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My Diary/Blog For the Month of November 2013

Saturday 30th November 2013
17:36 GMT

  This morning was a little brighter than this afternoon, but I can't recall seeing any sunshine at any time. It has been dry, and the temperature has stayed positive all day. Currently it is 8 C, and may have been a degree or two higher in the middle of the afternoon.  According to the latest forecast, tomorrow will be about the same temperature in the afternoon, but the day will start cooler, and a lot greyer then today. Part of the morning may well be misty.

 I treated myself to a takeaway last night, but for some reason I never got around to drinking any more scotch. The takeaway was the closest you can get to a healthy take away - shish kebab. The meat was surprisingly dry, and excess grease on it was probably soaked up by the pitta bread - which I didn't eat. It was all accompanied by lots of salad.

 The salad turned out to be possibly healthier than usual because it didn't seem to be dressed with any oil. I think the only dressing may have been lemon juice. Another surprise was some potato salad I also ordered with the kebab. Instead of potato chunks swimming in some dubious mayonaisse like substance, it was actually chunks of potato with diced tomato, lettuce, onion etc. and once again it seemed to be just dressed with lemon juice. I think I may have got away with my extravagance last night !

 I certainly felt reasonably well this morning - I didn't feel all bloated from the food, as could have happened, and more amazingly I didn't seem to be suffering any after effects from all my exercise the day before. Well, maybe I did have a teny weeny bit of stiffness detectable, but it was totally ignorable. Even my left hand seemed fairly well behaved - not the best it has been, but incredibly better than at it's worst. Another month or two may see that hand back in full working order (I've finally stopped expecting it will happen overnight).

 Today's exercise was to walk to the station to meet Aleemah, and then to walk down to the pub, and after drinking 3 halves of bitter (instead of the expected two halves), walking home again. It could have been as a much as a one mile walk in total ! It could also have involved some extra weight to carry - but it didn't.

 I intended to get some shopping in Aldi as we passed it on a very slightly longer (50 yards ?) route home from the pub. When we got there we found there were no shopping trollies left. I assumed, rightly or wrongly, that if they were all in use then place must be heaving with shoppers inside. That didn't sound nice, and I decided to do my shopping later.

 My original plan was to go back to Aldi's after Aleemah had gone home, but when the time came I found I couldn't be bothered. I have enough food to live on in the freezer, or in cans, and the only thing that was a minor priority was another pack of toilet paper. Provided I don't drop the last roll into the wet bath, or something, there is enough on it to last as much as 3 or 4 days yet. My revised plan is to go shopping tomorrow morning - in the fog !

 While I have got more than enough food in the house to sustain even me at my most ravenous for something like a week or more, there is nothing that really tickles my fancy. That seems like a good excuse for another takeaway. A rather unexpected temporary improvement in my "wages" for December means I can just about afford to splash out again - just this once - and tonight I think I fancy something really unhealthy like maybe a Chinese or Indian takeaway. It's a shame I can't combine it with gallons of beer, or a binge drinks worth of scotch !
Friday 29th November 2013
20:35 GMT

  Today has mostly been grey with a few sprinkles of rain. The current temperature is 8 C, but I guess it was probably a degree or two higher earlier in the day, or at least it didn't feel bitingly cold.

 Last night was enjoyable, but could have been far more fun if allowed myself to have a proper drink. The Catford Constitutional Club pub opened at 6pm, and the gang and myself were there very soon after. We had started drinking in The Catford Ram while we waited for the CCC to open. It should have opened at 4pm, but the building inspector was not happy with the fire alarm system. Within 2 hours the problem was rectified, and the place allowed to open.
Inside the Catford Constitutional Club on the opening night - Thursday 28th November 2013
You can see a hastily installed fire alarm point  in this picture.
The Catford Constitutional Club Thursday 28th November 2013
View down the length of the pub.

 The building had been disused for 16 years and had quite a musty and dusty smell, but it wasn't too unpleasant.  I don't know what plans there are to re-decorate it.  At the moment it has the original wall coverings except where they have been stripped back to the plasterwork in places.  There are also lots of posters/pictures and other stuff on the walls that presumably date back to when it was The Catford Conservative Party club house.

 I had two pints of Winter Warmer in The Catford Ram while waiting for the new venue to open, and with my desire not to drink too much last night, I only had a solitary half pint of beer in the CCC before going home. I believe that a few of the gang ended up staying very late last night. After getting quite whammoed the Thursday before, it is probably just as well I went when I did.

 The reason for the lack of beer, and also being a bit careful what I ate last night, was because of my Cardiac Rehabilitation Physiotherapy session today. I wasn't looking forward to it, but it turns out that only a few of my fears were justified - well justified ! I didn't like having to lie at the induction portion. All the paperwork I had was adamant that I had to have breakfast or they wouldn't let me exercise.

 I was not looking forward to the exercise, but it was most of the reason for the session. The trouble is that I cannot exercise after eating. Maybe it is not so bad now, but old habits die hard, and I deliberately did not eat anything before going out. I also tried not to drink too much as well. I was fairly confident I could cope with most of their silly exercises so I made sure I walked there the long way round (about 0.75 miles) at a brisk enough pace to bring on a hint of sweat when I stopped.

 I was quite surprised how easy the exercises were, and very, very surprised how easy the step ups were. (This was like continually going up one tread on a staircase, and the going down again). The step was a nice height, and 100% easier than those bloody steps at Earlsfield station.  During the course of the session I must have done the equivalent of going up the staircase at Earlsfield 4 or 5 times !
Inside the gym at Lewisham Hospital physiotherapy department
Inside the gym with the steps in the foreground and nurses plotting at the back.

 While the exercises were easy - enough to raise a sweat, but not enough to need more than moderate breathing - they were, as I expected, bloody boring. It is almost criminal to generate all that energy and let it go to waste, but in terms of boredom there was worse to come.....in a different sort of way.

 After the exercises, which ended by boringly going slower and slower, there was a relaxation session. It could have driven me mad if I didn't see the funny side of it. A nurse speaking softly and slowly, accompanied by some incredibly bland music, also played very quietly, was supposed to relax us, possibly to the point of falling asleep (which I think did work for one guy).

 The only trouble was the theme the nurse talked about. It was about a holiday on a white sandy beach. I have never experienced anything like that in my life, but I was immeadiately reminded of something I had seen on QI quite recently (on a Dave repeat). Apparently, according to Stephen Fry, white sand is actually centuries of accumulated parrot fish droppings. The fish feed on coral, and the white coral passes right through them......

 The nurse was describing slowly walking along a bit of the beach, and then sitting down under a palm tree to rest. The only problem with this is that when I visit a beach I want to walk along it exploring as fast as possibe to see as much as possible in the limited time available - obviously stopping to take photos on the way - something like this. That is relaxing for me by one definition, but not the gentle coold down that the nurse was trying to instill in us. I am sure I found the step ups more relaxing - it was just a simple mechanical motion that you could let your body get on with while your minded drifted to thoughts of food, fags, booze, and all the other pleasures in life.

 At the end of the lunch break that followed the relaxation session, I had a word with one of the nurses, or maybe she had a word with me. I told her my feelings about the session, and offered my resignation. Until that point there was a waiting list for people to get on the sessions, but evidently it is not as big as hinted at because I was not thanked for generously giving up my place for someone who might need it, or enjoy it more.

 I stayed until the end of the day. The last bit was a lecture about symptoms of heart problems, and was sort of interesting, and may have imparted some useful info for the future, but I reckon I can live without more information. I suppose now I can look forward to some very brief lecture from my doctor when I see him next Thursday. Oh well, at least I am free for now - free to follow my own exercise regime of as much walking as the weather allows (almost zero during winter apart from commuting when I start that again), and weight lifting (a pint glass from table to mouth).

 I came home at top speed through the park (the exercises had hardly sapped my energy at all). It was cold, grey and damp in the park, but it felt good to be free. When I got home I poured myself a large glass of scotch. I didn't need a drink, but I wanted to do it just to be a naughty boy, and to toast my success for the day. I was going to have more scotch, but one glass seemed to be enough to prove my point. I was thinking of having more scotch tonight, but I can't seem to find a good reason to pour one for some unknown reason. Oh well, I'll just have to look forward to a couple of half pints of ale when I accompany Aleemah to the pub for her breakfast tomorrow.
Thursday 28th November 2013
12:25 GMT

   I don't know how much it has rained this morning, or when it stopped, but the road is looking a lot dryer now than it was an hour or two ago. It is even possible that it is getting brighter now. For much of the morning it was a deep grey outside, but now it's a sort of mid grey. The sky looks really wintry, but the temperature is a surprising 11 C. I have yet to go out, and so have not checked it, but it doesn't look like there is much wind to make it feel even colder.

 After my rather heavy, and extended breakfast of reduced price Tesco sandwiches I thought I should try and take it easy for dinner - and I did !
vegetable dinner (with Bovril)
This is dinner (main course) - steamed vegetables flavoured with Bovril.
my "6" a day !
dessert - 6 pieces of fruit.

 Dinner was a pile of mixed steamed vegetables flavoured with an excess of Bovril - most of which didn't stick to the vegetables and ended up being washed down the sink. For sweet, dessert, or afters, I had 6 pieces of fruit - two satsumas, a conference pear, a plum, a nectarine, and a Spartan apple (at least I think it was a Spartan). In theory that lot should have been ultra healthy - low calories, almost zero fat, and probably lots of stuff that is allegedly good for you.

 It was all so good for me that I really wanted a fag after eating it. I didn't have one, but the cravings continue to get worse. It is possible that it helped me sleep a little better than the night before, but only a little better. My blood sugar level was very slightly improved this morning - it's still higher than ideal though. My blood pressure was impressively low this morning, but I know how to ruin that - doctors, nurses and hospital gyms !

 I still feel quite subdued this morning - where subdued can mean many negative things. Once again it is a toss up between the dull grey weather, or my blood pressure tablets (or possibly something else entirely) that saps my energy and enthusiasm. The most significant thing I've done so far today is to have a shower, and it wasn't long ago that I had it.  I can now get dressed and go out - if I can be bothered..........

 I think I can be bothered to go and buy some diet cola, but I can't decide whether to get it from the corner shop or go further to a supermarket. Later on I am sure I will definitely be bothered to go out for a quick drink with The Thursday Gang - possibly in The Catford Constitutional Club if they do really manage to open today (and in time - tonight I can't stay out late getting as drunk as I would like).

 I've also got other stuff to do for tomorrow and my first day of physiotherapy. I have a big questionaire to fill in - and it is a real brain taxer to do. The answers to some questions vary minute by minute. What minute do I choose for my answer ? I also ought to be selecting my most comfortable shoes for a range of exercise tasks that are mostly unknown at the moment. It will all happen in the gym (ugh !). So I can't wear my proper walking boots, and I am unsure which of my selection of "trainers" will be best. I think I will feel far happier, maybe even enthusiastic about life and stuff, once tomorrow's session is over.
Wednesday 27th November 2013
16:41 GMT

   Most of today has been rather grey, but on a few occasions it did get brighter. Not quite bright enough for sunshine, but bighter compared to miserable grey. There have been a few very light, and brief showers - noted more for the road being wet than actually seeing any rain falling. The temperature seems to have crept up to double figures today, 11 C on my electronic thermometer, but it still seems to be freezing cold !

 I had another really bad night last night. There was no obvious reason for it this time. My left hand was not giving me much trouble, and it just seems I was incapable of falling asleep. It may have been almost 1am before I got any decent sleep, and I was awake again at 5am. With a bit of effort I managed to get another hour of sleep, after taking my morning drugs, and after quite a number of visits to the toilet. I had peanuts yesterday, and they seemed to react with one of the drugs I take again.

 One positive thing this morning was that my left hand was actually feeling better than it has by a good margin. I had close to normal sensation from my ring finger, and my little finger was signalling at least 25% normal sensation under the tingling. It didn't last as good as that, but even this afternoon there is still some improvement left. I hope that tomorrow will start as good, or better, and stay better for longer.

 While my left hand was improved, I generally felt quite rough. The frequent trips to the toilet, with the accompanying unpleasant, but not actually painful, feelings from my gut (and lower) contributed to feeling rough, but were not the real reason for it. Perhaps the lack of sleep was a fair contributor, but I think there was more to it than that.

 Two of my health indicators were actually quite good this morning. My blood sugar level has dropped back down to the "higher than preferred" level, but hovering on the boundary of OK. My blood pressure level was within a point or two of ideal for a diabetic (or so the doctors think). So everything should have been fine, but I felt lousy. Just like 4 years ago, when I was taking all sorts of tablets for my blood pressure, I felt a lack of energy, creakiness, and what I guess must be depression.

 Four years ago I gave up on the tablets, and felt so much wonderfully better, but I don't think I can do that yet this time round. Maybe in spring, if it is a bright warm one, I can substiture more walking exercise for drugs, but first I had better see what Friday's physiotherapy can do for me. It may make me feel better, but I would not be surprised if it does the opposite. I just hope it doesn't drive me to smoking again - I can't afford that.

 I felt too rough to go out for a walk today, plus it was so grim outside that it took quite a lot of will power to even open the curtains. However I did go out, and did a tiny bit of extra walking. I went to the surgery to give a blood sample. I think this one tests how good my long term glucose tolerance is. It will probably show that in the last couple of months my blood sugar level has often been running rampant - exactly opposite to the previous one which barely showed me to be diabetic at all.

 After I gave the blood sample I went downstairs to make an appointment to see my doctor so I we can discuss the results of the tests, and the diary of my blood pressure that I am making. That happens Thursday of next week. With the appointment made I decided to walk a little further away from home, but only a few hundred yards to the Tesco Express store.

