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January 2014
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of January 2014

Friday 31st January 2014
09:08 GMT

  At last ! There is some sort of improvement in the weather. This idea does contradict the forecast on TV yesterday. That said something about a severe weather warning. Well maybe that will happen later, but right now it doesn't seemed to have rained for hours, perhaps even since yesterday lunchtime, and it is almost sunny. The sun is very low on the horizon still, and maybe shining behind the nearby buildings, but if nothing else, it is certainly bright outside. The downside is that it was only 4 C when I got up this morning. That is very slightly less than yesterday, but the chances are it will only go up by a couple of degrees at best today.

 I didn't feel all that happy yesterday. In fact on the way home from work I felt bloody miserable. Going home is a very unsual time to feel miserable, but I managed it yesterday. It was a combination of things. At the particular time I realised it, it was cold, dark, wet and miserable outside, and I was in pain. The cold and damp was making my right knee stiff and sore, and my ankles were not feeling too good either. Other bits may have hurt, or been uncomfortable, but they were the most prominent bits.

 Once I was sitting on a warm(ish) train I felt a bit better, but it wasn't enough of an improvement to make me feel like going home via Tesco as I had planned. Instead I bought a few things from the Turkish supermarket. Going there only increases my walk home by 20 or 30 feet - so not that terrible ! With hindsight, and perhaps I subconciously knew it while I was in the shop, it may have been a good choice.

 The bread and cheese I bought may have been very high in all the sorts of things I try to avoid - carbohydrates and fat - but it does have a very settling effect on my stomach. Maybe I've just put on another couple of stone (or ounces), but this morning my guts were very tame and trouble free. That made for a far more pleasant journey to work - and this morning it really, really needed to be.......
train delays Friday 31st January 2014
Screenshots taken on my mobile phone while on the train from Waterloo to Earlsfield
 I had an unusually long wait for a train at Waterloo (usually it is no wait at all), and then once I got on the train there was a delay of 5 or 10 minutes before we pulled out of the station. We only made it as far as the first signal before we came to a halt and waited another 5 or 10 minutes. Then we started off again at little more than walking pace until we stopped at the next signal for another 5 or 10 minutes. We carried on like this until we reached Clapham Junction (except at one signal where the wait was something more like 10 - 15 minutes). From Clapham Junction we resumed normal speed, and arrived at Earlsfield a few minute later. I arrived at work an hour late, and in some mysterious way I will make the time up.

 It is strange how the "excitement" of my journey into work has sort of cheered me up. I guess I thrive on a challenge no matter if it's nasty or nice. I am still feeling a bit depressed - although nothing like I was when standing on a cold, wet and gloomy station last night. There are two perfectly rational reasons for this, but just because they are rational does not mean I am going to avoid my duty and not be bloody miserable.

 It's winter - it's generally cold, often wet, and there is a great lack of sunshine. That is one very good reason to be pissed off. The other significant reason is a sort of backlash (although I am sure there is a better word for it) from my operation and recovery. It wasn't terribly exciting being stuck at home with limited funds, and nothing to do except get better. I am still not fully recovered, but I am recovered enough that there are no real challenges left. Most of the time now I can even use my left hand normally. It may not work all the time for a few specific tasks, but they don't count in the overall scheme of things.

 Overcoming those challenges felt good - and sometimes, such as when I managed to get to the pub so soon after getting out of hospital, felt really, really good even if sometimes a bit painful. Now they are essentially over, and I am back at work - which I don't really enjoy that much for much of the time, and that I hate travelling to and from - doubly so when the travelling is done in the dark. The upside is that it gives me something to do, and it pays me money. I'm not sure what I would do without it - and that is pretty annoying !

 Oh well, at least the days are getting longer. Apart from last night, which was super gloomy, I now do the entire journey home from work in daylight, and thanks to the lineside fire between Raynes Park and Wimbledon, most of my journey to work was done in daylight today (providing it is measured by time and not by miles !). Unless we have an extended winter it is only a few more months until it should start to get a bit warmer, and then I hope I can start getting serious about shrinking my waist. At the moment it is hard to even stop it expanding more.....and that's quite annoying (or depressing if you look at it in a depressing sort of way).

 There was one other thing that was playing on my mind last night when I was feeling particularly pissed off while waiting for my train home. Tonight I have to go to a gig, and in this case I really do feel I have to go because tonight it's a pay to enter event, and my 10 ticket has been bought for me. Last night I felt so shattered that I didn't see how I couild ever have the energy to go out again after work tonight. I did take steps to make it a bit easier tonight. I was in bed, and asleep by 8pm. I didn't sleep all that well, but not that bad either. That should help. A lot of yesterday's aches and pains seem to have gone, or are at least less today, and they should help me to feel more energetic this evening. I know I'll be OK once I am at the gig, or maybe even when I am on my way to it, but sometimes getting out of my front door can be really, really, really hard !
Thursday 30th January 2014
08:31 GMT

  The weather has changed from unpleasant to diabolical over the last couple of days. It would be far better if the temperature dropped just another 6 degrees. Right now it is on the wet side of freezing, and everything is cold wet and grey. Maybe the country would come to a grinding halt.......in fact we know it would.........if we had as much as half an inch of snow, but it would look so much prettier. Last night it was cold, dark, and very wet. This morning it was cold, dark, and very wet, and right now it is cold, wet, and not at all bright ! Oh, and guess what the forecast is........yes, cold, wet, dark, and bloody miserable ! It was 4.6 C first thing this morning - just
4.6 away from a pretty glittering frost, or pure white dazzling snow.

 I don't know how much of it was the weather, and how much was other, unknown reasons, but I did not feel very wonderful yesterday. While I was just resting I felt comfortable enough, but it was an effort top drag myself out the door to go to The Catford Constitutional Club for a few beers with Chris, Paul, and Dave. It seemed a bit of an effort to walk there too, but once the beer started to flow I felt increasingly better.

 After enough pints (5, but maybe it was 6) I would grudgingly admit that I felt quite good when I sat down at home with a steaming packet of cod and chips. With my sytem cushioned by the booze, even the walk back home in the drizzle was not desperately unpleasant - unlike the walk to the pub, which was horrible. I do seem to be suffering from a range of things recently. None of them are new, but they don't usually occur all at the same time.

 This morning I felt particularly horrible. My guts were in a mild turmoil this morning. Maybe tempting fate with a very large serving of baked beans yesterday actually helped instead of hindered......or maybe I've still got a surprise to come ! I think I can safely blame the weather for my ankles seeming to be stiff and a little sore this morning. From time to time my right ankle is stiffer and more sore than my right knee which usually plays up to some degree in cold damp weather.

 There is one other part of me that has been giving me increased amounts of discomfort recently, and I can't make up my mind if it is good news or bad news. It is my chest, and I've been getting a variety of different sensations in, or around it. I've mentioned the strange clicking or popping feeling I sometimes get inside my chest, roughly centred around my sternum. Until recently it has been completely painless, but now it is sometime accompanied by little brief stabbing pains.

 It is possible that it is all part of the healing process, and that it is going on in a very unusual way. The alternative is that it is something going wrong, and death is immenent, but at least I'll die knowing it wasn't angina or heart attack. I've tried both of them, and I know this is totally different. On the balance of probabilities it is related to another intermittent pain that I recognise in a different context. Since my operation my left moob (man boob) has been numb - presumably where nerves were cut as my chest was opened up.

 I am now beginning to get sensation back in that area, and just like my left hand, the re-growing nerves sometimes send out random pain signals - usually a sort of prickly feeling - and I've been getting that from my left moob occasionally. I'm also getting some odd pains radiating out across my moobs to under my arms. It feels like a pulled muscle, and there is a good chance that is exactly what it is. I think I am slowly learning that being opened up like a butcher is preparing to fillet me is less trivial than it seemed to be, and the healing process longer, and more complex than I imagined. Either that or I am about to die :-)

 I can't die before tonight because I want to go home via Tesco to get a bit of shopping, and I can't die before tomorrow night. I got my ticket (worth 10) for Chain's special all Fleetwood Mac gig in Petts Woods last night. I must admit I am a bit worried about where I am going to find the energy to go out after work tomorrow, but somehow I'll have to, and then try and take some good photos, and a bit of video of the gig.
Wednesday 29th January 2014
13:51 GMT

  Maybe there was a little bit more sunshine that the forecast suggested for yesterday, and maybe after the sunshine it stayed dry for half my journey home, but I got drenched on the last bit of the journey home from work ! The rain continued, on and off, through the night, through most of the morning, and it is raining now. None of the rain, apart that which drenched me yesterday, has been particularly heavy, but whether light or heavy, there seems to be no end to it. As well as being wet, it is also rather cool. The current temperature is just 5.6 C. It was a degree or two cooler around sun rise, but has now probably peaked for the day. Tomorrow is forecast to be very cool, but it might be a degree higher than today.

 This morning I phoned into work asking for a days holiday so I could sort out my repeat prescription. It should have been avaiable earlier but wasn't. It seems it was my fault for not signing a notification form to allow "electronic" prescriptions to be sent directly to the pharmacy attached to the group practice I attend. That is a bit odd because they have been sent there before with no problem. My prescription was finally tracked down to reception in the surgery part of the building, and this morning I collected a big bag of drugs.
loads of drugs - all for me !!!
 My friend Ruby from up in Cumbria has seen this photo, and has said she is on the same set of tablets (although not on the strengths I am on - yet !). She agrees with my observation that they do not seem to affect blood pressure, but do make you feel tired, and lacking in energy. On top of that, she reports that her ankles seem puffy since being on these drugs. Mine do too, but mostly (although not exclusively) my left ankle. Previously I attributed that to the operation on my left leg where they removed a yard of vein to transplant onto my heart.

 One slight variant on opinions about these drugs is that I think that the Bisoprolol, and only the Bisoprolol did reduce my blood pressure a bit. I noticed a small dip when the dosage was doubled from 5mg to the current 10mg. The theory is that these drugs will prolong my life, but compared to how wonderful I was feeling 4 years back when I stopped taking all prescribed drugs for my blood pressure, and started my increasingly long walks, it is a pretty poor life to prolong. I can't quite remember the exact quote, but it is something like the light that burns twice as bright burns for only half the time. I really ought to look that up, but while I can't be bothered to do that, I do agree with it, and I prefer to burn twice as brightly.

  One potentially good thing about taking a days holiday today is that I don't feel that wonderful. It's probably just a combination of the weather and my blood pressure drugs, but I feel lacking in energy, and sort of uncomfortable. There has to be a good word for a feeling that is far, far less than, pain, and also less than uncomfortable, but still sort of not quite right. The sort of feeling that makes you long for a well padded chaise longue (or lounge depending on which dictionary you believe in) under a hot sun with an endless supply of booze at your side.

 For the next few hours I'll be taking things easy. Just before writing I had some dinner, and it was a bit of a bold one. I have been so prone to wind and other worse stomach upsets for the last 3 or 4 months that I thought I may as well go for the jackpot ! So I've had a pile of well grilled bacon with baked beans. Now if that is not tempting fate I don't know what will. At 5pm I will be topping that up with some beer. Thursday night is now tonight ! I'll be meeting Chris and the guys in The Catford Constitutional Club tonight instead of tomorrow.
Tuesday 28th January 2014
08:15 GMT

  I may have been over optimistic about my outdoor temperature sensor working again after being given a raincoat. Sometime, probably quite early last night, as the temperature dropped to 5 C, the sensor died again. This morning it was just flashing 5 at me. Perhaps I didn't seal it properly against the rain that must have fallen last night. I didn't notice the rain during the night, but the large puddles provide plenty of evidence of it.

 Apart from the puddles, it was dry and cold as I came to work this morning. There was the potential for it to be a nice start this morning. Much of the sky was clear as the sun rose, but a bank of dark looking cloud on the eastern horizon left it looking quite dull. The sun has just about managed to break through the clouds now, but it looks a bit patchy. Later on it is forecast to rain - and it seems very probable that it will be raining as I go home after work - BOO !! The wind is supposed to be from the east, and that means the temperature today will be around the seasonal average - a shivery 5 or 6
C.

 I ate very unhealthily for a lot of yesterday, but I did have my "seven a day" (it's like "five a day" but better). It was early evening, and even after eating all sorts of rubbish I still wanted more. Somehow I managed to persuade myself to eat some fruit instead of crisps, or something equally naughty. It is a shame that you can't put chilli sauce on fruit........or can you ? Maybe I'll try it on some apple someday. It would certainly make eating fruit far more enjoyable.

 I had a theory that I would not be able to get to sleep easily last night, and even when I did get to sleep, I wouldn't sleep all that well. I had had a snooze of indeterminate length during the late afternoon, and with that little bit of sleep credit under my belt I didn't even try to get to sleep early. I lay in bed reading until I had finished the book I was reading. I finished it by 10pm, or very soon after. That was not terribly late, but evidently late enough because I fell asleep quite quickly after I turned out the light.

 One of the problems with high blood sugar levels is that it makes you pee a lot. My one hope of the blood sample I gave yesterday coming out good was that I have no been peeing a lot despite a few high blood sugar readings. Not peeing a lot is not the same as not peeing at all, and partricularly so at night. It is rare for a night to pass where I don't have to get up to pee at least once. Last night, if I remember correctly, it was twice, and the second time was at 4.15am.

 Waking up 45 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me up is one of the most annoying things in the world. I don't think I woke up because I actually needed to pee, but once I had woken up, and felt that tiny, almost insignificant pain.....not really pain at all, but a mild discomfort, a very mild discomfort at first, there was no way of getting it out of my mind. It grew and grew until it had taken over my mind, and I was forced out of my warm bed into a freezing cold bathroom for almost no reason.....almost no reason, but I still wouldn't want that reason in my bed ! At least by giving in to it I was able to get back into bed and fall asleep for a bit with a clear mind.

