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

Saturday 31st May 2014
17:39 BST

 Yesterday.....I'm just trying to think....Yeah, it wasn't too bad weatherwise. There was some sunshine, and it was dry. It wasn't particularly warm though - about 15 C at best - although that is chilly providing you keep moving. Today started off quite bright, and there has been lots of blue sky, but the amount of sunshine since then has been disappointing. It must be some sort of infernal luck that the sun has managed to find so much cloud to hide behind - even on occasions when there has just been one small cloud in the sky ! The good thing is that it has been warmer today. It still isn't quite warm enough to not wear a shirt when not working hard, but it's a definite improvement over yesterday and the preceeding days. The current temperature is almost 21
C, and the sky is looking a bit ominous - almost like a storm might be brewing. Fortunately is doesn't feel like a storm is coming. It is possible we could see a shower tomorrow, but otherwise it might be like today.

 I had a pleasant enough journey home from work yesterday, but work was rather irritating, and I felt a bit drained by the time I arrived home. Initially I acted like I would be going out to a gig in the evening, but it quickly became obvious that I just didn't feel like going out again. I felt tired, but it was a sort of tiredness of the soul rather than the body. So I didn't feel terribly stressed staying awake in my bedroom watching a James Bond movie on ITV4 until 1.25am !

 It might have been nearly 2am before I fell asleep, and for 3 hours I was out like a light, but I still woke up at 5am as usual. I managed to convince myself to go back to sleep for about three hours, but it wasn't good sleep. I seemed to be having lots of dreams, and woke up quite a few times before deciding to get up, shower and dress at 8am. In consequence I was almost ready to go to Aldi at 9am, and at about 9.25am I did go to Aldi.

 Predictably enough, I bought a wild assortment of stuff, and that included many things that I should not be eating, but on the other hand I am not currently in the mood for mild starvation at the moment. Some stuff has a long shelf life, and maybe I'll pace myself eating it, and some stuff is probably not terribly bad. There is some stuff that I am not sure what the rules for it are.  I suspect that the sugar content of cherries is a a bit high, but on the other hand it is a very small punnet. Not only that, but I have done some hard manual labour today.

 Now I must admit the amount of hard manual labour I've done is hardly record breaking, but it is more than nothing ! Walking to Aldi, and then lugging a heavy heap of shopping back burns a bit of energy, and if you judge my energy expenditure by how much I was sweating, then I must have used a fair amount to hand wash 3 short sleeve shirts, a t-shirt, and some assorted underwear. I also did some gardening, and this time it wasn't just snipping a few stray branches here and there, and maybe pulling up a few weeds.

 No, this time I used a spade, and dug a small hole ! A few days ago a pigeon died in my back garden. I had noticed walking about in the garden the day before it died. It was not obviously injured, but the fact that it wasn't flying suggested something was wrong. The next morning it was dead in the middle of what could be my lawn if I levelled the ground, raked out all the stones and rubble, and planted grass seed. I expected a fox, or a magpie to take it, but nothing seemed to touch it for some reason. Today was my first opportunity to bury the maggot filled corpse, and it is now at the bottom of a hole I dug.

 There was one other bit of manual labour I did today, and a tiny bit of it was touching the lower reaches of hard work for a few seconds. Sometimes I am good and wash up plates and stuff as soon as I've used them, and sometimes I am less good. Today I did cleared a small backlog of a couple of plates, some cutlery, a saucepan, and my electric grill. I usually clean the electric grill with kitchen paper everytime I use it, and that keeps it mostly clean, but sometimes it is not enough. I used the grill quite frequently at the beginning of last week, and there was quite a build up on it. So today it had a good scrubbing. Apart from all that, I've done nothing today.

 I don't think I had any plans to go to a gig tonight, and that could be just as well because I feel myself settling down to another lazy night watching TV, and/or reading.  It is nice, often very or exceedingly nice to have the option to go and do stuff like watching a gig, but while there is a choice it also feels nice to be a recluse or anti-social hermit when I feel like it, and tonight I think I do feel like it.

 One good reason why I can feel like that tonight is because tomorrow I will be going to a gig. At the unfashionable hour of 3pm, but wonderfully timed for my lifestyle, Night Owl will be performing in The Catford Ram. It would be hard to think of anything better. Night Owl are Jo Corteen doing vocals and (electro) acoustic guitar, and Dave Griffiths on keyboards.  I suppose you could say it is a matinee performance - a wonderful afternoon, and home for teatime (or dinner) sometime around 5 or 6pm (I would guess). I can't wait !
Friday 30th May 2014
08:50 BST

  Yesterday was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel, but....There was some sunshine, just not much of it, and it was dry. It would have been nicer if it was a bit warmer, but it wasn't bad. The trouble is that it was supposed to lead on to even better weather, but the forecast for today has changed from sunny periods and a high of 19 C to a fairly overcast day, and possibly only 15
C. There could even be a shower or two. Once upon a time it was forecast that tomorrow would actually be quite nice - lots of sun, and quite warm - but while it might be slightly better than today, it may not be that much better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast for Sunday will change from showers to hot sunshine !

 I guess I didn't feel too bad yesterday. 5% of work was more enjoyable than usual, but 20% was rather less than enjoyable. The remainder was just bleuurgh (Note: this a completely different sort of the bleuurgh to the vomity kind of bleurgh which only has one "u" in it unless it a particularly violent or copious upchuck, in which case it has 3 "u"s in it, but never two. Two is always reserved for just a mere feeling of uuurggggh, or arghhh. At least it is in my universe. It may be different in your own universe). It is possible that some of the positive vibes (as they used to say back when I was young, and in an ideal world should still say now) were due to looking forward to a beer last night.

 Getting away from work, and the journey back to Catford was one time when I was uncomfortable in a very easy to pin point way. I was suffering from trapped wind except when it was no longer trapped and exited with a sound more commonly associated with hurricanes. It is rare for me to visit the toilets at Clapham Junction station on the way to work, and exceedingly rare for me to visit them on the way home, but I had to last night. I think it is possible that I shook the very foundations of the station (unless it was one of the big diesel hauled freight trains going through).

 Fortunately it was all over when I arived at the pub a little later than intended (stopping at Clapham Junction delayed me enough to miss my train at Waterloo East station by little more than 1 minute). Jodie was already there, and soon after I arrived Chris, Paul, Andy and Dave arrived. A fair bit later Mark (friend of Jodie, and guitarist in The Flame Pilots). I particularly wanted to see Mark to give him a copy of the pictures and video I had taken of his band last Sunday. I also wanted to introduce him to Chris so they could talk shop about guitars and stuff if they wanted to - which they did for a while.

 My plan was to have at least two pints of beer last night, but maybe not much more. I think I had 4 pints in the end, but it might have been 5. I could potentially have stayed for more, but even in a lightly drunken state I managed to convince myself that I ought to leave when I did. I couldn't convince myself not to buy cod and chips for dinner on the way home though. As usual, it was a nice treat, and soon after finishing it I went to bed. I fell asleep very quickly, or at least that is how I remember it now. It feels almost dreamlike, but I am sure I got up to have a pee 2 or 3 times in the night. The last time was 3am, and I got back into bed feeling really wide awake, and convinced I would never get back to sleep again. The next thing I knew was it was 4.45am, and time to get up (albeit 15 minutes early).

 This morning I feel good and bad. I obviously had a mild hangover - mostly just a mild headache, but that was to be expected, and doesn't really count. One good thing is that my feet and ankles were hardly swollen at all. That seems almost unusual in recent times. It's a shame that my legs (and ankles) seemed stiffer than yesterday. I would have thought with less swelling would come smoother acting joints, but it seems not. Probably the worst things I could complain about were a bit of a stiff, almost sore back for a while, and a nasty cramp like pain on my right hand side at about the midpoint between belly and chest. It sometimes happens when I twist my body or reach out in an awkward way, and can be very painful for a brief moment. It can sometimes be on my left hand side, and I assume it is something to do with when I was cut open or my open heart surgery. Of course it could be something deadly, but I'm not dead yet.

 Tonight, if I'm feeling up to it, and if it is dry and bright in the mid evening I might be, there is a gig in West Wickham I would like to go to for a bit. Chain are playing in The Swan. It is not one of my favourite pubs - in fact I hate it - it's always full of footballers or their fans. So my plan is to only go for a couple of hours. They play late there, but the last train from West Wickham station is absurdly early - 10:17pm if I recall correctly (but I will check later) - and I would like to get the train rather than mess about with buses.

 Today at Waterloo station is very much like yesterday, which was very like the day before, but today here's the ground level view...
C-Class Mercedes Benz on Waterloo
                    station concourse 30th May 2014
Thursday 29th May 2014
08:10 BST

  I would be repeating myself if I said yesterday was horrible, but it was, and so I am ! It didn't rain all day. In fact the road was half dry as I walked to the station after work. It stayed dry on my way home, and into the evening, but there was no relief from the dull grey gloominess from dawn to dusk. The temperature was supposed to be 14 C at best, but it felt cooler than that. I had the heater on all day at work to try and keep warm. Today sees an improvement. Not only will it be less cool with the temperature possibly peaking at 18 or 19
C, but there should be an occasional glimpse of sunshine. There were a few minutes of it as I walked from the station to work. It was still a little hazy at that time of the morning, but it was definitely sunshine ! There should be more later, but we could also have some violent storms this afternoon. So the weather is improving, but it is still far from perfect.

 I felt pretty rotten yesterday. A few minor aches and pains that individually would hardly be noticed, and the horrible weather, and being at work, added up to an unpleasant day. Thing improved quite a lot after I had been home for a while. I had some nice food. It wasn't particularly healthy food, but it came a lot closer than some recent dinners. I went home via the Turkish supermarket and bought some of their delicious seeded bread, and some smoked cheese. It was fortunate that it was quite a small roundel of cheese, perhaps no more than 2 inches across, because I ate all of it. Some of it cubed in a bowl of mixed salad, and some with the bread.

 I also had some mixed bean salad and stuff. It all tasted nice, and it definitely cheered me up. By the time I had watched the news on TV, and gone up to my bedroom to use the PC up there. I was feeling quite good. I meant to have an early night, but decided to write an email first. It wasn't a particularly long email, but it seems loads of time went by while I wrote it. I ended up going to bed late instead of early. Once I got into bed there was that standard 5 minutes of tossing and turning, trying to find a comfortable position while wondering if I would ever get to sleep, followed by instant deep sleep. I slept well, and I'm sure I could have slept well for longer if my alarm hadn't woken me up.

 This morning I feel slightly good - but only slightly, very slightly ! I don't know if it was the good sleep, what I ate last night, the prospect of seeing some sunshine today, or the fact that I will be having some beer tonight. It is probably a mixture of all those things. Of course I have the usual mild aches in a few places - mostly around my chest where I imagine I was sliced open internally (and where I probably damaged myself by carrying stuff maybe 30 times heavier than recommended soon after my operation last year. I think I just have to live with the consequences of that necessary foolishness. The most useful feel good thing was the same as yesterday. In amongst all the negativity and pain yesterday morning, and to a lesser extent on the way home from work, was the fact that my legs are still working rather well recently. This morning I might even have imagined they were back working at almost 75% efficiency !

 Last night, as I passed through Waterloo station I took a snapshot of the event taking place on the concourse. Last night it was Mercedes Benz showing off their new black car that does something or another in a black Mercedes sort of way....
black Mercedes Benz car on Waterloo
                    concourse
This morning it was still there...
Mercedes Benz at Waterloo
Wednesday 28th May 2014
08:27 BST

 Yesterday was horrible and today is horrible ! There may have been a couple of times when yesterday started to brighten up, but it never really made it. Overall it was nasty and dull with occasional showers. I fear today is going to be very similar. It has started off very dull and gloomy, and much of the time it is raining - sometimes just light drizzle, and at other times almost heavy rain. The forecast rather optimistically suggests the rain will soon be over until much later this evening, but there is no expectation of anything but dull leaden skies all day. To make matters worse, the temperature is going to be very flat today. It started at a cool 12 C, and at best it will only rise a couple of degrees before falling away again in the late afternoon. It is almost as depressing as winter - maybe more so - winter is expected to be bad !

 You could say that I did little but rest yesterday, and that is partly true. I never went out all day (if you disregard the 2 minutes I was outside heading for the station in the morning before turning round and going back home). I have almost nothing to show for the whole day. So I rested. I don't think it was my intention to rest for most of the day. It just of happened, and I made no attempt to fight it. It is even possible I needed it, and it is even possible I should have been doing it today.

 I guess it's all in the mind. It was horrible outside so I thought it was horrible inside as well, or something like that. It's hard to remember when I first became aware of it, I'm guessing over 30 years ago, when I started to be afflicted with an advanced form of SAD (or seasonally affected depression). It affects most sufferers during the short winter days when daylight is at a premium, but I like to think differently. So I just get depressed on any gloomy day of the year. There are usually more of them in winter, at least that was the historical idea until this wet and gloomy fortnight came along, but I can be instantly cheered by a bright sunny winters day even if there is snow on the ground (provided I don't have to come to work in it).

 So I guess the aches and pains I suffered this morning were purely my imagination because I just really did not want to come to work on a filthy dull and wet morning. I don't like to come to work on any morning, but today the hatred was 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times as bad. The really strange thing is that it seems as if my legs might be disagreeing with the whole idea of not wanting to come to work. While my head throbbed, the pains around my operation scars (mostly where I imagine the internal ones are) nagged and ripped, and my arms felt stiff and sore, my legs seemed to be in unusually fine order. They seemed capable of going far faster than I wanted to go, and far faster than my lungs (now ruined by lack of cigarette smoke) could provide them with oxygen. Sometimes life is pretty weird !

 Now I am at work, and the little heater in here is slowly taking the chill off the cold damp air in my office, I feel 2% less crap than when I arrived here. Maybe at the end of the day I won't feel so awful, but I feel today could be an awful trial. I have already been given some work that I don't want to do. It's one of those jobs that has no real end. I have to investigate something to see if I feel it has an underlying fault or not. There is no clear goal to this, and I am not happy about it. I much prefer to see smoke. Once you see smoke and flames you can be sure there is a solid fault, see exactly where it is, and do a proper repair. Looking for something that might or might not be there is no fun at all. Oh well, just one more year to go before I am in receipt of a tiny little pension that could allow me to give up work and live like a pauper until I die.
Tuesday 27th May 2014
10:04 BST

  It rained yesterday afternoon, and when it wasn't raining it was dull and gloomy - although there were a few brighter periods in the morning. It was also almost cold - a sort of damp coolness that creeps up on you slowly and reduces you to shivers if you don't stay wrapped up or moving.
Today is similar but worse in so much that it was raining when I woke up, and it is still raining now, and may be raining when I go to bed too ! The forecast said the day would start at just 12 C. In the early afternoon the temperature might reach the dizzy heights of 14 C, but the effort of getting there would be too much, as the afternoon decays into the evening it would be back down to 12 C again. Overall it is a thoroughly nasty day. Sadly enough it may not be much better tomorrow, or even the day after, but we can always hope for miracles.