 It was both a good and bad thing that I went there. It was good that they had a heap of sandwiches that were marked reduced price (possibly half price). It was bad that I bought so many of them (and even worse that I later ate so many of them) ! I also bought some fruit and yoghurt (but that was full price).

 It came very close to me doing nothing at all (except eating) when I got home again, but I did wash a couple of shirts and some underwear. Then I did bugger all. I've spent most of the afternoon reading - either on the PC, or a paperback while laying on my bed. Tomorrow I must see if I can do more. The sandwich overload may raise my blood pressure again, and I may feel better tomorrow. If I feel particularly good I will try visiting work.

 The real difficulty will be tomorrow evening. In theory The Catford Constitutional Club opens, and I want to be there when it does, but I dare not drink too much with my physiotherapy starting on Friday. I am going to lie through my teeth about so many things just to keep them happy, but I can't lie my way out of a hangover. Of course on Friday evening I can get completely whammoed !!!!!!!
Tuesday 26th November 2013
13:52 GMT

   I wasn't expecting today to be quite as sunny as it is. It has not been continuous sunshine, but it has probably been sunny for longer periods than it has been grey.  All the sunshine has raised the temperature from a bone numbing 5 C this morning to a teeth chattering 8 C now.

 I had a really lousy night last night. I just could not get comfortable in bed once I tried to go to sleep.  There was no specific part of me that was the source of being uncomfortable apart from my left hand. Other bits just very mildly complained, but my left hand hurt ! I was expecting, or hoping to expect some sort of change to my left hand, and although there wasn't one single point in time when it happened, it had certainly had happened by last night.

 The problem is that I can't get too annoyed about it. It may be quite uncomfortable, on some occasions very much so, but it is a change for the better. My left ring finger is almost back to normal, and the ratio of normal feeling to tingling has improved a bit in my little finger. I can now just about imagine I can determine the texture of cloth using my little finger, but it is painful to do so.

 The outer edge of the little finger, and than down the outside of the palm towards the wrist is now even more sensitive, and any light touch is very painful - real bad pins and needles. Hopefully this phase of the transition back to normality will not last long, but in the meantime I am finding that I can increasingly use my left hand normally under certain circumstances. It is still feeling weak, but for lightweight stuff, and where I can avoid my little finger being used, I sometimes forget that it is working at less than full capacity (but one wrong touch reminds me most painfully that all is not well).

 This morning's sunshine would have inspired me to go for a decent walk this morning, but the bad night rather messed that up (plus for some reason my legs felt a bit creaky). I did manage to go for a short walk through a few select parts of Catford, but I barely covered a whole mile, and possibly less. I thought if I did nothing else I would take a quick peek at how The Catford Constitutional Club was coming on. So aiming in that general direction I walked past Milford Towers (North)........
Milford Towers North on Tue 26th November 2013
 The north end has a couple of stories of car park with residential accomadation above. It was originally built as high class flat for professionals in the late 1960s, but like so many of these places it ended up as a "sink estate" full of problem families. It is also infested with bed bugs according to recent rumour. More significantly it is suffering from concrete cancer, and is due for complete demolition in a year or two's time.
Milford Towers South
 The south end has a Tesco store. Once upon a time the store was narrower, and there were a few independant shops, but as they closed the space was used by Tesco.
Rear entrance to The Catford Ram
 A slight change in viewing angle shows one of the stairscases, and a lift up to the residential area. At the back of the picture is the no longer used rear entrance to The Catford Ram - which will also be demolished along with Tesco and the bed bug infested residential floors.
Milford Towers
 The first pictures just showed one of the two parts of Milford Towers, but as this picture shows it is actually two blocks parallel to each other. The right hand, or eastern half, follows a similar format to the western half with shops (and the pub) below, and residential accomodation above.

 After taking pictures of Milford Towers I moved on to The Catford Constitutional Club - new home to the staff, management, beer, booze, and (they hope) customers from The Catford Bridge Tavern. There were no good photo opportunities there, but plenty of work is going on. They still claim that it will be opening on Thursday evening. A surprising amount of work has been done recently, but to my untrained eye there still seems far more than two days worth to do.

 Having seen all there was to be seen there, I decided to take a wander up to The Catford Bridge Tavern to see what I could see there. Apart from a few posters in the windows about how they are moving down the road, it looks pretty much the same from the outside, but peering through the windows reveals a whole different story !
Inside the bare shell of The Catford Bridge Tavern - Tue 26th Nov 2013
The inside has been stripped bare !!
Inside The Catford Bridge Tavern after closing down
 Bothe picture were taken through windows. The top one through one of the windows on the main road side, and the lower one through the window of the door on Dogget Road. I've drunk (and been drunk) through three incarnations of this pub - The Railway Tavern, The Copperfield, and The Catford Bridge Tavern - and I never imagined that it could look like this. All the internal walls that looked so substantial, and once separated the lounge bar, saloon, bar, and public bar were just partitions.

 The building (including freehold as far as I am aware) is now owned by Camden Bars, and it looks from their web site that their philosophy is not so different to Antic who ran the pub during it's spell as The Catford Bridge Tavern. So there is some hope that Catford will eventually have two quality pubs (plus the rat hole that is the The Goose, and the cheap and cheerful miserable London And Rye).
Monday 25th November 2013
12:20 GMT

   It is probably as "warm" now as it is ever going to get today - if 7 C could ever be described as "warm" ! Like yesterday, and quite probably tomorrow too, it is grey and dry. Not very inspiring ! (Although from time to time it does try and brighten up, and the occasional glimpse of blue can be seen in a corner of the sky).

 I did have the opportunity to meet up with Jodie for a couple of ales yesterday evening, but stomach pains conspired against me. They weren't bad stomach pains - just a sort of ominous low level rumble, and sure enough, but the evening was out, so was an appreciable amount of the contents of my digestive tract. I am sure it is some sort of reaction between one of the drugs I take, and some rather less than careful eating.

 Last night I ate rather more carefull than recently. All I had for dinner and/or supper was a couple of apples and a couple of satsumas. I went to bed convinced that I would be dreaming of platefuls of hot steaming chips lashed with salt and vinegar. I didn't - at least I don't think I did, but I don't think I can recall having any dreams at all last night. For yet another night I seemed to sleep well.

 This morning I decided I ought to capitalise on my light dinner last night, and decided to go for a walk before doing anything else. I really hate walking in winter, and so I only went for a quick spin around the park.
A walk in the park
 I managed to do this 1.3 mile walk at an average of 3.3mph - not exceptionally fast, but not dawdling either. In theory it should have been a reasonably enjoyable walk with all the trees in their autumn colours, but I've just never learned to love that.
trees in autumn colours
 I was wearing my winter coat for the walk, and I was quite sweaty when I got home again - sweaty, but oddly enough I still felt cold ! I didn't feel particularly tired from walking, and after allowing 15 minutes for my shirt to dry out, I was off out again. This time it was up the road to Aldi where I spent far too much money, but I did shop very carefully.

 Almost everything I bought was healthy sorts of stuff - lots of fruit, vegetables, and plain fish fillets. Some was more contentious - a couple of sandwiches, and some tins of stuff from Aldi's "Octoberfest" seasonal range. That included a couple of tins of meatballs, and a couple of tins of soup.

 If I hadn't bought the sandwiches I would have had nothing but fruit for a rather late breakfast. I'm not sure how those sandwiches effected my choice of an unusually early lunch - or even if they did. In a sane and rational world I would have cooked the fresh food first, or maybe one of the frozen foods that I couldn't fit in the freezer, but I opened a tin of German meatballs in mushroom gravy (or sauce).  It wasn't a clever choice,  but as I predicted, it was a tasty one.  In theory I should have nothing but fruit from now on until tomorrow. I can see that idea lasting all of 5 minutes !!!

 In theory I should have been feeling good enough to go to work this morning, but just recently I seem to have gone off the idea. Having more money, and having something to do during the day would have been good for me, but feeling rough most of last week dampened my enthusiasm. This week I seem to be preoccupied with my physiotherapy starting on Friday, plus I've also got to go to the surgery to give a blood sample sometime in the next couple of days (maybe tomorrow).

 The physiotherapy sort of scares me. I am not sure what to expect, but I fear the worst. I only slightly fear it will be hard work, and fear an awful lot that it is going to be very boring.  It sends the same shivers up my spine that the idea of being sent on some completely useless job seekers courses used to do during one of my two periods of unemployment. Some of those courses would make my spleen bleed with frustration !
Sunday 24th November 2013
13:06 GMT

   It hardly seems worth commenting on the weather - with minor variations, it has been almost the same for the last week ! Yesterday had a few bright spells, but not many. Maybe today is a bit exceptional because it is more grey than any day recently, and, surprise surprise, it is slightly warmer - where "warmer" in this context means not quite as painfully cold. Currently it is 9 C.

 A strange thing happened yesterday morning - so strange that I am not exactly sure what it was, or how to describe it. It was possibly around 7am, and I was in bed awake, but clinging on to the pillow trying to get back to sleep again. All I wanted was another half hour sleep, but what I got was a sort of cramping pain in my left elbow. I'm not sure if it was cramp, or something else entirely, but it was bloody painful, and had me leaping out of bed in seconds.

 It is my left elbow where the nerves to my left hand are presumed to have been damaged. So I had hopes that my one second of agony, and the dull ache that followed for a long time after, might have had some sort of positive effect on those nerves. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to have been the case - or at least there was no major change to the numbness of part of my left hand. It is still the same as last time - the side of my hand, plus the little finger still reports just tingling and pins and needles when touched. The next finger still gives a mixture of normal sensation and tingling (sometimes as good as 75% normal sensation to 25% tingling since the last improvement). The next two fingers and the thumb are mostly normal, but a little lacking in muscle strength.

Catford Constitutional Club opening soon - 23rd November 2013
 Yesterday I met Aleemah at the station, and during the walk to the London And Rye Wetherspoons pub we took a look at The Catford Constitutional Club. It was still looking a bit like a complete wreck, but it is obvious that stuff is happening, and now there is a board outside saying that it opens next week.

 Today is the latest "last day" of The Catford Bridge Tavern, and it may, or may not finally close. The latest announced date for the opening of The Catford Constitutional Club is the 28th. That would give 4 days for the staff and booze to move to the new premises (particularly the beer barrels that will need time to settle after beeing moved), and does sound about right.

 I am very much looking forward to attending the opening day (or evening) of The Catford Constitutional Club, but there is a big problem. The very next morning I start my cardiac rehabilitation physiotherapy, and will have to face that miserable nurse who thinks I am an alcoholic just because I had a bit of a bender the night before I saw her last time for the assessment.

 So I can go to the opening evening, but I really shouldn't drink more than an egg cup full. However it does occur to me that I could go the next day and get completely sloshed with impunity. In fact, after all that exercising, and other highly tedious stuff, it might be jolly nice to get completely off my face just for the fun of it !!

 Back to yesterday..........Aleemah had her usual coffee and vegetarian breakfast in The London And Rye, and I had two half pints of beer. There were actually three beers on that I would like to have tried, but because I am not (always) the out of control boozer that the cardiac rehabilitation nurse thinks I am, I didn't stop to try the third beer.

 Aleemah went home a little later than recently, about 3pm, and from then on I didn't do anything of note. Maybe I was saving my energy for all the Dr Who themed stuff on TV last night, or maybe I was just being lazy. I did stay up later than usual watching the Dr Who stuff, and generally speaking it was enjoyable (although really I am a luddite who doesn't really approve of modern Dr Who).

 So far today I have done very little of note. In theory I should have been full of beans this morning because I seemed to have quite a good nights sleep last night. In fact my sleeping does seem to have improved a lot over the last week or so. I just wish I could shift my sleep to earlier in the night like it needs to be for work, and has been for years. I can't remember the last time I went to sleep at 9pm and slept almost non stop until morning (not counting waking up for the odd 5 minutes here and there).

 It is possible that I may meet Jodie later on today for one final drinking session in The Catford Bridge Tavern. I have said that I am up for it in principal, but I do have a stomach ache again today, and may be too uncomfortable to go out. I have an idea that something I eat reacts with one of the drugs I am on, but I still haven't got around to researching it. I just have this vague idea that I once read that one of those drugs could give rise to stomach upsets as a side effect. It's probably time for an indigestion tablet, a visit to the toilet, and a lie down. It may also be time I had a shower and got up properly !!
Friday 22nd November 2013
21:30 GMT

   The weather today has been almost identical to the weather yesterday. It's been cold and dry with occasional sunny periods, but mostly fairly dull. Once again the temperature has been in single figures, and despite the hope that today might have been a degree or two less cold than yesterday, it was hard to tell any difference. The current temperature is 6 C.

 Today could have been, and maybe should have been boring, but somehow it didn't feel it. I am not sure how I managed to pass so much time while doing so little, but obviously it worked. I was less successful in attempting to achieve something else, but it wasn't a complete failure. What I attempted to do was to eat less today.

 In some respects I fell at the first hurdle because I was overcome by a strange desire to have some grilled bacon this morning. I had some in the fridge, and ended up giving a very good grilling to get a lot of the fat out, but not enough to crisp it to a frazzle. I ate it with some mushy peas and a few slices of raw red onion.

 Sometimes I get these strange desires, and more frequently than not I give in to them. It is my theory that my body knows better than I do about what it needs. It doesn't always sound a particularly believeable theory, but on this occasion the raw onion adds some sort of gravity to it. For something completely different, like a salad, the raw onion might be obvious, but not with grilled bacon and mushy peas. It was one of the odder breakfasts I've had, but was quite tasty.

