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December 2014
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My Diary/Blog for the
Month of December 2014

Wednesday 31st December 2014
14:01 GMT
  The main feature for the last few days has been the cold. I would imagine that in some shaded places, the frost that fell on Monday morning was still there this morning. I'm not sure of the highest temperature yesterday, or indeed the day before, but I don't think it was any higher than 3 or 3 C, and for a lot of the time it was 2 C or less. Both yesterday and the day before were often overcast, but this afternoon the sun has come out, and the temperature has reached 6 C. Tomorrow, the first day of the new year, it is forecast to start at 7 C, and be very overcast. The clouds will stay thick and heavy, and the temperature will rise. By 10pm it will start to rain, and the temperature will have risen to 12 C ! By 2am the next day it will be an almost, but not really, warm at 13 C. At least that is the latest fantasy dreamed up by the BBC's weather forecasters.

 Now, what did I do on Monday - apart from going to Aldi in the morning ? I think the answer has to be nothing !  I did some reading, some snoozing, and I watched some TV - but not much TV if my memory serves me well. As I recall it was crap across all six thousand channels ! So let's forget about that and move on to yesterday. What did I do yesterday ? Quite a lot - although only one thing is really noteworthy - and that was boozing last night !

 Earlier in the day I did two or three things of little significance - apart from to my gut. I went to the 99p shop for something to do, and to buy something to tickle my fancy (or something like that). All I shall say about it is that my stomach was well lined when I went out boozing in the evening (not that it did that much good).

 One other thing I did was to run around like an idiot trying to get together all the stuff I would need to transfer the recording(s) on a Hi8 video tape to a digital format that can be played, and maybe edited, on a PC. The simplest way I can do it is to use my Samsung miniDV camcorder to record the output from my now rather ancient Sony Hi8 camcorder. The Samsung camcorder has a "firewire" output that can be plugged directly into my PC, and the recording transferred completely digital.

 Two things have arisen, if that is the right word, from all this video transferring stuff. The first is that for the first time ever I have been able to control the camcorder, and transfer the video using pure Linux applications. I've never been able to do that before. Unfortunately it is very flaky, and when I come to transfer the digital video from the upcoming transfer, I think I'll reboot into Windows.

 The second rather pleasing thing, although in practical terms it is irrelevant, is that I have discovered that the years old batteries, quite probably 10 years old or more, for that analogue Sony camcorder still take a charge, and at least one of them looks as if it might actually be genuinely usable if I ever wanted to take that camcorder out to video anything.  Maybe I'll take it to a gig someday and see how it performs, and whether it give everything that lovely analogue glow (what ?).

 I previously suggested that I was meeting the lads at 5pm last night. but I had a message to say it was being brought forward to 4pm. That seemed like an excellent idea with one small drawback, or advantage, depending on how big a hangover you prefer ! I am sorry to report that The Catford Constitutional Club actually opened at least 45 seconds late yesterday, and Alan and myself had to wait outside in the cold until they did ! Everyone else turned up soon after that except for Kevin who turned up about an hour later. That wasn't bad considering he was not sure if he would be able to make it at all.

 We all had a jolly good drink together, and much drunken banter was passed, and much time passed ! It didn't feel like that many hours had passed, but it was 9pm when I left after 5 hours of boozing ! I felt slightly sozzled, but far from legless. Maybe the worst thing was that I could not control my legs well enough to stop them walking into the fried chicken shop ! No matter how bad it is for you, it is still nice to hold all that booze down with a heap of fried chicken and chips, and it's doubly nice when you've walked home in freezing conditions !
Chris and Alan
 This is not a great picture of Chris and Alan, but it probably shows the level of booze intake at that time. I can't hold my phone properly*, and Chris and Alan both look pissed !

* I used my mobile phone camera and it's inbuilt flash to take the picture. I very rarely use the flash on it, and can't quite get the timing right. As far as I can recall, it tries to focus on the dim image, turns the "flash" on, which is actually a bright white LED, and then it tried to focus again. Then, once it feels happy, it takes the picture some unknown time after hitting the shutter button (or actually tapping the screen because it doesn't have a physical shutter button). I think I got the phone about level. So I didn't have to apply any rotation to the picture, but it did need a lot of sharpening, and colour correction - and it still looks very odd.

 I was in bed reasonably early last night, and for maybe the first 4 hours I slept very well, but the second 4 hours were a bit rough. At one point I woke up feeling dreadful, and wondering how on Earth I was ever going to make it into work. I don't think that was a dream, but I did dream, maybe before that, but probably after it, that I didn't manage to get to work....and yet I seemed to be at work while thinking about it. Fortunately, back n the real world, I didn't have to go to work today, and I could spend most of the morning getting over my hangover at a slow and sedate pace.

 At midday I had some lunch, and it was fried chicken and chips ! I knew I had bought rather a generous portion last night, but I thought I had pigged down far more than I evidently did because I has enough left over for a quite reasonable lunch. Since then I have done nothing apart from writing this. I have nothing planned for after this. I could potentially go to a local pub tonight. I know of one that has free entry, but I think I might stick to tradition and try for an early night. I really do need to get back into practice for getting up at 5am, and there is only tonight and tomorrow night to practice that ! I'll report back on what I did next year !
Monday 29th December 2014
12:53 GMT
  Yesterday was a brilliantly sunny day, but the temperature barely got above a few degrees - maybe 5 C at the very best. The sky stayed clear overnight, and it came as no surprise to wake up to a severe frost ! The sun has been shining since daybreak, and that has raised the temperature to almost 3 C, and yet any car that has been in the shade still has a thick rime of frost on it's roof. The BBC's website is saying that tomorrow will start at minus 1 C, and it will be foggy until mid morning ! Sounds lovely !!

 After my visit to Longfield on Saturday night, I didn't feel much like going out and travelling yesterday, but I forced myself, and was amply rewarded for doing so. I got to take some nice pictures in daylight, and I heard Jo Corteen singing beautifully on the busker stage in Bromley Market Square. She even made a little bit of money out of it !
Bromley Market Square and
                  the busking stage
Some of Bromley Market Square (there's more behind the camera, and round the corner).
Jo Corteen busking 28th December 2014
The buskers stage is only a seasonal thing just for the Xmas shoppers this year.
Jo Corteen
It's wonderful working with natural light !
Matt Hemsley steps up to play some bass on the
                  song The Chain
For one song, The Chain, Matt Hemsley who was running the stage, stepped up to play the all important bass part of the song. All other songs were just Jo and her guitar.
A few more coins in Jo's guitar case
Sadly, Jo didn't earn a fortune, but a few people tossed some coins in her guitar case.

 I guess I was only out for little more than two hours, but soon after getting home I felt quite tired. Maybe 2 gigs in two days is too much or maybe it was the more substantial than I intended lunch I cooked for myself. After standing around for an hour in the freezing cold I was beginning to feel chilled to the core, and a hot lunch seemed in order. I baked two medium sized baking potatoes, and had them with cheese and baked beans. I think it rather ruined any advantage I might have had from eating rather more carefully the day before !

 I have to confess that I did bugger all for the rest of the day....and it was a long day. I spent a fair bit of time partly in bed reading, and often dozing off for 5 or 10 minutes after every couple of pages. In the evening I started watching some TV, and on the whole it was not very enjoyable. One programme I watched was one of the programmes made specially for (or by) the Freeview channel "Dave". It was hosted by a comedian call Dave Gorman, and although his material was funny, his delivery wasn't. I don't know why I didn't think it funnier, and I don't know why I took a mild dislike to the guy. I also don't know why I watched it through to the end, but I did.

 That programme finished at midnight, and I turned off the TV and went to bed. Now I don't know if some of the booze I had, and it wasn't much, made me sleepier or kept me awake, but I did feel sleep, and yet I didn't feel like sleep. So I read until 1am, and then I fell asleep quite quickly. I managed to stay asleep for seven hours, not counting a couple of breaks of a minute or two apiece. I think I would have preferred to have slept for longer, but sometime you just can't fight these things.

 Today is a bit of an anti-climax after the previous two days, but I don't feel so bad about it as I felt yesterday afternoon/early evening. I felt quite depressed then.  Today is just a normal sort of non-working day. I think I probably woke up with a different set of complaints compared to a day when I have to go to work. This morning the only complaint worth noting was backache. It was by no means terrible, and in many ways it was more like a warning to avoid doing whatever caused it more.

 It didn't put me off going to get some shopping from Aldi. Ignoring that I could probably feel the blood freezing in my extremities, it was quite a pleasant walk under a blue sky. It would have been even nicer if the sun had been high enough to shine over the houses in the road to Aldi. It wasn't quite so nice walking back with heavy bags of assorted stuff, but it wasn't bad. It was sort of odd that as soon as I had put all the shopping away I came over with a huge amount of fatigue. I went from feeling perfectly fine to having a strong (but not desperate) desire to lie down in the space of a second !

 I still don't feel very dynamic now, but that's OK because I didn't have anything in particular I wanted to do. So being completely and utterly lazy for the rest of the day has become more than just a vague desire, and now has some sort of meaning. I won't be so lucky tomorrow, or alternatively I am lucky to be looking forward to some beers with Chris, and maybe some of the Thursday night regulars, at 5pm tomorrow.
Sunday 28th December 2014
10:21 GMT
  The rain had mostly stopped by yesterday afternoon, and the sky became fairly clear by sunset.  That clear sky allowed the temperature to drop from around 6 C to barely more than zero ! This morning my thermometer said 0.4 C. The sky is still clear so there was a beautiful frosty sunrise this morning (beautiful when observed from indoors in a heated room !). The temperature is now up to 2.4 C, and the sky is getting cloudy - which was not in the last forecast I saw ! The current forecast still insists it will be a bright sunny day with the cloud only returning at 2am tomorrow morning when the temperature will be dipping below zero ! Tomorrow, and the day after, are forecast to be very cold, but bright sunny days.

 By comparison to previous days, I was quite busy yesterday. In the morning I went to Aldi, and in the afternoon I did some more washing - quite a lot of it. Even after all that I managed to find the energy and enthusiasm to go out in the evening. To do that I had to prepare myself carefully. I mentioned yesterday that I had quite a heavy breakfast, and that meant I had to have a light dinner if I was ever going to get out - and I did have a light dinner !
a very light dinner
 Cold fruit is not exactly ideal when going out to face close to zero temperatures, but at least it didn't leave me feeling too stuffed, and too uncomfortable to move. (Incidently, the blue splodge on the pear is a reflection from the nearby TV screen).

 I got myself washed, dressed, and sort of presentable, and left for the station shortly after 7.30pm - which was stupid because it was far too early for an 8.03pm train even when taking into account the need to buy tickets, and walk that little extra to Catford station (instead of Catford Bridge station). After too long a wait on a freezing railway station platform I was on my way. It's annoying that I had to change trains at Bromley South, but the entire journey, from station to station is a fairly reasonable 35 minutes.
Chain playing in The Railway
                  Tavern, Longfield
It was, of course, Chain who I was going to see, and of course my camera went with me.
This isn't a great picture, but it shows the whole band.
The Railway Tavern, Longfield, Kent
The venue looking very atmospheric on a dark night.
The moon
Maybe just for fun, or maybe because I could, a picture of the moon last night.

I arrived at the pub just in time to hear the sound check, and I just had enough time to hear the first set before it was time to go home again. The last train with a connection at Bromley South for a train to Catford was the 22:37. There were two more train after that, but if I got them I would have to get a bus from Bromley. That would extend my journey time a fair bit, and maybe wouldn't be so bad in the summer, but on a frosty night I preferred the direct route.

 I must admit I did start getting a bit twitchy when I saw trains start to be cancelled, or seriously delayed, and that probably made me leave the pub a little earlier than I should have. It's an uphill walk from the pub to the station, and then you have to go up and over the footbridge to get to the London bound platform. It's not actually very far, maybe not much more than 5 minutes walk to the station entrance, but those five minutes left had me breathing very heavily at the end. So it was nice to leave enough time so I didn't have to rush, but not so much that I had to pace up and down a freezing cold platform for over 15 minutes !

 I have to admit it was rather nice when the train arrived, although it might have been nicer still if the train had been something a bit better than luke warm ! There was a 10 minute wait for the next train at Bromley South station, and I finally arrived at Catford station at 23:11 (or so the timetable says).

 That left plenty of time to grab some hot food from any of several takeaways, but I had anticipated that. Sitting in my microwave, ready to be reheated, was a bowl of (not actually roasted) roast winter vegetables. They were quite nice, although maybe not as nice as some fried chicken would be, but they were hot and filled a hole. I would imagine that they were a lot more healthy than fried chicken and chips as well. They were all root vegetables, and so were full of carbohydrates, but judging from the cold empty bowl this morning, they had very little added fat to help them roast.

 One strange thing is that I didn't feel very tired last night. I stayed up to almost 1am checking and editing some of the pictures I took last night, and then when I got into bed it was hard to get to sleep. Even when I did get to sleep I seemed to have loads of unpleasant dreams. I managed to force myself to stay in bed until a little after 8am. So I didn't get my full 8 hours beauty sleep last night, but maybe I can have a long snooze this afternoon.

 That snooze won't happen until I've been out again. At 2pm Jo Corteen will be doing a solo performance in Bromley Market Square, and I am hoping to get there to see it. I'll be getting the bus to get there, and it will take about 25 minutes - not far short of how long it takes to get to Longfield !
Saturday 27th December 2014
13:12 GMT
  Yesterday's weather was fairly unpleasant, and today it is actually worse. Last night it started to rain, and it was also rather windy. This morning the wind had dropped, but it is not yet calm. The forecast said that today would be very overcast but dry. Well, half of that was right, but there were plenty of showers earlier on, and there are still some intermittent showers even now. It's quite cold today. Currently it is 4.7 C outside. So we are only a couple of degrees away from the rain falling as snow. Tomorrow is, or was forecast to be very cold, but sunny. That will be a huge improvement over today !

 Last night I made a point of having some booze. I had a nice sized measure of Jim Beam honey bourbon (or was it Jack Daniels ? - I can't be bothered to go downstairs and check the bottle !), a semi large measure of Glayva, and a large measure of whisky. I probably ended up drunk, but I didn't notice it, and I think the email I wrote during the start of that boozing session came out all OK (but do I dare re-read it in the cold light of day ?).

 I thought I might finish off the evening watching some TV, but there was bugger all on, not even anything that a lot of alcohol could make watchable. So I went to bed quite early, and read for an hour or so. I seem to recall that it wasn't very long after 10pm that I put the book down, and turned out the light. Then I think I fell asleep quite quickly. I know I woke up quite a few times in the night, and many of them were in the last stages of my sleep. It took a lot of effort, but I managed to not give up trying to sleep until after 9am this morning.

 The last hour, or maybe two hours of sleep were really freaky. I was sleeping so lightly that it sometimes felt like I was awake, and sometime when it seemed like I was awake I was actually asleep. It was a weak form of lucid dreaming. I was able to inject ideas into what I was dreaming about, but I couldn't control all the dream. One aspect of my dreaming was what you might call visions of the past. Earlier in the day I had watched a bit of Carry On Constable which featured street view from the mid to early 1960s, and the book I was reading was about a man who had been accidently frozen in 1968, and revived 146 years later. The build up to the freezing accident included a lot of descriptions of London in 1968. So some of the short, almost lucid dreams I had included sort of slightly out of focus street scenes of places that I have hazy memories of. Some of those scenes were in black and white, and they may have actually been street scenes from old films rather than real life, but they all shared one thing, and that was a lack of cars.

 When I finally gave up on the entertainment that was all self generated, and decided it was time I got up, I felt no worse than any day that I would go to work - pretty crappy, but functional enough not to die ! I must admit it did take some time before I felt ready to go out to get some shopping in Aldi. If I had waited that long before going to work I would arrive very late indeed, but I guess being able to take my time is one of the rewards of the mid winter holiday period.

 It was not that nice walking to Aldi under a leaden sky, with the occasional fine rain drop hitting my face, and yet from a different perspective it felt good to be moving without any significant discomforts. The biggest problem was trying to avoid buying anything containing too much of anything I am trying to avoid except taste. I bought a lot of fruit and no cookies and the like, and I tried to avoid buying too much meat as well. It was about 87% successful !

 I'm not too sure I felt too good when it came to start carrying all I had bought home. It was because I had avoided buying many things that I would otherwise be tempted to buy that I had quite a bit of space in the shopping trolley. I seemed to fill some of that space with 10 litres of sugar free soft drinks. That was quite some weight to lug home ! I can't quite understand why it seemed bloody heavy when I started home, and then seemed no more than moderately heavy when I got home !

 It was nice to get back home, and into the warm. The first thing I did was to cook some brunch (or was it lunch - I think the demarcation line between the two can often be quite flexible). I'll stick to calling it brunch, and it was a little bit extravagant. There is a small possibility that I might go out tonight, and I wanted to get what should be the biggest meal of the day out of the way early. It was a pile of pork chops served with Greek giant beans. Hopefully those beans will remain quiescent until tomorrow morning ! It would possibly be a first class meal if I was on the Atkins diet, but I'm not.

