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April 2014
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My Diary/BlogFor the Month of April 2014

Wednesday 30th April 2014
08:27 BST

  It was rather nice, in a guarded sort of way yesterday. For a short while, after coming out of the hospital, it would have been useful if the clouds had been so dark that it was like night. The morning started out a bit dull, but most of the day was fairly bright with occasional very bright sunny spells. I couldn't go as far as saying it was warm, but I would agree that it was not cold. Perhaps the top temperature was 15 C - maybe more, probably not that less. This morning was very foggy - in Catford, and all the way to Earlsfield via Waterloo. It is interesting that fogis formed when cold air meets warm damp air. I assume that the cold air was the overnight air, and that means that the air that met it is here now, and we can expect to feel warm and damp anytime now ! The forecast has certainly changed from cool, dull and wet to extended sunny spells with a top temperature of 17 C. The sun is out now here in Earlsfield, and if it can stay out it may raise the temperature even higher !
foggy Catford Bridge
 Fog at Catford Bridge this morning (approx 6.25am)

 Yesterday was a rather splendid day. It is very hard to explain the change when I can hardly explain the original problem, but I think my health might have improved. I am very aware that I could be deluding myself - thinking that a momentary change is a long lasting change. I've deluded myself so many times that it has become par for the course. There is some evidence that I might be making a very small change rather more important than it really is, but......

 I'm not sure if it was so evident when I first came back to work in the middle of last December, but certainly for the last few months I've had this annoying problem where I feel fatigued very quickly after starting to walk, and yet it doesn't seem to get significantly worse when I push myself to keep on walking - as I have to as I make my way into work (I can't exactly have a lie down in the middle of Waterloo station even though it often feels like I need to). There may have been hints about it for the last few days, but yesterday was the first time that I seemed to be almost over the problem.

 It's a little more than half a mile walk through the park to the hospital where I had my eye scan yesterday (then a little more through the corridors and up the staircases to the actual clinic). I didn't realise it at first, but I found myself striding through the park, and it only felt like I was carrying too much weight as my fatigue level slowly crept up - so slowly that at half a mile it felt exactly like I had walked half a mile. Now I must admit that I did stop outside the hospital for a couple of minutes to compose and send a text message, but it was hardly long enough to get my breath back - not that I was out of breath. Anyhow, once inside the hospital I shunned the lifts and when up the two flights of stairs. I arrived at the clinic rather sweaty (made worse by it feeling rather warm in there), but not feeling terribly knackered.

 My stamina seemed quite good when I walked back into Catford from the hospital, and straight into The London And Rye Wetherspoon's pub. I had guessed that I would finish the eye scan, and be in the pub by midday, and I was only 4 minutes out. I arrived at 11:56am. I had sent out text messages to Jodie and Kevin in the hope that one or both would join me for a quick drink. Both turned up, and it turned into a long drink !
beer !
 These were the beers available in the pub, and naturally, they all had to be tried. The best on was probably Zeunerts IPA - brewed by a Norwegian (I think) brewer - possibly in Norway, but probably in an English brewery borrowed for the occasion.
 They like their chalkboards in the pub. This one, displaying three single malt whiskys available amused me. Where do they find these descriptions ? Fresh pear and creamy oaks.....piffle !!! Whisky tastes like whisky. OK, different whiskys taste like different whiskys, and Tesco's "Special Reserve" seems to be my favourite whisky flavour, but it still tastes of whisky and not "tar gently curdled in armadillo cream", or "elephant spit with a hint of porpoise wee". If I wanted a vanilla and flowery fruitiness I would probably opt for stewed peaches with Birds custard poured over it ! I certainly would not be looking for a glass of Glenmorangie - which in my twisted opinion doesn't taste very nice no matter how much it costs.

 Well we had a laugh and joke, and quite a few pints of beer in the pub, but then it was time to leave. I wanted to buy some junk food from the 99p shop, and so I left first..........but not before we had arranged to meet up in The Catford Constitutional Club about 10 minutes later when it opened at 4pm.

 I was actually the first one there. Walking from the 99p shop to The CCC seemed a bit like hard work. Maybe not as hard as it would a few days ago, but not as easy as it should have been...although I do have to bear in mind that I was full of beer while I walked, and maybe that slowed me down a bit.

 I think we spent over 90 minutes in The CCC, but we may have only drunk another two pints in there. They usually have 6 beers on hand pump. One I didn't want to try, and I think there may have been one I didn't try (but equally it is possible that I did !). I felt I should have been very drunk when I went home after spending all afternoon boozing. Jodie was definitely a bit pixelated, but I still felt half sober, and that feeling lasted right up to the time that I went to bed when I would have expected to be feeling quite bad.

 I wasn't sober enough to cook myself a nice healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner when I got home just before the 6pm news on BBC1. I hadn't eaten a single thing all day up until that point, and I was feeling a bit peckish. Now that is not an understatement. I didn't feel starving as you might expect, and I was quite happy to just eat some of the junk food I had bought in the 99p shop - stuff like (alleged) low calorie baked crisps, and ultra high calorie stuff like chocolate (in a fairly small quantity). It was just enough to stave off the hunger pains until this morning.

 I ended up in bed very early last night. I think it was soon after 7pm, but it was mainly to read, and I really don't know when I put my book down and turned out the light. I think it was still light outside, and that means it was probably not long after 8pm. I was yawning a lot by then, but it seemed to take a fair time (maybe 15 minutes in reality) to fall asleep, and once asleep I slept like a log until about half past midnight when I woke up feeling refereshed and wide awake. It took something like an hour before I could get back to sleep, but once I did I was sleeping deeply enough to need my alarm to wake me.

 This morning I had a very light, almost hardly noticeable hangover, and generally speaking I felt rather good. I found myself walking to the station quite rapidly, and once again it just felt like I was too fat (which I am) rather than having anything wrong with me. I hope that one journey into work has not broken that improvement. Maybe it needs time to consolidate, but the walk from the station to work was not so easy. It wasn't quite as hard as it was a maybe few days ago, but it wasn't as free and easy as I hoped it might be. I did try and speed up a couple of times, but it felt like I was walking up a steep hill - except it didn't leave me breathless.

 If it is bright and sunny, as it seems it may well be, I might go out for a short walk at lunchtime (or some other time if I feel the need to stretch my legs), but the real test of how I feel will be when I walk to the station after work. That can be a chore even on my fittest days, on bad days it can leave me feeling quite depressed as I wonder why I want to waste over an hour of my life struggling to get home. Hopefully tonight will see an improvement on some of those dark and depressing journeys. Some bright sunshine will help a lot, and it seems quite possible it will be bright and sunny when I go home (but not guaranteed).
Tuesday 29th April 2014
08:56 BST

  Yesterday was not the finest of days. I think it was worse than expected. It didn't really brighten up until much later than forecast, and at some time in the afternoon there was a light shower. On the plus side it may have been a degree warmer than the rather poor 14 C that was forecast. This morning has started off very dull and damp feeling despite it being bone dry outside. It could rain this afternoon, and it In the last 30 minutes the weather forecast has changed completely. It now says it will be a bright afternoon, almost warm, and with sunny intervals. Oddly enough, for reasons I'll come to soon, this is not what I wanted !

 On the whole, I felt reasonably OK yesterday. I had no significant pains (although a few insignificant ones), and I didn't feel dead on my feet. At about midday the post arrived at work, and there was a packet from Amazon for me amongst it. I had ordered a bigger memory card for the Samsung camera I was given recently. The original memory card was a tiny 32MB "Memory Stick Duo" card, and I did wonder if the camera was capable of taking a bigger card. I am happy to report that the 1GB card, which was the smallest I could find, worked well. To make sure it worked I ventured out under the cloudy sky to seek some subjects in the park behind work.
dog and owner in the park
 I used full zoom for this picture, and then cropped it a fair amount. It's not pin sharp, but looks pretty fair to me.
running dog
 Once again I used full zoom, and a bit of cropping of the original image, but this action shot seems OK. Not bad for a free 3.2 megapixel camera ! If there is one thing wrong with the camera it is one shared by many small/budget cameras - the viewfinder screen is difficult to see in bright light. Fortunately this camera also has an optical view finder. It doesn't show stuff like when it's found focus, but it does allow you to line up a shot when all the screen is showing is just a milky blur.

 I don't know why, but I ate rather a lot when I got home from work yesterday. I seemed to be unusually hungry. I did my best to select semi-innocent ingredients, but I wouldn't be surprised if my trousers seem unusually tight when I try and put them on this morning. I haven't got properly dressed yet because I have the day off work. At 11:10 am I am due to have my yearly diabetic eye scan. This is also the reason why I am disappointed with the change in weather forecast I mentioned earlier. To take better pictures of my retinas (the area at the back of the eye) they put in drops to dilate the pupil. That makes everything seem painfully bright, and a nice dull overcast day would be much more soothing on the eyes. It now looks like I'll be emerging from the hospital into blinding white sunshine !

 When I come out of the hospital I am going to walk to the Wetherspoons pub in Catford for a pint. It is possible that Kevin might join me, but he thinks it may be a bit too early for him. Jodie expressed an interest too, but it will almost certainly be too early for her - she runs in a different time zone to the rest of us ! After my one, or several pints of beer I will come home again, and lay on my bed - mostly to read, but I wouldn't be surprised if I dropped off to sleep for a bit. I initially slept well last night, but what seemed to be, but probaby wasn't the last few hours of sleep were plagued with a sort of extended dream that wasn't very nice. Having a mad scientist, apparently a friend, making highly inflammable, and highly explosive, and incredibly unstable experimental rocket fuels in your back room does not inspire confidence in your safety, or the safety of your house  - no matter how interesting ! (This dream was almost certainly inspired by reading a book by John D. Clark about his research in the early days of rocket science. It is freely downloadable as a pdf file here, and is fascinating, if not rather scary !).
Monday 28th April 2014
08:20 BST

  If I had gone outside I suspect I might have felt it was close to being warm(ish) late yesterday afternoon. Apart from the fact that I didn't want to go out, there was no real reason why I couldn't go out. Instead of the rain that was forecast it was dry, although it was very dull. There might have been rain earlier in the night, but I know that there was a very heavy downpour at approx 3am this morning. I expected it to continue, but I haven't seen any rain since getting up and coming to work. The last forecast I saw said that this morning would be dry, but very dull until about an hour before midday. It should brighten up then, and if the weather sticks to the forecast I could be going home in bright sunshine, and it could easily feel quite warm in the sunshine despite the air temperature being as low as 14 C.

 I did a whole lot of nothing yesterday afternoon. The tiny bit where I wasn't doing nothing was when I was setting up a back-up run on my PC, and of course while I was preparing food and eating it. After my rather extravagant bacon and beans breakfast I had more sensible food for the rest of the day. Lunch was more oats mixed with milled linseed and stuff. Supper was salad with steamed salmon. If I had not had that delicious breakfast I could have claimed to have eaten very healthily yesterday. However, maybe I feel unusually good this morning despite what I ate last night.

 It was my intention to be asleep very early last night, but once again I found that I felt very uncomfortable when I tried to settle down in bed. It wasn't my knee and hip like it had been on previous nights. Last night it was everything else. I was either too warm or too cool. The pillows suddenly had lumps in them, as did the mattress, and there were probably other things that annoyed me, but have escaped my memory. Once I got to sleep, at least an hour later than intended, I slept well apart from what seemed to be an ongoing dream that was sometimes difficult to tell from reality - a reality, maybe not this one we are mostly familiar with !

 It's hard to admit it, but I feel unusually good this morning (not to be confused with actually feeling good). The walk to the station (where the knife I pictured yesterday is still lying on the tracks) was relatively easy. Instead of feeling like I was battling with crocked joints and muscles, it just felt like I was badly overweight (which of course I am).  I arrived at the station a tiny bit faster than recently normal, and I was only very slightly short of breath - sort of breathing deep but a long way from gasping.  Even the steep long walk over the link from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station didn't feel the killer that it often is - although I did pace myself to take it slightly easier than I used to like.

 There was a bit of surprise at Waterloo mainline station - on platform 5 to be precise. South West trains run 5 different types of train out of Waterloo, but until today I've only ever seen their class 455 trains call at Earlsfield station. Today, for reasons currently unknown, I had the pleasure of a class 458 "outer suburban" (i.e. very slightly posh) train to take me to Earlsfield.
Interior of class 458 "Juniper" train
 This picture gives an idea of what the inside of a class 458 train looks like. It's still 3 + 2 seating, but it has more window area, and a large toilet suitable for the disabled (which unlike many other train operating companies, South West trains keep in good order - or so I believe - I didn't check it today).
class 458 at Earlsfield station
 Here's my train at Earlsfield station. I don't think anyone looked too shocked at having a white train turn up instead of a red train.
class 455 pulling out of Earlsfield station
 Finally, here's my train leaving Earlsfield on it's way to Wimbledon, and ultimately to Dorking.

 One other little thing I did last night that I nearly forgot about, was to finally choose, and order, a beard trimmer. Strictly speaking, it is a hair trimmer, a rather perverse instrument, but it comes with a set of combs enabling beards to be trimmed back to lengths of 1 to 3mm (if I remember correctly). This implement of hair torture is cordless, runs for up to 40 minutes after being recharged, and is made by Philips, and cost 28. It should arrive here at work in the next couple of days. Once I get it home, and give it a charge, I will experiment on my own face to see what sort of shave I can get.
Sunday 27th April 2014
11:00 BST

  The weather didn't really follow the plan that was forecast for it - it was far sunnier, and far drier than it was supposed to be. I'm sure it was also warmer - at least it didn't feel chilly as the forecast suggested it might feel. The only sad bit was that instead of the sun going down in a blaze of glory soon after 8pm, it had actually turned quite cloudy.  This morning the sun keeps trying to shine, but the sky is very cloudy. There might have been a brief, and very light shower a little while ago, and the way it seems to be getting extremely dull outside would suggest that it could well rain again. The latest forecast by the BBC, updated just an hour ago, says that until 5pm we should be getting sunshine and showers - some of them heavy. After that it will be dry but cloudy into the night. Tomorrow looks like it will be wet. Meanwhile, I've seen 15 C on my outside thermometers, and the forecast says it should be just 13 C !

 It turned out that I didn't feel too bad yesterday. My legs felt a bit stiff when I started out to walk to the station to meet Aleemah, but at some point the pain faded away so slowly that it wasn't until a bit later in the morning that I realised my knee and hip were not hurting like they were the day before. I think the pain faded before we walked to the pub. So I can't really say it was the magical qualities of beer that helped, but maybe it was the spirit of Douglas Bader that helped me along......
The spirit of Kent
 The link to wikipedia explains more about Douglas Bader, but basically he was a fighter pilot in WW2. He had his legs amputated after a serious crash, but eventually carried on flying, and was responsible for downing many German planes, as well as having other adventures in prisoner of war camps. By perfect coincidence there was a beer on in the pub called Spirit Of Kent, and the pump label features a Supermarine Spitfire Mk9. Sadly it was brewed by The Westerham Brewery, and their beers never taste how I like my beer to taste - but it wasn't bad, and I could have easily drank more than the half pint taster I had.