 I don't think it has had any useful physical effects yet, but maybe it will tomorrow. On the other hand I have had this quite calm and peaceful, but not boring day. Maybe it acted on my brain. Maybe it also influenced what I bought when I went shopping late this afternoon. On the whole I was quite careful about what I bought today.

 I didn't buy any ready meals - which are generally known to be unhealthy - but I did buy some frozen fish fillets (smoked haddock and Icelandic salmon) - which are healthy when eaten with plain steamed vegetables. I also bought a couple of bottles of "no added sugar" squash to reduce my reliance on diet cola - which some people reckon is not very good for you.

 Of course it is not all sweetness and light. I did buy some ready cooked hot chicken wings and thighs - which are quite greasy, and may well include sugar somewhere in their preparation. I'm not sure how to classify the yoghurt I bought. It is (allegedly) fat free, but probably contains a lot of sugar, and I do tend to eat 4 tubs of it at one sitting ! The yoghurt was actually another of those things that seemed to be a good idea to buy with the idea coming out of the blue.

 There was one other thing of note that I bought. It was a roast turkey sandwich. I have no idea why I bothered to buy it - apart from a reduced price sticker on it, and a desire to confirm one of my prejudices. What is it that millions of Americans, and since I was a kid, nearly every English family, thinks is so wonderful about turkey ? It is probably the naffest meat ever, and no amount of cranberry jam (or sauce as some believe it to be) spread all over it can elevate it from something that I'm not even sure any of my past cats would enjoy. It is so many years since I last had a "traditional xmas dinner" that I can barely remember what it was like, but I seem to think the best part of it was the sausage stuffing !

 There is no further good news about my left hand. The little improvement that crept up on me recently seems to be staying. It varies hour by hour, perhaps even minute by minute, but my ring finger retains 50 - 75% normal touch sensitivity still, and my little finger is still giving quite a bit of discomfort over the top of some barely detectable normal feeling. Maybe that barely detectable feeling is a recent improvement, but it is very hard to tell yet.

 One odd thing is that I find myself using, or trying to use my left hand in a normal sort of way quite frequently now. In a few cases, if it wasn't so weak still, I might not have even noticed anything was wrong with it, but all to frequently it is not strong enough to do what I want to do. Either that or I end up putting pressure on the little finger, and it soon tells me that it doesn't like it in no uncertain terms. It's seriously irritatingly slow, but it still feels like progress to me.
Thursday 21st November 2013
17:50 GMT

   It's been wet, and it's been dry today. There has even been some sunshine, but most of all it has been cold ! It's currently 6 C, and that is probably fairly representative of the whole day.  Some say that tomorrow will be brighter, and also a degree or two less frigid !

 Last night was not quite what I was expecting. Instead of just Chris and Kevin turning up at the pub, there was also what could be described as the core members of the Thursday Night Drinking Gang there too. I'm not sure why tonight was moved to last night. I have a possible theory, but I doubt it is correct. The great thing is that I enjoyed myself immensely, and it almost made being bored senseless on Tuesday worthwhile.

 It is that time of year again,  Youngs Winter Warmer was on in the pub, and of course it had to be tested.  For years the taste and strength of Winter Warmer has slowly gone downhill while the price has got higher and higher. The last straw was when production was moved from the old Youngs brewery in Wandsworth to the Wells Brewery in Bedford. They just could not brew it up there.

 It is only a theory, but it seems like they have given up on trying to brew what was once brewed in Wandsworth, and have instead almost started from scratch to brew a strong, dark winter ale using the local water and ingredients as they come without trying to muck around with them. Although unlike it's namesake it seemed quite tasty, and rather surprisingly it wasn't priced as a premium ale (which might have been a mistake by the pub).

 I think we were all very pleased with the four pints we drunk in The Catford Ram (except for Andy who is a lager drinker). After those four I think it may have been Kevin who suggested getting one in "for the road" in The Catford Bridge Tavern. It was, as he pointed out, effectively on everyone's way home - being right by the station and bus stops.

 On the way there we took a quick peek at the site of the old Catford Conservative Club that is being transformed into the new home of The Catford Bridge Tavern current management as The Catford Constitutional Club. To our great surprise we found that one double door that previously looked as if it had been boarded over many years ago was now unboarded, and being converted into a window (I think). There were lights on inside, and one room did almost look like it could be made useable in a day or two. Maybe their promise that it will open "soon" is not quite the impossibility it seemed on Sunday.

 When we arrived at The Catford Bridge Tavern there were several beers to be tested, and I think they were all slightly stronger than average (although far from the 9% Pumkin Ale I had in there last Sunday). Several, where several was probably at least another three, pints later we all went home. I felt drunk, but not that drunk. I had no problems resisting going in to the fried chicken shop - for a change.

 Maybe I resisted because I knew I had a ready meal waiting to be popped into the microwave when I got home. Maybe it was the fresh air, but the closer I got to home during the 7 minute walk, the more hazy my memory became, and I remember little after getting indoors. The evidence this morning is that I probably had two ready meals, and also half a packet of biscuits too before going to bed.

 It was no surprise that I slept rather well last night. I have no idea what time I got in bed, but the first I remember was waking up at 5am this morning. I didn't have a painful hangover, and maybe even some of the more usual painful bits of me, like my chest and left hand, seemed possibly less painful than usual. It did feel like my brain was wrapped in a wet blanket though, and I couldn't seem to raise the enthusiasm to do anything at all for a considerable amount of today.

 It might be good news about my left hand. The ring finger has continued to have a lot of normal sensitivity to touch without too much interfering pain. It's been like that in varying degrees for almost 48 hours or more now. I hope that the little finger will soon follow it. It is usually still quite painful with all sorts of pin, needles, and violent tingles, but I think it has shown a few calmer moments recently. Once it gets as good as the ring finger I will really know for certain that the end is in sight. I am pessimistic that it can be fast enough, but it would be really great to get full use of my left hand back in time for my physiotherapy that starts on Friday of next week.
Wednesday 20th November 2013
13:21 GMT

   The sky was crystal clear last night, and this this morning there was, predictably enough, a frost. That frost didn't last long because it was replaced by rain, and for a while, some strong winds. My thermometer said it was 4 C before the rain, and it is possible that if I had been paying attention then I might have seen that the first few minutes of rain fall as sleet, or even snow - as suggested might happen by the weather forecast yesterday. The rain was actually falling from a lump of wet air that was actually warmer than the ground level air. So it pushed the temperature up to 8 C for a while. The rain seems to have calmed down now, and the wind has dropped. I now see 6 C on my thermometer.

 Yesterday was a very miserable sort of day. Perhaps miserable is not quite the right word, but very very boring would certainly be correct for a greater part of the day. It was caused by a mixture of being unable to go to work when I had so much looked forward to it, and having nothing to look forward to all day.

 It could have been coincidence, but it is possible that a few people picked up a few words of misery I had written elsewhere, and today I have stuff to look forward to. First of all it was Kevin, who definitely had read what I had written elsewhere, and he suggested that we might go for a lunchtime pint.

 Within seconds of that being arranged I got a message from Aleemah suggesting that she could pop over this morning. I don't think it likely that she knew of my misery, but it is possible that my third offer had something to do with it. I turned down Aleemah's kind offer, but I couldn't turn down the third offer, and very it was one that made altering my plans with Kevin very easy.

 That third offer was from Chris (guitarist from Chain) who together with Jo very kindly took in what I hope was one last bit of laundry for me. It was some very smelly bed linen. I still can't wash bed linen myself until the weather turns around in spring to make drying it outside feasible, but I reckon that I have enough spare sets of bed linen to last a few months now if I can do the odd sheet now and then. I'll be meeting Chris in The Catford Ram at 5pm for a beer or two, and collecting my washing from him. Kevin will be joining us too, and if Chris decides not to stay beyond a second beer than Kevin and I may well end up in another pub for a few more beers - either some extremely tasty, but expensive beers in The catford Bridge Tavern, or some cheap and nasty beer in the London And Rye Wetherspoons pub.

 My health today is as variable as ever. This morning I found that, once again, the contents of my digestive tract had turned to liquid, but several hours later I feel completely comfortable...... think. My chest was quite sore when I first woke up, but like most, if not every morning recently, it settled down after a while.

 My left hand is still rather bothersome. I'm sure that it is grossly unfair that so much improvement should be accompanied by so much random pain. I've recently become aware aware that one part of that improvement is that my hand is getting stronger (either that or my toothpaste tube is getting easier to squeeze !). There is no new improvement in the sensitivity of my ring finger today, but the recent gains where I have some sense of feeling mixed in with the tingles is still there. The little finger is still a right little bastard !

 This morning I learned how to emulate how my left hand currently feels. I was rummaging in my freezer looking for some oily fish that I was sure was lurking at the back somewhere. As I got and more stuff out using my right hand, that hand gradually became colder and colder. There came a point where it was so frozen that it was tingling and painful just like my left hand can be. The big difference was that once I stopped handling frozen stuff feeling returned to my right hand within 5 minutes or less.

 I didn't actually time it, and I quote 5 minutes almost as a purely arbitary number......but a quite convenient one. At the notional fourth minute, just a minute away from my hand being back to normal (if still a little cold) it felt quite painful as the last of the numbness faded. That is exactly how I think my left hand is at the moment. If the similarity holds, and I am now over four fifths of the way through this problem, then maybe I can hope that my hand will be more or less fully recovered in another couple of weeks - I can't wait !!!

 It is now almost 12 weeks since I last smoked a cigarette. If I ignore the first few days, it has been really stupendously easy to do it (at least compared to what I thought it would be like). For a great deal of the time I don't even have any nicotine cravings, and even some situations where I thought I would have strong cravings, such as when drinking, seem mostly craving free. However there are times when I want a fag, and a few times when I want one very badly indeed.

 When I came out of the hospital after my assessment for physiotherapy, when my blood pressure hit new heights previously unheard of in the annals of medical practice (or something !!), I came quite close to mugging someone to get a fag. Fortunately doing exactly what I was not supposed to be doing - expending a lot of effort walking very fast on my home through the park - seemed to calm the craving down a lot.

 Other cravings appear almost like random clouds over the horizon. I am writing about this very subject because for reasons totally unknown I suddenly thought it would be nice to light up as I was typing. The idea stayed with me for a few seconds, and then like a cloud, just drifted onwards to places unknown. There is one other type of craving, and sometimes I don't always realise it until it is too late. It is the return of the desire for a fag as a punctuation mark, a full stop, after eating.

 I realise this is happening quite frequently now, and I guess that somehow it will have to be controlled if I am going to try and eat smaller meals - which I should. It is a very tricky situation. Way back in April, following a filthy cold, I did stop smoking for a while. Like the last 12 weeks, it was easier than I thought, and went well for several days of complete abstinence.

 The only trouble is that when I came home from work, and started eating my dinner, I found I couldn't stop eating because there was no fag at the end of it. So after a few days I would have just one or two fags after dinner. Eventually one or two turned back into one or two packets....... I haven't fallen into the trap this time, but the temptation is still there. It is even worse than that when I consider that after I was back to my normal smoking habits back in May/June I managed to embark on an eating regime that lost me approximately 2 stone, and a couple of inches around my waist - and probably made my time in hospital a lot easier because I was deemed fitter than I could have been. Now I haven't smoked a single fag, haven't used any nicotine replacement therapy for all these long weeks, and I am back to damaging myself by putting on weight. You can't win, can you !
Tuesday 19th November 2013
15:27 GMT

   This morning was dry, but very cold - cold enough for a frost ! It was all thanks to clear skies, and the sky has stayed fairly clear all day giving lots of bright sunshine - bright sunshine that carries almost no heat ! Even now the themperature has not quite hit 6 C (5.6 C by my elctronic thermometer). Tomorrow might be just as cold, but to add to the misery it may be very wet too.

 On the whole, I felt pretty rotten yesterday. As well as a seeming lack of energy, I also had a stomach ache. It wasn't a bad ache as stomach aches go, but it did last for rather a long time. In fact it could still be said to afflict me even now.  It is one of two things. It could be a side effect of one of the drugs I am taking, or it could be just something I've eaten (maybe just bad diet).

 Yesterday afternoon I received information that The Catford Bridge Tavern was finally closing last night. The current management do not own the lease, and have been on borrowed time for months now. It is unknown if the leaseholders will run the premises as a pub or not, although it is a listed building with few other uses. The current management will be moving operations to what was once the Catford Conservative Club.....in their own words - soon - (I don't think so) !
Catford Conservative Club Sunday 17th November 2013AC
Just two days ago, on Sunday 17th November 2013, The Catford Conservative Club building looked like this. I don't think it will be opening as The Catford Constitutional Club pub anytime soon !

 Despite feeling off colour I couldn't turn down the opportunity to meet Jodie in The CBT to have a few last beers in there. Before I could do that I needed to visit a cash machine for some beer vouchers, and I also wanted to buy a couple of items from the 99p shop. So I went charging out, and for a moment my lethargy disappeared, and my energy came back. I did the complete round trip in two thirds of the time I had anticipated for it, and rather surprised myself at how fast I could walk when I didn't even think I could walk further than the end of the front garden path.

