulate the immune system. It could explain why I suffer increasingly more every winter, and so far I haven't suffered during the summer months. With last year being so crappy, with loads of grey days instead of hot sunshine (or so I seem to remember) it may explain why I am suffering so badly this winter.

 So having come to a tentative diagnosis of what could be wrong with me, I shall do what I always do in these situations - try to avoid letting any doctors or nurses know about it. I shall just proceed as normal for spring. Try to lose some weight in preparation to try and get some exercise in once the sun comes out, and warm days finally arrive. It is possible that my diet yesterday was light enough that I may have lost more weight than just from clipping my toenails. Another week of that and it will be a greater loss than cutting off a finger. Ideally I ought to lose weight equivalent to one of my legs, but that would be a very long term project, and so highly dependent on my mental state that the odds against it happening are pretty high. Meanwhile, I am sticking to just a bit of fruit until I get home again today. In the highly unlikely event that I am not desperate for a hot meal when I get home, I could eat just canned tuna and raw broccoli (with a generous amount of chilli sauce), but that is probably just fantasy thinking !
Sunday 17th February 2013
16:32 GMT
  I can't recall any sunshine yesterday, but it was still surprisingly mild with the temperature staying up at almost 12 C for much of the day. It was also dry. Today it started off cold enough for a frost because the sky was clear, and it has stayed clear with loads of sunshine. Sadly the temperature never warmed up beyond a cool 8 C. If it were like this tomorrow I could look forward to a bright and sunny, but rather cold journey home from work, and daylight for as much as half an hour after I got home. Sadly it seems that tomorrow will be cold and grey.

 Yesterday morning I concerned myself with putting a last finishing touch on the PC I was giving to my friend Lee. I also did a microscopic bit of tidying up in case he brought his new girlfriend with him. She didn't come with him in the end, but when he turned up at about midday, or maybe a bit more, he was pleased with what I offered, and rewarded me more generously than I expected. I was just going to give him the PC but insisted in rewarding me, and the original idea is that he would give me a bottle of scotch. He actually turned up with the bottle of scotch, six 2 lire bottles of Diet Coke, and a packet of fags. Nice !

 With 12 litres of Diet Coke on hand I had no need to even go out to the corner shop, and I ended up having a thoroughly lazy day apart from washing 2 shirts, 4 t-shirts, and a pair of lounge pants. With few serious distractions it was hard to avoid eating too much, but until the evening I did quite well. For lunch I had a can of low salt, low sugar baked beans with 4 saveloys packed with some sort of mystery meat. The saveloys didn't seem to be fatty, but I am sure they had all sorts of undesirable stuff in them. They needed to be used up, and now they are gone.

 For dinner I found some fish in the back of the freezer, and I had two lots. One came with a sort of buttery glaze, but the other was just plain frozen basa fish. Basa is often sold as a more sustainable substitute for cod, but it's pretty crappy stuff. I had it just steamed in it's own juice. With enough chilli sauce it made for a reasonable dish. In theory, the two plates of fish I had should have been very healthy, and with my earlier lunch I could have claimed to have eaten healthily yesterday, but there was a problem.

 During the evening I watching TV and became overcome by an insationable desire for something to munch. In the end I gave in an opened up a small tin of cooked chestnuts that I had stashed away from xmas time. It was the old, old story - I thought a couple wouldn't be too bad, but like heroin they are so addictive that before I knew what I was doing I had eaten the whole tin.

 Luckily enough, those chestnuts represented the last of the worst food in my stores, but to avoid any further temptations I spent the rest of the evening upstairs away from the TV. I passed the time reviewing some of my old photos. They provided stark evidence that last year I didn't get out and about much compared to the year before that when I seemed to go on loads of long expeditions with my camera. That lack of exercise last year must have contributed a lot to how unhealthy I feel this year.

 I really hope that we have a nice spring, and a good summer this year. It is going to be really hard building up my stamina again when it seems hard just to walk to the station now. However, if I manage to bake out all the bugs in me under a blazing summer sun (or preferably a hot mid to late spring sun) then it is feasible that I might be tackling some long walks by the autumn.

 I have taken steps to reduce one of the ailments that reduces my mobility at the moment. Those ailments are all to do with aches and pains that I partly blame on poor sleep due to an uncomfortable mattress. I met Aleemah today, and after she had eaten her breakfast in the pub, and I had drunk two halves of a couple of quite nice beers, I dragged her into Poundstretcher where I bought a memory foam mattress topper.

 I seemed to recall that initially they were very expensive, perhaps in the region of 60 - 70, but they were marked down from 39.99 to 29.99, and so I bought a spare as well. I've tested one of them on my bed, and although I don't know how well it will work once I am in bed under the duvet, but it does seem to provide a nice smooth surface when just laying on top of my bed. I have high hopes that I won't have to dodge the lumpiness of the internal spring structure of my mattress that has always been there since I bought the mattress, but has been feeling far worse lately. Perhaps tomorrow I will be able to report that I slept unusually well during the night.
Saturday 16th February 2013
09:09 GMT
  Yesterday turned out almost nice. It was dry, often sunny, and with only a light breeze, the top temperature of 9, or maybe 10 C didn't feel too bad. Unlike the current fantasy of the BBC weather forecast, it was cloudy enough overnight to avoid the forecast frost, and instead of bright sunshine it is rather cloudy right now. My thermometer says it's 8 C - 3 degrees higher than the forecast. It does look as if the cloud might break up enough to let some sunshine through a bit later. In fact there is a tiny chink in the clouds right now that is almost too bright to look at. Maybe reality and fantasy will catch up later in the day, and that means that it will lightly cloud over as sunset approaches, but the temperature will fall to just a couple of degrees by tomorrow morning.

 Considering how badly I believed I has slept the night before, I didn't feel that tired last night. There were a few brief times when I felt almost healthy in a decrepit sort of way, but the walk to the station after work still had me almost breathless with an aching chest. The good thing is that it was not as bad as the previous day, and I think I was walking a little faster last night.

 I had some grand ideas about what I might eat for dinner last night. I had considered pulling some stuff out of the back of the freezer and cooking up something extra healthy...........but I didn't ! What I actually did was to use up two small ready meals that were defrosted in the bottom of the fridge section but should really have been kept frozen. They were Aldi's own brand Thai chicken curry. They are in quite small portions, and mostly rice, but they probably contain a lot of fat/oil, and despite their diminutive size, were probably quite high in calories. I declined to view the nutritional information panel on the package to avoid scaring myself.

 They were good vehicles to try some on my recently aquired chilli sauces on. I tried two, and although they looked like they could have been mouth burners, they were a lot milder. I had one more "course" to my dinner last night - bacon ! It was well grilled, and not too fatty. So it shouldn't have been too much of a disaster. It was just past it's use by date, and had to be used, plus I thought it would be excellent to try the chilli and mustard sauce again - but in more moderate quantities than when it first tried it. This time I don't think I used enough, and the flavour was too far submerged under the flavour of the bacon.