 In theory, but I can't see it happening, I will eat nothing but fruit for the rest of the day. Maybe I'll only break that with a bowl of oats and cold milk, and maybe I'll break it with something hot and warm. It is not easy being hungry and eating cold food in the middle of winter, but if I want to get into my new black jeans I might have to endure it whenever I can, and if I ever want to get into my old black jeans, the pair that were 100% comfortable when I went into hospital 16 months ago, I'll have to do far better than that for far longer. Depressing, isn't it ?
Friday 26th December 2014
16:36 GMT
  I enjoyed the bright sunshine yesterday. The sky was clear until well after sunset, or so it appeared judging by how sharp and vivid the crescent moon looked. Yesterday was hardly warm, and of course with a clear sky during the night, the temperature dropped even further. It stopped just short of a frost - about 3 C if I remember correctly. Unfortunately the sky clouded over before sunrise, and today has been dull, drab, grey, and completely uninspiring. The temperature is now almost 7 C, and as forecast, it is raining ! Tomorrow is forecast to be be very cold, very grey, but mostly dry. For some reason known only to the idiots who update the BBC website, they have helpfully issued a severe weather warning for several cm of snow over Wales and the Midlands. I'll be aware of that in case they move the local shops 300 miles away !

 On Xmas eve I was very pissed off for a while after arriving home from work. I have already mentioned that work pissed me off - no bonus, no bottle of champagne, and not being sent home early as has happened in all previous years. Then there was the journey home. At any other time I would just laugh it off as yet another reason to unleash nuclear death on the guilty parties, but I was already very irritable. The actions of a stupid family with their juggernaut sized pram totally sent me over the edge, but where do you go from unleashing nuclear death ? This bloody family evidently knew that I knew where a good place to stand to wait for me was, and parked their mobile shit bag carrier right next to me.  So I moved up the platform to where the next set of doors should be if I estimated it correctly. I just could not believe it. As soon as the train appeared they started pushing their loud pile of wee and piss straight at me ! So I dodged around them and got back to my favourite position, and they, thank the deities, got in the next carriage.  I still decided to swap my allegiance to those who hold humanity in contempt !
Kill all humans
 The funny thing about yesterday was that I didn't hate it ! I am not too keen on Xmas. It is a day of artificial jollity, and I just don't get it. It is a crime to be miserable, or so it seems, and so I withdraw to be miserable in private.....and yet this year I wasn't miserable at all. Maybe it was because I had sort of pre-planned it to just ignore it was even happening, and just let it wash over me, or maybe it was because I was ill. The trouble is that I don't know what sort of illness I have. I definitely had a fever in the early hours of yesterday morning, and then lots of aches and pains through the day. As I explained yesterday, some of the pains were chest pains, and some types of chest pains can indicate serious trouble. My pains yesterday seemed more muscular and skeletal, and an extension of the pains I was getting in my arms and legs. It was rather similar to 'flu in many ways, but I don't think it is 'flu.

 Somehow all the hours passed quite easily yesterday, and it was nice to be able to relax without having to worry about visitors or work getting in the way. Probably the hardest thing I did all day was to watch the special Xmas edition of Dr Who. I used to love Dr Who 10, 20, 30, maybe even 40 years ago, but these modern episodes, and the latest regeneration of The Dr, are sometimes very hard to love ! I don't think I would go as far as saying I regret watching Dr Who, but I think I regret not getting drunk last night. I don't think I had any booze at all yesterday. (Fortunately there is still time not to make the same mistake today).

 Considering I was doing some intense relaxing yesterday, I was surprised just how easy it was to fall asleep last night. Maybe it was because I had eaten dinner quite early, and was looking forward to breakfast in the morning. On reflection, I don't think I ate all that much yesterday - relative to, say, a boring Sunday. It was almost certainly much more than my body needed, but all it was, was two medium sized meals with practically no snacks during the day.

 I woke up this morning still feeling off colour. Many of the aches and pains had subsided, and subsided enough to not stop me washing 5 shirts and some underwear, but I didn't feel that wonderful after doing so. In fact I felt quite fatigued, and I've spent a lot of today laying in or on my bed either reading or dozing off. There were times when I was feeling quite cold despite the room temperature being fairly constant all day. I feel quite warm at the moment, and yet 3 or 4 hours ago I was tightly wrapped up under the duvet. I guess I am still ill in some weird unknown way. It's probably Ebola, but what do the doctors know ? (Actually the doctors don't know I am ill !).

 Another symptom of this illness is that I don't feel hungry, and I almost don't want to eat, and yet I do fancy something to stimulate my taste buds. It's a bit like this non smoking lark, or at least it would be good if it was. Not having a fag when there are occasions when I still really want one seems somehow easy, and it would be damn useful if I could do the same when it comes to having dinner. How can I not be hungry and still look forward to eating something ? Not eating for a few weeks would probably make me feel a lot better in all sorts of ways, and it would definitely help with getting into two brand new pairs of jeans that have the same product code, and the same measurements on the label as my favourite pair of jeans - a pair of jeans that seem quite loose. So loose that I can practically do them up one handed, and yet my brand new jeans, ordered from the same place, using the same product code, seem too tight to get into ! More proof that there is no god, and the universe is just a place of chaos !

 I think I am beginning to feel the boredom of this short holiday. If I feel better tomorrow, and there are some indicators that I am starting to feel better, I ought to try and go out and get some fresh air. With snow in Wales and the Midlands it is not terribly tempting out there, and the dull grey skies here, the cold, and the ever present threat of rain don't provide much inspiration either - except for the negative kind. At least the trains are running tomorrow. That might be useful, or it might not. With luck I will have a terrible hangover in the morning, and that will decide my fate....and yet I am not really sure I want to go over the top tonight, I fancy a relaxing glass of whisky, but maybe not two. Perhaps I'll have to force myself :-) 
Thursday 25th December 2014
15:21 GMT
  After getting soaked in the morning it was hard to believe the forecast for the afternoon could be anything close to being right, but yesterday afternoon was often sunny. By the time I went home the sky was practically clear, and that made the daylight last a bit longer than expected. The temperature did drop a lot during the day, but I don't recall my journey home from work being particularly chilly. Later in the evening the temperature had dropped to 4 C, and it was similar to that all night. This morning started really chilly, but beautifully sunny with a clear blue sky. There seem to be first clouds gathering in the sky right now, but so far they are thin and sparse, and the sun continues to shine. It could be a spectacular sunset tonight, and a rather chilly one, although the temperature has risen to 6.4 C. Tomorrow is forecast to start very cold, maybe just 2 or 3 C with no sunshine at all, and after sunset it will rain. By then the temperature will have risen to 5 C, and so we will escape any snowfall by the skin of our teeth !

 I was not happy at work yesterday. For one thing I didn't feel that good. There was nothing I could actually lay my finger on to say this is wrong, but just a general feeling of something not quite right. That was quite minor compared to other problems. The job I had busted a gut to finish, and had me leaving work over half an hour late turned out to be not quite the panic that I had been told it was. Worse than that was that this year we didn't get a single tangible xmas thank you. Most years we have been given a bottle of champagne, and last year we got a xmas bonus for the first time in years. We didn't get anything at all this year, and the final kick in the balls was that we weren't told to go home early ! Maybe those who tend to stay up to three hours later than I do might have got away an hour or two early but I just sneaked out 2 minutes, yes just 120 seconds, earlier than usual ! I was not happy !

 Last night I continued to feel a bit strange in a way that I can't describe in any meaningful way...except maybe in one sort of way. As I have done for many years, I ordered a huge Indian takeaway last night. I carefully researched the Food Standards Agency website to make sure I was ordering from an establishment that observed some sort of reasonable hygiene (although for some reason it seems rare to find any Indian restaurant that scores better than 3 out of 5). Then I spent 38 on a huge takeaway. As in past years, the idea was that I would have a slap up meal last night, and then breakfast, lunch and dinner out of the leftovers. Well it's far simpler than cooking a turkey - which would be a complete and utter waste of time just to serve me, and no one else.

 The one single tangible clue that I was not feeling my best was that I didn't eat as much as I thought I would. During the evening I didn't do anything more exciting than watch a bit of TV - that include the James Bond film "Skyfall". It didn't take long for that to appear on TV - it was only released in 2012 ! I think I must have watched something after that, maybe an old, much repeated episode or two of QIXL on Dave perhaps. It was about midnight when I went to bed.

 As far as I can recall I didn't feel particularly bad in any concrete sort of way, and nothing that stopped me falling asleep quite quickly. At 2.20am I woke up needing a pee. As soon as I pulled the duvet away I started uncontrollably shivering. It was like I had a fierce fever, and maybe that is what I had, but I didn't actually measure my temperature. With arms and legs vibrating like a hummingbirds wings, I managed to have my pee, and I also managed to turn the heater on. Then I jumped back into bed, and pulled the duvet tightly around me.

 I think I managed to get back to sleep for nearly an hour before I woke up feeling terrible. Everything seemed to ache, and that included my chest. That was quite worrying because is was a feeling that was sometimes a bit like, but not exactly like one of my presumed heart attacks. One big difference was that when I had to call the ambulance 15 or 16 months ago, I could still move my arms and legs quite freely. In the early hours of this morning it was like I was in the middle of a really bad bout of 'flu. Everything hurt ! It was difficult getting back to sleep because of that, and also because I also seemed to choose that moment to have some gut ache, and had to make several trips to the toilet. Quite how all those things tie together is a complete mystery to me.

 I started to sleep fairly well again by a little after 5am, and managed to stay in bed until just gone 8am, but I decided to get up then. I still had some chest pain, and I decided I had better have a good shower just in case it got worse, and I needed to seek help. Unlike that last time, at the start of September 2013, having a shower didn't start the pains off, and this time left them about the same. One useful thing was that I noticed the chest pain was more to do with posture than what I was doing. That seemed to me to indicate that it was just an extension of the muscular pains afflicting other bits of me.

 Having convinced myself that I was unlikely to die I decided to go out for a walk and see how that felt. Apart from it being a bit finger tingling cold, it actually felt good. I was only walking slowly because I was using my camera a lot, but it all felt rather good. I think I probably walked about a mile, but it felt easy, and I arrived home looking forward to a bit of breakfast. All traces of the chest pain had gone......until I slumped into a chair and relaxed. That brought them back until I sat up straight again. It was an awful lot like having back ache at the front !

 The purpose of my walk was to photograph how bleak Catford is on Xmas morning, and with a couple of exceptions I think I made quite a good record of it. So here is just a small selction of my contribution to human misery - Catford on a day that is like Sunday, but far, far worse !
When this place says it is "24 hours open" it obviously means it - 365 days a year !
The London And Rye
The London And Rye - not open for breakfasts today, but may have opened at lunchtime.
The Catford Cat
The Catford Cat was open for whatever it's business is. Look at that clear blue sky !
The Catford Ram
The Catford Ram - I suspect they may not have open for a couple of hours at lunchtime as they traditionally did years ago, but maybe I am wrong.
shutter painting
It's rare to see these painted shutters. At night, about the only time they would be down, you tend to rush past them without looking about too much.
The Catford Constitutional Club
The entrance of The Catford Constitutional Club - they are definitely closed all day today.
The Turkish Supermarket
Another shop that boasts it is open 24 hours a day - including bank holidays.
no buses today
No buses or trains are running through Catford today (and no trains tomorrow either !).

 One of the problems of these Sunday like days is that there is a high possibility of them being very boring, but I don't seem to have felt bored yet. Maybe it's still too soon after being at work, and the mind numbing boredom will set in when I have finished relaxing and recuperating - maybe tomorrow, or the day after. Right now I think I am happy just to vegetate. The only thing to occupy my mind now is to see how long I can hold out before having my next portion of curry !
Wednesday 24th December 2014
08:23 GMT
  Once again the weather forecast turned out to be close to nonsense. No one guessed that it might rain while I walked from work to the station, but it did. It was quite a light shower, and I think it had finished before I reached the station, but still.... One bit of the forecast that was correct was that it was around 13 C when I arrived home. On this occasion it was quite noticeable that it was fairly mild. During the night the temperature only dropped to 11 C. There was evidence that there might have been a very light shower before I walked to the station, but I decided to believe the forecast that it would be dry until at least evening time. That didn't really prepare me for getting soaked as I walked from the station to work ! It is supposed to by a bright afternoon today, but the temperature may well drop to as low as 6 C by late afternoon. Tomorrow morning could start with a severe frost followed by a crispy cold, but sunny morning.

 It is very rare that I stay late at work, but yesterday was one of those rare occasions. We had a bit of a panic on, and I thought it might curry favour to complete the stuff I had to do. Whether the stuff I did will get shipped to (I think) Cyprus in time for (I think) some important football match, is now down to others, but they have the bits, correctly modified and programmed, faster than they should have expected. Now they just have to do whatever needs to be done next. This great feat of electronic engineering made me about 35 minutes late to leave work, and 40 minutes late home. That may not seem much to you, but if it happened again in the next month I would take it as a sign of the impending apocalypse !

  I must have found some extra reserves of energy when I got home because I did two extra things over what I tend to do most nights - I trimmed my beard, and I washed and conditioned my hair. I look a lot less like a jihadist now ! Instead I look like a different sort of loony - one who didn't notice he had made a a rather asymmetrical cut to my beard and hair around the ears.  One side looks as if I have been shaved for an operation on my brain (assuming you can go in via a hole near the ear), and the other side doesn't. I could even it up, but then both sides would look too shaved. I think I will just have to be patient and let it grow out. Fortunately it is unlikely I'll be seeing many people (or maybe any people) after today for the next 8 days.

 I was stupidly hungry last night. At least I think I was. I seemed to eat enough to feel quite full, but on reflection I don't seem to recall eating that much. The main course of dinner was grilled sausages with potatoes and sugar snap peas cooked in some beef stock. To release as much fat as possible I gave those sausages a real good grilling, and the amount of sticky crap that came out and gummed up my grill was amazing. I am really going to have to scrub that grill to get that gunk of it. A little later on I had a medium sized pot of ready made "Italian flavoured" pasta. Somehow that doesn't sound much, but it seemed to make me feel quite full.

 As I let my dinner settle down, and let my freshly washed hair dry, I watched some TV. I theory I would have gone to bed early last night, but with loads of opportunities in the next 8 days to sleep as late as I want, I decided not to worry about trying to get lots of sleep last night. If I need to I can go to bed early tonight.While I watched some TV I sipped on a medium large whisky, and then I made a big mistake ! I decided to pour myself a small measure of overproof 66% rum. That stuff has quite a potent taste, but in small quantities it is quite pleasant by itself - but not after drinking whisky. It might work the other way round, but the taste clash from whisky to rum is disgusting ! It was really difficult not letting that rum go to waste. Thank goodness I didn't pour myself a large measure !

 I had three things in my favour for getting quite a good nights sleep last night. Maybe the whisky and rum helped, but I've had far larger measures of whisky that have not done that well at getting me to sleep (and keeping me asleep). Being a bit tired from poor sleep the night before undoubtedly helped a lot, but keeping my room fairly cool probably helped a lot more. I was able to snuggle down under the duvet without feeling too uncomfortably hot (but I still needed to leave an arm outside the duvet). I think it was one of the better nights sleep I've had recently, and best of all was that I didn't wake up feeling ready to die.

 I still feel far too ill to commute to work, but I did it anyway - just like I have for 97% of the work days for the last 5 or 6 years. I do remember one occasion when I felt really good, maybe even something like fit and healthy, whatever that is, when coming to work, but I have no idea when that was. Maybe it was a dream. As usual, once I started walking, and got all the deep vein thrombosis clots, and the lumps of cholesterol, and maybe even my own blood, circulating properly, I felt considerably better. Now I am at work, in the warm, and my sodden shirt has just about dried out, I feel there is a pretty good chance I'll live for at least another 36 hours - maybe more, but that might rely on being released from work early today, and a couple of pints on the way home. Not too much more though or I'll be jumping on and off the train at every stop with a toilet !

 Tonight I have one simple task to carry out. As is tradition for me, I will be ordering a gigantic Indian takeaway.  At least I think it will be Indian, but I might consider other possibilities at the time of ordering. I shall have a nice takeaway dinner tonight, and there will be ample stuff left over for the possibility of a breakfast tomorrow morning, and a main mid day meal (what some people would call their xmas dinner). Before I have that dinner I think there is a 50% chance I will go out and take some photographs in what is forecast to be a bright sunny morning. So I might have some photos to show tomorrow !
Tuesday 23rd December 2014
08:49 GMT
  The days are definitely getting longer now, but the change is incredibly slow at the moment, and it is not helped when the cloud is so thick that it is difficult to tell night from day. It was not particularly cold when I left work to go home yesterday, but it was as good as dark because of the thick clouds. Earlier on the clouds had been less dense, and it might be my imagination, but I think there was a very short sunny period earlier in the day. It may have been around 11 C when I got home from work, and it was the same when I got up for work at 5am this morning. Today could be similar to yesterday - thin patchy clouds in the morning, and denser clouds in the afternoon. One big change is that the temperature may drop to as low as 6 C by the time I go home from work. Scrap all that, the forecast has just changed ! The cloud should be thin all day, and the temperature may rise to 13 C in the early afternoon. It might rain after midnight tonight, and then again around 7 - 8am tomorrow morning, but it should be sunny from mid morning.