 I paid for it when I got back though. I suddenly came over feeling knackered, and my mild stomach ache had turned into a sort of queasy feeling. It didn't bode well for drinking, but 45 minutes later I was walking up the road towards the pub. It didn't take long for beer, the universal healer, to settle my stomach, and it didn't take long to find out that the management have had another reprieve, and the place will still be open at least until the coming weekend. There have been suggestions that are entirely feasible, that the pub periodically puts out these "last day" stories to drum up business !
the bar of The Catford Bridge Tavern
This picture of the bar was taken soon after the 4pm opening, and it is rather quiet in there !
another view of the bar
 I think Jodie and I stayed for about 90 minutes, and tried 4 or 5 different beers in half pint measures (except for the 9% Pumkin Ale that was served in one third pint measures for the incredible price of 5 a go.........but it was very nice !!!!). As I walked home my stomach ache re-appeared. As before it was just a very dull ache. The queasy feeling had completely gone, but later in the evening, once I had gone to bed, a new thing started - wind !

  Eventually I had to get out of bed a couple of times to go to the toilet, but at least it cured the dull stomach ache. The only trouble was when I came back to my bedroom after going to the toilet. The stench in my bedroom was unbelievable from all the farting I had done. It smelt like it had come from the very depths of hell !

 It took a little while after getting up, but eventually I had a few more visits to the toilet that were like the visits I had made last night (i.e. smelly and violent). That was one problem, and at least one that was solved if only for a short time, but I had other problems. I woke up with me chest feeling really sore. Once again I had probably tossed and turned for a significant portion of the night, and that had pulled and stretched my scar tissue. For a while I had that horrible feeling like the front of my chest was really heavy, and it would pull and swing whenever I moved.

 My chest mostly settled down after an hour or two, but my left hand was, and is being a bit of a bugger again. It really is swinging between almost normal sensation in the ring finger, and something close to 20 -30% sensation on parts of the little finger to real nasty pain from the little finger. The worst of the pain is short lived, but it has been sensitive all day today. It is bloody inconvenient, but at the same time it does give some confidence that the problem is still changing. The longer and longer periods of something like 50%, and getting higher, normal sensation from the ring finger says to me that healing is still taking place even if it is annoyingly slow.

 Overall I have felt pretty low today. Even the bright sunshine has hardly inspired me. If it wasn't for the return of the low level stomach ache, and what that promises anytime between now and tonight (a high speed dash to the toilet maybe), I might have forced myself to go out for a walk, but I just couldn't be bothered today. I did try a little very light housework, but gave up on that after 10 minutes. The best I've achieved today is to finish washing a towel that I had left soaking overnight.

 Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up raring to go, and will make it into work, but today, acting like a total slob seems to be the best I can manage. Oh, actually I did do one positive thing today. For the first time in far too long I cooked a very healthy meal of steamed fish and vegetables. If I hadn't eaten all the other crap I might have even felt a microscopic bit fitter tomorrow.
Monday 18th November 2013
07:50 GMT

   Last night the BBC weather forecast specifically said that this morning might be grey and misty, but dry. They were wrong, very wrong. It's soaking wet outside right now !! I see the web page has been hastily changed to show rain, but they may still have the temperature wrong. The highest temperature forecast for the very best part of the day is 9 C, and yet my thermometer is already showing nearly 11 C.

 If things had worked out as I intended I would be writing this from work, but I am still at home. Last night I did my best to go to be in the most normal fashion possible. As 9pm approached I turned off my PC - since coming out of hospital I've had it on at night quietly playing internet radio. I also turned off the heating - which I've often left on for part, or even all night. It is possible that the latter was not a good decision.

 After some recent successes I had anticipated that I might sleep reasonably OK last night, and with the heating off I could snuggle under the duvet for an enhanced experience. It sort of work. It took a couple of hours to get to sleep, but once I was asleep I didn't wake up for any appreciable length of time until about 4.30am. However I do remember lots of quite strange dreams that seemed to go on for ages. That suggests I was not very deeply asleep.

 I am fairly certain that while I was dreaming I was thrashing about a lot. It is settling down now, but until recently it felt like I had been trying to rip my chest scar apart in the night. It was really rather sore. I'm not sure if I did anything bad to my left hand. That has been very variable recently as the nerves try to recover. My hand was quite sore this morning, but now it is settling down there is a hint that I have slightly more normal sensation in my left ring finger, and less pins and needles. The little finger is still as bad as ever, and it is still prone to random prickly pain events.

 The whole little finger side of my left hand is quite tingly and numb. I feel sure, but I can't be certain, that it has been like that since the operation, but it is only now when the rest of my hand is so close to recovery (I hope) that it has become more noticeable. This morning it would have been a hindrance to doing stuff at work. When handling tiny components with tweezers I need to rest the side of my hand on the bench to stabilise it, and it takes a lot of determination to ignore the unpleasant feeling, and trust to experience that no harm is being done.

One reason I am not at work is not the rain. Had I realised it was so wet before other reasons made the choice for me, the rain may have been a significant factor, but I went back to bed before even looking outside. I initially got up 20 minutes before my alarm (which I had remembered to set) sounded at 5am. I felt pretty horrible. As I've said, my chest hurt, and my hand hurt. On top of that it felt like I needed far more sleep.

 I did get as far as going to the toilet a couple of times, and taking my morning medication, but then I decided I just wanted to go back to bed. It seems that I did not get enough sleep prior to that because it was not long before I fell asleep again, and I slept for practically two hours. It felt like really good sleep. It only took about 5 minutes after waking up again that I felt ready to sit down and write this.

 There would be nothing to stop me going into work now, but I definitely wanted to try and do a full day as normally as possible. I think I'll try again tomorrow, and if needed I'll keep trying until I manage it. The important thing now is that I try and act like I am at work - try and do 40 minutes of walking, and hardly eating anything until early this evening. It's quite a lot to ask for, and I've already eaten something unmentionable that was left over from yesterday ! I think I may end up doing some housework today. In the last few days I keep doing a few minutes of it here and there, and maybe today I could manage a few tens of minutes of it here and there, but that is asking quite a lot...........
Sunday 17th November 2013
16:40 GMT

   I'm not sure if I was hallucinating, not paying attention, or just mixing up my days, but there was definitely no frost this morning as I thought had been forecast. Loads of clouds meant it was actually at least 8 or 9 C this morning. It also meant that it was a grey start to the day. It was also a grey middle of the day, and grey end of the day ! At the end of today - and now the sun has set, and it's dark outside, actually means now ! - the temperature is just a fraction over 11 C.  Tomorrow is forecast to be rather cool and grey.

 I ended up going to bed very late last night. I was stone cold sober, but my memory of it seems quite hazy. I think it was midnight when I turned out the light, and I think I went to sleep quite quickly, and quite soundly. It was around 4am when I first remember waking up, and after that I only slept for short periods of time despite still feeling very sleepy.

 I do seem to be going through a phase of feeling a bit lethargic lately. It could be a bug, but I'm sure if I checked my blood sugar level I would find it quite high. So it was a bit of struggle to get myself out the front door to go shopping in Lidl. There is a quick route to Lidl and home, and a slightly longer route. If I remember correctly, the longer route is about 1.5 miles for the round trip, and that is the route I took. It wasn't bad walking there, but walking back with my shopping was a bit of a chore !

 I did my best to avoid buying too much unhealthy stuff, and on the whole I succeeded. Quite a proportion of the weight I lugged back was fruit. I bought a six pack of "Honey Crunch" apples. I've never heard of that type before. I think they are French. They are not bad - a mild but pleasant flavour from a not very dense, rather watery flesh. The Belgium strawberries were almost flavourless, but the Argentinian blueberries were very tasty. While the Columbian bananas tasted just like bananas !

 I'm not sure if it was breakfast or lunch that I had when I got back from Lidl, but with all the fruit, plus other stuff, it was a substantial meal. I had to have a lie down after it. I snoozed for 30 minutes, perhaps longer, and then I felt bored. I had an unpleasant feeling in my stomach that I don't think was a feeling of fullness, but that didn't stop me doing one task that alleviated the boredom for a while - although I am a bit surprised that it didn't. That task was to do a little laundry. Bending over the bath while wrestling with hot soapy water, shirts, socks, underwear, etc  is probably not the sort of thing to do with a mild stomach ache, but I did it anyway, and it didn't seem to cause any harm. In fact I think it helped me feel better.

 The one other thing I did today was a little bit of simple video editing. Now if I can just remember the spells and incantations for putting video in these web pages, there should be a video below of Chain playing "Seven Nation Army". I shot it at the gig on Friday night. I wish I knew the song a bit better than I evidently do because I kept pointing the camera at the wrong musician !



 I am still hoping that I will feel in the right state of everything to go and do a full days work tomorrow.  It looks like it will be dry at 6am - that will help. It will definitely be dark at 6am - that will hinder. The big unknowns are whether I sleep properly, and can bring myself to get up, and go and wash in a freezing bathroom at 5am. I guess I'll find out when I get there. If I do make it into work, and can stay the course, I will almost certainly be meeting Jodi for one or more beers in The Catford Bridge Tavern, right next door to the railway station, on the way home. That should be a pretty good incentive :-)
Saturday 16th November 2013
20:14 GMT

   The thermometer outside my back door was reading exactly zero first thing this morning. It is only a cheap thermometer, and I doubt it is anywhere near as accurate as my electronic one. I reckon it was probably reading a degree or two low, but no more. It was bloody cold this morning. There has been a fair amount of cool sunshine today, and currently the temperature on my electronic thermometer is 9 C. There was very little wind today so it didn't feel as cold as it was, but the last forecast I saw suggested that may not be the case tomorrow. It may start off frosty, and more wind will make the day feel colder than today.

 I had rather a good night last night. My aches and pains were mostly at a very low level, and some great music and beer numbed me even more. I really enjoy the early gigs at The Catford Ram. In some ways it is a bit of a shame that it is only Chain who get invited to play there about once a month currently (next gig is 13th December).

 I was determined to enjoy myself last night, and that sometimes meant pushing myself to the point of pain. Possibly the worst pain was when I decided to sit on the floor to take some video of the band playing. With the camera in my right hand I lowered myself down as gently as I could, but ultimately I had to use my dodgy left hand to support myself for the last 6 inches (or something). That definitely stung a bit, and resulted in a slightly less than dignified landing. If there had been anything to lean against, and support my back the video may have come out better, but it is possibly acceptable. I'll try and show it here sometime tomorrow.

 I didn't feel exceptionally tired last night, and stayed virtually until the very end when most of the bands gear had been packed away, and many people had already left the pub. I actually stayed later than my friend Kevin....but only by 2 minutes. While I may not have felt tired at the pub, I did feel tired when I got home. I think I fell asleep almost as soon as I got into bed, and I seemed to sleep right through the night for the first time in months and months.
Some members of "The Thursday Night Drinking Gang" on a Friday night !!
In the foreground; Dave on the left, and Andy on the right - both members of the Thursday Night Drinking Gang - on a Friday night.
watching the band
Propped up along the bar - Chris "Eagle" Wells, Liz Vass, and Kevin
dancing with a giant pepper mill
Chris Wells dancing with a giant pepper mill (no one knows why).

 This morning I woke up with what may have been just a hangover, but felt a bit different, and I think turned out to be something else (but I don't know quite what). My brain felt a bit foggy, and that probably was just a bit of hangover, but I also felt sort of weak in a way that I don't easily associate with the lethargy of a good hangover. On top of that my chest seemed unusually sore, and my left hand hurt quite a lot.

 While I thought I slept well, it is possible that I was thrashing around a lot in my sleep. That would account for my chest scars being unusually sore. My left hand is very often sore recently as the nerves seems to be finally getting their act together. I have more strength in the hand so I can use it more, and as I do use it I restore even more strength to it. The improved sensitivity to touch of my ring finger seems to be an almost permanent feature now. There is still some way to go before it becomes that useful, but it is getting there. At the same time as the ring finger improves I get more and more intermittent pain from the little finger. Even as I write this paragraph it had a 1 or 2 second attack of extreme pins and needles. If it had been much longer it would be unpleasant in the extreme.

 The chest and hand pains are one aspect of not feeling too wonderful this morning, but they are nothing exceptional at the moment. It was probably the feeling of lack of energy that bothered me most. I wondered if I had the energy to walk to the station to meet my friend Aleemah this morning. Of course I did, and with easily enough to spare to then walk down to the high street, and the Wetherspoons pub. Maybe it was all just a hangover, and mostly all in the mind.

 Later on there was a more tangible reason for me to feel quite crappy. While we were watching the DVD I started to cough, and I coughed an awful lot. It am very sure it was another bit of lung or airway where the little hairs had come back to life after not being exposed to smoke for 2 and a half months, and were expelling all sorts of pollutants. The only trouble was I couldn't seem to stop, and after I was still coughing, bringing up small, but definte amounts of mucus, after the DVD finished. Often we would sit and chat, or occasionally watch a bit of TV afterwards, but today it seemed like a good idea for Aleemah to go straight home.

 I continued to cough after Aleemah left, and it was getting very boring. It only stopped after I had some hot food (for some unknown reason). After eating I went and laid down on my bed, and before I knew it I was asleep, and I think I slept for almost 2 hours (although I wasn't really keeping an eye on the time, and it could have been as little as an hour). I woke up feeling much better, and I've been OK since.

 Tomorrow I have three possibly conflicting things to do. One is to go to Aldi. Another is to try and go for a long walk, and the final thing is a sort of undefined idea about preparing myself to get up early on Monday, and ready for a full day at work. It occurs to me that if I went shopping in Lidle, instead of Aldi, it would involve a very short long walk (I seem to recall it's about a 1.5 mile round trip). That could be a good compromise, and if I could somehow only buy, and eat terribly healthy stuff, I would feel fit for work on Monday (and pigs might fly !!).
Friday 15th November 2013
14:07 GMT

   We're going through a bit of a cold spell right now. Mostly it's called winter (or late autumn, or maybe just autumn), and clear skies were due to give a frost this morning. I'm not sure if there was one or not, but some intermittent sunshine seems to have raised the temperature to an exciting 9 C. Tonight the temperature will plummet again, and it is likely to be only a degree or two above freezing at sunrise tomorrow.

