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My Diary/Blog For the Month of June 2013

Sunday 30th June 2013
11:12 BST

  The weather is slowly improving. I can't recall any rain on Friday after the light downfall in the morning. Once the clouds had broken up it turned into a fairly pleasant day with much more sunshine than forecast. Yesterday was another pleasant day. It was dry, and there was often some sunshine.  Towards the evening the clouds got thicker, and at one point I thought I heard some distant thunder, but on reflection I think it was just fireworks. That cloud had had gone by this morning, but it did keep some warmth in overnight. It is now gloriously sunny, and the temperature is already 22 C. With luck it will go up a few more degrees by late this afternoon. Tomorrow is forecast to be a bit cloudier, and the top temperature may only be 20 C - not bad as such, but a very poor show for the first of July !

 I did something a bit silly on Friday night. I had been feeling reasonably OK during the day, and I should of capitalised on that by having a semi light, fairly healthy dinner, but I didn't. It was probably wild exhuberism (or however you spell it) after just being paid. I treated myself to a large takeaway - double shish kebab (one lamb, and one chicken). In theory, being grilled meat, and served with loads of salad, they should have been "almost" healthy, but...........

 For all that, I didn't feel any particular ill effects from it, but when it came to doing a bit of housework I felt very sluggish. I managed to do just enough to make the place look almost presentable for when my friend Aleemah dropped by with a DVD to watch.  As usual I met her at the station, and we went to the Wetherspoons pub so she could have some breakfast (and I could have a pint of beer !). On the way back to home from the pub we did some shopping, and still with my new pay burning a home in my pocket, I did get a bit carried away buying stuff that I probably should not have done.

 When Aleemah went home I had a bit of late lunch, and then I sort of didn't really do anything else until the evening. I had some dinner, watched a bit of TV, and went to bed. I thought I had eaten rather a lot, and didn't fancy going to a gig in the evening. With hindsight I am not so sure that I did eat all that much, but even if I had realised I had eaten less than I thought I still didn't fancy the journey to the pub where the gig was. It was in Charlton, and it would need two buses to get there, and that put me off.

 Although I had notionally gone to bed quite early (for a Saturday night) it was several hours before I actually went to sleep. I spent some time on the internet, and I did some reading. I think it was 11pm before I turned out the light, but when I did I was asleep almost instantly. It feel like I really needed that sleep. I slept well until about 5am (although I did wake up for a wee a few times as far as I can recall). Initially I got up and pottered around for a bit before going back to bed.

 I think it was around 9am when I woke up again, and I woke up with a thick head as if I had a hangover. I guess I was sleeping awkwardly, and probably snoring a lot or something. It didn't take long to throw off the effects of sleep, and one of the first things I did was to wash a pair of towels. Hand washing towels is a bit of a physical challenge, but I got them done, and I even strung up a temporary washing line using an old ethernet cable tied between a drainpipe and a tree in my back garden. It's only 6ft long, but the two towels are happily drying in the sunshine now.

 Once I had dealt with those two towels I set about cooking breakfast. What I really fancied was egg and bacon with all the trimmings. That's not so easy to do with only an electric grill and a microwave oven. The bacon, although in this case it was actually a smoked gammon steak, was easy to cook in the grill. For eggs I had to settle for cheese scrambled eggs cooked in the microwave. It was the first time I had tried cooking eggs like that, and I was very happy with the results. Previously I had had some mixed success with poached eggs, but the result ten were a bit messy.

 With the temperature at 22 C , and a little warmer indoors, I felt rather warm after eating my breakfast, but I am slowly cooling off writing this (but not that much). The next thing I'll do is to have a little lie down. Once I've cooled off, and my breakfast settled a bit, I will wash some shirts. If I feel very enthusiastic I'll wash all my shirts and underwear too, but I have a feeling I'll be just doing enough for work next week. It is possible, though I don't know how, that I'll have enough energy to do some more laundry after work tomorrow.

 Apart from laundry, I have no idea what I shall be doing for the rest of today. It is ideal weather for a day out (at least it was - the sun has just dodged behind a big cloud) and I would love to go for a paddle in the sea, but I am so out of practice at walking that it seems far to much bother to even try. Maybe there will be some more hot sunny days in July, and perhaps I'll take some days off work so I can take advantage of more frequent trains, and quieter beaches during the week.

stuff and nonsense
 I can't help but think that this sticker, on a newspaper locker outside Catford Bridge station, would make at least some sense if it had some punctuation. As far as I can tell it is saying that Jesus saves sinners, and that he should repent and be baptised. Not that I know anything about this religion business.
Friday 28th June 2013
09:08 BST

  Yesterday was not a bad day. It was sunnier than expected, and it turned to be a little close to warmer than I expected, although I am unsure just what the highest temperature was (20 C ?). On my way home from work I felt a few inconsequential drops of rain, and there was some very light drizzle while walking from the pub to home. That drizzle probably continued on and off through the night, and there was some light drizzle when I walked to the station this morning. It did get a little heavier in the last few minutes before my train arrived, but even then it wasn't bad. It was 15 C when I left to come to work. By early afternoon it should be up in the region of 20 C, but it won't be from the afforts of the sun.Today is very likely to be overcast all the time. Worse than that is the prediction that there could be some heavy rain just as I am going home after work.

 On my way home I first popped into Tesco to get, amongst other stuff, some more blueberries, and more strawberries. A lot of the other stuff was sandwiches. They made for a nice quick, instant really, dinner after I got home from my next port of call - the pub. I met up with Chris, Andy, Paul, Aland and Dave for three very pleasurable pints of Guinness. It is probable that Kevin showed up after I left. We were expecting him, but I thought three pints was sufficient for the evening, and didn't wait for him.

 When I got home, a little after 7pm, I ate my instant dinner while watching an episode of Enterprise on TV. I thought I had seen every single episode of Enterprise, many more than once, but last night's seemed unfamiliar to me. It finished a little before 8pm, and I went straight up to my room. It wasn't that long before I was in bed, and it wasn't that long after that that I was fast asleep. I sort of slept quite well, but I did wake up from a very strange dream a little before 3am.

 I think I know what inspired that dream. Once upon a time, when me and Kevin were kids (mid 1960s or thereabouts) we used to race our bikes down a hill that had a sharp right angled turn into the park. It was great fun to come shooting down that hill, and then lean very hard into the turn to go into the park. Unfortunately the road gave way to gravel at the bottom of the hill, and if you cornered too hard you could lose grip and go skidding across the road sideways. It happened to me a couple of times, but I survived (even if my shirt or trousers didn't !). Kevin came off at least once, and on one occasion managed to get gravel embedded in his elbow.

 I was reminded of our misadventures of racing down that hill by seeing the wear on the side of the tyres on a motorcycle, and it was memories of Kevin digging gravel out of his elbow that probably, in a twisted way, inspired my dream. In the dream I seemed to have a rash of zits to the side of my chest. After making one sore by picking and squeezing it, the skin broke open to reveal a small shard if glass. I found that if I just pushed down either side of each lump, another shard of glass would break the surface of the skin, and I could pull it out using a pair of pliers. The strange thing is, if it could get any stranger, is that it was, apart from the first one, all completely painless.

 I was soon fast asleep again after waking up from that strange dream, but it didn't last for long. It must have been about 4:20am when I next woke up. I couldn't get back to sleep without visiting the toilet, and by the time I had finished in there it was not worth trying to get back to sleep. So I was up ridiculously early this morning. Maybe I'm going to feel a little tired at work today, but that doesn't matter. It's Friday, and I'm not going to any gigs tonight. So I can have a moderately early night, and I lie in tomorrow. The even better thing about today is that it is payday - although it does mean that next month is going to feel extra long.
mirror mirror on the wall, who's the prettiest photographer of them all ?
One of the pictures I took last Sunday at the Chain gig.
Plus one more - I was quite proud how this turned out after a subtle bit of photo jiggery pokkery !
Thursday 27th June 2013
08:17 BST

  It seems no weather forecast can predict the fine details - like whether it will be sunny or wet - even for a mere 30 minutes into the future. Two weather forecasts for yesterday managed to give two different predictions, and neither quite matched reality. Both said it would probably rain, although at totally different times of the day. Both were wrong - yesterday, as far as I am aware, was as dry as a bone. There was some unexpected sunny periods in the early afternoon, and the evening turned out to be dry and bright. The two weather forecasts did manage to get the temperature about right. It was almost warm at around 20 C.

 Today started off feeling a bit cool, but at 13 C it was actually a degree warmer than yesterday. It also seemed to be very overcast when I left to get the train to work, but looking out my office window now I see lots of blue sky - lots more than forecast. It is possible that if the clouds stay broken enough, and the sun beats down for long enough, it could turn out far warmer than the 20 C maximum forecast for today.

Iron Maiden Trooper beer by the Robinsons Brewery
 On my way home from work last night I met up with Jodie to have a few beers in The Catford Bridge Tavern (previously known as The Copperfield, and before that, in the days when I first learned to drink, The Railway Tavern). What was once a really terrible place to drink, with ghastly beer accompanied by knife fights, or worse, is now Camras South East London pub of the year, and although rather expensive, perhaps too expensive for regular boozing, is now a pleasant place to drink a really good selection of really well kept ales.

