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My Diary/Blog For the Month of January 2013

Thursday 31st January 2013
07:44 GMT
  While there was probably more sunshine than expected yesterday, there was a fierce wind blowing that instantly blew away any heat from the sun's rays. The sky stayed mostly clear until after dark, and I am happy to say that darkness fell a little while after I got home last night. Once the clouds started gathering they did it with gusto ! Sometime during the night the rain started to fall, and it was still falling right up to the time I arrived at Waterloo East station. It did a grand finale as it stopped, and under the tin platform awning at the station the sound was deafening ! The cloud is breaking up now, and sunshine is forecast for sometime this morning. It may last long enough that I'll be going home in sunshine. The wind is supposed to be lighter today, and that may give a chance to the 10 or 11 C forecast for today, to not feel quite as chilly as the 13 or 14 C yesterday.

 Have you ever wondered where the idea that you shouldn't walk on the cracks (or joins) in the pavement comes from ? It dates back to the time before the Romans taught us how to lay paving properly. Unfortunately the neanderthals that Wandsworth council use to lay paving have never heard of the Romans, and make a really terrible job of paving the streets round here. Their worst error is to lay the slabs onto sand. It just gets washed away every time it rains, and walking through Earlsfield is like an obstacle course with loose and wobbly paving stones ready to trip the unwary up every few yards. It gets worse than that - step on the crack, and the cold muddy water pooling under the slab squirts straight up your trouser legs. It didn't happen to me today, but it did once in the past, and it was with some cruel amusement that I saw it happen to someone else as I walked to work this morning.

 It was nice getting home while it was still light yesterday. The sun had probably just about dipped below the horizon, but there was still plenty of light in the sky, and it was almost bright enough to read indoors without turning the lights on. It felt good enough that I delayed preparing dinner for a while instead of starting within minutes of going through the front door. Initially my intentions were good, and I might have managed to eat a little less than my current normal, but fate got in the way of that. While my main course was cooking I decided to have a sandwich, and I noticed that the last few slices of bread were getting dry and too crumbly to make a decent sandwich. So in addition to one sandwich, and my main course, I decided I had better use up the rest of the bread by making open cheese and salad sandwiches which I ate with a knife and fork.

 I didn't go to bed quite so early last night, but at 8pm it was still an hour earlier than my standard bedtime. I could have been in bed earlier but I was too busy sobbing (in a metaphorical sense). I don't know why it breaks my heart to transfer money out of my current account into a savings account, but I just really hate transferring money out of my account. What was actually worse was transferring money from my current account to pay off my credit card. That really stings !!!!!  The good thing was that I still remained in the black after doing all this financial black magic.

 When I finally turned out the light to go to sleep, I was feeling like I had eaten too much, and I wasn't entirely comfortable. Despite that, I fell asleep fairly quickly, and on the whole I seemed to get a good nights sleep. I did wake up a few times, and one time was an unusal experience. I'm not sure what it was, probably some kind of exploding blood vessel in my brain perhaps, but I woke up feeling like my tongue had receieved an electric shock. It was stiff and tingling. It seemed to go back to normal very quickly - perhaps sped up by taking a drink.

 The rest of the night was uneventful, but I did wake up 20 minutes before my alarm was due to go off - which was annoying. Apart from some stiffness in my lower back and around my hips, I didn't feel too bad, but the legacy of too much bread last night was that it seemed like hard work to get up to normal commuter rushing around speed. In fact I only hit close to top speed once when I was overtaking someone. For much of the time I walked at a more sedate pace as I came to work this morning.

 I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow morning, but with luck it will be slightly bad. It's Thursday, and I hope to meet up with Chris and the boys for a drink on the way home tonight. With all my most painful, or debilitating illnesses apparently cured, I feel that I ought to go on a bender tonight. Well, maybe not a bender, but if the boys are there, then at least 4 or 5 pints of Guinness ! If they are not there then I'll have at least one pint before going home where I have some baked potatoes, that just need a few more minutes cooking in the microwave, ready to be heated up and served with baked beans and cheese (maybe).
Wednesday 30th January 2013
08:17 GMT
  We were promised rain yesterday, and it did indeed rain, but it was intermittent instead of persistent, and much of the time it was lighter than drizzle. A more accurate part of the forecast was that the temperature did rise to 13 C, and in fact it exceeded that by another degree during late evening. It will be a couple of degrees cooler today, but there should be some nice sunshine to make up for it.

 By the time I left work to go home yesterday, I was feeling fairly good. I still had a few twinges from my back and chest, but all the worst pain had gone, and by the time I got home I was feeling really quite comfortable. I went home via Iceland to buy some shopping. As I mentioned yesterday, I chose Iceland because they have less temptations to buy instant gratification, crap food in there - their crap needs cooking before use ! Of course, less temptation is not quite the same as no temptation. There were a few things I saw that needed to be tested, and I bought, and ate them.

 I ended up eating more than I intended, but with a dose of optimism bigger than some of the moons of Jupiter, I think I almost got away with not eating more than a tiny excess. I certainly didn't feel almost painfully stuffed when I went to bed last night, and after eating nothing but fruit for breakfast, and no lunch, I definitely had a bit more energy when I came to work this morning.

 In some respects I feel almost OK this morning. It is only with retrospect that I realise that I wasn't coughing, or having to frequently blow my nose while on the trains to work. I guess it's possible that I have finally thrown off the cold that spoiled much of the end of last year, and the beginning of this one. My pulled muscle seems to have 99% healed, and although my back sometimes feels a bit stiff here and there, it is not so bad as to bother me.

 Now if I can just lose a few inches around my waist, and get a bit more exercise in, I think there is a chance that I could be feeling rather good in a few months time. While it is easy to have such grand ambitions, I still have to get through tonight. Maybe I'll manage to eat even less than last night, or maybe I might manage to eat lower fat and calories food than last night, or maybe none of the above apply !

 One thing that is not good for my mental health is Iceland. When I went in there last night I presented my "Bonus Card" to the checkout, and they said it wasn't valid. Those rotten scoundrels have probably stolen the 2 or 3p that I had accumulated on the card by carefully not doing much shopping in there over the last 12 months. I think the reason that my card is invalid is because I refused to give them my email address when I registered it. If my email address is so important to them it can only mean one thing. They can't send my groceries by email, but they can send me spam, and probably sell my details on to other companies so they can spam me as well. Well, you diry rotten spammers, you can stuff your bonus card where the sun doesn't shine, and you can also look forward to far less of my custom than you might have. I feel quite good for getting that off my chest !!
Tuesday 29th January 2013
07:51 GMT
  It should have been a nice day yesterday, but it wasn't ! The weather forecast said there would be a period of sunshine followed by rain mid afternoon. What actually happened was the clear sky very quickly clouded over before the sun even had a chance to rise much above the horizon, and drizzly rain started sometime between 10 and 11am. It didn't fall continuously, but it was as good as. Mostly it was light or drizzly, but occasionally it got a bit heavier. There will be more rain today, and this time it is forecast to be just sporadic showers, on and off all day. It didn't rain while I made my way to work, but there were plenty of puddles to negotiate (particularly in Earlsfield where a 5 year old could make less of a lethal mess laying pavements). The only saving grace is that the day has started off at a mild 10 C, and the top temperature could reach an almost, but not quite, close to warm 13 C.

 Yesterday was a painful and tiring day. I improved during the day, and going home was far less painful than going to work. So it was a great relief to get home yesterday. I considered that it would probably do me good if I tried to curb some of the bigger excesses of my eating, but I just did not have the will power to trade the instant gratification of tasty food for longer term benefits, and yet I did make one decision that almost certainly saved me from going further. I can take little credit for it because it was mostly a result of feeling exhausted.

 I decided I couldn't be bothered to watch the news on TV, and at 6pm I went up to my bedroom where I checked a couple of things on the internet, and answered an email. I was in bed before 7pm, and after a bit of reading, I was probably fast asleep before 7.30pm. I seemed to sleep well until I woke up at midnight feeling very stiff and sore. It was difficult to get to sleep again. As I lay there every small little ache or pain seemed to grow until it felt like every muscle and organ in my torso was a mass of pain. After a while I got up and switched my PC on again. Once my mind was distracted all the pains shrank back again to just a few vague areas that ached a little.

 I did eventually get back to sleep, and slept almost continuously until my alarm sounded at 5am. I felt quite creaky when I got up, but gradually things have improved. The biggest improvement is in the original seat of my discomfort - the pulled muscle down my right hand side. What was agony yesterday, such as wiping my bottom, is merely uncomfortable today. I think it will be as good as healed in another day or two. I am guessing that many of the other aches and stiff back are the result of sitting, standing, and laying in unusual ways to reduce the discomfort of my pulled muscle. With that now healing I am hoping everything else will return to normal as well. Although none of the above fully explains the strange pain just to the right of my belly button. That's probably cancer or something.