 Going into work yesterday, and staying there for so long, had some strange effects on me. The first effect was that I felt quite drained when I got home, and that was my state when I wrote yesterday. A bit later on I began to revive. I had some physical recovery, and a lot of mental recovery.  During the early evening I found myself wanting to do little tidying up jobs rather than just vegetating. No visitor would ever notice what I achieved yesterday evening, but it was enough to surprise me.

 I thought I might sleep a lot better last night, and in a way I did, but it was still a sleep of two halves. I was awake again for an hour or two in the middle of the night. After that I doubt there was any realistic prospect of getting up at 5am this morning, although I suppose I could have done if I had needed to. I was awake for a few minutes at about 5.15am, but it was gone 7am when I seemed to have had sufficient sleep.

 It was interesting to see how my dodgy left hand would fare while I was at work, and actually doing some work yesterday. It was not as easy as I thought. I could grip tools in my two (mostly) good fingers and thumb with enough strength for it to be close to normal, but to get stability when doing precision work I needed to stabilise my hand by resting the numb and/or tingly side of it on the desk. That wasn't so good. It was sometimes just unpleasant, and occasionally close to painful. For the most part I could work around the limitations, but until that hand improves it will slow me down a bit.

 The good news is that there could be some improvement in my left hand even since yesterday, but it is so small that it is hard to be sure. It varies hour by hour, minute by minute, but I does seem that I have reached the point where the pain/discomfort is now about the same as useable touch sensitivity - on the ball* of the fingers. Other bits of the finger, the very tip, and perhaps around the nail, of the little finger can still seem quite sore though.

 * Have I made up that name ? What do you call the bit of the finger where the traditional fingerprints come from. Ball seemed to be the name right until the point when I actually wrote it, but now seems to be stupid.
Hand parts
 I found this very useful picture on wikipedia. I often wondered which was the ring finger, and now I know. I'm not happy with "pinky" and I think I'll stick to "little finger". Anyhow, the bit of the finger I am trying to refer to, that rightly, or more probably wrongly I named the ball of the finger is actually the area on this picture that is covered by the letters "ger" as part of "Index finger" - but specifically the same area on the ring and little fingers rather than the Index finger.

 This morning I didn't feel very inclined to do much at all for quite a number of hours after getting up. Eventually I felt a certain urge to do something useful, and I washed 4 shirts and a small hand towel.  It was definitely more painful do that washing than last time I did some, but the pain was mostly from my left hand, and not from the scars on my chest, and it was mainly because I seemed to be able to put a lot more effort into doing it. Sometimes it doesn't feel like I am making much progress, but that washing sort of proves I am !

 I've just had a questionaire about my health turn up on my door mat. It's all to do with my forthcoming physiotherapy. As usual it is a right rag bag of questions that, to my simple mind, often seem to be contradictory, and in many cases are difficult to answer because the answer changes day by day, hour by hour, and sometime minute by minute.  This is never more so than the questions about my mental health.

 How am I feeling ? Well right now I am feeling very depressed because it is not 6pm yet (when Chain are playing in The Catford Ram), but on the other hand I am very happy that it is not yet 6pm because I haven't had a decent shower and washed my hair yet.  If the nurse at the therapy place asked the questions verbally I could give answers that are accurate to the second (with the proviso that one question can effect the outcome of another question), but if I fill in the questionaire at home everything could, and almost certainly will have changed by the time I get to the therapy centre at the end of the month.

 It is lucky that one of the questions about smoking doesn't ask about when I last wanted to have a cigarette because just asking the question is inciteful enough to make me want one there and then. That reminds me......I didn't have any nicotine cravings while travelling, but the amount of cravings I had while in work yesterday far exceeded all the rest of the cravings for the past fortnight. There were even some echoes of it into the afternoon and evening.  I always assumed that being in a pub, or ending a train journey would be the times of maximum temptation, but apparently not. It's work and hospitals that bring out the worse cravings, and being almost out of breath while exercising hard is the runner up.
Thursday 14th November 2013
15:04 GMT

   So far today it has been bright and sunny, and not too freezing cold. Now it is starting to look a little  grey. Yesterday was probably a little cooler , or perhaps the wind was a little stronger, but it was similar with a nice sunny morning that gave away to greyness as the afternoon wore on. The current temperature is just 10 C.

 Yesterday didn't start off that well. During the early hours of the morning I had more stomach trouble, Unlike they day before it was heralded by gripey stomach pains, and finlly rather explosive results. It was all over by 5 or 6am, but left me feeling very under par for much of the morning. I definitely did not want to go out even for short distsances, let alone as far as work !

 By midday I had rested well, and I was feeling a definite itch to get out in the sunshine. I thought it should be safe enough to go to the cash machine, and then on to the 99p shop. Just before I went out I tried giving Kevin a ring. To my surprise he was not only in, but available to go for a pint provided I allowed him a good half hour to get ready.

 So I went out to the 99p shop where I bought all sorts of stuff that I shouldn't do because I was feeling depressed in the morning. By the time I had finished buying all my health destroying stuff, Kevin was ready, and we met in the Wetherspoons pub for several hours of good drinking. I felt quite elated by that, and continued my celebrations when I got home by eating such terrible treats like chocolate and stuff.

Kevin buying me my umpteenth drink in The London & Rye
Kevin (in the light coloured check shirt) buys me my umpteenth beer !!
  Later on, armed with a good hangover, and a gut full of unhealthy food, I went to bed. Just for a change I fell asleep relatively early, but it didn't last, and I was probably wide awake at midnight. After a while I managed to get back to sleep, and from then on I slept fairly well - if judged from the the idea that whenever I woke up I was able to get back to sleep again very quickly. One of the times I woke up I awoke with my left arm really sore. I'm not sure what I had done to it, but while it was so sore I had the closest I've had to normal sensation in my left hand. I suspect it was my damaged/bruised nerves doing something useful. Today I do seem to have a very, very slight numbness return to the two fingers next to my thumb, but rather less numbness on the other two fingers. It's all very confusing, but I think it's all heading in the right direction.

 There is obviously some sort of twisted logic that the morning after an afternoon and evening of very unhealthy consumption (lots of booze, lots of sugar, and lots of salt and fat) I should feel more than well enough to go into work on the 6.30am train (which was the 6.33am train until the timetables changed recently). So I got up at 5am, and was out of the house by 6.15am just as I always did before getting my chest re-plumbed. Just after 7.30am I arrived at work, and handed over my sick certificate.

sick certificate
The relevant parts of my sick certificate.
Waterloo station Thursday 14th November 2013
As I passed through Waterloo station at just gone 7am I spotted this sadly out of focus stand that tried to entice commuters into eating Spanish oranges (generally the nastiest ones in the shops in my humble opinion).

 I stayed at work for about 5 hours, and I actually did a couple of hours work. I did it unofficially, and I don't expect any pay for it, although it would be nice to believe in miracles and find someone decided that I ought to be paid for it. Miracles rarely happen, and I am fairly certain this one won't. One thing I did do was to discuss a phased return to work with almost everyone whose opinion counts, and it is possible that I might do an actual days work next Monday, and then on Wednesday and Friday.

 A lot depends on just how I feel on the mornings of those days. I have to admit that my 5 hours, plus several hours of travelling, have left me feeling pretty knackered, and it is very obvious that I am going to need all the practice I can get before returning to work full time. It is possible that when my curent sick certificate runs out on the 13th December I will get another saying I can do a phased return to work, but I hope that by then I will be up to speed, and back working full time.

 On my way back home I thought it would be nice to retake the photo of the Tesco Spanish citrus fruit advertising stand, but this time try nad get a sharply focussed picture. To my surprise it was all gone when I got back to Waterloo, and there was just one of the cleaners cleaning the floor.
Waterloo station concourse 14/11/13 just after midday
Not an orange in sight.

 I came home via Tesco where I bought a couple of sandwiches and stuff, and once I got home I changed out of my work clothes, and collapsed in front of the TV while I ate some lunch. After that I started writing this. I feel I will soon be having a snooze, but also wondering if I can somehow "save up" my tiredness until I get to bed tonight. In theory I should sleep well tonight providing I can avoid too much sleep right now. In the meantime, consider this.....
Waterloo Underground
Tuesday 12th November 2013
16:00 GMT

   I think it was dry this morning, but I wasn't really paying that much attention to the weather. Later on in the morning it was definitely dry, but it was quite overcast. It wasn't until  this afternoon that it brightened up, and about an hour ago it was bright and sunny for a while. I don't think the temperature has varied much today. It is currently just 11 C.

 Last night was yet another night when sleep didn't come easily at first. I was in bed, and unusually feeling fairly comfortable, at about 9.25pm. I fully expected to drift off to sleep before 10pm, but 10pm came and went, and still I just lay there. So I got up and wasted a couple of hours on the internet.

 That seemed to do the trick, and as far as I can recall I slept fairly well for a few hours. I remember waking at around 4am, and thinking I needed far more sleep. Ideally I wanted to get up at 5am, but I went back to sleep fairly quickly with the idea I would just sleep for as long as I could. I woke up again at 5.20am. That was a little too late to do all I needed to do if I was to go into work like it was a normal day. So I turned over and went back to sleep again until gone 7am.

 Although I couldn't get the 06:33 train as I used to get prior to my long sick leave, I still intended to go into work today, but I would wait until gone 9.30am so I could travel at off-peak fares again (it is classified off peak if you touch in with an Oyster Card before 6.30am or after 9.30am). So I washed my hair and had a shower ready to get the 9.34 train...........but it didn't happen.

 There could have been various reasons why I opted not to travel today. My left hand, and my left arm are playing up today. It is possible that today, the finger next to the little finger on my left hand has occasionally come closer to being back to normal than at any time since the operation, but with that has come all sorts of aches and hpersensitivities. It is not the reason I didn't travel this morning.

 My right foot, which I seemed to hurt in some unknown way on Sunday, was still feeling sore last night, although it was very improved by then. This morning I didn't seem to notice any particular pains from it until I had walked as little as 15ft from home. It became fairly sore again, but that wasn't the reason why I didn't travel this morning (although maybe it might have been a good reason if there wasn't a better one).

 The real reason I didn't travel this morning was a far more basic reason. A reason that has nothing to do with my recent(ish) surgery, and nothing to do with any wear and tear on my body. It was an old and venerable reason that has been intermittently popping up for the last 50 years. I had the runs ! Something I ate gave me a particular affinity to being near my toilet. Maybe it wasn't quite the normal runs because it wasn't explosive as has been usual in the past, but I definitely passed more than my own weight in the half dozen visits I had to make before I was comfortable again for several hours. Quite where my body found the material to account for my final visit to the toilet that happened several hours after the serial visits  is a great mystery that probably is best left unanswered, but may invove more than the usual 4 dimensions of space and time.

 I've had a very boring and mostly unsatisfactory day today. The monotony has only been broken by a short walk to the corner shop this morning (when I discovered that my right foot is still slightly sore), and a call from the cardiac liason nurse this afternoon. It seems my doctor has double crossed me. He originally said that my blood pressure was still too high to consider recommending me for physiotherapy. However it seems that later on he reconsidered the blood pressure readings I had taken at home, which included a couple of several carefully cherry picked low readings, and changed his mind.

 I have now been offered a place for physiotherapy at Lewisham Hospital in their smelly, and very frightening gym. My first visit is scheduled for Friday 29th November, and it seems if I don't tell them to "f" off first, the course runs for 7 consecutive Fridays (with a break around Xmas). They start at about 9.30am, and somehow they expect to engage my enthusiasm until mid afternoon (2.30pm). Curiosity means I've got to go and find out just how inhumane it is, but somehow I can't see myself sticking it for more than one session - which will be OK providing I do them the courtesy of telling them I am giving up rather than just not turning up.

 Tomorrow I must redouble my efforts to get into work, and maybe try and make more frequent visits there. This is partly to try and protect my own sanity (if I have any left), and partly because I need the exercise. Nothing would give me a greater sense of satisfaction than if I could breeze through all they throw at me at the physiotherapy sessions as if they were a complete waste of time. Of course that could never really happen. The uniform the physiotherapist was wearing, a track suit, marks him down as a complete sadist, as well as his complete lack of knowledge of human anatomy (in the opinion of my heart surgeon who has to know where nerves are routed around the body). I can imagine that if I found any of his exercises too easy he could come up with an infinite series of harder ones. Should one include running in the park that would be my signal to keep on running and never look back !
Monday 11th November 2013
12:37 GMT

   This morning was less wet than I thought it would be. Instead of non stop heavy rain it has been more like intermittent drizzle most of the time. It looks like it will continue to do this for the rest of the day, and then maybe on until the end of time. It's currently 12, almost 13 C - which is not as bad as it could have been, but still unpleasant.

 Today, on the day when I thought I might return to work either officially or unofficially, on the day when I don't have a single pre-booked appointment with doctor or nurse to come, I feel worse than I have done for ages. A large part of it is the carrying of the heavy burden that rainy Mondays bring, and have done since time immemorial, but I do have a selection of real physical ailments - both describable and undescribable.

 Of the real physical ailments,  the simplest to describe, but hard to explain, is my chest. The scar tissue, both seen on the outside, and unseen on the inside, seems to be unusually sensitive this morning. Much of the time it doesn't hurt that much, but only because I am careful and aware that it is really easy to upset it right now. Tht awareness does, as might be thought, come from previous painful experiences.