 Some bits of me feel good this morning, and some bits feel bad. My traditional morning stomach upset was quite mild this morning, and.............actually that may have been the only good bit. My legs and feet were not very enthusiastic about walking this morning, although they got me to work without too much trouble. My chest felt uncomfortable this morning in a way that is hard to explain. I think it is just a healing thing - just a flesh wound rather than an organ wound...or something.

 I think my left hand, the one that is slowly, ever so slowly, returning to normal since waking up after my operation to find it very numb, is up to something again. It is still able to do all the things it has been able to do recently, but feels a bit uncomfortable. I hope this is another sign that more healing is on it's way - experience suggests it is. That just leaves my head to comment on - it feels sort of thick and stodgy. I found myself drifting off to sleep on the train coming here, and if I wasn't at work I would almost certainly be going for a lie down, and a snooze by now. Evidently I didn't sleep as well as I thought I might have done.

 I have a few aims for tonight, and in theory they should dovetail together quite well. I want to wash my hair, and I want to try and get to bed early. That might mean that I have less time to eat, and eating less is the third aim. If the sun was shining, and it was nice and warm when I got home, I might get away with just having some steamed fish and vegetables - it can be done, I've done it before - just maybe not tonight when it will be cold, grey and wet. Maybe some hard (apples and pears etc) fruit will help, but all too often they just make me feel more hungry. Oh well, take it as it comes.
Monday 27th January 2014
14:48 GMT

  My outdoor temperature sensor appears to be working again properly since I took it indoors to dry out, and then tied it in a condom (actually a rubber glove) before putting it outside again. It is currently telling me it is 8.4 C - the "warmest" it has been all day.  It appeared to stay dry last night, and as far as I am aware the rain that was forecast for the early hours of this morning never fell. That is probably just as well because it was only 2.9
C at 4am, and any rain could easily have fallen as wet snow.

 When I finally got up, at 7.30am, the temperature had risen to 5
C. The start of the day was mildly grey, but by mid morning, and then up to an hour or less ago, it was bright and sunny. It seemed to happen really quickly - the sky suddenly turned deep grey, and rain started falling, and it is still falling now. This makes a total mockery of the forecast which is still telling me there should be no rain, light cloud, and nearly two degrees cooler !  The forecast reckons the rain will start later tonight, and continue for much of tomorrow, but does allow a small window where I might be able to get to work in the dry.

 It subsequently turned out not to be needed, but it was no bother fasting for 12 hours in advance of my visit to the vampire today. Only drinking plain tap water for the preceeding 12 hours was less than exciting, but also not too much of a bother.  I don't think I can blame either for not sleeping very well last night, and both should have helped the attrocious blood glucose level reading I took this morning.

 I got up early enough, but didn't get to the blood sample clinic as early as I wanted to this morning. There is a critical window of about 7.6 minutes at 8.15 am, 15 minutes before they officially open, when you can be in and out with hardly any waiting time. Fortunately I didn't have to wait longer than 15 minutes, and it may have been only 10 minutes before the vampire drew off a couple of test tubes of blood - and told me that I didn't need to fast beforehand !

 I don't think I had a particularly hedonistic weekend - certainly no one good enough to explain how high my own test of my blood sugar level was. One good thing about the tests on my bllod that I gave this morning is that they look for a much longer term trend. I know that on some evenings after work my blood sugar level has been very good (although it could be better). So it will be interesting to find out the results when I see my doctor at the end of next week (and another Friday off work - hooray !!!).

 After giving my blood samples I wandered round the corner to the 99p shop. My main excuse for this was to buy some household cleaning products, but inevitably I bought some edible stuff as well, and one item that I have already eaten far too much of will send my blood sugar level soaring for a while - but that's OK because I'm back at work tomorrow, and so will, of course, be far more disciplined about what I eat smile.

 Once I got home again I imagined that I would have some breakfast, and then be thoroughly lazy. I very much wanted to be, but like the day before I felt a bit restless. So I did something I was obviously planning to do because I had just bought the stuff to do it, and gave the toilet bowl a deep clean. It was sort of nice to see it sparkling again. I don't know how long it will last, but I can enjoy it for now.

 That should have been enough, but after another hour had passed I decided to do some laundry. I had a little pile that should have been done as two smaller jobs, but I did it all at once. Now that really did knacker me, and it seemed no effort to lay down, read a chapter from the latest book I am reading, and then take a snooze. I'm now awake again, but I can't see myself doing any more work around the house today.  After all, the whole idea of taking the whole day off work today, when just a morning would have done, was to luxuriate in being lazy, and so far I've been almost a complete failure at being so.
Sunday 26th January 2014
19:41 GMT

  There was a mix of sun and showers, torrential showers, and even some incredibly strong gusts of wind yesterday. Oh, and it wasn't terribly warm either......although 12 C was probably rather better than an average January day.  It was probably just after darkness fell that the weather threw a bit of a fit. For a while, perhaps less than 30 minutes, there was a torrential downpour, and for a while longer there were some very strong gusts of wind.
blown over motorbike
 This is not one of my finest pictures (!!). I took it just round the corner from home on my way to the gig last night. It shows (but not terribly well) a motorbike that had been blown off it's stand by the wind. It was about 8pm when I went to the gig, and by that time the wind had become less extreme, and the rain had stopped. As far as I am aware the rain held off until about 11am this morning, and it started just in time to soak me when I walked back from the pub with Aleemah (she was ok - she had an umbrella).

 The rain contined on and off for a couple of hours, but most of the afternoon has been dry. There were even a couple of sunny periods. One such sunny period was just as the sun was setting It seemed to be dazzling bright as it went down behind the trees and stuff over in the west. The forecast is that there will be some more light rain around dawn tomorrow, but most of the day will be dry and depressingly grey. The temperature will end up similar to today - about 6 C plus or minus a degree.

 I was almost reluctant to go out last night. I still have trouble convincing my brain that anything later than 8pm can be for anything except going to bed. I was also on the tail end of yet another mild stomach upset. When the time came my gus seemed to be stable enough, and the weather had calmed down too. So off I went. It seemed quite quiet out. The roads were very calm, and I was the only passenger on the bus until we got to Bromley - just 4 stops short of the venue.

 It was almost a very good gig, but there were a couple of problems. It was a very well attended even - very well ! That meant it was awkward to get to the bar to top up my beer, and it was often awkward to get into a good position to take photos without stepping on someone's toes. There was a further problem that effected me, and also my friend Kevin. We both had rather delicate stomachs on account of the various medications we were on, and the toilets in the pub were disgraceful ! For safety reason, rather than any imminent need, we both decided to leave the gig about halfway through the second set (or about 40 minutes early.

 Later accounts suggested that we missed a few good sights, but it is sometimes better to be safe that sorry. Once I was moving around, out in the fresh air, I felt pretty much OK, but Kevin must have been feeling very uncomfortable because he went straight home instead of suggesting we have one or more extra pints when we were back in Catford. I felt that I had been entertained enough, and I had taken a good selection of photos.
Jo Corteen and Chris Mayer
Jo Corteen and Chris Mayer taken without flash in natural colours
Geoff Paice and Chris Mayer
Geoff Paice (wearing a silly hat) and Chris Mayer
 It had seemed like we had left the gig rather early, and yet I was very surprised just how late it was when we arrived back in Catford. We only had a few minutes wait for the bus, and the bus seemed to travel at a reasonable speed. So there were no big delays there, and yet when I went into the Wetherspoons pub to use their toilet they were just calling last orders (so I had a swift half !) 10 minutes prior to midnight.

 The reason I popped into the pub for a wee was because I was anticipating a short wait in the fried chicken shop. They had run out of everything except grilled wings and fries. In theory, the grilled wings are almost sort of healthy - just about. The fries are obviously just pure poison. By the time I had eaten my food, watched a bit of TV, checked my email, and then fallen asleep, it must have been getting on for 2am.

 I almost overslept this morning. I didn't have a lot of spare time to wake up, wash, get dressed, do a microscopic bit of housework (pull the cushions into shape) before I had to go and meet my friend Aleemah at the station. From then on it was the usual vegetarian breakfast for Aleemah, and a pint of beer in the Wetherspoons followed by a DVD at home. This morning also included going home via Aldi to pick up a bit of shopping. I can't quite recall what the DVD was. It was a sort of semi horror/semi supernatural series of short (40 minute) stories featuring mediums talking to the dead and stuff like that - not really my thing.

 The only things I've done since Aleemah went home was to eat badly, and do some photo editing. A tiny fragment of my eating should have been healthy. It was not all that long ago that I read something somewhere about some micro-cephelic retard who pronounced that apples are good for you. He reckoned that they contained some useful chemicals, and here's the really stupid bit, that all the fibre in them would give a feeling of fullness, and so stop you feeling hungry. I have never heard such bullshit in all my life. First of all the acidy sweetness gives a roaring hunger, and the appleness just makes me want to eat a roast pig with tooth breaking crackling.

 Just writing about it make me feel hungry, and that is a most unfortunate thing. Tomorrow I have a days holiday from work. Most of the day I can do whatever I may choose, but in the morning I am going to give a blood sample or two to the vampires that live up in the attic at my doctors group surgery. For this sample I have to fast for 12 hours. Not eating between now and then is not hard, but I can't have anything to drink except plain water - now that's boring ! The results of the test take just under a week, and so I'll be seeing my doctor about a week later to see how well I've been processing the glucose in my blood. I'm not expecting the results to be that good, nowhere near the very good results of testing last September, but hopefully better than the results at the end of last November (or thereabouts).
Saturday 25th January 2014
14:24 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was not exactly like it was forecast. The morning was certainly grey and nasty, but there was some unexpected sunshine in the afternoon. I didn't notice that band of heavy rain that was forecast to sweep by in the early part of the night, but there were some large puddles this morning. Whether they came from heavy rain earlier on, or from some drizzle around sun rise (and a bit beyond) is a mystery to me. After a grey and damp start it is currently sunny, and at 11 or 12 C it could almost be imagined to be close to almost warm. Sadly it won't last - if the forecast is correct. The temperature wil drop to close to freezing by sun rise tomorrow, and there could be some rain early this evening.

 It was a relief to get home from work yesterday. Being at work all week continues to drain me more than I expected - but it is getting better ! On the way home I found an unexpected little burst of energy that kept me going well on the way back to Catford, and took me around Tesco before it expired when I got home. I wasn't exactly exhausted, but I had no will to do anything. Strangely enough I did a lot of nothing much at all, and didn't end up in bed until 11pm (or thereabouts).

 It was inevitable that while I was in Tesco I bought a few items that were incompatible with my half hearted attempt to eat a bit more healthily.  I can only console myself with the thought that it could have been a lot worse ! One not terribly healthy item that I had for lunch today was as a result of my body sending subliminal messages to my brain.  I was drawn to buy some liver and bacon ready meals. Maybe there was something in the liver, presumably iron, that my body thought would be useful. I can think of no other reason why I should get a sudden urge for liver and bacon.

 If I had eaten the liver and bacon last night, so it had time to do whatever work that was needed, it could explain my love/hate relationship with doing stuff today. I thought I wanted to do some intensive resting, but I keep getting bored with that, and I've done two lots of laundry today. The first lot was 4 shirts plus some underpants. The second lot was another couple of shirts, a t-shirt, a very small hand towel, and a pair of lounge pants. Each time it felt like hard work, but each time I seemed to recover from it very quickly.

