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My Diary/Blog For the Month of March 2013

Sunday 31st March 2013
11:33 BST
 
  As far as I can remember, Friday's weather was nothing spectacular. It was the usual cold and grey. Yesterday was a small improvement. There were some sunny spells, but the temperature ranged from cold to bloody cold ! The high was around 5 or 6░ C, and the low, late in the evening, was at least a degree or two below zero ! This morning started of gloriously sunny. I couldn't see a cloud in the sky. That helped raise the temperature from minus figures to at least a couple of degrees, but since late morning it has got quite cloudy again. The first clouds were almost black, and I wondered if it might snow, but now it's just grey cloud. The temperature is now around 5░ C, and that is probably about as high as it is going to get. Hopefully it will stay dry today, and if we are very lucky there could be some more sunshine.

 It was very nice having the day off work for the bank holiday on Friday, but in some ways it was too nice. I did very little during the day, and so when it came to the evening I felt most reluctant to go out into the cold and dark, but I managed it. I went to The William IV pub in Elmers End to see the band Kimera playing there. Two of their members, Jamie Bull and Dylan Tidman, have both sat in at Chain gigs in the past, and I had seen the whole band once before when they were on the same bill as Chain at the Croxjam festival (the same event where I met the brief love of my life Sarah the zombie). As usual I had my camera with me.
Sam Letchford of Kimera - 29th March 2013
This is Sam Letchford - the only member of the band with proper rock star hair !
Jamie Bull of Kimera - 29th March 2013
Front man Jamie Bull with (I think) Ross Davey on guitar and Dylan Tidman on drums.
Jamie has all the right moves, and belts out rock songs really well, but his ballad singing is not quite as good.
Dylan Tidman of Kimera - 29th March 2013
Dylan Tidman on drums.
Jo Vass - guest solo singer - 29th March 2013
During the break between sets Jo Vass got on stage to perform solo. She is the daugher of Liz Vass who used to be a regular backing singer for Chain, and still occasionally gets called up on stage.
Jo did a rather wonderful  version of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" - a song I would never had thought would work as an acoustic number.
Kimera - 29th March 2013
Jo Vass and Sam Letchford - 29th March 2013
Towards the end Jo got back on stage and provided extra vocals with the rest of Kimera.

 Kimera performed two of their own songs, but most of what they played were covers of standard classic rock - perhaps half of which Chain also play. So it was all mostly familiar, but the evening would have been a little better if there had been more people I knew there. I mostly stayed by myself, but did say a few hi's .

 I didn't stay to the very end of then gig, and perhaps missed about 20 minutes, but I was keen to go and find my bus home. fortunately I didn't have to wait long - possibly less than 10 minutes, but it was in the freezing cold. That cold made for an  uncomfortable walk from the bus stop to home. I have no idea what time I finally got to bed, but I know it was very late.

  Yesterday morning I woke up after only about 3 or 4 hours sleep, and for a while I got up  and reviewed and edited the picture I had taken at the gig. Then I went back to bed thinking that maybe I would not sleep that well. So it was rather a surprise when I re-awoke to find it was almost midday ! After a quick shower I went out to get some shopping from Aldi.

 I guess it was close to 6░ C when I walked up the road to Aldi. I took it fairly easy and it was quite comfortable walking there, and fairly comfortable walking back with 6 litres of diet cola in my back pack (heavy !) plus a couple of bags of other shopping. It was in complete contrast to when I walked about two thirds the distance in the evening. It was at, or below, zero then, and each breath of air seemed to burn my windpipe like fire. It was a really uncomfortable walk !

 Very soon after I got home with my shopping I cooked my only meal of the day - steamed salmon with potato salad and some tomatoes. I also had an assortment of nibbles in the early afternoon, but not too many of them. Then I did very little until it was time to go out again. This time it was to see Chain playing at The Chatterton Arms just the other side of Bromley.

 Apart from the very painful walk to the bus stop, it was a very enjoyable evening. I'll show some photos tomorrow. Chain had already been playing for maybe 20 minutes when I was surprised by a few people arriving at the pub with my friend Kevin. They were Roger and his partner, and Pam and her husband. I haven't seen much of Roger over the last 10 or 20 years, but he used to sit next to me in Secondary school. Pam was the ex-wife of friend Ivor, and used to do radio programmes back in the 1970s. I hadn't seen her for something like 5 or 10 years. They really enjoyed the gig, and I think they look forward to seeing Chain again at some time in the future.

 The gig ended around midnight, but with the clocks changing from GMT to BST it was gone 1am when I got to the bus stop. I got what I think was the very last 208 back to Catford (but if I had missed that there is also a night bus, and the first was only about 10 minutes behind my bus). Fortunately the fried chicken shop was still open, and I called in for some grilled wings and a portion of chips. I ate that watching a TV programme about the blues (music). That fitted in quite well with evening.

 It was gone 3am (BST) when I got into bed, and I fell asleep very quickly. I slept solidly, but woke up stupidly early. I feel that I am going to try and get a long snooze in sometime soon, and if that doesn't work it will have to be a series of shorter snoozes. I don't think I'll be doing anything else of significane while I try to reccover from three nights out on the trot, but it is always possible that something may inspire me to do something.
Friday 29th March 2013
09:11 GMT
 
  There was quite a lot of sunshine, and it did make it's mark on the temperature - just ! I think the temperature peaked at around 5░ C. Perhaps if I was feeling generous it might have been 6░ C. This morning has started gloriously sunny with a bright blue sky. The BBC's forecast reckons it will only last for another hour, and then it will get all nasty and grey again. It should stay dry, but it's going to limit the temperature to just 4 or 5░ C. After dark the temperature will sink again to zero or below.

 There was a definite "Friday feeling" at work yesterday. It was both exciting to look forward to a long weekend, and slightly frustrating waiting for the working day to end. Apart from suffering from something akin to dysentry for a few hours during the morning, I felt quite reasonable, but not reasonable enough to want to walk to the station when I left work. Once again I got the bus the two stops to the station. I must give that up soon - preferably when the temperature is at least double yesterday's meagre showing. I wonder when that will be ?

 When I got back to Catford I went straight to the pub. I wasn't sure if anyone would be drinking in there, but after about 20 minutes everyone trickled in. There was no band due on last night. Apparently the pub has given up on bands on Thursday nights because they were not pulling in enough punters, but they are going to try jam nights on Sunday evenings starting on the 14th April. That could be very good or very bad ! In the absence of a band to photograph I had to turn my camera on my drinking partners.
my drinking partners on Thursday 28th March 2013
From left to right - Kevin, Alan, Chris, Andy, and Paul.

  There was one problem last night, there was a very enticing spicy food smell coming from the kitchens, and because I hadn't eaten earlier I started to feel ravenously hungry. After 4 or 5 pints of Guinness, and at about 7.30pm, I made my excuses and left to go home. Once I got home I ordered a silly amount of Indian takeaway. I still have some left this morning, which was intended, but I ate far too much last night, and felt horribly uncomfortable when I tried to lay down in bed. I had intended to be asleep by about 10pm, but it was closer to 3am before I was able to get to sleep properly.

 This morning, after a little more than 5 hours sleep, I don't feel too bad, but I feel like more sleep would be a good thing, and I still feel slightly bloated. That raises a problem. I want to go out tonight, but to do that I ought not to eat for a good 4 or 5 hours before going out, and that really dictates that I ought to have a decent late breakfast, and no more. At the moment I don't feel like eating, but I know I'll be feeling very hungry later on - maybe at just about the time when I shouldn't be eating !

 I don't know what I'll be doing for the bulk of today. It is so sunny right now that I feel an urge to go out, but the reality is that it is only a couple of degrees out there - a fact brought home when I past the little bubble of warmth where the sun gets trapped in my front porch, and went as far as the wheelie bin where it is most definitely shivery ! One thing I feel sure I will do today is to do a bit of laundry, and if I can raise the enthusiasm I might run the hoover over my bedroom and the living room, but right now that feels an enthusiasm too far !
Thursday 28th March 2013
08:02 GMT
 
  If only yesterday had been about 20 degrees warmer, it might have been a nice day. There wasn't much, there was some sunshine, and the sun's rays did feel delightfully warm, but still that cold wind blew any heat away.This morning has started out delightfully bright and sunny, but still the temperature is below zero. There sunshine should continue, maybe on and off, until mid afternoon, but it will only raise the temperature to about 6░ C at best. After dark the temperature is set to plummet to below zero again.

 The brown lentils I had the day before continued to work their "magic" until just a couple of hours before I was due to go home from work yesterday. Fortunately I didn't feel too uncomfortable because of that, and overall I didn't feel too bad. There were one or two occasions when I had a great deal of difficulty in staying awake, but I didn't actually feel knackered until I finally got home from work.

 I really wanted to eat as healthily as possible last night, but once again I was defeated by cold and fatigue, although perhaps only partly defeated. My dinner consisted of steamed salmon, which was a nice healthy option, with (alleged) tomato and chilli flavoured rice, which may not have been terribly healthy, but probably not too bad. If I had left it there I would have declared it to be part of the master plan, but I also ate a selection of nibbles including a small bag of brazil nuts. The latter, apart from being naturally radioactive, contain huge quantities of saturated fats, and hence loads of calories, but are considered to have lots of beneficial vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other stuff that vegans and the like wax lyrical over.

 After eating I didn't wait for the news to finish on TV before I went up to my room. I was almost considering going straight to bed, but I stayed up for a while before getting in bed to read. It was a useful coincidence that I got to the end of a chapter at more or less exactly 8pm. At that point I turned out the light, and after a small fight with my pillow, trying to find the ultimate comfort spot, I fell asleep. I think I only woke up twice in the night. One time was a little after 11pm, and it took a while to get back to sleep afterwards. The second time may have only been a dream. Eventually I woke up from a very active dream about 15 minutes bfore my alarm was due to sound.

 I woke up with a sore head, and stiff neck - maybe I hadn't quite found the perfect pillow position when I fell asleep ! My neck is still a little stiff even now, but otherwise I don't feel too bad, and it's nice not to feel so sleepy today. I don't think I felt quite so bad as I did when I came to work yesterday. Maybe it was the extra sleep, or maybe it the result of slightly more moderate eating last night. I suspect I would have felt even better if the sunshine had not excited me so much that I sometimes attempted to stroll a little faster than I can bear in this cold air. Every breath of that sub zero air seems to burn my windpipe and lungs.

 I am very much looking forward to not having to go out into the frigid morning air for the next four mornings of the long bank holiday weekend that starts tomorrow. Some, maybe quite a lot, of this long weekend may be extremely boring, but with a couple of gigs to look forward to, and even the possibility of some entertainment tonight, it won't all be all doom and gloom !