 It is similar for my left hand. I couldn't in all honesty say that it is much different to yesterday, and maybe even the day before. Perhaps it is just my clumsiness today that has provoked many painful episodes when I have over stimulated its "almost there", but not yet, full touch sensitivity. Whichever God or Goddess did the design that substituted normal touch sensation with feelings of fire and sharp needles when the nerves are bruised needs to have salt sprinkled over them (or whatever the correct way to punish those of Deity like persuasions is).

 My right foot, that suddenly decided to hurt while I was out walking yesterday morning, was still hurting after being rested all night. It is only now, after a fair bit of painful walking to the Doctors, and then back to home via Tesco, that it is showing some signs of recovery. A few minutes ago, when I went to the toilet, it actually only felt half as painful as it did when I got up this morning. I did remark yesterday that I thought it was one of those things where the pain would just be mysteriously not there at some time in the near(ish) future. Maybe that is just about to happen, or maybe it was a fluke 5 minutes ago when it seemed to be waning.

 My perception of some of these aches and pains, and maybe other fleeting or inconsequential one that are not worth reporting, is most probably amplified by a feeling of bleurghhhh (sometimes, and maybe incorrectly described as depression). Not being able to go back to work, and thus deprived of being able to moan about how much I hate going to work, is quite a blow to the smooth running of my mental health.

 It is at times like that that I ought to have another binge drinking session, but......I am not going to waste my 18 year old scotch. That is reserved for something more important. I don't really fancy getting plastered on gin, and that's the only spirit I have in the house at the moment (and I cannot afford to buy any more at the moment). I guess I am going to have to stay sober today, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday - how depressing - but on Friday Chain are playing in The Catford Ram (which is why Chris and the Thursday gang won't be boozing on Thursday). It's a long time to wait, but I very much look forward to getting off my face on Friday night !

 In the meantime I am not sure what I am going to do. Today I'm probably going to do no more than I have already done - and that is very little. Tomorrow I hope I'll be in the right frame of mind, and the weather will be kind for an early morning trip over to Earlsfield to take my sick note into work. The day after.....well, I'll have to find out when I get there.
Sunday 10th November 2013
12:43 GMT

   I thought that the forecast was for a frost this morning, and maybe a little further outside London there might have been one, but here it was about 6 C - bloody cold, but not actually frosty. The reason for the temperature being so low was clear skies. Looking out from a nice warm room it looks like a bright summers morning even if the reality is rather different. It may well cloud over, and tomorrow is forecast to be very wet.

 I knew that the idea of me doing anything worthwhile after my friend Aleemah went home yesterday afternoon was just a pipe dream. When I look back over the years I don't think I've even done anything more strenuous than eat some lunch after a morning visit from anyone at any time ! Yesterday I had the final portion of Thursday night's fried chicken for my lunch. If I had been sober it might have seemed like an insane purchase, but it actually turned out to be a bargain investment...sort of.

 I felt fairly good again yesterday. My chest scars were only giving minimal problems, and my left arm and hand were on fairly good behaviour as well. I can't remember which day it was when it first happened, but the numbness/pins and needles/pains in my left hand have definitely changed for, hopefully, the better. It's now stuck again, and experience suggests it will be like this for a few more days at least before the next change creeps up. In many respects it is all more painful now than it has been.

 As some rather weak, but normal sensation returns the finger next to the little finger, the little finger itself is often very painful. It is painful to touch in many ways, and often has phantoms pains in it for no reason. I think I tried to explain all this yesterday, but having just gone through a short period where it felt like the finger was being jabbed by a pin at random intervals, I thought it would make me feel better to moan about it all over again !!

 I stayed up unusually late last night. I think it was 10.30pm when I went to bed. Like some recent nights I went through two distinct phases of sleep. I went to sleep fairly quickly, and apparently slept well for an hour or two. Then I woke up, and couldn't get back to sleep again for an hour or two, but when I did I fell into another fairly deep sleep that seemed to last for several hours.

 About an hour before dawn, or 6am, I woke up but didn't really want to get up. I wanted to go back to sleep again, but all attempts to sleep more failed after mere minutes. Eventually the sun rose, and it became obvious that it was getting quite bright outside. I can't say that I was feeling as if I was bursting with energy, or had any energy at all, but I thought I ought to try and get out and frolic in the sunshine while it lasted. Well, maybe not frolic exactly, but to go for a bit of a walk. As is often the case, the more I walked, the more my range seemed to extend. Eventually I walked 2 miles, but it could have been more as I shall explain soon.
Today's walk
This was today's walk - through the park, through a mini park, and up on to the top of the world - well it feels as close to the top of the world as you can get around here - Blyth Hill Fields.
tree over the river
Going through Ladywell Fields - I didn't seem to recall the tree leaning so far over the river before the recent storms, but the tree, apart from suffering from autumn, seems healthy enough.
The colours of autumn
Some trees remain green, but the one in the centre of this picture had very yellow leaves.
more autumn colours in Ladywell Fields
Another autumn scene in Ladywell Fields.
Ravensbourne Park Gardens
A little mini park that I passed through on my walk
inside Ravensbourne Park Gardens
Inside Ravensbourne Park Gardens.
Back in the early 1960s, in the days before paedophiles, terrorists, or George Bush, this wasn't a park, but a piece of derelict ground used for hell raising adventures by a few young boys - very often me and my friend Kevin. No health and safety rules meant that you had to actually think to avoid having accidents involving rusty metal, unguarded holes in the ground, broken glass, rusty nails, and sometimes fireworks. Funnily enough I can't remember even getting a single scratch while doing stuff in there that would have a modern health and safety inspector apoplectic !!
Blythe Hill Fields
This was essentially my final destination. It looks like I reached it at night, but it is the way the sun was hitting the sign. It was hitting it face on, and it was dazzling bright. So the background looked very dark by comparison.
Looking out over Docklands and London from Blythe Hill
The view from Blythe Hill Fields, being the highest land around for some distance, is rather spectacular. It is possibly only 300ft above sea level, but sometimes it feels like you are looking down on Canary Wharf off in the distance......
Canary Wharf from Blythe Hill Fields
......turning the camera up to full zoom reveals the roofs of houses in the foreground, and the towers of Canary Wharf in all their glory. It may have only been about 300ft above sea level (at a guess) where I was, but the air seemed rarified enough that my swim bladder seemed to want to equalise it's pressure to the outside world. At least I think that explains why I was venting excess gas from within the trouser area. At some times it felt like being near a toilet would have been a jolly good idea.

 I did have one other problem that started in approximately the last half mile of my walk. My right foot became painful for some unexplained reason. If it had been my left foor I would have blamed it on losing a yard of vein feeding it going missing, but as far as I know, my recent surgery did not interfere with the smooth working of my right leg and foot. In fact, generally speaking, my right hand side is pretty much in full working order - or was until my foot failed this morning.

 The pain, which runs from very mild, to very annoying, but stops short of medium agony, is like a sort of crampy pain in/on/under/whatever the arch of my foot. It is still quite sore even now, several hours later, and particularly so when walking downstairs. When I am not actually walking, and even more so when I take the weight off the foot, there is no pain at all - complete zero ! I feel fairly certain it is one of those pains that suddenly won't be there, having cured itself, in a matter of a few more hours, or maybe overnight.

 With my foot becoming increasingly sore, and a pressure equalisation difficulty introducing some uncertainty, I decided to cut short my walk. The quickest way home was to walk straight down the steep hill to the main road, and get a bus the two stops back to Catford (by the stations). Funnily enough, the "pressure equalisation" problem did go away at the bottom of the hill. It is possible that it was one of those jokes that may have had a microscopic tiny grain of plausability in it somewhere :-)

 The bus back was fairly full, and I had to stand. The nearest grab pole was by my rather weak left hand. It was an interesting test of my residual strength, plus good practice holding on with that hand as the lurched about on the way back. When I got off the bus I still had a 7 or 8 minute walk to get back home on my dodgy foot. It was uncomfortable, but not terribly slow, and I don't think it really slowed me down to any significant extent.

  This afternoon I feel I ought to rest my right foot. That is probably the best excuse I can come up with to explain being incredibly lazy. Tomorrow I had planned on going to work very early in the morning - a dry run for when I do eventually return to work officially. Two things are going to stop this happening. The first is that when I made a suggestion to work that I would probably do it, I had forgotten that I have an appointment with the nurse at 9.15 in the morning. The other thing is that it is forecast to be pouring with rain - which rather rules out a dry run. I expect I'll still go into work to deliver the latest sick note from my doctor, but it will be later in the morning, and I may not stay as late as I might have.
Saturday 9th November 2013
08:39 GMT

   I don't think there was as much rain last night as the forecast suggested there might be. Here's hoping that the forecast for today is wrong. The day has started dry with a hint of brightness in the east, but also a load of dark looking clouds looming. The temperature this morning is particularly low - just 6 C - and it is only going to rise a degree or two during the day according to the BBC forecast. That forecast also says that it will be raining in an hour or two, but from mid to late afternoon it will be back to cold and dry. A frost is forecast for tomorrow morning !!!!!

 My careful eating meant my blood sugar level had dropped to a very acceptable level before going to see my doctor yesterday. My blood pressure was also pretty good when I checked it at home, but of course in the surgery it was very high - as usual. The upshot is that my doctor could not give his agreement for the cardiac liason nurse to put me on the physiotherapy course - which is good - nor would he agree to let me go back to work - which is bad.

 Somehow I have to find the discipline to do at home what is so easy at work - eat less and more healthily. Before my introduction to the joys of open heart surgery I had a really good system going, and I lost a couple of stone (probably) and a lost quite a lot of gut (definitely - as much as a couple of inches around my waist). It is really, really hard to do this while bored, and sometimes in pain  at home all day.  Not only that but no matter how I manage my money, my bank account is slowly shrinking because of the pathetic amount of sick pay I get. I really need to get back to work.

 It is possible I could still go back to work. The doctor says that my sick certificate is only a recommendation, and not a legally binding document, but health and safety rules imposed by insurers etc may prove to be a sticking point if I wanted to re-start work off my own back - which I do, and provided I ease myself into it in easy sized portions, I am convinced I can not only do it, but that it will be good for me. If nothing else, I can't wait to get back in the position where I can moan to my hearts content about having to go to work everyday :-)

 Last night a curious thing happened. I got into bed at just past 10pm, and I fell asleep very quickly with no problems whatsoever. It feels like months, and probably is months since I last managed that. Of course it didn't last. Within an hour I was awake again, and some discomfort from my left hand kept me awake for some time. It was past midnight when I got back to sleep, and on the whole I slept well again for the next few hours. From sometime after 4am my sleep became increasingly intermittent. At about 6am I gave up and got up.

 There has been a definite, but badly defined change to my left hand. It still gives some pain. My little finger is still mostly a mass of painful tingles, but I find I am using my left hand more and more, and it seems some strength is returning to it. The finger next to the little finger is still dancing on the edge of the threshold to normality. It has some sensation under the tingling, and has done now for maybe the longest period of time since all this started.

 My hand, but even more so, my chest changes so slowly that I sometimes have to think back to see if what I could do today is better than what I could do last week. This morning, for the first time in 2 and a bit months (I am ashamed to say) I changed my bed linen. It has always been hard work, particularly fighting the duvet into the duvet cover, and I am not sure if I could have managed it until today - or at least managed it with the minimal amount of pain it caused this morning.

 This morning I am seeing my friend Aleemah. I'm guessing that in about an hour I'll be meeting her at the station, and then we'll walk down to the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast. After that we'l come back here for a few hours, and watch some more episodes of the rebooted version of The Tomorrow People.

 When Aleemah goes home again, sometime early this afternoon, I shall be very tempted to be very lazy, but I will have a go at doing something worthwhile - although I haven't got a clue what that could be. Maybe some housework or something. Another possibility, although it feels highly unlikely as I write this, is to go out for a walk for a bit. Actually doing anything other than reading, eating, and/or watching TV is probably unlikely, but we can always dream.......
Friday 8th November 2013
12:21 GMT

   It was dry at sunset yesterday, and seemed to stay dry overnight, but since dawn there have been a few tiny short lived misty rainfalls. Right now, as I sit here typing this, the sun seems to be trying to come out. Maybe a bit of sunshine will raise the temperature by half a degree or so. It is currently 13 C. More rain is on it's way, and could be here tonight or tomorrow morning.

 My new printer arrived at about 2pm, and so did not interfere with my plans for the evening. Although brand new, I didn't realise it was a new model of printer, and at the moment it is not directly supported by Linux, but the driver for a slightly old model seems to work just fine. I'll be able to print out a carefully selected selection of blood pressure readings to take along to my doctor later this afternoon.

 Last night was rather good. Going for a beer with the Thursday night gang is always good, but last night it was extra special because I was in very little pain. The two small fingers on my left hand were still numb, but were not giving me any trouble, and even the scars on my chest didn't seem to be very sensitive for a change. So I was able to stay for the full session in comfort, and I enjoyed myself a lot. I also got fairly, but not outrageously drunk. It was probably at least a 5 pint night of assorted strength ales !

 After the pub I visited the fried chicken shop where I bought rather more than I needed. I had eaten a fair amount in the morning, but hardly anything in the afternoon. So initially I was rather peckish - with that being amplified by the beer. When I got the chicken home I found, for some strange reason, that I was far less hungry than I thought, and I now have quite a lot of chicken left over from last night that will be perfect for my dinner and/or supper tonight. There are also some left over chips, but I'll probably throw them away - they are usually disgusting if re-heated in a microwave !

 During the night I got two blocks of rather good unusualy good sleep. Between the two I had to wait an hour (maybe a half hour - I wasn't really paying attention) for a couple of paracetamol tablets to dampen down a bit of a hangover, and a few other aches and pains. I think I woke up for the last time at about 6am this morning, and I felt both good and bad.

