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

Thursday 31st July 2014
08:27 BST   

  It was pleasantly warm and sunny yesterday. The temperature went up to about 26 or 27° C, and that is about all that can be said about it. There was a nice fresh start to today - about 15
° C. The forecast is suggesting that today might be a degree or two cooler than yesterday, and that there could be a splash of rain at sunset (9pm or thereabouts), but that doesn't sound too unreasonable.

After an uncertain start, I didn't feel too bad yesterday, but then again, I didn't feel that wonderful either. I felt good enough to go for a short wander to get a breath of fresh air, and a change of scenery, but not good enough to wander far from work (although because it was an "unscheduled" break, I couldn't really stay out long enough to go too far). However, I was out long enough to take a crappy picture of a butterfly that just positively refused to open it's wings for more than a millisecond !
butterfly that wouldn't open it's
                    wings to show it's true colours

 I couldn't decide how good or bad I felt as I walked to the station on the way home from work yesterday. I guess I felt almost good. I've come to the conclusion that the average over the last 3, 4, maybe 5 years is that I dislike that walk. So anytime it is not actually agonisingly painful must be good...I think ! There was one little bit of "excitement" on the way home....
new rails held together by a clamp
 I took the picture above on the 1st of this month. It shows two brand new rails held together by a temporary clamp about halfway along platform B at Waterloo East railway station. I remarked that it would probably be welded up in a couple of days.....NO, it took all month to do. Yesterday was the first time I saw the brand new weld that must have been done the night before - just 30 days after the new rail was laid !
New weld between two new rails

  Perhaps there was one other little bit of "excitement" on my way home from work yesterday. I went home via Tesco. As usual I did my best not to buy anything too far removed from being healthy - as in low calorie, low fat, low sugar (and usually low taste !). As usual I partly failed, but I did buy lots of good stuff that included more salad, another pineapple, and more beetroot - although I am rather suspicious about the latter. I suspect beetroot has far too many calories in it, mostly from sugar, for it to actually to be classified as healthy. There was one thing, or more precisely 4 lots of one thing that was definitely healthy that I bought, but they weren't edible. I spied some face flannels, and I've been thinking about buying some new face flannels for some time. Out of all the face flannels I own, one is almost threadbare, and has a terrible tendency to go smelly for unknown reasons, and the other is actually fine. I think it is time to retire two of the existing ones, and start using the news ones from Tesco. They were only £1 each, and that is precisely how much I would have estimated they would cost.

 My dinner was a bit of a mixture of stuff last night. I had exotic stuff like spinach pasta with pinenuts, and ordinary stuff like mixed fruit (mainly berries). I also had a ham and cheese sandwich, and a bean salad. It probably doesn't take too much imagination to conclude that I had been raiding the reduced price shelf again ! I also had some raspberry sorbet. Now sorbet is funny stuff. It may be because I am aware that it is loaded with sugar that I only eat it is small quantities, and yet I am just as aware of how ice cream is loaded with both fat and sugar, but find a tub of icecream very hard to put down !

 Like most weekday evenings I did very little last night, and I was in bed reading very early again. Reading was OK, but it was another muggy night, or so it felt to me, and I had difficulty getting comfortable for sleep. I put my book down, turned out the light, turned over, and for 5 minutes I felt comfortable. I thought there was a chance I would be asleep by 8.30pm, but as the clocked by I felt a bead of sweat building up, and threatening to run in my eye. Sweat from the small of my back was making the undersheet stick to me, and so another night of tossing and turning started. I don't think I could estimate how much sleep I got last night. It was probably more than my darkest imagination says it was, but still rather short of anything approaching a good nights sleep.

 This morning I felt good and bad, and some of the bad may have been the fault of the shoes I decided to wear. As usual, bits of me ached as they are prone to do on all but the rarest days, but my walking bits were probably the biggest problems. I had my usual stiff knees and ankles, but these were made worse by the red Vans trainers I decided to wear today. They are not specifically uncomfortable. They don't really rub or chafe, but my feet feel strange in them for reasons I can't even guess at. It makes my walking sort of funny, and that makes assorted aches, pains and stiffness worse. Oh well, at least they are mostly comfortable when just sitting down at work.

 I saw something new this morning. I arrived at Catford Bridge station almost 10 minutes before the 06:33 train to Charing Cross was due, and as I walked through the ticket office a train pulled into the station. It wasn't just any old train. It was a class 319 train as used on Thameslink services between Sevenoaks and Blackfriars station (and often stations beyond). Normally it would call at Catford station, but this one appeared to have been diverted for reasons that I don't yet know (and maybe will never know). It did stop for a minute or so at Catford Bridge, but I don't know if the driver released the doors so anyone could board it or alight from it. It was the first class 319 train to ever go through Catford Bridge station that I am aware of (although it is a perfectly feasible diversion route).
class 319 train on mid Kent line
The front end of the class 319 train heading, presumably, towards Blackfriars via Lewisham and Nunhead.
Looking south with a class 319 train
                    in Catford Bridge station
Not the sharpest of pictures, but here's the rear of the train.
Wednesday 30th July 2014
08:49 BST   

  The weather returned back to how a July day should be (in my own warped imagination). It was bright and sunny, dry, and on the upper limits of warm (around 27° C). That almost meant a return to hot, sweaty, and airless nights, but somehow it stayed just in the comfort zone last night. This morning it almost felt chilly. The temperature was just 15
° C, but once the sun had risen properly it was a nice sunny morning with plenty of blue sky. It seems to be a little cloudy now, but the forecast says it should be a mostly sunny day, and the temperature should rise to 26 or 27° C again.

 Walking to the station after work yesterday was, once again, not quite the chore that it has been for most of the year. It didn't seem as pleasant as it was a day or two ago, but it wasn't a complete slog, and that is probably the most important thing. I'm not sure how I felt when I finally got home. I think I felt more uninspired rather than exhausted. I certainly didn't feel like doing any more than eating, reading and sleeping - which is pretty much exactly what I did last night.

 First there was dinner. I didn't feel like putting much effort into trying to satisfy myself with a very low everything meal, but I did smooth off the rough edges. The core of my dinner was a couple of grilled lamb burgers (with mint) served on a bed of raw salad type vegetables. The lamb burgers were a bit of a mistake. They seemed like a good idea when I saw them on the shelves in Aldi, but they were predictably rather greasy, and the mint in the mixture was practically tasteless.

 Ignoring the other crap I snacked on, the second part of dinner was the other half of the pineapple I ate the other day. Apart from having to spend the rest of the evening pulling fibres of pineapple out from between my teeth, I've always quite liked pineapple, and I don't know why I don't have it more often, but now there could be a greater incentive to have it more often. It seems that this week pineapple is the latest "superfood" to quote from - "Fresh pineapple is the only known source of an enzyme called bromelain, which has been used in studies to determine it's effectiveness in alleviating joint pain, arthritis, reduce inflammation". It also has all sorts of wonderful vitamins, minerals, and loads of teeth clogging fibre ! If the half I had last night had reduced my joint pains this morning I could believe all these good things, but I feel a bit sceptical at the moment. I'll see how I feel when I go home after work.

 After I had eaten my dinner I spent 10 - 20 minutes on my PC before I went to bed - initially just to do some reading. I think it was something like 8.30pm when I came to the end of a chapter in the book I was reading, and that seemed like a good place to stop. So I closed the book, turned out the light, and I don't really remember much after that until 2am when I woke up from what must have been the deepest sleep I've had in ages. It's just a shame that I couldn't seem to sleep all that much for the next three hours, and maybe it's an even bigger shame that it seemed like I was just getting the hang of sleeping again as my alarm signalled that it was time to get up.

 The ease that I first went to sleep, and the depth of that sleep were no doubt due to another night where it wasn't hot, steamy and airless, although having a sleep deficit from recent nights when it was hot, steamy and airless no doubt helped a lot. It definitely felt quite fresh in my bedroom this morning, and it was actually chilly as I stood soaking wet in the bathroom after my morning shower. With all the good sleep, and fine chemicals from the pineapple, I should have felt wonderful this morning. Unfortunately I didn't.

 This morning was/is another morning when my legs feel stiff, and bits of me hurt. What was a pulled muscle in my chest, but is now obviously cancer of the muscle that sits partly under the right breast, armpit and shoulder blade, seems sore again this morning. It's nowhere near as bad as it was a week or two ago, and for most of the day I am completely unaware of it, but there are still ways to make it sore, and I must have discovered a new way in my sleep last night. For a little while I had other pains in my chest area. Maybe "pains" is rather an inexact description of what is the result of the medically and physically impossible situation of the front of my chest floating free of the rest of my chest. It sometimes feels like my rib cage is disconnected from the rest of my skeleton. It doesn't hurt any more than having a loose wristwatch, lost from a surgeons wrist, floating around inside you (which could be a possibility !), but it does feel weird at times.

 The best way to describe my current situation is simply to say that I would rather be in bed than at work, and to leave it at that ! On a more positive's Wednesday, and the very least that signals halfway through the working week, but there is more to it than that. In this particular week it means it's the day before payday (I hope). My bank account is still in the black, but it's holding onto that position by the skin of it's teeth. Today is also the day before Thursday when Hardtail will be performing in The Catford Ram in the evening. The latter is tricky because I don't have Friday off work. So I can't stay out too late, or get too drunk, but it is still something to look forward to.

 Have you ever seen a pigeon fall out of a tree ? Probably not, and strictly speaking neither have I. I have an eldeflower tree in my back garden, and the top branches of that is the only thing I can see from my bathroom window when it is just open a slit, as it usually is. Big sleek pigeons, totally different looking from the scrawny vermin infested pigeon that drop crap on you from the eaves of the platform canopies at Waterloo East station, love to perch in that tree and feed on new shoots and elderberries. I looked out the window yesterday evening and saw a strange sight. A pigeon was hanging almost upside down to reach a particular berry or something. As I looked on it slipped down onto the next branch that it only just managed to grab. I swear blind it had that same look that cats have when they accidently slip or fall - a look that tries to convince that it was actually a planned move, and not an accident at all !
Tuesday 29th July 2014
08:11 BST   

  There was thunder and lightning, hail, and flash flooding on the south coast, and something almost as bad in parts of north west London yesterday, but here in Earlsfield, and also in Catford, it wasn't so bad a day. There wasn't as much sunshine as there should have been for a summers day, but it was dry and warm. The top temperature was only 23° C, and it seemed far less humid. It made for a far more comfortable night. This morning started off at a rather fresh feeling 17
° C. It was, and still is, cloudy enough to block any sunshine..and yet I can see many patches of blue sky. So the sun will eventually break through, and we should end up at a fairly warm 26° C by late this afternoon. The only unknown is whether the heat will brew up any storms. The forecast says no, but....

 Walking from work to Earlsfield station yesterday came the closest it has been for ages and ages to being pleasurable. Maybe it has never actually been pleasurable. In fact I seem to remember moaning that it is, to a very minor degree, uphill all the way, and that may have been soon after work moved from central Wandsworth to here (5 years ago ????). The feeling sort of good lasted until about 10 minutes after I got home, and then I crashed. Well maybe not crashed, but I did seem to lose energy remarkably fast.

 The replacement motherboard for my PC arrived at work yesterday, and I did contemplate fitting it last night - until I got home and the idea evaporated like good sense at a heavy drinking session. Maybe I'll think about fitting it tonight, but now I've fiddled with some settings, and got the PC stable again, there seems a lot less urgency to do a transplant. For the moment it is not urgent at all, but I will do it sooner or later because it will bring a few benefits beyond just extra stability (hopefully).

 Of course the main reason why I seemed to have left all my energy outside when I got indoors was because of my poor sleep on the two previous nights. That could have been the reason why I found myself eating more carefully last night. Some bits of it were all good quality healthy stuff like salad, but the big chunk of cheese I had in salad number one sort of wrecked it, and the sliced pepperoni in salad number two wrecked that too. The few spoonfuls of lemon sorbet were possible fairly neutral, and the banana probably did little harm. I'll conveniently forget about the two packs of sandwiches which also passed my lips during the evening.

 One of the great things about last night was that it was a lot fresher. It felt muggy in my bedroom when I first got home, but with a few windows open it felt almost cool and fresh by the time I got into bed. I went to bed quite soon after 8pm, and by 8.30pm I was almost asleep when the bloody phone rang ! I disposed of that business by 8.45pm, and once again I tried to get to sleep. It didn't come so easy that time, but I think I started dozing off around 9.30pm, but it may have been a bit later. For the first time in days I was able to actually sleep in bed rather than just on top of the bed, and on the whole I think I slept well.

 I woke up a couple of times during the night, as usual, but I did sleep right up the time that my alarm went off. Without it I might still have been asleep even now, and I am very certain that if I had just turned over as soon as I had cancelled it I would have gone straight back to sleep. That doesn't sound like I slept that well if I wanted to sleep on, but all that sleep must have been good for something. Nevertheless, I can see myself trying for another early night tonight, and hoping that I can get my full 8 hours of beauty sleep ! I guess that is my only plan for tonight - get home - eat dinner - check email - check a web page or two - go to sleep ! Life is so exciting sometimes !

 There was news from the concourse at Waterloo station that I forgot to mention yesterday. The concourse has a new temporary tenant. This time round it is the turn of Asus who make computer stuff - desktop machines, tablets and laptops. They are there again today, and what they are actually promoting is their "Transformer Book T100".
Asus at Waterloo
Asus on the concourse of Waterloo
Monday 28th July 2014
08:34 BST   

  First it was overcast, then it became nice and sunny, and finally it became so overcast that I was convinced it might rain yesterday. The sunny period was from mid morning to early afternoon, and the overcast from then onwards. I forgot to check the exact temperature, but maybe it did only get to 25 or 26° C, but it felt so sticky that I was sure there must be an approaching storm. Perhaps out in the real world it was not so sticky, but in my bedroom it seemed unbearable. This morning started off nice and fresh (outdoors), but it was very grey outside, with no hint of any sunshine. The forecast said it should be raining by now, but I have yet to see any rain, and it looks like the cloud is starting to break up. It is supposed to be a warm and sunny afternoon with a temperature of 25
° C.

 Yesterday was another very lazy day. My only achievements were to go and get some shopping from Aldi, and to do a tiny bit of gardening ! The strange thing is that it felt good to get out and walk to Aldi, and I don't know why I felt so reluctant to go out elsewhere. I arrived home with my shopping feeling both good, and feeling extremely damp from sweat - which makes what I did very soon after a very unlikely thing to do. I put away my shopping, and then went out into my front garden to hack down a small tree that has been getting out of control recently.

 I've cut down this tree several years running, but I can't easily uproot it because it's root system is too strong, and it twines around the cable that carries my cable broadband. I don't want to accidently cut myself off from the internet. So for the second (third ? fourth ?) year running I've pruned the tree right back down to the ground. Of course when I say tree I really do mean tree, it is a sycamore, but it grows more like a shrub now. The very highest shoot/branch/stem that I cut down yesterday was no more than 5ft off the ground. It should be OK now until next spring or summer, but maybe one day I will find the patience to slowly cut out the root system because it really has no place in my tiny, pocket handkerchief sized front garden.

 I almost made an attempt to eat very little yesterday. After a trip to a supermarket that seemed unlikely, but I did partly succeed in doing so - not that it seems believable this morning. My evening meal, was a quite early evening meal, and it was both light and heavy - which sounds like a contradiction, but is still a bit true. It might be considered light by overall size, but very heavy in terms of sugar content. It started with half a small pineapple. That had lots of goodness in it (in some mystical way that includes fibre), but also lots of natural sugar too. I followed that by a few spoonfuls of lemon sorbet. Theoretically it should have been low fat, but probably so much sugar that I didn't dare to look at the ingredients list. Finally, I had some walnut cake - very nice put pure poison without any redeeming factors except that delicious taste !

 There was a reason why I ate those things, and with hindsight it was a bloody stupid reason. It was all to do with going to bed. I thought I would avoid spicy stuff in the hope that I would not feel so hot and sweaty when I went to bed. I cannot understand why I didn't think that saturating my bloodstream with sugar would not have the same effect. For several hours, maybe as long as four, I thrashed around trying to get to sleep while all the while my forehead was pouring with sweat. The rest of my body was trying to keep up some of the time, and at one point the sheet under the small of my back felt so damp I wondered if I had pissed myself.

 I suspect it was gone midnight when I eventually fell asleep, and I think I slept solidly for about 4 hours before I woke up. That four hours, if indeed it was that long, was all the sleep I got last night. I sort of feel OK right now, but I can imagine I'll be dozing off from time to time here at work. The rest of me feels fairly good now, but I felt dreadful before I left to get the train this morning. I seemed to have a few creaky bits, but the worst thing was my guts. Considering that I didn't eat anything too inflammatory yesterday, at least I can't think of anything, I had some remarkable volatility this morning, and I felt most uncomfortable as I was about to leave - so uncomfortable that I opted to get the next train, and stay at home an extra 30 minutes.