 I may not have been able to do it last night, but this morning I talked myself out of buying any rolls, sandwiches, and other unhealthy stuff, and I just bought some fruit. At least until I get home tonight I will be de-toxing myself. Whether it will make any measurable difference is debatable, but at least it is a first step. I've made another decision that I think I'll be keeping to. I need to get a bit of shopping on my way home from work tonight. Instead of all the temptations in Tesco, I've think I'll be getting what I need from Iceland. Even if I do give in to buying something unwholesome, it will probably be frozen solid, and I won't be able to eat it just on a whim ! Now that's positive thinking !!
Monday 28th January 2013
07:48 GMT
  The bright sunshine continued into yesterday afternoon, but gradually it clouded over, and just after sunset there was a moderately heavy shower. During the night the clouds went away again leaving a chilly morning, and a dazzling bright full moon in the sky to light my way to the station. It was 4.5 C when I first woke up, but the temperature was falling. The lowest temperature forecast wil be just a couple of degrees, and that will be either now, or maybe just a little later. Then, with the sun out, the temperature will gradually climb to 8 C by about 4pm when it will start to rain, and then while it's raining it will rise another couple of degrees. Tomorrow could see the temperature as high as 13 C, but it also looks like it will be pouring with rain for most of the day.

 I decided, possibly wrongly, to carry on being extremely lazy yesterday. This was in the hope that it would help the muscle I seemed to have pulled in my back to heal - if indeed it is a pulled muscle and not some terrible disease eating, disfiguring or mutating my body. So for most of the afternoon, and a lot of the evening, I lay on my bed quietly reading. While doing that I felt mostly comfortable, but I am not sure it had the desired effect.

 This morning I woke up and even without doing much to aggravate the situation, it was horribly painful - worse than it had been anytime yesterday, or Saturday. A couple of Ibuprofen tablets eventually provided some relief, but not before I had to do at least one agonising task. That agonising task, and I don't use the word agonising that lightly, was to carry out the task that comes between going to the toilet and washing one's hands, and of course makes use of bathroom tissue (as those of a delicate nature, such as Americans, might describe it) otherwise known as bog paper around these parts :-)

 Some types of back pain respond badly to laying down, and walking often does more good, but back pain is an inadequate description for what I am suffering from. Some of the pain is indeed in my back area, and some on the fringes of my chest, but on average, the centre of the pain is on  my side. It really depends on what I am doing when trying to define exactly where it is. When I am not doing much it is the right shoulder blade that aches most. A twisting motion brings on sharp pain down my side, and heavy breathing makes the ache feel worse towards my chest - several inches to the right of the right nipple.

 It is hard to tell if it is the lingering effect of the Ibuprofen I took earlier, or if the walking involved in coming to work has had some effect at reducing the pain. I certainly feel far more comfortable now by comparison to when I first got up, but I can still feel some ache, and I am sure it would take little to provoke a load more. I feel there will be more improvement once my office warms up. It is distinctly chilly in here right now.

 I will refrain from doing anything that might aggravate the pain today, although it is almost inevitable that at some point I'll be needing to use the toilet before I go home again. At home I can practice using my left hand instead of my right to do the neccesary. Using the wrong hand is tricky, inaccurate, but theoretically possibly. Once when I dislocated my right elbow I became almost adept at using my left hand, but it took several days of practice before the results became acceptable, and I am hoping that I will be healed before then this time.
Sunday 27th January 2013
10:30 GMT
  The temperature yesterday probably reached 7 C by sunset, but continued to rise until midnight. It finally reached 10 C. This unusual state of affairs came about by a large splodge of warm(ish) very wet air that drifted across during the night, and by midnight was dropping so much rain that there was thunder and lightning not too far away. This morning dawned bright and clear - in complete contradiction to the weather forecasts of Friday, and maybe even Saturday morning when they said that today would be pouring with rain. It is now forecast that some rain will fall for a few hours in the early afternoon, but not the deluge originally forecast. Presumably that happened last night. Now that splodge of warm and damp air has passed it is cooling down. It's currently 8.5 C with a clear blue sky, and bright sunshine, but the temperature will continue to fall to half that amount by the end of the day.

 After my morning chores I had a very lazy day yesterday. It may not have been quite how I intended, but a new factor entered into my intentions. I think that I probably pulled a muscle while doing one of those chores, and most likely while I was doing my muscle powered laundry. During the afternoon it became quite sore - but depended on what I was doing. It was hardly noticeable while I was lying down. So I did quite a lot of that.

 I'm not exactly what muscle it is that I've pulled, or how I did it. The main pain comes from my right shoulder blade, and continues under my armpit, and ends just short of my right breast. I thought it has almost cured itself when I woke up this morning, but I was painfully re-aquainted with it when I performed one simple action - reaching behind myself to wipe my bottom after going to the toilet. Even with some care it is quite an uncomfortable proceedure ! Standing in the cold kitchen doing some washing up was not quite as painful, but it certainly ached a lot.

 I'm not sure what I'll be doing today. If it wasn't for this annoying muscular pain, which is definitely made worse by getting it cold, I would probably have gone for a walk in the park while the sun is shining, and the temperature is on the plus side of bloody cold ! The other thing that might have became a reality was my crazy idea from Friday that I might hack some more stuff down in the garden. While it might have been a crazy idea on Friday, this morning it would be a positively insane idea.

 It seems certain that I'll be staying in today, although I wouldn't be averse to going to a pub for lots of theraputic beer. That seems unlikely so I guess I am going to have to think hard about stuff I can do that does not require much arm movement, or I am going to end up feeling rather bored - and that could have a bad affect on my eating habits !
Saturday 26th January 2013
10:48 GMT
  It felt really cold again yesterday, but maybe that was because I didn't wear my thermal under-trousers. The hoped for sunshine didn't happen, but it was reasonably bright as I made my way home from work, and there was still a sort of excuse for daylight when I got home. The weather forecast, even the one at almost 7pm on TV, said that it might snow again last night, but apart from a bit of extra damp on the ground, there was no sign that anything happened during the night. This morning has started bright and sunny - probably earlier than forecast - and the temperature is slowly creeping up. It's currently 5 C, and I'm hoping it will be higher still by sunset. It is not supposed to stay sunny all day, and by 9pm it will be raining - if the weather forecast for today can be believed !

 I should have felt completely knackered by the time I got home from work yesterday, but that wasn't the case. I wasn't exactly ready to run a marathon, but under the circumstances I didn't feel that bad. In a rare moment of madness I didn't even feel as ravenous as usual. So I took the opportunity to order a takeaway, and try a "restaurant" that I had never tried before, but was keen to try.

 The restaurant was Big Mike's, and Big Mike's lives in The Catford Ram pub. I'm not sure what the relationship between the two actually is, but it seems to work as a sort of joint venture, and presumably brings in a bit of extra custom to what can often be a very quiet pub. The food is Caribbean inspired, and I tried three small main dishes. All came with rice and peas (actually kidney beans, or some similar small red bean), and by only eating half the rice I didn't overload myself too much.

 In point of fact, it was the rice and peas that made up the bulk of the meal, but maybe not the calories ! The main meat portions were more bone than meat, and the rest was a fairly tasty gravy under, in one case, a far too big oil slick ! That oil, which I did my best not to eat, probably added hundreds of calories to the meal. Without it, it was not such a huge meal, and I think I can safely say I ate less last night than any other evening last week.

 Not eating so much, and getting an extra two and a half hours sleep means that I feel, or at least felt, fairly lively this morning. I still woke up several times during the night, and I can almost remember a few of the dreams I had. One dream, or more like a freeze frame from it was very unusual in that it featured my dad. Even more bizarre was that he was wearing light coloured, or stone washed flared jeans. He died in 1968 so could easily have had a pair, but I can't remember him in anything but grey flannel trousers (or something similar).

 I have been fairly active this morning. I've done my laundry, emptied all the waste bins and taken out all the stuff for the recycling bin, plus I've washed my hair and had a good shower. I feel a bit knackered now, and that's why I've decided to sit down and write this. Later on, once my hair is dry, I will go to Aldi to get some shopping. After that I'll probably cook something dreadful for lunch. Once that is eaten I rather expect I will be terribly lazy and not do the hoovering that needs to be done (there's always tomorrow !!). Maybe I'll watch some TV/video or maybe I'll do some reading. I'll find out when I get there.
Friday 25th January 2013
07:56 GMT
  There was no rational reason for it, but yesterday morning did not feel quite as cold as the temperature suggested it should. Apart from that, the day was mostly a disappointment. The sunshine that had been forecast never appeared, although the grey did get a lot lighter late in the afternoon. This morning seems to be very grey, but once again the forecast promises some sunshine early in the afternoon. When I left home it was 2.3 C, and that's 2.3 C higher than the forecast ! The temperature should now be on a slow upward trend, although it may not be until Sunday that it hits double figures, and sadly that will coincide with heavy rain - or so the highly dubious long term forecast says.

 This morning I should feel terrible, and maybe I will later on. I had many enjoyable pints of Guinness last night in the company of Chris, Andy, Paul, and Dave. After having my fill I went home and tackled some dinner. Part one was a very crusty roll that seemed to slice up my gums and other bits of my mouth. Part two was a shepherds pie that was far too hot when I tried to eat it, and I burned the roof of my mouth !

 So I went to bed later than I should with a certain amount of mouth pain, too much food inside me, and lots of alcohol in my blood. The latter would normally lead to some solid sleeping, but the food had other ideas. I woke up twice in the first part of the night with the nasty taste of reflux in my mouth. Later on I woke up a few times with cramp in one or other legs, and I also woke up with the discomfort of trapped wind. Overall, it was not a very good night, and yet I don't seem to feel that bad this morning except for toothache. Later on the lack of sleep will probably catch up on me, but being a Friday I have some relief in knowing that I can spend the whole morning in bed tomorrow if I feel the need to.