 It was a mixture of good and bad around my left hand for one thing. I had a painful feeling of tightness at the top of my arm, but my left hand was feeling closer to normal than it has for ages - perhaps at any time since the surgery. Neither the pain, nor the extra sensation in the hand lasted that long, although even now I am sure my little finger is tingling rather less than recently. The finger next to it has something like feeling in it. It's not quite there, but seems a fine indicator of things to come.

 My chest was probably bad in some respects when I woke up, and continues to be so. I know that one of the reasons for my better sleep is that I slept on my side for at least some of the night. The only trouble with that is that it does seem to pull on my scars (both external and internal - I think). I don't think it does any real damage, but it does leave a fairly strong residue of pain if I am not careful.

 It took a few hours after waking to get in the right frame of mind to shampoo and shower prior to going out - even if it was only going out shopping in Aldi. I don't know how I let myself do it, but I seemed to buy far too much compared with how much I could comfortably carry home. So I arrived back home feeling shattered - most of it stemming from trying to carry a heavy bag using only two fingers on my left hand.

 One of the most annoying aspects is that I bought some very tasty things that I would like to sink my teeth into, and of course there is the left over fried chicken from last night that is so tempting, but I can't eat any of it yet. I am either gaming the system, or demonstrating what some of my blood pressure/sugar level readings could be if I was in a more regulated environment (i.e. at work) instead of sitting around bored at home all day. So I am, or was attempting to not eat until I've seen my doctor late this afternoon.

 It was a good plan that slightly failed because the fruit that I intended to have for elevenses was just a little too bland and a lot less sweet than I thought it would be.  I had allowed the Asian pears get too ripe, and they tasted bloody horrible. The little Cox's apples were rather tart, and the freshly bought strawberries were tastless. So I gave in an had one small(ish) cheese and onion sandwich to take the taste away.

 Tonight I am not going to even consider going out anywhere to any gigs. I think there is at least one going on that I could get to, but I am not sure if I really like the band. So I am staying in, and I intend to enjoy some left over fried chicken, and maybe something else that I bought from Aldi today.  I didn't buy any booze so I'll have to go to bed sober tonight, but hopefully I'll sleep OK.
Thursday 7th November 2013
06:03 GMT

   The puddles show that it did rain overnight, but I don't think it is raining now (or if it is, it is such a fine drizzle that I would have to go outside to detect it). All the overnight cloud, and the wind from the south, means that this morning it is 12 C according to my outside, radio connected, thermometer. The forecast is for the temperature to actualy drop by a degree during a light grey morning, and then go back up a degree during the afternoon when it should be brighter (maybe we'll even get a glimpse of the sun).

 Just for a change I am up, washed, and potentially even ready to go to work nice and early this morning. I think it is part of a long term strategy to try and get to sleep earlier, and up earlier in preparation for a return to work. Of course I wasn't thinking like that half an hour ago. Then I was thinking that I had too many aches to get back to sleep again, and I was also thinking that I ought to be ready as soon as possible for the delivery of my new printer from Amazon. I doubt it will be here that early, but the tracking information shows it to be moving quite fast.

 Last night I was reading back through my diary to see how I felt in the first few weeks after being discharged from hospital. Superficially, it seems that I am still moaning about the same aches and pains a month and a half later, but that is not quite correct. There have been improvements or changes for the better.

 One bit of me has evidently improved a lot. I made several mentions about my left leg, where a yard of vein was extracted for the transplant. I said it felt stiff, and implied it was uncomfortable, although I think I stopped short of saying it was painful. There is still a tiny bit of the scar that is yet to be fully healed, but most of the time I don't even think about the leg. So that must be a great improvement.

 My chest is a great source of discomfort to me, and if anything it is worse now than in the first 3 weeks after the operation..........but it is all rather subjective. My chest has healed to the point where I can take liberties with it, and it is those liberties that cause the pain - on the whole. If I was as careful now as I was in those first three weeks I would suffer very litte pain at all, but it would come at the cost of mobility. Now it is a matter of being as normal as possible up to the point where it hurts, and then backing off a notch.

 The last bit of me that is still painful is a matter of concern. It is my left hand, and it's numbness - although numbness implies no sensation at all - which is definitely not the case !  Maybe I need a new name for it that tells of normal sensation replaced by tingles and other painful sensations. Some days it seems just as bad as it has ever been, but I am reminded that it was only as little as a few weeks ago that I was getting a lot of pain in my arm too. Most, but not all, of the pain I get now is confined to the hand, and more specifically, the half of my hand that contains the little finger.

 There have been several occasions when I have announced that I have detected a change in the sensation of my left hand, and each time I have said that it must be an indicator that the bruised/damaged nerves to it are healing. I think I was probably right, but I am growing increasingly impatient for the great breakthrough when some sense of normality returns. One of the great problems is trying to chart the progress of my hand is that there are no easy ways to measure and describe each little pain or tic, and even if there was half a way to do it, it is still a situation that can change hour by hour. For now I will keep deluding myself that there is progress in the right direction.

 I have no idea when my new printer will arrive, but I suspect it could be as early as some time this morning. It will be handy if it does because I would like to pop out to buy a bit of shopping, but number one priority is to wait for the printer to arrive. The very worse case scenario would be if it ended up being delivered in the evening. Tonight the Thursday Gang are drinking in The Catford Bridge Tavern, and I am rather looking forward to joining in rather than waiting for a delivery - but in the worst case the delivery comes first - alas !
Wednesday 6th November 2013
16:28 GMT

   There has probably been intermittent drizzle all day today, but it has been a little less cold that recently. The current temperature is 15 C - possibly the closest it has come to being mild all week. It is forecast to rain more substantially after dark tonight, but tomorrow may well be dry, sometimes bright, but at just 11 C definitely rather cool !

 Yesterday was a funny day - in a non funny sort of way. It was nice when it was over. To hasten it;s end I finished off my bottle of scotch. I doubt there was even a quarter of a litre left in the bottle, but it was just enough to leave a slightly mellow sort of feeling. If I really wanted it to help me sleep I would have preferred to drink more, but once the bottom of the bottle is reached there is no more. Nevertheless it did help me sleep, and I think I had a fairly pleasant night.

 As seems usual now, my sleep started off a bit intemittent, and gradually I was asleep for long and longer periods. By the early hours of the morning I seemed to get a couple of 2 hour blocks of sleep. Even when I slept for shorter periods I seemed to fall asleep after waking very quickly. I remember seeing the time was 4am, and in no time at all it was 5am. A whole hour had passed and I was barely aware of it.

 This better sleeping makes for better dreams. I can't remember anything except one small part of one dream, but I feel that they were very entertaining at the time. The bit I remember is remembered more in concept than cinemascope, and it was something to do with mutant fruit growing on the banks of a once very polluted river. The fruit, which was a soft fruit, perhaps strawberries, but maybe blackberries, was football sized, and when tested by the public food inspector was found to be perfectly safe to eat, and would provide 10 of your "5 a day".

 I woke up this morning with about the lightest detectable hangover possible. If I didn't concentrate hard I would not even have realised I had one. That made me think that it would be a good time to go and visit work again, but a couple of things got in the way of that. Firstly I did have a few aches and pains. I am sure I did something bad to my chest the night before when I was tossing and turning half the night. If I move in the wrong way I get quite a strong pain under my right boob. I suspect I've pulled a stitch (or something equivalent to that).

 My left hand is being quite indecisive at the moment. It improved, but seems to have got stuck between improvements. I find myself picking things up with it more like it is almost working OK, and I have definitely retained a small amount of muscle control of the little finger, but that finger, and around it is horribly tingly when stimulated in the wrong way. Sometimes some of the pain leaks into the wrist, or even into the arm, but fortunately that is very rare now compared to a couple of weeks back. 

 There is one indication that things are still stirring in the bruised nerves feeding my little fingers on my left hand, and it is quite nasty in some respects. At totally random times, maybe no more than twice a day, it feels like someone has stuck a pin in my little finger. It's a purely phantom pain, and it hardly lasts more than a blink of the eye, but it comes as a bit of a shock when it happens.

 These pains were a small part of the reason why I didn't go and visit work. A bigger reason is that I've had an urge to get a new printer for my PC. My current printer, which came out of a skip has gone from barely working to not working at all, and I'd rather like to print off a spreadsheet of all the blood pressure reading I've taken myself to present to my doctor when I see him on Friday. It helps reassure him that I am not dying as fast as certain miserable nurses seem to think I am !

 I thought that Tesco had some printers in store, and I gathered together all my Clubcard vouchers and went and had a look. I found that they didn't have any visibly in stock at the moment. So I bought a couple of sandwiches, and came home again. Back at home I took a look at amazon and found a cheap printer that I ordered. In theory it should be here sometime tomorrow. I hope it doesn't arrive too late and interferes with any possible Thursday night drinking.

 This afternoon seems to have passed remarkably quickly despite me not really doing anything of note. I've watched a bit of TV, and read a chapter of the book I am currently reading. I might have had a snooze too (but I might have just closed my eyes for a minute). It doesn't seem much, but in an hour it will be time for the evening news on TV. That will be followed by an hour or two of "light entertainment" on TV, and then I'll be slowly preparing to go to bed for another night. I doubt I'll actually get to sleep for three or four hours, but I'll probably feel too tired to do anything. Sooner or later I will have to tackle that feeling head on because there is a huge difference between feeling too tired and actually being too tired !
Tuesday 5th November 2013
17:22 GMT

   It didn't look very nice, but it didn't rain during the first part of the morning, but by mid morning it was happily drizzling down. I don't think there were any heavy showers, but it was probably quite persistent until this afternoon when there were a few sunny spells. It seems to be dry outside now. This morning was very slightly less cold than yesterday morning - possibly around 10 C thanks to the extensive cloud cover. Now, just a little while after sunset, it is barely 11 C. Tomorrow the weather is forecast to be so appalling that I can't bare to bring myself to describe it.

 There is something fundementally wrong with today at a deep metaphysical level. It's probably something to do with the Moon being in Uranus, or maybe not enough goats/virgins/chickens/heretics/sinners/pagans * were sacrificed yesterday/today, or perhaps God has a hangover, or she is having a period. I am not the only one to notice it. Reading through comments and postings on social media web sites shows many people having unusual trouble with their lifestyles today. These range from the mundane to someone accidently dropping their toothbrush down the toilet bowl.

* select according to your own preferences

 I only mention this negativity as a poor excuse for my own negativity today. It started overnight when, after getting excited about the prospect of another, or maybe even an even better nights sleep, I went on to have a really crappy night instead. Some of it may be directly attributed to pain in my left hand, with some of the pain even creeping into my wrist, but that may have also just been the trigger for worse things.

 In an attempt to get comfortable I tried sleeping on my left side, and on my right side (as well as on my back). Sleeping on my left side is almost getting comfortable now, but sometimes, last night very much included, it can give me a pain in the neck. Sleeping on my right side still gives strange sensations in my chest, and can pull my scar tissue if I am not careful. The very worst is to toss and turn trying each position in turn because that really pulls the scars in my chest around. My chest ended up feeling quite sore, and the soreness persists even now albeit at a reduced strength.

 So I started today feeling sore, and may have made it slightly worse when I washed my hair and had a shower this morning. I then added to the misery by putting a shirt on to go out. Fortunately that is one area where there is a very obvious improvement. I still prefer to go around bare chested indoors, but wearing a shirt when going out is getting less and less uncomfortable every day now. Quite often I forget the irritation to my scar tissue (and also the very strange sensation on my slightly numb left man boob) after a while, and it's only on odd occasions while I am out that I am reminded of it.

 Before going out, which was to give yet another blood sample to the vampires up in the attic of the surgery, I checked my blood pressure. It wasn't too bad at all - which was rather pleasing, but my blood glucose level was disappointingly high, and getting a bit critical. There are various "cures" for my blood glucose, and the best one is to get back to work where I can have a more regulated day, and get back on my diet. I may not be ready for that yet, but the drug Metformin may help in the meantime, and once I get to see my doctor he may well prescribe it for me. The trouble is that I don't see him until Friday.

 I was supposed to see the nurse today, but while I was waiting to have blood drained from my arm I recieved a text message on my mobile phone saying the nurse was sick, my appointment was cancelled, and could I call to make a new appointment.  After giving the blood sample I went down to reception to see about a new appointment. The earliest I could get is Monday of next week ! I will of course be inspecting, and re-dressing my own wound well before that, and I expect it will be practically healed by now, but by next Monday it could be reeking of gangrene for all the NHS care !

 So I came home from the surgery just before the first rain fell. It was dull and gloomy, and I was in pain - not severe pain, but the irritating sort that jabs you in the ribs if you dare forget it's there. I felt pretty pissed off, and I felt hungry - a deadly combination that could only have been worse if I had given into the strong desire I had for a cigarette (or 20). As well as a common set of circumstances that might produce the desire for a fag, I think I was also forcibly reminded of it by the amount of coughing I've done recently.

 There are various potential reasons for me to suffer from what is quite frequently a bit of a dry cough. It is a known side effect of one of the blood pressure drugs I was taking. I am taking another one now that is supposed to not have that side effect. It can, and probably is, also a side effect of the hairs (or cillia) growing back in my lungs and airways as a result of not smoking two whole months and almost a week now. In theory the latter should not really be a dry cough, and indeed sometimes it isn't. I think that sometimes it just takes a lot of coughing to get some of the tar and stuff from deep in my lungs to the surface. I sometimes wonder if it is such a wonderful thing at the moment when each cough can sometimes, but not always, painfully jar my scar tissue.