 I feel I still ought to do some intensive resting to get myself ready for tonight. Chain are playing in The Chatterton Arms, and that is also the venue for a birthday celebration for one of the Bromley music mob. So it is going to be a rather spectacular evening.....and unfortunately probably far too packed.......and these days I can't even go outside for a fag to get a breath of fresh air and some room to move around a bit. I fear it will be difficult to get to the bar as well, but beside these minor problems I am very much looking forward to it.
Friday 24th January 2014
08:24 GMT

 The weather did pretty much what it said on the (weather forecast) tin yesterday. It rained during the morning, and then there was some sunshine during the afternoon. Once again it started to get cloudy as I left work, and my journey home was not as bright as it could have been, but it wasn't that bad, and I can't complain too much (but I will anyway !). There was a very pink sunrise over the cemetary as my train pulled into Earlsfield station, and since then all the gaps in the clouds have been filled in. Today is going to be mainly grey, but it should stay day, and it is going to stay rather cool - around 5 or 6 C - but considerably warmer than in Toronto !
Toronto weather Thursday 23rd January 2014
 I didn't go straight home last night. As planned, I went to The Catford Ram to meet the gang for a beer. As I hoped, we had one pint in The Catford Ram, and then moved on to The Catford Constitutional Club where there was a much better selection of (usually) well kept beer. It was good to see Kevin there last night. He's been poorly, and I hadn't seen him since Xmas eve.
Drinking in The Catford Constitutional Club
left to right  - Alan, Dave, Chris and Kevin

 I'm not sure how much beer was drunk last night, but it was a fair amount ! When I left Alan, Chris and Kevin were still drinking, and I would not be surprised if they didn't stay for another pint (or two !). I thought I had tested all the different beers available, and it was time to go home via the chip shop. All my drinking was done on an empty stomach, and I was ravenous. Cod and chips went down very well. Very well indeed !  I have no idea what time I went to bed, but I suspect it was about the right time - 9pm. As far as I am aware I slept like a log for (probably) 6 hours, and then I woke up at 3am. After that I never really managed to get back to sleep properly - which was sort of annoying. One reason for waking up, and not getting back to sleep was that I was full of wind. I thought I sorted that out when I went to the toilet at 3am, but while it helped a lot, it was not a complete solution.  I don't feel I should blame the beer, but my wind problem continued once I finally got up at 5am. It left my guts in a slightly parlous state, and I didn't feel ready to get my usual train to work. I got the one half an hour later. That made me a little bit late for work, but it is a faster train, and I was here at work little more than 5 minutes late - I've been in far later just due to "points failure outside London Bridge" !  My brain may be a little foggy this morning, but I don't have a traditional hangover. My main problem, and I don't think I can blame it on the beer, is that my legs feel very stiff and uncoopperative this morning. It made the walk from Earlsfield station to work feel like a 10 mile walk instead of 0.8 miles. Some of it I know to be caused by my blood pressure tablets. One of them reduces the heart rate I think. Quite why starving my muscles of good clean oxygen is considered a good thing is something the doctors have never managed to explain, but it is apparently good for me. Well it would be good if I could spend most of the day resting on my bed, but not while I am trying to commute to work.  There is some good news today. For a start, it's Friday, and that means I've managed another full week at work, and in turn that means a bigger pay packet at the end of the month. Money is another bit of good news today. I withdrew some pocket money from a cash machine at Waterloo station this morning. I thought I had been a bit generous with my spending this month, but the reciept from the cash machine indicates that while I am poor, I am not that poor, and definitely still in the black. Next Friday, which is pay day, I might have a small surplus left that I can use to start restoring my savings account that I plundered quite a bit while off sick. Mind you, that surplus may only be measured in pennies by next week, but it will be a start.
Thursday 23rd January 2014
07:57 GMT

 Yesterday's grey morning gave way to a few sunny periods in the afternoon. They didn't last that long, and contributed no heat. Worse still - they had ended as I made my way home from work. However it was still acceptably light when I got home - just ! There might have been some rain during the night, but it was dry as I came to work. It may not stay that way too long. A few hours of rain are forecast for this morning, but it should brighten up after that. It may be a couple of degrees cooler than yesterday when it was reported to be as high as 10 C in some parts of London. Some even cooler weather is forecast to be on it's way as remnants of the icy air that froze most of north America starting getting blown across the Atlantic ocean. Fortunately the worst of the icy sting will be taken out as they cross the water.

 Attempting to wear a pair of trousers that were obviously too small for me was probably not a brilliant idea for the whole of my day at work. They weren't that uncomfortable, but it was a definite relief to change out of them when I got home yesterday. I don't think any long term harm was done, but I decided not to repeat the experiment today - although I almost did until I remembered that I needed to have a decent pair of drinking trousers on today.

 I don't think I felt good or bad last night - just sort of average. I felt good enough to make another attempt at healthy eating - more steamed vegetables and fish - but ultimately failed with an excess of cheese and crackers. After I had finished eating I watched a bit more of the news on TV, and then went up to my bedroom where I spent an hour or so on the internet. I think it was more boredom than feeling tired, but once again I went to bed quite early.

 I fell asleep quickly enough, and for a while I seemed to sleep quite soundly. During the second half of the night I may not have slept that well.........but it is a little difficult to tell when dreams and reality get mixed up. I had this wonderful dream that was probably set as much as 30 years ago, and it featured a very beautiful young quasi-girlfriend. Back in the day she was unfortunately just friend rather than girl friend. My dream took a departure from reality, and what was once reality fantasy became dream reality.

 As can be imagined, there was a strong element of eroticism in this dream........or was there ? Did I wake up before things got "really interesting" and lay there awake mentally writing the script for what should be part 2 of the dream, or was it happening in the dream ? I really don't know. It felt like I was awake, but there were hints that I can't quite recall now that suggest I was still dreaming. Perhaps the fact that I cannot recall those hints confirms it was all a dream, and thay maybe I slept a lot better than I thought.

 I know I was most definitely awake some time before my alarm went off, but I don't think I feel tired this morning. Maybe it will catch up with me later today if I really did sleep poorly last night, but I hope not. I made mention of drinking trousers earlier, and they should be needed for tonight. It's Thursday, and tonight I shall start drinking with the gang (except Andy who is on holiday in Cuba) in The Catford Ram. That place is going downhill lately, and if their beer is not up to scratch we will most likely end up in The Catford Constitutional Club.
Wednesday 22nd January 2014
08:10 GMT

 If it hadn't been so cold it might have been nice yesterday afternoon. It was bright and sunny, but the wind, feeble as it was, blew away any warmth from the sun. As sunset approached the sky grew increasingly hazy, and then, sometime after dark, the clouds rolled in, and it rained. It was very wet underfoot as I made my way to work this morning, but I managed to dodge any lingering showers. It's still very grey outside, and there could easily be more rain this morning. If the forecast is anything to go by, the cloud could break up this afternoon, and give some sunny spells. It will stay very cool though, and there was talk about a frost tonight.

 Until recently the sky had to be fairly clear to drag the last dregs of daylight out long enough for me to get home, but now the sky can be hazy, and it is still light when I get home from work. That was what it was like last night. There was a reasonable amount of light when I got home, and it was still light 5 or 10 minutes later, but it could have been so much better. Perhaps if it had been better, nice golden light instead of cold grey light, I may have been able to control my eating a bit better. I did try........
Steamed salmon and steamed vegetables
 The main course of last nights dinner was as pictured above - steamed salmon with steamed vegetables. It is entirely possible that if I had chosen to smoke 10 fags after eating this, as I used to do prior to September last year, I would not have had anything else to eat. If it had been warm and sunny I might just about have got away with eating nothing else except perhaps a bit of fruit. In reality I also ate some mostly unhealthy cheese sandwiches as a part two.

 I didn't use any butter or margarine on the bread, but used some sun dried tomatoes in oil (hopefully olive oil, but I didn't check), and a lot of sliced red pepper to make it moister. I might also have had a couple of packets of crisps as well last night, but I will not confess to that. As soon as the news was over on the TV I went up to my bedroom to avoid any temptation of further eating - I was by no means feeling full at that point, and I could have easily have eaten something else if I had let my guard down.

 I would have liked to have had an early night last night, and I almost had one, but I suddenly remembered that I had been thinking of washing my hair last night. I was also thinking of the possibility of doing a bit of laundry. I couldn't be bothered with the laundry, but I did wash my hair. So I ended up staying up later than intended to let my hair dry. I did managed to get into bed a little bit before 9pm, but sleep didn't seem to come that easily. Even when I did get to sleep it was not always a very good sleep.

 I'm unsure of the time, but it might have been around midnight when I awoke from a rather unpleasant dream. I don't know why I don't classify it as a nighmare, but as awful as it was, it seemed to lack the terror aspect. I dreamed that I was giving my teeth a very good clean when suddenly a row of three teeth suddenly fell out. There was no pain, and it was almost as if they were false teeth from the way they fell out, but they were real teeth falling out in a way that real teeth can't ! (I hope !!).

 The other time I woke up that was ultra annoying was at 4am - just 1 hour before my alarm was due to go off. I tried to go back to sleep, but it was no good. I had to get out of bed to go to the toilet. I felt chilly when I got back in bed, and almost too warm when I pulled the duvet back over me. In reality it may have been as much as 30 - 40 minutes later, but it felt like a mere 24 seconds had elapsed between falling asleep, and my alarm waking me up again. It makes me feel that I'll be wanting to go to bed early again tonight.

 Today is another day when I don't feel too bad, nor do I feel particularly good. While laying in bed, waiting to get to sleep last night, I noticed an interesting thing. My operation scar down my chest felt far hotter than the surrounding skin. I could well be wrong, but it seemed to indicate to me that there is still a lot of healing activity going on under that scar. That would neatly explain some of the fatigue I feel from time to time.

 If three things happen at around the same time I am going to feel rocket powered ! At some point in the not too distant future (I hope) my chest will finish healing. Spring is on it's way, and the longer, and warmer, and sunnier days are always a boost. By whatever theoretical time in the future these first two things happen, there is a chance that my attempts to make my trouser belt do up a notch or two tighter may start to happen. That could be a potent combination of things. I wonder if it will ever happen ?

 Maybe it is happening already - just very, very, very, very slowly. Even climate change can't fully deprive us of spring or summer. My chest has to fully heal one day, and it is just possible that my ridiculous attempts to try and eat a bit more carefully have made a microscopic difference already (although the extra exercise of commuting probably accounts for most of it). This morning I managed to do up a pair of jeans that were impossible to do up a week or so ago.

 They are still absurdly tight, and it was probably very stupid to wear them to work. By the end of the day there will probably be no blood left in my legs, but I made my choice, and now I have to live with it. At the current rate of progress I'll be able to get back into my red jeans sometime in the year 2043, but maybe things will speed up before then.
Tuesday 21st January 2014
08:12 GMT

 I mentioned that there was a big bright moon when I walked to the station yesterday morning. What I didn't mention was that I took a rather splendid photo of it at 6am - about 15 minutes before I walked to the station.
the moon over Catford at 6am Monday 20th January 2014
 There was no bright moon to guide me to the station this morning. During the night some slightly less cool, but slightly damper air blew in. As it mixed with the colder air it generated mist, and in some areas, fog. The air is nice to breath this morning, but it is terribly grey and gloomy looking. It could be like this all morning. This afternoon might see some sunshine, and temperatures could rise from just 3 or 4 C to as high as 5
C, or maybe even 6 C if we are exceedingly lucky. Sometime after dark there will probably be some rain that will continue into tomorrow morning. That will be rather unpleasant, but before that there is still hope that it will be nice and bright as I make my way home from work - like yesterday.....
Waterloo East station - still daylight at about 16:15 - Monday 20th January 2014
  I took this picture at Waterloo East station at about 16:15, 8 minutes before my train to Catford Bridge was due. It was a bit too cloudy, particularly in the western half of the sky, to actually be sunny, but it was bright, and although the sun had officially set, I arrived home in enough daylight to see colours perfectly, and read semi fine print. A few minutes later and it started to look dusky, and in another 5 or 10 minutes it was as good as dark.

 I felt reasonably Ok when I got home yesterday, but maybe not good enough to indulge in anything more strenuous than eating and watching TV. Perhaps the only remnant left over from the thrill of coming home in daylight was the ability to eat a slightly smaller amount of too much. I could so easily have been tempted to eat a lot more, but somehow I resisted it. Maybe there was some benefit in that. I went to bed half an hour early last night, and I slept quite well. Maybe there was some benefit in that too.

 It is debatable how much those benefits were worth in the real world, but I am sure they influenced the dream world. I had a very pleasant dream. Nothing much happened in this dream, but it didn't need to. I was in a city pub, drinking some very pleasant beer, in some good company, and I felt wonderfully relaxed. It is possible, or even probable that the dream lasted mere seconds in the real world, but in the dream it was half an afternoon.

 This morning I feel oddly good even though there are reasons why I shouldn't. I had a slight stomach ache this morning, but on this occasion it was higher up in the digestive tract, and may possibly even have been hunger. I also had a bit of a stiff right ankle as I made my way to work. It felt like it might get painful, but fortunately it eventually loosened up (although I can feel some soreness in it since sitting down at work - better be careful to apply the weight to it with caution when I stand up).

 Those are a couple of rational things why I shouldn't feel too good this morning, but I think that maybe the irrational good things outweigh them. Getting a good nights sleep, and having a pleaant dream during it, was nice, although it would have been nicer still if I could have ignored my alarm when it went off. The best thing was realising I was squeezing the toothpaste tube with my left hand almost perfectly normally.

 My left hand is still not fully recovered since my operation last September, but it is getting closer. I can do lots of things now that I couldn't as little as a fortnight ago. Another thing I can do is casually toss my hair brush from my right hand to my left. I probably could months ago, but only recently could I be sure of catching it, and gripping it firmly. Despite all these little triumphs there is still a long way to go until it is fully recovered. Sometimes the pins and needles in the little finger can still be very unpleasant, and at best it still feels like I am wearing a thin rubber glove over the little and ring fingers. I can't really say it is getting better day by day, but week by week would be quite accurate I reckon.

 I think my only aims for tonight are to try and eat even less (might be difficult without letting some food go stale and going to waste), and to think about either doing some laundry or washing my hair. Neither of the last two choices is important yet, but worthwhile doing if I am in the right mood, or have the right energy levels (or both). Other than that I expect I'll be in bed nice and early, and maybe I might remember to have a large glass of scotch as a night cap (I forgot again last night - I'll be thrown out of the alcoholics club if I keep forgetting like this).
Monday 20th January 2014
08:32 GMT

Another cold morning in the office
The sun kept shining right up until it disappeared below the horizon last night. Even while it was shining it was fighting a losing battle to keep the temperature up. By
sun set the temperature was down to 5 C, and after dark the temperature plummetted low enough for a cruel frost this morning (and also killed, or put my outdoor temperature sensor into a coma).

 As I walked to the station there was a big (perhaps three quarters full) moon shining down from a clear sky, and making the frost glitter. It should have made for a bright sunny morning once the sun rose, but as my train pulled into Earlsfield station there was a big bank of cloud piled up on the eastern horizon. The rest of the sky was still clear.

 There may be some sunshine today, but there could also be some mist developing. One thing is for certain is that it is going to stay a cold day with temperature only 5 or 6 degrees above zero. The single fan heater in my office is going to struggle to the temperature up to nice and toasty today. It didn't start off as low as I feared, but 13 C (as pictured on the left) still feels bloody chilly to me ( metal tools being particularly uncomfortable to hold !).