 Once I started to walk to the station I didn't feel too bad guts wise, but I definitely felt unusually good legs wise. Of course all these things are by comparison with recent conditions rather than what I have achieved in the past, and still might aspire to, but it definitely felt easy to walk to the station and the same could be said about the other bits of walking I have to do to get to work. Maybe my extreme laziness over the weekend did have a point after all - one that I didn't consciously realise I had to do.

 gigs at The Catford Ram

 Maybe I did miss some great live music this weekend, but there will be other live music to enjoy, and the Thursday nights gigs at The Catford Ram are just so damn handy.....and also annoying ! Thursday night, like most weekday nights, is not a great time to stay out late when you have to get up for work at 5am the next morning, but maybe I can bank some sleep in advance before this coming Thursday. Hardtail are pretty damn good, and I would like to stay to see as much of their gig as I dare.

 So obviously I have to try and get as much sleep as possible tonight. With luck it will be a bit fresher tonight, and if I avoid anything with sugar in it, and anything with chilli in it, and anything with any number of other spices in it, I may not feel quite so hot and sweaty when I go to bed. While that is a maybe, it will be definite that if I stick to that plan it will hardly be worth eating anything if it is going to be that bland. Oh well, time will tell......
Sunday 27th July 2014
10:05 BST   

 Yesterday was not always as bright as it could be. In the early afternoon a few very dark clouds drifted acrosss the sky, and I feared a repetition of Friday's thunderstorms, but the clouds carried on their way without dropping anything. So it remained dry with some extended sunny periods, and while it was doing that the humidity seemed to be climbing rather high. Last night seemed to be the hottest, and muggiest night so far this year.....although the peri-peri chicken I had mid evening probably induced some of the sweat. This morning the sun is trying to break through an overcast sky, and to my great surprise it is already 24° C - and starting to feel sticky. The BBC reckon the top temperature for today, at around 4pm, will be 25
° C, but they also reckon it should only be 20° C right now. Whatever the final score is, I feel it is going to be a slightly uncomfortable day.

 I didn't write anything yesterday because I had so little to write about. Maybe it was some sort of extended hangover after the excesses of Thursday night, or maybe it was the weather.......or maybe it was just an opportunity I grabbed to do very little - except I did do a few things ! In the morning I did some laundry. That was a very hot and sticky experience. I was drenched in sweat from head to toe by the time I had hung up the stuff to dry. Maybe I wanted to do some intensive resting after doing that.

 There was stuff I could have done that started quite early in the afternoon, and ended late in the evening, and that was Chattfest - a sort of two day music festival in the field like garden behind The Chatterton Arms pub in Bromley. Today will be the second day of it, and I think it starts around midday. There were a few bands I wanted to see, but I didn't know when they were due on, and I didn't want to spend the whole afternoon and evening there.

 So I just couldn't raise the enthusiasm to go out. I would hazard a guess that I was displaying one of the symptoms of depression - or maybe agrophobia - or something else entirely. All I know is that I seemed to feel perfectly happy (happy as in the absence of sadness) to stay in by myself not really doing much. The only negative thing about it is the difficulty of thinking up some creative way of saying "I couldn't be bothered" to some of the people who would have expected to see me there - particularly the musicians.

 Yesterday's lunch was a huge salad - huge because the chief ingredient was a whole sweet gem lettuce - and that is quite big when unfurled on a plate ! The whole thing was mostly all good and healthy stuff, and if it had been my only meal of the day I would be all healthy and good too, but it wasn't ! At around 6pm I started to feel peckish. Not exactly starving hungry, but enough to desire some food, and unfortunately I had it in mind that I wanted something "exciting". So I ordered a takeaway. To reach the minimum price for free delivery I ordered more than I needed - quite a bit more. For instance I have a 9 inch pizza in the fridge that I will have for lunch today.

 The core of my takeaway was some peri-peri chicken. Now in theory this should have been grilled, and fairly fat free, but what was delivered last night seemed quite greasy to me. Nevertheless it was very tasty, and slightly spicy. I say slightly spicy because it didn't seem to be that hot at the time, but I can't help but think it made a strong contribution to how nasty and sweaty I was last night.

 I was on my bed (it was far, far too hot to get in it) as early as 8.30pm last night, but there was no way I could get comfortable. Even with a fan on me it felt like my face was burning, and sweat was pouring out of me from my head down to my knees (I can't recall having sweaty calves or feet !). I tried reading for a bit, but by 10pm (or maybe as early as 9pm) I decided I was too tired to read, and that I ought to try and get some sleep.

 I thrashed around for the next couple of hours until a thought entered my head from nowhere - or that is how I seem to remember it now. I wondered if there were any software updates for my firewall box (an old Pentium II PC running Smoothwall Express). So I tried to log onto it, and found I couldn't. I could ping the box, but the web page wouldn't display, and I couldn't even log in via a secure shell. That worried me a bit....well quite a lot actually. I wondered if my box had been hacked into, and was being used for nefarious purposes.

 There was no option but to go downstairs (where it was cooler) and connect up a spare PC next to the firewall box so I could see what was happening without having to run up and down stairs. Once that was up and running I did the only thing I could do to my firewall box - I switched it off and on again. It sounds terribly cliched, but it worked. It came back up with everything working perfectly - and no updates needed. I think, or at least I hope, that all proves that the box had not been hacked, and yet I find it slightly difficult to believe that something like a power glitch could have killed the web server, and the ssh server, but left it functioning enough to still pass data to and from the internet. It's probably one of those things were there are no definite answers.

 When I got back to bed I was finally able to get to sleep, but it wasn't very good sleep. I don't know how many times I woke up in the night, but it was a lot more than usual, and the dreams seemed to go on forever. At least some of the dreams had a vague erotic theme, and that made them worthwhile (!), but there was one dream that was fascinating - and it was about technology. I dreamed that I had been wearing some sort of band around my head that was a dream recorder while I slept, and I could play back my dreams. While that is a bit exciting, the really exciting thing is that I think, and I could easily be deluded here, that within the dream I was able to playback dreams I had earlier in the night. That's a lot of layers of fantasy !

 Today I still don't feel any strong compulsion to go and visit Chattfest. It is possible that I might, but I think my only priority today is to go and buy a few things from Aldi. Some bottles of their cheap sugar free cola would be useful, and it would probably be wise to get a pack of toilet paper in. There is other stuff to get too, but I'll only find out what that is when I get there - probably !
Friday 25th July 2014
13:38 BST   Yesterday was a very pleasant day. It was nice and warm - at least 28° C - and it was bright and sunny. Today is not quite as good. The morning started well enough. The sky was mostly clear, there was a lot of sunshine, and the temperature slowly crept up from around 17° C to 27° C. It's not like that now !
wet and soggy on July 25th
 I guess it was around midday when I noticed it was getting darker outside, and that the sky had turned from blue to grey, and eventually to almost black. Then the rain started to fall, and then the thunder started to peal in the distance. The thunder and lightning is now sounding quite close as I write this, and maybe heading this way. Since the rain started to fall the temperature has dropped several degrees. My outside, radio linked, thermometer, which is probably quite wet now, is saying it is now 19° C, but I think it is only that low because it is wet. I would guess the air is still a bit warmer than that. It seems this rain could continue in varying degrees until mid evening, but we are supposed to have a quiet night - and maybe a fresher feeling one too.

 I didn't feel that good yesterday. My legs were back to feeling stiff, and my lower legs and feet were back to being swollen. Whether it is rational or not on such little evidence, I still blame my blood pressure pills. The net result of all this is that getting home, which should have been an enjoyable thing last night, was very normal feeling. When I got home I had a light snack before having a quick shower, and getting ready to go out.

 There was extra drinking going on yesterday - quite a lot of it as it eventually turned out. Being a Thursday there was the usual Thursday night after work drink, and Night Owl were playing in The Catford Ram as part of a series of gigs going on there for the next half dozen Thursday nights (and maybe more if the idea takes off). So first of all I met up with the guys, and Jodie in the newly opened "garden" of The Catford Constitutional Club.
Jodie, Allan, Dave and Chris
 We did our best to drink slowly, but on a hot afternoon that is easier said than done ! I think I had three pints in there, and then at around 8pm Chris and I made our way to The Catford Ram. Chris had double duties as roadie and sound engineer (he also got up and played guitar on one song). All I had to do was to enjoy the music, and take a few snaps. Night Owl had quite a small audience - in fact I could name all but a couple of people there - but the governor of the pub seemed quite happy. Without us few the pub would have been almost empty !
The core of Night Owl's audience
 Here's the core of Night Owl's audience - from left to right - Chris, Roy, Sue, Chris, Andy and Kevin.

 The beer in The Ram is not always as good as it could be, and that acted as a slight curb on the amount consumed, but I still probably had at least three pints in there. I can't remember if it was my idea or Kevin's, but once the gig ended we decided to go to the Wetherspoons pub for one more, and it was just one.....pint of beer....and several shorts !  The walk home from the pub was just a blur, but I do remember going into the fried chicken shop to buy some dinner (or was it an extremely early breakfast ?).

 I have the vaguest recollection of eating the chicken and chips, and what I remember best was the times I dropped crumbs on the floor. This morning I awoke with a bit of a hangover, but this had been accounted for when I booked today as holiday at work. I have no idea what time I went to sleep, and so have no idea how much sleep I got. I forgot to turn off my alarm, and it woke me up at 5am. I managed to turn it off, and the next thing I remember was 6am. I had to get up to go to the toilet then, but managed about an extra hour of sleep until I just could not seem to relax any more.

 It took another couple of hours before I was ready to face getting the hoover out, and hoovering up the food crumbs in the living room. I actually did most of the carpet at the same time - that was a bit of a miracle ! After another hour I was ready to do some laundry. I was going to do more than I actually did, but it was as I started that the sky got darker and darker, and it became obvious that I wouldn't be hanging anything on the washing line this afternoon. So I just did 6 shirts, and they are drying indoors.

 Very soon I am going to do some more housework, and it is going to be washing up. I don't know if I am going to wash everything up, or just enough to serve my lunch on. I think I am going to make a rather splendid ham salad for lunch (and I may have the same for dinner). Once I've had some lunch I fancy an afternoon snooze. I could potentially go out and see Chain playing at The Swan in West Wickham tonight, but it's not one of my favourites pubs, and I probably should lay off the beer tonight. So it looks like I could be having an early night tonight......unless there is something very good on TV.
Thursday 24th July 2014
08:31 BST

  I think to save time I'll just cut and paste what I said yesterday about the weather. Yesterday, today, and probably tomorrow are all very similar. We still haven't topped 28
° C yet, but maybe that will happen today.
 It was just like summer yesterday - warm, bright, and dry. There was plenty of sunshine, and nice breeze to make the 26 - 27° C feel delicious. Today has started off bright and sparkling, but it is now getting cloudy. If the forecast is correct we will have to endure an overcast sky for a lot of the morning, but this afternoon should see blue skies again. Today started at around 17
° C, and the temperature could rise slightly higher than yesterday - maybe 28° C, and some extreme optimists suggest 30° C or more.

It's Thursday, and Thursdays are traditionally my worst day of the week. This Thursday is no exception, and while I don't actually feel lousy, I do feel typically under par in many ways. It all started yesterday morning when I resumed taking two of my blood pressure pills. Of course there is no scientific basis for this, and it's just a mad view based on extreme prejudice and wishful thinking. The word irrational must enter into somewhere too. None of this actually matters apart from I didn't feel as good last night as I did the night before, and I don't feel as good this morning as I did yesterday morning.

 I didn't feel bad going home from work yesterday, but I did feel a bit sluggish. While I plodded along  was fine, but bored. I really wanted to rush home, but I couldn't. (as a side note, if I had ever learned to drive I would have lost my licence within days for speeding - on the assumption that my desire to get home in as little time as possible as a pedestrian would also hold good as a driver). I had the energy to divert to go home via Tesco where I bought lots of stuff - much of it salad and sugar free drink - but I did find myself flagging a bit as I lugged it all home.

 I had a two part dinner last night. Part one was a ready made tuna salad. It did have a dressing with it that looked fairly innocent, and claimed to only contain 328 calories. I assume that was sort of healthy. Part two was another salad. It was a bowl of ready mixed salad that had been in the fridge since before the weekend, and was probably on or past it's use by date. I added a packet/carton/tray/???? of cooked mixed seafood to it, and that too should have been nice and healthy, but it wasn't really. I tried some sweet chilli sauce on it, and I sort of misinterpreted the meaning of the label. I didn't really expect it to be like sweet sugary jam, but that was what it was - chilli jam in a sauce bottle ! Luckily it was so thick and gloopy that I didn't use as much as I might have if it was nice and runny. I also had a sweet last night, but it was a small one - just a couple of spoonfuls of strawberry flavoured frozen yoghurt.

 I find it hard to account for the time between the end of dinner and going to bed. I read some stuff on the internet, and I spoke on the phone for a while, and then I went to bed. It doesn't sound like much, but that seems to be the reality of work days ! I didn't feel very comfortable in bed. It was partly because it was hot and sticky, and partly because the bed felt lumpy and/or my body didn't want to assume the shapes I wanted it to make (or something like that). So I didn't sleep that well, and I even woke up with one leg just going into cramp in the small hours of this morning.

 Maybe poor sleep, not enough of it, and feeling uncomfortable, is the sole reason why I don't feel too wonderful this morning. I still want to blame either the Amlodopine, or the Bisoprolol blood pressure drugs (or both of them)  for feeling like this, but I suppose I have to be open to other ideas. Maybe I could blame beetroot. It was a week or two ago that I think I reported on how I had found some shredded beetroot that I liked. Yesterday I thought I would take a chance on more beetroot.
nice beetroot
 Once again I found that it didn't taste nasty and muddy, but tasted rather nice. This "Spicy Sweetfire" beetroot is allegedly marinated in something, presumably chilli based, to give it a special flavour. Despite it saying that on the label there is no obvious marinade on the beetroots, and I couldn't really detect any heat from that marinade. They were rather nice though. I have no idea how many calories they may contain, but I would guess they probably have loads of carbohydrates like other root vegetables (potatoes etc).

 I only ate about half of this pack of beetroot, and I think that was just enough to give a hint of one of the things that beetroot can do - pink pee. I can't remember if I have already mentioned this, but in the last couple of week the subjects of beetroot came up on the Stephen Fry hosted "quiz" show QI. Apparently, if what they say is accurate, depending on your genetic make up, you will either produce pink pee or pink poo if you eat sufficient beetroot, but never both. It seems my genes make me produce pink pee (or more precisely a feint hint of purple pee).

 I shall have more beetroot, and other stuff tonight, but initially not too much of it - in theory. It will be Thursday night, and that means more live music at The Catford Ram. Tonight it will be Night Owl - Jo Corteen on vocals and acoustic guitar (on some songs) accompanied by Dave Griffiths on electric piano (or keyboards). It should be a most pleasant night, and if I am mad or desperate, made even more pleasant, or drunk, by starting the evening in The Catford Constitutional Club. I'll probably meet Chris and the guys in there before going to The Ram, but I am going to take my time getting ready, eating a light dinner, etc before going to The CCC.

 Seen on my way to work this morning.....
Freezer in the road
 With the primary school on one side of the road, and the railway on the other, this part of the road would seem to be very quiet and discrete, and after dark it is - except that the portion of road before the turning on the left is a bus route ! It's probably why some idiot has dumped a fridge/freezer in a parking bay (but without a permit to park ticket on it !). I wonder if it will be there on my way home, or if some idiot driver drives into it while send a text message as she drives blindly along unaware of anything in front. I would imagine it would look quite spectacular to see a car drive straight into it - while watching from a safe distance !
Wednesday 23rd July 2014
07:55 BST

  It was just like summer yesterday - warm, bright, and dry. There was plenty of sunshine, and nice breeze to make the 26 - 27° C feel delicious. Today has started off bright and sparkling, but it is now getting cloudy. If the forecast is correct we will have to endure an overcast sky for a lot of the morning, but this afternoon should see blue skies again. Today started at around 17
° C, and the temperature could rise slightly higher than yesterday - maybe 28° C, and some extreme optimists suggest 30° C or more.

 It took some time before I realised that I actually felt lousy yesterday morning. The rather stupid choice of a greasy lamb samosa for breakfast left me feeling like I was going to throw up. On top of that I felt really creaky, but as the day wore on, all these nasty things seemed to evaporate, and when I went home I felt quite good - possibly better than I had done for some time, maybe even a long time !

 There is a possible, but highly unlikely reason for feeling so good. On Monday I ran out of two of the pills I take to reduce my blood pressure. One of them, Amlodopine, I have always been suspicious of. It is a shame that I didn't test my blood pressure yesterday to see if it was high. I guess my opinion counts for little against the whole body of opinion of medical science, but I always think my body works better when my blood pressure is high. Maybe it is a case of the candle that burns twice as bright burns twice as fast, but live fast, die young has always seemed to be a very attractive idea. Of course all this is irrelevant because there is no way my blood pressure should go up to what my body thinks is correct for it just by missing one dose.......or could it ????

 The first thing I did when I got home from work was to go straight out again. I couldn't easily do that unless I felt as good as I did yesterday, and that is rather ironic when you consider that I was going to the pharmacy to pick up the very tablets that may cause me to feel so bad that I wouldn't want to go out and get those tablets after a day at work. After I got the tablets I came striding home, and only stopped at the corner shop where I bought some diet cola and some ice cream.