 I felt moderately good going home from work yesterday, and I seemed to have a fair amount of energy right up to the time I shut the front door behind me. Then it all seemed to evaporate. It was by no means complete exhaustion, but enough to make me glad that I didn't have to go out, or doing anything that might be like hard work. I did have an earlier idea that I might wash a couple of shirts last night, but I very soon forgot that idea, and I seemed to completely forget that I wanted to do some far lighter work last night - trimming my beard ! I'll have to do it sooner or later before I get arrested as a terrorist !

 Dinner was supposed to be a simple affair last night, but it didn't turn out that way. The main course, if you can call it that, was supposed to be, and was, a baked potato with a heap of steamed and buttered mixed vegetables. It was fairly tasty, and should have been enough for anyone, but I couldn't resist padding it out with other stuff - including, but not limited to, far too many Maryland Cookies biscuits. It might have been the amount I ate that interfered with my sleeping, but there were also other reasons.

 One thing that made getting to sleep difficult was going over an email I had written before going to bed. It was one of those emails that starts off as a good idea where you have ideas, but then struggle to explain them. Trying to work out if what I wrote made any sense occupied part of my mind, while a problem at work (fortunately not really my problem) occupied an even larger chunk of my mind - and kept it occupied until gone 11pm ! So I got to sleep very late, and then slept so badly that I can remember snatches of loads of dreams. For some reason I seemed to dream most about the things I missed most. There were dreams about the house I lived in as a kid, and there were dreams about cats. Then there was a dream about my late lover - cigarettes. In that dream I hadn't totally stopped smoking, and had made a packet of 20 Benson & Hedges last for 16 months. I lit up one cigarette in the dream, and it was most enjoyable. Best of all was that I was only halfway through that magical pack of 20 !

 This morning I feel pretty bad. It didn't last very long at all after first waking up, but my hands felt very stiff and arthritic (or what I assume arthritic hands might feel like). I guess it is possible that I was holding onto the bed sheets like grimm death while I was dreaming or something. My stomach felt exactly the opposite way to how is should have been - I felt like it was empty and growling. Even my chest hurt in ways that are probably signs of imminent death if only I could get around to dying. On the other hand it could hurt like an old war wound that has been slept on awkwardly. The fact that my left nipple seems to be hurting suggests something, possibly good, is happening to my once severed nerves again. It seems impossible that they could still be slowly repairing themselves after all this time, but I suppose anything is possible in an infinite universe.

 Now I am at work some aches and pains have dissolved away, and new ones have appeared. Worse that that is that I feel very sleepy. Even worse that that is that someone has given me some work to do today. It is going to ruin my reputation as being a completely lazy bastard. I hadn't planned on doing anything but the extreme most essential today, but this new job looks to be slightly interesting !

 On my way into work I had the opportunity to ride on one of South West Trains newly refurbished class 456 trains. They acquired half a dozen of them, or something like that, from Southern Trains. They were pretty tatty, and their original paint job was very bland. Now they look like brand new trains. The interiors have been completely refitted to match the class 455 trains they will be coupled to, and they have new shiny exterior paint jobs to match the rest of the fleet. There were two of these two car units making up the rear portion of the 8 car train that I used between Waterloo and Earlsfield stations this morning. I normally travel towards the front of the train, and so I didn't get to travel inside one of the refurbished units, although with hindsight I wish I had. At Earlsfield I managed to get a snap of the back of the train as it left the station. Unfortunately I took the picture about half a second too late, and the train has almost left the station in this picture.
refurbished into SWT livery
                  class 456 train leaves Earlsfield
Monday 22nd December 2014
08:26 GMT
  I don't know whether to say that yesterday was not bad for the time of the year, or just to say it wasn't the worst of days. The thing that saved it was that it didn't rain, and perhaps the fact that it was a fraction less cold than expected went in it's favour. This morning, the first of a potential new year (explanation later), got off to a good start in as much as it was almost 13 C, and a bad start because it was raining. It seems the weather forecasters have changed their mind, and there is a chance of a light shower, or a bit of drizzle at any time today. To make matters worse it is going to be a very, very dull day, but there is even more that is worse than that. It is going to get colder as the day progresses - although only by a degree or two. By Thursday, the day many will be celebrating as some sort of xmas thing, the temperature will be down close to zero in the morning, and 7 C at best, but it will be bright and sunny - at least that is what is forecast now, but a weather forecast more than 56 seconds before the event is likely to be completely and utterly wrong !

 I think I would have been quite content to stay in last night, but it was also nice to meet Jodie and Mark in The Catford Constitutional Club late yesterday afternoon. I have to confess that the beers they had on hand pump were not that nice, but we finished off with some nice bottled beer. Mine was a German dark lager, and at 4.90 a bottle it should have been nice. If I were a rich man I could happily drink quite a lot of it, but I think it has to stay as a treat in this lifetime. Over the course of my entire lifetime I have only received a few notable Xmas presents. Of course the majority were when I was a kid. As an adult it has usually been a case of  "it's the thought that counts". I don't blame people for this. I find it incredibly hard to think of gifts for people, and I think I must prefer to be branded as a miserable tight arsed scrooge rather than break my brain trying to think of a nice gift for someone. Sometimes inspiration strikes, and usually it doesn't. Inspiration must have struck Jodie because she gave me a nice xmas present this year. It was two portions of cheese. Both look to be very tasty, but one in particular looks as if it could be really nice. It is tomato and basil flavoured ! I think I forget to mention that kevin gave me a nice present too. It was three half pint bottles of specially brewed beers. You can't go wrong with beer....or cheese...or

 It was getting on for 7pm when I got back from the pub. I had already prepared some dinner before I went out, and it was just a matter of heating up a baked potato, and some mixed vegetables cooked in beef stock. That made for an almost filling, tasty, and almost healthy dinner, although my dessert was not so good. The cherries were fine, but the plain cheddar cheese I had with them spoiled things a bit (or quite a lot). I was quite pleased with the baked potato though. I was going to buy another little bag of unusually small baking potatoes from Aldi last Saturday when I noticed that they had bags of red potatoes next to the baking potatoes, and that some of the red potatoes were bigger than the baking potatoes. My example of one suggests that red potatoes bake just as well as the potatoes marked as baking potatoes. I think if I tried hard enough I could imagine that the red ones were actually nicer !

 While I ate my dinner I watched some of the film "Space Cowboys". I've seen it before, and I think I might own the DVD of it, so it wasn't too hard to switch it off mid film and go up to my bedroom. After 10 - 20 minutes of checking for email, and checking other stuff on the internet, I decided I would go to bed. Maybe it was not one of my better decisions. I was in bed at around 8pm, and it took over two hours before I could fall asleep. I was sure I felt tired, but evidently not. Even after I fell asleep I didn't seem to stay asleep for that long, and I got very little sleep from 2am until 5am when I had to start getting ready to go to work.

 I didn't feel too good this morning, and I think it was more than just the stress of having to go to work. In an ideal world I think I might have managed to sleep much later than when my alarm went off. It felt like I was just getting the hang of sleeping again after a couple of hours of forgetting how to....or maybe that is just pure madness. All I know is that I didn't start copiously yawning until I had got up. If I had the time to slowly come to grips with the real world, and I didn't have to force myself to travel all the way to work, it is possible that I wouldn't have noticed, or paid any attention to all the creaks, groans and moans from assorted bits of my body, but I did, and suffered all the way to work as a consequence of it...well maybe it wasn't quite that bad. The most important things, my legs, seemed to carry me to work without too much bother, but from my hips up to the split ends of my hair I was not fully comfortable.

 Now I'm at work, and the room is slowing warming up, I am not in any discomfort worth noting, but I can't stop yawning. I think I am really beginning to miss those missing hours of sleep last night. Oh well, not long to go now for a few more days off work, and while I wait the days slowly get longer. Today is the first day of the new year in a pagan calendar that might not actually exist, but should do ! In my new philosophy, yesterday, the longest day of the year, and the winter solstice, was also the last day of the old year. From today the year is reborn

 So I would like to wish Ruby and Mike and everybody else a happy new year, and because it may, or may not be a pagan new year, some sort of pagan wishes would seem appropriate. So may all your cows yield plenty of good milk, may all your cheeses mature nicely, and may all your wines and ales ferment properly.

 In researching about today as the first day of a new year, and mostly reaching a blank, I did come across other useful/pointless information. On this day in.......
1965 In the United Kingdom, a 70 mph speed limit is applied to all rural roads including motorways for the first time. Previously, there had been no speed limit.
1888 J. Arthur Rank, patron saint of masturbators, was born. He founded the Rank Organisation (d. 1972)
1941 Jose Duval (who ?), Belgian pornographic actor was born
1997 Sebastian Arcos Bergnes, Cuban-American dentist and activist died (b. 1931)
In India today is National Mathematics Day !
Sunday 21st December 2014
12:57 GMT
  Today is the winter solstice. From today the days will start getting longer !
Hurrah !!!!

  As expected, the temperature didn't drop below 6 C last night. In fact it might have been slightly less cool than that at day break. Contrary to expectations there has been some sunshine this morning. It wasn't much, and if you blinked you would have missed it. The sky is now rather more uniform grey than it was earlier. Earlier on it was quite a patchy grey with exciting looking bright bits in it, and even tiny little gaps where blue could be seen beyond (and where the sun managed to sneak through on at least one occasion). It's currently 11 C, and that's two degrees warmer than forecast. Apparently the temperature will continue to rise, albeit slowly, and when I get up at 5am tomorrow morning it could be 13 C - which is not far short of t-shirt with gritted teeth weather ! The cloud is forecast to be black by then, but like today, it should be another dry day.

 There seems to be a lot of obituary programmes on TV recently. I mentioned the one about John Le Mesurier yesterday, but there was another one that I got into watching last night. It was of an actor/comedian who couldn't be more different to John Le Mesurier, but was just as enjoyable - Rik Mayall. What was sort of strange about it was that being a modern man he had written and filmed part of his own obituary. I must confess that Rik Mayall was not one of my favourites. He was good, but it was his frequent collaborator (or whatever you should call him) Ade Edmondson who I thought to be funnier.

 It was quite late when I went to bed last night. For some reason I seem to recall it might have been around midnight, but I can't imagine that I was watching TV that late, and I'm sure I didn't do anything else to pass the time. Anyway, I seemed to sleep well, and although I did get up for a while around 5am, I went back to bed, and had a few more hours sleep. With all the sleep I seem to have had over the last couple of nights, it is no great surprise that I woke up feeling fairly good. Of course not having to go to work this morning did mean that I didn't have to look for weaknesses like I would on a work morning.

 It is possible that while I didn't have any physical ailments of any great concern, I may have suffered some sort of mental trauma....some sort of brain death or something. The only reason I think this may have happened is that for some utterly stupid reason I thought I could hand wash both a sheet and a duvet cover this morning. The even stranger thing is that I did do just that ! There is a slight problem with having done so though. There is now no problem.

 The sheet was hanging on a clothes horse in front of the heater in the living room, and the duvet cover was hanging on a clothes horse in the bath where is was copiously dripping. Since then the sheet has dried enough to be put away, and the duvet cover has stopped dripping, and is now draped over the two clothes horses in front of the heater in the living room. This is rather convenient because one of the things I didn't do before washing that bed linen was to wash myself and my hair. Until an hour ago that didn't matter. I was not expecting to go out and see anyone, but now I will be meeting Jodie and Mark for what should be a quick drink at about 5pm. It would be polite not to be too smelly when I see them, and now the bath is free I can wash my hair and have a shower - which I will be doing right now !
Saturday 20th December 2014
20:29 GMT
  Just one day to go until the days start getting longer again !

  Yesterday was nice and bright, but it ended up rather cool - around 4 or 5 C if I recall correctly. It was quite cool this morning as well, but in some ways it has been a sort of nice day. I don't think there was any time when there wasn't a few clouds in the sky, but there was lots of blue showing through, and it was quite frequently sunny. For all that the temperature didn't vary much from one end of the day to the other. It is currently 6.4 C, and I think it was quite similar at sunrise. It might have been a degree, or maybe even two higher in the middle of the afternoon, but I wasn't paying too much attention to it. It doesn't seem like there will be much, if indeed any, sunshine tomorrow, but it will be less cool - maybe 10 C in the afternoon, and even 12 C on a rather wet Monday morning !

 I don't know what was going on, but it seems to take ages for everyone at work to start the xmas dinner. Once everyone was busy doing that I quietly slipped away, but it was something like an hour later that I had hoped for. I think I excelled myself in the art of being completely warped, bitter and twisted in completely and utterly avoiding taking part in any celebrations at all. Although having said that, I don't think bitter and twisted were good descriptions this year. It just seemed so natural to be warped and antisocial that it was no more remarkable than taking a shower in the morning....or maybe I was so looking forward to going home in daylight, and even some sunshine, that nothing else matters !

 On the way home I stopped off at Tesco, and spent far too much money on stuff. In this instance stuff included a little bottle of over proof Jamaican rum. It is 66% alcohol, and just a little sip does strange and wonderful things to the tongue ! I'm not sure when I'll drink it. Maybe xmas day if I want to bleach my mind, but generally I'll stick to whisky. It is my preferred tipple (and sometimes cigarette substitute).

 I wanted to go out last night to see Night Owl playing on the "buskers stage" in Bromley Market Square, but a few things put me off, and a long phone call from an old friend finally sealed the deal when it made it too late to go out (although I could still have made it for at least the second half hour). The underlying reason for losing interest in going out was because I was tired - and ultimately a lot more tired than I realised. I didn't go to bed early as early as I could have, and when I did go to bed it would have been judged to be a bit late by normal circumstances.

 It was almost 10pm when I got in bed, and I think I fell asleep within minutes. Then I slept rather better, and for far longer than usual. I did wake up a couple of times in the night, but only one of those times was for more than a minute or possibly less. That one time I woke up with the sole of my right foot itching for no obvious reason. The only thing I could think of doing that seemed to help was to massage it with some moisturising cream. I don't know if that really helped, but I seemed to get back to sleep again, and I ended up sleeping through to 8am. That was nearly 10 hours sleep, and it seemed like I could probably have slept even more if I didn't have to get up and prepare the place for a visit from Aleemah.

 It was a typical visit - meet at the station - go to the pub for breakfast - watch a DVD at home, and then Aleemah would go home again. Today there was a small, but not unprecedented variation - I took a picture !
two beers
 I had a half pint of each of these beers this morning and........they were not very wonderful ! Maybe it was too early for beer, but that has never stopped me in the past, or maybe it is just that both the breweries, who Wetherspoons buy a lot of beer from, don't brew beer that meets my personal taste expectations. One beer was actually better than the other, but I can't remember which !

 I'm unsure where all the time went after Aleemah went home. I did have a little snooze, but I don't think it lasted that long. The only other thing I did, and that once again I didn't think took that long, was to play about a bit more with the pictures I took Thursday night.
some of the audience for
 I sometimes wonder if my little pocket sized snapper, the Canon SX210, is as good as I once believed it to be, or if I am losing my touch, or maybe it's just that the lighting in The Catford Ram is a bit wonky, but even this picture, taken with the flash on, needed quite a bit of touching up. From left to right - Chris Mayer, my empty chair, Dave Griffiths, Helen Griffiths, Jo Corteen, and Andy Reany.

 Right now I am trying to decide if I will go to bed soon, or if I will seek out some more entertainment. I have a magazine still partly unread, and there could be something interesting on TV - there could be, but.......but they are starting to drag out some of the worst xmas crap that always makes xmas such a terrible time of year. On the other hand there was a nice programme on that I watched before writing this. It was all about John Le Mesurier. I never knew he was such a complicated person. He was one of the few actors I would like to have met, and yet I am gad I never did because I have no idea what I would say to such people. I don't do hero worship that well. Maybe I just don't do hero worship at all. Who knows ? Who cares ?
Friday 19th December 2014
09:07 GMT
  Just two days to go until the days start getting longer again !

  The temperature yesterday was rather boringly constant, and yet also an almost satisfactory 12 - 13 C. On the whole it was an overcast day, but there were a few periods when it brightened up a bit, plus it didn't rain even when it was supposed to. Today is going to be a bit of a weird day if the forecast proves to be correct. This morning started off at about 12 C. In an hour or two the clouds will disperse, and the day will get brighter, but the temperature will drop. In the early afternoon, the time when traditionally the temperature is at it's highest, the temperature could drop to as low as  8 C, and it will continue to slowly fall until it bottoms out at 5 C. It's then supposed to stay that way until sunrise tomorrow. Tomorrow looks as if it will be quite a lumpy sort of day with everything from rain to sunshine thrown in, and the temperature leaping up and down around 6 to 9 C.

 It was an uneventful day at work, and journey home again yesterday. When I got home I decided not to have any formal dinner, but just have a couple of snacks to keep me going until I could pour some beer down my throat. One of those snacks was a large packet of crisps. So I would probably have been wiser to have a small ready meal - I did have a very suitable low most things potato and white fish ready meal in the freezer that I could have zapped with the microwave, but I had this stupid notion that I might have something more dinner like after I got back relatively early from an evening out.

 Of course it didn't quite happen like that ! My original plan was to meet up with the Thursday night gang in The Catford Constitutional Club, and meet quite late for one pint of decent beer before going on to The Catford Ram to see Bouncer's gig - with Night Owl in support. What actually happened was that I got bored waiting, and met up with the guys about an hour early. Oddly enough, there was still only time for just one pint before we went to The Catford Ram.