  This morning I had an unusual sight when I got to the station.
crashed van
 It must have taken a bit of speed to run over the small, squat, but very heavy small bollard, and to tangle one up the upright bollards under the wheel arch. Yet the strange thing is that there is hardly any distance for the van to have accelerated to much speed. Behind the van is a very tight roundabout, and basically nothing else. I think I might have overheard someone suggesting that it was the result of someone trying to steal the van, but that might have just been conjecture.
Wednesday 27th March 2013
08:10 GMT
 
  Yesterday's weather did exactly what it said on the tin - it was bloody cold, grey and miserable ! Today has already seen a very small improvement.
the hazy sun, partly hidden by a tree
 If the picture above had not been taken through a train window, and the train hadn't moved just as I pressed the shutter, you would see that the sun was visible as a fairly big orange ball in the morning sky. All you can see in this picture is a bright glare partly hidden by the tree, and a vague hint of pink sky either side of that glare ! I took the picture at approximately 6:40 at Lewisham station on my way into work. It's still bright, but not actually sunny now. As the day progresses it is likely that the cloud will get thicker, but at least the temperature could rise to 5░ C if we are lucky. That is still a long way from even tepid, but maybe not quite as painful as yesterday.

 If felt pretty rotten yesterday. Some of the blame lies with the amount I had for breakfast. The extra comfort against the cold was more than offset by the discomfort of the effect too much food has on me lately. It is a bit of a vicious circle because I did the same, but maybe worse when I got back to Catford after work. We had a meeting at work that overran a bit, and I missed my usual train home. It's only a wait of 19 minutes for the next one, but it was enough to inspire me to buy some hot fried chicken and chips on the way home.

 It was most definitely comforting to get in out of the cold and load up with hot food. Unfortunately it left me feeling so uncomfortable that I couldn't get to sleep until several hours after I should have done. So this morning I faced the double whammy of the cold, and tiredness. I had further discomfort as I walked to work from Earlsfield station. The brown lentil and couscous salad I had yesterday morning did what lentils are prone to do, and I wasn't sure if it was just wind or something worse. So I wanted to rush to work, but the cold air on my chest made it too painful to rush. So I walked as fast as I dared without passing out, or suffering a heart attack, only to discover it was just wind after all.

 Tonight I am going to try extra hard to just have some steamed fish and salad (if the salad that's been in my fridge for a good few days now is still usuable). Then I am going to try extra hard to get to bed as early as I possibly can, and that could be as early as 7pm, or maybe even earlier than that. Not only will I need the extra sleep to stop me falling asleep at work, but tomorrow night I anticipate staying fairly late at the pub - assuming anyone else goes to the pub. With no work on Friday because of the bank holiday, I have the opportunity to go to bed as late as needed tomorrow night.
Tuesday 26th March 2013
07:49 GMT
 
  Yesterday's snowfall quickly reduced from hardly any to none at all. Which was a bit of a pity because a good fall of snow would have made the day seem brighter, and might even have felt warmer. It felt bitterly cold yesterday, and even if the temperature was a degree or two above zero, the icy wind made it feel much colder. Today will be nothing to celebrate..........
The weather forecast for Catford 26th March 2013
  As usual, the forecast is not terribly accurate. I estimate that the temperature at 6am was a bit higher than zero judging by the fact the puddles only had a thin broken glaze of ice on them. However, the wind is still blowing directly from the icy hell of Scandinavia, and it feels like it is well below zero. I am not expecting to enjoy today.

 I certainly didn't enjoy yesterday. It was perishing cold at work despite the heater running flat out from before I arrived. That is the trouble with these tin shed industrial units. They retain no heat, and leak what they do have at an alarming rate. Over the weekend, when the heating is off, the temperature in my office must have fallen close to zero. So I shivered all day at work, and didn't start to feel warm again until I was on the train from Earlsfield station.

 That was only a brief respite from the cold, and it was a joy to get home again where I could warm myself internally with a hot bowl of meatballs in pasta, and warm myself externally with the fan heater on full blast. Very soon I felt quite comfortable, and very different from when I left work. I felt so ill then that I opted to get the bus the two stops to the station. It's been ages, perhaps a year or two since I've had to resort to doing that, but I needed to last night !

 If it had been 10 degrees warmer last night, I may have been able to stick to my plan of having a fairly lean steak with green salad and tomatoes, and practically nothing else all night. I still had the steak after I had eaten the big can of meatballs with pasta, but I had nothing with the steak except for some chilli sauce. Later on, while watching the news on TV, with a devil may care attitude, I also opended a small bag of Branston pickle flavour biscuits and peanuts, and also finished off the bag of Twiglets I had started the previous night.

 I think I have given into the demands of my body for extra calories while this very cold weather persists. This morning I called into the Londis store by Earlsfield station and bought a couple of samosas and a pot of brown lentils and couscous salad. I'm now feeling rather full, and the chilli sauce I added has given my face a warm feeling even if I can barely feel my fingers at the moment. There is a very good chance that all that will sit so heavily on my stomach that it will be impossible for me to walk to the station again tonight, and I'll have to resort to using the bus again.

 I am so glad that this is another short week, and a long bank holiday weekend. Once the bank holiday is over I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will see an improvement in the weather. I am not sure how much more of this I can stand. It would be OK if I didn't have to come to work, and could stay at, or near home, so I am very much looking forward to getting the next three days over and done with, and then staying in the warm on Friday.
Monday 25th March 2013
08:02 GMT
 
  The weather was basically just cold and grey yesterday. The 'warmest' it got was just a few degrees above zero. From time to time I would see the odd flake of snow go drifting past my window. It was snowing this morning as I made my way to work. Admittedly it was so light that it would take a full week to lay down just half an inch, but it is always possible there could be heavier snow today despite the weather forecast suggesting that we might see some hazy sunshine today. That forecast reckons the high temperature for today will be just 3░ C, and it will only last for about an hour. The rest of the day will average little more than 1 and a bit degrees. I think I can believe that !

 Nothing much happened yesterday. The cold and lack of useful daylight conspired to keep me in the warm - either up in my bedroom, or in the living room. I spent as little time in the freezing kitchen as possible, but I did cook up two hot meals during the day. I had sausages for breakfast, and burgers for dinner. I just left them to their own devices to cook in the electric grill while I went back in the warm ! I almost certainly ate too much for a day of almost complete inactivity, but I felt it was fairly restrained for such a cold and miserable sort of day.

 One result of eating what I did yesterday was to make my walk into work rather uncomfortable. By the time I got to work, after walking from Earlsfield station, my arms, neck, shoulders, and throat/chest area were all aching. The strange thing about it is that it seems to be worse the slower I walk, and yet the pains start it feels wrong to try and walk faster. While it is made worse by eating too much, I still blame it on the frozen air. I really can't wait until the morning air temperature stays up at 10░ C or more. Even as little as 8░ C makes it more comfortable for me to walk.

 Tonight I could theoretically eat comparatively little. The core of my diner will definitely be a nice bit of steak (at least I hope it's nice). I could have it with hot baked beans or peas, but I suspect I'll be having it with just a green salad and some cherry tomatoes. If I felt warm and comfortable that could possibly be all I would eat, but in this wintery weather, plus a certain amount of boredom will probably have me reaching for some extras. In fact it is almost a foregone solution that I'll be eating some Cheese Thins at some point tonight !
Saturday 23rd March 2013
13:55 GMT
 
  I don't really remember much about yesterday's weather apart from it being dull and cold. I think it was dry until the evening when it rained. This morning it was wet again, except this time it was big wet sleety flakes of snow. Occasionally the sleet became actual snow, and although it was too wet for it to settle in most places, it did manage to leave a slushy covering on some cars and things. It seems to have stopped for the moment, but it is looking very wet and grey outside, and it looks like it could start again at any moment. It is only 3░ C now, but presumably that will drop after sunset (if the sun still exists above the thick cloud above us), and then some snow could actually settle properly. Maybe we'll wake up to a white morning.

 I don't know why I decided to do it after saying it wasn't important yesterday, but I washed four shirts and two pillowcases yesterday afternoon. Maybe it was because I was a bit bored, or needed to kill some time while waiting for the evening to come round. Eventually the evening arrived, and I got ready to go to The Mitre Hotel/pub in Greenwich for Chain's gig. I actually left a lot earlier than I needed to because the start of the gig was due to be delayed until after some football match finished, but if I left it any later I might have got too comfortable to go out.

 When I got to the pub I could see Jo and Chris' car, and I could see Ravi's van, but there was no sign of anyone. A quick phone call revealed they were in the hotel reception area. It was rather nice in there, and we treated it like the green room. Eventually the football finished with England winning 8-0 against whover their opponents were, and  we lugged all the gear into the main bar and set it up.  It took a few numbers before the audience warmed up, but eventually the band got a very warm reception.
Jo Corteen looking as lovely as ever
Paul Gunn
Paul Gunn on drums. It was Paul who got this gig, and several more for the band.
Chris Mayer in collarless black shirt
I don't know who started it, but a meme went round saying that Chris Mayer, in his collarless black shirt looked like an off duty vicar. So I coudn't resist a bit of photoshoppery !
The very reverend Chris Mayer !
Ravi on bass
I don't know that much about Ravi, the bass player for the night, but I do know he mixes in very elevated circles - including running errands for Eric Clapton, and possibly being under study bass player at his gigs.

 After getting so drunk, and all the unpleasantness involved with it, at the gig last week, I took particular care not to get too drunk last night. It was quite easy to do because unlike last week I wasn't desperately trying to have a good time. It was a great gig in a nice venue, and having a great time came easily. Unfortunately, while I was only a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10 of drunkeness (with last week being a 10), I was still not sober enough to resist being forced to dance again with Chris Wells, or maybe I am slowly learning to sort of enjoy it. Unfortunately cameras were at the ready this time, and although they were just extemely poor mobile phone pictures taken with no flash, pictures exist of me dancing.
Me and Chris fuzzily dancing !
 I don't really know anything about dancing, and I certainly know no dance moves, although I have obviously observed others doing them. There is one dance move that seems to involve your partner rubbing her crotch along your leg. When I enquired afterwards if she had enjoyed it I was told yes, and that she could feel that I had enjoyed it too ! Ahem !!

 At the end of the gig I helped knock down some of the gear, and take it out to the motors. When everything was packed away I was treated to a lift home by Paul the drummer. The gig had gone on to 10 or 15 minutes past midnight, and so it was probably just gone 1am when I arrived home. It had been too late to pick up some chicken and chips on the way home, and in a way that was a pity because the alternative was to munch on a big bag of peanuts that were possibly worse for me.

 I was tired but running on adrenaline so I didn't go to bed straight away, but stayed up munching peanuts, editing photos, and passing messages to a few people via facebook until 3am when I just had to give up and go to bed. I woke up again absurdly early for someone who had only got to bed at 3am, but I managed to get back to sleep again for maybe another hour, perhaps two. I guess I managed to get maybe 5 hours sleep.