 I did less than I intended yesterday. That's the pessimistic view. The optimistic view is that I did more than I intended.  The big thing yesterday was that I was going out to watch Chain playing at the Holy Ghost Fathers summer fete. I washed and dressed. Packed my camera bag with a rainproof jacket (it hadn't started to rain when I was intending to go out, and I thought I could get to the fete in shirtsleves), and as well as my usual camera I also packed my waterproof camera. Nearly all of me was ready to go out, but......

 I am sure the trouble stemmed from the fried chicken I had bought on Sunday night on my way home from the gig. One bit didn't taste quite right, although it didn't actually taste nasty. I did feel slightly funny yesterday morning, but nothing out of the ordinary, and I ignored it. Prior to leaving for the fete I visited the toilet - just to make sure I was comfortable for the journey - and then I visited it again, and again, and again..... I didn't feel too good after that, and I had missed the train I wanted to get, and left barely any time to get the next one. I decided that it might be easier just to stay at home. At least I could be sure of staying dry. My spies at the fete said that Chain came on a lot later than expected because of heavy rain, and then played a very short set as the grass they were on turned to mud, and the rain blew into the open side marquee they were playing in.

The second band didn't even get a chance to try and play because the organisers cut off the power lead before an accident happened. It would have been fascinating to see the debacle, but also a very damp experience ! So I stayed in and did some constructive stuff. I went through all the photos I had taken the night before, and tarted them up a bit, and I top and tailed a bit of video I had taken. I was particularly pleased with how this picture came out.
Mark "Arkie" Wright of The
                    Flame Pilots
 It's not perfectly sharp, and perhaps looks slightly worse after being shrunk down to show here, but the lighting gives it a sort of 3D effect (in my imagination). It is Mark "Arkie" Wright who I've known for 20+ years as a friend of my friend Jodie.
The Flame Pilots
 The trouble with the small stages, that are typical in small pubs, is that it is almost impossible to see everyone at once. I did get one clear shot of the drummer, but the guitarist behind the singer in the centre of the picture remained very elusive. I think you can see more of him in this video - if you can see the video !


 With all my photography stuff done I settled down to do some reading. After a while I began to feel quite peckish. Well I was sort of empty so it came as no surprise. So I wandered down to the kitchen to see what I could rustle up for myself. I had in mind that I fancied something warm, and I thought I would base it on a can of stewed steak I had only recently bought. I think I might have a rodent problem in my kitchen. The can I was looking for was definitely missing, and it was obvious (but don't ask me how) that it had been carried off by one of the rodents. It could only have been a capybara.

 I ended up heating up a tin of (alleged) bolognese sauce that I had found marked down in price in Aldi the last time I went there. It filled a small spot, but I wanted a slightly different taste, a different texture, and something that I can't really describe. My eyes settled on a tin of haggis. I have no idea why I wanted haggis, but I heated it up in the microwave (as instructed on the can), and ate it. It was quite nice, and the addition of some chilli sauce (scotch bonnet chillis, obviously) made it nicer still. It seemed to hit the spot OK, and I felt OK for the rest of the evening.

 I went to bed in good time considering I had to be up at 5am to go to work today, and on the whole I slept well. I did wake up a few times for a wee, and on each occasion I passed enough wind to add a slight green tint to the air in my bedroom. When I finally got up, about 15 minutes early, I felt slightly odd, but it didn't seem to be a big deal. I went to the toilet, and nothing much happened. Maybe half an hour later I went to the toilet again, and this time something did happen. Quite a lot actually ! The other 5 times I went to the toilet, including the time when I had to rush back after walking the first 100 yards to the station, a lot less happened, but a lot less is far from nothing !

 I felt pretty awful after that, and although I must have been empty by then, my stomach still sounded like Victorian comedy plumbing, and it felt a bit sore too. Instead of going to work I chose to lie on my bed and feel miserable. Once I was laying on my bed, feeling nice and relaxed, I didn't feel so miserable. I don't really remember being asleep, but 2 hours seemed to pass by in the wink of an eye. I woke up feeling much better, but rather hollow. After phoning work to tell them the good news, I had a very careful breakfast. I don't think mushroom soup is too inflamatory, and it's warm presence was quite comforting. I'm still getting the odd gurgle in my gut. So I suppose I had better stick to soup today. Maybe the next one will be chicken soup - a soup known to have good medical qualities to those of the Jewish faith who have Jewish mothers to make it - neither of which applies to me, but I'm sure the canned stuff will do some good, somehow ! Other than that, I feel fine :-)
Monday 26th May 2014
10:30 BST

  I think "lots of sunshine" may have been a bit too optimistic for yesterday, but it wasn't too bad. There was less sunshine than I had hoped for, but to make up for it, it seemed less cool than I expected. Maybe 17 C is not so bad after all. Unfortunately 17
C is going to seem like luxury for the next few days. Today we will be lucky to hit 16 C, and after a dull and grey morning it is set to rain for much of the afternoon.

 I did two things of importance yesterday. One of them was to finally re-fit the repaired motherboard into my PC. I think I might have swapped the two hard drive connections when I connected everything up. Everytime I boot up from cold I get a grub boot error message saying one of the disks can't be mounted (which I can skip over). I have a vague memory that this happened the last time I messed about with the hard disks, and I repaired the problem in software. It is a complicated sort of thing, but I think both hard disks have boot loaders on them, and although both will load Linux, only one can find both disks where they should be. I could go in and edit the boot loader again, or I could open up the case and swap the hard disk leads around - when I can be bothered ! The important thing is that the PC, once forced to boot, is operating normally again.

 The second thing of importance I did yesterday could be said to have a part a and a part b, or maybe just a suffix, or in strict time order, a prefix. I know that sounds like the poorest English ever, but let me explain in simpler terms. Last night there was a gig I wanted to go to. First off it was free entry, and then it became 3 entry. Then the band I wanted to see, because I knew their guitarist and had never seen him play before, was on first as early as 5pm, and then was on at 7pm, and finally was due to be on at 9pm. All these changes made me think really hard about whether I wanted to go that badly.

 Getting to the venue was easy - even if it jarred my sense of how the world ought to work. First I travel north to Lewisham station, and then I cross to the other platform when I get there. A tolerably reasonable 10 minute wait later I get on a train that starts off going south along the parallel tracks to the one I just used to get there. After a minute of travelling back in the same direction I had come from, the train veers off in an easterly direction, and about 15 minutes later deposits me at Sidcup station, and just 2 minutes walk from the venue - The Iron Horse pub.

 Before all that the afternoon and early evening crawled by. It was agony trying not to eat anything too heavy before going out, and it was agonising deciding if I really wanted to go out so late in the evening when I might have preferred to go to bed. I sort of managed to eat lightly before going out, although what I ate was not that wholesome. It was lucky that it was not raining, and it was still broad daylight when I finally did go out to go to the gig. With the prospect of having to pay 3 to get in I decided to get there an hour early to see a bit of the preceeding band before my friends band came on.

 It was almost a pleasant journey to Sidcup, and the venue was even closer to the station exit than I had imagined. I expected 3 minutes walk, and it may have even been less than 2. The venue itself seemed sort of nice. It wasn't packed (in fact it was almost empty), but their range of beers left something to desire. The second band of the evening had not started when I got there, but they were setting up. I don't know why it took so long for them to set up, but they faffed around for so long that they started 5 or 10 minutes late, and then played a 50 minute plus set instead of their 45 minute allocated time. This rather annoyed me, and my friend. To make matters worse, I can't say I enjoyed anything they played at all !

 Eventually my friends band, The Flame Pilots, came on and played a whole heap of stuff I had never heard before in a style that was not exactly my favourite. You might say it was not a completely enjoyable evening, but I had scratched an itch that needed scratching and seen my friend playing.
The Flame Pilots
 Here's the band on stage. My friend is on the left. His name is Mark. I have no idea what the rest of the band are called.

 I left the gig to get the 22:01 train. I could have stayed later and seen all of The Flame Pilots set. I think the last train was an hour later, and there was a bus that would take me all the way back to Catford at around midnight - if I could stand a 1 hour bus journey - but I thought I would stick to my original plan. Going home was more pleasant than going to the gig. I don't know how much was just sky glow from all the lights in central London, but it seemed that there was still a hint of light left on the western horizon at 10pm last night.

 When I got back to Catford I couldn't resist getting some fried chicken and chips. I did manage to resist buying a lot of it, and made one of the smallest orders I've ever made in the shop before (possibly !). It may been a small order, but when I came to eat it I found I didn't want it all, and I ended up having cold fried chicken for breakfast !

 Now a new day has started, and I have almost exactly an hour to get out to yet another gig. Chain are playing a charity event at The Holy Ghost Fathers summer fete in Bickley. I've seen them playing there twice before, and on a warm sunny day it is rather pleasant. I don't know how good it is going to be in the rain ! I had better take a shower, get dressed, and see how it goes.
Sunday 25th May 2014
09:19 BST

  I can't remember any part of Friday where the weather was exceptionally bad........except maybe just as I was leaving work. There was some light drizzle as I walked from work to the station. Soon after I got to the station the rain stopped, and it was dry from then onwards. That wasn't the case yesterday morning. I had to go out, and it was pouring with rain on my outward walk, but it did stop for my homeward walk some 30 minutes later. From then on it brightened up, and I'm not sure how much it rained after that. There was even some large patches of blue sky from time to time, but the sparse sunny periods did little to raise the temperature. I don't think it even hit 20 C, and it was probably at least a few degrees less. This morning has started out dry with the sun struggling to find a few gaps in the cloudy sky. Most of the cloud is fairly light in colour so it's not too gloomy today. Lots of sunshine is forecast for today, but it's going to be almost chilly at just 17
C. I currently seem to measure almost 18 C. So maybe there is hope that it will be warmer than the forecast.

 By the middle of the working day on Friday, I was completely convinced that a 5 day week was excessive, and that a 4 day week was pushing it a bit. I felt really drained as I made my way home from work. Not exactly physically drained, nor mentally drained, but a sort of combination of both plus some other sort of fatigue that has no name. The result of this trinity of fatigues is that I couldn't be bothered to pick up some shopping on the way home from work, and I ended up ordering a takeaway for my dinner.

 No matter how careful you are, and I still had one working braincell to attempt a mock attempt at being sensible, it is tricky eating sensibly with takeaway food. I improved my chances by not eating the bread and rice, which was obviously a big waste, but it still made for a meal that was built for taste rather than comfort (or some such gobbledygook). After eating rather too well on Thursday night, it was a bit of a bold/stupid idea.

 I didn't do anything of note on Friday night, and I didn't do much of note yesterday...but I did do something. At 9am I set out in the pouring rain to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy located in the same building as my doctor. From there it is just a 2 minute walk to Aldi where I spent far too much money, and bought quite a few things that I really shouldn't have. My money supply is getting very thin considering it is still almost a week until pay day, and I should be taking more care that I don't end up using my overdraft, and end up paying fees to my bank ! As to the stuff I bought - quite a few items were not exactly low fat or low calorie, or low anything at all !

 I did one more thing before I gave up for the day, yesterday. I hand washed some shirts - 6 of them ! From then on I became exceedingly lazy. It was probably the result of either eating too much, or working a five day week.....or more likely, both. I think I felt physically OK, but I just could not raise the enthusiasm to do anything more than laze about reading, and eating. For yet another day I ate all sorts of crap that I shouldn't have, and I would be very surprised if I haven't undone all the good work I did in the previous two weeks.

 What I should have been doing yesterday was to try out my repaired motherboard, and hopefully get back to using a nice powerful computer again. I should also have gone out to a gig last night. There were two reasons for not going. Although the second could be partly considered as an extension of the first. The first was that I was feeling rather bloated in the evening. Maybe it would have been of no consequence last night, but it certainly was this morning - thank goodness that seems to be over now !! I don't like travelling when I feel bloated, and the journey to the gig would not have been easy. As far as the crow flies it was surprisingly close to home, and yet it was a bugger to get to involving getting two buses. I feel a bit guilty about not going, but it was far easier to just stay at home last night.

 This morning I don't really know how I feel. I think I've had a good nights sleep, but I don't really feel very bright right now. I guess that I am going to have to grit my teeth and get that repaired motherboard back in my PC, and I think I will have to grit my teeth and make sure I get out to a gig today. Today's gig is moderately easier to get to, but still needs two trains or one very long (1 hour !) bus ride, but it does have the advantage that it starts quite early at 5pm.

 The band I want to see is called Flame Pilots, and features a guy I have known for something like 20 years. Way back in the mists of time he was Jodie's boyfriend, but by the time I first met Jodie their relationship had cooled to just friends. In all these years I never knew he played guitar, and so it will be interesting to see his band today. It's quite a rare chance as well. He, and his band are based down on the coast, and today's gig in Sidcup is well away from their normal haunts.

 As I suspected might happen, I have been taken to task over my less than glowing review of Kinvig after watching the first four episodes with Aleemah the Saturday before last. My linux guru says "Won't hear anything said against Kinvig - remember "transistors are just a passing phase!"."OK Steve, I'll try and say something more positive, or nothing at all, when I see the next three episodes with Aleemah probably next Saturday.
Friday 23rd May 2014
08:21 BST

  It wasn't the case for everyone, in fact far from it, but I found the weather to be fairly benign yesterday. It wasn't warm, but it wasn't that cold either. There wasn't a lot, but there was some sunshine. For me it was a dry day, but I was inside at the critical time. During the afternoon there was some torrential rain with flashes of lightning, and crashes of thunder. It finished in Earlsfield a little while before I left work. It finished in central London a little while before I arrived there, and it finished in Catford a little while before I got there too. As far as I was aware it stayed dry for the rest of the evening.

 I suspect there may have been some rain during the night, but it was more or less bright and sunny as I walked to the station this morning. Here in Earlsfield some very threatening dark clouds have recently appeared, and it might rain, or it might lighten up again. Both sunshine and showers have been forecast for today, but we are promised it won't be as bad as yesterday. Although the temperature may seem like luxury compared to how it was a month or two ago, it is going to be disappointingly cool compared with the best of last weekend. This coming long weekend is forecast to be pretty rough, but the bank holiday on Monday might be half OK.

 I took a photo that shows how nice it was first thing this morning...and it shows something else too !
outside Catford Bridge
                  station
strung up bear
 I am tempted to think that this sight was intended to be a warning to politicians, particularly those who were newly elected in the election yesterday, that this could, and maybe should be their fate if they back down from their election promises, and screw the electorate over as they usually do. Still, look at that lovely blue sky !

 All my predictions about yesterday evening came true. I drank lots of beer, grossly over ate, and felt really rather happy for it. Of course the consequences aren't too good, but I think I needed to do it because I was getting withdrawn and sullen (or something like that - something unpleasant). I guess I should try and find some will power to be very careful about what I eat over this long weekend, and also be careful about drinking. Drinking whisky in the late evening seems safe enough, but drinking beer away from home seems like dieting suicide ! Perhaps the most important thing is that the cod and chips I had, garnished with vinegar and white pepper to keep my sodium intake nice and low, was the absolute nectar of the gods (the good gods, not the nasty ones !).

