|My Diary/Blog For the Month of November 2014|
Yesterday's sunshine was very welcome, and today there is even more sunshine. It's just a bit of a shame that the sun carries hardly any heat at this time of year. I'm not sure what the temperature was yesterday, but it was only in the upper reaches of the border between uncomfortably cold, and just comfortable. This morning started off rather misty, but the sun managed to see that off. Unfortunately it has only raised the temperature to a gnats whisker over 11° C, and I doubt it can push it more than a degree higher in the limited time it has to shine - which could be no time at all if the BBC's weather forecast is correct. Any minute now the sun will go in, and won't be seen again until who knows when. Fortunately it should stay dry - even tomorrow when a really dreadful day is forecast - thick black cloud, and the temperature only reaching 7° C at it's very best. Brrrr !!
It might have been a shame to miss Night Owl playing in the car park of The Daylight Inn at Petts Wood, or maybe not. I've seen pictures of the event, and while the dense crowds would have been great for the bands playing there, they would have been a real annoyance when trying to move around with my camera. Once I realised I wouldn't be going I switched brain activity, and got into a very comfortable at home mode of being - which was actually a shame because I forgot that The Bromley Bastards were playing in The William IV pub in Elmers End. I was quite keen to see them, but it completely slipped my memory until it was too late.
So I stayed in and wasted some hours watching TV, and eating dinner. Dinner could easily have been a takeaway, but I decided I should probably behave myself. What I actually had was a couple of small baked potatoes with a ready-mix pot of steam-cook-in-the-microwave mixed green vegetable - plus the now all too casually accepted over generous glaze of butter. Mind you, when I saw how much cold congealed butter there was on the plate when I went into the kitchen this morning, I did wonder just how much was left "glazing" those vegetables. Once upon a time I would mash the butter into the potato, but now I seem eat the potato in chunks with the butter running off it. I don't know when or why I started doing that, but when I think about it I reckon I ought to continue to eat baked potato like that.
I think I had something else for dinner that would have ruined any benefits of part one, but I can't think what it was. What I do know is that in the absence of any pints of Guinness that I would have had if I had gone to The William IV pub, I had a few large whiskies as I wasted my life watching TV last night. Actually I take that back. Some of the TV was not a waste of time. There was an interesting programme about extreme trains, trains services, and train "users". Maybe most notable was probably the train surfers of South Africa. Teenage boys, who obviously have a well deserved death wish, were shown "surfing" on top of speeding trains. That was stupid enough, but these trains were powered by a 3000V DC overhead catenary, and a single touch of that wire would be instant death ! Many have been killed, and so were eligible for a Darwin Award - stupid people removing themselves from the gene pool ! It's probably the result of a defective gene to find the idea of stupid people killing themselves in ways that are perfectly obvious to anyone with more than two brain cells, funny, and if you have that defective gene as well you could amuse yourself by looking here - http://www.darwinawards.com/.
After a moderately late night, and a moderately good night, and a moderately good lie in, I got up feeling moderately good. Well good enough to hand wash 7 items of clothing. I was going to do a medium sized towel as well, but I decided I would let that soak for a few hours (possibly a lot longer). I have to confess that apart from having a shower and washing my hair, that is all I have done so far today. I am currently waiting for a phone call from Jodie. She is probably popping over to do something that I can't remember on my computer that she can't do on her mum's computer (she has no computer of her own). After that is done we will go to the Wetherspoons pub for a few pints.
While I was out meeting Aleemah at the station yesterday I spied some notices up on The Railway Tavern/The Copperfield/The Catford Bridge Tavern, and now possibly the Catford Tavern......
There were two of these notices, and both were so high up that they were difficult to read, or to photograph. Fortunately there is no need to strain the eyes trying to read the information because it is all here on an easy to read web page. It's nice to know that something is happening to the pub that has lain almost derelict for over a year now, although I am unsure if I like all the plans for the new pub. However, in the description of the web site, which browsers don't usually show, there are the words "We like music, food and beer.". Funnily enough I like all three of those as well ! I am particularly encouraged that they mention music. Is it possible that Catford might have another music venue ? I rather hope it does (although it will just make me even lazier about travelling to more distant gigs - I can hardly get off my arse to go to a gig just four stops down the line from Catford Bridge railway station these days, and it could get worse !).
The sunshine, while very welcome, arrived too late to be of any practical value yesterday. By the time the sky was fairly clear the sun was so low on the horizon that only those with long clear views towards the horizon would be able to see it. There was some weak and watery sunshine filtering through the thin clouds earlier than that. It was nice, but not as good as the real thing. The rest of yesterday was neither horrible or good for the time of year. It wasn't truly cold, but it felt a long way from warm. Today will possibly be a degree cooler, somewhere around 10 - 11° C, but one big difference is that we have already seen some sunshine. The sun is fighting it's way through some thin misty cloud, and is giving a sort of silvery light, but occasionally it finds a clear gap in the clouds, and we get full strength (winter) sunshine. It should stay dry today, and unlike what I have just written, the BBC reckon it could get up to 12° C after a very sunny afternoon.
I think I was beginning to feel the fatigue brought on by not enough sleep on Thursday night, but not until I was almost on my way home from work. I revived a bit after I got home, and I found the patience and stamina to prepare a nice healthy sort of dinner - at least the main course was ! That main course was baked potato served with sprouts that had been mostly steamed because there was only about a quarter of an inch of stock in the bottom of the pan (which is all you need for microwave cooking). As usual I spoiled the healthiness, but made it edible by adding a good glaze of butter on it all. (Glaze - isn't that a marvellous word ? It sounds so innocent !).
Last night provided a sort of dilemma - I didn't have to get up very early this morning, and so I could have stayed up later than usual, and got some things done, or I could give in to tiredness, and go to bed early. I decided that I would go to bed early, and then went on to go to bed late ! It all started when I got a bit bored, and then remembered I had taken a load of pictures on Thursday night, and I hadn't even looked at them. So I copied them off the camera's memory card and onto my computer. I started looking at them, and very soon came to one that just needed a little editing to make it look presentable....
Chris Mayer, Graham, John Sutcliffe, Mark Mason - The Spiders
Of course once I started photo editing I couldn't stop. At the end I felt dreadfully tired, and that's a shame because there was some editing I could have done that required a very steady hand, and loads of patience, and I didn't have a steady hand, nor much patience. Nevertheless I managed to come up with a decent, but not spectacular set of photos of the night - all of them being at least a magnitude better than the typical mobile phone camera pictures of bands that people post on social media sites. I am proud to say that you can tell the difference between the players and the instruments in my pictures !
When I finally got into bed I thought I thoroughly deserved to be there. It wasn't long before I was asleep, and I think I slept quite well - at least compared to some nights. I have no idea what time I fell asleep. I think it was after 10pm, but before 11pm. What I do know is that I woke up, and got up at 6.30am. That probably doesn't sound that late, but it does represent a 90 minute lay in compared to weekday morning, and it satisfies my mind even if it doesn't satisfy my body (although I think it probably does).
Maybe if I wasn't seeing Aleemah this morning I could have stayed in bed even later, but there was stuff to do this morning. I doubt if Aleemah noticed what I did - the place probably still looks a mess to her, but I know it is less of a mess after I did a tiny bit of housework. One thing I didn't do this morning, which I usually do a lot of, was to go to the toilet. That has left me feeling a bit uncomfortable from time to time today, and that discomfort rather dented my ambitions for this afternoon. I was hoping Aleemah might have left a little earlier than she did so I could spend a bit more time on the toilet in the hope that something useful might happen.
Eventually something did happen that may have left me comfortable enough to go out, but by then it was too late. I had hoped to get the 15:33 train that after changing trains at Bromley South would have got me to Petts Wood at precisely 4pm - which is the exact time that Night Owl were due to take the stage outside The Daylight Inn pub. Today is the day that Petts Wood switches on it's Christmas lights at 6pm after an afternoon build up of entertainment and stalls on the high street. At 6pm the lights are switched on, and there is a short firework display. Seeing the fireworks could have been nice, but I was really only going to see Night Owl. They are only doing a 40 minute set, and if I had got the next train I would have made it to see the last 10 minutes - which was hardly worth it. So I took off my gig wear, and gave up on the idea of going out.
Oh well, at least I've had a pint of beer in the Wetherspoons pub while Aleemah had her veggie breakfast in there, and I've done some shopping in Aldi. Now, with the sun going down on what did turn out to be a sunny afternoon, I can put my feet up and relax.......unless I suddenly get the urge to wash some shirts. It wouldn't be essential, far from it, but it could be handy if I suddenly did get the urge. Some urges should be encouraged, and some should be fought. I think I will try and fight the urge for a super tasty takeaway tonight. Having just been in Aldi this morning, I have plenty of stuff to eat in the cupboard/fridge. Not buying a takeaway is generally better for my health, and better for my wallet, but not better for my excitement and stuff..........
As far as I am aware, it didn't rain yesterday, and by the time I left work to go home all the roads and pavements looked dry. Unfortunately, as well as no rain there was no sunshine (or if there was some it was not enough to register on my memory). I think the temperature may have peaked slightly over 11° C at some point, and it didn't feel all that cold (but it was still far from warm). This morning has started at nearly 11° C, and it might rise to a smidgin above 13° C if we are lucky. The day has started dry, but it's a cloudy morning, and there is a small chance of some drizzle, but it is supposed to brighten up this afternoon. A couple of hours before sunset there could be a few glimpses of sunshine, and in the last hour it could be quite sunny....or it would be if the sun was not so low down that it is hardly visible. Tomorrow could see many sunny intervals, but paradoxically it will probably be a degree or two cooler.
The shoes I wore yesterday seemed to feel rather uncomfortable after the bashing my feet got from the very uncomfortable shoes I wore the previous day, but a theory I had that yesterday's shoes should have been comfortable turned out to be right - up to a point. Instead of getting worse, my comfort levels actually went up as the day progressed, but it was still a great relief to get home and take those shoes off. It was a positive thing that I was travelling in a homeward direction, but now that so much of that journey is done in darkness it is impossible to enjoy it in any tangible way. Sometimes there are the occasional things that give a little entertainment.
The Coca Cola company giving away free samples of their new product Coke Life on the concourse of Waterloo station. This is not exactly entertainment, but it does add to my collection of useless pictures of companies promoting stuff at Waterloo. There was some genuine entertainment though......well it made me smile !
I've rotated the picture above so that the blurry writing is the right way round for easy reading. What it should be, if it wasn't just another crashed computer, is one of those intensely annoying flickery, flashing advertising displays that attempt to bamboozle people walking by to spend cash they probably haven't got on products that they don't really want - and they do it in portrait mode instead of landscape mode that I have rotated the image to. Like the first picture, I had to take this one in a bit of a rush. If I had more time it is possible the camera in my mobile phone may have sorted it's exposure and focus out a bit better, but I had to stand in the middle of the passage to take this photo, and there were a hundred billion commuters intent on catching their trains bearing down on me. Never get in the way of a serious commuter in London !
I was quite keen to get home last night, but once I got home I had a great test to face ! I intended to (and did) go out to see The Spiders play a gig in The Catford Ram, and that meant I had to try and stay awake and enthusiastic while trying not to eat too much before going out. It also meant taking a shower and washing my hair, but that was no more than the most minor of irritations. It was not eating too much that was the real problem, but last night I seemed to solve it. I did have a little bit of sliced salami as a snack while I checked my email and stuff, and also got changed after I had first got home. Then I sorted out my small pre-gig dinner. It was an egg and bacon sandwich bought from Tesco the day before, and a can of soup.
It can be a bit of a trial going out not much earlier than bedtime at any time of the year, but when it's been dark outside for the previous 4 hours it really feels wrong. So when the time came to go out I really had to grit my teeth. Fortunately it was made easier by not feeling bloated when I walked to the pub. I didn't feel much like pushing myself up to a good walking pace, but I didn't have to slow down too much. I used to reckon my average walking speed was 3mph. Last night I probably only did 2.5mph. If I dropped to 2mph it would have been very tedious indeed !
The Spiders played a good first set. I must confess that I only knew half the songs they played. Many of the songs I didn't know were old blues songs. I'm not sure if they knew them, but there was the usual contingent of West Indian's in the corner playing their incredibly loud games of dominoes, and a few of them were really getting into those blues songs. One in particular gave up on the dominoes, and came to stand near the front. He was obviously into blue guitar playing, and was almost hero worshipping Chris and Mark. When Chris got his bottle neck out for some slide guitar work that black guy was having triple orgasms !
Sadly the end of the first set came, and once I had finished my third pint of Guinness it was time for me to go home. I avoided the temptation of any of the takeaways I could easily pass on the way home by having already pre-prepared dinner part two before I went out.....and by that I mean I had taken the outer wrapping off, pierced the film, and put the meal in the microwave ready to be turned on when I got in. It didn't take long to "cook", and I used that time to change out of my gig clothes. The meal was a Tesco Finest Chicken Korma with rice. It was quite nice, but I am still not convinced it would be worth the premium price I would have had to pay if I hadn't spotted it for less than half price on the reduced price shelf in Tesco.
Despite leaving the pub early it was still almost 11pm when I fell into bed. That was a bit late for me, and I worried that I would feel very sleepy in the morning, but I didn't worry enough to stop me getting to sleep very quickly. On the whole I slept well, but I seemed to have a really weird dream that I think woke me up, but it's all a bit hazy. I dreamed I was in the pub, and there was a strong smell of onions and curry, and it would get stronger when someone came close to me. Then I woke up and could still smell this disagreeable odour in my bedroom. The odour had changed a bit while I thought I was awake, and it was more like the smell of cheese and onion crisps, but there was still more than a hint of curry about it too. I'm not sure I was truly awake when I thought I was, and it may just have been an extension of the dream.
I definitely didn't want to wake up this morning, although I think I may have beaten my alarm by a few minutes. I would have loved to have turned over and gone back to sleep, but I just had to get up to come to work. This morning I didn't have any new aches or pains, and even the usual ones didn't feel particularly strong. I guess that this morning was one of the better ones, but it still felt like hard, punishing work to endure my typical 1 hour and 20 minute journey into work (that's door to door). In one respect I will miss work when I finally give it up, but I won't miss the terrible commuting any more than I would miss, say, a knife through the eye. What I probably ought to do is to look for one of those jobs that are often imagined, but don't often exist in reality - a job with a less than half hour commute, and where I can be the laziest bastard ever. Maybe I should become a politician !
It will be very nice when the working day is over today, and even nicer when I get home. It would be useful to do a bit of laundry tonight, but it is not essential. Other than that I can practice being a lazy bastard to my hearts content - with one small proviso. I mustn't let myself stay up too late tonight. I can get up a little bit later tomorrow, but Aleemah will be visiting tomorrow, and I will need to do at least a bare minimum of housework in the morning before meeting her. Actually, there is one thing it would be useful to do tonight, and that is to go through the pictures I took last night, and give them a bit of a tweak here and there. That would make for a bit of worthwhile entertainment tonight.
I thought that the highest temperature for yesterday was forecast to be just 10° C, but by my reckoning it was 11° C - not that it made the slightest difference - it was still unacceptably cool in these days of global warming. One good thing was that it didn't rain from the time I left to go to work until the time I got home again........or did it ? It is possible that it secretly rained while I was inside. The ground did look a bit too wet for a day without rain when I left work to go home. It almost certainly rained during the night. I didn't see or hear it, but the road was all soggy when I walked to the station this morning. Today may well be like yesterday, but with more wind (or breeze). It's going to be cloudy and overcast, and there might, or might not, be a shower now and then. It was about 10° C when I got up this morning, and the wind is supposed to bring in ever so slightly warmer air through the day. Maybe today will reach the heady heights of 12° C ! Tomorrow is forecast to be an even better day than today - there could be 167 seconds of sunshine, and maybe a few tens of minutes of blue sky !!
I didn't feel all that wonderful going home from work yesterday. I felt slightly fatigued, and worst of all, I had sore feet. I mentioned yesterday morning that my shoes felt like they were full of lumps, and they felt the same when I was going home. That was a bit of a shame because they were very comfortable to wear while I was at work, and not pounding the cold pavements. There could be a clue in there as to why they were uncomfortable to wear when going travelling to work, and going home afterwards. I wonder if the cold outside was making the synthetic materials stiff and hard (or stiff-ish and hard-ish). The shoes I am wearing this morning aren't as bad as the ones I was wearing yesterday, but are still not as comfortable as I believe they should be. Maybe it was because my feet took a battering yesterday, and are still tender, or it is another result of synthetic materials going hard in the cold.
My feet may have been uncomfortable, but I was not in agony, and while I may have felt a bit fatigued, I still had the energy, and my feet were working well enough to detour via Tesco on the way home. Half of what I bought was healthy vegetable and stuff, and the other half must raise some great suspicions. Who knows what dangers lurk in a Tesco Finest* Chicken Korma Curry with rice reduced from £4.35 to £1.65 on the reduced price shelf. I think I know what the dangers are of a reduced price Lamb Hotpot ready meal. The problem with the sandwiches, a couple of which were reduced price, is more to do with how tempting they are as well as some of the ingredients like cheese. Not to mention the bread !
* Tesco Finest - usually overpriced stuff that may use a slightly better recipe, and possibly meats taken a few more inches away from the anus. Basically a bit of a rip off in most cases. I don't know why they bother selling it. If people wanted expensive food they would shop in Marks And Spencer !
Another rip off in Tesco, and one that I am ashamed to say I fell for hook, line and sinker, is Diet Coke. First of all a company as huge as Tesco has let the Coca Cola company walk all over them by discontinuing the very popular 2 litre bottles, and substituting 1.75 litre bottles for the same price (if memory serves me well). An incredibly long running offer lets you buy two bottles for £2, and that saves something like 40p. Sitting on the shelf not too far away are 4 packs of Diet Coke. They cost £4, and that seems reasonable until you get them home and find that they are actually 1.5 litre bottles. It would be more economical to buy four separate 1.75 litre bottles, and even more economical to go back to last spring, or maybe even early summer, and buy four of the old 2 litre bottles that were also 2 for £2.