 There was no reason why I couldn't have spent all morning in bed except for my early bird instinct to be up early. I feel I am flagging now, and soon I'll probably lay on my bed and snooze for a while. I have been out in the snow to get some shopping, and that is probably the only semi-important task for the whole weekend done. If it was warmer in the back of the house I could spend a few hours re-building my server - a task I have been putting off for something like 6 weeks now. Maybe the delay up to now has been worth it because Linux Mint has just released their latest Debian based Linux distro, and I am quite keen to use Debian as a base.
Friday 22nd March 2013
14:43 GMT
 
  There were a few very short sunny intervals yesterday, but it wasn't full sunshine. It was just weak hazy sunshine. Most of the day was rather cool and rather grey. Then once night had fallen it started to rain. This morning started off cold and damp, but I don't think it was actually raining. It is currently dry, and fairly bright despite no hint of any sun in the sky. It's just over 6░ C at the moment, but that is set to fall to just a couple of degrees tonight when it will also start to rain. Tomorrow is forecast to be just a couple of degrees, and it might even snow in south London. Apparently there is a very good chance that it will snow in north London.

 I made all the right moves to go out last night. I washed my hair, and ate very sparingly, but when it came down to it I couldn't face it. Further research had shown that it would be a horrible journey to get to the venue on anything but a warm summers evening. The offer of a lift didn't come, and I didn't feel that I should plead for one. So I sent apologies, and decided to stay in the warm.

 One of the worst things I could have done last night was to order a Chinese takeaway. eating extravagances such as last night directly result in my decreased mobility, and although it didn't matter last night, it isn't going to make going out this evening any easier. Still, the food was nice, and although I am agonising over it now, I enjoyed it last night, and I also enjoyed the rest of it for lunch today.

 One strange anomoly was the use of brocolli in two of the dishes. I can't recall seeing that before, and I didn't particularly like it - though it was nicer than the bamboo shoot that was used more liberally than is to my taste. With hindsight I don't know why I ordered the dishes that I did. Lack of practice maybe, or just plain ignorance.

 Although I restricted the amount I ate last night, and hence why I had planty spare for lunch today, I still ate enough to make me feel uncomfortable when I went to bed. It wasn't heartburn like the night before (or before that) but just over fullness. So I didn't sleep that well until I had partly digested what I ate. Even then I didn't take full advantage of not having to get up for work this morning. I got up about 90 minutes later than usual, but ideally I could have spent double that on extra sleep.

 While that extra sleep, if I had got it, may have felt like a good idea, I'm not sure it would have been particularly useful to make me feel better. I still seem to be suffering from something like 'flu. I'm sure it isn't 'flu, although it could still be a long term legacy to the viral infection I got nearly a year ago (or was it two ?) that I think was glandular fever. All I know is that while I feel warm I feel generally feel OK, but a few minutes exposure to cold, such as going into my cold kitchen, starts to make my arms and shoulders hurt. It's a variation of the pains I get when walking in the cold.

 Right now I am in the warm and feeling fine, but ideally I want to go into my cold bathroom and do some laundry. Fortunately I have plenty of clean shirts and stuff, but I don't like to get too far behind with my laundry. Once we get some spring like weather it won't matter so much, but who knows how long this appalling weather will last ?

 There is some bad news about tonights gig. The start time has been delayed because of bloody football. I was looking forward to tonight. It is an easy venue to get to - a single bus with the bus stop just a few hundred feet from the pub - but I won't be very amused if it turns out to be a footballers pub like the hated Swan in West Wickham. Chain are due to appear at tonight's venue, The Mitre in Greenwich, quite a few times this year (gig list) and it will be awful if I hate the place !
Thursday 21st March 2013
07:51 GMT
 
  The idea that yesterday's weather might be similar, or even better than the day before was just so much bull droppings ! There were a few moments of hazy sunshine, but most of the day was grey, and the temperature may not have even reached 6░ C. The best I saw was 5.6░ C when I got home from work. This morning has started off fairly bright, but that's bright grey only. There isn't a hint of sunshine, and we probably only missed a frost by a degree or two. It seems likely that the best temperature today is only going to be around 4░ C, and made to feel worse by a chilly wind. It's possible the sun may manage to peek out between the clouds later on, but probably only for minutes at a time. It has all the makings of another thoroughly depressing day !

 I didn't feel all that wonderful at work yesterday. Most of it was due to my poor sleep the night before, but various aches and pains didn't help. It seems to be a rare day when I am free from pain these days. It was a relief to get home from work, and into the warm. Ideally I should have cooked myself up some sort of hot meal, but I had cold stuff in the fridge that needed to be used up. So I had a rather lavish, and barely healthy salad followed by some stuff that I really shouldn't eat if I want to increase my health.

 By 6.30pm I decided it was time to stop messing around, and get to bed. By 6.45pm I had brushed my teeth, and I was in bed. It took at least half an hour before I fell asleep, but once I fell asleep I slept solidly for the first three hours, and then less solidly until about 4.30am. I think I woke up three or four times in the early hours, but each time it took almost no effort to get back to sleep again.

 I'm not sure exactly how many hours of sleep I really got, but it was at least 8. In theory I should feel good today, but I don't really. By the time I had washed and dressed I could quite cheerfully have gone back to bed instead of coming to work. I'm not if I would have slept much if I had gone back to bed, but it would have been nice to try. Now I am over the rigours of getting to work, I guess I don't feel that bad, but I am not very optimistic that I will feel like going out tonight.

 I'm fairly certain that no one from Chain reads these blogs (or even knows of their existence) so I think I am safe in saying that unless I am offered a lift to and from tonights gig venue, I won't be going. I do know in theory how to get to and from tonights venue, but as yet I haven't checked the exact details. Maybe it is easier than I imagine, and that could possibly sway me to make my own way there, but this is all idle speculation at the moment. I'll wait until I get home tonight and see how close to death I feel before making a final decision.
Wednesday 20th March 2013
08:16 GMT
 
  Just a reminder of how the BBC's forecasters thought yesterday's weather might turn out.....
Weather forecast for Catford - 19th March 2013
 .........and how the day looked as I was going home from work last night.
Earlsfield station on a cold, but dry and sunny day - March 19th 2013
 You might notice the blue sky in this picture, and the lack of puddles. The whole day was dry, and the first glimpse of sunshine started as early as midday, although it wasn't until about 3pm when the sunshine became almost continuous. I think that sunshine may have pushed the temperature up to around 8░ C. It was still cold, but not that cold.

 The forecast for today is similar to yesterday........but slightly better. The Metro suggested London could hit 9░ C this afternoon. That almost crosses the boundary between cold, and the first hints of tepid. At the moment it feels like we only just missed having a frost. The sky is light grey giving everything the appearance of a faded photo, but maybe the sun will break through later, and maybe it will look and feel pleasant when I leave work to go home.

 It was a mistake on several levels, but I decided I wanted to go to the 99p shop on the way home. There were a few items I wanted from there, and inevitably I bought some stuff that I wanted on the spur of the moment, but should definitely not have wanted. Before going in there I met Kevin for a couple of pints in the Wetherspoon's pub opposite the 99p shop. I stressed that I would only be having two pints, and that I wanted to leave there around 6pm. I managed to stick to just having two pints, but at 6pm Kevin started on a long anecdote, and it was possibly closer to 6.30pm before I got away.

 Amongst the stuff I wanted from the 99p shop was some mouthwash, and some lip balm type stuff. While my head cold was in full swing over a week ago, I suffered from dry and chapped lips. I managed to scrape out a few remains from a tube of medicated lip balm that I had, but I either couldn't remember to look for a new tube, or when I could remember I couldn't find any in the shop I happened to be in. When I was in Tesco a couple of days ago I didn't need any lip balm anymore, but I did remember to look for a spare tube. I couldn't find the medicated stuff, but I did find some strawberry flavoured "Lipsyl". It's almost certainly aimed at girls, but I don't see why they should have all the fun. So I bought a tube, and to hell with it - I like it !

 I remembered seeing something very similar in the 99p shop, and yesterday I found they did a three pack of three different flavours - strawberry, lemon, and apple. They smell more subtle that the Lipsyl, but I reckon I can get some enjoyment out of them. I also enjoyed some chocolate I bought, but it was a stupid idea to buy it. Not only did it have far too many empty calories in it, but I am sure it strongly contributed to some bad heartburn I suffered from later in the evening.

 I am sure I have permanently damaged my body doing lots of things, and my alcoholic poisoning last Friday night possibly made things a lot worse. All I know is that I arrived home from the 99p shop almost breathless, and with my chest hurting in a sort of pre-heart attack sort of way. Once I was in the warm I felt normal again pretty quickly, but my dinner, which included more greasy pate and chocolate, was probably a bit rich for me. A little while before going to bed I had a hint of a bit of heartburn, but it was once I lay on my bed that it hit me full force. Initially I assumed I was just having a heart attack, but after half an hour or so, and still being alive, I decided to see what a couple of antacid tablets would do for me. They did a lot, and within 10 minutes I was feeling OK, but it lost me a lot of sleep - not helped by going to bed a bit late in the first place.

 This morning I woke up feeling really crap. My guts felt very dodgy, I was feeling like I hadn't slept in a fortnight, and I had a headache. I really didn't want to go to work, but I decided I had better try and make the effort. It turned out that my guts were not particularly dodgy, but the tiredness and headache still dogged me as I slowly made my way to the station for the late train. Walking to the station seemed like hard and painful work, and the walk from the station to work left me partly breathless and in pain.

 Ideally, if I want to go to tomorrow night's gig, I should probably get to bed on an empty stomach two hours before I leave work. Obviously that is impossible, and maybe it will be impossible to go to the gig. The one possible salvation is that I think there is a chance I'll be offered a lift to the venue, and back home again. I'm not sure how I'll cope with roadie duties with this broken body of mine, but I'll worry about that later.
Tuesday 19th March 2013
07:50 GMT
 
  It was dull, wet and cold yesterday - a thoroughly miserable sort of day ! Today might be a little better, but not by much !
Weather forecast for Catford - 19th March 2013
 There were a few small puddles as I made my way to work this morning, but none of the rain that is forecast for the whole of this morning. The sky looks grey and miserable enough for rain, so I guess it will happen sooner or later.

 The wet weather made me feel very under par yesterday. It was mostly in the head rather than physical, but going home in the cold and wet appeared to provide some real physical symptoms. It crept up on me slowly, but by the time I was in bed (quite early) it almost felt like I was suffering from 'flu. I don't think my legs were affected, but all my other muscles and joints felt stiff and painful. After a fairly good night's sleep I don't feel anywhere near as bad this morning, but I don't exactly feel wonderful.

