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

Wednesday 31st July 2013
Tuesday 30th July 2013
07:55 BST

  Yesterday was warmer, drier, and sunnier than I expected. It wasn't very warm, but just pleasantly warm. I can't make up my mind as to whether it rained during the night. As I walked to the station I noticed that the cars seemed to be wetter than just from condensation, but the ground seemed dry. It was quite cool this morning - maybe just 16 or 17 C, and it is going to stay fairly cool for most of the morning. It was dry, but rather dull as I came to work, and now it has just started to rain - rather uncannily just as the forecast predicted. If the rest of the forecast is correct there will be no sunshine, and showers until about 7pm. While the sun is hidden by clouds the temperature will stay in the region of 18 C, but once the sun eventually comes out this evening it may push the temperature up to a more comfortable 21 C.

  I felt quite odd at work yesterday. It wasn't quite so much tiredness, but more a sort of mental numbness. It was so bad that even going home didn't raise my spirits that much. Once I got home I guess I was feeling sort of masochistic because before doing anything else I washed the smelly towel I had left soaking through the day, and also washed over half a dozen other things too.

 Only once I had the washing hanging up to dry (a few bits outside, and rest inside) did I make myself some dinner. It was quite a light dinner too. It consisted of tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, basil leaves, and sliced red onion.  I dressed it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkled it with some grated hard cheese (faux Parmesan cheese like substitute) to give it some extra flavour. I followed that with a punnet of strawberries. I thought it was probably quite a healthy sort of meal. Tonight I haven't got any strawberries, but I think I've got a pear and a couple of small apples. As an experiment I am considering crumbling an Oxo cube over the salad for an interesting flavour.

 By 7pm the TV news was over, and so was my dinner. A few minutes later I was reading on my bed. By 8pm I think I was asleep. At 1am I woke up with a headache, and a really sore neck. It took nearly an hour to sort that out before I could get back to sleep. I'm not sure how successful that sleep was. I don't feel anywhere near as bad as yesterday, but I am not exactly sparkling this morning.

 Tonight I will attempt to get a better sleep, and more of it, although it's really only the latter that I have any small control over. I think I am resuming the work - eat - sleep - work - etc cycle again, and that leaves little to write about. So I am contemplating taking a break from writing until such time as something happens - if it ever does. Maybe I will, or maybe I won't. Maybe tonight will be exciting, or maybe it will just be more nothingness. We'll see.
Monday 29th July 2013
08:08 BST

  The weekend saw a wide variety of weather - with Saturday visiting a couple of extremes. Friday evening was rather warm, and very humid. During the night it cooled off, and the humidity dropped to give a fresh feel to Saturday morning. Initially it started off a little cloudy, but as the morning passed the clouds opened up letting through fierce hot sunshine - fierce enough to give me some sunburn. All that heat energy pouring into the atmosphere caused the clouds to well up, and then some of that energy was released as a thunderstorm. The rain probably continued into the early hours of yesterday, but most of yesterday was dry with plenty of sunny spells. Sometime after dark, and into the early hours of this morning, the rain started again. It was dry, but quite cool when I got up this morning, and the clouds seemed to be quite thick. By the time I walked to the station the clouds had broken up just enough to let some sunshine peek through the gaps. Most of my train journey into work featured some sunshine, but it looks as if the forecast pattern is coming true. Every few hours the weather today is forecast to swap between being cloudy with the possibility of a shower, and being bright and sunny. It's only going to be moderately warm today with a high of 24 C, and the night time dropping to a chilly 17 C. It seems summer is almost over barring the odd rare warm day.

 I made the bad mistake of eating too much before going out on Friday night. I only had a little here, and a little there, but it added up to enough to make my walk to the station rather painful, and similarly so as I walked from the station to the pub where Chain were playing. I arrived at the pub drenched in sweat partly from my efforts to get there, and partly due to the high humidity - and I wasn't the only one to suffer from the hot steamy air. The band and the audience struggled in the sauna like pub interior. It was worth it though, and I enjoyed the gig a lot.

 It might seem stupid after complaining that it felt like I ate too much before the gig, but I felt quite hungry on the way home from the pub. So I stopped off at the fried chicken shop on the way. The really stupid thing was to buy more than I needed, and not saving enough for later in the day (it was past midnight when I got home, and the new day had already started). The grilled spicy chicken with extra chilli sauce, and the greasy chips gave me terrible heartburn, and I didn't feel comfortable to sleep until it was almost dawn !

 When I did get to sleep properly I slept well, and almost didn't wake up in time for my next gig. Chain were the opening act for Chattfest - another charity fund raising effort featuring a host of bands playing in the large rear garden of The Chatterton Arms in Bromley. I didn't get there in time for the soundcheck, but I don't think I missed much. Other people, perhaps those having a longer lay in, or with Saturday morning duties to perform (shopping etc.) missed out on some great playing through a really crisp and clear sounding PA. The only complaint, and of course it came from another musician (who only saw a video of one song), was that the ending of that song was a bit sloppy, and that me saying that the band sounded really tight was technically incorrect.

 It was a comment that was 100% accurate, and yet also wrong. Being a musician, and not even there in person, he missed out on the dynamics of the whole thing. One mystery ending does not spoil the entirety of the gig. Unbeknown to him, a few other songs had hastily improvised endings. To me it actually demonstrates skill to make something up on the spot. Ideally such things would be ironed out in rehearsals, but I know that rehearsals are not always possible when people already have full time day jobs, and other responsibilities. I guess it's all personal feelings, but part of the charm of Chain for me, is not that they don't make mistakes, but that they can play through them with grace, and often so skillfully that some people probably don't notice them at all. If I wanted to hear perfection I would just buy a record.

 While Chain may have been 0.001% short of perfection, what was to come would set new benchmarks in the lows. The next act was essentially a karaoke artist. He sang along to a backing track of assorted crooning type songs. He was certainly dressed for the part - looking like someone from the 1950s ! He also had a great voice, and good stage presence. The only trouble is I don't really approve of karaoke, and I certainly don't care for Frank Sinatra songs !! When, after what seemed an age, the guy finally came off stage I had to congratulate him on his singing and stage presence, but I also had to tell him I disliked everything he sang.

 Sadly there was even worse to come. The next act were a duo. One played an acoustic guitar, and the other a 6 string bass through a sophisticated effects unit. I think they described their "music" as organic folk music. All I know is that it sounded a bloody horrible racket. It seemed like a very good time to get out from under the sun, and head for home again where I could prepare for my third gig in 24 hours.

 I was very careful about what I ate when I got home, and in consequence doing the same journey to the same pub as the night before was painless even if it wasn't a very dry experience. I walked through a torrential downpour with lightning flashing all around me to get to the station. I was wearing a cagoule, and so my upper body (except for my face) was completely protected for the rain, but it was so hot and humid that I was getting wetter from sweat under the cagoule than I would have got just from the rain !

 The band I was going to see was called Kimera. They are a heavier band than Chain, and they appear to be better rehearsed, but not as good overall. A few songs sound terrific, but others just don't work for them at all. I think Saturday night was the third time I've seen them play, and every time it is the same. It was still worth going to see the good bits, but on Saturday night even the good bits couldn't overcome the fatigue I was feeling after the two previous gigs, and I had to bow out before even the first set was over.

 Yesterday I was just plain lazy. I had a lie in, and fortunately I had a couple of moderate snoozes during the day because I had great difficulties getting to sleep last night. There were things on my mind that wouldn't resolve (and still haven't), and it was not to the totally ridiculous hour of 1.30am before I got to sleep - over 4 hours later than I intended to be asleep. So far today I don't feel too bad, and in fact I feel far better than I expected to, or even have any right to. After work tonight I will see if I can force myself to do just a bit of laundry (even if it is just the smelly towel I have left soaking in stain remover), but after that I am going straight tio bed, and if I am not asleep withing 30 minutes I might have to help the process with an incredibly large gin (I ran out of whisky near the beginning of the month, and I haven't been able to afford a new bottle this month, but I do have an almost untouched bottle of gin left over from when the zombie dumped me at the beginning of the year, and so I'll have to force myself to drink gin).
Friday 26th July 2013
08:07 BST

  There was nothing exceptional about the weather yesterday. It was warm and dry with a lot of sunshine. Today seems like it will be very similar. One slightly more pessimistic forecaster thinks there is a chance of a shower at some point, but everyone else thinks it will stay dry. The temperature should reach a reasonable 25 - 26 C by this afternoon. Tomorrow could see some very different weather. There is a huge patch of wet and thundery cloud heading our way from France, and although the temperature won't significantly fall, it could be very wet - very wet indeed !

 There was sort of anti-trouble on the trains going home yesterday. The platform announcements were adamant that the 16:23 to Hayes (Kent), calling at Catford Bridge amongst other places, was only going to be a 5 car train instead of the usual 10 car. The reality was that a 10 car train arrived. It was good that we were not packed in like sardines, but slightly annoying that I got on the back of the train instead of near the front. I made my way to the front, but was too late to get my favourite seat in my favourite coach !

 I was really looking forward to a couple of beers last night, but at the last minute I was informed that there had been a change of venue for the Thursday gang. I could have gone to the alternative pub, but I also wanted to buy some shopping in Tesco, and I particularly wanted to shop in Tesco so I could use my Tesco Clubcard Plus to pay for it, and not deplete my already scarce beer money. I think that by now I will have just gone into overdraft mode for my current account, and that costs money ! I don't want to make it any worse. So I am being very careful with my spending. Not going to the pub was actually a blessing in disguise - I got to keep my dwindling pile of cash for tonight, and with extreme care, tomorrow night too.

 About the only luxury/unhealthy(ish) item I bought from Tesco was some raspberry sorbet. It was fat free (or should have been), but I was too scared to even attempt to check the sugar content. I did eat about a third of a tub of it, but it has the mysterious property of somehow not ever tempting you to eat more and more until the whole tub is finished. My actual dinner was very big last night, but the vast majority of the bulk was green - lettuce, watercress, parsley, spring onion and cucumber. For starters I had a Tesco "ready mix" (pre-made) egg salad. It was not very big, and so I started constructing my own seafood salad. By the time I had finished adding all the salad stuff I had quite a pile on my plate, and the seafood almost got lost in it. I dressed it was olive oil and vinegar.

 It was a bit cooler last night, and I once again managed to get to sleep by 9pm, or very soon afternoon. I think I may have slept better than the night before, although I was feeling rather cool when I first woke up at about 3.30am. It was almost cool enough that I could have pulled a thin blanket, or something, over me if I had anything like that to hand. Evidently it wasn't so cool that I couldn't get back to sleep, and I next woke up, and slowly got up, at 4.45am. Just for a change, and perhaps suprisingly after waking up feeling almost too cool in the night, I felt almost quite good. Maybe it was my choice of dinner last night, or maybe it was just the joy de vivre (or however you spell that) of it being Friday !