It was a relief to finally get home. Lugging all that shopping home rather added to my feelings of fatigue, or if the fatigue was only in my head before shopping, it was very real afterwards ! The first thing I did was to start preparing my dinner. My main course was to be a baked potato - just a single one because I had bought some almost large enough ones from Tesco - and a steamed vegetable mixture that was meant for stir frying, and contained cabbage, bean sprouts and peppers (and possibly another leafy vegetable or something). When cooked it was "glazed" with some butter, and garnished with the contents of a little pot of prawn cocktail. The prawn cocktail seemed like it might be a good idea, but turned out to be a complete waste of time. The potato, veg and butter were quite delicious by themselves.
In an ideal world that would have been all I would have had for dinner, but I couldn't resist the temptation of a couple of sandwichs (I did manage to save one for tonight), and I also had something a little weird. A few days back when I was buying some stuff in the Turkish supermarket I spied something that intrigued me. They came in a clear wrapper which had a logo on it, plus a very vague description. They turned out to be like incredibly hard crackers - made even harder by a mix of seeds and mozzarella cheese on top that was baked until it had hardened like concrete. They were actually quite nice if you didn't mind the broken teeth ! I finished off the last three slabs last night. With a thick slice of premium corned beef (found on the reduced price shelf for about 60p) on each one except the last, which had two slices on it, they were really rather good.
I felt rather full when I went up to my bedroom after abandoning watching the ever depressing news on TV. I filled in the time from then until 9pm by watching bits of TV on my PC inbetween checking email and "surfing the net". Purely by chance, at precisely 9pm I got into bed and turned the light out. I may have thrashed around for 5 minutes thinking it was going to be a repeat of the night before when I couldn't get to sleep. My last thoughts were, "oh no, I'm never going to get to sle..."..................and then it was 2 or 3am, and I was waking up needing a pee !
I can tell I must have had a really good nights sleep because I felt pretty bad when I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. It seems to take an awful long time to throw off the effects of sleeping these days. I could do anything I can normally do within seconds of opening my eyes, but these days it hurts ! Oh well, at least I seem to have all my mental faculties the instant I open my eyes - at least I think I do. I have known people who seem to need a long time, and maybe a coffee, before they can even remember their own names. I think I am glad that all I have to do is to lubricate all the joints, get the blood pumping properly, and apply a little choke until I am warmed up, before I am ready to go.....to go to the toilet usually, probably several times, before I am fit to walk down the road. A hot shower usually speeds things up.
It is strange how when I've just declared that I had a good sleep last night, I can't seem to stop yawning all of a sudden ! It's even stranger when I declared I had a lousy nights sleep the night before, and then didn't really feel sleepy yesterday. Am I living in some sort of backward universe or something ? All I know is that I am currently thinking how nice it would be to be back in bed right now. What makes it all the more worrying is that I want to go out tonight, and to stay out beyond my bedtime. The Spiders, Chris Mayers side project, are playing in The Catford Ram, and I can't really take tomorrow off work. The gig kicks off at 9pm, or maybe a bit before, and I probably ought to stay no later than 10pm. Maybe I'll stay later than that, but even 10pm is going to cut into my sleep time, but that will only be a problem in the future. The more pressing problem will be trying to stay awake and enthusiastic for several hours between getting home from work, and going out again. Sometimes it's hard in summer when it is still light at 8.30pm, for instance, but in these dark winter days it can be real struggle !
All measurements show that yesterday was less cold than the day before, but only by a degree or so, and it still felt just as chilly. By and large it was a nasty grey day, and worst of all is that it rained on me as I walked from the station to home. It was only very light rain, and I hardly even got damp, but half an hour or an hour before I left work there was a fairly heavy downpour that left some big puddles. It rained at least once during the night, and probably many times.. I caught the tail end of a light shower while putting some rubbish out about 15 minutes before I left to walk to the station. It had stopped when I walked to the station, and it hasn't rained since. The forecast warns of passing showers at any time today, but mostly it shows the sky covered with thick black clouds. It is so cloudy now that it is not obvious that the sun has risen. Much of today is going to feel like night, but at least the temperature is going to be stable - probably no lower than 8° C, and no higher than 10° C. In other words, it's going to be a typical chilly November day. So much for global warming !
Outside Earlsfield station at approx 7.20am this morning. This is looking approx south.
It was so cloudy that my journey home from work started almost in darkness yesterday. Sun set actually happened when I reached Waterloo, but the change was so small that it was hard to tell it had happened, although it was more obviously definitely night time when I arrived in Catford. Without street lighting it would have been too dark to see as I walked in the rain from the station to home. Despite that I felt reasonably OK when I arrived home. Even the rain didn't piss me off that much because I chose to view it as a good test of the newly waterproofed coat I was wearing - I think it passed with flying colours.
I wish I knew the secret behind it, but somehow I ended up eating less than I might otherwise have done last night. Having semi-empty cupboards probably helped a bit ! I decided to reprise my potato baking skills by having the other couple of the very small baking potatoes I bought from Lidl. My original idea was to have them with a tin of garden peas, but I decided to have a rummage in the freezer. I found some mixed vegetables in there, and had them instead (plus generous dollops of lightly salted real organic butter). I'm not sure why the bag describes them as mixed vegetables. Lots of carrot with a few peas might be a more accurate description. I did pad the carrots out with some sweetcorn that may have been in the back of the freezer for several years. It was all rather nice, and by some peoples reckoning, sort of healthy. I slightly ruined that by having some Tesco ready made barbeque flavour (allegedly) chicken wings. They weren't the type that baste in their own fat for ages, and are bought from the hot shelf, but the cold variety served from the chiller. I gave them 3 minutes in the microwave to warm them up a bit before eating them.
While eating I watched the 6pm news on BBC1, but so much of it pissed me off that I turned off the TV as soon as I had finished eating. I think I am quite pleased just how much of a grumpy old man I am (although I feel I probably still have a lot to learn). On the other hand I am getting more and more pissed off living in this tin pot country with it's petty dictators and media whores. I can't imagine any other country being better in these modern times, at least not one where the majority language is English, and the only solutions I can see to this problem is to live in outer space, or inner space, or on a different transcendental plane (the one where your teeth are in a trance). It's a shame all these things are impractical, but I doubt I can get any more than ten more years of life out of this body. The rate time flies by now it is not going to be long until, in Pink Floyd's words I have "a long cold rest".
I went to bed at 9pm last night, and although I didn't feel empty, I did sort of feel like I could easily have eaten more dinner. I think that should have been a good sign that for one rare night my eating was under control - sort of. The night before I seemed to fall asleep very quickly, but last night was one of those nights where sleep would just not come. I don't know how long I thrashed about in bed trying to get to sleep, but I would not be surprised if it was getting on for an hour, although I don't think it would have been much longer than that. Even when I was asleep I didn't have a wonderful nights sleep. I woke up a few times with one or other leg going into cramp. Fortunately there was only one occasion when the cramp was bad enough to be agonising. I seemed to get back to sleep very quickly every time I woke up, and I even slept right up to my alarm went off to wake me - which is quite rare.
The strange thing is that after one night when I feel I had my very worst sleep in ages, I don't seem to feel tired. I seemed to shake off the cobwebs of sleep unusually quickly after my alarm woke me up. I think I only had to complaints about this morning. The first was that I felt rather cold when I got out of bed - colder than the frosty morning we had recently. Putting the fan heater on full blast sorted that problem out, but it didn't sort out my sore knee. Now that knee is becoming something of an enigma. A few weeks back, and for quite some time before that, my right knee would start to get painful when walking up stairs, and to a lesser extent walking down stairs (both usually at railway stations). It hasn't given me any trouble like that for some time now, but it is getting increasingly uncomfortable to step into the bath, and to a lesser extent when stepping out of the bath. I fear it could be a lot worse if I was still on 10mg of Bisoprolol a day ! My theory is that it will get a lot better in the spring - particularly if it is a fairly dry and warm spring.
I only have one more complaint this morning, and it is another enigma. I could swear blind that the shoes I am wearing today were very comfortable the last time I wore them. They aren't this morning ! They're not pinching or rubbing as some shoes I own can do, but it feels like they are all lumpy or something. It's not quite as bad as the agonising feel of walking over those blasted knobbly bits of pavement that are to warn blind people of kerbs or edges and stuff, but that is the closest description I can come up with. Here at working, where I am not pounding the pavements, they are perfectly comfortable, and I could probably wear them all day and more (and will do for the working day), but I can foresee it will be uncomfortable going home in them - and it should be a slightly extended journey home because I think I'll be going home via Tesco where I will look out for some decent sized baking potatoes. Whatever happened to those huge King Edwards we used to get back when I was young ? Hmm, it seems they are still grown, and wikipedia notes that it's floury texture makes it good for baking !
It was so nice to see a bit of sunshine yesterday, and it was nice to see a lot of blue sky, but it didn't really last long, and did nothing for the temperature. It was a rather cold day yesterday. The temperature when I got home from work, maybe a half hour after sunset, was down to 5 or 6° C, and it continued to fall. I'm not sure when it was at it's thickest, but it turned into a very foggy evening, and it is possible that there may have been some frost forming on some of the cars. It was down to 3° C when I got up this morning, and yet the fog had turned into such a light mist that it was hardly worth noting. Even more surprising is that there was no frost to be seen anywhere. It is a very dull morning so far - dull enough for it still to feel almost like night when I got off the train at Earlsfield. It should stay dry today, but I am having my doubts about that - the sky is a horrible murky colour as I write these words. The forecast does predict rain, but it is not supposed to be until well after dark - although if the cloud gets any thicker it will be like night time out there ! It's going to be another cold day, but maybe a degree or two better than yesterday.
I think last night was another time when I felt quite good when I got home after work - at least I think I did. I can't recall having any particular negative feelings, so I guess that equates to feeling OK. It is all probably one of the benefits of taking an extra low dose of Bisoprolol. That is the blood pressure drug that I was experimenting with. The dose I negotiated with the doctor was just one 5mg tablet a day, but I have been using up the last of the 3.75mg tablets - and only taking one of them a day instead of two. I have one left for tomorrow, and after that it will be the 5mg tablets. I do seem to be able to tolerate that dose without too many negative effects.
I might have felt good (or maybe neutral is a better description) when I got back to Catford, but I didn't feel like detouring all the way to go home via Tesco (which would have added a couple of hundred yards to my walk home), but I did go home via the Turkish supermarket. It is possible that this was a deliberate subconscious decision. I specifically wanted some apples and pears to take to work for breakfast, and I could get them quite easily from the Turkish supermarket with only mild temptations for other stuff compared to major temptations in Tesco.
So it was that I had a mostly healthy dinner last night (and maybe I feel slightly better for it until I die of cholesterol clogging !). The very worst part of my evening eating was the pre-dinner snack I had. It was chick pea salad. By itself it is almost healthy, but I smothered it in some Brazilian flavoured Branston sauce. I'm not sure if the added flavour was worth it, and that sauce was probably swimming with sugar and salt. I didn't dare look at the label to see if I was right. The actual dinner part of my dinner was two small baked potatoes (why the bag suggested they were baking potatoes when they were so small is a mystery that only Lidl can answer). I had nothing else but sugar snap peas, and a probably too generous "glazing" of organic, slightly salted, real butter (made from vegetarian cows !). It was quite nice, and I may well have a similar dinner tonight, but using tinned garden peas instead of the sugar snap peas.
While I was generally free of any aches and pains last night, I was still feeling rather bored and a word I can't remember which signifies something less than depression or frustration, or maybe I've already used the right word - bored - but I am really looking for something that describes bored with salt, pepper and ketchup - a sort of improved more bored than bored - bored with the blue whitener ! So I watched some TV which helped the time more more quickly without act actually improving it, and finally got into bed a little after 9pm.
One of the frustrating things about last night was that it didn't feel like I would get to sleep very fast, but I did, and had I known that I might have gone to bed even earlier so as to sleep through the boredom. I don't seem to have any recollection of being awake after getting into bed at all. It seems very unlikely, unbelievable in fact, that I could have done the fabled "fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow", but I can't seem to remember anything different from that. Of course that could equally prove that I am losing my memory (I certainly can't remember how to spell Alzheimer's disease, but it seems my spell checker can ! That's handy !!).
I might have been fast asleep, and for much of the night sleeping well, but eventually the frustration caught up with me. Sometime before I got up I was having a dream that was really frustration. It was also highly anachronistic ! In this dream I was trying to recover some video on my mobile phone that was shot over 30 years ago. There was nothing explicit in the dream to say that the video was actually shot with the camera in a mobile phone 20 - 25 years before the technology actually existed to do it, but that seemed to be the assumption. There were videos of the cats back at my mum's house, and a video of someone I used to know who would never have actually let me take photos, let alone videos like that of her, but...hey ho! I was desperate to transfer the videos to a PC, but all sorts of problems cropped up. It was actually nice to wake up even if it was to a freezing cold bedroom, and the start of another boring day at work, and boring evening at home.
This morning was yet another morning when I feel sort of OK. My right knee felt stiff and sore as I got into and out of the bath for my morning shower, but it didn't seem to cause any problem when I was walking. I still feel I can't walk as fast as I should be able to, and I am unsure just how much endurance I've got. Walking to the station was easy enough, and walking from Earlsfield station to work, the longest walk of my journey to work, was easy enough, but 10 minutes of walking as fast as is comfortable feels like it is getting close to how far I would want to walk, and yet I don't seem to feel significantly worse from about the half way point to the end. Maybe I would just pace myself to be almost, but not quite knackered at the end of any long walk.
One intermittent pain I seem to be getting a fair bit recently is a very specialised form of chest pain. It sometimes feels like a sort of tightness, and it is in a very specific place. I don't think it is bad news, and there is some sort of chance that it is good news. This short lived discomfort (for it's not really a pain) is across my left man boob, and that is the boob that has had a numb nipple since my chest was sliced up for my heart operation. I have given up any hope that strange pains and stuff might herald the return of proper feeling to the little and ring fingers of my left hand. Sometimes, a long time ago, a few pains or similar effects did seem to herald small changes to how those fingers felt, and I kept believing that later pains and stuff would herald even further changes for the better, or even a complete cure, but alas no, and I've given up believing that. Now I pin my hope on these strange sensations across the boob are heralding a return to proper sensation in my left nipple, and sometimes I kid myself that it really is happening. Of course the good thing about this is that it doesn't matter what I believe, or even what happens. Having a sensitive nipple has only very limited uses for me, but it would be nice for it not to feel very strange as I put my mobile phone in my breast pocket. As it slides over the semi-numb nipple it can occasionally feel very strange - strange enough to be heading in the direction of unpleasant, but not quite reaching there.
So today is probably going to be very similar to yesterday except for the chance of a less numb nipple ! It's going to be another boring day at work, although I don't think that today will actually turn up anything annoying or enraging. Then it's going to be the same tedious long journey, but with added darkness. Then a similar dinner. A similar bit of TV watching, and then to bed where I hope I might have a nicer, and less frustrating dream or two. Then get up and go to work again......and the cycle repeats over and over again until Thursday night when it's beer and music night. The only trouble is I have to go to work on Friday, and so can't get too drunk, or stay out too late. I only have two more days of holiday left, and I am going to use those for the Fridays of next week and the week after. So there are at least two more nights to look forwards to this year.
Yesterday had the grimmest weather I have seen in a long time. When it wasn't raining it was drizzling, and on a few occasions when it was doing neither it was spitting. I had to keep the lights on all day to see where I was going indoors because it was so dim outside. Oh, and just for a laugh, a mile away in Lewisham there was up to a couple of feet of floodwater in a few places. Things are very different this morning, very different ! For instance the temperature has dropped to 3° C, and all the cars are covered with twinkling frost. It would have been quite pretty if there had been any light to see the twinkling by. All there was, was starlight, because the sky was almost perfectly clear as I walked to the station.
I'm unsure what the official time of sunrise was, but at 07:20, as my train pulled into Clapham Junction station, the eastern sky was starting to look blue, but the western horizon was still very dark. For the next few minutes the sun was so low that it couldn't be seen, but it was lighting up a load of criss crossing vapour trails with a dazzling pale pinky-orange colour over in the east. Sadly the display was all over by the time I emerged from Earlsfield station, and found a suitable viewpoint. The sky is getting a little cloudy now, but most of today is forecast to be dry and bright. There should be some real live sunshine later this afternoon, but the temperature is going to stay in the chilly region - possibly no more than 7 or 8° C. Some of tomorrow may be similar, but it is/was forecast to be wet again by the afternoon - which is later than in an earlier forecast. Let's hope the next forecast pushes the rain back even later !
I was bored, or even very bored for a lot of yesterday. I didn't want to go out in the gloom and the rain, and there was little to do at home. Well maybe that is not strictly true. It is high time I hoovered the stairs, for instance, but to do that means being in the right mood, and I was in a gloom and doom (and rain) induced bad mood....or at least a negative mood. It got worse in the evening, and all I could think of doing was to wash my hair. That probably was not such a bad idea. It needed doing, and if I hadn't done it last night I would have wanted to do it this morning. I would have had the time for it this morning, but that would have meant coming to work with damp hair - which is probably not a great idea when it's frosty outside !
There were a few programmes on TV last night that I generally enjoy, old episodes of M*A*S*H for instance, and I did watch them, but I didn't enjoy them on the same level that I should have. The trouble was that I couldn't seem to relax. What I really wanted was a comfortable armchair, a warm room, and a packet of fags. What I wouldn't give for the beaten up old armchair that I used to slouch in at my mums house before I moved to my own house over 30 years ago now. My mum couldn't wait to get rid of that armchair when I moved out. It was probably infested with who knows what, had spilt dinner stains on it, and the cats had ripped bits of it to shreds, but it was oh so comfortable ! I could slouch down in that armchair to watch TV, read a book, or fall asleep. It was as versatile as a bed, but they don't make them like that any more - or at least they don't make them to last as long as that one did. That old armchair had probably seen the demise of the dinosaurs, and the rise of the mammals, the continents taking shape, and a hundred different wars, and through all that it shaped itself to fit my bottom perfectly !
