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

Tuesday 30th September 2014
08:12 BST
  I think the forecast for 18 C yesterday was about right. It was plenty enough to be comfortable, but you couldn't really describe yesterday afternoon as warm in any but the loosest terms. There was one shower yesterday, but fortunately it was around midday, and didn't effect my journey home - it was the dull gloom that made it a less than spectacular journey ! This morning has started out rather dull, but it seems to be brightening up already, and with luck it will be a fairly bright and sunny day. It was very mild when I got up, perhaps as high as 16 C, and the forecast says it should hit 20 C by mid to late afternoon.

 I've already mentioned that the dull grey sky made going home a rather dull affair, but there was worse things ! My usual train from Waterloo East, the 16:23, was cancelled due to "a fault on the train". That could have been seriously annoying if they hadn't given plenty of warning about it. I was able to get a train to London Bridge station where there was a train that comes out of Cannon Street station, and leaves London Bridge just 5 minutes after my usual train. Unfortunately it calls at 3 stations that my usual train misses out (New Cross, St Johns, and Lewisham), and arrives 10 minutes later than my usual train at Catford Bridge.
Looking up at The Shard from
                  platform 2 at London Bridge
While I waited for the train at London Bridge I took a couple of pictures - here's The Shard....
Looking along platform 2 at London Bridge
...and this is the view along platform 2 looking "north". There is a train in platform 6 to the left, and a train in platform 1 on the right. A train is just leaving platform 3 towards Cannon Street station, and the sky looks dull and bland (or would do if I hadn't made the picture a bit lighter so more detail could be seen !).

 Arriving at Catford Bridge 10 minutes later than usual wasn't so bad, and it didn't put me off buying a few items from the Turkish supermarket on my way home. I wanted some apples and some nice crispy conference pears, and the place didn't let me down. I'm not sure what type of apples I bought, but I've just had one for breakfast, and it was rather delicious. I didn't have much money with me, and that helped to reduce the temptation to buy too much, but I did buy some chick pea salad and bean salad pots, and they formed a principle part of my dinner. The other thing I bought was some aubergine dip !

 I didn't dare look what was in the aubergine dip, but I can imagine that olive oil was a significant ingredient, and maybe aubergine was the other, although how they can turn aubergine into a very slightly off white creamy substance is a mystery, I had that dip with some cheese salad, and it was rather nice. It is possible that my dinner was almost healthy....oh, except for one thing that I keep trying to forget. I couldn't resist the temptation for a little portion of baklava. All that crushed pistachio in puff pastry dripping with honey must be terrible for something, but does round off a meal almost as good as a fag would !

 I was feeling fairly good after dinner, but earlier on, while at work, I was still feeling fairly bad after a bad start to the morning. I didn't feel quite as bad as in the morning, but as the afternoon passed I was heading that way. I felt tired, and my stomach felt a bit sore (like I had an ulcer or something). Dinner settled my stomach, but I decided I needed a nice early night. I had a couple of emails to write, and then I went straight to bed. It was about 7.45pm when I turned the light out, but it took at least half an hour to fall asleep.

 I started off sleeping quite well, as is often the case even on the worst of nights, but it wasn't to last long. I was woken up at 9.30pm by a phone call. From then on it was just like many, if not most nights, when I am on my blood pressure medication. I woke up even if there was no obvious reason for it, every 1 or 2 hours. It was while I was awake on one of those occasions that I realised why it was so different to waking up when not under the influence of those blood pressure tablets. Without the tablets I think I wake up less frequently, and when I do I am only half awake. Even if I have to get out of bed to go to toilet I can get back into bed and resume sleeping in seconds. Last night I realised I was fully awake when I woke up, and it would take time to get back to sleep - maybe as little as 2 or 3 minutes on the better occasions, but still bloody annoying.

 I didn't feel so crap as yesterday when I got up this morning. That's not to say I felt particularly good - I most definitely didn't, but if I were in the care of a vet he might have attempted to cure me this morning. Yesterday he would have taken me round the back of the stables and shot me ! It is probably stupid to check my blood pressure within minutes of getting up, but that is the most convenient time for a morning reading, and once again it was very high.....but the second reading, taken a couple of minutes later, did show a useful improvement this morning. Perhaps if I took it now it would be looking almost reasonable (for a 30 ton mega elephant with bronchial pnuemonia who is desperately in need of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster).

 Hopefully today will be less uncomfortable than yesterday, and I can look forward to going home in nice warm sunshine. If I stick to my master plan, I should be having a very healthy dinner tonight. It will be cabbage and leak cooked in chicken stock, and with a bit of lean(ish) ham thrown in for a bit of extra flavour (plus it is getting close to its use by date). In theory that is all I will have, but sometimes theories are proved to be incorrect.....

 I won't be going to bed quite as early tonight, but maybe I will fall asleep as early as yesterday. Hopefully my stupid mate won't try and phone me with some totally inconsequential question in the middle of my night this time ! I could stay up late celebrating that it's pay day today. That is a huge relief, but I don't think it will stop me going to bed early. One potential delay in getting to bed tonight is that I feel I ought to wash my hair this evening. I never like using a hair drier, maybe it's lack of practice, so I need to let my hair dry naturally before I can go to bed. What I should do is to wash it before I have my dinner, but I bet I don't !
Monday 29th September 2014
08:07 BST
  It was rather warm yesterday. The TV news said that it hit 25 C at Kew Gardens, but 24 C was the best I saw in Catford. The only trouble was that it was often a bit dull and overcast, and that gave the impression it was not as warm as it actually was. Then at sunset, which seemed quite early last night, it seemed like it should have been a lot cooler, and yet I found it quite hot and sticky when I tried to get under the duvet when I went to bed. This morning it was almost 15 C, and it tried it's best to be misty - and maybe it was, but it was too dark to notice. It was still basically night time for much of the train journey into London, and even when I got to Waterloo it was so overcast that it was hardly what you would call daylight. Today, contrary to earlier more optimistic forecasts, is going to be mostly dull, and with a top temperature forecast to be just 18 C, it is not going to feel that warm. To make matters worse, there is a chance of a shower or two as well !

 Late yesterday afternoon, and in to the evening, was a particularly bad time yesterday. I had my last meal for the day, and from then on it was like being in a sensory deprivation tank. I needed some sort of sensory input to break the crushing boredom or what ever it was that I was feeling. It's at time like that I could easily take up smoking again - just anything to stimulate the senses. Eventually I had to force myself to watch some TV, and I could only do that with the aid of a couple of large whiskys.

 To make the misery worse, when I eventually went to bed I couldn't get to sleep. My mind had had enough of being less sentient that a flat worm, and decided it was going to go into overdrive. I couldn't stop the swirling thoughts whizzing around my brain even if they were basically nonsense. To add to the misery of the problem, I felt stupidly hot whenever I tried to pull the duvet over me, and yet without it I felt just a tenth of a degree too cool. I ended up having a rotten night. I would say that it was typical of many nights while on my blood pressure medication, but rather worse....and perhaps made even worse on top of that by comparing it with the better sleep I got while my medication had run out.

 I woke up this morning feeling rather dreadful. It was sort of annoying that after my sleep being intermittent until almost 3am, I appeared to finally being enjoying some deep sleep when my alarm woke me at 5am. It was more than just annoyance though. I felt creaky and cranky and, I suppose, in some sort of pain, but it was too diverse to be specific about it. It gets worse ! This morning was the first morning where I have started checking my blood pressure in the morning at the request of my doctor. My blood pressure was very high. Maybe it always is just 10 minutes after getting out of bed, but I expected to feel far better with blood pressure that high. Past experience suggests it should come right down by about 6pm this evening, but if it doesn't come down then it shows that Bisoprolol, which is the drug I am on a half dosage of this month, is the drug that is doing most of the heavy lifting. If only that silly doctor had prescribed me more tablets I could have have gone back to the old dose if my blood pressure stays high next week as well. Now I will have to live my doctor will have to suffer the guilt of leaving me with high blood pressure for at least two weeks this month.

 Since arriving at work I do feel a lot better. There is even a chance that I might live ! There is one pain that has not come back yet since going back on the drugs, and that is the pain in my right knee. I had got so used to it that it, once again, it was a shock, a pleasant one I suppose, to get to the station this morning, and not feel any pain when going up and over the footbridge to the other platform. I assume it will be back soon unless - a) it is nothing to do with my blood pressure, or the drugs I take for it, or b) it is caused by the Bisopropol, and a half dose does not trigger it. It is going to be tricky if it is the Bisopropol is the drug that is most beneficial in lowering my blood pressure, and yet is the cause of knee pain !

 I ate rather a lot over the weekend, and for that I blame my medication and my shopping trips ! I did try and moderate things a bit yesterday, but this morning I am doing my best to do what I was able to do when I wasn't taking any medication. My breakfast this morning consisted of one apple - which is good - and a small pack of peppered ham - which was not so good. Originally it was to have been just the apple and a pear, but I accidently bought this little pack of ham while buying a drink - a non carbonated, non caffeinated, non artificially sweetened, but sadly enough containing some natural sugar, sort of drink - in the Londis supermarket by Earlsfield station. Maybe I'll have one of the pears for lunch, but otherwise I'll be eating nothing until approximately 6pm tonight.
Sunday 28th September 2014
11:46 BST
  I kept thinking it was rather cool yesterday, but I think it was just because it was so dull. In reality, the temperature was above 20 C (I think I saw 22 C at one point). Perhaps I could blame it on my body having to adjust to my blood pressure medication - I blame that medication for everything else that is wrong with the world ! This morning started off fine and bright, and to my surprise it wasn't all that cool. I'm not sure I actually checked the temperature around daybreak, but it is currently 20 C, and should still be rising. It should be a rather nice day, and the last forecast I saw said this spell of nice weather should continue for at least a few more days.

 I never did get around to doing my laundry yesterday. There was never a point when I decided I wasn't going to do it, and it was more like time just seemed to slip through my fingers.
nice smelling shower gel
 One of the things I did yesterday, and I meant to mention it yesterday, was to have a shower using one of my purchases when I did some shopping in Lidl. It's the stuff pictured on the left - Chien  "Red Sun" flavour shower gel. It has a wonderful hippy like smell - patchouli and other exotic aromas. In fact it is like a weak version of the Angel perfume that Jo Corteen (from Chain and Night Owl) wears, and she always smells very nice to me and my antiquarian tastes !

 Another thing I did yesterday was to try and not get too carried away eating. Since going back on my blood pressure tablets my appetite seems to be going full blast again. Maybe it is all in the mind, but it is the same mind that is trying to fight the feeling.

 I probably could have done better for my evening meal, but the core ingredient was already bought, and had to be used. It was some pork belly strips. Generally they are very fatty, and that is both their triumph and downfall. The ones I got were quite well trimmed, and didn't have a huge amount of fat on them, and I did my best to get rid of more of it. I tried an experiment where I cooked them in the microwave for a few minutes to see what happened. Well I knew that even if I fully cooked them that way they would look pretty horrible, but I think that partially cooking them that way may have loosened a bit of fat, and when I put them in my electric grill even more was liberated.

 I had that pork with some Greek giant beans. I really should check the ingredients of the tin sometime to gain more information about them, but I think they are relatively least to they get to the other end ! To make matters worse, and I suspect I will learn about it explosively late this afternoon, I had yet more beans yesterday.

 Out of curiosity I had bought a tin of "Egyptian" flavour Fava beans from the Turkish supermarket some time ago. I didn't know what fava beans were then, but now, in fact just now, I know that we know them better as broad beans. They were my original choice to go with the pork, and it seems they may have been a very good choice - quoting from Wikipedia "smoked collar of pork with broad beans, is the national dish of Luxembourg". Mine wasn't exactly smoked pork, nor was it collar of pork, but let's not split hairs about it. The only trouble was that when I opened the tin the beans smelled a bit strange. So I went for the giant beans, that I now know to be butter beans, and had those with the pork. When I later heated up the fava beans they smelled nice. So I ate them too. I am expecting bean trouble soon !

 Eating too many beans was about my only claim to fame yesterday afternoon/evening. Eventually I went to bed early for a Saturday night, or quite late for a weekday night, and as soon as I laid down I re-experienced another of the side effects of my blood pressure drugs - a dry tickly cough. It's quite a mild cough, and very rarely manifests itself at any other time. Eventually I got to sleep, but I am back to poor sleep where I wake up for no apparent reason every hour or two.

 This morning I didn't want to over do, or over use it, but I felt fairly good - once I'd allowed enough time to slowly warm up. I had a fairly slow start doing simple things like putting some rubbish out, and washing a plate. Once I had convinced myself that I was operating at about the highest efficiency possible for a Sunday morning on blood pressure tablets, I went out shopping. Curiosity drove me into Peacocks to see if they still had stuff at sale prices - they did, and I bought yet another pair of ultra cheap, almost throwaway trainers for no more than the price of a couple of pints of beer.

 The only problem with these cheap shoes is that I don't treat them as throwaway. I start out wearing them to work, and when they start to wear, and get uncomfortable, they are relegated to just shorts trips like shopping or going to the pub. Even after they get a it too worn for that I find it hard to throw them away, but with a new pair in it is time to select the most clapped out old pair and throw them away.

 Next on my agenda was to go into the 99p shop. There were sensible reasons to go in there. It is the source of my favourite mouthwash, and I needed some of that, and I needed some more toothpaste as well. I have to confess that I did buy other stuff too. Who has ever heard of sour cream and chive flavour Hoola Hoops before ? I hadn't, and I had to have some to assess their order in the great scheme of things (and to find out what they taste like). They are, of course, the sort of thing I would ideally like to avoid, but........I shan't mention the other unmentionable things I bought.

 This afternoon is when I feel confident I will finally get around to washing a few shirts - at least I think I feel confident about it. It won't take that long, and then I can go into extreme lazy mode to prepare for work on Monday without feeling any guilt at all - which would be a fine statement if I felt guilty about it in the first place. Those shirts are not essential yet, but will be after next weekend !
Saturday 27th September 2014
15:07 BST
  Thursday afternoon was quite pleasant. It was just warm enough to be comfortable, and the sun was often shining. The temperature obviously dropped after sunset, but even then it didn't get quite cool enough to feel chilly. Yesterday morning was a little dull, and much of the morning was cool(ish). It didn't really warm up much in the afternoon, but there was far more sunshine from late in the afternoon until the sun went down. This morning started off dull and a bit cool. This afternoon is also rather dull, and I nearly made the mistake of saying it was feeling almost chilly, but it must just be me because my thermometer says it is actually 22 C outside. That should feel warm at any other time apart from when laying down, not moving any muscles not required to turn the page of a book.  The last weather forecast I saw said that tomorrow might be a degree warmer, and that we would see some sunshine again.

 Thursday night was a most pleasant night - at least that is how it ended. It didn't start as well as I had hoped though. After rushing home from work I was soon out again going to see my doctor. On this occasion "my doctor" was one from the group practice who I had never seen before. She was quite a pleasant big black woman with a rather large chest department ! The reason I call attention to this is that she is in a poor position to preach the evils of being grossly overweight - which is a bit handy at the moment. Such preaching has been known to have the opposite effect !

 One of the things I had hoped for was a change in my blood pressure medication. Although I was feeling a few twitchy effects as my blood pressure returned to it's naturally dangerous high, I was also feeling so many beneficial effects from it. I'm not sure why I didn't manage to list all the positive effects (or alternately the bad effects of either the tablets I was taking, or having low blood pressure). After much discussion we settled on a compromise that was close enough to what I had been suggesting all along as a safe way to experiment. I had tried to get her to prescribe double the usual quantity of the usual tablets, but half strength versions. My idea was that I would halve the dose of one of the tablets for a week, and see what happened. If nothing useful happened, or my blood pressure went up too high, I would then take two of those tablets to restore the dosage to what I had been taking before. What we settled on was for her to prescribe just one of the tablets at half strength, and to try that dosage for a full month. Rather stupidly she didn't prescribe me enough to double the half dose if I thought it wasn't working out. So I stay on half dose until I see her in a months time, and then maybe we will try a half dose of a different tablet. It is going to take many months to check all combinations instead of 4 or 5 weeks if we did it my way. Oh well, it's only my time and health !

 With the doctor out of the way it was time to get ready to go out again. Although I had been feeling rather wonderful, alive, alert, and almost energetic without my blood pressure tablets, I was beginning to feel rather tired by the time I was due to go out. It would have been easy to go to bed instead of going out, but I fought that down, and went out and enjoyed myself.
The Spiders at The Catford
                  Ram Thurs 25th Sept 2014
One view of The Spiders at The Catford Ram
Jo Corteen doing guest vocals with The
Jo Corteen stepped up to the mike for guest vocals on one song.
Another view of The Spiders
Another view of The Spiders
After 11pm...many have had to go home, but the
                  die hard fans are still there
Gone 11pm, and many people have had to go home, but the die hard fans, and the sound engineer (on the far right of the picture)  and his mate are still there !