 I have nothing planned for tonight, or indeed for the whole weekend. I guess that tonight I'll be in bed very early, and tomorrow I will do some or more of the usual household chores. It is Sunday that worries me. It could be 10 or 11 C on Sunday, and that is still not exactly warm, but I keep getting this crazy idea that I will do some work in the garden. In theory that could be a good idea if I have any hope of making my garden more like a garden by summer, but I am not sure I have that hope. At least not in those quantities. The reality is that it will probably be pouring with rain, and the idea of going out in it will evaporate like a snowflake in hell :-)
Thursday 24th January 2013
07:48 GMT
  There were several short flurries of wet sleety snow yesterday, and one of them took place as I walked to the station on my way home from work ! Fortunately none of them were of any significance. What was of significance was the grey cloud that washed all the colour out of the day, and made it seem like the day was prematurely ending. It also felt chillier yesterday, although the temperature was obviously above freezing. The temperature today is forecast to stay within a couple of degrees of the plus side of zero, but there could be some cheer in the air. After a grey start it is possible we will have a sunny afternoon.

 It was good to leave work and head for home yesterday, but getting snowed on, even if it was only a dozen flakes, muted some of my elation at heading towards home - but only a tiny bit. What bothered me most was the dreary grey sky. Just recently I've been thrilled by the lengthening days, and getting home before it's completely dark. It seemed so dank and dreary last night that it felt more like we had gone back in time, and that night had fallen already. The same, but obviously reverse, can be said about the mornings. There was one morning recently when the sky was clear, and it was as good as daylight before my train had left Waterloo. This morning it is so grey and dreary outside my office window that it might just as well be still night time.

 Last night I stuck to the established plan of get in, eat too much dinner, wait until the TV news has finished, and then go up to my bedroom. Then half an hour or so on the internet before getting into bed. I am unsure if I slept well or not. My sleep was similar to the night before when I judged that I had slept well, and yet I still found myself dozing off at work. Once again, it seemed very easy to get to sleep, and to get back to sleep after waking up during the night. I did wake up several times during the night for no easily explained reason.

 Everytime I woke up it was from a dream, but none of the dreams that I can remember were nightmares. In fact at least one was very humourous. The dream was about a door to door sex toy salesman who had knocked on my door to try and sell his wares. I must say that the blow up doll was far more realistic and wholesome than the ones I have seen on TV comedy shows, and at just 33 a bit of a bargain. Maybe if I hadn't have woken up I could have been the proud owner of one in my dream world :-)

 Another dream was most peculiar in how it included some elements of reality, and ignored most of reality. This one may have had some horror element, but I have no recollection of any panic, and only a limited amount of scare. The first thing I remember happening in this dream was waking up to the sound of my mum bringing me a fried breakfast in bed (something that I cannot recall ever happening in reality). I was just about to eat this breakfast when my mum keeled over, and almost landed face first in the breakfast. My first thoughts were "oh no, I'll have to take the day off sick from work to deal with this". Now I can't tell if it was in the dream, during the transition between dream and reality, or after waking up, but my next thought was "no, it's ok, she has been dead for 10 year now anyway".(Which is true up to the point where I can't remember if it's 10 years or 10 years plus or minus 5 years.)

 I didn't feel all that wonderful this morning. It didn't help that I woke up half an hour early and desperately needed to go to the toilet. Some bits felt much better after an explosion that would make Krakatoa seem like a damp squib going off, but other bits of me felt stiff, sore, or aching. A hot shower improved things further, and now I am at work I don't feel that bad, but I would still dearly loved to have gone back to bed instead of coming here. The urge to hibernate is still very strong.

 I sadly realised that it is now 7 days since I last drunk any beer. That has got to be rectified, and tonight I am going to pop into The Catford Ram and see who turns up. Last week it was nobody, but I have a sneaky suspicion that Chris and Andy will be there, and maybe Kevin will turn up too. In a stupidly masochistic sort of way, I am looking forward to feeling far worse tomorrow morning than I did this morning, and if that means taking the day off sick, then so be it ! Although it is very rare that I miss work because of a hangover, but a hangover and the runs........that's a different matter :-)
Wednesday 23rd January 2013
07:45 GMT
  Yesterday was very dull, and it felt colder despite the fact that the snow was gradually melting away. The reason it felt colder was most probably the light wind. Alternatively it was just me not feeling too good. Last night I heard reports that more snow was falling a few miles to the south, but no snow fell in Catford, and there is no evidence of any snow falling here in Earlsfield this morning. I noticed that my outside thermometer was saying 3.2 C when I went to bed last night, and although the forecast says it ought to be barely above zero this morning, it does feel less less bone achingly cold than it has just for the last few mornings.

  Apart from a few sheltered places, or better insulated spots, virtually all the snow has now melted away here in Earlsfield, and the pavements along the main road are dry. Sadly, the rest of today is most probably going to stay very grey, although there is some hope for a brief bit of watery sunshine sometime early in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the temperature is going to stay almost constant through the day, and probably for the next few days. The latest forecast suggests the next change will not be until Sunday when it is going to be very wet, and by comparison with the last week or two, almost warm at 10 C.

 I felt tired and aching when I left work to go home yesterday. It felt like I was coming down, or even had come down with yet another cold. My often blocked nose, and frequent chesty cough did little to persuade me that I was in the best of health either ! I still had the energy to go home via Tesco where I bought all sorts of outlandish things. One thing I felt an urge to buy was some blue veined cheese, and indeed I did buy small packs of two varieties of it - Roqueforte and that Italian one that is similarly named to Gorgonzola, but whose real name escapes me for now.

 Blue veined cheeses might, but most say they haven't got a bacterium in them that is strongly related to Penicilin. My unconscious desire to buy those cheeses could be because I have some sort of infection, and my body believes, rightly or wrongly that they could help. The important thing is that they are nice cheeses whatever their other merits, or lack of them, and apart from a shed load of calories, they won't do any harm.

 I also bought some sliced cooked beef that I found on the reduced price shelf. I think that tonight I will be having one or more toasted beef and blue cheese sandwiches - and to hell with the consequences !! Last night I almost, but didn't eat a partly healthy dinner. The barbecue flavour hot cooked chicken probably contains all sorts of nasties above and beyond the fat like substance it was dripping with, but the bowl of salad I had with far too much of that chicken would have added some useful nutrients that the chicken lacked. As well as the greasy chicken I also had two hot cooked Cumberland sausages - more grease and empty calories !!

 Even though I was eating hot food, I still felt chilly, and I wish I had put on more than a t-shirt while I was eating, but I didn't want to dribble chicken grease down a jumper or something. It felt a little warmer in my bedroom, but even up there I was not happy. So at a little after 7.30pm I got into bed. I soon warmed up in bed, and by 7.45pm I was fast asleep - only to be woken again by a phone call at 8.15pm. The phone call went on for a time, and it must have been close to 9pm before I got back to sleep.

 I woke up several times during the night, and each time I woke up I seemed to be waking from a pleasant dream. One of those dreams may inspire me to write another short story, or even a slightly longer one if I can find the time and patience to write it. In fact, if I had the skill, and the time, and the perseverance, and the imagination, the dream and idea are so open ended that it could form the basis for a full novel. I have doubts that I currently have the patience or time to write even a short story, but you never know, something may happen.

 I may have woken several times during the night, but it felt like I had a good sleep. I say that on the basis that it seemed effortless to get to sleep. So much so that when I awoke 40 minutes early I just turned over and fell asleep again in seconds. Not only that, but it was a deep enough sleep to make me take several seconds to respond to my alarm sounding. If I didn't have to come to work today I could easily have slept another hour or two. At least I think I could have. It's just a shame I didn't get the chance to try.

 I expected to feel pretty rotten this morning, but a nice warm night seems to have partly regenerated me. My nose has stopped getting blocked, and I am not coughing anything like I was yesterday afternoon. My throat feels a little tiny bit sore this morning, and that is a change for the worse, but everything else feels better, and best of all, I don't feel anything like so chilly this morning. I haven't checked a real thermometer, but it feels like it is several degrees higher than the 2 C that is forecast for today. It is definitely cold, but not the cold that seeps deep into the bones.

 There is an alternative explanation to why I felt so bad yesterday afternoon, and today could provide some supporting evidence to my theory. It is possible that I am allergic to work. I don't recall feeling all that bad when I arrived at work yesterday, and my symptoms seemed to start abating once I had travelled about half way home. At the moment I don't feel too bad, but if I leave here to go home with my nose all bunged up, and coughing up lumps of lung, I think that will strongly point to an allergy to being here. It will probably all be in the mind, but the only way to be absolutely sure would be to sterilise the the whole premises, plus most of Earlsfield, by nuclear weapons dropped from space. It would be the only way to be sure the threat was neutralised :-)
Tuesday 22nd January 2013
07:54 GMT
  It sometimes make me wonder just how the weather forecast, or at least my inerpretation of the simple symbols used for it, can be so wrong. I am very sure that nothing in yesterday morning's forecast gave any hint that there was to be brilliant sunshine from mid morning until late in the afternoon. That sun did little for the air temperature, but it melted a lot of snow. The sky remained clear into the night, and this morning the temperature was down at minus 1 C. It's also very misty in places, but I don't think it is thick enough to be called fog - which was what was in the forecast. Once the mist has lifted, which might take until this afternoon, there could be some more sunshine, but it will soon cloud up again. The temperature will remain barely above zero, and even below it, for most of today, and probably until the end of the week.