 I think that by sticking to drinking half pints I managed to sample 6 of the beers on offer. One of the nice ones, in both my and Jodie's opinion, was blackberry mild. I can't remember the name of the brewer, but I can remember that it definitely had a nice fresh blackberry taste in among the beer taste. Jodie didn't like the Maple porter beer, and I had to finish hers for her.

 There was one other beer that deserves a mention. It wasn't for sale in the pub, but was a late birthday present from Jodie. It's the bottle in the really crap picture I took last night - Iron Maiden Trooper beer. The link will tell you more about the beer (and has far better pictures of the bottle !). I haven't tasted it yet, but it has a wonderful write up, and so it should be good..........except I've tasted beer that has been compared to nectar of the gods in write ups, and found it is just not to my taste.......not to my taste at all....to the extent it tasted disgusting !!

 I won't be tasting it tonight because I will be drinking with the Thursday evening gang in The Catford Ram. Maybe I'll taste it on Friday night, or maybe I'll wait until Sunday afternoon, or maybe.......sometime later. I rarely drink beer at home. So it could be the "sometime later" option - although curiosity may speed things up.

 I've tried to eat a bit more healthily recently, and to a limited, maybe very limited extent, I have succeeded. Even last night, after three and half pints of moderately strong beer, I managed to curb the worst excesses of my enthusiasm to eat. I could have done better, and if I could have made the large(ish) bag of dry roast peanuts last a fifth day, I would have done far better (although it is almost like a miracle I managed to make that bag last as long as it did).

 All this modifying my diet might have brought some benefits. I am an awful long way from fit still, but sometimes it feels like I have inched a bit closer to it. It is hard to tell though. I have to mainly judge myself by speed rather than endurance. A week or two ago, and for weeks, if not months before that, the walk from the station to work was a quite painful, totally knackering, on the edge of a heart attack experience. This morning it was not much better, but I did it at double the speed. That was almost normal speed. When I can do it at normal speed, and not suffer any assorted pains, then I will know I've really made a useful difference.
Wednesday 26th June 2013
07:50 BST

  We are definitely going through a phase of very bland weather. Yesterday was very unremarkable. It was neither cold or hot, and it was neither totally grey or sunny. About the only thing that can be said is that the sun came out a few times. This morning started with a brief flash of sunshine, but since then it has become overcast. One weather forecast suggests that there will be some showers around midday, and another, the usually unreliable BBC website, says that it will be sunny around midday. I suspect the truth will be somewhere in between - maybe a few light showers with sunshine between them. Both forecasts seem to agree that it will be sunny later in the afternoon, and the only differ in the prediction of the temperature. It could be as low as 18 C, or as high as 22 C. Whichever it is, it seems like it will feel nice when I am travelling home after work today.

 I was expecting to feel fairly shattered by the end of the day yesterday, but I didn't feel too bad, and I even seemed to find a "second wind" while I was going home from work. Although I felt fairly fresh when I got home, I didn't seem to have enough energy to completely control my appetite, although if I had not been caught out by the unexpectedly huge levels of calories/fat in some cheese puffs, I wouldn't have done that badly. The cheese puffs were made by some unknown brand, and came in a big bag from the 99p shop. They had the consistency, and almost the flavour of starch based parcel packing pellets. Perhaps without the mystery cheese flavour they would have tasted the same. I'm not sure what cheese the flavour was based upon. It was unusual, but pleasant, and the texture of the puffs was satisfying. The big let down was just how greasy they were.

 After my dinner I did some more photo reviewing, editing, uploading. By the time I had finished that I decided it was really time for bed. Maybe I should have pushed myself a bit longer to edit some of those photos taken on Sunday to a suitable size to show here. Maybe that could be tonights project. I was in bed before 9pm, and I read for a bit before turning out the light. It wasn't long before I was asleep, and as far as I can recall, I slept quite well - although maybe it doesn't feel like that right now. I woke up at the very inconvenient time of 4.30am, half a hour before my alarm was due to sound. It didn't feel worthwhile trying to get back to sleep for just half an hour. So that's when I got up !

 On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being wonderful, and 10 being dreadful, I find myself feeling around a 5 this morning. I have no specific aches and pains, and although I certainly didn't feel like rushing around on my way to work, I was quite happy at a slow and steady pace. Given the choice I would definitely be back in bed, instead of at work right now, but I'll get by. My only real complaint is that I got a bit of grit, or more likely a hair, possibly an eyelash in my right eye just as I was going to sleep last night. Maybe I rubbed it in my sleep, but it is still slightly sore this morning, and the eye is bloodshot - which is no real problem, but I would have preferred to have been able to say I got it from a heavy night on the town :-)

 After work I will be having a very light, and rather brief night on the town. I should be meeting my friend Jodie for a couple of beers in The Catford Bridge Tavern. It is an expensive place to drink, but that is the price you pay for what should be a choice of half a dozen excellent ales, usually kept in very good condition. I am expecting to have four halves of different ales, but if there is anything truly excellent, or if there are six or more ales available, and there is an intriguing one that has to be tried, I am prepared to go further than just four halves - but not too far ! I hope to be home in good time to have some dinner, and then try for an early night. There will be plenty of time for extra boozing tomorrow night !!
Tuesday 25th June 2013
08:07 BST

  The weather on Sunday was highly variable. There were a few sunny periods, and there were a few showers, but mostly it was a grey day - maybe 50 shades of grey. Yesterday saw a few glimpses of sunshine, and it wasn't particularly cool, but it was still a poor contender for a June day. Today has started off bright, but at just 12 C, it was a little cool. The rest of the day should be nice and bright with plenty of sunshine, but it will still only warm up to a very disappointing 18 C - or so the official forecast pessimisticly predicts.

 It was nice to put my feet up for a while yesterday after a rather taxing sort of day on Sunday. I had enough time before setting out for the gigs to get some shopping in from Aldi. I am not sure exactly why I chose to be very careful, but I bought hardly any crap, and loads of healthy stuff like fruit - which included blueberries - and some low calorie/low fat steamed meals.

 I had very little time to relax after shopping before I had to go and get the bus, but I did have time to eat two ready made sandwiches. Than at just gone 2pm I went to find the bus to The Kings Arms in Leaves Green where my ongoing transport to darkest Surrey would be waiting for me. I did have one pint of beer in The Kings Arms before we drove to Chelsham and The Coach House where Chain were playing.

 The Coach House seems a nice pub, but it is not ideally laid out to fit a band in. As I expected, I had happy birthday sung to me by the band, and I also received a birthday card and a small present from Jo and Chris from the band. The present turned out to be two punnets of blueberries plus a pack of Jordans blueberry frusili bars (which turned out to be quite tasty). The significance of the blueberries is part of a long running bit of banter between me and Jo, and is too complex to explain here (even if I could remember how it started).

 The gig started a bit late, and finished even later, but once it had finished, and all the goodbyes said, I was driven all the way back to Catford to watch the second half of the open mic session in The Catford Ram. I was feeling tired, and feeling like I had enough beer when I got there, but I stayed for a few hours, and managed a couple more pints without any ill effect. It was actually a good session. Maybe there was some reggae and other less interesting stuff being played before I got there, but what I saw was much more pop/rock like. It made a nice change.

 I didn't stay to the very end (which could have been as late as 11pm) but left at the "official" end time of 10pm. I felt ravenous when I got home, and ate rather too much. I felt so uncomfortable in bed that I couldn't get to sleep until 3am or later. Ideally I should have stayed in bed until almost midday, but I don't think it was all that long after 7am that I was up reviewing and editing some of the photos I took the day before. My lack of sleep may have been not entirely healthy, but I had a very healthy selection to choose from for breakfast !
loads of fruit
Note the three punnets of blueberries - one I had bought myself, and the other two from Jo's present to me.
After a fruity breakfast the fruitiness continued when I met Kevin for a couple of pints in the afternoon.
Funky monkey
Funky Monkey - fruity and full of flavour. I had a pint of it, plus two halves of two other beers.
great spelling !
While I was in the pub with Kevin I spotted the notice pictured on the left. If it had been hand written, and there was just one of them, I might have just put it down to the slip of the pen, and thought no more about it, but it had been printed and copies put up all over the pub ! Maybe it is the Polish spelling of caution or something.

 After the pub I went into the 99p shop where I tried my best not to buy too much crap food, and if you count not buying any chocolate a marker of success then I guess I did well. Let's just not talk about the fatty chorizo sticks, nor the peanuts OK !

 Much of my dinner was very healthy. I had steamed vegetable (peas,carrots and sweetcorn) with a pack of peppered smoked mackerel. For "afters", which I don't usually have, I had stawberries and an unusually small amount of ice cream. It is just possible that all this wholesome stuff has had a beneficial effect, and maybe it might have been even more beneficial if I hadn't stayed up far, far too late last night having surreal conversations via the internet !