 I think it was getting on to 11:30pm when I went home. I had shaken off the fatigue I started the night with very quickly, and I still felt quite good even after I got home. I didn't stop for a takeaway on the way home, and all I had when I got in was a couple of bags of Hula Hoops to top off all the Guinness I had drunk. Then I went to bed. I did wonder if I would ever get to sleep, but sleep came quite quickly, and I seemed to sleep well.

 I woke up earlier than expected or wanted yesterday morning. So I took my new tablets, and went back to sleep. I didn't sleep that well , but I don't think it was anything to do with the tablets. There was a chance of feeling light headed as my blood pressure dropped, but I either didn't notice it, or my blood pressure didn't drop ! When I got up again I slowly prepared myself for life out of bed, and ultimately to go out shopping.

 Just for a change, and because I wanted to avoid some of the known temptations of Tesco and Aldi, I went to Lidl instead. It's about a 10 - 15 minute walk there, and the same coming back (maybe the coming back, carrying shopping gets closer to the 15 minutes). So it's a reasonable bit of exercise. I took reasonable precautions not to buy anything too outrageous like chocolate cake or biscuits, but a few things I did get were highly dubious. I bet the mackerel in a creamy white sauce had loads of stuff in it that I ought to avoid, but it was too tasty to refuse - at least I think it was. It doesn't seem to be here today, and I think I might have eaten it while drunk last night !

 After getting back from Lidl, and after having a small snack like lunch, I called my friend Kevin to see how he was. He wasn't at The Catford Ram the last two Thursdays, and nobody had spoken to him. It turns out that he has had another flare up of his problem, and has had loads of hospital appointments for treatment, and has just hasn't felt fit to face the world recently - a feeling I can often feel a lot of sympathy for.

 When he realised that I had the day off work he suggested that we could meet in a few hours on his way back from his latest treatment at the hospital. He had to have the treatment, and the only way home afterwards was to go past the Catford Wetherspoons. So it was no hassle to drop in there on the way back. The only trouble was that we had a lot of gossip to catch up on, and there were two very good ales on in the pub........

 I think it was over five hours later that I went home after drinking many pints of strong (5% !!!!) ale, and feeling rather drunk. It was probably when I got home that I ate the mackerel in creamy white sauce, but I have no recollection of it. I do remember making an online order for some kebabs covered in fierce chilli sauce. They were delicious, and I went to bed very late (near midnight again) feeling very bloated and generally happily crap.

 It's difficult to know if it was the blood pressure tablets kicking in again, or if it was the kebab and beer, but I had a typical semi-lousy night the same as usual when taking my tablets, and kept waking up in the night for no obvious reasons (except on a couple of occasions when I was only 50% keen to have a wee). This morning I have done nothing physical, but I've had hints that my right knew is going to complain when I go upstairs after a bit of walking.

 My hangover from last night/afternoon is not painful, and in many ways it is hard to distinguish it from the sort of wet blanket effect of the blood pressure tablets. I definitely could not have got up early enough to go to work this morning (not that I would be on a Saturday), a couple of hours later I felt not that much different to any average morning when I do go to work. While I can blame some of it on the booze, it definitely feels like I am back in the grip of those tablets again - even with one of them being a half dose. I've had a good taste of how good it can feel without them, and I guess I should be fighting back at the effects to do the sort of stuff I would do without them - but it's not easy. In fact it's bloody hard when the reward for doing it is all too frequently almost nothing, and it's only the exceptions to that that make it worth fighting - sometimes !

 I had been hoping that I could get up to the Epping - Ongar railway today. That vague plan, or hope, didn't take into account getting plastered in the pub yesterday, and of course it has all fallen through......and that could be a could thing with the benefit of hindsight. Those kebabs I had last night are the gift that keeps on giving. I think it has all settled down now, but a little while I go I had the deluxe runs with chilli sting overdrive - and I would like that to have happened while I was in the middle of nowhere ! Of course if I had spent all yesterday afternoon, and into the evening, getting completely blasted, I wouldn't have had the kebabs, and would have been in bed nice and early, and might possibly have woken as fresh as a daisy, and raring to go - well that's how it happens in the movies or something.

 Today I have been catching up with stuff I was going to do yesterday. Selecting and editing from the 96 photos I took on Thursday night took quite a bit of time. It would have been a bit quicker if I didn't have a thick head - it's hard to be creative with a wet sock around your brain ! It feels like it is starting to get quite late (probably because it is so dull outside), but it is possible I will do the other thing I meant to do yesterday - washing some shirts and stuff - before I chill out for the evening.

 One more photo to finish with....
clear plastic bird
                      repellant spikes glowing in the setting sun
It was Kevin who brought my attention to what is happening in this photo. Sadly the photo doesn't show it as dramatically as it was in real life. The parapet of this building is covered in clear plastic spike to discourage birds from roosting there. Normally they are almost invisible, but the sun that is setting behind the building is lighting them up really brightly. To the naked eye it was almost a dazzling effect. As I say, the camera has really not captured just how bright and weird it looked.
Thursday 25th September 2014
08:11 BST
  Yesterday ended up far better than it started. After the rather gloomy, and misty start it brightened up a bit, and then there were several showers. By the afternoon it brightened up even more, and although there were a few tense moment about 10 minutes before I was due to go home, when a couple of really black looking clouds scudded across the sky, I actually went home in sunshine. The sky stayed more or less clear from then on, and overnight the temperature dropped to about 8 C. That made for a chilly walk to the station. It was also a rather dark walk to the station. The sun didn't rise until my train was on it's way to London ! Today should see no more than some light cloud with plenty of sunny intervals, but the top temperature is only forecast to be 18 C - comfortable, but nothing to get excited about.

 Once again my high blood pressure made for a good journey home - good as in I was able to rush around without feeling like I was pushing myself to the edge. On the way home I called into Tesco to buy some shopping, and for the most part I bought fairly healthy stuff - vegetables and salad in the main, but I also bought a sandwich I saw looking lonely with a reduced price sticker on it. Then I carried on to home, and arrived feeling quite satisfied with myself.

 After putting my shopping away I sat down, and tried to relax a bit to test my blood pressure. It was like I thought it might be - rather high. It was high enough that the cardiac nurse at Lewisham Hospital who I once terrified with my high blood pressure about 10 months ago, would probably have had kittens again....although maybe not as many as last year ! My other prediction that once I settled down, and relaxed properly, my blood pressure would come right down, was also correct. My best effort at relaxing brought it down to only slightly high for a normal person (which evidently I am not).

 I thought it might be interesting to check my blood glucose level as well last night. Now that was higher than I expected. It wasn't in the danger zone, but higher than normal. It is slightly worrying because I can't account for what caused it to be that high. I didn't have anything with obvious high levels of sugar in it all day, but that doesn't mean that something had far more sugar in it than I realised. I've just checked the chilli sauce that I used yesterday morning, and that, surprisingly , doesn't have any sugar in it at all. Maybe the coronation chicken wrap thing I had for breakfast had sugar in it. On reflection, it may have had a slight sweetness to it.

 That high blood glucose level annoyed me enough to make me want to do something stupid - eat more. I had started with a mixed salad with some strips of pastrami on it, and, I have to admit, far too much mayonnaise. By itself that was fairly OK, but I shouldn't have eaten the entire pack of those rather nice sweet and smoky baby beetroots. They definitely contain too much sugar (and/or carbohydrates). In a final gesture of defiance, or stupidity, I also ate the sandwich I bought !

 It is possible that my doctor will want to check my blood glucose level when I see him (or her - I don't really know yet) tonight, and so I have taken steps to reduce it a bit - I hope. Breakfast this morning was an apple and a nice crunchy conference pear. That will be all I'll be eating until after I've seen the doctor. It shouldn't need to come to this, and probably won't. I expect I've only got a 10 minute appointment, and I'll be using most of that moaning about the negative effects of my blood pressure medication. If there was some way of changing that to make my legs in particular, but also many other bits of my body work as well as they have these last few days, then I would be most happy.

 After seeing the doctor I'll be going straight home to get changed for a third time to go out again. Chris Mayer's band The Spiders are playing in The Catford Ram, and I am looking forward to drinking many pints of beer, and listening to some good music tonight. I've booked tomorrow off work so it doesn't matter how late it gets, or how drunk I get....well it does to some extent, but I needn't be constrained by worries about work in the morning.

 Maybe I could spend my ill gotten gains on beer tonight.....or maybe I couldn't. This morning I found this near work........
10 Nakfa note - worth about
                  40p !
 This Eritrean 10 Nakfa note is worth about 40p in English currency !

platforms 21 and 22 nearly in use at Waterloo
                  mainline station
It's looking like platforms 21 and 22, formerly in use for the international Eurostar services at Waterloo, are now very close to going back into use for national services from Waterloo. Maybe South West Trains will run their long distance services from these platforms, or maybe they will have ordinary suburban commuter services from them, but I still feel keen to go and have a nose around once trains start running from them.
Wednesday 24th September 2014
08:12 BST
  I guess yesterday didn't get as warm as the day before, but it was still nice and bright and often sunny, and it felt quite pleasant as I made my way home from work. The only problem is I can't recall seeing what the actual temperature was. The forecast said it would be 18 C, and I would like to think it was at least a degree higher than that. Once the sun set the clouds gathered, and there was lots of rain during the night (at least I think there was - although the puddles didn't seem that intensive). It wasn't raining when I walked to the station, and it was a fairly mild 13 C, but it was very dull and misty. At the station it looked like this......
atford Bridge station at
                  06:26 on Wednesday 24th Sept 2014
 The mist was very light, but it was enough to soften the image, and is most obvious looking through the bridge in the centre of the picture. The rest of today is going to have very variable weather. Two minutes ago the sun managed to squeeze a sunbeam through the clouds, but now it is raining. There could be intermittent showers at any time this morning, and into the afternoon, but if I am incredibly lucky it was be dry, and with another scoopful of luck added, it could be sunny as well when I leave work to go home. If nothing else it should be moderately warm again - perhaps 18 C again. If the forecast has any sanity in it, tomorrow should see the weather back to how it was yesterday, and maybe even better than that.

 My high blood pressure continues to make commuting feel so much easier. Yesterday, just like in the morning, but perhaps more so, I was able to rush around with ease on my way home from work. I may not actually be going much faster, but it doesn't feel like I am dragging an anchor around with me. It actually feel good to be able to push myself to the point when I am breathing quite hard - but still a little short of panting. This morning it was very noticeable going up and over the link from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station. I've always found that a bit challenging even at my best, and this morning it felt quite a lot like I remember my best. I was able to keep accelerating and overtaking people with very little effort, and the speed that my breathing returned to normal was far faster than what has become normal for most of this year.

 After an almost pleasant journey home I checked my blood pressure. It was very high, but not incredibly high. After 5 or 6 minutes of relaxation I managed to get it down to merely "high". That was very soon after getting home, and I wondered if I could get it lower after I had some dinner, and when I should have been more relaxed. I cooked a very healthy dinner last night, and I had very few snacks during the course of the evening. Dinner was actually just quick stewed vegetable in chicken stock. If I hadn't poured a drizzle of chilli oil over it, it would have been totally fat free, and very low in calories.

 So there I was. Sitting down in front of the TV after eating my healthy dinner, and I was feeling nice and relaxed. I checked my blood pressure and it was higher than I hoped, but not terrible. It is frequently higher the first time I check it after all the palaver of getting the meter, the awkwardness of strapping on the cuff one handed, and wiggling around finding the most comfortable and relaxing position. So five minutes later I checked it again....Unfortunately I was watching the news on TV, and a news item came on about David Millband, the labour MP who wants to be prime ministers. Politicians make my blood boil at the best of times, but when that bastard announced he was going to raise taxes by bashing the tobacco companies even harder it really made my blood pressure peak ! I may not have smoked for the past year, and I might not smoke again, but I am still a smoker, and having my friends abused by a slimy git of a politician really annoys me. I can feel my blood pressure rising to new unexplored heights even now as I do no more than write this !

 I achieved the one thing I had really set out to do last night, and that was to wash my hair. There didn't seem to be anything else worthwhile doing after that, and once my hair was sufficiently dry I went to bed. I thought I might listen to the radio, or do some reading, but I turned the light out instead. I can't be sure, but I think I was asleep before 8.30pm last night. Like the night before, I seemed to sleep very solidly. I'm sure I woke up for a pee at least once, but the memory of it is almost dreamlike. I woke up just 15 minutes early this morning, and even if I didn't feel eager to greet the new day, I think I sort of felt refreshed. I am starting to think that high blood pressure also means better sleep - although I feel sure that my eyelids will start to drop at any time today that I start reading stuff off the internet. I don't understand why, but reading of my work PC for any length of time is almost hypnotic.

 Tomorrow night stuff is happening, and one of the more important things is my appointment at the doctors at 5:10pm. I won't have any time to get any shopping on the way home tomorrow, and by then I will be needing stuff, and so I had better get some tonight. I think I had better buy my shopping from Tesco on my Clubcard Plus card because my bank account is getting worryingly low now. I think I may have been a bit too generous at the start of the month when I "borrowed" money from this month to top up my savings account instead of only using only the surplus at the end of last month (of which there was very little !). It is a great shame that pay day is still almost a whole week away - 6 days away to be precise !
Tuesday 23rd September 2014
08:25 BST
  The significance of today, at least in Google's calendar, is that it is the first day of autumn - and they did a doodle for it.......
Google doodle screenshot
                  Tuesday 23rd September 2014
This screenshot is static - the original was animated.

 I'm not totally convinced it is the first day of autumn, but at least Google didn't use the atrocious Americanism and call it "fall". Of course if 21st June is midsummers day, then a quarter of a year later it should really have been mid-autumn day 2 days ago, but no one is ever going to agree with that ! Regardless of when the seasons begin, end, or have their middles, it was a sort of half and half day yesterday, and today is going to be similar. Yesterday started off slightly chilly, but after almost continuous sunshine, it felt warm going home from work. The temperature may have just managed to get as high as 20 C. This morning started at a chilly 9 C, but like yesterday it will warm up - but it may not get quite as warm as yesterday. The prediction is for about 18 C.

 I thought I was going to feel rough all day yesterday, but apart from some yawning, I was feeling reasonably good by the time I left work to go home. I can't work out how I felt as I went home. Sometimes it felt like I had more energy than usual, and sometimes when I tried to push myself a bit harder it wore me down quite quickly. I think I ended up walking fast, but not rushing, and as far as I can recall that felt comfortable - and in a way that is a bit novel !

 It is now 5 days since I last had any blood pressure medication, and I am getting mixed messages. Sometimes I feel a bit jittery - at least I think that's the best way to describe it. I can certainly feel my heart beating differently from time to time.....or am I imagining it ? On the plus side I am feeling like I have this extra energy, and all that was probably holding me back yesterday was being so heavy at the moment. If I still weighed what I did when I went into hospital last year, I would probably have run halfway home - in my wildest dreams !!!! - but back to reality...As I think I predicted last week, my feet and legs are hardly swollen at all recently. It will be a shame to go back on those drugs on Thursday after I've seen the doctor.

 Another effect of not taking those drugs is that I sometimes think I feel a bit less hungry these last few days. I didn't eat all that much last night. What I did eat was bad enough, and perhaps it was what I ate that seemed to make me think I didn't need to eat much more to feel satisfied. Last night I did an experiment I have been wanting to do for ages. Sometime before my gas cooker was condemned I bought a tinned steak and kidney pie (like a Fray Bentos one, but with a different name on the tin). In theory you can't cook one of those pies in a microwave oven, and I now know that is both partly true, and partly false. As expected, the puff pastry didn't cook properly in the microwave, but it did cook to an edible consistency. The filling, which is 99% precooked before tinning, obviously came out perfectly. So while it wasn't quite like the picture on the tin, and nothing like a genuine Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie cooked in an oven, it was still nice and tasty when served with some garden peas (and nothing else apart from some hot chilli sauce).

 For "afters" I had a couple of tasty Worcestershire apples, and then I tried to relax so I could check my blood pressure. I think I was probably a bit stupid to be impatient to check my blood pressure, and I was not very relaxed when I first checked it. In fact I was hardly relaxed at all, and yet when I checked my blood pressure it was not incredibly high......just sort of very high ! Five minutes later it was quite high, and five minutes after that it was just about, with some imagination, just on the extreme upper limits of normal for a moderately unfit person without a heart condition. I think that if I had checked my blood pressure at a different time, and not while watching the TV news, which always raises my blood pressure (metaphorically if not actually).  So do I really need to take pills to protect me from watching the TV news ? Maybe it would be easier to not watch the news...except sometimes, some bits of it are interesting.

 I was going to get into bed quite early last night, and do some reading, but I got distracted by this and that. I was still in bed before 9pm, but it seemed too late to bother reading anything. So I turned over and fell asleep almost instantly. I then slept very soundly - much better than usual. I think I may have got up once or twice to have a pee, but I must have fallen asleep again so fast that the deed hardly registered on my memory. In the end I woke up 15 minutes earlier than I needed to, and decided I might as well get up. It felt remarkably cool this morning, and it can't be long before I am going to have to close the bathroom window overnight to avoid freezing my bits off when I go in there first thing in the morning.