 I think that last night was only the second time I have seen Bouncer play, and it was rather like I remember them before - they were not that good ! As I probably said last time, Bouncer came out of an open mic session where over a period of time a group of people enjoyed playing with each other. So they formed a band. Unfortunately they just don't seem to gel together. It is like 5 or 6 people all playing well, or singing well, individually, but without those subtle dynamics that make a band. There is also the problem, and maybe it is the problem, that not everybody seems enthusiastic or competent to play one or more songs on their set list. It would be far too harsh to say they were rubbish, but a mild not that good would seem adequate. Still if they enjoy themselves, and get paid for it, who am I to criticise.

 The main reason I was there was to see Night Owl. With only two of them, Dave Griffiths and Jo Corteen, they don't have to make such big compromises in their choice of songs, and yet I do feel that not all of them seem to fit Jo's usually excellent voice. It was a long wait fir them to come on. The idea was that they would do a few songs while Bouncer took a break halfway through their set. Unfortunately that didn't take into account the completely unprecedented visit of some traffic warden type creature who was probably high on drugs, or drunk, and who thought that for the first time ever there was some sort of parking restriction in force at 10pm ! Quite a few people got parking tickets, and I think all of them were musicians. If those parking tickets really are valid and enforceable then it will have wiped out any pay they got for playing last night.
Night Owl in The Catford
 I only took along my little Canon SX210 camera last night, and even with the aid of flash many pictures look rather drab compared to what I can squeeze out of my Canon SX40 camera. This rather grainy picture has Jo Corteen in the foreground, and Dave Griffiths in the background.

 It was quite late when Night Owl finally finished their short set, and it was getting on for 11pm when I got home. It was too late to cobble together anything like dinner, or even a snack, but I did grab a handful (and no more) of some dry roasted peanuts to nibble as I quickly checked my email and stuff. By the time I had brushed my teeth and got into bed, it was a minute or two after 11pm. Fortunately I fell asleep fairly quickly, and seemed to stay asleep quite well until my alarm roused me just 6 hours later.

 I am unsure how I felt except for one specific thing when I woke up (if you don't count the usual gritty eyes, and similar stuff). That one exception was a continuance of the trapped wind I was suffering from in the previous 36 hours. Some of it wasn't trapped, and my bedroom smelled like an open sewer. It wasn't long before I was taking regular trips to the toilet for much unpleasant sort of stuff. I felt so uncomfortable at one point that I would have taken a day of sick from work, but with today being out xmas dinner and party, it wouldn't have been a good idea. So I left home to go to work an hour late, and feeling just comfortable enough to make it to the toilets on Waterloo station - that I paid my 30p and visited (actually the barrier was open, and I didn't have to pay on this occasion).

Acuvue on Waterloo
 This morning it was Acuvue who were displaying their wares from a very small stand on the concourse of Waterloo station.
They are a type of contact lens I believe.

 Now I am at work I guess I don't feel too bad. The journey here was not terrible pleasant, but at least it wasn't disastrous. I am hoping for a short day, or an even shorter day when you take into account that I arrived an hour late. Once people sit down to eat their xmas dinner - which is a buffet style dinner, and probably doesn't include turkey and any of the usual trimmings, I may well slip quietly away. I don't fancy eating any more than the breakfast I had when I got here, and I don't fancy staying for the celebrations afterwards. What I do fancy is getting home early, having a lay down, and then going out to Bromley. Night Owl will be playing for about an hour on a small open air stage set up in Bromley Market ( which hasn't actually had any market stalls in living memory - they are probably considered to plebian by the snooty upper class councillors who run Bromley like a business instead of place where ordinary people live and do what ordinary people do. Night Owl should be playing between 7 and 8pm, and I think I'll be getting the first bus home as soon as they finish....all though I could probably be lured into a pub if the offer was made, but I don't think there will be anyone there to make such an offer.

 So in theory it will be straight home, and then I can have some sort of dinner - and it could be a takeaway ! hang the expense !!  I've got a feeling that I may not want to go to bed until quite late tonight, but I ought to resist that because I need to get up a little bit early to do some housework before Aleemah comes avisiting.
Thursday 18th December 2014
08:32 GMT
  Just three days to go until the days start getting longer again ! (I hope)

  There were one or two showers during the daytime yesterday, but there was no hint of rain as I made my way home from work, and there was even a few brief flashes of weak sunshine in the afternoon. I think the forecast was saying that it should have been 13 C just before sunset. I reckon it was closer to 11 C, but even so, that is still not uncomfortably cold. Once again there was some rain during the best time for it - overnight- but no more rain is forecast to fall until late in the evening. It was 12 - 13 C when I woke up, and the temperature is supposed to stay that way until the day is over, but it may still be 11 C tomorrow morning. This recent, and also very near future weather is not enjoyable, but at least it is benign - although there is an awful lot more winter to get through yet, and there is still plenty of chance that we will have blizzards, 6ft snow drifts, no trains, and the whole of London, maybe even the the whole of the southeast, at a complete standstill !

 Apart from one minor irritation I didn't feel too bad at work yesterday. I even managed to stop myself committing hari-kari when I was forced to enter some figures into a couple of cells of an Office 2013 Excel spreadsheet (although I did have to wash my hands with soap and bleach afterwards !). The one irritation was trapped wind. It wasn't painful, and most of the time it was uncomfortable at all, but it was all a bit unpredictable. I think most of that wind was actually released after I got off the train in Catford. It undoubtedly left the centre of Catford smelling like an open sewer, but that was mild compared to the carriage I travelled in on the train from Earlsfield to Waterloo - but that wasn't me ! As the train pulled into the station I wondered why one half of the carriage was almost empty, and the other end was quite cramped. The reason turned out to be a 2 or 3 year old who had shit his (or her) pants. The stench was unbelievable, and it's father must have been hoping a hole would open up before him and swallow him. the shame must have been unbearable (as was the stench).

 Things were a bit smelly, but in a completely different way, in the Turkish supermarket. Actually I only use the word smelly for some sort of effect. Nothing was actually smelly at all, but the cake slices I bought seemed to have some sort of fungus on them when inspected carefully, and a pack of cheese had a few green spots on the underside of it. The cheese doesn't worry me at all. It's easy to cut off any mould, but the cake with what could also have been spider web on some slices, but was probably fungus, just had to go in the bin. The only thing that worried me is that I only looked at it carefully after the first slice tasted rather strange !

 The main part of my dinner was far healthier than cake. It was boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked in chicken stock with lots of cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots. In theory it should have been low in bad stuff, and high in good stuff. Unfortunately, instead of have a few slices of cake, which would have been quite bad, I had some dry roasted peanuts, and they are as evil as they are tasty ! I'm not sure what the quinoa, corn, and something else that I have forgotten, salad pot was like, but I guess the small amount of (olive) oil in it was possibly the worst thing in it, although some reckon that olive oil has more beneficial qualities than it has bad qualities.

 I tried to go to bed at 8.30pm last night, but there was no way I could relax enough to go to sleep. So I got out of bed again, and amused myself until 10pm. Shortly after that I managed to get to sleep OK, but I don't think I slept that well. I woke up with a very dry and almost dusty mouth after as little as 3 hours sleep. I can only imagine I was snoring like a something that snores a lot ! From then on it seemed like I woke up fairly frequently, and each time it seemed to take ages to get back to sleep (where ages was probably no more than 5 minutes).

 This morning I don't seem to feel particularly tired even if I did have such a bad night, but then again I don't feel particularly alert either ! Some of this sleepiness is undoubtedly down to a lack of daylight and sunshine, and that could explain some of the bad sleep I've been getting on and off for the last month or two. As we near the shortest day of the year it gets worse and worse. The rest of me feels OK-ish. No new aches have appeared, and I don't seem to have a full set of the usual ones this morning - and even then, some of the usual aches and pains seem unusually mild. Maybe it's this almost-but-not-quite warm/not exactly cold weather.

 Tonight is going to be a real test of stamina. I can't get tomorrow off work for two reasons. Firstly I have used up all my holiday for the year, and secondly it is our work xmas dinner tomorrow. It would be impolite not to be there for the start of it even if I do slip away quietly quite early in the proceedings. But back to tonight......I will be meeting the Thursday night guys in The Catford Constitutional Club for a beer or two first. That will probably be around 8pm rather than the more usual straight after work. Then some, most, or all of us will go round the corner to The Catford Ram where there will be some live music. This Thursday it is the turn of Bouncer to take the stage, but while they take a break in the middle, Night Owl will play a few songs. Unfortunately they will probably be xmas songs, but I expect I will be able to grit my teeth and endure them with a plastic smile on my face. Despite how that sounds, it is really only Night Owl that I want to see, and once they have finished I will be out of the pub in a shot, and hopefully in bed, and fast asleep, very soon afterwards ! Hopefully that won't be too much after 10pm.

lastminute dot com on
                  Waterloo concourse
This morning, lastminute dot com were showing their wares on the concourse of Waterloo station.
last minute dot com
Wednesday 17th December 2014
08:27 GMT
  Just four days to go until the days start getting longer again !

  Contrary to what the forecast said would happen, it became almost sunny in the afternoon,, and if the sun was higher in the sky it would have been sunny as I walked to the station on my way home. Of course by the time I had got to the station the sun had just about set, and apart from a residual glow from the western horizon for the first 10 - 15 minutes, most of my journey home from work was in darkness. It was quite a cool day yesterday, perhaps no more than 6 C until well after dark when it began to warm up - and it started to rain. Some of the puddles I saw when I was walking to the station this morning suggested that either it had been raining all night, or there had been a very heavy shower, but there was no rain as I walked to the station - which was what the forecast said. However it was raining, albeit lightly, when I got to Earlsfield - which was not what was forecast. The rest of the forecast suggested the day would start at 10 C, which it did, and although it would be a very overcast day, the temperature would rise by a degree or two. The next rain is forecast for about 5pm, but I'm not sure sure it isn't raining now, and if it isn't now, the thick black clouds look like they could drop rain at the drop of a hat ! Oh well, at least 11 or 12 C is almost, but not actually, warm.

 Yesterday was another day when I kept falling asleep, or nearly asleep in the afternoon. Other than that, I didn't feel too bad, but that didn't stop me wanting to get a bus the two stops to the station on my way home. I didn't see any buses so I didn't wait for one, but if I had I would have certainly got one. It wasn't that I felt too tired to walk to the station, and yesterday, was like many recent days (weeks maybe) where walking to the station was not quite, but effortless enough to not be any great bother - except it is very boring when you've done it 6ooo times before ! Getting a bus would not get me home any quicker, I am constrained by the times of the trains, and in rare conditions when the traffic is backed up it could even make it take longer, but to be moving faster than just walking makes it feel like a quicker journey.

 I arrived home feeling the closest to good I've been for what sometimes feels like years, was probably last Tuesday or something.  I was certainly feeling good enough to keep my microwave oven busy. I baked a potato, heated up a green vegetable medley, some precooked chicken, and a chicken and vegetable stew. I'm not convinced the latter was actually a stew, but that's the closest description I can think of. Whatever it is, it is dinner for tonight - all prepared, cooked, and ready to be warmed up and served !

 Dinner last night seemed quite filling, and it could have been worse ! The "green vegetable medley" was mostly beans and peas with a few leaves of something (a herb maybe) some buttery green herbs and some slices of courgette. I think I had it in the fridge for almost a week, and it was a reduced price item because it was up to it's sell by date when I bought it. Everything in it seemed to be in good condition except for the courgette, and that seemed to have developed an unpleasant taste that tainted the other vegetables to some degree or another. So I ended up throwing half of it away. Still, the big baked spud was very nice !

 I had to wait a little while, perhaps an hour, for my dinner to go down, but then I found the energy and enthusiasm to wash my hair. It was getting quite unpleasant. So I'm glad I managed to do it last night. While I waited for it to dry I watched some TV. I ended up watching a fascinating programme about Russian rocketry and space achievements. I don't think it brought up any new facts I hadn't seen before, but the programme makers seemed to have found a lot of new film footage of behind the scenes stuff.

 That programme finished at 9pm, and I was in bed very soon after, and fast asleep not much after that. If I hadn't started to fall asleep on the train to work, I would have said that I had a very good nights sleep for a change. I can only remember waking up a couple of times for a pee, and maybe one time when my right leg was just starting to cramp, but everytime I woke up I seemed to get back to sleep within a few minutes. It felt good, and I suspect it was good. The almost falling asleep on the train was probably because I still have a sleep deficit from previous nights.

 I have to admit that I woke up this morning feeling unusually good. Apart from some discomfort from my knee as I raised my right leg to get into the bath for a shower, I didn't seem to have any of the usual aches and pains. Even my head felt quite clear. There was one discomfort that raised itself a bit later, but that was/is probably a bit of trapped wind. That made my journey to work a bit uncomfortable, and unpleasant - the unpleasant aspect was using the disgusting toilets at Clapham Junction station, and if nothing else, paying 20p just to pass wind was disgusting enough ! Now I am at work the trapped wind, or whatever is of less significance, but walking in the cold, even though it is not really that cold, seems to have awakened a few of the other creaky bits.
work still looks a long way
                  off as I trudge through the morning darkness

 It doesn't matter that I've walked at least three quarters, maybe even seven eighths, of the way to work, it still looks a long way to go when it's still dark, and wet, and another visit to a toilet is not urgently needed, but would be nice ! The entrance to work is at the far end of the road, and then a few hundred yards from the entrance gate.

 Maybe the day has only recently started, but I shall be more than happy once it is over. Maybe I'll see a bus to speed me on my way home tonight, or maybe I won't. A more definite plan is to pick up a couple of needed items from the Turkish supermarket on the way home (and probably a few unneeded items too). Then, once I get home it will be the typical dinner and then bed scenario. Maybe it won't be the rush that sounds like, but maybe I will get to sleep before 9pm tonight, and if I am very lucky I will sleep as well, or better than I did last night. From tomorrow things start to get interesting with potentially lots of interesting things happening in the days to come !
Tuesday 16th December 2014
08:27 GMT
  Just five days to go until the days start getting longer again !

  Yesterday's weather was dull and cool, but at least it was dry. I am unsure what the best or average temperature was, but I might guess it was somewhere in the 5 - 7 C region. It was cold, but not freezing. This morning has started off with a clear sky, and that allowed it to get cold enough for a little bit of frost to appear - but only on a few car roofs as far as I could see. It will probably only warm up a few degrees today, perhaps up to 5 C. The last forecast I saw suggested that it would get very cloudy this afternoon, and that it would rain in the evening. Maybe from then on it will start to get warmer. The forecasts were saying that Thursday would actually get close to being warm - warm enough to not need a coat, except that it is going to be wet and warm, and maybe an umbrella, or wet suit would be needed even if a coat wasn't !

 I had a very simple plan for last night. I would get home, have some dinner, and go to bed. That seemed totally reasonable considering how terrible I felt. Bits of me ached, and I felt dreadfully tired after a very poor nights sleep. As the day slowly passed I added one more thing to my plan. I thought that I could probably spare the time to wash my hair, and get it mostly dry before collapsing into my bed. None of those things happened after I got a text message from my friend Kevin - "did I fancy a quick beer on the way home ?". I decided that yes, I did fancy a beer, and even maybe two before going home.

 The reality of it was that I did have two pints of beer plus two slightly short of a pint bottles of beer ! That, and a good chin wag about the affairs of the world, was exactly what the doctor ordered. I felt far better for it in all ways except for lingering tiredness. It was a lot later than expected when I left the pub, and for speed I bought some takeaway food on the way home. It was an unusually small (by my more drunken standards) order of fried chicken and chips.

 Evidently I didn't have enough booze to distort my food ordering, but enough that it felt almost effortless to walk that food home at a satisfactory pace. Once I got indoors I didn't bother to change, but sat straight down and ate my food while watching an episode of Star Trek on the CBS-Action channel on Freeview. That programme wasn't due to finish until 9pm, and that was a whole hour after I had hoped to be in bed, and fast asleep. So I didn't watch it through to the end on the TV downstairs, and I turned the TV off as soon as the next commercial break came along after I had finished eating. I then rushed upstairs, brushed my teeth etc, and then resumed watching the programme on my computer.

 As soon as the programme ended, which was actually a good five minutes before the published time of 9pm, I turned everything off, and jumped into my rather cold bed. It is possible that I might have fallen asleep several microseconds before 9pm. As far as I am aware, I slept very soundly until 1.40am. From then on I slept rather badly. One big problem is that I kept getting cramp in my legs, and I would have to leap out of bed and do a little dance to free up the knotted muscles. I can never be sure, because I had to get up soon after, but I think I had finally settled into some sort of deep sleep again about 15 minutes before my alarm woke me up.

 I had plenty of the usual aches and pains when I first got up. My right knee complained a lot as I swung my right leg up and over into the bath for my morning shower, and then again as I got out again. So it was pretty much business as usual this morning. Later on, as I walked to the station, I felt considerably better. Maybe I felt almost, but not quite good for a winters day. I was cheating though. I had taken a couple of ibuprofen tablets when I first got up, and I am finding them to be really good at dulling, or even completely removing some types of creaking and groaning muscle and joint pains. That does come with one slight downside - I was just about comfortable enough to almost fall asleep on the train coming to work this morning. I felt my eyelids beginning to droop, and only just about saved myself in time.