 While I was waiting for Aleemah's train to arrive I glanced down onto the tracks just outside the ticket office.....
murder on the tracks
 Laying there in plain view was a kitchen knife. It didn't appear to have any blood on it, or I would have called the police, but it seemed most likely that it had been thrown onto the tracks when some murdering scum bag felt the police were getting too close....or something similar. With luck the station staff will get The British Transport Police to retrieve it, and match some fingerprints on it to some nasty villain (probably only 15 years old).

 After I had drunk one and a half pints of beer in the pub, and Aleemah had drunk her coffee, and eaten her veggietarian breakfast, we went to Aldi. As usual I did my best to avoid buying too many naughty foods, and maybe I did a little better than usual. Two items I bought have potentially useful health benefits - should I care to use them properly. The first was porridge oats. I don't like cooked porridge, but I quite like raw oats with milk. It is very low in sugar, and high in fibre, and generally considered to be good for you in all sorts of ways. The other thing was similar. It was milled linseed with bits of dried berry and stuff. It is suggested it is used as a garnish for various desserts, and I tried some on oats. I guess it was quite tasty, and it could have formed a nice healthy breakfast for this morning (but didn't !).

 Once we got the shopping home we sat down to watch a DVD. Sometimes Aleemah brings over a good DVD, and sometimes a bad one. Yesterday it was a bad one - a movie called "A Thousand Kisses Deep". The plot could, and maybe should have been the basis for an interesting film, but I found it to be rather boring and tedious. Maybe not completely awful, but I wouldn't want to see it again.

 My original plan was to go out to a gig last night, and if that had happened then Aleemah was going to hang around and come along with to the gig for the first hour to see what it was all about. That plan changed when I decided it might be foolish to aggravate my knee and hip by going out in the cold and damp (not that it was particularly cold and damp) and then stand around for hours on end. I thought it might be more productive to try and rest my legs more. So Aleemah went home in the afternoon, and I got down to some intensive laying down and resting.

 I didn't do anything of note for the rest of yesterday, and by bedtime I had totally forgotten that my knee or hip had ever given any trouble - that is until I turned out the light, turned over, and tried to go to sleep. At that very moment my knee became painful. Not agonising pain, but very mild pain, hardly noticeable pain under any circumstances except when trying to go to sleep in the dark when there is nothing to distract your entire attention from focussing on the bit that hurts. In the end I had to get up for a couple of hours until I felt so tired that nothing could distract me from sleep.

 I reckon it was midnight when I went to sleep, and I slept solidly for 5 hours. I woke up feeling strangely refreshed, and I probably could have got up then. After a while I went back to bed and got another couple of hours sleep.  I don't feel too bad this morning, but that's only because I don't really have to do anything - like commuting to work ! I have done two small tasks this morning. The first was to wash 4 shirts that I hope will be dry in time for work tomorrow (obviously only one will actually be needed tomorrow). The other task was to do a little bit of washing up prior to getting some breakfast cooked.

 Today, like many Sundays, is international bacon day ! Sunday is one day where there is a good chance I will have proper breakfast, and this morning it was bacon and beans. From a health point of view it was not ideal, and I'll probably farting look a good 'un tomorrow, but it was nice and tasty, and satisfied my cravings !

 I don't know what I am going to do this afternoon. It may get boring, or it may get interestings. It is still grey and nasty outside. So I think I'll be avoiding the great outdoors, but I have a couple of computer experiments I might do. I also want to buy a beard trimmer. I am doing really well trimming my beard with scissors these days. It took years and years before I realised I could actually do it myself, but now I feel the need to mechanise the process. Amazon have a bewildering variety of beard trimmers, and sooner or later I will have to decide whether to spend 6.99 or 230. Maybe somewhere in the region of 20 - 30 might not be too extravagant, and maybe I might go for a well known brand. Maybe even Philips, but not Panasonic. I'm not really sure I like Panasonic goods.
Saturday 26th April 2014
08:50 BST

  The weather yesterday was not too good, but better than today (unless today significantly improves). I think yesterday can be summed up in two words - grey and cool ! Fortunately it stayed dry while I was outside, but with the temperature possibly as low as 12 C it felt rather chilly at times. There was at least one shower yesterday. I didn't notice it happen, but the ground was wet with a few puddles when I left work to go home. This morning it is raining, and my thermometer says it is still just 12 C. Apparently it will get better. By late morning the sun may find a few gaps in the rain clouds, and by 8pm it will be bright and sunny. At least that is what the forecast says. During the early afternoon they say the temperature will peak at a measly 14 C ! I can't wait for 8pm when the sky will clear, and the sun will be out in a blaze of glory two minutes before it disappears below the horizon.....

 I did not feel too wonderful yesterday. Quite a lot of me was working quite well, but I still felt like I would have liked to lay down and gone to sleep. On top of that, my right knee was still uncomfortable. With the approaching wet weather it might have become slightly more uncomfortable. A knock on effect of my sore knee was that I probably wasn't walking properly, and that, together with the wet weather, managed to get my right hip feeling sore and creaky. I truly am becoming an old crock !

 Coming home from work with my legs in imperfect condition was more uncomfortable than actually painful, but combined with a lot of weariness I didn't feel like walking as far as Tesco as I intended to do on my way home. Instead I just bought some bread and cheese, plus a few other bits and pieces, like giant Greek beans in real tomato sauce, from the Turkish supermarket. It didn't make for the healthiest dinner possible - at least not in terms of calories and stuff, but it always seems soothing to my stomach - which seems fairly well behaved this morning.

 I was originally planning on going to a gig last night, but I couldn't face going out again once I got home. I didn't end up going to bed as early as I might have done if today was a work day, but I was still in bed by 9pm - probably not all that long after the gig started. The only problem is that I found it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep with both my knee and hip playing up. I eventually fell asleep, but I woke up quite a few times in the night, and all the time I was asleep I must have been thrashing about if the evidence of the state of my duvet is to be believed.

 This morning, after sleeping, however badly, for at least two hours later than I would if I was going to work, I do feel a bit refreshed, and although I've hardly put them to the test yet, my knee and hip feel less sore this morning. One bit of me that may be getting worse, but it might also be getting better, is the strange, intermittent undecipherable clicks and pops I get from my chest when performing some movements (which includes ordinary breathing sometimes). It's hard to describe them, and even harder to explain how getting more of them, but smaller feeling ones, may equate to them/it/whatever getting better.  They have never been painful, but just feel might odd !

 This morning I'll be going to the station to meet my friend Aleemah. From the station we'll go to the pub for breakfast (beer for me, a veggie breakfast for her). Then we will probably go into Aldi so I can pick up a few things. Then we will come back here to watch a DVD. After that things get hard to predict. I wanted to go to a gig tonight, and Aleemah said that she might come too, maybe just for an hour or so,  just to see what it was all about. While I would still like to go to that gig, I'm not sure if I'll have the energy, or if my knee and hip will co-operate, and even if they do whether it would be wise to put extra strain on them by standing on them for hours on end. I'll see how I feel later, but at the moment I am already predicting failure. If I don't go then Aleemah will probably go home mid afternoon, and I'll end up resting on my bed for the rest of the afternoon - maybe.
Friday 25th April 2014
08:43 BST

  Apart from the rain that fell in the early hours of the morning, it was a dry day yesterday. A bit more sunshine would have made it a nicer day, and a few more degrees than 15 C might have been nice too, but it wasn't too bad a day as it was. It felt comfortable to pop out to the park in my shirtsleeves at lunchtime, and to go home in just my shirtsleeves too - but only just ! Today we are back to doom and gloom. Sooner or later it is going to rain, but it has stayed dry so far this morning. There was quite a fog on the river in central London, but elswhere it has just been very grey. I think the rain is forecast to start quite soon, and it is forecast to continue until mid evening. I think the temperature is due to rise from about 10 C to a rather cool sounding 14 C - that may only be one degree less than yesterday, but it could make a world of difference - particularly when it is so grey and dowdy outside.

power to the people !  I had a most pleasant few hours in The Catford Constitutional Club after work last night. I had a very Devil may care attitude, and stayed later than usual. I seem to recall it was 8.45pm when I left, but I have to admit that my memory of events is a bit hazy now. I do remember that one of the beers I drank was called Wolfie Smith - taking a picture of the beer pump label obviously helps !

 I didn't know it at the time, and it was only while looking up a link for Wikipedia to explain how Wolfie Smith was the lead character in a comedy series called Citizen Smith that was broadcast by the BBC at then end of the 1970s, that I found that a bit of a stink has been raised about the brewery using this image of Robert Linsey playing the part of Wolfie Smith. It seems they have had a cease and desist order, and can no longer use this image. (Full story here).

 The beer was very nice, as were one or two others I tried last night. It might have been a 6 pint night - which I am sure takes it comfortably into an official government decreed "binge drinking session". The company was good too, but eventually I decided I had better go home. On the way I bought cod and chips.

 I did have a stupid plan that I might just possibly not bother to eat last night. I knew there was no way I could do that sober, and there was even less chance to do it when drunk. It was a similar strength plan to winning the lottery, or to have some stunningly beautiful woman to suddenly appear and announce that she loved me so deeply that it reached beyond the bottom of the Earth (or some such nonsense). A plan destined to fail, but all good fantasy fodder.

 After eating my cod and chips I went straight up to bed, and I was in bed, fast asleep, by 10pm - if my vague memory bears any relation to reality. I slept well until about 3pm when it all started to go wrong. I neded to get up several times, and after each time the bed became more and more bedraggled, and more and more uncomfortable. What I should have done is to turn on the light. Re-make the bed, turn off the light, turn off my alarm, and just sleep until I felt like it was definitely time to get up with no regard to having to come to work today.

 This morning I have a bit of a hangover, and I do feel a bit rotten because of it, and yet, as I predicted, many bits of me do feel better than usual. My legs are almost working well this morning, and I was moving quite a bit faster than yesterday. It is true that some bits of me felt rather uncomfortable. I had some random chest pains as well as some random gut pains, but I think the former was a result of sleeping awkwardly and stretching some of my internal scars, while that latter probably has something to do with me farting at an Olympic level this morning !

 On the way to work this morning I could have stopped for a minute or two at Waterloo station to take some pictures of what was going on, on the concourse, but I didn't need to because I took some pictures last night.
Lurpak at Waterloo
This was the scene last night with Lurpak showing off their cooks range of products - possibly a good idea because I thought they just made butter, but then again, these days I think most fats and oils should be used in diesel engines, and not eaten.
cooking bacon on Waterloo concourse  One strange thing is that though I remember cooking smells, I don't recall smelling bacon, but that looks like what is being cooked in this picture...and it is well known that the smell of bacon normally attracts people from far and wide, so it would be a sensible thing to cook on this occasion. In the bottom right of the picture is a man editing video. Some of the demonstrations were being videoed, and presumably will appear on You Tube and/or on some cookery programme on TV.
Thursday 24th April 2014
08:03 BST

  Nearly all of yesterday's weather forecast was wrong, but I suppose they almost got the flavour right even if the exact details were wrong. Much of the morning was sunny, but around midday it did get a bit cloudy. Fortunately it was not rain bearing cloud as had been forecasted. The top temperature of 17 C was comfortably exceeded by at least one or two degrees (maybe more in some spots). The rain that was forecast for after dark must have fallen at some time during the night because I woke up to some puddles in the road. This morning has started off with a cloudy sky, but the cloud is so thin in places that you can see blue behind it. I don't think much sun is expected for today, but we may see some. It is possible it will rain at some point. I think it was for today that they were saying on the TV weather forecast that there would be some big heavy, and rainy clouds around, and if one passed overhead we could get a downpour, and if not we would stay dry. It probably won't get as mild as yesterday, but maybe the top temperature will mtch what was originally forecast for yesterday - 17 C doesn't seem so bad.

 I still felt sleepy while I was at work yesterday, but maybe not as sleepy as the day before. A little while before my lunch break I decided to go outside and get a breath of fresh air. I had missed the sunshine, but it was still bright, and it felt mild enough to not bother with a coat. I seemed to be perfectly comfortable in my short sleeve shirt. I ended up walking a little way into the park at the back of the business estate, and it may be becuase I was walking quite slowly, taking in the scenery etc, that the initial ache from my right knee, and a few other mild aches seemed to just sort of evaporate. It wasn't great light for photography, and there was little worth taking pictures of, but I took some anyway...
The river Wandle looking north
This view from the footbridge that I usually spend a minute or two on to look at the duck (who were further down the river).
The river is The River Wandle, and this is looking towards andsworth and the River Thames.
looking south along the river wandle
Same footbridge but looking south towards Wimbledon.
view along the footpath
View across the park towards Wandsworth.
Probably the most exciting thing to photograph, but even better in real life - the end of a decaying log.
I didn't have the time or the inclination to walk very far in the park. In fact I was outside for barely more than 10 minutes, but it felt good to get some fresh air on my face and arms - so good that I took a chance and left my coat off when I went home after work. There were a couple of times when it did get very grey as if it might rain, but also a couple of times when there was some weak sunshine. Even with the poor amount of sunshine in the afternoon, the temperature was close to warm, and definitely comfortable when moving around (but feeling cold when quietly watching TV).

 In celebration I cooked a special healthy dinner (which is actually a lie because I had planned last night's dinner the night before that). Part one, because it was a two part dinner, was steamed salmon with steamed vegetables dressed with balsamic vinegar and white pepper. There was also a lot of condensation on the plate that diluted the balsamic vinegar, and made it look like the meal was swimming in it. I should have drained that condensation off because thevinegar was so dilute it could hardly be tasted.
steamed salmon and vegetables
Dinner, part two was a bowl of ready mixed salad with some cheap and nasty (and mostly tasteless) thin sliced chicken roll. I really don't know why I bothered with the chicken. It added nothing except calories, fat, and sodium nitrite and stuff. One thing it didn't do was to completely satisfy me. I still really wanted to eat more even after eating quite a substantial amount...well not really, What I really wanted to end the meal was a cigarette. It is the only time I get a craving, and it's for a cigarette and not nicotine. That craving lasted half the evening, and didn't really go until I had a large whisky ! I think the only way to stop that craving is to give up eating - which would probably be a good thing. It's well known that eating gives you cancer, erectile dysfunction, liver disease, kidney failure, hair loss, ingrowing toenails, and old age !

 Parts of last night were good. I was in bed nice and early, but I didn't seem to go to sleep until just before 9pm again. I then slept wonderfully until about 3.30am. There is something about that time. It may be when a train, perhaps and engineering train goes down the line, or it may be something completely different, but if I waked up at that exact time I can never seem to get back to sleep properly. I did sleep afterwards, but woke up often, and had strange disjointed dreams. Eventually I was woken by my alarm going off - maybe some of the times I thoight I was awake I was actually dreaming - who knows ?