 It was important that I got a good night's sleep last night if I was going to survive today at work with minimal discomfort. Unfortunately it didn't happen. I don't know if it was still the ongoing effects of whatever it was that I had at the end of last week - a sort of psuedo cold that had all the symptoms of a cold, but each one only popping up for a few tens of minutes at a time. I felt hot or cold, and generally uncomfortable as I tried to get to sleep, and tried to stay asleep last night. It is probable that I didn't get much more than 4 hours of good sleep, and I am certain it was less than 5.

 If I am lucky I will feel OK while I am at work, but then I may well crash when I get home. It is lucky that there is nothing I need to do when I get home, and I can go to bed as early as I like. In some respects that is not a bad thing. All the time I am in bed I am not eating, and somehow I really have to cut my eating down by a huge amount if I can - and it is bloody difficult for me when the days are so short and dull, and it is cold outside. Just knowing it's cold outside is enough to make me feel hungry even when it is hot enough to sweat indoors.

 Here's a few of the pictures I took without using the flash on Saturday night. Each one is riddled with technical flaws, but with a bit of post processing in a picture editor can make them look arty - at least I think that was how someone described them - they could have said farty (and probably did !!).
Chris Mayer playing the blues (or violets)
Here's Chris Mayer playing the blues (or maybe the violets).
Ravi - faster than the speed of light
Ravi is just a complete blur while Jo Corteen looks almost in focus.
Jo Corteen playing until she is blue in the face
Jo looks really indistinct in this photo, and yet several people rather liked it.
Sunday 19th January 2014
11:41 GMT

  I'm not sure if we did get the heavy rain that was forecast for last night. There may have been some lighter rain, and at one point I did feel a couple of very light drops of rain hit my face at around midnight. The forecast for today seems about right. It was just short of being sunny up to 30 - 40 minutes ago, and now the sun is shining. It's just a shame it is only 8 C outside. There are still some big fluffy clouds in the sky, and a few of them look fairly dense. So I don't know how long the sunshine will keep shining, but it looks very nice right now (and it is warming up my front rooms very nicely). The forecast for tomorrow is not looking too good. The day will start close to freezing, and then either mist or sunshine will raise the temperature to a marvellous 6
C - if we are lucky !

 Something beyond my comprehension is happening to me. When getting ready for last night's gig I tried on all my favourite gig trousers, and none of them would fit me. Now I know I put back on all the weight I lost back last summer when I was trying to avoid the need for heart surgery (or death, or whatever), but I didn't think I had put this much on. So far this is all easy to understand, but the weirdness comes in when I consider that I have been wearing shirts to work that last summer I deemed to small to wear because they were too tight around the gut. So if I can wear those shirts comfortably now, why can't I wear the trousers ? My body shape must have been changed radically by the surgery in some mysterious way.

 Last night I had to wear just an ordinary pair of jeans, one of the few pairs that I can still do up without bringing in industrial earth moving machinery, and a t-shirt that seemed to fit extremely well.  Having got washed, groomed (?), and dressed I walked to the bus stop to get the 54 bus to the far side of Blackheath (almost Charlton). To my great annoyance I found that I had just missed a 54 - the "Countdown timer" on the bus stop said I had a 14 minute wait for the next one. So I waited while a whole host of other buses passed me by until the 54 eventually turned up.

 It's a good 5 minute, maybe even a 10 minute walk from the bus stop to the pub, and until last night I had never noticed that it is uphill. It's not a steep climb by any means, but the slope is enough to account for how much quicker it always seemed when going to the bus stop on the way home. Until last night I just thought it seemed quicker because of the beer. The last time I walked from the bus stop to the pub was a month or two before my quad heart bypass, and I had to do it is 2 or 3 stages because of the chest pains. Last night it left me breathing rather deeply when I got to the pub, but I did it in one stage, and without any chest pains.

Chain @ The British Oak - Saturday 18th January 2014
 Here's Chain playing at the pub (L-R Jo Corteen, Ravi Sharman, Guy Harris and Chris Mayer).  This photo does look a bit less than perfect, but it was taken on my Moto G mobile phone camera. I've never been that happy with the pictures that phone takes, but it rather exceeded my expectations for this picture. I think I prefer a real camera though......
The British Oak, Blackheath, Saturday 18th January 2014
 It was a pretty typical Chain gig last night - It was difficult to wrench myself away from my warm house, and go out into the cold dark night, but very enjoyable once I got there. I get the impression that I was not expected to make it there last night. So it came as a nice surprise to everyone, and I almost immeadiately got offered a lift home.

 One small variance on it being a typical Chain gig was that the pub had an early curfew. Previous gigs there have gone on to midnight, and even a few minutes beyond, but last night the pub imposed a 11.15pm finish to the music, and closed the bar 15 minutes later. I can only imagine they have had complaints from a neighbour or something (usually in these cases it is a new neighbour who didn't realise there was a huge great pub next door when they moved in !).

 I'm not sure that we actually left the pub all that early. I'd guess it was past midnight before we had lugged all the gear out. I declined to carry the heaviest speakers, but I was more than happy to carry lighter stuff while my chest is still mending itself. I don't know what time I was dropped off at home, but I know it wasn't until 2am that I got to bed. I think I fell asleep easily enough, but I didn't sleep all that well, and gave up trying to sleep after as little as 5 hours sleep.

 Today I ought to be running on a treadmill drinking carrot juice for hours on end, or out gamboling in the cold sunshine, but I can't be bothered (plus I don't have a treadmill or any carrot juice). I've spent quite a lot of time playing with all the photos I took last night (probably show more tomorrow), and I've had the most decadent breakfast ever - probably - Lamb Pathia curry on Naan bread ! It is just about possible that I might do a bit of laundry this afternoon, but mostly I am going to be lazy for the rest of the day.
Saturday 18th January 2014
16:36 GMT

  I can't recall noticing any rain last night, and an absence of puddles suggests there was none. Most of today has been fairly bright, although rarely actually sunny. The BBC still reckon it has only been 8 C today, but I don't think it has been quite that cold. I'd settle for something like 10
C. Tonight may see some rain, and some of it may be heavy, but tomorrow should stay dry with a rather cool sunny afternoon. There might be a frost tomorrow morning - which seems unlikely if it is going to rain tonight as hard as the forecast threatens.

 Last night, in the spirit of extreme laziness, I ordered an Indian takeaway. I haven't had one of those for some time now, and it was rather enjoyable. I ordered a bit extra, as I often do,  and I may have the leftovers as a midnight (or 1am) snack tonight. The curious thing was that it didn't give me an upset stomach this morning. I did have a slightly upset stomach, but I don't think I can blame the curry, and it was less dramatic than the stomach upset that are an all too frequent occurence thanks to my blood pressure medication (well, that's what I blame them on - rightly or wrongly - I might be getting more tolerant of them now as time passes by).

 I had a bit of a rough night last night, and didn't sleep well. A very small fraction of the blame I can put on my left hand. There are some developments to the numbness that it has suffered from since my operation last September. It is now going through another phase of being uncomfortable from time to time - and last night was one of those times. It is inconvenient, but I look at it as good news. Episodes like this usually herald some change to the better. The last time it happened my sense of feeling in the little finger, and the ring finger improved a lot.

 There are times when the ring finger is very close to normal now - no nasty pins and needles, and just a light loss of sensation like wearing a thin rubber glove. The little finger is a bit more persistent at being "naughty", and that is where a lot of the pain comes from. It's not the old pins and needles, but something like a stiff arthritic pain. I'm sure it is not that, but it's the closest description I can think of. I've given up thinking anything will change quickly, but maybe in a few more weeks, or maybe in a few more months, it will be almost back to normal. It may be slow, but when I think back to how it was in the first month or two after the operation, it has improved tremendously.

 So my left hand was a bit uncomfortable as I tried to get to sleep, but it was things like feeling either too hot or too cold that really messed up my sleep. I guess the spices in the curry didn't help with that, but I feel there was also an element of this phantom cold I am suffering from that help mess a few things up. I didn't seem to be coughing or sneezing when I went to bed, but I did wake up with a sore throat, and that sore throat seems to have come back this afternoon. Like most of the symptoms of this cold I might, or might not have, it is a mild and intermittent symptom, but possibly the most uncomfortable one.

 The sore throat didn't really last past getting up and having a brief wash, and for the first time in three days I felt OK to go shopping up the road in Aldi's. Going out in the cold and (light) grey never, ever feels good, but it didn't feel that bad going out this morning - at least once I got moving it didn't. I was worried that I had bought too much again, but either I am getting stronger, or I was more careful about overloading myself this morning.  It seemed comparativelt easy to carry my shopping home, and I felt something like good when I got home again, but it only lasted until I sat down. Then I felt exhausted. I guess it is one of those silly things caused by all the blood pressure drugs interfering with the way my body works - and not in a good way in my opinion.

 I ate far too much of what I bought this morning, and then I had a very lazy afternoon including a snooze that lasted an unknown time.  I have no idea when my eyes closed, and no idea when I woke up - possibly because it was a light sleep that I would wake up from quite frequently. Now I have to try and drag myself into some sort of shape to go out tonight. Chain are playing at The British Oak on the far side of Blackheath tonight, and I really don't want to miss it even if all my instincts are to stay in the warm and dry. If I am still in good favour I might be offered a lift to the venue. I'm not relying on that, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I might get a lift back - it's so much more civilised than rushing for the last cold and damp bus, and enduring a boring 20 - 40 minutes of bus travel !
Friday 17th January 2014
17:20 GMT

  There was some torrential rain last night, and it didn't finish until sun rise (or possibly a bit later).  The rest of today has been dry, and there have even been some sunny periods. I'm not sure what the temperature was today because my outside electronic thermometer seems to be waterlogged, and has stopped working. I would estimate the temperature to have been around 10 C, although the BBC's web site suggests it was probably only 8
C. Tomorrow could be a degree less cool, but most of the day will be overcast with some rain late in the evening.

Jodie in The CCC  All those who were surprised at how early I went back to work after my open heart surgery, including my doctor, may have been on to something. I was coping with being back at work OK, but it was a bit close to the edge. The most insignificant cold seems to have taken me over the edge.

 Yesterday morning I had a slight fever and some sneezing. My nose didn't run, and I hardly started to cough. At any other time I would probably have taken a couple of paracetamol and gone into work, but yesterday I chickened out, and I am very glad I did. As the day wore on I became very fatigued. It wasn't a sleepy sort of tiredness, but just no get up and go.

 To honour a previous commitment I did find a bit of get up and go to go and meet Jodie (pictured on the left - in The CCC last night), and the Thursday night drinking gang if they had turned up, in The Catford Constitutional Club. Once in there, and with a beer in my hand, I didn't feel too bad, and as the beer worked it's magic I actually felt quite good.

 It didn't feel too bad going home via the chip shop, but once I got home I sort of collapsed. Not literally, but I just felt drained.  I have no idea how it works, but I even felt too tired to go to sleep. Eventually I fell asleep, but I had a troubled night. I woke fairly frequently, and by this morning I had developed a bit of an intermittent tickly cough. That was the last thing I wanted because coughing can make my chest feel a bit sore as it pulls on the wounds (which are presumably still healing inside me).

 Maybe it is because I haven't smoked since last September that it didn't turn into the hacking cough that I am so used to. In fact it soon petered out, and I have only coughed intermittently all day. I also had another rather uncomfortable bout of sneezing, but my nose still hasn't started to run. This is hardly a cold at all !

 When I seemed to start coughing in the early hours of the morning I decided to turn my alarm off, and not even consider getting up to go to work. I had quite a nice lie in, and gained almost an extra 3 hours sleepwith no effort at all. I think that is probably an indication that I really needed that extra sleep.

 All day long I've been wanting to go shopping, but I just couldn't face it despite having no obvious cold symptoms. Yesterday afternoon I spent nearly two hours on my bed during the afternoon without falling asleep. Today I did fall asleep, and it is possible that I slept for sometime in excess of an hour, but I don't think it was for as long as two hours (but maybe it was).  Eventually I found the energy to go to the corner shop to buy some diet cola, but real shopping will have to wait for tomorrow when I hope I'll be feeling better.

 Assuming I do feel far better, and after two days of rest I really ought to, I hope I'll be able to get to a gig tomorrow night. There is a gig on tonight, and it is an easy one to get to, but I am not going to even try to get to it. I think I'll probably order a takeaway, and have a lazy evening. It's a shame I didn't get out to the supermarket today because it would have been nice to crack open a bottle of scotch to relax with, but I guess Diet Coke will have to do.
Thursday 16th January 2014
13:28 GMT

  I managed to dodge the rain on the way home from work yesterday, but it was less than a sparkling journey. As the forecast suggested, it was either cloudy or cloudy and raining. Maybe the cloud was a little thinner than I thought, but somehow a little more light seemed to filter through, and even the end of my journey home was not done in complete darkness. This morning started off fairly bright, and from time to time (including right now) there has been some bright sunshine. My outside thermometer seems to have stopped working so I can't see how cool it is outside, but the forecast for today suggests around 9 or 10 C.

 The walking parts of my journey home from work yesterday seemed a bit harder than recently - more than can be accounted for by uncomfortable shoes - I think. Once I got home I felt OK, but not perfect, although I am unsure why. My blood pressure was nice and low, and for the second time ever I managed to get my pressure down to the 120s (129/70 if I recall correctly). So I should have been OK, but......