 I didn't really care what time I went to bed last night, but in the end I wasn't in bed that late. At about 8pm I suddenly felt dog tired. So I shut everything down and got into bed. I read for nearly an hour before turning out the light. It didn't feel like it would happen, but it didn't take long before I was fast asleep. As usual, I woke up several times in the night, but overall I slept quite well, and I think it was gone 7am before I finally surfaced again.

 A couple of extra hours of sleep was good, and apart from the usual, and getting longer, period of time to get all the creases out, and come to terms with reality, I didn't feel too bad, and a lot better than yesterday morning. Quite how I would have fared if forced to wash and dress then rush to get a train is anyone's guess. I just relaxed until I felt ready to trim my beard, shampoo and condition my hair, and to have a nice shower. Having been nicely relaxed under the hot water I sat down to write this, and now I feel like going back to bed again !

 Unfortunately I can go back to bed because at some point this morning, or if he is his usually unreliable self, a friend is coming round, possibly with his new girlfriend, to pick up the PC I have refurbished for him. He should be paying for the PC and the work I did on it with a bottle of whisky. So in theory I could have a nice boozy night tonight if I wanted to. Maybe I will, or maybe, being the failed alcoholic that I am, I'll forget to do it.

 One of the things I won't be doing today is to go shopping - unless you count getting a bottle or two of Diet Coke from the corner shop. I have decided that I am definitely going to live out of the freezer for a while. There should be several portions of various fish in the back, and several varieties of frozen vegetables. Not only might it make for some healthy meals, but eventually I'll be able to defrost the freezer, and be able to fill it up again with more healthy food - maybe ! Meanhwhile, I have just about used up all the worst foods for me. So I guess I am might be on an enforced diet for a day or two.
Friday 15th February 2013
08:14 GMT
  After a long wait we finally had almost nice day yesterday. It was dry, and there was lots of sunshine. If a bit of a breeze hadn't sprung up during the afternoon, the 10 C would have felt even better. After sunset the temperature dropped quite quickly initially, but then it stabilised to 4 C when I got up this morning. The sky was partly clear when I set out to work, and joy of joys, the first hints of the rising sun gave a pale glow on the eastern horizon. When I arrived at Earlsfield the sun was only inches under the visible horizon, and there was a blaze of pink and crimson rising over the cemetary. Since then it seems to have got a lot cloudier, but there are still big blue patches among the clouds, and there should be some sunshine today. It will be very slightly cooler than yesterday, but still a lot better than a few days ago.

 It was a long way from a complete cure, but the less cool air made my walk from work to Earlsfield station less of a trial than anytime in the last week or two. Maybe once the temperature hits 15 C that walk will become pleasant again. The odd thing is that while I didn't suffer so much discomfort as on colder days, neither did I fully recover from it. Even after sitting on a hot train I could still feel some feint discomfort, and that continued all evening.

 On my way to the pub from Catford Bridge station I had a bee in my bonnet about chilli sauces. I fancied something different to what I had at home. So I had a look in a couple of the ethnic food shops between the station and pub. The first was Caribbean themed, and I was surprised by how many sauces they had lined up on the shelves. I bought three bottles from there, and then a bit nearer the pub I took a look in another shop that may specialise in Vietnamese stuff (the shop name has Saigon in it's title). They had a far smaller range, but enough choices for me to buy another two bottles.
chilli sauces
 In the hastily snapped, and rather poor quality picture above, the five bottles on the left are my latest acquisitions.

 Having bought enough chilli sauce to sink a battleship I went to the pub. I wasn't really expecting to find anyone there on Valentines night, but I fancied a pint of Guinness regardless. To my surprise one person did turn up, and we had a chat over a couple of beers before we both announced that two pints was enough for last night. I went home where I heated up the pork, spinach and pasta meal I had cooked the night before. Eating that gave me the opportunity to try one of the sauces I had bought. The middle one in the picture above is actually a chilli and mustard sauce, and I thought it might go well with pork. It probably did, but it was so fierce that I could hardly taste the pork through the flames and lava coming out on my mouth ! Next time I'll treat it more like hot sauce, and not like ketchup. I think it could be quite good if used sparingly.

 I was in bed by 8pm last night, but I decided to read for a bit before attempting to go to sleep. One other good thing about the Ian Flemming books I am currently reading is that the chapters are usually fairly short, and I don't have to force my eyes open to try and read to the end of an endless chapter as found in some other authors books. The end of a chapter came rather conveniently a little before 9pm. So I put the book down. turned off the light, and tried to get to sleep. I tried quite hard, but it took ages to find a comfortable position, and even longer to feel relaxed. Even when I did get to sleep, I didn't sleep that well again.

 I feel I am going to be yawning even more today than I was yesterday. It's lucky it's a Friday, and I have nothing to do tonight, nor tomorrow morning. I may actually stay up later than usual tonight, but if I do it will be to drink enough scotch to ensure that I get at least a few hours of deep sleep tonight. With no work in the morning I can, if I want or need to, get up for a couple of hours during the night. It's much better than trying to fight to go to sleep again. After an hour or two of being awake I have in the past found it far easier to get back to sleep, and I think I sleep better for it.

 Before I can think about sleep tonight, I have to think about dinner, and my thoughts right now are that it will probably be pasta again. However it depends on what I find in my freezer. There is stuff in there that really needs to be used up, and I have a feeling there might be a couple of chunks of salmon at the back. If there is I might just possibly cook up something ultra healthy - salmon and green vegetable stew (well, a sort of stew). It will be very, very low in harmful fats, and very low in carbohydrates. It's the sort of meal where if you eat nothing but similar concoctions, nothing else at all, you can lose a whole stone in a fortnight. It's probably what I ought to do, but I am not sure if I am ready for such pergatory just yet.
Thursday 14th February 2013
07:57 GMT
  It was supposed to warm up slightly yesterday, and I think it probably did, but it didn't feel that way. It had been calm for most of the day, but by 3pm an icy feeling wind started to blow, and it made my walk to the stations chilly. At least it stayed dry. This morning was definitely the least cold morning for a good many days. It was 7 C. That must be around double yesterday mornings temperature, but it came at the price of moderately heavy rain as I walked to the station. The rain had stopped while I walked from the station to work, but it looks like there could be more this morning before it brightens, and warms up to around 10 C.
The weather forecast for Catford -14th Feb 2013
 I thought the idea of 10 C was so momentous that it was worth taking a screenshot of the BBC's prediction for today. I hope it turns out to represent reality, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that reality will improve on it..........or maybe that is optimism beyond the realms of fantasy.

 Sunset was at 5.10pm yesterday, and if it had been a clear day it would have been wonderful to have a little true daylight for a little while after I got home from work. The reality was that it was rather grey, and although there was enough light coming in the windows to easily move around, it was way short of enough to do any reading. That was disappointing, but at least things are moving in the right direction, and it can't be too long now before the sun will rise as I get to the station in the morning. Although it is waking up to daylight that I really yearn for.

 Walking to the station after work was another almost painful experience in the icy cold wind, but once on the hot train I soon thawed out, and I felt OK right up to the time just before I went to bed. I had a reasonably productive evening last night. I did two lots of cooking, and I cleared the backlog of washing up. My first bit of cooking was my special recipe for pasta, spinach, and fish. The thing that is special about it is that it is never the same twice ! Last night's, made with tinned mackerel, was rather tasty, and if I hadn't sprinkled a very generous helping of grated cheese over it, it might even have been considered to be a healthy meal.