 An article in yesterday's Metro said that yesterday was "blue Monday". There were various reasons for this. It was partly the weather and the short winter days. Partly a delayed come down from the holiday season, and a big part was that it was the time when most people had to face up to their credit card bill after their xmas spending. To add to their woes, it was also a common time for people to realise their new years resolutions were failing. It was also a Monday ! Oddly enough I felt none of these things. If anything, I felt rather good yesterday, and the sunshine was like the cherry on top of the cake. I felt so good that I went for a quick walk in the park with my camera during my lunch break.
A duck cooling it's bum in icy water
I can't help but thinking that ducks must be really hardy little buggers. Sitting with your bum in icy water all day must be terrible !
King Georges park, Earlsfield, in the snow
This is the view to the north (approximately) across the top end of the park.
The snow was crispy and white, and the sky was blue -
- and so were my fingers after holding the camera without gloves for 10 minutes !

 During my walk in the park I felt almost energetic, although after walking little more than half a mile I didn't really test it. By contrast, I felt really tired when I walked to the station on my way home from work. I recovered a bit on the first train, but then expended that little boost in energy levels at Waterloo East station as I waited for a train back to Catford. My train did run, and to be fair is was only 7 or 8 minutes late, but the extreme confusion about what platform it would arrive on was taxing. The dribbling yokels that pass for platform staff at Waterloo East kept saying that platform A was closed, but one train managed to call there, and everyone had to rush down to the subway, and then back up the other side to get it.

 My train, when it eventually arrived, called at platform C instead of the usual platform A. Fortunately I was waiting on the right platform, and didn't have to rush about. It was almost still daylight when I arrived home, but that didn't give me enough boost to consider doing anything apart from a quick look at the internet, cook and eat dinner, and then go to bed. I had a robust dinner - which is a sort of euphemism for eating too much. I can't remember when I picked up on using the word "robust" to describe a big, probably unhealthy meal, but it seems it is now flavour of the month !

 I don't feel as good this morning as I felt yesterday morning. Just a day of travelling in the freezing air has started my chest off again. It's not anywhere near as bad as it was some time again, but there were a few times on the trains this morning when I had to cough more than I would like. I think that next year I ought to ask my doctor for a sick note for the months of December through to March, and then go into hibernation for the worst of the winter.
Monday 21st January 2013
08:17 GMT
  It may only have been light snow, but it just kept on falling all day, and only stopped very late in the evening, possibly as late as midnight. It's hard to be exact, but it looked as if 3 or 4 inches had fallen when I last looked last night. A very gentle thaw occured last night, and this morning I measure the temperature at 2.3 C, but it had hardly begun to affect the snow laying in most places. I saw some sleety looking snow falling when I passed through London Bridge and Waterloo stations on my way into work today. It probably won't amount to much, but another short snow shower is forecast for early evening. Mostly though, it's just going to be a grey day made even greyer as the snow on the roads turns to muddy slush.

 Yesterday afternoon I hand washed four pillowcases, and a fitted sheet. While I was in the mood to do some housework, I also used the hoover around the kitchen. This was mostly to clear up some of the debris left by the unkillable, immortal, and sometimes completely invisible mouse that lives behind all the tins in my kitchen (except it's never there when I check). I did come very close to hoovering the living room as well, but I realised I should have done it before spreading my laundry over two clothes horses in front on the fire.

 I am sure I ate too much yesterday, but this morning I am wondering if I did go over the top or not. I most certainly had a very "robust" breakfast after my walk in the park, but I never had any big meals after that. I did have lots of little snacks and nibbles though, and yet this morning I don't feel that bad. If anything, I almost feel quite good - particularly considering the weather. I guess it's just the rejuvenating effect of being away from work for three days !

I wanted to take some photos of the snow as I made my way into work. Actually I did take quite a few shots, mainly around Catford Bridge station, but the odds were stacked against me. It was still 90 minutes before dawn. So there was only artificial light, and the low light level combined with frozen unsteady hands meant that most shots were rubbish. A couple were almost acceptable though.
Catford Bridge station 21st Jan 2013 with snow on the ground
There was a lot of uncleared snow on the platforms, but the reails seemed to be mostly clear of snow.
Catford Bridge -the 06:33 arrives on time despite the weather.
The 06:33 to Charing Cross arrived just about on time despite the snow, but one of the station staff tries to correct that by shovelling snow off the platform, and onto the rails.

 My journey to work went mostly without incident this morning. There didn't seem to be any delays, and the train didn't seem to be going any slower than usual, but we did arrive at London Bridge a mostly ignoarable 3 or 4 minutes late. It was of no consequence. What was of consequence, although I can't really blame the rail companies, nor the weather for it, but when I withdrew some money out from one of the ATMs on Waterloo station, the printed receipt came out blank ! So I have no idea if I am rich or poor at this time, but if my estimates are anywhere near correct, I think I can say that I am getting close to poor !

 I hope my journey home is as straightforward as it was getting to work. I fear it may not be. Having watched the performances of the trains on the Hayes branch over the last couple of days, I think I can predict that by this afternoon it will be complete chaos despite starting out perfectly. Hopefully I won't arrive home too late, but at least when I do get there I have some food part prepared, and that will only take 5 minutes heating for a nice hot meal to help thaw out my hands and feet.
Sunday 20th January 2013
11:14 GMT
  After the light thaw yesterday, it's snowing again today. The temperature fell to -0.1 C, and possibly lower during the night. At dawn the temperature increased to zero, and right now it is currently 0.6 C. At ground level, further away from the house, it could easily be a degree or two lower than that. meanwhile the snow continues to fall. It's very light snow, so light that it is hard to believe that it can be doing much, and yet hour by hour the snow slowly gets deeper. Maybe half an inch has fallen so far today, and by the end of the day it could be several inches. The snow will take a rest tomorrow, but some more is forecast for Tuesday.

  This morning I decided I just had to do something, and so I put on several layers of clothing and went out to take some pictures of the snow in the park. I meant to walk further than I did, and to take more photos, but when I left my gloves off to use my camera my fingers quickly froze up. Once they started to get cold I just could not revive them. It was really quite painful, and my left index finger was particularly agonising. It was rather stupid of me not to take out some handwarmers I had bought specially for such an occasion !
Kids playground
Here's the kids playground in Ladywell Fields providing almost the only bit of colour in a bleak lanscape.
view across the football field
This is where the mad fools kick footballs around, and the masochists may well be doing it again today.
In the background to the left of the picture is the rear of Lewisham Hospital.
Skateboard rink (?)
I think the kids will have to exchange their skateboards for snowboards.
Looking towards the Ladywell Rd entrance
This is looking towards the Ladywell Rd entrance to Ladywell Fields.
Man made loop on the River Ravensbourne
Man made loop off The River Ravensbourne with Ladywell station in the background
(with a train in the station).
train from Ladywell to Catford Bridge
It is something of a miracle that Southeastern Trains are still managing to run trains in this weather.
Frozen backwater
This man made backwater is connected to the river, but is frozen over.

 It was a great relief to get back in the warm after as little as 30 minutes in the park. (I wasn't actually paying much attention to the time so it could have been as little as 20 minutes or as much as 50 minutes.) It took a little while to thaw out my fingers, but the process was hastened by doing some washing up in hot water. While I did that washing up I cooked what modesty only allows me to describe as a robust breakfast !

 With breakfast now eaten, and today's blog almost written, I am now free to choose something else to do. I think I will definitely do some laundry, but after that.............
Saturday 19th January 2013
20:59 GMT
  It carried on snowing for much of yesterday afternoon, but by the time it stopped, probably soon after dark, it still didn't really amount to much. It could have been about an inch of snow, but even on the side roads the salt and the traffic meant that bare tarmac was visible still. It was supposed to be a very cold night, but the temperature was a tiny bit above zero, and this morning the snow had thinned out a lot. Today was very overcast for most of the time, but no more smow fell, and the road outside only had patches of snow remaining on it. The current temperature outside the upstairs back bedroom window is 0.7 C. That's cold, but not cold enough to preserve all the remaining snow. According to the latest forecast there will be more snow to replenish it tomorrow.

 I've been meaning to write something here all day, but nothing has happened that is worth writing about. If my (ex)friend Sarah was reading this I would be telling her how much I miss here, and how she would have inspired me to do something or another, but as far as I know she doesn't read my blog. About the only thing of note I have done is to wash my hair today. The rest of the day I passed just watching TV or eating more than is good for me.

 There were things I wanted to do, but didn't. These included washing some pillowcases and a sheet. Hoovering the living room, and possibly my bedroom, and even less possibly, hoovering the stairs. I also wanted to go to the park to take some pictures of the snow - although I wasn't quite sure how much snow would be left there.  I guess the reason I didn't do any of these things is because I am depressed, and yet in any ordinary sense I don't feel particularly depressed.  It's more like a sort of ennui, or waiting for something to happen.
Friday 18th January 2013
13:13 GMT
  Yesterday was was definitely cold, and yet it didn't always feel too bad because there was little wind. No rain, sleet, or snow fell yesterday, but it has today.  Last night's forecast suggested that the snow would start at about 11am today, but by 10am there was already a thin layer on the ground. Since then it has snowed mostly lightly, but non stop, and ever so slowly the snow is getting thicker and thicker. It's hard to put an exact figure on it, but I estimate about an inch has fallen so far. It could carry on like this for the next 24 hours, maybe less, maybe more, but it seems like it could get fairly deep by tomorrow morning.