There was nothing for it but to have a few stiff whiskies last night. I'm not sure if they helped, but once again they stopped me opening up my emergency packet of cigarettes. I'm also not sure that they didn't contribute to some very weird, and unsettling dreams last night. It's hard to remember enough of those dreams to string together a description, but I seem to recall there were elements of the supernatural in some of them, and elements of 1984 in there too. If I recall correctly one element of a dream involved a government agent overtly installing a covert viewing and listening device in my front room. The explanation for it was something along the lines that because it was theoretically possible to sleep 20 in my house, it was most likely being used for anti-government purposes. The very idea sounds like lunacy. So it was probably a vision from the future if the government continue down the same route as they have been for the last 10 or so years.
It's hard to describe how I feel this morning because it keeps changing. Plus some of my assumptions have been very wrong. Three, or was it four, visits to the toilet this morning convinced me that I had stomach trouble, but my stomach hasn't given me any trouble at all since then. I thought that my left knee was feeling a bit stiff this morning, and I wondered if it would catch up with my right knee, which can get quite painful from time to time. While it might have been a bit stiff as I got into my trousers, it was as good as gold as I came to work. To my surprise, I found myself walking to the station with an extra bit of oomph in my step. Strangely enough, now I am at work, in a just starting to get warm room, it is my elbows that seem a bit stiff and sore. That's a new one !
That might not sound the most positively positive report of how I felt when I got to work, but I think it was pretty good for a frosty Monday morning. I had to make sure that last sentence was in the past tense because things have changed since....since I turned on my PC - and read my email. There was only one email for me, and it brought news that caused a seismic shift in how I felt. I had steeled myself to use my new PC before I logged in. After all the work I did customising it last week, and at the same time getting used to the new crappy way of doing some things, I thought I could probably just get on with using it without getting too depressed about it until I next was forced to use Microsoft Office 2013 on it. I knew that would be a huge challenge to my sanity, but that has nothing to do with it.
You may wonder what catastrophe has caused a steep decline in my mental health, and what makes me want to resign from work and take up drinking Special Brew from the comfort of the armchair I no longer have while watching a DVD box set of Blake's 7, and smoking a couple of packets of fags ? The email said that we are dropping Lotus Organiser, the easy to use, very functional, and ideal for our uses, diary/organiser application that has served us so well, in favour of some crappy calendar part of Microsoft Outlook. I must have a really fucked up brain to allow myself to get so pissed off over something like this.....or maybe I enjoy it !
I think I will enjoy going home after work today - even if most of the journey is now in the dark. Tonight I want to see if it is possible for me to have a slightly healthy dinner. It's best to ignore anything I might, or might not have eaten before dinner last night, but last night's dinner was one of the healthiest I have eaten in ages. I haven't the ingredients to match it tonight, but if I could, and could keep doing it for the next 67 nights, I could easily lose at least an inch off my waist. I really need to lose about 6 inches, but that will come eventually - maybe 6 weeks after they shovel the earth back over my coffin (assuming no one carries out my wish to be given to medical students to have fun with, or dumped in the River Thames once I have stopped twitching). Last night I had a huge teetering pile of cabbage and broccoli cooked in some Oxo cube stock, a squirt of tomato puree, and with some diced up grilled bacon. It was quite nice, quite filling, and should have been fairly low in everything but fibre (I even used reduced salt Oxo cubes). It is possible that it did have one downside. I did have a very powerful urge for some chocolate cake, or chocolate ice cream last night, but that might have just been the intense boredom and depression speaking. Tonight I will have a baked potato with a bit of olive based spread on it, and some peas. With luck I may be able to avoid a half ton, or more, of grated cheddar on it, but.......but....
I thought yesterday's weather was bad enough, but today's has topped it ! Yesterday was grey with a lot of drizzle, but it didn't drizzle all the time, and for a lot of the day the temperature was above 10° C (actually 13° C at best). There is very little drizzle today. It has been replaced with full blown rain, and while the temperature may have started over 10° C, it is now falling, and will probably continue to fall low enough to give a thick frost tomorrow morning. Currently it is 8.6° C according to one of my outside temperature sensors - and the rain continues to fall !
I had a lazy afternoon yesterday. It didn't feel like I had any energy, and also felt like I had even less enthusiasm to do anything.......but then something changed. Maybe I got bored or something, but I suddenly got the notion that I was going to finish the last few items of non-essential laundry that I had hanging around. I seemed to find enough energy for that, and a little bit more still, but I did find that all the wringing out was making my wrists, and a few muscles ache as if I had never done anything like it before. That and a few other usually inconsequential aches do make me wonder if I have some sort of bug. I would even speculate that it is some very low level of something like 'flu, although that it is probably a daft idea on one count, but could have a highly unlikely real possibility behind it. Against the idea is that I don't think it is possible to have any form of 'flu that is as mild as this. For the idea is the stupid reasoning that says I would have 'flu if I hadn't been innoculated against it, and what I am experiencing is just my body managing to fight off all but the last tenth of a percent of a 'flu infection. There is a third possibility, and it is far more likely - it just the result of being pissed off by the lack of light on these dull, gloomy, damp days.
Having had that sudden burst of enthusiasm to wash some pants and a few t-shirts, I then went on to do all the washing up in the kitchen. Now my sink is solidly supported, and no longer floating on a mix of luck and rotten wood, I have less fear of loading up the sink with (semi) dirty plates (I usually rinse them before abandoning them to wait for the day when the hot water and detergent happens). With all the plates, cutlery and stuff clean and shining I should have gone on to cook a delicious and healthy dinner.....but I didn't !
Dinner was actually reheated chips with a couple of reheated spicy chicken wings - leftovers from the previous nights takeaway. It was a lot smaller that I thought it would be. I could have cooked up something else, but in a rare departure onto the road of sanity I topped it off with some fruit. I had a handful of small yellow tomatoes (which are a fruit), an apple, and a pear. Somehow I even managed to eat that fruit without cheese. Later on I wrecked these good intentions by eating some crackers and cheese for supper.
The idea that there is something wrong with me, and that maybe it is not all in my head, or conversely that it is all in my head, was revisited later on in the evening. I found myself not enjoying any whisky. Of course I had to have two medium size glasses of it (maybe each being equivalent to a triple, or quadruple measure in a pub) just to make sure I wasn't enjoying it. If I had fancied, and had a third glass I might have slept better than I did. I fell asleep easily enough, but I couldn't sleep properly after 4am.
I did get up for a bit at 4am, but I went back to bed to try and sleep even more. In some respects I succeeded because I didn't actually get up until gone 10am, but what proportion of those extra hours was sleep, and which were staring at the curtains wondering if it was ever going to get light outside is now unknown. It's still not truly daytime light outside - and that dampens any attempts at enthusiasm for anything !
Three things might have happened today. I was going to go to Aldi to get some more bottles of sugar free cola, and some other stuff that it would be useful have stocks of. There is a sort of gig on today that I was thinking of going to. A band called The Dirty Perks will be playing outside the shops in Chislehurst for some sort of event (xmas lights maybe) at 2.30pm today - assuming it hasn't been called off because of the extra crap weather. Thirdly, there might have been the possibility of meeting Jodie for a couple of pints this afternoon. I very much doubt that Jodie will want to go out in this rain, and I know I don't. So I don't think that is going to happen. I guess it's time to batten down the hatches and do whatever I can to amuse myself until it's time for work again in the morning. Tomorrow may be viciously cold, but it should be bright - although not until I am almost at work - which is a pity.
While yesterday's weather seemed to be bad enough, it turns out that worse is possible ! Well of course there are ways that it could be worse by tens of degrees, but today it is worse by just a very small twist in circumstances. The cloud is even more dense than yesterday. That means three things - it is actually slightly warmer, there is more rain, and it is almost dull enough to be night time ! The temperature today has crossed that magic boundary between cold and comfortable. Today it is 13° C, and that extra three degrees makes all the difference, or it would if there wasn't so much drizzle falling, and if it wasn't so depressingly gloomy. Much of tomorrow may be similar until the temperature starts falling away rather fast. Monday morning could start with a thick frost,and although that is initially unpleasant, it should be a gloriously bright day. That will be fair compensation for the day staying very chilly.
I felt so lazy that I couldn't even be bothered to make any dinner last night. Of course I didn't actually go hungry, although I would have been better off if had gone hungry. Maybe it was force of habit, maybe it was gluttony, or maybe I was just bored, but I ordered yet another takeaway last night. It was more chicken kebab of the type that is grilled skinless chicken served with a heap of dubious salad - which may have been almost fine if I hadn't had chips with it. The biggest irony was that it wasn't all that enjoyable. It wasn't actually nasty, but it certainly wasn't the best I've had.
Maybe it would have been better to force myself to go out last night, but that would involve beer, possibly lots of it, and that would be likely to trigger some sort of takeaway frenzy on the way home. Had I gone to The Greyhound pub in Keston, where International Rescue Full Force were playing, I would have attempted to not drink too much because it would have meant a long journey home with no toilets.....(although 12 minutes of it would have been walking along dark country roads with lots of bushes....) The more over riding fact is that I felt too fatigued to go out last night.
There is a small difference between fatigue and tiredness, and it seems I exploited that to stay up quite late (by my usual standards, but not by the majorities standards). I watched some stuff on TV, and I read some stuff on the internet. I did end feeling so tired that I am not sure what time I eventually fell into bed (and I am also unsure why I fought that tiredness to stay up so late). I think it was probably around 11pm when I fell into bed, and I fell asleep very quickly - or at least I think I did.
What I am less sure about, to the point of having no idea at all why I woke up feeling all lively and alert at 4am ! I did half get up then for an hour or so before going back to bed. Sleep followed very soon after, but it doesn't feel like it was very good sleep. Although, having said that, it couldn't have been that bad because it was past 8am when I finally got up - and that is quite late for me usually.
I think I need to blame the weather for how I feel today. I don't feel that wonderful. The cold and damp, even if I haven't been physically exposed to it while indoors, has left my right leg feeling quite stiff, and my right knee is sore in a way it is not supposed to be while I am still on a low dose of one of my blood pressure drugs. On top of that, the very weight of all those clouds above me seems to press down on me like a heart attack combined with a brain attack, combined with a kidney attack, combined with..........attacks from all my internal organs.....even my teeth and toes are having attacks.....probably.
Despite this ongoing attack on the fabric of my body, and the tendrils of my mind by the weather, I did go out to buy a few things from Tesco this morning. In a curious sort of way it felt good to defy the elements. I'm not sure that I could have enjoyed a longer walk, although the idea for one did pass through my mind as I walked back from Tesco carrying two carrier bags of stuff, and having a rucksack with three big bottles in it on my back. One of those bottles was Tesco own brand whisky - which is nicer than Aldi own brand. The Aldi stuff, or which I have an almost full one litre bottle, is fine for when you really need a whisky, but that doesn't seem to have happened in the last 2 or 3 weeks. The Tesco blend is nice for pure hedonistic enjoyment, and maybe I'll enjoy more than is good for me tonight...if I feel it's needed.
It is entirely possible that going to Tesco was the highlight of the day. I might wash a few t-shirts and some underwear today, or I might not. I could go out tonight, but I don't think I will. There is a gig on that I am aware of that is just one 40 minute bus ride away (plus no more than 5 minutes walk at either end), and I think that I would like the band, but I just can't raise any enthusiasm for it. It's worse than that in one respect - I can't seem to raise any enthusiasm for drinking beer right now.
To lose my enthusiasm to drink beer seems to be rather serious, and is obviously the result of some sort of seasonally affected depression. If the lack of enthusiasm for drinking beer doesn't lift by next May I might have to see a brain mechanic, but hopefully I'll see some improvement before then. Maybe I might even find some enthusiasm for an afternoon drink tomorrow......well, it might be possible !!!
We have arrived at one of those periods where describing the weather gets very monotonous. Every new day brings such a tiny change that it is hardly worth describing. To the untutored eye it seems like everyday is just dull and cold, but there are some small variations. For instance there was a bit of weak and watery sunshine yesterday, and today there has been some rain - although because I haven't been outside today, it is has been hard to tell on a minute by minute basis whether it is/was raining, or whether it just looked like it for most of the day. All I know for certain is that it looks wet outside, and that my radio connected outside thermometer tell me the highest temperature today was 10° C. As I write this it is only a chilly 9.2° C ! Tomorrow could see the temperature climb to 13° C, but the price to pay for that is a lot of rain - some of it far heavier than today's - or so the weather forecasters imagine !
My stress levels, and quite possibly my blood pressure went through the roof yesterday morning. After my ultra boozy session the previous day I wasn't really in the correct mood to have to tackle a new PC running a new, and very unfamiliar operating system - Microsoft Windows 7 ! Later on in the day I had to face the horrors of the excretable ribbon interface* of Microsoft Office 2013. I had to download and install Open Office to satisfy my peace of mind. In many instances I will have to use Office 2013 to open other peoples documents or spreadsheets, particularly if I have to alter/edit/add to them, but any media I produce will be done using the familiar and friendly Open Office.
* If you have never seen the ribbon interface on the latest couple of generations of Microsoft Office you should think yourself lucky, and should try to avoid seeing it in the future. Many didn't, and many had to slash their wrists, or throw themselves from their office windows !
I think it would be true to say that I didn't do a stroke of work yesterday - at least nothing that could conceivably have earned the company any money - but I did end up with a new PC customised enough to only make me a little bit suicidal when I have to use it. Maybe it is even a little better than that, but not by much. The very sad thing is that I will get used to it, and the terrible will just become the everyday. Of course before that happens I will have to enter something into one of our quality departments incredibly complicated spreadsheets, and once again I will have a grand excuse to throw a major tantrum that hurts no one but me, and yet will be so satisfying ! It's the only way to cope with this thing we call life.
Despite it being cold, dark, and bloody miserable outside (or would be about 15 minutes into my journey home) it was a huge relief to get out of work and go home. By the time I arrived back in Catford it had been night for about half an hour, and that is always a bit of a downer, but under the circumstances it didn't seem to be of great concern. There was the joy of getting away from my new poxed computer at work, and beer and music to look forward to later in the evening.
For many years prior to my heart bypass operation last year I used to avoid eating too much, or if I could manage it, nothing at all, prior to having to walk to pubs and such like. It always felt uncomfortable to walk with a full stomach, and in the months prior to the operation when I was suffering from angina, it would bring on the angina pain very quickly. I wish I had heeded the lessons of that last night. I have got used to doing some short walks, such as to The Catford Ram, after eating a small amount, although even moderate amounts of dinner beforehand can seriously effect my beer drinking. Last night was something else.
I have no idea why I was lured into buy a couple of small ready meals that were reduced price in Lidl when I went there on Wednesday morning. That reduced price obviously overrode any form of being sensible because those ready meals were spaghetti Bolognese, and I don't really like "Spag Bol". These particular specimens of it tasted not just "meh !" but almost unpleasant. Eating two was obviously a big mistake too. It didn't feel like a big meal as I ate them, and if I didn't have to go out I could easily have fitted in another plus a big desert after, and maybe a starter beforehand too. So I didn't actually feel over stuffed, but I did feel nauseous, and wondered if I was going to vomit it all up again. I didn't, but it all made for an unpleasant walk to the pub, and I had to be careful about how much, and what I drank.
Despite the difficulties of having a stomach that threatened to rebel, there was also the traditional difficulty of overcoming the strong desire to not go to bed, but to go out. I actually left my house at about the same time that I would otherwise have been going to bed, but it was all worth it in the end. The band who were playing in The Catford Ram, International Rescue II, had a few rough edges, but played some excellent music. It's difficult to pick a highlight, but their cover of The Sex Pistols song "Pretty Vacant" was most enjoyable. It's a great song in it's own right, but last night it earned extra credit for being such a totally wrong to play. It could be said that it really jarred when played before (or was it after) The Eagles song "Take It Easy", on the other hand you could say it was the perfect sweet and sour combination. There was also the sort of strange sight of a whole double table load of mostly elderly West Indian guys sitting in the corner of the pub playing dominoes completely unperturbed while this loud aggressive song was sung. A few of the younger ones did actually dance a little bit to some of the more bluesy songs.
International Rescue II - Geoff, Gavin and Tony
Out of all the pictures I took last night, this is one of my favourites.
The lighting just seemed right by pure chance.
Almost the same picture but with some flash to provide some direct light.
It was disappointing that so few people came to see the gig - although that did make it easier for me to move around with my camera. Geoff Paice, who played lead guitar, and did over half the vocals (and who was easiest to photograph) normally has lots of followers, and I was expecting the place to be fairly full, but no. A Thursday night, with work again in the morning for most people, is probably always going to limit the amount of people who will come out to a gig, but there was another problem....International Rescue Full Force (the same as last night but with more musicians) are playing again tonight in Keston, and it is also Gavin, the drummer's, birthday bash. I expect that The Greyhound in Keston is going to be pretty packed tonight. In theory there is a semi-reasonable way to get to the Greyhound - the 320 bus goes within a 12 minute walk through dark country lanes to the pub. If tonight was a warm summers evening, with a late sunset, I could be tempted to go, but I don't think I will tonight.
I left the pub at about 11.30pm, and by then I was feeling a bit peckish. I don't think I wanted anything as big as cod and chips, but the chip shop was the easiest place to get something, and I was offered cod and chips as soon as I went up to the counter. I'm not sure what I might have had otherwise, but it felt rude to turn down what was offered (or something !). So I got home and tucked into my fish and chips - and it was very nice too ! It was getting on for 1am before I was in bed and fast asleep.
I felt pretty rough when I got up this morning after a nice long lay in. Two days of drinking seems to take a great toll on me these days. So I wasn't keen to do that much, and in fact I have done very little today. I did finally finish the laundry that had been soaking in bio detergent since Wednesday morning, and apart from photo editing , I have done nothing else of any note. I even had a nice afternoon snooze to make sure I did even less ! I could go out again tonight, but I think I can foresee an early night coming on !
I shouldn't complain that yesterday was like a typical mid-November day, but I will anyway. On the plus side it didn't rain, and the sun did make a couple of attempts to come out, but overall it was a rather cool and overcast day. The top temperature was around 12° C. The temperature fell quite a lot in the night, and it was only 6° C when I woke up. The sky was very overcast this morning. The clouds and mist may be thinning now, but it made it seem like sunrise had been delayed by half an hour or so - and a very dull and almost depressing journey into work. It may lighten up to show a bit of sunshine today - if we are very lucky - but it is going to be a rather cool day. The pessimistic view is that the temperature may not even reach 10° C today. The more optimistic say 11° C might be possible.