 I have no idea what time I got to bed last night, but I think I slept well. In an ideal world I would have got at least another 3 hours sleep, but I had to get up an come to work for the 5th day running. Working 5 days seems a bit excessive to me these days, and 3 feels better, but you have to do what you have to do even if it physically and mentally wrecks you. Funnily enough I don't feel all that bad this morning. I think that is one of the good things about a mild hangover - it is predictable and familiar. It's like wearing your favourite coat...sort of ! It is quite possible that I shall feel lousy later on, but for now I feel fairly good (at least now I am in work and sitting down I do). All that booze should have raised my blood pressure level, and that always makes me feel like my body is running efficiently. A prime example of my cardio vascular system running well (in my warped opinion) is that for the first time in ages, my feet and ankles are hardly swollen at all. I am positive my doctor would disagree with this strongly, but what does he know about my body ?

 Tonight I am going to be a lazy slob, and maybe I might manage that tomorrow as well. If I didn't have to go out tomorrow morning to pick up a prescription for drugs that seems to apply the throttle too hard to my heart, I would happily spend half the morning in bed. That still means I can have a long lay in compared to a work day, but I won't be able to have an infinite lay in ! As for the rest of this coming long weekend.....I'll just make it up as I go along. There are a couple of gigs I would like to go to, but I won't bust a gut to get to them.

 Now if you asked me what was the least likely thing to have a web address emblazened on it, I doubt I would ever have thought of one of these -
Leornado bog roll holders
 It seems even the mundane needs a web address. This is actually a twin toilet roll holder that seems to have been recently installed in the gents toilets at Waterloo station (30p a go !). If you are insanely curious you can learn more about bog roll holders (and other stuff for the modern convenience) right here :- http://www.leonardo-dispensing.co.uk/leonardo-range/toilet-roll-dispensing/twin-jumbo.html (their website seems to have an expired security certificate, but seems safe - use your own judgement before opening it).
Thursday 22nd May 2014
08:19 BST

  It is possible that there was more sunshine than I expected yesterday...but maybe not because I can't really remember that well. That indicates to me that it was a very bland day - not hot, nor cold. Not that sunny, but not that dull, and.....no rain. I am fairly certain about that last one. I'm not even sure it rained in the evening. There was some rain during the night, but this morning started bright and sunny, but 12 C felt unexpectedly cool. Since arriving in Earlsfield it has become very overcast. As I walked the last few hundred yards to work it felt like a storm was approaching. There was that feel in the air - or so it seemed to me. It is forecast to brighten up again this afternoon, but at the same time heavy rain is expected ! It could be a rather wet, and quite chilly evening.

 I managed to find a bit of time to repair my PC motherboard yesterday. At least I hope it is repaired. It never really shows up well in photos, or at least not in the ones I take, but here's the two culprits.
bulging capacitors
 With a bit of imagination you can see that the top of these two capacitors are bulging upwards. The one on the left may actually have split open. This indicates that they have been running hot for some time, and the electrolyte inside has partly boiled away. That makes them run even hotter, and so a vicious cycle is set up. The result of this is that the power fluctuates to part of the PCs circuitry, and computers hate that and do funny stuff (well that's one way of putting it). I didn't have an exact replacement so I made a rather unsightly bodge that I am perfectly confident will do the job perfectly. In theory I should have been confirming it last night.

 I felt OK going home from work. It was partly sunny, and the temperature was high enough (perhaps around 18 C, maybe a bit more) to leave my coat off and go home in shirtsleeves. I am unsure why, but as I walked up my garden path, all 6ft of it, I underwent some sort of change. I felt tired, and I felt what could most easily be described as miserable. This did rather alter the course of my evening.

 I couldn't raise the enthusiasm to re-install the repaired motherboard, although I did come very close to inspecting another spare motherboard that I have. I am still curious as to what processor it has on it. It could potentially be faster than my newly repaired motherboard. It too has a blown capacitor or two that needs replacing, and I meant to bring it into work today, but my lack of enthusiasm prevented me from packing for transport yesterday (and I completely forgot about it this morning).

 The other effect of the way I was feeling was that I had an insatiable appetite. If I was still smoking it would also have probably got through at least one packet of cigarettes last night. Maybe half a pack would have been enough to stop me ruining any previous attempts at eating healthily. I started off with a bowl of raw oats with a sprinkling of milled linseed and stuff all drenched in semi skimmed milk. I had that while a couple of beefburgers cooked in the grill. I had those burgers with a bowl of salad. Within 10 minutes of finishing the burgers I wanted more ! The only thing that would partly save the day was to have another bowl of ready mixed salad. Even after that I was still very much in the mood for more food, cigarettes, beer and whisky. I had none of those, but the desire was there burning like a sun in my brain (or was it stomach ?).

 In theory I had ample sleep last night. I'm unsure as to how many hours it was, but I'm sure it was at least 6 or 7 - and that is usually enough now we are out of winter, and the days are so long. I woke up well before my alarm, and that too suggests I had ample sleep, and yet it would have been so easy to go back to bed instead of coming into work this morning. I am sure I would have slept too ! This morning follows on quite closely from how I felt when I got home yesterday. There is no one single thing wrong with me, no special ache or pain, and yet I feel sort of lousy. Several times on my way to work I longed to lay down and close my eyes - even while sitting on the train - maybe even more so than when walking - and yet walking felt like walking through treacle...or maybe something a bit lighter like syrup ! Every step, from the first to the last, felt like it was a lot of bother - not actually hard, but just bothersome !

 There were a few distractions on the way into work - a few pretty girls to ogle at through the train windows, and something going on on the concourse of Waterloo station. I am unsure just what it was that was being promoted. Maybe all will be revealed on my way home after work.
Waterloo station concourse
                  22nd May 2014
 About the only things I can add to the picture are that it might, or might not, have something to do with Travel Lodge, and that I am guessing that if you stand on the black cross that the photographer is standing on, the perspective of the backdrop is about right to give a sort of 3D effect.
water skiing on Waterloo
                  station
 I have decided that tonight I am going to have a beer or three. I don't care that it will raise my blood sugar level, and I don't care that I am incredibly likely to over eat when drunk. I feel I need a drink, and some company, and so I shall meet Jodie in The Catford Constitutional Club at about 4.45pm, and then probably meet up with the Thursday night guys who are meeting round the corner in The Catford Ram tonight. Knowing how bad the beer can be in The Catford Ram, I can foresee them coming to me rather than me going to them, but we shall see !
Wednesday 21st May 2014
07:52 BST

  It turned out that the weather forecast for yesterday was hopelessly pessimistic. The weather wasn't great, but it was far better than expected. There was hardly any rain, and there was even a bit of sunshine when I was going home - and it was mild enough for just shirtsleeves. I'm not sure what the highest temperature was, but I felt quite sticky when I got home. Then all of a sudden the temperature seemed to drop a lot, and the sky seemed to be full of very dark looking clouds. I assumed a storm was about to start, but there was  just a minute of light rain, and then the sky got lighter again.

 I don't think it has rained since then, and this morning, while slightly cool, is, or was nice and sunny. It seems to have clouded over in the last few minutes, but it is not thick cloud, and could easily break up again. The forecast for today says there will be a mix of sunny periods and light grey skies until early evening when it will rain (or might do). With luck, the temperature might just reach 20 C, and that is acceptable.

 I had an almost reasonable day at work, and an almost reasonable journey home from work. I definitely seem to be over that annoying situation where I would feel like I had used almost all my energy in the first 100yd of a walk, and then not feel any worse 10 or 15 minutes later (maybe longer). I now find that I gradually tire as I walk, and that is as it should be, but there is one other problem. I feel I can't get up to, and sustain a decent speed. On a good day the walk from the station from home can take as little as 6 minutes, and on a bad day, 10 minutes. I feel terribly frustrated that I can't seem to do it in 5 minutes ! I guess that yesterday, like most days in the last 12 - 18 months (and that includes when I was suffering from angina) it took me around 7 - 8 minutes.

 There was stuff going on at Waterloo station yesterday.....
meet the manager at Waterloo
                  station
It was a "meet the manager" event involving managers from both Southwest Trains and Network Rail.
meet the managers
pick up a leaflet.....or something
The old bill at Waterloo mainline station
Even the old bill set up a stall for the occasion - protection property rather than offering tickets !

 Once again dinner was not as lean as I would ideally like, but it was by no means dreadful - in an ideal world it would be far, far worse ! I cooked the venison sausages I mentioned yesterday, and I have to say they were delicious. As I suspected, they did have a fair proportion of pork in them to make them a bit moister (or fatty), but it wasn't a terrible amount. They also included some herbs and some cranberries for extra flavouring. The only problem is that all these wonderful tastes did not go with the raw tomatoes, bell peppers,  raw red onion, and potato salad that I ate with them. The packet they came in recommended mashed root vegetables, and provided the amount of swede and turnip were kept to a tiny minimum in that mash, I would agree that it would be an excellent, if rather high calorie/carbohydrate accompaniment.

 There is a chance that my dinner tonight could be very much leaner. It really all depends on how distracted I am, and there is a possibility that I will have a good distraction. One thing I finally did last night was to yank the motherboard out of my main PC. I've brought it into work today, and with luck I will be able to replace the blown capacitors and take it home again tonight. Re-assembling the PC won't shouldn't take that long, and hopefully it will be up and running in no time. Well maybe it won't be a long distraction, but maybe long enough to stop me getting too bored and craving food and/or a cigarette. (Last night I had to quell some strong cravings with a couple of large whiskies - my first in a week [maybe]).

 It is possible that the repaired PC may not be my main PC for too long. I was looking at motherboard a friend gave me a month or two ago. It too has some bulging capacitors, and they are probably all that is wrong with it. I can't remember what processor it has on it, but it may be a fairly fast one. If it is similar, or if I am very lucky, slightly better than my current PC then I think I will use it in a new main PC. The one good plus point it that has is more SATA drive connectors - 6 of them ! My current PC has a Blu Ray drive in it, but I have had to use an IDE to SATA adapter to connect it, and that slows it down too much to smoothly play Blu Ray video disks - which is a calamity because I actually own one that I bought in the 99p shop. At that price it is predictably a crap movie, but it is the principle that counts ! Who knows, one day I might buy another Blu Ray video disk !
Tuesday 20th May 2014
08:01 BST

  I am happy to say that yesterday was delightfully warm and sunny. So much so that I had to turn this on for the first time this year...
air chiller
...With the sun beating down on the tin roof, it would have ended up like an oven in here. It was much better out in the open air. It was warm,  the air was dry, and there was a very light breeze. It was about as perfect short sleeve weather as you can get for about 25 - 26 C (although a few degrees more would have been nicer).

 Today will be very different. Most of today will be cloudy, and the temperature may not reach even 20
C. In fact 18 C is probably closer to the top temperature.This morning has been a microcosm of what the whole day is expected to be. There were some showers before I left home to come to work, and while I was travelling there were a couple of very brief sunny spells. The significant thing about this morning is that the rain fell on fairly warm ground, and that appears to have raised the humidity a lot. It is hard to believe, and I wonder if I remember this incorrectly, but I think my thermometer said it was close to 16 C when I left home, and that, with the high humidity, made for a very sticky journey into work.

 I seemed to be lacking any "get up and go" when I got home after work yesterday. It was a comfortable enough journey (although I still hated it), and maybe the walk from work to the station is still feeling easier/better than it was quite recently, but it came as a great relief to get home. There were various things I could have done, but I could not find the enthusiasm to do anything. I probably used up all my energy on concentrating on my resolve not to go to mad when it came to having dinner.

 It sort of worked. I was aiming for a very light dinner, but I couldn't make it as light as I would have liked it to be. The main course, and what should have been the only course, was a big bowl of mixed salad with a small tin of tuna flakes. The tuna flakes were a last minute addition, and were probably mostly harmless in the grand scheme of things. I am rather less sure about the tin of refried beans that I decided to eat cold, straight from the tin less than 15 minutes after eating the salad. The worst thing was that I didn't really enjoy them !

 I don't know if it was the refried beans, or just the change in weather, but I don't feel too wonderful this morning. There is nothing specifically wrong with me, but I would have been far happier not to come to work this morning. It would seem that I got enough sleep last night. I slept quite well as far as I can remember, but I did wake up at 4am, and I never really got back to sleep after that. Maybe my brain got enough sleep, but I don't think my legs did. They were working OK as I came to work, but they definitely felt tired and sleepy.

 I said there was nothing specifically wrong with me this morning, but maybe I meant nothing terribly wrong. I've mentioned my legs feeling tired, but there was one other area that bothered me - in a mild sort of way. At first I thought it was my left kidney feeling sore, and then I thought it was my right kidney feeling sore, and then I thought the aches are not in the right place for my kidneys (and I may or may not have been wrong). I definitely had a pain to the left of the hollow empty feel of my stomach, and then it went away to re-appear to the right of the empty, hollow, hungry growling feel in my stomach.

 Getting pains, occasionally very brief, but quite strong pains in those places is not a new phenomenon. I've been getting them for months now, probably since before xmas. I don't think they are anything to do with the kidney, and are actually all to do with where the surgeons added a new seam to my body. Of course the most likely explanation for the pains is that the surgeon accidently left his wristwatch in there, and as it floats to one side it causes irritation there, and as it floats to the other side it causes pain there. It definitely fits the facts as I feel them, and that is good enough for me. This morning the pains were very mild, almost not there, but there enough that when added to all the other creaks and groans of my decaying body, it made for a less than joyous journey to work.

 It is possible that I will arrive home after work all soggy and soaking wet. To make matters worse the sky will probably be black. Under such circumstances I may be forced to prepare a rather extensive dinner. It is equally possible that it might be dry and bright when I get home. It could even be during one of the elusive sunny periods that are forecast (we are almost having one right now as I write this). Under such circumstances I may still have a slightly more extensive dinner. Sitting in my fridge, creeping up on their best before date, are a pack of venison sausages.

 I have not checked the details on this pack of sausages, and I don't know if I should or shouldn't. Venison is generally a very lean meat, and as such is useful when you want to reduce your fat intake. Unfortunately it is probably too lean for sausages, and is probably mixed with some very fatty pork. The great unknown is "how much fatty pork ?". Maybe I don't want to know because I think I am going to cook and eat those sausages tonight. It is not exactly traditional, but I think I'll be having them with raw tomatoes and "crudities" instead of peas and mash. The "crudities" on this occasion are likely to be sliced bell peppers and sliced red onions.

 After I've eaten there is one job that I want to avoid putting off any longer (although I may well feel very different about it by this evening). Sooner or later I need to partly dismantle my PC to remove the motherboard so I can sneak it into work and repair it. The temporary replacement PC I am currently using works well, but it is a bit on the slow side compared with what I am used to, and it would be nice to get the big PC up and running again.
Monday 19th May 2014
08:13 BST

  I heard a prediction on the radio this morning as I waited to be served in the Londis mini-mart near Earlsfield station. This prediction said that today could take the record for the hottest day of year so far. That could be nice. Yesterday was pretty good. There were some short periods, mere minutes, when a stray cloud drifted across the face of the sun, but generally speaking it was a warm sunny day. The temperature certainly reached
24 C, and possibly 25 C. There was a bit of broken cloud around first thing this morning, and there were some thin patches of mist here and there that gave a hazy look to the distance, but now the sky is blue, and the sun is shining. Maybe I'll be able to describe it as very warm by mid afternoon. It would need to be almost 30 C before I would consider the word "hot". The forecasts still say that after today it all goes to pot. It will still be almost warm, but it will also be wet and windy to some degree or another starting tomorrow.