 My second bit of cooking was almost a repeat of the first, but instead of fish I used up some relatively low fat cooked pork. Like the fish version, I also added a huge squeeze of garlic paste. So I won't be kissing anyone tonight, or tomorrow night ! Garlic is alleged to have health benefits, or so it is said, so a good dose of it should do me good, as well as add an good flavour. My pork and pasta special is now waiting for in the microwave, and once I get home I'll have a hot, and hopefully extremely tasty meal ready for me with 5 minutes of getting home - and that could be damn handy if I have more than one pint of Guinness tonight.

 I was in bed by 8pm last night, but I read for an hour before trying to get to sleep, and I had to try very hard ! For some reason my arms, particularly my elbow joints, really ached. A few other bits ached as well, but my arms felt like I had done hours of weightlifting or something. It took as much as a couple of hours to find the one golden position where I felt comfortable enough to go to sleep, and even than I slept very badly. I woke up frequently feeling too uncomfortable, too hot, and even too cold. Maybe it was the transition in the weather that caused it.

 When I finally woke up about 20 minutes before my alarm was due to go off at 5am I felt unusually OK. That feeling extended into my journey to work. I didn't walk to the station as slowly as I did yesterday, although still a bit slower than my average. When I arrived on the platform I felt that I might sink into a coma, but that is a reasonable improvement over feeling like I was about to die yesterday. Not only that, but I recovered a lot faster too.

 Whether this improvement is due to the air being slightly less cold, or whether the fish and garlic has done something good already, I don't really know, but I suspect that just a few degrees improvement in the air temperature was the best thing, although the fish and garlic may eventually do some good. One thing is for certain, and that is it wasn't instantly painful to suck in a lungful of air this morning like it was yesterday. If the temperature really hits 10 C by the time I walk to the station, it will be interesting to see how far I can push myself before it gets painful. In theory, at 10 C, I should be able to use full power with no ill effects until I just run out of breath.

 One thing I will definitely be doing tonight is gazing into the soft velvety sensuousness of my only true and faithful lover. Not only that, but I'll be slowly my lips towards her and drinking in her beauty. If anyone else is in the pub tonight I will probably stay and have more than one beautiful loving pints of Guinness - maybe several !!
Wednesday 13th February 2013
07:53 GMT
  It did feel exceptionally cold yesterday. Several people remarked that it felt colder than when the snow was on the ground. It was all due to the wind which was not very strong, but it had an icy sting in it. I believe a frost was forecast for this morning, but we seem to have escaped that maybe by a mere degree. The sky is light grey right now, and there is a small chance that the cloud will give way to some weak sunshine this morning, but during the afternoon the cloud will thicken again, and some rain is likely tonight - perhaps earlier. The thicker clouds will be the result of warmer and damper air coming in from the west. So the temperature will rise, and tomorrow, as well as copious amounts of rain, the temperature could get as high as 10 C - which will almost be pleasant compared to the last few days.

 It seemed to take forever for my office to warm up yesterday, and it felt like it had only got comfortably warm an hour or two before it was time to go home again. Being chilled all day made for an uncomfortable walk to the station, but after being baked on the train from Earlsfield to Waterloo I felt reasonably good for the rest of the evening up to the point where I went to bed.

 I went home via Iceland to get a few items of shopping. They do sell booze in there, but I was quite disappointed that they do not appear to sell and whisky. I didn't actually need any because I still have half a bottle left at home, but I was curious as to what they might have for future reference. What I did buy was some cheap and nasty microwaveable snack food in the form of wraps and panninis.They made a change to my usual dinner, and maybe tonight there will be an even bigger change because I also bought some broccoli and spinach. I think that tonight I'll be cooking pasta with spinach and fish for dinner. I haven't tried cooking pasta in the microwave yet. So it should be an interesting experiment.

 Shopping and an unusual dinner were not the only things I did last night. I installed the last program on the PC I have put together for a friend, and told him it is ready for collection at his convenience. He wants to reward me for it, and I told him that Scotch (but not single malt) whisky is always acceptable.

 The other thing I did last night was very satisfying even if it was done out of desperation rather than because I was feeling good or something. I'm sure it was looking horrible, and I know it felt horrible after not being washed for almost a week, and so I washed and conditioned my hair. That did mean that I had to stay up later than I wanted to while it dried, but I was still in bed with the light off by 5 or 10 minutes after 9pm. In theory I should have gone out like a light. I did feel terribly tired, but I just could not find a comfortable position to lie in.

 Some positions felt too hot, and others too cold. Some positions made the mattress feel lumpy, and other positions made the pillow feel lumpy. I tossed and turned for ages, perhaps until almost 11pm before I finally got to sleep, and then I slept solidly. I can only recall waking once, and that was at the inconvenient time of 4pm - an hour before my alarm was due to wake me up. I think I woke up because I realised a dream I was having had veered to far outside reality for a subject that was based on reality.

 It may have actually been two dreams that I had rather than one continuous one. Part was something to do with tomorrows date being 08/08/08. I can't remember if that was supposed to be a good thing or a bad thing (nor can I remember if their was any significance to that date in real life beyond the fact that it looks sort of cool as a series of numbers). Maybe even then my subconcious was realising that something was wrong, and that the year 2008 was five years ago,  but part two definitely triggered a reaction. In the dream I was laying on my bed when one of my past cats jumped up on to the bed to be friendly, and I realised I hadn't fed it for over two days. Now that was patently wrong because the longest any of my cats went unfed was about 5 minutes !!

 So I woke up to stop the dream, and then turned over to go back to sleep. As I did so, memories of trying to get to sleep earlier came flooding back, and I didn't think I would ever get back to sleep. The next thing I knew was that my alarm was sounding, and it was 5am, and time to get up for real. I woke up feeling fairly refreshed for a change. I wouldn't go as far as to say it was a feeling of wellbeing, but it wasn't bad, and apart from the stresses and discomfort of travelling to work, I still feel slightly OK now.

 There is one thing I must do tonight, and that is to try my hardest not to make too much of the pasta dinner I should be inventing/cooking. In an ideal world I would be in bed quite early tonight, and not feeling like I've eaten a horse before going to bed. I suppose the latter should be possible - I don't believe that they have found a way of disguising horsemeat as salmon or sardines (or whatever is in the tins of fish I will be using tonight) !
Tuesday 12th February 2013
08:00 GMT
  It was pretty horrible yesterday. Either sleet, snow, or just rain seemed to fall almost continuously until quite late in the afternoon. If it had been a degree or two colder it may well have been all snow, but the snow that had settled during the night had all but melted away by mid morning. While the rain/sleet/snow stopped eventually, the sky remained very cloudy, and that probably saved us from a frost this morning, but it was a close thing. Today has started off just a degree or two above freezing with the sky looking like it has been painted with battleship grey paint. There is not supposed to be much, if any rain today, but it will stay cold, grey and thoroughly unpleasant !