 I stopped off at the pub on my way home from work last night. On the way there I picked up a copy of the Evening Standard to read in case I had to drink on my own. Most Thursday's there is someone there, but not always, and last night was one of those nights when no one was there. In fact there was only me and someone else in the entire pub at one time. I stayed for two pints of Guinness before I went home.

 I got home in time to watch most of the news on TV while eating my dinner. I felt very hungry when I got in, and dinner was bigger than it should have been - again ! I have excuses for the chicken. leek and bacon meal, and the cheese and marmite toasted sandwich - all, apart from the cheese and marmite were on, or past their use by date. The Lamb Rogan Jhosh was just pure gluttonly (and what I had actually been looking forward to) !

 By the time I went to bed last night I was feeling quite tired, and I fell asleep quite quickly, but I didn't stay asleep. There was one period during the night when I was awake for what seemed like quite a long time. Eventually I got off to sleep again, and slept right through until my alarm had been sounding for many seconds. It may have been at that point that I decided I wouldn't go to work today, and rightly blame the weather for it.

 Of course at 5am there was no snow, but all the forecasts said it would definitely snow, and there would easily be enough of it to create some transport disruption later in the day. So it was not a matter of getting to work, but of getting home again that worried me - and it's started already :-
Trains between Hayes (Kent) and Lewisham are being delayed by up to 30 minutes.
There are currently delays of up to 20 minutes to trains travelling through London Bridge
Trains through Bromley South are being delayed by up to 25 minutes

 Instead of going to work I have done some useful stuff...........no, actually I've been very lazy, but I have been out to Aldi to stock up on essentials (and non-essentials). I made one error of judgement. I bought some chips in curry sauce, but my small freezer has no room for them. So I had to eat them for breakfast ! The problem with doing that is that I now have to wait a long time before I eat what I really wanted to eat. I still have some bread in the fridge that is rapidly going off, and I planned to use it to make some Polish ham type stuff and cheddar cheese toasted sandwiches with some of the chilli and mustard sauce I discovered today.  If the bread hasn't started to go furry by tonight I guess I'll have to have them for dinner tonight....and that means I won't be able to have the Aberdeen Angus beefburgers I was going to have, or maybe I will anyway !

 What I ought to do next is to go out and take some pictures of Catford under the snow, but I'm not sure I can be bothered to go out again. The other thing I ought to do is to do some laundry, and that is probably more important. What's more it is an excellent way of keeping warm in this winter landscape !
Thursday 17th January 2013
07:47 GMT
  Yesterday was far sunnier than the day before, but with the sun so low in the sky there are few opportunities to see it, and it doesn't give off that much heat. So yesterday stayed just 2 or 3 above zero. On the plus side, the relatively clear sky meant that it was still light enough to read when I got home. Darkness fell quickly after that. With the sky still mostly clear, the temperature dropped well into minus figures overnight, and it was either minus 1.9 or minus 2.9 C when I left for work this morning (I can't remember which).

 The forecast predicts that the highest temperature for today will be 0 C, and that should get the ground nice and cold ready for the predicted snow to fall tonight. It is possible that tomorrow I'll wake up to some snow on the ground, maybe as much as a couple of inches, and if that doesn't do the trick then more snow is forecast right through the day, and possibly Saturday morning too !

 It was nice getting home before it was completely dark last night, but it was marginal, and wasn't enough to inspire me to do anything useful last night. So as usual it was eat and watch the news on TV, and then go up to my bedroom where I spent 30 - 40 minutes on the PC before going to bed and eventually sleeping - badly.

 Dinner was an interesting mix of stuff - none of which was particularly healthy, or healthy at all. My main course was a Tesco ready meal of jerk chicken with rice. The jerk chicken half was quite unexciting, and the rice was positively unpleasant. It's no wonder that some West Indians are bad tempered if that's what they have to eat. I shall be avoiding it in future. I also made use of my electric grill in a way I had not tried before.

 First of all I tried grilling a pair of large samosas that I had found on the reduced price shelf in Tesco the day before. They are not that bad cold, but heating them makes a good improvement. Ideally they should have a crunchy shell, but microwaving them just leaves it soggy. The answer was the electric grill. They didn't come out as crunchy as if they had been fried (as the should be), but they weren't bad. For the other thing I cooked in the electric grill I have to thank my friend Mike in Canada for pointing out the obvious to me. They make really good toasted cheese sandwiches ! Thanks Mike !

 I didn't sleep that well last night. I had things on my mind, and it was cold in the night. At 3am I woke up for the umpteenth time, and decided to put my heater on full blast. Two hours later when my alarm went off, the room was apparently warm according to my thermometer, but I still felt cold. It took a good hot shower to thaw me out. It also eased some aches and pains I had. If it hadn't, there is a good chance that I might have stayed home sick today, and it did come close to that.

 I really didn't want to go out in the sub zero air because I knew what would happen. I would be mostly OK walking to the station in it, but as soon as I got on a hot stuffy train I would start coughing badly, and my nose would start streaming. Fortunately my train this morning was not over warm, and wasn't that stuffy. I still coughed a lot, and frequently had to blow large quantities out of my nose. The worst is over again now I am work. If we do have any substantial amounts of snow tomorrow morning, and there is the merest hint of any disruption to the railways, I am definitely not trying anything heroic, and will be calling work to ask for a days holiday.

 I definitely feel like a beer tonight - maybe several ! I think I'll call into The Catford Ram on my way home to see if anyone turns up in there. If it has started snowing by then I may be tempted to have even more beer. Maybe stay and watch the band if they are any good, and say "to hell with tomorrow, I want to live for tonight" !!
Wednesday 16th January 2013
08:23 GMT
  It would be untrue to say there was no sunshine yesterday, but it wouldn't be far from the truth. For a short period of time there was enough sunshine leaking through the clouds to cast a shadow, but that was about all. The sky was actually clearer when the sun was so low on the horizon that it was impossible to see. At least that meant there was still enough light in the sky to see in full colour when I arrived back in Catford after work yesterday. It also gave a thick frost this morning. My thermometer was registering just 1 C when I left to come to work, and it might easily have been a few degrees lower at ground level. It is going to be another very cold day with the temperature barely reaching a couple of degrees above zero, but it is supposed to stay dry, and once again some sunshine is forecast for the afternoon.

 I had an insane desire for some hot chicken and salad last night. So I went home via Tesco and bought some. I also bought some other stuff including a litre bottle of scotch.The booze didn't influence my eating, but the depressing cold and dark did. I ate far too much last night, and this morning I paid the price for it in two ways. I felt very stodgy as I walked to the station, and I walked to the station half an hour late because I didn't seem to be able to stop visiting the toilet.

 It is possible that I will eat more gracefully tonight, but somehow I doubt that will be as gracefully as I should. I;ve even got off to a bad start this morning by buying a spicy chicken and cabbage roll/wrap type thing on the way into work. I had to go into the shop to buy some drink, and some fruit, and couldn't seem to resist buying the roll as well. Maybe it was because my journey into work was worse than usual. Getting the train half an hour late means it is so crowded I have to stand all the way, and with so many bodies on it, it seemed stifling hot. By the time I got off the train I was soaked with sweat under my thick coat. I didn't enjoy that at all. This is definitely one of those days when I really, really didn't want to come to work, but I'm here now, and will have to endure it for the next 8 hours :-(
Tuesday 15th January 2013
07:49 GMT
  Yesterday was pretty horrible. The snow in the morning was OK, but the dull grey sky that followed it was none too good. What was a lot worse was the rain. It started with just a few snowflakes blowing in the wind at about 11am. Those few isolated flakes quickly turned into heavier sleet, and that sleet quickly turned into rain. The rain continued falling from a dirty grey sky for several hours, but thankfully had stopped by the time I left work to go home. During the evening the temperature actually rose to 4.2 C, but this morning it had dropped back down to 2.8 C. It is dry this morning, and there is no frost or snow to be seen. The sky is slowly getting lighter, but it is still too early to see if I am just imagining some breaks in the cloud. The forecast is for some sunshine around the middle of the day, but the temperature will stay low at just a few degrees.

 Going home from work last night should have been a pleasurable experience for several reasons. Going home from work is always a pleasure regardless, but a broken down down train at Clapham Junction spoiled things a bit. In theory I still had time to rush to get my train at Waterloo East when we arrived at Waterloo, but I wasn't in the mood to rush around. So I waited 20 minutes for the next train.

 That delay was annoying on another level. Although most of the sky was overcast, there were breaks in the cloud that made the sky seem a little brighter, and when I arrived at Waterloo it did feel like it was still day, and not night. Every night after work I get a little joy as I judge the lengthening days by how near home I get before the sun sets. Being twenty minutes late rather spoiled it last night. Maybe today, if the forecast is to be believed, the sky will be mostly clear and bright when I go home, and I will attain deep joy from still seeing a bright glow on the western horizon as I turn the key and enter my house. It will mean that it can't be long before I arrive home in full daylight, and the day won't have ended before I have a chance to enjoy being at home. After that, the next great reason to cheer will be when I can once again walk to the station in daylight when I come here to work.
Air Ambulance car seen outside Waterloo station
  There was one benefit of not rushing to get my train from Waterloo East last night, and it was getting this picture. With plenty of time to spare, I wandered outside the station to have a smoke, and I spotted this car parked outside the station. I was not aware that the air ambulance service had any cars, and I certainly didn't realise they were painted in such a wonderful electric blue colour. There was something about the colour, and the rest of the decor of the car that made it look rather beautiful - which is a word I rarely use for inanimate objects, but somehow this one sort of got at me.