Kevin finally read the text message I had sent him Tuesday afternoon in which I invited him to come for a swift pint in the Wetherspoons pub yesterday afternoon. I was half expecting him to say no, but he was actually quite keen to go - too keen it would later turn out. We arranged to meet at his suggested time of 2pm. I was a little early, and he was a little late getting there. So I was finishing my first half pint when he arrived. We had a nice drink for a couple of hours, and that would have done me just fine, but as so often happens, it was almost another 4 hours before I went home. I have a feeling that Kevin may have stayed for another one in Catford, and possibly went on to the Lewisham Wetherspoons after that.
As usual, my hangover started about an hour after my last drink, and I was unable to do almost anything at home. I had some laundry soaking in a bowl up in the bathroom, and I didn't feel like doing anything with that. I could hardly raise the enthusiasm to make any dinner. At another time I could have easily opted for a takeaway, but I heated up a couple of soups and a can of meatballs in mushroom sauce, and had that for dinner.
I finally started going to bed a little after 9pm, but all that hot soup stirred up my guts, and I had to make several trips to the toilet, each one being quite explosive, before I felt able to get into bed and relax. Even then I was unsure if I would get to sleep because I was feeling very hungover, but it wasn't long before I was fast asleep. I seemed to sleep well, but I couldn't stop yawning when I got up. My hangover had long gone then....or at least the most obvious form of it had gone, but I still felt a bit fatigued, or sluggish, or creaky, or.............well, it turns out that I was also feeling quite irritable - and I still am ! A couple of Ibuprofen tablets sorted out stuff like the pain in my right knee (which I hope will improve soon now I am on a lower dose of Bisoprolol), but they did little for what I had to face when I got to work !
Here I am at work, and I am having to use my new PC, and it is pretty damn crappy ! The problem is that it is brand new, and is running Windows 7 (that I am unfamiliar with), but there is worse. The IT technician who was doing the changeover used a Microsoft tool to migrate much from my old PC to my new PC. The trouble was it only migrated stuff like pictures and documents. It also migrated a few settings for Microsoft programs, but it completely ignored any open source stuff like Firefox, and loads of third party applications. So I was not happy when I logged into my PC this morning - not very happy at all. In fact I was bloody pissed off big time.
I have started the customisation of this new PC, and slowly, slowly, slowly it is becoming more usable. I've got it looking a bit more like Windows 2000 - nice and flat looking without too many garish colours. I've managed to install Winamp 2.95 (the old 2 series which doesn't include all the crap that modern version have), and so I've got my radio back. I've installed Sea Monkey, and I'm using the composer part of it to write these very words. There are loads of other programs I still need to install, but at least it is starting to get usable now.......except I have a load of password that I need to try and remember. Overall though, I would give Windows 7 0 out of 10 !
If I make it through the day without slashing my wrists I do have something to look forward, something even better than my nice Linux PC with the Mate desktop at home. Tonight I'm going out to see International Rescue II playing in The Catford Ram. Once again I will probably drink too much, but I will not have anything I need to do, but will be incapable of doing when I get home again. I can go straight to bed (although I probably won't), and the best bit is that I don't have to get up in the morning !
I was hoping to see a few minutes of sunshine when I left work to go home, but all I saw (well felt on my face) was some very light rain. The day ended up more overcast than expected, but maybe it might have been a degree warmer then the day before. It got quite cool in the night, and this morning everything was wet. I presume that it rained in the early hours, but if it had it had stopped by sunrise - not that there is much evidence the sun has risen. It is light-ish outside, but the sun is hidden by clouds, and has been all morning. However the BBC reckon that there is a chance of some weak sunshine after midday - and indeed, it does seem to be getting lighter even now. It's currently 10.7° C, and that is probably about the best it is going to get today - and tomorrow !
Despite the disappointment of no sunshine to see me on my way home after work, I didn't feel too bad. At one point I even thought that I had more energy than expected, but I quickly dismissed that from my mind in case I was tempted to do anything rash like vigorously yawning or something. I also had a silly idea that I might try and eat healthily for a change. It seemed like a good idea considering I was going to see my doctor in the morning, but I couldn't think of any advantage that just one small, dainty, low everything, meal might have, and so I ignored that idea. Apart from the lack of green stuff, what I did have could have been considered as not terrible. Baked potato, skinless chicken fillets, and baked beans are not noted for being that evil, but I did have rather an excessive amount of them - mainly to use them up after they had been in store for getting on for an excessive time.
Apart from eating, I couldn't really think of anything I wanted to do to pass the evening hours. So I watched some TV, and "surfed the net", and somehow the hours passed until I ended up going to bed a little later than usual. That was OK because I had a lie in this morning. I wasn't due at the doctors surgery until 8am, and it's only 5 minutes walk away. So I had a reasonable sleep, and didn't get up until 6.30am - a whole 90 minutes later than usual ! I can't remember much about my sleep, and I can't recall any great detail about any dreams I may have had, but I do remember that two dreams (or maybe the same one) were about drinking beer in bars. It seems unlikely, but it is exceedingly rare for me to dream about beer. I wish I could do it more often !
I arrived at the surgery 5 minutes before my appointment was due, and had to wait the traditional 15 - 20 minutes before seeing the doctor - and I was her first patient ! She was not happy about my blood pressure, but then no doctor, apart from some in the hospital last year, has ever been happy with my blood pressure. Those in the hospital were cheating because they could muck about with my medication almost on an hour by hour basis - plus I was in a very relaxed environment, and loving every minute of it (apart from a slight anxiety about not being able to write up this daily blog). Today my doctor agreed that changing the dosage of Bispropol was having little effect on my blood pressure, and that higher doses were giving me some unwanted side effects. So I am going to stick with the lower doses, and maybe I'll go back to the doctor in the new year to discuss other possible drugs that might lower my blood pressure. Of course the simplest way of getting my blood pressure OK is not to take any measurements in the early morning. The late afternoon readings are usually very acceptable.
After I had seen the doctor I went for a rummage around the Catford Lidl. There was one thing I wanted to get from there that I can't get from anywhere else. It is Chien (there own brand label) "Red Sunset" shower gel. It's the one that has a patchouli/hippy sort of smell that I love. Sadly it was either out of stock, or maybe even worse, it has been discontinued. Maybe it was just a summer only fragrance or something. Whatever the reason for it not being available, it was bloody annoying. While I was in Lidl I bought some other stuff. So it wasn't a completely wasted journey, and I did get to take a picture on the way back home....
Stuck on the outside of The Catford Ram was the menu of upcoming gigs there. This Thursday it's International Rescue II, and I've booked Friday off work so I can stay out late to see the whole gig. I have just two more days of leave left this year, and there are three more gigs to go. I wonder who will get my full patronage ? It will probably be The Spiders and Chain.
The next thing I ought to do today is some laundry, but I fancy laying down and having a snooze right now. In one respect I don't want to do either. There is a rapidly dwindling chance that I could be meeting Kevin for an afternoon pint. I suggested it as a possibility by text message yesterday, but I haven't heard a yay or nay yet. I expect it is going to be a nay, and I really ought to be planning on doing something more constructive this afternoon.
One totally non constructive, or in other words, pointless thing I've recently done is to play with my temperature recorder. Idle curiosity made me wonder what happens to the temperature in my bedroom overnight. This morning I know.
Ignore that starting temperature of 25° C, That was the result of handling the probe, and having it plugged into a hot laptop computer. The real starting temperature is probably around 21 or 22° C. As soon as I had turned the heater off, and jumped into bed, the temperature dropped quite fast at first, but then it almost levelled of. After midnight it slowly fell from 19° C until it reached 17.5° C just before I woke up and turned the heater on at around 5.30am. From then on the temperature slowly rises again. It's all very interesting, and completely pointless ! (It's just an excuse to play with shiny technology !).
The sun did it's best to shine just before it set, but one single solitary cloud got in it's way, and so yesterday passed by without a bit of sunshine. That left it feeling rather cool. Maybe it was just me, but I almost felt chilly on the way home from work. I suspect we had crossed one of those invisible boundaries, somewhere just over 10° C that separates cool from comfortable. At least it stayed dry. This morning it was starting to feel quite chilly indoors as the last heat stored in the bricks and fabric of my house slowly fades away. Outside it was 8° C, and that seemed cold enough to need a warmer coat to come to work in. It was not a waterproof coat (though I may waterproof it soon with my magic spray), but there seems little chance of more than a passing shower late in the morning if the forecast is to believed. That forecast also gives some hope of seeing some sunshine today, and it does look like there is some weak sunshine playing on the tops of the buildings round here. I can certainly see some patches of blue sky right now, although they do seem to be filling in again. The temperature may reach 12° C this afternoon, and there seems to be a credible chance that my journey home from work will start in sunshine - although sun set is now at about the time I am only half way home.
I felt odd when I got home yesterday. There was nothing obvious to make me feel good or bad, but there must have been something in the air that biassed me very slightly into the realms of the good. I had had a reasonable day at work where I had achieved a few things, and so I was less bored that on many days. My new computer has arrived, and the IT contractor has been setting up while I've not been in attendance. I hope he has tried to make it look and feel as close as possible to Windows 2000 even though it is actually a Windows 7 machine. The only negative thing in terms of IT is that we are now using Office 365 for email. I don't like it, and I fear it, but I guess it is usable, and fortunately very little of my work involves email. I probably have one of the smallest inboxes in the company, and that's the way I want to keep it.
The first thing I did when I got home was to see what I could have for dinner. I had some some bread in the cupboard that needed using up before it got stale. It was a small seeded load I had bought from the Turkish supermarket, and it seemed small enough to make a sort of grand hot dog using a big smoked sausage warmed up in the microwave. There was only one flaw in this idea - the loaf was actually a lot bigger than I thought it was, and so I ended up having the sausage on just half the loaf like an open sandwich. It was very messy eating it, but it was rather tasty. I used the other half of the loaf by pouring German meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce on it. That wasn't so nice, but at least it used the bread up.
It was not a very healthy dinner, and it left me feeling quite full. That wasn't really a good thing except that it did help me get a nice low blood pressure reading when I measured it a little while after eating. All the blood rushes to the digestive system, and that lowers the blood pressure in the extremities - like the arms - where blood pressure is traditionally measured. I measured my blood pressure towards the end of the evening news on TV, and once the news had finished I turned off everything downstairs, and went up to my bedroom. I gave myself another 15 minutes to let the food settle in my stomach, and also to allow my bedroom to get comfortably warm, and then I went to the bathroom.
That's not "the bathroom" in the American sense, what we call the bog, or posh people call the toilet, but to actually use the bath in the bathroom - but not to bathe in ! My hair was getting close to the point where it deserved a wash, and I was very keen to try out some new flavour shampoo and conditioner I bought in the 99p last Sunday. They were Alberto Balsam mango and passion fruit flavoured shampoo and conditioner - both 99p a bottle - as you might expect from the 99p shop. I don't believe the bollocks they try and claim for the fruity ingredients, but it does sort of smell nice, although maybe not as good as the blueberry flavoured one - blueberry is my favourite.
Talking of bogs and bathrooms, and all stuff like that. I had reason to visit the Gentlemen's Toilets on Waterloo station this morning. On the whole they are pretty good. The cleaners do a fair job, and the fabric of the place is kept in good condition. So efficient are the cleaners that it is rare to find any poetry on the walls, but on rare occasions the shithouse poet strikes, and leaves behind his very politically incorrect poetry. It may be crap poetry, and it may be rude and crude, but it brought a smile to my lips at a time when there are few reasons to smile.
Apart from a non urgent, but very valid reason to use the toilets at Waterloo, I don't feel too bad this morning. I think it would be fair to say that nothing really hurts for a change, at least nothing once I got walking and got the kinks out of my body. My right knee felt like it had the capability of being sore, but it never actually was sore. Despite all that good stuff, there was one negative thing. I just could not seem to walk very fast. The worst time was walking from Earlsfield station to work. I wanted to walk faster, but I just could not seem to make my legs move any faster. It wasn't painful to try. It was just that it felt like I had hit some sort of speed limit that couldn't be broken.
I have a feeling that today is not going to be fun at work. I seem to have used up the easy jobs, and now I have to tackle a job that I have been trying to put off. It is also possible that today could be the day to swap over to my new PC. That could be both good and bad. Getting to know Windows 7 could be irritating, but installing all the crap I like to have on my PC could provide hours of teeth grating fun ! It would certainly be more fun than what is happening on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning !
This enclosure on the concourse of Waterloo station has something to do with kicking rugby balls. I believe it has something to do with ordering tickets for some sort of rugby game, but what the advantage is of showing it all off on the concourse of Waterloo station remains a mystery to me. Nevertheless, it is one more picture to add to my album of pictures of Waterloo stations concourse (should I ever get around to gathering all the pictures together and making an album to hold them all).
It was not very warm yesterday, but I guess it was probably about right for mid November. It might have been nicer if there had been a little more sunshine. The actual amount of sunshine was "not much "!. The only positive thing was that it didn't rain at any inconvenient time. In fact I can't seem to remember it raining at all, although I'm sure it must have at some time. It certainly rained this morning, and with the temperature down to 8 or 9° C it was not a pleasant experience - except for one small detail - the new waterproofing on my lightweight rain jacket seemed to work well. The rain seems to be over now, and it is brightening up a bit. There is no sunshine forecast for today, but I have my fingers crossed that we may see a brief glimpse of the sun at some point. The forecast says that it will only be 10 or 11° C on this overcast day, and that we can expect further showers before the day is done. Tomorrow is probably going to be very similar again.
It was nice meeting Aleemah for some breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub yesterday morning. There's nothing like a pint of beer at 10 O'clock in the morning to start the day ! Of course it was only one single pint (or two halves if you want to be pedantic), and Aleemah had coffee and a cooked vegetarian breakfast. After the pub we went into the 99p, and just to make a change I didn't buy that much. I did buy a naughty packet of Twix bars, but mostly I bought my favourite mouthwash, and some new shampoo and conditioner. I now have matching Alberto Balsam mango and passion fruit shampoo and conditioner. What I really wanted was an extra bottle of Alberto Balsam blueberry conditioner, but they didn't have any of that. As an alternative I bought a bottle of Alberto Balsam mulberry and acai berry conditioner. Sadly there was no matching shampoo to go with it.
Aleemah hung around for a bit, and we watched a DVD, but when Aleemah had gone I rustled up myself a quick exceedingly non traditional Sunday dinner - reheated left over fried chicken and a Tesco Chicken Korma with rice ready meal. With all that tipped down my throat I made a start on checking through the 88 photos I took on Saturday night. About 20 of them were usuable to some degree. If I get the time and enthusiasm tonight, I'll shrink some down to show here tomorrow. I also had a look at a couple of songs I videoed, and I reckon I can probably do something with both of them.
By late afternoon I was feeling like I should put my feet up, and that is exactly what I did. I watched about half an hour of TV before turning it off for the night, and settled on reading instead. I lost track of time eventually, but I think I may have turned out the lights, and tried to get to sleep around 8.30pm. I didn't feel very rested when I got up this morning. I remember waking up quite a few times in the night, and I was having some unpleasant dreams. They couldn't really be classed as nightmares because there was nothing in them to be scared of apart from being bored to death !
I had to take a couple of Ibuprofen this morning because my right knee seemed to be a bit painful. I assume it worked because my knee did not give any trouble at all as I made my way to work, and of course the Ibuprofen probably damped down some of the lesser aches and pains I do love to moan about. It is possible the railways could have done with some drugs this morning - maybe a good laxative !
Apparently there was a trespasser on the line near Clapham Junction station, and that caused no end of delays as the screenshot on the left shows. It is possible that I misheard one of the last announcements that the guard on the train made. It sounded like he said that the delay was because the power had to be turned off to remove the body on the line. Maybe some complete idiot was fried by the third rail. Out of all the tens of thousands of passengers this inconvenienced, I'm sure I am not the only one to not have too much sympathy for the trespasser if he did take the fast train to hell (anyone who delays tens of thousands of passengers can surely not go to heaven......except maybe Catholics if they can phone a priest with their last dying breath asking to be forgiven, or whatever "get out of jail card" it is they use).
It is not that pleasant sitting on a cool damp train going nowhere for 20 minutes, and really quite annoying to be told that the train you are on is actually cancelled. It was actually the 07:16 train that was first out the station as things returned to normal, and fortunately I was on it. I think it left closer to 07:46 though, but there was some added delay when we sat outside Clapham Junction station for a good few minutes. I arrived at work about 10 minutes later, but still 10 minutes before my line manager arrived. Meanwhile, back on the concourse of Waterloo station.....
This lot were setting up for what will make my blood run cold if it is what it seems to be - a sort of Christmas karoake and promotional installation. It looks like there is stuff that will be given away, but there are a terrifying amount of microphones along one side, and a man at an audio mixer and keyboards at the back.
Don't these people realise this sort of thing could be offensive to Satanists, and maybe others who don't follow the religion behind Christmas and stuff (who are now a minority according to the last census - or so I am lead to believe).
This last picture is the more interesting one as far as I am concerned, although I am disappointed I couldn't get a clearer view. Now I don't mind what these Christians get up to in the privacy of their own church, but if I find that they are singing and clapping and stuff as I pass by on my way home after work, I may just have to remark "Bah, Humbug", and it is possible that I might have to say it loud enough that anyone close by with extra acute hearing may hear me say it ! So there !!!!
Yesterday's weather was so bland that I can hardly remember what it was like. I think there was some sunshine, but the thing I remember best was the mist in the evening. It was as if the temperature had dropped a long way after dusk, but it didn't feel like it got significantly cold. It's still misty this morning. Eventually the mist will dissipate, and if we are very lucky there will be a brief flash of sunshine before the sky is filled with clouds. Those clouds are forecast to bring some rain later this afternoon. It is going to be a cool day today. The morning temperature was just under 9° C, and the top temperature may not be much above 10° C. Tomorrow will probably be as bad as today.
I had a very lazy afternoon yesterday. I couldn't raise the enthusiasm or energy to do any more laundry, and so I spent the whole afternoon preparing myself to go out into the cold night to see Chain playing in The William IV pub in Elmers End. Half of me didn't want to go. I was quite happy to stay in the warm and dry by myself, but the other half of me wanted to make the effort to go out and get a train not much earlier than I would normally be going to bed ! It was mentally hard work to take that step across the threshold, but once I had closed the front door I felt fine.