 I have no idea where it came from, but I developed a strange craving for a kebab while I was at work. In theory I could have ordered a nice big chicken shish with salad, and probably with a portion of chips because I was cold and wet, but it would have meant a lot of hanging around as it was cooked. Instead of going to the kebab shop I went to Tesco with an idea. I would buy some lean cooked meats, and have that with a heap of salad and chilli sauce. It would be similar to a shish kebab given unlimited imagination !

 The great downfall of my plan was that I spotted something I had never seen before - chicken and chorizo patÚ. Most patÚs (as far as I know) contain a lot of fat, and are far from healthy to eat, but curiosity is curiosity, and it had to be tried. I had a chunk of it along with some other meats on a bed of salad leaves plus roughly diced plum tomatoes garnished with fresh basil. Just to make things worse I was also quite liberal with a bottle of peri-peri mayonaisse. It was very, very tasty. I later made things even worse by using the rest of the patÚ on a (small) fresh French stick.

 Tonight's dinner will be a variation on last night's, and it will be just as unhealthy. The worst ingredient will be a pack of three types of salami type meat. I can't remember exactly what's in the pack, but sliced chorizo is one of the three types, and something with garlic in it is another type. There is little doubt that I will again be quite liberal with the bottle of peri-peri mayonaisse. It won't be a complete disaster in terms of healthy living, and I think I regard it as a sort of holding option until the sun comes out, and we eventually get some warm weather.

 There is a possibility that I could go to three Chain gigs this week. They are playing on Thursday night in Charlton. On Friday night in Greenwich, and the latest venue, announced last night, is at the Beckenham Green spring fair on Sunday ! I've made a web page that lists Chain's gig for 2013, and you can find it here.
Monday 18th March 2013
07:54 GMT
 
  Yesterday was dull and wet, but sometime after darkness fell, clouds must have gone away for a while. The result was that the temperature plumetted from a peak of 10░ C down to low enough for a frost this morning. The original forecast for a fair amount of sunshine today has subsequently changed to overcast with occasional drizzle. It seems that reality is a mixture of the old and the new so far this morning. There was some drizzle, or maybe very fine grains of snow, falling while I waited for my train, but now the clouds seem to be breaking up, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some sunshine no matter how briefly.

 According to an article in The Metro this morning, the average daytime temperature at this time of the year should be in double figures instead of the 5 or 6░ C we can expect today. The pessimistic long range forecast they reported is that this cold and miserable weather will continue to at least the end of the month, and maybe into the beginning of April ! This does not fill me with pleasure !

 I was nearly totally lazy yesterday afternoon, but I read elsewhere that one of the satelite TV channels had recently shown the film "Summer Holiday" starring a London RT bus (ot a Routemaster !) The Shadows and Cliff Richard. That got me thinking about some pictures in my archives, and inspired a bit of silly, and not all that well done, photo trickery.
The other "Summer Holiday" starring Chris Mayer
So the new version of "Summer Holiday" stars Chris Mayer the bus-king guitar player !

 I indulged in many excesses yesterday, and yet I did manage to show some restraint if I stretch the definition far enough. It is well known that twiglets are low fat, and contain lots of useful stuff. So eating a whole big bag of them was not that terrible ! Later on I ate what should have been tonight's dinner - two grilled aberdeen angus beef burgers. I mainly wanted them as a vehicle to put some Mad-Ass chilli sauce on. Overall, I was mostly careful to only over indulge in relatively benign foodstuffs.

 I think I may have made a mistake in eating a whole punnet of mixed seedless grapes. Why it should have been a mistake is totally unknown, but I'm just using them as a scapegoat for what happened at 4.15am this morning. I woke up feeling very uncomfortable, and when I went to the toilet I exploded with a violence normally only seen in medium sized atom bombs. It happened not just once, nor twice but three times, and then there were some later after shocks. It didn't leave me feeling much like I wanted to travel this morning.

 Nevertheless I am here at work, and I feel quite surprised that I don't feel a lot worse than I do. I thought the alcoholic excesses of Friday, plus two days of excess eating, and a part, maybe temporary resumption of smoking would leave me feeling terrible. In fact for a frosty cold Monday morning I don't feel that bad. My trousers still seem to feel very loose, and my belt is done up comfortably on it's new notch. Maybe my excesses of the weekend were more restrained that I imagined could be possible, and that I'm in a reasonable state to continue trying to improve my general health ready for some outdoor exercises should we ever get any warm, or preferably, hot weather.

 Tonight my plan is to have steamed/poached fish with salad. Maybe I'll indulge in a sprinkle of ready grated Italian cheese flavoured sawdust (allegedly actually cheese, but I have my doubts) on the fish if it's cod, but not if I have salmon. It is inevitable that I will eat some other stuff, but fortunately my choices are quite limited until I get some new shopping in, and what I do have is almost, but totally not (!) mostly almost not really benign. To put it another way, I have some bags of Cheesy Whotsits, and some bags of Hula Hoops. Both are slightly low fat, and slightly low(ish) in calories and stuff when compared to proper crisps
Sunday 17th March 2013
14:17 GMT
 
  Friday's weather set a trend - it was often fairly bright, not bone chilling cold, and frequently drizzly. Yesterday was the same, and today has been very similar except the drizzle has sometimes been more like rain. Either the battery has gone flat in my outside temperature sensor, and it's not updating the display, or it is 3 or 4░ higher than the forecast 6░ C. I wonder about the battery because it certainly doesn't seem to feel like 10░ C. Tomorrow is forecast to be around 8░ C, and with lots of sunshine. After that it all goes downhill again !

 After being at work all week I didn't feel that wonderful on Friday night. In fact I felt pretty crappy, and it was all made worse by the fact that I really hate The Swan pub in West Wickham where I went to see Chain playing. I decided the only option was to get drunk as quickly as possible - and I did - a lot ! So drunk that I didn't have the will power to fend off Chris(tine) who finally succeeded at getting me dancing ! So drunk that I fell over in the toilets, and so drunk that I threw up at the bus stop (and a tiny bit on the bus as well). The journey home was a total blur, and I have no idea what bus stop I got off the bus at ! For all that I still manged to take a few good pictures.......
Guy Harris and Chris Mayer
Guy Harris was the drummer for the night.
Ravi on bass
Ravi was on bass.
Ravi, Guy Harris and Chris Mayer
One of the things I really detest about The Swan is it's association with football. Fortunately The Gimp (image editor) allowed me to edit out the offensive football poster high up on the chimney breast.
Jo Corteen playing Green Manalishi
Sometimes a picture comes out that I really like. I took the picture of Jo without using the view finder. I held the camera low and just pointed it in what turned out to be the almost perfect direction. Jo was standing out in front of the rest of the band to give Chris a bit more room to do the main vocals of Green Manalishi.
Chain asleep on stage ;-)
It has been commented elsewhere that it looks like the band is asleep on stage :-)
How do they do it ?
I don't know how they do it, but in the middle of playing, against all the noise, Chris and guy seem to be discussing something.
Hannah Wells performed a special guest spot
Hannah Wells doing a guest song accompnaied by Jo.
Chris Wells
...and this is Hannah's mum, Chris, who got me dancing while my resistance was dulled by extreme alcohol consumption !

 I didn't feel as bad as I should have when I woke up on Saturday morning, and that's because I was still probably quite drunk ! I had slept solidly for what I believe was around 5 hours, but I don't even remember getting into bed, let alone what time it might have been ! I thought I had lost my mobile phone, but it turned out to still be in the top pocket of my shirt. I was quite surprised to find my camera in the back pocket of my red jeans. I must have been sitting on it all the way home, and it was possibly in that pocket when I fell over in the pub toilet and ended up with some unpleasant looking stains on my jeans. It's amazing that it didn't get crushed !

 It was really difficult getting myself together to prepare for a visit from my friend Aleemah, but somehow I managed it. As usual we went to the Wetherspoon's so Aleemah could have some breakfast, and I had a pint of Guinness that revived the alcohol still in my blood. It's not bad getting drunk on just one pint ! Aleemah brough over an interesting DVD to watch, but I can't remember the title of it. It was an updated, semi scifi version of Alice in Wonderland, and it was rather enjoyable.

 During the afternoon, and then into the evening I mostly did some serious resting. I wasn't feeling that well, and probably the worst thing was the dull ache in my stomache where it had been burned by all the scotch I drank on Friday night. In between resting I did a lot of photo editing, and I managed to sponge all the nasty stains out of my favourite red jeans. I should have been in bed very early last night, but after lounging about for so long I didn't feel like bed. So I stayed up to midnight finishing off reading Goldfinger by Ian Fleming.

 Once again I got a solid 5 hours sleep before waking up this morning. I did try and get more, but I woke up soon after dozing off several times. So I gave up trying to sleep and tackled my laundry. there was quite a lot to do, but it's now all done, and probably close to dry now.

 Next I had a quick visit from Patricia, and her "other half" who picked up some more of the stuff that I had been storing for them. There is still more here, but Patricia has promised to take more of it away on her next visit that could be anytime during the course of the year - assuming she does get some assignments that bring her back from Spain to London.

 Since Friday night I've smoked a lot, and since Saturday morning I've eaten far too much. I don't feel any worse for this naughtiness, and in at least one respect I feel better. While I had practically given up smoking I was still coughing, and it was an annoying cough that took a lot of effort to be productive. Today I am coughing slightly less, and when I do it takes little more than a quick "ahem" to dislodge the frog in my throat. Tomorrow I'll see how much of my reduced smoking, and healthy eating I can recover, but I am not going to beat myself up about it.
Friday 15th March 2013
07:54 GMT
 
  The sunshine was a welcome addition yesterday because it did manage to raise the temperature from very cold to rather cool ! In fact I think the temperature probably peaked at around 6░ C - although there were a few occasions when I was standing in the sunshine, and it could have been as high as 8░ C. Today's weather could look like this....
weather forecast for Catford at 5am - 15th March 2013
 Today certainly started off wet, and although the rain was not, and isn't very heavy, it seems to be going on a little longer than forecast. I'm not so sure that it was 4░ C at 6am. I didn't put my gloves on this morning, and by the time I got to the station I couldn't feel my fingers ! I approve of the temperature hitting 8░ C (if it does), but I'm not keen on it raining again when I leave work to go home.

 Once again I had time to kill at Waterloo station, time that I would usually kill by smoking a cigarette. Last night I used that time to stop and take a couple of pictures of things.
two sheep
 I guess the shop that these two unlikely coloured sheep are guarding sells a lot of woollen stuff.
Mr Bones - Waterloo station
 




Mr Bones guards a different sort of shop, but I have no idea what it sells. Superficially it appears to be a sort of pharmacy, but I think it sells more "men's grooming products" than pills and potions.