 The ice cream was a bit naughty what with all the sugar and fat in it, but it did cool me off a bit after rushing around in 27
° C of heat. There was one other thing that made yesterday evening a bit out of the ordinary. As well as feeling good, I also didn't feel as starving as usual. Actually, "starving" is not a good word to describe an out of control appetite, but I can't think of a better word. I didn't have the lightest meal possible, but it wasn't bad, and I felt no need to eat a few things I was anticipating eating as well.

 I spent much of the short evening playing with computers. Some time ago, and I think it was towards the end of May, I placed an order with Amazon for a few assorted things, and one of them was a USB dongle for digital TV and also DAB radio. It was curious about the DAB portion. It has been many years since I last received DAB radio on my PC using an ancient device called a Psion Wavefinder. It was great for recording many sci fi radio serials from BBC 7. Well BBC 7 is no more, and neither is my Wavefinder. So it was a bit of an impulse buy to get this new dongle and see what was about on DAB.

 If I recall correctly, the dongle was very cheap, about £3, but the postage and packing was as much as £10 - which probably wasn't bad considering it was sent from China - a fact I only realised soon after ordering it. I think the estimated delivery time was something like 23 days, but it was probably closer to double that - so long that I had forgotten it was coming ! Anyway, after suffering numerous updates, often needing restarts, I got the device working on my netbook when booted to Windows XP. Now I just have to think of a good reason to listen to a DAB radio station ! The device is supported by Linux - up to a point. The DVB-T television worked as soon as I plugged it in, but DAB support under Linux is probably too experimental for me to bother playing with it. If there was something I desperately wanted to listen to, and record. I might be inspired to put my experimenters hat on, and have a go at getting it working - although I doubt I could do it without taking up fags again. It sounds like a one packet problem !

 I had a little trouble relaxing and getting to sleep last night, but once I got to sleep I slept quite well.....well, mostly well. I did wake up once with cramp just starting in one leg, but I managed to nip that in the bud before it got painful. I had several weird dreams in the night. The simplest one to explain concerned being in a house with two other people who I knew well, but who I didn't really look at. So I never saw their faces, and can't put a name to them. This house had voids behind the walls that were almost big enough for me to get through, but far easier to one of my unknown friends who was far smaller than me. For unknown reasons we were going to plant explosives behind a major load bearing wall in the centre of the house. I either woke up, or moved on to another dream before I even saw any explosives (or had any notion of where to find them).

 The other notable dream (or dreams) also concerned a house. The really curious thing about this house was that it felt like home even though it was obviously different to where I now live, or any places I have lived in, in the past. The really, really curious thing is that I am sure this house has appeared in past dreams as well. It seems so familiar. It's almost as if I got a crossed line in my dream, and dreamed someone else's dream.....or something dramatically weird or supernatural like that. Maybe I touch the psyche of a me in a (almost) parallel universe in some of these dreams. Maybe I stop to think about these dreams too much instead of just enjoying them.

 This morning I woke up feeling sort of good except for the aches and pains. One of the curious pains, although I think I only noticed it last night in bed, was a sore left nipple ! This was another of those "this could be good", but so often turns out not to be good moments. Once upon a time (since my operation) my whole left man boob was more or less numb, and gradually the sensation has returned to it. The only bit that is still numb is the nipple, and I think that is coming back to life. There is one very good reason why it will be nice if 100% perfect sensation comes back to it - and that's when I slide my mobile phone into my shirts breast pocket. It can feel damn weird without proper feeling there, and at one time it was actually sort of painful.

 My "pulled muscle", that must be something far stranger than a pulled muscle, is still sore this morning. Once it got to the stage where it no longer hurt unless provoked, it seemed to stop getting better, but maybe it has changed in some way that is too subtle to describe, and maybe it has been joined by a few other muscular feeling aches. Most things I do don't provoke it, but certain twisting motions, and picking something up at a slightly odd angle to provoke it, but fortunately it is usually no more than a dull pain. One pain that was quite intense, screaming agony for a few milliseconds, was the result of a little mishap yesterday.
burnt finger
 That white area on my left index finger is the result of trying to solder my finger instead of the electronic component I was holding. I was working using my microscope, and the field of view is so narrow that I couldn't see where the soldering iron bit was - but I sure felt it ! It actually looks a lot worse than it really is. The white area is purely on the surface, and consists of skin cells that are already dead being singed. This morning I just have a small, shallow and essentially painless blister that will probably disappear in a few days.

 I guess I was feeling fairly good by yesterday lunchtime. I was certainly feeling good enough for a brief stroll to the park.
The River Wandle
 I didn't go into the park. I just spent a few minutes watching the River Wandle flowing under the bridge while a pleasant breeze refreshed me as I stood with hot sun on my back.With the blue sky above is was all very pleasant, and if work wouldn't have missed me I could have stayed there half the afternoon.
Tuesday 22nd July 2014
08:22 BST

  It may have been warm and dry, but yesterday's weather was not terribly exciting. Except for a few brief periods of time the sky ranged between light grey and milky white. I'm not even sure there was any blue in those few brief times when there were a few rays of sunshine. The temperature still reached the high twenties though. This morning has started off quite fresh feeling, maybe 17° C, and much of the sky is blue. The forecast suggests that until the evening it will be a fairly sunny day. The top temperature will only be 25
° C, and it will be dry.

 I didn't write anything yesterday because there was nothing much to write about, and I was also feeling pretty lousy. Apart from visits to the toilet, and visits to the kitchen for cold drinks and grabbing occasional snacks, I stayed in my bedroom. I didn't have, or want any formal meals. So I just had occasional snacks. I can't work out if I ate more or less than on an equivalent day (probably a Sunday).

 Considering I spent so many hours laying on my bed yesterday, and could doze off any time I wanted - and did doze off several times or more - I fell asleep easily last night, and I slept rather well. Maybe not perfectly, but I can't remember the last time I slept non-stop for 7 or 8 hours. The best I can manage these days is about 4 hours (perhaps in my wildest imagination that could be 5 hours). All that rest and sleep still didn't seem enough to stop my eyelids feeling heavy for one short period ot time while on the train this morning.

 Today I am back at work, but I can't work out if I feel good or bad today. I initially thought I felt quite bad. Bits of me ached, and that included what I shall describe as my upper stomach area. I sometimes wonder if I want to vomit. Hopefully not. While some bits of me felt rancid and rotten, other bits seem to be in unusually good working order. I didn't feel like rushing around this morning, and so I didn't push very hard, but at a good moderate pace my legs seemed to work very well. Walking to the station, between stations at Waterloo, and from the station to work seemed unusually effortless. If I could do that at a fast pace I think I would feel rather good about it.

 There are many things I could do tonight, but I reckon I'll only be aiming to do two of them. The first is to visit the pharmacy I use to see if they have a repeat prescription of all my little evil blood pressure pills made up for me (I put the order in yesterday morning). The second thing is to try and get to bed early, and of course to try and get to sleep as quickly as possible. Between the two I feel a light dinner would be useful. I'm not sure what a light dinner would consist of, and whether it is even possible with the ingredients available in my fridge and cupboard, but I'll make up something as I go along.

 Nothing much was happening at Waterloo station this morning. There was nothing happening on the concourse, and for a brief period there were no trains moving. The train in platform 2 that eventually formed the 07:20 service to Woking (or Dorking - always mix up those two) had suffered an electrical failure - or so we were told. I suspect it had held up services on its way into Waterloo, and so for a few minutes it was the only train in the low numbered platforms - the ones I use to get to Earlsfield. A few minutes later the train that would become the 07:24 service to Dorking (or Woking - still mix them up) pulled into to platform 1. I was about to get on the 07:24 when it was announced that the train for the 07:20 had been fixed. So I got on that one. Unfortunately it was the 07:24 that left first - roughly on time. We had to wait another 3 minutes for the 07:20 to leave 7 minutes late.
                        07:20 from platform 2 at Waterloo station
 This train, after the electrical fault on it had been fixed, and after the "Not To Be Moved" flag was taken down, was the 7 minute late running 07:20 train that took me from Waterloo to Earlsfield this morning.
Sunday 20th July 2014
16:48 BST  It was difficult to know if it was just me, or if it was the humidity, or if 30.3° C just tipped the balance, but it definitely felt the hottest it has been this July, or probably in the last 12 months ! It felt very uncomfortable, and I was put off going out last night - despite knowing that it would actually be much more pleasant outside......but then again, the pub I would have been heading for can get very hot if it gets crowded in there (at least that is how I remember it). It only cooled down a bit last night, and I seem to recall seeing 24° C on my thermometer this morning, but it did feel very much fresher.  Apart from a couple of sunny periods, it has been mostly overcast today, but that hasn't stopped the temperature rising back up to 26° C. As I write this it is getting darker outside, and it it is feeling much more humid (although having just eaten some hot food will be spoiling my judgement about humidity). It is not raining yet, but it is almost certainly about to start. We have just had a bright flash of lighning, and the crash of thunder came quite quickly after it. Somewhere not too south from here (in my estimate) is probably getting battered with heavy rain right now. It will be surprising if it isn't our turn soon.

 My attempt to find out what the weather would be for today, and for tomorrow, broke the internet this morning !
No weather today !
 The BBC's website was back to normal 10 minutes after I took this screen shot, and the forecast, as I remember it, was close to reality - although it did say that it ought to have started raining here a little while ago. If it continues to be close to right then tomorrow will be similar to today - occasional sunny periods, but more often overcast. It may be a degree or two cooler, and it should stay dry all day.

 By choosing to stay in, instead of going to a gig, I had to find ways of amusing myself last night. TV helped a bit, and an edition of QI revealed an interesting piece of information concerning beetroot that ties in with some comments I made here recently. On two recent occasions I have eaten a large pack of shredded beetroot. I can be such a strong red/purple dye that I wondered if I would do pink/purple poo ! Jeremy Clarkson, one of the guests on QI said that he was affected by beetroot in that way. It was then stated that some people produced coloured poo, and some produce coloured pee, but never both (or it was exceedingly rare). I can confirm/confess that my genes mean I produce rosé pee and not purple poo !

 The other thing I watched last night was the James Bond film "GoldenEye".

(Newsflash - 17:18; The rain has started, and the peals of thunder, although distant, are getting quite frequent now)
 Like most Bond films it was action packed, but it was British action (hoorah !), and ignoring the traditional climax, just sufficient to stop American viewers from falling asleep, or understanding enough of the plot to realise that America was just an incidental player in the general plot, and wasn't running the whole show ! I'm sure that if someone could work out why "Bond movies" can be good one day if you are in the mood to be receptive to them, or bad the next day if you are not. Whoever works that out could easily become very rich !

 It was around midnight when I went to sleep last night. I guess that by that time it had cooled down quite a bit, and provided I didn't pull the duvet over more than a foot, or maybe a knee cap, I seemed to sleep quite easily, and probably rather well. I woke a few times during the night, but not for any significant length of time, and I felt comfortable enough to keep going back to sleep until gone 9am.

 I intended to do something today, but when it came to it I couldn't think of anything that would inspire me to do anything positive. So I've had a lazy day. I've only done two things today that are easy to explain or understand. One is to have made good headway in re-reading one of the many books on my bookshelves. The other thing I have done I did very recently - literally just a few minutes ago. I proved just how humid it was - by accident. I picked up a 2 litre bottle of Aldi diet cola that I had taken out the frisge just before I started writing. The humidity is so high right now that it was like picking up an open water tap. The condensation was just pouring off that bottle.

 Tonight I should be aiming to get to sleep nice and early....well before I can be bright and fresh for work tomorrow. After several nights of not getting to bed before midnight, and sometimes not sleeping until closer to 1am, it is going to be a bit of a struggle - a struggle that I may not win, or even attempt too rigourously, but I'll do what I can.
Saturday 19th July 2014
17:05 BST

  It really did seem that yesterday would end with a bang instead of a wimper. As the sun set there was some thunder to be heard in the far distance, and an occasional weak flash from beyond the horizon (or so it could be imagined), but that was it, or at least that was all I was aware of. While there may not have been any thunder and lightning near here, there was certainly some rain - loads of it ! It was a theme that continued this morning, and then suddenly stopped a little while before I wanted to go out. Since about 10am it has been bright, often sunny, and the temperature has risen to a peak of 30.3° C. That is the highest I have seen on my thermometer throughout this little heat wave. The temperature has dropped back to 29.5° C now, and is probably still dropping. I can't be certain, because I have the curtains drawn most of the time, but I think the cloud is building up again. That could mean a storm tonight is starting to brew up again. Tomorrow is forecast to be a little cooler, and a little cloudier. Maybe it will be a completely dry day, but that seems unlikely to me.

 I had a very pleasant night, last night. Probably about as pleasant as life can be without someone to share it with. Although it felt like it was good enough to share, I wonder if it really was. In reality it was very self indulgent, but it put me in a very good mood, and I guess that is what it would have been nice to share around - like a contagious disease maybe !

 There were a couple of interesting programmes on TV, and I enjoyed them with a couple of large whiskies. What I really wanted was a fag, or a snack, or a snack and a fag, but all I allowed myself was whisky with no fag, and no snack. Meanwhile, on BBC4 TV they were showing a programme about great guitar riffs. The first half of it was really good - loads of classic stuff from the 1960s and 1970s - the second half, as it came up to date, was appalling. I'm not sure I even heard any stand out guitar riffs, and I feel certain none of them were "great" ! Eventually I switched over to "Dave" who were showing a repeat of an edition of "Have I Got A Bit More News For You". It was rather handy. I had seen half that episode earlier in the evening, and then had a chance to see the other half before I decided I probably ought to be in bed.

 It was about midnight when I got to bed. It was too hot and sticky to cover myself up, and I thought it might be just too hot to ever get to sleep, but with it being calm outside (just steady rain) it turned out to be easy to fall asleep. Of course some credit must go to the whisky, and it may well have been the whisky that should take the blame for me waking up feeling stiff and cold at about 4am this morning. I don't think it had cooled down that much, but laying naked in front of the fan for so long may not have been recommended.

 It was difficult sleeping properly after that. Initially I covered a lot of myself with the duvet, but half an hour (perhaps a full hour) after that I woke up feeling like I was cooking. So I covered just one leg, and one arm, and tried again. That sort of worked for a while, and for the next few hours I experimented with sleeping with assorted bits of me exposed, and bits uncovered. When 7am came along I decided I probably ought to give up trying to sleep, and to start getting up. I felt pretty awful. Some of it was hangover, but much of it wasn't. For a while it felt like I had the 'flu.

 By the time I had washed, done some simple housework, and walked to the station to meet Aleemah, I felt OK - which isn't quite as good as "good", but is sufficient to pursue the usual trials of life without impediment. If I had one regret it was that I automatically when for a couple of halves of ale when we went to the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast. The ales were nice, but they are having a cider "festival" at the moment, and there were some interesting ciders and perrys that I could have tried - there's nothing like fruit juice for breakfast....and if it is fermented what !

 After breakfast Aleemah wanted to go in the 99p shop. It makes a change for her to want to go in there, but I was more than happy with that even though I came equipped to get some shopping from Aldi's. Instead of buying a huge bag of crud, I bought just two items in the 99p shop. One was a large gift pack (probably) of joss sticks. The other item was a Belkin USB 3 lead. If it was a genuine Belkin lead, and there is no real reason to believe it wasn't, it was an absolute bargain at 99p. Belkin stuff is usually hideously expensive. There could be a small catch to it though. The end that plugs into a PC is the correct shape to be USB 2 compatible - as it should be. The other end looks slightly weird to me, and I wonder  if it is a non standard connector - maybe one that was proposed, but never made it into the final standard. At a cost of 99p it will never break the bank if it turns out to be useless, but it could possibly be damn handy to have if some peripheral using that connector should ever turn up some day.

 With our shopping done in the 99p shop we moved on the Aldi. I was surprisingly careful about what I bought in there. I did buy a few luxury (unhealthy) items, but most of it should be OK if I can eat it in moderation - including the bambi (venison) burgers (which should be very low fat if not infused with too much pork fat as sometimes happens). I was less careful about how much I bought by weight. I bought quite a lot to drink, and bottles of drink can get quite heavy. Fortunately I hadn't over done it, and there have been plenty of occasions when I've staggered back with much heavier loads - including far too soon after my operation last year, and I may suffer the consequences of that to my dying day if the consequences are all the random muscular pains I get around my chest - including what I describe as my pulled muscle.

 So while it wasn't an exceptional load to stagger back with, it was quite a heavy load for a hot and humid day when I've got company. I have to confess I was not a very pretty or attractive sight when we got back here. I was dripping from head to toe ! Some ice cold drink, and a splash of cold water cooled me down a bit, and a change into dry clothing almost, but not really, completed the transformation. I could then sit down and relax as we watched a typical all action/little plot Hollywood type movie called Stigmata. If my description suggests that I did not completely enjoy it then...........