 This morning I don't feel that bad, and in some ways I almost feel good. I expect that I'll be feeling rather tired by the end of the afternoon, but for now I am OK. Even my commute into work wasn't quite as awful as recently. I would like to say that I have been careful with my breakfast this morning, but I am not sure just how evil dried chilli beef biltong actually is. All I know is that it is very nice, bloody expensive, and that I bought and ate two packets of it ! I did lug some fruit all the way from home to work, and I have had a small apple, and a small pear for breakfast as well. Perhaps tomorrow I'll just have fruit, but tomorrow is another day, and anything could happen in the next 24 hours.
Sunday 23rd June 2013
10:32 BST

  Friday's weather differed from the forecast by way of an unforecast shower or two around midday, but otherwise was close to expected. It was the wind that was the main feature yesterday. It occasionally made the 18 - 20 C feel cooler than it was. As far as I can recall it stayed dry. Today has started off overcast, and it is forecast to stay overcast all day. The sun may break through a few brief times, but it will do little for the temperature that is forecast to be no better than 17 C (although my outside thermometer says it is nearly 19 C as I write this). There could also be a few showers - some around midday, and more during the early evening.

 Contrary to my expectations, I didn't feel too bad at work on Friday, but it was still rather nice to go home. With nothing of any importance to do yesterday morning, I didn't feel any great urgency to get to bed early on Friday night. So I sort of compromised by going to bed a little early, and then reading until later than usual. Although I must admit my memory of Friday night is so hazy, because there was nothing significant to remember, that I could have done anything.

 Whatever I did on Friday night must have worked a bit because for a brief period of time I was very industrious. I got up quite late by my standards, maybe around 8am, and the first thing I did was to wash three shirts and some assorted small stuff. Then I blitzed all the washing up, cleaned a few select bits of the kitchen, and cleaned the sink. I also did a tiny bit of tidying up in the living room and hall (where I binned an armful of junk mail, takeaway menus, and other assorted flyers).

 With (as it turned out) all my housework done I treated myself to some breakfast, and then had a lie down. I did have vague ideas that I might do some more laundry, and maybe even a bit of hoovering later on, but that never happened. I seemed to spend quite a lot of the day on a very long phone call, and catching up on half a dozen episodes of The Simpsons, and two episodes of Futurama.

 I had it in mind that I was going to try and moderate my eating yesterday, and for very limited values of "moderate" I almost succeded. The main departure from the straight and narrow came when I went to the corner shop, and "accidently" bought a chocolate swill roll. It didn't last that long once I got it home ! I probably should have stuck to my plan of going to Aldi, and buying lots of fruit and other healthy(ish) stuff.

 The reason I didn't get to Aldi was that I left it too late. At least it felt too late to me despite the store being open to 9pm (I think). There seems to be an invisble barrier to going out shopping after 6pm - unless I am already out and heading for home. A little later it felt too late to go the gig I was thinking of going to in the evening. So I stayed in listening to music and reading until I had finished the book at 11pm (or was it midnight ?).

 For some, or probably many, yesterday would be classified as a very dull birthday, but it suited me OK. I'm sure birthdays stopped being exciting when I was about 10, although there were a few good ones after that. Being able to legally smoke and booze were worthy of some sort of celebration, and during my apprenticeship every birthday brought a pay rise. Since then things have gone very much off the boil. These days I am unsure whether staying alive another year is a thing to celebrate or lament.

 I think I slept OK last night. I know I woke up several times during the night, and on one occasion I turned on my PC to see if anything was happening, but I seemed to get back to sleep quickly every time. Finally, at 8.30am, I woke up coughing and spluttering, and decided to get up. Like yesterday, I had a little burst of industry and did a bit more laundry, but after that I decided to write this instead of getting the hoover out.

 Today is going to be a busy one. Somehow I have to go and raid the cash machine, and then get some shopping in before getting myself prepared for a double gig. At 3pm (or as close as the bus can get to it) I will be met to be taken to a Chain gig in one of those out of the way places in the Kent countryside. Normally I wouldn't bother with such venues, but two people are putting pressure on me by offering lifts to and from the place. I have a dark suspicion that my birthday is going to be celebrated at a level that I may not be comfortable with.

 Chain's gig is from 4pm to 6pm (or maybe 7pm), and once it is finished I will be driven back to Catford where we will attend the open mic session in The Catford Ram. That should officially finish at 10pm, but invariably over runs. Fortunately I had the foresight to book a days holiday off work tomorrow. I think I am going to be knackered at the end of today, and a lie in tomorrow could be all that holds me together !
Friday 21st June 2013
07:52 BST

  The forecast for yesterday's weather was closer than I gave the forecasters credit for.  As they said would happen, there were a couple of short showers around midday, but otherwise the day was dry and grey. High humidity meant that the day, and very much more so, the evening felt far warmer than the 22 C on the thermometer would suggest. This morning has started out dry, but overcast. The humidity is still high, and although it's only about 17 C, it is still easy to feel sticky when rushing around. According to the forecast, the cloud will initially thicken, but will then start to disperse giving some sunny periods. The top temperature is supposed to be a degree or two less than yesterday.

 I didn't feel too wonderful at work yesterday. By the afternoon I had a hacking cough, and I went home with my throat feeling quite sore. I did have the option of having a few beers on the way home, but I felt too knackered for that. Instead of beer I made an attempt at a semi early night. I guess it was something like 7.30pm when I first lay down on my bed (it was far too hot and humid to pull the duvet over myself). It didn't take long before I was asleep, which was not exactly the plan because I was going to do some reading first. It also didn't take long, maybe 2 or 3 minutes, before an incoming message alarm on my phone woke me up again.

 After I read the message I tried my best to find that magical position that had allowed me to drift off to sleep so easily and quickly. I never did find it, and I tossed and turned until midnight before what was probably shear exhaustion allowed me to get into a deep sleep. For the next 5 hours, until I had to get up, I woke up many times for periods between a few minutes, and probably half an hour. Overall, I didn't sleep too well last night.

 Right now, or perhaps up until the point where I started to describe what a shambles last night was, I didn't feel too bad. In fact, overall, I feel far better than I expected to feel. It is noticeable that just sitting here at work has started to get my throat feeling ticklish. There is something here that I am allergic too, but it could easily be just the concept of working here that I am allergic to. Oh well, at least today is Friday, and I can get away from it all for a couple of days.

 It has been some time, maybe several months, since I saw any direct evidence of any mice in my house. Maybe I've see the odd flicker out the corner of my eye, but that could be anything, and perhaps I've heard a feint rustle on a few rare occasions, but I've not actually seen any mice, nor have I seen any droppings. So it was a bit of a surprise to find a fresh corpse in one of the traps in my kitchen this morning. As always, I hope that is the last of it's kind, but deep down I know that is wishful thinking.
Thursday 20th June 2013
08:21 BST

  Yesterday was drier than the forecast suggested it would be. In fact it was completely dry (except for my armpits). The mid afternoon drizzle never happened, and nor did the thunderstorms forecast for late evening. There was some sunshine though, and the temperature hit about 26 C. If the air was drier it would have been very pleasant, but it was a typical English sticky day. This morning has started off with bright white cloud, but no hint of the sun. I suspect that today will turn out similar to yesterday despite the official predictions of some showers, and a top temperature 2 - 4 lower than yesterday.

 It wasn't terribly pleasant being at work yesterday. I really wanted to run away to a pub with a nice beer garden, preferably next to a river or lake, and drink gallons of beer. I would have followed that up with a nice kebab before getting an early night in. Unfortunately I had to stay here working while feeling under par. So it was a relief to finally go home at the end of the day.

 Once I got going I didn't feel all that bad, and by time I reached Catford I definitely had the energy and enthusiasm to go home via Tesco. I was quite selective about what I bought in there until I got to the hot chicken counter. I didn't buy any chicken though. What I did buy was probably worse. It was a bacon joint. I am not sure what part of a pig it comes from, but it was a large bone surrounded by succulent baconish pork. I ate the whole thing with some bread and mustard. I also ate a few other things too, including a punnet of strawberries, and the entire lot left my feeling close to being stuffed.

 It probably was not such a good idea considering it was a hot and steamy night. I didn't try and go to bed as early as the previous couple of nights, but if I had fallen asleep as early as when I first tried to go to sleep it would still have counted as an early night. There were a couple of times when I was probably on the very edge of sleep, but messages came through to my mobile phone, and demanded my attention. By 11pm I was still awake, and feeling quite hot and sticky.

 I felt so hot and sticky that I started to think about the possibilities of going to stand in the rain naked for a few minutes. In theory I could have done it except for one minor detail. I've never tried going out my kitchen door stark naked, although I have done it while barely dressed. In theory it should be quite safe to do so, providing I stay within a foot of the door, because the only possible way of anyone seeing me doing it would be for my next door neighbour to hang a long way out of an upstairs window (or to deliberately climb up the fence and look over it). The idea of that cold rain on my hot sweaty body was so tempting that I was getting close to dare myself to do it, but there was still that one minor detail in the way.