 Even after doing my bit of photography I still had plenty of time to spare. I'm rather glad that it was bright and sunny as I waited for my train, and hopefully there won't be too many dull and wet days, like today could well be, if I am going to continue this reduced smoking malarky into the future.




 Once I got back to Catford I went home via Tesco. There was some stuff I needed (like milk), and other stuff that I desired.






 The highlight of yesterday was not the occasional exposure to warm sunshine, but a visit from my friend Patricia. It was the first time I have seen her since she flew south for the winter last October (or was it November ?). As is now traditional, she brought me a carton of duty free fags, and she was shocked when I said I didn't need them ! I did accept them in the end because I may get around to smoking them one day, or if not I can always trade them for something or another.

 One of the reasons that Patricia visited, beyond just catching up on gossip, was to take a look at all the stuff she had left behind before she went away. She was quite surprised as to how much there was, but also quite relieved that there was enough stuff to make up for the suitcase that Air France managed to lose. There was far too much stuff (times 10 !!) for Patricia to take it all, and some of it will stay in my spare room for a while longer. I think she will be taking some more stuff before she flies to Spain for the summer (or more) next Tuesday. That will still leave a suitcase or two, but it is possible that she will take more if she ends up staying with me for the odd day or two during the year if she has some interpreting assignments in London.

 It was definitely nice spending a few hours with Patricia, but I was starving hungry when she left. She was OK. She had two cups of coffee, and ate a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes with the coffees. It was too late, and I was too hungry to cook anything particularly healthy, but some of the items I had bought in Tesco's earlier were some sandwichs. I bought four packs in all, and I scoffed the lot last night. It sounds a lot, but I think my total calories intake for the day would probably still have come in at under 2000, and maybe closer to 1700 - but that is just a wild guess.

 You can probably tell by my figures above that I am flying this whole food reduction mission by the seat of my pants. The strange thing, or maybe it is not so strange, is that it continues to work. I am definitely flying on a tighter setting of my trouser belt, and it is quite comfortable. This morning I realised that I have lost weight elsewhere on my body - my neck. It's not the first place you expect to lose weight, but I noticed that it would have been dead easy to do the top button up on my shirt this morning. Even when I was wearing ties to work, a few years back, that top button was sometimes getting close to uncomfortable when I did it up. I also found I could do up the collar of my coat on it's two press studs. This morning it was very comfortable, and yet the last time I tried, perhaps near the start of winter, it felt like I was being garotted, and I could only stand it for seconds.

 Tonight could be interesting. I am going to see Chain playing at my least favourite venue - The Swan in West Wickham. With lots of booze involved I feel that I will be smoking a lot tonight, but maybe I'll surprise myself, and others maybe more so. It will also be interesting to see what I do about food. I'll only be having the bare minimum before I go out, but once I am drunk I may not be able to resist the fried chicken shop - and in a way, I don't care. Sometimes shocking the system with a big overload seems to have positive effects. Maybe by this time tomorrow I'll reveal the shocking truth of what did happen tonight !
Thursday 14th March 2013
08:10 GMT
 
  If it had been 10 degrees warmer it might have been a nice day yesterday. While being dry and often sunny are great attributes for a day, without warmth it can only be a mediocre day, and that is what yesterday was. Today started with a clear sky and a thick frost. The clear sky allowed the temperature to drop several degrees below zero, but that same clear sky should allow the strengthening sun to raise the temperature to at least 6░ C before the reappearance of clouds this afternoon puts the cap on the warmth. The last forecast I saw suggested that tomorrow could be a tiny bit closer to warm, but at the expense of being very wet.

 I felt drained when I got home from work last night, and I'm not entirely sure why. It could have been that my blood sugar level was low after only eating a few bits of fruit all day, but that seems unlikely considering that I was convinced I had badly overeaten the night before. It could have been because I seemed to have a bit of a relapse into the cold that I was supposed to be getting over. My nose seemed to be extra drippy yesterday, and I was coughing a lot in the afternoon.

 That coughing continued right up to the point when I finally managed to fall asleep last night. I feel fairly certain that it was actually a smoke deprivation cough with small, infrequent, but remarkably sticky lumps coming up from very deep within me. Getting one of those stuck almost, but not quite at the top of my windpipe was the cue for some extended bouts of coughing until it dislodged. It left me feeling rather asthmatic at times.

 It took more than one fag, but I managed to curtail my enthusiasm for eating more than planned last night. I still had too many "Cheesy Whotsits" and "Hula Hoops", and I did dress the salad I had with my steamed/poached haddock with some olive oil, but it was a far better effort than the night before when things really got out of control. Terminating dinner with a fag still seems like a good option when better incentives are not apparent. That was one good lesson. The other was that I don't really enjoy steamed/poached haddock. It's OK, but just not very exciting. If I have fish tonight it has got to be salmon !

 There is a big question mark about what I'll be doing tonight. Just as I was going to sleep last night I receieved a text message from my friend Patricia. She had just got back to London after spending the winter in Argentina (where it was summer). That rather woke me up a lot, and I think it was close to midnight before I got back to sleep properly. I should be hearing from Patricia again today, and that could set my agenda for this evening. My original plan was to drop in The Catford Ram for a few pints, and then get a few items of shopping from Tesco afterwards.

 Now it is possible that Patricia will come and say hello tonight, and so I'll be going straight home after work. I am looking forward to seeing Patricia, and it would be nice if it were tonight, but I am also very much looking forward to something else as well. In all probability, Patricia will have bought me some duty free fags on her travels to here. I can't wait to see her expression when I turn them down ! They won't be wasted because her partner smokes (or at least he did, and seeing he has been in a country where fags are extremely cheap, it is unlikely he will have given up).
Wednesday 13th March 2013
07:49 GMT
 
  I don't neccesarily agree with the exact temperatures, but the pattern of light cloud and sunny intervals did match the forecast for yesterday pretty well.
Weather forecast for today
 I didn't take a screenshot of the forecast for today, but I think the forecast was similar in pattern to yesterday, but the temperature started closer to zero instead of minus figures, and the top temperature today could be around 6░ C.

 I can't work out just how I feel this morning. I have both good and bad feelings, and it is hard to sum them up to come to one figure to describe how I feel. One thing is for certain, and that is that I feel unusually happy at the moment. Some, maybe a lot of that comes from the pleasure of doing most of the walking parts of coming to work in what was almost sunshine. It was full daylight even as I opened my front door, and if the way to the eastern horizon was completely clear it would have actually been sunny ! Other feeling of happiness, if happiness is the right word, stem from events last night.

 I went home via Iceland last night, and along with some healthy stuff, I also bought a heap of old crap. Included in the crap was some Walkers baked cheesy whotsits. They make a big thing about them being baked, but they still contain more calories per bag that the superior tasting Aldi own brand "Snackrite" Cheesy Puffs. What I should have had for dinner last night was steamed fish and salad. What I actually had was some not very nice tasting lamb meatball "kofta" curry with no rice, a fiery chicken pannini, and a spicy meatball filled roll. The latter two were actually small snack items rather than something more man sized.

 If that were all I had it would have been bad enough, but I also had several packets of cheesy whotsits, and several packets of hula hoops. Just to make things worse, I had also bought some packs of mini tubs of assorted dips. I dread to think how many calories and pure lard were in those things, but they seemed needed at the time. I suddenly realised that just like the day before I didn't want to stop eating because what would follow was the strongest craving for a fag of the day.

 The realisation of that dulled my mood a lot, but worse was to come. I got a spam like email from Google suggesting people I might know, and suggesting I could add them to my circles in my mostly ignored, but just about compulsory for anyone who uses an Android phone, Google Plus account. Unfortunately one of the suggestions did sort of interest me, and so I logged into Google+ and found it had all changed since I had last logged in. Some things didn't appear to work any more, and there was other stuff that in total got my blood boiling !!

 I did two things that together totally calmed me down. The first was to vent my spleen in the form of status updates on both Google+ and Facebook (don't ask). The second was to pour a very large scotch. Oh, and there was a third too - I lit up my first fag since last Saturday morning ( which was another totally isolated experimental smoke). The speed that I calmed down amazed me, and a bit later on I went on to sleep really well for at least the first half of the night.

 Out of all that comes another reason for my good mood this morning. (Good mood is, with hindsight, more accurate than happy - I reserve "happy" for special occasions !). It seems I may have stumbled on the secret to both lose weight, and smoke less. Tonight I am going to finish my dinner with a fag if that is what it takes to stop nibbling far beyond the natural end of the meal. I know that one fag is going to make little difference to the grand scheme of things, and is far simpler than messing about with stuff like nicotine patches and the like. Curiously enough, this morning was the first morning when I didn't have an almost irresistable urge to have a fag when I got off the train at Earlsfield.
Tuesday 12th March 2013
08:00 GMT
 
  Yesterday's weather forecast turned out to be quite close to reality for a change. The only bit I would partly dispute is the sunshine at 7am and 9am. There was no hint of any sunshine at 7am, but there was a brief bright spell sometime around 9am, and the sun almost came out.
part weather forecast for Lewisham 11/03/2013
 It seems sort of useful to include a screenshot of the weather forecast now and then, and so here's what the BBC were saying at 5am this morning...
Weather forecast for today
 Once again, it seems to have started about right. It was certainly bloody cold when I went to the station this morning, although I attributed a lot of the chill to the wind. Right now, and after many interuptions it is almost 9am, the cloud is broken, and it is bright, but not exactly sunny outside. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be full on sunshine when I go home after work - even if it is still only 3░ C when I do so.

 Even though I had nicotine patches with me (and a half empty packet of fags) I managed to resist the temptation to ease some of the withdrawal symptoms I had at work yesterday. Fortunately there were fewer of them than I imagined. The very worst was when I asked a workmate if I could have a very small chunk of his cheese to try at lunchtime. It was a very small chunk, maybe an inch by and inch, and little more than a quarter inch thick, but it was enough to trigger both cheese and nicotine withdrawal symptoms - and I'm not sure which was stronger !

 Going home from work was less pleasant than usual. For one thing it was nasty and cold. The other irritating thing was that because I didn't go outside to have a fag, I had the equivalent to an extended wait for my train at Waterloo East. It is most incovenient that the time I travel coincides with the switchover from the off peak to peak timetable, and the train I usually get from Waterloo is the first peak train. Unfortunately it is not a smooth switchover, and it just happens to work out that the previous train leaves at about the same time as the earliest possible time that I can arrive at Waterloo mainline station. So while I can't pass a pleasant 5 - 10 minutes watching the world going by as I have a smoke, I have to pass the time in a totally boring wasted way doing nothing.