 When I arrived home I felt cold and hungry. I had felt cold at work for much of the day, and actually freezing during the morning. All I ate during the day was fruit, and I was looking forward to some hot food, but I still wanted to try and moderate the amount I ate - and failed ! I actually started off with a cold chicken and bacon roll while I waited for some Singapore noodles to heat up. To those I added a very generous splash of hot chilli sauce, and then, as an experiment, far too much peanut butter. The peanut butter worked OK to flavour it like a Chinese satay dish, but I should have used far less of it. The amount I used made it quite stodgy to eat (and I don't like to contemplate the extra calories it added). On top of that I had three grilled sausages, and some chocolate. It's lucky I only ate fruit during the day !

 I think I got a reasonable amount of sleep last night. I was in bed reading quite early, and I think I had the lights out, and was fast asleep well before 9pm. I did wake a few times in the night, and a couple of those times it was to read messages that had come through to my phone, but overall it was a good nights sleep. I certainly feel less tired this morning compared to yesterday morning. If I can do the same, or better, for the next couple of nights I think I will enjoy going for a beer on Thursday night - maybe an extended one :-)
Monday 14th January 2013
08:07 GMT
  I don't think the temperature has changed more than a degree for the last two days. There was a very brief bit of sunshine yesterday, but even with that the temperature dropped half a degree or more during the evening, and this morning it was 2.8 C. At ground level it was probably a bit lower, but not low enough for frost and ice. However it was low enough for the snow we had this morning to settle wherever the ground was not wet. It wasn't much snow, maybe less than a quarter of an inch, but the sky is still grey enough that there could be more of it up there. Last nights weather forecast suggested that the snow would barely touch south/south east London. Presumably others, not too far away, have had much worse.
Snow falling at Catford Bridge station - 06:30 14th January 2013
 This was the scene at the station as I waited for my train to arrive. I don't think my mobile phone camera does justice to how thick the falling snow seemed to be to my naked eye. It was quite impressive that the train arrived in time. Normally Southeastern trains would curl up and die for a fortnight with just half that amount of snow. Now I just hope I'll be able to get home again this afternoon.

 I'm trying to think if I did anything of note yesterday afternoon. I did go to the corner shop to buy some Diet Coke, but I can't think of anything else, and yet time didn't seem to drag apparently doing nothing. If anything time seemed to be flying by at such a speed that before I knew it, I was very late getting to bed. I think it's going to be another day at work where I am half falling asleep !
Sunday 13th January 2013
11:02 GMT
  It's cold. It has been cold. It will be cold ! Currently the temperature stands at 3.3 C outside my spare bedroom window. Nearer to the ground it is probably a couple of degrees lower. Yesterday may have been a degree or two higher at best, and the day before that a degree or two higher still. The last couple of days have been dry but overcast, and today it is still very grey outside. If the slightly warm and moist air coming in from the Atlantic should meet the icy air coming in from Russia should meet above Catford there will probably be some heavy snow. Presumably it is happening somewhere in the country, but not here - yet !

 There is no particular reason why I haven't written anything here for the last two days. Partly it was there has been little to say, and when there was I seemed to get distracted and did something else. On Friday I booked a day off work as holiday. It was I had a sleep deficit, and I thought I would make it even worse by going to the pub on Thursday night and staying late.

 That never happened. I felt too tired to even get any shopping in after work, and I went straight home. I was also suffering from a bit of a head cold, although the symptoms seemed very intermittenent. I felt mostly OK during the afternoon at work, and although my nose was a bit damp on the way home, and then on into the evening, it was feeling tired that outweighed any symptom of a head cold.

 On Friday morning I woke up at 5am as usual, and I thought I felt fine. After doing the usual I went back to bed and slept for another hour or more. When I woke up again I was coughing so bad that I was almost choking. My eyes were streaming, and I couldn't blow my nose frequently enough. I think I may have tried to swallow a stray hair or something because after a while I settled down, and eventually I fell asleep again. When I woke up again I felt fine - no cough, dry nose, and ready to face the world !

 I felt fine as I did some laundry, and I felt fine when I went to Aldi to get some shopping. After that I had some sandwiches, and then lay down to contemplate the state of the world or something. It wasn't long before I fell asleep. I was awoken by a call from Kevin wondering if I fancied a beer. He got in before me because I was thinking of calling him  with the same question. I agreed with one proviso that I would leave the pub early enough to get a few things in the 99p shop.

 It was unfortunate that I didn't like any of the beers that the Catford Wetherspoon's had available. None of them were nasty, but none suited my particular palate - and I had to check 3 (or was it 4) just to make sure of it ! We finished off with a double Jamesons Irish whisky just to make sure we didn't feel cold on the way home :-) Then, in a slightly wobbly state, I went to the 99p shop and bought a few bits and pieces.

 Despite having bought lots of nice stuff to eat in the morning, I fancied a takeaway more than I fancied cooking. So I ordered some stuff from one of the many takeaways around here. It was one I hadn't tried before, and I don't think I'll be using them again. I ordered more than I wanted with the idea that I would have some leftoveres for breakfast or lunch. I did eat the burger, and that was actually very good, but the lamb shish kebab was very disappointing. It was mostly salad (which had it's plus points), but the small quantity of lamb seemed very hard, dry and chewy. I only tested a few of the chips, and a bit of the chicken I had also ordered. The chips were horrible, and the chicken was unpleasant.

 On Saturday morning Aleemah came over with a DVD whose exact name I can't recall as I type this. It was a scifi film with "time" in the title. It was set in a world where the conventional looking cars were overdubbed to sound as if they were all electric cars, and the currency of the day was time. Some unspecified scientific breakthrough had enabled people to halt their ageing at 25, potentially indefinitely, and also gain a luminous green display down their arm showing their life expectancy. Time could be added to, or from this life exceptancy as if it were money. So the rich would live far longer, and those in the ghettoes had short life exceptancy. That was the background to the story, and the plot revolved around our here who turned into a sort of Robin Hood type character.

 Maybe the concept of the film stretched my imagination too far, or maybe it was a little too American, a little too Hollywood for me to like it as much as I potentially could have done. I can imagine it could have been done a lot better if it was a British film done in a sort of understated way or something.

 After Aleemah went home again I heated up my chicken and chips. It was telling that microwaving the chips did not make them any worse than they were when freshly delivered. That suggests to me that they were already old and reheated when delivered. The chicken did not improve, or get worse, and was still not much good. It seemed a bit stringy, and the coating was something completely unique, and far worse than other attempted copies of the Colonel's secret herbs and spices.

 I had a bit of a rest after eating, and then I decided I just really had to look into why my internet was so slow. Just before xmas there had been a very brief power cut that lasted less than a blink of an eye, but long enough to reboot one of my computers. I assumed it had disrupted Virgin Media's equipment in some way, and their status pages were indeed reporting a fault on their broadband. That was eventually reported as fixed, and my internet connection did speed up a bit intermittently, but I was still often experiencing speeds that were sometimes slower than a dial up connection.

 When I did a speed test yesterday I noted that my upload speed was nearly as fast as my download speed when typically it would be as little as one eighth the speed. I also noticed that I was getting a faster speed when I plugged in a wifi dongle. It became very obvious that I had a fault here. I didn't find exactly where the fault was, but when I replaced the ethernet cable between the hub in my bedroom, and the hub downstairs in the back room, the fault was cleared.

 While I had cables dangled all over the place I tried plugging my main computer straight into the cable modem. When I did a broadband speed test I found I was getting 15Mbps. That is a bit lower than the 20Mbps I am supposed to get, but it was only a brief test, and at peak time. Repeating the test through my firewall, and with other stuff connected up as well, gave a speed of 5Mbps. I think this should be a wake up call to me to finally get around to replacing my truly ancient firewall PC with something a bit faster !

 As I have probably mentioned several times in the past, my firewall PC is an ancient desktop PC from the days when Windows for Workgroups 3.11 ruled the roost. It uses a Pentium I (or equivalent) processor running at 66MHz with a lowly 32MB of ram ! Even worse than that is that the inbuilt network adapter, and possibly the second network adapter are only rated for 10Mbps ! I'm never going to get the full 20Mbps secone through those ! In some respects though, it doesn't matter. 5Mbps second is fast enough most of the time for my downloads, and that leaves plenty of bandwidth for uploads - i.e. uploading these web pages to your PC.

 Today I've got off to a very slow start. It's now gone midday, and all I've done so far is write this and shower and shampoo. There is other stuff I ought to do like some housework, but the only thing I feel motivated to do now is to go out and buy some diet cola. I should have got it when I went to Aldi on Friday, but it seems they had run out. While you may get your caffeine fix from tea of coffee, I only get it from cola, and I need more !
Thursday 10th January 2013
07:43 GMT
  The weather forecast for yesterday predicted that shortly before sunset the clouds would thin, and we might catch a glimpse of some watery sunshine. They got that wrong ! It might have been earlier than 11am that the sun broke through the clouds, and by midday the sky was perfectly clear. The sunshine didn't seem to carry much warmth, but during the afternoon I was comfortable standing outside with no coat on for short periods of time.