 It probably comes as no surprise that I can't really say if I feel good or bad this morning. As usual it is a bit of both. I thought I felt fairly reasonable, but walking up the slope from the platform at Waterloo East station seemed like really hard work. I really wanted to stop and turn around to go back down again. There was no pain involved like there was prior to my heart bypass, but it was more like someone had tied heavy sand bags to my legs, and it was hard work moving them. By contrast, walking from the station to work, which, with some imagination, is just about detectable downhill*, was easy by comparison.

* The walk from the station to work almost parallels The River Wandle and is in the same direction as the flow as it flows down towards the river Thames. Over the 9 - 10 minute walk the ground probably only drops a couple of feet, maybe less, but it definitely drops !

 There is a good chance I will feel better tomorrow morning - with a special exemption. Tonight I am joining the lads for some beers in The Catford Constitutional Club. The chances are that I will have a mild hangover in the morning, and an even higher chance that my blood pressure will be significantly higher. It is the high blood pressure that fuels my body properly, and restores power to all my muscles. Of course sods law says that now I've predicted it, it will fail spectacularly, but fingers crossed that I'll be dancing and skipping my way to work in the morning while my head gently throbs away !
Wednesday 23rd April 2014
08:13 BST

  Once again the weather did what it wanted to do, and not what the forecasters suggested it should do. All the nasty greyness, and drizzle fizzled out by early afternoon, and although it seemed a rather daring thing to do while there was still lots of fluffy clouds in the sky, I did the second part of my journey home from work in just shirtsleeves - and it felt rather good ! It wasn't particularly warm, but neither did it feel cold. This morning most quadrants of the sky are cloudless. That allowed the temperature to drop a bit lower than recent mornings - probably around 8 - 10 C - and there was a lot of mist hovering just above the ground on the site of the old dog racing track, and parts of the park between Catford Bridge and Ladywell stations. I didn't see any mist elsewhere on my journey to work. The forecast suggests that there should be enough gaps in the cloud to let some occasional sunshine in, and that there could be a shower around midday, and then rain after dark. It's wrong so far, and let's hope that the predicted top temperature of 17 C is exceeded. It might just be a nice day today, or...

 It felt good to take off my coat as I waited for my train at Waterloo East on my way home from work yesterday. If I had been a bit more confident that it wouldn't rain (as one forecast sugested it might) I might have left my coat off when I first left work, but it did seem a bit cloudy while I walked from work to the station. Some bits of me didn't seem to feel too bad when I walked to the station, but two bits did - my feet. I think my feet and ankles may have swelled a bit more during the day, and that made my shoes feel a bit tight. They were comfortable when I went to Aldi on Monday, and they were comfortable when I went to work yesterday, but while they weren't agonising, they were most certainly uncomfortable going home again. That discomfort rather overshadowed most of the other things I might complain about.

 I did feel tired when I got home yesterday, and I was in bed, and fast asleep a good 10 or 15 minutes before 9pm. Before sleeping I had a little work to do, and some eating to carry out. Dinner, which incorporated a lot of salad and stuff, was probably the healthiest dinner I've had in some time. If I could just get myself in the right mood it could have been even better, but that right mood seems to be a bit of rare thing recently.

 The little jobs I had to do involved resaving the two videos I've shown on these pages in a form suitable for uploading to You Tube, and then, of course, uploading them. If you couldn't see them properly on my pages then you can see them right here - and

 I felt quite sleepy at work yesterday. There were a couple of occasions when I actually fell asleep for a second or two while reading stuff on my PC. So it is nice to report that I seemed to sleep really well last night. Maybe it was just exhaustion, or maybe it was because the temperature in my bedroom was ideal, and I just happened to find that magical spot where all bits of me were comfortable. I can remember waking up twice in the night. The first time was around 11pm, and then I don't remember any more until almost 4am. I didn't think I would get back to sleep properly after that second time, but the next thing I knew was my alarm going off to wake me up.

 In theory that should have been plenty of sleep, but I think I could have slept longer if I had the chance too. There is something deeply suspicious about how it's only on days when I can't sleep late that I feel able to do it easily ! I'll find out later whether last night's sleep was enough, or if I am going to doze off at work again today. On the whole I don't feel all that wonderful today. After eating slightly carefully yesterday I do feel ever so slightly more compact today, and that sort of feels good, but much of me feels quite worn out. I sometimes wonder if those surgeons, when the opened me up last September, stole all the good bits of me, and filled me up with sweepings from the operating room floor.

 Maybe it is some sort of legacy from my shoes being uncomfortable yesterday, or maybe it is something to do with the damage I might have done to my knee, and the adjacent leg when I fell up the footbridge at the station last week, but this morning my legs felt really tired as I walked from the station to work (and to a less extent when I walked from home to the station). I was breathing a bit deeply, but I was a long way from being short of breath, and yet my thigh muscles were aching like I had walked 10 miles - or more ! The last, and maybe only time I walked 10 miles, was the only time that my thigh muscles started to complain - until now ! The rest of my legs were complaining too, but it was the thigh muscles that seemed worst. It's rather annoying !

 I have given some thought about going out tonight. There is a gig on at The Albany in Sidcup, and I would like to see a bit of it. There is no easy way to get there. The problem is this end. The pub is right by Albany Park station, but to get on the right line for that either means getting a bus all the way to Lee station, or get a train to Lewisham and change there. Now that it is light until 8pm I ought to be considering some of these far away places, but maybe not while I still feel tired after 9pm, and it would probably be madness on an evening when I have to get up early for work the next morning. It is still not impossible that I'll go, but if I were a betting man I would put my money on me being in bed by 8.30pm tonight !
Tuesday 22nd April 2014
09:05 BST

  The rain that was promised/threatened for yesterday afternoon was a bit late arriving. Instead of 3pm it was more like 7 or 8pm before I was aware of any rain. It wasn't that sunny yesterday, but it seems it was enough to raise the temperature to 18 C in my back garden. Elsewhere in London there were reports of the temperature getting to a tad over 20 C. The rest of the country were not so lucky except for Cumbria which was similar to London according to my morning newspaper. This morning has started off almost mild, but internittently drizzly. It seems the whole day is going to be very grey - occasionally dry, but often drizzly, and with a chance of a thunderstorm kicking off at some point. Tomorrow should see less rain, maybe none at all, but no sunshine is forecast.

This morning was the first opportunity to try out the fruits of my labours by connecting through my new firewall from the big wide outside world (otherwise known as my work computer). I'm happy to say that it all appears in order, and that I remembered to allow myself to upload these words and pictures to my web server from here at work. Unfortunately the speed increase I got from using less antique equipment is in the wrong direction. So if you are trying to play any of the videos I occasionally put up you will still need to be patient as they stop and buffer. I might have been a bit over enthusiastic with the size and bit rate of the last two videos I put up. Maybe next time I'll make them a little smaller for more smooth action.

 I didn't do absolutely nothing yesterday afternoon, but after a shopping trip to Aldi, and doing a bit of laundry, I did very little more. It felt rather pleasant walking to Aldi in the warm sunshine while wearing just a short sleeved shirt. I sort of wish I had gone out for a longer walk, but I am not sure I would have enjoyed it so much. On a good day it does feel like I can walk a bit further without it feeling like hard work. I can now just about make it as far as Aldi without feeling any fatigue, but any further feels like hard work...or more specifically, it feels like I have already walked a long distance. It's not harder to walk further, maybe a lot further - I've never really put it to the test because once it feels like hard work there is no joy in it.

 I did my best to only buy non-naughty stuff from Aldi, and on the whole I succeeded. The raw peanuts might have been the worst thing I bought, but they would have been closely followed by some ready made sandwiches. I'm not sure about the minted lamb burgers. A lot of fat came out when I grilled them, but I would have to admit that there was a good chance that they still contained a lot of naughty fat in them when I had them for dinner with some mushy peas. It felt like a Sunday yesterday, and so dinner was a middle of the day sort of meal. In the evening I tried to have nothing more than fruit, but I seemed to accidently have some cheese and crackers to take the nasty acid taste of the fruit away. Sometime during the day the sandwiches also got eaten !

 One other variant yesterday was to try and avoid fizzy drinks to see if it made me fart less this morning. It's difficult to tell if it made much of an improvement. Maybe in the longer term it did, but my bedroom was rather whiffy this morning, and I cannot possibly reveal what the toilet was like. Since then things may possibly be a bit more stable. The rest of me is quite variable this morning. Despite getting a decent amount of sleep last night, I do think I would liked to have had time for at least another hour in bed this morning. On the positive side, my legs, with one specific exception, feel a bit more lively this morning, and my feet, ankles, and the bottom half of my legs seems to be less swollen.

 The one exception is my right knee. Maybe the occasional pain from that is distracting me from some of the more usual mild aches and pains. I don't know why it has taken a whole week to feel as bad as it does now, but I have to assume that it is the result of the fall I had at the beginning of last week. I think that there faint signs of a bruise appearing now, and it is a couple of inches lower than where it is grazed. It doesn't really cause any discomfort when walking, but after walking it can be quite uncomfortable to bend the knee when sitting down. The first few minutes on the train this morning were particularly uncomfortable.

 The other part of me, well perhaps two parts of me that are uncomfortable this morning are my wrists. One part of the laundry I did yesterday was a bath towel, and they need an awful amount of manhandling when wet. I was feeling quite tired by the time I got it on the line to start dripping dry. I fear I might have strained my wrists doing all that. It is not the first time, and experience suggests my wrists will probably feel fine by tomorrow, and quite probably mostly OK by the time I leave work today. I probably ought to wash big towels more frequently to build up my wrist muscles....or something.

 I got incredibly bored as the afternoon, and early evening passed by yesterday. TV was a total washout. There was nothing on except kids stuff, and sport. Even the Yesterday channel was showing a bloody programme about Whales (part of David Attenborough's "Blue Planet" series). Does anybody actually like whales ? They are big ugly creatures that spend their lives smelling fishy while hoovering up mega-tons of seafood cocktail that would be better used in curries, paellas, and on pizzas. If whales didn't taste so fishy, while looking life prime beef (according to my mum who tried some during WW2), I would strongly advocate eating them all until there were none left.

 I hope I am not bored tonight. It's unlikely. It often feels like the evening is so short after getting home from work that there is just time to have dinner before it's time for bed. Tonight I have to upload a couple of videos to You Tube (the same videos I put on these pages yesterday and the day before). That will take a bit of time, and then it probably really will be time for bed. At least by then I will probably have stopped sulking about this...
the 06:33 is cancelled !!
 My usual train for work, the 06:33 from Catford Bridge, was cancelled this morning. The reason given, in corporate speech, was that a member of the train crew was unavailable.
missing train crew
 When you consider that the train crew on suburban trains on SouthEastern is the driver - no more, no less - it would have been more factual to say the driver overslept this morning. The next train that goes directly to Waterloo East, where I change trains, is the 07:04. It doesn't really matter that getting that train makes me a little late for work. I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is that to get the later train means either a ridiculous 34 minute wait on a cold, draughty and wet railway station platform, or paying the full peak time rate by touching in with my Oyster card after the 06:30 cut-off point for off-peak travel. Usually it would also mean not getting a seat, but that wasn't so this morning. However, having to pay an extra 1 for my journey into work probably means I should kill the missing driver...if only I could be bothered to - which, fortunately enough, I can't be on this occasion, but next time.....!!!!
Monday 21st April 2014
11:20 BST

  Apart from the fact that I thought it was mild when I went to the corner shop in the rain yesterday, there is very little positive I can say about the weather yesterday. Until the last hour or two of daylight it was dull and grey. It rained, sometimes quite lightly, and a few times quite heavily, until mid afternoon when it seemed to slowly fizzle out. Eventually the sun tried to shine, but it was so low on the horizon that it barely made any difference. Today sees an improvement, possibly a short lived improvement. There is a a scattering of cloud in the sky, but the sun is shining, and the temperature is creeping up to it's forecast maximum of 18 C. When it gets there, at 3pm, it will start to rain - but the sun might stay shining ! At least that's what the forecasters think will happen. So get ready for storms, tempests, hurricanes, heatwaves, plagues of locusts, or anything that is different to the forecast !

 It was late yesterday afternoon when I decided I would use Smoothwall Express 3 for my new firewall. Installation went smoothly, although untangling the rats nest of wires to the old firewall, and the network hub that sat on top of it, was a nightmare ! I guess this website was down for about an hour after I changed over to the new firewall. I doubt the new firewall will make any difference to how you see these web pages, but for me it has made a very useful difference.

 Opinion was divided about whether the Pentium I class processor, and the rather small amount of RAM in the old firewall had much of an impact on connection speed. What is undisputed is that using legacy, 10MBs network interface cards would have a huge impact on my broadband connection speed now it has been increased (for free - apart from the price rise 2 months later - standard Vermin Media practice). My broadband speed is currently 20MBs, and at last I am seeing that on my internal PCs.

 Hopefully the 100MBs network interface cards I now use, plus a 300MHz Pentium II processor, 256MB RAM (I think), will keep me going for sometime into the future. A far larger hard drive should help too. The last firewall box might have lasted 10 years - and it was an obsolete PC when I converted it ! When first built it had a dial up modem in it - dial up internet !!!! Then at some point in the past I went over to broadband. It started at 1Mbs, and now through a series of "free" upgrades it is now 20 times faster - and the price has gone up 20 times in regular small increments ever since !

 There is nothing I need to do today, although I think I'll go shopping soon, and I could do some laundry. With so little to do I seemed to be able to stay relaxed in bed, and for the first time in ages I managed to get a good lie in. I think there is a good chance I got at least 9 hours sleep last night, and I think I feel better for it - mostly. My legs and feet are still swollen, and what seemed to be a bruised area adjacent to where I skinned my right knee is still painful. The rest of me seems in fair working order, and if I can ease off on all the bad things to eat today, I might possibly feel fairly OK tomorrow.
Sunday 20th April 2014
14:20 BST

  Yesterday's weather was bright but cold. I think my estimate of the top temperature being 14 C was probably about right. Overnight everything has changed. The patchy cloud yesterday has given over to thick grey clouds - and they leak ! I guess it was after 9am, maybe after 10am before the first rain fell. It hasn't been very heavy, but it seems to have been quite persistent.  The very weird thing is that it feels like the temperature has narrowly crosssed over the threshold between cold and mild. According to my outside thermometer it is 2 degrees cooler than yesterday, and yet it doesn't feel cold. It's cool, but not uncomfortably so. Tomorrow could see the sunshine return, and it might be less cool too, but there is still a fair chance of an occasional splash of rain.