 Out of all the things I could have done yesterday, I only did one of them. That was to prepare one of my spare PCs for a friend. I probably didn't start doing it until gone midday, but I can't remember just when it was. What I do remember is that installing Windows XP, plus service packs 2 and 3, and then assorted drivers and software, took all afternoon. I hope that my friend will make more use of the second operating system I put on it - Linux Mint 14. Installing that took a third, or even a quarter of the time that it took to install Windows XP - and no searching for drivers ! A little of the time was taken up by my special customisations of the desktop to make it a bit more familiar to a Windows user.

 By 8pm I was feeling quite weary last night, and I was in bed reading soon after that. I probably should have turned off the light, and gone to sleep, earlier than I did, but I was engrossed in reading the opening chapters of Ian Flemings second James Bond book. It was about 9:15pm when I turned out the light, and tried to find that elusive most comfortable position for sleeping. Eventually I fell asleep, and although I only woke once or twice in the night, I feel I didn't sleep that well for some reason. Maybe it is because once I got showered and dressed for work this morning, I had a very strong desire to go back to bed again !

 I am really hoping that once some warmer weather arrives I will begin to feel OK again. It was another uncomfortable struggle to get to work today, and going home will only be slightly better. Like last week, it still feels like I have all the symptoms of 'flu once I start walking in the cold air - I ache all over, but the worst ache, and probably the one that is most lethal, is the ache in my chest that radiates up my neck, and down my arms. It is, I think, classic symptoms preceeding a heart attack - but I don't seem to have one for some unknown reason. Oh well, I'll try harder tomorrow !

 I possibly need to get some shopping on the way home tonight, and I have the dilemna of choosing to shop in Tesco or Iceland, or even ot to shop at all. I have got some Tesco Clubcard vouchers for extra points, or money off certain items - mostly stuff I probably ought not to be eating - but I haven't got them with me. So I reckon if I go anywhere after work, it will be to Iceland (the supernmarket, and not the place that is probably even colder than London !). Then I can got to Tesco with my vouchers, should I choose to use them, another day.
Monday 11th February 2013
07:40 GMT
  Yesterday continued to be dull and gloomy with frequent light showers. Sometime during the night it got a lot colder, and at 3am there was a thin blanket of snow covering the road and cars. Although cold, it is not cold enough for the snow to stay, and now most of it has melted leaving lots of slippery patches of slush. These will continue to melt away in the drizzle that is now falling from a cold and grey sky. The forecast predicts grey skies and occasional drizzle, or maybe even light rain, all day, and the maximum temperature could be as little as 3 C.

 It could be said that I wasted most of yesterday afternoon and evening. I didn't do much apart from read, watch TV and have an all too short snooze. I suppose that watching a film you enjoy is not exactly wasting time, but there was stuff that I could have done that would have been more rewarding - like building the next incarnation of my server. The film I watched was "Very Important Person" starring a favourite of mine, James Robertson Justice - who, I've just found out, was born in Lewisham (possibly in Lewisham Hospital where I was born, although Wikipedia gives the location as Lee).

 I intended to get to sleep early last night, but whether it was the lentil soup I had eaten earlier, or something else, my brain wouldn't let me relax, and my bed felt uncomfortable. It was gone 11pm before I fell asleep, and I am sure I had two dreams involving snow before I even realised it had snowed at 3am this morning. In one dream I was standing my a river watching several animals come and rub themselves against a pile of snow on the riverbank. One animal was very peculiar in as much as it was a newly born bird (born, not hatched !). It was rubbing against the snow to try and remove loose feathers - particularly a scraggly collection of tail feathers that looked like a bushy tail.

 That was all pretty odd, and the other dream seems very odd now because I can't recall enough details about it. It concerned two house like structures, one in front of the other, and both set in an icy area. The closest one looked slightly dilapidated, and the one behind it was apparently mine. I think it had just been given to me or something. It looked terribly cold, and maybe unfinished, but inside it was well equipped, and it was warm despite some of the fittings being seemingly made of ice. I wish I could remember more because it all seemed to mean something in the dream.

soggy snow - Monday 11th February 2013
This is the view that greeted me when I went out to go to the station this morning.
train cancellation after a bit of snow on Monday 11th Feb 2013
 Things didn't get off to a very good start this morning. The lentil soup whizzing through my digestive system made me a bit impatient for a smooth journey to work, and cancelled trains do not make for a very smooth journey. The next train after the one in the picture above did run, and I did make an attempt to catch it. Once again things did not get off to a good start when I nearly landed on my backside after finding my front path was lethally slippery. I obviously wasn't wearing ideal shoes for walking on the slippery slush remaining from the earlier snow, and after slipping and sliding around on the way to the station I turned around before I got there and came back home. I have now booked a days holiday for today because something seemed to be telling me I shouldn't go to work today !

 I think I have several things I will do today instead of going to work. The first might be to catch up on some sleep after my short night. Then there are three things I probably ought to do. One is to do some laundry. The other is to start work on the new incarnation of my server, and another is to get one of my spare PCs up and running for a friend of mine. I did say I would try and do that over the weekend. So I suppose I ought to give it some priority.
Sunday 10th February 2013
14:35 GMT
  Much of Friday was OK, but it did rain during the evening. Yesterday was generally dull, and there were frequent light showers. This morning also started off rather gloomy, and it is still gloomy now.....and it's raining ! The temperature has improved very slightly. It is currently 6 C, but the main improvement is the lack of the icy wind that made it feel far colder than it was.

 On Friday, just as I was about to get off my train home at Catford Bridge, a text message came through inviting me to join Kevin in the Wetherspoons pub for a "quart" !! If I hadn't made a decisive decision it could easily have turned into a gallon, but I think I stopped after 5 pints (but it might have been 6). It was quite enough to give me a raging hunger, and quite enough to sap almost all my willpower to try and eat moderately that night. I still had just enough common sense left to restrict what I ate to about 110% of "optimum instead of my intended 90%, but it could easily have been 200% in the state I was in.

 Ideally I would have gone straight to bed without eating, and considering that all I had eaten prior to going to the pub was just a few bits of fruit, it would have been quite good for me, but the booze said no - on that occasion. So I had some food, and watched some TV while I ate. On BBC3 there was an excellent programme celebrating the 33 1/3 rpm long playing record. It wasn't very warm in the living room, and my hangover was growing by the minute, but I was totally hooked on watching that programme to the very end. It was followed by a documentary about the making of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album, but as much as I wanted to see it, I couldn't stay away from bed any longer.

 On Saturday morning I awoke after a good sleep with only the minimum of hangovers. I had slept a lot later than on a weekday, and that didn't leave me much time to tidy up the place before Aleemah brough over a Dr Who DVD so we could watch a few episodes that I had missed when originally transmitted. After Aleemah went home I mostly rested in preparation for the evening.

 Chain were playing at The British Oak in Blackheath, and luckily that is one of the venues where I am often very priviledged to be offered a lift there. Last night was no exception, and I am very grateful to Jo and Chris for the lift because the big wide world was not very inviting what with all the greyness and drizzle. I was picked up at about 7.30pm, and at the venue I did my usual roadie duties. Carrying and lifting stuff seemed like a stupid idea considering how I have been generally feeling, and I did find it very knackering, but also sort of satisfying. Not only that, but it was a good contribution to some of the exercise that has been lacking from my life recently.