 I had planned to wash my hair, and possibly wash a couple of shirts too, but I didn't feel up to it, or couldn't be bothered, or something. I couldn't be bothered to go to bed early either. I went to bed at 9pm, which is my normally preferred time, and I was asleep reasonably quickly. I think I slept well too, but I didn't feel so good when I woke up. I felt unusually cool, close on to shivery, and I probably had a mild fever. Some sort of cold could explain some of my odd feelings last night.

 The only trouble was that I didn't initially seem to have any more symptoms until I went out to the bathroom. I had left the heater on low in my bedroom overnight, and it was nice and warm in there even if I did feel a bit shivery. By contrast the bathroom was freezing cold, and I started to sneeze. Usually that would be no big deal, but each sneeze gave my chest scar a painful yank. That scar may be fully healed on the outside, but it is still a bit tender on the inside.

 My chest is sufficiently healed after the operation that a sneeze, or a cough is no longer approaching close to agony, as it once was, but is still rather unpleasant. Once I was back in my warm bedroom the sneezing stopped, and apart from still feeling shivery, I didn't really have any other symptoms apart from a slight feeling of bleurggg (which is distinct from the nausea induced version that is spelled with an even number of the letter g). I could have gone into work, but I decided I was not going to take chances and phoned in sick.

 Since then I've sort of felt ill without being ill. I've not sneezed or coughed, and my temperature, assuming it was a little feverish this morning (I didn't measure it) has returned to normal, but I've certainly acted like I was ill. Earlier on I laid on my bed, almost but not quite dozing off for maybe 2 hours. During that time I didn't do anything at all. I guess I probably looked at the ceiling a lot, and loads of thoughts may have drifted through my head, but otherwise I was just inert.

 After that rest I thought I felt good enough to wash my hair, and to have a shower. It felt good to be clean, and I sat down to write this as my hair dried, but now I feel very tired, and I want a lie down. I guess I can treat myself to that luxury because I don't have anything to do for a while. I was intending to got some shopping this afternoon, but I don't think I'll be doing that. I am intending to go to The Catford Constitutional Club at 5pm for a couple of pints of beer with the guys, but even that is not sounding like a great idea right now. It makes me wonder if I have caught something that is subtly different to just a chill.
Wednesday 15th January 2014
07:56 GMT

  The rain had stopped by home time yesterday, and there was potential for it to be a nice journey home, but that potential was never realised. Much of the sky was clear, but over in the west where the sun was setting there were some streaky, misty clouds. They were not thick enough to stop it being light when I got home, but it was a rather grey sort of light that failed to inspire. The rain returned during the night, and with it came some slightly less cool air. It was 9 C on my thermometer when I got up this morning. The BBC weather forecast says to day will be 10
C, with no variation, through the whole day, and through the night to the early hours of tomorrow morning. During that time it will either be raining, or just plain miserable grey. Lovely !

 I didn't feel bad, but then again I didn't feel particularly good as I went home after work. Maybe that was reflected in my blood pressure....but probably not. I've never found that my blood pressure makes me feel better or worse if it is high or low. It's only the drugs I take to control it that make me feel less than good. The lowest I could get my blood pressure last night, using all the tricks I've learnt, was was something like 135/76 (or somewhere in that region - I can't recall the exact figure, but I have a note of it at home). It is still a good reading for me, but not as good as the rather fluke reading I got the day before.

 It is possible that my blood pressure could be slightly higher tonight, but equally it could be lower. Most likely it will be the same. It all depends on how what I ate last night might, or might not affect my blood pressure - and keep affecting it 24 hours later. The core of my dinner was sausages and vegetables. The sausages were grilled, and so carried less grease with them, and the vegetables were just steamed with no butter or salt. That should have been fairly inncocent, but the excess amount of crackers with cheese or slices of German Salami would have been less innocent. The salami was almost certainly filled with salt even if it didn't taste salty, and salt is supposed to have a bad effect on blood pressure. All the calories involved would have done me no favours either.

 After the success of my early night on Monday night I thought it would be nice to do it again last night. It was nice, but was not so successful. I got into bed and turned the light out at 7.45pm - which was 10 minutes earlier than Monday night. It didn't take that long to fall asleep, but I guess it might have been 20 minutes. I seemed to sleep OK until 11pm when I woke up when a few messages came through on  my phone.  It took 30 - 40 minutes before I fell asleep again, but I then slept soundly until sometime after 4am. After that I was in that strange state where you are sometimes a bit awake, and sometimes a bit asleep until my alarm woke me fully at 5am.

 I guess I should have felt fairly good this morning. I didn't have any particular aches or pains. Even my dodgy guts were fairly quiet this morning. My legs were a little stiff until I got moving, and as usual it was my right knee that was the last to loosen up. If anything spoiled how I felt it was the shoes I chose to wear this morning. They are a pair of white Lee Cooper trainers. They look identical to Converse trainers at a superficial level, but are not so comfortable. I can't work out why they are not as comfortable, but it might be that the liner makes my socks ruck up inside as I walk. The trouble is that whenever I take them off it must straighten my socks out again, and so I am unsure if that is what is happening. What I do know is that it is going to make going home after work even more unpleasant than the rain and gloom will make it. I can't wait until tomorrow when I'll probably be having some booze after work.
Tuesday 14th January 2014
08:08 GMT

 It was two degrees warmer in my office this morning, but that was probably only a bit of residual heat left over from yesterday. Although, on reflection, the outside temperature might be 2 degrees higher as well. Yesterday afternoon was probably cooler than I expected, and definitely wetter than expected. I don't recall any rain being expected, but there was quite a downfall during the afternoon, and it may just have been luck that the rain held off while I was going home from work.

 The puddles are a clue that it rained during the night, but the sky is fairly clear now, and I expect to see some sunshine later on. It is forecast to stay sunny, but only about 5 C, until sunset when it will start to cloud over. A few hours later and it will rain, and just as I am getting up tomorrow morning, heavy rain is expected. Lovely ! I hope it stops, or at least decreases to some light drizzle, by the time I leave to come to work again tomorrow.

 It may have been a desperate attempt to get to the station, and then home before the rain started again, or it may have been that I was wearing fairly comfortable shoes, or the final option is that I was feeling rather good when I walked to the station in what might be record time yesterday. There is one other explanation - that I left work a couple of minutes early, and it just felt like I was able to walk to the station far faster than usual. I choose to believe that I walked so fast that I shaved off at least 30 seconds, and maybe a whole minute off the usually 9 minute walk.

 The negative side of my (possible) speed walking is that I had to wait 2 minutes longer for my train ! (2 minutes because I must have left work a minute early - there is no way I could ever shave 2 minutes off that walk). I still had a bit of spring in my step when  got to Waterloo station. I could have raced up the esacalators, and sprinted across the link and lengthened the already long (15+ minute) wait for the train back to Catford, but I took it easy, and stopped to photograph the latest promotion on the station forecourt.
Nescafe promotion - Waterloo station 13th January 2014
 This temporary stall, which was also there this morning, was giving away samples of Nescafe coffee.

 I went home via the Turkish supermarket last night. I bought some of their nice bread, some tomato puree, and some fairly lean looking sliced meat. One of the little packs of sliced meat was of roast beef that had been marinated in some mysterious Turkish way, and the other was some sort of sliced sausage (possibly something like pastrami, but most of the label was in Turkish, and I couldn't decipher it). The bulk of my dinner was sandwiches filled with these meats, and using tomato puree instead of butter - which might have made them a bit healthier. I did have some naughty cheese as well, and also some couscous with lentils in it.

 I've no idea how many calories all that lot came to, and how much fat and stuff was in it, but my guts feel fairly stable this morning, and that was one of the aims of the exercise. This morning I don't feel quite as nimble as I did last night, but that is typical for most days in my life. However I don't feel that bad either. One of the very weird things is that my blood pressure seemed to have changed a lot last night..........
Unusually low blood pressure for me - 13th January 2014
 It took some effort, special breathing patterns, clenching my buttocks (maybe), crossing my eyes (but not really), and sacrificing a few sheep (Mmmmmmm lamb chops - I wish !), not to mention several attempts to get this incredibly low blood pressure reading. I have never seen it so low, and yet this is the sort of reading that a few sadistic nurses, and probably my doctor would like me to achieve as a matter of course. I felt it was quite strange to have such a low reading and still be feeling pretty good.

 I might have felt that I was feeling good, but I didn't seem to want to find the energy to do a bit of laundry. That was partly because I had been feeling quite sleepy while at work yesterday, and I had it in mind to get to bed early last night - and I did ! I was in bed by about 7.55pm, and I may have actually been asleep by 8pm. It's all a blur really. So I can't be sure I was asleep by 8pm, but I think I fell asleep very quickly. Once again I slept very well. I woke up a few times in the night, but I doubt I stayed away for any more than 5 minutes on each occasion.

 When my alarm went off at 5am I must have been almost awake because it came as no shock, and I cancelled the alarm within seconds of it starting. I could never confess to leaping out of bed feeling wonderful, but there was a certain amount of smoothness about getting up, and my walk to the station seemed to need little effort. I'll be curious to see how I feel once my office warms up. I certainly don't intend to work any harder today, but it may be less effort to work normally. Going home again will be the real test, but it will be as much a test of the weather as it will be of me. If I feel as active as last night, and it is sunny, it might mean going home will be extra pleasurable rather than very pleasurable. Maybe tonight I'll get that laundry done, but I enjoyed all that extra sleep so much last night that I might try for the same tonight.
Monday 13th January 2014
08:11 GMT

12 degrees at work on this chilly winter morning  I don't think it rained last night, on the other hand, maybe not all the small puddles this morning could be accounted for by rain the previous night. It was certainly a murky night with the sunset lost behind misty grey cloud. All that cloud kept a bit of heat in, so there was no frost this morning, but it was only a few degrees above freezing this morning as I was leaving to come to work. When I arrived here I found the temperature in my office was 12 C (or 13 C according to the picture on the left, although I am sure it looked more like 12 C before I straightened up, and sharpened the picture). The fact remains that it feel bloody cold in here - and although the heater gets the air temperature a bit more comfortable fairly quickly, all my tools, and even the surface of my desk remain freezing cold to the touch.

 It is possible that I was very lucky when I arrived at work. It had been dry all the way here, but very soon after sitting down I looked up at the window and it was covered with rain drops - which is pretty odd because it is supposed to stay dry this morning, and I can see the bright glow of the sun just seeping over the top of one of the nearby buildings. It will probably be another hour before it is high enough to shine through my office windows, and few seconds after it does it will be hidden behind another building until this afternoon - assuming it stays out that long.

 I was a little bit late getting to work this morning, and that meant that it was just starting to get light as my train arrived at Clapham Junction station, and even lighter still as we passed the cemetary as the train pulled into Earlsfield. I think the official time of sunrise is now approximately 8am, and it is slowly getting earlier every day. Of most significance is sunset, and in particular on this coming Friday. On that day sunset will be at 4.23pm (in London), and that is the exact time my train from Waterloo East departs towards Catford. If it is a fairly clear day I hope I can look forward to the entire journey, right to my front door, being done in real (but fading) daylight. That will feel extra good - even better than on the couple of occasions last week when I arrived home in what could probably best be described as bright twilight.



 There were a couple of interesting programmes on TV last night about preserved steam railways, and they kept me up a lot later than I had intended to stay up. Unfortunately that also tempted me into having some extra cheese and biscuits during the evening. It did spoil my attempt to eat a bit healthier yesterday, but maybe only a bit. Perhaps one good thing is that it didn't seem to interfere with my sleep. I got to sleep far later than desirable, but I slept very well again. If only I could have had another couple of hours of that good sleep I might have felt far better today.

 If I didn't have to get up and come to work I would have said that I felt fine this morning. With the option to go back to bed, and/or just be generally lazy, none of the little aches and pains would have been of any great significance, but I didn't have that option. I set out for work feeling horrible. I had a mild headache that I don't remember fading away, but it had probably gone before I was a quarter of the way to work. I wasn't suffering from the farty bloated gut problem that plagues me too often first thing in the morning, but I still wasn't comfortable. This morning it felt like a cross between hunger pains and a sort of nauseus feeling. Once again these feeling faded away sometime on the journey here.

 The only thing that didn't really fade away, and for a while got a lot worse, was the feeling of sleepiness. It would have been very easy to doze off on the trains if I hadn't kept my wits about me. Oddly enough, despite feeling sleepy, I also seemed to have a lot of energy, but mainly in my legs. Perhaps I could have let my legs carry on walking while I had a sleep or something. It was all rather peculiar with my top half feeling horrible, and my legs striding forwards in a way that I don't think I have experienced for ages. I am now doubly impatient to try out some walks without the distraction of the cold, dark and wet. If this afternoon were bright and sunny, and the temperature was at least 20
C I could be tempted to do that little 2 mile walk after work to Wandsworth Common station, but I know it's not going to happen tonight - shame really.
Sunday 12th January 2014
17:36 GMT

  Yesterday remained dry, but the afternoon was not as bright as the morning. Today saw a similar pattern - but worse.  This morning was very bright and sunny, and the temperature was at an all time low. At 9am my outdoor thermometer was saying 1.8 C, but that was on the windowsill of my upstairs back bedroom window. At ground level there was a thick frost, and all the puddles had ice crystals in them. The temperature slowly creeped up during the day, and it is now 8 C. Sometime, soon after midday, the temperature crossed a threshold, and the air took on a misty appearance, and the sky clouded over giving a murky afternoon. The latest forecast says it might rain this evening, but tomorrow should be dry with a sunny afternoon.

 I wondered if I ought to force myself to do something worthwhile yesterday afternoon/evening, but nothing worthwhile came to mind, and I ended up hving a very relaxing evening. It was tempting to stay up extra late, but there was nothing on TV to tempt me, and I ended up in bed around 9pm as if it were a mid week night. I slept well, and even slept reasonably late, but my dreams were a bit strange.