 All I had to eat while at work was a few bits of fruit. So I was pretty hungry when I got home from work. My dinner should ideally have just been grilled gammon steak with salad, and maybe some fruit afterwards. I felt so hungry that I had some cheese puffs while the gammon was cooking, and then afterwards I had more cheese puffs, some hula hoops, and worst of all, some peanuts. Some of it was just pure greed, but there was also the fact that I didn't want to stop eating so that I didn't have to go through the worst nicotine withdrawal symptoms of all. The desire for a fag after a meal is so incredibly strong that it is almost painful to resist.

 Well of course I had to stop eating sooner or later, and I managed to stop before I did too much damage to my current fad of restricting my food intake, and I think I may have got away with it - just. With all the other temptations around, I decided not to stay up for too long, and I was in bed at 8pm last night. I read for some time, and then turned out the light. I fell asleep a lot faster than I thought I might, and I seemed to sleep quite well until a little after 4am. Under more normal circumstances I would have had a fag, and then tried to go back to sleep, but without a fag I couldn't relax enough to even try to go back to sleep. So I started to very slowly get up at that ridiculous hour of the morning. Potentially I could have been ready in time to catch the 06:03 train instead of my usual 06:33, and I'm not sure why I didn't aim for it.

 I really wish it had been warm this morning. There are loads of obvious reasons for that, but one that is less obvious is that I am curious as to how I would have felt walking from the station to work in warm air. This morning I walked at what I consider to be normal speed, and for the first time in ages and ages it didn't leave me painfully winded - at least not until I had reached work, gone up the stairs to my office, and stopped to think about it. For a short while I did feel pretty grim, but the walk itself was OK.

 Tonight I wish I was going for a beer. It would be the perfect excuse to have a fag or ten, but I guess it's going to be another day of going cold turkey. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, and I would suggest the better option is not to get a cold, and carry on smoking regardless !
Monday 11th March 2013
08:03 GMT
 
  Yesterday's rain didn't amount to much, and I can't recall any noticeable rain falling in the afternoon. Much of the day was very grey, but for a few moments it did get bright. I almost thought that the sun might come out, but the sun didn't make it through what was evidently just a thin area of cloud, and the effect only lasted a few minutes anyway. It is today's weather that is most strange...
part weather forecast for Lewisham 11/03/2013
 This is a screenshot taken at 5am this morning of what the BBC thinks the weather for Lewisham might be like today. I like the way they hedge their bets at 7am and 9am - what the little pictogram is saying is that there will be black clouds, light snow, and sunshine ! Apart from there not being the merest hint of any sunshine around 7am, it is not too far from the truth. The snow started to fall around 6am, but it didn't seem cold enough for the puddles to freeze, and yet it was cold enough for the snow to partly settle in places.

 The amount of snow that fell was actually tiny, and where it did settle it was no more than a light dusting. The same will most probably be true of the other snow showers forecast today. The main weather feature for today is not the snow, but the cold wind. It doesn't seem as fierce as the forecast seemed to foretell, but it still has a real nip in it. It seems spring is as far off as ever. I hope it can start before the summer is over !

  I'm not sure how I managed it, but I didn't put on a nicotine patch yesterday. Going "cold turkey" was extremely stressful at times, but at other times it was a lot easier than I ever imagined it could be. One of the bad times was after eating. My left hand would continually try to move towards my trouser pocket to fish out a packet of fags. There were plenty of other times when the desire was crazily strong, but after eating was probably the most obvious. Somehow I made it through the day, and in the true spirit of extreme masochism I am trying it again today here at work - which brings another whole bucketload of stresses and stuff.

 I must have been feeling partly OK yesterday because I managed to go to Aldi, to get some shopping, and to hand wash 6 pillowcases and 3 (very small) tablecloths.  Going to, and coming home from Aldi was interesting.  Both times, at about the halfway point, I suddenly felt mildly breathless, and partly knackered. It was almost as if someone had thrown a switch to flip me from one mode to another. Even more peculiar is that once in that slightly breathless mode I didn't get more breathless as I continued to walk. Now I think about it, I wonder if it was one lung shutting down for a rest ?

 While taking a holiday from fags, and being generally ill, I am still attempting to eat a bit more healthily. With the benefit of hindsight I realise that I could have done better yesterday, but for a Sunday, and more so, a Sunday when I was not feeling particularly well, and treble more so on a day when I was undergoing severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms, I think I did pretty well. The main let down was three packs of cheap Aldi sandwiches - the cheese and onion being the worse, and the two packs of ham and mustard being almost benign. The packets of Cheesy Puffs I ate were, I would argue, neccesary therapy, and have far less calories in them that I thought they might have. I am particularly proud of my dinner last night. It was a couple of fairly lean beefburgers that were well grilled on a bed of ungarnished salad stuff.

 This morning, when I put on my work trousers, I had a notion that they were a tiny bit looser than before. Considering that I've hardly done any exercise (like commuting) for a week, and been stuck at home, quite often bored, I seem to have done a lot better than I would have thought possible. Now all we need is some warm days to make eating very sparsely more acceptable, and to encourage a more outdoor life, and I could possibly feel and healthy again. It seems unlikely, but in an infinite universe, everything should be possible !
Sunday 10th March 2013
07:24 GMT
 
  As far as I can recall, it stayed dry yesterday, but it was very overcast, and it felt rather cool. Overnight the temperature dropped to 3░ C. According to the forecast, and I rather reluctantly believe it might be right, the temperature might rise by a whole one degree by 1pm, and then it will start falling again all the way to zero. During the morning there will be some light rain - which has started already !

 It is tomorrow, when I'll be back at work, when the weather is forecast to hit the lowest of the lows (in terms of meanness and spite). The very highest temperature is forecast to be zero, but for most of the day it will be a degree or two below zero. There will be some light snow flurries, and a bitterly cold gale from the north east will chill right to the bone.

 I did one thing of significance yesterday, and that was some laundry. I had a look around and found there was more to do than I thought. For instance, I found a pair of socks tucked into a pair of my walking shoes. Presumably I intended to go out again the last time I wore them. There was also a long sleeved top that I sometimes put on when it is feeling chilly indoors. It's one of those items of clothing that is only used for slobbing around in private, but I decided even that could do with a wash.

 I really, really wanted to go out last night, but decided against it. The cough I have developed since substituting nicoteen patches for fags, is still rather unpredictable, and I didn't want the cold air making it worse, and I didn't want to spend the whole gig coughing - even though that would be unlikely with a beer in my hand. It is almost impossible to describe how it is different, but this current cough is totally different in nature to the cough as a result of infection.

 I suppose one way it is different is that it is triggered from deeper down the airways. I only just realised this while eating some peanuts. A few days ago I would not have dared to eat peanuts because of the irritation they could cause to the top of my throat. Right now, even as I type these words, I am enjoying the odd handful of peanuts with no bad effects (apart from the grillions of calories they contain).

 As a substitute for going out, I treated myself to a Nepalese curry last night. It was nice, but not thrilling. I guess I was expecting it to be radically different to an Indian curry. It was different, but only as different as (for instance) a Burger King burger is different to a Macdonalds burger. All I really know is that resisting lighting up a fag after it was extremely hard, but I managed to resist.

 Last night must go down in history as the first night in ages where I've just got into bed, turned out the light, and drifted off into a good sleep with ease. I think it was 10pm when I got into bed, and I must have been asleep 10 minutes later. I am tempted to say that I slept solidly until just gone 4am, but I know I woke up sometime during the night because I remember a fragment of dream.

 I can't remember enough about the dream to remember it, but I do remember three names from it. The first name is James Bond, The second is Jason Bourne, and the last is Mad-Ass Dare Ya! chilli sauce.  The thread that stitches those three together is rather convoluted, and most of it has now vanished into the aether. It was something to do with writing the name of one man on the chilli sauce to annoy the other man. There was also some sort of sub plot to do with both their initials being JB.

 While my description of the dream is so vague as to be useless, there is one odd thing about it. Everyone has heard of James Bond (007), but probably less have heard of Jason Bourne. He is a character from a series of books written by James Ludlum that have been turned into much hyped movies - The Bourne Conspiracy, The Bourne Ultimatum..........ad naseum. I've never read the books, or seen any of the movies. So I guess it is the power of advertising that lodged Bourne's christian name, Jason, in my mind. Luckily the power of advertising also made me realise that it was a series of movies that I don't really want to see. They are, or so it appears, just typical all action, all violent American movies as far as I cans see, and that doesn't appeal to me.

 After waking up at 4am I tried to get some more sleep, but maybe I didn't feel as tired as I thought I ought to feel, and I only managed to sleep for 30 - 40 minutes in total. Maybe I'll have a snooze later. There are two tasks I'd like to do today. The first is to go to Aldi and get some shopping, and the second is to do a bit more laundry. I don't think I'll be tackling a duvet cover today, but it might be wise to wash the table cloth that got smeared from a leaking container in my takeaway last night.
Saturday 9th March 2013
09:57 GMT
 
  Yesterday's rain continued well into the night, and possibly into the early hours of this morning. One result of that was that the temperature did not drop too far last night, and on this grey, but dry morning, it is currently almost 10░ C. The latest forecast on the BBC's web site suggests it is now the closest to warm it will get today. Then again they reckon it should only be 6░ C right now, and not 10░ C that my thermometer says it is. . It makes me wonder if they got the bit about it staying dry right. Time will tell.

 Although most major aspects of the cold I had are now in the past, it is still kicking up odd stuff from time to time, and relying on nicoteen patches instead of fags is throwing a few odd shaped spanners into the mix. As I mentioned yesterday, now I feel far less crap I can appreciate how tired I can feel after losing so much sleep during the week - or maybe it's how tired I feel I ought to feel.

 Last night, when I should have been getting myself together to go out, I came over feeling completely exhausted. So instead of going for a shower I lay on my bed, and it was hard not to fall asleep. After a while I forced myself to get off my bed, and to go and have that shower. On my way I glimpsed out of the window. I hadn't appreciated that it was still raining. That was the last straw, and I decided to have an early night instead of going to the gig.

 I was in bed before Chain would have finished setting up, and doing a sound check (if they did one). In theory I should have fallen asleep almost instantly. While I lay on my back, not my favourite starting position for sleep, but still useable, my throat and nose seemed perfectly clear, and I could breathe easily without any hint of a cough - a situation I've longed for since my cold started.

 There was one flaw in my plan to get my first night of full sleep - my brain would not shut up ! I have no idea what I was thinking about as I lay in bed, but there was a hell of a lot of it. I think it was 4 hours later before I finally fell asleep. I might have just as well gone to the gig, and got pissed !

 This morning, after two days of suspending smoking, my lungs are finding new and novel sources of mucus, and I am back to coughing a lot. It's made waiting for a fresh nicoteen patch to kick in this morning rather a fraught time. I think it's almost there, but I still have a very strong urge to light up a fag. I can't wait for this all to be a distant memory, the sun to come out, and get back to my large stash of fags !