 So this morning was not exactly a bundle of joy, and at exactly the same time as I should be eating less, and carefully, to reduce my blood sugar level, I ate all sorts of crap. Fortunately none of it contained overt amounts of sugar directly, but it was high in carbohydrates which get converted to sugars in the body.

 This afternoon, which was really just a continuation of this morning, I started to formulate a plan to finish off the last quarter litre of scotch I had. That's not enough for a good bender like the week before, but maybe it would act as a good soporific for tonight. Earier on I was sure I would do it. Having partly vented my spleen now, I am not quite so sure I feel the need to do it, but I think I probably will anyway.
Monday 4th November 2013
11:48 GMT

   Sometime during the night there was some heavy rain, but this morning dawned bright and sunny. I would have hoped that the overnight rain would have made this morning a little less cold, but even an hour or two after sun rise it was still only 7 C.  Several hours of dazzling sunshine later and it is still only 8.5 C. One forecast thinks it might make 10 C by the end of the day. We will lose the sunshine this afternoon, but it should stay dry until tomorrow when it will most likely pour down !

 Yesterday afternoon I virtually reprised the walk I had done in the morning. There were a couple of small but significant changes though. For a start it was a very slightly longer walk (perhaps an extra 100ft), and secondly It involved stopping at The Catford Bridge Tavern, and then The London And Rye to warm my fingers up (and to have a couple of pints of beer with Jodie).

 Oddly enough it was almost literally a couple of pints. It was only made a little more when I finished off the remains of a half pint that Jodie didn't like. Had we stayed in The Catford Bridge Tavern it could have been more than a couple of pints, but the London And Rye didn't seem to have that much to excite me despite being in the middle of one of their beer festivals. A beer festival in that pub is like every day in The Catford Bridge Tavern !

 During the evening I did my best not to get too carried away eating - and partly suceeded. I had eaten some naughty stuff in the morning, and I wanted to try and take some sort of control of my blood sugar level. Not having too much beer, which was just how things turned out rather than intended, helped a bit, and in the evening I managed to curb my enthusiasm, and kept my eating down to just a little bit more than needed (and less than wanted).

 I didn't take any pain killers, or similar drugs before going to bed last night.  That's not to say that I was pain free when I went to bed. The scar tissue on my chest, although very slowly de-sensitising, can still be a bit lively if I don't take care - plus there is obviously scar tissue inside my chest that is hard to keep track of, but once again I know to avoid, or lessen certain actions that make it all hurt more. The same, or similar is true of my left hand. That seems to be very sensitive now, and it has been for the last couple of days, but once again there are ways of not exciting it too much.

 Now I don't know if it was because I didn't take any drugs, or whether it is just because I am ever so slowly healing, but I think I slept rather better last night than anytime recently. It took some time to get to sleep, but probably quicker than recent nights. I still woke up frequently during the night, but the intervals between waking up seem to be getting longer. Until recently staying asleep for more than one hour seemed a rare occurence, but last night I think I may have had a couple of "sleeplets" of 90 minute - maybe even a full 2 hours on one occasion.

 With what was probably a better nights sleep, and after a day where I had made a sort of feeble attempt to practice some less unhealthy eating, I felt compelled to try and do something healthy this morning. Various ideas came to mind, but after feeling so crappy yesterday I didn't want to push the boat out too far. So I settled for a walk in the park.

 This morning I wore a thicker coat, and wore gloves. That helped to keep my left hand from getting too painful, but I was sweating like a pig when I got home again. It wasn't even a particularly long walk. I didn't use my gps tracker so I am unsure of the exact distance, but when I got home I estimated it to be no more than about 1.5 miles (at the time I thought it was more like 2 miles).
walk in the park
This mornings walk - north through the park, and then out to the main road to the east, and then south down the main road before west to take me back home.
storm damage
One large bough blown off a tree during the recent storm.
Blue skies and freezing air !!
It looked like very nice weather for walking, but at barely above 7 C it was perishing cold !

 I have to confess that on the way back home I passed a Tesco Express store. I've never been in one of these "mini Tesco's " before, and curiosity, and the idea of a sandwich got the better of me. I actually bought more than one sandwich, but I also bought some blueberries and and some satsumas as well. So I am at least keeping my vitamin C topped up.

 I'm not sure what I'm doing for the rest of the day. It is still brilliantly sunny outside, but I don't feel the urge to go out again. An exception could be if someone summoned me to a pub, but that while it could happen is unlikely in the extreme. Maybe I'm just going to be very lazy - and why not !
Sunday 3rd November 2013
12:54 GMT

   As per the forecast, this morning was bright and sunny, and also rather on the cool side (8 C or less)! It is still bright now, but more clouds seem to be appearing in the sky  - although the forecast suggests that it stay basically bright until sun set, and then soon after there could be a splash of rain. The temperature now is 12 C, and that is probably about the best today can offer.

 My sleep last night was initially hindered by pain from my left hand. It is going through a phase of being really annoying as the nerves to it gradually return to life. While some normal sensation slowly returns to the finger next to the little finger, the little finger itself is very often boiling with pain - easy to cope with during waking hours, but not so easy when trying to relax for sleep.

 I was thinking this morning that I probably often get close to 8 hours of beauty sleep many nights, but it takes 12 - 13 hours to do so. I don't think I managed it last night despite actually getting some quite good chunks of sleep in the small hours.  This morning I decided to get up at first light, and try and go for an early morning walk.

 I wasn't feeling terribly wonderful this morning, but I had a route in mind that didn't take me too far from home, and yet could cover quite a bit of distance if I so desired. It turned out that I didn't desire an extra long walk. My post-smoking cough seemed to be in full swing this morning, and on top of that I just felt a bit yucky in a way that is hard to describe without a list of mild or imagined  ailments several yards long.

 It was with some effort that I got myself out of the front door a little later than I expected, about 8.30am, for what turned out to be just a 1.25 mile walk. I went through the normal phases of feeling crap for the first few minutes until I got into the swing of it, and from then on it was mostly OK except for one small thing - my left hand.

 As it got colder and colder it became really unpleasantly painful. Even the gloves that I made a point of taking with me, made little difference once the pain became bad. If I hadn't been determined to take a few photos I could have put the gloves on earlier, and maybe I would have survived the cold a bit longer, but my camera came first....
looking west up the south circular towards the Catford Bridge Tavern
Looking west along the South Circular. In the distance the Catford Bridge Tavern, and across the road the "Turkish Food Express" that is open, and emitting freshly baked bread smells at 8.30am on a Sunday morning.
The Catford Bridge Tavern
The Catford Bridge Tavern.
 This place has an interesting future ahead of it. The people who run it don't own the building, and are expected to vacate the premises soon. The building is now listed, and can't really be used for anything but a pub. So it's current owners are expected to run it as a pub when the current management move out. The current management will, or hope they will, move their business and customer loyalty to new premises a couple of hundred yards down the road......
The new home of the Catford Bridge Tavern sometime in the not too distant future
It's currently the derelict Catford Conservative Club, but will be reborn as the Catford Constitutional Club when the current management of The Catford Bridge Tavern move here - hoping their  style of running a pub/bar will follow them together with all their regulars. Behind this entrance there is a substantial building that also has an entrance round the back - and possibly a small car park too.
The Catford Cat
The Catford Cat !
The site of the Rising Sun pub
This gap between the two building is the site of the recently demolished, but long closed, Rising Sun pub.

 After taking the picture of where the Rising Sun pub used to stand, my left hand was feeling really painful, and the little finger on it was pure agony. I put my gloves on then, but it was too late, and I had to terminate my walk after covering just 1.25 miles.

 Later this afternoon I should be going out again to meet Jodie for a drink in The Catford Bridge Tavern. This will be the same drink that we called off yesterday after the heavens opened just as we were about to arrange it. Hopefully that won't happen this time !!
Saturday 2nd November 2013
17:41 GMT

   One forecast suggested that there could have been a bit of brightness yesterday afternoon, and it was totally wrong as far as I can recall. All I remember is it staying quite dull until sun set. Sometime during the night it rained. The ground was quite wet at daybreak, but it wasn't long until some weak watery sunshine appeared, and everything started to dry out. By midday it was pleasantly sunny, but a couple of hours later it was pouring with rain. Then as quickly as it started, it dried up again, and it was sunny again until sun set. There is a chance that tomorrow morning will be bright and sunny...and really rather cool......but also a chance that the afternoon will be cool and wet.

 My left hand never regained quite as much feeling during the evening as it had earlier in the day, and since last night it has remained fairly static - it's better than it was, but not as good as it's best yesterday, and still quite a long way from fully recovered. This evening something may be happening because it is going through one of it's annoyingly painful phases - all tingles, mild urning sensations, and odd little pin prick sensations now and then. These are all signs, or should be signs of the nerves regenerating. Fingers crossed that they are !!

 This morning, for the third morning running, one of the first things I did was to do some more laundry. It is possible that the effort, and arm twisting required to do laundry by hand is having a detrimental effect on my left hand, but that is a rather a radical theory of mine, and probably incorrect. It is more likely doing some damage to the healing of my chest scar. Maybe it's worth though. I do like to exercise my independance when I can, and I don't like to impose on Jo and Chris who have been so wonderfully kind doing some of my laundry since coming out of hospital.

 Laundry is never completely done because the clothes I was wearing while doing the last of the last collection will now be added to a new collection that need laundering, but it feels good to have cleared the last lot. Sooner or later I am going to have to give in and change my stinking bed clothes. I'm not sure what I am going to do about cleaning them. If it was the height of summer I would do them by hand myself, but I think I am going to have to enlist some help. Whether I impose on Jo and Chris again, or carry out plan B is unknown for now. It's also unknown if plan B exists. I think I mentioned to Kevin the idea of visiting him with some suitable refreshement (hic !) and borrowing his washing machine for an hour, but I was definitely very drunk when, and if I did it. So I can't remember what reaction it provoked.....if any !

 This afternoon I was supposed to meet up with Jodie for a quick beer or two. Unfortunately at about the time she was thinking of heading this way it was pouring with rain. So the drink was called off - which was a pity because 15 minutes later it was bright sunshine outside again.

 I took advantage of the sunshine to walk to the cash machine to top up my wallet, and to get some shopping from Tesco on the way back. I'm not sure why, but I found it to be an unusually tiring little walk. Maybe it was some sort of knock on effect from doing my bit of laundry this morning, or maybe I was just feeling under the weather a bit. There is some evidence to back the latter up in as much as I didn't feel quite as hungry as I expected when I got back. Despite buying loads of scrumptious stuff, and much of it was semi healthy, I only ate two things. One was moderately unhealthy, and the other extremely so. If I had any room in the freezer to preserve some of the latter I may have eaten a more moderate portion, but I didn't, and I ended up being very naughty indeed !

 I feel quite tired tonight, but I have doubts if it is sleepy tired. I think it's more like lethargy tired. It would be ideal if I could do lots of sleeping in the first half of the night. I think last night almost came close to that. I think I was asleep relatively early, and got in a few hours of bits of sleep until at 1 or 2am I found I couldn't sleep any more for a few hours. As so often happens, I started sleeping quite well again at about 4am until almost 9am - once again in 60 to 90 minute segments. That's usually fine now, but it is not a plan that is going to work when I return to work.
Friday 1st November 2013
13:57 GMT

   Yesterday stayed dry, and it also stayed dull and cool. Most of it can be blamed on the change from BST to GMT, but even so it seemed to get dark very early last night. This morning it looked damp outside, but I don't think I saw any rain. It has been a moderately gloomy day so far, but there is a remote possibility that it might brighten up for a short while this afternoon.

 Yesterday saw some big improvements in the state of my left hand. The numbness, and tingling that have annoyed me so much showed some good signs of improvement. For quite a lot of the afternoon, and then into the evening, I had something close to normal sensation in the finger next to the little finger on my left hand. On a couple of rare occasions even the little finger seemed far less tingly, and had some detectable normal sensation to touch.

 This improvement comes and goes, and as I write this it has diminished a lot, but there have been plenty of times today when it has felt much better. There is one little test that the heart surgeon did that is a useful test to see how things are doing. I spread the fingers on my left hand, and try to push the little finger back to the non spread position. At the beginning of the week I could not put any resistance to to pushing the finger at all. It mght just as well have been made of soft rubber. There were times yesterday when I could put up a lot of resistance, and even now, when the little finger is very tingly, and the one next to it is back to feeling a bit bad, I can still put up a tiny bit of resistance.

 Maybe my hand took two steps forward yesterday, and this afternoon it has taken one step backwards, it is still an improvement, and I think it can only get better - and possibly quite fast too (where quite fast could still be almost a week, but not long compared to the time I've been waiting for this to happen).

 Later this afternoon I am off to see the nurse to get my leg wound checked, and possibly re-dressed. I took off the dressing this morning, and it seems fairly dry to me. One reason it has taken so long to repair has been completely overlooked by the nurses (and at least one doctor) - high blood sugar level. Maybe it is because my blood sugar level is rarely, if ever, hugely high, but it was 8.3 when I checked it just before having some lunch.

 That is higher than desired, but lower than I might have guessed after having some beers last night (plus some foodstuffs that I decline to name :-) ) I will be attempting to tweak my diet to keep my blood sugar level a bit lower if I can, but it is not going to stop me grabbing a beer when I can. Last night was the traditional "Thursday night gang" drink. I'm not sure when my next opportunity for boozing will take place. If I could summon up the stamina there is a gig on tonight, but at the best of times I would only be partly interested in going to it. So it doesn't look like I'll be going to that. Maybe I might have to arrange some sort of weekend boozing if I can find any willing volunteers.