 At the end of the BBC local news, just before 7pm, the forecaster said what a lovely hot day it had been, and how some might be tempted to get out their barbecue. He warned to do it quickly because torrential downpours, and probably thunder and lightning would happen in as little as three hours time. Four hours after that announcement I could see something bright through my bedroom curtains. It was the moon very clearly shining through the lightest of hazes in what seemed to be a clear sky. That was the one minor detail that stopped me becoming a sex offender to displaying my naked body to a few trees, bushes, fences, maybe a lurking cat, fox, rat or mouse, or anyone in a passing helicopter who happened to be looking the right way with a pair of night vision goggles. Shame really !

 I think it was close to midnight before I got my first proper sleep. I did sleep quite well, but woke up stupidly early. I felt pretty bad when I first woke up. I seemed to have all the assorted symptoms I've been suffering from all at once. Since then the symptoms have become far more selective, and currently I don't feel that bad. I've had a few bad spells of coughing, mostly while I was travelling to work, but I seem fairly stable again now. My throat is just detectably sore, but it is so subtle that half the time I forget about it.  I don't even feel specially tired yet. After so little sleep, I expected to feel worse than this, but maybe it will catch up on me later.

 Being a Thursday I should be looking forward to a few beers in The Catford Ram tonight, but sadly not tonight. Chris and his workmates are drinking a mile up the road in The Blythe Hill Tavern tonight, and I am not sure I can be bothered to make the effort to go that extra mile (and the same coming home again). It is possible, although maybe not likely, that I could meet Kevin in The London And Rye tonight. A couple of pints in there followed by a rummage around the 99p shop on the other side of the road, would be nice, but whether it would be nice enough to overpower the strong urge just to go straight home I'll have to find out later.

 Yesterday, or maybe the day before, I took a picture at Waterloo station while I was passing through there at 7am. I thought it would be good to show here, but now I look back at the picture I can't quite see what the point of it was. So with no caption, and no idea why I took it, here is the picture.....
Waterloo station - 7am 19th June 2013
Wednesday 19th June 2013
07:56 BST

  There was very little sunshine yesterday, and what there was, was mostly of the hazy variety, but it did get warm - warm and sticky ! I think my electronic thermometer said it was 23.9 C when I got home from work feeling hot and sticky. It stayed mild through the night, and the temperature was a reasonable 15 C when I left to come to work this morning. The reason for this was cloud - lots of cloud ! There was almost ignorable warm drizzle as I walked to the station, and while on the train we passed through some heavier showers. The rain had stopped by the time I reached Earlsfield, and there was even a hazy glimpse of sunshine for a few seconds before the clouds closed in again. It is supposed to brighten up around the middle of the day, and that might raise the temperature to 24 C or beyond. Then, as the humidity reaches its armpit soaking maximum, it may rain again, and if enough energy has been put into the air, we may experience some thunder and lightning.

 I felt terribly tired and knackered at work yesterday, but going home perked me up a lot. Compared to the journey too work, going home felt to be almost effortless. It would have been tempting to think that everything was OK once I got home. I didn't seem to feel that bad, but I knew I had to make an effort to get plenty of sleep in so I wouldn't feel so dreadful today. So I had an almost (but not really) modest sized dinner before going straight to bed.

 I was actually in bed by about 10 past 6pm, but part of my master plan was to read for a while before going to sleep. I read less than I expected, and I think I was fast asleep by 7pm (and maybe even a bit before that). I woke up quite a few times in the night, and on two of those occasions I was awake for long enough to turn on my PC, and check my email etc. It's hard to estimate how many hours of sleep I got, and I wouldn't even try and speculate how many hours I would have got if my alarm hadn't woken me up. I guess I must have got at least 8 hours.

 After so much sleep I should feel good today, and in some ways I do. In other ways I feel less good. The very idea of being in bed sleeping for so long feels good, and maybe even something to be smug about, but I still feel a bit sleepy this morning. It felt like my body should be working well today, but once I tried to use it I found that it was as broken as ever. I thought I should have been able to walk to the station quite quickly this morning, but I soon realised that I didn't have the energy for that, and went back to walking at a more sedate pace (whatever that is - I still find myself overtaking people when I try and walk as slow as I possibly can without stalling).

 Tonight I may well go home from work via Tesco. If I do I will really need to keep an iron grasp on my tendency to buy (hopefully) tasty and exciting things. The last two nights I have eaten better (as in less) than recently, and although it doesn't seem to have made any difference in how I feel, I think I should try and carry on eating in a similar way. Maybe I can change the tentative idea of the merest hint of the possibility that my belt may feel ever so slightly looser this morning, to something more tangible.

 With all this feeling crap going on, I have totally forgotten to report that I have now been writing this blog for 10 years ! !0 years of my life have been documented in the most flimsy way. Sometime I've glossed over the darkest bits of my life, and sometimes elevated the trivial parts. Occasionally I've have left days out, but there must be over 3000 days where I've said something no matter how trivial. 3000 days, that's a lot ! The adventurous can probably find my very first entry by following some of the navigation at the top of the page.
Tuesday 18th June 2013
08:23 BST

  Yesterday was not exactly like a summers day, but it did give hints of one. It was dry, slightly better than mild, and on a few occasions there was some sunshine. Maybe today can do better. It was a bright and sunny morning, but it seems to have clouded over now. Some sunshine is forecast for today, but a shower or two is also forecast. The temperature could rise to a comfortable 22 C. The rain and the peak temperature could happen around the same time, and that time could well be the time I am making my way home from work. Tomorrow could be a degree or two higher, but otherwise is forecast to be very similar to today.

 I felt pretty dreadful yesterday morning, and much of it was due to a lack of sleep. So I informed work that I would not be going in, and settled on a path of rest and relaxation. It wasn't to be all reast and relaxation though. During the morning I managed to get myself to wash 5 shirts, and to do a little gardening......and by little I mean tiny ! My gardening consisted of cutting through, but otherwise leaving in situ, several blackberry stems. Sometimes that stuff grows so quickly you can almost see it with the naked eye. One shoot was already at the top of the fence, and heading for my neighbours garden. So I spent 10 minutes cutting them down to size.

 As the clock ticked round to midday I noticed how I was feeling was changing. By 1pm, or maybe it was 2pm, I was feeling very good in at least one important aspect. For what seemed like the first time in ages, I was able to slowly doze off while laying on my bed, sleep for a useful, but unknown amount of time, and then wake up not coughing and spluttering. Just to make sure, I did it twice. It was almost like my cough was over.

 It wasn't, of course, and by late evening my cough was back, and even worse, so was my sore throat. It meant that I got a very poor nights sleep last night, and in consequence I feel lousy today, and I had a very unpleasant journey into work this morning. I feel a bit better after sitting down for an hour or so, but I do feel dreadfully tired. The very worst thing is that I have come up with an idea that may point to the root (a most unfortunate word here) of my long running illness. I fear that it all hinges on a tooth infection !
Sunday 16th June 2013
09:49 BST

  The worst of the rain was over even as I wrote about it yesterday, but it remained a very dull and damp day. A few days ago, the forecast for today was that it was going to be a terrible day. Thankfully that forecast has been revised, and today is going to be just rather bland. Most of the day will be lightly overcast (as it is right now). It should stay dry, but the temperature is going to be a disappointing 15 C at it's best after starting only a degree, or so, cooler. The forecasters best guess is that we will have to wait until Wednesday until the temperature hits a fairly warm 23 C, but perversely it will also be a heavily overcast, and frequently wet day !

 I don't know if it would have made things better or worse if I had gone out last night. Staying in, and trying to get the maximum amount of sleep doesn't seem to have made much of an improvement this morning. I seem to be caught in a sort of positive feedback loop. The more I cough, the more my throat feels sore and inflamed, and the more my throat feels sore and inflamed, the more I cough. Once I break that loop I can look forward to recovering, and hopefully I'l be able to look forward to some extended spells of sleep - ideally 8 hours in one solid lump.

 I'm not exactly sure how I feel this morning. It's all overshadowed by a feeling of annoyance that I didn't make much of an improvement overnight, if indeed and at all. There is also the annoyance that whenever I lay down the tickle in my throat goes from hardly any to quite a lot. If I could sleep standing up I could probably sleep a lot better.

 I think that today I should continue to rest and act like I am ill, although at some point I need to wash a few shirts, but maybe the steam will do something useful. The next big decision is to whether I should go out tonight. Once again I want to, but I'm sure the sensible thing is to stay in the warm. I feel I will be staying in, but maybe some sort of miracle might happen in the next 8 hours.
Saturday 15th June 2013
16:01 BST

  Maybe yesterday didn't turn out as bad as I expected it to. I think it was a little warmer (perhaps 18 C) than expected, and although there wasn't a great deal of it, there were some sunny periods.  This morning started off very promising. It was bright and sunny, and not that cool. Then it all went wrong. It was probably around midday when I was aware that the wind had increased to close to gale force, and there was rain pouring down almost horizontally. Since then there have been more showers, and the wind continues to blow. This is what tomorrow was supposed to be, and if, as forecast, tomorrow is worse, it is going to be a mighty horrible day !