 This morning, despite recent improvements here and there, I still felt pretty rough, and would have much preferred to get back in bed rather than walk to the station.Walking to the station, and travelling to Earlsfield is always boring and tedious, but is rarely actually painful, or uncomfortable - as such, but it is still something I don't do lightly. The strange thing is, and there are strong hints it is all in the mind - at least to some degree - no matter how crap I feel when I start, and how crap I feel during the journey, once I have reached the little Londis supermarket, 100ft from Earlsfield station, I suddenly feel better, OK, or even good ! This morning I came close to feeling good !

 I have a feeling that work is going to be boring today, and just the thought of that is going to make the day drag by. So I can't wait to go home. There is one important thing I want to do when I get home, and that is to wash my hair. I don't know how I didn't find the time or inclination to do it last night, and it was too cold to go to work with wet hair so I couldn't do it this morning. It is definitely feeling yucky this morning so tonight has to the tonight for the grand hair wash ! Other than that, I am doing bugger all ! Which oddly enough seems to be what those Aussies with their parody of booze were doing on the concourse of Waterloo station last night !
being ignored at
Monday 22nd September 2014
08:42 BST
  The temperature was getting close to the lower limits of no coat and short sleeve shirt comfort, and occasionally the sun disappeared behind a big cloud, but yesterday afternoon seemed very pleasant. The lack of total cloud cover allowed the temperature to drop into single figures this morning. It was little more than 9 C when I walked to the station, but to make up for it, it was cheerfully bright. The sun was far too low in the sky to say it was sunny, but the cloud should stay thin and patchy today, and most of today will be bright with long periods of sunshine. Unfortunately that doesn't mean it will be warm. The forecast says the temperature will struggle to get near 20 C, and 18 C is more likely. Some of the more eccentric weather forecasters who reckon they can predict the general trend of the weather, are saying that we could have higher than average, almost low summer like temperature for another month yet. That will be nice if it turns out to be true.

 Yesterday morning was sort of stressful. There was a time when it looked like the water leak in my kitchen could not be fixed without getting a whole new mixer tap assembly, but the problem was resolved by easier means in the end. While my friend Lee was sorting out the plumbing I tackled another little defect. For most of the summer months the main light in my living room has not worked. I was very sure it was the lamp socket that was faulty, and yesterday I finally proved my theory was correct when I changed it for one that Lee had brought with him from his extensive stock of odds and ends in his garage. The stressful part was deciding to change the socket while everything was still live. It probably broke a million health and safety rules, but I was confident I could take the care required not to have an accident, and I did do the job without incident.

 It all left me feeling a little stressed for some reason, and I was looking forward to spending a nice relaxing afternoon....and that is what I had, but not the way I thought it would happen. I had forgotten that I had agreed to meet Jodie in The Catford Constitutional Club. It was a bit of a shock to the system to go out when I hadn't been preparing for it, but once I got moving everything was fine.

 I don't know how long we spent in there, and I daren't admit (even to myself) how much money I spent, but I do know that it was a lot longer than planned. The trouble was that the time of the trains from Catford Bridge station towards London did not coincide with the end of the glasses of beer. So Jodie, who wanted to go into town, kept missing the train (or would have if she had attempted to get to the station in 20 seconds flat ! - It takes a good five minutes normally). So we had another half, and then another half, and then another half......until finally Jodie called her friend who was driving to the gig they were both going to, and asked for a lift.
delayed trains this morning
 I had a thoroughly enjoyable time getting slowly pickled yesterday afternoon, and I came home feeling good, but obviously slightly drunk....and it was only slightly but....... While I might have not been rolling drunk, and still (mostly) had my wits about about me, I knew there would be a price to pay. That price was to wake up after a fairly early night, and after getting plenty of sleep, feeling really rather fragile. It wasn't exactly like a traditional hangover, but there were obviously similarities to one. My head felt a bit thick, but didn't actually hurt. My guts felt a bit abused, and I felt half empty, half nauseous. On top of that, al my usual aches and pains seemed worse - with one strange exception that I'll explain later.

 It was not the greatest of mornings to go to work, and it was not the greatest of mornings for Network Rain to over run some engineering works in (or so I believe) the New Cross area. It resulted in many of the early morning trains being cancelled or delayed. For a long time it looked as if my usual train was not going to run, but eventually it did, and arrived at Catford Bridge 27 minutes late.

 I was fortunate that I didn't have to spend ages on a cool draughty platform waiting for the train. I stayed at home monitoring the National Rail journey planner real time train information to see what was moving, and where it was. (This stuff is also available on mobile phones - that's where I took the screenshot on the left). Once I saw my train heading to Catford I grabbed my stuff, and strolled to the station. I knew I was going to be late for work, but that didn't matter. What did matter is that I was finally moving and the sooner it was over, and I would only have to suffer being at work - which is bad enough !

 While we were in The Catford Constitutional Club Jodie made enquiries as to what the urgent structural repairs were that had kept the place shut for most of last week. Although it was seen to at the same time, it wasn't the chimney stack with the alarming crack in it that was the problem. Apparently it was more to do with the roof of the disused building at the back. That building is the remains of a 16th century farmhouse (or if not 16th century, still incredibly old), and the roof has looked incredibly precarious since well before the place was taken on by Antic Pubs - and possibly worse since ! To the untutored eye it still looks dodgy, but apparently the experts say it is safe, as the no doubt they also say about the back wall of the dining area....
crack at the back of the
                  dining area of The Catford Constitutional Club
If this was your house you would probably be panicking, and checking you insurance after seeing a crack like this, but if you are running a "shabby chic" themed pub and restaurant in a dilapidated ex-Conservative part club house, it is just another "feature" and nothing to worry about at all !
the crack - continued !!
The crack that starts above the window continues below it too. Subsidence ????

 Now I've been at work for a while I don't feel too bad. I'm sure I got between 6 and 8 hours sleep last night, but I seem to be yawning a lot, and with it still being a bit cool in my office, I would most emphatically like to be back under my duvet. Most of my aches seem to have subsided now - except for my left arm, particularly around the elbow. It feels cold and stiff and aching. There is better news about my legs. Since running out of blood pressure tablets last Thursday my blood pressure must be nice and high again. I maybe racing towards death, but my more powerful heart seems to have been able to pump the excess liquid out of my legs and feet, and there is very little swelling there this morning. My feet look the closest to normal than they have this last 12 months.

 Some of that I expected, but I didn't expect the arthritic, or rheumatic (or whatever) pains in my right knee to go away. It was as I walked over the footbridge at the station this morning that I suddenly realised I was not in pain for a change. Other bits hurt, so life still wasn't supernaturally wonderful, but it was a most pleasant surprise not to have that knee pain. Over the last few months I've been wondering if I would suffer the same state as my mum did. There were days when her knee was so painful she could hardly move. However, I can't remember any time when it went from moderately bad to not being there at all. So maybe there is hope that the pain I was suffering was not the same thing as my mum had, and that it could even be curable if it comes back. Maybe now it is gone, even if it is only for one morning, I might mention it to the quack when I see him (or is it a her this time ?) on Thursday. Some say that the best time to tell a doctor about pain is when you are in pain, but I do my best never to show weakness in front of a doctor. You never know what they will want to do to you, and you can bet your life it will be something awful ! (Showing weakness to the fuzzy wuzzies is what cost us the British Empire according to some bloke I met on the train called Lance-Corporal Jack Jones).
Sunday 21st September 2014
10:37 BST
  The dull grey skies were really quite depressing yesterday....or if not actually depressing, then definitely uninspiring. The only saving grace was that it didn't start to feel too cool until the evening. It's all change today ! The sun has been shining since sunrise, and although there are some big clumps of mostly fluffy clouds, they seem to blow over quite quickly. The downside is that it is rather cool this morning. It is only a rather fresh feeling 16 C now, and it doesn't feel like it will get more than a few degrees higher by the end of the afternoon. Maybe we had a small intermittent extension to summer, but I think we are now entering the grip of autumn (and winter won't be far behind).

 Yesterday seemed such a short day. I don't know where all the hours went to. That may be not quite true until Aleemah had gone home. The pace of life seemed normal, or as normal as normal may be, until then, but maybe it was the news that my friend Lee would not be coming over to check his plumbing work until some unknown time today (I hope), that completely upset my sense of time. It could also be that I was somehow unprepared for it to get dark as early as 7pm.

 Sunset is at 19:02pm today, and unlike yesterday, it should be reasonably bright until sunset. The cloud was so thick yesterday that it was already (night time like) gloomy an hour before sunset. It rather upset my plans to even think about going out last night. I would have liked to have seen Chain playing last night, but I didn't fancy going out in a thunderstorm. There wasn't an actual thunderstorm, but as sunset approached I didn't realise it was sunset that made the sky look so black and threatening. It looked like the start of a storm even if the falling temperature suggested otherwise. So at 7pm I shut all the windows, closed the curtains, and settled down for a night in.

 It wasn't a bad night in, but then again, nor was it a specially good one. There was nothing really good on TV, but there were several clashing moderately good things on. There was the umpteenth repeat of a Bond film, The Man With The Golden Gun, and that partly clashed with Airplane II: The Sequel, and there were various repeats of programmes like QI popping up on some channels. I'm not sure if it was fortunate, unfortunate, or just plain stupid, but I ended up watching the Bond film until a commercial break came on, and then I would switch over to Airplane II until that had a commercial break. I probably missed some good bits from both films, but mostly I could fill in the missing blanks.

 The idea that if you see something very bright green you can get purple (or magenta) after images for a short while is well know (I presume). Less well known is that you can get a similar effect from smells. The eye only has three different types of colour receptors, but the nose has thousands. Some, maybe most air fresheners work by blocking certain types of smells the same way that bright green light blocks the green receptors in the eye for a while. Sometimes these effects are not for the good, and it may be changes to my nose after not smoking for a year make me more susceptible to some of the bad effects (and maybe the good too).

 For instance, the perfumes added to some detergents to give that "fresh washed" aroma can, after saturating certain smell receptors, leave me believing I can small subtle burning smells. Yesterday, for instance, after laying on a newly washed (but obviously dry) pillowcase for a while I could smell a very faint smell of burning newspaper whenever I came away from the pillow. It was only just strong enough to register, and soon went away again, but burning smells are something you don't want to smell indoors, but there is worse....

 Yesterday I was washing a sheet and some pillowcases, and I added a good sprinkle of pure lavendar oil to the wash. That really blasted my nose with the smell of lavendar to such an extent that I could no longer really smell it, but the smell that replaced it was absolutely foul. The curious thing was that that terrible smell, almost as if there was a decaying animal nearby, only appeared in one place, and for a while I really thought something had died (perhaps under the floorboards). I'm not sure what the real smell was that I was misidentifying, but it completely disappeared during the night. Maybe it was a haunting or something...... Whatever it was, it really stank, and then it didn't !

 I've just heard from my friend Lee that he will be around soon to sort out the plumbing. Once that is done I think I can look forward to a nice lazy Sunday afternoon where I can marshall my strength for another week at work (except it will only be a 4 day week because I've booked another Friday off).
Saturday 20th September 2014
18:00 BST
  After the rather nice day we had yesterday, the night felt quite warm indoors, and it didn't get that cool outside either. It was quite a humid night, and somewhere off in the distance there was probably a thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning. I heard, and may have been woken by a distant boom that I attributed to machinery on the building site on the other side of the railway lines. It was only a bit later that I realised it was far too early for work to have started there. The day dawned dull and gloomy, and the road looked wet as if it had recently rained. It has stayed dry today while the sky has gone through the traditional fifty shades of grey ! Maybe three hours ago it was at least 20, and maybe even 21 C, but now it is just 18 C, and I think it's still dropping. Maybe we will be seeing more rain soon.

 There was no reason why I needed to go to bed as early as I did last night, but I am glad I did, and maybe it might have been nicer to go to bed even earlier. The only trouble is, I can't quite remember what time I did go to bed. I think it might have been 10pm. I slept really well for the first part of the night, but badly for the end part. I blame the bad sleep on a dream I had earlier.

 The initial dream was rather nice. I had been taken to an off-licence which had an off licence museum in it. On shelves just above head height were all sorts of artefacts - old beer bottles, cigarette packets, ashtrays, beer mats, and bar towels (for instance). The place carried a huge range of bottled beers from around the world, and also a huge range of cigarettes, also from all around the world. I can't quite remember why, perhaps I didn't have any money on me, or it was just inconvenient to carry stuff around, but I couldn't buy anything at the time. I was determined to go back at some point, and tried to remember exactly where the place was.

 A bit later in the morning, or so it seemed to me, I had lots of little dreamlets about trying to find my back to the place. After each little dream I would seem to wake up, and then as soon as I fell asleep again I would start an elusive dream search for this mythical place. I was obviously very desperate to buy more cigarettes, but not just cigarettes. I wanted some of the strange ones seen in the original dream. In one small dream I was checking how many cigarettes I had stashed in the drawer under my bed (which doesn't exist in real life), and I felt dismayed that there were only a couple of thousand cigarettes under there. The curious thing is that I didn't want to smoke the cigarettes, I just wanted to have them.

 Today has been one of those days where I have done small amounts of lots in little packages....or some such nonsense like that. Aleemah visited today, and I had to do a bit of housework to make the place look a bit neater.  Aleemah arrived a bit later than usual because of a signal failure on the London Underground, and I took the opportunity to get a fitted sheet, two pillowcases, and a mini tablecloth soaking in some bio washing liquid while waiting news on her arrival time.

 She was only delayed by 20 minutes, and from then it was the usual procedure of breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub, shopping in Aldi, and then watching a DVD. Today's DVD was of an old TV series from 1975 called "Shadows" that I had never heard of before. Some of the acting was a bit wooden, but it was strangely enjoyable once I got the hang of the format. After Aleemah had gone home my friend Lee was supposed to come over to fix the leak on the plumbing he did here last weekend. Unfortunately he was otherwise busy, but should be here tomorrow.

 One other little thing I did today was to re-edit a few pictures from Thursday night to show here.
Chain at The Catford Ram
From l - r : Ravi on bass guitar, Jo on electroacoustic guitar and vocal, Chris on lead guitar, and Dave on keyboards. There is a drummer, but we don't mention him.
Dave, keyboards and Jo
I think I almost hit the shutter button randomly for this photo, but I sort of like it.
Jo Corteen with electroacoustic guitar
I obviously used flash for this photo of Jo sitting down to play.

 I could go and see Chain playing again tonight. They are playing in The Chatterton Arms, and it's only 30 minutes on the bus to get there, but I don't feel inclined to go out right now.  I think the sun has now officially set, and it is now dark and getting colder outside. It just does not lure me towards the front door, and I feel in a sort of mellow mood. It would be nice to see Chain again, but it would also be nice to pour a large whisky, and do some reading.....maybe nicer !
Friday 19th September 2014
20:55 BST
  Yesterday was warm, and there was probably more sunshine than I expected, but today has been much better - at least in Catford it was. There have been reports of thunderstorms in some parts last night, and earlier today, but it has been perfectly dry here. I did see some big, heavy looking clouds float past, taking up a small part of the sky, but they rarely interfered with the sunshine. All that sunshine took the temperature up to at least 24 C, and I suspect it might have been a degree higher than that at some point during the afternoon. The forecast does warn of the possibility of a thunderstorm during the night, but there is more chance of it staying dry, but rather warm (for night-time) and humid too. It seems tomorrow will be cloudy, with very little chance of sunshine. So it will be a fair bit cooler, but should stay dry.

 Last night was, on the whole, rather good, but some discomfort spoiled it a bit.......and it was Chain's gig in The Catford Ram ! When I got home from work I had a very light dinner, or at least I thought it was a small and light dinner, and then I had a shower. I allowed almost an hour to relax and cool off after the shower before getting dressed ready to go out. When I went out I was feeling a bit bloated, very fat, and very unfit. No so unfit that the walk to The Ram wasn't a simple stroll, but I didn't feel like dancing.....OK, so I never, ever feel like dancing, but if I did I would have felt too bloated to do it.

 The other thing that spoiled the evening a bit was that the chairs in the pub were making my back ache. Not much, but enough to be bothersome. If I made my back comfortable it felt like my gut was sticking out too much, and the bloated feeling was worse. If I got my gut comfortable, my back ached. The only comfortable thing to do was to stalk around with my camera. I took loads of pictures, and because there was some stage lighting, I tried my best not to use flash. Many pictures came out blurred, but a few were OK.
Jo Corteen and Dave
 This one shows Jo Corteen in the foreground, Chris Mayer in the background, and Dave Griffiths on the right of the picture. I'll try and shrink a couple more pictures down to show here in a day or two.

 I have to confess that I was counting the minutes until the gig ended last night. I had booked today off work, so it didn't matter how late I got to bed, or how big a hangover I had this morning, but even so, I found an 11:20pm finish was rather later than I had anticipated. As soon as Chain came off stage I said my goodbyes, and headed for home in the tepid, and rather nice night air. I had a small snack when I got home, and I may have been in bed not much later than midnight.