 I could feel better, but I don't feel that bad now I am at work, and if my office ever warms up I could feel even better still. That means I had probably better try and do some work today. It would certain distract me from falling asleep ! I still need a decent nights sleep, and maybe I'll get a nice early night tonight - plus a semi-healthy home cooked dinner - and I should be able to fit in washing my currently rather unpleasant hair before turning in for the night.

 After several days of nothing happening, there was some "action" on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning. There was a "meet the manager" event where people can quiz the managers of various rail departments serving Waterloo station. I don't know if they were there to keep the peace, or to offer advice and answer questions, but British Transport Police were there too.
meet the managers at
                  Waterloo station
Monday 15th December 2014
08:05 GMT
  The rapidly changing weather forecast for yesterday finally came right......after the event....probably. The sunshine that made the morning, and the first part of the afternoon so nice was just about over by mid afternoon, but the sun did break through the clouds for very short periods a couple of times after that. An earlier forecast said it would rain after sunset, but a later forecast said it wouldn't. I think it did it any way ! The forecast for today's weather seems to be changing by the minute. At least one version said there would be some rain early in the morning, and there was, but it had finished by the time I left to walk to the station. It seemed to be quite overcast as my train arrived at Earlsfield station, but now, some 30 minutes later, all I can see out of my office window is blue sky. It's not a very dazzling blue sky, but at least it is blue. It is possible that once the sun is a bit higher in the sky the blue will be brighter, and we will be bathed in glorious sunshine for a fair bit of the day. More rain is forecast for tonight, but I hope to be fast asleep in bed before that happens. The temperature slowly crept up to 9 C or more yesterday, and it didn't seem to cool down overnight. It is unlikely to get any less cool today, but it could cool off a degree or two by sunset.

 I don't know if I damaged myself when I hand washed the sheet yesterday. Probably not, but it probably didn't help with the pain of winter either, and contributed to a rough night.  I didn't feel terribly wonderful at all yesterday, and I decided that what would probably help was a good sleep. With that in mind I had a fairly moderate two course dinner. The first course was a potentially healthy ham salad, and the second course was a chicken chow mein ready meal. The latter was almost certainly not healthy, and wasn't even very tasty. So it was lucky that it was quite small.

 After allowing a couple of hours for my dinner to settle I tried to go to bed. Last night was one of those nights when everything hurt or was uncomfortable in some way. As I lay in the dark I could feel a million lumps in the bed and pillow, and I could feel pain and aches from every part of me from my toes to my earlobes. My right knee was definitely quite painful when lifting my leg up to get it onto the bed. My hands and wrists felt creaky and aching. If I laid on one side my chest would hurt, and if I laid on the other side my back and hip would hurt. The chest pain was annoying because it was similar, except in intensity, to when I believe I had one of the two heart attacks my doctors reckon I had. The difference in intensity was similar to a gnat bite to a shark bite. Like many of the pains I felt last night, they were a product of the dark, and much concentration to seek them out. I'm sure that at one point I could feel quite a lot of pain coming from the tips of my pubic hairs.

 After thrashing around in bed for a good hour, and maybe more, I got up, poured the last of my bottle of whisky, then sipped from that while reading stuff on the internet. I then got back into bed and thrashed around for maybe another hour before falling asleep - probably from complete exhaustion. I woke several times in the night, and at least one of those occasions was for an extended period of time. It felt like I had only just managed to get into a nice deep sleep when my alarm woke me up.

 I felt pretty horrible when I woke up, and I still feel pretty horrible even now. I would dearly love to go back to bed right now, but somehow I have to get through the day here at work. One good thing was that with the air temperature up at around 9 C I didn't start coughing like I did when I first went out into the 3 C air yesterday. My legs seemed to be working OK this morning, and walking to the station didn't seem to require any great effort. However that is where the good news ends. Other bits of me felt quite creaky, and for some unknown reason my right elbow seemed quite painful a few times on the way into work. I can't say I've noticed any bother from it recently, but it was the elbow that was dislocated for several weeks following a minor accident some 15 years ago (plus or minus a few years - I have no idea when the accident was exactly. All I know is that it happened during my previous job to this one).

 So assuming I get through the day without falling asleep at my desk too many times, and assuming my chest, elbows or knees don't explode, I am really looking forward to getting home again. In the longer term I should be taking some comfort that this week will be another sort of short week. Friday is xmas dinner and party day here at work. It's not something I enjoy to any great extent, and it seems almost inevitable that I will sneakily escape early as I have done on most previous occasions. While there is some joy in escaping a few hours early, I don't think it counts much against the agony of being here today (for instance). Not only is it not a joy to have to travel here, and then travel home to a cold empty house, but there are horrors to endure while I am here. There are two jobs that need doing this week. One will involve doing some cutting and drilling of some little test boxes I am making. That mechanical stuff needs to be done on a poky little poorly lit bench in a freezing cold room. Alternatively I could do some repair work here in my (eventually) warm office, but the catch is that it means also doing stuff to a huge brain shafting Office 2013 spreadsheet ! So I have to choose between physical discomfort of extreme mental discomfort. Death would be the easy option by comparison !

 Assuming I make it home directly, instead of via a brain adjustment clinic, I think I have a very simple evening planned - dinner and bed ! I'm not sure what I'll be having for dinner, but I think a baked potato will be involved in it somewhere. In theory I should pass out as soon as my head hits the pillow tonight. It should probably help if my bedroom is a little cooler when I get into bed - as it should be. After having the heating on all day yesterday, it was a bit warm when I got into bed, and one contributing factor to my difficulty getting to sleep last night was because I felt too warm to pull the duvet around me in a comforting sort of way. I am pretty sure my bedroom will be freezing when I get home after work today !

 One other thing; There is no credible reason to think I might die anytime in the near future, but if I get lucky, can you make sure I am not resuscitated until mid spring, or later please. It's taken me an awful long time to realise it, but my mum was right after all - Winter is a nasty time, and I don't like it any more. Ya boo sucks to winter (as we used to say, according to the comics of yesteryear) !!!
Sunday 14th December 2014
14:27 GMT
  After a day of bright sunshine, and blues skies yesterday, it was no great surprise to find that the forecast for a frost was spot on this morning. The lower roof at the back of my house was so frosty that it looked like snow had fallen. All the frost has melted now, and almost non stop sunshine since daybreak has raised the temperature to 7 C.....actually it wasn't the sunshine but some slightly warmer and moister air that has come our way. As I started to write this the sun went in, and now it looks as if that moist air is getting ready to dump it's moisture on us. The forecast did say rain would start at about sunset, and that feels about right. Oddly enough, the forecast now seems to have changed in the last 8 - 10 hours, and apparently it isn't going to rain this evening. I hope someone told the clouds that are piling up above my head ! Also tomorrow is now forecast to be fairly bright, sometimes sunny, and at 8 C, not quite as cold as originally thought !

 I had a blandly pleasant evening yesterday. My grand plan to think about the unlikely possibility of taking tentative steps towards poking the spider web defended pile of books, VHS cassettes, and CD cases and other detritus that lives beside the TV, came to naught. Maybe if there was something riveting enough to keep me in front of the TV in the living room for longer than it took to eat some dinner/supper, and maybe if it was on a channel with adverts, I might have started the job during the commercial breaks, but I got bored and went up into my bedroom where my PC is - which I can, and did, watch some TV on while doing other stuff.

 I have no idea what time it was I went to bed, and I don't really know when I gave up sleeping and got up this morning. I think I might have got 8 hours sleep, but maybe it wasn't a very good 8 hours because I am developing a strong urge to lay down, and snooze right now. I don't feel too good today, and I don't really know why, or even how to describe it. The most obvious symptom I can describe is a soreness on the bridge of my nose that feels like a zit about to erupt (and probably is !).

 I thought I had the energy and enthusiasm to take a walk in the park today, but like when I went out yesterday, after a minute or two of breathing in cold air I started coughing. I was almost perfectly OK before going out. I might have coughed now and then, but out in the cold air I could hardly stop for a couple of minutes. It was quite a wet and throaty cough too. I wasn't coughing blood onto the keyboard of the piano I don't have, nor coughing blood into my handkerchief, or anywhere else for that matter, but it's obvious I have consumption and will soon die a poets death. Of course the cure for consumption seemed to be getting back in the warm again - with a carrier bag full of stuff from the 99p shop.

 The 99p shop is not as scenic as the park, and not even nearer than a short walk into the park, but it satisfied my whatever it was that needed satisfying. I got amazing stuff like pink grapefruit flavoured shower gel, and sink unblocker that I hope will speed up the time it takes for water to go down the plug hole of the bath. It was a desire for the latter that really won the great debate between going to the 99p shop, or going to the park. If it wasn't winter, and I wasn't suffering from any amount of old and romantic diseases, I could have gone to both.

 Just to make sure I felt even worse, I tackled washing another duvet cover before giving up for the day. It was actually a little easier than it could have been because it was actually a sheet rather than a duvet cover. It looked like a duvet cover right up until the time I scooped it out of the carrier bag it had been festering in, into the soapy water. I have since identified the real duvet cover that is also festering in an identical carrier bag ! However, even washing a big fitted sheet takes a fair bit of effort, and that is probably the reason that I feel worn out now, and why I have given up on doing anything more strenuous than eating and sleeping for the rest of the day. If I can find the energy, I will be doing the latter any minute now !
Saturday 13th December 2014
15:27 GMT
  Of the two days, yesterday and today, I prefer today. It is colder than yesterday - at least according to the forecast, and what my own thermometers say, but there must be less wind than yesterday. So today, at just 3 or 4 C doesn't feel as cold as the figures suggest it should (although carrying heavy shopping could give a false impression !). The most significant thing is how the blue sky and bright sunshine today tricks the mind into thinking it is a sort of nice day. In fact the sun is so low in the sky now that even when there is a clear view to it, it brings no heat at all unless you are behind glass. My bedroom, for instance is quite comfortably warm just from the sunlight coming through the windows. It won't last long - the sun is due to set in under a half hour now ! Tomorrow could start with a frost, but it will end up less cold than today. The chances of much more than the occasional glimpse of sun seems seem quite small, and after dark it will probably rain - maybe setting things up for a horrible Monday !

 I decided the sensible thing was to stay in the warm and dry last night. It may not have been as enjoyable as being at a gig, but when you factor in the tedium of going to, and coming home from the gig, it was not too far from equal to it. So I stayed in, watched some TV, and almost had a healthy sort of dinner. It started out as a nice healthy fish and salad meal, but then I drowned it in mayonnaise ! I also had some cake that would have added far too much sugar to my bloodstream, as well as other undesirable stuff. All that plus a couple of decent size tots of whisky made for a pleasant evening, and a pleasant sleep - even if that sleep was a lot shorter than I would have liked it to be, but maybe it was enough - just !

 It was still dark when I started getting up this morning, but that's nothing unusual at this time of year. After all my intense rest and recuperation I felt that I should be feeling good, and started planning what I might do.......
chocolate and orange wensleydale cheese
 Two things came to mind. One thing I actually did, and the other I didn't ! The thing I did do was to go to Aldi and get even more shopping. Some of the things I got, like tins of beans, were for use in the future, and others, like the cheese pictured on the left, will probably not last for more than a few days. Aldi is definitely the place to buy very cheap, and perfectly acceptable, own brand sugar free Diet Coke substitute. That was one of the significant reasons for going there.

 I'm not sure about chocolate and orange flavoured Wensleydale cheese. It could be good, or it could be horrible. If by "orange zest" they mean "orange peel" then it actually has the potential to be quite nasty. I doubt it will be very long before I try it, and there is a fair chance I'll report back on it sooner or later.

 I had this crazy idea that after shopping I might take a short walk in the country. I decided against that when I found the cold air was making me a little wheezy when I went to Aldi. Then I thought that I might just take a slow walk in the park, and then I though "why bother". So I didn't. Sometimes the bleakness of winter can look good, but I don't seem to appreciate that outlook. Maybe it is too much like battling to work through winter storms or something. It could also be a symptom of my blood sugar being too high. That saps the energy just when you want to use as much energy as possible to use up that sugar. It can be a right mental battle to overcome that inertia, and today I failed to break any mental barriers down - whatever their source.

 Maybe it was a self punishment for that, or maybe it was because I had the time and need to do it - I washed a couple of shirts, a t-shirt, and some underwear this afternoon. I was going to wash another lightweight duvet cover, but the need for that was less than what I did wash. My next housework type project might be to tidy up a pile of stuff next to the TV. There is paperwork there that I will probably never need (but your never know !) all protected by some scary looking spider webs. I live in fear of what may lurk in that pile somewhere ! Whenever I do start to do the job, maybe soon, maybe next year, it is going to be a real heartbreaking, mind wrenching, sanity stretching, job trying to decide what to throw and what to keep.

 I'd really like a takeaway tonight, but after two supermarket shopping trips in quick succession I have stuff that I ought to use up, and that really rules out a takeaway. Not only that but a takeaway is a bit extravagant when I really ought to be spending as little as possible in case I have to live on my savings if I have to quit work to save my own sanity. Windows 7 is still bloody annoying, and Office 2013 is the work of the devil ! I hate it. I hate it. I hate it !!!!!
Friday 12th December 2014
16:10 GMT
  In just another 10 days the days start getting longer again ! Meanwhile, we endure the short cold days with typical British stoicism - possibly...... I don't recall much about yesterday's weather. A lot of the daytime was overcast, although I seem have a vague recollection of seeing a few minutes of sunshine at some unknown time. Like today, it wasn't very, very cold, but just plain ordinary cold - perhaps 5 C plus or minus a couple of degrees. I don't seem to recall any sunshine today, and that's probably why I paid little attention to the outside world. I think there might have been some rain or drizzle this morning, but it seems dry outside now. I find it hard to remember any details about some of the very bland weather around this time of the year. Maybe I'll remember something about tomorrow. The forecast is for a rather colder day, just 3 or 4 C, but paradoxically it will be very sunny during daylight hours.

 I didn't have any "get up and go" while at work yesterday, and there were times when the remnants of the cold I had seemed to come back just a little too realistically (until I turned the heater up to full blast !). When home time finally came around I was thinking that I had so little energy that I ought to go to bed before I had even got half way home, and yet I found the energy to pick up some shopping in Tesco on the way home, and later, much to my amazement, I found the energy to go out again later in the evening.

 I have no idea why my timing is always so bad that I end up getting shopping from Tesco on a Thursday night. I do attempt to get most of the stuff I need from Aldi (or occasionally Lidl) at the weekend - mainly because it is far, far cheaper, but that is not the reason for my reluctance to go to Tesco on a Thursday. The reason is because of all the conflict it causes. I bring home a couple of bags of yummy stuff, and I want to eat it all, but if, as seems to be the normal thing now, I want to go to a gig, I don't want to get too stuffed before I go out. Sitting at home, frequently slightly bored, while there is a whole heap of tasty goodies waiting for me in the kitchen, is really soul destroying - and the devil is not going to pay much for a destroyed soul !

 Leaving aside the metaphysical conundrums of whether my soul has been destroyed, or whether it is still in mint condition inside the original unopened wrapper it came in......last nights gig was rather good in almost all respects except the stage lighting. Once again, one of the lighting bars was stuck on red, and my camera really doesn't like too much intense red lighting.

Chain on stage with too much
                  red stage lighting
Looking to be from the very depths of hell - Chain under too much red stage lighting.
Chain in black and white
Sometimes converting the image to black and white makes it look better, although it can make the deep greys and blacks look a bit noisy.

 It was a very enjoyable evening, and that was helped by the pub being the busiest it has been on a Thursday night for ages. There were even a couple of drunken dancing girls at the end (one was almost legless !). I think the gig ended at about 11.30pm, and I left at 11.37pm ! (I'm not sure why I remember the exact time - just one of those things I suppose). I was beginning to feel very weary towards the end, and it was nice to get home again. I had planned to cook a little bit of dinner when I got in. That was partly based on the assumption that I would be cold and wet when I got home, but the forecast was wrong, and it didn't rain. With 5 or 6 pints of Guinness in me it didn't feel specially cold either.

 Instead of a cooked dinner (or should that be supper ?) I had a couple of Tesco ready made sandwiches. 10 or 15 minutes after eating them I was in bed, and I must have fallen asleep very fast after that.......although there does seem to be some missing time in my narrative. I am sure it was quite some time after midnight when I went to bed, and I am unsure what took so long ! In theory I should have slept through to 9am, or at least 8am, but my internal body clock decided that I had to wake up at 5am. I did get back to sleep after that, but I didn't get much sleep before I gave up and got up.

 It would be great to boast that I had a very productive day after that, but I've been feeling very strange today. One thing I did do was to wash a duvet cover. Once again it was one of the lightweight ones, and by now it should almost be dry. That was the only thing I washed....and I am ashamed to say that includes me (except for my hands). It's this strange way I am feeling. In some way it's like a certain type many types of politician - full of rage and fury, but completely impotent. I feel I want to do something, but I am unsure what, and I don't know if I would find the energy to do it if I actually started to do what I don't know I want to do ! Before I am condemned to be a complete and utter slob, I have just remembered that I did wash up a couple of plates, some cutlery, and a microwave proof plastic saucepan !

