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My Diary/Blog For the
 Month of February 2015

Friday 27th February 2015
07:57 GMT

  There is a reason why yesterday might be described as better than expected, but that reason is that it wasn't raining when I left work, and didn't rain for the rest of the evening. Other than that it was pretty much as expected. During the morning the temperature dropped from 11 C to a chillier 7 or 8 C. The rain started earlier than expected, and for a time it was heavier than I thought it might be. So it was a relief when it also stopped earlier than expected, and I could travel towards home, via the pub, in the dry. During the night the cloud that had brought all that rain, and then made for a rather dull and gloomy journey back from work, dissipated, and this morning the sky was perfectly clear. The penalty for that was a light frost this morning, but it also meant that the eastern sky was looking very bright when I left home to come to work. The sky is forecast to stay bright and clear until mid afternoon, and maybe later. Meanwhile the sunshine will slowly warm things up, but only to about 8 C at best. Sometimes it feels that spring is on it's way, but maybe not today, and tomorrow could even be a retrograde step. It may be a similar temperature, but the forecast is saying it will be a dreadfully dull and gloomy day !

 It was a great relief when the rain stopped yesterday. The idea of turning up in The Ravensbourne Arms all wet and soggy was not very appealing - and walking through the park in the rain would be more annoying than walking along the road, although I don't know why I should feel that way. It was a shame that it was still rather dull as I walked across the park from Ladywell station. It made the photos I took look rather insipid, and that is a shame because they could have looked quite good otherwise.
looking south from
                          the north end of Ladywell Fields
I've done my best to make this photo look a bit brighter. It's looking south towards my house from the end of Ladywell Fields. My house is the one behind the other house behind the trees that are behind more trees that are behind yet more trees, and is probably under the curvature of the Earth in the far distance !
lots of crocuses
It is a sign that spring really is on the way despite what the weather suggests - a whole bunch of crocuses - mostly white, but with a few other colours here and there. Shame that the camera can't quite capture how it looked to the naked eye.
sign post
Catford and Lewisham, if not the whole of London, is changing so fast these days as they try and fit more and more people into it, that I wonder how long this signpost will be accurate, and how long it will take until it is built over !

 I had never been in The Ravensbourne Arms before - at least not while it was called the Ravensbourne Arms. In it's previous life it was called The Coach And Horses, and I did venture in there once or twice. In those days, and we are probably talking 30 or more years ago (!) it was a rather Jack-The-Lad sort of pub, and I didn't like it. As The Ravensbourne Arms it seemed to be rather pleasant, and I was in pleasant company last night. So pleasant that I stayed for 4 pints of beer, and left feeling a little tipsy !
sign seen in The
                              Ravensbourne Arms
I've already passed this picture on to some of my musician friends. Hopefully someone I know will play a gig in The Ravensbourne Arms sooner or later. With it being little more (or less) than a 15 minute walk away from home I should be able to rouse myself to get to it without too much trouble.

 I certainly wasn't staggering drunk, but drunk enough to lose any will power concerning not buying a takeaway for my dinner on the way home. It was a strangely pleasant walk back home from the pub. I guess it took about 20 minutes, but maybe it was less. As soon as I git home I feasted on the excessive amount of fried chicken and chips I had bought while I watched some TV. By 9pm I was in bed trying to get comfortable with a bulging belly, and trying to get to sleep. It seemed like I had a lousy nights sleep, but I wonder if I dreamed a few of the times I woke up in the early hours of the morning.

 One dream was an obvious dream. I dreamed that I wanted to catch a bus to Forest Hill. I have no idea why I wanted to go to Forest Hill - I just did. In this dream all the local buses were diverted down my road, but there were no bus stops, and all the buses travelled in the same direction no matter which end of their route they were going to. I was indoors with my friend Kevin when I saw a bus coming, and I rushed outside, and managed to flag it down, but then I saw it was going to Mottingham - the wrong direction. Several more buses passed by, but they were the wrong route. I can't remember if I managed to get the bus I wanted or not. The dream just sort of faded away.

 I expected to feel pretty lousy this morning. I had eaten too much, and drunk a reasonable amount of bee. Either could have affected me in a bad way, but to my surprise I probably felt better than yesterday morning. My legs still feel rather stiff, and I didn't care to rush about this morning, although they felt like they were working quite well while lubricated with beer last night. Most everything else seems to be working fairly well with no more than the usual mild aches, creaks, and other symptoms of the age ravaged body. I don't even seem to have a headache this morning, although maybe my brain does feel very slightly spongy this morning. Maybe I should have had more beer to make sure I had a proper hangover this morning, but for some reason 4 pints felt exactly right last night.