 Oddly enough, I actually felt better after doing it than before, or at least I did after my heart stopped pounding ! There was only one fly in the ointment that to a very small extent spoiled the evening. right outside the pub there is a bus stop for the 386 bus. It was a frequent reminder that a few minutes walk away from it's final destination, which is only about 10 - 15 minutes on the bus, lives someone who I would have dearly loved to have been there last night.
Stop J on the 386 bus route

 As usual, I took a load of other pictures. It's lucky, but maybe luck by intention, that I took along my Canon camera as well as my new Panasonic camera. Once again it was the Canon that produced the better pictures. I am beginning to dislike that Panasonic camera, but I am hoping that it will show it's good side once I get it out under daylight, and don't need to use the flash. I think most of the pictures I took using it with the flash on were overexposed. All the useable pictures came from the Canon camera, and here is a selection of them.
Ravi on bass, and Guy Harris on drums
Ravi and Guy
Jo Corteen - Saturday 9th Feb 2013
Jo Corteen
Jo Corteen with Ravi in the background
Another shot of Jo with Ravi in the background.
Chris Mayer - Saturday 9th Feb 2013
Chris Mayer with Guy half hidden behind the drums and mic stand.
a slightly more rock star pose from Chris Mayer
A slightly more rock star pose from Chris Mayer.
Jo Corteen singing solo
Jo Corteen singing a Fleetwood Mac song solo.
Kevin Crowhurst doing his bit with the cow bell
Kevin holding the cow bell for the intro of "Honky Tonk Angels".
Low shot of Ravi
Low shot of Ravi
Ravi, Jo, and Chris (and Guy's ear !).
Chris Mayer - rock star !!
A real rock star pose !!

 At the end of the evening I helped knock down the gear, and take it out to the cars, and then I was given a lift home. I could have been delivered to right outside my door, and I wish I had because it was raining. I hadn't actually realised that when I said to just drop me off on the main road at the end of my road. Maybe it was a good thing though because the short walk from the main road was enough to get me feeling slightly ill, and that was a good reminder to reduce the amount of food I eat. It is very rare that I can do it, but last night I went straight up to me bedroom, and didn't have anything to eat. Of course when I say last night, I actually mean gone 1am this morning !

  It may have been the excitement, or maybe it was because I didn't eat, but somehow I found the energy to transfer all the pictures I had taken on both cameras, plus some footage on my camcorder, onto my PC. Then I made a start at reviewing and editing a the selection of pictures I've shown here and elsewhere. Shortly before 2am I was well and truly knackered, and I was in bed and asleep by 2am.

 I feel like I slept quite well again, but after a day that seems to have flown by without much happening, I do feel like a lie down very soon. I've probably eaten all I should today, but I feel I will have at least a snack sooner or later. I did some experimental cookery for lunch today. I tried, with some partial success, to make something like chips in my electric grill. I basted some slices of potato (with the skins on) in some oil and loads of ground black pepper. After a lot of grilling, but not quite enough, they came out quite bice. Next time I try this experiment I think I'll put the potatoes in the microwave to pre-cook them for a while before slicing and grilling them. I reckon that will work quite well. I don't know when that will be. Maybe some evening this coming week perhaps. If it works I'll mention it, if not..................
Friday 8th February 2013
08:19 GMT
  It's a shame that the extended periods of sunshine yesterday did not bring any warmth to the day. The outside temperature stayed very chilly at just a few degrees. The sunshine faded away during the afternoon as it got cloudier and cloudier, and then at around 7pm it started to rain. During the night the clouds parted again, and the temperature dropped low enough for a good stiff frost, and in places that frost formed on the road itself. It's looking as if today will, apart from the added frost, be a repeat of yesterday. The sky is mostly clear, and although it's tragically low in the sky, the sun is shining. Sometime late this afternoon/early evening, hopefully after I get home, some more rain is forecast.

 Although I didn't feel that wonderful for a lot of the time yesterday, I did manage to clear my backlog of clothing laundry. I had to do it in two halves with an hours breather between each half. I have yet to do some of the bed linen that needs doing, but I might have done some pillowcases if there had been any room to dry them. Maybe I'll get some of the bed linen washed over the weekend.

 After the toasted cheese sandwiches I had for late breakfast, I wanted to leave a decent interval before I had dinner, and I wanted to eat before I went to the pub. The only compromise was to have a late lunch at 3pm, and ignore dinner. That still only gave a couple of hours for the meal to settle before I went to the pub, and it wasn't enough. I still felt sluggish and bloated when I walked to the pub, and I felt quite ill by the time I got there.

 Unfortunately no one else went to the pub last night, but I stayed for three pints of Guinness while reading Casino Royale to pass the time. It certainly is a good read, but the chapter dealing with James Bond's torture was rather unpleasant. Iam Fleming certainly made it sound realistic, and unlike comic book heros, our hero ended up with a stay of several weeks in hospital to recover from his ordeal.

 I carried on reading when I got home again after an unpleasant walk in the rain. That dampened my spirits more, and the couple of large scotches I had depressed me even more. There were several, or more reasons why I went to bed feeling really pissed off last night, but it didn't seem to stop me sleeping, although there was a short delay before I fell asleep.

 This morning I woke with a ood honest, but actually quite mild hangover. After not eating anything since about 3pm yesterday I expected my walk to the station to feel a little easier, and it was, but only to the extent that I left home early and purposely walked quite slowly. A combination of the cold air, and whatever deadly disease I suffer from, be it heart disease or lung cancer, still left my chest burning when I arrived at the station. It makes me wonder if walking in air that is above 10 C, a figure almost plucked out of thin air, will actually feel any better, or if my body is now permanently damaged. Time will tell, but judging by the forecast for next week, it is going to be, or will feel like, an awful long time before some excuse for spring is upon us.
Thursday 7th February 2013
10:35 GMT
  There was a little bit of sunshine yesterday, and the wind wasn't quite so strong, but it still felt remarkably chilly. From time to time there was a light shower, but a slightly heavier shower at just before 4.30pm as I waited for my train at Waterloo East station, almost crossed the threshold from sleet to snow. The clouds thinned, and just about went away during the night, and this morning is gloriously sunny. The clouds probably didn't clear soon enough to get the temperature low enough for a frost, but it must have been close. Currently it is a very chilly 3.6 C. The temperature should rise to about 5 C during the early afternoon, but the clouds will gather again, and there could be a splash of rain around sunset. Then the temperature starts to drop down towards zero during the night.

 I felt (physically) quite good while at work, but travelling home afterwards ended up taking it out of me, and I arrived home feeling tired, weary, and aching. I didn't go straight home, but went via Tesco to pick up some shopping. One thing I felt I needed was a new bottle of scotch. It seemed quite important, but once I got it home I felt too tired to even open the bottle. It remains unopened even now.

 One problem with going in Tesco's was that I bought some stuff, notably hot cooked chicken and salad, that needed eating last night. That meant that I didn't get to try and idea that I was dying to try. I had this incredible urge to see what a toasted cheese and anchovies sandwich would be like. Fortunately I resisted the urge to add that to my already big dinner. It wasn't that big though, and for a second night (I think) I went to bed not feeling over stuffed.