 How can I describe yesterday when I can barely remember it ? I guess a whole lot of nothing happened, and in a way this is true. I was editing a couple of videos - very, very simple editing, but it takes time, and then there is a whole heap of time waiting for the finished "product" to render to it's final file format. The video's I embed on these pages, sourced on my own server, need two types of video format to cater for different web browsers, and two formats needs twice as long ! Here's another video taken at Friday night's Chain gig.
 It's not exactly a professional video (even if you stretch the definition by the length of the galaxy), but gives a flavour of the dancing that often breaks out once enough booze has been consumed !

 I did do some other stuff yesterday - both traditional evening activities. One thing was to make a second start at building my new firewall for my internet connection. The old one is still plodding along nicely, and the ancient, museum piece, Pentium 1 based Compaq PC will probably stagger on for a few more years yet, but it has a little problem. I think, although I am not certain, that I have been upgraded to 20MB/s broadband for "free" (except for the price rise that always follows a couple of months later). The only trouble is that one, or both network cards in my firewall box are only 10MB/s cards. So no matter what Vermin Media do, I can never exceed 10MB/s on my internal network. So that box has to go.

 The new box, using one of those new fangled Pentium II chips running at a blistering 300MHz (or is it 233MHz ?) is now built. All I have to do now is decide whether to install Smoothwall (like I am currently using), Ipcop, or Monowall. Decisions, decisions...... Maybe I might end up using Smoothwall again. If I could scrape all the cat hairs and other gunk out of the floppy drive of the current firewall I could actually make a back up to clone all the settings onto the new box, but I fear that would probably result in a lot of downtime. If I can, and it doesn't feel like it right now, I want to keep the amount of time my web server is off the air to mere minutes.

 The other thing I did last night was to cast fate to the wind, and blow my bank balance, and trouser waist size to smithereens by ordering a Chinese takeaway. A rather tasty Chinese takeaway as it happens. I think it turned up around 8pm, and so I ended up having a rather later dinner last night. That meant that I was also fairly late getting to bed, but it wasn't that late (although for the life of me I can't remember what time it was). My memory of yesterday is so vague that I reckon my blood pressure has blown a brain cell or a million - which would be very handy if something terrible happened yesterday.

 My sleep was quite relaxed last night. I think I got some extra sleep in by sleeping in blocks of about 4 hours, 3 hours and several 1 hour blocks. It was gone 9am by the time I had showered and dressed. That is unusually late for me, but I had been awake for some while before I went for a shower. I tried something new in the shower this morning.
Shower gel
 On the left is what was my usual shower gel, but it seems Aldi have discontinued it - sort of ! Both bottles are identical, both say "Lacura for men", and both say "Vivid", but the bottle on the right also says Vive (or VIVE), and that seems to make all the difference. The contents of the bottle on the left are orange coloured, and smell of something I can't describe, but it is pleasant. The contents of the bottle on the right is black, and it smells of coconut, and perhaps a hint of chocolate. It is pleasant enough, but I wish I had the old one back.

 This morning I feel quite good, but only because I don't have to go out anywhere. My guts were quite explosive for a short while this morning. It was for an unusually short time, and although I seemed to be quite noisy internally, I had hardly any discomfort. In the last 20 seconds I have now changed my mind about what might have been another problem had I gone out. I now think going out could have been beneficial.

 I hope it is a delayed result of my fall up the stairs at the station on Monday, but the pain I'm getting in my right leg could be something to do with my cardiology problem (if indeed I do have a cardiology problem). It's a strange sort of mild pain just below, and to my left of where I grazed my knee. It feels a bit like the skin is tight there, and if it was where the graze is then there would be no mystery about it, but it's not, it's a couple of inches away. It is quite similar to the pain I get on my left leg from time to time. I am sure that is caused by what looks like an incredibly slow healing chemical burn. It is either where the surgeons started or finished extracting the vein from my leg that was used for my heart.

 Quite what they did to disfigure me like that is a complete mystery. Occasionally it can itch, but it rarely give any pain apart from a sort of tight feeling when I stretch my leg and foot out. The feeling I am getting near my right kneecap is similar, and with both legs, feet, and ankles swollen more than usual today, it could indeed be tight skin. Staying in and resting it could actually be the wrong thing to do. A little earlier I walked to the cornet shop. It's only a couple of minutes there, and the same coming back, but even that little walk may have improved things.

 Apart from buying stuff from the cornet shop, and testing new versions of shower gel, I seem to have spent a fair amount of time playing with photos today.
Night Owl, or is it Chain ? Jo Corteen and Dave Griffiths playing in The Catford Ram - Friday 18th April 2014
 Here's Jo Corteen and Dave Griffiths playing in The Catford Ram last Friday (18th April). Officially it was a Chain gig, but this picture could equally have been of their new project Night Owl - playing just as a duo with elctro-acoustic guitar and keyboards.

 Sometimes you take a picture and it doesn't come out quite how you imagined. Microphones can be tricky things - particularly when the zoom lens tends to foreshorten the perpective.and then there is always a chance that you'll click the shutter just as someone opens their mouth in a strange pose.....
The result of a microphone in the eye :-)
Saturday 19th April 2014
16:16 BST

 Thursday eventually ended up sunny, but it was yet another day when it stayed barely above cool. Yesterday was quite variable. There were a lot of heavy looking clouds about, but somehow it managed to stay quite sunny.  It was a start of a trend that included the temperature being about a degree lower than the previous day.  Today has seen a lot of sunshine, and a lot of cloud.  I reckon the temperature today peaked at a mere 14 C, but at least that was 2 degrees higher than the rather pessimistic forecast.  I was hoping the pessimistic forecasts for the future would change as the future approached, but no, it really does look like tomorrow is going to be grey and wet, and maybe the temperature is really going to be a teeth chattering 12 C.

 It was nice to finish work on Thursday for the start of the long bank holiday weekend. I came home via Tesco where I bought a spare bottle of whiskey, and earned 110 Clubcard points by using a coupon. I also bought some good and some bad stuff. The good was a couple of bowls of ready mix salad, and the bad was a couple of bags of hot cooked chicken. My dinner was a mix of the good and bad - hot chicken with mixed salad fortified with extra mini tomatoes (which needed using up before they went rotten). I think I had some cheese and biscuits too.

 I don't know what possessed me to do it, but against all my own advice I stayed up quite late on Thursday night. There was good reason for an early night - two reasons in particular. First I was feeling quite tired and ready for bed, and secondly I only had a limited opportunity for a lie in on Friday morning. My friend Aleemah was visiting, and I wanted to attempt some housework before she arrived.

 The main reason for staying up late was that I was taking a back up of my /home directory on my main PC (that's the equivalent to "My Documents" on a Windows PC). There was no real reason why I couldn't have just left it to it's own devices and gone to bed, but I felt like I wanted to keep an eye on it. Many, many gigabytes later, and with the clock approaching midnight, it finished, and I was able to fall asleep.

 I think I slept well, or it seems like it now, but only until 5am ! I did get more sleep after that, but the thought that I really ought to get up before 8am to get ready kept me from getting good sleep. I managed to get the worst bits of the house straight before I went out to meet Aleemah at the station. As usual we first went to the pub for breakfast. I think I found myself feeling better than I expected. For some reason, the shoes I had put on didn't seem to be as comfortable as I expected, but I can't remember any other great discomfort as we walked around Catford.

 After Aleemah went home I had nearly 4 hours to kill before it was time to go out again. Those 4 hours seemed to pass really quickly as I ate some dinner, had a quick snooze, trimmed my beard, and had a quick shower. There is a significance to those last two items, and the order in which I did them. In theory I should have washed any bits of beard trimmings from my chest when I showered, but evidently not. I didn't notice it at first, but my chest felt quite itchy by the time I had walked to The Catford Ram to see Chain's gig.

 I think my right foot must have been a bit swollen last night because it was also a bit uncomfortable in another pair of shoes to those I had worn in the morning. It wasn't a great discomfort, and like my itching chest, it was all soon forgotten once the music started. Chain had managed to grab Dave and his keyboards for the night, and as usual that added another very pleasant dimension to the night. Dave and Jo are now occasionally gigging together under the name of Night Owl, and the second set of last night's gig featured a couple of the songs they perform together - just keyboard, guitar and voice - like this.....
 If your browser can play the video, and my internet connection is being fast enough to transmit the bytes to you, you should see Dave and Jo playing a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" and playing it rather well. If you know, or find the original on You Tube or somewhere, you'll know that while it is a ballad, it is a "heavy metal" ballad, but Jo and Dave have done a magnificent job at changing it to just keyboards, guitar and voice !

 The gig went on longer than expected - which was rather good for all except those who were going on to see Led Hammer playing at The William IV in Elmers End. I must admit that I was tempted to go myself. I was even offered a lift there, but I felt fairly satiated by Chain's offering. I left the pub a little earlier than some, and went home via the chip shop where I picked up cod and chips to eat at home. I was quite surprised that it was gone 11pm when I got into bed.

 I think exhaustion, or at least a mild form of it, sent me to sleep fairly quickly, and I don't recall waking until, as usual, a little before 5am. This morning I had no special reason to get up, and in theory I could have slept all through the morning, but I never managed to get back into deep sleep after 5am. I probably got a couple of hours of sleep in total, and until now it seemed more than enough. Now I am feeling more like I am looking forward to bed later on rather than going out somewhere. I wasn't actually planning on going out. So it doesn't matter.

 So far today I've done some laundry, and spent what must be many hours playing with photos and videos from last night. I don't seem to have achieved much, but that's the only way I can account for where all the time went. It would be nice if the time flew by tomorrow, but if it is going to rain then I think tomorrow could be a really boring day !
Thursday 17th April 2014
08:06 BST

  If the forecast is correct, today will see the peak of the run of passbly good weather we have had recently. Yesterday was very similar to the preceeding couple of days - a cold morning, and an almost warm afternoon. Maybe I could be generous and say it was a warm afternoon. It really depended on what you were doing. If you were walking fairly hard with the sun on your back it did indeed feel very warm. If you were in the shade, perhaps between two buildings that were funnelling a strong wind down on you, it could feel remarkably chilly. Today started off at about 5 C, which might be a degree higher than yesterday, and much of the sky is blue. To my great annoyance, one part of the sky that is not blue is the eastern horizon. Just a small patch of the  sky is cloudy, and it is blocking all the direct sunshine ! It is forecast to be sunny for much of the morning, and into the afternoon. The top temperature could be 17 C, and that's a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday. After today things go down hill. By tradition it rains on the bank holiday Monday, and it is very likely to do it this year !

 It is wonderful to go for a drink after work, but the consequences of it means that it is also pretty nice to go straight home after work, and that's what I did yesterday. Going home was not completely straightforward. Some sort of problem meant that trains from Charing Cross couldn't use platform A at Waterloo East station, and that is where I usually catch my train home. It was anounced that all trains that would normally call at platform A would call at platform C instead. So I waited on platform C, and then a train did call at platform A - just one, and going to a different destination to mine. I made the assumption that whatever the problem was had been fixed, and that platform A was now operating as usual - an opinion shared by many other commuters who know that the platform staff at Waterloo East are mainly brain dead shaved monkeys with mental handicaps. So I, and many others went down the subway, and up the other side to platform A to wait there. The indicator on the platform said a Hayes (calling at Catford Bridge) train was expected, ad the Network Rail app on my mobile phone agreed that my train would call at platform A. A few minutes before the train was due everything changed, and we all had to rush back to platform C. Well I suppose it was good exercise....

 There was a bit of a delay before I had a very unhealthy dinner yesterday. Before I sat down to my dinner I had to deal with something that makes me wish I had religion, and some sort of god thing to pray to. I had to pay a slightly overdue electricity bill. Paying bills always makes my eyes bleed, and my spleen rupture. I feel dirty handing over money to these people. Nevertheless, the deed was done, and it could be several more months before they hassle me again.

 The precise contents of my dinner must remain a state secret, but I can reveal it involved too much rice, and too much cheese (but not at the same time). In an ideal world the amount I would consume of either would be zero, but last night I was too tired to want to bother about it. Fortunately I managed to get myself into bed fairly early, and from then on tiredness took over. I think I probably got my full 8 hours of beauty sleep last night. I think I could have fancied even more of it, but work beckoned.

 I don't think I feel as good as yesterday morning. It is obvious that a mild hangover suits me, or... In theory, as a result of the booze the previous night, my blood pressure should have been higher yesterday morning, and although the entire medical profession disagrees with me, I still think my body operates better with a decent blood pressure. They say it would kill me, and I wouldn't dispute that, but it is so much more satisfying to gallop to your death than to crawl there on your hands and knees !

 I could be drinking tonight. I didn't think the Thursday night gang would be drinking tonight, but it seems they are. They are drinking in The Lord Northbrook pub in Lee. In theory I could get there quite simply by taking a train to Lee station, and I think I can get a 202 bus back to Catford afterwards. If it was somewehere much more local, like in Catford, I might have trouble resisting going, but I think I can resist going to Lee. Tomorrow will provide enough boozing opportunities. In the morning/midday I'll be meeting Aleemah for a couple of hours, and then in the early evening I'll be in The Catford Ram for a Chain gig. So I think I nice sober, and early night is probably the best thing for tonight.
Wednesday 16th April 2014
08:18 BST

  Yesterday's weather was remarkably like the day before - which in turn was very like the day before that ! There was a lot of sunshine, and the temperature slowly rose until it was just about mild outside. Not "no coat" weather, but comfortable in a light jacket over a short sleeve shirt. The sky stayed clear last night, and just like the days before, the temperature plunged down to near zero. It felt like this morning was even closer to a frost then yesterday, but Catford and Earlsfield seem to have just escaped being cold enough for frost. With a colder start, it is going to be a cooler day - probably. Hopefully the sun will be out all day, but the forecast suggests that the temperature will only reach 14 C. That was what was forecast for yesterday, but I think it might have been a degree or two higher. With luck the same will be true today. Tomorrow is now forecast to be the overcast, but warmer day - 17 C. It was originally going to be today if my memory bears any relation to reality, but it was postponed by 24 hours - maybe !

 There was more damage as a result of my fall yesterday morning than I originally reported. It was someone at work who mentioned that I had skinned my right elbow. I was aware of a slight tickle from it, but I couldn't actually see the damage until I used a mirror. It was only superficial, and completely ignorable. My right knee was less ignorable. It didn't cause any serious discomfort, but there was enough there to remind me to be careful with it. The worst part about yesterday was not anything to do with the fall, but the ease with which I could fall asleep while reading stuff on my work PC.

 In a sort of theoretical way I didn't want to go home from work. Instead of going home I wanted to lie down and go to sleep, but there was beer to be had, and so I just had to find the energy to walk to the station. Once I was out in the fresh air I felt OK - although I didn't really feel like racing to the station. The graze on my right knee, and any underlying damage, was just above my level of perception, but didn't hinder my walking in any way. It was the rest of my leg, and the other leg, that just didn't want to move that fast.