 I have no grand plans for tonight, and I don't think I ever had any intentions of going out tonight - or none that I remember - but I probably ought to try and eat lightly if I can tonight. Other than that, I will attempt to get an early night so I can get up nice and refreshed to do some minor housework in the morning before going out to meet Aleemah for a beer breakfast and a DVD to watch.
Thursday 26th February 2015
08:06 GMT

  It wasn't in the forecast, but as I suspected, there was some sunshine yesterday - not much, but some is better than nothing. It was another of those days when it was supposed to be warmer (or strictly speaking, less cold) than it actually felt. I can't recall what the temperature was when I got home, but I think it was around 7 C again. By the look of the puddles, and general dampness of the roads and pavements, it must have rained during the night, but I haven't seen any rain - yet ! It is certainly very cloudy though, and that cloud, plus some air blown in from the west, means that this morning is unusually mild. It was 11 C when I left to come to work. Sadly it won't stay that high for more than the next 3 or 4 hours. By mid-afternoon it will be closer to 7 C, and it will be raining - at least that is what the forecast says ! If I am lucky it will stop raining when I go home, and if I am luckier still it will not be so cold, and if I am incredibly lucky there might be some sunshine. Tomorrow looks as if it will be cooler, wetter, and duller. Hopefully that is wrong too !

 I was going to do some exercise yesterday - even if, as was mostly likely, it was just going up and down the stairs here at work. For some reason I just didn't get around to doing it. One excuse is that I was not wearing particularly comfy shoes, but that only meant there was less chance of going out for a walk, and it should have meant a better chance of going up and down the stairs. I guess I was just feeling lazy, or unmotivated, or something. I did give some thought to walking through the park on my way home from work, but once again I didn't fancy walking in uncomfortable shoes. Those shoes were a long way from agonising, and in the normal course of events would not have been that uncomfortable. Unfortunately I wore a very uncomfortable pair of trainers on Tuesday. I should have worn socks with them because I only walked around Catford once and they ground away at the skin on a couple of toes leaving them very, very sore !

 When I got home last night I had a bee in my bonnet about having another go at getting Linux installed on an ancient laptop. So rather than preparing dinner almost as soon as I arrived home, I took out the 10GB hard disk with Windows 2000 on it, and put a spare 20GB hard disk in the laptop. To speed things up a bit I had prepared the partions on the hard disk with it connected to my desktop PC. The first Linux distribution I tried refused to boot - at least I think it did, but it could have just been very slow to do anything, and I may have given up too early. I next tried Antix-M Linux. It is a modern distribution that is specially configured for older computers. I boot from it, and it seemed to crash.

 At that point I decided to get some dinner ready. It was a fairly simple smoked mackerel salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and didn't take that long to prepare. When I took it back into the living room I found that my ancient laptop was displaying a full desktop  ! It had booted OK, and I decided to go ahead and actually install it to the hard disk (it was initially running in live mode - running straight from the CD - which on an older machine is painfully slow ! As I ate my dinner it slowly ground through the process of installing. Once it had installed I gave it a quick spin. It didn't want to recognise the PCMCIA WiFi card, which I thought was supported by Linux, and so I couldn't connect to the internet, but it was a start.

 I then tried to boot an old version of PCLinuxOS, and that seemed to crash halfway through, but with a little bit of extra patience I was finally rewarded with a nicer looking desktop. So I scrubbed Antix from the hard disk, and installed PCLinuxOS instead. That didn't recognise my WiFi card either, and so I tried a different one, and that one worked OK. I had full resolution graphics, sound, and internet plus a reasonable selection of software, but the one thing I couldn't do when using an old distribution was to update it, and add new software*.  I think that I have further experimentation to do to get something more up to date on that old laptop. Maybe it will mean going back to Antix, and doing some modifications to the basic install.

* This isn't strictly true - there are ways of doing these things, but it's a lot more complicated than just ticking a box in the software manager, and letting it do all the work.

 Playing with that laptop took up quite a lot of time last night, and some of the slow boring bits were very boring indeed ! So boring that I either wanted to smoke a dozen cigarettes, or to eat some comfort food. To avoid being moaned at by countless people I continued to not smoke, as I have done for 18 months now, and settled for comfort food. In this case it was far too many biscuits. So my blood sugar level will be up again (at a guess), and I definitely feel sort of lumpier this morning.