 I went to bed early again, and did some reading. I have started reading Casino Royale by Iam Fleming, and it has started off rather good. It wasn't so long ago that I was reading something, somewhere, that mentioned that Fleming's books about James Bond may have inspired the James Bond movies, but were really rather different. The single chapter that I have read actually reads like part of one of the movies, but with just enough subtle hints to indeed suggest that the story will continue in a completely different way. I think I'll enjoy reading the books, but time will tell.

 I seemed to sleep well last night, but I woke up with an annoying headache. It wasn't as severe as a migraine (as I described it to work when I phoned in sick), but bad enough when added to the other assorted morning aches and pains (that would almost certainly be made worse when I went out into the freezing cold). So I took a couple of aspirins and went back to bed where I experienced the typical sequence of feeling like I couldn't get back to sleep followed by waking up several hours later.

 I still have a mild headache, but it wasn't bad enough to stop me having a good hot shower, and washing my hair. It also wasn't bad enough to stop me making my experimental toasted cheese and anchovy sandwich. It wasn't quite as exciting as I thought it might be, but was still pretty good, and I'll be adding it to my list of approved recipes (at least I would if such a list existed). I used (allegedly) mature cheddar slices for the cheese, but they weren't cheesy enough. I feel an even cheesier taste would definitely enhance the taste from good to wonderful.

 There is one task I really have to do today now I have the opportunity to do it, and that is to do some laundry. I just haven't felt like doing any after work, and the backlog is now getting critical, but even now I find it hard to raise the enthusiasm. I am very wary of reviving my fading headache, and I am still feeling like I have what I can only describe as being like subcurrents of 'flu with all the stiff joints I have been suffering from (mostly when out in the cold), and a general feeling of lethargy.

 I am very sure I haven't got any form of variant of 'flu, and I can ascribe most of my aches, pains and lethargy to three significant factors that all interreact with, or reinforce each other. They are, in random order, the weather, eating badly, and an assortment of feelings about Sarah. Taking eating badly out of the equation is the one thing I have theoretical control over, but not much control in practice. The weather just needs patience, and as for Sarah.......well, that is the lap of the gods and goddesses.

 Thursday has come around again, and that means that tonight I won't have to open my bottle of scotch. At least in theory I will have no need to because I rather expect I'll be consuming gallons of Guinness tonight ! I think I'll be drinking less tonight than I did last Thursday, but that is easy to say at this end of the day. Something that could tip the balance is that tonight I will be short of one inhibition to drinking a lot. Had I gone to work today I would have been wearing my thermal under trousers - the ones that don't have a fly ! I won't need to wear that hindrance to stand up used beer draining just for a five minute walk to and from the pub, and so I can drink beer without having to think of one of the consequnces of it ! Of course another consequence could be another headache in the morning, but a good honest hangover is no impediment to work because past experience dictates that it will very soon fade away - helped by a lot of water, and maybe some aspirin.
Wednesday 6th February 2013
08:20 GMT
  There wasn't much, but there was some sunshine yesterday, and until the evening it was dry. If it wasn't for the temperature being only a couple of degrees above zero, and an icy wind blowing straight down from the arctic, it might have been a nice day. It is possible that while I was sleeping, some sleet or snow may have fallen, but there was no evidence of it when I woke up this morning. I think the last of the rain fell very shortly before I left home to come to work.

 It has started out quite cloudy today, but there are some small blue patches amongst the grey clouds, and it is probable that there will be some sunny intervals this morning, but the forecast says there is also a good chance of some rain that will last for the afternoon. The temperature is going to go up and down by a few degrees all through the day, but mostly it will average out to just 3 or 4 C until late tonight when it will be on a downward slide towards zero.

 I felt quite knackered when I got home from work last night. So once again nothing got done apart from some very simple cookery. I cooked, if you can call it cooking, a couple of toasted cheese sandwiches, and heated up some Singapore noodles in the microwave oven. As I ate I watched the news on TV, and then, as seems normal now, I switched off the TV and went up to my bedroom. I spent a little while on the internet before turning that off and getting into bed where I finished reading my book.

 I can't remember when I turned off the light, but I think it was before 9pm, and I think I fell asleep fairly quickly. I woke up a few times in the night, and on one of those occasions I woke up with my nose all bunged up, and my sinuses full. It made me wonder if all the aches and pains I've suffered this week have been the result of a cold, but the next time I woke up my nose was clear, and my sinuses not feeling ready to explode. I know I didn't dream the earlier period of waking up because the pile of used tissues by my bed was testament to the amount of nose blowing I had to do before I could lay back down and sleep. I've never heard of a 15 minute head cold before, but it seems that's what I must have had no matter how ridiculous it sounds.

 I must say I wasn't terribly keen about coming to work this morning. I didn't feel too bad before I left home, but I correctly predicted that once I was out in the cold air I would start to feel bad. Fortunately I managed to get myself ready in time to leave a few minutes earlier, and I was able to walk to the station at about the slowest pace possible. That reduced my consumption of the freezing cold air, and I got to the station without my chest hurting too much.

 It was initially so cloudy that I couldn't see the pre-dawn light at London Bridge like I could yesterday, but it was light when my train left Waterloo station. There is a very good reason why it was daylight, albeit a rather grey daylight, when my train left Waterloo. It was because of a points, or signal failure that caused all the trains to come to a halt for 30 minutes or more. I had two main choices - go to the high numbered platforms where I could get a train as far as Clapham Junction, and then get a 77 bus to Earlsfield, or I could sit on a nice warm train in the hope that it would eventually move.

 A train to Clapham Junction would have been fine, but 15 minutes on a 77 bus would probably have been extremely unpleasant. So I sat and waited on the train. The train I had got on was billed as the 07:12 to Shepperton. It eventually departed Waterloo at 07:40 - at least I think it was around then, but I didn't actually check the time. What I do know is that unlike usual mornings when there are plenty of trains that are generally half empty because most people are travelling to Waterloo, and not away from there, my train this morning was soon very packed. Very packed indeed ! I was not actually sure I would be able to force my way off it once it got to Earlsfield. I think a few people may have ended up bruised, but I most certainly got off where I wanted !

 After spending so long on a quite warm train, I felt pretty good, and at Earlsfield I went charging along the platform, and leaping down the stairs with a song in my heart (P.S. There could be some exageration involved here). For a short while it didn't feel cold, and I didn't do my jacket up until after I had been in the shop near the station. After I came out of there I started a slow stroll to work. At first my fingers started to turn blue and numb, and then my chest started to burn as I sucked in the cold air. Zipping my jacket up right to my chin helped a bit, but by the time I arrived here I felt pretty bad. Once in the warm I very quickly recovered again. Last winter I though that this one would finally kill me, and it is trying very hard to do so, but maybe not this time, although there is still plenty of winter to go. Maybe next years winter will do it's job properly and cull the sick and the old like xxxxxxx* intended.