 I should be going out tonight to see Chain playing in The Chatterton Arms, but I'm not sure I will. While bits of the journey (generally, the walking bits) to the pub may be quite refreshing, I fear it will be stifling in the pub. It is not that nice here in the heat, but at least I can walk around half undressed, and I have some fans to stir up the air. I can't seem to find an accurate memory of The Chatterton Arms (probably too drunk when I am there), but some faint after image is of dripping rather than shivering. The new governor of the pub has made some improvements, but I don't recall that including air conditioning. Maybe I shall just be patient, and wait until next Thursday night for my next fix of live music from Night Owl in The Catford Ram.
Friday 18th July 2014
20:48 BST

  It didn't get as hot as expected yesterday. I think the highest I saw was 28 - 29° C, but it was a nice sunny day. The sky stayed clear until almost midnight, but rapidly clouded over in the early hours of this morning, and then all the energy stored up in the hot air was released in a gigantic thunderstorm. It started here at about 1.30am, and it could still be heard an hour or two later. It was such a dramatic storm that it featured heavily in the TV news. Today has been mostly clear, and there has been a lot of hot sunshine. Once again it didn't quite hit 30° C on any of my thermometers (except the one inside my bedroom), and once again an awful lot of energy has been poured into the air, and to the south it is very cloudy......
the sky getting very dark !
 This is the view south from here, and that sky above the houses is not blue, dark blue or any shade of blue known to man. It is a murky dark grey - the sort of grey that thunderbolts flash out from, and from which torrents of water fall.  I took that picture about half an hour ago, and the view outside now shows the sky to be even darker, and the houses being lit up by a sort of jaundiced yellow light. The weather looks very, very fragile right now.....and that is in line with the forecast - more storms forecast for tonight, and sun and storms tomorrow !

 While it was nice being in an air conditioned office yesterday, it was nicer to go home. The actual journey home was not nice. It almost never is, but at least it was uneventful. Once I was home I had a small snack before washing my hair and taking a shower, and then I had another snack. I really wanted a full dinner, but as I was going out I managed to refrain from eating one. Even so, the shorts I decided to wear were stupidly tight, and only just wearable. I did wonder if I would have to give up and go home to either change, or to stay in. With The Catford Ram only being 5 minutes walk away either would have been possible.

 Happily for me those shorts seemed to leave enough blood flowing to my knees, and other places, and in practice didn't feel uncomfortable once they were on. Of course I did have the distraction of beer, and some rather good music from The Spiders.
The Spiders
The Spiders
Mark Mason on lead guitar
While Steve (bass guitar) and John (drums) look on, Mark Mason plays guitar.
All the Spiders
The low notes and high notes
Mark plays the low notes, and Chris plays the high notes.......well that's what it looks like.
extra vocals from Jo Corteen
Some extra vocals from Jo Corteen.
 (9.20pm and it is now raining quite hard, but no lightning - yet !)

 I think it was gone 11pm when I left the pub and went straight home to have some supper. I can't recall exactly what it was I had, but it was quite a small meal - more like a snack (I think !). Then I went straight to bed. It was rather hot in my bedroom last night, but I must have got to sleep quite quickly because I feel sure I managed more than an hours sleep before the thunder woke me up. Despite the violence going on outside, and with the window open it was quite loud, I must have fallen asleep quite easily. I was woken up once or twice more before I woke up a little after 5am.

 It was then that my reason for booking today off work kicked in. I had my morning visits to the toilets, and then got back in bed again. I slept for a bit longer before getting up again to turn on my PC to check stuff on the internet. Then I went back to bed once again. I entered that curious state of being half asleep and half awake. It felt like I was awake a lot, but several hours passed without me being aware of it. It was almost 11am when I decided I had probably better get up.

 (9.30pm and I've heard a distant rumble of thunder, but it is still calm here)

 I'm not sure if I had a plan for today, but if I did I didn't follow it. I did do two of the things I thought I might do. I did some laundry - two lots of it. I washed a couple of towels - a big(ish) one and a tea towel - plus a remarkably smelly face flannel. Once that was hanging on the line, happily dripping away, I washed some t-shirts and pants. I thought that it would all dry very quickly under the hot sun, but I was wrong. There was very little breeze in my back garden, and even after 6 hours some of the laundry had damp patches. Worse still was that one patch of my face flannel was still smelly ! That is going to need washing again before I can use it.

 I had thought that I would go to Aldi today, but in the end I couldn't be bothered. The same was true about a few stray thoughts that passed through my mind about going out for a walk in the park or somewhere. It just didn't feel like it would be productive. Instead of stuff like that I spent a fair time photo editing, and the photos above were just a small sample of the ones I prepared today.

 It may not be that long until I go to bed, but I don't expect to sleep all that well - at least not initially. I've had a mostly lazy day, and I have had a snooze or two today. On top of that, the distant thunder I can occasionally hear is getting nearer, and more frequent. Tonight's storm could be more violent than last night ! Could be interesting ! It will be nice if I can get some good sleep tonight. I'm seeing Aleemah tomorrow, and so I ought to be up early enough to tidy up a bit before I see her, and then I expect to have a late night at a Chain gig in The Chatterton Arms, in Bromley tomorrow.
Thursday 17th July 2014
08:33 BST

  Yesterday's lovely morning gave way to clouds in the afternoon - just as the forecast predicted - and some of those clouds looked very dark and threatening, but still in line with the forecast, it didn't rain. The longest time with out any sunshine was probably about an hour (at a rough guess), and it was probably sometime like 5 to 6pm. By 7pm the cloud seemed to have broken up a lot, and there were several long sunny periods before sunset. By my reckoning the temperature reached a rather sticky, but still very pleasant 28° C.

 This morning started off with clear skies. I am unsure of the exact temperature, but I'm guessing it was probably around 17 or 18
° C, and feeling rather humid. While I travelled to work the sky got very cloudy, but then cleared again. It seems that this may continue through the day. Meanwhile the temperature, and humidity will continue to rise. We may hit 30° C by late this afternoon. The forecast doesn't seem to include the threat of any thunderstorms developing today, but tomorrow, which could reach the heady heights of 32° C, could end with a crash, bang wallop !

  My main source of discomfort as I travelled home after work yesterday, was my feet. During the day they swelled up, and it was quite a struggle to put my shoes back on (I had been wearing flip-flops during the day). That was awkward, but not really a problem once my shoes were on. What the real problem was, the real cause of pain, was that in the morning a rough spot had worn some of the skin off my left little toe, and it really did sting a bit as I started to walk to the station. Eventually the concentrated pain relaxed, to be replaced with a far more diffuse sort of pain. It was very nice to get home and get those shoes off. They would be fine for a quick walk to the supermarket and back, but I must remember to never wear then to work again.

 On reflection, I ate far too much last night. I was testing out some of my shorts this morning with a view to coming to work in a pair this morning. I was not convinced that a single pair would be comfortable to wear all day long, and some I couldn't really do up at all. It seems the curse of not smoking is making me expand more than I thought. I do consciously try and avoid the worst excesses of eating, but it seems that is not enough, and I should be on a starvation diet at the moment.

 It is damn hard to cut off one of the few pleasures of life, or indeed the only pleasure on most days, but it probably needs to be done. Sometimes it seems that leading a pleasureless life is a poor reward just to make getting to work easier. It was far easier when I was trying to stop the angina pains last year. That strong, and life threatening pain was a pretty good motivator. Prior to going into hospital I was in pretty good shape apart from the blocked arteries, and I think that is why I was treated so quickly....and why I started to recover so well. Shame that recovery seemed to slow down, and sometimes seems to have halted now - all for the sake of a few (tens of) fags (per day). If I could face and afford being ripped off like a complete sucker by the government again, I am pretty certain I would take it up again and get myself fit and healthy again.

 It was rather hot and steamy last night, but after some initial difficulty getting to sleep, I slept rather well, and yet I really didn't want to get up to come to work this morning. After a warm shower I was sweating badly, and I would have loved to not have had to walk to the station so soon after that shower. I would have preferred to put a large towel on my bed (if I had one big enough), and just lie there naked until I had cooled down, and maybe had another hours sleep. Then I would slowly build myself up to go to work, or out somewhere. In some fantasy parallel universe life could be fun, but not it seems in this one.

 Well maybe there could be fun coming up. Tonight The Spiders, Chris Mayer's new band, are playing in The Catford Ram. They start at 8.30pm so I won't have to rush around to get ready after getting home from work. The bigger difficulty will be staying awake until then ! So there will be music and beer tonight, and that is always a pleasure, and there is more pleasure to come. It's going to be a late night. So I've booked tomorrow off work. Tomorrow I can get up, have a shower, and then laze around, perhaps even getting more sleep, before slowly getting myself mentally and physically prepared to do something or another at a completely civilised speed (the speed of a sloth !).
Wednesday 16th July 2014
08:23 BST

  Today may be very similar to yesterday except for a reversal of order, and today will be hotter. Yesterday morning started off rather cloudy, but eventually the cloud dispersed, and we had a lovely sunny afternoon. Today has started out gloriously bright. The sky is blue, and the sun is shining, but it is forecast to be overcast and grey this afternoon - maybe not heavily overcast, and nasty dark grey, but we will probably lose all the sunshine. It will still be hot though. Yesterday reached at least 25° C, and today it is supposed to reach at least 27° C. After today things get a bit dodgy. Even warmer air is heading our way, but it is very wet air, and if it meets any cold air then there could be fireworks. Potentially 30° C and thunderstorms - lovely !

 It wasn't until I was on my way home from work yesterday that I realised my extra strength dose of whisky had done some good. It is often not easy to recognise the absence of something, but something made me aware that I was getting no pain at all from my pulled muscle, and I couldn't remember when it had last pained me during the day. The lack of pain lasted right p to when I got into bed last night. I was fine while laying on my back (apart from the usual discomfort of trying to go to sleep on my back), but as soon as I turned over onto my right side I could feel the pain building up around my shoulder blade like bad back ache.

 It wasn't so bad on my left side, and I think that is how I fell asleep. I didn't fall asleep very quickly though. It was probably more because I was bored than sleepy that I went to be at about 8.30pm. It may have taken an hour, or even an hour and a half before I fell asleep, but once I did, I seemed to sleep quite well. This morning my pulled muscle was providing lots of quite mild pain when I do certain actions. At the moment, nearly 4 hours after getting up, and particularly at this very instant, I can feel no discomfort at all, but I know if I reach out to pick up something slightly heavy, perhaps a can of drink, I will get a bit of a twinge. Also, as I have just realised, it can still be painful to cough (although it is not the cough itself that is painful - it is the intake of breath that pulls the pulled muscle - if that makes any sense). So I am not there yet, but this is all a huge improvement over last week.

 Last night's dinner was a bit of a mixture. The main course was a bowl of salad with some mackerel. The can said mackerel in tomato sauce, but it looked more like a pilchard to me. This is one of the problems of buying stuff from the 99p shop. Some of it was originally meant to be sold in other countries, and maybe in some other, presumably English speaking country, they call pilchards mackerel. Either that or someone stuck the wrong labels on the cans, and that is why they were sold cheaply to the 99p shop.

 That was the main course, but I also had a sort of starter, and even a non sweet sweet !
reduced price snacklet
 This Tesco "Finest" tomato, olive and rosemary salad was nice, but not wonderful. I would buy another for £1.05, but not for the original price of £2.15. That was my starter, and my non sweet sweet was a carton/tub (the same size as the one in the picture) of Moroccan couscous with chargrilled vegetables. That was half price too, as was a tub of tomato flavoured pasta that I also consumed last night. It was a pretty cheap night full of variety and mostly tasty ! I don't know what I will eat tonight. I might search out some more bargains on the way home....or maybe I won't.

 I feel both good and bad this morning. As I've already mentioned, my pulled muscle is still giving me some occasional, and mostly mild discomfort. After my mega helping of shredded beetroot on Monday night I don't seem to have done any pink or purple poo - which is a shame for some completely unknown reason - but something has given me more wind than is good for mixing in polite company. I had to get off the train at Clapham Junction this morning - not because of discomfort, but from embarrassment. I am surprised my silent discharge didn't derail the train ! I then wasted 20p in a wasted visit to the toilets there.

 The rest of me seems to be working quite well. My feet and legs seem less swollen these last couple of days. Last night I was even able to take my jeans off by wiggling my legs like I always could prior to my calves swelling up. Having less swollen feet gave me the chance to try out some trainers I haven't used for a couple of years. They fitted OK, and they are OK to walk in except for one minor problem - a rough area that is wearing away the skin on my left little toe. I think I have some socks in my bag, and I think it would be wise to put them on when I go home this afternoon.
The long arm of the law at Waterloo
 On my way home from work I spotted that the rozzers had set up a stand on the concourse of Waterloo station - not in the prime spot, that was still taken by Network Rail doing their summer promotion, but round the back of one of the groups of ticket machines. I'm not sure what they were promoting, but I hope it was nothing to do with petty theft because........Looking at my picture I see a woman policeman holding her forehead as she looks down at the table with teary eyes saying that she was sure she had left her purse on the table. Meanwhile, her colleague on the left is taking down her statement in his notebook.

Meanwhile, back in the real world..
lightning damage
 This isn't an unusual sight for me, and I don't know why I suddenly decided to take this picture, but I did. It is a view down my bench microscope of a communications chip that may have been struck by lightning, or if not lightning, some other powerful surge. Half the top of the chip has been blown away by the force of the mini explosion. This 2D picture is only half as impressive as the 3D view through the two lenses of my stereoscopic microscope.
Tuesday 15th July 2014
08:35 BST

  Yesterday was very pleasant. It was dry, sunny, and just about warm. The top temperature was somewhere around 22° C. I don't know if it rained at 3am, as the forecast said it might, but it didn't cool down much overnight, and this morning it was 20
° C when I set out to come to work. The one thing that spoiled it was that it was overcast, but the cloud is breaking up, and I can now see a lot of blue areas of sky. The cloud should continue to disperse, and later this morning, and for much of the afternoon it is supposed to be gloriously sunny. This will send the temperature up to the point where warm starts to give way to the lower reaches of hot - 26 or maybe 27° C. Unfortunately it is going to be a very humid and sticky heat - or so the weatherman said on TV last night.

 Going home from work had an unusual phase yesterday. I felt fairly good, not really energetic, but better than many recent, and not so recent journeys home. I made good progress all the way back to Catford, and I was fine going around Tesco's picking up a few bits and pieces, but I was halfway between Tesco and home, and it was like I had hit a brick wall. Well maybe that it an exaggeration. It was more like a wall made of feathers, but it was quite sudden. I went from feeling fine to feeling very weary over the course of about three paces. It wasn't enough to stop me, far from it, but it made the last couple of minutes of walking a bit of a drudge.

 I recovered fairly quickly once I got home, put down my shopping, and sat down in front of my PC. Once I got my PC up and running - which took a couple of attempts because it seems to have developed an unusual fault - and had checked my email and stuff, I prepared my dinner. It was a fairly high fibre dinner that was, on the whole, fairly low fat and sugar. The core of it was salad with some ready cooked "maple barbecued" salmon fillets. I also had some other stuff with that.

 One "side dish" was some Parmesan coleslaw. It did have hint of cheesiness about it, but like all coleslaw it was mainly white cabbage. I expect the Parmesan cheese, if indeed it was real cheese, added a bit of unnecessary fat, and the mayonnaise like substance that it was all bound up in probably had all sorts of rubbish in it. It wasn't all that nice if I am honest. The other "side dish" was a lot nicer than I expected.

 It was shredded beetroot, and the package described it as sweet and smoky. It was the smoky reference that intrigued of course, the fact that it was on the reduced price shelf at less than half price - just 49p. I am not terribly keen on beetroot, and if I have it at all, I usually have it in quite small quantities. It's earthy taste seems quite unpleasant after a bit, but this shredded beetroot did seem unusually nice. I'm not sure if I would pay full price for it, but if I see any more of it at a reduced price I think I would buy it.

 The thing about beetroot is that it is very intensely reddish purple, and last night I ate the whole tub of it. I didn't look for how much it weighed, but I reckon that it must have been a whole large (eating) apple sized beetroot that was shredded into that tub. This morning I am sure my pee had a hint of purple in it, and sometime in the next 24 hours I feel sure I will be producing amusingly pinky purple poo !

 I wanted to get to sleep early last night, and to help me on my way with that I thought I would repeat the experiment I did last week. I had a couple of immensely large whiskys before getting in bed. They certainly helped me get to sleep, and for a little while I must have been almost comatose ! I woke up around 10pm convinced it was time to get up and go to work. Fortunately I saw the light, or maybe the lack of it by that time, and I was soon asleep again.

 I reckon I slept well last night, but I don't think the whisky had any good effect on my pulled muscle - which I am now sure might not be something as simple as a pulled muscle, but hey ho...The areas that were tender are still tender this morning, but are no longer bothersome most of the time, and even when I do have to put them under strain, the pain is not that strong, and is short lived. I guess it is slowly fading away, but like all my ailments that can be traced back to my operation, after an initial spurt of healing, the final healing seems to take forever.