 As for the only defense is that is that today I am probably doing what I should have done on Wednesday - continue to recuperate from the cold I had. Maybe it has done some good because I am beginning to think the impossible. There is another Chain gig tonight. It's in Greenwich, and that's just a 30 minute bus ride away. I am starting to think that maybe I could go to it. On the other hand it might be more sensible to stay in the warm and more deeply establish my recovery from a simple, but bloody annoying cold. It does seem that in every step of that cold I did precisely the wrong thing to make it better. Sometimes that doesn't matter, but I think all those times are in summer, and not midwinter ! I think I am going to stay in the warm tonight, but I've done stupider things in my life !

 There is a quote that I copied from a comment on a technical article that I can't place. A Google search would probably reveal who first made it, but I can't be bothered to do that, and I suspect it is actually two quotations rolled into a far more effective quote with a sprinkle of added comedy on top of the metaphysical pathos (whatever that means !). In the 23 seconds thought I gave to writing today's entry I thought I had the perfect place to quote this quote, but I am buggered if I can remember where now. So I'll just have to copy and paste it here without any supporting reason because it amuses me - "As the days go by, we face the increasing inevitability that we are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile and meaningless universe. Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?"............lone memory cell in brain tingling..........something's coming..........That quote must have been by Holly, the deranged computer with a IQ equivalent to 6000 P.E. teachers, aboard the Jupiter Corporation mining ship "Red Dwarf!
Thursday 11th December 2014
07:47 GMT
  I think the temperature was about 6 C when I left work to go home yesterday, but it felt colder than that. It was probably because we are going into a spell of windy weather, and sometime in the next 48 hours (I can't quite remember when) it is forecast to be very windy ! It's a pity it felt so cold yesterday because it was actually a nice sunny day - well maybe not continuously sunny, but there was a lot of sunshine. Some of today should be similar. The sky is fairly clear at the moment, and once the sun rises, and rises high enough to be seen over the tops of buildings and suchlike, we should have a few hours of sunshine before it clouds over again. Later on, towards the end of the night, it is supposed to rain.

 Yesterday I came to the conclusion that the filthy disease I continue to suffer from, albeit in an attenuated form form now, only affects my upper body.  This was most apparent as I started my long tedious journey home after work. Although I still can't reach the speed I would like to walk at, and it wasn't exactly effortless as maybe it should be, but I was quite pleased with my performance as I walked from work to the station. The change by day is so microscopic that there seems to be no change, but I think, or maybe I imagine,  that the walk is easier and faster than it was, say, two months ago. Meanwhile, while my legs seemed to be performing quite well, my upper body was still feeling the effects of the cold I had (have ?). It didn't really kick in until I had waited on the cold draughty platform at Waterloo East station for 10 minutes, and then got on the train to Catford, but it was then that I really started to cough - a lot ! Curiously enough, when I got out of the train, and back into the cold air, I almost, but not quite, stopped coughing.

 It was definitely nice, with three gold stars, to get home from work. I probably didn't feel as bad as I thought I might while at work, but I certainly didn't feel very wonderful either ! I didn't cough much, my nose was occasionally a bit blocked, but didn't drip, but everything seemed like hard work - even breathing and blinking seemed exhausting !  It was suggested that I don't overdo it at work (thanks Ruby), but there is no fear of that. I have a built in limiter that for the last 5 or 10 years has been set to "lazy".  I had been working for 30 years, or maybe more, before my slow addled brain realised that I never really got rewarded for trying harder. It's alright for those with heady ambitions to bust a gut trying for promotions, and the like, but once I got off the bottom of the heap, and life was usually comfortable enough, I gave up bothering. These days I have learned to take pride in being the laziest bastard there is (or maybe the laziest worker here at work), and I now no longer hide my light under a bushel. I haven't told the CEO of the company the glorious truth yet, but I've told my line manager. Unfortunately I think he thinks I was joking !

 I wanted to go home via Tesco last night, but I had my rucksack on with two new pairs of trousers stuffed into it in a bulky sort of fashion. I was worried that if I wore it in Tesco I might turn around and it would swipe a whole stack of tins of baked beans off the shelf, or some other comedy act ! The result of not going is that I had few ingredients to select from when constructing my dinner. I wasn't exactly feeling starving, but I was looking forward to something substantial, and incredibly tasty. Well I guess the baked potato with melted cheddar on it, and served with grilled steak, was quite tasty, and should have been quite filling, but somehow it didn't seem that filling. Less than half an hour after eating it I was after something else. I think what I really wanted was something like rice pudding, or custard and cake, but I opted for a tin of "Chinese style" sweet and sour hotpot. I could have studied the ingredients to get a good idea of what it was I was about to have, and if I had I may have chose something else. It was basicly a sort of sweet-ish and sour-ish thin vegetable stew. I suspect that if it was not so full of sugar it might even have approached a healthy sort of snack. Anyway, it did the trick, and now the tin has been used I won't have to suffer it in the future.

 I did feel quite tired last night, and I was really looking forward to getting to bed, but I got mesmerised by stuff on TV. On the dubious sounding channel on Freeview called "CBS-Action" there was an episode of Star Trek The New Generation being shown, and it was an episode I wasn't familiar with. It was due to finish at 9pm, and I thought that would be a good time to go to bed, but on BBC4, and starting at 9pm, was a programme about Spike Milligan. A lot of it seemed familiar, but I don't think it was a repeat. Watching a few minutes of it was like just taking a few sips of heroin. I was hooked on it, and stayed watching to the end at the silly time of 10.30pm.

 I find some of the late Spike Milligans stuff very funny, and some, perhaps a small majority of it, totally incomprehensible. Despite that there is no denying he was a comedy genius, and like many comedians he had his dark side of deep, deep depression. It is hearing about his depression that I find most fascinating, although I am unsure as to why it should be fascinating. Maybe it is some sort of "thank goodness I don't go there" sort of thing, or maybe it is a rather curious sort of envy. There have been plenty of times when I would have liked to shut myself in my room and enjoyed the luxury of pure sulking for a week or so, but with no en-suite bathroom I would still have to leave my room for the occasional pee and more. I would also have to go to the kitchen to cook dinner, and even have to leave not just my room, but the house to go and buy the bits for that dinner. Worst of all is that I have to go to work 5 days a week to earn the money to buy those dinner ingredients (and toilet paper too). It really cramps your style at being manically depressed, and I just have to make do with the ordinary type. Maybe once I retire I can work on doing it better...

 Tonight I will get some shopping from Tesco, but then I face that awful problem of trying not to eat it all in one go on a night when I'm going out to a gig. Chain are playing in The Catford Ram, and with tomorrow booked as holiday, I can stay as late as I desire, and can get as drunk as I desire without having to worry about the consequences in the morning. My plan is to pre-cook some dinner before I go out, and then have that instead of the traditional takeaway bought on the way home. I have had some success in doing this recently, and maybe it will work tonight as well !
Wednesday 10th December 2014
08:19 GMT
  I don't know if the weather followed the forecast to the letter for yesterday, but it was certainly 10 C at 10pm. I'll never know if it hit 12 C at midnight, but there was evidence of the rain that was forecast for the night. There were a few puddles in the road, and everything was quite damp as I walked to the station. The temperature had dropped right down to 7 C by then, and it was forecast to drop another degree before rising by a degree around mid morning. It's a nice clear morning, and it should stay that way for most of the daylight hours. There is a shower forecast for around 10pm tonight, but on the whole it is going to be dry and bright......and on the border between rather cool, and quite cold !

 I think I planned to try and get to sleep nice and early last night, but it was 10pm when I got in bed. It was one of those nights where for 10 minutes it didn't seem that I would ever get to sleep......and then I was ! It was far from perfection, but I got a far better sleep than I was expecting. There were a few times when I woke up in the night, and thought I might not get back to proper sleep, but it seems I fell asleep again quite easily.

 I woke up this morning feeling close to dreadful, and it took a lot of will power to convince myself that I was coming to work today. The low water pressure, that might have started on the first of the month, meant that my shower was rather less invigorating than it could have been, but it probably helped a little bit. I don't the real reason why I have low water pressure at home, but it usually happens to some degree or another every winter. I assume it is to try and reduce burst water main pipes in frosty weather. This year they seem to have reduced it to rather a low level - although there is always the possibility that it is actually low because of a water leak somewhere in the area. Since all the pipes were changed to plastic a few years ago, they should all be perfectly frost proof and leak proof, but the best laid plans of mice and men........

 I still felt rough enough as I was leaving to come to work that I came close to turning round and going back to bed. I'm past the snotty and heavy coughing stage of this disease I have, and now I just feel tired and aching. "Tired and aching" is actually a convenience description of how I feel. I don't seem to have adequate words to describe it more precisely. Words like "weary to the bone" come to mind, and that sounds sort of good. It's not that I don't have any energy, but I seem to be reluctant to use it....maybe because it is uncomfortable to use it - not actually painful, but just uncomfortable.

 I would have felt far more comfortable to go back to bed, but then I would lose another days wages. Plus I would have the expenditure of keeping the heating on. Plus I would have the expenditure of eating excess amounts (and the expenditure in this case is less about money, and more about what it is doing to my waistline !). The good news is that I began to feel slightly better towards the end of my commute to work. Now I am here at work, with the heating up nice and high, I merely feel horrible - which is not as bad as dreadful. I am optimistic (stupidly perhaps) that I will feel even better before the working day is out.

 Hopefully, going home will not feel as bad as coming to work was. Going  home will involve a bit of extra load to carry in my rucksack. The two new pairs of black jeans I ordered have been waiting for me here at work since Monday morning, and tonight I'll take them home. Prior to this week I was wondering if I had been a little premature about ordering those jeans. It did seem feasible that I might have dropped back to my previous waist size before than, but days of illness may have taken their toll on that idea.....although I did eat rather more sensibly yesterday, but then again it was still more than it should have been if there was to be any hope of squeezing into some of my old jeans before the new year starts - as I was rather optimistically hoping last week. Maybe tonight I could try and eat in a sensible sort of way. It shouldn't be too hard - I've already eaten the worst things !

 I'm sure that towards the end of last week Now TV were trying to punt their dodgy service on the concourse of Waterloo mainline station, but I don't seem to have any pictures of their stand. I do now after they were there again this morning - maybe they have been so desperate to flog their little box of tricks that they have been there for coming on a whole week now. I presume there are some TV addicts who have such insatiable appetites for more and more crap TV soaps, game shows, cookery programmes, and dancing programmes that they are prepared to hand over wads of cash, plus their first born to get an extra channel or two over what they can get for free from a Freeview TV (or set top box). Here's a couple of low definition (mobile phone) pictures, taken with a shaky hand, of Now TV's pathetic attempt to impress a load of busy commuters who mostly know better !
Now TV on Waterloo
Now TV
Tuesday 9th December 2014
15:08 GMT
  It was a nice sunny day yesterday, but as forecast (not that it needed a supercomputer to forecast it) the temperature fell after sunset, and this morning started close to zero. Since then, and with only a small amount of sunshine to help it, the temperature has slowly risen. It is currently 7.4 C, which is as forecast, and if the forecast continues to be correct it will be as high as 12 C by 11pm tonight. It was also have been raining, occasionally quite heavily, for several hours by then. Tomorrow looks to be fairly benign. The temperature should be around 7 C, plus or minus a degree, through most of the day, and the brief hours of daylight will be sunny.

 With one small exception, I spent most of yesterday doing the sort of things most ill people do - snooze, read, and watch a bit of TV. The one exception was to go to the corner shop. It takes literally 2 minutes to walk there, and 2 minutes to walk back (where 2 minutes might actually be 3 minutes, but surely no more - although I've never actually timed it). I bought several naughty things from the corner shop, plus the diet cola I wanted. One of those naughty things was some raspberry ripple ice cream. When my sore throat was at it's peak I dreamed about ice cream, but the sore throat peaked at the weekend, and was gone by yesterday. So I had no real reason to want ice cream except standard Mk 1 gluttony !

 The ice cream, and some other stuff seemed quite sufficient for my needs (more than !), and I decided not to have the dinner of beef liver and sprouts that I had pre-cooked earlier in the day for dinner. I went to bed feeling quite satiated, and with the added aid of a couple of whiskies, I was soon fast asleep by about 10pm, and possibly earlier. Unfortunately I woke up feeling really bunged up and coughing a lot at just before 2pm. I think I was probably awake for a whole hour before getting back to a rather poor sleep.

 I can't remember if I slept through my alarm, or if I cancelled it early, but it was pretty obvious I wasn't going to try and go to work this morning. Although I probably wasn't asleep for more than a quarter of the time, it was 10am when I decided I had had enough trying for more sleep. I felt good and dreadful - and it really depended on what I was doing as to which of those applied. While quietly sitting in a warm room I felt good. That means I am definitely on the path to recovery. On the other hand I was stupid enough to think I felt OK to wash a couple of t-shirts and some underwear. While I was doing it I didn't feel that bad at all, but I was aware that I was using my energy up very quickly.

 I'm sure that working over a steamy bowl of water helped my sinuses and suchlike, and I was definitely breathing very freely at the end of the session. However it also felt like I had worked really hard. At least I think that's how it felt. It was a very strange sort of feeling that is easiest to describe as being like fatigue, but is somehow different to that. Probably the slight ache from my hands, wrists and arms after all that pummelling and wringing was the added spice that made it more than just fatigue.

 It was definitely nice to sit down once it was all hanging up to dry. I did try laying down, but that didn't seem to provide the relaxation I needed. As I relaxed I gave some thought to having a midday meal. I still had the sprouts and liver sealed in the microwave, and I could, and did heat that up with a flick of a switch. It didn't smell so horrible when just heating it up, and fortunately it tasted more like how I expected it to taste rather than how it had smelled yesterday. It was quite a filling meal, and yet it should have been fairly low in some of the worst things, and infinitely better than a heap of ice cream ! It is possible that all I'll have for an evening meal will be a can of soup or two.

 I am trying to convince myself that I'll be able to get to sleep early tonight, and that somehow I'll sleep through the night. All I have to do is to try and forget that I've been incredibly lazy, and had several snoozes today. The reason for my desire for plenty of sleep tonight is that I intend to go back to work tomorrow. I don't think I'll be 100% fit, and the cold morning air will probably have me coughing and spluttering, but I should be OK once I am in work with the heater turned up full. It is getting a bit boring being ill at home, although I could probably stand it for a few more months yet, but worse than that is the amount of money I am losing by being at home. Once upon a time we would sneer at the self employed who didn't get any sick pay, but since our wonderful government shafted us all a few years ago, we are all in the same poverty boat as each other.
Monday 8th December 2014
13:10 GMT
  Yesterday started warmer than Saturday ended, but by warmer we are only talking about 7 C, and there was some light rain in the morning. This was very similar to how it had been forecast. I'm not so sure that the forecast predicted so much sunshine, but it got the temperature rise about right - a whole 2 C. It stayed feeling very chilly outside, but that sunshine did raise the temperature in my south facing rooms (my front room and bedroom) enough that I didn't need any heating on for a couple of hours. During the night the temperature fell to around 4 C, but almost non stop sunshine has raised the air temperature to 7 C.  From now on the weather gets a bit strange. It reaches it's peak of strangeness tomorrow night. In another hour or two, as the sun starts to set, the temperature will start to fall. By early tomorrow morning it will be close to zero, but then it will start to climb. After a slightly overcast, but dry day, it will start to rain sometime after sun set, but the temperature will continue to rise. By midnight it will (could be) 12 C. That's very nice, but completely useless at that time of night !

 Today I am most definitely ill. A few days ago I made mention of a sore throat. Things have moved on since then. That sore throat came and went, and most of the time it was fairly mild (although there were moments when it was particularly sore).  For much of yesterday it was so mild as to be ignorable, but what wasn't ignorable was that my nose was becoming increasingly stuffy. Everything came to a head last night, and it really peaked as soon as I laid down to try to go to sleep. My nose was not running, but it was so blocked I could hardly breath. My throat felt red raw, and to top it off I started to cough a lot. Trying to cough through my sore throat (is there any other way ?) could be incredibly painful. A couple of paracetamol tablets helped the pain a lot, but could do little for the combined discomfort of a stuffed up nose, and a frequent almost, but not quite dry tickly cough. So I didn't manage to fall asleep until gone 1am, and that's not very good with work in the morning - even assuming I felt well enough to go to work - which I didn't this morning.

 Today I am still coughing every now and then, and my throat has gone back to mildly sore. One improvement is that my nose feels a lot less stuffy, although not completely clear. Now and then I have a sort of tightness across the temples type headache. The final symptom is that horrible melange of feelings of weakness, stiffness, couldn't care less ness, and most things are too hard to do ness ! It is definitely one of those days when it would be luxurious to have the patience to stay in some sort of infinitely comfortable bed - maybe a hospital bed where the height and angle of every bit of it can be controlled to give the closest possible contour to perfection. Unfortunately my bed is not perfect, and ceases to be comfortable after 8 hours. Plus there are so many reasons to have to get out of bed - going to the toilet, cooking breakfast/lunch/dinner, and eating same, plus doing stuff on my PC - writing this !