  Yesterday got off to a terrific start. A small involuntary cough had me trying to inhale my breakfast. It took a lot of control to get my breathing under control enough to gently draw in enough air to cough out some of the debris that seemed to be heading towards my lungs. I managed it, but it was a close run thing. Once my airways were clear my coughing became violet enough to give me a really sore throat. Most of the time I was OK, but sporadically I would break out in more violent coughing.

 My throat felt really raw as I made my way home from work. So I stopped off at Boots on Waterloo station, and bought some cherry flavour "Ultra Chloraseptic" anaesthetic throat spray.  Initially it caused the opposite effect when it caused me to gag and cough so violently that I nearly coughed up the contents of my stomach (or maybe the stomach itself plus half a mile of intestine). Later in the evening, more doses of it did provide a very small amount of relief.

  During the night it became painful to swallow, but amazingly I did manage to get quite a lot of sleep - although most of it was in short shifts. I woke up this morning with my throat still slightly sore, but it seemed to be on the mend. It all went wrong when I met Aleemah this morning. I did too much talking, and that got me coughing again. We came here via the pub and Aldi where, amongst other stuff I bought some ice cream. That ice cream initially had a nice soothing effect, but it quickly turned to irritation, and I coughed even more.

 Aleemah has gone home now ( a couple of hours ago), and I'm now sitting here with a raw throat again. Ideally I want to sleep, but I can't get comfortable for more than a few minutes. The only thing about the future I can say right now is that I am definitely not going out to Chain's gig tonight.  It would be very tempting to tough it out, but I know the only way I am going to get over this bloody cold is to treat it as a cold, and not as a transient annoyance.

 I've almost got over this cold several times, but each time I feel half better I do something stupid, and it's back to square one again. So I stay in tonight, and probably all tomorrow. I may even go sick from work on Monday unless I am very confident that I have made very good progress in throwing it off.
Friday 14th June 2013
08:04 BST

  This morning saw some very welcome early morning sunshine. It was a nice contrast to yesterday which was mostly, but not entirely overcast. There seemed to be a dividing line that was a little north of Catford that marked the division between grey and blue skies. As I walked towards home last night I could see bright light blue sky ahead of me, and dark grey clouds above and behind me. I didn't check the temperature this morning, but I'm guessing it was at least 12 C, and maybe a tiny bit higher. It won't get more than a few degrees higher during the day because the sun is now back behind clouds, and isn't forecast to return until late afternoon. Tomorrow is still forecast to be "not bad", and Sunday is still forecast to be terrible !

 There are mysteries in life that may never be answered. For instance, why do two pairs of shoes, identical in make, model, and style, but differing in colour, feel totally different ? Yesterday I was wearing my black "Vans" trainers, and they were very comfortable. This morning I am wearing my red ones, and they are almost uncomfortable !

 Another mystery is why, against all logic, I felt really rather good yesterday morning. It was almost as if I was not unwell. Hours, or at least large portions of them would go by without me having to cough (not including an occasional 2 second clearing of the throat. My nose was practically dry, and I rarely had to use a tissue. Even my eyes were no longer crusty, although they were still red and inflamed. It was almost as if I was feeling good because my cold was finally over, but it was an illusion. All the symptoms started to creep back in the afternoon.

 I didn't feel too bad while I had a pint of Guinness in reach while I stopped off in The Catford Ram on the way home from work, but from then on things went downhill. I ended up having a bad night because I kept waking up coughing, or with a nose overflowing with snot. I also started to suffer from crusty/sticky eye as well.

 So this morning I don't really feel my best. Once again I should probably have gone to see my doctor, but I struggled uncomfortably into work instead. Now I'm here I don't feel too bad. It is even possible that I might feel good again later, although for the life of me I can't think why I should think that. One thing is for certain - I won't be coughing up any more lumps of lun for some time. Any loose bits, plus my kidneys, spleen, testicles, liver and heart must surely have been coughed up when I choked on some food after hitting a bit with a greater concentration of very hot chilli sauce than I was expecting just now. It took an awful lot of willpower to control my breathing without choking on more food debris while that was going on, but somehow I managed it without turning blue.

 I think I am very much looking forward to the weekend. Tonight I can put my feet up and relax, but I can stay up too late because I'll still need to get up tomorrow morning. I think my friend Aleemah will be round with the second DVD of the 3 DVD box set of The Tomorrow People. Later in the afternoon I'll be able to put my feet up, but there is a gig I really want to get to in the evening. I don't know if it will be wise to go, but I reckon I'll be there anyway. On Sunday I can, and intend to do bugger all !
Thursday 13th June 2013
07:53 BST

  I can't decide if it's still Spring, or if we are now in Autumn, but it is certainly not summer ! Yesterday was another overcast day with an occasional very light spray of rain. The only saving grace was that at around 17 or 18 C it was not cold, but neither was it warm. The forecast, which could be very wrong, suggests that today is going to be very similar to yesterday. I hope the longer term forecasts are wrong (as any weather forecast greater than 30 minutes into the future seems to be). Tomorrow and Saturday could be slightly better than today, but then on Sunday the weather could get end-of-Autumn like - wet, windy, and cooler than "mild" !

 First the good news. A prototype circuit board I was building for our development department, here at work, actually worked first time - apart from one minor problem which is most probably a problem with the equipment the circuit board is connected to, and a problem I identified and corrected before handing the board to he development department.  I feel rather chuffed about it because it was a complicated board to build, and it was composed entirely of micro-miniature components - each of which had to be soldered in using a microscope because I can barely see them with my unaided eye.

 The bad news is that my three week old cold has taken a turn for the worse. The cold has been waxing and waning for three weeks now. Sometimes it has been barely noticeable, and at other times more prominent. Mostly it has been an inconvenience rather than anything incapitating. Yesterday morning, sometime in the early hours, I thought I had blown my nose just a little too hard, and had a "blowback" pushing snot up into my right eye socket through the same internal connection which normally drains tears into the nose.

 Later I realised this was not the case, and it is more likely that internal connection is blocked, and that my tears are now overflowing the eye socket instead of draining away. As they dry they get quite snot like, and it looks like bogies on my lower eyelid. In the almost worst case it can leave a smeary film over the eyeball causing blurred vision. As much as I tried to use more gentle methods like washing the eye in warm water, it was almost impossible not to rub it from time to time, and it was not long before my right eyeball was bloodshot and sore.

 Last night it seemed like I would probably wake up this morning with my right eye glued shut. It was almost like that, but I didn't need to resort to soaking it in warm water to release it. The mucus was merely very sticky rather than set solid. It was good news that it was not as bad as I feared, and it might possibly be that since sometime in the night, it is getting better again.  The less good news is that this morning my left eye seemed to be going the same as the right - although at the moment it has a long way to go before it gets even half as bad as the right eye.

 The surprising thing is that if I subtract the eye from the equation, yesterday was the best I've felt all week, and possibly in the last three weeks. My cough and runny nose seemed to be close to normal, and I seemed to have some modest reserves of energy. However there was one tell tale that can only point to me being seriously ill, if not actually dead and growing stiff. I bought some yummy stuff in Tesco on the way home from work yesterday, and although I could very easily have eaten far too much, I didn't seem to fancy it. I had one reduced price bag of hot chicken bits, and that seemed enough. So I have a bag spare for when I get home tonight, plus other stuff that was normally be irrestistably tempting !

 I won't be going straight home from work tonight - unless I get specific confirmation that no one else is doing any drinking in The Catford Ram. Even then, I might pop in for a pint of Guinness just by myself. Maybe I ought to have many pints just to make sure my blood sugar levels are doctor scaring high in the morning. It is just possible that if my eyes are all gummy in the morning I might consider tossing a coin to decide whether to come to work, or to try and get an early morning walk in visit to my doctor. It is possible that I have a bacterial infection instead of, or in addition to a viral infection. A bacterial infection may respond to antibiotics if they have any that still work after being grossly over prescribed to anyone with as little as a sore thumb. (See Wikipedia for the bad news about antibiotic resistance - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic_resistance)
Wednesday 12th June 2013
08:18 BST

  There were a few more instances of some very light, spray like, rain yesterday, but none lasted for more than a few minutes. I did some evidence for an earlier shower in a few places as I made my way home from work, but it was dry for me. In fact at Earlsfield station the clouds thinned enough to allow just enough hazy sunshine through to cast a very feint shadow. As sunset approached, the clouds thinned again, and we almost had some sunshine for a minute or two. There was evidence that some slightly more substantial rain fell in the early hours of this morning, but it was dry as I made my way to work. Unfortunately it is very overcast again, and the forecast is for a high probability of some showers today. The humid air responsible for all the clouds is also very slightly warm. The temperature was 15 or 16 C when I left to come to work, and may peak a couple of degrees higher this afternoon.

 I didn't feel too bad while at work yesterday. I wasn't coughing much, and it wasn't until late afternoon that I began to feel slightly fatigued, but I was still producing a lot of thick and sticky snot. It was my intention to have another extra early night last night, and I was in bed 5 or 10 minutes before 8pm, but it was several hours before I managed to get to sleep. I felt tired, but too uncomfortable to sleep. My neck, shoulders, arms and wrists seemed a bit sore. It wasn't exactly painful, but it was too distracting to me to relax properly. So at 9pm I got up for about an hour. I am unclear why sitting in a chair should be any better than laying down to make the pain go away, but it seemed to work quite well.