 I stayed up a little later than I probably should have done last night. I was in bed soon after 9pm, but instead of going straight to sleep (or trying to) I read for a while, and didn't turn out the light until 10pm. I was asleep very soon after that, and I probably slept quite well. At 3am I had a strange dream - strange in that I am unsure if there wasn't a touch of reality in it. I thought I woke up around 3am, and maybe I did, but the next thing didn't happen in reality. I didn't feel sleepy so I lit up a cigarette. That felt immensely good. The next thing I knew I was waking up again, and this time it was for real...at least I think it was for real this time. It was probably around 4am. I checked the time, blew my nose, and then I turned over and went back to sleep again. I next woke up at 2 minutes to 5am, and that time I knew it was definitely for real - unless I am still dreaming now !

 I don't feel that good this morning. There is nothing specifically wrong, but I feel sort of tired, and only working at 50% efficiency. Like yesterday, only worse, I was mostly OK walking to the station, and mostly OK rushing from Waterloo East to Waterloo station, although that latter walk did seem more taxing as of late. It was the walk from the station to work that seemed like hard work. It was OK yesterday at a moderate rate, but I couldn't find the energy to go as fast as I would have liked to walk. This morning it seemed like hard work just to walk at a moderate rate. My legs just felt very stiff and uncooperative.

 It seems unlikely that I will be doing any exercise while I am at work, although never say never ! However I will sort of do a little extra exercise after work. I will be partly walking home through the park. The reason is a lot less to do with keeping fit, and totally to do with boozing. The Thursday night drinking takes place in The Ravensbourne pub (previously known as The Coach And Horses) this week. The pub is on the road from Catford to Lewisham just after Lewisham hospital, and the obvious way to get there is to get off my train at Ladywell, and then walk across the park, and then through St Mary's church. The pub is almost, but not quite opposite the church. After boozing there will be more exercise when I walk home from there. It would be nice to walk back through the park on a warm summers evening, but it will probably be dark when I leave the pub, and I'll stay on the main road to head back towards Catford.
The Wandle pub in
                          Earlsfield
Here's a completely gratuitous picture of The Wandle pub that I took while walking from the station to work this morning.
It used to be called The Sailor Prince before it was modernised (and maybe not for the better).
Wednesday 25th February 2015
08:07 GMT

  If it wasn't for all the black clouds, yesterday might have been a nice day. It was quite strange when I think about it. The morning was rather cool at just 4 C, and the clouds then were quite light in colour. Later on, as it started to warm up, and with a mid afternoon peak of 11 C it was actually getting close to a poor imitation of warm, the clouds became darker and darker, and there was more and more sunshine pouring through the gaps in those clouds. Sometimes, looking in certain directions, it did look rather nice, but in other directions it looked like it would pour with rain at any moment. I think we got through the day without any rain, but we didn't escape it this morning. The temperature dropped to around 5 C, and from sometime before I woke up it has been raining. If the forecast has some connection to reality it should stop raining in another hour or two, and then stay dry until sometime after dark - perhaps sometime around 10pm. The middle of the day will still be rather cloudy, and no sunshine is forecast, although I have a suspicion there will be some. The best bit is that it should be around 11 C when I go home from work today. The latest forecasts for tomorrow suggest a cooler, and even wetter day, but there is hope it might not be quite as bad as that.
blood samples
My timing was rather good yesterday morning. The official start time for the "vampires in the attic" (I must try and get some sort of picture of that place someday), the clinicians who take blood samples on the top floor of the group practice building, is 8.30am, but they usually start a bit earlier than that. I got there at 8.20am. There were just 4 people in front of me, and by 8.34am I had given the samples as listed in the out of focus hastily photographed test sheet on the left, and I had left the building.

 In one small respect it was annoying that it had been so quick. I was hoping to pay a very small check into my bank on the way home, but by the time I had walked down the high street it was still only 8.45am, and I didn't fancy waiting outside in the cold for a quarter of an hour (plus there were already about 5 people queuing outside). So I carried on walking to Tesco.

 I bought more than I intended in Tesco, and some of it was not that good for me, but having given my blood samples it felt like a big spring in me had unwound, or it felt like I had been let out of jail, or that school had broken up for the summer.....or whatever. In other words I felt very relieved, and went on a bit of a spree !