 My physically big, but hopefully of moderate calories, dinner last night should have been the last big meal I can eat until Sunday - in theory. Tonight I am off to see Chain play in the William IV pub in Elmers End. I daren't eat more than the lightest snack when I get home from work or I'll be unable, or unwilling to move when it's time to go to the pub. On Saturday I want to try and get to two gigs. The first, during the early afternoon, will be to see Chain, and maybe another band or two playing at Pettswoodstock in Petts Wood, The second, in the evening, is to see Kimera playing in, again, The William IV in Elmers End. On Sunday I hope I can have a good rest, and a slap up meal !!

 I took another photo on my way into work this morning. Here's the famous clock at Waterloo (as seen from the new balcony).
The clock at Waterloo
Thursday 25th July 2013
08:01 BST

  On the whole, after the dull start, the weather was very pleasant yesterday. 27 C with sunshine and a breeze was almost perfect. During the evening it cooled off just enough to make sleeping easier, but during the night the clouds thickened up. So this morning started with a rather heavy downpour. Fortunately it had stopped by the time I came to walk to the station. Since then there has been some sunshine. More showers are expected, but most of the day will be bright and fine with a top temperature expected to be around 25 C - or so some so called experts predict.

 I don't know where all the time went yesterday afternoon and evening. I can't recall doing anything of any particular importance, but the time seemed to just fly by. One thing I did do was to change the desktop on my PC from XFCE to Mate. These are both desktop environments that run on a Linux core. There are no real parallels to make a comparison to Microsoft Windows desktop - with Windows you are stuck with just the one environment that can be customised to a limited extent. Linux desktops can be customised to a far greater degree - to the extent that you can make a Linux PC look almost identical to a Mac, or to Windows PC, anywhere between, or completely unlike either. It all sounds terribly complicated, and hidden from view, it is, but all it needs is a couple of mouse click, a small download, and unusually for Linux, a restart to reveal the shiny new desktop. The best thing about it from my perspective is that the change ironed out a few anomalies caused by leftover oddments of files and configurations from previous changes over the years.

 Maybe I was starting to get bored in the evening because I ended up on my bed reading at 8pm, and I think I was fast asleep by 9pm. I didn't need the fan on last night - although it was a close run thing - and I possibly slept better for it, but I did wake up at the unfashionable time of 4:15am. I did try to get back to sleep again, but more sleep eluded me. Presumably I had had enough sleep, but I did have a little trouble keeping my eyes open for a brief time while on the train to work !
View from platform 6 London Bridge station Thursday 25th July 2013
 I took the above picture from platform 6 at London Bridge station at 06:50am this morning. The large building on the right is Guys hospital, and my theory is that the building in the centre of the picture is the laundry for the hospital. During the last week or so I've noticed something I'd never seen before. Just below the centre of the picture a puff of steam can be seen shooting out of a pipe set into the roof. It's quite a powerful burst of steam, and clearly audible on the platform. Maybe it is only noticeable now since they've taken the roof off the terminal platforms of London Bridge station. I can only speculate that it is either some sort of steam press, or some sort of sterilisation equipment. I don't think it is absolutely regular, and I would estimate it goes off between every 3 and 8 seconds - whether that is day and night is also a mystery. I only see it in the morning. Just above, but slightly to the right of the plume of steam is the moon looking quite bright in the morning sky.
Wednesday 24th July 2013
14:13 BST

  There was a chance that yesterday could have been a lot wetter, but in fact there was only one heavy downpour at around 11am, and then a little light follow on rain that lasted for 15 - 20 minutes. Much of the day was a little dull, but an hour or two before sunset the sun came out, and more or less stayed out until it set. The night was slightly cooler and less humid than the last couple of nights. This morning started off a little cloudy, and a fairly fresh feeling 19 C, but by mid morning there was an increasing amount of sunshine, and it is currently 27 C with a nice breeze.

 I felt fairly pissed off last night. Work had been OK, and there were no troubles on the trains, but just like when the Olympics, or the tennis was on, the non-stop hyper media coverage of the royal birth grated on my mind. That sensitised me enough to get me pissed off with advertising and stuff on certain websites as well. It is nothing short of a miracle that I actually ate quite carefully instead of recklessly. I had grilled skinless chicken breast fillets with salad followed by some fruit for dinner.

 I didn't feel inspired to do anything else last night, and so I was laying on my bed reading by 8pm, and at 9pm I was probably fast asleep. It was easier sleeping with the outside air a bit cooler, and less humid, but I still had the fan on me all night. Now whether that contributed to how I felt when I woke up is not proven, but I felt lousy. I had a headache, and I felt very old and decrepit.

 The headache was not quite of the migraine proportions that I told work when I called in sick this morning, but it was simpler than describing every ache and pain, and a general feeling of malaise. None of these things lasted that long, and by the time I should have been at work for about half an hour, I was feeling about as good (or bad) as any other day, but of course it was too late to go in then.

 I did take advantage of not going to work by getting a bit more sleep, but it wasn't much. By about 8.30am I was feeling bored, and OK enough to do some laundry. That included a medium sized towel , which required a lot of physical effort to manipulate when wet, and a bottom sheet that was big and unwieldy. It's probably almost, if not completely dry in the sunshine now.

 After doing that laundry I treated myself to a rather elaborate breakfast of a type that is more usual for a Sunday when I am not anticipating doing anything at all for the whole day.  It means I had better have an extra light dinner tonight if I can manage that. Since then I've watched a little TV, read a bit, had a snooze for half an hour, maybe longer, and finally edited some pictures from last Saturday to show off here !
Chain on stage at O'Neill's Saturday 20th July 2013
L-R; Special guest bassist Geoff Paice, Jo Corteen, Paul Gunn and Chris Mayer.
playing the blues
One of the great thing about O'Neill's is the lighting rig. It is usually just bright enough that no flash is needed to take sharp photos. Sometimes it can be a bit monochrome, as in this picture, but this time it seems appropriate for a blues number !
Chain - end of gig final bow
Another great thing about O'Neill's is that it is one place where I seem to remember to get the band to line up for a group photo - and there is plenty of space to do it. Shame Paul couldn't find a smile.

 I don't know what I'm going to do for the rest of the day, but I'm sure I'll find something.
Tuesday 23rd July 2013
08:03 BST

  Yesterday stayed bright and sunny, and rather humid until after dark. Another record was broken for this year (and quite a few preceeding years) when the temperature topped out at 32.5 C in Catford. At 11pm all that energy that had been poured into the air by the sun erupted in a thunderstorm. There was one local big bang, but most of the violence seemed to be some distance away. At 5am this morning the last of the rain came to a stop, but the sky stayed a brooding dull grey cover until I reached Clapham Junction on my way to work. For a short while the sun came out, but now the clouds have covered the sky again. There could be some periods of sunshine today, but there could be more thunderstorms. Even with a lot less sunshine the temperature will rise to around 26 - 27 C. Tomorrow is reckoned to be more settled, and with lots more sunshine. Hopefully tomorrow will also see a drop in humidity. Today is going to be very steamy !

 While I am out and about I have absolutely no problem with the heat, and the more I move around the cooler I feel - until I stop, when I boil over like an old banger of a car ! The exceptional heat yesterday did make the buses and trains into mobile saunas, but even that is no problem until they fail in service - and several did yesterday afternoon. I think they were having trouble with the doors. They looked closed, but the safety interlocks didn't engage - at least that is my unproven theory as to what was going on. I saw it happen to a couple of trains, and it happened to mine when we arrived at London Bridge.

 The train pulled into the station with no trouble, and once everyone had boarded the driver closed the doors, but one door refused to admit that it was closed. They tried many times with the platform staff giving a door an occasional kick, but in the end the train was declared a failure, and everybody kicked off it. We were all advised to cross over from platform 4 to platform 5 (via the footbridge, of course) where the next train to Catford would be departing within 15 minutes or so. Unfortunately, because our train was now blocking platform 4, the next train due at platform 4 was diverted to platform 5. This lead to a mighty scrum as two trainfulls of people had to change platforms.

 It was pretty chaotic, but eventually the next train turned up, and to my amazement it didn't end up packed like a sardine can. I don't know where everybody went, but maybe they were packed in the end and front coaches. In my coach there were just a few people standing, and I had plenty of space to "train surf" all the way to Catford Bridge. Different people train surf in different ways, and most don't do it at all, but it is the art of standing, ideally with hands in pockets, not holding on to anything as the train hurtles along. I pride myself on having become quite good at it. Last night I only needed to extend an elbow to briefly touch one of the poles to counter a rather large lurch as the train went over some points.

 Train surfing on a steamy hot train does seem to sap the energy, and I felt exhausted as I walked home from the station. That stopped me doing anything useful - including editing some pictures of Saturday night to show here. Yet with nothing to do, and avoiding the TV like the plague because of the non stop coverage of non stop coverage of the media covering non stop coverage of the media, and something to do with a royal dropping a sprog, the time passed very quickly and unobtrusively. In no time at all it was time for bed.

 It did seem like a joke to even to attempt to go to bed while my bedroom was still over 30 C, but I started making the effort at 9pm, and oddly enough I did get to sleep before 10pm - maybe as early as 9.30pm. At 11pm I was awoken by a thunderstorm, but it was far less violent than expected, and most of the action seemed to be fairly distant. By midnight, or perhaps a little after, I was fast asleep again. I slept well, as far as I know, until about 4.30am. It still felt very hot in my bedroom so I did something a little naughty. I went downstairs, and in the predawn twilight, I stepped out the backdoor into the last bit of the mornings rain while stark naked. It was amazingly refreshing. If there was more than one tiny corner next to my backdoor that is not overlooked by any neighbours, and the rain had been a bit heavier, I might have gone and got some shower gel, and had my morning shower out there in the cool rain ! The only trouble with going outside like that, and it was only for a minute or so, was that it made my bedroom feel even hotter and stuffier than it had seemed before.

 It should be cooler, and hopefully fresher tonight, and I think my priority will be to try and get some extra sleep to make up for a few nights of getting less than I prefer. I've had enough to not feel too sleepy, but it's on the limit.
Monday 22nd July 2013
08:00 BST

  It was quite a warm evening last night, but it did cool off during the early hours, and initially it felt fresh when I walked to the station. While it might have felt fresh, the sky was very misty, and the light dull - almost as if it were about to rain. In fact rain is forecast for Wandsworth (which includes Earlsfield) right now, at this very minute, but instead of getting duller it is getting brighter. It is also beginning to feel quite humid. There are all the ingredients for a thunderstorm to brew up, but the latest forecast shows less chance of rain than the one 12 hours earlier.
weather forecast for 22/07/2013 from the night before
This is how they imagined today's weather would look at 5.10pm yesterday.
weather forecast for today
At 7.23am they had changed their minds about a few key things.
All the rain forecast for tonight has mysteriously vanished.......however another forecaster still reckons there will be rain, and that there could be a shower or two as early as this afternoon, and very heavy, maybe thundery rain as the afternoon ends, and evening starts. From the way the humidity was rising just before I arrived at work, I would not be suprised if we had a thunderstorm this afternoon.