 Once I got to sleep I slept quite well, and only woke up for brief periods a couple of times. The last time I woke up was about 5 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I think that was a good sign in as much as that's what happens on most mornings when I am not suffering from any ailments. In some respects I do feel that I have made some progress in taming this bug I have, but I must admit I am finding the very slow progress annoying. Sods law says that by the weekend I'll be 99% well, but will then ruin everything by staying out late, and drinking too much Guinness ! Oh well, you gotta have fun when you can :-)
Tuesday 11th June 2013
07:52 BST

  It feels sort of sad that as mid summers day approaches, we have reverted back to early spring weather. Yesterday felt cold. Well maybe not cold, but it certainly wasn't warm. If it wasn't for a few minutes of sunshine as I waited for my train home at Waterloo East yesterday afternoon, I would have to say that the whole day was a complete write off. Today could be a non-day. Not only is it rather cool (11 C), and not only is it very dull and overcast, but it actually had the cheek to lightly rain on me as I walked from Earlsfield station towards work !!! The forecast didn't mention anything about rain before mid to late evening today, but rather worryingly it did show the cloud colour changing from grey to black at about the time I'll be travelling home from work. It seems like there is a fair chance I'll be getting wet sometime today (this morning's shower was too light and brief to count), and with the temperature struggling to reach 17 C today, it's not going to be very pleasant.

 I felt desperately tired at work yesterday - perhaps too tired for my nose to run, and to cough significantly. When I got home from work I had a mixture of healthy and unhealthy food for dinner, and very soon after I went to bed. At 6:15pm I turned off my PC, and at 6:30pm I was in bed. It took a little while, perhaps half an hour, until I was fast asleep, and I slept solidly for 2 hours before I woke up with a head full of snot. After emptying what seemed like a couple of gallons from my head, I managed to get to sleep again, and I slept right through to 2am.

 In some respects I felt quite good at 2am, but in other respects, not so good. Many aches and pains, plus the feeling of total fatigue had gone, but I was still going through tissues at an industrial rate while also coughing up who knows what. I stayed awake for about an hour while I checked my email and various internet pages, and then I went back to bed. It wasn't long before I was asleep again, but I didn't seem to be sleeping that deeply.......or at least I didn't think I was. I do have reason to believe that I might have dreamed that I woke up a couple of times, but they seemed very real if they were dreams. What I do know for certain is that it was a great shock when I was awoken by my alarm going off. I can't recall what was happening seconds before that, but I have a strong feeling that I was dreaming I was already awake.

 Despite getting the longest sleep I have had in weeks, at least 8 hours, and maybe a bit more, I could easily have slept longer if my alarm hadn't woken me up. Once I was showered, and out in the fresh air, my nose seemed to partly dry up, and I coughed far less, but I still found my eyes had a tendency to droop into sleep mode while on the train to work. Compared to yesterday I feel quite alert, but I certainly wouldn't pass up the chance of getting my head down for extra sleep if only that were possible. I'll have to wait until I am home for it to be possible, and although I may not be quite as extreme as last night, I'll be in bed rather early again. That should cure my tiredness, and hopefully that will cure one of the other variable symptoms of this long ongoing cold I am suffering from - a sore throat. One day all the variable symptoms will be off (as in turned off, or not there) at the same time. Quite whether I'll be alive or dead when that happens is anyone's guess.
Monday 10th June 2013
07:59 BST

  The weather has been good, but is now bad.......but not terrible. After a slightly cool start, Saturday was brilliantly sunny, and pleasantly warm in the region of 20 C. Sometime during Saturday night/Sunday morning it clouded over. Maybe it was in the early hours of the morning because most of the warmth from Saturday escaped. and it felt rather cool in the morning (maybe 12 C or even less). The cloud wasn't that thick yesterday, but it was thick enough that not a single beam of sunshine managed to push it's way through the cloud, and the temperature struggled to reach 18 C, and may have even been a degree or two cooler in reality. This morning has started out very overcast, and I think the temperature was as low as 9 C. It is very likely that today will be the same as yesterday, but a few degrees cooler.

 It seemed to be an intensive weekend, but maybe I was just finding it hard to handle because I still have a rotten head cold. It comes and goes with nights and early mornings worse, and afternoons and evenings better. This morning I felt terribly bunged up, but nearly 4 hours after waking up this morning it no longer feels like my face will explode in a world shattering conflagration of snot and bogeys ! Had I been disciplined, and not allowed myself to lose so much sleep over the long weekend, I might well have been feeling rather better now.

 I didn't see much of my friend Patricia on Friday. She went to a friends place to have an all night girly session. So she missed Chain playing in The Catford Ram, but I didn't - and I have the pictures to prove it.
Dave Etheridge
The drummer for the night was Dave Etheridge (also maker of Mad Ass chilli sauces).
Jo Corteen
Jo Corteen
Chris Mayer
Dramatic guitar player pose from Chris Mayer.

 I stayed until the last song was played on Friday night, but I felt too rough to stay any later. I was dreadfully tired after the Thursday night edition of my run of poor sleep, and to make matters worse I was also developing a thundering headache. So I said my goodbyes, and headed back home where I managed to either go to bed too late, or to get up too early. Whichever it was, it ended with me only sleeping for 5, or less, hours again. Maybe I was too excited about the Family Fun Day at Northbrook Park near Grove Park.

 There were three bands playing in the park (as well as a steel drum band on the other side of the field), and there were other attractions as well as blue skies, and warm sunshine. It felt tiring, but I enjoyed myself even if two of the bands playing were rather mediocre. The first band, Hot Shot, seemed to be inspired by Kula Shaker, and it took a long time for them to get over first time nerves, and settle down a bit. The second band, Uniform Haze, were competent, but as far as I could tell they played all their own songs. In the right setting that would have been fine, but I thought they did a very poor job at entertaining a very varied audience. In fact they were mostly ignored. The third band were Out The Box who I saw play their debut gig at the beginning of the month. This time they were more relaxed, and sounded so much better for it. There was supposed to be a fourth band, but they didn't turn up for some unknown reason. The rest of the afternoon is best described with pictures...
A World Of Wings put on a show featuring some colourful birds.
big blue parrot
Beautiful plummage, and it's not even nailed to the perch (Monty Python dead parrot sketch)
All the birds on display were able to fly quite freely, but always stayed close to their trainer.
The ugliest bird in the world
While most of the birds shown ranged from pretty to very pretty, this African hornbill must rate as the ugliest bird in the world !
Jo Corteen with snake
As well as birds, there was also a reptile display, and here's Jo Corteen (from Chain) holding a snake.
That particular snake looked beautiful in the sun. It's yellow markings seem to glitter like gold leaf in the sunshine.
me and Chris
Under a mostly blue sky, here's me and Chris Mayer (from Chain) in a picture that Jo Corteen took on my camera.

 At the end of the day I was very kindly driven right home by Jo and Chris. I don't know if I looked worn out, but I certainly felt it. What I should have done was to have some dinner with Patricia, and then go to bed as early as possible. What I actually did, after some dinner, was to spend ages editing photos and videos, and not getting to bed until gone midnight. That would not have mattered so much if I could have forced myself to stay asleep in bed until something like 9am, but as usual I was awake far, far earlier, and once again I got considerably less than my 8 hours sleep.

 Patricia went out visiting some more friends yesterday, but was back in time to come out with me to the open mic session at The Catford Ram. It was pretty dead when we got there, but eventually warmed up. I was worried that she would hate it, but she too got the buzz from watching music being played live even if it was not exactly our preferred genres.
Patricia in The Catford Ram
It's not one of my finest pictures, but here's Patricia sitting in an empty looking Catford Ram
 (the man with the tie is a member of the bar staff)

 Patricia stayed for nearly 3 hours before she announced she was feeling tired, and was going home. I said I would follow soon, but even though I managed to get outside the pub twice, I was lured back in by the promise of something good. Eventually one of the promises came good when some Steely Dan was played, and Beverley made a good effort at singing Let It Be. I am not sure what time the last song was played, but it was 40, or so, minutes past the official deadline when I finally left, and they were still going.

 To my great sadness, Patricia was fast asleep when I got home, and to make matters worse, she was still fast asleep when I left to come to work today. So I never got to say goodbye to her in person (although I have now said good bye by phone). Hopefully it won't be too long before Patricia gets another interpreting assignment in London, and I look forward to seeing her again whenever it happens next. I also hope I will be feeling less crap than I have been this weekend when we meet next. This morning I felt truly dreadful (although I don't feel too bad now I am in the warm at work). Tonight I really have to try and get all my beauty sleep, and more if I possibly can. I think that is going to be the only way to throw off this snotty cold that seems to have far outstayed it's welcome !
Friday 7th June 2013
15:30 BST

  Yesterday was a very pleasant day. It was mildly warm, bright and sunny. By contrast, today is a bit of a disappointment. With a current temperature of 20 C it is not cold (although it was rather chilly at dawn), but it is lightly overcast, and I'm not sure if there has been any direct sunshine today. It is even possible that at some time there could be a passing shower, but it has been dry so far today.