 After all this time I have forgotten most of the details of my dreams, although as I type these words some bits come back to me. The theme of last nights dreams seemed to be getting lost. Well not exactly lost in a broad sense. For instance I knew exactly where a building was that I was in, but I couldn't seem to find my way around the inside of what should have been a very familiar building.

 In another dream I suppose I wasn't exactly lost. I knew where I was going to, but everywhere seemed unfamiliar. It was a bit like when I go on one of my rambles. I cover ground that I haven't been over before, but I know where I am going. Except in the dream it wasn't a ramble, and I should have been walking a route I had done loads of times before. I think I recognised everything but it was all out of context. It was as if I was looking at a movie made up of clips of randomly arranged, but well known sequences.......and yet it couldn't be like that because I knew what should come next. Maybe it was my brain editing the movie together......or something !

 Despite all the weirdness in the night, I woke up feeling quite refreshed, and I felt quite good - initially. Half an hour later my guts started to rumble, and yet again I was in and out of the toilet at 10 minute intervals. Sometimes it was just wind, and sometimes worse. Considering the amount of wind I generated I fail to see how I didn't feel bloated, but I didn't. I was still farting when I went out to meet Aleemah at the station. Fortunately it stopped by the time she arrived, and we walked down to The London And Rye Wetherspoons pub for breakfast.
Aleemah in The London And Rye
 Just for a change, they had three interesting ales on in the pub, and by accident I was able to try all three. I started off with half pints of two of the ales. I had just half of the second half pint left when I got up to go to the toilet. As I stood up my coat swished past the glass and knocked it over.  So once I had done the neccessary in the toilet I bought a half pint of the third beer on the way back. I must admit that I could easily have retested a few of those beers, but we left the pub, and went home to watch a documentary about The Beatles on DVD.

 When Aleemah went home I thought it high time I had some lunch. Although Aleemah had breakfast in the pub, I had eaten nothing all morning. I ate quite a lot yesterday, and I thought I ought to make some effort to eat a bit more healthily today. So I had salmon and steamed vegetables. Then it all went wrong when I followed that with some cheese and biscuits, and some other stuff. That was over three hours ago, and I reckon I'll be peckish again very soon. I should fight it, but I'll probably end up having some supper before going to bed tonight. Tomorrow it's back to work again, and if I can I'll be in bed, and hopefully sleeping nice and early tonight.
Saturday 11th January 2014
13:09 GMT

  After a clear morning it became very cloudy yesterday afternoon, and inevitably enough it rained. The rain held off while I was going home from work, but started again sometime after I got in. While it might not have rained, the clouds were still thick enough to make most of my journey home seem like it was done after dark. That was rather depressing after the previous night when it was very close to daylight for the whole journey - including the very last yards which were done quite some time after the sun had officially set. This morning was bright and sunny. I thought there should have been a frost, but the temperature was too high for that. I think I noticed that it was 7 or 8 C at 9am. It is still very sunny now, but the outside temperature has not changed. It is supposed to by dry, and maybe even sunny tomorrow, but the temperature could be a few degress less.

 I kept changing my mind about how I felt yesterday as the 5th day of my first full week back at work passed. I think I expected to feel a lot worse, but I didn't feel that bad at all - that is until I got home. Once I allowed myself to relax it was like falling off a cliff ! I felt shattered. Even climbing the stairs seemed like hard work, and cooking was out of the question  (any excuse !!).  I did have a few nibbles when I first got in, and I could have expanded those into a full dinner, but I ordered a kebab. As usual it was a shish rather than a donner, and in theory the grilled meat should have been fairly fat free.

 I ordered the kebab, which was a large one, with salad. Quite a high proportion of that salad is actually onion, and it did have the predictable effect this morning - but maybe not quite as bad as it could have been. My guts are so on edge these days that it takes little to upset them, but this morning it did seem to be over far quicker than I expected. I was rather aprehensive about going shopping to Aldi this morning so soon after my final visit to the toilet, but I think any short lived discomfort was just in my mind.

 Most of what I bought in Aldi was, or hopefully was fairly healthy sort of stuff, but some stuff, that shall remain secret, definitely wasn't. I hope I'll be able to use that sparingly because after a week at work I think there are hints that my gut is starting to shrink. I read an article in the paper during the week that was written by some (alleged) health guru from Virgin health clubs (it was a sort of advertarial, or what ever they call an advert that is written as a factual article). He reckoned that the average commute can burn 420 calories, but his idea of average seems to be almost half of what I do to go to and from work. If I was burning up 840 calories a day I would soon be slim. So it is obvious this health guru doesn't know what he is talking about, but at least he understands that commuting can burn off a few extra calories.

 Quite what the guy would make of my dinner today would be anyone's guess......well maybe not.....he would certainly condemn it, and with good reason to. It was curry and chips ! As well as a kebab I also ordered a portion of chips last night. I did this deliberately because I know that the chip shop style chips they sell can be reheated OK. Maybe they are not absolutely perfect when re-heated in the microwave, but with a can of ready made hot chicken curry poured on them they were very nice indeed. Dinner was a little more complicated than that, but the curry and chips were bad enough, and should keep me in heart attacks for the rest of the year.

 I wanted to go out last night but I was obviously far too tired for that......and it was cold dark and wet outside. So I stayed in, had my kebab, and watched a bit of TV. Then I went to bed. I think I was in bed by 9pm, and I was asleep soon after that - although it didn't seem it would happen at first. When I first got into bed I felt very uncomfortable. It is probably easier to list the bits that didn't hurt ;- my ear lobes, my left eye brow, my right middle finger, my left ankle, the back of my left knee, my right kidney, my spleen, and my left foot little toe toenail. Everything else hurt.

 It is probably good to put some context on this. While I was in hospital they would often ask me how much pain I was in on a scale of 0 to 10 - where 10 is like the sensation of being dangled by your genitals in front of a star going nova, and 0 is the same sort of level of pain you get after drinking a pint of morphine with a cherry and umbrella in it. In hospital I found it hard to find any pain greater than about a 2 (except when I coughed and the momentary pain from my chest scar shot up to an 8). Last night, as I tried to get to sleep, all my pains barely registered above 0.5, but that is still annoying when you want to go to sleep. It is possible that I had to suffer this pain, which at times was as bad as a severe beating with a weak plastic lolly stick, for as long as 5 minutes before I fell asleep.

 On the whole I slept well, but I did wake up a few times for a pee. I seemed to wake more frequently after 5am, but with a lot of effort I managed to keep going back to sleep until almost 8.30am - quite a successful lay in, in my opinion.  I felt fairly good when I woke up, at least I think I did. It wasn't for another hour before those onions, if it was them, got through my system and upset aroused my sleeping digestive system to levels of fury for  short while.

 I am now going to have a very lazy afternoon and evening - or at least I would like to, but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to try and do a bit of hoovering or something. I think I am seeing Aleemah tomorrow, and the place does look a bit like a tip.....
Friday 10th January 2014
08:00 GMT

  The sun came out yesterday afternoon, and the temperature dropped by a couple of degrees - which, to my amazement, was what was forecast. If the forecasts continue to be correct we are in for a spell of dry, but rather colder weather for the next couple of days. The sky stayed clear overnight, and the temperature dropped to around 4 C - not quite cold enough for a frost, but cold enough to get the fingers tingling. By sunset the temperature should have inched up to about 9 C.

 I expect I am silly getting excited about the extra daylight, but I can't help it. Yesterday was good. The better than 50% clear sky meant that even some time after sunset there was plenty of light in the western sky. When I got home from work there was still enough light getting into my living room to almost see colours, and almost as bright as midday on some of the really gloomy rainy days we have had recently. Sadly it only lasted a minute or two, but it gives so much hope for the future.

 This morning it was dark, very dark, when I walked to the station. The sky looked almost completely clear so there was no reflected street lighting making the sky look dark orange, and although it was a poor imitation of what could be seen out in the darker areas of the country, there was a good scattering of stars looking like bright jewels in a pitch black background. I arrived in Earlsfield a little eaarlier than recently, but still a bit later than I would prefer, and yet the sky was glowing brightly over the the cemetary as my train pulled into the station. A few whisps of cloud, and even more impressively, half a dozen aeroplane contrails were glowing a dazzling pink. That was 15 - 20 minutes ago, and by now the great orb of the sun should be visible above the horizon there.

 I felt quite sleepy again in the middle of the day at work yesterday. I think I fell asleep once or twice, but probably for no more than a second at a time. I could blame this on my recovery from the operation, but I seem to remember feeling the same last winter, and probably the winter before that. Possibly even in the spring and autumn too. In fact there is probably no reason to doubt that it has happened in summer as well !

 While I might have felt sleep, I didn't feel that tired in the exhausted sense of the word. I expected to, and took it a bit easy going home. Maybe it was the joy of it being almost like daylight when I got home that inspired me to try and think positive about my energy levels. Before I thought about dinner I mustered the energy to wash four long sleeve shirts (and a pair of underpants). That sort of proved that I had imagined at least a small percentage of the energy I thought I had. It was a bit of a struggle to finish wringing those shirts out, and I was very relieved when I had them all hanging up to dry.

 I was quite pleased with my health tests yesterday. My blood sugar level was almost ideal. It was only a gnats whisker above the level where I could be almost sure of weight loss at a useful rate. Later on, after I had eaten, my blood pressure was nice and low as well. It took very little effort to get the systolic pressure into the 130s (in my case the dystolic pressure follows the systolic in the "correct" ratio). Some extreme nurses would prefer it to be in the 120s, and the doctor I had 4 years ago would have been very happy if it was in the 140s.

 Another thing that that yesterday afternoon's sunshine, and the extended daylight did for was to very slightly throttle the amount of eating I did last night. In terms of volume, it was probably the least I have eaten of an evening for some time. It's just unfortunate that it was all fairly high energy stuff. So this morning when I checked my blood sugar level I found it was rather high - far higher than I am happy with. My blood pressure was semi high as well. I'll have to see if I can convince myself to eat something a bit healthier tonight, but right now, as I try and warm up (it was only 16
C in my office when I got in this morning) I find it hard to be keen about any dinner that isn't hot and substantial.

 There is another complication about eating tonight. There is a gig on in Elmers End tonight. It is not essential that I do go, but it would be nice to. I think I am doing better than I expected at my first full week back at work after my operation. I'm not sure that I expected to make it right through to today, but here I am. The thing that makes me think that not going to the gig might be the best option is just how quickly I ran out of energy last night. I felt OK when I started washing those shirts, but I was really running on empty by the time I finished them. If I were to go out I would probably only have a snack before doing so, and then when my energy runs out halfway through the gig, I would head for home, possibly drunk, via every chip shop/kebab shop/fried chicken shop that I pass on the way - probably !! It would undoubtably be healthier for me not to go to the gig, but I'll make the final decision once I get home from work, or soon after.
Thursday 9th January 2014
08:45 GMT

  It is obvious that I have been very lucky recently. Apart from a fine misty spray of rain that lasted little more than a minute when I got off the train in Catford last night, and some similar misty rain for part of my walk to the station this morning, I have managed to stay dry - which is quite remarkable. There was some semi-heavy rain during the night, and while I was sitting in the toilet at Waterloo East station the rain was so heavy on the tin roof that it was deafening !  The clouds are now starting to break up, and by this afternoon it could be bright and sunny, but it will also be several degrees cooler. Currently it is about 10 C.

 I didn't have quite so much vim and vigour as I made my way home from work yesterday. Most of it felt like a bit of a slog, but paradoxically, the last bit, walking home from the station, seemed quite easy. I went home via the Turkish supermarket because I wanted a few odds and sods. I had an idea that some bread and cheese might be nice, but actually bought a tiny little loaf, and some sliced poultry based sliced salami with pistachio nuts in it. The latter had the potential to be very nice, but I was rather disappointed by it.

 I also bought some chilli sauces while I was in there. One was a bottle of smoky chipotle chilli sauce, and another was a tube of chilli puree. The last one wasn't specifically a chilli sauce. It was harissa paste. It is mostly chilli puree, and I first discovered it in the shop by the station here in Earlsfield. They quickly ran out of it once word got around at work (loads of chilli lovers here), and was never replaced. I did find some other stuff that was called harissa, but it never seemed the same. The stuff I got last night was what I wanted, and the secret ingredient in it that gives it it's unique flavour is caraway seed paste.

 It could have been very easy to get carried away with a never ending dinner last night, but I managed to hold back from the worst excesses. I did have two main courses plus a few bits and pieces, but I think I almost got away with it. First course was some steamed salmon with a whole heap of steamed vegetables. Then I had the Turkish bread with the salami, and that was followed by some biscuits. I have to confess that I also had some chick pea salad as a snack when I first got home.

 I didn't exactly feel tired enough to do absolutely nothing of note last night, but that was the outcome. I had felt quite tired at work, and had dozed off, or maybe almost dozed off, while reading stuff on my work PC. So I went to bed a bit earlier. I was in bed soon after 8.30pm, but I don't think I fell asleep until gone 9pm. I slept a lot better last night, and although I can recall having several dreams, none of them were scary, ultra weird, or nightmareish like the night before.

 I woke up feeling fairly refreshed, and probably not too bad, but it was not to last. I didn't feel uncomfortable for some time after getting up, but this morning I had another bout of excess wind and diahorea - and the closer I got to work, the worse it became. I ended up visiting the toilets at Waterloo East where the deafening rain on the tin roof covered up any noises I might have made. I then used the toilets on Waterloo mainline station, and then again at Clapham Junction. I've also been three times since getting into work. I think I am over the worst of it now.......I think !