 Yesterday had a few negative points, but overall it was most satisfactory. The negative was that I really ate far more than I really wanted to. Much of it was fairly safe stuff, but some wasn't. Nothing was really terrible - nothing with with high levels of fat or sugar like ice cream or chocolate cake - but some stuff was moderately bad. I think I ought to try and aim for the lightest dinner possible tonight - if I can. I have no idea how good or bad my breakfast was this morning. Part of my breakfast, the chicken tikka roll, contained an alarmingly high sounding 863 calories per 100gm, but unfortunately it gave no indication as to how heavy it was ! If I was pessimistic, which I am on special occasions like now, I would guess that breakfast could added up to over 1000 calories. It rather limits what I might choose to eat tonight.

 The big plus point about yesterday was laundry, or the amount I achieved. I did quite well over my extended weekend, but it was yesterday when I achieved a new record. In the late morning I hand washed a complete bed set - 2 pillow cases, sheet, and duvet cover. By mid afternoon it had all baked bone dry in the warm sunshine. In a splurge of complete and utter masochism I then washed another duvet cover, and hung that outside to dry.

 Washing that duvet cover involved an experiment. I wondered just how different all the soaps we use really are. In a flash of utter madness I decided to not waste a whole laundry tablet on just one item, and to try shower gel instead. I wasn't specially surprised to find that it worked in a very similar way to laundry soap. After pummeling and massaging in the soapy water by hand and knuckle power the water turned grey as the dirt (which is mostly just human sweat) came out, and after each rinse the water became clearer and clearer. One difference is that the lavender scent in the shower gel seems to have transferred to the cloth better than the lavender flavoured laundry soap.

 It must have been about 5pm, or maybe a little bit later when I hung that duvet cover on the washing line. I was thinking I would leave it there over night, and bring it in, nicely cooked in the sunshine, when I got home from work today, but out of curiosity I checked it just before I turned in for the night at 8pm. It was 97% dry. So I brought it in to finish drying indoors. This morning it was bone dry, and I folded it up to add to my ever growing pile of clean bed linen. If I was able to carry on at the rate I would have every last bit of bed linen washed and ready to use in a week or two. Hopefully it will be dry and bright next weekend when I could tackle the last couple of duvet covers. They are old heavy duty ones, and will need some super heavy duty manhandling, but my muscles seem to be building up nicely now.

 On the whole, my long weekend - Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday - was quite successful, and quite enjoyable. Finally getting to see the sea on Thursday was good, and apart from very sore feet it seemed easy to walk 3.6 miles non stop. The strange thing is that apart from seeing Aleemah for a couple of hours on Saturday morning, I didn't see, or really speak to anyone else at all. It was sort of annoying not going to the Chain gig on Friday night, but in the grand scheme of things it didn't seem to matter. If anything it was more like a sense of guilt that I had not gone to the gig, and had let down the band rather than any feeling of missing out on seeing people. Maybe I am becoming a hermit or something. Perhaps my only regret is that I didn't get out in the sunshine a bit more, but it feels like summer has arrived, and there will be plenty more opportunity in the coming months.
Sunday 18th May 2014
13:52 BST

  It was pleasantly warm yesterday, but the day was lacking in sunshine. There were long periods when it was quite overcast. This morning started off very mild - maybe 13 C - and the temperature has been climbing ever since. It is now 23 - 24 C, and we may be near the peak temperature for the day. It is, was supposed to be sunny all day, but just now, for a few minutes, the sun went in, and it felt like a storm could be approaching. I hope the idea of a storm is just my imagination. Tomorrow is still forecast to be bright and sunny, and maybe 25 - 26 C. After tomorrow is is supposed to stay warm, but the chances of rain get very high.

 The highlight of yesterday was when we finished watching the DVD that Aleemah brought over. We watched the first four episodes of an ancient TV series called Kinvig. Now I know that my Linux guru, who may actually be reading this, was a fan of Kinvig, but I thought it was a load of old twaddle ! I don't know why, but I took an instant dislike to it. It was a shock to realise it was written by Nigel Kneale - a writer responsible for some rather good stuff like the Quatermass series.

 Once Aleemah had gone home I still had half the afternoon to do stuff, as well as the evening. In some respects I wasted it by doing almost nothing. Maybe my energy, or enthusiasm was sapped because the afternoon was often overcast, or maybe I just felt lazy...I don't really know now. All I know is that I spent quite a time laying on my bed reading and having a little snooze or two.

 It was early evening before I remembered an idea I had. Earlier on I had been debating about whether to take advantage of today's warm sunshine by going out exploring, or by getting some washing done, and then a third idea came to me...If I did the washing now (as in yesterday afternoon) I wouldn't have to do it today, and I would be free to go out. So at about 7pm I hand washed a t-shirt, a pile of socks, a couple of little table cloths, and a pair of lounge pants.

 I hung that lot up indoors, and it was almost dry this morning. Maybe all that hard work woke me up in some strange way, because I lost all interest in going to bed early last night. I ended up going from one extreme to another. I stayed up watching a bond film (Quantum Of Solace) until almost midnight ! I'm not sure if it was a good movie or not. I found the traditional opening chase sequence difficult to follow. Maybe it was because it was so late in the day when I watched it, or more likely it was because it all seemed to be filmed in close up, and so I lost any sense of perspective.

 I think I fell asleep very quickly once I turned off the light, and turned over, but I seem to recall waking up many times in the night, and I even got up for a while at 4.30am. I did go back to bed, and I guess it was really closer to 9am when I really got up. It sounds like I got quite a lot of sleep, but I find myself yawning as I describe it, and I think I might have an afternoon snooze soon.

 I considered the idea of going out for a walk somewhere today. I toyed with the idea of walking through two parks, but in the end I decided I would try and do some stuff at home today. At 11am I was shopping in Aldi. There was very little I actually needed, and I ended up buying half of what I would usually buy in there. Much of it was either very long life stuff, or was healthy(ish) sort of stuff.

 When I had put the shopping away I had a light breakfast, and then I tackled a bigger job. I'm not sure why I did it but I washed an entire bed linen set - 2 pillowcases, sheet and duvet cover. I suppose the thing was that I could let it drip dry in the garden under the warm sun rather than attempt to wring it out enough to hang inside to dry. It was quite physically demanding....or at least it raised quite a bit of sweat, but it is done now - and probably almost dry by now !

 It is possible that I might get terribly masochistic and wash another duvet cover later today. I could leave it out overnight, and during the day tomorrow, and bring it in dry, and hopefully not too covered in insects and bird poo when I get home from work tomorrow ! I'll consider that a bit later, but right now it is probably time for a lie down, and maybe have a snooze !
Saturday 17th May 2014
08:42 BST

  The temperature hit at least 22 C yesterday, and in the sunshine it felt pleasantly warm. The weather changes a bit today. It should still stay dry, but from time to time there will be much more cloud. The current temperature is 19 C - which is sort of surprising because I thought it was only 15 C an hour or so ago. There is every reason to hope that the temperature will reach 22 C again today, and it might possibly go a few degrees higher. If the forecast contains a single kernel of truth, tomorrow will be similar, but it will rain, possibly heavily, on Tuesday.

 It is tempting to say that my walk on Thursday left me too worn out to go out again yesterday, but that is not really true. It is probably closer to the truth to say that it satisfied my wanderlust for a short while. I decided to stay in yesterday, and make myself useful at home. Of course that is nonsense as well - I did do three lots of laundry, and I did get some shopping in from Tesco, but otherwise I was totally lazy !

 That laziness continued into the evening. I wanted to go to a gig. Chain were playing in The Hob in Forest Hill, and that is an easy venue to get to - so easy that it is walking distance if you count a 2 and bit mile walk to a pub walking distance. Maybe I am becomining a hermit, or maybe I am one already, but I seem to have spent so many nights in alone, avoiding booze to avoid fried chicken shops and other temptation, that I just couldn't find the enthusiasm to go out last night. It didn't help that gigs at The Hob always start very late - about 10pm. That is way past my bedtime !

 One of the problems of staying in is that I am tempted by food, and doubly so when I've just bought stuff from the supermarket. Once again I was quite selective about what I bought. It was all low everything stuff, but only low when eaten in small quantities. I ended up eating quite a lot...or maybe it would be more accurate to say I ate more frequently than I should have. My last meal of the day, at a little after 6pm (but it could have been 7pm) was no more than a bowl of salad dressed with some lemon juice - and no olive oil ! In theory it should have been quite innocent - except for one little side effect. I am eating so much vegetable matter that it is becoming hard to flush away when I go to the toilet. I am just about to to go and flush the toilet for the third time in the hope that the toilet will look clean if I get a visitor.

 In fact I will be getting a visitor. In a little while I'll be meeting my friend Aleemah for breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub, and then we'll come back here to watch a DVD. Once Aleemah goes home early this afternoon I'll have the rest of the day to do something or another. Maybe I might do what I came close to doing yesterday - hoovering ! Or maybe I am just having sick fantasies !! Hoovering...hah !
Friday 16th May 2014
07:34 BST

  Yesterday was a rather lovely day. It is true that it might have been nicer if the temperature had been at least 5 degrees higher, but the 18 C (or a little more) felt nice and comfortable, and did manage to raise a bit of sweat on me at one point. There were some fluffy clouds in the sky yesterday, but today might be even clearer, and the forecast is for the temperature to reach 20 C, and maybe even a little higher. After today things go a little haywire. Tomorrow could be warmer still, but rather dull. Rain was forecast, but the forecasters seem to have changed their minds about that.

 I finally did it ! I went to see the sea yesterday. I must admit that I had some hesitations about going out, but I managed to throw myself out the door, and walk to the station. Walking to the station used to be, and maybe will be again, the hardest part of the journey, but it didn't seem so bad yesterday. My original plan was to get the 10:03 train. I didn't manage to get that one, but I caught the next one at 10:33. So began the long tedious journey to Whitstable. It takes 12 minutes to Bromley South station where I had to change trains. Unfortunately the timing of the trains means a 25 minute wait there - which is bloody annoying. It is then 1 hour and 12 minutes to Whitstable.

 I guess it depends on where you go, and what you want to do, but I find Whitstable a bit challenging scenic wise. It's not exactly that there is just a whole lot of nothing there, but there is an awful lot that doesn't scream "photograph me" ! So I didn't take many pictures yesterday. The first picture is probably as interesting as the rest, and it is not even a photograph - it's a screen shot of the plot of the route I took (plus some statistics).
walking around Whitstable
3.6 miles, and almost 600 calories burnt - both felt a lot more.
shingle,
                  groynes and the sea
Shingle, groyne and the sea - one of the more dynamic pictures I took.
walk this
                  way to London
If I kept walking in this direction I might eventually get to London (or pass close by it).
so steep,
                  so bloody steep !
There is no way this picture gives any idea of just how bloody steep this walk up from the beach to the main road really was.
Flying
                  Pig
All that way just to see a flying pig (no idea what they do in the shop).

 I made one terrible mistake on this day out. I wore a new pair of trainers that I had only tested by walking the 2 minutes to the corner shop before deciding they were comfortable. Unfortunately, after 30 - 40 minutes of walking they became really quite uncomfortable. The rest of me stood up to the walk quite well. Lack of practice meant that it felt far longer than just 3.6 miles. Maybe it was a bit ambitious as a "test drive" after major surgery, but I survived, and apart from agonised feet, and a lack of spectacular scenery, I enjoyed it......Then there was that long tedious journey home again.

 My feet had cooled down a bit by the time I arrived back at Catford, but walking from the station to home was still uncomfortable. The next time I go out I will definitely wear my proper walking shoes - although my feet used to get pretty sore in those too, but maybe not so quickly, and I did manage some far longer walks in them without ending up too crippled.

 It was nice to get home again. I guess I was feeling either good, or in a very masochistic mood, because I decided to do stuff with my photos, and do other stuff on my PC before getting my breakfast together. As is traditional for me, to the utter horror of the medical profession, I went out in the morning without having any breakfast. I was feeling a bit hungry when I got home, but it so often seems to be the case with me that the less I eat the less hungry I get - up to a limit. Once I started eating I became ravenous. I had two bowls of salad plus some cold garlic sausage, and two grilled beef burgers (the very lean, and semi expensive Aberdeen Angus based ones from Aldi).

 I had that breakfast/dinner at almost the same time I have dinner most weekdays - while the 6pm news is on TV, but maybe 10 - 15 minutes earlier on this occasion, and well over an hour after I got home. I'm not sure how I managed to last out that long ! After eating I watched a bit more news, but turned off the TV before it had finished, and went up to my bedroom to see what was happening on the internet. It turned out that nothing much was happening on the internet, and so I plugged in my USB TV dongle and watched one more TV programme. That finished at 8pm, and I went straight to bed to read for a while. I stopped paying attention to the time, but when I put the book down, and turned out the lights, it was still just about light outside.

 It took a short while to get to sleep, but once I was asleep I seemed to sleep rather well. I can't remember waking up until my alarm went off at 5am - assuming I dreamed that I checked my Facebook account during the night - which may be possible. After my alarm woke me up I indulged in that ultimate luxury of silencing the alarm, and then turning over and going back to sleep. I didn't sleep for all that long, but it was the freedom to do so that was important.

 I feel fairly good this morning, but maybe not so good that I want to do it all over again. Maybe I might do a long(ish) walk around the park later on, but there are a few other things I want to do first. It would be good to get some laundry on the line to dry in the warm sunshine, and I need to stock up on even more salad. So I have to decide whether to go to Aldi, Tesco, Lidl or Iceland. Each has it's own merits. I haven't been to Lidl for ages, and that could be a good reason to go there. On the other hand, Tesco usually have a better variety of ready made salads, and usually when I go to Lidl I end up buying all sorts of things that I am trying to avoid eating at the moment. Perhaps Tesco might be the better choice even if it is the most expensive shop in Catford.
Thursday 15th May 2014
08:48 BST

  I'm not sure if it did reach 18 C as I was hoping for yesterday, but it ended up quite pleasant, and quite good enough to go home from work in my shirtsleeves. Yesterday was the build up to a spell of nice weather. This morning is bright and sunny, and it should stay sunny for much of the day. The day started off rather chilly again, but it is already nearly 14 C, and we should still be on target for 18 C by late afternoon. There is talk about the temperature going over 20 C by a few degrees at the weekend, but that could be accompanied by some heavy rain. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

 I didn't feel quite as energetic, or as good as I wanted to feel yesterday. There was nothing I could really complain about, but I just didn't feel like running a marathon. I did find the energy to come home from work via Tesco though. It is a bit of a dangerous thing to shop in Tesco at the moment, but I almost managed to be sensible. There was a feeling like a 10 ton magnet pulling me to the hot chicken counter where everything was reduced price. I managed to resist that, but I didn't resist several pots of potato salad. One was half price, and the other was a novelty flavour.

 Other good stuff that I did buy included pure lemon juice and cider vinegar - both may be useful for dressing salads. I also bought some walnut halves and some pecan nuts. I feel both could be dangerous, but they do add some interesting crunch and flavour to a salad. Well I say that, but last night I tried the pecan nuts, and I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the cider vinegar, and the fresh basil leaves.