 I can't remember if I noted it here, or elsewhere, but I mentioned that I seemed to be breathing far easier than recently, and wondered if I was suffering from anti-hay fever. After reports of really heavy pollen levels I assumed that many were suffering badly, and yet I was just the opposite. Well that didn't last very long !

 After my lack of sleep on Tueday night/Wednesday morning I was feeling rather tired when I left work on Wednesday, but not so tired that I couldn't meet up with Jodie for a few beers in The Catford Bridge Tavern. My friend Kevin also joined us halfway through the drink. When Jodie went home Kevin and I went for an extra pint in The Catford Ram via the shops. Kevin got some stuff in Tesco, and I bought a reading lamp in Poundstretcher. We had just one pint in The Ram before going home.

 Under normal circumstances I would have had some dinner and gone straight to bed, but Wednesday night was not normal. I had to wait up until 2am before my friend Patricia arrived to stay for a couple or more nights. By that time I had almost passed through my light hangover, and almost passed through the worst of my tiredness, but it took it's toll on me.

 My nose started to feel really bunged up, and my throat felt congested too. Under normal circumstances it may not have been too bad, but with Patricia sleeping in the next room I didn't want to blow my nose like an elephant trumpetting in the jungle, and I didn't want to clear my throat with a loud hacking cough. Unfortunately the more I tried to avoid doing these things, the more I felt the need to do it.

 It all boiled down to another really rough night where, once again, I probably only got about 4 hours sleep. In theory I should have been able to go back to bed, and sleep for as many hours as needed once Patricia had gone out to do her job, but I find it hard sleeping during the day. I did manage the odd 20 minutes here and there, but it was hardly quality stuff.

 I didn't actually do much at all yesterday apart from some laundry. It's hard to imagine where all the hours went, but time seemed to fly past, and it didn't feel too long before I was preparing some dinner for Patricia. It's nice having someone to take care of even if it is only briefly. Patricia went to bed at the sort of time I usually go to bed when I am tired (before 8pm), and in theory I should have as well, but it was gone 10pm before I was in bed. I didn't sleep that well, but it was a huge improvement on the two previous nights.

 Today I've been very lazy again, but slightly more succesful in taking a couple of naps. This morning I went to Aldi with Patricia. We were in there soon after they opened, and I couldn't believe how quiet it was compared to when I usually shop in there. Soon after we got back Patricia went to visit one of her girlfriends for the day (and possibly the night too). I managed to do some more laundry before going into extreme sloth mode !

 Having caught up with my big backlog of clothing laundry yesterday, it was the turn of a sheet and a couple of pillow cases today. I do have quite a backlog of bed linen to get through still, but now that the warmer weather is here I shall be making a bit more effort to try and get on top of it. If it is bright and sunny tomorrow, as it may well be, I might even tackle a duvet cover !

 It is now just a couple of hours to go before an event I am very much looking forward to. Chain are playing in The Catford Ram tonight, and it's an early evening gig. Being just round the corner, it is obviously my favourite venue, but there is more to it than that. It is one venue where there is plenty of space for the band, and for me to circulate. I can have plenty of beer, and no tedious bus journies home with an aching bladder ! There is even an unlikely possibility that Patricia may join us there. I hope she enjoys it if she does, because I know I will !!
Wednesday 5th June 2013
08:06 BST

  It didn't take that long for it to warm up yesterday. By 11am I had the heating off, and the window open. By 2pm I had the air conditioner on ! Outdoors it was only pleasantly warm at around 21 C at best, but the sun beating down on the tin roof, here at work, made it feel far hotter ! The sun is going to have to work hard to get today as warm as yesterday like the forecasters have confidently predicted. This morning the forecast is correct - it was very overcast. The cloud is slowly starting to break up, and eventually the sky should be all blue, and we'll be bathed in hot sunshine again.

 It is very difficult trying to describe how I feel because everything keeps changing. I felt pretty reasonable at work yesterday, and it felt like I had a moderate amount of energy when I was going home. It made going home via Tesco, and then lugging four bags of shopping home, seem painless. Even that didn't lower my energy levels too low to be able to hand wash six shirts, but doing that  exhausted them completely. It then didn't help that I ate rather too much dinner.

 I originally went home via Tesco to buy a few simple things - a packet of Jaffa Cakes, a pint of milk, and some Diet Coke. The first two were for my friend Patricia who I should be putting up tonight after she flies in from Spain for a few days. There were a few things I spotted while in Tesco that I thought would be useful to get while I was there, and there was stuff that was just too tempting. Of the latter there were two reduced price packs of sandwiches featuring new and novel flavours/fillings.

 In theory, those sandwiches were all I needed for dinner, but I had previously decided on a different menu for dinner. It was to be, and in fact was, cheese and ham pasty like things with salad. The pasty like things (whose precise name/description escapes me) were getting close to their "use by" date, and I didn't want to delay using them any longer. I also didn't want to delay tasting those new and novel sandwiches. It was all a bit too much, and I went up to my bedroom feeling very stuffed.

 I felt bad enough that it was getting on towards midnight before I was able to get to sleep. Everything would have been fine if I wasn't woken up at 2am by other digestive problems. I think the three bean salad, and the chick pea salad I had yesterday morning, had worked their "magic". Two trips to the toilet later, I was able to resume my sleep. I doubt if I got much more than four hours sleep last night, and I am already feeling the strain.

 The strain tonight could be even worse. I'm probably going to meet Jodie on the way home from work to buy her a birthday drink. Then I want to try and buy a reading/bedside lamp before the shops close. When I get home there is an infinite amount of tidying up that could be done before my guest arrives (probably) a little after midnight. Fortunately I've booked tomorrow (and Friday) off work. So once I've seen Patricia off to her interpreting job, I can go back to bed again, and with luck sleep until midday !
Tuesday 4th June 2013
07:55 BST

  I'm sure my thermometer said it only reached 19.8 C yesterday. So I can't really classify it as like a summers day ! Once the temperature exceeds 20 C I will grudgingly admit it is summer, and the good news is that it may well happen today. Like yesterday, today is supposed to be very sunny. The clear sky meant that this morning started off rather cool. At just 8 C it was  probably a little too cool to come to work in just a short sleeve shirt, and no coat, but I did it anyway !

 There is a report in this mornings paper that says the cold spring inhibited many flowers and trees from flowering, but now the sun is out, and the days getting warm, there is an explosion of flowering, and an explosion of pollen in the air. Some hyperbole about levels being the highest in 50 years was mentioned. I have a great deal of sympathy for those suffering from hay fever, but because I seem to suffer from anti-hay fever it has made me feel better. It is possibly my imagination, but I seemed to use less tissues yesterday than at any other time in the last 3 or 4 (or 5 ?) weeks. Even my lingering cough is showing good signs of improvement.

 I felt rather good when I finished work yesterday. It was more than the usual euphoria of finishing work for the day, and even more than the boost in spirits from it being warm and sunny. I didn't feel energetic enough to walk to the station, but the walk to the bus stop seemed almost effortless. I arrived at the station just as a train to Waterloo pulled in, and I it seemed easy to walk through the whole of the 8 carriage train to get from the back, where I got on, to the front which is closest to the barriers at Waterloo.

 I also found the long walk across Waterloo station, up the escalators to the link, and then all the way across the link, then three quarters the way down the platform at Waterloo East station, to be fairly easy. I thought that the warm sunshine had finally rejuvenated me, and I expected to be almost able to run from the station to home. I couldn't have been more wrong ! It felt like a dreadful slog, and for two pins I would have sat down when I arrived home.

 My plan was to do lots of housework last night, but it didn't happen. I should have started very soon after getting home, but I allowed myself to get sidetracked selecting and editing some photographs. If I had then had a small dinner I might have been able to be more productive than I was. Dinner was quite large, but, amazingly enough, still almost healthy. Much of the bulk came from salad and strawberries. I had two punnets of strawberries in the fridge. One was bought in Aldi, and the other in Tesco. I couldn't remember which should have been eaten first so I inspected both punnets carefully. Both showed signs that they were starting to deteriorate (although I only had to throw away one half of one strawberry). To save waste I ate both punnets. I can't be sure, but I think it was the punnet from Aldi that had the tastiest strawberrys.

 After my gut busting dinner I only allowed about 10 minutes before I tried to hoover the spare bedroom. Apart from a few missed bits of fluff, I managed to hoover the whole room, but it was bloody hard work, and I felt awful. There was no way I could have even thought of tackling some laundry as well last night. I'l have to do that laundry tonight somehow. It is possible that I might meet Jodie for a beer on the way home, and if I do, my time will be limited when I get home. Then I will only have tomorrow night to do the finishing touches making my home look less like a pig sty when Patricia stays over on Wednesday night.
Monday 3rd June 2013
08:07 BST

  We seem to have moved into a strange twilight zone that is not quite spring, and not quite summer. Yesterday was dry, bright, and mild. Today has possibly started off with more blue sky, and hence slightly cooler (8 or 9 C), but otherwise should be very similar to yesterday. There is plenty of time for the forecast to diverge from reality, but the whole week is supposed to be similar to yesterday. If it turns out to be true, then Friday could be the icing on the cake with it being the sunniest, and warmest day, but the chances of that forecast bearing any similarity to reality are about the same as the chances of me picking the right numbers for the lottery !