 When I arrived in Catford I was expecting to have to wait in the pub on my own for some time before Jodie arrived, but when I got there I found she was already there with her friend Mark. My original excuse for going drinking for a second night in a row, was to keep Jodie company until her friend arrived. With him there already I didn't really need to stay, but it would have been rude to leave again, and besides which there was beers I wanted to try. I had 6 half pints of beer before I left, and one of those half pints was a 8.4% beer ! That was rather strong, and rather nice (although I do wonder if a full pint of it wouldn't become just a little over powering).

 After that session I went home, and for the second time in a row I had a very mongrel sort of dinner of bits and pieces. I made a point of getting to bed soon after my dinner, and I was in bed and asleep not much later than 8.30pm. At first I seemed to sleep OK. My right knee, and to a much milder degree, my right elbow too, did seem to ache a little bit once I was laying down, but I don't think they affected my sleep. What was a bigger problem was that my legs kept feeling too hot under the duvet, but felt far too cool, perhaps even cold, if I pulled the duvet off them. The same was true, but to a lesser degree, to other bits of my body. From about midnight, perhaps 1am, it seemed that I was more awake than asleep.

 This morning I don't feel too bad - yet ! In some respects I feel quite good again. In theory I should probably have a mild hangover, and maybe I do, but it feels so natural compared to other stuff that might bother me, that it actually feels good. I do realise that makes no sense at all, but it's hard to think of a better way to put it. Maybe the residual alcohol numbs some of the more common things I might complain about, or maybe not. It certainly didn't do anything for the fairly strong, but momentary pain I felt from my right knee when I first sat down in the first train this morning, or for the barely percepable discomfort from the knee that I was aware of now and then on the way into work.

 I strongly suspect the very worse thing about today is that I will soon be feeling the effects of my bad sleep last night. In the last 10 minutes or so I've started to feel it already. It's a mild feeling so far, but no matter how I try to fight or ignore it, it can only get worse. It seems very obvious that I've got to go straight home tonight, eat a far more sensible dinner than last night (or the night before), and then try to get to sleep as early as possible....and then try and stay asleep all night !
Tuesday 15th April 2014
08:09 BST

  I guess yesterday wasn't so bad. There was a lot of bright sunshine, and it didn't feel uncomfortably cool by late afternoon, but it would definitely have had to be a good 5 degrees warmer before you could say it was beer garden in t-shirt weather. The sky was clear last night, and unfortunatley that allowed the temperature to plummet like a stone. It wasn't quite cold enough for a frost, but it was a close run thing. Those a bit further outside London may well have seen a bit of frost. At the moment the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. It will soon warm up, but apparently not by much. The last forecast I saw suggested that today would only be 14 C, and that is a degree or two cooler than the best of yesterday. I think the forecast is still saying that tomorrow will be the warmest day of the week - although it may not actually be the sunniest.

 I was all set to go home, have as light a dinner as I could manage, and get to bed early last night, but I hadn't counted on getting a message towards the end of the afternoon. I was invited to join Kevin for a couple of pints after work. It was difficult to resist, and so after my train arrived at Catford Bridge I walked down to the high street where I bumped into Kevin as we crossed the road to go to The London And Rye Wetherspoons pub. On the way I passed The Catford Ram, and I was pleased to see this pinned up outside..
Chain poster outside The Catford Ram 14/4/2014
Poster for Chain pinned up outside The Catford Ram - where you'll find me on Friday night !

 It was difficult getting away from the pub again, but I managed it after two and a half pints (or was it three and a half ??). I was still sober enough to avoid the fried chicken shop, but not sober enough to avoid being dragged into the 99p shop as I passed it.  I managed to buy a whole carrier bag full of stuff in there, and much of it was edible. Fortunately much of it wasn't snack, or other instant types of food, but it did lead to a most strange sort of dinner.

 I don't think there is any way of describing any part of my dinner as healthy, although a government spin doctor would try and make a big thing about the fibre in the baked beans while conveniently ignoring all the lethal fat in the crisps (allegedly cooked in sunflower oil - as if that made it any good !). Oddly enough, it was possibly one of the smaller dinners I've had lately, and I guess there is some sort of virtue in that.

 I could have gone to bed soon after my rather later than usual dinner, but I got sidetracked investigating a computer hard disk that I acquired from a work laptop that had developed an incurable fault, and was thrown away. Sadly there was nothing "juicy" on there, but it will make a useful spare for another day. I guess I got to bed a few minutes after 9pm, and a combination of the beer, and poor sleep the night before, soon got me to sleep. I slept rather soundly, and I can't remember waking up until just gone 4am when I needed a wee. I didn't expect to sleep after that, but the next thing I knew was that my alarm was sounding.

 After my strange, and still undescribed dinner, and after the beer, I could have felt bad this morning, but I think I could describe this morning as one of the beter ones. At other times I have felt many, many times better, but that was a long time ago. This morning was merely good by current standards. That was to change a bit later though ! It all started with the news that there were no trains !
screenshot taken at 6am
 I took the screenshot above at 6am, and it was obvious that nothing was moving, but it actually turned out that it was a communications failure between the signalling system and the web server, and that unknown to the web server the trains were running perfectly well.
screenshot from mobile phone
 The screenshot on the left was taken on my mobile phone just after we left Ladywell station at the correct time, and not as the screen was showing - Delayed !

 There were some consequences of this Network Rain computer failure...I was convinced that no trains were running for some reason, and I wasn't looking forward to phoning work to say I wanted yet another Tuesday off. I am sure I've had too many Tuesday's off lately.

 Eventually the web site confessed that it was having troubles, and I decided that if I rushed I could get to the station on time. It was a very close run thing. The 06:33 train was just entering the station as I started up the footbridge to cross to the other platform. I was on the second or third to last step before the top when I managed to trip, and almost kiss the ground.

 My face did end up less than 6 inches above the ground. That wasn't damaged in any way. I took most of the fall on my hands. They are showing some signs of scuffing, but the skin was not broken, and the only bit that stayed sore for a short while was the side of my right thumb.

 Moving down the body, there is another bit that generated a significant amount of pain, and that is my right knee. It took quite a knock, and I thought half the skin came off it, but once again the skin was not actually broken (at least there is no blood soaking through my jeans). It is not sore to walk on, but it is still certainly very tender even now - some two and a half hours later.

 The ultimate outcome of the fall was the best one - I managed to get on my train before the doors closed and left me behind !

 There are probably two good reasons why I should not go for a couple of pints of beer again tonight. The first is that I had beer last night, and the second is that it would be nice to get home where I can strip off and examine myself for damage, but I think I am going for a beer anyway ! Jodie is meeting her friend Mark in The Catford Constitutional Club, and he probably won't get there until some time after 5pm (maybe closer to 6pm). So I'll keep Jodie company until he arrives, and I can have a beer while I do it :-)
Monday 14th April 2014
08:11 BST

  If only yesterday had been even a few degrees warmer I could have said it was a very nice day, but I think I can only say it was satisfactory (as they used to say on dodgy school reports !). There was a lot, maybe even non stop sunshine, but the best temperature I saw was a mere 16 C (although there were reports of some parts of London hitting 20 C - that was probably just heat given off by the sweaty marathon runners). This morning it is nice and bright, but 8 C feels rather chilly. It should stay sunny most of the time, and it will warm up, but the forecast suggests only a rather poor 14 C. Tomorrow may be similar, and Wednesday might see a small increase in temperature.

 As much as I might complain about the coolness of the current weather, it is probably about all we can expect from April, and possibly more. It is a fact that I walked to Aldi without a coat, in just a short sleeved shirt yesterday - and it didn't feel that bad at all. Just a few degrees seems to make all the difference. I don't think I would have attempted it this morning !

 Something strange is happening to my perception of time. Apart from reading, I didn't have anything to do yesterday afternoon*. Under such circumstances time usually drags by. I would get bored, and my thoughts might turn to imagining going out for a nice walk along the beach, or something like that. Yesterday afternoon, and several other times recently, that hasn't happened, and time seems to have flown by. Between writing my blog yesterday afternoon, and going to bed, it only seemed as if minutes had passed (quite a few of them, but definitely minutes !).

 * This isn't totally true. There were many things I could and probably should have done, but it is true in the sense that there was nothing I wanted to do !

 I was in bed with the light turned out a little before 9pm, but it took a while before I fell asleep. I didn't sleep all that well, but fortunately it had nothing to do with the West Indian party going on somewhere out the back of my house. That was very noisy until at least 1am, and after the music stopped there were loud voices until almost 3am. Fortunately I could barely hear in the front of the house (with my bedroom door closed), but it was a right old racket everytime I went to the toilet. I think my sugar consumption was rather too high yesterday because I went to the toilet for a wee rather a lot in the night. I've got nothing sugary here at work, and my blood sugar level should be back in the normal zone when I get home from work.

 This morning I am tired. I went to the toilet - that tired me out. I washed my hair - exhausted. I had a shower - very fatigued. I got dressed - shattered. What was worse is that I was breathing all morning, and as anyone knows, breathing really takes it out of you. How I ever got to work I'll never know, but I'm here and raring to go
to sleep. I think it might feel like it's going to be a long day today ! As well as my own work I have two of the guys here with Tom Tom satelite navigation units that they want updated. They believe I know how to do it. I have done one once before, and the secret is to read what it says on the screen, and follow the very simple instructions - I hope !

 I think the only plans for tonight are to try and eat as little as possible, and to try and get a good nights sleep. The former will be the harder thing to do, but I can probably avoid anything with excess sugar in quite easily. Avoiding some other stuff might be a wee bit harder......
 This morning I saw an unusual sight...
Southern 456022 in Waterloo station 7.15am Monday 14th April 2014
 In what I think is platform 15, is Southern Trains 2 car class 456 unit 456022. There is also a Southern trains unit attached to the front of the class 456 unit. It's been a long time since anything other than a SouthWest Trains train has visited Waterloo. I haven't actually seen one, but there must be an occasional visit from a Network Rail engineering train. Until a few years ago there were the Eurostar trains in the high numbered segregated platforms, and once upon a time there used to be a single train a day from a Welsh railway company. Currently it is just South West trains and more South West trains....until this morning. I wonder why ?
Sunday 13th April 2014
14:15 BST

  Yesterday finished nicely. The last hour or three before sunset were quite sunny, and it was feeling quite mild.  It stayed dry overnight, but there was just enough cloud to stop the temperature dipping too far. This morning the cloud cleared away fairly quickly, and since then it has been bright and sunny. The temperature is slowly creeping up, it's currently only about 14 C, but the temperature should continue to rise for the next few hours. The forecast reckons the top temperature will only be 16 C - which is a bit disappointing. Tomorrow may be quite similar to today, but a degree or two cooler.

 I did a whole lot of relaxing yesterday least I think I was relaxing, but that doesn't explain how time whizzed by so quickly. One minute it was bright and sunny outside, and the next minute it's almost midnight, and I am trying to get to sleep. While I was asleep I slept quite soundly, but after not going to sleep until some time after midnight, there was no reason to wake up at 4.30am as if I had to go to work. Maybe it was because I was busting for a wee ! I did managed another couple of hours sleep after that.

 In some respects I felt quite good this morning. I am getting increasingly sure that my digestive tract is allergic to chicken, but with that little bit of unpleasantness out of the way I was feeling quite good in even more respects. Just for a change I didn't feel knackered until I had walked 90% of the way to Aldi, and even than it was only mildly knackered. Even walking back with a load of heavy shopping didn't feel that bad.

 There wasn't that much I needed from Aldi, hardly anything really, but it seemed like a nice morning for a short walk, and I definitely did want some diet cola. I ended up buying quite a few tinned products, and other stuff with a long shelf life to keep for a rainy day. Other stuff was for more immeadiate use - like the multi grain crackers, and the mini Brie cheese with chilli.
Brie with chilli
 Now the only problem with this Brie with chilli, apart from all the cholestrol and high fat content, is the total lack of heat ! It does have red and green bits in it that are presumably supposed to be sliced chillis, but may just be bits of paper. By itself it is about as warm as a January day ! A good sprinkling of hot Jamaican chili sauce restores the taste expected.

 Before I sat down to my meal that was a sort of cross between breakfast, dinner and tea, I did some laundry - and this time it was a biggie ! I washed a double duvet cover - by hand, of course - I still have no working washing machine. It did take a fair amount of manhandling, but with it bright, dry and sunny outside, I didn't need to attempt to wring it out that well before hanging it outside to drip away to it's hearts content. I reckon it will be as good as bone dry bu about 5pm, but even if it isn't it will be dry enough to air indoors.

 My rather schitzophrenic lunch was mainly mackerel salad - a rather big mackerel salad. I had two packs of smoked mackerel in the fridge, and the first one I ate had at least a week to go before it's "best before" date. I warmed it up in the microwave. While it was warming I checked the other pack. It's "best before" date was yesterday ! So I ate that one as well. Oddly enough it was the nicer of the two. I had it with some tomatoes, spring onion and cucumber. I followed that by some brie on multigrain crackers.

 I don't think there is anything I intend to do this afternoon - except some reading. If I had refrained from eating I might have considered a quick walk in the park, but I just feel like resting now, and I am certain that is exactly what I'll be doing for the next couple of hours ! Maybe I'll have a snooze as well.
Saturday 12th April 2014
14:37 BST

  The sunshine that was promised for yesterday eventually turned up - at least I think it was later than forecast. It wasn't a great day, but it was dry, and the afternoon didn't feel that cool. Today is very much as expected. It is overcast, and cool, although no cooler than yesterday, and it might actually be a degree warmer. It was only 10 C this morning, but that may have been higher than the most pessimistic forecast, and right now my upstairs outside thermometer is reading a rather unexpected 18.5 C (I'm sure the downstairs one only says 16 C). So it seems today is less cool than yesterday. Tomorrow is now forecast to be sunny. The forecast temperature is only 15 C, but perhaps the sunshine will get the temperature up to as high, or even higher than today. That would make for a very nice day !

 I felt quite tired yesterday. I guess that's nothing new these days, but it was a most inconvenient time to feel tired. Not only that, but soon after I got home from work I started to suffer from storm force 10 flatulence ! I had no idea the body could store that much gas without powerful refrigeration to liquify it. Maybe my heart surgeons accidently left a cryogenic processing plant in my chest when the stapled me together again. For a while I didn't think I would ever make it to The Catford Ram to see The Chris Mayer & Friends band play.

 Fortunately I seemed to settle down enough to risk going out, but not as early as I intended. In practice it didn't actually matter being late, and I could easily have stayed at home another hour without missing anything. The band were playing for a quadruple retirement "party" for 4 members of the council where Chris works. The formal part of it, with speeches etc, was taking place elsewhere, and went on far longer than anticipated. So the band couldn't start to play until everyone was there, and that was close to 8pm than the 6pm I had guessed at.
Andy Rogers and Chris Mayer
 Chris, on the right of the picture above, sang a couple of songs, but mostly played lead guitar. Most vocal were by Andy Rogers on the left.
Steve the bass player
The bass player was a chap called Steve. I had never seen him before. Chris picked him well because he was a really solid player.
Instant, and silent rehearsal
 I find it quite amazing that the band had never rehearsed together before. During the break I caught Chris teaching Steve the notes/chords for a song that he didn't know. I'm not sure which song it was because every song seemed to come out perfectly once they were on stage.