 If I hadn't finished off the rest of the small bag of shelled pecan nuts, and also demolished the half price potato salad, and also the "Moroccan style" potato salad (!), I might have done quite well last night, and got just a little bit closer to doing up my trouser belt one notch tighter. I don't think it was bad enough to make things worse, and maybe, fingers crossed, it was still a tiny bit good. Maybe if I ever manage to achieve what I hope to achieve today, it won't matter if I over did it a bit last night. It may even be beneficial.

 I mentioned yesterday that I've booked today and tomorrow off work. In theory I am going for seaside walk today. I've worked out a circular around Whitstable that will take in a bit of seashore, and a bit of parkland. I am unsure about the latter. I think it is part golf course, and part woodland, but it may just be all grass and private property ! I'm almost ready to go out, but I reckon I'll be setting out a bit later than I hoped for - at least the pubs should be open when I get to Whitstable (only to use their toilets, and not to drink beer...well not that much beer !).
fencing at Waterloo
There were some developments at Waterloo on my way home. It turns out that the evil insurance companies were challenging anyone who turned their offers down to a duel to the death. Even young kids were not immune....
Waterloo
                  concourse
Wednesday 14th May 2014
08:16 BST

  The weather forecast suggested that there could be some heavy showers yesterday, and it was correct. There were a few torrential downpours. Probably the worst were just after midday when there were also a few flashes of lightning, and some peals of thunder. The rain stopped, and it even brightened up a bit as I made my way home from work. At about 7pm the rain started again, and although not heavy enough to trigger any lightning, it was rather substantial at times. I have no idea what time it stopped, but during the night the bad weather went away, and this morning it is gloriously sunny. When I left home to come to work it was a very chilly feeling 8 C, but if all goes well it will be a very acceptable 18 C when I go home again. Tomorrow is still on target to be even warmer.

 It was nice to get home in the dry after work yesterday, but I didn't feel as wonderful as I might have hoped. My energy levels seemed to be very moderate, and I didn't fancy doing any laundry - which can be hard work ! I spent a bit of time playing with my computer trying to get something to work. I failed to do that because the USB device I was trying to get to work was only experimentally supported, and I couldn't be bothered to jump through the hoops that would be needed to get the device partly working sometimes (and when the wind is in the right direction, and the sun is in [or up] Uranus).

 It was obviously enjoyable doing all that stuff because I missed the first 15 minutes of the 6pm news on BBC1. While the TV warmed up I threw some salmon in the microwave to cook in it's own steam and juices, and 4 minutes later I tossed that on a bowl of ready made mixed salad. That was part one of my dinner, and part two was three big, but not terribly juicy plums. On some days I would regard that as no more than a snack, but yesterday it seemed to leave me feeling almost full. As the news droned on, I found myself either wanting a fag or more food, so I switched off the TV, and went up to  my bedroom to continue playing with computers.

 I thought I would end up having a nice early night last night, but I made one fatal mistake - I booted my little Aspire One netbook (mini laptop) in Windows XP (instead of Linux Mint) and everything wanted updating. The anti-virus needed a whole program update, as well as virus definition updates. Even Windows XP, which is no longer officially supported by Microsoft, wanted a heap of updates. Instead of getting to sleep as soon as I could after 8pm, it was after 10pm before I could shut down the laptop, turn the lights out, and wait for sleep to come.

 I seem to recall feeling hungry several times in the night. Perhaps the first was when I was first trying to get to sleep, and then when I got up for a pee in the night....at least I think I got up for a pee. It almost seems like a dream now. I'm sure I was dreaming a lot last night. I can recall some images from two dream, but I can't describe them. One is too rude to describe, and the other makes no sense at all. I awoke from the one that was making no sense at about 4am, and I definitely had to go for a pee then, but I was soon back to sleep. I was awoken by my alarm at 5am, and I really, really, really wanted to turn over and go back to sleep !

 Maybe I will turn over and go back to sleep tomorrow morning. I've booked tomorrow and Friday off work, and in theory, on one or both of those days I am going out exploring. That means I ought to do some preparation tonight. I need to select a good pair of walking boots or shoes, and I'm not sure if my old rambling boots are going to be comfortable if my feet are swollen (as they usually are to some degree or another since my operation). I also need to select a pair of shorts, and see if I can find the balls to wear them again. I have already checked to make sure that I can get in, and do up a couple of pairs. So it may be possible. The most important task is to try and psyche myself up for the daunting task of going out into the wilds for the first time in ages.

 A couple of views of Waterloo station....
Coming home
                      charity at Waterloo station
Last night (Tuesday 13th May 2014) the charity Coming Home were collecting on the concourse of Waterloo station. They are a charity that want to provide specially adapted housing for disabled soldiers.
after your money at
                    Waterloo station
 This morning the nice people went away and the nasties moved in. I think this lot, who were still setting up, are some slimy insurance company lined to even slimier bankers, and they are after your money - possibly for immoral purposes - as seems to be the case with most hardened bankers.
Tuesday 13th May 2014
08:03 BST

  I sometimes think that the weather forecasters can be a bit pessimistic, or maybe they just set their clocks incorrectly. A few degrees warmer would have made it far better, but yesterday was a perfectly acceptable day right up to at least 7pm when it rained - some 4 or more hours after the forecasted time. It was quite heavy rain, and I might have heard a distant rumble of thunder, but I don't think it lasted that long - although I drew the curtains when it started, and I ignored the outside world until this morning. Today has started off rather cool, maybe 8 or 9 C, and rather overcast, but apart from the roads being damp from last night's rain, it is otherwise dry. The forecast for today is like, but slightly worse than that for yesterday - which was mostly wrong. For instance......
blue sky and fluffy
                    clouds
 This is how the sky looked at about 1pm when the forecast, if I interpreted the little pictograms correctly, suggested grey skies with a good chance of a shower ! The one obvious difference between today and yesterday is how cloudy today has started. Maybe this time it will rain this afternoon - possibly quite heavily. After that rain things should be looking up. Tomorrow could be sunny, dry and warm. By Friday the temperature could be just starting to tickle the lower reaches of hot...or not !

 It was nice to take a short wander in the park yesterday lunchtime, but I didn't feel inclined to walk very far, or very fast, and I'm not sure why. I felt mostly OK, and it didn't seem to take much effort to go home from work. It seems stupid to say that going home from work could ever be a struggle, but there have been many occasions when it has. I never know which is worst - walking from work to the station, or walking from the station to home. Maybe the latter - it is the shorter of the two walks, but by then my energy levels would obviously be lower.
Waterloo concourse 12th
                    May 2014
Christian Aid at
                    Waterloo
 Spotted on the way home : Christian Aid soliciting for money on the concourse of Waterloo station.

 I felt rather peckish when I got home, but somehow I managed to ignore that in favour of a much more important task. It was going to be laundry (although that was less important), but top priority was to find out why my PC has been misbehaving recently. Over the last couple of weeks it has been a bit prone to locking up/freezing, and then over the weekend it started disconnecting my USB TV dongle randomly. I had a fairly strong idea what was probably causing it - a power problem. I initially considered that the power supply might be faulty, but once I opened it up it was obvious what the problem was. A few of the capacitors on the motherboard had bulging ends, and were starting to split open. It is a common enough fault, and one that is easy to repair (on the assumption you have a fully equipped worked like here at work).

 I decided it was more important to get a spare PC up and running before stripping down the faulty PC. I had a choice of hardware to use, and decided that it would be nice to try out a PC I had found in the skip here at work. It is a tiny little thing made using laptop type technology. It is not very powerful, but I had already installed Linux Mint 13 on it (not the latest version of Linux Mint, but still fairly recent), and it was essentially ready to go. Fortunately I had made a backup of my main PC recently, and it was a piece of cake to restore both my Firefox web browser, and Thunderbird email client with all their settings and messages to the temporary new PC. Within an hour I had the whole thing running to my satisfaction - including being able to watch TV on it reliably using my TV dongle. The only slight delay was that when I checked for software updates, the updater found over 400 programs to update ! Fortunately that didn't take that long.....

 I ended up having dinner a little bit later than usual. It was quite a light dinner. I wouldn't like to speculate how many calories it contained, but I am guessing it was possibly under 500. The big unknown was the walnut halves I tipped into the bowl of mixed salad. I'm not sure how many there were (apart from too many because they rushed out of the bag faster than I expected), or how many calories walnuts have - most nots are sadly rather high. So I ended up having walnut salad, which is surprisingly nice, and a couple of bits of fruit. It was small enough to feel slightly hungry when I went to bed, and considerably more hungry when I got up this morning.

 Maybe it was the hunger, but I don't think I slept that well last night. I had difficulty getting to sleep, and once I was asleep I seemed to have loads of dreams (that I can't remember this morning). Some of the dreams may have been confusing or otherwise unpleasant. I'm not sure why I think that when I can't remember what happened in those dreams, but that is the sensation still left in my head. Once again I woke up before I should. Fortunately feeling tired is one thing I don't feel - yet !

 Maybe it is the (hopefully) temporary change in the weather, but I don't feel terribly wonderful this morning. It is possible that I am expecting to feel better than I really am. Another thing I did last night was to try and put on some of my pairs of shorts. To my surprise I could get into half of them without a great deal of struggle. Curiously enough, the best fitting ones still had belts on them as if they were the last ones I used two summers ago. I am beginning to think that my gut is not hugely bigger than it was 2 years ago. That thought had crossed my mind before when considering if having my chest cut open had allowed the muscles to drop in some odd sort of way. The idea that it will one day be hot enough to wear my shorts (maybe as early as this coming Thursday), and the idea that I actually have a choice of a couple that I could probably wear OK, did, and still should feel good, but this morning I really didn't feel up to striding off towards the horizon, eating up the miles as I explore the countryside or shoreline.

 I hope that as the mercury creeps towards 20 C, and the sun blazes down, I will feel far more energetic.Yesterday I booked two days holiday for this coming Thursday and Friday. All I hope now is that I feel strong enough, and maybe brave enough to attempt a long walk. I have a strong yearning to see the sea, and I might just go to Whitstable again. The only trouble I had with Whitstable is that there isn't a convenient railway station to walk to apart from walking back to Whitstable station. I don't like the idea of turning around and retracing my steps, but I think I might have identified a route that is along the seashore on the way out, and takes in some woodland on the way back. that might be nice. Now to wait until Thursday to see how I feel, and how the weather looks.

 This morning I took pictures of my breakfast.....or some of it.....
breakfast
                  13th May 2014
the
                  underside of breakfast
 These two pots of high fibre, reduced salt, breakfast total to about 500 calories, but are fairly filling. It's probably best not to mention the third thing I ate - a greasy chicken samosa (I don't know why it seemed such a good idea to buy it while I was in the shop). I seem to remember I was eating stuff like this when my waistline was shrinking last spring. I hope it does the same this spring - and maybe the evidence is starting to show that it is happening now. It's just a shame it is such a slow process.
Monday 12th May 2014
08:37 BST

  The last forecast I saw for yesterday said it was going to rain, and be sunny, in the afternoon. I recall seeing some sunshine, but no rain. As far as I am aware there was no rain during the night either. This morning started out bright, but it very quickly clouded over with a thin veil of light grey clouds. They seem to be breaking up now, and maybe the forecast for today (or one of them) may be coming true. There should be some sunny periods, but with a chance of a shower at any time, and with the potential for a thunderstorm towards the end of the afternoon. It is not going to be very warm today - perhaps just 15 C at best, and the latest forecast has put back the day for warmer weather from next Wednesday to next Friday !
complex clouds on Wednesday 7th May
                    2014
  This picture has nothing to do with yesterday or today's weather. I took it last Wednesday on my way home from work, but I forgot I had taken it until I noticed it on my phone just now. It loses a lot as a photo compared to real life, but it was supposed to illustrate how wildly different the clouds were. Over on the horizon the clouds were dark grey, but with a couple, more in the foreground, seemed to be glowing a real bright white. Overhead the cloud was far more broken, and lots of blue sky was showing through.

 I hope that getting into my black jeans, and being able to wear them done up, even if only for a few minutes, was not too much of a fluke yesterday. It was a very close thing, and only possible because I seem to have lost a few thousandths of an inch from around my waist - which was the plan when  started on a quite severe eating plan last week. My eating on Saturday was somewhat less severe, and yesterday I had a bit of a meat frenzy to make up for being close to vegetarian during the week. Some of the meat I had yesterday incorporated quite a bit of fat, and that is rather bad, but everything else I ate was mainly just salad. So I might have just got away with it - just (fingers crossed !!)

 I guess I could have done better if I had organised my time better, and spent more time doing something, anything useful. That would have been far better than getting bored. In an ideal world I would have gone out for a 3 mile walk (which is about the maximum I would dare to try and do at the moment while I am so terribly out of practice). One of my problems at the moment, as I keep thinking, and probably writing, is that I am running out of the pleasures of life - the things that make life worthwhile. There are only a few of them, and I seem to be either denying myself some, or they are unavailable. They are smoking, eating, drinking, sleeping and sex. It is somewhat ironic that the only one freely available to me is the one it seems impossible to overdose on - sleeping !

 My sleep was rather disturbed last night by a nightmare...although I don't think that nightmare is the correct word for it. I'm not sure if there actually is a correct word for what I experienced in my dream. It left me feeling profoundly depressed in the dream, and it took some time to shake much of it off. It still affects me now if I allow myself to dwell on it. The problem is that the dream had a tiny kernel of reality in it. My brain warped that tiny kernel out of all context with reality, and extrapolated a grand fantasy.The dream was about a woman who I dearly loved. She announced that she was going to work on the moon, and that I wouldn't see her for 10 years. That news generated a whole bunch of feelings of sadness. I was rather happy to wake up and pursue other thoughts like what an annoyance it was to wake up just 40 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me up.

 This morning I feel a bit odd, or maybe confused. I still have a bunch of the usual aches and pains, but they seem a bit muted in a peculiar sort of way. Maybe I just feel sort of happy. If so it much be a very strange sort of happiness because I am not sure if I approve of it. Happy to come to work, happy to be at work ? No way ! Maybe I can accept happy that I don't feel quite as rough as what seems to pass for normality these days. I suppose I had better try and continue to cut down on the best things in life, the only things that make life worth living, a bit more this week to see if I feel even better next Monday. What a warped existence I seem to live in.

 Here's something that sort of amused me as I came into work today....
loose plastic sheeting
 A large sheet of plastic seems to have been blown out of the bins, and somehow got itself wrapped around some overhead wires.
Sunday 11th May 2014
12:28 BST

  The weather hasn't been that nice recently, but maybe it hasn't been as bad as how the forecasts have tainted my imagination. It is true that there were a few showers yesterday, and at least one was rather heavy, but there was also some sunshine. It was quite windy at times, and that made it feel a lot cooler than it really was. So far today it has stayed dry, but there hasn't been a hint of sunshine. The very latest forecast, updated at 12:07 on the BBC's website, says it will be pouring with rain in 90 minutes time, and it will also be sunny ! The rain and sunshine will continue, on and off, until mid evening, but after that it might stay dry. It might be like this, with a top temperature of as little as 15 C, for the next few days, but in the fevered imagination of the weather forecasters it may be a nice warm sunny day next Wednesday....well that's what they think now, but come Wednesday....