I planned to get the 20:10 train to Elmers End, and when I got to Catford Bridge station I found it almost deserted. Now I have to confess that a London bound train had only just departed 2 minutes before I took this picture, but the place still gave the impression that it was incredibly late at night, and all sensible people would be tucked up in bed.
When I arrived at the gig there were not that many people there. It was one of those nights when there was another gig on not too far away in Bromley, and that gig would be just as attractive to many of the people who might have gone to see Chain. It did have a plus side in that it made it easier for me to move around for different camera angles. I haven't checked the picture I took last night - except for one I took on my mobile phone as an experiment.....
There was a reasonable amount light at the gig last night, and although it wasn't a terribly well posed picture, my phone took a passable picture of the band in action.
I had two choices last night. One was to get the last train back to Catford, and the other was to get the bus back. The bus is usually quite quick at that time of night, and I could have stayed to the very end of the gig. The last train is now at 11:23pm - it was half an hour earlier than that not too long ago - and I decided I would get the train mostly because it is the quickest way home, and partly for the novelty of it.
Last night provided another example of Network Rail's app for Android lying through it's back teeth ! In the top right corner of the screenshot on the left it says the time I took the screenshot it was 23:21. Further down the screen it says that the 23:23 had arrived at Elmers End on time. In reality the train was nowhere in sight when it was saying that. It did actually turn up, and depart spot on time, but there was no way it had arrived at the station 2 minutes early.
It's sort of nice going home in the middle of the night. When I arrived at Elmers End station it was almost deserted. There was one other person and a very fluffy looking fox with a white tip to it's tail. I was using the footbridge to cross the tracks when I got there, and then it slowly made it's way along to the end of the opposite platform.
It wasn't long before quite a few people turned up to get the tram in the picture above. I presume that the locals know the times of the trams, and when to get to the station for them, but they seem random to me ! A few minutes after the tram departed my train arrived, and I was heading back to Catford. It had been misty earlier in the evening, but on my way home it was almost foggy. That added to the excitement of going home.....or maybe the excitement was just because I was travelling in a homeward direction.
After eating as sparsely as I could during the afternoon, I was quite peckish when I got back to Catford, and the 4 pints of Guinness I had drunk completely destroyed any intention not to get something to eat on the way home. Somehow I still had enough sense left to only get a small portion of fried chicken and chips. I decided I didn't need any spare for breakfast or lunch today, and yet somehow that is exactly what I have. I shall look forward to heating up the chicken, and devouring it later today.
It was almost 1am when I got to bed this morning, and yet my brain seemed to want to treat it as a normal night. So I woke up at about 3am for no good reason, and then again a couple of times until I decided I might as well get up. It wasn't much earlier than my intended time of 8am, but I think I would have been happier if I could have slept solidly until then. My sleep during the last 2 or 3 hours felt very intermittent. I would have tried to sleep even later, but I had to get up in time to straighten the living room out, and give the toilet a bit of a scrape (!) in preparation for a visit from Aleemah.....who I am just about to meet at the station. So I had better get going !
Yesterday's weather forecast was one of the more accurate ones. The heavy rain did finish by midday, perhaps even a bit earlier, and there was some sunshine in the afternoon. The big problem is that the afternoon is now so short that the sun was setting just as the sky was getting it's clearest. The temperature seems very constant at the moment. It was probably about 12° C for most of yesterday, and it is only a degree higher right now. It didn't even seem to cool down that much overnight. There may have been some rain during the night, but I've seen no rain since I've been awake despite it being a very cloudy, overcast day. The forecast says the rest of the day will be the same - except for a small shower at 9pm ! Apart from being a degree or two cooler, and a bigger chance of some rain in the last few hours of the day, tomorrow is going to be very similar to today.
I could have felt a lot worse than I did yesterday. The last of my rather mild hangover had gone by mid-morning, and not many of the usual aches and pains were of any significance. There were times when I would dearly have loved to have a lay down and a short (or long !) nap, but I got by without doing that. Life was made better by getting rid of a task that I didn't want to do. It was to prepare a development kit ready for one of our R&D guys to use. It's a fiendishly complex thing that could be very interesting if I knew anything about it, or wanted to know anything about it. Like the previous two times I did this, I got it to the point where it was showing the first signs of life. Then I called over the Development manager, who has a degree in electronic engineering (or something similar), and like the previous two times he fiddled with it without understanding it either, before thanking me for what I had done. He then dumped it on the poor guy who now has to actually try and do something constructive with it.
The weird thing about this development kit is that the founder of the whole company believes it is some sort of gold standard against which should measure our own work against. He is very slightly right, and very much wrong with bells on ! The kit demonstrates what the electronics can do to control a variety of different types of motors in a variety of ways, but it wholly depends on a huge string of parameters that have to be devised/calculated/guessed by someone knowledgeable in the arts of motor control design. A control interface on a PC allows the experimenter to juggle all those parameters around, and in theory, once he or she has found a good set, they can be saved to a file which can be incorporated into the software of a specialised chip to control that particular type of motor - with the specialised chip being bought from the company that make the development kit, obviously. Quite why the main advocate of the kit can't understand what it is actually for is a mystery to me !
It was nice to pack up and go home after work yesterday. It was bright and sunny when I walked to that station.....well it would have been if I was at the top of a 5 storey building. The sun was too low to reach street level in all be a few rare favoured places. By the time I was waiting for my second train at Waterloo East station it was almost night, and completely night when I arrived in Catford. I didn't go straight home, but went into the Turkish supermarket to get another bottle of delicious single apple variety juice. I think it was braeburn apple juice that I got this time.
I don't know if it was because I was tired, which seems unlikely considering I didn't go to bed that early, or if it was something to do with getting over my recent man 'flu, which also seems a bit unlikely, but I didn't seem to have my usual appetite last night. Maybe a small baked potato with some cheese on it, plus a large courgette cooked in bacon, has some miracle ingredient that makes you feel like you have eaten enough. All I do know is that I didn't seem to want any more after eating that, and that courgettes cooked with smoked bacon are almost pleasant to eat (but I think I am still searching for the miracle thing that converts bland, with a mere hint of nasty, tasting courgettes into something that is very pleasant.
I watched a bit of TV last night, and I think the last programme I saw finished at 8pm. I didn't go straight to bed after that, but it was less than an hour after before I was in bed. Then it was probably no more than 5 minutes before I was fast asleep. Maybe it was exhaustion, or maybe not, but I seem to sounder than I have for ages. I can't recall any dreams, although I know I had some, and I certainly didn't have any agonising cramps in the night. I woke up a few brief times in the night, but I managed to sleep right through 5am when I would normally be waking - but not by much. By concentrating really hard I managed to stay in bed, sometimes awake, but sometimes asleep, until almost 8am. That is almost a record for me !
Not long after I got up and showered, I was walking down the road to Aldi. I haven't been there that early for ages and ages. I got there about 8.45am, and the place was relatively quiet. That made for a better experience when going around the place, but because it was quiet there were only a couple of checkouts available, and the queues were just as long as at anytime ! I bought quite a lot of stuff that should past a long time - if I can resist eating it too soon. It is, of course, supposed to be there to keep me going if I ever manage to get into hibernation until spring.
Some of what I bought was intended to be breakfast, and of course I ate that some time ago. Some was intended to be lunch, and I'll probably eat that soon. One item I shouldn't have bought at all, but I couldn't resist it - which is rather stupid because it is another variety of waterproofing spray, and I'll be getting a twin pack of that being delivered to work early next week. The stuff I bought is not actually ScotchGard, but I'm sure it is the same stuff, and I have given my lightweight raincoat a good spray of it already. It may be that another couple of my jackets could benefit from a spray too, although I try not to wear them if I know it might rain. Maybe I will in future if they can be waterproofed. I believe the spray is good for shoes too, particularly canvas shoes like Vans or Converse. So I reckon I'll be giving some of them a good spray too.
The one other thing I've done this morning is to wash some shirts and a small towel. Recently I have taken to adding some aromatic oil to the final rinse of my washing. I have several different types of aromatic oil that I have accumulated, and I've never really used much of it before, but now I have. Three of my work shirts now have a feint hint of mandarin and cassis ! I think it is probably nice, but it is definitely novel !
I may do a bit more laundry this afternoon, but there is a slightly bigger chance that I will be lazy - doing a bit of reading, snoozing, and watching TV - with the first two much more likely. Somehow, while doing that intense laziness, I need to somehow get myself in the right frame of mind to get out to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The William IV pub in Elmers End, and I know it will be a great gig, and most enjoyable if I manage to get myself out the door, and on the train to get there, but.....on these long dark nights it is hard to steel myself to face the elements. It is just too easy to pour a large whisky and curl up in my own space.
I can't remember how much sunshine there was yesterday, but there definitely was some - even if it only lasted 2 minutes (although I feel sure there was more than that). Apart from the cool start to the day, the temperature only changed a degree or two from about an average of 12° C. The temperature today is going to stay remarkably constant from pre-dawn, to a long time after dusk - maybe even through the night. It is going to be 11 or 12° C constantly because of the thick clouds that have gathered over us. Many of those clouds are leaking, and right now it is still like night outside as the rain comes down in torrents. With a bit of luck, the forecast that says most of the rain will have fallen by early afternoon, and that it might be dry around 4pm as I travel home from work, will be right. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed after getting soaked walking from the station to work this morning !
I was definitely feeling a lot better as the day passed yesterday. As I made my way back to Catford I was almost feeling normal - i.e. slightly crappy instead of terribly crappy ! I didn't go straight home. As planned I met up with the Thursday night guys in The Catford Constitutional Club. I thought it would be nice to just have a few beers and go home early, but the beer seemed unusually good, and the company was very good. So I stayed a lot later than intended. I can't actually remember what time I left the place, but I am fairly sure it had gone 8pm. After not having eaten anything since 8am I was feeling too hungry to be patient enough to cook some dinner when I got home, and that seemed to be a good enough reason to buy cod and chips on the way home.
I got home just in time to watch one of Michael Portillo's "Great British Railway Journeys" episodes on one of the Freeview channels while I ate my delicious cod and chips. Once that had finished I went up to me bedroom, and checked a few things on my computer before I went to bed. I am reasonably certain I was in bed by 10pm, and I think I might have even been fast asleep by then. With all the booze in me I slept like a log until about 2am when I woke up with agonising cramp in my right leg. It seemed like my whole leg was really painful, but it was really more a mixture of the calf muscle, and my sore right knee. I'm not sure why my knee gave me so much aggro yesterday night - and this morning - but it did.
It feels like I hardly slept after 2am, but I know I did for some of the time because of all the dreams I remember having. One bit of one dream sticks in my mind. In this dream I woke up when someone came in my bedroom. For some reason I think that someone was my sister, but I didn't really see here because I reached over to grab a packet of fags and a lighter. I can't remember if I lit a fag before the dream stopped or changed (or maybe I woke up for real). It was definitely a case of the dreamworld being better than the real one. Back in the real world I was having trouble finding a comfortable poition to lay in. I couldn't work out if I was feeling hot or cold, and my right leg felt quite sore in some positions.
Eventually I made through to almost 5am, and I got up. I definitely had a hangover. It was a relatively painless hangover, but still most definitely a hangover. However it was all perfectly natural, and thus of no further concern. In a small way it was useful in that it covered up, or distracted away from some of my more daily moans and growns, but it couldn't cover up my sore leg - or knee - or both. It was really rather painful to lift my right leg over the edge of the bath to get into for my morning shower, and it seemed rather painful to lift it out again.
Soon after taking my blood pressure tablets I decided that I ought to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets. I thought that would help a bit with the hangover, and maybe reduce the pain from my knee and some of the muscles around it. Those tablets seemed to work remarkably well. Far better than I expected. By the time I had got to the footbridge across to the up platform at Catford Bridge station, the pain had all but vanished, and walking up those steps, which are often a sorce of discomfort when my kneecap is playing up, was 95% painless. Maybe I could have chosen more comfortable shoes this morning, but the rest of my journey to work was mostly painless.
Of course it's not just aches and pains that can make my journey to (or from) work a miserable process. Rain does not cheer me up, and while I make have walked to Catford Bridge station without meeting any more than the occasional rain drop that must have got lost when it's mates were falling a bit earlier in the morning, I got bloody soaked as I walked from earlsfield station to work. The rain was torrential, and I was only wearing my not-really-waterproof-anymore-after-all-these-years hooded rain jacket. Getting almost soaked through to the bone should really be a wake up call to get some Scotch Gard spray , and re-waterproof my coat. I hope that is what I want because I've just ordered some !
I felt a bit miserable getting to work slightly dripping, but it is nice and warm in here, and it didn't take long to dry out. What perpetuated the misery was that it seemed so dark outside for so long. The sun is still rising early enough that it should be daylight when I arrive at work, but this morning it was still incredibly gloomy, and perhaps being in a brightly lit office made the outside seem even darker when viewed out the window. The good news is that a fair amount of time has passed since I first arrived, and it is now reasonably bright outside - just ! Even better news is that I do feel reasonably OK at the moment. I have a suspicion I will start to feel sleepy sooner or later, but I guess I can cope with that until I get home where an early night beckons (because I can;t seem to do late mornings).
On my way in to work things were happening on the concourse of Waterloo station.....
Tesco were handing out free Spanish oranges (probably satsumas) - and if they are the same as the ones I bought in Tesco earlier in the week it is no wonder they have so many to give away because they are not very nice - not actually horrible, but just not terribly appealing. I always find that anywhere but Spain does the best oranges of all varieties !
The weather was incredibly changeable yesterday - except for the temperature. That only deviated from 12° C by plus or minus a couple of degrees throughout the day. It didn't seem so at ground level, but higher up there was a lot of wind that was whipping the clouds up like.......actually, I'm unsure what to compare it to. Sometimes it was cloudy, sometimes it rained, and sometimes it was sunny. It's a shame that the sun was so low on the horizon when I left work to go home. The sky was pretty clear, but I only saw brief flashes of sunshine between gaps in buildings or trees on the western horizon.
This morning started off rather cooler than the last few days. It was only 8° C when I walked to the station, and I believe it was cooler than that when I first woke up. Everything was soaking wet from earlier rain when I walked to the station, but the rain had stopped when I went out. I think we passed through some rain on the train halfway between New Cross and London Bridge stations. Since then it has been dry, and if the forecast is close to being right there won't be any more rain until I am on my way home - which is a bit unfortunate, but it is supposed to be light rain ! There is a small chance of the odd flash of sunshine today - which will be jolly nice if it does happen.
By home time I was feeling a lot better than I had when I arrived at work yesterday. I still felt far from perfect, but I could almost imagine I could feel myself getting better. When I got home I felt sort of relaxed. I can't really explain that, but it may have been reflected in quite a good blood pressure reading an hour or so later. There was the potential for me to feel something akin to cross because I felt that the first part of my dinner was very disappointing. It was part of Tesco's "Favourites" range (at least I think it was made by Tesco), and was described as Chinese chicken curry with rice. It was cheap and nasty. Well maybe not nasty as such, but the rice was unappetising enough that I threw half of it away, and the curry half was rather wet and watery. Maybe that was deliberate to keep the amount of fat/oil in it low in some desperate attempt to make it seem more healthy. Of course the big error is that real Chinese chicken curry is best serves with those nice thick chips that most Chinese takeaways seem to cook.
Part two of my dinner was far better. It was a baked potato with cheese and baked beans. It had the potential to be a big meal, but the potato was not very big, the baked beans came out of one of those very small multi-pack cans, and the grated cheese was so fluffy that it melted to practically nothing. It was so small that I went on to a third course. That consisted of a large crispy Conference pear, and a Persimmon. It was going include a Fuji apple as well, but I thought I had eaten enough before that. (That's strange - it is unusual for me to ever think I've eaten enough - I've felt it, but never thought it).
For once the TV news was quite interesting in places. Some of it still made me want to slash my wrists, but that's perfectly normal. Obviously the most interesting bit was about Philae landing on the comet 7 hours after detaching itself from the Rosetta spacecraft that took 10 years to catch up with the comet. Fascinating stuff, and even Google was impressed enough to generate a new "Google Doodle" that I have shameless "stolen" from then. (The word "stolen" is as used by the record companies when someone makes an unauthorised copy of a piece of music. In reality nothing has been stolen. Google still have their doodle. I have just made a copy of it - which sort of breaks copyright, but I doubt anyone is going to suffer by doing it).
I think I had a rather good sleep last night. I must have been asleep for almost 8 hours if I ignore a few times when I woke up for a minute or two. I almost managed to sleep right up to my alarm going off, but I did wake up about 5 minutes early. It felt strange to wake up feeling quite reasonable this morning. Nothing really ached except my right knee. That does seem to be a a bit stiff and occasionally painful lately. I am unsure how to apportion the blame - some of it is the wet weather, and some of it is my blood pressure drugs (possibly just the Bisoprolol). If it hadn't been for a bit of a gut ache that developed while I was on the train, I would have had one of my more comfortable journeys to work for some time today - except for when going up or down stairs when my right knee complained a bit.
There were things to see on my way to work. It looks like the transformation of the Pumpkin Cafe on Waterloo East station to a Starbucks is now complete. It may have opened while I was off sick on Monday or Tuesday, but I don't think it was actually open when I passed it this morning. They are going to have to get up earlier than this if they want to attract the early commuters ! I wonder if they have free WiFi I can leach off while standing outside ?
Meanwhile, on Waterloo mainline station Birds Eye had set up a stand on the concourse to show off their Steam Fresh range of frozen vegetables. Presumably they will be giving samples away, but they were just running around like headless chickens when I first saw them. I guess they eventually got set up, and were doing whatever they intended to do. Maybe I'll see it on my way home.
I'm wondering if there is a gig on in The Catford Ram tonight. I know there are some coming up in the near future, so the idea hasn't been abandoned yet, but sometimes information can be very scarce - which is really stupid ! In one respect I hope there is no gig on tonight because I haven't booked tomorrow off work. So I couldn't stay out too late. I will be staying out a little late though. The guys are drinking in The Catford Constitutional Club after work, and I will definitely being calling in for a few pints, but I don't think I want to stay for too many. At least I don't think so now..........