 I'm not sure what caused this latest stomach upset, but I have a few culprits in mind. The heap of steamed vegetables is a possibility, but only because of coincidence. Since last Friday, when I also had a stomach upset in the morning, I have hardly eaten any vegetables, and last night was the first time since then. Of course it could also have been the lentil salad I had at work yesterday, or even more likely, the chicken samosa I also had at work. As I recall, I thought that it might have had a slightly unusual, but still pleasant flavour.

 I fear I have one visit to the toilet coming on, but it can't go on much longer, and by the time I leave work to go home I will probably be completely empty. So I am looking forward to a relaxed and comfortable journey home - which will make a pleasant change to the highly dramatic journey into work ! With luck I will have a bit of energy or enthusiasm left when I get home. I am sure the Thursday gang are not meeting for a drink tonight, and so if I have got energy and enthusiasm I could wash a few shirts when I get in. If I was really organised I would do that before dinner, and so give myself less time to have an extended dinner again.
Wednesday 8th January 2014
08:36 GMT

  The weather has been kind to me lately - which is just as well because after it soaked me on Monday morning I was getting ready to chase the weather Gods with a 36 inch naval gun (of the type used on battleships), and send an exploding shell right up where the sun doesn't shine ! Last night, and this morning too, the cloud was thin and broken enough to allow the sky to stay light after sunset, and then again before dawn.

 There was still enough light to see the grass was green in the park between Ladywell and Catford Bridge on my way home from work - and that was through the tinted train windows. There was still light on the western horizon when I went through my front door. This morning I was running late after my normal train from Catford Bridge was cancelled. So this doesn't really count, but as my train pulled into Earlsfield station it was almost daylight. The sun wasn't high enough to be seen over the visible horizon, but the eastern sky was very light with some worryingly pink clouds visible. That pink suggest a bad day coming, but the forecast suggests it will be a cool but fine day intil the next band of rain expected tonight. Today will be a little cooler than yesterday. The top temperature forecast for today is 10 C.

 Well here I am at work for the third day of a five day week, and I am feeling OK. I was hoping for better than OK after a good day yesterday, but maybe the rushing around I did to make up a little time this morning after my train was cancelled, has taken the shine off things. Yesterday I was feeling good enough for a 10 minute walk in the park behind work at lunchtime. I think it's possible that it was the first time I'd been in the park since the start of 2013 ! Maybe I paid a brief visit in the first 6 months of last year, but with my angina running rampant I did very little unneeded walking. The main feature of the park yesterday was the river Wandle. It was the highest I have ever seen it - not that surprising after all the rain we have had !
The River Wandle running very high after loads of rain - 7th January 2014
 On Monday night I walked up the 30 steps to the platform at Earlsfield station, and I probably had the energy to do that again last night, but the lift was there ready to take me up, and the temptation to use it was too strong to resist. However I did almost, but not quite, run up the escalators at Waterloo station. I wasn't sure if it was real energy or just high spirits because of the extended amount of daylight, but whatever it was, it did last all evening.

 Getting home with the eastern sky still looking bright was definitely a boost. It may have even reduced my appetite by a micro percent ! In terms of bulk I did eat less last night, although much of what I ate was not that good for me - high carbohydrate and fat content (think cheese and biscuits !). Before I started to eat I checked my blood sugar level and it was almost low, but not as low as I would have liked. It was about text book average - which is good, but I would have preferred it lower still because that is usually a good indicator that I would be losing a bit of weight.

 Once I had eaten, and allowed myself to relax in front of the TV, I checked my blood pressure level. It was absolutely perfect - for a fit and healthy person with no history of heart problems or diabetes - we have to have an unobtainingly low blood pressure for some reason (probably so the big pharma companies can sell us more pills). If I can get my blood sugar level down an extra point, and start to lose weight at a useful rate, I may just start to feel a lot fitter and healthier. That probably won't really start to kick in until spring starts, and the days are warmer and a lot longer.

 I didn't feel active enough to do any laundry last night, but I did wash and condition my hair. I also spent some time writing a long email instead of getting into bed very early. I went to bed at about my usual time when working, and it wasn't long before I was asleep - although it was one of those occasions where you go from thinking you can't sleep to being fast asleep in the space of 10 minutes. I'm not sure if I slept well or not. I didn't seem to wake up more than once or twice, but I was plagued with loads of unpleasant dreams - many bits could be described as nightmares.

 I just cannot imagine where the inspiration for a dream/nightmare came from that involved forcing a cannibal to fly me away from a rather unpleasant human sacrifice in his one man helicopter at gun point came from ! You can probably imagine how scary it all was from the grammatical construction of the previous sentence ! Other dreams were less unpleasant, but pretty weird. If it wasn't for the fact that I might have liked an extra hour in bed this morning, at least I think I would, I would say that it was a relief when my alarm went off, and freed me from these mind boggling dreams. Hopefully I can have more pleasant dreams tonight. A nice erotic one would be good. I haven't had one of them for ages.
Tuesday 7th January 2014
08:17 GMT

  Joy of joys - it's a dry morning ! It was also dry when I left work to go home. There were a few flashes of sunshine yesterday afternoon, and there were enough gaps left in the clouds to make the brief evening a little lighter than recently. Sometime during the hours of darkness there was some rain, and the forecast said there would be rain this morning. It does look darker outside than when I got into work, so either it's been a very short day, or it will soon be raining. With luck it will be a dry, and possibly sunny afternoon. The temperatures today should be at least 10 C for most of the day, and may even hit 12 C if the Gods are pleased with our human suffering.

 It might be premature to say it, but it seems as if I am finally starting to reap the rewards of being back at work - rewards more than just getting a reasonable pay packet back. I thought I might be feeling a bit tired yesterday afternoon, and if I was at home I would almost certainly have laid on my bed, and probably snoozed, but there was no opportunity for that here at work. When I left work at the end of the day I suffered what seems to be the usual while I am on my blood pressure tablets. By the time I had walked to the main gates of the premises I was 95% knackered.

 By the time I had walked all the way to the station I was 96% knackered, and by the time I had walked up the 30 steps to the platform (for the first time in what may be 12 months !!!) I was 97% knackered. By the time I had walked all the way to the far end of the platform I was 97.5% knackered. That may be rather knackered, and I was breathing a bit hard at the end (although far from gasping), but it represents a serious improvement compared with anything in the previous 12 months. It is just really annoying that I did 99% of the journey feeling 97% exhausted/knackered.

 I didn't feel as tired as I expected to when I got home. That may have been a good thing because I had my new toy to play with, or maybe having a new toy to play with distracted me from feeling tired. The new toy was my Moto G mobile phone. The most nerve wracking bit of my "playing" was doing a sim swap. The Moto G takes a micro sim card instead of the more common mini sim card. So I had to go online to giffgaff.com to activate a new sim, and swap all my details to it so I had the same number and account as before. Fortunately it all went smoothly, and I am now actually using my new phone.

 Transferring all my contacts from one phone to the other is done automatically via my Google mail account, and google automatically installed all my favourite apps as well (possibly with the aid of some migration software in the new phone - never seen it happen before).I am not sure why I like to do it, but I also transferred all my txt messages from the old phone to the new using a free app from google play store. The only problem is that new Android phones don't seem to want to provide the option of mounting like an external drive on a PC. On a Windows XP PC, like my one here at work, the only option to transfer files is via Windows Media Player, and then only media files. There is the option of setting the phone to pretend it is a camera, but then it only presents a small sub section of it's file area. On a Windows 7, and fortunately for me, any new Linux distribution, the phone can be mounted as a sort of psuedo hard drive. That was good enough to copy the SMS txt message back up file from the old phone to the new, and to then restore all my txt messages going back a year or two to my new phone.

 Generally speaking I am quite happy with the new phone. It is nice and fast - the prime reason why I wanted to upgrade - my HTC Desire C was very sluggish, and some applications would do peculiar things. The only thing I am not so sure about is the camera. I've only taken a few test shots so far, and they are not that wonderful. It may be that I have  to do a bit more experimentation. Here's a  picture I took this morning at Waterloo station.
Waterloo station ignoring 12th night bad luck by keeping their xmas tree up on the 7th of January 2014
 It may be that the exposure time was a bit too long in the low light level, and I didn't hold the camera steady enough, but this picture looks very soft  to me. The other significant thing about this picture is it shows Waterloo station taking great chances. It is said to be bad luck to leave xmas decorations up past 12th night, and 12th night was either last night, or the night before if you are a very conservative Christian type weirdo.

 Hopefully I won't feel too tired when I get home from work tonight. I have a feeling that I'll feel reasonably OK, and that I am getting back into the swing of work again. I haven't got much to do when I get home. In fact there is nothing I need to do at all apart from cooking, eating and sleeping, but if I feel up to it I might wash a couple of shirts. Although, when I come to think about it, I think washing my hair probably trumps washing shirts. After getting it soaked in the rain yesterday, my hair does feel a bit unpleasant now.
Monday 6th January 2014
09:04 GMT

  By comparison with some of the violent weather they are getting in Canada, and the north of the USA, it may be wonderful here, but it still seems pretty lousy to me ! Last night there was a big rumble of thunder that took me by surprise. There was just the one that lasted a fair time as it echoed around the sky, but I didn't see any flash, and until I pulled the curtains aside to look outside I didn't even realise it was raining so hard. The rain continued right through the night, but it was patchy and very light until I was on the last 6 or 7 minutes walk from the station to work - when the rain became torrential and soaked me !

 It has brightened up a bit now, but it is still raining. I can see a small coin sized patch of blue sky through my office window. It seems it is possible that there could be a momentary flash of sunshine if another patch of blue sky should form in the right place to let the sun through. The weather forecast, which did sort of prepare me for all the rain today, did allow for the occasional sunny spell. It's a shame there wasn't one when my train pulled into Earlsfield station. Last Thursday, I think it was, the eastern sky was showing plenty of light when my train pulled into Earlsfield station. It was light enough to see individual gravestones in the cemetary. This morning, when sun rise should be 10 - 15 minutes earlier, it was so dark you could even see there was a cemetary there !.

 I had a quiet evening last night, and I went to be nice an early. Unfortunately that didn't translate into getting to sleep nice and early. I guess it was closer to 10pm before I fell asleep. I slept well, and I only have a vague recollection of getting up once or twice for a pee. When my alarm sounded at 5am I felt fairly bright, and, just for a change, an absence of bloat and wind made me feel quite optimistic about today. That optimism took a bit of a blow when I found my eyes beginning to close a few times while on the trains to work. I'm not too sure of the ultimate outcome of sitting in my cold office in wet clothes will be, but hopefully it will be nothing.

 So day one of a full five days at work has started. I'll have to see how I feel tonight, but if I get through today, and can make sure I get enough sleep tonight, I reckon there is a fair chance that I'll survive to the end of the week. Whether I'll be OK to anything apart from sleep for half the morning next Saturday may well be another thing ! Meanwhile there is stuff to look forward to - which sounds plural, but is actually singular. Today or tomorrow my new mobile phone should be delivered to me here at work. It is a Moto G, and although another budget phone, it costs a little bit more, and all the write ups suggest it should be far better than my HTC Desire C.
Sunday 5th January 2014
16:20 GMT

  In a rather pleasant change, it has been dry, and almost bright today.  I wasn't sure if there was a frost this morning, or whether it was just heavy condensation on the roofs of the cars outside. The temperature now is almost 10 C, and that seems quite typical for the last few days or more.  It seems that there is some warm wet air heading our way, and the temperature will rise to as high as 13 C in the small hours of tomorrow morning. The penalty is that it will rain for most of the morning.

 I felt rather good last night. Plenty of rest enabled me to recover from the rigours of work, and I ended up staying up far later than I intended. This was mostly brought about by some rather good stuff on the TV last night - all of it on BBC2. The jewel in the crown was a documentary about the comedian Dave Allen which included loads of his material. I don't know if he was my favourite comedian, but he would be a good contender for it.

 His trademark, at least during his earlier shows, was to be almost chain smoking, and sipping from a glass of whisky (whether it was truly whisky was never revealed). I couldn't join in with the fags, although I was tempted, but I did keep a glass of whisky by my side that I sipped from as he did. It's nice to have a laugh now and then, and that programme inspired a few chuckles from me.

 Later on there was a documentary about the 1970s British rock group Mott The Hoople. That was pretty good....not as good as Dave Allen by a long way, but good enough to keep me up until 1am this morning ! With a fair amount of whisky in me I fell asleep easily, and had another rather good nights sleep. I didn't sleep as long as I might have liked, but six and half hours sleep felt pretty good to me. I woke up with no obvious trace of a hangover feeling pretty good this morning.

 It is often the case that on a Sunday morning I like to treat myself to a nice breakfast, and this morning was no exception. I had smoked gammon steak on tinned tomatoes on the last of the Turkish bread I bought on Friday night. The tinned tomatoes moistened up the bread that was just starting to get a bit dry and stale, and did it rather well. It was a rather substantial breakfast, and I am trying to watch what I eat for the rest of today.

 One important thing I did once my breakfast had settled down a bit was to trim my beard. I'm not sure what is going on with my beard. I have no idea when I last trimmed it, but it doesn't feel like it was all that long ago, and yet it was getting rather long. It was almost as if my male hormones were raging - which I could understand if it felt anything like spring, but it is nothing like spring yet ! If I have the time and inclination I might need to touch up a few loose ends tomorrow morning, but it is OK for now.