 It was hard work motivating myself to go out last night, but it was just about worth it in the end. There was a distinct lack of new musicians, but there was a couple of new singers at the open mic night. One of the new singers was both good and bad. When he sung straight he sounded a bit like Barry White - which is miles from my personal tastes, but he did it well. When he decided to rap one song I almost vomitted. Another singer was really bad as he warbled his way through several songs in a sort of Michael Jackson falsetto. If I had a gun I am not who I would have turned it on, me or him, to put one of us out of our misery.

 There was good stuff as well. One chap got up to play guitar, and he did a blues number that was so blues that I felt a strong desire to slash my wrists (as all good blues tunes should !). It's a shame they just did the one song - and that was while I was outside having a cigarette. The highlight of the evening was when Abby, who usually accompanies Beverley singing what I loosely describe as "Tamla Motown" type songs (pop-soul music), got up and first played some electric guitar, and then sung a Fleetwood Mac song. It was the first time I've seen Abby play electric guitar, and although I didn't know the song she sounded quite competent doing it.

 For the past few weeks the houseband/regulars Mayo, Ken and Johnny have been keen on playing some Fleetwood Mac, and we knew that Abby had some 'Mac songs in her looseleaf song book that she had been studying. The only thing that spoiled her performance was that she was a bit nervous - apparently because I was there, and she thought I was a big Fleetwood Mac fan. If she overcomes her nerves, and relaxes a bit, she could be quite good in the end.

 The session is supposed to finish at 10pm, but it always overruns. I think I got away at about 10.30pm, and it was still going as I left. Once I got home I had a snack before going to bed. It was stupidly late, maybe just gone midnight, before I was asleep.I slept non stop until 3am when I woke up feeling awful. I had to take a couple of aspirin before I could get back to sleep. It was probably that aspirin that is responsible for me feeling better than I expected this morning. I could still list a whole heap of aches and pains this morning, but it feels less like I am about to die in the next 3 minutes this morning. Maybe the sunshine is playing it's part in this too.

 Somehow I have to continue feeling at least "not too bad", and preferably something better for when I get home from work tonight. I have a lot I ought to be doing when I get home. My friend Patricia is flying in from Spain on Wednesday night, and I'll be putting her up for one (maybe two) nights. So I have very little time to roll my sleeves up, and get my spare room clean(ish) and tidy(ish). Plus I still have a backlog of laundry to do. These things are very important, but I feel I'll be in bed before 8pm tonight ! Oh well, you can't win 'em all :-(
Sunday 2nd June 2013
16:17 BST

  Itwas rather nice yesterday. The sun didn't really come out until early afternoon, but it was not cold, and ended up just about warm by early evening. Today has been ideal drying weather (I think). It's about 18 C with long sunny spells, and a fresh breeze blowing. The forecast suggests that the coming week will be quite similar.

 I'm not sure what caused it, but I had a very strong case of the munchies yesterday lunchtime. I ended up eating far too much in small quantities. The end result was that I felt quite uncomfortable when I went out yesterday evening, and that was despite allowing a good 3 or 4 hours for that food to settle down.

 After a few pints of Guinness I felt better, and I was able to enjoy "Out The Box" (yes, a bit of a strange name for a band) playing their debut gig at The Crown pub in Leaves Green. I was unofficial official photographer for the event, and I seemed to spend more time behind my camera than actually drinking. So I finished the night still rather sober ;-(
Out The Box band line up Sat 1st June 2013
I could show a heap of photos, but I think this shows off the band quite well.
From L - R Jim Wells, Liz Vass, Bob Bonser, Damien Carter and Dave Cane

Chris Wells
One other picture ! It looks like Chris Wells is "giving me the finger", but she is actually beckoning me over in the hope that I might dance with her !

 One surprise for the evening was that Warren, who organises the open mic night at The Catford Ram, turned up. He contacted me while I was on the bus there to ask if I fancied a pint last night. When I told him what I was doing he said he would come and have a look. Warren lives in Catford too, and I was able to cadge a lift back after the gig.

 I was dropped off on the main road near the Wetherspoons pub, or about a 5 - 10 minute walk away from home. It was getting fairly cool at midnight, and I didn't bother to put my coat on. I arrived home feeling quite chilly, rather wheezy, and rather uncomfortable. During the evening I coughed very lttle, and very rarely had to blow my nose. When I got home it was like I was back in the middle of my cold again.

  It took a little while before I dropped off to sleep this morning - at about 2am !! Once asleep I think I slept quite well, and woke up feeling much better. I haven't actually done much today except for playing with photos and videos, but I did clear the second third of my backlog of laundry.  I did intend to do the final third as well, but somehow time seemed to slip past without me being aware of it.

 My next priority is to get ready to go to The Catford Ram for the open mic session. I am looking forward to it, but at the same time I feel rather relaxed right now, and it will take some will power to get out the door. I'll make it somehow.
Saturday 1st June 2013
08:58 BST

  It took longer than I expected for the sun to come out yesterday, but eventually it did, and grey skies mainly gave way to blue. By mid to late afternoon the temperature peaked at 20 C, and it felt very nice. This morning seemed to start off nice and bright, but it seems a bit overcast now.  Asssuming the sun comes out again, the temperature should rise from 14 C now, to a forecasted peak of 18 C.

 I didn't feel that wonderful at work yesterday. It was almost like my recent cold had come back. I was frequently having to clear my nose, and I was coughing a lot. On top of that, I felt tired and creaky.  Some of it must be all in the mind. Either that or I have a genuine allergy to work ! I was only half way home when I began to feel much better, although still far from perfect.

 On my home I called in at Tesco to buy a few items I thought important. The only trouble is that I forgot to buy them ! It wasn't essential, but I rather fancied having a spare box or two of tissues handy. So while I didn't get everything I actually wanted, I did manage to spend a lot more money than I should have. This was partly because Tesco has more tempting things than, say, Aldi, and partly because of how expensive everything is in Tesco these days.

 I felt rather weary after I had got home and eaten my dinner. So I had another early night. I was in bed before 8pm, and fast asleep by 8pm. I slept well until midnight when I got up to go online to check my email and stuff. After an hour, or maybe an hour and a half, I got back in bed and slept less well until about 7am.

 I'm not sure I felt that wonderful when I got up, but I felt well enough to do some laundry before having a shower and washing my hair. What I should be doing now is tidying up the living room before my friend Aleemah is pops in with a DVD of some good, bad, or indifferent movie to watch. Once she goes home again I'll have a few hours to rest and rehabilitate myself in preparation for a night out. I'll be off to The Crown in Leaves Green to watch (photo and video) the debut gig  of Out The Box. It's the new band formed by Liz who used to (and occasionally still does) provide some backing vocals for Chain.

Saturday 1st June 2013
08:58 BST

  It took longer than I expected for the sun to come out yesterday, but eventually it did, and grey skies mainly gave way to blue. By mid to late afternoon the temperature peaked at 20 C, and it felt very nice. This morning seemed to start off nice and bright, but it seems a bit overcast now.  Asssuming the sun comes out again, the temperature should rise from 14 C now, to a forecasted peak of 18 C.

 I didn't feel that wonderful at work yesterday. It was almost like my recent cold had come back. I was frequently having to clear my nose, and I was coughing a lot. On top of that, I felt tired and creaky.  Some of it must be all in the mind. Either that or I have a genuine allergy to work ! I was only half way home when I began to feel much better, although still far from perfect.

 On my home I called in at Tesco to buy a few items I thought important. The only trouble is that I forgot to buy them ! It wasn't essential, but I rather fancied having a spare box or two of tissues handy. So while I didn't get everything I actually wanted, I did manage to spend a lot more money than I should have. This was partly because Tesco has more tempting things than, say, Aldi, and partly because of how expensive everything is in Tesco these days.

 I felt rather weary after I had got home and eaten my dinner. So I had another early night. I was in bed before 8pm, and fast asleep by 8pm. I slept well until midnight when I got up to go online to check my email and stuff. After an hour, or maybe an hour and a half, I got back in bed and slept less well until about 7am.

 I'm not sure I felt that wonderful when I got up, but I felt well enough to do some laundry before having a shower and washing my hair. What I should be doing now is tidying up the living room before my friend Aleemah is pops in with a DVD of some good, bad, or indifferent movie to watch. Once she goes home again I'll have a few hours to rest and rehabilitate myself in preparation for a night out. I'll be off to The Crown in Leaves Green to watch (photo and video) the debut gig  of Out The Box. It's the new band formed by Liz who used to (and occasionally still does) provide some backing vocals for Chain.