 Actually, most of what I bought was "low" most things. Stuff like salad, herbs, and cucumber. Even the lemon squash was "no added sugar", but the sandwiches I bought did not come in the same category. When I got my shopping home I had one pack of sandwiches, and then I had another, and then I had yet one more ! I did save the last pack to bring to work for breakfast this morning. Three packs of sandwiches was rather filling, but I didn't feel particularly stuffed. I let those sandwiches go down for little more than half an hour, and I started some laundry. Apart from a few duvet covers, which I would really prefer to do on a warm sunny day so I can dry them outside, my laundry is 100% done - until I get home and take my work clothes off !

 It seemed nice and bright and sunny after I had done that laundry, but every time I looked out the front windows I could only see black clouds. Sometimes I wondered how the sun managed to find gaps in those clouds to shine through. The sunshine made me want to go out, and the black clouds warned me to stay in ! It was a tricky situation, and the only solution was to stay in and do other stuff. Some of that other stuff was reading, and I did quite a lot of that. I also had a snooze (or was it two ?), but I also started some clearing up in the back room.

 That back room used to be my dining room until it became too cluttered with mainly computer and technology stuff, but also a good smattering of other "junk" too. Maybe it will become a dining room again in the future, but first of all I have to clear out thirty years of crap from it ! Well maybe not thirty years worth, but twenty might start to approach the truth. It is going to take some time to do it. I filled two dustbin liners of assorted crap, and I have hardly touched the surface - although I have uncovered a load of backup CDs and DVDs from my earlier computers, and I have uncovered a load of paperwork that needs sorting.

 When I had used up all the spare space in the wheelie bin with rubbish I had to stop my tidying up, but I was able to do a different sort of tidying up - one that is even more long winded. I made a start of going through the old back up disks, and I've found missing pictures from 2002 and 2003, plus some missing videos and documents. I think it was, and will be well worth going through those disks, and transferring the wanted files to hard disk. The trouble is that there are so many duplicated files that it is a long winded process whittling them down to just the wanted stuff. My current collection of files - music, video, documents, etc - is so large that I have no option back to back them up on a secondary hard disk, and in the case of my own photos, on a third hard disk as well.

 I don't know how long I snoozed for yesterday, nor how many times I did it, but what I do know is that it was almost 11pm before I managed to get to sleep last night. On a normal night that would be a disaster, but this morning I don't feel particularly deprived of sleep. I actually feel quite good this morning - or I did. I ate far more than my sandwich overdose yesterday, and I expected to feel all nasty and bloated and sluggish this morning, but it seems not. I didn't seem to have any bothersome aches or pains this morning, and for a while I felt quite lively. Maybe there was stuff in something I ate yesterday that my body needed.

 My walk to the station seemed unusually easy this morning, and the same could be said for the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline stations. Unfortunately I seemed to run out of steam when I walked from Earlsfield station to work. That latter walk wasn't hard to do. On the contrary, it was easy enough at a moderate rate, but I just couldn't seem to find the energy to walk as fast as I would have liked to. I hope I can find the energy and enthusiasm to do some more of my "up and down the stairs twice" exercises that I did on Monday. Maybe I might even get out for a lunchtime walk, but that rather depends on the weather, and it isn't looking good at the moment.
Tuesday 24th February 2015
07:00 GMT

  Yesterday was good and bad. There was some nice bright sunshine, and there were a few showers, but the worst thing was the wind that made it feel a lot colder than it was. There were some sunny spells as I made my way home from work, and it was about 7 C, but it felt much colder. Today is probably going to be similar to yesterday. It's about 4 C now, and it looks as if it is going to be sunny for a while, but later on there could be a shower or two. A very optimistic forecast on TV last night said that the temperature could rise to 11 C, but the BBC's website is more pessimistic, and suggests no more than 8 C.

 It felt almost like a joke when I mentioned that I ought to start going up and down the stairs at work as a sort of exercise, but in some sort of delerium I actually did it. I think it was four times that I went down and up the stairs twice. That would be the equivalent to going down, and back up again for 8 smoke breaks a day. That is what I used to do over 18 months ago, and it seemed to keep me fit and healthy - sometimes !

 Going out for a walk in the warm sunshine would be preferable to going up and down stairs, but until we get some brighter, and warmer days, maybe the stairs might be a good option. I wonder how long it will be until I feel comfortable going up and down (or down and up - I work upstairs) three times non stop ? Two times seems enough for now.