 It is two things I haven't mentioned yet that left me feeling less than wonderful this morning. All the fibre and stuff I ate last night seems to be sitting in my gut like a time bomb waiting to go off, and rather unusually, the whisky I had last night seems to have left me with a headache. It's not a powerful headache. In fact it is very mild, but it does seem to be very persistent. There is one other source of discomfort, and that is the humidity. I got quite sweaty coming to work, but the air-con in my room soon dried me out........until halfway through writing this the chilli sauce I had on my breakfast of chick pea salad suddenly did it's stuff, and for a little while I broke out into another sweat !

 It seems it will be rather warm when I get home after work today, and that will raise a certain temptation. There was some stuff in the newspaper yesterday about how frozen yoghurt seems to be getting quite popular. It went on to mention the health benefits of frozen yoghurt compared to conventional ice cream - but failed to mention the hidden sugar. Well maybe it is not hidden, but it isn't obvious if you are not pre-warned to check the ingredients. I am very aware how yoghurt is sold as extra healthy stuff because it can be very low fat, and yet can contain hideous amounts of sugar in it. That did not stop me buying some frozen yoghurt yesterday, and a check of the ingredients shows that it does have a lot of sugar in it. I didn't have anything with added sugar in it yesterday, and so I could take a chance on some frozen yoghurt if I feel hot tonight, but I shouldn't really. What I should really do, and probably will, is to have another nice early night if I can sleep without any booze tonight.

 This morning I took one more picture of the latest offering on the concourse of Waterloo station - this time from ground level.
Waterloo station concourse 
Monday 14th July 2014
08:09 BST

  Yesterday afternoon was dry, and often sunny, but the best sunshine was probably in the last few hours before sunset. That was the start to a run of pleasant weather - a run that might only last 24 hours, but maybe longer if we are lucky. This morning has started of gloriously sunny, and not that cool. The forecast says this morning should be just 13° C, but it feels closer to the almost 15
° C that I am sure I noticed on one of the thermometers at home. If the pattern of the forecast is followed then we should see almost non stop sunshine until the afternoon, and it will start to tickle the lower end of warm at 23° C. Cloud will start to build during the afternoon, and by 3am tomorrow morning it will be raining - or so the weather forecasters believe !

 I had a thoroughly lazy Sunday afternoon...and that may not have been such a good thing. I guess I was a little bored despite time seeming to flash by until it was time for bed. With no physical distractions I had to live with whatever my mind came up with. Quite often it was quite good stuff, but quite often it made me feel like I wanted to eat. I didn't really have any formal meals yesterday, but I did have a series of often quite small snacks. Some of those snacks were pretty innocent, and others, like the cornetto I bought from the corner shop, were most definitely bad for me.

 There were a few times when I dozed off yesterday afternoon, and that's a nice thing to do on a Sunday. It may have even been beneficial in some ways, but it was probably one reason why I didn't get to sleep until gone 11pm last night. I guess I must have slept well because I don't feel particularly tired this morning. If I choose to ignore some of the minor, and quite common problems, I reckon I could almost bring myself to say I feel quite good this morning.

 I had no problem getting up after not getting as much sleep as I feel I deserve, and I even found the energy to wash my hair before coming to work. Unlike last Friday, the first pair of trainers I put on, my purple Vans, seemed to be quite comfortable. My feet seem to be averagely swollen, but my calves don't seem to be excessively swollen like they were last Friday. I reckon I could have worn my dark blue jeans that I couldn't wear on Friday...although maybe not for work where their tightness could be bothersome by the end of the day.

 My most annoying discomfort is still my pulled muscle(s). It hasn't really changed much since the huge improvement when I pickled it in whisky in the middle of last week. Either doing the hand laundry, which I feared may do some harm, actually did some good, or all the rest I had yesterday did some good. I don't know which, or maybe it was both, but this morning it feels different, and I'm not sure how. If I make the wrong move it can still be quite painful, but maybe the change is that the pain seems a bit more diffuse, not quite so localised, and maybe, just maybe a little milder. The optimist in me says it is a sign of recovery, while the pessimist says it is just one of those things, and may not last !

 It is difficult to remove the very positive effect of bright early morning sunshine when trying to decide just how well my body is working today, and maybe it doesn't matter anyway. In theory, my blood sugar level, as a result of some wonky decisions yesterday, should be rather higher than is good for me, and maybe that has raised my blood pressure too. The high blood glucose/sugar level is most evident in the amount of sweating I've done this morning. I don't think I stopped sweating from after I got out from under a hot shower until after sitting down here at work.....oh, I think my forehead might have been dry when my train arrived at Earlsfield station, but a fairly rapid walk to work triggered it off again.

 If my blood pressure is nice and high, like a good working pump should be, and unlike how my doctors like it to be, it could explain why I was able to walk from home to the station as fast as I did, and the same from Earlsfield station to here at work. It doesn't explain why the middle walk, the one across the elevated link between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations was such hard work !  The walks that I describe as fast were not exceptionally fast, and would better be described as the proper speed for walking to and from stations - if such a thing as a proper speed could ever be defined - whatever - it felt quite satisfactory to me !

 While walking between stations at Waterloo I noticed that Network Rail were promoting..........something  ??????
Network Rail promoting summer at
                    Waterloo station
Summer at Waterloo concourse
 I wondered if they were promoting the shops, many of them new, at Waterloo - particularly those that are up on the new balcony. It was all a bit undefined, and even when I walked past the front of the display it didn't seem to reveal much. Perhaps I should have picked up a leaflet or something.

 One thing I did pass last Friday did make a lot of sense....
The Spiders at The Catford Ram
  This is a quick snapshot of a poster outside The Catford Ram for a gig this coming Thursday. It's a shame that it has got a most conventional start time, but I guess I can't be lucky every time. In fact this will be the first of a series of Thursday night gigs. Next week it will be Night Owl if my memory serves me well. One of the most important things I have to do today is to book this and next Friday off work. With no work in the morning I will be able to get recklessly drunk, or not as the need arises, but more importantly I won't have to worry about getting up in the morning. I usually find it easy to go to work with a hangover, but devastatingly hard after a lack of sleep !
Sunday 13th July 2014
12:59 BST

  It finally started to rain later than was forecast yesterday. I am unsure how heavy it was, or for how long it was falling. I closed the curtains when it started, and ignored the outside world. This morning started off mild, but rather overcast. At about 11am it started to pour with rain, and for a while it looked to be quite heavy. Then, as quickly as it started, it stopped, and the sun came out. The sky is now half cloud and half blue, and I would not be surprised if we had more showers, and more sunny intervals this afternoon. It is currently 26° C, and that's pleasant enough, but after the rain it does feel rather steamy (or if not actually steamy, a bit humid). Since midday, but not before if my memory serves me well (unlikely), tomorrow is going is forecast to be bright, sunny, dry and warm.

 As I was trying to explain yesterday, my pulled muscle is still some way from healed, and with certain movements and actions it can still be painful. Lifting my right arm is the usual cause of that pain - something I do a lot more than I previously realised. It's not an agonising pain, and it's more an annoyance than a problem. Fortunately there is one thing I can do that is comfortable - apart from turning over - and that is laying in bed, and last night I spent a very comfortable hour reading in bed before going to sleep.

 I think it was as late as 11pm, and possibly later than that when I fell asleep. If it wasn't for a very long dream, which was in all probability a long series of dreamlets remembered as one whole, I would be convinced it was a most excellent sleep. It is far too late in the day to remember any special detail from the dream, but it was mostly set in Wimbledon - maybe a Wimbledon, rather than the Wimbledon - the next stop after Earlsfield where I get off the train to go to work.

 The Wimbledon of my dream seemed to be on a river estuary, and had a large harbour. That detail just seemed incidental to my dream, and were just places passed on a bus ride around the town. The purpose of the bus ride, on a normal red London bus of course,  was to find a bus stop to get a bus home least I think it was something like that. I think there was a music venue in the dream somewhere, but I can't remember going in it. It feels like I was lost, but I can't remember any worry about it, and like many dreams, it all seemed much better than real life.

 I woke up a little late compared to the time I usually get up, but early when taking into account the time I went to sleep. While my the concious part of my brain knew this, the unconscious part didn't and insisted on carrying out the usual early morning bodily functions. All that took some time because it also involved checking my email, and the internet and stuff. Eventually I got back in bed, and 2 or 3 hours magically passed by without me noticing it - I just didn't realise I was sleeping during that time.

 The plan for today was to go to Aldi, and then try and wash some shirts. When I considered it more carefully I realised that I couldn't be bothered to go to Aldi. The only thing I particularly wanted was some diet cola, and I can get that from the corner shop. I have sufficient food to last for days and days provided I don't mind the choices getting less and less as the days go past. I can go to Tesco on the way home from work tomorrow if I want something special.

 I was a bit concerned about washing the shirts. There was the potential for it being painful, but it turns out it wasn't. It doesn't even seem to have inflamed my pulled muscle, although if it has, the effects may not show for some time. Fingers crossed that it didn't do any damage, and there is the merest hint that it might have done some good, but time will tell. The one other thing I have done today is some photo editing.
Jo Corteen under the red spotlight
One of the problems, from a photography point of view on Friday night, was the stage lights being stuck on red.
Here's Jo Corteen lit up in brilliant red !
Chris Mayer and the red stage lights
Here's Chris Mayer with the offending red lights off to the side of him.
Guy Harris in a pool of white light
There was some white light from a couple of small lamps that once used to illuminate a dart board before the stage was built.
Guy Harris was lucky enough to sit in the white light with his drums.
Chain in glorious black and white
Some pictures, like this one of the whole band, looked better when converted to black and white.
Saturday 12th July 2014
18:27 BST

  Maybe yesterday was not quite as cool as the pessimistic forecast said it would be, but it was still not exactly warm ! I can only hazard a guess that the temperature ended up at 20° C - 3
° more than forecast. The rest of the forecast was fairly close to being correct. It was dull and overcast, but we didn't get any showers in the afternoon - at least not where I was. That was particularly handy in the evening when I went to the pub in my shirtsleeves. Today seemed to start closer to warm than yesterday ended, although initially it was just as overcast. My memory of the weather forecast was that today was going to be another nasty grey, and wet day. Either I got confused or the forecast changed - a lot. By 11am it was quite sunny, and while there have been a few duller periods, it has mostly been bright.

 It's been quite warm too. It seems to be 26
° C at the moment, and I think it may have been as much as a degree higher earlier. Checking the weather forecast reveals that in twenty minutes the temperature will have dropped 2°, and there will be some moderately heavy rain. Maybe that's possible, but looking out my window doesn't reveal any obvious clues as to what that should or could happen. The weather forecast on BBC TV an hour or so ago said that tomorrow would be mostly bright with a fair amount of sunshine, and with a top temperature of 24° C. The weather forecast of the BBC's web site, updated at abour the same time, is far more pessimistic - 22° C, often overcast, and with some showers during the morning, and then more later in the afternoon. I think I'll live in TV world tomorrow - it's nicer !

 My pulled muscle (or whatever it is) remained tender yesterday, and probably gave me a little more discomfort than the day before, but it was only a little bit more. It may be that I learned to avoid aggravating it, and then when it didn't hurt I got careless again. I didn't actually do anything to make it worse, and even today it is no worse, but on the other hand it hasn't got any better.  It's all a bit strange. I had that really dramatic improvement after drinking official government binge quantities of whisky, and after that no significant improvement at all. The agony has gone, but the warning twinges remain.

 That pain, while obviously annoying, is not terribly significant in the grand scheme of things. What was significant, and remains unexplained, is why all my trainers seemed terribly uncomfortable yesterday. It felt like my toes were being pinched while walking on pebbles. One thing it wasn't was swollen feet. My feet and ankles were swollen yesterday, but they have been far more swollen without causing any bother like yesterday.

 Curiously enough, my calf muscles were swollen much more than usual. I didn't realise that until I tried to change my jeans to go out last night. I knew the jeans I was attempting to put on would be a little tight around the waist, but I hardly reached that stage in the process because I could barely pull the legs past my calves. That was bad enough, but trying to get them off again was a right palava ! I don't think that those jeans had particularly narrow legs, and assuming they don't, it is going to be a bit limiting on how many pairs of jeans I have that I can get into while my calves are swollen like this. It is a happy coincidence that yesterday I ordered a spare pair of the jeans I was wearing at work yesterday before I knew about this swollen calf problem.

 So my feet had given me some problems during the day, and I couldn't wear the jeans I wanted to, but the real problem about going out last night was that I really wanted to go to bed. With The Catford Ram being just around the corner it was impossible not to go out to see a Chain gig there, but until I walked for 5 minutes in the fresh air, and had my first pint of beer, I was struggling against wearyness.

 As is usual in these cases, I went on to enjoy myself.....until it got to about 10pm. Chain played their usual early sets from just after 6.30pm until 9pm when Bouncer took over. I had never seen Bouncer before, although I had seen Ravi, who fronts Bouncer, play bass for Chain many times. It is possible that I am being a bit too judgemental because they were actually playing as part of a birtday party, and what they were playing may not have been their normal repetoire, but I wasn't terribly impressed. Everyone played well, but somehow they didn't compliment each other - which could be because they formed as a loose collective from open mic sessions.

 After I had watched them play 4 or 5 songs I found that tiredness was overcoming curiosity, and that, in turn, made me stop trying to find some enjoyment. So I decided to go home. It was a sort of blessing in disguise because it allowed me to get to bed earlier than I thought would happen (although later than I might have preferred). I had drunk enough beer to take the sharp edge off reality, but not nearly enough to just collapse into sleep as soon as I got in bed.

 Fortunately I didn't need to be half comatose before I could get to sleep, and I got to sleep quite easily again since my pulled muscle was half cured in the week. I can lay in any quadrant without any pain from that (or those) muscle(s), but it is still a bit painful when I turn from one position to another. I don't know how much I might twist and turn during the night, but it seems unlikely that I stay in one position for too long, and yet the only times I woke up were for a pee rather than pulled muscle pain.

 I managed to get a small lie in this morning, although the late night probably cancelled it out. If I didn't see Aleemah this morning I might have tried to get a lot more sleep, but I did see Aleemah, and I though I ought to make some effort to make the place look a little less like a tip. There was one unusual aspect about Aleemah's visit today. It started normally with breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub, and then a DVD back here. As is often the case it was some weird DVD that Aleemah had found somewhere.

 Today's DVD was about some woman from Boston (USA) who decides to join the IRA in Belfast during the height of "The Troubles", and who ends up having a rather bad time of it. It was really strange in that the film was both pro and anti all sides of the dispute, and no one came out a hero. Quite how that ended up as a long discussion about prog rock is anyone's guess, but for several hours we talked about music and stuff - which was quite unusual.

 This afternoon I have been very lazy, but not 100% lazy. I've finally got around to selecting a couple of pictures from the gig last Sunday night, and editing them to show on these pages. Maybe I might get around to showing a couple of last nights, pictures tomorrow.
Geoff Paice ad Steve Blessing of Led
Geoff Paice and Steve Blessing of the excellent Led Hammer.
Steve Blessing does his party piece
Steve Blessing shows off by playing the guitar behind his head.
Geoff Paice
Geoff Paice giving it all he's got.
Led Hammer
Led Hammer - Geoff Paice (bass), Dylan Tidman (drums) and Steve Blessing (guitar).
Friday 11th July 2014
08:42 BST

  The forecast for yesterday's weather seemed fairly grim, but the reality was that it was only slightly grim. If think we had to wait until about 7pm until the first glimpse of some wet and watery sunshine until the sun has sunk too low in the sky to make any difference. What was probably most amazing is that I didn't need to put on the coat I had brought with me to work. It only felt mild enough for no coat and a short sleeve shirt by a small margin, but it was enough, and while I saw plenty of puddles, and even some very wet roads, I seemed to avoid every shower somehow. That was not the case this morning ! The forecast for today is exceedingly grim, and the weather is following the forecast with far too much zeal. I am unsure of the temperature, but it feels cold outside. There is so little light filtering through the dense clouds that it is difficult to know if it is day, or if I should still be in bed fast asleep. Worst of all is that it is wet...very wet...bloody awful wet ! It is not heavy rain, although could come later, and it might be accompanied by some thunder and lightning
, but the rain while I made my way to work, and I think is still falling now, is that light but persistent type that slowly permeates every fibre of your clothes, of your body, and.......well everything and everywhere ! Oh, and the top temperature today is unlikely to get higher than an autumnal 17° C.

 After my late start yesterday, I still went home at my normal time - which might have been embarrassing because I was accompanied to the station by our new CEO (or is it COO ? - what ever he is, he is the highest authority in the company after the original founder of the company). Fortunately he fed me an opening question which I was able to answer at great length. He asked how I was doing, and I took the opportunity to explain in great length that I was feeling rather wonderful as a result of not being in pain. Of course I didn't mention that the source of my pain may well have been a health and safety issue here at work. He doesn't have to know that. I've learnt the hard way, and if I anyone else attempts to clamber about on desks and benches while still possibly healing from open heart surgery I will personally inform them of the dangers. It doesn't really affect anyone else.