As the weather forecast predicted, it didn't start to rain until the middle of the night, last night. It's not often the forecast is so accurate ! During the daylight hours it was often bright, and sometimes even sunny. The temperature was around that curious point when it feels neither cold nor warm - 14° C give or take the odd degree. It wasn't terribly cold this morning, 12° C, and it felt fairly comfortable going out under a bright moon and stars as I walked to the station.The weather forecast said it would rain this morning, and it did - earlier than expected ! At ground level the wind doesn't seem very strong at all, but up in the clouds it is quite powerful, and the clouds are moving quite fast. Sometimes it will rain, and soon after the sun may come out. I have my fingers crossed that the last hour of daylight, when I am travelling home from work, it will be bright and sunny. The forecast did say it would be, but things are moving fast up overhead !
I guess I didn't feel too bad yesterday afternoon, but that rather relied on doing nothing much at all. So I didn't attempt to do any washing, or to go out again. What I did attempt, and had a modicum of success in doing it, was to avoid eating as much as I would liked to have eaten. I could have had a couple of moderate sized baked potatoes smothered in melted cheese and baked beans for dinner, and I did come close to having just that, and maybe more, but I had bought a big bowl of ready prepared salad, and I was determined to eat that while it was still fresh and crisp. I had the salad with two small tins of mackerel in spicy tomato sauce. Oh, and I might have had an excess quantity of mayonnaise on it too, but it's best to forget about that.
I had dinner quite early, and I am surprised I managed to avoid eating something more substantial later in the evening. I did have some fruit and nuts though, and although they were bad enough, at least I didn't go to bed feeling stuffed and bloated. I guess it was a continuing effect of what ever illness I've been suffering from that left me feeling like I was burning up when I got under the duvet last night. It wasn't that I had allowed my bedroom to get too hot because it was more than the usual feeling too hot under the duvet. Last night it felt like my face was too hot as well. I'm not sure why that was - it didn't feel like I had a fever, or anything like that. It was all a bit mysterious.
This whole illness has been mysterious. I have definitely suffered from some physical effects, but I do wonder if other effects were more what I imagined I should have rather than actually had. When I look back at it, I didn't cough that frequently, and while my nose was often stuffy, it didn't actually run. The strongest effect was tiredness and fatigue. That wasn't wholly imagined, at least I don't think it was. When I went to Tesco it felt good to get out in the fresh air, but I didn't feel like rushing about, and when I got all my shopping home I felt quite tired. Not actually exhausted - I expect I could have walked many more miles before needing to sit down, but it was still a great relief to get home, and have a rest.
I didn't have a very nice night. All night long I seemed to feel a bit sweaty if I tried to cover myself up, or rather too cool if I left too much uncovered. At about 2am I woke up feeling really strange. It was a very unpleasant strangeness, and if I had been gasping for air I would have blamed it on oxygen starvation from sleep apnea, but I could only describe it like feeling my legs and arms weighed ten tons each. These symptoms, and the others mentioned are more like having 'flu, but it can't be that - at least I don't think it can be that.
I am at work this morning, but I still don't feel very wonderful. I took a couple of paracetamol when I got up, and that probably helped reduce some of the aches and pains as I came to work, but that paracetamol seems to be wearing off now. I feel a bit creaky now, and I am also developing a headache. In an ideal world I would probably have taken another day off sick, but there are only so many times you can watch the same repeats of repeats on Dave ! (Actually I watched very little daytime TV over the last few days, and only a few select programmes in the evening). Mostly I can't afford to take too much time off work...even that is not strictly correct. It would be more true to say that I don't want to afford to take too much time off work. I take quite a lot as it is, and while the cost is not affecting my day to day living, it is reducing the amount of money I am trying to save to enhance my retirement (or bring it forward).
I think I am looking forward to going home a lot more than usual today. Not feeling all that well is bad enough, but I have just had a job dumped on me that I hate doing. For the third time I have to set up a development system ready for someone who theoretically understands it, or will understand it, to pull it apart again and set up in his own way. It seems rather pointless to me, and I hate pointless exercises that I learn nothing from, but it seems I am the only person who can do this preparatory work. The last two times I set this equipment up it took me ages to get some life out of it, and even then it didn't really work as it should. On both occasions, but most particularly on the second occasion, it was used by a student during his university work experience, and he took to it like a duck to water, and had it doing all sorts of tricks. The difference was that it was what he was studying, and he knew what it was all about. What I know about it could be written on the back of a matchbox, but I have a strong feeling that it is going to be used for something it was never designed to do - which is to be part of a theoretical gold standard instead of just a tool that is only as good as it's operator. Oh well, it's only the companies money being wasted, and not mine !
A lot of yesterday was very sunny, and although it wasn't actually warm, it wasn't cold either. As far as I can recall it was dry all day......and yet I have this small itch in a corner of my brain that says I did see a shower, or if not a shower, some wet ground as if there had been a shower. It was a fairly mild night and I suspect the temperature at sunrise was probably around 10° C. After a fairly sunny morning the temperature is now 14° C. Once again it is neither warm nor cold. It should stay dry until the day is nearly over, and then it will rain, perhaps intermittently, through the early hours of tomorrow morning. The temperature will probably be similar to today, but tomorrow may see slightly more rain than sunshine, although maybe it will just be a bit dull and overcast for much of the time.
I had a quiet day yesterday. I spent quite a lot of the day on my bed. Sometimes I was reading, and sometimes I pulled the duvet over most of my body and snoozed. I considered doing some laundry, but every time I got up to make a start on it, I quickly realised that I just didn't have the energy and enthusiasm to do it. The same was true of a wild idea I had to take a quick walk in the park. I was evidently suffering from a variant of a cold that was very similar to my early days of recuperation after my heart operation last year - everything feels like it should be easy until you actually try and do it.
I'm not if I was, and to a lesser extent, I still am suffering from a common cold. I have coughed a lot more than I should, and my nose has often been stuffy and itchy, but it hasn't poured with snot like any decent common cold should cause. While I relax I don't have any particular muscular or joint pain, and I wonder why I am not at work, and why I am just laying on my bed feeling a bit bored now and then. That doubt soon vanishes when I try to do anything different, but it is improving, and should I choose to take any, I think a couple of paracetamol tablets would restore me to normal functioning for a while.
So I had a very lazy day yesterday, and in the end I didn't attempt anything more strenuous than blowing my nose. Even cooking was too much effort, but to a limited extent that didn't matter. My appetite went a bit haywire yesterday. I didn't exactly lose my appetite, but it became highly selective. I think I could have been quite happy eating something like ice cream yesterday, but it was a struggle to find anything nice in the cupboard.
I had to be a bit inventive when it came to putting meals together - grilled steak with tinned spaghetti ? I reckon that is a fairly unusual combination, but it seemed the right meal at the time. In an ideal world I would have decided it was just easier not to eat - as normal people might do, but I'm not normal.
I went to bed quite late last night. Considering how much sleep I got during the day that was not that surprising, but it still felt like I should get a full nights sleep - and I almost did. I did wake up in the middle of the night, and stayed awake for a bit because I felt excessively lousy. I don't think I can explain just how I felt so lousy - even to myself. It was just a feeling of horribleness that was too horrible to sleep through. In this context "horribleness" does not equate to any pain or discomfort, but may equate to all pains and discomforts known to man happening at the same time time, but at maybe 5% of the full amplitude of imminent death.
When I finally got up this morning, at around 9am, I felt better (but not best), and good enough to go out to Tesco.....and to The Catford Ram. It was not my intention to go in The Catford Ram, but to see if there were any posters for forthcoming gigs there. I know of two poorly publicised gigs that will be taking place there soon, and I suspect there are others, but the only poster on display outside the pub showed the last Thursday night gig to have been on almost a fortnight ago now (when Chain played there). Even though I don't want to go to every gig there, and it's not my money being wasted when the bands are paid by the landlord, it still annoys me that the place is not better promoted.
I did my best to get some healthy stuff in Tesco, and on the whole I succeeded. I bought three different types of fruit, plus a big bowl of ready mix salad. I also bought a big bottle of mayonnaise to ruin any benefits of eating the salad ! There was other stuff too, but they are the most significant for now. It is possible I'll have that salad with either two little tins, or one big tin of fish for my dinner tonight. I don't know why, but I feel eating some fish could be a good thing right now. Maybe it has something in it my body needs before I go back to work tomorrow (I assume I'll be OK tomorrow).
As autumn slowly slides towards winter it is possible to describe days like yesterday as nice days. If you added 20 degrees to the temperature it could even have been a nice day in the middle of summer, but 10° C is just not the sort of temperature for cavorting in (although as I write that I do wonder what exactly "cavorting" is !). Nevertheless, I liked the blue sky and bright sunshine yesterday. Bits of today could be similar. It is currently between 8 and 9° C (my two thermometers seem to disagree on the exact temperature), and it is raining. With luck it will brighten up later on, and we will have a few sunny periods, and also a few showers. It is still forecast to be about 13° C today - which will be a tiny bit better than yesterday. Tomorrow may be similar.
There is a reason I am writing this so early. It's because I haven't gone to work this morning, and the reason that I haven't gone to work is that I don't feel well this morning. It's not the usual aches and pains this time, but something more akin to a common or garden cold. It doesn't feel all that long ago when I had my first cold since not smoking, and like that time I find it quite astounding just how lousy you can feel without having what I thought were the traditional symptoms of a cold - a hacking cough, and streaming nose.
Not having a hacking cough I can understand, but I am not sure that not smoking should stop my nose from streaming....although.....a hacking cough does make the eyes water, and that makes the nose run. Some of that crap runs down into the throat, and that makes the throat even more tickly, and that makes you cough more.......and so a destructive circle is formed.
I do wonder if it is just a plain old common cold that I am suffering from. Surely I ought to have a bit of a runny nose, and not just a stuffy one, or does the running nose come later ? And if so, will staying in the warm, instead of the :-
Having an intermittent tickly cough, and the fear of a running nose is not the actual reason why I am not at work. That may have more to do with the headache I have, and a general feeling of indescribable horribleness that permeates my whole body. When I started writing I was feeling cold despite having just come out from under a hot shower. In the half hour since then I have come over all sweaty, and returned to feeling cool, but not actually cold. I've also had to take a couple of paracetamol to calm down some of the aches (including the headache). I do seem to feel reasonably OK now, except for the headache - at least while I sit here in the warm doing no more than slow three finger (and a thumb) typing. I expect I might feel a bit different if I was sitting in a cramped, stuffy train surrounded by coughing and sneezing commuters.
It is a shame that I don't feel too good this morning because I think I had a quite reasonable night. I was asleep by 9pm, and I nearly had a full 8 hours sleep if you ignore a few times when I was awake for a couple of minutes. Even my dreams seemed to be relatively benign. I had one dream about a drummer from Malta who wanted to use the dressing room in Catford Bridge station where another band was playing a gig, but the station master seemed reluctant to let him do so. That dream twisted reality through a full 360°, but was still completely harmless.
Another dream was also harmless, and maybe it was enjoyable too provided I don't try and analyse it. It concerned an electric ice cream maker that I somehow acquired from my neighbour (I don't think I actually met this neighbour in the dream, and she, he, or it was someone completely different to real life). This ice cream maker was a small device, at least as small as a small toaster, and probably smaller. It was all black inside, and had two compartments. One compartment had a container in it that you fill with custard, and as it starts to freeze it is somehow forced into the other compartment while being "fluffed up". Maybe I was trying to repair it or something, because the only thing I can remember was that the compartment that should have had ice cream in it was mostly filled with snow. I'm sure there was more to the dream than that, but that is all I can remember.
It is pointless trying to predict what I'll be doing today. It all depends on how I feel later. At the moment I have a very strong urge to go back to bed, and it is quite probable that I will despite wanting to be awake to phone work with the good news in about an hours time. Stuff I could do later includes sleeping, watching TV, reading, staying warm and dry, and other great pastimes of the sick and frail. Maybe if this headache goes away, and my arms don't feel so stiff, I could try the traditional breathing in of the steamy air to clear the nose by the unconventional method of hand washing a few pillowcases, but right now, the more I think about that, the less likely it seems that I'll feel like doing it. Perhaps a quick walk in the park while well wrapped up, and during one of the sunny spells we are supposed to have today, might be nice....or maybe it wont !
It really poured down in the early part of the evening, and the rain could have continued well past that, but from about 8pm I just ignored the outside world. Despite the showers, it doesn't feel like yesterday was such an awful day - which seems incredibly generous, and I have no idea why it should deserve such generosity. Today is a far nicer day. The sky has been mostly blue, the sun is shining, and it is little more than 10° C as I write this. That should feel very cold, but maybe the lack of wind is helping. The forecast is for some rain after dark tonight, and it will continue to rain into tomorrow morning (just as I am going to work maybe). Much of tomorrow is forecast to be sunny, and the temperature could be as high as 13° C, but there will probably be a few showers during the day.
I seemed to be in a very "can't be bothered" sort of mood yesterday. I couldn't be bothered to do any laundry, and I couldn't be bothered to go out in the evening. I did manage to raise the enthusiasm to order a takeaway for dinner, and once again I ordered the mixed grill value/set meal (or whatever they call it) from the local fried chicken shop. I don't know how or why, but I managed to eat even less of it than last week. So I had a small, but tasty breakfast from the leftovers this morning, and I still have a big bag of grilled stuff for dinner tonight. If I could get into the same state of mind, or whatever it was that I had last night, I could end up with some stuff left over after dinner tonight. There could be a potentially to make a sort of leftovers stew with the meat and some added vegetables. Ideally I would use a big slow cooker to cook it instead of the microwave, but, alas, I don't have a slow cooker. Maybe I should invest in one.
Today I have tested the drink I mentioned yesterday. I note that it is just 1% lime juice, and 1% cranberry juice. The rest is apple juice, and as such it is less toe curlingly astringent than I thought it would be. It is fairly pleasant to drink, but not so great that I will seek out any more of it. The picture on the left is a screenshot from a really, really terrible flash based, animated website (with bloody sound !) from the makers of this drink. If you are feeling really masochistic you can visit them at http://www.feelgooddrinks.co.uk/, and if you are feeling criminally insane you can actually "like" them on Facebook (and probably subject yourself to an endless torrent of spam).
This morning I could be bothered to wash some shirts, all 5 of them, and it is possible that I might wash a few odds and sods more before the day ends. Other than that, and a very brief walk to the corner shop, I have been nowhere, seen no one, and done nothing ! There was a possibility that I might have met Jodie for a beer this afternoon, but I didn't have any great enthusiasm for it, and Jodie was still feeling a bit off colour after the cold she had last week. She was saving all her energy (and quite possibly her beer money too) for a whole string of gigs she is going to - she goes to gigs like I go to work, and derives much more enjoyment from it !
Not going out, and not having any contact with other people are, of course classic signs of growing psychopathia.....aren't they ? Well I hope they are (assuming psychopathia isn't some sort of super hot Persian curry based on lentils, lime juice [or vinegar] and chilli). Some sort of advanced mental aberration is definitely part of the recipe for my plans to slaughter half the population of the world, and enslave the rest from my (yet to be constructed, but I'm saving hard to raise the money for it to be constructed) secret underground lair in the hollowed out volcano. It's also rather a restful way of spending Sunday prior to yet another tedious week at work.
The good news is that there are only 6 more of those dreadful weeks of work until work shuts down for the winter break. It's not quite two weeks long, but it makes for a great extended weekend. Of course is also quite an isolated time with hardly anybody available to do anything - so it is even more like an extended weekend, but worse - or better, depending on which way you choose to look at it. When looked at from the right angle, I fare far better than some people - people who have to put up with tedious visiting relations and their obnoxious children. For some it is a chance to re-inflame their dislike for the mother-in-law. It took a little time for it to dawn on me, but once the great realisation came, it wasn't hard to learn how to feel terribly smug about having no one to dictate your routine. To get up and got to bed any time you like, to wander around the house half naked and unwashed, and indulge in the great hedonism of doing whatever you desire (subject to the tools and materials, etc. being available).
One more photo before I finish.
I didn't take this photo - although I would have had I been on The International Space station on a day when there wasn't a single cloud above London. This is part of a photo taken by one of the astronauts on the International Space Station. I've cropped it down to the relevant bit of Southeast London (and turned it up the conventional way with north at the top). It was evidently taken slightly off centre because the image is slightly squeezed left to right. The most obvious clue to that is the oval shape of the Millenium Dome near the top of the picture in the loop of the river. I can almost see my house when zoomed in enough, but it is terribly fuzzy. It is roughly in the centre of the red circle.
I don't recall there being that much rain yesterday. There was one time when some rain hit my office window, and there may have been a few spots of rain when I went home from work under a rather dull sky, but those few spots were completely ignorable. I think the forecast that it would be 12 or 13° C was rather more accurate than that for the amount of rain that might fall. The forecast for today seems fairly accurate. It's about 14° C right now, and there have been a mixture of sunshine and showers - more showers than sunshine ! While it is not actually raining it feels reasonably comfortable outdoors. The forecast says the rain will become more frequent, and heavier from about night, and then through to the early hours of the morning. Tomorrow will start a bit dull, but the first part of the afternoon could be gloriously sunny....although it's only going to be about 12° C.
I felt almost OK while I was at work yesterday, and felt relatively good while I made my way home. One little problem that I don't think I've mentioned yet is not yet a problem, but I have felt a few twinges that seem to say that toothache is on it's way. It has been years since I last saw a dentist - perhaps 4 or 5 years, but I'm not exactly sure. What I do know is that the last time I saw my dentist I was having a tooth extracted, and it was a hideously painful process. The dentist kept pumping in anaesthetic until half my face was completely and utterly numb, but I was still getting agonies from the tooth socket as the dentist twisted and pulled the tooth trying to get it to come out. I felt so traumatised that I couldn't face another visit after that - even when the tooth next to the one extracted came out all by itself (including the screw that held it in after the root canal treatment had drilled away all it's roots). I guess the time is coming closer when I will have to face the dentist again, but before that the pain has to start properly, and I have to go through the weak painkillers and strong painkillers first !