 I did my best to get to sleep at 9pm last night, but sleep eluded me. That came as no surprise, and after trying for 15 - 20 minutes I got up again for a while. I tried again at 11pm, and I fell asleep very rapidly. I think I slept well until 4am. I'm sure I must have woken up once or twice in the night, but it was so briefly that I hardly remember doing so. I think I feel quite refreshed this morning, but time will tell.
Sunday 21st July 2013
19:31 BST

  Friday was slightly cooler than the days before, but not by much. Yesterday was almost cool. The top temperature was only around 23 - 24 C, and much of the day was cloudy. It was a nice break from the heat of previous days. Today was back to being bright and sunny, and the temperature went up to around 28 C. Tomorrow should be interesting, This is what the BBC have to say about it -
Weather forecast for Monday July 2nd 2013
 It was a joy to get home from work on Friday. Ideally I could have just slobbed about all evening, but I went to the open mic session at The Catford Ram. I have to say it wasn't terribly exciting. No new musicians turned up, and neither did some of the previous ones. It was just down to Johnny the keyboards player, Ken the bass player, and Warren on drums to entertain us. After they had jammed for a while Beverley and Adrian got up and sung their same old songs as every week. Finally, a little before closing time. One of the bar staff (I forget her name) decided to "sing" a rap song. It was the most effective way of clearing the bar ever ! The only good thing was seeing Iain, who turned up with Kevin, for the first time in ages.

 On Saturday morning I saw Aleemah. We did the usual - went to the pub for breakfast, and then watched a DVD. In the afternoon I rested, and prepared myself for a good night at O'Neills in Bromley. It wasn't just a good night - it was a great night !! It was, or course, a Chain gig. The bass player for the night was Geoff Paice who also played bass for them at the Cheqstock festival the previous Saturday. He had his fans there, and Chain had theirs (although there is a huge overlap between them) and everybody had a great time. I'll try and put up some pictures of it tomorrow, but in the meantime here's a bit of video hosted on Facebook's servers (so may not be available in years to come).

 The only problem with O'Neills are the bouncers. During the gig they are fine, but they are so keen to go home afterwards that they strut about getting really irritating at the end. It annoyed me so much that I left a little early, and didn't stay to help out with the gear. In some respects it might have been a good decision. I didn't have to wait long for a bus, and the bus was neither packed or slow. It was still tedious, but only half tedious going back to Catford so rapidly.

 I had made a decision to eat as little as possible during the day, and came close to achieving that. So I was a little peckish after the gig, and of course the inevitable happened. I bought a heap of grilled chicken wings and stuff. I may have overdone it though, because as soon as I laid down to go to sleep, which was actually getting on for 2am, I started suffering from bad heartburn. Even some antacid tablets didn't provide complete relief. Maybe it was something else.

 Whatever the cause was, it wasn't until almost 5am before I started to get any significant sleep. Some of the time I passed looking at stuff on the internet. I would have started some photo editing, but my eyes felt too blurry for that. By about 4am I was in the curious state of being both very tired, but also feeling like I was waking up. I think it was just past 5am, when I would normally be getting up, that I finally fell into a deep sleep, and didn't wake up until just before midday.

 Getting up at midday is so unusual for me that I lost all track of time today. It's just gone 8pm as I type these words, and it feels like mid-afternoon ! One of the first things I did when I got up was to do some laundry - quite a lot of it in fact. Apart from a pair of underpants, and a pair of sock that were both hung in a more shaded position, everything dried nice and quickly, and is all safely inside now.

 With the washing done, I cleaned myself, and then went shopping in Aldi. For the first take in ages I paid cash for my shopping. My current account is in such a bad state that I have been forced to withdraw some money from my savings account. I knew I was overdoing it a bit when I deposited some money in my savings account near the beginning of the month, and it seems I was far too over generous ! I really didn't want to touch my savings, but I had no choice.

 Very soon now I am going to try and and get to sleep. Maybe it will happen, or maybe it won't.  All I really hope is that I don't end up getting to sleep ridiculously late tonight. I also hope that the girl in my dreams this morning joins me in my dreams tonight. It wasn't an erotic dream, but I really fell in love with her !
Friday 19th July 2013
12:31 BST

  It was nice that it started to cool down early last night. It was another hot dry day with the temperature up near 30 C, but by midnight the temperature had dropped a few degrees, and by this morning it was feeling nice and fresh at around 17 C. It should stay sunny and bright today, but maybe not quite as warm as yesterday. Tomorrow should stay dry, but apparently there will be some clouds now and then, and the top temperature may be as low as 23 C (but I reckon it might be a few degrees above that).

 I got some shopping on the way home from work yesterday. By and large I only bought healthy sort of stuff, but I did buy a tub of frozen yoghurt. It is alleged to be quite low fat compared to normal ice cream, but it is still rather sugary. The unfortunate thing was that it was already feeling detectably soft when I took it out of Tesco's freezer, and it was very soft by the time I got it home. So I had no choice (!) but to scoff the lot last night ! Other than that, I ate unusually sparsely. My main course for dinner was salmon and salad dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar (hopefully a better option than gallons of mayonaisse). Apart from the salad and frozen yoghurt I only ate just a very small quantity of other crap.

 In theory I should have gone to bed feeling almost, but maybe not quite, hungry. That wasn't the sensation I could feel though. I reckon it was the dodgy herring I had the previous night that caused a sudden commotion in my digestive tract. I was forced to get off my bed and visit the toilet quite a few times before all the sinister gurgling and other unpleasant noises finished. I definitely felt a bit empty after that.

 I should have felt good this morning, and to a limited extent I did. The slightly cool fresh air was good, and I did seem to have the energy to rush around more than recently usual. After every session of rushing around I still felt the usual pains, but I had to work much harder to get them.

 The thing that pissed me off this morning was that my broadband went intermittent. I noticed the morning before that I had no broadband at 4am, but it was OK again about half an hour later. With my bedroom being a lot cooler this morning I slept well enough that I had to be woken by my alarm sounding at 5am. The first I did was to turn on my PC and discover......no internet again ! It did come up again 15 minutes later, but only for 5 minutes or so. It wasn't until just before I started writing this that it came up again all by itself. I thought that at best I would have to do some rebooting of stuff when I got home. So it coming up itself is good news, but I'm still annoyed that these pages were off the air all morning.

 Tonight I'll be going to The Catford Ram. I could go as early as 6pm, but the first three hours are probably going to be a karoake session. From 9pm there will be live music - or at least that's the plan, but it does rely on a selection of musicians turning up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that at least one guitarist turns up. I've little doubt that Ken and Johnny, bass guitar and keyboard player will be there, and Warren can play drums, but it needs a good lead guitar player !
Thursday 18th July 2013
07:52 BST

  The heatwave continues. Yesterday was another bright sunny day, and possibly the hottest this year so far. I measured 31 C both outdoors, and in my bedroom when I got home from work. It is possible that somewhere to the north of London they had a thunderstorm. As my train approached Waterloo on my way home from work, the sky did look quite cloudy in that direction, but I never heard any thunder. By this morning the temperature had dropped to about 20 C outside (but still 28 C in my bedroom). By mid afternoon it is forecast to hit 28 C. The temperature could drop a lot further tonight. Some forecasts suggest I could wake up to a slightly chilly feeling 14 C, although I expect it will still feel rather warm indoors.

 The legacy of poor sleep during this hot spell meant that I couldn't be bothered to do anything when I got home from work last night. It could have been a great opportunity to wash another duvet cover, and I did go as far as selecting the lightest out of the four still to be done, but as well as being tired, I also couldn't face the extra heat from all the effort of doing the wash - both from the hot water, and the physical effort.

 So I had some dinner and watched the news on TV. One thing I was looking forward to tonight was some pickled herrings as a sort of starter along with some tomatoes, and some sweetcorn. I had a large jar of them that I think I must have bought from the 99p shop. I thought the jar contained a lot of herring, but some processing error meant that the fish was overcooked, and falling to pieces, and it looked far bigger than it was once on a plate. That's obviously why the batch was sold to the 99p shop. I didn't enjoy that herring. After that I had one (I usually have two) chicken tandoori steamed ready meals. I think they boast that each meal is only about 400 - 500 calories - or to put it another way, they are rather small meals !

 As usual I had a few other bits and pieces, but I think my food intake is dropping while the hot weather continues, and I could almost imagine that my belt feels slightly looser. Whether my food intake had any bearing on it at all is unknown, but I slept better last night. The more obvious reason was that I was just sleep deprived from the previous night. I still woke up several times in the night, but seemed to get back to sleep again fairly easily, and no more so than at just gone 4am. I didn't expect to get to sleep again after waking up at that time, but while I was considering this I must have fallen asleep, and I was quite surprised to be woken by my alarm sounding.

 I feel curiously improved compared to yesterday morning, and for that matter, most mornings this year. It's only a small improvement, but a useful one. By this afternoon I don't expect I'll be feeling so wonderful that I will be doing any messing about to go for a drink after work. The "Thursday gang" are drinking in a pub by Hither Green station this evening. I could get a train direct from Waterloo East to Hither Green, but it's all the mucking about getting home from there that puts me off. Plus there is also the factor that I want to get some shopping on the way home from work. So I think I'll be giving booze a miss tonight, but tomorrow night sees the start of the Friday open mic sessions in The Catford Ram. That will provide plenty of opportunity for booze !!
Wednesday 17th July 2013
08:58 BST

  Yesterday was very warm and dry, although it did get quite cloudy during late afternoon/early evening. The top temperature was 30 C, and I guess that by way of reckoning, that actually made it a hot day. Today could be even hotter. There is a possibility that it might hit 32 C, but not without the potential downside of a thunderstorm brewing up this afternoon. If the animated weather map on the BBC news yesterday evening showed anything close to what will really happen, I could be caught in a thunderstorm as I pass through central London on my way home after work - and I didn't bring a coat with me. After today it will might cool down for the next few days, but only by 2 - 3 C.

 It involved quite a lot of effort, but I managed to keep myself in the right frame of mind to not just rush home for dinner after work.  If it had been possible to give up halfway through I would have been very tempted, but I managed to make my second task for the evening to be laundry. I washed 4 shirts and a double bed sheet. It was very hot sweaty work, but that made it feel all the better to finish doing it.

 It was only with the laundry done, and hanging outside drying in the 30 C air, that I settled down to have my dinner. In another feat of mind over matter, I managed to eat semi-moderately. It is very hard to assess all the odd bit and pieces of food I ate that was not strictly part of dinner or breakfast, but it is possible that my entire food intake yesterday was equivalent to be a tiny fraction over the line into the area where my energy input was slightly less than my energy output.It is a position that I should be in more often, and in a far stronger way.