 I wasn't sure how long I was going to stay at the gig. I was feeling tired, and during the second set I could hardly stop yawning, and yet it was so good that I couldn't pull myself away. It was made easier to stay by a useful discovery - there was no special key or anything else needed to use the disabled toilet. The significance of this is that the disabled toilet still has a toilet seat - the gents toilets don't ! They were allegedly removed to stop people hiding drugs under the seats - do people really do that ? Yuck ! I suspect that they just got broken and not replaced ! Although it had calmed down an awful lot by the time I had left to go to the pub, my flatulence continued into the evening, and being able to sit down comfortably in the toilets was rather important I thought.

 I think it was getting on for 10pm when I left the pub. I was starving hungry, and while I had better, as in healthier, stuff at home, I bought cod and chips on my way home. I ate that as soon as I got in, and I was in bed not too long after I finished eating. I don't think I recall anything more until I woke up near to 5am. I got up and did the usual. Then I went back to bed until I got up at around 8am. I couldn't seem to sleep any more after that, but it felt like I ought to have slept for another 2 hours.

 One of the first things I did once I had got washed and dressed was to go shopping. Top of my new shopping list was a new light switch. I thought that the dimmer switch in my living room had failed. I knew it might be difficult finding a replacement without going too far afield, but I was sure I could get a simple switch from Poundstretcher. All I could actually find was a double switch, but that was good enough for a temporary measure. Unfortunately it wasn't the dimmer switch that was faulty. It may be the lamp socket, or it could even be elsewhere, but it will have to wait until I am in the mood for a deeper bit of fault finding.

 After Poundstretcher I went into Tesco to get some shopping from there too. I was in a sort of funny mood this morning (and maybe I still am). I find it hard to describe. It's not depression, but it maybe something akin to it. It's a sort of "I don't care" sort of mood, and that meant I bought all sorts of stuff from Tesco that I probably shouldn't have. Mind you, some it was, and maybe will be, very tasty !!

 So I've done some photo editing, some shopping, and changed a light switch this morning, but I have done more ! I've done some laundry that is now hanging outside to dry (and may almost be dry by now). The next thing I fancy doing is to have a snooze. Maybe sleep will come, or maybe it won't. If it doesn't I do have a book to read. So I am going to be very busy doing nothing this afternoon !
Friday 11th April 2014
08:06 BST

  There was plenty of potential for yesterday to be a nice day. There was probably more sunshine than I expected, but only as I was walking from the station to home with the sun on my back did it feel warm. In fact it felt hot, but the air temperature stayed quite cool, and it even felt cool indoors. Maybe the temperature was higher than 14 C, but not by much. Today has started out quite dull and grey, but maybe not quite as cold as it might have been. It doesn't look it now, but it is supposed to brighten up later, and the forecast promises us several hours of good sunshine. Sadly, the forecast temperature is only about the same as yesterday. We have to wait until Sunday until we get a day that could just about, at a stretch, be described as warm - if the current forecast for Sunday bears any relation to reality.
going back to work after a fire drill
 While it may not have been that warm, it didn't feel too bad when we all trundled out into the park where we meet for a fire drill (or even a real fire if our luck holds out). In the picture above our two fire wardens lead us back to work after doing their roll call. This would have been at a little after 2pm, although the long shadows make it look later than that (but that would be 3pm GMT).
Waterloo concourse 4pm Thursday 10th April 2014
 Later on in the day, approx 4pm, you can see the still bright sunshine streaming down onto the concourse of Waterloo station. The rather sparse event going on yesterday evening was fund raising for cancer research (I think).

 It must be the trauma of going to work, but I didn't feel nearly as good yesterday as I did the day before. There was no one thing that was particularly bad, but the sum total sapped my energy. I didn't feel like trying to rush about on the way home, and I felt tired when I got indoors. On reflection, maybe I had a little bit more energy than I thought. My usual train back to Catford Bridge was cancelled yesterday. Fortunately I had sufficient warning, and I could get to London Bridge in time for the following train that comes out of Cannon Street. That took a little extra effort, but it didn't seem that bad at the time.

 I made a bit of a mistake when it came to eating dinner last night. I had too many parts of it spread over a period of time so it didn't feel like I ate much. When I look back I think I probably ate too much. Much of it was bread, and mostly I ate it dry with cheese, but other stuff was involved as well. Apart from some discomfort from excess wind this morning, my guts continue to be very stable on such a diet. It's a shame that far healthier eating options seem to cause such distress after a while.

 I found the time and energy to wash my hair last night, and this time I used the blueberry shampoo and conditioner. It seems to leave my hair looking cleaner for longer than the other stuff I was using. So now, apart from a quick rinse under the shower if I have time, I am ready for booze and blues (and plenty of rock as well) in The Catford Ram tonight at, or before, 6pm.  I got plenty of "drinking vouchers" from the ATM at Waterloo station this morning. So it's all systems go !!
Thursday 10th April 2014
08:24 BST

  After yesterday's pleasant weather I keeping my fingers crossed that today may turn out similar. At sunrise it looked as if there was plenty of potential for a nice morning, and someone, somewhere would have had a nice morning, but not me ! The cloud was well broken up with large areas of the sky absolutely clear, but wherever I was as I made my way to work, there was a cloud, often quite a small cloud, blocking out the sun ! I will confess there were a couple of times when a bit of the sun peeped around the cloud, but they don't really count. It seems to have got cloudier now, and that is probably in agreement with the forecast. If the forecast continues to be correct we should have a sunny afternoon, but the temperature could stay as low as 14 C - which is pretty poor considering the day started at 11 C. It seems the weather is on a downward trend again, but should pick up on Sunday.

 I reckon that if I had the chance I could easily have slept for longer last night, but I think I got about 7 hours of sleep, and most of it seemed like good sleep. This morning I don't feel that bad. As far as I can tell I am starting to reap the rewards of not taking my statin tablets. Ignoring one small detail, I am sure I am finding it easier to walk now. There is still some way to go, but if other things don't get in the way it might even start to feel enjoyable to walk again.

 The one small fly in the ointment concerns some of my joints. After transferring some of the effort to my right leg, to take the strain off my left ankle, my right kneee seemed a little extra sore this morning. I suspect it is stupid wild optimism, but I am hoping that if my leg muscles free up more now I am not taking my statins, my knee and ankle joints might improve. The silly thing is the only thing I can remember about walking before my heart bypass operation was the angina pain. I can't remember if my knees were starting to get arthritic (or whatever) before all that angina and stuff kicked off. It leaves me unsure about whether to blame the knee stiffness and pains on my medication, or "old age". Maybe it's a bit of both.

 The rest of me feels in fairly good condition.....except for the tooth I chipped yesterday. There is no pain from it, and I am not expecting any from it for a long time, but it still feels really weird. My tongue, and lips will get used to it, and probably very soon, but right now it feels weird and sharp. Who would ever think that a tiny chip, smaller than the natural crinklyness of the tooth, could be so intrusive ?

 My main objective for tonight is to wash my hair again. It is only a couple of days since I last washed it, and it feels horrible already. I am beginning to wonder if the shampoo and matching conditioner I bought from the 99p shop actually works. When freshly washed my hair definitely smells like freshly washed hair, and I am sure that it retains my natural colour as well (which seems to be the big claim on the label !). I can't remember who makes it, but tonight I will use a different make - probably Shwartzcroft, or however you spell it - it's famous, so you know what I mean ! Anyway, the important thing is that I have clean and beautiful hair for Friday night's gig. Chain, or Chris and Guy with a couple of guests, but not Jo are playing in The Catford Ram early on Friday evening. It's part of a retirement party, but open to all.
Wednesday 9th April 2014
17:02 BST

  I guess you could say the weather was pretty good yesterday. It would have been nicer still if it had been warmer, but it was bright and cheerful. To my great surprise today has turned out even better !  It was cool this morning, but a day of almost unbroken sunshine has raised the temperature to almost 17 C. I am sure it has been a lot better than forecast, and if that holds true for tomorrow then tomorrow could be an equally nice day. On the other hand, if tomorrow follows the current forecast then only the morning will be sunny, and the afternoon will be overcast, and only 14 C.

 With the benefit of hindsight I am not so sure that it would have been terribly uncomfortable to do all the walking involved in getting to and from work. I'm sure it would have been plain uncomfortable, but not actually terrible. By the end of the day my ankle seemed no more bother than some pain and stiffness I was feeling in my left wrist and elbow (and a little bit in my right elbow).

 I thought it best to rest both my ankles yesterday, and to that end I spent a large portion of the day laying on my bed. It was like the first weeks after getting home from my operation all over again. If I didn't have a good book to read it could have been boring, but getting lost in comedy sci-fi could never really be boring. It certainly pleased me, and I hardly gave any thought to how much I was losing from my wages !

 It wasn't entirely a wasted day because I did do some laundry. I washed a couple of shirts, and because it was a nice dry day I also washed a towel. It was a big(ish) towel, and there was no way I could wring it out even half dry (well maybe I could approach that with some effort). So I hung it outside where it could drip away to it's hearts content. To my great surprise it was almost completely dry when I brought it in. There was one small patch that was still very slightly damp, and that soon dried when it was indoors.

 I did get a little carried away reading in the evening. I should really have tried to be asleep by, or before 9pm, but I found I wanted to finish my book. I did, but it was 11pm by the time I had read the last page, and it was later still when I finally turned out the light. I reckon it was close to midnight when I fell asleep. I slept solidly almost up to the time when my alarm was due to go off. (Maybe I woke up once in the night, but it was probably brief and dreamlike).

 I woke up feeling quite stiff and cranky with both feet and ankles slightly swollen. If I had got up and started moving around I suspect all that stiffness and discomfort would have quickly gone away - like it does most mornings - but I made an instant decision, possibly before I had even woken up properly, that the best thing to do was to turn over and go back to sleep. That is exactly what I did, and so I lose another day's pay, but it has brought a few benefits.

 The first benefit was that I could do what I had been meaning to do since Monday night, and that was to go to Tesco. It rather rubbed it in that I had made the wrong decision at 5am when I found I was walking faster than usual (where usual is not the same as it was prior to suffering from angina, and my subsequent quad bypass operation). Not only was I keeping up a good pace, but it felt sort of easy and maybe something like enjoyable. It feels like an awfully long time since I have been able to say that walking has been enjoyable !

 When I got back from Tesco I found a letter on the doormat. It wasn't for me, but for my friend Patricia. With all her travels all over the world she uses my address as a safe address for her bank. The envelope contained her new credit card. Patricia has been back in London for over a week now (maybe two) and I've been looking forward to meeting up with her for some time now. Until today she has been busy, but the new credit card was the perfect lure to attract her to Catford. So it was very handy being off work today. We met in the Wetherspoons where I bought her lunch (and I had a couple of beers).
 I'm not sure why my mobile phone took such an awful picture, but here's Patricia in the Wetherspoons pub.

 I was almost tempted to have some lunch in the pub as well, but I had bought some stuff in Tesco that I had intended to have for lunch (or a combined lunch and dinner). One of those items was a rack of ribs - very naughty, but very tasty. On this occasion I regret having those ribs for a different reason than the usual reason of them being terribly unhealthy. Somehow I managed to chip a tooth while chomping my way through them. It feel to my tongue like the top of the tooth has been replaced by a razor blade or something, but I can barely see the damage in the mirror. On the crown of one of the very thin teeth, in the same position as the incisors, but on the bottom, it looks like a bit of tooth smaller than a grain of sand has chipped off. Apart from it feeling sharp, I don't think it is very serious, and won't need any attention for some time (fingers crossed !).

 I had better try doubly hard to go to work tomorrow. So I had better try for an early night tonight - hopefully I'll manage to fall asleep early. I had also better try not to eat any more today, or at least nothing bigger than a low(ish) calories snack, in an attempt to avoid triggering any digestive upsets in the morning. A couple of nights of bread and cheese settled Monday's unpleasantness down to practically nothing yesterday and today - as it so often does when my digestive tract gets irritated.
Tuesday 8th April 2014
07:45 BST

  It was horrible yesterday. There probably wasn't as much rain as forecast, maybe quite a lot less, but it was still a filthy horrible grey day. I was fortunate enough that I didn't get rained on as I made my way home from work. Although I did pass through a couple of showers while on the train. As well as being dull and grey it also felt rather cool. The coolness hasn't changed - except for the worse - but the grey seemed to have changed after a bit of a shaky start.
weather for 8th April 2014
 If you add 10 to all those temperatures it would make today a very fine day ! When I first checked the forecast at 5am it showed the sky being clear at 6am, but it was raining here. Since then reality has caught up with the forecast, and now it is definitely sunny, and definitely bloody chilly (although that could just be me).

 After my rather unpleasant journey into work yesterday, I eventually settled down, and didn't feel too bad. Going home again was unpleasant under a dull grey sky, but I mostly felt OK. I didn't quite feel like going home via Tesco even though it is only a minor diversion. Instead of Tesco I went into the Turkish supermarket and just bought some bread and cheese. I thought that a dinner of plain dry bread and cheese would give my guts a bit of a rest, and this morning that does seem to be the case (allowing for some residual effect from whatever caused me so much anguish yesterday morning).

 While I felt fairly OK when I first got home, that feeling didn't last that long though. I soon started to feel very tired. I couldn't find the energy to do any laundry, but I did wash my hair.  It took a little while for it to dry enough to go to bed, but I was in bed by 8pm. To my annoyance I had stopped feeling tired at that point, but worst of all was that I couldn't find a compromise between feeling too warm when completely under the duver, or too cold if I pushed too much of the duvet aside. While I was thrashing about I couldn't relax, and I think it was a little after 9pm before I fell asleep.

 Some of my sleep was good, and some bad. Once I got to sleep I think I slept soundly for 3 or 4 hours, but after that I started waking up at more frequent intervals, and although I can't remember what they all were, I know I seemed to have dream after dream after dream in the early hours of this morning. When it was finally time to get up I found I was suffering from an interesting selection of aches and pains. I doubt I will ever know for certain if it was the aches and pains that spoiled my last few hours of sleep, or if it was sleeping awkwardly that caused the aches and pains.

 I can probably blame the damp weather for some contribution to my aches and pains, but the most inconvenient one could have three or more causes. That inconvenient one is centred around my left foot/ankle. It is a little more swollen than recently, but not as bad as it has been in the past. Whether that has anything to do with the ankle being stiff and sore is currently unknown. I can walk on it, but it is not that comfortable, and I'm not prepared to put myself out to go to work with it like this.