 My pulled muscle(s), or whatever, were still tender yesterday, but either I have learned not to inflame them, or they have taken great strides in healing themselves. I was wonderfully free of pain yesterday, and perhaps no more so when I went striding to the station after work, and when I say striding, I really mean it. I don't know how or why, but my legs were working really well for a change. I had no trouble keeping up with the CEO, and I think I was almost outpacing him, although I didn't manage to lose him until we were on the platform. He was changing trains at Clapham Junction, and so wanted to be 3 or 4 carriages from the rear of the train, but I went to the very front of the train to be closest to the barriers at Waterloo station.

 When I got to Waterloo I received a text message from Kevin wondering if I wanted a quick drink. I agreed to it, but stressed it had to be quick because I wanted to pop into Tesco again on my way home. So we met in The Catford Constitutional Club, and we just had three halves of beer - a bit of a record ! Then I wandered round the corner to Tesco where I bought some Ibuprofen, and, inevitably, some other stuff. I didn't actually need any Ibuprofen yesterday, but I had run out, and I reckon it's a good idea to have some ready for when next needed.

 I guess it was the timing that allowed me to find lots of reduced price bargains in Tesco - at least I think they were bargains, but it would have been cheaper still not to have bought them at all. The one bargain that was not a bargain, despite it being half price, was the breaded Camembert cheese with the port and berry dip. They were complete rubbish as far as I was concerned. That's not to say there was anything wrong with them as far as I could tell. It was just that I didn't like them. That was a wasted £1.50 ! Oh well, they seemed like a good idea at the time despite being loaded with all sorts of unhealthy fats and calories and stuff.

 The main, or perhaps sensible part of my dinner was a bowl or ready mix peppery leaf salad, potato salad, and chicken thighs. On reflection I don't think I enjoyed anything I ate last night. The peppery leaves in the salad were slightly unpleasant, and the chicken thighs were quite dull. I guess I have got too used to "southern fried" or "chilli and garlic" chicken. It could have been worse than just dull, and actually been nasty, but I think "dull" is probably the best description.

 I managed to get into bed quite early last night, but because I was free from pain (provided I was sensible) for the first time in almost a week, I decided to celebrate by just laying on my back, which I could do comfortably before, and read for a while - a while too long. It was about 9.15pm before I put the magazine down, and carefully turned over ready for sleep. Before sleep would come I had to find the extra comfortable position to lay in. Last night it was head pointing east, back almost straight, and legs crooked at 13.78° to the south-west. Of course memorising this is pointless because it will be a different position tonight.

 I'm guessing I was asleep by 9.30pm, and I slept fairly well, but it could have been better. I seemed to have loads of dreams, and that suggests that my sleep was often quite light. I found myself awake at 4.50am, and that was near enough to 5am to start getting up. As usual I was a bit creaky, and my pulled muscle(s), while not actually aching, were definitely feeling very tender. So I tried to be careful how I did stuff like putting my trainers on and doing up the laces - reaching down and pulling the laces was uncomfortable, but at least it wasn't the agony it was a day or two ago.

 Maybe it was the cold and wet providing a real source of discomfort and distraction, but the usual aches and pains were incredibly mild this morning. Perhaps the two things that were strangely uncomfortable this morning were my feet. I don't know why it should be, but many of my trainers felt uncomfortable this morning. The pair I have on this morning were the least uncomfortable, but I still didn't enjoy walking in them. There doesn't seem to be anything special about my feet this morning, although maybe they are a little less swollen than usual, but that ought to be a good thing.

 Tonight should be an excellent night. Hopefully the one thing that could potentially spoil it will never be noticed......
poster outside The Ram
 You have to squint to see it (specially in this photo), but instead of saying 11th July (today) it says 11th June. It was a typo, and the gig is 100% definitely on tonight - and for the first time, it is a double bill. Chain are playing from about 6.30pm until 9pm (usually), and then Bouncer will be playing a set for an hour or two. I have never seen Bouncer play before, but I have seen their bass payer, Ravi Sharman, playing bass for Chain on many occasions. There is a special reason why Bouncer are playing tonight, and I can't remember what it is, but it may be for someone's birthday.

 So I'll have extra time to get drunk, and then I'll have to get up moderately early in the morning to do some housework before Aleemah visits me - ah well, I can have a nice long lie in on Sunday morning - I hope !
Thursday 10th July 2014
09:54 BST

  I thought that yesterday was going to be rather poor for a July day, and I was both right and wrong. It wasn't that great, but compared to today it was pretty fair. It stayed dry. There was a little bit of sunshine, and it was not cold. That's the best bit, but it would have been better still if it was a good 3 or 4 degrees warmer, and if there was 3 or 4 times the amount of sunshine. So it was poor for a July day - a good July day - but maybe it was almost luxurious compared to the worst estimate for today. It is forecast to be grey, grey, grey, and more grey today, and while 15° C may have been a good start, 17
° C is going to be an exceedingly poor finish ! It gets worse though. Showers are forecast for about the time I am going home from work, and from the look of the sky right now I can believe it could rain at any time and for any length of time. Tomorrow could be pretty horrible too, but I'll see what the forecast looks like late tonight before getting too stressed by it.

 There is some good and bad news about the pain I have been suffering from what is probably a pulled muscle - or "soft tissue damage" as a doctor described something similar many years ago that later turned out to be a dislocated elbow ! I am not sure how ribs are attached at either end. One end of the ribs are attached to the sternum in some mysterious way, and the other end connect to ??????? by ??????. That's a whole heap of unknowns, and it is the very last unknown (?????? number 2) that I sometimes wonder is the cause of my pain. Maybe it has come disconnected in some way. While most of this is pure uneducated speculation of the worst kind, I think it can be taken that some extra stresses were put on my ribs when my chest was opened up for heart surgery. Quite what those stresses may have left vulnerable, if indeed they left anything vulnerable, and what the result of me adding further stress may be is also a complete mystery, but whatever it is, or was, can be agonisingly painful !

 The good news is that it was a lot less painful yesterday (provided I ignore a small period of time after I did some washing up). There is still some tenderness underneath the armpit (about 4 or 5 inches below it), and the front and back muscles that converge on that point are still easily inflamed, but unless I do something to provoke it, I am now free of pain, and more importantly, I was free of pain in bed last night - but only while I didn't move. The best thing was being able to lie on my back breathing normally without anything but the merest hint of the slightest possibility of pain. The same was virtually true of laying on either side, but turning over to lay on my side was still really rather uncomfortable.

 That freedom from pain probably let me sleep a bit better. For some reason I couldn't seem to get to sleep as early as I wanted - well before 9pm - but I was fast asleep soon after that. I woke up feeling a bit stiff, and my back seemed quite painful for a while (this also included my front as well, but I'm not sure how to describe that area). In fact it was probably not until I was showered, dressed, and leaving the house before my back stopped aching. Since then I have been remarkably free from pain provided I ignore when I sneezed twice - both times were real muscle rippers !

 screenshotIt is rather good that I am so free of pain this morning. It probably also helped that I had a fairly small dinner last night. I had cheese salad and some cod fillets. It was almost, but not quite, healthy sort of stuff, but best of all it didn't leave me bloated and fart this morning.

 The reason why these things are so important is that I had an "interesting" journey into work this morning. Everything was fine while travelling up to Waterloo, but from then on it all started to fall apart.

 I took the screenshot from my mobile phone at 07:33. At that time I was on the only train that was waiting at Waterloo when I arrived there (usually there are 3 or 4). It shows that my train left on time at 07:20. That is not quite correct. I reckon it was 07:24. We crawled along, until the first (or maybe 2nd) signal, and then we stopped and waited, and waited , waited.....Then we moved on to the next signal before we waited, and waited, and waited again.

 I guess we arrived at Vauxhall at least 20 minutes late, and maybe we were 40 minutes late at Clapham Junction, but by that time I wasn't really paying much attention to the time.

 Trains were not stopping at Earlsfield where I wanted to get off. This was because of emergency engineering works in the Earlsfield - Wimbledon area - and of course this was the root cause of everything that was going wrong this morning. The recommendation was that anyone who wanted Earlsfield should stay on the train to Wimbledon, and then get a train back to Earlsfield. I decided that getting a bus might be a better idea.

 Getting the bus or doubling back from Wimbledon would both be a bit of an adventure, but I thought the bus might be quicker. I knew which bus route to take, and although I was not sure what route it took, I had a theory that it travelled fairly close, almost parallel to the railway over much of it's route. That turned out to be true, but while the train takes a mere 2 or 3 minutes between Clapham Junction and Earlsfield, the bus takes considerably longer (it felt a lot more, but it may have actually been no more than 10 minutes). Of course to get the bus I had to find the bus stop, and it was not where I thought it might be !
a relic from the past
 It turned out that I should have exited Clapham Junction station by the old exit, and then walked down the hill to the traffic lights. Then turn left and walk for another 30 seconds. Instead of that I decided to exit by the new Brighton Yard exit. That meant walking a fair bit extra down the hill before passing the old exit  from where the way to the bus stop is as described. It was a bit extra walking, but without it I would not have been able to stop and take a snap of this relic from the past - a railway parcels office. I wonder how long it will be before the railways start making money by running a parcels service again now that Royal Mail is not as royal as it used to be.

 When I finally arrived at Earlsfield I opted to get off at the Earlsfield station stop instead of the previous one that is slightly nearer work. I did this so I could use a cash machine, and also to call in at the Londis mini mart to by some breakfast. As I passed Earlsfield station I noticed quite a crowd of people around the barriers for the London bound platform, and it looked like the barriers were taped off. Quite how this would work for anyone who had gone to Wimbledon to get a London bound train back to Earlsfield is anyone's guess, but I do wonder if getting the bus might have turned out to be the best decision after all.

 There is no Thursday night drinking tonight because we will all be meeting in The Catford Ram tomorrow when there is a gig on there. So tonight I will have, or should have lots of free time. I'll see if I can edit a few pictures from last Sunday to show here, but most importantly I want to try and have an early night - and this time get to sleep early if I can. Friday night is going to be a late night, and I have to be up moderately early on Saturday to prepare the house to look roughly OK for a visit from Aleemah. Maybe I've now put my reasons in print, my brain will actually believe them, and it will let me go to sleep early tonight !
Wednesday 9th July 2014
08:51 BST

  Yesterday's weather was remarkably similar to the previous day's. The forecast said it was going to rain in the afternoon, and it did.....but it stopped raining far earlier than expected. There was a little additional rain while I waited on Waterloo East station on my way home from work, but only 57 individual drops
fell on me, and I couldn't be bothered to put on the coat that I had brought with me, nor could I be bothered to walk the 8 paces to get under shelter......but I did wipe off the two drops that fell on my glasses.

 Today started off fairly mild at 14° C, but it was a lot more overcast than I seem to remember the forecast suggesting it would be. If some of the forecast ends up close to reality then it should be sunny sooner or later. Maybe it does seem a little brighter than it was earlier, and that gives me some confidence that it will stay dry today - as it is supposed to be - although not bringing a coat today could be tempting fate ! There is a chance that the temperature could get up to 23° C today, and that is a couple of degrees higher than yesterday, but I reckon is still rather poor for a July Day.

 My pulled muscle continued to provide plenty of pain yesterday, but I was usually pain free while sitting at my desk. I was so comfortable that I found myself slipping into sleep quite a few times. The most painful times were after going to the toilet and doing my jeans up. Reaching low and forward stretched the painful muscle, and having to do up my belt was even more painful. The other situation that was particularly painful was any sort of forced exhalation - blowing my nose, coughing or sneezing - the latter being agonising.

 On the way home from work I began to get hints that these pains were starting to ease up. Some of it could be attributed to the Ibuprofen I had taken earlier in the afternoon, but earlier doses of that had only provided the very merest of relief. It is hard to actually put a numerical value on levels of pain, and probably worthless anyway. My pain was very much affected by what I was doing at any time, but the change was good enough to not put me off going home via Tesco yesterday (as it did the day before).

 I didn't buy that much while I was in Tesco. I'm not sure if that was deliberate so my bags would be lighter, or just that I didn't feel I needed any more. When I got home I had ready made sandwiches, and a bowl of ready mix salad for dinner. It may have been one of the lightest dinners I've had in some time - although not very low calorie, or low fat ! For "afters" I had something I didn't buy in Tesco last night.

 Maybe calling it "afters" is a bit of a misnomer because I didn't have it until at least an hour after the main, and maybe only, course of my dinner. It was a very big dose of whisky, and it worked wonders on my pain. When I went to bed sometime before 9pm (and maybe not too long after 8pm) I still had to be careful how I twisted and turned, but I could lie on either side, and on my back with hardly any pain at all. In consequence I had my best sleep for several nights last night. I could easily wish I could have got an extra few hours, but this morning I feel slightly refreshed.

 Like last night, I still have to be careful of what I do, and how I do it, but I am in far less pain than yesterday. Today I think I could mostly use words like "uncomfortable" and "painful" instead of "bloody painful" and "agonising". Of course the whole area where these pains were coming from, just below my right "moob",  just below my right shoulder blade, and to a lesser extent the area that joins them, is still very tender, and so agonising is still a word worth holding on to in the event I do something stupid.

 The rest of my body seem, on the whole, to be working quite well. Even my brain seems to have mostly survived the huge overdose (or as I like to call it - a decent amount) of whisky that I threw down my throat last night. The little and ring fingers on my left hand are still numb after all these months since my operation, but sometimes I feel they are less numb, or numb in a different way to how they were a few months back. What I do find is that I am using my left hand more and more normally recently. So it is a sort of improvement.

 My legs seem to have improved a lot, and my feet are swelling less than they were a month or two ago. It sometimes feels like walking is slowly getting back to normal at last. In fact I am wondering if my legs, and perhaps my whole stamina for walking, is now just about back to where it was before I started doing my long walks 4 years ago (or was it 5 ?). It's difficult to remember such details from back then, but I do remember feeling very apprehensive about a two and a half mile walk the first time I did one of my solo visits to the seaside. It was to Rye, and it was 5 years ago ! I made a web page about it here. One problem with walking today is that I am wearing black shoes. They are otherwise identical to the red ones I wore yesterday - same make, same size, same style, but in some mysterious way they are less comfortable !

 Waterloo station has been a bit boring this week, and this morning I was scratching around for something to photograph, and then I noticed this...Maybe that panel had a software problem, and maybe the one to it's right was affected too, but the other 57 (or whatever) seemed to be displaying completely valid information.
Waterloo station display
Tuesday 8th July 2014
08:27 BST

  Yesterday's weather had it's upsides, but it seemed rather poor for a July day. It was bright during the morning, but the cloud soon gathered, and sometime between 2pm and 3pm it started to rain....and it carried on raining until just after I left work to go home !
blue among the clouds
 I was really rather lucky not to get wet going home. It looked as if it was still raining moderately hard when I left my office and went down to the exit. I didn't have a coat with me. So I gritted my teeth, and opened the door to find it was only raining very lightly. Even better than that was that the rain had completely stopped - apart from the odd drip blowing in the breeze - before I had left the business estate. It then stayed dry all the way home, and I even spotted patches of blue sky beginning to appear on my way home. The picture above, taken through a less than ideal train window, shows, with the aid of a little imagination, one of those blue bits somewhere to the north west (ish) of Clapham Junction railway station.

 It may  have been an hour after I got home that we were drenched in strong sunshine - which was rather nice ! Today has started off slightly milder than yesterday, although I regard 13° C as still rather fresh. Like yesterday, today has started bright and sunny, but if the forecast is correct it will be raining again this afternoon. Fortunately I have brought a coat with me - which, according to the tenets of Sod's Law - should guarantee a perfectly warm sunny afternoon ! Top temperature today is forecast to be a disappointing 20° C.

   My original idea was to go home via Tesco yesterday, but from time to time I was in a fair amount of pain, and I went straight home. My cupboard is far from bare, and I am a long way from starving, but it might have been nice to have something more exciting for dinner yesterday. Having said that, I did enjoy most of my dinner. The main part was a continental lentil and sausage soup. I'm not sure if "soup" is the right description, although that is what it said on the tin. It was actually like lentils and miniature sausages in plenty of gravy. It was quite tasty, but sooner or later those lentils are going to have an interesting effect on me !!

  Part 2 of dinner was rather experimental. It consisted of a small can of meatballs in oily tomato sauce, and half a tin of fried egg plant (or aubergine). Both came from the Turkish supermarket, and both cans only used a limited amount of English on the labels. So without delving into the (very) small print, I didn't really know what was in either tin in any detail. The meatballs did not excite me, and the tinned fried egg plant was only nice in quite small quantities.

 I can't decide if my pulled muscle, or whatever it is, got worse yesterday, or just got different. One thing is certain, and that is how the worst pain has moved to my back (roughly at the bottom of my right shoulder blade). Reaching forward and down, like you might do to do up a pair of trousers and belt, was the best way to incite rather strong pain from my back, and sneezing could be positive agony to my front. (Coughing and blowing my nose were very uncomfortable too). When I consider what they must have done to me to open up my chest for heart surgery, I wonder what they may have done to my ribs. I then further wonder if I have damaged some poorly healed whatever to do with a rib. It is all a bit of a mystery, and one that could only be solved by a doctor.