 I don't feel that wonderful this morning. I expected that what I ate may have had a beneficial effect on my this morning, but I think any positive effects there have been far outweighed by the bad sleep I had last night. It was 28.5 C in my bedroom when I tried to go to sleep last night. I had my fan on blowing air across my naked body, and felt nice enough that I fell asleep far faster, and earlier than I thought would happen. From 9.30pm I slept right through to around 1am before waking up for a short while. I woke up again at 3.30am, and basically never really got back to sleep again.

 I woke up feeling really stiff and aching. Maybe having the fan on full blast across my naked body was not really ideal. I still feel sleepy and creaky even now. Maybe tonight I should pull and empty duvet cover over my bed so I don't get too chilled by the fan during the night.What I can't decide on is whether to have an early night, or make a better effort of sleeping until my alarm goes off at 5am. I think would be the better option, but if I feel like then, what I feel like now, I'll be wanting to go to bed 5 minutes after getting through my frontdoor.
Tuesday 16th July 2013
08:36 BST

  The heatwave, and it is now officially classified as a heatwave, continues. Yesterday hit 29.9 C after non stop sunshine. Today may be a degree cooler because of less intense sunshine. The sky was very hazy this morning, and it wasn't until I was almost at London Bridge that the sun became visibly as a big out of focus yellow blob in the eastern sky. That general haze/mistyness has thinned out in places now, but the sunshine is still rather diffuse. It may be midday before the sky gets blue, and the temperature climbs from a degree or so less than 20 C when I walked to the station, to the predicted high of 28 C. Tomorrow could see the temperature hit, or surpass 30 C.

 In my air conditioned office the heat didn't bother me, but it was nice to get out into the best of it as I made my way home from work. I should have been feeling good when I got home, but some delays on the trains put paid to that. My train was slow getting into Waterloo, and I arrived too late to get the 16:23 train to Catford Bridge from Waterloo East. The next train, which entails an almost tolerable 19 minute wait, was cancelled, and I was forced to get the first train to London Bridge where, 5 minutes after I could have been home, I caught a Catford Bridge train that came out of Cannon Street station (Cannon Street trains do not go through Waterloo East).

 It was all slightly annoying.  Not terribly so, but it contributed to a general feeling of malaise and boredom. Under such circumstances it is hard to control what I have for dinner. I managed to avoid eating any ice cream, but probably ate just as much, or even maybe more sugar in a couple of "cereal" bars I had after a couple of quite low calorie steamed ready meals. I also had a handful of walnut halves. Walnuts were mention in this morning's Metro newspaper.

 It seems that doctors, possible of medicine, but maybe of horticulture, from a Spanish hospital (I'd guess El Clinico Walnutto) say that eating a portion (exact size to be guessed at) can lengthen your life. The handful of walnuts I ate last night possibly lengthened my life by 5 minutes. What a shame it was that the two cereal bars I also ate last night, believed by many deluded fools to be very healthy sort of things, seemed to have enough sugar in them to shorten my life by 5 and a half minutes !

 I felt very bored, or maybe just unmotivated last night. I could have done something useful after I switched off the TV when the news finished at 7pm, but I just wasted time on the internet before going to bed a little early, and completely failing to get to sleep for ages because of the heat in my bedroom (it was still 28 C when I turned out the light). I think shear fatigue got me to sleep a lot earlier than the previous night, and on the whole I slept very well. I still only got around 6 hours sleep, and if I wasn't chasing so much sleep deficit, I would regard that as ample on these bright sunny days.

 I don't actually feel half as tired as I did yesterday, and I feel less bad in other ways too. It would be rather good if I was still thinking this way when I get from from work. I may be feeling good enough to inspire me to do something more constructive (is doing laundry by hand constructive ?).

 To finish, here's the second video I shot at Cheqstock last Saturday. It's of Chain performing "River Deep, Mountain High".
(video embedded from Facebook so it may not be as permanent as if it were hosted on my own server).
Monday 15th July 2013
08:53 BST

  Yesterday's weather might be described as spiffing ! It was very warm, and very bright all day long. I don't think the temperature quite hit 30 C, but it wasn't far off. Today should be very similar. Almost non stop bright sunshine, and just some fluffy white clouds in the sky. It might, or might not be a degree cooler than yesterday according to the forecast, but if feels like it will be at least as warm as yesterday, with the outside chance of it being a degree higher.

 Yesterday was perfect drying weather, and I took advantage of it twice. I did some laundry first thing in the morning, as I have already mentioned, and during the afternoon I washed another duvet cover and a pillowcase. That second duvet cover was one of my heavier ones, and it needed some severe manhandling to wash. Wringing more than a quarter dry was next to impossible, so it was dripping quite heavily when I hung it outside to dry. Nevertheless, it was baked bone dry in a matter of hours under the warm sun.

 I seemed to spend much of yesterday on Facebook looking at "likes" and comments for a pile of pictures I posted there. I even got praise from a professional photographer (or maybe semi-pro). That felt rather nice. I must do that sort of thing more often !

 During the evening I went along to the last of the Sunday night open mic sessions at The Catford Ram. It was a lot busier than the week before, but a lot busier is not the same as "busy". Once again there was an urgent need for an electric guitarist, but Johnny the keyboard player did a good job at filling in. Hopefully the new Friday evening sessions will be a bit better. The last few Sundays have been pleasant, but not exciting there.

 It must have been getting on for 11pm when I got home last night. I felt physically tired, but strangely, not sleepy. I was tempted to microwave up some dinner when I got in, but decided to skip that, and just have a couple of snacks - some gravel muesli bars, a small handful of walnuts, and a small tub of ice cream. With my bedroom up at 28 C, the latter was very nice indeed ! I think it was around midnight when I lay on my bed feeling very sticky even with the fan on. I didn't think I would get to sleep as easily as I did.

  Sleeping with the fan on was possibly the only way I got to sleep, and yet it left me feeling very stiff and creaky when I woke up in the morning. This morning I don't feel that wonderful. It wasn't until I got to Waterloo that I felt I was almost firing on all cyclinders, but I still feel tired, and I can't seem to stop yawning. Staying out so late on a Sunday was not a good idea, but hopefully it won't have to happen again for some time to come.

 If the video is not visible it probably means that Facebook has gone off the air, or I have cancelled my login. Either could happen in the future, but I hope it will be visible for the immediate future. It's a clip of the ballet dance dancing along to a song played by The Lost Planet Cowboys. (It's worth clicking on the HD button/logo if your internet connection is fast enough).
Sunday 14th July 2013
08:25 BST

  The weather didn't disappoint yesterday - it was hot ! Maybe it didn't quite reach the magical 30 C in Bromley, where I was at it's peak, but it did, with an extra degree to spare, not too far to the west, and maybe to the north of Bromley, and maybe that included Catford. It made for a rather warm night - specially upstairs, indoors ! It was still 20 C just outside my backdoor at 7.30am. There seems to be a lot more cloud around this morning, and with the heat already rising, and forecast to rise to around 28 C, there is the worrying prospect of a thunderstorm brewing up despite the forecast predicting clear skies, with no chance of rain. It seems there is a reasonable prospect of much of the coming week being very warm and sunny.

  I'm not sure how well I would have fared if I had gone on a coastal walk yesterday. The heat would have helped a lot, and stopping now and then to take photos would have helped a lot too, but it might still have been a painful process. When I dashed out to the cash machine, also calling briefly in Tesco, I got home again with the upper chest, neck and shoulder pains that are definitely symptomatic of something deadly happening to my body.  As usual, I was back to normal within 5 minutes of getting home again, and so I do nothing about it except to try and limit my eating for as long as I can stand before doing any walking. I have a theory, but it's a difficult one to test, that if I fasted for a full 24 hours before any long walk it would relieve, or even prevent the symptoms.

 Instead of going to the coast I went to the Cheqstock music festival at The Chequers pub just beyond Bromley. The stage was in the pub car park, and being outside in fierce sunshine, it was a good test for the lens hoods I had bought for my stills, and video camera. I am happy to say they both worked well. The only annoying thing is that I still couldn't see the viewfinder on the video camera in the bright sunshine. That wasn't a problem on the stills camera because it has a faux optical viewfinder (it's actually a miniature LCD screen viewed through a focusable magnifying glass). I took loads of pictures, and a couple of videos, but there's only room for a small selection here. This is a good one to start with.........
Cheqstock - Saturday 13th July 2013
After an exceedingly long and tedious bus ride lasting nearly an hour (for a ~4 mile journey !) I arrived just as Pete-Electric Experience were finishing, and I left as Fink Tank's set was drawing to a close.
Lost Planet Cowboys at Cheqstock 13th July 2013
These are The Lost Planet Cowboys.
They had a very special, and very unusual guest for one of their songs.
ballet dancer dancing to one of The Lost Planet Cowboy's songs - Cheqstock 13th July 2013
It's not often you get a ballet dancer dancing to rock songs !
ballet dancer - Cheqstock - 13th July 2013another, and rather nice looking photographer - Cheqstock - 13th July 2013
On the right, another, and rather good looking photographer.
Chain on stage - Cheqstock 13th July 2013
Chain - Chris Mayer, guest drummer Dylan Tidman, Jo Corteen, and guest bass player Geoff Paice.
Rod Tidman and Jo Corteen spotting me and my camera at Cheqstock - 13th July 2013
Rod Tidman (also sporting a big camera with a big lens on it) and Jo Corteen spot me pointing my camera at them !
The Thunderboltz - Cheqstock - 13th July 2013
The Thunderboltz.
Fink Tank - Cheqstock - 13th July 2013
Fink Tank
photography at Cheqstock 13th July 2013
Now if only I could assume that position I could take more interesting photos !

 Although I was only there for half the day, it was still most enjoyable. The sunshine was brilliant (in all senses), and it certainly topped up my tan. Surprisingly enough I didn't seem to burn despite taking no precautions against the sun. Maybe it was because I have been topping up on sunshine in small doses - often during smoke breaks at work ! I didn't like all that the bands did, but I seemed to be entertained enough to only manage to drink 2 pints of Guinness while I was there. That probably helped to make the bus ride home again less uncomfortable. With a slightly emptier bus which moved marginally faster than the one I got there, it was a degree less tedious going home, but still far from enjoyable.

 I arrived home at about 5.30pm. The laundry I had done in the morning was bone dry (not unsurprisngly after it had been hanging in the hot sunshine), and I brought that in, and then did a quick review of the pictures I had taken before arranging some breakfast. It was a takeaway, and was probably the worst possible option - pizza ! I am not a great fan of pizza, but somehow it seemed like a good idea, and I certainly enjoyed it (plus the other stuff I ordered with it).

 I felt physically tired during the evening, but not mentally tired. So I stayed up far later than I thought I would. I lay down several time during the late evening, but my brain would not rest. I think it was midnight before I finally settled down, and got to sleep. I think I slept well, although I did get up twice during the early hours of the morning. At about 6.30am I got up, and 15 minutes later I was catching up with my backlog of bed linen laundry again. This morning it was one single sheet, one double sheet, and two pillowcases. They are possibly dry already, and if they are I might find the energy to do even more laundry before the morning is over.