 I also did a bit of laundry this morning - just a couple of shirts, a pair of socks, a t-shirt, and a pair of lounge pants. I came to the conclusion that somewhere on my body must be some muscles that are getting big and strong from all the exercise they get when wringing out my laundry, but I don't know where those muscles are. There doesn't seem to be any rippling muscles in my arms, but that is where it aches after doing my laundry (but only a bit).

 Tomorrow sees the start of a huge trial for me - a full five days at work. I hope I am getting used to being back at work now, but last Friday didn't seem to be a very good example of that. Maybe I'll be a bit luckier with the weather because that will help. Tonight, with the sky only covered in very light cloud, it seemed to be almost still light at 4.20pm. If the sky is as bright tomorrow as it was tonight (and it could have been even brighter) then I'll almost be starting the second leg of my journey home from work on the 16:23 train in sort of psuedo daylight. That would feel pretty good.

 One job that I am not looking forward to doing is to rebuild my January 2014 web page. Something bloody weird has gone on with the formatting of it, and everytime I try and correct it, it just seems to get worse. I think my only option is to rebuild it from scratch. It will be a tedious job that I could do tonight, but I have a funny feeling I might end up doing it while I am at work tomorrow (if I have some slack time).
17:43 - the job is now done - it was quicker and easier than I thought.
Saturday 4th January 2014
15:53 GMT The weather continues to be dull and wet. The only good thing you can say about it that it is not terribly cold.....just sort of unpleasantly cold. After a day that has been really gloomy most of the time, and frequently wet with drizzle or worse, it is 10 C. Sometimes it might be worth the pain of frozen hands to have a bright frosty day. At least the days are getting longer now - although on some days it doesn't seem like it. Last Thursday it was still quite light when my train home from work got to Waterloo. Last night it was barely daylight while I waited for the Waterloo train at Earlsfield. the setting sun at Earlsfield station
I had to lighten this picture a lot so that the name "Earlsfield" was visible.
a selfie
 It seems everyone is doing them. So here's a selfie of myself looking quite haggard at work. I have to admit that being back at work is harder than I imagined it would be, and it was really nice to get home again last night.

 Starting the day with a hangover, no matter how small, was just another burden laid on top of the stomach upset I had, plus all the energy and stuff being diverted to continue the process of healing all my wounds.

 As is usual, I did perk up a bit when I left work to go home, but it did feel like hard work walking to the station. However there is another "but" to add to that - but I think I did it a lot faster than I have done for ages. It may be that silly thing where I am pushing myself to the edge, and that is why it was hard work.

 It certainly caught up with me by the time I got back to Catford. I had been intending to get a bit of shopping at Tesco on the way home, but I could not face it. It was easier to go into the little Turkish supermarket near the station. I bought some very nice (very nice indeed !) Turkish bread and some cheeses, and a few other bits and pieces.

 My dinner last night, or the core of it, was just bread, cheese, and tomato. For afters I had some brown lentil couscous. If it wasn't so loaded with carbohydrates I could recommend it all as a tasty and filling meal. I was too scared to measure my blood sugar level this morning, but I feel it was probably a bit high after all that bread.
One good thing that meal may have been good for, but I am unsure why, was to give my digestive tract a bit of a rest. This morning I didn't wake up bloated with wind, and visiting the toilet every 5 minutes. Well maybe it didn't feel like I was bloated with wind, but I did notice that it was almost impossible to do up a pair of jeans this morning. I can't recall this particular pair being any tighter than usual in the past, so it must be me. It seems a shame to have wasted all that effort I put into debiggening my waist before I went into hospital. I guess I've got to start all over again now - and that's not easy in the middle of winter. At least it is not easy for me. The caveman in me says to pile on the calories to keep warm, and build up fat for the spring when food is scarce. I am so primitive sometimes !

 Today I had the most wonderful lie in. I went to be before 9pm last night, and apart from about 30 minutes at 5am when I briefly got up to go to the toilet, check my emal, etc, I didn't really get up until gone 9am. That's around 12 hours in bed, and I must have been asleep for at least 9 of them, and possibly more. I do feel so much better today, but I still don't feel terribly active.

 I have been out twice today. The first time was to Aldi where I seemed to buy an awful lot of stuff. I think it was because I haven't seen my bank balance so high since last August. 4 months of sick pay took their toll......... I've also splashed out to pay off my electricity bill. It was not all that long ago that the meter was read for the first time in a couple of years. In all that time I've been paying for estimated bills, and in the grand scheme of things they have been fairly accurate, and the amount I needed to pay today was just a small percentage of the total of the last couple of years, but even a small percentage can be a fair amount !

 The second time I went out also included some gratuitious spending. I went to the corner shop - mainly to see if they had a magazine in - and while I was in there I topped up my Virgin media mobile PAYG phone with a 10. It was a total waste of money in some respects because I never really use that SIM card in whatever spare phone it happens to be in. It is now in my original Android phone that is a sort of museum piece in this day and age. Surprisingly it all still works despite the software being several generations old. Don't ask me what I'll use it for because I haven't a clue - it's just nice to see it all working.
Friday 3rd January 2014
09:00 GMT  There was a splash or two of rain while I was going home from work yesterday, but on the whole the evening seemed dry. This morning it was obvious there had been a fair amount of rain in the small hours, but it was dry when I walked to the station. Once I got to the station it started raining again, and although it was not heavy rain, it was still raining when I arrived at Earlsfield. It has finally stopped (I think), and the sun has come out. It is going to be a fairly cool day today, but at least it is forecast to be dry until after I get home this evening.

 I felt a lot more tired at work than I expected yesterday. I did perk up a bit when I left to go home again, and by the time I got back to Catford I wasn't feeling that bad. My first port of call was Tesco where I wnted to buy a combined xmas, new year and birthday present for Chris (and also for Jo too). It was a big bottle of brandy - which I know they both like. I also got one of those fancy bottle bags to put it in. Then I took it along to The Catford Constitutional Club to give to Chris, and to have some beer with the rest of the Thursday gang.

 There were several beers to taste in The CCC, and I think I tried all of them - on an empty stomach. I think I ended up fairly drunk with hindsight, but it all seemed normal to me at the time. I'm not sure how long the drinking lasted there, but I left before the end, and started walking home.......right past the chip shop who, I discovered, had some freshly cooked cod ready to go. I think I must be becoming a traditionalist or something because I now feel that it is time for fish and chips to beome the traditional meal after beer again instead of a kebab !

 I'm ot sure what time I got to bed last night. I don't think it was that early, nor too late - perhaps just a little after 9pm. As far as I can remember I fell asleep very quickly, and slept well until 3am. From then on it seemed like I didn't sleep at all - something I know to be wrong because I had a dream in the middle of it. I was awake well before my alarm was due to go off, and I felt pretty rough.

 The more sadistic would say it was a hangover, but while that was a small element of it, it was a lot more than just a hangover. Like most mornings now, I was full of wind and farting away like a whoopee cushion, and once again I had diahorea - although not as bad as the day before. My stomach felt quite tender, and for some reason my chest felt quite sore - mostly around the big scar, but in a few other places too. I also had some wet, cold and windy weather related aches and pains too. My lower back felt a bit stiff, and my right leg did too.


  Ideally I should have gone straight back to bed, but I feel I have to persevere going to work, and getting my stamina back somehow. It was a rotten journey into work this morning, and I am feeling rather glad it is Friday today. I've written to Aleemah saying I would prefer not to see her tomorrow so I can luxuriate in bed far as long as I feel like it tomorrow morning. I don't think I am doing anything tonight, and I wonder if I would even have the energy and enthusiasm to do anything if there was anything to do. Having said that, with no work tomorrow, I could probably push myself if there was something important happening tonight.
Thursday 2nd January 2014
07:59 GMT   It got pretty wet last night - which was rather worrying for this morning, but the weather forecast assured me that this morning would be dry, and it was (and still is). After not having gone out so early in the morning for ages it is a bit difficult to tell, but it does seem to be rather on the cool side this morning. The forecast temperature was just 3 or 4 C, and that is something like how it feels, but the BBC reckon the temperature will be up to 9 C in an hours time, and there will be bright sunshine. That might be possible, but it is not looking likely from what I see out of my office window.

 I decided that I was becoming far too reclusive yesterday, and that I wasn't bothering to interact with anyone via any internet channels. One possible reason for it was lack of booze. I estimated that I had only drunk about 8 pints in the previous 10 days ! I made sure I had written an important email before doing something about the low level of alcohol in my blood. A couple of large whiskies did something or another, but maybe too for anything exciting.

 I was in bed by 9pm, and I did my best to get to sleep as soon as possible, but it was probably closer to 10pm before I was asleep. I hadn't been asleep all that long before my phone bleeped with an incoming email. Quite early in the email there was an apology in case it woke me up........No need to apologise on this occasion because it was an interesting email, and I specifically leave my phone on in case anything interesting is happening.

 What was both good and bad about that email was that it got me thinking - quite a lot of thinking that kept me awake for another hour or so, but was worth it because I think I have answered a question that I didn't really think was a question beforehand. Maybe I might elaborate on it more another day, or maybe not, but it all boils down to the fact that it seems I like a challenge, but not just any old challenge.

 There are two types of challenge - the carefully selected ones, and those that are outside of your control - like having to have open heart surgery. These challenges make me feel good. Having open heart surgery, although I was obviously unable to watch it or take part in it, was really rather exciting and hugely enjoyable. All the recovery, which is still ongoing, allowed for plenty of challenges, and these were more of the self selected type. Going to a gig just 14 days after being operated on was a bit of a challenge, and one that was immensely satisfying to overcome (even if it was a bit painful from time to time).

 I didn't think it would be so easy to explain how challenges make me feel good, and maybe I haven't explained it that well to everybody, but a few will know where I am coming from. I now don't think I need to elaborate on it any further, but perhaps now I understand it a bit better I can make use of it.........unless being concious of it destroys it's magic. That will have to be seen, or not seen later.

 Tonight I should be topping up my booze levels after work. It's Thursday night, and the gang will be drinking in The Catford Constitutional Club - which, being in Catford, is rather handy for me.  I don't think I want too much booze tonight, but on the other hand it is Chris' birthday (plus or minus a couple of days), and we will need to see he enjoys it :-) Hopefully all the beer will be in excellent condition. I don't want anything that will upset my stomach. One of the drugs I am taking seems to do that quite well enough on it's own.

 This morning was yet another morning when I had a bad stomach.  I lost count of the amount of times I had to go to the toilet before I could go out to get my train to work, and even then I was far from comfortable. Fortunately it was just a residual discomfort from overworked muscles around the digestive tract. I visited two toilets during the journey to work as a precaution, but it seems I was empty before I left home for work. I do hope my changed diet as a result of spending all day at work, will eventually go some way towards curing this affliction. I'm not expecting any miracles from just the two days at work this week, but next week should see me at work for a full 5 days, and that ought to be enough to make some sort of change. Time will tell.
Wednesday 1st January 2014
11:50 GMT   2014 has started off wet and soggy ! It rained most of last night too. The current temperature is 10 C, and I expect it was the same at dawn, and will remain the same by dusk (plus or minus a couple of degrees on both occsions). Tomorrow may be cooler by a degree or two, but there may some sunshine, and it should stay dry until I am just about home from work.

 Last night was quite a good night. In fact for a new years eve night it was rather excellent. I achieved something I don't think I have ever managed before in such a complete way. I managed to sleep soundly right through the midnight celebrations. The only problem with that is that I was going to have a fag at midnight. Now I'll have to wait another 365 days for another opportunity.

 I actually went to bed at 9pm last night. I didn't really expect to sleep, and it was gone 9.30pm before I fell asleep. I awoke very briefly around 11pm when an incoming message caused my phone to bleep. Within minutes I was fast asleep again, and the next time I woke was just after 1am. I probably woke up every couple of hours after that until I decided to get up at 8am. The first couple of times I woke was for a pee, but later on it was increasingly because of stomach pains. Initially it was just wind, and then at 5am it was considerably more.

 I thought that was it all over, but just after getting up at 8am I really went into super dysentry mode. I'll leave the details to your imagination because it was not pleasant. I think I am more empty than over it now. I still have a rather undefined odd feeling low in my stomach that is not causing any specific discomfort, but is still worrying. There does seem to be an awful lot of this stomach bug around, but considering I have hardly seen anybody for the last 8 or 9 days, I wonder how I seem to have caught it. Of course one of my blood pressure drugs (I have no idea which one) does seem to leave my digestive system close to volatile all the time, and it doesn't need much to tip it over the edge. Hopefully I'll be OK tomorrow morning when I have to go back to work.

 I don't know if I'll complete it, but today I have started a little job that I've been meaning to do for the last 3 or 4 months of sitting at home partly bored. Leaving it so late to start is probably just another sign of madness ! This job is totally unneccesary, and madness in itself. It is to resurect my (almost) museum piece iMac computer.  If my 2 year old diagnosis is correct it just needs a new hard disk, and the operating sytem installed on it. It is a slightly tedious job delving into it's bowels to change the hard disk, but infinitely easier than another possible failure point - the power supply. If it is the latter then it is a bin job !

 So far I have cleaned and washed the shelf it sits on. The shelf was covered in all sorts of detritus - books, bits of paper, odd tools, floppy disks and CDs, and, worst of all, fur and slobber and stuff left by Smudge before she died 18 months ago - hence the need to wash the shelf as well as dust it. It is, more or less, all clean now, and I can get on with the task of cracking open the iMac - sometime soon - maybe.........Meanwhile, the rain has just started beating against my windows in a most violent way. Maybe it's time to hide under the duvet again !