 Last night I was contemplating the possibility of trying to see one of the doctors at the group practice this morning, but although I had had a rough night because of pain, and I was pretty sore this morning, the pain didn't feel strong enough, and sustained enough to bother seeing a doctor. The other thing I contemplated last night was what the best analgesic might be. I considered whisky, and I am fairly certain that a huge dose of that would give me a good nights sleep. Then I remembered the codeine tablets I had been prescribed for the nerve pain in my left arm in the first month or two after my operation. They didn't seem to do anything at all for that nerve pain, but I wondered what they would do for a different type of pain.

 The bottle of pills says take one or two pills, but I decided to take three pills to see what might happen. I think they sort of worked. For about an hour, but no more, the pain did seem to be a little duller. It wasn't that wonderful, but it did help a little. I don't think the codeine helped me sleep in any way like it is supposed to do, and so it scored very poorly compared to booze in large quantities. Maybe tonight I should mix codeine with whisky, but there is a terrible flaw in that plan - I don't have a maid to find me dead in bed in the morning in typical rockstar/celebrity style ! There wouldn't be much human interest story in that, and so tonight I may well just have a few large doses of whisky, and nothing else - if I need it. As I sit here typing I don't feel any pain at all, and until I have to, I don't think I am going to make any movement to see if the pain is still lurking there waiting for something to provoke it.

 Considering the discomfort I was in last night, I probably got much more sleep that I would have thought possible, but "much more" is still very much short of enough. So today is going to be another day where I will be fighting to stay awake. It almost feels like tonight is already mapped out for me now. Drink plenty of whisky,  get into bed as soon as possible, and hope for plenty of deep sleep. Maybe I'll feel like going to Tesco on my way home, or maybe I'll just feed myself out of a few more cans like a cat !

 There is one other thing I will be contemplating during the day. I have been offered a ticket to accompany my friend Ruby to a Star Trek convention on October. I had a look at the website for the convention - - and it is all a bit weird. There are a few things it might be interesting to see, and an awful lot that looks crap. The trouble is, I am a Star Trek fan, but I am not a rivet counting Trekkie. I just remember a few bits of plot or dialogue here and there, but let the majority of it wash over me. It is more interesting as a concept rather than a script, and I think that provides a clue as to why, after a lot of hesitation, I am now feeling more inclined to go. I think what may be more interesting is watching the watchers. My last worry is that it would be rather rude to my host to treat the thing as an hours amusement instead of a whole day out - as I think it is supposed to be.......or to put it another way, would I get bored too quickly ? I guess I'll never know unless I go there to find out.
Monday 7th July 2014
08:12 BST

  It turned out better than expected yesterday. It may have been ever so slightly warmer than expected, and it was certainly drier than expected. The roads in Catford were damp when I arrived back from Bromley at about 10:30pm last night, but I didn't actually see any of the rain hat was forecast for last night. This morning has started off bright and clear, and also, at around 11° C, rather fresh feeling. By this afternoon it is supposed to become lightly overcast, and there might be shower somewhere in south London - but hopefully not where I am because I haven't got a coat with me. It will only be moderately warm today if the forecast 20
° C is the best the weather can offer.

 The pain I reported coming from what is probably a pulled muscle, was a great distraction. So much so that I ignored other stuff, and it was not until I was one third the way to Aldi before I came to the conclusion that I would have been better if I had gone to the toilet before setting out. One third of the way is only a little bit past the corner shop. So I turned around and bought some Diet Coke, and some very unholy food from the corner shop before going back home to do what I should have done before going out.

 I guess the pain under my right man breast, and also from below the right shoulder blade, was getting to me yesterday. That's why my combined breakfast, lunch and (very) early dinner consisted of stuff that had too much sugar in it, and too much fat/oil. It was, predictably, and intentionally very nice, and did distract me from the pain for a few minutes. I would dearly have loved to have a lie down after it, and do some reading, but all I could do semi comfortably was to lie on my side - which was OK, but not what I wanted.

 Eventually the time approached to go out to the PettsWoodstock warm up party. I wasn't sure if it was a wise thing to do, but I went anyway - which was the right decision when all the pros and cons are averaged out. Before I went out I brought in the towels I had left out to dry overnight, and they seemed nice and dry. Before getting a bus to Bromley I went to get some cash from a hole in the wall. That delayed me a bit, but I only arrived 15 minutes late, and I hardly missed anything. As I got myself comfortable with a pint of Hurliman lager I reckoned I would probably stay for a couple of hours, and then sneak away home again.

 I was a bit wrong with that estimate because I ended up staying until 10pm when it ended (although I think the bar was probably open for another hour or more). Some of the performances were not to my taste, and time dragged by, but other performances just blew me away. The fabulous Led Hammer ended the gig with a completely balls to the wall performance that continued to ring through my head as I made my way home (or was that the tinnitus from the loud P.A. ?). My one big mistake was to clap rather enthusiasticly, and to often do it with my hands above my head. That was bloody painful, but it seemed to have to be done !

 One of the surprising things is that I felt almost sober when I left the gig. Having been there for over 5 hours, and with my glass rarely empty, I thought I would be quite, quite drunk, but it seems not. I had drunk enough to be unable to resist buying some fried chicken on the way home, but sort of sober enough to resist buying any chips with it ! It might have been better if I was seriously drunk because it might have made sleeping easier.

 I was obviously quite tired some 2 hours after my usual time of getting to sleep, but it proved difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in. I couldn't sleep on my back even if I had wanted to (which usually I don't), and even on one side I was getting some discomfort unless I really fine tuned the position of my arms, legs, feet, spleen, liver, head, penis, and tongue (probably). I woke several times in the night, and I guess I managed to get over fours hours, but less than five hours sleep.

 It's all going to make for an "interesting" sort of day. Coming to work was less painful than I expected, and I am mostly quite comfortable sitting at my desk, but......a few minutes ago I sneezed, and it was horribly painful. It felt like I had been knifed through the chest. Even milder things like blowing my nose, or coughing, are a bit painful, but that sneeze.....let's hope I don't do too many of those today ! 

 There are three things I want to do when I get home from work, and one that I may do on my way home from work. I may buy some stuff from Tesco on the way home, but I'll see how I feel. Of the three things I want to do once I am home, the most important is to get to bed nice and early. The other two will actually compliment each other if I can raise the energy to do both. The first is to wash my hair, and the second is to start going through all the pictures I took yesterday. I think I could easily have taken well over a hundred, and it is going to need some strong determination to whittle that lot down to (say) 20 presentable photos. Maybe I'll have a couple ready to show here tomorrow.
Sunday 6th July 2014
09:29 BST

  The weather really changed for the worst yesterday. There were a few bright periods, and maybe even a few minutes of sunshine, but overall it was just very dull with lots of showers. During the early afternoon it did look like there could be a long spell of brightness, but half an hour after hanging some washing outside it started raining again. The only positive thing about yesterday was it stayed above 20° C for most of the day. The weather is forecast to be much better today, but there seems little sign of any improvements so far. There have already been a couple of moderately heavy showers in direct contradiction to the weather forecast for today. It doesn't feel very likely, but it is supposed to brighten up any minute now, and there is supposed to be a good chance of some sunshine this afternoon. It may not last long. Rain is forecast for this evening. Currently it is 19
° C, but that should improve by a few degrees by mid afternoon.

 My pulled muscle is, in some circumstances, not as bad as I thought it was, and in other circumstances it is just as painful as ever ! It wasn't absolutely essential, but it was still fairly important that I did some laundry yesterday, and it was with great care that I started to hand launder five short sleeve shirts. I expected it to be quite a painful process, but apart from a few minor twinges, it didn't seem to annoy my pulled muscle at all, and I don't think it did any harm to least I was not aware of any.

 I am still not 100% sure I am suffering from a pulled muscle, but I reckon it must be something very similar if it's not. Many movements can cause a jolt of pain from mild to moderate, but many movements don't cause any pain at all. The one singular time when it is very bothersome, and the pain could be described as a bit strong, is when I am laying down, falt on my back....and breathing ! I can lay on either side without a hint of pain, but as soon as I lay on my back and breathe in (not out) it is most uncomfortable. There is one way of making the pain a lot less, and that is to move my head and shoulders to my left while keeping my bottom in the same place. It is probably not a great idea to curve the spine like that, but it does make breathing considerably less painful.

 Having found that laundry does not cause any significant extra pain I went on to wash another 4 shirts, and cleared the backlog of clothing. That still left a couple of towels, and several big, heavy duvet covers. It was not the right weather for duvet covers, and I did not even consider trying to tackle one of them, but I did wash those couple of towels. One of them was a semi big one, and the extra effort needed for that was tiring, but it didn't cause any extra pain.

 It seemed like we were heading for a bright period when I did those towels. So I hung them on the line in the garden to dry (I hung the shirts indoors). Thirty minutes later we had one of the heavier downpours of the day. While I might have wished otherwise, it was not totally unexpected, and my original plan was to leave those towels out overnight with the idea they would finish drying this morning. That hasn't worked so far this morning, and they have had at least one extra rinse, but maybe it will all come out right by mid afternoon.
 towels on the washing line
 There is a little more significance to this picture than just showing three towels on the washing line. It was the result of one of those "I wonder...." moments. What I was wondering, although I haven't got a clue what triggered the thought, was "does my old digital camera still work, and does it produce such good pictures as I once believed it to do ?". My old digital camera is an Olympus C-100, and apart from some unpleasant bleaching effect on the middle towel, and the one on the right, it does seem to take a fairly sharp picture - particularly when you consider it has no zoom, and is only 1.3 megapixels.
Olympus Camedia C-100
 I can't remember when I bought this camera, but it could be almost 15 years ago. It had many virtues, and most of them were only obvious when I had the chance to compare it with later cameras I bought. One very good virtue was that it would connect as a "mass storage device" when plugged into a PC. Many cameras from that period, and even for quite a few years afterwards, needed special compute programs to communicate with the camera, and without them the only chance of transferring pictures was to take the memory card out of the camera, and plug it into an external card reader.

 The other great virtue is that the picture you took was the same as you saw in the viewfinder. That might seem obvious, but some cameras I have owned would effectively take a new picture when the shutter button was pressed, and it might be completely different to what you thought you saw in the viewfinder. That also meant there was very little shutter lag. One camera I owned had such poor shutter lag that the picture you actually took was what the camera could see almost a second after the shutter button was pressed, and at that time I could be framing the next shot !

 With three lots of washing done, and my curiosity about my first camera satisfied, I didn't have a whole lot to do yesterday. I could have gone to Aldi to get some shopping, but a combination of poor weather, and couldn't care less, meant that I didn't bother to go out anywhere. So I stayed in reading and I even found some TV to watch. With all the sport clogging the non shopping channels, it wasn't easy finding stuff in the cracks of the schedules, but I found enough to amuse me for a while, and somehow it kept me up past my usual bedtime. Now I think about it, I have no idea what time I went to sleep, but I feel it was fairly late - for me !

 This morning I don't feel too bad. My pulled muscle is just as painful when provoked, and the right side of my upper back seems fairly stiff and almost, but not quite painful. The rest of me seems to have benefitted from a rest, and seems to work within accepted parameters. So today I ought to do stuff. I think I had better try and get to Aldi before the morning is out, and then later in the afternoon there is a sort of party going on.

 As a rule, I don't like parties, and I am not sure if I will like this one or not. It is a musical party. It's all best explained by the poster for the event.
pre PettsWoodstock party
Saturday 5th July 2014
09:22 BST

  Yesterday was very pleasant. I'm not sure if the temperature hit 27° C where I was, but some reports say that was the high for London. It certainly felt nice and warm, and it was bright and sunny almost all day. I think the odd cloud briefly drifted across the sun once or twice, but a couple of hours before sunset the clouds built up, and eventually it started to rain. This morning it seems to be 22° C, but that must be stored heat coming off the house because the breeze feels cooler than that. there was still some rain when I first woke up this morning. At this moment it is not raining, and the road looks almost dry, but the sky is grey with horizon to horizon clouds. More rain could fall at any time, but it may brighten up around midday - although the forecasters are hedging their bets - they say it will both rain and be sunny this afternoon ! Tomorrow might be dry until early evening, and there could be some sunny periods.

 It definitely seems that I've had an industrial accident, and it can be rather painful, but less painful than all the paperwork and kerfuffle involved in actually making it an industrial accident. For those of us less than 9ft tall, we have to climb on our bench/desk to open the window in my office. In clambering up (or down) I have to support a fair amount of my weight on one arm, and I think doing that has pulled a muscle in my chest.

 Of course it could be my heart about to explode again or something, but I feel fairly sure that this time it is purely muscular, and it is possible that it was one of the muscles that were damaged when my chest was cut open - despite the pain being some way from the obvious external scar. The pain I experience is partly under my right man boob, and extends towards the side of my body below the armpit, but doesn't actually reach there.

 As I sit here typing I am not really aware of any pain, but certain postures can be really rather uncomfortable........

: In the last minute it has started to pour with rain in biblical proportions !

.......The very worst posture is laying on my back. That is both a problem and no problem. I sleep on my side, and so it is no problem - provided I stay on my side. It is a problem if, as I love to do, I lay on my bed reading. Fortunately it seems that hold a book up to read actually provides a modicum of relief to the pain. Reaching forward, for instance to do my jeans up, is a bit uncomfortable, and I strongly suspect that trying to lean over the bath to hand wash some shirts will be rather unpleasant - although it will have to be done somehow.

Newsflash 2: The torrents of rain seem to have thinned the clouds out a bit, and it is now brighter outside than it was before - but the chances of the sun breaking through are still vanishingly low for now.

 I did have intentions of going out last night. Out The Box were playing in The William IV pub in Elmers End, and that is one of the places that is easy to get to. If my chest was not hurting I might have found the energy to go out again after work, but that pulled muscle tipped the balance. I'm not sure if the strong probability of rain in the evening would have stopped my going if there were no better reasons, but it added to the list of other reasons not to go, and it was nice to have avoided it. So I stayed in and treated myself to an Indian takeaway.

 I have to say I rather enjoyed my takeaway - both last night, and the leftovers warmed up for breakfast this morning ! It probably did me no good to eat it, but sometimes you have to live dangerously. I did do some research before ordering the takeaway. I visited the food standards agency website* to find the hygiene scores of the place I was ordering from, and of course I compared prices and customer reviews. The place I selected was moderately priced, seemed to have good reviews, and was rated a three for hygiene. Three is decidedly average, but I didn't find any place that was better. One place scored zero - I don't think I would feed a dog with food bought there ! The big unknown is how the food will taste, and how it was cooked. The food I had tasted wonderful, but like so many Indian takeaway meals it had far too much oil in it - which spoiled the pleasure for me.

* There is also a "scores on the doors" website that provides an alternative way of finding out the results of hygiene inspections, but this appears to be run as a commercial enterprise, and may not be so trustworthy.

 While I ate my dinner I watched some TV. It was very hard to find anything that could be described as entertainment on TV last night, and I ended up watching the movie "Independance Day". I missed the beginning of it, and I might have only watched just the second half of it, but that was enough to decide that I disliked it. Basically there was only one thing wrong with it, and that could loosely be described as America. There were too many Americans in it, and it was an obvious product of Hollywood meglomania. Not a single thing about it was believable, but I guess it was made just to satisfy the American publics (believed) wish for bigger and better explosions.

 There was nothing else on TV after that that I felt I could stomach so I went to bed. Before trying to get to sleep I tried to do a bit of reading, and I managed to read for about half an hour before the discomfort from my pulled muscle proved to much for me. So I turned out the lights, turned over on my side, and I fell asleep amazingly quickly. I guess that was around 10pm, but it may have been earlier. I slept well until 4am when I got up for an hour. It felt slightly sad that it was still dark outside at that hour. This was partly because of the clouds, and partly, and this is the sad bit, the days are now getting shorter as we hurtle towards another winter with summer barely begun.

 There are two things I ought to do this morning, and I have doubts about both. The more important is to wash some work shirts. I might have to wear a long sleeve shirt for one of the days, but I have enough clean shirts for work next week. So it is not mega important that I wash some shirts, but on the other hand I am building an ever increasing pile of stuff that needs washing. I wouldn't even dare to try and wash anything as heavy as a duvet cover or bed sheet, and I don't think it would be worth trying to wash a couple of smelly towels, but maybe I could manage a few short sleeved shirts if I grit my teeth and ignore the pain from my pulled muscle. Until I've tried it I won't know if it will be a very painful experience, or hardly painful at all.

 The other thing I originally wanted to do this morning was to get some shopping from Aldi. Sometimes it feel like it could be a painful task, but at the moment I am not sure it would be when I try to imagine what muscles are involved in carrying shopping back. I think I might be OK in that respect, and the next danger is getting soaked - if indeed you can call that a danger. The sky is now looking more white than grey, and almost blindingly white where the sun is hidden bhind some quite thin cloud. It seems possible that if I got my timing right I could get to Aldi in sunshine, and if my luck really held out, I could get back in sunshine - but I think I will re-assess that this afternoon.

 Tonight I will be staying in again. I don't think there are any gigs on that I can get to tonight that I want to go to. So I'll stay in and gather my energy for tomorrow when stuff starts to happen from 4pm in Bromley.