 It was definitely nice not having to get up for work this morning. I woke up for a pee at 3am, and while I was awake I remembered to cancel my 5am alarm. I woke up  at 6am instead, and I did get up for maybe an hour before going back to bed. I have no idea what time I might have fallen asleep again, but it was 10:20am when I was woken up by my phone ringing. It makes me wonder what time I might have woken up if it hadn't rung.

 I didn't feel that wonderful this morning, but there were things that had to be done. For a little while I had a nice job well done fatigue sort of buzz after washing 6 shirts and some underwear. A couple of hours after that I dealt with hand washing a large hand towel, or small bath towel (I am unsure what it's official designation is). That was very heavy when wet, and needed a lot of manhandling !

 After washing that towel, and hanging it up to dry, I went into deep laziness mode. I am unsure what happened to all the time today. I know I spent quite a bit of time photo editing, then there was the time spent doing laundry, but I wonder if I spent the rest of the day sleeping. I certainly had a snooze this afternoon, and I was surprised that it was gone 6pm when I woke up, but I haven't got the foggiest idea what time it was when I fell asleep.

 I guess tomorrow is going to be a bit better planned. During the morning, and then on into early afternoon I'll be seeing Aleemah, and then later in the afternoon I hope to be seeing my friend Lee. He should be coming round to fix a leak on the plumbing he did last week. I can't quite see what is leaking, but there is definitely a damp area under the new sink unit. I hope Lee can find where it is coming from, and fix it.

 Tomorrow evening, if I have any energy left, I could go to another Chain gig. Tomorrow they are in The Chatterton Arms in Bromley. It is easy to get to, and there is a choice of buses to get me home again. It would be nice to go, but I'm not making any form of decision about it tonight. It will probably be a spur of the moment thing.
Thursday 18th September 2014
08:31 BST
  It was warm, but not that warm yesterday, and there was very little sunshine in the afternoon. It was all rather disappointing compared to what was forecast, and what I was expecting. I don't know if anywhere in London, or 50 miles around it, got the 27 C that the wildest optimists hoped for, or even the 24 C that the more sober forecasts predicted. The best I saw was 22 C - nice, but nothing to get excited about. All my optimism for today has gone, and even the weather forecast is making less grand claims about today compared to how they thought today would be as late as yesterday. It was 16 C when I got up, and it is a rather misty morning. It will brighten up, and it will warm up, perhaps to 23 C in the afternoon, but I fear there will be very little sunshine.

 I acted as if I had energy that I didn't really have when I left work to go home yesterday. I didn't quite rush to the station, but I may have walked a tiny bit faster than usual (a really tiny bit !). When I got back to Catford I bought a bit of shopping from the Turkish supermarket. I didn't do that well in not buying some of the more unhealthy stuff, and in particular, I couldn't resist buying a little pack of that Turkish sweetmeat whose name I can't remember. It's puff pastry filled with crushed pistachio, and drizzled with thin honey. Some say that the honey is good for you, but I am sure it adds millions of calories.

 After the Turkish supermarket, and carrying two moderately heavy carrier bags, I decided I just had to wander down to the back of The Catford Constitutional Club to see what was going on there. The place has been closed since the weekend while they deal with an "urgent structural defect". They haven't said exactly what this urgent work was about on any of their social media pages, but I guessed a couple of possibilities before last night, and added another when I saw the place for myself.

 My first theory is one that several other people suggested, and that was a problem with a chimney stack that had a very large and worrying crack in it. Last night I observed that it has now been fixed, and that a scaffolding tower next to it was being dismantled. My other theory was that the floor had given away in the gents toilet. It's a very creaky floor, and many floorboards are cracked and crumbling. I once felt one start to give way under me, and the next day I saw there was actually a hole there. The third possibility is one problem I had forgotten about, and there was evidence that it was being worked on. It is the roof of a disused part of the building that dates back hundreds of years. It is really wonky, and prior to the place opening it looked as if it was in the process of falling down. I don't know what's been done to it in the last 9 months, but it looks as if some work has been done to it recently, and there is some scaffolding up that I hadn't noticed before. It is possible that the place may open again tonight, but Friday seems more likely.

 When I got home I had a small snack of some chick pea salad, and then prepared my proper dinner. I already had half a pot of cooked vegetables, and I added two extra ingredients, and some herbs. The extra ingredients were some butter beans, and some Polish sliced salami. It made for quite a filling dinner, but either the butter beans, or the leeks that I had added the night before, had a bit of a devastating effect on me this morning !

 I slept OK last night, and initially I didn't feel too bad when I first got up, but it wasn't long before whatever was causing the laxative effect really got going. Maybe it was the leeks and the beans because I found I was full of wind too. It was so bad that I couldn't leave home to get my usual 06:33 train, and I had to get the next Charing Cross train at 07:04. It is a faster train that skips 3 stations, and by Waterloo I am only 20 minutes behind schedule. The main problem is that I have to pay full peak time fares if I get that train. Well that's usually the only problem, but today there was "signalling problems" at London Bridge that added an extra 10 or 15 minutes to my journey. Then at Waterloo I judged it prudent to spend 5 or 10 minutes in the toilets there. Spending 30p just to fart seems a bit much. So it was just as well that a fault on the barriers meant that the toilets were free to use this morning ! On a good day I can get the 07:09 train from Waterloo to Earlsfield, but the 07:12 or 07:16 trains are the ones I more frequently get. Today it was the 07:46, and just to make things worse it was 3 minutes late leaving the station. Most trains from Waterloo leave before their allotted time by, on average, 15 seconds early.

 So here I am at work after having arrived considerably later than usual. I'll eventually make up the time somehow, but not tonight. Tonight is booze and music night followed by a days holiday so I can recover from any excesses tonight. Chain are playing in The Catford Ram at 8.30pm, and I expect I'll be in there an hour before that. The beer will probably be dreadful, but I am definitely looking forward to the music and company !
Wednesday 17th September 2014
08:18 BST
  Yesterday afternoon was rather glorious. The sky was blue, the sun was shining, and it was warm - not very warm, but warm enough - about 22 C. It didn't cool down that much during the night, and it was 17 C when I got up this morning, but unlike yesterday afternoon (and evening), the sky was a very dull grey. With not even a hint of the rising sun, I had my first taste of walking to the station in the dark since the last days of winter. This gloom will continue all morning, or so we are told. The weather forecasters have consulted the entrails of several freshly slaughtered chickens, and have confidently pronounced that the gloom will go away at the end of the morning, and the afternoon will be bright, and it will end up almost hot ! The most wildly optimistic guesses say the temperature could rise to 25 C by late afternoon ! At the moment, tomorrow is looking to be similar to today, but possibly even warmer - maybe 27 C. I guess I could call that hot. Maybe I'll have to see if I can crowbar myself into my shorts !

 It was nice going home in the warm bright sunshine yesterday, and maybe that inspired me to change whatever terribly vague, practically non existent plans I had, to include writing a couple of long(ish) emails. No, sorry, I lie. It wasn't the warm sunshine that inspired me to write one of those emails. It was finally, after a wait of 2 and half months, receiving an email from my friend Patricia who is currently in Argentina (and maybe will be forever now). Her previous communication was a text message saying she would email me as soon as she arrived in Argentina. That was sent on the 26th of June !  It's nice to know she arrived last !

 I think the only two things I was originally going to do were to try and eat a bit more carefully, and to try and get to bed early. To a very limited extent I achieved both things. My dinner was a big bowl of vegetable stew. It did have a tiny bit of cheese in it because I decided to use up a small leftover piece of Red Leicester cheese that was going mouldy. By the time I had cut off the mouldy surfaces there wasn't a lot left of it, and it mainly just added a bit of flavour. So that was mostly healthy. It was the snack I had before dinner, while I was writing, that is best not mentioned.

 Despite spending quite a long time writing those emails, I still got to bed fairly early. I can't quite remember when it was exactly, but I think it was around 8.30pm. What I am sure about is that I fell asleep very quickly, and I can't recall waking up until 3am. That is a very long continuous sleep for me these days. I didn't sleep quite so well after 3am, but it wasn't that bad compared to many days. In the end I gave up trying to sleep at about ten minutes before my alarm was due to go off at 5am.

 I guess I don't feel too bad this morning. I thought that my lower back might be a bit sore, but a hot shower sorted that out - and it was a hot shower ! Some time ago I turned up the gas on my water heater to compensate for what was then some rather cold nights, but since the nights have been a lot less cold, the hot water is almost uncomfortably hot to shower under. I really must remember to turn it down tonight if tomorrow is going to start off almost warm like this morning.

 As I passed through Waterloo station this morning I saw that Singapore airlines had occupied the concourse.
Singapore Airlines at
                  Waterloo station
They were trying to encourage people to buy flights to Australia - which seems odd.
I would have thought they would be trying to get people to use them for flights to Singapore.
Singapore Airlines, Australian themed, free
                  Oystercar holder
They were trying to lure people in with a free Oystercard holder - that was pre-stuffed with advertising bumph !
Tuesday 16th September 2014
08:32 BST
 I don't seem to remember yesterday afternoon being as sunny as I hoped it would, but it was reasonably bright, and it was certainly slightly warmer than tepid and it was dry. I think the highest temperature I saw was 21 C, but some claim it reached 22 C. This morning started off very mild at almost 16 C, and it was a bit like the forecast, and also not like the forecast at all ! The forecast said it would be misty, which it was, or possibly foggy, but I don't think it was quite thick enough to be called foggy even by the river. The forecast also suggested there could be some moderately heavy rain, or at least that is how I interpreted it, but apart from a little dew it was, and still is bone dry. There are hints the mist and cloud is starting to thin, and so it looks like it will stay dry. The weather forecast keeps changing, presumably every time they look out the window they see something different, but most versions say the afternoon could be quite warm, and my guess would be that it could be a rather muggy sort of warmth. The figure being suggested is 23 C, and possibly even 24 C. Sadly it seems that the warmth may only be accompanied by the barest minimum of sunshine - and that could include no sunshine at all !

 I feel terribly ambiguous recently. Most bits of me seem to be working quite well most of the time, and many bits seem completely crocked for some of the time. This morning my back was aching quite a bit....well maybe it would be more true to say that my entire torso ached a bit, but my back stood out as aching most. The usual combination of a hot shower, and all the exercise in getting to work have sort out that set of pains. My chest still hurts from time to time, and it hurts in two ways. The first hurt is like a wide area itch over my left breast. That is an area of reduced sensation since my operation, and that itchiness might, but probably isn't, a symptom of nerve re-growth. I used to think it was when I used to get it in the numb bits of my left hand, but a multitude of false alarms have taught me that my optimism is completely misplaced. The other chest pain is like the pain of a pulled muscle across my chest, and happens sometimes when I cough. The cough has to be a particularly deep one, and my body has to adopt a special posture before I feel that ripping pain - and if I knew what that posture was I would do my best to avoid it.

 Last night I felt moderately reasonable as I made my way home from work. I was looking forward to getting home, and I was looking forward to having an early night, but I was also looking forward to having a quick drink on the way home - but only a very quick one. As I mentioned yesterday, I learned that The Catford Constitutional Club was closed over the weekend while they dealt with an urgent structural defect in the building. I was rather curious as to what that was about, and during the afternoon I decided to let Jodie know that I might call in there for a quick pint to see what had happened - if they had re-opened. I was delayed leaving work just long enough to miss my usual train by a mere minute, and so Jodie got to Catford first. She reported that the place was still closed, but it was still standing with no obvious external defects. She decided not to hang around in Catford, and went straight home - which is a pity because I think she would have been amused by a picture I took last night on my way home from work.....
dinosaur ready to pounce
 This (presumably) helium filled dinosaur was waiting up in the roof of the passageway down to Waterloo East platforms B and C. Sooner or later it would select a victim, and leap down to tear the victims throat out.....

There was other stuff to see in Waterloo mainline station. The old Eurostar international platforms are slowly being returned to use for local use. All the customs and excise stuff has been removed (or whatever) and there is now direct access to the platforms. They must be very close to opening now.
new entrance to platforms 21
                  and 22 at Waterloo station
The signs are up, and once the doors are opened, or more likely the hoarding is removed, the platforms can be used.
new entrance way to Waterloo platforms 21 and
                  22 seen from the balcony
The new entrance seen from the balcony.
new ticket barriers at Waterloo platforms 21
                  and 22
Close up picture showing the new gate line.

 The only think of note that I did when I got home yesterday was to try out the ostrich steaks I bought on Sunday. I think I was a bit disappointed, or maybe just underwhelmed. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but what I found was that they are a red meat that looks a bit like steak, but with a different texture and a very different taste. They were a long way from being unpleasant, but I didn't really care for them, and I don't think I'll be trying any more of them.

 I was in bed before 8pm last night, and I might have been fast asleep very soon after 8pm, but I can't seem to remember. I seem to think that I slept well. I know I woke up a couple of times in the night, but they must have been such brief periods that they hardly register on my memory. I remember waking up at 4am, and I remember having difficulty getting back to sleep again. I managed it, but it was very lumpy sleep, and I was awake and up 5 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me. That makes it sound like I got sufficient sleep, but I would dearly love to be back in bed right now !

 Here's some more pictures from Waterloo taken at 7am this morning as I passed through on my way to work. An artist had been at work all night by the look of it.
new artwork on Waterloo
I don't know for certain, but I think that the short haired woman in grey to the right of the floor art is the artist.
floor art on Waterloo concourse
If you look from exactly the right angle, the image comes alive in 3D, and should look like the strange looking man in red is bursting through the floor carrying another person. Unfortunately I didn't have time to find the correct vantage point, and only this low level view gives any hint of how the 3D effect might look I expect view from the correct height and angle will turn up on the internet, or in newspapers of magazine sooner or later. I like the idea of these 3D drawings, but I don't think I like this one.

 Maybe I'll have the time or inclination to take a better look at this art if it is still there on my way home, but maybe I won't be bothered. I think there are only two things that I would definitely like to do tonight. The first is to try and have a dinner with less calories in it than what I ate last night (which was rather more than the two small ostrich steaks). Maybe I'll just have mainly green vegetables....or maybe not..... The second, and one that has a higher chance of happening, is to have another early night. Maybe I'll aim to be asleep by 8pm again. Hopefully I'll stay asleep once I get to sleep.
Monday 15th September 2014
08:20 BST
  Late yesterday afternoon, and almost up until sunset, was far sunnier than the morning, but it still failed to push the temperature up to anything more than "comfortable". Maybe that was 22 C, but may well have been a degree less. This morning started off at 14 C, and overcast. Now it is even more overcast - so overcast it looks like rain could be due. This is contrary to what I believe the forecast for today said. It was supposed to be a bit overcast this morning, but by mid morning the sky should be clear enough to let the occasional beam of sunshine through, and by mid afternoon there could be some extended sunny intervals. The most up to date forecast on the BBC's website still predicts that, but fails to explain why it seems so excessively overcast right now ! Assuming we survive this morning's grey weather, the forecast for the next few days is looking good for something slightly better than today's forecast weather.

 I am currently having more trouble with my broadband connection. It is a fault that Vermin Media claim to know about, and it is causing very slow intermittent connection. This is usually apparent only in the morning, and by the afternoon, and all through the evening, everything works perfectly. So this, and the other pages on my website, may take an age to load, and your browser may even time out before the page loads. Hopefully this problem may be sorted out today. The last time this happened it took a couple of days to fix. In point of fact, it is probably not a fault at all, but just disruption while Vermin Media use all their resources to upload trillions of megabytes of user logs, email, and other stuff to GCHQ. They probably do it every 2nd or 3rd Monday morning.

 I was going to have a very lazy afternoon yesterday, and I was going to try my ostrich steaks for dinner. Neither happened. I thought I ought to make some attempt at trying to make the last meal of the day low in calories. I did indeed make that attempt, but sadly I failed. Eating two allegedly low calorie (and also low salt, or so the packet proclaimed) ready meals was rather gluttonous, but failing to notice that for some inexplicable reason the "just 155 calories" (or whatever) written on the label was for half the pack ! I cannot believe that anybody could possibly settle for eating just half a pack - that would be a very small meal even for my friend Jodie who normally eats tiny portions of food. The chances of finding two people in the same county who would be happy to have half a pack each would be nothing short of miraculous.

 I had to have two packs just to notice I had eaten at all.It all added up to quite a few calories, and I don't quite understand where they all came from. I can easily make a far bigger, and far tastier dinner with less calories in - unless someone has been secretly increasing the amount of calories in tap water. Oh well, at least the packet of fancy coconut and treacle oat biscuits I demolished during the day was quite a small packet - as fancy food often is.

 The reason why my afternoon was not as lazy as I thought it would be was because I suddenly got the urge to wash 4 pillow cases, and a fitted sheet. The pillow cases and the sheet were made of the tissue paper thin material that is used in the cheap and nasty bed linen to be found in Poundstetcher (not to be confused with Poundland, or the Pound Shop). That made it fairly easy to handle, and also quick to dry. I hung the sheet over the banister rail last night, and it was perfectly dry this morning. As an experiment I added some lavendar oil into the wash. It will interesting to see if the pillowcases smell of it when I use them. Lavendar is supposed to be good for sleep.