 The only definite plans I have for today is to get some shopping from Aldi, and to go to the last Sunday open mic night at The Catford Ram. After today the open mic night changes to a Friday night. That is both more convenient, and inconvenient. When it doesn't clash with a proper gig, which will take precedence, it will be good. Sunday nights were good up to a point, but with work in the morning it was always a wrench to try and leave at a sensible time.
Saturday 13th July 2013
10:51 BST

  I was quite disappointed with the weather yesterday. It took a long time for the sun to shine. and even then it was often a bit hazy. The temperature managed to reach about 25 C, but that was 3 on what the weather forecasters had been promising a day or two back. Today should see an improvement. Here's what the forecasters were predicting for today last night.
Weather forecast made on the 12th for 13th July 2013
 So far it seems to be on track. I'm currently measuring 24 C, and the sun is blazing down from a clear blue sky. There is even speculation that some parts of London could see 32 C today ! At last - summer !

 The only constructive thing I did yesterday was to wash another sheet, two pillowcases, and three shirts. I am happy to say that they were all bone dry by late afternoon, and I was almost tempted to wash a duvet cover and hang that out to dry.  With the washing done I had a lazy afternoon, and a lazy evening. I also had a very late night !

 The reason for the very late night was nothing to do with indigestion this time. On the whole I ate remarkably carefully yesterday - an achievement that I am almost proud of considering I was at home, by myself, and I didn't really have much to occupy my mind going on.

 During the afternoon I started to read a book that I had retrieved from the waste bins at work. It was a SciFi paperback by Alfred Lester called "Twice Born". It was a very strange book, but quite a compelling read. I didn't get very far at first because after 10 or 20 pages I put the book down and fell asleep for at least an hour.

 I woke up again coughing and spluttering, and also feeling like it might be dinnertime. So I had some dinner, watched some TV, read some stuff on the internet, and then prepared for bed. I guess I was probably on my bed (it was feeling slightly too warm to get in it) as early as 8pm, and I resumed my reading. At 2am I had finished the book, and probably little more than 10 minutes later I was fast asleep.

 I slept well, but not for as long as I would desire. I initially only slept for about 4 hours, but after a bit I fell asleep again, and got maybe another hour, possibly two. As soon as I could see and stand straight I did some more laundry. This time I washed my all purple bed set (sheet, two pillowcases and duvet cover). It's now outside, and possibly nearly dry.

 It is probably a good thing that I did that laundry when I did because once it was finshed, and hung out to dry, I decided to lay on my bed again. I didn't fall into a deep sleep, but I did doze off briefly a few times. After that I had a shower and washed my hair. Now I am almost ready to go out, and the first stop will be the cash machine. If I do that in the next hour I can come home again and relax for a bit before going ot again.

 It would be nice to go for a long, preferably coastal walk on a hot day like today, but there is what should be a better alternative. The Chequers pub, about a mile from the otherside of Bromley, is holding a charity event called "Cheqfest". All afternoon, and into the evening, there are bands playing plus a DJ (who will probably ruin my enjoyment by playing crap music). One of the bands is Chain, and I think there are one or two others I know. I know that Chain are on at 2.45pm, playing a 30 minute set, and I intend to get there well before that. I don't know how long I'll stay there, but it's free entry, or at worst 1 for a programme (which I will get), so I won't feel any compulsion to stay beyond the point where I am either tired or bored just to get my moneys worth.

 Getting there (and coming home) presents an interesting, or novel choice. I have a choice of two buses, the 208 or 336. The novelty is that they both come from Catford, and yet approach the nearest bus stop to the pub from opposite directions.
Friday 12th July 2013
10:17 BST

  It certainly was not hot, but yesterday was pleasantly warm. In fact it may have been better than today according to the latest weather forecast (and what I can see out my window). As little as a few days ago, today was supposed to be the crowning glory of the week. How wrong could they be ? It's currently just 16 C, and the sky is a misty, murky, grey colour.  That is supposed to clear eventually, and from then on it will be a bright sunny day, but it is forecast to be a very disappointing 23 C instead of the originally predicted, and heading towards very warm, 28 C. The forecasters are still predicting 29 C for tomorrow. I expect it will snow !

 I was looking forward to a lunchtime pint yesterday, even though I knew it to be a folly that would spoil the rest of the day, but there were no takers, and I stayed sober. What I did instead was go for a walk around the part. Almost all the nasty little brats were safely locked up in school, and so it was very calm and peaceful in the part of the park I was in. The other side, where the sports facilities are, was typically bedlam with other brats allegedly being taught "sport".

 I took my camera with me (of course). This time of year is not great for wildlife spotting. The vegetation is too thick, and in the warm sun everything moves too fast. To make matters worse I took my Panasonic LZ20 camera with me to help earn it's keep (so to speak). It does perform tolerably well in daylight, but despite it's alleged good specifications it is no match for either of my Canon cameras. Nevertheless, I managed to take a few reasonably good pictures.
Extreme zoom, and some cropping for this perverts special snap
This wasn't the sort of wildlife I was actually looking for, but using the full x21 zoom on the camera I couldn't resist discretely clicking the shutter from a good 100 yards, maybe 200 yards away as I passed her on the other side of the field. It was the only bit of perving I did. The other pictures are less sexy.
blue damsel flying hovering over the river
It's not in ideal focus, although some of it is motion blur, but this damsel fly managed to stay in one place for half a second, and I just managed to capture it's magnificent blue coloured wings.
I think this may be a mayfly
If the last picture was a damsel fly then this is probably a may fly.
a class 319 train passes over the River Ravensbourne
While the River Ravensbourne runs placidly below, a class 319 train rattles over the bridge on it's journey from Sevenoaks to Blackfriars (or maybe Bedford). It would have left Catford station less than a minute before I took this photograph.
Tennis courts in the south end of Ladywell park
I suppose it's just me, but I would have thought that after a fortnights saturation coverage on TV, everyone would have had enough of tennis, but apparently not. These are the courts at the south end of the park. Five years ago, perhaps less, they were almost derelict and overgrown, but seem to be in good working order now. Just behind these courts is a bowling green.
all that remains of Catford greyhound stadium
Separated by the railway line from the park (except at the back) lies the grounds of what was once Catford Greyhound stadium. The racing track (or whatever they called it), plus all the buildings were demolished some years ago - including the Tote board building, which was a listed building that mysteriously caught fire one night (!). All that remains is the overgrown carpark, and the turnstile building with it's (once) neon lit animated signs above it.
Santa in July !!
Outside the park now, but just on the other side of the road from it, Santa basks in the July sun.
Xmas decorations in July
No one knows, maybe not even the owners of the house, why this house is covered in Xmas decorations in July.

 I guess I walked nearly 2 miles yesterday, and for the most part it was easy going, and pleasant under the warm sun. The last part of the walk, after I had gone up and over the footbridge across the railway line, and then started a fast stroll towards home, left me a bit breathless, and with my neck and shoulders aching for a few minutes when I got home. I am sure these are all symptoms of immenent death, but I seem to have cheated death again.

 When I got home I had a light(ish) breakfast/lunch, and passed some time watching TV. I think I watched most of a 1 hour episode of Time Team, before I got bored with TV again. I can't really remember how I passed the rest of the time, and how much there was of it before I went out again. I went to The Blythe Hill Tavern to have a beer, or in more accurate terms, 4 pints of Guinness with the Thursday gang.

 The Blythe Hill Tavern is fortunately at the bottom of the hill, but is just a little further away than I currently feel comfortable to walk just for booze. So I caught a bus there. I thought that was cheating in a way, but I heard that everyone else got the bus there too. In some ways they have a better excuse because there is a bus stop literally on their works front door stop. I had to wait longer than I would have liked for a very full, very slow bus. Coming home again was much more pleasant.

 I had been told that the Blythe Hill Tavern was a good pub and I think I am inclined to agree. It has a nice beer garden outside where we drank our booze, and it has luxury toilets. Of course this is a special case use of the word luxury. It seems rare to find a London pub that has a fairly clean toilet cubicle with a proper toilet seat, toilet paper, and a lock on the door. The Blythe Hill Tavern had all these !

 I have yet to find out why, although I suspect it is something to do with water or gas main renewal roadworks, but several bus routes are on long term diversion, and currently are routed through Catford. When I left the pub I had almost less than a minute to wait before one of these diverted buses turned up. I think everybody was scared to use them, and there was just one other person on it. I must admit I did check with the driver that he would be stopping where I wanted to get off before I touched in with my Oyster card. It was a single decker bus, and driven by a mad man it was able to weave in and out of the traffic to get me back in Catford in what was possibly record time.

 I think it was about 7.30pm when I got home, and it wasn't long before I had rustled up a partly light dinner. It was smoked mackerel with tomatoes and stuff. It was very nice, but maybe not after drinking Guinness. Through the evening, and into the night, I occasionally felt the need to subtly belch, and everytime I did I could just taste fish !

 I had great plans to go out to the seaside today, but the day started off so grey and cool that it rather put me off. The weather for the south east coast did little to inspire me either. So I don't think I am going anywhere today - at least not far away. Maybe I'll go for a stroll somewhere, but I have plenty to do here should I choose to do it.

 It has taken a long time to write this what with sorting out pictures, and dealing with phone calls and other messages, and it is now almost midday ! It is still a bit grey outside, but it is starting to lighten up. Maybe in another hour there will be some sunshine. I think one of the things I ought to do is to wash another sheet and some pillow cases so they can dry in the sun. That should keep me busy for an hour or so.
Thursday 11th July 2013
10:58 BST

  Yesterday was indeed slightly cooler than the day before, but only by the couple of degrees predicted. Overall it was still a nice bright sunny day.  It's all change today, but not too drastically, and with luck it will only be today. Cooler winds have brought in some cloud. Those winds (actually only a moderate breeze) dropped the temperature to a chilly 13 C first thing this morning, but it is slowly warming up. Currently it's around 17 or 18 C, and the periods of very slightly hazy sunshine are getting longer. By 4pm the temperature may top out at an almost acceptable 22 C. Tomorow should see the return of stronger sunshine, and the temperature back to 26 - 28 C.

 It makes my eyeballs bleed to even think about it, let alone to say it, but work was almost enjoyable yesterday. My thing that took the edge off the sheer drudgery, blood sweat and tears, was the semi-completion of the latest project. Others will be putting the finishing touches on today, but my bit, for the current phase, was completed and working OK. There is a phase two, and that should be more benign because a lot of the work for that is already done, and the need for the units are less pressing (in reality, and not in someone's fevered imagination). With the last bit of work handed over I carried out my threat (made as early as last Fiday) to give 7 minutes notice (instead of the preferred, but not enforced 7 days) that I wanted a couple of days off !