 I had a lazy afternoon yesterday, and I was quite lazy about sticking to my diet. I didn't go too far astray - well not for a Saturday ! The basic idea must be working because for the first time in as much as 6 months I managed to put on one of my two pairs of my favourite black jeans. Doing them up was a struggle, but I didn't need any industrial equipment to help me, but it was a damn close thing. They were obviously far too tight to wear safely - if I breathed out someone could have been killed by the flying shrapnel. It is possible that they may become wearable in a few weeks time - if I can stick to what I'm doing (or maybe doing what I do during the week - weekends are tricky !).

 I msy have strayed from the path of righteousness during the day, but during the evening I think I was OK. It's quite an achievement according to my simple mind to not smoke, not booze and not eat all at the same time - and what more, to not do any of them on a very late night. It was close on midnight when I went to sleep last night. I'm not sure why I felt the need to stay up so late - maybe it was practice for something, or some event or another.

 I guess I slept quite well for over 4 hours, but it came as a huge relief when on the way to the toilet at nearly 5am I realised that it was a Sunday, and I could go back to bed - which of course I did. I didn't sleep that wonderfully, but probably clocked up a good couple of hours of extra sleep. Apart from one thing (two things if you really want to be pedantic) I felt fairly good this morning. The only significant bad thing is that somehow I managed to make both hands feel numb. Half my left hand is still numb following my operation, but I woke up from some strange way of sleeping to find the other half feeling numb, and my right hand also strangely numb. Once I gave a little stretch both hands returned to normal in an instant.

 I was going to do stuff today, and maybe I still might. I have been to Aldi where I did my best to only buy fruit and salad, but failed...As a special treat I bought a large steak that I had for a slightly early dinner, or some sort of late brunch. I had that with a bowl of ready mixed salad fortified with a few extra tomatoes and some fresh basil. It was very tasty, and although not terrible, it probably used up most of my food allowance for today - assuming I wanted to be as strict as on a weekday - which I might not.

 On my way back from Aldi, just a few houses away from the place, I saw something move at the side of the path. It was a little bird. Possibly a young(ish) blue tit. It looked as if it was stunned, but not seriously hurt. Maybe it had flown into something, a car maybe. If a cat doesn't get it, it will probably fly off soon.
stunned bird
stunned bird
 The next thing on my agenda is to decide if I am going to do some laundry, watch some TV, read for a while, or to have a snooze. Decisions, decisions !
Saturday 10th May 2014
15:28 BST

  Maybe yesterday was not as bad as I expected it to be. I was expecting it to rain in the afternoon, but I was able to go home from work in my shirtsleeves, and there was even a bit of sunshine now and then. The top temperature was about 18 C, or as much as 4 higher than I expected. Today has been rather dull, but once again it was not as bad as the more pessimistic forecasts said it might be. There has been some rain, some sunshine, but quite a lot of greyness too. Probably the worse thing is that it has stayed rather cool, and a stiff breeze is making it feel cooler still. As I write this there could well be a rainbow somewhere outside - the sun is shining, but it is raining. My thermometer says it is almost 16 C - a bit higher than expected, and a bit higher than it feels to me.

 It felt nice to be able to go home in my shirtsleeves yesterday, and I wasn't feeling too bad. The shoes that I thought might get rather uncomfortable by the end of the working day stayed only slightly uncomfortable. Perhaps my only complaint is that I felt a little tired. On any other day it would not have been of any great consequence, but I wanted to go out again in the evening - not easy when you're half asleep.

 On the way home I called into Tesco where I was horribly ripped off in the most annoying way ! I was going to scan and display my till receipt here. It should have been sort of impressive because it was all salad and vegetables - really healthy sort of stuff (plus a couple of bottles of sugar free cola). Unfortunately, and I have no idea how it could have happened, in the middle of the receipt it said I had spent 28p on a jam doughnut ! It would completely wreck my diet, but I wouldn't mind if I actually had the doughnut, but I no more found it in my shopping bag than I saw it being scanned at the checkout. I could almost imagine it was a computer glitch that added it.

 I tried to delay it a bit, but before the 6pm TV news started I had cooked, and was eating my dinner. Last night it was just semi-steamed vegetables - a heap of mixed frozen vegetables cooked in the microwave with little more than a  couple of tablespoons full of water in a plastic microwave proof saucepan. Apart from a stock cube for a bit of flavouring, that was all I had for dinner, and I estimate it added about another 300 calories to the 1000 I had for breakfast.  It also kept my blood glucose levels down to reasonable levels. I checked about 15 minutes after eating, and my glucose level was still only on the top limit of normal. Three hours later is had dropped a very useful amount to just a little over normal.

 With dinner inside me, and also the internal warmth from washing my hair and having a shower, left me feeling very relaxed. It was terribly hard to force myself out of the door, and heading for the station for a train to Elmers End. It was so hard that Chains gig had started before I left home. Fortunately I didn't miss much - maybe 30 minutes at maximum, and it could have been less.
Jo with her thunder tube
It's been a while since Chain played "Whole Lotta Love" but they did last night - complete with the thunder tube !
Dylan Tidman
Guest drummer for the night was Dylan Tidman
Ravi Sharman
Guest bass player for the night - Ravi Sharman

 If there was one problem for the night it was that the stage lights were stuck on red. I feel sure that they should change colour by detecting the tempo/beats of the music, but not last night. It made photography without using flash a bit tricky, and everyone looked a bit red.

 I suppose it could also be described as a problem that I was trying to avoid drinking too much last night - and with hindsight, Guinness in particular. When I added on the idea that I was feeling tired, I decided that the safest thing to do was to leave early. That's early in relative terms - it was nearly 11.30pm when I left, well past "drinking up time" in many pubs, but half an hour before the gig was due to end. It did work though, and I only had two pints of Guinness, and I was sober enough to stop myself eating anything more last night. I must admit it did feel very strange walking home from the bus stop without a bag of fried chicken with me, and also with a lit cigarette. Yes, those craving, or maybe just habits, are still alive !

 I obviously wasn't tired last night because I stayed up for maybe a couple of hours editing photographs. It may have been 1.30am when I went to bed, and I was fast asleep not very long after that - mere minutes later maybe. This morning I woke up far too early, but not so early that it would have been practical to go back to sleep properly. I had Aleemah visiting this morning, and I needed to get the place looking a little less like a tip before she arrived. The worst thing about this morning was my blood glucose level. It is hard to believe that just two pints of Guinness could raise my blood glucose level so high even after a whole night had passed. It was about the same as after I had eaten dinner yesterday. Most annoying, and something I'll have to watch in the future.

 Today I have eaten a bit more freely, but only a bit, and maybe not that much worse than I might have for breakfast at work (if you don't count the pint of ale I had while Aleemah had her breakfast in the pub). That does leave some limited scope for an evening meal. I could have more salad, and in some ways I am drawn to that, or I could have more vegetables. One potential alternative is to have some raw oats with semi-skimmed milk. I can't decide now, and I think I'll sleep on it. I am about to lay on my bed with a book, but I would not be surprised if I doze off to sleep, and I certainly won't attempt to fight it if I do !
Friday 9th May 2014
08:06 BST

  Horrid, horrid, horrible ! Well that's one way of describing yesterday's weather. In fact it wasn't quite that bad, but it was cold and grey most of the time, and it did rain a few times. I'm not sure what the temperature was, but it seemed cool enough that I had to put on the heating when I got home - and leave it on for some time before I felt comfortable.It seems to have clouded over again, but it was mostly sunny as I made my way to work this cool morning. The forecast on BBC TV last night warned of brief passing showers for today, but the BBC's web site weather forecast seems to have omitted the showers to leave just sunny periods in an otherwise cloudy day. It might only reach 14 C at best today, and that strikes me as rather cool and unseasonal, but I expect that others would say it is average for early May.

 It was my intention to go home via Tesco after work yesterday, but I hadn't counted on my new trousers being delivered, and having to carry them home. I wasn't expecting them to arrive until Monday. The email I was sent to say they had been despatched said they would probably arrive on 12/5, or the 5th of May. By a curious coincidence they actually arrived in my hands at 12:05, or five past midday. I am not sure if I am happy with these new jeans. The black pair are teh same as a pair I had a few years ago. they are died with a very smelly black dye. Actually I'm not sure if it is black or a very dark brown. It's almost a tar like smell, but maybe more like tar mixed with creosote, and it is very unpleasant. Worst of all is that it doesn't wash out. The last pair I had I frequently wore and washed, and I think I threw them out before they had reached my normal standard of decrepitude (i.e. they were worn thin in a few places, but didn't actually have holes in them).

 The second pair of trousers don't smell, but they do feel a bit strange when I wear them. They have elasticated sides that are far more elastic than I imagined, and feel really loose on me compared to how I normally experience wearing jeans. That is both good and bad. The good is obviously that I don't have to struggle to do them up. The bad is that I could put on even more weight and still be able to wear them. Having to struggle into trousers is always a good pointer that it is time to take drastic action - even if it takes some time to start taking that drastic action.

 It seems I have taken some drastic action - more drastic than I intended. All I had available to eat last night (discounting many things that are high fat, high calories, high this, high that, high everything.) was some steamed vegetables. I could have had some fish with them, or maybe some other moderate calorie stuff, but I opted to have just the steamed vegetables with some crumbled low salt oxo cube crumbled over them, plus some chilli sauce and stuff. I had 6 packets of these "steam in the bag" vegetables  - two pairs of three slightly different varieties. It seemed quite a big meal at the time, and I was a bit worried about the amount of calories in the large percentage of carrots that all varieties seemed to have.

 I shouldn't have worried. Out of curiosity I fished one of the bags out of the waste bin this morning, and checked the label. I assume that all three varieties were very similar. It seems that one bag contains about 40 calories. I had 6 bags. That makes 240 calories worth of veg, and maybe the sauce and stock cube might have added 60 calories (a figure purely guessed at, and contrived to make it all add up to a nice round number). That means I only ate about 300 calories last night. It probably explains why I felt a bit peckish this morning !

 Like yesterday morning, I've had a slightly more substantial breakfast than usual. This morning it was very deliberate, and yesterday morning it was more because I couldn't help myself. As far as I can tell, my "substantial" breakfast this morning added up to about 1000 calories. If I could keep up the last 48 hours eating regime for another fortnight I wouldn't need the new trousers I've bought. It is a shame that I didn't get in the right mood to do this earlier in the week. Once past the first 3 or 4 days it becomes far easier, but now I have to face the weekend. Even tonight will be tricky.

 There is a gig on tonight that I really would like to go to. Chain are playing in Elmers End - which is fairly easy to get to. There are only two problems. Firstly I am not sure how much energy I'll have left tonight, and secondly there is the problem of the beer. There is no way, even if my life depended on it, that I could stay in the pub without drinking copious pints of Guinness. If I could stomach some weak and pissy ale I might avoid the calories (it is a complete and utter lie that ale is loaded with calories - I should know. Back in the 1980s I lost 7 stone while still drinking copious amounts of ale), What I wouldn't avoid is getting pissed and ordering a bucket, or even a barrel of fried chicken and chips on the way home - maybe !

 I'm almost certainly going shopping in Tesco tonight because my cupboard really is looking bare of non-naughty food. Maybe I can find something that is nice enough to lure me straight home after the gig, but is still fairly good for me. It's a tall order because most nice things are naughty (high calorie, high fat, high salt, high sugar - all these add up to high flavour). Maybe it will be a mute pint because I will be too knackered to go out again once I get home. Last night I was in bed asleep well before 9pm, about the time tonights gig will be starting, and I slept solidly until about 3.30am. It took a while to get back to sleep after that, maybe over half an hour, but the next thing I knew was that I was being woken up by my alarm going off. Without that alarm I might have slept on for another hour or maybe more. It's a shame I couldn't sleep on, but work was calling. Damn work !
Thursday 8th May 2014
08:19 BST

  Yesterday was much better than the weather forecast suggested it would be. There was much more sunshine during the morning than I expected, and it tried to continue to shine into the afternoon, but by 1pm the sun had pretty much been engulfed by the clouds. However, and this is the good bit, it didn't rain as the forecast suggested it would. The temperature was probably hovering around the just about tepid area, but I was just about comfortable going home in my shirtsleeves. The rain might have started any time after dark, but I wasn't really aware of any rain until this morning. It was damp underfoot for most of my travel into work, but it became wet underfoot, and wet on top of my head as I walked from the station to work. A strong breeze is making it feel cooler than it actually is. It's about 12 C now, but it it feels more like a chilly 9 C (maybe less). There could be many showers today, and there is only a small chance of seeing the sun today. In consequence it is likely to stay a chilly day.

 delayed but on time ????I felt sort of OK when I left work yesterday. I suspected my shoes would get increasingly uncomfortable during the day, but my feet didn't really swell much at all, and my shoes were no more uncomfortable going home than they were when going to work. It is possible, by a tiny margin, that they were more comfortable.

 One thing that made me feel uncomfortable is to do with the screenshot on the left. Prior to 16:20, when my train was due to depart from Charing Cross station, on it's way to me waiting for it at Waterloo East, the app on my mobile phone was telling me that "This train has been delayed by a train fault". It made it sound like I was going to get home later than usual - possibly a lot later if the train ended up being cancelled because of a "train fault".

 At 16:20 I refreshed the display a couple of times, and it still said the train was delayed, but has also left Charing Cross on time. Even after I was sitting on the train, and it had left Waterloo East exactly on time, it still said it was delayed by a train fault. I forgot to check, but I would be quite surprised if it wasn't still saying it was delayed when it pulled into Catford Bridge spot on time !

 I was feeling unusually positive and determined when I got home last night - and no more so when it came to having dinner. I managed to have one of the lowest calorie dinners I have had in ages - probably a whole year ! Dinner consisted of a bowl of ready mixed salad with some added cherry tomatoes, an extra red bell pepper that was starting to look a little tired and had to be used up, some dried basil, a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a garnish, and finally extra flavour from a crumbled low salt beef Oxo cube.

 It took a great deal of determination not to defrost the frozen horse in the freezer, and eat that as well.....plus, or more realistically, one of the salami sausages awaiting my attention in the cupboard, or the packet of chilli flavour potato rings that gave me that sad "eat me" look. I did consider grilling a couple of low fat burgers to have with the salad, but in the end I decided it was going to be nothing but the salad. Somehow I managed it !

 One reason that I managed it was that I made sure I didn't start eating until the BBC evening news started, and turned off the TV, and went upstairs as soon as the news was over. It would have been so easy to eat more if I stayed downstairs. It would also have been so easy to have a cigarette as well. I was gasping for one for much of the evening. Washing a few shirts by hand distracted me for a bit, and then I had an early night. Not a super early night, but I was fast asleep a good 10 or 15 minutes before 9pm - I think.

 I must have slept well because I can only remember waking up once in the night. That was for a pee, but it is such a vague memory that it might have been a dream. I definitely, and annoyingly woke up at about 4.30am. I never got back to sleep after that, but even so, I probably still managed to pay back some of the sleep deficit of the previous couple of nights.

 I didn't wake up feeling all that good. It is possible, although I consider it only a small chance, that my blood sugar level was rather low. I felt a bit heady - in two ways; I had a mild headache, and I sometime had a light headed feeling. It wasn't actual dizzyness, but a sort of detachment from reality sort of feeling - like being deeply engrossed in something and not noticing the outside world. Except in this case I was deeply engrossed in nothing at all while my body carried on all it's normal functions. None of these ideas actually explains how I felt, but it's the best I can do on the spur of the moment.