 Maybe I could have done with some lavendar oil on my pillow cases when I went to bed last night. I felt quite good when I got into bed. It seemed to have been a very productive weekend, and being in the right mood to do that washing put me in an even better mood. So it took quite some time before I felt rested enough to go to sleep - and "quite a long time" took me beyond 11pm if I remember correctly - which I might not because I seemed to be flicking in and out of sleep for some time before I entered deep sleep. Even that didn't last long because I woke up coughing.

 The nature of my cough is rather different to when I had a cold recently. I currently seem to go for hours and hours without coughing - to the point where it seems I have got over it - and then, without warning, I'll get a little tickle in my throat, and end up coughing and spluttering for what seems like ages (but is probably less than 5 minutes) trying to cough up a "frog" in my throat. After that I am usually fine again. During the day it is obviously less bother than when you are really wanting to be asleep.

 This morning, despite feeling like I should have got a lot more sleep, and the occasional bit of coughing, I feel sort of OK. I don't seem to recall aching as much as usual when I first got out of bed, and I seemed to be unusually ache, pain, and creakiness free as I made my way to work. I did have one unpleasant moment on the train when I suddenly realised I was falling asleep, but other than that I felt really quite good. Even walking seemed to be easier, and possibly faster than usual.

 I think I only have two of the most vague plans for tonight. I don't think I'll be going in it, but I want to take a quick look at The Catford Constitutional Club on my way home. I heard that it was closed on Sunday (and possibly the whole weekend) while they dealt with structural problems. The place did have one very dodgy looking chimney stack that looked to be on the point of collapse, and maybe they were fixing that. Another possibility is that they were re-laying the floor in the gents toilet. Some of the floorboards up there would creak and groan as I walked across them, and there is evidence of several repairs where a board has partly given away.

 I've now forgotten what the other vague plan might have been. Maybe I was thinking of washing a duvet cover - now they really do need a lot of manhandling, and provide the strongest argument for fixing my washing machine. My second plan may also have been to try the ostrich steak(s) I bought yesterday. Failing that I could always fall back on the master plan - go to bed, and sleep as much as I can, as early as I can !
Sunday 14th September 2014
15:34 BST
  While yesterday may have been bright, dry, and almost warm, today is very slightly warmer still, and also dry, but not as bright. There are many blue patches of sky at the moment, but earlier on the sky was mostly grey. Occasionally the sun breaks through, but doesn't usually last that long...or at least it didn't. The weather forecast says it could be sunny now until sunset - which is getting annoyingly early now. The temperature is already on it's way to 22 C, and if the sun could stay out for an hour or so it could rise to 23 C - and that is what may well happen tomorrow, but slightly earlier in the day.

 Yesterday I mentioned that it was nice to sit down after the kitchen work was done, and Lee and his dad had gone home. That didn't really convey how fatigued I actually felt, or maybe it hadn't fully hit me while I was writing about it. I suppose some of it was more mental fatigue than physical fatigue. It was a bit stressful when it became obvious that the job would take far longer than the estimated time for it - by a factor of 4 ! I was also very concerned about whether all the plumbing would be leak proof and stuff.  Fortunately it all turned out OK, and I wasn't left with, for instance, no running water in the kitchen overnight.

 Soon after Lee had gone home I had a large snack. I didn't think it was sufficient for dinner, plus it was a bit early for that, and so I ended up ordering a takeaway. That was a bit naughty, and fate did it's best to encourage me to cancel the order, but then it all turned around, and it sort of became beneficial to have ordered it. To qualify for free delivery I added some chicken wings to the order. They are easily warmed through in the microwave, and would have made a nice snack for today. Soon after making the order I received an email confirming it, but also saying it would take ages for it to be delivered. Then soon after that I got a phone call from the shop saying they had run out of chicken wings. I told them that I was very unhappy about the long delivery time, and that they may as well cancel the entire order. The man at the other end was very quick to offer an alternative to the chicken wings, and also promised that the delivery would be much quicker than the email stated, and indeed it was. Instead of a wait of an hour and a quarter, it was on my doorstep in half an hour, and they even threw in a free bottle of Tango (which is nice in small infrequent quantities). Take away food on a Saturday night is a real cut-throat business around these parts, and we the customers benefit from it !

 I ended up eating far too much last night, and I think I'm going to blame it on the substitute for the chicken wings. As well as the chicken shish kebab for my main course, I also at the small chicken doner kebab that had substituted for the chicken wings that I was going to eat today ! I didn't feel over full, or even moderately full when I went to bed a couple of hours later, but I didn't sleep well....or did I ? I definitely slept soundly for at least three hours, and then I woke up feeling like I had had enough sleep. I could, and probably should have fought it, and tried to get back to sleep again, but instead I decided to get up for a bit.

 The problem may have been that I was coughing a lot last night (and was still coughing a lot this morning). I guess it is just the tail end of the bug I had at the beginning of last week combined with something else - maybe more old cigarette related stuff, and/or maybe something to do with the amount of fine sawdust I might have breathed in yesterday. Much of the coughing was dry and unproductive, but on many occasions it was quite throaty, and much mucus was coughed up.

 After spending an hour or so on the internet I decided to try and get back to sleep. I did get back to sleep for varying amounts of time. Sometimes it was just for 15 minutes, and sometimes for an hour or two. Eventually I got up at about 8.30am - which is a pretty good lay in by my usual standards. Before I showered and dressed properly that was one little job I wanted to complete. Last night I had started some laundry. I washed and hung up to dry two work shirts, but I left 4 t-shirts soaking overnight to try and get rid of some greasy food stains down the front - and that was successful. This morning I just had to rinse out those t-shirts, and hang them up to dry. Apart from quite a bit of bed linen, I am completely up to date with my laundry now.

 There were only two other significant things I did this morning. The first was to check carefully for any leaks from the new plumbing, and as far as I can see it all looks perfectly sound. The other thing was to go to Aldi for some shopping. There was nothing I needed desperately, but there was stuff that I thought would be useful to get. A large physical portion of all my shopping was two boxes of three ply tissues - I got through many of them last week when I had that cold - and the other thing that took up a lot of space was a nine pack of toilet paper. I also got other stuff for the bathroom - two flavours of shower gel, and some mouth wash. Among the food items were a packet of ostrich steaks (I think there are two smallish one in the packet). I am not sure if I have ever had ostrich meat before, and I am curious to try it.

 I am having a nice lazy afternoon, and sort of recharging my batteries ready for work tomorrow. I have a short week to look forward to. Chain are playing in The Catford Ram on Thursday night, and I shall be using up another day of holiday on Friday so I can get drunk and stay out recklessly late on Thursday. I might have to do the same the following week !
Saturday 13th September 2014
18:19 BST
  I think I shall have to concede that yesterday was probably a typical temperature for mid September. I may wish it was better than around 20 C, but that was all it was. Perhaps the icing on the cake was that it was quite sunny - particularly in the afternoon - at least I think it was.....I can't seem to recall it being particularly sunny as I made my way home  from work, but if it wasn't actually sunny then, it was, at least, quite bright. Today has been a slightly improved version of yesterday. I think there has been more sunshine, and that has taken the temperature up to 21 C. It looks like tomorrow will be more similar to yesterday - which wasn't bad even if I might have liked it to be a bit better.

 On my way home from work I called into Tesco. There was hardly anything I really needed for myself, but I wanted to get a bottle of booze for my mate Lee. Of course I also spent rather too much money on stuff that I shouldn't really have bought.The pre-cooked bacon and barbecue pork ribs were very nice when eaten with spicy shredded beetroot, but it wasn't exactly a healthy meal. I did buy a couple of allegedly healthy ready meals, and the claimed calories for them were really quite low. I probably ought to have them tonight, but I think I may have something rather different.

 I managed to complete all my preparations to get the kitchen ready to be worked on today before going to bed last night, but I couldn't raise the energy to do any laundry. I didn't go to bed all that early last night, and I guess it was because I was a little bit excited about today, and also a bit worried about it. Curiously enough my dreams didn't seem to involve major plumbing disasters, or creepy crawlies, or indeed anything to do with rotten and infested kitchen woodwork.

 All I can remember of my dreams were a series of brief situations. It seemed as if all these took place in a very old block of flats with poorly lit twisty staircases with no windows to the outside world. One fragment of a story concerned an ex-girlfriend (at least I think she was), and was a little bit erotic - which was nice - or should have been if followed to the end of the obvious script (which it wasn't !!!).

 This morning I woke up bright and early - which was stupid because I didn't have to get up until late ! My friend Lee was originally due to come here at 10am, but I think he is still on GMT or something. He turned up with his "odd job boy" (his dad) closer to 11am. He had estimated that the job would be really quick - maybe no more than an hour. Four hours later the job was finished !
rottten wood, and a
                  collapsing sink unit
 This is the "before" picture, and I've drawn red rings around the areas of concern. The area at the bottom of the left hand cupboard support (the bottom red ring) is so rotten that it is hardly providing any support to the sink. The counter top is resting on the washing machine. The right hand cupboard support, although not really obvious here, is just as rotten. The wood of the counter top behind the taps (also ringed) has rotted away so much that the mixer tap is almost falling through the top.
old sink unit removed
 With the old sink unit removed, and the old counter top cut out, it was possible to pull the washing machine out for the first time in years. I haven't got the parts to repair it yet (assuming the diagnosis about it just being worn brushes in the motor being correct), but it can now be a project for the future. It is not the most flattering view, but that's my mate Lee working on the new plumbing.
new sink unit
 Finally, here's the new unit in place with the old sink fitted in it. Nothing quite matches. The new bit of counter top is white, while the rest of it is a sort of marbled effect. The splashback behind the sink is wood and matches nothing else in the entire kitchen, but it does have so much silicone sealer behind it that it should be more waterproof than a battleship. The bottom of the new cupboard unit is raised up on short metal pillars, and in theory nothing should have to sit in puddles of spilt water, and my theory, or at least my hope, is that this new installation should outlast me !

 By accepting those mismatched oddments I got the job done for the cost of a generous donation towards petrol money, and a bottle of Honey Jack Daniels. It was a cheap job - just like me ! I can't do plumbing, although I can advise, and I am not a quick woodworker, but I am a good foreman...or something like that....or I helped where I could, but didn't work nearly as hard as Lee did. I never really did get the hang of "the Protestant work ethic". In other words I am a lazy least I think I am, but that doesn't explain how I felt exhausted at the end of it.

 It was most definitely nice to sit down and have a bite to eat once Lee and his dad had gone home. Now I sit here hoping Lee's new plumbing will hold. No leaks so far, but plumbing always worries me.  It was quite exciting when I turned the hot tap on in the bathroom washbasin. There was air in the pipes initially, and the first burst of water came out so fast that it whooshed straight out of the basin. It settled down into a steady flow after a few seconds, but those few seconds were quite "exciting" !

 Assuming no emergencies arise, I will be taking the rest of the evening easy. I am contemplating ordering a takeaway, but I know I shouldn't, and I am desperately trying to make myself feel not hungry. I don't think I am doing too well at that....
Friday 12th September 2014
08:33 BST
  Yesterday was another rather dull day, and it didn't get that warm either. That's not to say it was actually cold. The top temperature was probably around the forecast 19 or 20 C, and that is perfectly comfortable while you are still wearing summer clothes and moving around, but a bit cool for sitting around doing nothing, or even sleeping in a short sleeved shirt. Today will be no warmer, or maybe not enough warmer to make any difference, but after a very dull, almost misty start, we have been promised some brightness. In fact I can see some almost blue patches in the sky already. If one moves into the right place we may even have some sunshine !

 I didn't feel terrible at work yesterday, but I didn't exactly feel wonderful, although maybe I felt a little better than expected by the afternoon. I didn't think there would be any way that I would feel I had enough energy to go for a drink after work, but during the afternoon I turned that around and thought that there really wasn't anything stopping me calling in The Catford Constitutional Club for just one pint. It's not on my direct route home from the station, but going past it barely adds a minute to the walk.

 So at 16:45pm I found myself in The Catford Constitutional Club drinking beer, and I had more than just one pint - I had three ! I was enjoying the company, but I knew it would be stupid to let myself get carried away. So after three pints I said my goodbyes, and headed towards home.....via the chip shop ! I bought myself a lovely bit of cod and chips, and it was delightful to take my boots off, sit down, and get stuck into it. Once I had eaten I went straight up to my bedroom and spent half an hour, or perhaps a bit longer, on my PC before I went to bed.

 It was only 8pm when I got into bed. It was nice laying down, but I wasn't quite as sleepy as I thought I would be. So I read for a while before turning out the light. There then followed the usual minor panic of thinking I couldn't get to sleep, and as usual it was followed by waking up several hours later wondering why I ever thought I couldn't get to sleep. Last night was a bit of a strange night where the science, as I understand it, didn't seem to work.

 I drunk three pints of beer in the evening, and that beer contains sugar, and that sugar raises the blood glucose level, and that makes diabetics pee more even taking into account the extra fluid that has been consumed and has to be peed out again. Ignoring the terrible effects of all the oil and fat in the fish and chips, the chips were full of carbohydrates, and the body converts those to sugars, and that should have made things even worse. From the time I started my first beer until the time I went to bed, I think I only had a single pee, and I only woke up to pee once or twice in the night - possibly once or twice less than any "normal" night. That's not supposed to happen. It's like being young again. All that pee didn't even go into my legs and feet. My feet and lower legs were less swollen than usual this morning. In fact they were hardly swollen at all. It does not compute (as a famous robot once {frequently] said), but I can't be bothered to argue with the facts.

 This morning I feel a lot better than yesterday, but it's not hard to achieve that - I felt bad yesterday ! I have two main regrets this morning. I wish had had the time, or energy, or enthusiasm to wash my hair last night. I could have done it this morning, but I didn't think it would be a great idea to go out with wet hair. At the moment my hair feels embarrassingly awful. The other regret is that I didn't select my shoes more carefully. I put on a pair that are very comfortable to wear while sitting down at my desk, but are not so comfortable for walking. Walking in a good pair of shoes or boots does put an extra swing in your step, and I had a sort of thin suspicion that I could have found the energy for some more spirited walking as I made my way into work. I still managed to go fairly fast, but maybe I could have done better.

 On my way in I looked around Waterloo station concourse to see if there were any stand there - either people giving freebies away, or trying to persuade people to buy their stuff in the future, or alternatively charities trying to get exclusive access to your bank account. There was nothing like that, but there was something that brought a smile to my lips...
customer information display
                  at Waterloo showing it's Windows desktop and an error
 I love it when any customer information display shows it's "underwear" in public !
close up on Windows desktop showing on
                  customer information dispaly at Waterloo station
"modVision Screen Designer 3 has encountered a problem, and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience"

 Maybe I don't feel so bad this morning, but I still look forward to going home - a lot ! I have no specific plans for tonight. I'm not going to any gigs or boozing sessions - or at least none that I remember about. I might wash a couple of shirts if I can raise the enthusiasm, but I will definitely finish clearing away the last of the stuff in the way for when my mate Lee comes over to rebuild my kitchen sink unit tomorrow. It will definitely be nice to get that over and done with. Not having to go to bed every night fearing that the sink would go crashing to floor in the middle of the night will bring some relief - not that I lost any sleep over it. With the sink unit done it is even possible I'll have a working washing machine again this year, or maybe next......
Thursday 11th September 2014
09:02 BST
  The trouble with yesterday was that it was far too dull in the afternoon. I'm tempted to say it was like autumn, but even autumn days can be sunny. The fact that we are now officially in autumn is neither here nor there. This morning has started off dull, and the forecast gives no hope that it will be any different for the rest of today. The cloud kept a little bit of warmth in overnight, and I think my outside thermometer said it was 14 C when I woke up. The highest forecast temperature today will be a disappointing 19 C.

 I did little more than to continue resting yesterday afternoon, and the same into the evening. Laying on my back was definitely more comfortable for my nose and sinuses, but the downside was every time I got back on my feet all the snot would pour back to where it was most annoying ! There was a period of time where my blocked nose was worse than it had been at any time during the three days I was off work sick, and that didn't seem to bode well for coming back to work today.

 The other thing that gave me grave doubts about coming to work today was the poor sleep I got last night. With my nose feeling extra stuffy it was hard to get to sleep, and to stay asleep. I woke up many time - sometimes from interesting dreams, and sometimes from something like a hybrid dream. A hybrid dream is a name I have just this minute invented to describe something like a lucid dream, but often so lucid I must have actually been awake for part of it. This was particularly so when I was trying to spice up a dream about a past (and rather brief) girlfriend, and turn it into an erotic dream as it should have been. While I was awake I was both writer and director, and while I was asleep I was an actor who rather sadly didn't seem to be able to follow his lines ! Oh well, maybe I can dream something exotic/erotic when I am feeling better !