 My request for leave was granted (well the alternative was for me to be very grumpy, and I can do that at a professional level), and I've got today and tomorrow off work (as well as the weekend, of course).  Knowing that I had the next day off work made my commute home seem less traumatic than usual. When I arrived back in Catford I went home via Tesco. I did my very best to only buy wholesome stuff, but of course I failed miserably.

 I had a plan that I would eat very carefully last night to maximise my chances of feeling good this morning, and maybe even good enough to attempt to go out somewhere for a bit of a walk, and some fresh air. All went well in Tesco until I thought I might get some cold meat to go with the salad and stuff I had bought. Unfortunately I got suckered into a "buy 2 for 5" deal on ready cooked but cold, barbecue flavour chicken wings.

 Initially I had a very wholesome salmon salad. I didn't even drown it in mayonaisse, and just dressed it with virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. It was a bit later on that I found I couldn't resist the barbecue flavour chicken wings. It was a bad idea on two counts. The first being the obvious that it killed the idea of eating lightly, and secondly, and rather unforeseen, was that it gave me terrible heartburn that made sleep impossible until well gone midnight. It was lucky I had today off work or would have been grumpy at a world champion level if I had lost that amount of sleep on a work day.

 This morning I was able to have a bit of a lie in. I still didn't get the amount of sleep I would have prefered, but it seems enough for now. I had been toying with the idea of going to the seaside today. and specifically to Sheerness On Sea. It's not the most wonderful place to visit, but it's relatively easy to get to. Not sticking to my eating plan last night, and the loss of sleep were not the main reason why I chose not to go. The deciding factor is that it is far cooler, and was a lot more cloudy to the east where Sheerness is. According to the ever reliable BBC web site, the top temperature in Sheerness today will be a rather cool 17 C. That's too cool for me to go walking, let alone paddling in the sea !

 So I am staying in for the while, but I have been a bit productive. I've done some laundry - quite a lot of it ! I washed two pillow cases, a bed sheet, and duvet cover. That was only just possible because it was all cheap, tissue thin, stuff from Poundstretcher. Plus I was able to hang it up outside where it can drip away to it's hearts content. It was my special "kinky black" bed set, and that is going to soak up the sunshine, and will dry very quickly as the sun and breeze combine. It may even be partly dry already.

 I'm also going to take the opportunity to do some more work on my mk4 server. Apart from the a completely messed up configuration for the Samba server, which enables sharing files over my internal network to Windows, and other PCs, it seems to be working as expected, and sooner or later I'll switch over to use it as my web server. Before I do that I still have hundreds of gigabytes of files to copy to it. Even as I type this I am copying gigabytes of photos from this PC to it where it should be safer from disaster (many of my photo files only exist on one hard drive - which is playing with fired !).

 Later today, or maybe sooner, I think I'll be going out for a beer or two, Maybe Kevin will fancy a lunchtime pint, or if not there is the option of a drink with the Thursday night gang in The Blythe Hill Tavern. I haven't drunk in there for ages. I'm told it is good in there, but it's not on my way home from work, and so I haven't joined the gang there before.

 I must try and get an early night tonight. It should be nice and warm tomorrow, and I really do want to get out and see the sea. It is possible that I may travel a bit further afield than Sheerness, although because I don't think I will be able to walk very far, it may be a bit extravagant to travel for hours, and pay a lot for my rail ticket, for just a short walk. I think it will be a spur of the moment thing. Maybe I won't go at all.
Wednesday 10th July 2013
07:56 BST

  Yesterday may have been a degree or two cooler according to the weather forecasters, but it didn't feel very much different to the day before. It was all clear blue skies and bright sunshine again. It seems to be a bit of a paradox, but today has started as much as three degrees less cool than yesterday, and yet the top temperature will be about three degrees cooler than yesterday. I think it was around 16 or even 17 C when I walked to the station, and it didn't feel chilly like yesterday. There could be some thin cloud at sometime this morning, and that could make the sunshine hazy, and in turn, that may reduce today's top temperature to a more tepid 24 C.  Tomorrow things could be a lot worse. The morning could start out at a very chilly 10 C, and the top temperature a barely warm 22 C.

circuit boardThe poor resolution picture on the left, taken on my mobile phone (which can't do close up shots) is of one of the bits being used in the project at work which has caused many people much grief. This particular circuit board is still not finished, but every part on it I hand mounted and soldered. Fortunately 8 out of the ten boards I am making only need a subset of the components mounted on this one, and those 8 I have already completed to yesterday's specification. I have just learned that 4 of them will need a few bits added - about 4 or 5 parts.

 With the pressure off I made very good progress yesterday, and it was almost painless to do. Hopefully I can finish the the pictured board off, plus another identical with it, add the extra bits to the 4 boards that didn't need them yesterday, by the end of today. If I can manage that it will be possible to take tomorrow and Friday off work. Tomorrow, as a day off, is not looking terribly attractive weather wise, and I don't think I'll fret too much if I have to come in to finish something off. Friday is still looking like an excellent day for a visit to the seaside (or maybe elsewhere), and I think I will get cross if I can't take it off. Maybe I'll have to take next Monday too !

 I felt fairly OK going home from work yesterday. I had been thinking that I might wash a sheet or duvet cover when I got home, but once I arrived there I didn't feel quite so keen. I'm not sure why that was. I didn't feel exhuasted or anything like that. I just didn't fancy doing any laundry. What I did do, and once again I have no idea why, was to eat rather less than usual. When I first got home I had a few tortilla chips while I got changed, and checked my email, but for dinner itself I seemed to be satisfied with some grilled pork with steamed vegetables - and nothing else.

 Eating less than usual may have had a positive effect this morning. Maybe, just maybe, I felt a little less knackered at the end of each of the three long(ish) walks I have to do to get to work. I am wondering if I managed to subconciously prime myself to eat less last night. When plotting with myself about the days off work I intend to take sooner or later, I thought that I ought to try and eat far less than usual beforehand if was to stand any chance of walking any distance during those days off. Last night I had forgotten that at a concsious level, but maybe some lower level part of my brain hadn't.  If that was the case then it would be useful to be able to do it more often....if only I knew how.

 Maybe tonight I'll be preparing for a day off tomorrow.......or maybe not. All I can hope is that my brain sub-routines take some sort of control when I pop into Tesco on the way home from work. There is a lot of temptation in there, but if all goes to plan I'll end up eating a big bowl of salad with some fish (probably tuna). If I feel really conscientous I might not even drown it in mayonaise or salad cream (but I wouldn't bet on that if I were you). 
Tuesday 9th July 2013
08:02 BST

  I think that yesterday was a degree or two warmer than the forecast. It still didn't cross the magical point of 30 C where I would have described it as hot, but 27 C, and continuous sunshine didn't feel too bad. Today should be just as sunny, and indeed it has started off bright and sunny, but a slight change in wind direction may keep it a few degrees cooler than yesterday. That's still not too bad, although 13 C this morning made for a chilly feeling walk to the station. Apparently tomorrow may be another degree cooler, and Thursday cooler still, but after that it will warm up again. Could be a quite warm weekend.

 The project that caused me such grief on Friday was back on an even keel yesterday. With no one running around like headless chickens trying to meet an impossible deadline, the work is going far smoother, and maybe even faster with less mistakes. I'll be happy when it is all done, but yesterday didn't feel anything like as taxing as Friday. It was still very nice to get out of work, and into the sunshine to go home.

 Going home in the warm sunshine is almost pleasant, although several thousand times less pleasant than if work was just 20 - 30 minutes away on a single train or bus journey. All that mucking around changing trains at Waterloo/Waterloo East really pisses me off even on a warm sunny day. At least in this weather there are usually some pretty girls, in their summer outfits to provide some distraction to the misery of commuting.

 I must have had some energy left when I got home because I managed to do some laundry before having dinner. I washed two shirts (including the one I had been wearing at work), a pair of lounge pants, and four small, 1 metre square, tablecloths made of a very thin fabric. Once it was all hung up to dry I had my dinner, and for the most part it was a sort of healthy(ish) sort of dinner. The first course was a steamed fish, potatoes and vegetable ready meal. It is supposed to be a serving for one, but in my opinion it is just a tiny snack ! Part two was steamed rice and vegetables served with the contents of a can of mackerel in tomato sauce. At least it said mackerel on the tin, but it was unlike any mackerel I've had before, and extremely like pilchards ! Maybe that's why these quite big tins are in the 99p shop. Maybe the contents are actually random fish. Perhaps the other tin I have has mackerel in it, or maybe it will have whale meat in it. I can't say I am that bothered about it no matter what fish it is, although I would have to draw the line at that rotting/fermented canned fish that the Norwegians like.

 After dinner, which I have to confess also included some Hula Hoops, so it was all rather less healthy than I might have suggested, I  went up to my bedroom, and edited some photos I had taken on Sunday night. After such a  thin open mic session I didn't have that many photos, and because they were taken with my new Canon SX40 camera, they only needed a few light touches before I uploaded them.  After that I went to bed.
 It was only just gone 8pm when I got into bed, and although it was very warm in my room (27 C), I fell asleep extremely quickly. It only lasted about 10 minutes before my phone woke me uop again ! After that it took longer to get to sleep, but I don't think it was much after 9pm before I was asleep again. I didn't wake up more than once or twice in the night, and if my alarm had not gone off I may have been still in bed even now.

 Despite not waking up too many times in the night, I think I actualy slept quite badly last night. I woke up feeling very cold. The temperature in my bedroom had dropped dramatically during the night. Whether it was that drop in temperature, or something else I don't know, but I woke up feeling quite lousy this morning. I was stiff and aching, and my sinuses felt full and uncomfortable. Since then, after a bit of exercise and fresh air, I don't feel so bad, but I would still like to repeat some of my sleep, and this time under the duvet instead of naked on top of the bed. I guess I'll have to wait until tonight until I can try that. Oh well, only another 12 hours to go for that, and just 22 days to go before I am paid again (and it is going to feel like a very long 22 days this month !!!!).
Monday 8th July 2013
08:19 BST

  There's no doubt about it, yesterday was like a summers day, and it was almost like a July day. It was warm, almost hot at 27 C, and the sun shone almost all day. Some clouds did drift across the sky at one point during the afternoon, but they hardly dimmed the sun. During the night the temperature fell quite a long way, and although as little as a couple of months ago I might have described 15 C as luxury, it did feel quite chilly as I walked to the station in a short sleeved shirt and shorts. The rest of today's weather was being forecast to look like this.....
weather forecast for 8th July 2013
 If the weather follows the forecast it will make for another nice day, although it is looking like early tomorrow morning is going to feel even fresher.

 I guess it was almost getting on for Elevenses when I cooked my breakfast yesterday. In a way that is almost appropriate because the function it served was almost that of dinner. It made scrambled eggs (or maybe it was an omlette) with tomatos and saveloys - all cooked in the same microwave proof pan. It was rather tasty, and even more so with hot chilli sauce on it. It was the only substantial meal I had all, but that doesn't mean I didn't manage to eat a lot of crap as snacks through the day.