 Now consider this picture...
how to hold up a wall the hard way
 What you see here is a wall with trees behind it, and a load of ironwork. It might have been early spring 2013 when the council (I assume it was the council) did their yearly tree surgery. The trees are in the grounds of the council estate behind the wall, and every year they lop off huge amounts of the trees. It is quite amazing how something so bare looking can regrow into a huge head of leaves and branches in such a short time after being so brutally trimmed. Whether it was the work on the trees, or something else entirely, but that wall started to lean. It wasn't much, but something was defintely not right with it.

 The real big problem is that no one knew who actually owned the wall. The council said it wasn't theirs, and Workspace, who own the yard the other side said it wasn't theirs. Neither side would give in (according to hearsay), but Workspace were presumably threatened with 'elf and safety, and were forced to act. I still find it difficult to believe, but the cheapest option was not to knock the wall down and rebuild or replace it. Oh no ! It was to dig deep pits to bury girders similar to those seen on top, and to build this fantastic iron framework to hold the wall up.

 The work seemed to take well over a month, maybe it was two, and the cost must have been horrendous. If they could have transported some bricklayers through time from the 1800s, the type of bricklayers who built some of the huge railway viaducts, they could have had the wall down, and a new one up over a weekend, and it would last for several hundred years !
Friday 4th July 2014
08:49 BST

  I don't think I can think of anything bad to say about yesterday's weather. It was dry, bright and warm. I'm unsure of the top temperature, but I think it was around 25° C again. One particularly nice thing about yesterday was that it did not seem to be a very sticky day - but that is just my personal observation, and it could have been different for others. Today started off at 16° C by my reckoning, and it was easy to work up a bit of sweat while rushing to work this morning (although there could be another reason for it that I will come to soon). The forecast says today will be even warmer than yesterday - but not by numbers. The forecast high is supposed to be exactly the same as yesterday -
25° C - but maybe a different sort of breeze or humidity level will make it feel warmer. Everything changes soon, and it could start tonight with some rain. Tomorrow is still being forecast to be wet and windy !

 One of the problems of not smoking is that I don't get out to get any fresh air and sunshine while I am at work. On many days I spend virtually all day just sitting at my desk, and I am becoming increasingly convinced that this is the root of a lot of the pain and stiffness I suffer from all too frequently. I may not get the fabulous exercise of going up and down the fire escape every hour for a fag now, but I am going to try and take at least a few virtual fag breaks while the weather is fine. I went outside twice yesterday, and the second time was to the park behind work.
Tractor cutting the grass in St
                    George's Park
 While I was in the park I took this photo of a tractor which was cutting the grass. It was about the only thing worth taking a picture of. The only problem is that the little Samsung camera I used has a problem. It might be curable by just changing one of the options, but I think the designers have messed up the colour balance to give good holiday snaps - bright blue skies, and bright yellow sandy beaches...........and terrible shades of green as a result. Before I messed around with this picture the sky was a brilliant turquoise colour, and the grass was grey ! Even after spending a full five minutes tweaking the colour balance it still looks bloody horrible !

 It was nice when home time finally came around yesterday. Compared to some days, I didn't feel all that awful during the afternoon, and not that awful as I made my way back to Catford. Both my legs, although more so below the knees, were stiff and almost, but not quite painful - and that included my right calf muscle. That muscle seems very prone to getting very painful recently, but maybe not very recently. Last night, and this morning, it is on the very edge of being sore - it sort of reminds me what it has been ike without actually being agonising.

 The other bits of me that are currently troublesome is my chest and my back. I think some of the problem is, or is made worse by, sleeping in a cool draft, but in the case of my chest something additional is probably going on. My back is not bad enough to stop me moving in any way I choose, but it is rather stiff in some directions. Certain movements give me slightly painful stabbing pains just below my right shoulder blade. Curiously enough, it is my right breast, practically opposite my the pain below my shoulder blade, but on the other side of my body, that is currently giving  me some unpleasant pain. It is similar to the pain that sometimes pops up under my left breast, and on more rare occasions, above my left breast. All these pains seems to be muscular, and not too far under the skin. So I am quite sure it is nothing to do with my heart, but is most probably some legacy of my heart operation. The surgeon probably left a pair of pliers in me or something.

 All these pains should have been cured by large doses of booze last night. I had a most pleasant evening with the guys (and Jodie) in The Catford Constitutional Club. I have no idea how much beer I drank, but it was probably more than I should have, and it was sufficient that I have only the fuzziest memory of going to bed last night. I have a clear memory of buying cod and chips on the way home, but I don't really remember sprinkling them with lemon juice - although the bottle of it was on the table this morning.

 Another thing I do remember is that it was not nice walking home. Last Saturday, when I went to a gig and had just 3 pints of beer, I felt wonderful once I had started out going home. For the first time in ages I actually enjoyed walking, and that was supposed to happen last night - but didn't ! My legs felt just as stiff and creaky as usual. I think the worse thing about it is that if my legs feels stiff I try and walk even faster to get it over and done with. Of course that doesn't really work. If I could learn some patience, and walk at half the speed, it would probably be much more comfortable - but also terribly, terribly boring !

 I'm not sure what time I got into bed last night. I don't think it was very late, and there is a small chance that it was not late at all, and before 9pm. As far as I am aware, I slept well until 4am when I woke up with a slightly thick head ! After that I didn't really sleep at all, although I think I may have dropped off for the odd minute now and then, but essentially I tossed and turned until at about 4.45am I gave up trying to sleep and got up.

 I did have a bit of a hangover when I got up, but it was quite mild, and was just background noise as I came to work. All the usual aches and pains were enough to distract me from it. Now I am at work, and can stop to consider things, I guess I do feel a bit thickheaded, but it is not painful. It is probably just bad enough to make the morning feel like it is going to go on forever. I hope that once the morning is over, the afternoon will fly by. Tonight I could be going to a gig, but it is not a very important one, and I may opt just to relax by myself tonight.
Guide dogs 1
This morning Guide Dogs for The Blind were back on the concourse of Waterloo station.
Guide dogs 2
Thursday 3rd July 2014
08:09 BST

  I think I am safe in describing yesterday as like a summers day. It was dry, sunny and by late afternoon, warm. As I passed Banham Burglary Protection's building on my way home from work, their big digital thermometer was saying it was 24° C. My outside thermometer at home was saying it was 26
° C. Curiously enough, on the weather forecast during the 6pm BBC News, they said the top temperature for London was 25° C - which seems a fair average of all the readings I saw. This morning started with a blue sky, and although I forgot to check my thermometer, it did feel very mild as I made my way to work. It should stay sunny all day today, and it is going to be even warmer than yesterday. Maybe it will get up to 27 or even 28° C. I think today will be the peak for a while, and tomorrow might be cooler and cloudier. On Saturday it might even rain !!

 I'm trying to think how I felt yesterday. I don't remember any particularly bad feelings, nor do I remember feeling particularly good. I guess it was just another average day of average aches and pains. Travelling home from work, while always a relief in one sense, just seemed like the usual pointless waste of just over an hour of my life. My right calf muscle didn't seem to slow me down at all, but I was aware of it much of the time, and particularly so when walking down stairs - when it was almost hurting.

 I had intended to wash a few shirts last night, but I couldn't be bothered. I judged myself to be a bit tired, and because I didn't do it before eating dinner, I didn't fancy bending over the bath with a full stomach. Unfortunately my stomach was a bit fuller than how I intended it to be. The core of my dinner was innocent enough. It was a heap of steamed vegetables with steamed tuna - low fat and loads of fibre ! If I had stopped watching TV after that I probably what not have eaten any more, and maybe I might even have washed a few shirts. The trouble is I stayed watching TV and that incited me to have some cheese and biscuits and stuff......

 I had no special reason to stay up last night, and I thought I might as well get as much sleep as I could. So I went to bed at 8pm, and I think I was asleep by 8.30pm. Everything was good until I was woken up by the phone ringing an hour later. I guess I was on the phone for just under half an hour (maybe as little as 10 minutes, but it felt like a long time). Once the call had finished I think I was fast asleep again in mere minutes, and I almost slept right through until my alarm woke me at 5am. I do have dreamlike memory or two of going for a pee during the night, but even if I did I can't be sure that I was more than 50% awake.

 I do seem to need a lot of sleep still. I liked sleep before my operation, and I always tried to get 8 hours a night, but since that operation I sometimes feel I need even more than 8. I guess that somewhere inside of me I am still healing. Some of the aches and pains also suggest I am still healing, but I just cannot imagine what is still healing after all this time. It is most perplexing and annoying (sometimes) !

 After that little bit of extra sleep I should feel good this morning, and to some degree I do. It's a Thursday, and I usually feel terrible on Thursdays, but this morning I feel merely horrible. I started off with explosive guts in the extreme, but that settled down to no more than a potential worry in time to leave for my usual morning train. My legs felt horribly stiff and creaky when I started walking to the station, but settled down to just merely stiff and creaky once I was half way to the station, and then were pretty much the same all the way to work. My chest and lungs feel totally inadequate for the job they should be doing, but sadly that seems normal now.

 Overall I would much rather be back in bed right now, but here I am at work, and I am only gently suffering. So, not bad for a Thursday, and it's a Thursday with something to look forward to. The Thursday gang are drinking in The Catford Constitutional Club after work. So no messing around...well not much - it is a 77ft detour to get there compared with going straight home ! It is possible I will have a hangover when I come to work tomorrow, but that's OK. I understand and can make allowances for hangovers !
Wednesday 2nd July 2014
08:05 BST

  The weather wasn't bad yesterday. It could have done with being 5° hotter, and less humid, but there was a lot of sunshine, and it stayed dry. There was one period in the afternoon when it did get very cloudy, but then it brightened up again. I'm not sure just how warm it got, but I don't think it was much above 20° C. Today has started off gloriously bright and sunny. At just 13
° C it did feel a bit fresh as I came into work, but that is a couple of degrees less cold than yesterday morning. The sun should continue to shine until about the time I go home from work, and then with a forecast temperature of 23° C the cloud will move in and cap off the sun like a great big thermostat. From then on it will slowly cool down, but tomorrow may be just as sunny, and another degree or two warmer. In this morning's paper there was talk of the temperature hitting a glorious 35° C at the end of this month !

 Something weird happened to me yesterday, and I expect it was the onset of some wild and wonderful neurological disease (brain rot !). I had this peculiar notion that I might try and walk to Wandsworth Common station after work. It is 4 times the distance away of Earlsfield station, and it involves going up and over a huge hill. I used to be able to walk that with comparative ease two years ago, but it would be one hell of a slog doing it now. Not only that, but the idea of doing it with a sore calf muscle, and when wearing a pair of trainers that had seen better days, and were hurting my left heel, was the height of sheer folly !

 Needless to say, I didn't walk to Wandsworth Common station yesterday. Hopefully I will be able to do it before summer is over, but probably not this week, nor the next. I went home quite conventionally, but the weirdness continued when I got home. Whatever had caused my brainstorm about wanting to do an almost impossible walk, or if not impossible certainly a bloody painful walk, also seemed to want to deprive me of food. If I hadn't forced myself not to save any of the cheese for later, and I hadn't thrown the whole lot on top of the big heap of steamed vegetables, then I might have eaten a very healthy meal last night. The two small packets of Aldi own brand hula hoops, and the raw nuts and raisins that I also ate were just an extra flourish of couldn't care less !

 It has just occurred to me that my ongoing brainstorm was probably also the cause of my brain not shutting up when I tried to go to sleep last night. I was in bed a little after 8pm so I could finish the book I was reading, and try to get to sleep by about 9pm. All went to plan as far as turning out the light a little before 9pm, but from then on it all went wrong. My brain would just not switch off, and just kept chattering away to itself, completely ignoring my wishes, until gone 11pm. I think it must have been close to 11.30pm when I actually fell asleep.

 I think I woke up once in the night, but it could have been twice, although everything is so vague that it could have been no times at all until 4.58am - just two minutes before my alarm was due to wake me. It did seem suspiciously easy to wake up then, but there have already been hints that I am due to suffer for only getting five and a half hours sleep last night. Oh well, at least I have clean hair to suffer with. (which is a totally crap way of adding a one line bit of info to this narrative that I washed my hair last night).

 I had trouble updating this website yesterday. It was because my broadband connection went "funny". Fortunately I didn't have to try and get through to Virgin Media's fault reception to report it. They knew about it already.....
broadband fault status
 This screenshot from Vermin Media's website is both right and wrong ! The fault was fixed long before 1.35pm. I was able to reliably connect to my server at home by about 11am, but at around 5.15pm my connection went very intermittent. By 6pm it was solid again, and there have been no problems since then. I feel sure that at 5.15pm a network engineer was fiddling with something -  maybe doing a permanent fix to some temporary lash up that originally restored service in the morning.

 My prime target for tonight is to try and get to sleep before 9pm. 8pm might be an even better time ! If I feel good for any reason (perhaps because the sun is out) I probably ought to wash a couple of shirts. I have plenty of clean ones to wear, but the heap of dirty ones is starting to get a bit to big. I doubt I'll be doing any laundry tomorrow night. With any luck I will be getting drunk instead - although not too drunk - I'm still aiming to not spend too much money this month. I checked my saving account this morning, and it's looking good - in a relative sort of way ! As a source of treats and goodies for when I try and live of a miniscule pension next year it is looking good. If I was trying to save for a deposit on a property in conjunction with a mortgage, it would not be so good. In fact it would be completely hopeless for all but a well appointed cardboard box. In this economic climate I couldn't ever hope to buy a house. Lucky I bought one when the going was good 30 years ago !
Tuesday 1st July 2014
08:27 BST

  There was a time when I became very worried about yesterday's weather. The forecast said it would be dry with sunny periods, and so I didn't bring a coat
to work. By midday there was no hint of sunshine, and it was looking very grey outside. It may have been less than an hour that passed before it was pouring with rain ! Fortunately it had stopped and the sun had come out when I left to go home, but there were still plenty of big puddles to dodge on the way. Once again it was a bit of a cool day - or cooler than I would expect a June day to be, but it was still comfortable in a short sleeved shirt.

 The sky is mostly blue this morning, and if the forecast for today holds, it will stay predominately blue for most of the day. That means it should warm up, but the forecast is not terribly optimistic about it. The forecasters say it will only reach about 23° C, and while that is on the low side of warm, it still feels like a disappointing number for a July day. Maybe tomorrow will be better. That is forecast to reach 25
° C, and it might be the same the day after. I hope the forecast goes very wrong after that because at the moment the weekend is forecast to be cold and wet !

 It was a great relief to not have to go home in the pouring rain yesterday, and it was nice to go home in the sunshine, but it would have been nicer still if my right calf muscle was not giving me a fair amount of pain. It is strange how that pain only comes on during the week on a work day. It feels all wrong to be an imagined pain, but I can't think I am doing anything different apart from going to work (and the pain did start on my way to work in the morning). This morning I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and that has taken the edge off the pain for the moment.

 As well as being rather unpleasant as I made my way home, the pain in that muscle was actually worse when I was at home...or maybe I mean more inconvenient. The pain is a mild annoyance when walking, but can get most annoying when walking down stairs. It is not so bad on solid stone steps at a railway station (for instance). It doesn't matter if you clomp around on those using any style that lessens the pain when using that painful muscle. At home it is a different matter on my creaky wooden stairs. To avoid sounding like a herd of elephants to my neighbours, I prefer to go up and down the stairs in a nice gentle sedate manner - which is not so easy when you want to minimise the time that you are putting strain on a muscle. (I don't think I explained that too well. I hope you can guess what I mean).

 TV was dominated by sport again last night, and so I watched very little TV last night. That rather fitted in well with my desire to try and get a full nights sleep, plus some spare if possible, last night. Wanting to also read my current book went against that a bit, but I managed to read a fair amount, and still turn out the light at about 8.30pm. Last night was one of those all too frequent times when it feels like you can't get to sleep, but you actually fall asleep very quickly. I think I got a good nights sleep except for one minor, ut important detail. I woke up too early from a rather enjoyable erotic dream - at least I hope it would have been enjoyable if I had managed to sleep on for another 20 minutes ! I can't remember too much about it now, but I am sure it was heading in the right direction......

 When I passed through Waterloo station this morning there was no sign of any promotions going on anywhere on the concourse, but I did notice one little novelty tucked away under a staircase. It probably was promoting something, but I have no idea what.
the worlds largest flipbook
 The name of the yellow book the man on the right is reading is "Jamie Oliver's Big Book Of Pigeon Recipes" ! One of the labels on the right hand side of the plinth describes this as the world's largest flipbook, and it seemed like there might be some way of flipping a page over for a new picture, but the method, if indeed there was one, was not obvious.

 Well July has now officially started, and I see that it is a rather long month. I'm now wondering just how wise it was to transfer so much money from my current account to my saving account yesterday. Oh well, I guess I'll get by. Last month ended with me further in the black than I anticipated. Maybe I can do whatever I did last month, this month as well. I guess it's all good practice for when I chuck in my job and try and live off a pittance for the rest of my miserable life.