* Insert deity of your choice.
Tuesday 5th February 2013
08:02 GMT
  I don't think there was as much sunshine as I imagined there might be yesterday, but at least there was some. It was another cold day, and the cold was made worse by occasional gusts of icy winds. This morning I was greeted by a bright quarter moon in a fairly clear sky when I drew the curtains after getting up.The clearish sky allowed the first light of dawn to be seen before we reached London Bridge on the way in to work. It also means that it is extremely chilly this morning, although the lowest temperature, just 1 C, is supposed to occur around 10am this morning. After that the temperature will slowly rise to 4 C, and the day will get cloudier. Hopefully it will be well after I get home from work, but some sleety rain is forecast for this evening.

 I started yesterday feeling pretty awful, but as the day progressed I felt better and better. In a way, I felt quite good going home. Going home always feels good, but last night there was the added goodness of not feeling terrible like I did in the morning. I could have wished to feel 10 times better than I did though. Maybe if I had eaten more carefully I might have felt better this morning. My main course was a large smoked gammon steak with Indonesian Bami Goreng (I think) noodles and stuff. I also had even less wholesome stuff in the form of Hula Hoops and salted peanuts !

 I didn't feel too bad after eating, but I still lacked the enthusiasm to do any more than spend 30 - 40 minutes at my PC, and then go to bed and read for maybe an hour. Actually that is not entirely true. I did spend 5 minutes looking at my sexy new 3000GB hard drives that arrived yesterday, and will soon end up in my newly revamped server. I also spent some minutes digging out some old RAM memory sticks, and some old hard drives.

 The memory and, if any of the work OK, hard drives are to go into my new laptop. I may not have mentioned it yesterday morning because I hadn't had a chance to see if it was just worthless junk, but I found a Toshiba laptop in the skip. During the day I charged the batteries, and tried it out. It will never win any awards for speed, but it is in perfect working order. I think the battery is even still good enough to run it for as long as an hour (but that is still to be tested). It is old enough that it has Windows 2000 installed on it. I think that with a bit more memory it will run Linux reasonably well.

 I don't know if I slept well last night, or if I slept badly. I do know I had a long dream, or a series of dreams on a similar topic, and some may not have been dreams at all, but my thoughts when half awake or something. The topic of these dreams was probably inspired by some research I was reading about on the subject of reading brain function, and simulating brain function in a specialised super computer. My dream(s) concerned "uploading" the brain, or parts of it, to a computer before, during, or after death. The clearest bit of the dream(s) I can recall was the computer itself, or more specifically it being represented by a very industrial looking, grey cased LCD monitor. Curiously enough, my dream was more like a thought experiment rather than dreaming the procedure could take place. Some of it was like watching a TV programme where the ethics of it were discusssed, as well as discussions on how much  of the brain would need uploading to qualify  the computer as being alive etc. At the time it all seemed to make sense, but now I can only remember the core concepts of the dream(s), and even they are fading away now.

 I woke up just 10 minutes before my alarm was due to go off, and I felt pretty much OK, but that feeling didn't last. Walking to the station in the icy air very quickly made my chest hurt despite having my warmest coat on and zipped up to the chin. I arrived at the station thinking I would soon be dead. Unfortunately that didn't happen, and once I was sitting down on the warm train I felt fine again. Walking from Waterloo East to Waterloo takes 5 or 6 minutes from train door to train door, and it only takes two or three minutes more to walk from home to Catford Bridge station, and yet because the walk is mostly shielded from the weather, I only felt 50% close to death when I got on my second train instead of 97% close to death.

 The longest walk of all, perhaps between 0 and 2 minutes longer, is that from Earlsfield station to work, and I deliberately did that at a slow pace. Despite that I felt crap by the time I arrived at work. Fortunately the warm air in here mostly revived me quickly enough. Right now I am mostly comfortable, and later on I will probably be more comfortable still, but I do wonder if even those god fearin' puritans, with their manic work ethic, would enjoy or endure journeys to work in the state I felt this and yesterday morning. It's a shame I could not do without my wages for this daily torture, or I would hand in my resignation within minutes !
Monday 4th February 2013
08:37 GMT
  I don't think it was as cold as I imagined it be yesterday, but it was certainly rather grey. This morning it was 10 C, but the wind made it feel cooler than that. It is possible there was a very brief, very light shower a short while before I left the house to come to work, but I guess it might have just been dew I saw on the wheelie bins and paths. There are some breaks in the cloud visible, and it seems very possible that the sun will manage to poke it's head through one of them sooner or later. The forecast is for sunshine after a grey start, but the sunshine will not last far into the afternoon, and paradoxically it will get colder as the sun shines.

 I definitely felt rough yesterday. I almost shivered, and definitely ached until I turned the heating up full in my bedroom. After laying on my bed for a while I began to feel comfortable as the temperature reached that of a hot summers day, but it wasn't until I had a very large scotch that I began to feel like it was getting a little too warm (but not uncomfortably so). I did little more than lay on my bed until it was time to get in it and go to sleep.

 For a lot of the time I was engrossed in the book I was reading (Isaac Asimov's "Foundation And Earth"), and no more so when I should have been going to sleep. It was an unfortunate coincidence that I got to a good bit just when I should have been putting the book down. I think it was 11pm, or close to it, when I finally turned the light off. Fortunately I seemed to sleep well, and only woke up just once in the night.

 This morning I think it feels like I got enough sleep, but I could easily change my mind later on today. While I sit here quietly typing I feel reasonably OK, but I didn't feel so good as I came to work. Everytime I tried to walk fast I found it more difficult than it should be, and my chest hurt from sucking great lungfuls of cold air. It is possible the ache in the chest was actually the first signs of a heart attack, but I would never be so selfish to have a heart attack while on public transport - it just causes too much disruption.

 It wasn't only my cheat that hurt. When I got off the train here in Earlsfield I went into the nearby shop and bought a pile of fruit, and a couple of drinks. That should not have made my rucksack feel so heavy, but by the time I got to work my shoulders seemed to be in almost agony as if I were carrying huge great sacks of coal. It is unfortunate that some of this reminds me of having the 'flu, but that is surely impossible !

 Hopefully I'll feel better by the time I get home again, and hopefully the hard disks I ordered last week will turn up today in case I don't feel too good when I get home. If I have contracted some filthy disease that needs time off work, not that I could afford to take any time off work, then sitting quietly (re)building my server would help pass the time, and I'll need those hard disks to do the rebuild.
Sunday 3rd February 2013
15:23 GMT
  It stayed dry yesterday evening despite the increased amount of cloud. All through the evening, and through the night, the temperature dropped, but it didn't drop far, and we probably missed a frosty morning by a couple of degrees. Today has been quite grey without the merest hint of sunshine. It certainly doesn't feel like it, but the temperature has crept up to almost 9 C. There is some sunshine forecast for tomorrow, but paradoxically, the more sunshine there is, the colder it will get. The forecast says the day will start at 10 C, but by early afternoon, when the sun is forecast to disappear behind clouds, the temperature will have dropped to a mere 4 or 5 C.

 I finally got around to making a start on doing some laundry yesterday afternoon. I did about half the clothing waiting to be washed, but none of the bed clothes. I could have done more later, but the load I did do seemed like hard work, and I feared pushing myself harder might have caused some damage. Today I am wondering if that might have been a good decision in light of how I feel today.