 The sky stayed clear overnight, and this morning my thermometer said it was just 3.5 C outside. Nearer to the ground it was cold enough for the first frost of the year. The temperature today is not forecast to go much above 4 C as we start another cold spell that could even see some sleet or snow on Sunday. It's hard to tell if the sky is clear or not right now, but I am guessing it is not clear by how dark it still is. Maybe today will end up as another sunny day like yesterday, but very much cooler, or maybe it will be a nasty grey day.

 It felt good to leave work in (almost) sunshine yesterday. The sun was too low on the horizon to see it directly for most of my walk to Earlsfield station, but it managed to keep lighting up the sky until I was over halfway home, and there was still a bright glow on the horizon when I reached home. It can't be too long to wait now until it is actual daylight when I get home.

 Although I felt good about the sunshine and lengthening day, I was rather apprehensive about what I would find when I got home following the events of the previous night. I didn't know if Sarah would be there or not, and what sort of state she would be in. It turned out that she wasn't there, and has either gone back to her mum's place, or has found someone else to stay with. She left no message for me, but a brief exchange of text messages confirmed that she was safe.

 In theory my relationship with Sarah is now all over, but I am not so sure. I would not be surprised to hear from her again once she has worked out some of the problems she has. In at least one respect it was good that she decided to stay elsewhere. I needed a rest ! Not just a physical rest, but a mental one too (for reasons that I choose not to explain). Her timing may have been good too because I don't feel too good this morning.

 This morning I seem to have added sneezing to my list of symptoms that I have been suffering from recently. I woke up this morning feeling really bunged up, and unlike the previous few mornings it hasn't cleared up yet. My chest felt more congested too. Some of it could be a change in the weather as we go from almost mild to the bitterly cold conditions that have been forecast. It may be just as well that I have booked tomorrow off work as holiday. I thought it might be prudent to take the day off in case I end up staying late in the pub tonight. Now it feels more likely that my day off will be a sick day rather than just a chance for a long lie in after a late night.
Wednesday 9th January 2013
07:53 GMT
  The rain that was forecast for yesterday evening didn't start until very late evening, or possibly not until the early hours of this morning. Contrary to expectations there was some sunshine yesterday morning. It was weak and watery sunshine, but still very welcome. This morning has started out very grey and grimy, and with a lot of puddles, but it didn't rain while I was on my way to work. Much of today will be very overcast, but mostly dry, and the cloud should start to thin out late this afternoon. Whether it will thin enough, and before sunset, to let in a bit of weak sunshine remains to be seen. One thing seems more certain and that is the thin cloud will let all the heat escape, and by the early hours the temperature will probably drop to around half the 10 C that will be about the maximum for today.

 Lots of stuff went on yesterday evening that I won't write about here, but I can say that it was just more than a little boring. Maybe it had an upside to it if I look at it positively - as I should, and I think I do. There was little time to eat yesterday evening, and all I had to eat was a simple sandwich - just two slices of multigrain bread, some slices of roast pork, mustard, and some sun dried tomatoes. It was actually rather tasty, and it was my entire evening meal ! All I ate before hand was some bits of fruit while at work. As a result of this continuing reduction in the amount I eat, I seem to able to easily draw my trouser belt up to the next notch.

 Yesterday it needed a bit of a tug to move to that next notch, but this morning it just seemed to come naturally. I think it highly likely that since the beginning of the year I have lost several pounds. Of course as a percentage of my entire body weight it is quite a small proprtion, but it is a start. Now if I could just get over the remnants of the head cold I had a couple of days back, and I could get all the catarrh out of my chest, I would almost feel like running around. I wouldn't, but it would be nice to think I could if I wanted to.

 It is probably almost strange to feel the way I do today. Bit's of me feel unnusually healthy, and other bits feel in terminal decay. It could make for an interesting summer. When the days get warm and sunny it should clear up my chest, and with the rest of me getting into some sort of shape so early in the year, I could be looking forward to some long walks again. Maybe, although it does rather depend on the temperature getting up close to 30 C, I might even break my record of walking 10.35 miles. I would like to think I could do it one day.

 I hope that I can persuade Sarah to come with me on some of my walks, and I hope I would enjoy them more with some company. It could be that company is a double edged sword - while it would be wonderful to share the sights I see and stuff, I also wonder if I would get frustrated by being slowed down. As much as I have enjoyed my many coastal and inland walks, I do tend to walk as fast as I can manage to try and reach my destination as soon as possible so I can go home again - which probably seems mad, but it's just the way I do it. Still, there's no need to worry about these things now as we wait ever patiently for a bright and warm day.
Tuesday 8th January 2013
07:46 GMT
  I don't think it was as heavily overcast yesterday as the forecast suggested it might be. All day long the sky ranged between light and darker greys, but it didn't get like night time in the middle of the day. The temperature stayed around 10 C, and should be similar today. This morning started with some clear sky. The moon was plainly visible as a crescent in the dark morning sky, and once the sun started to rise it showed streaks of cloud in the sky glowing pink. Since then the sky has become more like the forecast with light, but unrelenting grey covering the whole sky. Sometime after sunset it might rain according to the official forecast.

 I felt very sleepy at work yesterday, and I could have done with far more sleep the night before. I managed more sleep last night, but I think it still fell far short of what I need day to day. I have to confess that dealing with someone who has so many problems as Sarah is proving to be more stressful than I imagined. I fear that progress is going to be very slow for some time, but there is every hope that it will be made. That is all I can really say about it.

 While I may be missing out on sleep, and I seem to be still suffering from a headcold who severity varies from day to day, if not hour to hour, I do feel good in other ways. Discounting last Saturday when I succumbed to eating more than I should have to reach my current aspirations, I have continued to eat in a way that could be mistaken for dieting. To call it as such seems to tempt fate, and yet I might have actually been doing so.

 Yesterday I just had some clementines, and small conference pears, until I cooked my dinner last night. Even dinner was slightly healthy sounding, and may have been so if it was only 2, and not 4 grilled good(ish) quality beef burgers with a medium sized tin drained garden peas, and some sun dried tomatoes. The tomatoes were in oil, hopefully olive oil, but probably contributed more fat than the burgers. I'm not sure what I'll eat tonight, but all I'm eating here at work is fruit again.

 The result of this altered eating regime has meant that my gut no longer overhangs my belt, although otherwise my waist remains just as big. I also notice that I feel slightly lighter on my feet. Now if I didn't continue to have something as simple as, or something far worse than a simple chest infection, I feel like I should be able to rush about a lot more than I have been able to do until recently.

 It seems to be fairly easy to do this eating less thing while Sarah is around, and I really hope that she can overcome some of her problems, and be around for a long time to come. My hope is that once we get some more appealing weather I will be able to persuade her of the masochistic benefits of going on long walks in the country, or along the coast. It feels to be just a dream at the moment, but if that dream came true it is probably feasible that by the end of the summer I might have lost a third of my body weight.
Monday 7th January 2013
07:51 GMT
  Saturday stayed dry, but it was a bit of a grey day. The same is true of yesterday, but this morning things have changed. There was rain overnight, and the last few drops of it were still falling as I came to work. It was mostly just like a fine misty spray that doesn't really get you wet. The temperature has stayed close to double figures, and today should see the temperature rise from this morning's 9.2 C to about 11 C for the rest of the day. That's not great, but it's not too bad. The real fly in the ointment is that it is forecast to be heavily overcast today. Thick cloud meant my entire journey to work was done in darkness, and it's hardly light even now !

 For reasons that I won't attempt to explain, my friend Sarah had hardly any, if any at all, sleep for the last few days of last week. She really wanted to come and see me, but couldn't find the energy to do so. So yesterday I ordered a cab to bring her over to my place. Very soon after getting there I put her in my bed, and within minutes she was fast asleep. She slept for a good three hours, and it may have been closer to four before she got up to have some dinner, and to have a chat.

 It was nice to have someone to chat to, and it could have gone on a lot later, but I had to get to bed at what many people consider to be an unnaturally early time - 9pm. Well, I get up at 5am, and I need my 8 hours of beauty sleep. I didn't actually get 8 hours, but then again, that is nothing new. Sarah elected to stay up watching videos, and I have no idea what time she went to sleep. All I can really add is that it was very, very, exquisitely pleasant to have a nice hug before leaving to get my train this morning :-) Suddenly the world is a wonderful place. It's a shame that having to be at work rather spoils the wonderous of it all.
Saturday 5th January 2013
16:04 GMT
 I thought it might rain yesterday, but it stayed dry, and for a while some hazy sunshine leaked through some thin patches of cloud. Some damp patches suggested there might have been some rain during the night, but I think it has stayed dry so far today. The sky is very overcast though, and I can't recall any hint of sunshine today. The temperature is probably not bad for this time of year. It is currently 11.4 C, but earlier on this afternoon I noted it was 12.6 C. It looks like it will be even more overcast tomorrow, slightly cooler, but it should stay dry.

  I had been hoping to see my friend Sarah last night, but something went wrong. In some ways that was a blessing because I did feel rather tired when I got home from work. I also felt rather hungry. This wasn't surprising because all I had eaten all day was a couple of small conference pears, a clementine, and an apple. If I had managed to avoid the sugary stuff I had after my main meal of baked potato and canned chilli con carne, it would have been another fairly low calorie night.