 So once again I am off work sick to ponder whether my ankle is stiff and sore because of the damp, or because I slept with it at a funny angle, or if it is still to do with my current weak heart muscle or whatever problem. There is yet another possibility that does come close to the top of my suspicions even though it is supposed to be  highly unlikely - poisoning from all the blood pressure tablets I'm on.  The last time I transitioned from feeling persistently awful to really good was when I quit taking all my tablets, and took up going for long walks.

 That was back in 2009, and while I felt wonderful for a couple of years, it did seem to end in a couple of heart attacks, and my quad bypass. So I am a little more wary about stopping taking all those pills this time, but maybe now I'm not smoking it's possible I could get away with it for a few more years before snuffing it properly next time. Of course there could be one other reason for feeling so rough.

 Maybe I am still suffering from gastro enteritus, if indeed I was ever suffering from it in the first place. While my guts feel considerably better than yesterday, they are still not behaving perfectly this morning, and I am also having a hard time getting warm this morning. I know it is cold outside, but my thermometer says it is 23 C in here right now, and I am only just beginning to feel comfortable. Maybe I ought to check my own temperature to see if I am running a fever......No, my temperature is exactly 36
C - which is 1.3 C lower than normal, and seems fairly normal for me ! Oh well, no need to call the undertaker just yet, but I might have a snooze soon. It feels like I could do a lot of that today.
Monday 7th April 2014
08:41 BST

  I suppose I would have to grudgingly admit that yesterday was not that bad. It could have been far better of course. The temperature could have been a pleasant 30 C, and the sun could have been blazing down, but a fairly bright sky with occasional bursts of sunshine, with the temperature hovering around 17 C was the actual reality. At least it didn't rain until after I had drawn the curtains, and quite possibly not until I was fast asleep.'s what today was forecast to be at 5am this morning.....
weather for 7th April 2014 as forecast at 5am
 It wasn't totally accurate at 6am, 7am, and 8am. For those first three hours it hardly rained at all, but now it's pouring ! I guess that most of this forecast is going to come true to one degree or another. I hope that the dry period at 4am is accurate, and that I can get home dry - even if it is under a filthy looking sky like, or worse than I could see at Clapham Junction station at approx 8am this morning.
platform 11 at Clapham Junction station on a dull, dreary, and damp Monday morning - 7th April 2014
 As well as the dreary grey sky, the picture above was supposed to show two cancelled train on the display in the middle of the picture, but the exposure time was not long enough to make the characters visisble. More about this picture soon.

 Yesterday morning I popped into the Catford Wetherspoons pub (The London And Rye) with Aleemah so she could have one of their vegetarian breakfasts, and I could have two halves of beer. They have a beer festival on at the moment, and that meant there were extra beers to choose from. It would have been nice if there was more time to test more, but I just tried two different IPA style beers. I'm sure I didn't like very hoppy beers once, but these two went down a treat.

 After the pub we went into Peacocks so that Aleemah could buy herself a new top. I bought one too while we were in there. Aleemah's purchase was something a bit like a shirt, but I didn't see it properly. Mine was a cheap and nasty fleece jacket. It fits, and I can do it up, but it will probably be better if I've lost a bit of weight when I come to wear it. It's probably starting to get too warm to wear it now, but I reckon it could be very handy when autumn comes around again.

 After Peacocks we went into the 99p shop. I bought all sorts of old crap in there, but also some good stuff. I found it was the source of some spray bleach that I have been using to great effect in the toilet. I thought I had originally bought it from the 99p shop, but the last time I looked I couldn't find it. For some reason I found it hidden away from all the other bleaches and toilet cleaners, and among the laundry stuff. I also wanted a new toothbrush. The one I was using last week was the one I was given while in hospital, and it was like cleaning your teeth with a toilet brush. It seemed huge ! I eventually found some twin packs of toothbrushes made by Wisdom, and marked suitable for 3 year olds ! They were just the right size, and the new bristles almost soft enough for my delicate gums.

 Aleemah went home at about 2.30pm, and from then on I did very little. I didn't even bother to attempt to cook myself a proper meal. My main meal was just a can of curry poured over some cold left over chips, and heated in the microwave for a few minutes. The rest of the time I ate a load of old junk, and I definitely feel the worse for it this morning.

 My guts have have gone through another very unstable time over the whole weekend, but it was only this morning where it was of any great significance - I really, really, really hate commuting with a stomach ache ! I felt comfortable enough when I walked to the station this morning, but by the time my train was approaching Waterloo I was beginning to feel increasingly uncomfortable. I really made sure I got my 30p's worth when I visited the toilets there - even if it was mostly just wind.

 I thought that should do, but no ! As my next train approached Clapham Junction I decided it would be safe to get off there and use their facilities. Now that is not something I do lightly. The toilets at Clapham Junction can be quite disgusting - particularly so on a Monday morning. It makes me think they do not get a visit from the cleaners over the whole weekend. This morning was no exception, and they were truly awful ! Nevertheless, I had to do what I had to do.

 As I walked back to the platforms I noticed that I had just missed a train. Generally this would not be a problems because the trains to Earlsfield are usually every 3 or 4 minutes. Not this morning though. A problem eleswhere caused whole blocks of trains to be cancelled. If the platform display was correct, and it turned to be so, I had a nearly 15 minute wait for the next train. 10  minutes into that wait I came to the conclusion that it would have been a wonderful idea to have had a wee while I was in the back to those horrible toilets, and another 20p in the slot.

 I arrived at work a theoretical 15 - 20 minutes late, and at least 40 minutes later than I usually manage - not great after getting my usual train, at the correct time from Catford Bridge. In theory I'll be making up the time tonight, in theory... When I eventually get home, probably after going via Tesco, I ought to do a few chores. I have a bit of laundry that it would be handy to do, although it's not essential, and I think I ought to wash my hair. I'm sure I only washed it on Saturday morning, but it seems to be quite greasy already. After all that, whatever it turns out to be, I think I'll be looking forward to getting to bed - so no news there !
Sunday 6th April 2014
07:56 BST

  I forgot to pay attention to see what the highest temperature was yesterday, but I think it might have reached, or even exceeded 18 C (some little itch at the back of my mind suggests I might have seen 19.6 C, but it seems sort of dream like). Generaly speaking it was lightly overcast, but late afternooon/early evening I am sure I saw a few raindrops on the window. If there was some rain it was not enough to be visible on the road outside. This morning it's 14 C. It's very grey, and it's starting to rain. The forecast has changed since yesterday morning. It now says there will be some semi-heavy rain for the first half of the morning, and then it will be dry until the rain starts again after dark. The top temperature now is forecast to be as high as 17 C. This new forecast is a useful improvement over what was suggested yesterday morning, but it's still pretty grim ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be very grim. I hope they change their minds about it by tomorrow.

 The time seemed to fly by yesterday. I certainly didn't have time to get bored - which I could have done easily considering how little I did. One thing I did do was, as sort of planned, go to Poundstretcher to see what mats they had available. There was a small choice, and I selected two that I thought were identical, but may actually be slightly different colous. The small change in colour is of no consequence, and in my feeble minded way they look good to me. So I've finally retired the donkey skin rug that has stood guard in front of the fireplace for years on end. The first of two that have done guard duty there was initially bought when I first moved here 30 years ago. It was supposed to look sort of sexy, and it was almost impervious to sparks and cinders coming out the fire back in the days when I used to have a live fire on some winters days (before the chimnet stack half fell down, and was capped off).
new rug in front of fireplace
 Here's the new rug in front of the fireplace. The second extremely similar, but slightly different rug is in front of the settee where it will probably spend it's brief life soaking up takeaway food spillage like it's predecessor !

 After going to Poundstetcher, and laying the new rugs, I didn't really do anything for the rest of the day - well nothing significant. I did pop out briefly to the corner shop where I bought a magazine, some peanuts, and some Diet Coke. I didn't seem to read that many pages of the magazine, and yet time just flew by. I didn't feel any urge to go out in the evening, and was more than happy to watch some TV until 9pm (or maybe it was 10pm - I wasn't paying any attention to the time).

 I have no idea what time I went to bed. If I had to guess I might suggest 11pm, but it could have been an hour earlier or two hours later. So I have no idea how much sleep I got. I woke up late for a work day, and early for a Sunday, but I seem to feel OK for now. I even felt good enough for a slightly staged "good morning" picture !
good morning
 I had to get out of bed to get some lights turned on, and then jump back into bed before taking the picture on my mobile phone, but it's almost authentic - it's definitely me, and I am definitely in bed, and it is not that long after I woke up !

 This morning I'll be seeing my friend Aleemah for a few hours , but from about mid afternoon I'll be at a loose end......well maybe not completely at a loose end. I do have a magazine to finish reading, plus two Harry Harrison books that I want to read. I fear that having to get up to go to work tomorrow will happen with extreme haste !
Saturday 5th April 2014
09:30 BST

  My thermometer said it was warmer than the forecast for yesterday. Instead of the poorly 15 C we had been lead to expect, it was closer to 20 C ! Sadly that wasn't the result of extra sunshine. There was a bit of sunshine in the last hour, or so, before sunset. The majority of the day saw a bright, milky white sky, but no actual sunshine. I thought today might be similar, but the sun keeps coming out....although the sky is far from blue !  The intermittent sunshine is in accordance with the weather forecast, but by my reckoning it is 14 C, and that's 4 C higher than forecast. Here's hoping that the top temperature will be usefully higher than the pessimistic 15 C forecast for today. It may well rain tonight, and the forecast says it is going to rain all day tomorrow !

 I barely did anything yesterday - apart from photo editing. It was surprising just how quickly the rest of the day passed by. I probably could and should have done something more yesterday, but after my Thursday night it felt good to rest. I gave some consideration to going out in the evening. There was a band called The Electric Experience playing in The William IV pub in Elmers End that sounded interesting when I checked their website out.

 The pub is fairly easy to get to, and to get home from, but I found I had no strong urge to go out last night. Maybe I had got my kicks on Thursday night or something, but there was another, stronger reason why I didn't go out. It was only with the benefit of hindsight that I realised it was all over some time before I would have been leaving to go out, but earlier on, or late in the afternoon, I suffered what I shall simply call a dysentry attack. Of course it wasn't actually dysentry, but the end result was just as unpleasant !

 Once I had decided that I wasn't going out I hardly looked at a clock, and so I have no idea what time I went to bed, but it could have been after 11pm when I fell asleep. I think I slept quite well, and I don't really remember anything until I woke up at 5.30am. I got up for a while then, but an hour later decided to go back to bed. No time seemed to pass at all, but the next thing I was aware of was that there was sunshine behind the curtains.

 Since than I've washed my hair, and washed my body. Now if I put some outdoor clothes on I could go out - far away, or maybe more likely just to the local shops. I think I still want to look for a new mat or two for the living room, and maybe I'll do some hoovering in there too....although I don't like to think of it in case it puts me off too much ! I guess I feel reasonably OK this morning so I should do something. About the only major complaint I have is a little spot under my armpit. It is amazing how something so small can generate so much pain !
Bricklayers Arms, Beckenham - events list
 I had forgotten that I took the picture on the left while I was in The Bricklayers Arm pub in Beckenham on Thursday night. Most of the event list looks absolutely terrible, but there is a microscopic chance that I might consider seeing The Bob Dylan Experience Tribute Band on the 9th of May. I have seen them before, and while they weren't wonderfully wonderful, they were pleasant enough for a rainy day.
Friday 4th April 2014
11:30 BST

 The weather was neither good nor bad yesterday. I can't recall if the sun came out, but it was moderately bright anyway, and it stayed dry despite a few dark coloured clouds drifting over in the afternoon. I think it felt less cold than I was expecting - maybe somewhere around 17 C at best. Today seems to be quite similar. The sky is a very light grey colour, and the quarter where the sun should be is almost dazzling to look at, but there is no sign of the sun itself. It is dry, and not too cold. The "official" forecast says the maximum temperature today will be a mere 15 C, and that there is a chance of seeing the sun a couple of times today.

 I can't really say that I felt good for most of yesterday. It would more accurate to say I felt "comfortable" most of the time. I was hoping that I would suddenly gain miraculous amounts of energy after work, and just maybe I did have a little more than I initially thought. After the usual stresses of going home after work I had a little extra to walk...
Clock House station to Beckenham war memorial
 The last time I did this walk I was suffering from angina. Last night I measured it to be 0.6 miles, and I walked that non stop in 9 minutes and 58 seconds. That is about 3.6mph. Last year, with horrible angina pains, it probably took twice as long to walk, and I had to stop at least 3 or 4 times to let the pain settle a bit. In those terms I am in much better shape now than last year, but I still wish it didn't feel like hard work to swing one leg after another !

 I was aiming for The Bricklayers Arms pub in Beckenham (near the warm memorial). I was meeting Chris and the usual Thursday night gang for a few pints of beer. It was hard work pacing my beer drinking, but still a most enjoyable couple of hours. The reason for attempting to pace my beer consumption was because it was to be a long evening ! I arrived at the pub just before 5pm, and at approx 7.30pm I left to wander up the high street to The Coach And Horses...
welcome to the coach and horses
...for Geoff Paice's open mic night. It made for a very enjoyable part 2 of the evening. It's a fairly small and intimate pub, and even if I didn't know half the names, I did recognise nearly everybody. Sometimes "open mic night" is a bit of a misnomer, but I don't know what else you would call something closer to a very public rehearsal of new or existing songs by Geoff's mates. There was one surprise, and one annoyance. The annoyance was that Jo Corteen called in there about 20 minutes after I left, and the surprise was Rob Todd being there, and playing guitar with his broken wrist !
Rob Todd playing with a broken wrist
 It is possible that Rob played a wrong note, and screwed up his face because of that, but I think it was pain from his strapped up broken wrist that caused that face.
Geoff and Stretchy
 Geoff and Stretchy - organiser and (maybe) roadie.

 I wasn't really paying attention to the time, but I think it was probably around 10pm that I decided I had had enough for one night. I hadn't eaten for 14 hours, and I was feeling a bit peckish by then. I was also feeling to contradictory things - I felt tired, and I felt almost energetic. In fact I was unexpectedly energetic - I ran about 3 or 4 bus lengths to catch my bus home - and it didn't kill me ! It was incredibly difficult to make my legs move fast enough, but the effort didn't seem to tax me that much. I think I could probably have ran another couple of bus lengths before imploding.

 I achieved a lot last night, but I completely failed at avoiding a fried chicken shop when I got back to Catford. I tried a new one, and it was predictably so similar to all the others that it held no advantage over all the others....although it did have one disadvantage ! The guy behind the counter could barely speak English, or was just extremely retarded or something. I asked for 4 pieces of chicken and a portion of fries. Maybe it was there was not this particular combination pictured on the wall that he completely failed to understand what I was saying. Eventually I changed the order to 3 pieces and fries, and he knew exactly what I wanted !