 Last night was one of those nights where I seemed to be sleeping really well until about 4 hours after going to sleep I woke up feeling like I wouldn't be able to get to sleep again. In an unexplainable way I felt uncomfortable in bed. So I got up and turned on my PC for a couple of hours before going back to bed again. I then slept for another 3 or 4 hours before getting up.

 Initially I felt OK, and then another paradox struck. I had a nice hot shower, and came out of it feeling very creaky. Not too long after that I went to Aldi to get some shopping. It seemed like hard work, and almost painful to walk there. It wasn't bad as I walked around in the store, and walking back with heavy shopping didn't seem as bad as walking there, but I did feel like I had walked double the distance that I actually walked.

 Soon after I got home I cooked a very simple breakfast, and sat down to watch a bit of TV. I'm sure it is not as cool as it felt down in my front room, and at a measured 22 C in my bedroom, it should not have felt cool at all - but it did ! Although cool, it didn't feel uncomfortable until I woke up after dozing off while reading. Since then I have felt really chilly, and even some hot dinner didn't help that much. Right now I have the heating on full, and the temperature has gone up to 25 C. That should be warm enough for a summers day, and yet I now feel merely comfortable. If I didn't know better I would say I have a fever, and some of the aches in my joints hint that way too ! Whatever ails me is probably all in the mind, and will be gone by tomorrow - I hope !
Saturday 2nd February 2013
14:30 GMT
  The rain gradually faded away during the course of yesterday morning. During the afternoon the sun came out, and at odd moments when the air was still the sunshine felt seductively warm. It's still too early in the year for the sunshine to last until I am home from work, but it was still almost daylight bright when I got home last night. The sparse cloud cover that allowed that also meant that this morning was quite chilly. I was surprised that there was no frost this morning, and perhaps even more surprised that the temparature had stayed about 5 C above zero at daybreak. It has stayed very chilly, but until very recently there was a lot of sunshine. Now the clouds seem to be getting thicker, but no rain is forecast. What is forecast is that the temperature will drop to zero during the night. So maybe there will be a frost tomorrow morning.

 A combination of the sunshine, and perhpas the elation of my booze session the night before, seemed to lead to me feeling  good when I got home from work, but not good enough to indulge in catching up with my laundry - which is now turning into a big pile. Unfortunately my hard disks didn't turn up at work before I left to go home. If they had I might well have done some preliminary work at rebuilding my new server. Instead of that I sat down and wrote a letter. It was one of those difficult ones to write, but I think I achieved what I wanted to say.

 My intention was to get to bed early last night. Not as early as when I have to get up for work in the morning, but still early for the average Friday night. I did get into bed, and turned the light out not long after 8pm, and after a long time I was probably on the point of drifting off to sleep when my mate Lee phoned with one of those queries that hasn't really got an answer. After that I felt wide awake again, and it was not until a little after midnight before I finally fell asleep.

 I slept well apart from sleep being punctuated by several dreams that I thought I ought to be able to remember now, but apparently not. I partly got up at 7am this morning, but decided to take my time adjusting to the real world. I had some preparations to do before my friend Aleemah visited, and I didn't want to start rushing around straight after getting out of bed. I think that was how I pulled a muscle last Saturday - I was doing laundry about 10 minutes after getting out of bed, and while I was still feeling stiff and creaky.

 Prior to Aleemah turning up with a DVD to watch, I got some shopping in from the 99p shop. Among the stuff I bought was a can of Heinz spaghetti with chorizo, not a flavour that appears on the shelves of Tesco to my knowledge, and a can of Heinze beans with "juicy bangers". I had both for my lunch today. The spaghetti wasn't bad, and the beans with sausages were a definite improvement on the normal beans with sausages. What was less good was that the DVD Aleemah brought over was some episodes of Dr Who which she thought I had missed when shown on TV - but I hadn't ! So today's viewing was not exactly exciting !!

 Sometime this afternoon I shall do some of the laundry that is building up. In theory it is quite important to make a start on it, but right now I find I lack the enthusiasm. I think I may lay down and do some reading first. Maybe I'll have a snooze as well.
Friday 1st February 2013
07:47 GMT
  There should have been more sunshine, and a lighter wind yesterday, and in a way there was, but you had to be there at the right moment to realise it. Mostly it was a rather cool feeling grey day. Perhaps the wind was a bit lighter, but there was still enough of it to blow away any notion of warmth - if 11 C could ever be described as anything approaching warm. The best bit was that it was dry at all the important times except for when I was travelling to work in the morning. This morning it has done it again - it's raining ! It is slightly lighter rain than yesterday, but it looks like it is going to be more persistent, and all the time the temperature will be dropping from about 9 C when I woke up, to as little as half of that by mid evening.

 There's nothing like a hangover to make you feel better - it puts all the other aches and pains into perspective :-) I had a good time last night in The Catford Ram with Chris and the boys. Even Kevin managed to turn up last night. I'm not sure just how many pints of Guinness I drank, but it was probably more than 5, and less than 7. It was enough to get me feeling drunk enough to raid The Kentucky Fried Chicken shop where I bought a "Variety Bucket". Fortunatetly I was too drunk and too tired to state up late eating more than half of it, and I can look forward to another feast when I get home from work tonight.

 Oddly enough my hangover is not painful now, and it just feels like my brain is wrapped in a damp towel. That wasn't the case when I woke up at 3 o' clock, or thereabouts, this morning. My head was definitely pounding then ! Apart from that, I slept well - as you might expect after sufficient amounts of therapeutic booze ! I think if it had been warmer this morning I would have felt even better, but it was at, or below the trigger point of 9 C when heavy breathing makes my chest hurt. So I had to take it a little easier as I came into work. Oh how I long for the temperature to hit 30 C when I can run UP the escalators again. Being cold blooded is no fun (unless you live in a swamp and have huge teeth !).

 This weekend could be almost fun in a masochistic way. It certainly will be starting in a good way when I tackle the pile of fried chicken waiting for me when I get home, but there could be more. If I am lucky with the parcel delivery service (probably Royal Mail, but I'm not sure), I'll be receiving two 3 Terabyte hard disks today. They are to go into my Mk4 server (at least I think it will be the Mk4, but who's counting ?). The reason for the two hard disks is so that one will act as a backup to the other - 3 TB of data would be a terrible loss is a hard disk crashed. I have even taken the precaution of getting two different makes of hard disk to lessen the chances of two from the same batch failing at about the same time - which can happen, or so I'm told.

 Assuming the hard disks turn up today, I will almost certainly be spending quite a few happy hours, and no doubt some frustrating ones too, rebuilding my old server, and maybe by the end of the weekend I'll be able to shut down the temporary server that has been serving these web pages for the last few months. All I wish at the moment is that I had made some notes about all the little peculiarities I have to overcome to get all parts of the server working how I want it to. The web server is easy, but the ftp server needs a few configuration changes to make it work correctly, and the Windows file sharing server always seems hit and miss. Sometimes it seems to work, and sometimes only "sort of" work. Maybe I'll get it right this time.