 It must have been a good three or four months ago that I found some mechanical mousetraps in a local shop, and put a scattering of them down around the kitchen and a few other strategic places. In all that time they had only caught one single mouse, but as of this morning I can now say they have caught two. It suggests there are very few to catch here. Either that or the traps are not sensitive enough. Oddly enough, like last time, the mouse was caught by an unbaited trap.

 I am unsure what I will be doing today. I could probably do with going out shopping, but the only important things I want, Diet Coke, I could get from the corner shop. On the other hand, I do fancy some tasty food. For unknown reasons, all I ate yesterday was too many peanuts, and 5 little packets of Hula Hoops. I didn't really fancy anything else, and with that lot containing about 27,662,909 calories (roughly speaking !!), it is probably a good thing that I didn't eat any more than that.

 I might do some laundry today. That will be a good test of my lung capacity ! I don't actually have much to do right now if I conveniently ignore a few duvet covers, and a couple of sheets. While I've been slobbing about at home I have kept wearing the same t-shirts until they were too stained or smelly even for me. So I've only got a couple of those to wash, and a couple of ordinary shirts and underwear that needs washing.

 Tonight I have the opportunity of another gig to go to. Chain are playing at The British Oak in Blackheath tonight. It's usually an enjoyable venue, and I can usually get a lift there and back - but not tonight. I was informed earlier in the week that my seat has already been taken. That should be no worry. It is a relatively easy place to get to under normal circumstance, but maybe just now is not normal circumstances.
Friday 8th March 2013
17:50 GMT
 
  We lost the sunshine yesterday, but it stayed dry (as far as I was aware), and the temperature stayed in the moderately cool region - probably between 9 and 12░ C. Today we have not only lost any hint of sunshine, but it has been very drizzly almost all day. For all that, the temperature has stayed up at 11░ C. In many ways it is an annoying temperature because it straddles the dividing line between cold and tepid - it's not quite cold, and it's not quite warm. It won't stay like this, and the forecast, which I hope is traditionally very wrong, says the highest temperature next Monday will be 2░ C with the possibility of some snow showers !

 As the days have passed by I have done so little, apart from being ill, that it all seems to meld into one blur. Lack of sleep has not helped either. On Wednesday night I felt like I could have been well enough to go to work on Thursday morning. In anticipation of this I made sure I was in bed at an appropriate time (9pm). It took some time to get to sleep, but by 10pm, or maybe a little later, I appeared to be in a deep sleep.

 At 1am I woke up with the most awful persistent dry tickly cough that I could not control. In one way or another it kept me awake for the next three hours, and ruined any reasonable chance I had of going to work. For a huge great big black cloud it did have a sort of silver lining. It marked a change in my illness. Prior to that I only had a wet cough. During the day I had spells were I didn't cough at all, but almost anything could trigger another long spell of dry coughing.

 I don't think I really appreciated just how much I had been coughing until a mate phoned me at about 6pm last night. The first time I tried to speak only a squeak came out ! I had all but lost my voice. It made me decide it was time for alternative action, and I slapped on the one remaining heavy duty, super strength, nicoteen patch I had left over from when I was in the same, or maybe worse state back at the beginning of November last year.

 Those patches do take away the chemical craving, but nothing else, and there is an awful lot of "else" that is a real pain to fight !! While suitably distracted I don't crave a fag, but a momentary thought about the situation brings on the cravings full strength ! It's been about 24 hours since I last had a fag, and my throat and airways do feel a lot better.

 With only one patch here last night, I had to go out and buy more this morning. It felt nice to get out into the fresh air (and of course it made me want a fag quite badly), and it felt easy going to the chemist. It was completely different on the way back for some reason. I felt short of breath and wheezy, and I ended up coughing uncontrollably until some time after I got home.

 There was an even worse aspect of it too. I guess lolling around all day for several days meant that there was no imperative to go to the toilet as regularly as if I was going out to work in the morning. Although I had eaten more than I would have been aiming for if I wasn't ill, I have been eating semi-lightly for most of this week. So I thought that going to the toilet twice before going to the chemist should have been more than adequate. It nearly wasn't. I barely made it up to the toilet intact as my convulsive coughing threatened to loosen every muscle in my body. I would prefer not to repeat that experience again !

 For a lot of today I've barely coughed at all, and that has given me the opportunity to relax more, and even get a few extra spells of sleep in. So it is a bit ironic that just when I've been able to relax I have felt more tired than ever. I guess I just felt too crap to feel tired despite the huge amount of sleep I was missing out on.

 It's now 6.30pm and I am still trying to decide if I should be stupid enough to go out to a gig tonight. If I felt no worse than I do now, and with a pint of Guinness in my hand to soothe any tickling in my throat, I could really enjoy myself even if tiredness forced me to leave early. The trouble is I don't know how I'll react to the big wide wet world outside my house. If it is going to make me feel crap then it is not worth going despite missing the gig being a huge disappointment. I guess I'd better wash my hair, have a shower, and see how I feel.
Wednesday 6th March 2013
09:22 GMT
 
  Yesterday was a brilliantly sunny day, and it almost got warm at 13 or 14░ C. Today the temperature could rise to 12░ C, but there is little chance of seeing any sunshine. It seems dry so far this morning, but some drizzle is forecast to start about now. The middle of the day should be dry again, and the clouds will be brightest, but then it goes downhill in the evening with more rain or drizzle forecast.

 I didn't really do enough yesterday, or the day before, to bother writing anything. Either that, or I couldn't find the right inspiration to write anything. I still felt ill yesterday, but only lightly ill. While I stayed in the warm and rested there were periods of time when I hardly realised that I had a cold. At other times I was reminded that I did feel quite bad !

 I don't know when, or what the circumstances were when I got this bee in my bonnet that I wanted some chocolate ice cream yesterday. I didn't feel like fish and salad yesterday, and during the morning I opened a can of meatballs and pasta for a sort of early lunch, and although it made me full and warm inside, it just didn't satisfy they way I wanted it to.  I guess this cold is really swinging my appetite around.

 As my usual dinner time approached I didn't know if I wanted to eat at all. It wasn't that I wasn't hungry, but more to do with me not having anything in the house that seemed exciting enough. Then I had a brainwave - I could order a kebab, and at the same time order a bottle of Diet Coke to replace my last, almost empty, bottle, and I could order a tub of chocolate ice cream as well !  It was a crazy idea, but I did it anyway.

 Maybe it was too crazy. I enjoyed the chicken shish kebab with all the trimmings, but not at the level I would have had I been well, and firing on all cyclinders. The chocolate ice cream, laden with sugar and millions of calories was similar in that it was nice, but not ecstacy. It also made me cough a lot. Worse than that, and I am assuming that I can blame it for some sort of sugar rush or something, it even gave me a momentary dizzy spell that lasted about a second.

 Either all that sugar, or maybe the chilli sauce on the kebab, or more likely still, both of them, left me feeling very hot and sweaty when I went to bed. Earlier in the day I was predicting that I would be able to sleep fairly well last night. The previous night hadn't been perfect, but it was a great improvement of the night before that. Last night was a disaster !

 I felt I was burning up when I went to bed, and for a long time I just lay on my bed with the duvet pushed aside reading. I gave up reading at about midnight, but it was probably around 3am when I got my first bit of proper sleep, but it only lasted about an hour. I think I had pulled the duvet half over me, possibly while asleep, and when I woke up again I found the bed saturated with sweat from my chest.

 The annoying thing was that through all my tossing and turning I was not bothered at all by a stuffy nose. That seems to have dried up nicely under most conditions now, and I was also hardly coughing. In theory I could have slept soundly all night if I hadn't been burning up. I'm not sure what happened at about 6am this morning when I fell asleep again after another period of being awake. I think I feel into a deep exhausted sleep for an hour, maybe 90 minutes, and then woke up up almost choking. I was coughing and spluttering as bad as at any time during the cold.

 It was mostly a dry, but very persistent cough, and while it continued my nose started to run again in sympathy - a lot ! Maybe two hours have passed since then, and it is only now that everything is settling down again, although I still feel a bit sweaty without all my body feeling hot, or even warm. It is possible, and I am going to believe it however cranky it may sound, that this (presumed) fever is my body now working in top gear to finally eradicate the bugs in my system. I have experienced similar effects in the past that seemed to be effective.

 I hope my body knows what it is doing, and that it hurries up doing it. Later today I feel I just have to get out and do some shopping. I have two main priorities - a several boxes of tissues, and several bottles of sugar free cola.I also feel I'll be saying to hell with the consequences, and buying something more tasty than healthy for dinner tonight !
Monday 4th March 2013
10:32 GMT
 
  If only the sunshine had managed to raise the temperature by at least 10 degress, yesterday might have been a nice day. The same could be true about today. It has been gloriously sunny all morning, but it is only 5░ C right now. Maybe it will rise a couple more degrees by late this afternoon, but for now I just have to be satisfied with the sunshine pouring through my bedroom window, and getting my bedroom toasty warm.

  Right now I am in my bedroom because the cold I reported yesterday has taken a turn for the worse. By the time I tried to go to bed last night my chest was filling up with mucus that was escaping from my nose through any available orifice. The end result was that I couldn't get to sleep last night. I felt tired enough, but what with blowing my nose, or coughing up lumps from my lungs every minute or so, there was no way I could relax.

 By 3am I was beginning to feel a little cool so I turned the heater up. That got me comfortable, but I was obviously running a fever because when I checked my thermometer is said my room was 28░ C - good enough for a hot summers day, but I only felt merely comfortable. Somehow I did manage to sleep for half an hour, maybe a bit longer, and did that once or twice more before I woke up seconds before my alarm was due to go off.

 A lot of the fever had left me by then, and I was feeling quite warm. I turned the heater down, and managed to get back to sleep for at least a good hour. The next time I woke up the room temperature had fallen to 25░ C, and I was sweating like a pig ! I gave up trying to get more sleep at that point, and called work to tell them the good news about my health.

 Right now I feel particularly lousy, but also stupidly optimistic that this cold is moving on faster than usual, and by not even attempting to commute could move it on unusually fast. The good news is that the sore throat that started it all already a distant memory. Once my nose dries up properly things can only get better, and I'll just be left with the asthmatic like cough that is causing the worst of my distress right now. Ideally, what I need is one of those very long brushes to brush out my bronchial tubes :-)

 Today I will be doing almost nothing but trying to get better. If I can I will try and have a few extended naps to catch up on a lot of lost sleep. I think I might try for one right now !
Sunday 3rd March 2013
14:41 GMT
 
  The sun never really managed to shine on Friday, but after dull morning it did brighten up a bit. A lack of wind made it feel less cold than it has been, but it was still a long way from even being tepid. yesterday the sun did shine, and for several extended periods. It still remained chilly outside though. Today has also seen a lot of sunshine, but it looks lie the clouds are getting thicker, and there may not be much more sunshine left today. Just outside my front door, where the porch captures the sunshine, it does actually feel warm, but out in the road, or in my back garden, it remains chilly. The forecast seems to keep changing, but it is looking like next Tuesday could see a brief period where the temperature rises to 13░ C, although whether it will be wet or sunny appears to be the biggest unknown.