 When I first work up this morning (by which I mean woke up to get up) I definitely didn't feel like I was well enough to go to work, but I persisted in my preparations, and once I had showered and dressed I only felt slightly terrible. Being out in the fresh air as I came here did wonders for my blocked nose and sinuses, and I can only recall one occasion where I had to cough any more than just a typical throat clearing "ahem" (which as spelt out seems nothing like that actual little cough I refer to). Of course I arrived at work feeling knackered and ready for bed again, but that is wearing off as my nose begins to feel stuffy again, and I start to cough more, and begin to feel chilly.

 Coming to work did not start off that well, but only in one special respect. When I got to the station I found the ticket office locked up, and no power to the Oyster card readers. That meant I couldn't touch in with my Oyster card, nor could I buy a ticket. It didn't take long to notice that there was no power to anything - lights, ticket machines, or anything else - on one side of the station. The London bound side did have lighting, and it is possible that the Oyster Card reader, or the self service ticket machine was working on that side. Fortunately, when I got to the ticket barriers at Waterloo East station with no ticket, and with my Oyster card not touched in, the ticket inspector guarding the barriers accepted my word without hesitation, and just buzzed me straight through. The only outstanding problem is that my Oyster card will have been charged for a journey starting in Zone 1, which may, or may not be more expensive, and seeing as it started after 6.30am, will have been charged at full peak rate !
No lights on, and the door
                  locked at Catford Bridge ticket office
This is the entrance to the ticket office from the platform. The front door was also padlocked shut.
No power to the Oyster card reader
It's not particularly obvious in this photo, but the display, like the rest of the unit, is dead and powerless.
One platform all gloomy and powerless, and one
                  all bright and happy
On the down platform (left hand side of photo) it is all dull and gloomy, but the lights are on for the up platform.

 Tonight I will be doing one of two things. Either I will be going home from work as fast as I can manage, and then collapsing at home, or I will be going home as fast as I can and collapsing in The Catford Constitutional Club. Now I must admit that I do fancy a couple of beers, but I can't predict how good, or how bad I'll feel at the end of the working day. At the moment I feel a bit biassed towards feeling bad, and if I was like this, no better, nor worse, I could have a hard time making up my mind about what I should do. Hopefully, by the end of the day I will able to be a bit more decisive, but at the moment I feel rather pessimistic about how I'll feel.
Wednesday 10th September 2014
14:43 BST
  It was supposed to stay sunny for most of yesterday, but the afternoon was often almost dull, and there was little if any bright sunshine. That explains why it was only about 20 C at best. At least it stayed dry, as it will probably do today. Like yesterday, this morning started off bright and sunny, and also like yesterday, it is now fairly dull. I think it was only about 11 C when I woke up, and it is now a reasonable 21 C. If the sun were out it could be quite nice. The most recent guess about tomorrow by the weather forecasters is that all tomorrow will be dull but dry, and it will be only get to about 19 C.

 I spent the rest of yesterday doing very little. Some vague thoughts of going out again, maybe to get some shopping, came to nothing. I guess I was feeling worse than I thought I ought to be. I had this strong feeling that if I could go for a quick walk around the park I ought to be able to do more. Maybe it all the coughing that spoiled the afternoon, or the feeling of fatigue that had me laying down for a lot of the afternoon, and even into the evening.

 Prior to going to bed I wondered if I would be able to sleep. I felt fatigued but not sleepy - or so it seemed. My nose was not dripping, but needed frequent blowing, and I was still  coughing a lot even if it was more a dry tickly sort of cough rather than the mucus and tar laden choking cough that I am more familiar with. It all seemed to suggest I wouldn't get to sleep quickly, or maybe at all, but to my great surprise, I seemed to fall  asleep quite easily - although far from instantly !

 I guess it was about 11pm when I went to sleep (or was it to bed ??), and as far as I can recall I slept tolerably well until about 4.30am. I hadn't been awake all that long before I decided that I was definitely not going to be a hero and go into work feeling the way I was feeling. My head felt really bunged up, and I needed frequent sips of drink to stop coughing. Plus I felt like I had not had enough sleep. So I cancelled my alarm, and at about the time it would have been trying to wake me up I was going back to sleep again.

 I woke up a couple of hours later feeling a bit better - at least that is what I tried to convince myself ! My nose still hasn't gone into dripping overdrive like it always has in the past. I can't imagine a mechanism how that could be related to non smoking, but maybe that has something to do with it. Anyhow that still hasn't stopped my nose getting completely bunged up, and my sinuses complaining about the pressure. I think it is not getting as bunged up as yesterday, and I think my cough is on the wane. The trouble is these statements can be true one minute, and wrong in the next. As I type these words my nose is almost clear, and I've only coughed once in the last couple of paragraphs......and as I stop to think about that I immediately have to clear my throat !

 I think that one of my trouble for today is that I feel I ought to be better than maybe I am, and that I should be able to do more than I can. This morning I spent half an hour or so in the kitchen. I shovelled all the debris out from under the old sink unit. A lot of it was rotten wood left when I removed the rotten shelves that used to be in there, and there was something in an ancient Tesco carrier bag (maybe 20 years old - probably a collectors item now), as well as a few other bits of rubbish under there. That is all in the wheelie bin now. I also did all the washing up. There wasn't much of that, but once I put that away I set to work to polish up the sink and draining board. It's not exactly sparkling now, but doesn't look too bad. It will be transplanted into the new sink support/door less cupboard on Saturday.

 Maybe that lot took more than half an hour, I wasn't exactly counting, but it left me feeling slightly fatigued when it was done, and it felt very pleasant to lay down and resume reading the book I am currently reading (Robert Heinlien's "I Will Fear No Evil"). The next thing I was going to do was to go to Aldi and do a bit of shopping, but when it came to it I couldn't be bothered, or I didn't feel like I had the energy (I can't decide which it was). I did go to the corner shop though. I bought a bottle of pop from there plus some other stuff that I should not have bought, or at least I shouldn't have eaten, but I did, and until the regret set in I completely enjoyed my error of judgement.

 The question now is; Will I be fit for work tomorrow ? I don't really know what the answer is. I get it all depends on how much discomfort I can stand. I predict I'll still be frequently blowing my nose tomorrow, and past experience says that change from fresh to stuffy air when I get on a train will get me coughing badly, but I am not so worried about those things. What I am more bothered about is whether I feel completely fatigued while I am at work. Once I am at work there is little I will be able to do about it apart from grit my teeth and carry on. I wonder if there is anything in the company handbook about not taking a bed to work. I know there is something, written or implied, about not falling asleep at work, but I can't recall seeing any rules about resting your eyes while in a horizontal attitude !
Tuesday 9th September 2014
10:57 BST
  21 C was the top temperature forecast for yesterday, and that was about right. I had hoped it might get higher, but although there was loads of sunshine, it just didn't seem to get any warmer - although 21 C was perfectly comfortable. Today should be very similar to yesterday (as it is on most days of the year). Today started bright, and not too cool (almost 15 C), and much of the day should be bright and sunny (although as I write these words the sun has just turned weak and hazy for the moment !). Sadly the temperature may only rise to 20 C - one degree less than yesterday).

 I felt a mixture of crap and good yesterday - although I think the good was only in comparison to how I expected to feel. As I mentioned yesterday, at last I seem to be seeing some advantage to not smoking for the last year. I expected to have a hacking cough that would leave me in poor shape by the evening, but although I was coughing, it seemed quite mild compared to some of the coughs I've had in the last x number of years. Of course there is still plenty of time for it to get worse, and maybe I've already had a hint of it, but it does seem like a couple of paracetamol can make quite a difference to whatever bug is invading my body - at least I think the paracetamol helps a lot, but there is no obvious proof without cutting my body in two, and only dosing one half with paracetamol. The downside with that is that the procedure would sting a bit, and I don't think the paracetamol would help with that (not to mention the mess it would cause).

 By the end of yesterday morning the fever had stopped, and I no longer alternated between shivering and sweating (although I did burst into sweat for a while in the evening). I was left in that curious state where you feel perfectly well until you try and do something, and then you run out of energy, or your heads starts to hurt, or your nose starts to get snotty, or you start to cough, or all of that happens ! So I spent hours and hours laying on my back reading - which was nice, but it did have it's drawbacks.

 I kept reading until my eyelids started to droop last night. That was almost midnight. Once I had given my nose one good hard blow, and turned the light out, I fell asleep very quickly. I slept quite well except for a couple of very strange dreams. In one dream I was being menaced by a train in a railway terminus. None of the other trains bothered me, but there was this one that had the same menace as a crouching tiger, and I was reluctant to walk passed the end of it. If that wasn't weird enough, the dream about a computer was pure psychedelia. I had a computer base unit that I wanted to load various different versions of Windows on it, and be able to boot any of them I wanted. For reasons that I can't even begin to guess at, each version of Windows seemed to be like a lump of cheese that was placed on top of the base unit. When I turned it on it got hot, and all the cheese melted, and each part ran and bubbled into each other part. It was quite annoying not to know where to press to start any particular version of Windows.

 When I finally woke up I had bad back ache from spending too much time on my back yesterday. The only cure was to go for a walk. Apart from the back ache I didn't feel too bad first thing this morning.  My nose felt very stuffy, but was not running, and my cough was intermittent enough to not be of any worry. So with the sun shining I started out for the park at 8.30am. I assumed that the fresh air would clear my nose, and in a temporary sort of way it did. I was less lucky with the cough. Towards the end of my walk I was starting to cough more, and that is why I decided to turn around and come back home. I doubt I walked much more than a mile around Ladywell Fields. It seemed easy going, and yet I was quite happy to get home again and sit down. I suppose that while I may not have walked that far, I was out for a fair time because I had to stop for lots of short periods to take (or consider taking) photos. There was lots of evidence of autumn starting out there.
sycamore seeds
I can't remember if these are sycamore seeds or plane tree seeds.
I have no idea what tree produces these berries.
strange spiky tree stump
I also have no idea what causes the spiky nodules on this bit of tree trunk.
class 66 diesel loco on The Catford Loop line
                  as it passes through the park
A class 66 diesel locomotive hauling a freight train on The Catford Loop Line that runs through part of Ladywell Fields.
These can't be crocuses at this time of year
These look like crocuses, but they are a spring flower. I wonder if these are some sort of orchid ?
grey squirrel
I saw lots of squirrels in the park, but only one posed for me.
yew berries
They look like plastic, but these are real berries on a small yew tree.
kids fun palace (or something)
When I was a kid (in single digit years) we never had anything like this to play with in the park. I do recall some sort of log pyramid in the kiddies play area on the other side of the park, but it was ridiculously simple compared to this great thing.
LCC Tramways manhole cover
 Now here's an oddity. The lettering in the middle of this manhole cover says "L.C.C. TRAMWAYS". It is a remnant from the days when The London County Council ran all the trams in London in the same way that Transport For London run the tubes and buses in London now. The L.C.C. ran them until 1933. So this manhole cover has been sitting in the park for at least 80 years. They were used for access to the ducts that contained the power cables that ran the trams - and the route of the cable did not follow the route of the trams apparently. There was certainly no trams through the park, but trams used to run across Catford Bridge (on the bridge over the railway) just half a mile to the south of this manhole cover. I wonder what's under this cover these days ?

 I think I'll be spending the rest of today resting in preparation to a probable return to work tomorrow. At the moment I feel bad enough to be glad that I am not at work today. In fact I am beginning to feel a lot rougher than I had anticipated. Maybe my little walk was not a good idea, or maybe I just need a rest, or maybe a snooze.
Monday 8th September 2014
10:01 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday seemed to turn out about right. From mid afternoon it was mostly sunny until sunset, and then the temperature drop quite fast during the night. This morning it was a chilly 11 C. At least for the moment, the weather forecast for today seems to be correct. Two days in a row seems uncanny ! It is, as forecast, bright and sunny right now, and it looks as if it will stay the same for some kind to come. The temperature now is almost 16 C, and it should continue to rise - maybe even higher than the brief 21 C that the forecast graciously allows.

 Late yesterday afternoon I laid down on my bed and fell asleep for an hour or two. I woke up feeling very cold despite my thermometer saying it was 24 C in my bedroom. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, it was part of the progression of the prickly throat I had earlier yesterday. Feeling cold made me feel very hungry, and the best thing I could do at short notice was to heat up a large can of "Petit Salle" - an allegedly French stew made from lentils and lumps of pork that were almost like bacon. Such was the power of my cold inspired hunger that later on I had a large smoked sausage with pickled cauliflower (which was nice even if it sounds weird !).

 I spent the rest of the day watching all six episodes of the 1950's TV series "Quatermass II". Maybe all 6 episodes in one session was a bit overkill, but it was quite enjoyable to re-acquaint myself with the story. It was 10pm before I went to bed, but I fell asleep very quickly. During the night whatever had been causing my prickly throat, and periods of feeling cold, took over more of my body (it is obviously an alien invasion - where's Professor Quatermass when you need him ?).

 During the night I had a nightmare. I dreamed that I had voluntarily gone to a gym, and was going to do some sort of unspecified exercise. What was worse was that I wanted to use my favourite position in this gym - implying that I had been there at least once before. There didn't seem to be much in the way of gym equipment, and the item I was going to use is difficult to describe now. I think it was something like a treadmill, but somehow it was used lying down ! The other very strange thing was that the gym appeared to be in the middle of the Catford Tesco's.

 I don't recall starting any exercise in that strange gym, but I woke up dripping with sweat at about 3.30am. I only slept intermittently after that. Sometimes I would wake up sweating again, and sometimes shivering. When I checked my body temperature it was just about normal, but usually my body temperature is very low in the early hours of the morning. There was one occasion several years ago when my temperature was very low. If my core temperature had been the same as my mouth temperature I would have technically been dead ! So it being "normal" this morning meant that I had a fever - by my dodgy reckoning.

 I was feeling pretty lousy when I should have been getting up for work. Apart from more, but milder bouts of sweating and shivering, I could also add a headache and unusual amounts of joint/muscle pain. I was also starting to cough, and there were hints my nose was about to start running. A couple of paracetamol tablets seem to have taken the wilder edges off all that lot, and at this precise moment I am not feeling too bad, but of course I am at home, and prior to starting to write this I spent a good hour or more under my duvet fully dressed in indoor clothing !

 I was under the duvet because I was feeling cold. I read for a while under there, and I think I fell asleep for a very short snooze. That, and the paracetamol, made me feel fairly good, and I thought I would get up and write all this. Typing hardly stretches my physical abilities, but it seemed enough to get my brow beaded with sweat, and a feeling of warmth permeating my whole body. It was like the tide coming in, and now it is going out again. If it wasn't for the sun streaming through my window, and warming my bedroom up, I think I would be feeling chilly again. Meanwhile, my nose feels very stuffy, but it's not running....yet. Occasionally I have to have a deep cough, but I am hoping that I will at least see a return on not smoking for a year, and not end up with bad bronchitis  as would have been the case in any of the preceding 40+ years.

 I intend to take the rest of the day fairly easy, but I feel I might pop out to Tesco if I don't feel too bad. I fancy buying a sandwich or two so I don't have to cook, and I am almost out of drinks to keep my prickly throat damp and lubricated. I don't know if I will cave in and get any, but I also have a desire for some plain ice cream to cool my throat down. My throat is now no longer the centre of this infection (that is probably man 'flu, but could be real 'flu) but it is still annoying me.

 I guess I don't know exactly how bad I am because I have not attempted to push myself by doing stuff like going to work, but I feel sure I felt better than this, in a general sort of way, when I woke up from my heart operation exactly one year, and (at a rough guess) 5 hours ago today. Of course on that occasion there were some limits as to what I could physically do, and while I obeyed those limits I felt remarkably good - which I didn't think was supposed to be the case after having your chest turned inside out, bits sown into it, and then it all stuffed back into the right places !
Sunday 7th September 2014
14:50 BST
  If only there had been more sunshine I might have described yesterday as having rather good weather. It stayed dry, and for the most part it was warm, but without bright sunshine it was a less than perfect day. This morning started off very murky looking, and the sun didn't break through until 2pm. Since then it has continued to shine, but the sky is still more blinding white than blue. The temperature seems to be creeping up now. The day started at around 15 C (if I recall correctly), and is now up to 21 C. It should now stay bright, and usually sunny until the sun sets tonight. Tomorrow is forecast to be sunny all day, and yet it will only reach 20 C by late afternoon.

 After I finished writing here yesterday I laid down on my bed and started reading a magazine. I only managed to read for 10 minutes before my eyelids started drooping. So I put the magazine down, and the next thing I knew was that it was 6.30pm ! I'm not sure when it was that I closed my eyes, but it is possible that slept quite deeply for 2 hours. I don't think I noticed it before I fell asleep, and it was probably some time after I woke up that I became aware of having a sore throat. My throat still feels dry and slightly tickly today, and I reckon I've got some sort of infection. Maybe that is why I slept for so long yesterday.

 It was because of that late afternoon/early evening sleep that I ended up not feeling sleepy, and going to bed very late. What is worse, or maybe what was rather stupid, was that I woke up early this morning after only getting about 5 hours sleep. I now feel very sleepy, and once I've written this I reckon I'll be snoozing again.