 Going back in time to yesterday, until the evening when everything started to fall apart, I had a fairly pleasant and productive day. In the morning I washed a couple of pillow cases, and a duvet cover. Pillow cases are easy, but duvet covers are hard to hand wash. Some of the older ones which are made from really thick and heavy material are extremely difficult to wash by hand, but yesterday morning I washed a very thin cheapo duvet cover. I added a new trick to my arsenal. Although it was difficult to make it stand up, I put a clothes horse in the bath so I could drape the duvet cover over it in a haphazard sort of way to allow it to start to drip dry. Once it had stopped dripping I took it and the clothes horse back downstairs, and draped the cover over both clothes horses in front of the heater. It dried remarkably quickly. It may not sound it, but it turned out to be quite a simple way of handling duvet covers - or at least the lightweight ones. I think I'll have to wait until spring or summer to do the heavy ones. They can drip away on the line to their hearts content. Of course it is possible that I might have a working washing machine again by next summer......but I've become so used to hand washing everything that it doesn't seem that repairing/replacing the washing machine is very urgent.

 In the afternoon I had a friend over who I rarely see. He is a bit of a technophobe, and while we caught up on the latest, and not so latest gossip, I sorted out a few I.T. problems for him. One of things I did seemed so easy that I wonder why he could not do it himself - transfer all the files from a couple of small USB thumb drives to one big one ! My reward for that was to get given the two small thumb drives. I have no immediate needs for them, but they are always handy.

 Today I have done very little, but that is more than nothing ! I've done stuff like heating up cans of soup, and then eating the contents of those cans. One can was of chicken soup, and in some cultures that is considered to be a universal medicine. I have also prepared my dinner for tonight...although I am not sure if I might have made a huge mistake in selecting the ingredients. I had this insane idea that sprouts might go with some beef liver, but the smell of them cooking together is rather unpleasant (where, in this usage, "rather" means "incredibly" !). I am seriously wondering if I will be looking forward to dinner tonight.

 I wonder if I will be fit for work tomorrow ? I feel pretty lousy now, but it is a whole lot different, and far less painful lousy than last night. Does that mean I am getting better, or is it just out of the frying pan and into a different sort of frying pan, and then there is the ultimate question.....why, when thinking about the previous question, did I have a quite powerful coughing fit ? There are no definite answers to these questions, but I think I may have come up with the answer to another question. Do I fancy going back to bed for an afternoon snooze ? I am sure that within the usual legal definitions of sure, that yes, I do fancy a snooze - if my ailments will let me !
Saturday 6th December 2014
17:10 GMT
  Today has been a beautiful day - blue sky all day with plenty of sunshine, and a nice pink sunset, but it's been cold, ever so cold ! The forecast said it should have reached 4 C this afternoon, but the best I saw on my thermometer was 2.8 C, and the lowest I saw was 0.6 C at sunrise this morning. I think it's going to be a mighty cold night tonight !Although having said that, the BBC forecast says that the temperature will have risen to to 7 C by 5am tomorrow, and it will be raining. The rain will continue until late morning, and then the sun will come out. The highest temperature will be 9 C. We'll see !

 My day continued to be unproductive yesterday, although I did go out shopping. So at least I got to stretch my legs. I bought some ever useful underpants from Peacock's, and all sorts of good and bad things from the 99p shop. Some of what I bought will slow the potential shrinkage of my waist by a week or two, and some of what I bought will keep my hair clean and shiny........and interestingly flavoured with assorted fruit and berries ! I just need to get some rice pudding flavoured conditioner to go with the fruit flavoured shampoo now !

 I found it rather strange that I was quite keen to go out to a gig last night. It was dark and incredibly cold when I went out, and that usually puts me off at the best of times. It's difficult to know whether to credit a small, hardly measurable, weight loss, or just the recent lower dose of Bisoprolol for this unusual enthusiasm. It may well be both, with the latter responsible for the former, or it may just all be in my head.

 It was a 40 minute bus ride to The Kings Arms pub (right at the end of runway 21 of Biggin Hill airport, or so I am lead to believe) in Leaves Green where Night Owl were playing. It's one of those rare long bus rides that is not always that tedious. Much of the route of the 320 bus parallels the really tedious route 208, but the 320 always seems faster, and once it heads into the countryside it can travel quite excitingly fast, and all that makes for a far more agreeable ride home after drinking lots of beer.

 Oddly enough I didn't fancy that much beer on such a cold night. That cold night air, and it was damn cold last night, maybe just 1 C, can have undesirable effects while waiting for the bus home ! I ended up only drinking two pints of beer, but that was partly because I didn't stay to the end. I caught the next bus that came after the end of Night owl's first set. I think the bus came at about 10:40pm. That seemed quite late enough to be out in the country on a cold dark night ! I enjoyed what I did see, and of course I took a few snapshots.
Jo Corteen under a green
                  stage light
Jo Corteen under a green stage light.
Dave Griffiths at the keyboards
Dave Griffiths at his keyboards.

 One of the reasons for it being so cold was that the sky was almost perfectly clear, and it just happened to be a full moon last night. I couldn't take this picture while I waited for the bus home because I was shivering so much I could hardly keep the camera steady, but after a brisk walk from the bus to home I managed to warm myself up just enough to take what must be my best picture ever of the moon, and for the first time ever, a full moon !
Full moon on Friday 5th
                      December 2014 at approx 23:00
 When I got off the bus I was greeted by the smells of a couple of fast food shops, and on a freezing cold night, with some beer inside me, they were amazingly tempting, but somehow I managed to ignore them, and went straight home to heat up, and eat a far healthier meal. It was the smoked haddock with cauliflower and broccoli that I had cooked for the night before, but hadn't eaten. It was not a typical post-pub meal, but it warmed me up, and filled a spot - but not over filled.

 I think I only managed to sleep for 6 hours last night, and it could have been less, but I had to get up and straighten the place out for a visit from Aleemah. I wasn't feeling terribly wonderful first thing this morning. I can't recall if I mentioned it earlier, but for the past couple of days I've had a slightly sore throat. This morning, perhaps after all that icy air last night, it was really very sore. On top of that my legs felt like stiff cardboard when I walked to the station to meet Aleemah. By the time I got to the station my legs were starting to move quite smoothly again, and at some point my sore throat started getting better - but it was such a slow fade out that I am unsure when it started, and when it finished. It never finished completely because it is still very, very slightly sore even now, but for the most part it is completely ignorable.

 After not having much beer last night, it was nice to grab one more pint this morning when we went in the pub so Aleemah could have her breakfast. Then it was back here via Aldi where I did my best to shop for purely sensible items, and failed miserably as usual ! Aleemah brought over a rather good DVD to watch together. It was a 1963 British sci fi film called "An Unearthly Stranger", and I found it rather enjoyable. It was a very British film - quite laid back, no guns, no explosions, very little high drama, no one panicking, and no Americans ! What it did have was a good, but maybe rather thin plot.

 This afternoon I have been very lazy, and that is something I think I will be tonight too. I thought there was a gig on that I might have been considering going too, but probably wouldn't go to - although the idea is mute now because I can't remember who it might have been, or where they were playing - if indeed anyone was playing in the first place ! Such brain fade suggests I would be better off just watching some TV or reading tonight. It's certainly the warmer option !
Friday 5th December 2014
11:27 GMT
  The weather forecast suggested that yesterday would be a really horrible day, but it felt more like an ordinary horrible day. There was one occasion when the sun peeped through a crack in the clouds for a few moment, and maybe that was balanced by a bit of misty rain for a few different moments as I was going home. Neither that tiny bit of sunshine, or the rain was forecast. It didn't even feel as cold as it was forecast. My perception was that it was a couple of degrees higher than the 4 C forecast - still rather cold, but not that cold ! This morning started off cold enough for some frost on the car roofs, but it also brought a good couple of hours of weak and watery sunshine. The sun has recently gone in again, but the forecast is optimistic for a few more sunny periods, and the temperature should reach at least 6 C. It's tomorrow that worries me. It's best illustrated by this screenshot of the BBC's weather forecast website -
The weather forecast for
                  Catford - Saturday 6th Dec 2014
 It might be very sunny, but that's cold......very cold !

train cancelled
Going home from work yesterday should have been easy enough, and although it was mostly in the dark, it might also have had a hint of pleasure about it. I was feeling quite good, or at least I seemed to have an unusual amount of energy, and I was looking forward to buying some stuff in Tesco on my way home, and to going to a gig in the evening.

 Unfortunately Southeastern trains conspired to mess up my journey, and to use up some of my excess energy. Some sort of problem caused my train to be late arriving at Charing Cross where it reverses to go back through Waterloo East station, and then on to Hayes (Kent) by way of Catford Bridge.

 This was the second time in a fortnight, and those stinkin' rotten bastards decided to run the train past the most popular station on the line, Catford Bridge, to make up time. I hope that this is not some new standard procedure that has recently been invented, because if it is someone is going to be lynched.

 When I say that Catford Bridge is the most popular station I don't say it just because I live there. On many days,if not every day during rush hour times, over half the train can get off there in the evening to leave a half empty train.

 I took the first train from Waterloo East to London Bridge, and arrived there with plenty of time to catch the next Hayes (Kent) bound train that had come out of Cannon Street station. It seems no one else did because that train was quite lightly loaded, whereas the 16:23 from Waterloo East is always standing room only between London Bridge and Catford Bridge. I guess everyone else waited patiently the 19 minutes until the next train at Waterloo East, and then packed that train out solidly !

 After all I wrote about eating carefully yesterday, I did buy some reduced price stuff in Tesco's that was not exactly the sort of stuff I should be eating - although none of it fell into the terrible category. I did end up eating more than I should have before going to the gig last night, although it would have been nothing of note if I hadn't been going out, and needed extra room in my gut for Guinness ! I did cook an extra healthy meal to have when I got home again. It was smoked mackerel cooked with cauliflower and broccoli, but I didn't eat it in the end (although I will be having it for lunch today). Somehow it just didn't seem to be the right thing to have after beer. What I did eat were a few packs of sandwiches. I'm not sure when I intended to eat them, or even why I bought them, but they went down a treat after a few pints of booze !

 It was another poorly attended gig last night. It might be that the band were not that good, and didn't really have a following. Their main problem was that neither of the bass player, or guitarist could sing that well. They could play their instruments well enough, and I thought the bass player was actually a cut above the average, but they really need to find a front man who can sing well. I did like their selection of songs though.

 I arrived at the pub just as they started at 9pm, and I think they started to play to an almost empty pub (apart from the West Indian dominoes school that play in the back of the pub). A little later a few other turned up, but I doubt there were more than half a dozen off us there specifically to see the band. It's a shame really, but the trouble is that all the bands who have been invited to play there are all from a small clique from Bromley, and most of them go to an open mic session in Beckenham on a Thursday night.  Maybe if some bands from a different part of London, perhaps Croydon for instance, they might bring more fans and friends with them. Of course that is not as easy as it sounds !
International Rescue Mk 1
 Here's the band on stage with a guest singer ( a friend or girlfriend of the bass player maybe).
Tony (bass), Gavin (drums), and Michael (guitar).

 It may have been the lack of audience, but the gig finished unusually early at about 10.30pm. I left very soon after, and I was home soon after that. That left me plenty of time to have my dinner (or supper, maybe), and after that I still felt awake enough to look through the pictures I took. I tried taking a few on my Panasonic Lumix LZ20 camera, and they were just as crappy as I expected them to be. I really do wonder what sort of pictures that camera like to take.

 I booked today off work so I didn't have to worry about getting drunk and staying out late last night. I did neither, but it was still nice not having to rush to bed as soon as I got home, and it was nice to have a bit of a lay in this morning. So far this morning I have not been terribly productive, but I have washed 6 shirts. I might, or might not wash a few more bits and pieces later, and I might even get the hoover out, but I wouldn't want to over do things ! I am contemplating going out shopping later, and I want to go to a gig tonight, but I seem to have a sore throat, and I probably ought to care for that today so it doesn't get any worse for tomorrow. I should be seeing Aleemah tomorrow morning, and it would be a bit unpleasant for her if I've gone down with a snotty cold by then - which is, unfortunately, where I think I am heading right now !
Thursday 4th December 2014
07:45 GMT
  It is debatable that yesterday was slightly better than the day before. It was a bit brighter, but it still tried to rain on me when I was walking from the station to home. I'm unsure what the best temperature was yesterday. It might have been higher than the day before, but I think it felt cold, although that may just have been because there was a noticeable wind yesterday. It seems very likely that today will be worse than yesterday. Take a look at this !
The weather for today -
                  Thursday 4th December 2014
 Today is going to be grey, grey, and maybe even black all day ! The temperature was supposed to start at 4 C (I measured 5 C), and it will stay exactly the same until a change in wind direction at midnight. Then it will go up a whole degree ! Meanwhile, it is going to be quite draughty, and that 4 C is feeling a bit colder still ! This is weather for polar bears, and mere humans (except Canadians and Geordies who laugh at such mild weather) should not have to leave their caves and face it ! Ah well, it can only get worse (or maybe better on Saturday when the forecast says it will sunny, and Sunday when it may be 9 C.

 After discovering that I could do my trouser belt up an extra notch tighter without much discomfort, I should probably be getting as much exercise as possible to accelerate the process of moving on to the next notch, but as I was going home yesterday a bus just happened to pull up at the exact right time, and I allowed myself the rare treat of a bus to the station. Fortunately it didn't take long to shake off the merest feint hint of guilt, and I concentrated on what I might do when I got home.

 There were two things I thought I might do when I got home. One was to wash some shirts, but I couldn't seem to raise the enthusiasm for that in a freezing cold bathroom, or maybe it was because I considered that I might as well do it tomorrow after any hangover has dissipated. The other thing was to see how little I could eat for dinner, and in that I was quite successful. It wasn't quite as frugal as some of the evening meals I was having when I was trying to cure my angina prior to letting the surgeons cure it for me, but it was getting close.

 A large proportion of my dinner was a mix of cauliflower and broccoli cooked in some fish stock. Once that had cooked I put it back in the microwave with the drained contents of a tin of fried herring in a Mediterranean marinade. It was either that tin, or the other one that claimed to only contain 360 calories. It was a bit annoying to see that the second tin of fried herring had 480 calories in it. One of them I had with the vegetables, and the other, in a spicy marinade, I had as a sort of sweet. In theory I only had around 1000 calories last night. It's a bit hard to guess, but the pear, and the lump of cheese I had with it for breakfast, may have only added up to 500 calories (although cheese is tricky stuff, and could have been over 80,000 calories for all I know, but let's stick on the side of optimism and call it just 500). 1500 calories a day, in the middle of winter, and if kept up for long enough, does shrink the waistline a bit. It's not as effective as the Japanese prisoner of war diet, but I'm not building any bridges over rivers.

 Before I forget, there was one other thing I did last night, although it only took a few minutes, and so is hardly world shattering.....or is it ?  I tried on some of my old pairs of jeans. My favourite black jeans were still impossible to do up, but I could do up a couple of other pairs of jeans. They were tight, very tight, but theoretically wearable. If, and it's a big if, I can do what it seems I have been doing over the last few weeks, and hopefully in accelerated mode like last night as often as I can, I reckon those jeans will be comfortable to wear in January 2015, and those favourite black jeans may start to be barely wearable. It almost feels a shame that I am waiting on delivery of two pairs of not so nice black jeans in the large size that I have been using for quite a few months now (6 months ? More ??).

 I managed to get myself in bed by 8.30pm last night. It took a little while to get to sleep last night. One reason for that was some very mild hunger pains, and the bigger reason was an over active brain, and a whole heap of unknown. Maybe it took over half an hour before I fell asleep, but once I was asleep, I slept really well (as far as I am aware) until 2am when I woke up for no apparent reason. What ever that reason was it must have been a good one because I had a lot of trouble sleeping for any longer than about 45 minutes at a time after that. I had some pretty vivid dreams too.

 The main dream I remember, although not that well now, had a musical theme. It's hard to find any inspiration for the dream from real life, but I doubt it came completely out of thin air. This dream concerned one, or more of my musician friends (or musicians I know). One or more of them had bought (or rented) a property that was, or was converted to a sort of small concert hall. It was newly painted inside, and the colour scheme while sounding rather wild seemed to look good. The walls were painted slightly pale yellow, and the doors were painted a very slightly pinkish purple.  I was there when there was supposed to be a conference by the musicians and bands who would play there. A few tiers of seats were set up in a semi circle around the stage, and loads of musicians I sort of recognised, plus many I didn't were sitting down waiting to be addressed from the stage. The guy, who could have been one of two people I know, and who had arranged the acquisition of the hall, and was chairman, finally got on stage, and just said "I hope you like it", and that was the beginning and end of the conference. If only some work meetings were as simple as that !

 When I finally got up I felt pretty rough, but once I had thawed out I felt passably OK. I don't think there was a single part of me in pain - assuming you don't count creaky aches as pains. It didn't seem to be too much effort to walk to the station fairly quickly, but without actually rushing. When it came to the mad dash across the link from Waterloo East station to Waterloo mainline station, I found I could keep up with the average pace quite easily, but I couldn't seem to push myself to do any overtaking. Then when it came to walking from Earlsfield station to work I couldn't seem to go very fast at all. I tried to push myself as much as possible, but I couldn't even raise a sweat or the need to increase my breathing significantly. It was a bit like that drug Bisprolol is supposed to do to my heart - limit the movement of the accelerator pedal so it doesn't work too hard. It really felt like something was stopping me trying to walk any faster.