 As it always is, and so is not really newsworthy, it was a great relief to get home from work on Friday. I had just a couple of hours to get myself ready to go and see Chain playing at O'Neill's in Bromley - an event I was really looking forward to. I didn't want to go there with an empty stomach so I prepared a very light meal to eat. It was steamed cod with salad. I probably cooked the cod for a little too long because it shrunk rather a lot after cooking, and my small meal turned into a very small meal. That was beneficial because I hate travelling after eating, and the cold and dark were already discouraging enough.

 I left home a bit later then I intended, but still go to the pub with plenty of time to spare. It was quite an eventful night, and I made two new friends - sort of ! One was a friend for a moment, and the other could develop further one day. The band were on good form even though they had to draft in an emergency drummer after Guy, who was to be drummer for the night, called in sick at short notice. He thinks a sausage sandwich he ate was the reason why he ended up chained to the toilet for the afternoon, and probably into the night. Paul who stepped in at short notice, has played with Chain once before, and is pretty solid.
Chain on stage at O'Neill's Fri 1st March 2013
From left to right - Dave Etheridge (the man from Mad-Ass) on bass, peeping out from behind Jo - Paul Gunn on drums, Jo Corteen, and Chris Mayer.
Shirley in the foreground
In the foreground of the picture is Shirley. She has been a friend of Chris since schooldays, and comes to the occasional gig, but we have never really spoken before. On Friday night we were re-introduced by Chris, and we exchanged a few words whenever the noise level dropped low enough to do so during the evening.  The first time she saw my glass was empty she offered to buy me a drink !  I have a dark suspicion that I am being set up, and if it is a trap I think I will dive in head first. Shirley seems rather nice, and it seems we both like exploring, and photographing the countryside.
dancing girls at O'Neill's , Bromley, Kent
There was some very enthusiastic dancing on Friday night, and the girl in red, and the girl in the white top were the most enthusiastic.

 On one occasion I was out on the "smoking terrace" and the girl with the white top came out for a cigarette. She approached me, and most apologetically suggested that I looked like Bill Bailey. Apart from his hair has receded far further than mine, I guess we do resemble each other, and I was honoured to hear her suggestion. I hadn't drunk all that much, maybe only two pints (the bar was far too crowded to go too often), and so I can't blame the drink when I felt in a playful mood and asked if she fancied Bill bailey. She said no, and I responded by saying that I would be having another lonely night then. With hindsight wonder how I found it so easy to say that.

 Her reaction was to give me a big hug while saying sorry. It was possibly about hat time that her fiance came out to find her - which was sort of well timed ! Rather then letting him feel left out I dragged in another guy who had been chatting with us about Bill Bailey  and stuff, in a sort of fluid motion I grabbed the fiance with my left arm, while leaving my right arm around the girl, and she grabbed the other guy, and at my instigation we had a group hug. The whole incident probably only lasted 5 or 6 minutes, but it in a surrealistic way it was all sort of marvellous !

 The small amount of booze, the convenience of the stage, and probably just pure luck, contrived to get me to line up the band for a group photo at the end of the gig. I often want to do it, but usually it is too hard to arrange. Friday turned out well.
Chain at O'Neill's Friday 1st March 2013
L-R Dave Etheridge, Paul Gunn, Jo Corteen, Chris Mayer, Andrew Rogers, and Liz Vass.
Andrew did two guest vocal spots, and Liz did some backing vocals.

  By the end of the evening I was feeling a bit tired, and Chris urged me not to bother about doing any roadie work, and to go and get my bus home. It was cold when I walked to the bus stop, but not as cold as I imagined it would be. Fortunately I only had a 6 or 7 minute wait for a bus, and I was back in Catford before midnight. I did have the core of a potentially healthy dinner waiting for me in my fridge, but I decidedI couldn't be bothered to cook it. So I threw caution to the wind and bought the traditional chicken and chips on the way home.

 I ate my dinner while watching some TV, and went up to bed almost as soon as I had finished eating. Once I got in bed I fell asleep almost instantly, and slept soundly until I woke up at 6.30am. I could have tried to go back to sleep, but curiosity got the better of me, and I turned on the PC to review the photographs I took at the gig. I could have spent quite a long time doing stuff with those photos, but eventually I had to stop and prepare for a visit from Aleemah, and another episode of Dr Who that I had missed being broadcast, but was one one of her DVDs.

 I spent several hours during the afternoon editing and doing stuff to photographs (I was playing with both the brand new photos, and others taken over the last few years). With a few breaks here and there for lunch and dinner, plus a TV programme or two, the photography stuff ran into the evening. As the evening progressed I started sipping scotch - partly because I wanted to, and partly because I seemed to be developing a sore throat. By midnight I was probably fairly drunk !

 Once again I was in bed after midnight, and once again I slept solidly until I woke up a lot earlier than I would have liked to. My throat was still a bit tickly this morning, and I had a very chesty cough developing. This afternoon I've had quite a few explosive sneezing fits. I reckon I've got another head cold. I really can't wait until the weather does a major change in direction, and I don't have to go out in freezing temperatures !

 I don't know why I did it when I am feeling ill again, but I got quite busy this morning doing stuff that someone with a head cold probably shouldn't do. It started with me doing some stuff in the garden ! I spent a short while sweeping the path outside the kitchen of all sorts of debris. Apart from bits of old twig and leaves, there were also many clumps of moss that had fallen off the roof where it sometimes grows quite profusely in the winter months. I also dragged out to the wheelie bin a couple of small rubble sacks of garden debris left over from the last time I did some work out there sometime last autumn.

 The next little job sort of happened by accident. It started with just doing some washing up, and ended with me cleaning and disinfecting all my kitchen work tops. I also re-arranged my collection of cans and bottled food while clearing the mouse droppings of the bloody mouse that nothing can kill ! I had a suspicion that it had a nest in the corner behind all the cans, but apart from a lot of dropping there was nothing else to be seen. I feel sure there is only one mouse, but I just can't work out where it hides all the time. It's probably deep in the bowels of the under-worktop cupboards, but I can't pull them apart to find it. Eventually one of the traps, or maybe the poison will get it, but until then I just have be careful and use the bleach quite liberally wherever it's left it's little calling cards.

 Apart from the cough and sneezing, I don't feel too bad this afternoon, and if it wasn't so close to sunset I feel I could almost go and do some more stuff in the garden. It's probably madness brought on by all the sunshine we've had today. It feel wonderfull warm indoors when the sun is streaming through the windows, but the reality is that it is still rather cool outside. I'm not sure if hacking down vegetation in cold weather is compatible with this latest cold. On the other hand, sometime fresh air can be a good cure for a dripping nose - not that my nose is at the dripping state yet, but it certainly gets pretty full after a while.

 I hope that I don't feel too bad tomorrow. It is my intention to go to work as usual so I don't lose any money, but it may not be the most pleaant experience. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is the more typical 48 hour cold rather than something more virulent.
Friday 1st March 2013
08:02 GMT
 
  The sun did it's best to come out yesterday, but the sky only really cleared when the sun was very low in the sky. So much of the day ranged between very dull and almost, but not quite, bright. I'm not sure what the afternoon temperature was, but it didn't feel to be any different to the 7░ C the day before, and certainly not the 9░ C that was the most optimistic forecast. Today's weather was forecast to look like this at 5am this morning -
Weather forecast for 1st March 2013 (SE London)
 I agree with the 4░ C at 6am - that is what my thermometer said - but at 6am there was a bit of drizzle, and although there was a lull in the drizzle when I walked to the station, it was drizzling right up to about 8am when it was actually forecast to start ! At the moment the sky fairly bright, and I think I saw a small patch of misty blue drift past. I think there is the potential for a bit of sunshine today, and that would certainly help to get the temperature up to 7░ C. If the day stays calm, that 7░ C could almost feel not nasty !

 I did have some work to do yesterday, and that made for a slightly less boring day, but it was a great relief when it was time to go home.Although there was no direct sunshine, it was approaching nice to walk to the station in the dry, and in bright daylight. If only it had been warm, say over 12 or 15░ C, it would have actually been nice and pleasant.

 It was certainly pleasant getting back to Catford, and into the pub ! My intention was just to have a couple of beers, and then go home to cook a nice healthy dinner. Like many good intentions, it didn't actually happen the way it was supposed to. The biggest foil to my intentions was that Kevin turned up at the pub rather late, and just as I was finishing off what should have been my last pint. It would have been rude to walk out, and so I accepted Kevin's offer of a pint. Kevin also bought drinks for Chris, and others, but it was Chris who insisted that he had to buy a round next, and included me in it !

 That was my last pint of the evening, and I said my goodbyes after I had finished it, and staggered out into the cold night. (I say staggered for dramatic effect - I was drunk, but not that drunk.) It was getting quite late when I left the pub, and the smell wafting over from one of the nearby chip shops (or similar) multiplied my feeling of hunger tenfold. All I had eaten up until then was three small oranges, and an apple, and the lure of a quick fix of hot greasy food was more than I could resist. I ended up buying two battered sausages and a portion of chips on the way home - and they were so delicious that I could have sold my soul for them !

 I ate them while I watched part of an episode of QIXL on TV. I think that ended at 10pm, and I was in bed, and fast asleep perhaps half an hour later. I mostly slept OK, but I did wake up once in the night with both hands, and to a lesser extent, both arms feeling very numb. I must have been sleeping very strangely for that to happen. The next significant time I woke up was 3am. I must have dreamed that I heard my alarm go off, and I started getting out of bed even as I was waking up. I most disappointed when I looked at my clock and saw that I had tried to get up 2 hours early !!

 When I did get up properly at 5am I couldn't work out quite how I felt.......or maybe I had difficulty apportioning the blame between a hangover, and the usual early morning aches and pains. I didn't feel that bad, but neither did I feel that wonderful. Most of the hangover seems to have gone now, and I didn't even take anything for it. I now feel mostly OK, but the prospect of the long wait until I go home again fills me with something like despair but isn't exactly despair. Perhaps the word I am looking for is tedium, but can you be full of tedium ??

 What makes this feeling that I can't find the right word to describe, is that it's all made worse by knowing that tonight ought to be a wonderful night. Chain are playing in O'Neills in Bromley, and the last time they played there is was very good. So I am very much looking forward to the gig, and desperately keeping my fingers crossed that I won't feel too knackered before having to go out tonight.