 Today has not been that productive, but a couple of things have happened. I washed some shirts this morning, and at the same time I left a couple of towels, and small tablecloth soaking in "bio" washing detergent/soap so the enzymes could have a fair go at digesting the stains and stuff. When the sun finally came out I finished the washing process, and hung the stuff on the line to dry. The enzymes in the soap did not do a wonderful job on the table cloth, and there are still a few yellow curry stains on it, but it may be passable if I turn the lights out !

 The other thing that happened today was that my friend Lee brought round the cupboard and worktop that my sink will be fitted in next Saturday. It seems the job really will be done at long last, and I will no longer have to fear the sink unit collapsing in the middle of the night with all sorts of terrible consequences. Lee eyed up the job, where the plumbing goes, etc, and declared that it will be a very easy job. It would be an easy job for me too if only I could work in confined spaces (it's not claustrophobia so much as just being too big to fold myself up into small spaces). There is also the problem that I am not practiced in the arts of plumbing, and I haven't got the tools for it. Then there is the little problem of not liking to work up to my knees in spider webs, spiders, big spiders, huge spiders, other scary insects, mice, rats, mice droppings, armadilloes, armadillo droppings, toxic frogs (and their droppings), bats, or anything else that might, or might not lurk in cool dark places in my kitchen that I would rather not know about !

 One year ago today is one of my lost days. As far as I am aware I was still anaesthetised, and at some point during the day I was opened up again to fix a small leak. I'll never know for sure, but I think that sometime in the night the anaesthetic wore off, and I went into natural sleep. The reason I think that is because it really felt like I woke up the next morning, rather than "came around". Not only that, but I was aware that time had passed since going under, and it is said that while anaesthetised there is no awareness of passing time. The next morning I remember being amazed that provided I didn't do anything stupid I was in no pain, and I was so comfortable that I turned down any offers of painkillers. With my chest newly stapled together I had to sleep on my back, but in a hospital bed, where all sorts of adjustment can be made for the perfect shape and height, it was fairly easy to sleep on my back.
Saturday 6th September 2014
15:30 BST
  Yesterday seems so long ago that I can hardly remember it........either that, or the weather was so unexceptional that there was nothing to remember. There is an element of truth in that - it was neither hot nor cold, but there were times when it was quite sunny. This morning started off quite murky. That lifted quite quickly, leaving a bright, but non-blue sky. Occasionally the sun has managed to break through the cloud, and that has warmed it up more than the forecast said it would - according to my thermometer. I'm currently reading a tad under 24 C right now. The last I saw suggested that tomorrow would be small improvement on today, and that Monday would be particularly sunny (but strangely not as warm as tomorrow or today).

 I ended up feeling very sleepy at work in the afternoon. Some of it was boredom, and some was the poor sleep I complained about yesterday. It was definitely nice to get out into the fresh air to go home after work. On the way home I got a bee in my bonnet about going in the Turkish supermarket on the way. There was nothing specific I wanted, but I just fancied experimenting with weird stuff...and I bought weird stuff !
exotic fruits
 Here's some of the stuff I bought. On the left is a prickly pear (at least I think it is). I wasn't terribly impressed with it. The bright red flesh was sweet, and fairly pleasantly flavoured, but it was riddled with thousands of small black seeds/pips that are teeth breakingly hard. At the rear are a couple of flat peaches. They were very tasty, and the skin was nowhere near as nasty and hairy as normal peaches. In the foreground are a couple of yellow dates. I actually bought them a little while ago, and I think I have already mentioned they have a very tart/astringent fore taste, and a lovely sweet after taste.

 Amongst the other stuff I bought last night was a jar of cauliflower florets pickled in vinegar with red cabbage. They come out a delicate shade of pink, and taste nice with some cheese. I had the cheese and the pickle, and some other bits and pieces in a long sandwich made from some of the supermarkets wonderful bread. It was a yard long "Frenchstick" seeded with poppy seeds, and I ate half a yard of it yesterday, and the other half today. Bread doesn't really fit in with my supposed dietary plan, but it's oh so nice !

 The big sandwich, plus the fruit seemed to be good enough for my dinner, and somehow did the opposite to what I expected. Instead of feeling really sleepy after I had eaten, I found myself wide awake for some bizarre reason. So I didn't go to bed until quite late - around 11pm I seem to recall. When I first got into bed I thought I would never get to sleep, but I guess I was only think that for 5 or 10 minutes. The next thing I knew was that I was waking up sometime after 1am needed a pee.

 I heard a good reason why I seem to pee a lot at night, and not during the day. I thought it was something to do with high blood glucose level, and I should check on that more frequently, but there is a better explanation, and my theory says it is all to do with my blood pressure pills. Since my operation - exactly 1 year ago today - I have been quite prone to swollen feet, ankles, calves, and....well basically everything from the thigh downwards to some extent. It is caused by fluid retention, and my theory is that my heart is so throttled back by all the pills I take that it can't pump blood up my legs against the force of gravity. At night, when I'm lying down, the heart can get to work pumping all the blood out of my legs, and through my kidneys to purify it. As it does that I need to pee fairly frequently.

 I woke up, to get up, a lot later than for a work day today, but not as late as I could, or would have preferred to. Not having to rush to get up meant my body was less shocked, and in consequence I got up feeling quite good relative to how I normally feel - sort of only a quarter dead instead of half dead (or more). That was rather good because I had to rush around a bit to make the place presentable for Aleemah, and doing housework is a pain at the very best of times !

 I met Aleemah at the station, and we wandered down to the pub for breakfast. I wanted to go past The Catford Ram to visit a market stall there, but there were two obstacles to get past. The first was a broken down bus, and the lorry towing it, blocking off the end of Thomas Lane. We had the choice of either walking out into the main road to get past the front of the tow lorry, or walking round the back of the bus - which seemed the safer option.
broken down 336
 The second obstacle was across the little road that leads to The Catford Ram, and into the shopping centre. It was police cordon tape. I have no idea what had happened, but the whole area outside The Catford Ram, and for some distance either side of it, was cordoned off with a few police community support officers guarding the perimeter. I think I spotted some blood on one of the new stone seats in Catford Broadway just inside the taped off area.
The Catford Ram inside a
                  police cordon
 To get to the market stall we had to go around the long way - and it was a waste of time ! I was hoping one of the market stalls would have a men's shoulder bag similar to the one I carry to work most days. My current one is just big enough for a newspaper, some sandwiches, and some other small stuff, but the internal stitching is falling apart, and while there are no holes through to the outside world in it yet, I am sure there will soon be. So I want to replace it. I have ordered one from Amazon, but I'm not sure if it is exactly what I want, but at only 10 it will not make me weep too much if it isn't suitable. All the market stall could offer was a bag that I considered too big for everyday use (but it could be useful at times), and was far too expensive compared to what I could get on line (which was a bit of a surprise for a market stall supposedly selling cheap crap).

 This time next week I should be celebrating the first year anniversary of being discharged from hospital just 6 days after open heart surgery (plus one extra day where they had to open me up to plug a leak). With luck I will also be celebrating have a new sink unit installed in my kitchen. It's only involved about two years of talking about it, but now there seems to be a firm date for my mate to come round with all his tools and plumbing skills, to help me rip out the rotten cabinet my sink sits in, and fit a new one which my mate has sourced for me. This will also finally release my washing machine from it's captivity, and sooner or later I will change the brushes in the main motor (assuming that is really the fault with it), and I'll be able to give up hand laundry, and washing stuff like towels and bed linen will be easy again. I don't think I'll be rushing to fix the washing machine though. I do get some sort of strange masochistic pleasure from hand washing the easier stuff, and it is good exercise in a specialist sort of way - well it make me sweat ! So only another week before I can say good bye to the old sink unit, and no longer have to worry about the whole thing collapsing in the night !
My old sink unit looking
                  really rotten at the back. The bottom of the side
                  supports are also really rotten
 My old sink next to the broken down washing machine. The rear of the sink is all rotten, as is the bottom of the cabinet sides that support the whole thing. It's almost on the washing machine that is holding it up !
Friday 5th September 2014
08:22 BST
  Yesterday was not as sunny as I hoped it might be, but it stayed dry, and it was comfortably warm. I'm not sure exactly how warm it was, but it was at least 20 C, and it may have been two or three degrees higher than that. This morning has started off at a cool feeling 13 C, and it's also horribly dull and grey. If the cloud were any lower it would be misty, or even foggy ! The cloud should thin out soon, and the first part of the afternoon should be bright even if it isn't sunny. Unfortunately the forecast says the cloud will be back by the time I leave work, and it could be thick black cloud. I knew this before I left home, and I have no idea why I chose to believe that it wouldn't rain, and didn't bring a coat !
Banham Burglary Prevention
                  as seen from the train
 Once or twice in the past I have referred to the Banham Burglary Prevention building, and it's 7 segment LED time, date, and temperature displays. Here's a picture I took through a dirty train window on my way home last night. You can just make out one of the displays as a sort of red splodge between where it says BURGLARY and PREVENTION on the front of the building. There is another display on the side of the building too. It is pot luck if either display is showing the temperature when my train goes past.

Adnams Fat Sprat amber ale I'm not if I was looking forward to some beer last night. I guess I was, but I am terribly ashamed to say that I seem to be losing the flavour of some ales recently, and I could almost change into a lager drinker......or maybe a cider drinker. Cider seems to be gaining in popularity a lot recently, and some places now seem to have an interesting selection of ciders available - many of them not in bottles.

 Last night I stuck to beer, and mostly enjoyed it. One of the beers I had last night was Adnam's "Fat Sprat" amber beer. I also enjoyed the company last night. Initially it was just Jodie, but to my surprise we were joined my most of the Thursday night drinking gang, and then, later still, by Jodie's friend Mark. Jodie had brought me a little present - before going to Catford she had been buying vegetables in Borough Market, and had spotted the elusive purple bell pepper. I had never heard of them until she mentioned them a few weeks ago. She bought me a couple of small ones, and in the dim light of the pub they looked more black than purple, but I am told they look like a dark purple in daylight. I think I'll probably try one tonight.

 Just before 7.30pm, and after drinking 4 or 5 pints of beer, I left the CCC to go home, but I didn't go directly home. I was still sufficiently aware of reality to know that I shouldn't go via the chip shop, although the idea was tempting. What I wanted to do (and did) was to go home via The Catford Ram and see if it was true that the gig there last night had been cancelled. When I got there I peered through the window, and I saw no band equipment, so the gig had been cancelled, and I saw about 5 people in there - just 5 ! One of them was glued to the big TV screen in there. I think there may have been some sort of sporting thing on last night, and maybe that's why the gig was cancelled. From what I saw it was cancelled just for one person, but maybe others turned up later.

 While I was still sober enough to not go home via the chip shop, I still had to go pass Tesco's, and they were still open, and I couldn't resist going in there ! As I suspected, at that time of night, with just half an hour before they shut up shop, there were a few bargains to be had. I only got as far as the sandwich counter before I found enough reduced price stickers to make up a nice stodgy, beer soaking up, and over calorified dinner !

 It was quite a nice dinner, and I went to bed soon after not feeling too stuffed, but I still had problems getting comfortable. After what was probably only a short while of feeling like I would never get to sleep, I went out like a light. All was well until about 1am, and from then on I slept very badly. I didn't know if I was too hot or too cold, and my pillows and mattress developed lumps and bumps that weren't there at the beginning of the night. It is possible that some of the time I was awake I was only dreaming I was awake, but maybe that it taking existentialism too far, and maybe I don't even know what existentialism really means !

 This morning I feel like I would have liked to have got a lot more sleep, but at this point I don't actually feel tired or sleepy....but later on......Under similar circumstances I felt fine yesterday morning, but I spent the after trying to stop myself dozing off...and I only met with partial success ! The rest of me, the physical me feels very average this morning. I have a fair selection of aches and pains. In particular I have a very mild, but still annoying stomach ache which is probably trapped wind, or more likely the residual ache from now untrapped wind. My only other complaint of note is my right ankle. It was fine all the way to work, but now it is painful enough to make walking a bit unpleasant. I have no idea what I've done to it. I feel sure it will settle down in another hour or two, but if it lingers until home time it is going to make for a very unpleasant journey home.

 I don't think I have anything planned for tonight apart the idea that it might be nice if I can get to sleep early, but it shouldn't be too important. I am seeing Aleemah tomorrow so I can't lay in bed all morning, but I can still have a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning - if I can only manage to stay asleep.

 Today is another of those anniversaries. One this day exactly one year ago, during the early evening, I was prepared for my open heart surgery. When I say prepared I mean prepared like an oven ready chicken. In the early evening I was shaved from the neck down by a nurse, and when I say from the neck down I mean absolutely everywhere from the neck down ! I guess I must be some sort of pervert because I found it more funny than embarrassing. Having your testicles shaved by a nurse definitely broadens your horizons...or would do if my testicles actually needed shaving - they didn't, but everywhere around them did !

 There is a picture I've been wanting to show for several days now. It is of a poster that went up on platform 2 of Catford Bridge station 3 or 4 days ago. As far as I am aware it is a one off poster - at least it is the only one I have seen - and printing up just one poster seems to be a bit extravagant to me, and probably any other council tax payer who cares to think about it. The poster refers to events that must have happened a few weeks, or more ago. The funny thing is, I haven't noticed any change to the wild streets of Catford in the last 6 months, and probably far longer than that. It all makes me think it is something to do with politics rather than policing. Notice the square box with the tick in it on the poster. I cannot imagine in my wildest dreams how the two are connected, but this poster must have a subliminal message for all Scotsmen about their upcoming vote for independence. Either that or it is just pure nonsense ! (Sorry the picture looks a bit fuzzy - its a bit of camera shake, and too much digital zoom)
poster on Catford Bridge
Thursday 4th September 2014
08:10 BST
  I think that yesterday's weather was a little better than I expected. There was more sunshine than the forecast seemed to suggest, and that made it a little warmer. I think it was 23 C when I got home from work. This morning started looking very misty and murky. There was a lot of condensation on the cars which made it look as if it was, or had been a lot cooler than the 15 C shown on my thermometer. While on the train approaching London I noticed the sun showing as a glowing reddish orange disk as the misty cloud began to thin. The sky is beginning to look blue now, and the sun is lighting up the tops of the nearby buildings quite nicely - which is really quite odd when the forecast suggests it will be overcast all day today ! At this rate we may see the temperature climb up higher than yesterday, or alternately it might rain - which would be a pity because I don't have a coat with me !

 I had a bit of a digestion system malfunction yesterday afternoon. It meant a couple of wild dashes to the toilets here at work, but it had all settled down before it was time to go home. That made the walk from work to the station in bright sunshine a close approximation to nice. Once I got home I had a small, but rather unusual snack of some beetroot. Then I prepared my dinner. It was as I predicted yesterday morning, and consisted of a sort of salmon, broccoli, and cauliflower stew. It also included a few small tomatoes. In theory it should have been quite low in calories, fat and sugars. Maybe it wasn't quite so low in fat compared to a version made with cod, but fish oil can be quite useful - it's (allegedly) a good lubricant for stiff joints.

 In an ideal world that dinner should have satisfied me, but I still seemed to feel hungry after it. The trouble was I wasn't really hungry. The growling from my stomach was actually to do with my afternoon troubles, but as usual, I couldn't tell the difference. My brain only seems to have one diagnosis for any discomfort in the belly area, and that is hunger ! In the end I gave in and had some cold chicken wings - one of the more stupid purchases I made while in Tesco on Tuesday. Half an hour later I had to sprint to the toilet at a speed that would have got some Olympic gold medallists worried about holding their world records.

 Everything has been OK since then, but my guts still feel a bit odd this morning. I felt perfectly comfortable when I went to bed, and I had an untroubled night. Last night was strange because I can't remember dreaming at all. It is not unusual to forget the subject of a dream, but it is unusual (for me) to not even remember dreaming at all. As far as I can recall, I only woke up twice in the night, and that's unusual these days too. Maybe all that explains why I felt reasonably good when I woke up. It felt like I had had enough sleep, but I thought they yesterday too, and I still felt very sleepy halfway through the working day.

 Now I am at work, and I've eaten some breakfast - slightly more breakfast than usual because I'll be having dinner later tonight - I am having trouble deciding if I feel good or bad. I think I would like to lay down for a bit, and maybe a snooze would be nice. That suggests that I didn't get enough good sleep last night, or maybe it's just the weight of my breakfast pressing down on my sleep gland (!). That breakfast may also be stirring up my beri-beri, ebola, dysentery, or whatever, and I am hoping I don't have to make a dash for the toilets today.

 My plans for tonight have undergone some revision from my earliest delirious visions, but only in insignificant details. It's looking like I'll be meeting Jodie, and maybe only Jodie, for a few pints in The Catford Constitutional Club on my way home from work. I had assumed that the whole Thursday drinking gang would be in there, but it is possible they will be drinking elsewhere. I had assumed that Chris would have wanted to go to the CCC so he could go on to The Catford Ram where there was supposed to be a gig going on, but a) the gig has apparently been cancelled, and b) he had to attend a birthday celebration elsewhere, and wouldn't be drinking in Catford tonight anyway.