 I still have an intermittent mild headache even now. It persists even after eating rather more breakfast than I would have preferred to eat, but the light headed feel that isn't actually like being light headed, seems to have gone now. The rest of me is probably feeling pretty fair. Once again, mainly because of the very much reduced swelling of my feet and ankles, I have a pair of shoes on that are not the most comfortable in the world, but if they are no worse than yesterday's I will be fine.

 Today is Thursday, and that is usually drinking night ! Not tonight though. The guys are drinking in Beckenham again, and while it is reasonably easy to get there in the dry, it is still far enough off the beaten track to relieve me of the temptation to deviate from trying to follow the same path as last night. If I am stone cold sober I may be able to convince my brain and stomach that I am only going to eat salad again. There is a still a slight catch - I've got to buy it before I eat it, and that means shopping in Tesco on the way home from work - and that always brings terrible temptations !

 Maybe I'll manage another night like last night. If I could just manage to do the same for every night for the next fortnight I probably wouldn't need the new trousers that I am expecting to be delivered to work any day now. It would be nice to get the new black jeans in time to wear to the pub tomorrow night. I do want to go drinking then because Chain are playing, and I want to show off the results of my new toy. I forgot to mention it yesterday, but I tried out my new beard trimmer the night before last. I set the cutter a little short this first time, but I am still rather happy with the results. Next time I'll set it for 3mm of stubble - I think that will make my silver coloured beard a bit more visible, and if that doesn't work I can fall back on 5mm.
Wednesday 7th May 2014
08:11 BST

  As far as I was aware, apart from the early morning rain, it stayed dry yesterday. There were a few times when the clouds loked a bit threatening, but much of the day was pleasantly sunny. The temperature reached about 18 C, and while I might wish for a lot more, that was acceptable. It is a bit more cloudy this morning, and rain is forecast for later - possibly from a little after midday until 2 minutes after I get home. It was about 11 C when I walked to the station to come to work. By late afternoon it may rise to 14 or 15 C. That's not terribly good, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast is rather pessimistic.

 I probably felt better than I deserved to yesterday. I expected to feel dreadfully tired after getting to sleep so late the night before, but it wasn't that bad. I think that yesterday may actually have been one of my better days. I can't remember any particular aches or pains. It is probably that I had some, but none seem to be memorable. Of course not all of yesterday was love, peace, and good music. Some things annoyed me, and one thing is now a constant thorn in my side....
new fence at Earlsfield station
 This picture shows a new fence that is being erected at Earlsfield station. When finished it will divide platform 1 from platform 2, but very large sliding sections of it will allow passengers to cross from one side to another on very special occasions. Platform 1 is very rarely used, and trains normally rush through it fast. It is possible there are statistics I am not privy too, but as far as I am aware there have been zero casualties or fatalities from people falling under, or throwing themselves under trains from platform 1 in the last 25 years. I guess someone, somewhere, thinks that zero is far too many, and that it is worth spending hundreds of thousands of Pounds to install this new safety feature - money that could be better spent on maintenance of existing structures, or even to reduce train fares. I really, really, really hate pointless health and safety. It makes my blood boil ! Maybe that money would be better spent here..
no trains - in theory. Display failure
                    at Waterloo station on Wed 7th May 2014
 I took this slightly fuzzy picture at Waterloo station this morning. Trains were running perfectly normally, but every single display in the station refused to acknowledge that any trains were running at all ! Instead of these displays showing destination, calling points, platform number, and departure time, they just said "Welcome To London Waterloo" - very helpful !

 This morning, apart from a few little things, I feel reasonably good in many ways. I feel  could have felt even better if it were not for a couple of things last night. First of all I ate far too much dinner. I started off OK with steamed salmon with salad, and if I was really disciplined, like I was in the middle of last year, that would be all I would have had, but I still felt very peckish, and ate more - and not very healthily ! Then for yet another night I got to sleep far later than I would have desired.

 For all that abuse of my body, it seems to be working tolerably well this morning. My feet, ankles, and lower calves were almost (but not quite) not swollen. My feet seemed OK to not put any special choice on what shoes I wore this morning - although why I chose a pair that are not that comfortable (and could be positively uncomfortable by the time I get home) is a complete mystery to me.Perhaps my choice of shoes had some bearing on not wanting to rush around this morning. It made all my walking fairly easy except for my feet. I think it felt like I could have moved fast if I really needed to - fortunately I didn't !

 As much as I dislike the idea that after all these months I am still recovering from my operation, there is still evidence that I am still recovering. It seems nonsense to try and suggest, mostly to myself, that I recovered months ago. There is nothing else to account for the bits still wrong with me, and yet I still persist in my disbelief that it could ever take this long. One trouble now is that the changes are so tiny on a day by day basis, in some cases on a week by week basis, and yet there are improvements - I think ! I became aware that my left hand that originally suffered some sort of nerve damage (probably where the nerves pass by my elbow), might be improved this morning. I was pouring out some diet cola by holding the bottom of the bottle, and I am sure I didn't have enough strength, enough dexterity, and enough feeling to do that as little as a couple of weeks ago. At the current rate of progress it seems like it could take another year or two before my hand is back in perfect working order, but it seems that it is still heading that way.

 There are a few things I should do tonight. The first thing is to probably avoid watching the news on TV. I do feel it is fairly important to watch the news, but I seems I can't help but eat while it is on. So it is either stop watching the TV news (and following programmes) or take up smoking again. Only those two things can stop me eating excessively, and because I could not stand the grief from all those who would browbeat me about smoking, I have to give up the early evening news on TV. The second thing for tonight is to try and get to sleep at a sensible hour. Maybe now the days are longer, and I am getting more exposed to warm sunshine, I don't have to go to such extreme lengths as a few weeks or more ago (7.30pm on some occasions), but maybe asleep by 9pm would be OK.
Tuesday 6th May 2014
08:37 BST

  The weather followed the forecast for yesterday pretty well, and probably the only major diversion was that it was warmer than forecast by a few degrees. So basically it was sunny, warmish, and dry. It appears that official records confirm my sighting of 20 C on my outside thermometer. During the night there was quite a change. In the early hours of this morning it rained. This was as forecast, and now, with the sky almost 50% clear of cloud, it is still sticking to the most recent forecast. There could be a fair amount of sunshine today, but also the chance of a few showers. The top temperature for today is still forecast to be similar to what was forecast for yesterday. It would be jolly nice if it is another underestimate - and that could be possible because I estimate that the morning has started less cold than forecast.

 The little walk I did yesterday morning was the only exercise I did yesterday. I was quite lazy in the afternoon, and I even had a snooze or two. I didn't want to snooze, or even relax too much because I knew it would affect my main sleep last night - and it did ! It seems hard to believe it now, but I think it was close to midnight before I fell asleep. I don't think I had a very relaxing night, and I seemed to wake up more times than usual - including at 4.30am - half an hour before my alarm was due to wake me, and feeling like it was worthless trying to get back to sleep for so little time. Today is going to be fun....

 As well as falling asleep in front of my PC while checking how well the trains were running after my morning shower, I also had slightly volatile guts. It wasn't the greatest start to the day ! I think I made a bit of a mistake in eating a large can of "Petit Sale" French style bean stew with sausage and duck legs. I don't know why I wanted it for dinner, but I had this sort of yearning for a hot meal. Lunch was far simpler, and far more healthy (in some respects). Not too long after I came back from my walk I had a grilled steak and a bowl of salad (and nothing else). It was simple and almost low in fat. If I had part cremated the steak instead of eating it medium rare, I could have driven off more fat, and called it a low fat meal.

 Although my volatile guts meant that I missed my usual train, it was an uneventful journey on the next one - uneventful except that I really didn't like walking. Unlike yesterday when one leg just followed the other with a certain ease, my legs didn't seem to want to move this morning. It was a bit like walking through treacle, thin treacle perhaps, maybe just light syrup, but definitely something that slowed me up. After the walk from the station to work I arrived really rather sweaty - almost like I had walked twice as fast and twice as far.

 Well I'm here now, and providing I don't fall asleep too many times I should be fine until I go home. When I arrived here I found my new beard trimmer (or hair trimmer) sitting here waiting for me. I've put it on charge, and maybe once I get it home I'll have an experiment with it. I trimmed my beard with scissors over the long weekend so my beard doesn't need much maintenance right now, but maybe there are a few straggly bits I can tidy up - assuming I can learn to drive the thing. I am particularly inept at doing anything in front of a mirror, but I guess I learned to wet shave using a mirror without drawing too much blood ! Once I've experimented for a bit I think it will be time for bed. I hope I manage to get to sleep at a sensible time tonight. In theory it shouldn't be hard. After last night I should fall asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow.
Monday 5th May 2014
12:06 BST

  I don't really know what the weather was like yesterday. I didn't pay that much attention to the outside world. I think it probably felt chilly. I'm sure I was aware of some sunshine, and I am pretty certain it didn't rain. I do have a better idea of what today's weather is like, and even what it should be like tomorrow....
what today's weather should be like
                    !
 Today has started with more continuous sunshine than forecast for tomorrow - not that you would think so if you study the chart. Monday, today has just a white cloud symbol, and that doesn't suggest that it will be sunny, but it definitely is !  I'll allow the 18 C even though my thermometer seems to suggest it could actually be 20 C right now. Move on to Tuesday, tomorrow. That is definitely a black cloud with a drip of rain coming out of it surrounded by a half halo of sunshine. Now try and find where on the hourly chart the clouds are going to be black, and when the rain will fall. As far as I can see there will be nothing worse than some white cloud with quite a lot of sunshine. Since taking that screenshot I see that the forecasters have now increased the amount of sunshine during the day, but added that it will pour with rain between 2am and 5am. Oh well, by midday tomorrow they should get the morning part of the forecast close to accurate.

 I felt lousy yesterday. It's hard to describe why though. I had a few aches or pains that individually meant little, but combined together they gradually wore me down, and made me feel quite miserable. I seemed to spend a lot of the day either in or on my bed. It wasn't until late evening, far too late to go out, that I started to feel OK. A stupendously generous dose of Tesco Special Reserve Whisky medicine seemed to just about complete the process. It felt so good that I had another !!

 I ended up watching TV on my PC until quite late - I think it was around midnight when I turned everything off and got into bed. I don't know how mere mortals get entertained by TV on a Sunday night - most of what was on seemed complete and utter twaddle to me, but fortunately there were a few repeats of QI and Have I Got News For You that kept me amused for several hours while I sipped at my medicine.

 I didn't sleep for as long as I thought I might, but I think I slept fairly well. I did doze off several times during the day yesterday. So maybe I didn't need that much sleep. I wasn't exactly sure how I felt when I got up, but it did feel better than the day yesterday. So I got up properly - i.e. I had a shower and put on some proper clothes. To test how I felt I decided I had to get out, take a bit of a walk, stretch my legs, and get a bit of fresh air.

 I did consider the possibility of going for a short walk in the country, but very quickly throttled that back to a walk in the park. I then modified that to include getting to the park via the Tesco Express on the main road. I didn't want to go into the Tesco Express, but I did want to use the cash machine outside it to check that my most recent deposit into my Tesco savings account had gone through OK. It had, and I am really rather pleased, perhaps even shocked, at the speed that the amount in it has grown. I've never really taken saving seriously before, but last year I decided that I ought to get some savings together with the idea that it might be useful to bring my retirement forward.

 So I walked to the cash machine, and that felt OK. So I walked up the high street, and cut through the hospital grounds into the park. I was feeling fairly good, maybe not 100%, but not bad, and I did consider spending more time exploring the park. It was nice and sunny, and the sun and exercise had got me feeling very comfortably warm, but I decided just to walk directly home. It was about a mile I covered, and once I got home I felt that was sufficient. I could have walked further, but I'm not sure if I would have enjoyed it.

 That walk proved that I was feeling much better, and proved one other thing too. I definitely seem to have got over whatever it was that made me feel tired almost as soon as I started to walk. Today's walk was like normal. Every step I took made me fractionally more tired, until at the end it felt exactly like I had walked a mile. Until recently it felt like I had walked a mile by the first 100ft, and then the amount of tiredness stayed almost constant for the rest of the walk. Hopefully there will soon be more opportunities for walking in the sunshine so I can get my stamina up, but not today. I've done my exercise for today !

 While walking through the park I saw one of those ugly "muscle" dogs trying to run around with a large lump of tree. I think it was so stupid that it was trying to eat it. It was certainly so stupid that it didn't realise it was wearing a muzzle as it tried to pick up the branch in it's slobbering jaws.
stupid dog
so stupid it doesn't even realise it
                    is wearing a muzzle
 I don't know what I'm going to do this afternoon. I guess there are two things I ought to aim to do. One is to try to eat as little as possible, and the other is to try not to get too relaxed during the day so I have trouble relaxing for sleep tonight. It's back to work tomorrow so a good nights sleep would be mighty handy !
Sunday 4th May 2014
10:40 BST

  All the sunshine we had yesterday lifted the temperature up to an acceptable 14 or 15 C, The lack of cloud meant that the temperature fell a lot after dark, but it wasn't cold enough for a frost (as far as I am aware). This morning it is trying to be sunny, but the sun just can't pierce the thin cloud. It is still fairly bright though, and maybe the sun will make it through the cloud eventually. The forecast says that there ought to be a fair amount of sunshine today, and that the top temperature will be  15 C.  Currently I am showing 14 C, and the sun has almost started to shine. In the same way that today was forecast to be very slightly warmer, but less sunny than yesterday, the same forecast is being made for tomorrow. Less sun, and a degree or two warmer.

 Early yesterday afternoon I walked to Aldi in just my shirtsleeves - and it felt quite nice. Spring is definitely here ! I made two "politically incorrect" purchases in the supermarket. The first was very impulsive, and I don't know why I allowed my self to buy them - a pack of 4 chocolate muffins. I guess they just seemed a good idea at the time. The other thing had a definite purpose even though I really shouldn't have got it. It was a half litre tub of plain ice cream. I wondered what it would be like with some of the milled linseed (in a couple of flavours) that I had bought. The answer to that was a mere ok. It was an almost pleasant combination, but not really worth repeating. That milled linseed definitely goes better with oats.

 I can't remember doing anything else yesterday afternoon. So I guess I just rested - which would seem to be the sensible option to refresh myself before going out in the evening. I always find it a struggle to get out of the house, and no more so than in the evening. Last night was one of the better nights in that respect. It seemed almost easy to go out. Being still light outside, and still mild enough to go in shirtsleeves helped a lot. The occasion was to see Chain playing in The Chatterton Arms.
Chris Mayer in dramatic guitar player
                    pose
 It looks like Chris Mayer is lining up for a great big KERRANG ! in this picture, but it is just a freak of the timing of the picture. I left before the end, but it is possible likely that they covered Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" which would use some "power chords", but maybe not played like this.
Chain on stage at The Chatterton
                    Arms
Here's the whole band together on stage. At the back is guest bass player Steve. To the right is Guy Harris on drums. On the left is Jo Corteen on electro acoustic guitar and vocals, and in the foreground is Chris Mayer on lead guitar and some vocals.