 Perhaps one reason I didn't go for another proper meal was that I found something to do that kept me occupied. Maybe a better reason is that I was sure I would be going to the open mic session at The Catford Ram in the evening, and I wanted to walk there on a less than full stomach.

 The thing that kept me occupied for many hours was a task I've been meaning to do for many, many months now - rebuilding my server. It didn't go quite to plan. The (alleged)(semi-software) SATA raid card I was going to use seemed to upset the BIOS of the motherboard I was, and eventually did use in my server. That ruled out trying to set up a RAID array of hard disks for extra security, and I ended up just using the onboard SATA connectors to attach the two 3Tb hard disks the latest incarnation of my server uses.

 Using such huge hard disks meant doing this a slightly different way when it came to installing Linux Mint 13 (long term support version), but I overcame that difficulty, and one other little problem to get a basic working installation. The other little problem was a dying DVD ROM drive. It had a great difficulty in reading the install disk. I thought it should have been working fine, but when I swapped it out with another unit that I thought was actually faulty, but turned out to be able to read the install disk without a single hiccup !

 Once the basic installation was done I installed the server software. First up was the web server - Lighttpd. That worked first time with no hint of any problems (but I may make a few customisations at some later time). The next thing was an ftp server - Pure FTP. Setting that up correctly needs a few special settings, and it too a few attempts to get it right. The last thing was Samba. If I could get the blasted thing working it would make some defined files and folders visible on another PC on my network. At one point I got it set up so I could see it as an external drive on another Linux PC, but a Windows machine would just not connect to it. I always have trouble with Samba, but one day I'll get it right.

 Playing with that server made me late for the open mic session. I needn't have worried though. There was no live music for the first two hours because the pub was half deserted. Soon after things picked up, and I had a mostly enjoyable time. As seems to be the norm now, it carried on for a good hour past the official finish time of 10pm. I left at about 10 to 11pm, and I was home by 11pm. I was very tempted to cook myself some sort of meal once I got in, but settled for a couple of bags of Hula Hoops before brushing my teeth, and falling into bed.

 I obviously got a lot less sleep than I might desire, but what sleep I did get seemed like it was good sleep - at least I only remember waking up once in the night. That doesn't quite explain why I almost fell asleep across my keyboard while thinking of these words to write. Maybe tonight I am going to throw myself into bed extra early instead of doing exciting stuff like laundry or server configuration, or maybe not.
Sunday 7th July 2013
09:21 BST

  The clouds slowly dispersed, taking far longer than forecast, leaving Friday a nice warm sunny day. I think the temperature got up to around 24 C. I think I can safely say that yesterday was a summers day. There were clear blues skies and loads of warm sunshine. The temperature got up to a nice warm 27 C. Today will be very similar. It's already 22 C, and it is possible that it might get a degree higher than yesterday.  There was talk of the temperature hitting 30 C next week, but the latest forecast says it will actually be a degree or two cooler most days.

 Friday was not a good day at work. The project that had been started in unseemly haste in the laughable idea that it might be finished on Friday, fell stupidly behind. Mistakes and errors that should have been sorted out one by one as the project proceeded all came together at once. It left me feeling very drained, and rather pissed off. So it was a huge relief when home time came around, and I made my way home.

 It was sort of nice to travel home in the bright sunlight, although it might be more true to say it was not the usual horrible when travelling like that, plus I was heading in the right direction - home ! I felt very unmotivated when I got home. I think there was a gig I was thinking of going to on Friday night, but I didn't bother to look it up. I just had some dinner, and went to bed quite early.

 Saturday was almost a day of rest, and I felt like I really needed a rest. There was a bit of activity in the morning because I had a visit from Aleemah. That was less that satisfactory in one small respect. When we went to the Wetherspoons pub, where Aleemah has their vegetarian breakfast, I scanned all the beers available and decided I didn't like any of them !  Unlike any other Wetherspoons pub, or at least as far as I know, the Catford branch keeps getting most of it's beers from just three breweries, Welton's,  Alton's and the Westerham brewery. The trouble is that I am not fond of the produce of any of those three I ended up having a pint of Stella Artois. It seemed fitting enough for a warm summers day, but I do like to sample different beers when they are available.

 After Aleemah went home I made myself some dinner, and then did very little. There was definitely a gig I was going to last night, but I just could not be bothered. It felt pleasant enough laying on my bad listening to recordings of The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy - and that is what I did for the rest of the afternoon, and then on into the evening. After I heard the final episode I had another meal, and watched TV for a few hours. I am unsure where all the time went because it was close to midnight before I fell into bed, and slept solidly for nearly 6 hours.

 I woke up evidently feeling very refreshed because I've just done two big loads of laundry, and hung it in the garden to dry.  I have only the very vaguest plans for the rest of the day. Once I have cooled off a bit, I'll have a cool shower, and get dressed to go out to the corner shop. After that my plans sort of run out. I fancy some breakfast, and I am thinking of scrambled eggs, but if I eat I won't want to go out, and it is the sort of day where I probably should go out. If I do it won't be far. I have a sort of plan that I might take a day or two off work towards the end of next week (probably Thursday and Friday), and I hope that I can force myself to go to the seaside, but I am not doing that on Sunday service trains.
Friday 5th July 2013
08:04 BST

  Once again the amount of sunshine promised, and the amount we actually got were very different. Yesterday was often bright, and the sun managed to peep out from between the clouds a few short times, but it wasn't until the evening when the sun managed to stay out for more than a few minutes at a time. The afternoon was relatively warm, and I think the temperature reached 24 C at it's best. A better description of what might have happened today comes from this screengrab of the BBC's website at 14:24 yesterday......
Weather forecast for 5th July 2013
It looks very fine. Nice bright sunshine between 6 and 7am ! Here's the reality.......
cloudy morning
This is looking to the east where the sun rose 90 minutes earlier, and most of the sky is cloud !
This morning the BBC modified their forecast a bit.
revised, but still wrong forecast

 According to this revised forecast, last updated at 06:26, I should be looking out my office window and seeing a bright sunny morning. I actually see a lot of cloud, and not really even a hint of sunshine ! Well, fingers crossed that reality catches up with the BBC's fantasy (as it probably will in some shape or form)!

 I was lucky enough to catch one of the short (and it was very short) spells of sunshine while I waited for my train home at Waterloo East station yesterday. It was just enough to lift my spirits after a tiring, and rather frustrating day at work. Before that I was wondering if I could be bothered to get any shopping, and even if I could be bothered to go for a drink. I ended up doing both, although to be honest one dictated the other.

 It's ages since I last went around Lidl, and so it was a bit exciting, but not as exciting as it might have been. I'm not exactly sure how I eneded up buying so much when I didn't see all that much that tempted me. I ended up with two 2l bottles of sugar free cola in my rucksack, one extra large carrier bag with frozen stuff in it, and another extra large carrier bag with other stuff in it. I definitely over did it a bit because I was staggering by the time I got to the pub.

 I felt like staying in the pub for far longer than just for the two pints I had, but I wanted to get some of the frozen stuff in the freezer before it thawed out. So I staggered out the pub under the heavy weight, and not from the booze this time, and lugged everything home. When I took stock of all I had bought I realised there were a few things that I wanted that I didn't buy (because I didn't see them on the shelves). It is possible, though unlikely, that I may stop off somewhere on the way home tonight to buy a few things like blueberries.

 It is tempting to think that all these supermarkets are the same, and many say it is particularly so of Aldi and Lidl. While there are often similarities, there are also large variations. Aldi do a chicken curry ready meal that has nice rice, and very mediocre curry. Lidl do something very similar, but with a twist. The curry is rather excellent, but the rice is almost inedible. To be fair I have to admit that I didn't follow the cooking instructions correctly.

 Tonight I will have another, but different flavour, Lidl curry, and perhaps this time I'll follow the cooking instructions. Hopefully that will improve the rice while leaving the curry the same. I think I could go to a gig tonight. Chain aren't playing anywhere I can get to, but another band are playing in Bromley. The only trouble is that I have been feeling completely exhausted after work, and even if I did find the energy to go out it might still be hard keeping my eyes open. I think it likely that I won't be going out tonight, and hat means I can have my Lidl chicken curry at my normal dinner time instead of going hungry until after I get back home from the gig.
Thursday 4th July 2013
08:20 BST

  It didn't matter who forecast yesterday's weather - they all got it wrong ! There was supposed to be some sunshine starting as early as midday, but on the whole it was a bit of murky day with the sun not shining until about 7pm. Even then, it was only for 5 or 10 minutes. This morning has started out with the sky being a homogenous milky grey colour. Once again the forecasters reckon the cloud and high level mist will disperse, and the afternoon will be sunny. We shall see !

 Maybe I worked a little too hard at work yesterday. I did seem to achieve quite a lot, but by half way through the day I felt very tired and a sensation that I can only describe as being something like feeling ill, but not exactly like that. If I were at home I would definitely have laid down on my bed, and probably have had a snooze.

 The feeling, although changed in some undescribable way, didn't completely leave me as I made my way home from work, nor after I got home. I wasn't in pain, nor was I so lacking in energy that I could hardly keep my eyeballs pointing in the same direction, but I just felt sort of bleurgh with a touch of meh! thrown in. Last night was almost a repeat of the night before when I felt so unmotivated that I just sat behind the PC for a couple of hours before going to bed.

 There was one difference though. The night before I was able to fall asleep very easily. Last night was one of those nights where it felt too cool to be uncovered, and too warm to be covered up. It was also one of those nights where both of the pillows I can use on my bed were of the wrong thickness. One seemed 0.83mm too high, and the other 1.19mm too low. I also felt very sensitive to any bump in the mattress, or crease in the bottom sheet greater than 47 thousandths of an inch. In short, I couldn't get comfortable.

 I don't know how long I tossed and turned before getting to sleep. It felt like ages, but could have been less than 30 minutes. When I did get to sleep I must have been sleeping very badly. I can vaguely remember waking up a couple of times coughing, and although most details have now evaporated, I had some seemingly long winded, and occasionally disturbing dreams. I'm sure I was having some sort of unpleasant dream when my alarm woke me at 5am. It took me what seemed like a long time to work out what was reality, and what was dream (if indeed I got it right !).

 Now the nightmare of travelling to work is over, and I am now at work, I don't feel that bad. Given the choice I would choose to be elsewhere, but that has been so for ages now. I suppose the one good thing about coming to work is the pay check at the end of the month, and the end of this month can't come too soon. I withdrew some cash on the way into work, and my bank balance is at a similar level to that which get's me concerned when there is still a fortnight to go, and we are still in the fist week of the month ! I'm going to have to try and be very frugal this month. The good news is that my saving account is looking very healthy. I've never saved so much in my life, and yet with the current state of the economy it is most probably worth far less than my savings were when I bought my house. Luckily for me that was in the days of 100% mortgages or I never could have afforded to buy a house. As good as they are, by my own standards, I doubt my saving would even pay the deposit on a mortgage for a run down garden shed right now !