 One of the anniversaries this month is one I had forgotten about. It is now one year and four days since I smoked my last cigarette. Apart from the money saved, I have yet to see any great benefit from not smoking, and it would be true to say that all I have seen is an anti-benefit. Not smoking has been easy, although I was lucky enough to go through the worst bit while in hospital where I couldn't smoke. Maybe for even longer than the last 6 months I have had no cravings for nicotine, none at all, for 23 hours a day, but I still suffer agonies after my dinner...well maybe not agonies as such, and I don't think it is for nicotine. It's a purely mechanical urge to go into relaxation mode after eating, and because I can't relax I have to fight the urge to keep on eating. I'm beginning to win now, but I was starting to approach death by exploding gut - which is far more permanent than something silly like lung cancer or heart attacks. If only fags were still 1/6d a packet I would take it up again in a flash ! It would be marvellous. I would get my lung capacity back, and I might be able to lose weight at a decent and life saving rate ! Sadly, our wonderful government wants to kill me by pricing cigarettes at levels only multi-millionaires can afford. Lucky bastards !
Wednesday 3rd September 2014
08:13 BST
  It is entirely possible that yesterday was the best day of the week. It is looking like the very optimistic forecasts for the weather at the end of this week are all unravelling. Yesterday was bright, sunny and warm ! The top temperature was at least 22 C, and may have been a degree or two higher at some times in some places. It was mild enough last night that I left my bedroom window open all night, and I wasn't frozen when I got up just before 5am. In fact the temperature was a satisfactory 14 C. What spoils it is that the sky is a smooth light grey colour, and in a few places that cloud was low enough to give a hint of mist. It should clear later this morning, and then we should have a sunny afternoon, but the sun will appear so late that the temperature may only rise to 21 C. Apparently there is a very small chance of a light shower today.

Thursday gigs at The Catford RamIt was nice, or as nice as it can be, to walk to the station in the sunshine when I left work yesterday. Sunshine definitely seems to energise me. I seemed to walk a lot faster than usual (or at least the usual for the last 18 months) at several stages of my journey home. I definitely found the energy to walk the long way home from the station. As I passed The Catford Ram I snapped the picture on the left. Of the 4 bands listed, I reckon I'll see three of them. The last time I saw Bouncer I was not terribly impressed. They were good, but not good enough to warrant going into work the next day tired and with a hangover !  I'm not sure about the band on the 11th who name I can't read now I've shrunk the picture down. I've never heard of them before. I'll probably pop in for an hour and see how it goes from there. For Chain and The Spiders I'll probably book the next day off work so I can indulge myself for longer.

 I had every intention to be very selective about what I bought in Tesco last night, and of course it all went terribly wrong ! The first deviation from my intentions happened within seconds of entering the place. I noticed lots of half price sushi type "snacks". I think they are very low in fat (particularly the vegetable variety), but all that rice has a lot of carbohydrates in it. The other really terrible thing was a 6 pack of mini pork and chilli pies. They weren't all that wonderful at the end of the day, but I ate the whole lot soon after I scoffed some new potatoes in (almost tasteless, and incredibly thin) garlic butter with some freshwater prawns. I guess that it is doubly ironic that that naughty meal was nowhere near as nice as it should have been. Tonight I will do far better - I hope. My proposed dinner is semi steamed salmon with broccoli and cauliflower.

 As well as walking the long way round on my way home from work, I also did some other energy sapping stuff ! I did something that I doubt I have ever done before. This is definitely one for the dairy, and is possibly worth a medal or something...or maybe not because it was actually an emergency sort of thing. Last night I got the hoover out, and did some hoovering...although it was not conventional hoovering because I was hoovering the ceiling. Dangling from my upstairs hall ceiling was a rather large dead spider. I think it was just the shell of a spider after it had outgrown it's shell. There is probably a huge spider lurking in my house somewhere, but it is going to have to re-spin all it's webs because they are all in my hoover now.

 I guess I don't feel too bad this morning after my poor eating choices last night. I'm not sure I slept that well last night. I went to bed later than intended after staying up watching a really crap film on the "Movies4men" channel. It was called Moontrap, and starred Walter Koenig ("Pavel Chekov" from the original Star Trek TV series). It was the most unrealistic bit of space opera I've ever seen, and potentially could have been good if made in black and white in the 1950's. It would also have helped if the dialogue didn't sound like an over dub on a cheap foreign porn movie !

today's shoesAfter getting to bed late, and waking up too early, I don't seem to feel tired yet, but that could happen later. Most bits of my body seem to be working quite well this morning, and apart from the damage to my feet when I made a poor choice of shoe the day on Monday, I am relatively discomfort free. Just like when I was going home from work yesterday, I seemed to have more energy than I imagined I would have. Some of this energy is just an illusion caused by wearing comfortable shoes. This morning I am wearing my shoes with anchors on them (pictured on the left). They are slip on shoes - or used to be before I suffered from swollen feet. My feet have not been very swollen recently, and this morning they were about average, but that still meant I had to tyre lever these shoes on. The main claim to fame of these shoes are that they were the ones I had on when I went into hospital just over a year ago. Back then they would slip on and off easily. I have probably only worn them once or twice since then, and today must probably be the first time since them that I've worn them to work. Hopefully my feet will not swell during the day or they might get a bit uncomfortable. I reckon that today is the 1st anniversary of when I was moved from Lewisham to Kings College hospital, with just three days to go before the anniversary of going under the knife.
signalling problems
 I thought I was going to be late to work today. Earlier on this morning there were signalling problems on the line between New Cross and London Bridge as the screenshot from my phone shows on the left. Maybe I was lucky...or almost lucky. My train did seem to wait an extra minute or two at Lewisham station, and we did seem to arrive at London Bridge a couple of minutes late, but it seemed a mostly smooth journey from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East.

 Tonight I have nothing planned apart from the healthy ingredients for my dinner (salmon, broccoli and cauliflower). It is possible that I might get a call to pop in somewhere for a pint or two (but no more...well, probably no more !), and if that call comes I will probably accept it. I think I could rather fancy a pint. Other than that I must try to avoid watching any crappy movies tonight, and see if I can get to bed nice and early. Some extra sleep could come in handy in case I do happen to stay out a bit late tomorrow night - maybe watching Bouncer even though I don't intend to at the moment.
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
07:51 BST
  In the same way that The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy describes the planet Earth as mostly harmless, I think I shall describe yesterday's weather as mostly harmless too. I have to confess that may be a bit of a subjective opinion, and it does rely on the fact that when it did rain I was under cover, and it was of no inconvenience to me. It rained for a while in the middle of the day, and I caught the very tail end, the last 43 very fine drops of it as I walked to the station after work. Then, near sunset, although it was so gloomy with clouds it was hard to tell when the sun actually set, it poured with rain. I don't think there was any actual sunshine yesterday, but there were periods when it was quite bright, and while it was never truly warm, it was never actually cold.

 Today sees a change in the weather - in theory ! This morning started off at 14 C, and the temperature is supposed to rise to 22 C by mid afternoon. It was a very gloomy start to the day, and there was some light rain that just finished as I came out my front door to walk to the station. This cloud should eventually disperse, and the first cracks in it have appeared, and little bits of blue sky can be seen here and there. Perhaps in an hour or two there will be some sunshine. The weather forecasters are still sticking to their theory that the weather will improve as this week progresses, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be back wearing shorts on Friday....or maybe even before that.
new shoes with red laces Yesterday I said that I found my new shoes to be very comfortable, and that I was able to walk very fast in them. It was all true until for the next 30 - 60 minutes, but when I stood up and tried to walk I found I was in a lot of pain. I have no idea why I didn't feel it as it happened, but both shoes had identically placed rough areas that had scraped away the skin on the same two toes of each foot, and the same place on the side of each foot.

 The pain from those raw areas of my feet did tend to distract me from any other complaints I might have had. I'm not sure if I should have had anything else to complain about, but I dare say that if there were no other distractions I could have found a painful hair follicle to complain about !

 After a painful journey home it was a relief to get those shoes off and examine the damage. It probably wasn't as bad as it felt, but I'll be left with some impressive scabs that will take an age to drop off. I may have been on an endorphin high, or maybe I just had an unusual lack of fatigue, but I found myself close to active during the evening. The first bit of activity was to prepare and cook some dinner. Unlike many cooking session, it was a multi part process.

 The first part was to cook a pile of mange tout, and sugar snap peas. Maybe I didn't quite have the energy I claim because I couldn't be bothered to properly prepare those pods, and I left all the stringy bits in. Alternatively, I was buzzing so much that I couldn't find the patience to de-string those pods, and I wanted to move on to something else. The next part was to prepare a butternut squash that was the core of my dinner. It was only the second I have ever tried, and I couldn't remember how I prepared it before. This time I topped and tailed it, cut it into 4 large pieces with the skin left on, and removed the seeds before nuking it in the microwave for 10 minutes.

 With the squash now almost cooked, I removed the skin as best I could without burning my fingers too much, and then added the cooked mange tout, sugar snap peas, plus a raw red onion and some low salt Oxo, and finally some dried thyme. I then nuked in the microwave for another 5 minutes. (Note: I only have a cheap low power microwave - 600w ? - so don't try and emulate this "recipe" with your 1000w monstrosity !). The end result was sort of tasty, but it wasn't the optimum mix of vegetables, and with hindsight I really wish I had taken the trouble to de-string those pods !

 It is probably lucky that I made such a bad job of deskinning that butternut squash, and ended up wasting quite a bit of it. When I later looked up how many calories it had in it, it came as a bit of a shock. I estimate the portion I had contained around 500 calories. The other stuff wouldn't have contributed too many calories, and the fruit I had afterwards would have been slightly innocent, but the little bag of brazil nuts I snacked on would have contained millions of calories, and yesterday morning's breakfast was far from innocent too ! Nevertheless, I went to bed feeling slightly hungry, and I was pretty hungry this morning.

 After my cooking extravaganza, and a bit of TV news, I tackled a slightly boring task - scanning old photographs into my PC. It seemed to take a long time just to do 7 prints, but it's worth it in the long run - or to share on "social media". After a few photos I downed tools for a while to attend to another little job that somehow seems like hard work, even though it isn't, and is something I sometimes find far too easy to put off when there is no special reason for it (such as going to a gig or meeting people) - I washed and conditioned my hair. As that started to dry I finished off the last of the scanning, and started thinking about bed.
little red train
 Here's one of the photos I scanned last night. It was taken with my old Practika "Super TL" SLR camera in 1996. The picture looks slightly lopsided because the little red train is not the only subject of attention in the photo. I also wanted to get in the signalling control building, and some of the lineside clutter in the picture too - although I am not sure why after all these years ! The "little red train" is the 3 car preserved tube train that used to run the Epping To Ongar shuttles before that end of the Central line was closed by London Underground, and eventually resurrected as the Epping  Ongar preserved railway. The train was on a special rail tour of the eastern end of The Central Line. It is owned by Cravens Heritage Trains. There is a better write up about the train here, and there is good news here - scroll down until you read "Friday 26 - Sunday 28 September End of THE Tube" - The Little Red Train will be back on it's home rails for a couple of days (pulled by a London Underground tube tunnel sized diesel locomotive).

 After all that busyness last night, I was still in bed before 9pm, but it took some time to get to sleep, and I am not sure if I slept that well. I remember having some vivid dreams. I can only remember some snap shots from one dream, and very unusually it was set in a pub. I can't recall ever having a dream about a pub before. I have no idea where the pub was, or what it's name was, but it did stock Everards Tiger Ale (although in the dream it was called Everard's Old Tiger ale). It's a beer that I can't recall having tasted for ages, and I can't recall it tasting anything very special, but in my dream it was the most delicious beer you have ever tasted ! I have one more memory from what was probably the same dream - at least it was in the same pub as the previous remembered snippet of dream. I was laying on the floor of the pub - not passed out, but on a mattress and under a duvet. It seemed that I had slept there somehow. I'm not sure what that was all about.

 The only other dream that I might have had was rather like real life. I dreamed that it had gone 4am, and that I had woken up, and couldn't get back to sleep again. The only thing that proves that the end of it was a dream was being woken up by my alarm going off.  The earlier bits might, or might not have been real life. After waking up for real (at least I assume this is real life, or as close as it gets to it) I didn't feel too bad. The usual aches and pains were still all there, but seemed to be milder than usual. In fact the worst pain was when I was under the shower, and the warm water was making the new wounds on my feet sting a bit. Until then I hadn't really given any thought to those skinned places.

 There was no way I could wear many of my shoes to work this morning, but I do have one particular pair that are a particularly loose fit, and I wore those. The only trouble is that they are not that good for walking. I'm not sure why or how, but they don't seem to support my feet properly, and that makes them ache a bit. So I didn't feel like rushing around this morning (although I did do some rushing). Other than that, I had a fairly comfortable but rather sweaty journey to work. I'm not sure why I felt so sweaty. It wasn't warm this morning, and I don't think I can blame it all on the coat I was wearing....although it was one of the first times I've worn a coat to work this summer. Maybe it was all the carbohydrates in the butternut squash turning to sugar, and raising my blood glucose levels to unacceptable heights, or maybe it was just one of those things (having the heating on in the train didn't help !).

 Tonight is still a mystery to me. I don't think anything is happening, and I don't plan on doing anything. It sounds like it could be a boring evening, but there is one chink of light in the darkness - maybe. I can't decide if I want to buy some more vegetables tonight, and if I do, where to buy them from. I could get some from the Turkish supermarket, and they have some novelty items that I could try, or I could face all the temptations of going in Tesco. They too have a few strange things usually bought by the West Indian community, but I think those tubers are probably very starchy, and not what I am after. Leafy and green is what I should have - at least as much of it as I can stand !
Monday 1st September 2014
08:38 BST
  It stayed dry last night, and this morning started nice and bright, and also rather cool at just 12 C.
the morning sky in Catford -
                  1st Sept 2014
 This is how the sky looked as I walked to Catford Bridge station at 6:15am this morning. This view is looking south. On the left of the picture the sun is rising on a mostly clear sky, and on the right it is more cloudy. The rising sun is colouring the edge of the cloouds a delicate salmon shade.  It is supposed to rain today, and it is looking more cloudy now. It's also supposed to be quite a cool day with the top temperature of just 18 C, but tomorrow, and until the end of the week, and hopefully longer, it will get drier and warmer. Friday could almost be like summer if the weather forecasters have, rather unusually, done their sums right !

 I didn't feel tired when I went to bed last night, and that was a bit unusual when I consider that I kept wanting to have a snooze in the afternoon, but couldn't seem to find the time to have one. So it took a while to get to sleep, and I probably didn't sleep all that well....and yet I hardly slept at all after 4am this morning. It was almost as if I didn't need it. I certainly felt unusually alert while on the train to work.

 I must confess that I do feel unusually good this morning. At some point between getting up, and getting dressed, I had a short lived mild stabbing pain about 6 inches to the right of my belly button. It was probably my right kidney exploding or something. At Waterloo East station, on my way into work, I had a similar short lived mild stabbing pain about 6 inches to the left of my belly button. I guess that was the left kidney exploding. Of course it could have been my heart surgeons wrist watch moving about......

 Apart from those two incidents I am unusually pain and discomfort free this morning. With the added advantage of a new, and until they wear out by the end of the day, comfortable pair of cheap and nasty shoes, I seem to have moved around fast and freely on my way into work. Someone at the front set a very fast pace as all the commuters did the gruelling trek up and over the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline station. Many fell behind, but I didn't seem to bust a gut keeping up with the fastest of them. I can't say it was easy, but at the same time I wasn't knackered, or gasping for breath at the other end.

 Maybe some of this parody of fitness is down to doing my best to be careful about what I eat recently. I thought I had eaten too much yesterday, but on reflection I may not have done as bad as I thought. I certainly had three main meals during the day, and I suppose I could call them traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner - except they were not quite traditional, and not really at the traditional times. My first meal was steak and shredded beetroot. My second meal was boiled new potatoes, and my third meal was double cooked (excesively reheated in the microwave) "ready to eat" (alleged) barbecue flavour chicken drumsticks. The extra heating didn't seem to drive off any extra oil/fat, but probably improved the flavour. I also had a bit of fruit, and just a few nuts.

 Today is the 1st anniversary of when I called 999 for an ambulance because I was getting chest pains that didn't go away when I relaxed as they usually did. It set off a chain of events which each have their own anniversaries this month. After this month last year, things slowly got back to normal, and if I hadn't put on so much weight in the last 6 - 8 months, things would be back to normal, or even better than normal. This morning, or at least a bit of it, was a taste of something like normal (maybe a freeze dried version of normality).

 Maybe tonight I can do a bit more of what it takes to restore full normality, and improve upon on it a bit, but I think there is a higher chance that I will do some more boring, but ultimately satisfying scanning of old photographs into my PC. My aim tonight is to scan about half a dozen photos of an old train, and possibly send the digital files to the website of the trains preservers (if they want them). They are Cravens Heritage Trains* - named after Cravens, the carriage and wagon maker of old.

*Note: it's not a very good web site, and doesn't always seem to display properly on some browsers. This site looks a bit better.