 It was a bit of an exciting evening in several ways. The pub has a new governor, and he is not a fan of loud music. One band walked out on him a few weeks ago when he kept insisting they turned it down, and no one knew what to expect last night. Maybe he didn't mind Chain's music because he seemed to be happy with their volume level. I must admit I did take an instant dislike to the new governor. He had a stupid moustache, and seemed to have been trained in bar keeping by the Basil Fawlty/Adolf Hitler school of pub keeping.

 While I was there one drinker was forcibly ejected. Apparently he had managed to knock over three glasses of beer, and attempted to light up a cigarette at the bar - or so it was said (maybe he just put an unlit cigarette in his mouth prior to going outside to smoke it - many people do that). It all ended in a bit of a scrap outside, and Gut's car ended up splashed with blood. It all seemed rather excessive, but I am unsure what really happened outside, although I feel professionals (real ones, not just thugs dressed up in monkey suits) would have handled it rather differently.

 At the time I wasn't sure why, but I felt a strong urge to leave after the first set. It was gone 10pm, perhaps even 10.30pm, and I was probably feeling the first twinges of tiredness. Plus I had been standing all the time I was there, but the urge to go home was a bit stronger than that. I didn't have to wait more than 7 minutes for a bus, and it was a reasonably pleasant and fast ride home. It was very much on the limits, but it didn't seem quite cold enough to bother getting my lightweight coat out of my camera bag, and although I did roll my sleeves down, I felt fairly comfortable going home like that.

 Once I was home I had some hot food, and I didn't bother to put any heating on. I guess it was about midnight when I went up to bed, and by that time I was beginning to feel shivery. I got into bed, and it seemed to take some time before I felt warm, but I still felt uncomfortable. A couple of hours later I was having some difficulty keeping my dinner down. It seems that I had come down with some sort of stomach bug. It wasn't just the usual irritation caused by too much chilli, or too much fibre, but something much less spectacular, and yet strangely much more uncomfortable.

 My guts still feel sore even now. I managed to get a fair amount of sleep between visits to the toilet, but I feel very tired. I almost feel like going back to bed. There's quite a few nice things to eat in the fridge, but I reckon today I might be wise to stick with plain oats and milk - or nothing at all - although if I am going to go to the second gig of the weekend I probably ought to line my stomach with something.

 Toniht Chain are playing a new venue that, as far as we know, has never had a band play there before. It is the charmingly named Slug And Lettuce in Beckenham Hight Street. It's just one ~20 minute bus ride away, and I would rather like to go. I hope I can shake off this feeling of horribleness before then !
Saturday 3rd May 2014
11:11 BST

  Yesterday carried on being dull, cool, and generally nasty, but during the night a change happened.  All that nasty cloud dispersed, and this morning was all bright and shiny. It was also very cold. One of my outside sensors said the temperature was 2.7 C, and the old glass thermometer outside the back door was reading something so close to zero that it might well have been zero. I didn't actually notice any frost, but I would be surprised if there hadn't been some on the cars out in the road. There has been almost continuous sunshine since sunrise, and that has lifted the temperature to a little higher than 10 C, and, fingers crossed, it could go up another 3 or 4 degrees before the evening. Tomorrow might be a degree or two less cool, but paradoxically there may well be less sunshine than today - although there is no hint of rain in the forecast.

 I felt quite rotten yesterday. Some of it was the result of being kept awake in the early hours of the morning, and some of it was other stuff. "Other stuff" was just a whole mish mash of bits and pieces which included both physical and mental negatives. Maybe I felt I had to feel bad to justify taking the day off sick, but going sick is a 85% financial thing these days, and only 15% a matter of concious.

 I did have a few twinges here and there, and there was still a remnant of the calf/kneecap/thigh ache that had kept me awake at night (or at least the quest for a comfortable position to lie in did), but the most uncomfortable part of me was my stomach. It felt sort of bloated, but it wasn't really. Maybe it was the join between the bit of my chest that was opened up for my heart bypass operation, and the bit that was opened up that was uncomfortable. That is not so unlikely as it seems.

 A couple of people, oddly enough women who have had operations, have commented to me that it takes an awful long time, if it ever happens at all, for muscles that have been cut through to re-attach themselves, and it is the sag that this causes that seems to have altered my body shop. I see it as if I have put a lot of weight on because my trousers are too tight these days, but other say that I look no fatter than I used to, and may even look a bit slimmer (although I am sure that must be meant as a kind remark rather than the truth). It is true that my shirts still fit me, and can even feel a bit baggy at times despite this change in body shape. Perhaps my belly button has dropped a couple of inches because there are no muscles to pull it upwards, but that idea sounds like pure fiction to me.

 As I laid around reading and resting I suppose I felt a bit sorry for myself, and I definitely felt like I was wasting useful time, but I really didn't fancy pushing myself to do more. I began to feel a bit more perky in the early evening, but then again I had made a major positive decision. It was to finally crack open the bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey that I was given for xmas. I had two very pleasant glasses of it, and it tasted really good.

 It seemed I only needed the two glasses. Maybe that is all I really wanted, or maybe I was mindful that it was not just a cheap bottle of Scotch to be consumed in great glugfulls ! I drank the whiskey while watching some stuff on TV, but at either 8.30pm, or 9pm (or whenever the last programme I watched ended) I went up to bed. I should have felt tired, and ready to sleep, but I had taken a couple of naps during the day. Plus there was one other incentive to stay awake - I was getting near the end of the book I was reading (Friday by Robert Heinlein), and I decided to go for broke and finish it. It was close enough to midnight to say that I finished the book at midnight, and was soon fast asleep.

 On the whole I slept quite well. I still had a some trouble finding a more comfortable position for my right leg, but it wasn't so important last night, and tiredness eventually overrode any minor problems. I did wake up a little over 4 hours later, and I stayed awake for a bit, but eventually I must have come close to getting another 4 hours sleep in bits and pieces. Since then I have felt reasonably OK.

 I definitely felt good enough to wash 4 shirts, some underwear, and 3 mini tablecloths (each about a yard square). Once again I had a sort of undefined ache from where the chest turns into the stomach. It is only a vague ache rather than a definite pain, and I think it is actually a good sign. It seems to be coinciding with my left breast (or that general area) regaining some proper feeling. It's a hard thing to evaluate by yourself, but I think I can now almost feel my left nipple. It may not be obvious why this is important for a man, and in general terms it is not, but there is an everyday occurrence why it is good for me - whenever I put my mobile phone in my shirt pocket it rubs over my nipple. This generates no pleasure, but when the feeling is half there and half not there it can actually feel horribly unpleasantly tingly. I think I prefer either normal feeling, or no feeling at all. The half way point, as is still the case for bits of my left hand, can be really irritating !

 Sometime soon I think I'll go to Aldi to pick up a few bits and pieces. There is nothing I desperately need, a bit of this and a bit of that is always useful to have hanging around. I think I'll get some more milk, and another small packet of milled seeds with strange crap in it to add to some more oat based meals. A few bottles of sugar free cola are always handy, and I am wondering if I would fancy a steak.

 I probably should not buy anything too exotic to eat today because I should be going out tonight. I could have gone out last night, but obviously I was feeling crap. I hope I don't feel crap tonight. Chain are playing in The Chatterton Arms. It is fairly easy to get to, and is generally a good night, but tonight could be different. There are reports that the new governor of the pub doesn't like the music very loud, and that could cause a few problems - maybe even a walk out !
Friday 2nd May 2014
13:23 BST

  It was pretty horrible yesterday, but probably not as horrible as today. Yesterday was not all grey - the sun almost came out once or twice, and some of the grey was very light grey. I don't think there was that much rain, but I did get rained on - lightly - in the evening. Today is horribly grey - mostly a dirty, nasty sort of grey. I expect there have been a few showers, but I've tried to avoid the outside world. One feature that I can't seem to avoid is that it seems very chilly today, but with a current temperature of 13 C it may just be my imagination or something. I think the forecast says there could be a frost tonight, but it might get sunny at some point tomorrow.

 I'm sure I felt reasonably OK as I came home from work yesterday. I wasn't wearing the most comfortable of shoes, but neither were they particularly uncomfortable. Whether the shoes I was wearing had any bearing on how I was to feel this morning is currently unknown, but I am very sure the mere three pints of a moderate strength (4.3%) ale I had last night did nothing to harm me. Nor did getting some shopping from Tesco on the way home from do any harm......except maybe walking back in the rain afterwards may have had some sort of negative effect.

 I had a very pleasant three pints of Gypsy Hill "Amber Ale" in the Catford Constitutional Club with the Thursday night guys, but I specifically made arrangements that I was not going to have an extended drink. I was lucky to be almost unaffected by my long session on Tuesday afternoon, and I didn't want to tempt fate by overdoing it last night...although maybe I wish I had now. I went to Tesco before going to the pub, and having three bags of shopping with me served as a constant reminder that there was stuff I had to get into the freezer, stuff to get into the microwave, and stuff to get into me !

 Maybe we were all drinking quite slowly, but I arrived home later than I imagined I would. The evening news had finished, and 8pm was rushing towards me. It was still perfectly daylight, dull daylight because of the weather, but still daylight when I went to bed. I seemed to get to sleep easily enough, maybe as early as early as 8.30pm, and slept OK to about half past midnight. From then on it all went very wrong. Initially it was my right leg that gave me trouble. It wasn't actually painful, but it certainly ached.

 I suppose much of the ache was centred on my knee, but the calf and thigh muscles would ache - and it all depended on how I tried to get comfortable. Various positions would favour some bits, but no position was comfortable for sleep. At it's worst it felt like someone was trying to (gently) unscrew my kneecap, and I felt very stiff legged when walking to the toilet - something I had to do more and more as dawn approached - yes, as morning approached I had increasing amounts of stomach pains too !

 By 5am I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. It felt like I had only got an hour of sleep in little doses since I had woken up at half past midnight. My stomach felt volatile, and there was something else - perhaps just a reaction to how cold it felt. So I cancelled my alarm, and tried to get more sleep instead of getting up to go to work. Since then I have had the odd snooze, but I don't think I've slept for more than half an hour at a time. My stomach is now settled in one respect, but also feeling a bit bloated. My right leg seems to be mostly, but not 100% OK, and I still feel crap.

 I am unsure why I feel so crap. Nothing really hurts, but everything aches a little bit - even my teeth - all of them, even the ones that were extracted half a lifetime ago ! No, I lie, not everything aches. My left kneecap is as good as gold, and my right ear lobe has never felt better. I guess I also feel a bit pissed off as well, and it's not because I was notified that my new beard trimmer is being delivered to work today. I'll have to wait until next Tuesday to collect it, and suffer a straggly hand trimmed beard this long bank holiday weekend. Oh the tragedy ! Under these circumstances I can't see myself going out to a gig tonight. Hopefully I'll be feeling fine to go out tomorrow night, but tonight I am going to stay in and sulk !  
Thursday 1st May 2014
08:21 BST

  It was good that yesterday's weather, while not perfect, was rather pleasant, because today the weather is crap ! After the foggy start, yesterday settled down into a mostly sunny day. It wasn't sunny all the time - on the way home on the train to Catford, a nasty cloud sat right in front of the sun. There were other annoying clouds during the day. More often than not, at least 75% of the sky was blue, but rogue clouds kept floating in front of the sun for minutes at a time. The sunshine still did it's job though, and the temperature reached 18 or 19 C - and that is starting to feel slightly warm. Assuming today's weather forecast is somewhere near correct, it's best to just sum up todays weather as cool, grey and wet, and then get on with life.

 The feeling I reported yesterday morning about feeling almost good lasted quite a long time, and in a slightly attenuated form, until I went to bed. One thing I forgot to mention was that even the swelling I was getting in my feet, ankles, and lower leg was much improved too. The last bit of my journey home from work, the walk from the station to home, was not as easy as it should be, but still a very useful improvement on many past days. Once I got home I checked my feet, ankles, and lower legs, and the amount of swelling was a lot less than it would have been a few days ago.

 I don't really know how much of it I forced upon myself, or how much came naturally, but I had an urge to not rush into getting my dinner ready, and to try and do something useful before I ate.....and I did ! I did all the washing up, and also gave the electric grill a good scrub. While I was doing the grill I also gave the work surface it sits on a good scrubbing down. Then I messed up the grill again by using to cook two Aberdeen Angus (posh !) burgers in it.

 I hadn't planned it the way it turned out, but dinner was a semi healthy concoction. It was the two well grilled, and quite lean burgers, with raw tomatoes, raw bell pepper, and olives. The olives did spoil it slightly. They contain a lot of high calorie oil, but that oil is said by some, who may know what they are talking about, or are just writers for womans magazines, to be good for mobilising cholestrol deposits and stuff. I think opinion is divided about the relative merits and pitfalls of olives. The real pitfall for my dinner was actually the snack I had shortly after it while watching the news on TV. I had peanuts, but they were the coated ones - coated with some sort of flavoured biscuit type stuff. Whether that coating makes things worse or better is currently an unknown to me, but most things with peanuts in are thoroughly evil. However, I expect I am not the only one who would follow a trail of peanuts all the way to the depths of hell !

 A combination of boredom, and avoiding any more food or crap TV programmes, saw me going to bed to carry on reading my book at about 7.30pm. Once again I read for about an hour before turning out the light, and turning over to go to sleep. Last night I seemed to fall asleep quite quickly, and I seemed to sleep more soundly than any time recently. I think I got up for a wee a couple of times, but it was only at around 4am that I was awake for more than a few seconds. I either need an awful lot of sleep because my body is still healing (and the recent improvement in my stamina and stuff suggests that it is still healing) or my sleep is being seriously disrupted by snoring at near fatal levels without me realising it. On a few occasions it is obvious that I have been snoring because I wake up with a dry mouth and dry tickly throat, but it is years and years, maybe getting on for 20 years, since I have woken up gasping, and with a headache as a result of oxygen starvation. No, I think I am just still healing.

 It is probably the cold and wet, but this morning I did not feel terribly dynamic. I was more or less OK when I left my house to walk to the station. The walk seemed fairly easy and fluid, but things went downhill from there. When it came to walking from the station to work, I decided to take it easy, and not to rush. Maybe I didn't slow down enough because it seemed to make very little difference to the time it normally takes, and although it may still have been easier than some past days, it didn't feel easy like I hoped it would. It is only a 10 minute walk, and it is just detectably downhill. So it should be ridiculously easy, and not feel like a chore. I have to confess that some of the problem was walking through the cold, damp, and grey air. Grey air is the worst ! Sunny air is so much easier to walk through !

 Things will be much easier tonight. I'll be walking while drunk, or will I ? I have decided that I will take it a bit easy when I meet the guys for some beer in The Catford Constitutional Club after work - which is easy to say when you are stone cold sober ! I have an auxillary plan that I will get some shopping from Tesco on the way home. If I get it before going to The CCC I will avoid drinking an extra pint while waiting for the others to arrive, and I will have a good excuse to leave early (to put frozen stuff in the freezer before it defrosts). On the other hand it would be more convenient to go to Tesco after the drink, but then if I am drunk I wouldn't bother. Maybe I had better get my shopping first and suffer the inconvenience of having to lug it around with me in the pub. Maybe.......