 I'm unsure what time it was I got to bed, but I know it was very late by my usual standards. It was probably before midnight, or if not very soon afterwards. I slept solidly until 5am when I woke up. I had taken the precaution of booking today off work. So I didn't have to worry about when I woke up. In theory I could have got to work on time this morning even without my alarm being set, but I did have a bit of a mild hangover. So it wouldn't have been a pleasant day at work.

 I have no specific plans for today. I may go out to a gig at The William IV pub in Elmers End this evening, but it's only a 50:50 chance. Other than that I feel a bit of a yearning to lay on my bed reading this afternoon. There is an outside chance that I may pop round to Poundstretcher to buy a new mat or two for the living room, but I don't feel like I can be bothered to do that just yet. Maybe I'll go tomorrow when I don't have any major plans either.
Thursday 3rd April 2014
08:08 BST

  By substituting just two facts, the weather forecast for yesterday was about right. Firstly it didn't rain in the late afternoon, and secondly there was some sunshine in the morning, The temperature profile was about right. The top temperature was a neither warm nor cold 18 C. According to the weather forecast I have just checked, today will be very similar to how yesterday actually was. There are a few small changes. The morning sunshine, scheduled to happen in a couple of hours time, after the dull mist has lifted presumably, may be more hazy, and not last for so long. At 5pm there seems to be some confusion as to whether it will be sunny, or rain - maybe it will do both !

 I didn't feel bad yesterday, but I didn't feel nearly so sprightly as I made my way home after work. It was just as well that I didn't feel bad because I could have made far worse choices when I bought some shopping from Tesco on the way home. I bought a lot of fruit and a lot of salad, but also some less wholesome stuff. Among the less wholesome stuff was some cold, but pre-cooked chicken wings, and some sandwiches. I do have a specific use for those tonight.

 A couple of items I bought were neither healthy nor unwholesome. They were marked as low fat, but that is often a code word for high salt, or high sugar, or both. I was too scared to actually look before I devoured them. One was a small tub of "Thai Coleslaw". What that actually means is coleslaw with some lemon grass in it, and also some mysterious black seed. It was fairly tasty, but not exciting enough to bother buying again.

 The other item was much tastier, and I might be inclined to buy more of it some day. It was a small tub of so called "Spanish potato salad". Instead of diced potatoes in a wishy washy, low fat, almost nasty tasting, mayonaisse type stuff, it was diced potatoes in a rather tasty tomatoe based sauce. It had some thinly sliced peppers in it, and a smoky taste like chorizo. I don't think it actually had chorizo sausage in it, but I didn't check the ingredients.

 Compared to my (theoretically) very healthy dinner the night before, last night's dinner was rather poor, but it just might have had one healthier aspect. I checked my blood sugar level straight after I got home yesterday. I expected it to be rather low, but to my annoyance it was on the high side of normal. I think, or at least I hope the reason is the amount of fruit I am eating recently. An individual apple, or orange may not have much sugar in it, but a lot of them have a lot of sugar. Now this is a bit unfortunate when the latest news is that "10 a day" is better for us than the now traditional "5 a day" (portions of fruit or vegetable). What I ate last night should have ben fairly low in sugar even if other stuff was on the high side (although not terribly terrible high - I think).

 After not getting the sleep I thought I deserved the night before, I tried for an early night, last night. I just about worked. I turned the light out at 8pm, and it didn't take long until I was fast asleep. As far as I was aware, I slept solidly until 1.30am when I woke up. From then on it was hard to tell if I was awake or dreaming. Mostly it felt like I was awake as I thrashed around in bed trying to sleep on my right side, and then trying again on my left, and then on the right...etc. I must have been asleep prior to my alarm going off because I was definitely dreaming then.

 It was a strange dream, and almost a lucid dream where I had some concious control over what was happening in the dream - but only just ! The dream was very much like watching a TV documentary, about how Greenwich used to be 50 or more years ago. It seemed to feature many places where churches used to be, and many factories with ornate glazed tiles showing the factory names. The odd thing was that it had hardly any resemblance to the Greenwich I know or knew.  I feel sure I had some control of the route taken through the place, but I didn't feel I had any presence there. The only dialogue was an off screen narrator who I was able to communicate to in some unknown way to point out some serious errors in his dialogue. On at least one occasion he repeated his script with the correct information - even if what was supposed to be correct was straight out of my imagination !

 I was up and out of bed within a few seconds of my alarm sounding. I didn't feel sleepy as such, but at the same time I really wanted to go back to bed...and no more so than when I actually started to fall asleep while reading some news off the internet ! I didn't feel too bad when making my way to work, but the walk from the station to work was not that nice. My ankles felt a bit stiff and sore, and my thigh muscles seemed to feel fatigued. The rest of my leg seemed fairly normal (as in the current normal).

 Tonight I have to find prestiguous amounts of energy. I'm going for two drinking sessions after work - I hope. First of all I will be taking the train past Catford Bridge station to Clock House station. Then I'll walk down the road, almost a mile, to The Bricklayers pub in Beckenham (at least I think that's what it's called). The last time I did that walk was when I was suffering from angina, and it was not very pleasant. I had to do it in 4 or more stages. I hope it is more pleasant tonight, and that I can do it in one go without too much discomfort.

 After a couple of hours of drinking in there I'll wander a little way up the main road through Beckenham to The Coach And Horses where there is an open mic night on. I don't think I'll be spending that long in there, but you never know. I stopped at one of the ATMs on Waterloo station this morning, and extracted some beer vouchers. So I have the means for many pints. Some of the dodgy food I bought in Tesco last night will be waiting to lure me away from the fish/chicken/chip shops on the way home, and I have booked tomorrow off work. So having a hangover in the morning is nothing to worry about (apart from the inevitable pain). Now it all hangs on how much stamina I can muster up tonight !

 The view from the balcony at Waterloo station yesterday........
Knorr soup promotion at Waterloo station Wednesday 2nd April 2014
It was Knorr soup promotion day !
Free samples of Knorr soup
Wednesday 2nd April 2014
07:55 BST

  It was rather splendid yesterday. There was lots of sunshine, and the temperature hit at least 18 C, and possibly more. It even felt warm as I made my way home from work. Today has started off very dull, but at least it is merely cold at 10 C. Unfortunately the forecast says that it will stay dull and gloomy all day, and there is a good chance of a shower later this afternoon - possibly just as I am going home. The weather forecast does have one bit of extreme optimism - the forecasters reckon today could still warm up to 18 C despite the gloom.

 I was either feeling really good yesterday, or I somehow managed to drag up energy I didn't know I had. We had a meeting at work, and it over ran into the time when I would usually be out the door, and on my way to the station. Somehow I managed to make it to the station in record time, and tap in with my Oyster card a mere minute before 4pm, and the start of peak rate fares. The train I caught at Earlsfield was almost 15 minutes later than the one I usually try to get. That arrived at Waterloo station little more than 4 minutes before my train from Waterloo East departed. Some I managed to make it across the link in time. That must have been one of my faster crossings - Ever !

 Having had to just jump on the train at the last minute I didn't have time to get to my normal carriage, and even missed out on getting a seat (or at least one acceptable to me). I ended up standing all the way home (I also stood all the way from Earlsfield to Waterloo). My feet felt a little tired when I ot off the train in Catford, but I still managed to keep up a reasonable pace as I walked home. I'm unsure if it was some sort of extra energy, or just madness, but the first thing I did after getting changed into some slobbish clothes was to wash a couple of shirts, plus some underwear.

 Once that was hung up to dry I was going to prepare some dinner, but I decided to wash my hair first. I guess washing my hair made me light headed, and fried my brain, because somehow I managed to only eat a very healthy sort of dinner. It was the sort of stuff I was eating prior to my operation last September, and when I was losing a very useful amount of weight. Part one was salad with some salmon, just dressed with olive oli and balsamic vinegar. Part two was a pile of fruit - a small apple, a small conference pear, a blush pear, a nectarine, and two small tangerines. I did spoil the overall effect a little by eating a small can of pepper stuffed olives as a snack - they spoiled the calorie count, but otherwise were probably harmless.

 I assumed I would need an early night last night, and that is what I tried for, but it didn't work. I was in bed with the lights out at 8pm, but sleep eluded me. Some of the reason was that I was uncomfortable. In certain positions my (presumably) still healing chest can be a bit sore, or even hurt quite a lot in a few localised places. Last night it was in most positions, and most of the bits that could be sore were sore at one time or another. That wasn't the worst bit though. It was my left hand that caused me most trouble.

 I haven't mentioned my left hand for a while now, but half of it is still partly numb. Generally speaking it doesn't bother me too much now, and most of the muscles for my left hand are almost back to full strength now. Just occasionally it can get a bit sensitive, and it is the little finger that is most sensitive, That's followed by the ring finger. The other two fingers and my thumb don't really cause any trouble at all. Last night my little finger was very tingly, and could almost be painful depending on how I treated it. A few months ago I would have said that it was part of the healing process.

 Very often improvement would be preceeded by something like last night, but I don't think so this time. My left hand has been stable for a long time now, and I assume that until some wonder medical intervention (probably surgery) takes place, how it is now is the best it will ever be. I think I probably jarred it, or something, when I was doing my hand laundry. I possibly strained a muscle in my forearm, just behind my wrist, as well because that can be a little sore too now. This morning my hand feels similar to it's current somewhat defective normality. So I'll just have to see how it goes.

 I don't know what time I actually got to sleep last night. I don't think it was terribly late - perhaps a little after 9pm. I did wake up quite frequently for the first few hours, but sometime after midnight I fell into a deep sleep, and rather unusually I was woken up by my alarm. It was a night for some unpleasant dreams. I can only remember a snatch of one dream. I was in a strange room with my cat from quite a few years back - Nelly, the tortoishell. The room was on the second floor, and the windows were so high that I had to stand on a chair to look out of them. As I stood on a chair looking out an open window my cat decided she just had to go out, and the only way of doing it was to climb up me, and launch herself out of the window. I guess it was at least a 25ft drop to the ground, and I feared the worst. Nelly seemed to drop in slow motion, but she hit the ground four square, and seemed none the worse for her drop. I knew intellectually that cats usually survive such a drop without even ruffling a whisker, but to watch it happen, in slow motion, even in a dream, is a bit disturbing !

 This morning I don't think I have too much to complain about - everything seems fairly normal. Unfortunately that is the new normal. The new normal where the walk from the station to work is a bit of a slog, and where my left hand is not in perfect working order. At least I don't feel too tired after what seemed to be a poor nights sleep. Now I just wonder how I'll feel when  leave work. It will definitely dampen my spirits if it is raining when I go home, and even just lack of sunshine will probably have a negative effect, but maybe last night's healthy diner will help to give me more energy like it seems I had last night.

 It would definitely be good to have an abundance of energy on my way home. I think I'll be popping in Tesco on the way home, and if I feel too knackered I am liable to buy inappropriate items. I'm mainly after more fruit, and maybe some fish or skinless chicken, but if I feel all knackered and pissed off I may be tempted to buy something like crisps, or hot chicken, or ready meals, or... Maybe it would be better if I was so knackered that I couldn't even be bothered to go to Tesco because I know most of what I have at home already is mostly harmless. Time will tell.
Tuesday 1st April 2014
08:18 BST

  The best I can say about yesterday was that it stayed dry, and that it was almost feeling warm as I made my way home from work. Other than that it was rather a dull and dreary day. Today might be a lot better if the forecast is to be believed, but the forecast did not mention how foggy it would be this morning.....
Fog at Catford Bridge Tuesday 1st April 2014
Looking north on Catford Bridge station at just before 06:30 this morning.
Garratt Lane, Earlsfield on a foggy morning
 Looking down Garratt Lane, Earlsfield this morning. Straight on through the fog, round the "S" bend, past the Henry Prince Estate, down the side road, and across the yard lies work !

 Today is supposed to be bright and sunny, and as warm as yesterday. There are hints this will happen. It seemed to be bright and clear in central London, and once the sun breaks through here it could warm up nicely. After today things go downhill again...or so the last forecast I saw suggested, but that could be so easily wrong - fingers crossed !

 I am unsure why, but I didn't feel all that wonderful yesterday. I suppose it was probably a mixture of lack of sleep and the stomach upset I had first thing in the morning, but it didn't feel quite as simple as that. I was OK going home from work, and although I didn't feel like rushing around, I seemed to have enough energy to keep up a reasonable pace. Once I sat down I didn't feel like getting up again, and I didn't feel like not eating either.

 I had much more to eat than I would have liked to have eaten, but on reflection it may not have added up to excess. The thing that spoiled it all was a couple of bagels. They were in an air tight sealed package, and had been in my desk drawer here at work since last Thursday. I was ready to throw them away, but I checked the label more carefully before doing so. It said they were in an oxygen free environment, and should stay fresh for ages. It also suggested putting them, still inside the packet, in the microwave for 45 seconds. I tried this, and they came out rather nice and soft and fluffy. I should really have only eaten one instead of two, and I shouldn't have filled them with a whole small tin of Spam !

 I did feel quite full when I went up to my bedroom. I went up quite early, before even the national news had finished on TV. After attending to some stuff on the internet I decided that I definitely needed an early night. I was in bed, just reading, by 7pm. Sunset was approx 7.30pm last night, and that was when I put my book down, and turned out the lights. I fell asleep fairly quickly, and slept very solidly. I know I got up once or twice for a pee, but my memory of it is so vague that it I could almost have dreamed it. I finally woke up properly at 4.59am - just one minute before my alarm was due to go off. I guess I really needed that sleep - and I reckon I could have slept for longer if I had the time to try for it.

 I feel sort of strange this morning. Some bits of me feel to be in unusually rather good working order, and other bits feel rather decrepit. My arms ached for a while - a sort of 'flu like ache - but my legs felt strangely free and easy. My ankles and feet felt slightly sore so I still couldn't walk as easily, or as fast as my legs promised to be able to be able to carry me. Maybe the best thing is that for the moment, and after all I ate last night, it may be a short moment, my guts seem perfectly good this morning.

 There was an article on the front page of The Metro newspaper this morning.....
10 a day ????????
 It suggested that we now need to eat as much as 10 pieces of fruit or vegetable a day now. That's a shame because I only have 8 pieces here with me at work (although I do have more at home). I can't help but feel that I might feel a bit foolish to eat that amount of fruit. It was an interesting article though. One of the doctors, or nutritionists, or comediens quoted in the article implied that research showed eating ever increasing amounts of fruit added extra years to your life - with no limits quoted ! So if you eat your own bodyweight in a fruit and vegetables every day you will live forever ! Whoopee.....or how boring !

 I feel another early night coming on for tonight, but maybe not as early as last night. I think I might want to wash my hair tonight. It is feeling a bit yucky this morning, and needs to be done soon. Maybe, if I could be sure that tomorrow morning will be as mild as this morning, I could do it in the morning, and then I would have time to wash acouple of shirts tonight. I guess it all depends on how much energy I feel I have this evening. What ever happens it is unlikely to be an exciting evening. I think I'll have to wait for Thursday night for some sort of excitement.