 Tonight should be a little different to last night. I am getting some shopping in on my way home from work. I also expect I'll be stopping off for a few pints of Guinness in the pub. If there is drinking on tonight (and unless I hear different I will assume there is) I shall be shopping in either Lidl or Iceland. Lidl is not really on my way home, and it is far enough away from home to make it a bit of a bind to lug heavy shopping bags home from. However The Catford Ram is a nice half way point where I can top up my alchohol levels. If I hear that there is no drinking going on tonight then I think I'll hop on a bus when I come out of Catford Bridge station, and go the three or four stops round to Aldi. Iceland still remains a choice, drinking or no drinking, but Tesco is just too expensive unless there is something I specifically need from there
Wednesday 3rd July 2013
07:52 BST

  Yesterday was probably drier than expected. The first rain fell at about 3.30pm, but it was an insignificant fall. The real rain happened after dark, and the puddles this morning bear witness to the amount that must have fallen while I was fast asleep. There were a few sunny intervals, and these managed to get the temperature up to somewhere around 20 C. It seemed a bit cool when I walked to the station this morning, but it was probably around 15 C. It looked threatening enough that I put on a light jacket, but I only felt a couple of spots of rain (and they may have just been drips blowing off a tree). I spotted a credit card sized spot of blue on the way to the station, and by the time I reached Waterloo mainline station the sun was shining. It was back to being grey at Earlsfield, and I did feel a few more spots of rain as I walked to work. It looks ever grey now, but the forecast says the cloud should disperse through the morning, and the afternoon will often be sunny with top temperature of around 20 - 22 C.

 I felt far better than I thought I would at work yesterday. On Monday I had plenty of hints that my recent cold could be returning, but instead of getting worse they got better. I even had a little energy left when I got home, but it was misdirected energy. There was stuff I could have done, maybe even stuff I should have done, but I felt aimless, and ultimately bored. The news on TV failed to capture my attention, and I ended up eating more than intended, although more than intended did include, and perhaps the bulk of it was 5 satsumas and 5 plums. Ideally though, I would have preferred to have avoided the two packets of potato rings (Hula Hoops), and the Ritz crackers (even though there were only 4 of them).

 After the news had finished, and I had finally stopped eating, I went up to my room, and did little more than "surf the net" (as it once was called). That was pretty boring, but it wasn't until 9pm that I was in bed and fast asleep. I think I actually slept better last night than the night before. I can only recall waking once in the night for a pee, although I did wake up 35 minutes before my alarm was due to sound for the second morning running.

 I woke up feeling quite thick headed, but that soon cleared, and I felt sort of OK. I didn't exactly feel full of beans though, and once I started out to come to work, I felt quite creaky in all sorts of places. After two good nights sleep I should not have felt tired, but I did even if it was not the sleepy sort of tired. Walking from half way down the platform on Waterloo East station to over half way down the platform at Waterloo mainline station is a fair walk, and even at the most recent peak of my fitness, 2 years ago, when I was going on 7, or more, mile walks for fun, I never used to treat the walk between stations lightly. This morning, when I finally got on the train at Waterloo, and sat down exhausted, my immeadiate wish was for a couple of pints of Guinness, some dinner, and to go to bed ! This was at 7:10am this morning. If my wish had come true it would have been a remarkably short day.

 I sometimes wonder if I moan too much about my health here, but where else can I do it, and besides it's almost a British tradition. Although by tradition the main subject is usually the bowels for some strange reason that I have yet to fathom (are you regular ?) - maybe in Victorian times, when these sort of traditions were invented, the bowels were of considerably greater interest than they are now. Personally I regard my health as being like the weather. It has the capacity to modify my travel arrangements like the weather does, and it changes in almost unpredictable ways. Mostly it is just something that happens, and you get on with your life as best you can

 If a hyperchondriac is always seeing a doctor for imaginery ailments, what do you call the opposite of that person. I always assume that I have the deadliest of diseases, but hardly ever see my doctor, and do my best to shun most of his rotten pills. For all I know, cancer is eating away my insides even as I write this, and on some days it certainly feels like it. Maybe some day something will fall off, and I'll have to get a doctor to sew it back on, but until then I'll just moan about every ache and pain, while secretly dreaming I've got diseases that most doctors have never even heard of. It makes me happy to attempt to defy the odds and keep on living just to spite the health professionals who wouldn't recognise life even if it bit them on the arse !
Tuesday 2nd July 2013
08:00 BST

  Maybe yesterday was not as bad as it seemed it might be. There was quite a lot of sunshine, and even when the sun wasn't shining directly, it was still bright. In a more spring like than summer like, it was also comfortably warm and dry. Today might realize the worst expected fears for yesterday.....and then a little more ! The day has started out bright, but not sunny, and it is not too cool at around 15 C (plus or minus a degree), but it won't stay like this if the forecasts are to be believed. The day will get greyer and greyer until at about 5pm the heavens will open, and rain will come cascading down. Depending on who you believe, there could also be a brief bit of drizzle, or light shower at any time today. One authority reckons the temperature will peak at 21 C at 1pm, and then slowly go down again.

 I didn't feel all that wonderful at work yesterday. The sore throat I had in the morning eased off to almost, but not quite, nothing by lunchtime, and as it did so I coughed more and more. By the afternoon my cough, which over the weekend had become almost non-existent, was back to full strength throatiness. Once I left work to go home, my cough started to clear up again. It never went totally, but I woke up this morning no worse than any other morning, and although I coughed more than I would like to on the train to work, it wasn't the terrible choking blue faced cough that I suffered on the trains a few weeks ago. Now I am at work I can already feel the phlegm rising in my chest. Maybe it's all in the head, or maybe it's sick building syndrome. The day when I can finally quit this job can't come too soon !

 I didn't feel specially knackered when I got home from work, but I did feel too peckish to stop and do some laundry before having dinner. Maybe I could have done some laundry after dinner if I hadn't eaten so much. It was not my intention to eat quite what I did, but the discovery that the bread that was going to be part of my dinner was dry and as hard as a rock forced a change halfway through. I did try and rehabilitate the bread by making it slightly damp, and microwaving it. It would probably have worked in a gas oven, but not in a microwave oven.

 I did my best to eat the bread rather than waste it. I resorted to dripping olive oil from a can of mackerel on it, but it was still horrible, and after a bit I just ate the fish and threw the bread away. Next I had some well grilled pork with steam cooked mixed vegetables. To finish off I had a punnet of blueberries plus 4 (or 5) satsumas. It was enough to fill me up, and take away any thoughts of doing anything physical. Instead I used up the evening reviewing/editing the photos I took at the open mic session in The Catford Ram on Sunday night.

 Last week I was checking something out on the internet when I ended up on Amazon, and in particular, their pages of Lee Cooper shoes/trainers. Until recently I hadn't realised that Lee Coopers make a range of trainers that looks almost identical to Converse trainers, but at lower prices. Even more interesting was that JD Sports, via Amazon, had some sort of sale on, and were selling Lee Cooper trainers for half, or more price. I was hoping that I could let my credit card cool off this month, but I couldn't resist ordering three pairs of Lee Cooper trainers for less than the price of a single pair of Converse.

 They arrived yesterday, two days ahead of schedule. That was nice, but slightly inconvenient because I couldn't find more than a couple of carrier bags to try and take them home in. I took two pairs home last night, and I've brought my rucksack in for the third (plus the free JD mug that accompanied my order for some unexplained reason). I've now added white, royal blue, and mid green to my ever growing selection of colourful trainers. Today I am wearing the new hi-top green ones.
green Lee Cooper hi canvas trainers
 Compared to Converse trainers, the canvas feels very stiff, but it should soften in use. My first impression is that they could end up more comfortable than Converse, and may wear at a similar rate. At the moment they are rubbing in two places (different places on either feet), but there is a certain snugness about them that feels sort of good. Tomorrow I'll probably test the royal blue pair (at least I think I would call it royal blue), but I'll wait for a nice sunny day to test the white pair.
Monday 1st July 2013
07:59 BST

  Yesterday was just like a summers day. At just 26 C (maybe 27 C) it didn't feel more than warm, but the warm sunshine was most welcome. Sadly today will not be as good. It should stay dry, and there will be some sunshine, but the temperature is only forecast to hit 21 C at best. It felt quite cool walking to the station in just short sleeves. My outside thermometer reckoned it was nearly 16 C, but at ground level, and out in the breeze, it may have actually been closer to 14 C - which is a huge disappointment for July.

 I guess I felt pretty good yesterday. It was hard not to with the sun blazing down. I didn't seem to have any significant aches or pains, nor any other after effects from the cold I had that lingered and lingered. I must have been feeling good because I ended up doing three lots of laundry ! The two towels I did first dried surprisingly fast in the sunshine, and that left me new, temporary, and very short washing line free for other stuff. Load number two was five shirts plus some underwear. I did that in the early afternoon, and with the sun hiding behind the house, it took a lot longer for it all to dry.

 A couple of hours later I washed some t-shirts, and a pair of lounge pants. They didn't get long enough to get more than partly dry before I brought them all in for the evening. It was quite an achievement, or so I thought, and I treated myself by going to the open mic night at The Catford Ram. (OK, I'll admit it - I would have gone anyway). As usual it was a very mixed bag. There was good stuff, bad stuff, and even a tiny interlude of terrible stuff being played and/or sung. I stayed until just gone 10pm, but I suspect it went on long after that (although 10pm is the official finish time).

 When I got home I was going to cook myself some dinner, but after considering all I had eaten during the day, I thought better of it. My cheese scrambled eggs and gammon steaks breakfast was, as I think I remarked yesterday, enough food for the whole day. So I didn't have another "meal" for the rest of the day, but I did eat some other stuff. During the afternoon I wandered up the road to the corner shop, and seemed to buy a couple of chocolate ice cream bars in there by accident ! They were very nice !! I can't remember eating anything else until after I got back from the pub, but I am sure that is incorrect.

 When I got in from the pub I felt I needed just a little something to soak up the beer, but all I had was a handful of mini cheese crackers. Then I went to bed. It was about 11pm, and I fell asleep really quickly again, and I slept even better than the night before. It's all a bit vague now, but I can only remember waking up twice in the night, and then only briefly each time. The second of those times was at 4am. That is always a dangerous time because it is so near to the time I have to get up, but this morning I had a quick wee, and I was back asleep in no time.

 This morning, with one exception, I feel pretty good. All the pounding, sloshing about, squeezing, wringing out, and general soapy mayhem of doing three loads of hand laundry leaning over the side of the bath has left a mild, but noticeable effect on my back and arms. I was expecting that, and so I discount it - it's not even as bad as I expected - but I wasn't expecting a sore throat this morning. Well maybe I should have been because I got the first hint of it last night. It's not terribly sore, but I am worried what it might be advance warning of. My last cold, the one I've only just got over, started with a sore throat. Maybe I am about to start a new cycle of illness, but I hope that it will come to nothing this time.