 Tonight there is a double chance of ruining any recent healthy living I might have done recently. I need to go shopping on the way home from work, and that can bring terrible temptations. Then later tonight I am going to a gig in The Catford Ram. So I hope I'll only be having a light snack before going out. The effects of beer on waistlines is hotly debated. The calorific value of beer is allegedly high, but as we all know it is all excreted unused in the breathalyser bag, or urine sample before the body can burn it - and past experience of drinking and dieting (not driving) seem to prove this conjecture to be true. It is not the calorific value of booze that is of concern, but the calorific value of being drunk. The lure of several shops selling a variety of hot food on a cold winters night is hard to resist at any time, and much more so when drunk. Maybe I'll manage to resist it tonight if I make sure there is something ready to eat when I get home from the pub. I'll be using up my second to last day of annual leave tomorrow so there is no rush to get to bed, and I can take the time to prepare and eat what will be my actual dinner - if I have one ! Tomorrow, when I'll have a fridge full of food, and I'll be home all day, and possibly bored, could prove even trickier than being drunk. I'll just have to take tomorrow as it comes. Maybe I will find something that keeps me occupied, and my mind off food.....maybe.
Wednesday 3rd December 2014
08:07 GMT
  The problem with yesterday is that it was cold.....and it was very dull.......and, AND it rained on me as I walked from the station to home ! Other than that it was a perfectly fine day ! Today could be better. It was almost cold enough for a frost this morning. It was just 4.5 C when I got up, and it's only going to rise by a few degrees at the very best today. There is some small compensation due by way of a few sunny periods, and with luck it will stay dry until I am safely home, and maybe beyond that too. I can already see some very small blue patches amongst the clouds. With a bit of luck they will get bigger, and sooner or later one will appear where the sun is in the sky, and we will have that sunny period !

 A strange thing happened yesterday. I was doing my trouser belt up after a visit to the toilet, and it did up one notch tighter than usual, and it was just about comfortable enough to leave it like that. For the past couple of weeks, although there is no real exact time when it started, I have been making a half hearted effort to be a little more careful with what I eat. Some days it worked, and some days it didn't, but I didn't think the effort was any more than a holding exercise. Now it seems that maybe it was working better than I imagined, although there could be alternative reasons why I can do my belt up tighter than I could.

 Fiddling about with the dosage of Bisoprolol, one of my blood pressure control drugs, must come into the equation somehow. Maybe I had an inflamed liver due to Bisoprolol poisoning, or something bizzare, and my my liver has now shrunk after taking a smaller daily dose of the drug, or maybe it is something much more simple. The whole point of taking the lower dose was to stop it sapping all my energy, and while I haven't started running around (not that I have ever run around), I can now put a bit more energy into my commuting.

 The whole thing is like a feedback loop, and maybe it is running in positive feedback mode at the moment. I feel a bit better so I can eat a little less. Eating a little less makes me feel better so I eat a little less.......there are a few stages missed out there, but it's enough to illustrate the point. It is a stupid time to do what I could/should do now. Getting home in the dark and cold to a cold house does not inspire one to be hungry, but sometimes there are ways of coping with that - lots of gravy is a useful way ! This change of eating habits could last for hours or months (years would be handy, but that's even less realistic than weeks), and with luck I will be enthusiastic about it enough to play that silly little game of "how little can I eat tonight ?". This would be so much easier if anorexia was a contagious disease......not that I know any anorexics, but I could probably find some if I looked hard enough.

 I did feel pretty rough yesterday morning after my lack of sleep the night before, but by the afternoon I was almost feeling normal. I expected that I would just fall in bed and go instantly to sleep last night, but that didn't happen. I couldn't go to bed as early as I wanted because I had to wait for my friend Lee to drop a few things off at my place last night. He wasn't terribly late, but it was after 8pm when he arrived with the stuff. It must have been 9pm when I finally got to bed, and turned out the lights.

 Instead of falling instantly asleep as I expected, it was some time before I finally got to sleep. There were two reasons for that. One was like a mild repeat of the previous night where I kept feeling far too hot whenever I was completely under the duvet (except for my head), and yet it was far too chilly to leave a leg or arm outside. Eventually I managed to find some sort of equilibrium, but there was also the problem that I kept expecting (maybe hoping) to here the sound of a mousetrap closing on it's victim, but not only did I not hear that, I didn't even hear a rustle in the night. If that mouse I saw is still around, then it was far more discrete last night (or was the night before just a dream ?). I think it was probably 10pm before I fell asleep, but it could have been a little later than that. Once I got to sleep I slept rather well, perhaps better than usual, but after so little sleep the night before it was sort of expected.

 This morning I feel sort of good as well as bad. Being able to still do up my trouser belt that extra notch without a struggle makes my mood a little buoyant, but I do seem to have an intermittent mild headache. Plus there are the usual things like stiff creaking limbs, being at work, and wanting to be back in bed, but I guess they are just facts of life that can't easily be changed......although give it another 6 months and other options should present themselves !

It seems highly unlikely, but it is possible that I might feel exceptionally good tonight. That would make eating more healthily more possible, but in extremis it might also inspire me to wash a couple of shirts. So it could be an action packed night, or it might not be, but whatever happens I think I am quite looking forward to going to bed tonight. Maybe tonight I will get the early night I promised myself last night.
Tuesday 2nd December 2014
07:58 GMT
  As forecast, yesterday was cold and dull. The cold wasn't so bad. I think the lowest temperature was about 6 C, and it may have only fallen that low after I got home from work. Before that it was a whole glorious one degree higher ! Either temperature was not quite low enough to get fingers, noses or ears tingling, but it was close. The worst aspect was the gloominess. You could feel it seeping through the window into the brightest lit rooms. Today will be no better, and it is already worse. I didn't think it was due to happen this early in the day, but there was some fine misty rain as I walked from the station to work. I think cold, gloomy, and drizzly is an adequate description of the forecast for today. We seem to be plunging headfirst into winter now. Friday may offer a little respite from the gloom with some sunshine and dry weather, but until then there will be no sign of the sun, and anything from light drizzle to heavy rain to look forward to. Of course it wouldn't be the first time that the forecast for any more than 5 minutes in the future is completely wrong, and I am preparing for either deep snow, or hot sunshine on Friday (when I'll be taking the day off work !).

 As far as I can remember I felt OK when I was going home from work yesterday, although I was a little miffed that it tried to rain when I was walking between the station and home. It didn't last long, and was not heavy, but it wasn't supposed to happen ! While I might have felt OK, I was obviously not bursting with energy because I put off finishing washing a medium sized towel until later in the evening. I had originally intended to do it before I had my dinner.

 Dinner was a bit of a departure from what I had thought I might have. Originally it was going to be baked potato with a heap of cabbage and cauliflower (and maybe broccoli too) all smothered in butter, but I've decided I want to avoid too much butter, and ultimately I feel I ought to avoid potatoes too. Last night I thought I might have some fish with a baked potato. I had a couple of tins of fried herring in marinade that I had bought from Aldi some months back. I was sure I had tried out these cans some time ago, and I was sure that the marinade was oil based (and hopefully olive oil), but it wasn't. It was based on weak (maybe wine) vinegar - most of which I drained away before using the fish. I also opened up a can of peas to go with the fish. With no oil with the fish, that almost demanded a few chunks of butter to lubricate it all, and that was what I added. I've only got two more baking potatoes to use up, and I think I'll be having one or two tonight. I'll have those with fish too, but maybe salmon in a creamy sauce instead of fried herring in flavoured vinegar. After that I will try and move on to lean meat with lots of leafy vegetables. I know that definitely works for reducing trouser waist inches.

 I spent some of the evening writing an email. I must write very slowly because a lot of time passed just writing this one moderate length email, and yet it was a pleasant way of passing a lot of time. I didn't get into bed until gone 9pm, but I needn't have rushed. For some reason I felt terribly uncomfortable, and couldn't sleep. It was one of those occasions where it felt really rather cold outside of the duvet, and stupidly hot under it. It seemed as if I didn't get to sleep until gone 1am, but I suspect I felt asleep and woke up many times between 9pm and 1am. It was at 1am that I had a small diversion.....

 I was laying in bed when I heard a sort of rustling. When I turned the light on I just caught sight of a rapidly disappearing mouse - in my bedroom ! That generated many feelings - lots of shock, and sort of disbelief. I thought I had got rid of all the mice that had invaded some time back. There has been no evidence of any mice in the kitchen, the most obvious place for them, since last spring. I wonder what that mouse in my bedroom finds to eat and drink. I do drop the occasional crumb when I am eating in front of my PC, but since the last time I saw a mouse upstairs, perhaps last winter, I've been careful to pick up anything but the most insignificant crumbs. I presume that mice need the occasional drink, but my bedroom is as dry as dust (lots of dust !). I think it's time to bring up some traps from downstairs, and see if I can catch the little bugger.

 Trying to get back to sleep while I knew that mouse was running around was not easy, and I was still suffering from this silly heat problem under the duvet. My bedroom was probably no warmer than 17 C, and so it was not because my room was too warm. It was almost as if I had some sort of medical problem. Once I did manage to get to sleep I evidently sweated enough to leave a couple of damp spots on the bed sheet, and a damp area on the pillow.  It was all a bit strange. Apart from feeling too hot under the duvet, and maybe a few times when my right leg felt a bit crampy, I seemed to feel perfectly OK in all other respects.

 After what might have been as little as 4 hours sleep, I was not feeling on top of the world when I got up, but apart from the tiredness there was nothing unusually wrong that I could moan about. Of course there were plenty of the usual things I could moan about if there was nothing better to say. One thing that seemed to develop a bit later was a bit of a stomach ache. It was mostly trapped wind, but might have been more. Whatever may have cause that could be tied in with my sweating and stuff during the night, but I can't think of a feasible idea yet.

 It was a bit of a farty, occasionally uncomfortable journey to work this morning, and it was one of those morning where for the sake of my peace of mind I made use of the dreadful toilets at Clapham Junction. Occasionally I had to concentrate on keeping my eyes open as well, but it was otherwise an uneventful journey to work. Now I am here I don't feel exactly dreadful, but I fear I am going to break with tradition and try and keep myself as busy as possible so I don't fall asleep. I am already yawning almost non stop as I write this. If I were just reading it I would surely fall asleep.  I have only one plan for tonight, and that is to get to sleep as soon as is feasible, and to try being fast asleep before that mouse comes out to play !  
Monday 1st December 2014
07:58 GMT
  It seems that the BBC's weather forecast for yesterday was far too pessimistic. There was far more sunshine than forecast. As I recall, the forecast said that the afternoon would be very cloudy, but there was far more sunshine than clouds. It might even have nudged the temperature up half a degree - I didn't check my thermometer, but it didn't seem to feel as cool as I was expecting. I fear that the forecast for today may be correct. What I see outside my office is consistent with the forecast - thick, heavy clouds ! No rain is forecast for today, but those clouds are going to keep the sun out, and the temperature low ! I may have measured 8 C this morning, but the forecast says it will be just 7 C all through the day until 8pm when it will drop to 6 C - and stay that way through the night.....and maybe even through the whole of tomorrow !

 I had a pleasant afternoon yesterday - after the plan finally came to fruition. I thought I was supposed to be meeting Jodie in The London And Rye Wetherspoons pub, and that is where I went. It was my belief that we had boycotted The Catford Constitutional Club on Sunday afternoons because of all the prams and kids in there. The noise level and lack of seating was really annoying. For some reason Jodie decided that she would go there instead, and it turned out her decision was right. Now it is so cool, and gets dark so early, all the mums (and some dads) seem to have given up on using the place like a kindergarten, and so sanity has prevailed. So after waiting a long time for me to appear, Jodie called me, and found out I was wondering where she was ! I had to bolt my remaining half pint of beer, and with the beer swilling around inside of me, and furiously burping, make my way as quickly as I could to where Jodie was waiting for me.

 The Catford Constitutional Club didn't seem to have any exceptional beers on, but a few of them were nice - not that were rushing to drink them. We had a far more serious mission ! I took my little laptop along so that I could attempt to guide Jodie through booking a railway ticket - the catch was that it was for use on Irish railways. Prior to yesterday Jodie had been on the Irish rail website, and had planned her journey from Belfast to Dublin, but could not find any way of booking a ticket in advance. The trouble was she was trying to book a ticket for not only the mainline part of the journey, but some local service, which I think equates to little more than a tram, as well. As soon as I tried to book from mainline station to mainline station it all went through OK. The only slight problem is that they won't mail the tickets to her home, and she has to collect them at the station.

 It does seem that Irish rail can be quite cheap. As I recall, from Belfast to Dublin takes almost 2 hours, maybe it is just a very slow train, but a single ticket is just 19 Euros (which must be in the region of 15 - 16). In case you are wondering, Jodie will be flying to Belfast to see one of her (many) favourite bands play there. She will then get on the train to Dublin to see the band again, and then will fly home from there. (Note: the more I think about it, the more I seem to fail to remember if she starts in Belfast or Dublin, or the other way round !).

 We had just finished ordering the ticket when we were joined by Kevin. Weeks can go by without seeing Kevin, and now I've seen him twice in one week (he was at the gig last Thursday, although with the band playing we didn't get a chance to chat). He only stayed for two pints, and I just couldn't seem to twist his arm the way he seems to twist mine for "just one more" or "one for the road". Oh well, it was a pretty good time for all of us to go, but Jodie and I did have one special beer to finish with. It was a bottle each of Samuel Smiths "Organic Cherry Beer". It seems that Samuel Smiths, who make some rather fine ales, have repurposed some of their old brewing equipment to make comparatively small batches of speciality beers now. The cherry is just one of them, and it seems just as nice as some of the fruit beers that come out of Belgium.

 I think it was a little after 6.30pm when I got home, and I was feeling rather peckish. I had eaten a sort of brunch earlier in the day, and now it was time for dinner. I hadn't been out drinking I would most probably have had another baked potato with steamed vegetables and a butter glaze, but I wanted something faster to prepare, and even more tasty.  I had a small minced beef hotpot ready meal in the fridge that was up to, and possibly just passed it's use by date, and I popped that in the microwave as a first course. I followed that with a can of bacon and lentil soup, and because I still wanted more I heated up some pre-cooked chicken thighs. Then I went up to my bedroom, and very slowly prepared myself for bed.

 I didn't go straight to bed because it was still rather early. So I pondered the meaning of life, as one does, and then pondered the meaning of baked potatoes. Since eating baked potatoes quite frequently I do seem to feel better in some ways, but that also coincides with taking smaller doses of Bisprolol, one of my blood pressure controlling drugs. It could be either or both that makes me feel a bit better - mostly in terms of not feeling so knackered rather than lack of aches and pains, but maybe less of the latter too. The trouble is I am not convinced it is doing anything for my waistline. No matter what people say about potatoes being low, or lower in calories than you might expect, they are still full of carbohydrates, and it is those that cause me most trouble. So I am thinking of giving up baked potatoes, and going back to stews of lean(ish) meats with lots of leafy vegetables. It takes a lot of willpower to enjoy meals like that, but past experience shows that they are quite helpful in going down a trouser size - given an infinite amount of patience !

 Before I really got down to the serious business of going to sleep I took another look at one of my cameras. Before getting in bed I had been looking on the internet about cameras. It seems that it may be possible to hack my Canon camera to save images in the RAW format. That has some useful advantage for doing certain types of image correction after the photo is taken - such things as noise reduction, and colour correction. I didn't look into it too deeply last night, but it seems that it maybe be possible, depending on the firmware in the camera, to boot the camera from a memory card with a hacked operating system on it. The hack is completely reversible just by using a memory card without the hack on it. That sounds like a nice safe hack to me.

 I wondered if any hacks might also be available for my seldom used Panasonic camera. That camera has many nice features, but suffers from two annoying habits. The first is an annoying habit of over exposing pictures taken in bright light, and the second is that it does not seem to like opening the aperture wide enough on dimly lit pictures. For those it relies on long exposures, and it's rather effective image stabilisation to stop blur from camera shake - which is great for static objects, but no good for guitar players (for instance) who tend to move around a lot. As I lay in bed I had a play with that camera using various settings. It can take some quite reasonable pictures in very low light, but I'm not sure if I can bully it into using a faster shutter speed for moving objects. I think I'll take it to the next gig I go to, which should be this coming Thursday evening, and take a few more test shots to see what I can get out of it.

 After I put the camera down, I turned the light off, and pulled the duvet around me. I fell asleep pleasantly quickly. It was probably closer to 9pm that 10pm when I fell asleep, and I slept soundly until 01:40am when I woke up needing a pee. I don't really know why, but it seemed to be a bit of a jolt when I realised it was 01:40 on a Monday morning, and that meant in 3 hours and twenty minutes I had to start getting up to go to work. I think that prior to that moment I was still in weekend mode.

 I didn't feel any worse, or any better than any average sort of morning this morning. I would have preferred to go back to bed rather than endure the commute into work, but I made it here in one piece, and now I look forward to going home where I have a towel halfway through being washed waiting to be finished, and I've got some dinner to cook and eat. Other than that there is nothing of any great importance to look forward to. There was some very mild entertainment on the way into work - so mild as to hardly be entertainment at all - except for a few brief milliseconds as the eye worked out what it was seeing. It was LG showing off their new TVs on the concourse of Waterloo station.
LG on the concourse of
                  Waterloo station