 This morning my friend Aleemah popped over with the remade, mostly different, and not as good, version of Total Recall on a DVD. It was OK, but I really prefer the original "Arnie" version. For one thing, it has some humour in it.  After Aleemah had gone home I got myself some lunch together. The original idea was that it would be fairly low calorie - consisting of some cold, relatively lean, roast pork with gerkins and pickled bell peppers. Unfortunately I had a couple of almost finished  squeezy bottles of flavoured mayonaises that needed using up, and that stuff is pretty bad. Even worse than that was that it didn't satisfy enough, and I opened up a bag of hot chilli flavoured tortilla chips - and I couldn't stop eating them.

 A strange thing happened just 15 minutes ago. I got an unexpected text message from Sarah. She has asked if she can come and stay with me again. Considering I thought I had been dumped this was a bit of a surprise.  I now await to try and find out what is going on !
Friday 4th January 2013
08:15 GMT
  Much to my surprise, there was some sunshine yesterday morning. It was slightly hazy, but definitely glorious sunshine.....well maybe it would have been glorious if I could have felt any heat with it. It was reasonably mild yesterday, and today should be similar. It was 9 C when I woke up this morning, and by mid morning it is forecast to be 11 C. No sunshine is forecast for today, but it supposed to stay dry. Although when I look at the greyness of the sky right now, it looks just right for some misty drizzle to fall.

 After the holiday break, and my extra day off, it was interesting to observe the effect of the lengthening days since the winter solstice. On the shortest day it was practically dark by the time I got to the station here in Earlsfield. The few days after that until the holiday was too short to notice any significant difference, but last night it didn't really get that dark until I got to Waterloo, and there was still some feint light almost right up to the time I got on the train to Catford. It can't be long now until I am getting home before sunset again.

 I didn't go straight home last night. Once I was back in Catford I headed straight for the shop that sells the traditional mousetraps. I felt the need to strengthen my defenses after seeing a mouse upstairs yesterday morning. After I got the mousetraps I went to The Catford Ram to meet up with Chris, Andy, Kevin, and the guy whose name I forget ! I only intended to spend an hour, or two at the most in there, because I wanted some dinner and an early night, but I ended up staying for at least 4 hours. It was a most enjoyable night, and plenty of beer flowed. There was also a band on last night.
Harry Kane And The Moneymakers
 This mobile phone picture is a bit fuzzy, but it serves to show Harry Kane and The Moneymakers. They are a pure blues band, and sounded very polished. Blues music is odd in that it is very easy on the ear, but it fails to excite me. I think I stayed in the pub for their first two songs, and then I went home.

 I wasn't roaring drunk when I got home, but definitely a bit tipsy. The really remarkable thing is that even in that state I made a decision that I wasn't going to eat anything before going to bed. All I had eaten since the previous night was two small apples and two clementines. All the beer should have raised my blood sugar level, and it should have still been high this morning, but I definietly felt most peculiar until I ate my breakfast after getting to work. Breakfast was a small apple, a small conference pair, and a clementine. I think, but I can't be sure until I try and do something more than just typing this, that small amount of fruit has cured some of the light headed like feelings I have had.

 Not eating last night was not an oversight, but part of a carefully planned strategy, made up on the spot, to lose a bit of weight. It will be a long time until there is an outwardly noticeable difference, but I can feel the difference, and maybe pulling my belt just a tiny bit tighter, to get to the next notch, is not really uncomfortable now. I just hope my new friend Sarah, who was mysteriously uncommunicative yesterday, can continue to provide inspiration to me in the future. I am hoping I'll be seeing her tonight, but as yet I have had no confirmation of that.
Thursday 3rd January 2013
08:02 GMT
  Most of yesterday was dull and cool, and by late afternoon it started to rain. This morning it was almost mild with the temperature around 10 or 11 C, and it was dry. The temperature could rise by a degree this afternoon, according to the forecast. It is also forecast that it will be a dry, but overcast day with some periods being heavily overcast.

 I had a nice time yesterday with my new friend, or maybe I should be bold and say, new girlfriend Sarah. I should, of course, been getting some sleep in, but being with Sarah seemed more important. I think I saw Sarah onto her bus home at around 4pm. Once I got back from the bus stop I put some dinner into the microwave. It was a Tesco ready made curry with rice. That plus an apple and a clementine was all I ate yesterday, and I do feel better for it today.

 It wasn't long after I ate my dinner that I went to bed. I was going to stay up for the 6pm news on BBC1, but I went up even before that started. I might have spent 20 - 30 minutes on the internet before getting into bed, and I may have been asleep before 6.30pm. I didn't sleep that well - I was woken up a few times by a tickly cough - but I may still have got at least 9 hours sleep. Possibly even 10 hours.

 Not eating much yesterday, and being slightly carefull about what I ate on a few of the preceeding days, has made me feel lighter on my feet this morning. I was able to walk fairly fast to the station this morning without feeling knackered at the end of it. While that is good, the cough I had seems to be worse today, but today is also the first day I've been out in the cold morning air since before xmas.Maybe once my office warms up, my cough my subside back to how it was when staying indoors in the warm.

 It's not just a cough that's bothering me. As I mentioned a few days ago, my nose is still getting bunged up, and even comes close to dripping from time to time. There is just one tiny little thing that differentiates all this from a common head cold, and that is how sweaty I am. The fast walk to the station was probably the trigger, but the heating was up on the train, and I ended up sweating buckets. I have dried off since getting to work, but some bits of my shirt are still wet with sweat.

 I think I might call in to The Catford Ram tonight to see if Chris and his mates are in there. I think I'll also buy some more mousetraps to put around the house. So far I've only murdered the one mouse, but there are definitely more of them in the house. Just this morning I saw one skittering away as I went into the bathroom. I guess my house is infested with the little blighters !
Wednesday 2nd January 2013
11:52 GMT
  I wasn't aware that any of the forecast showers fell last night, and the ground seemed dry this morning. The afternoon did it's best to warm up a bit, although it never really got better than "almost mild". During the late evening, and through the night it cooled down a few degrees. Today has stayed dry, but it is rather grey and dreary outside. Currently the temperature is 9 C.

 I had a quiet afternoon yesterday, and I did very little of consequence until very early evening when I was contacted by my new friend Sarah. She is back in London, and wanted to see me - which was good because I wanted to see her. I think we had a very pleasant evening together, and I think there is a very good chance that we will enjoy many more.

 It's not very good form, but I went sick on what should have been my first day back at work after the holidays. I didn't sleep that well last night - partly from a bit of a stomach upset. All I've managed to eat since yesterday is one clementine, and somehow that is all I really fancy for now. It's funny how something bad is actually good for me. If I could keep this up for a year I would be as skinny as a rake (of dead through malnutrition).
Tuesday 1st January 2013
14:12 GMT
  I think the rain outstayed it's welcome by a few hours yesterday evening, but eventually it dried up, and the rest of the night had clear skies. That allowed the temperature to drop to 6 C by this morning, but it also meant that it was a bright sunny morning. The clouds are still thin and broken even this afternoon, and we are still getting sunny spells for the moment. Currently the thermometer is showing it to be 9 C outside. The outlook is for another clear night, and almost cold enough for a frost tomorrow morning. Later on it will warm up to 10 C, but the price for that maybe some showers.

 I spent a mostly quiet afternoon yesterday, and apart from having the TV on for a while, I also had a quiet evening. I think I was in bed, and possibly even asleep by 10pm. I presume there woulod have been a lot of noise around midnight, but I was so tired I just slept right through it. It may have been the quiet after it that woke me up at 2 or 3am, or it could be that the head cold I started nurturing a few days ago had filled my head up to the brim. I was awake for some time coughing and spluttering while getting through a heap of tissues as I slowly emptied all my sinuses. I had one or two lesser episodes like later in the early hours of this morning.

 When I decided I probably ought to get up at 7.30am (or was it later than that ?) I was equally bunged up. It took some time before I seemed to dry up. I still need to give my nose a good blow every now and then, but I'm hoping that for once that I've just had a common or garden ordinary cold, and that it is now just about over. I certainly don't feel all that bad this morning, but I am not sure how that would change if I went out into the cold and damp.

 This morning  I treated myself to a big breakfast. Although there was only once chance in a million that I might have had company last night (and in retrospect I would degrade that to one in a billion), I had bought some crusty rolls in case I had an extra mouth to feed. I ate all 4 of them stuffed with grilled sausages, and they were very nice too ! With all the marvels of hindsight, it may not have been such a good idea to stuff myself so much. Leaning over the bath while hand washing shirts and stuff is not all that comfortable with a full belly !

 I committed my first murder today - just an hour or so ago. While I was hanging my wet washing on a clothes horse in the living room, I heard a loud click like sound from the kitchen. One of the traps I had put down for the mouse/mice had finally been triggered. Oddly enough it was one that had no bait on it at all. I can only conclude that the mouse had heard me coming down the stairs, and had raced for cover without paying attention to what was in it's way. I, and I guess the mouse too, was very lucky that the traps aim was perfect. The sprung loaded bar had come down exactly on the mouse's neck. I imagine that death was instantaneous. It would be nice to think that there was just the one mouse in the house, but in reality there is probably a family of them.

 There is a chance that I could end up in the pub a bit later, but I am not sure if I want to go out today. I think if the invite comes through from Kevin I might turn him down, but it probably depends on what the time is. One thing I've got to do today is to get to bed at a reasonable hour. Even with the days now getting noticeably longer, it will still be several hours until sunrise when I have to get up for work tomorrow morning. I'm not sure if I could have faced getting up at 5am this morning, but tomorrow it has to be done !