It's still not fully dark when I arrive back in Catford after work, although it is not far off. Last night the sky was clear enough over Catford to make it just a bit lighter than would otherwise have been. As I walked from the station to home I managed to take a picture of a fairly rare thing happening. A couple of hundred feet from the station there is an electric car charging point, and it is very rare to see it in use. In fact I can only recall one other time when it has been in use. When not in use it shows a line of blue lights, but as in this picture, when it is charging those lights turn to green.
It wasn't too long after getting home that I started my dinner yesterday. It was a rather mixed up sort of dinner. I had a selection of stuff that I had bought at reduced prices from Tesco the night before, and nothing really matched, but it was all quite tasty, and it left me feeling quite stuffed - something that I should be avoiding if I can. It is happening far too often as my body, or maybe more correctly, my brain, goes into some sort of primitive winter survival mode. If I lived in a cave, and didn't know when I would be eating again, it would be very handy, but right now it has the potential to cause damage !
There was a gig I could have gone to last night, but I just couldn't be bothered. Even worse than that is that I don't seem to have more than the tiniest, most insignificant, bit of guilt about it. I hadn't actually made any promises about going, but I did suggest I might do so to the band. I expect I am sort of expected to be out tonight. Chain are playing in The Chatterton Arms. It is relatively easy to get to, just 25 -30 minutes on the bus, with plenty of buses to get home on even well after midnight, but I can't seem to raise much enthusiasm for it. Oh well, that it still at least 4 hours in the future.
This morning I did go out. I met Aleemah at the station, and we went to the Wetherspoons pub for some breakfast - vegetarian fried breakfast for Aleemah, and a pint of beer for me. After the pub we went around Aldi. There were only a few things I wanted form there, but as always seems to be the case, I bought a fair bit more than I had set out to get. Some of it was fairly innocent, and some not so. I am unsure in what category the bottle of cranberry and lime fruit juice fall into. It might be nice, or it might be so acid and astringent that my teeth will all fall out, my digestive system will turn itself inside out, and my toes will curl back on themselves......
One of my plans for today is to wash some shirts. The only trouble is that I've left it until it's rather late, and it is getting dark now. That shouldn't make the slightest difference, but somehow it does. I feel like a snooze more than I feel like doing laundry. Maybe I can do both, or maybe I'll realise that I could be so bored tomorrow that it might be worth leaving some laundry for therapy for tomorrow. It is possible that I'll be going for an afternoon drink with Jodie, but I have a suspicion that she is away for some sort of gig. Time will tell.
There was less sunshine than I was expecting yesterday, and I wasn't expecting that much anyway ! The good news is that it stayed dry.....although there were moments when it looked as if it could rain at any moment. After the frosty start it didn't warm up that much. The forecast was for at least 10° C, but the best I saw was 9.5° C. This morning started off less cool than the best of yesterday. It was 12.5° C as I walked to the station, but the penalty for it was rain. It seemed like the rain had been much heavier during the early hours of the morning, and it was no more than a light shower as I walked to the station, and it had almost stopped while I waited on the platform for my train. Today is probably going to be a mixture of showers and drier intervals. If the sun is in the right place as a blue patch drifts across the sky we could have a bit of sunshine. Today should stay a bit less cold than yesterday, and tomorrow should see temperatures as high as 14° C - plus even more rain !
I felt pretty lousy yesterday, and it was a huge relief when I could leave work and make my way home. It felt like I was going down with a cold, but maybe it was just some sort of very rare indoors hay fever that had me sneezing from time to time. Later in the day, and up to the time I was trying to get to sleep in the evening, I had an intermittent dry tickly cough. Once I was out in the fresh air, and halfway to the station, I began to feel a bit better, and I mostly felt OK when I got back to Catford - certainly good enough to go and plunder Tesco for assorted bargains.
I found lots of reduced price stuff in Tesco, and I could have had a right feast for dinner last night, but I chose to overeat on hot flavoured chicken and beetroot. Of course beetroot is the current darling of the health food fadists right now, and that means I should live to 250 years old with wrinkle free skin, and luxurious silky soft toenails or something. It's a shame that the cooked chicken is so greasy and so addictive ! I ate enough of it to feel pretty stuffed for most of the evening. Although........
For some reason I didn't feel too stuffed to bend over the bathtub to wash my hair. I've been wanting to wash it ever since it got a thorough natural washing in rainwater on Tuesday night (at least I think it was Tuesday). Unfortunately, rainwater does not come with conditioner, and when my hair dried it was all horrible looking (and feeling). After a good wash and condition last night, it is feeling all soft and beautiful this morning (or so I delude myself !).
My hair was just about dry, or dry enough, by about 7.30pm, and I was in bed soon after that......but there was a slight delay. I went for one final visit to the bathroom to use the toilet, and to brush my teeth (obviously not at the same time !). As I was sitting on the toilet minding my own business I suddenly heard a loud buzzing. I looked up and saw a huge wasp circling the light. I can't recall seeing may wasps this summer, and hardly any in autumn when they can be a bit of a nuisance sometimes. So quite why a wasp should suddenly try to take over the world on a cold autumn night is a mystery. It took nerves of steel, and a careful aim, but using a rolled up newspaper, I managed to bat it straight out of the window into the even colder night air.
Having done my bit to rid the world of yet another annoyance, I jumped into bed, and pulled the duvet around me. Then I let it go loose and shoved a leg outside the duvet because it was too warm. It didn't take long to get to sleep, and it feels like I had one of my best sleeps in some time. I can't recall waking up at all before sometime after 3am. From then on I went into that sort of sleep where it feels like you are awake, but huge chunks of time seem to pass without being noticed. When I decided to get up and out of bed 10 or 15 minutes before 5am I felt surprisingly good......relative to how I thought I might feel.
Maybe it's because it is Friday, the last day of the working week, or maybe it was the beetroot....or it could have been any number of unknown reasons, but I definitely find it hard to complain about how I feel this morning without moaning about the same old aches and pains. I suppose one the good things is that I haven't got the streaming cold that I expected to have this morning. That's a bit of a relief, although I may just be putting it off until it can ruin my weekend. That's happened one too many times in the past, and it will happen again in the future. Hopefully this isn't one of those occasions.
One source of discomfort is my feet. There is obviously some sort of inherent weakness in my feet because they very frequently are uncomfortable. The strange thing is that it is never the same place that hurts twice. It all depends on what sort of shoes I am wearing. For instance the shoes I am wearing today are blue, but they are otherwise identical to the maroon/plum coloured ones I was wearing yesterday. You might expect that if they are so identical then they should hurt my feet in an identical way. Well I would, but today my left foot is more uncomfortable than my right foot. Yesterday it was my right foot that was uncomfortable - and uncomfortable in a different way ! I have lots of pairs of shoes in all sorts of colours, and I don't think I have a single pair that is 100% comfortable. My feet are weird - which sort of fits in with my general disposition - probably !
My fantasy plan for tonight is to order a huge tasty takeaway, and to drink an excessive amount of whisky before tumbling into bed in a boozy and sated stupour. Back in the real world I have quite a bit of stuff that I bought from Tesco at a reduced price because it was on it's sell by date, and today is possibly on it's use by date. There is not enough stuff for a real blow out, and it's all rather diverse, but I think it will make for a tasty dinner. The big shame is that much of it is meant to be eaten cold, and a hot dinner might be nicer, but I bought the stuff, and it has to be used up. So it's going to be a mostly cold dinner tonight. Maybe I'll have a whisky or two as well, but perhaps not until I wash a few shirts - if I wash them tonight. I should be seeing Aleemah in the morning, and I won't be able to start my laundry then. So doing some tonight would be the sensible thing, but when has sense ever come between boozing and sleeping ?
Dimplex are still showing off their electric fires on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning. Here's the view at ground level.
The sun wasn't really shining when I left work to go home, but it had been shining earlier in the day - I think there was probably a couple of hours of it in total, but not continually. Even if the sun had been out when I went home, it would be so low on the horizon that trees and houses would easily obscure it, but at least it would be bright, and some of my journey home from work was under a bright(ish) sky. Unfortunately the sun had officially set while I was about halfway between London Bridge and Catford Bridge stations. I'm not sure what the temperature was when I got back to Catford, but I'm guessing it was in the region of 10° C. That is the top temperature forecast for today too. It was a bit different this morning ! A clear sky during the night meant that we had our first frost this morning. The temperature was just 2° C on my thermometer. So it wasn't quite cold enough for a ground frost, but all the cars were twinkling with it. The clear sky allowed the sun to give a dazzling display as it rose over the misty cemetery by Earlsfield station. It should stay sunny for much of the morning, but the forecast is for a lightly overcast afternoon with a temperature of 10° C.
I had one of those strange cases of synchronicity on my way home from work yesterday. I was planning on buying some dinner from Tesco on the way home, and I suddenly had this idea that I would like to buy some beer as well. I was just considering what to buy when I received a text message from my friend Kevin asking if I fancied a beer on the way home. It wasn't exactly what I was planning, and I knew it would end in a sort of disaster, but I don't see much of Kevin lately. So I said yes, and we agreed to meet in The Catford Constitutional Club at 5pm. From that point onwards the mild disaster started to unfold very slowly.
My train arrives in Catford in time to get into the CCC at 4.45pm, and so I was well into my first pint when 5pm arrived - and Kevin didn't ! I didn't realise that he had been in Forest Hill, and was getting the bus to Catford. At 5pm the South Circular gets pretty busy, and no more so than between Forest Hill and Catford, and until the bus gets on the bus lane about two thirds of the way to Catford, it can make very slow progress. Kevin eventually arrived as I was getting to the end of my second pint ! I didn't really want to drink any more than two pints because I still wanted to go in Tesco on the way home, but it would have been impolite to walk out on Kevin just as he arrived. So I stayed for another pint and a half. By the time we left the place Tesco was about to close, and it was too late for me to buy any dinner.
I could have doubled back via the chip shop, but I knew I could rustle up a simple dinner quite quickly even if it was not what I had been looking forward to eating. I actually had a curious dish of smoked pork sausage, baked beans, and two little packets of Hoola Hoops (potato rings) all warmed up in the microwave. It was actually rather nice even if it wasn't low in all the bad things you can eat, but it was better than the chocolate covered peanuts that I had for sweet. They were very naughty and very nice ! I went straight to bed after eating them (plus my second Bisopropol blood pressure control tablet of the day).
I don't know if it was the beer, the chocolate coated peanuts, the smoked pork sausage, or even the tablet, but while I fell asleep quickly, and slept well until the early hours, I was plagued with cramps in my calf muscles, both left and right, in the last few hours before getting up. I only had to move my legs in a certain way and one or other of those calf muscles would start to spasm and cramp. While it was still quite painful, it was fairly mild compared with some agonies I've suffered in the past, and I didn't need to jump out of bed to stop it. So that's another night where I've had less than the amount of sleep I feel I need, or I am entitled too, and I'll probably be dozing off at my computer here at work like I did yesterday !
Those cramps may have gone, but I still don't feel that wonderful this morning. Quite a lot of bits of me are complaining about the cold. It is amazing how the cold seems to be able to creep into the bones with feeling obviously cold. I wore my nice warm gloves while I was walking on the way to work (I didn't need them on a warm train), and yet even my fingers feel stiff and creaky this morning. If it got a hundred times worse I would start to have difficulty holding a pint glass, and if it got a thousand time worse I would not be able to handle a pint of beer at all ! Actually....when I consider how many joints and muscles ache this morning, it is almost like I have a very mild case of 'flu, but it can't be that because I've no other symptoms. Even my hangover is no more than a sort of painless fogginess.
On many Thursday nights I would either be meeting the Thursday night guys for a beer, or going to a gig, or both ! Not tonight though. The guys are drinking in Beckenham. It would be easy enough to get there, and get home afterwards, if I had a strong desire for a beer and some company, but I had my session last night with Kevin. There is nobody playing in The Ram tonight (as far as I can tell), and so I can proceed with plan A. That is to go home via Tesco. Wash my hair once I've warmed the place up a bit, and then go to bed as soon as my hair is dry enough. In the meanwhile, here are some recent photos.
I took this picture on my way home yesterday. It shows what was the "Pumpkin Cafe and shop" between platforms B and C on Waterloo East station. It is closed at the moment and is being transformed. It was a handy sort of place that sold newspapers, magazines, over priced booze, and smelly hot water based beverages. It used to generate a nasty sort of smell that I always thought was just pigeon shit from all the pigeons that roost under the platform canopy, but it obviously wasn't the pigeons because it stopped when the place closed. It's replacement will generate equally obnoxious stenches as it reopens soon as an American mafia run (if we are to believe the movies and cartoons) Starbucks.
It may not be immediately obvious what the picture shows. I took it on my way home last night. On the left is the brightly lit multi storey car park next to Tesco. In the distant centre is the bus stand where the route 160, 336 and 320 buses start from. In the foreground is a massive great puddle - although it is closer to lake than puddle. It was a bit difficult to tell in the dark (and without getting my feet wet), but I assume that it is the result of a burst water main. If the temperature had dropped a few more degrees last night, and if the water hadn't been turned off (I would have assumed it would have been by now) there would have been a huge great skating rink in the middle of Catford this morning.
Dimplex were showing off their new heaters on Waterloo station's concourse this morning. They are electric heaters that have a very convincing "real fire" look. As far as I could see (looking down from the balcony) they use yellow/orange lights (maybe halogen lights) to give the glow of a fire, and it looks like something give a little puff of Glycol (a liquid used in stage smoke machines), or something similar, to give a little puff of smoke. When the bottom of the column of smoke is strongly illuminated by the reddish orange light it does look a lot like flame even though it is actually cold. It's clever, but I bet those heaters cost a lot more than they are worth.
I'm sure the weather forecast didn't say anything about rain yesterday afternoon, but then again, I don't think it mentioned the half hour of sunshine we had soon after midday. It is possible that the sunshine managed to warm the day up a bit, perhaps rather briefly, but after going home in sometimes torrential rain (wearing a not rainproof coat that I couldn't even do up), it seemed like it was no warmer than the day had started - just over 7° C. This morning the temperature was down to 6° C. At first it looked like it could be a bright morning, but as the sun rose it was blotted out by ever thickening cloud. It is not supposed to rain at all today, and so I've not brought a raincoat to work, but I did take the precaution of wearing a coat that does do up. It's also a warmer coat than yesterday - despite having an ever growing rip up one side. I'm sure it only started out as a small snag a couple of years ago, and I am crossing my fingers that it will last through this winter. It is forecast to only reach 10° C today, so that warm coat is going to be nice to wear today - and probably every day now until the spring.
It was a thoroughly miserable experience going home in the rain yesterday. It wasn't raining that hard when I walked to Earlsfield station, but it was chucking it down when I had to walk from Catford Bridge station to home. I arrived home soaked to the skin. It was a joy to get some heating on, and getting out of my wet clothes. In an ideal world I would have had a big tub of hot lamb stew ready to warm me up, but the quickest thing I could get hot was a container of Hong Kong Noodles. With some added chilli sauce they were nice enough, but they weren't really what was looking for. I also eat also sorts of snacks that would have boosted my levels of all that I didn't want boosting - except my comfort levels !
My original plan for last night was to get to bed as early as possible, and I was half way there to doing just that. I switched off the TV news five minutes after it started because it was just pissing me off, and in theory I could have been in bed before 6.30pm. I think that would have been a bit too early even by my twisted standards, and fortunately I had something to distract me - 4 unwatched recordings of The Simpsons. 80 minutes later they became watched episodes, and I was in bed by 7.45pm.
It took about 15 minutes before I fell asleep, and that was faster than I expected it might happen, as it happened, but slower than I expected before it happened ! It seems to be almost standard practice now that I slept solidly until around 2.30am, and from then I slept a bit more intermittently. This morning was one of the better ones because when I did wake up it seemed to take no time at all to fall asleep again. My dreams were better too. I can't recall anything about them for a change, but I know they were not scary nighmares. I have a strong suspicion that they were almost bland, but still rather better than real life. Oh how I envy those who can enter a catatonic state and live in a world of their own !
After getting soaked by the rain yesterday I feel all stiff and creaky this morning. Even my stomach muscles feel almost painful this morning (although it's more likely to be a putrefying underlying organ that is the source of the discomfort). It being so cold this morning hasn't helped. Until I turned some heating on it was pretty damn cool in my bedroom, and even my shower water was very tepid this morning. It wasn't quite cold enough to start shivering, but it was still a huge relief to get some clothes on ! I guess it wasn't actually painful to walk to the station, but it did feel like hard work making all my limbs move. It was probably even worse when I walked from the station to work. The discomfort and stiffness also seemed to include my hips and lower back today. Once I had plans for living in poverty, and not going to work this winter, but only earning a pittance for sick pay for 4 (or 5 ?) months last year rather spoiled my plans. Shame really because it would have been so nice to stay in bed for a few extra hours, and then sort out the water temperature settings for a nice hot shower.
Hopefully I'll stay dry when I go home after another ultra tedious day at work. I think I might pop into Tesco to buy a few goodies on the way home, but beyond that I have no idea what else I might do. I can foresee another early night - it's a great way of keeping warm, and thoroughly enjoyable at any time winter, spring, summer or autumn. Plus it is a most civilised way of being unsociable - and I am not feeling terribly sociable at the moment - possibly even up to the point of missing out on tomorrow nights boozing (but missing out on beer may be taking things a step too far).
I expected it to be raining when I left work to go home yesterday, but while there were plenty of big puddles around where it had rained a lot since the morning, it was not raining as I made my way home, and for some of the journey the sun was doing it's best to shine. It did feel rather cool when I left work, and when I got home, after the sun was set, I am sure my outside thermometer said it was just over 10° C. Today will be no warmer, and actually started a lot cooler, but it should be far brighter with many hours of cool winter sunshine. It was just 7° C in Catford as I walked to the station, and it may have been a bit cooler than that here in Earlsfield. Some more rural areas may have had a frost this morning, and it is feeling like it won't be that long before we get one inside London. The maximum temperature today is predicted to be just 10° C, perhaps 11° C if we are very, very lucky !
I didn't hear from Jodie yesterday, and so I didn't go for a quick beer after work. I did go in the Turkish supermarket though, and I bought a couple of bottles of the Duskin single apple variety apple juice that they stock. One of them was made with Discovery apples, and was very nice, and I think the other was made with Braeburn apples, but I haven't tried that one yet. I also bought some bread, some cheese, and a couple of dips - one was olive humous, and the other was made with chargrilled peppers. A lot of my dinner was just plain bread dipped in those dips.
While I ate I watched the TV news, and I became quite annoyed about a murderer who was described as cowardly. It seems to have became a common trend in news stories about murderers being cowardly. To me that seems to fly in the face of what cowardly actually seems to mean. It's derived from the noun or adjective "Coward", and an online dictionary defines coward as -
1. a person who lacks courage in facing danger, difficulty, opposition, pain, etc.; a timid or easily intimidated person.
2. lacking courage; very fearful or timid.
3. proceeding from or expressive of fear or timidity:
That doesn't strike me as the sort of person who could commit a murder, or if they tried and their intended victim shouted "BOO" the murderer would just run away in fright. Until I looked it up I didn't realise that "Cowardly" apparently meant the exact opposite of being a coward.....but maybe only in special circumstances like murder.
1. lacking courage; contemptibly timid.
2. characteristic of or befitting a coward; despicably mean, covert, or unprincipled:
3. like a coward.
In fact, even after reading this definition, I still can't quite relate it to the example given - "a cowardly attack on a weak, defenseless man". To my mind you have to be quite brave to murder someone, or alternately so thick that you are unaware of the consequences of doing so. The other alternative is that you are possessed of pure evil (as the Bible bashers like to say). None of these seems to equate to being a coward to my simple mind.
Last night I felt I had to vent my spleen by mentioning this on a well known social media website. I made the mistake of adding some dark humour instead of quoting dictionary definitions, and was immediately shot down in flames. That made me feel very angry because I felt that I had been misunderstood, but rather than attempt to defend myself I deleted the posting in a cowardly way (which I suppose means I murdered it - groan !). I was seething about it for much of the night, and it ruined my sleep. So this morning I feel rather tired.
Rather surprisingly, the rest of me feels almost, but not quite, good. I don't think I have any aches and pains worth moaning about today, and my legs seems to be working well again this morning. As every day goes past I become increasingly sure that I have found the maximum dosage of one of my blood pressure control drugs - Bisoprolol. At the dosage I am currently taking I can move freely most of the time, and the ache in my right knee feels to be hovering right at the point of becoming painful (usually when going up steps). It is still not an ideal solution, but it seems a fair compromise if it keeps the doctor off my back. Maybe she will be happy to experiment with the dose of one of the other drugs, or even try a different one when I see her in a fortnights time.
I rather think that I will be doing very little when I get home after work. I feel tired already, so home time can't come soon enough today. Once I'm at home I think I'll try and have a small warm dinner, and assuming I have calmed down from my apoplexy about things cowardly, and assuming I don't feel pissed off again, I think I'll be trying for an absurdly early night. Maybe I'll try to be in bed, and fast asleep, by 7pm. It will be nice if it happens, and even nicer if I can have a nice trouble free sleep, and no more nightmares about dodgy plumbing like last night !
I was hoping to have dreams about murdering people, but it seems it is just not in my nature to murder people - well not in the common ways. Now if I could instantly teleport people, like in Star Trek, there are quite a few people I could imagine teleporting into the heart of the sun - and not all of them are politicians ! Instead of the joys of sending off the useless third of humanity into space, a la The B Ark, I had a seemingly rather long nightmare about a builder wrecking my new plumbing. This builder was the foreman of a building site that was apparently on the other side of the road to where I live, and his duties included looking after some huge earth moving machinery. One of the huge machine had damaged the water pipes in the road, and the foreman arranged for them to be fixed by one of his incompetent workers. The water came back on OK, but the pressure was huge, and it started blowing out all my new plumbing. Eventually, with the foreman's help, we reconnected everything, and all the water leaks stopped. The most surprising thing was that having dreamt about all this water coming out of everywhere, I didn't wake up busting for a pee (nor had I peed myself !)!
There was a little bit of sunshine yesterday, but if you had blinked you would have missed it. It seems very generous to say it, but yesterday wasn't such a terrible day - at least not compared to today ! There was a bit of rain from time to time, but it was usually fairly light. It may not have been very bright for most of the time, but it wasn't truly cold. Now everything has changed. It is cold, damp and wet today. It was raining, possibly quite heavily at some time, during the early hours, but it was just stopping when I walked to the station. It is exceptionally dull outside right now, and it may have started to rain again, but if the forecast is right it will soon stop, and it will get a bit brighter. Unfortunately it is only forecast to do that that until early afternoon. By the time I leave work it will be raining again, and it won't just be dull when I arrive back in Catford - the sun will have set, and with all the cloud it will probably be properly night as I walk home (or to the pub). It's going to be a chilly day with temperatures around the 12 or 13° C region. Tomorrow may be a bit drier, a bit brighter, and possibly a degree or two less chilly.
Yesterday afternoon did not work out as expected. Jodie was partly put off coming to Catford because of the rain (although it would have stopped by the time she would usually be travelling), but mostly she was put off because she was suffering from a cold. I could have gone to the pub by myself, but I didn't fancy that. I did still fancy going to the 99p shop where I wanted to buy some of their smoked pork sausages, and some of my favourite mouthwash. Just to prove it could be done, I went there in just a t-shirt, and I stayed dry, and it did feel cold at all. I got my sausages, but sadly they didn't have any more mouthwash in stock. Maybe it will re-appear later, or maybe I'll have to pay full price for it somewhere else.
I learned a valuable lesson yesterday evening - don't try and cook tomatoes in the microwave without cutting them in half, and preferably covering them up. I just pierced them several times with a sharp knife point, and the still "exploded" everywhere. They were a part of my dinner, but only because they were looking a bit sad, and needed to be used up before they turned mouldy.
The core of my dinner was a baked potato with baked beans and grated cheese. There was one other ingredient, and I regret adding it. It was a special Tabasco sauce made with bourbon whisky (allegedly), and also contained smoked chipotle chillies. Unfortunately it tastes ghastly, and I can't understand why I haven't just thrown the bottle away. I managed to take away any lingering bad taste with a treat that I haven't had in years and years and years ! It was a glass of ice cold milk, and some cookies. In this case the cookies were actually chocolate coated macaroons, but they still count. I don't know why I bought the macaroons in the 99p shop, but I am quite glad I did even if they are really the sort of thing I shouldn't be eating (like the other 10,000 things I shouldn't be eating, but still do).
I went to bed at a sensible time considering I had to get up for work this morning, but when I think about it, I can't actually remember what that sensible time was. What I do know is that I couldn't seem to get to sleep until 10 minutes later when I went out like a light while wondering what to do about not being able to sleep ! I slept very well until 2.30am. After then my sleep became quite patchy. I recall having many dreams, but only fragments remain from them in my memory.
One dream was about wiring up, or plugging in some LED lights in a train siding at Catford Bridge station. Why or how is now forever lost. Another dream concerned the BBC TV series Top Gear - although I am unsure why I knew that. There were no cars involved, and none of the presenters in the dream. It seemed to be about trying out a new type of trousers which were in a shed a few hundred feet away. For some unknown reason I had to walk there with no shoes on - although I can't remember actually walking anywhere.
I finally woke up to get up twenty minutes early. I felt tolerably well this morning, but things soon went wrong. There were very mixed messages coming through about the state of the trains. The very long image on the left is a composite of two screenshots from my mobile phone taken one after the other to show the top and bottom of the same message. At the very top it says that I took this screenshot at 06:41, and although it doesn't say it, I was actually on the train when I took them.
Under "Service Details" is says that the train is cancelled because of over running engineering works - and yet below that it says that the cancelled train has actually called at all the stations from Hayes (Kent), even if it did depart late from each one of them. To make up time the train was not going to, and didn't call at Lewisham, St Johns, and New Cross. The driver actually did quite well because we arrived at Waterloo East almost on time (if not a few seconds early !).
At Waterloo there was another company displaying their wares, and giving out some free samples, or so I believe. Just for a change it was a brand we all know and love (well many of us do !) - Branston Pickle.
It is possible, although perhaps unlikely, that I will indulge in a little boozing on the way home. I suggested to Jodie that if she felt better she could intercept me on the way home, and drag me kicking and screaming (!) into The Catford Constitutional Club. I believe they had some special Halloween themed beers in there for the night, and may still have some left if we are lucky. I do feel a bit tempted to pop in there for a couple of halves even if Jodie isn't available. On the other hand, I also want to buy some of that superlative single apple variety apple juice from the Turkish supermarket on the way home, and I don't want to go in the CCC with a bag full of clanking bottles. There is a third possibility - it will be bucketting down with rain, and I'll just high tail it home as fast as I can go !
Apart from the damp start, yesterday was a fairly good day - a rather excellent day for the 1st November according to many pundits. I saw 17° C a little before midday, and I guess the temperature got a little higher later in the afternoon, but I forgot to check exactly what it was. It was certainly nice and sunny, but that's one area where today is going to be very different. This morning it is damp and drizzly. If the forecast is roughly correct it will be brighter, and drier this afternoon, but not actually sunny. Once again it is not really cold at all. At the moment it is 17° C, and maybe it might go up a degree or two later in the afternoon. If it was sunny it would be almost t-shirt weather - maybe if I can be confident it will stay dry I will actually go out in just a t-shirt to prove it ! Tomorrow is still forecast to be rather wet, and now I've noticed that they are forecasting that it will also be a rather chilly 11° C - even in the afternoon. A few degrees less and I would have said that we had jumped straight from summer to winter, and ignored autumn !
I don't know why it was, but I found I didn't want to relax as intensely as I thought I would yesterday afternoon, and into the evening. I can't actually remember how I used all the hours from the start of the afternoon until I went to bed, but they did seem to pass with undue haste. I may have had a small snooze at the start of the afternoon, but by 3pm I was up and out ! It is unusual for me to go out in the afternoon if I've had a busy morning, but it did happen yesterday, and there were two good reasons for it.
The first reason was just taking precautions. I had the option of going out to a gig in the evening, and although I ended up passing that option by, I still wanted some cash in my wallet in case I went out. So I went to the cash machine, and on the way back I called into Poundstretcher to buy a few bits and pieces. It has changed quite a lot in there since I last went in, and it took me some time to find bathroom mats. The one I had in my bathroom were getting a bit smelly and unsightly. In theory they were washable, and in the past, when I had a working washing machine, I have washed them even though it takes a fortnight to clear all the fluff out of the outlet filter ! It's not actually the "green" thing to do so, but yesterday I threw the old mats away, and put down some rather nice ones I bought (nice for now that is !).
Another thing I did yesterday was to wash the last work shirts that needed washing. Now the strange thing about doing that was that I did it mid evening. It was the sort of time I might have started getting ready to go out to the gig. So I obviously had the energy, but not the enthusiasm to go out, and I really don't know why. If I had pushed myself that little bit further I would almost certainly have enjoyed myself, and most probably enjoyed a lot of praise for my photography later on. I wonder, have I become so lazy that I have to wait for bands to come to me (Catford), or have I become so jaundiced about live music that I can take it or leave it ? I'm not sure if I like either answer.
I can't remember what I was doing when I came across an old back up disk that I made nearly 13 years ago on the 4th March 2002. I don't think there was anything on it of any interest that I haven't got back up on far more recent, if not actually current hard disks, but it was interesting to review what I had saved on the recordable CD disk. This one was mostly pictures, and somewhere there is probably another disk or two with music on it. There were quite a few pictures that might have been interesting to show again - such as a couple of picture taken on London Bridge station before The Shard was even a glint in an architects eye, but I think cats are more interesting at the moment.
This is Nelly. She was the first cat to live with me in this house. She was a rescued cat from The Cat Protection League. The story I was told was that she was found under the floorboards of an empty house. Nobody knew how old she was, but she was an adult when found. She had never been handled by humans as a kitten, and so resented being handled as an adult, was was more than happy to curl up alongside me (but never on me). I can't remember how long she was with me in total, but eventually had to be put down when she became quite ill.
This is Schiba. He sort of adopted me - despite Nelly being in residence. I have no idea where he came from originally. I have a theory that his original owners may have moved house, and he got left behind somehow. He was semi tame, and had been neutered, but seemed to have been a stray for a fair time. When I started giving him Nelly's leftovers he was quite thin, and often muddy. The trouble with strays is that you never really know how old they are, and it seems likely that Schiba was a lot older than I thought. He seemed in good health when one rainy night he demanded to be let out. It was the last time I saw him. He had stayed out for a few days at a time on a few previous occasions, and for at least a week one summer, but always came back as if nothing had happened. This time the next thing I knew was a small flyer popped through my letter box asking if anyone had lost a cat. I called the number on it and the description matched Schiba. Apparently he had just curled up behind a neighbours flower bed as if he was asleep, but he was actually dead. I have no idea who this neighbour was, apart from their mobile phone number, but in an act of supreme generosity had taken Schiba to the vets. The vet could find no external cause of death, and suggested it was just old age.
Several things might happen today, and one already has. I washed the last two items of laundry that I had let build up for almost a couple of weeks. I thought they were both almost threadbare lounge pants that I was contemplating throwing out, but one item was actually a t-shirt, and the other was not the threadbare pair of lounge pants I thought it was. They are not my favourite, but are in good condition.
The next thing that might happen is a walk to the Turkish supermarket for another bottle of the single apple type apple juice that I recently tried, and thought was rather delicious. The next bottle I buy, maybe today, or maybe after work tomorrow, will probably be a different flavour to the previous one, but I have high hopes that it will be just as delicious. What is more certain is that I will be meeting Jodie for a few beers in the Catford Wetherspoons pub. It is possible that the weather may put her off if it is still raining, but it ought to have stopped by 1 or 2pm. It is also possible that the weather may reduce the amount of bloody prams and terrible kids who were slowly taking over The Catford Constitutional Club last Sunday, but we are not going to even chance meeting in there this Sunday ! Maybe before or after the boozing I will buy some terrible crap from the 99p shop opposite the pub, but only if I am still reasonably sober(ish).
Somewhere in London it was supposed to have been as warm as 23.7° C yesterday. It wasn't revealed exactly where this was. It may have been at Gravesend which has always had an over-reading thermometer, and is only an honorary part of London when it's needed to declare record temperatures. Otherwise it is in Kent by a very large margin ! In Catford it didn't seem to exceed 20° C as far as I was aware. It still felt pretty good though, and all the sunshine was rather marvellous. Today started out rather damp, and there were a few light showers earlier on, but as I write the sky is mostly blue, and the sun is shining. It's currently 17° C. That's not exactly warm, but it feels OK provided you keep moving. The rest of today could see a mix of showers and sunshine, and with luck there will be far more sunshine than showers.
I felt rather relaxed yesterday afternoon, and I ended up leaving it a bit late to go to Aldi as I had planned. It was almost 4pm before I was ready to go out, and I decided that it would be getting dark before I got back home. So I didn't go, and with hindsight that was probably a good decision. The Aldi store has recently been refurbished and extended. They remained open while most of the work was done, but I have a suspicion that they did stay closed for a few days for some important work, and only re-opened again this morning.
What I did do was some laundry. I washed 4 short sleeved shirts and some underwear, and I left a medium sized bath towel soaking in the bio, stain digesting, microbe eating, pong removing (maybe) soapy water. To help the bio components along, or maybe to kill them, I also added a bit of Savlon disinfectant. That towel is going to be a bit stinky, but it will be a medical stink instead of a mouldy old cloth stink - I hope !
Instead of going to Aldi I went to the corner shop to get a a bottle of pop and an ice cream. It seemed important to have one ice cream for the last day of summer even if that day was in the middle of autumn ! I still didn't have anything I wanted to eat for dinner last night. I had lots of stuff that I could have eaten, but nothing that I actually wanted. So I ordered a takeaway. I ordered it from the fried chicken shop that I used to use far too frequently, but this time it wasn't fried chicken.
While the front of the shop is mostly fried chicken and chips, they do sell much more than that. I ordered a mixed grill. I don't know why, but I assumed it would be like a mixed grill from an Indian takeaway - a medium sized container with a few bits and pieces in, plus a bag of salad. I saw no mention of salad, and no hint as to how big the mixed grill would be. It turned out that it didn't come with any salad, and it was far larger than I imagined. So the greasy potato wedges made up for a lack of salad (in my twisted imagination), and the extra peri peri grilled chicken was completely superfluous ! I had a nice dinner last night, a nice breakfast this morning, and I still have a load of peri peri chicken for dinner tonight ! I think that order may have been rather good value.
I could have gone to bed very late last night if I had wanted to, but I think I was in bed, and probably asleep before 10pm (or if not, very soon afterwards). Apart from stupidly waking up, and actually getting up for a bit at 5.25am to take my blood pressure pills, I slept quite well if I choose to ignore the long dreams and nightmares. I didn't sleep so well after I went back to bed, but I probably got an extra hour or two before getting up again.
One of the first things I wanted to do this morning was to finish washing the towel I had left soaking the night before. Manhandling big heavy towels does require a lot of energy and/or dedication, but I managed it OK, and I think I have a clean but smelly towel now drying. I rested for half an hour after that before going to Aldi. It was a bit chaotic in there this morning. Most of the building work has finished, and all the interior re-work has finished, but there were pallets stacked everywhere as they re-stocked the shelves. I'm not sure if I approve of the new layout, but I guess I'll get used to it.
With the shopping done it was time for breakfast, and I had a super weird breakfast of mixed grill and potato wedges - and it was very nice ! I gave that half an hour (or was it closer to an hour) to settle down, and then I washed three t-shirts and some underwear. I am now almost up to date with my laundry. Maybe I'll do the last bit sometime this afternoon. I still haven't had a chance to relax because I then spent some time editing a few more photos from Thursday night.
Here's two naturally lit pictures of Jo Corteen.
Another picture of Jo Corteen just lit with stage lighting.
I'm not sure what I'm doing next. Its the first of the month, and I've just been paid, so I could do almost anything, but I feel that laying on my bed reading could be the most satisfying thing right now. I do have the option of going out to a gig tonight in The William IV pub at Elmers End. I've never seen the band, Big Red Bus, before, but I have seen most of the musicians who play in it, and they are all pretty good. Plus they are doing covers of 70s and 80s stuff, so it could be quite good, but I'm not convinced I will be going out. I think I'll just have to see what I do when the time comes.