 I had an interesting journey home from work ! My usual train from Waterloo East was cancelled because "a member of the train staff was unavailable" - in other words they had lost the driver somewhere - the driver being the only member of staff on a SouthEastern suburban train. The next train comes 19 minutes later, and so I had a bit of time to kill on my way home. So it was a bit silly that I ended up getting the 15:47 train from Earlsfield. I usually just miss that one, and mostly commonly I get the 15:50.

 To kill a bit of time I got off the train at Clapham Junction, and wandered over to platform 7 where some long distance trains stop on their way to Waterloo. I had hoped a nice noisy class 157 diesel electric train might arrive, but after a wait of maybe 5 minutes, the first train to arrive was a slightly boring class 450 train. I jumped on that, and it went non stop to Waterloo. I arrived there only about a minute later than I arrive most days. So I still had a very long wait for the 16:39 train to Catford Bridge. Before the rebuilding work at London Bridge altered everything I would have got the first train to London Bridge, and caught a train to Catford Bridge that had started at Cannon St station. That is no longer an option until August 2018 or something.

 There was another option, and by sheer luck it worked out rather well. The train before mine goes out deep into the heart of Kent, but it does stop at Lewisham where the trains from Cannon St also stop. There is also quite a large choice of buses from Lewisham that go to Catford. So I jumped on that train. I was slightly dismayed to see that I would just miss the train from Cannon St to Catford Bridge, but somehow the train I was on managed to get in front of it. Once we got to Lewisham I had a mad dash through the subway to get to the right platform for the Catford train.

 I made that dash with a whole minute to spare somehow, and had enough time to make my way up the platform towards the front of the train - which was a complete mistake ! It seemed quite sunny around this time, and as the train approached Ladywell I had the sudden mad urge to walk through the park. So I got off the train, and walked all the way to the back of it to where the exit from the station is. It felt quite chilly in the park - mostly on account of the wind. So I didn't really enjoy myself, but at least it was a bit more exercise.

 All that exercise dropped my blood glucose level a little bit compared to how it was on Saturday morning, but it was still annoyingly high. It is going to take a lot of work to reduce it back to more normal levels. What I ate last night would have been partly good for it, and partly bad. My first course was nothing but salad with oil and vinegar with a bunch of anchovy stuffed olives for extra flavouring. That should have been mostly harmless. Part two was 5 pieces of fruit. That should have been good for everything except my blood sugar level. It included two very sweet plums !

 I've taken a days holiday from work so I can go and give some blood samples this morning. These samples need to be taken after 11 to 16 hours of fasting. So last night I had to avoid any snacks, but I probably would have done anyway. The last food I had was about 6.30pm, and from 9pm I have drunk nothing but plain water. That ought to satisfy them !

 Once I have given those blood samples, and I am hoping that will be soon after 8.30am, I am free to do whatever I want for the rest of the day. I think the first thing will be to have a light breakfast, and after that I might go out if it has warmed up a bit, and is sunny, or I might stay in and do some housework, or...........I don't really know.
The River
                          Ravensbourne
I seem to show more pictures of the River Wandle than of my local river.
Here's the River Ravensbourne running through Ladywell Fields yesterday.
Monday 23rd February 2015
07:58 GMT

  I don't know if the temperature did hit the 10 C that was forecast for midnight, but it certainly carried on raining through at least the start of the night - some of the big puddles are evidence of that. This morning it was 5 C, and it may rise to 6 C a few times until early afternoon when it will gradually sink down to 4 C (or maybe lower). Unfortunately it was not until I approached Earlsfield station that the few clouds that were in the sky shifted out of the way of the sun. Now I am at work I can only see blue sky from my office window, and it does look wonderfully bright outside, whereas it was disappointingly dull for most of the way here. The most recent forecast says that this sunshine will soon be over, and that in an hour or two we will have some showers until mid afternoon, and from then until the end of the day it was be rather dull and grey. It's looking like tomorrow is going to be a slightly nicer day - maybe 8 C, and more sunny spells.

 I sort of felt OK last night...well OK except for one thing. At about 7pm I felt really hungry. It probably wasn't hunger as such, and may have been just a sort of acid feeling from the fruit I had eaten. There were two possible solutions, and one was not really available to me. So I had a snack. It wasn't a big one, but it did spoil a day of eating more carefully than I have achieved for some time - and all for want of a cigarette !

 I couldn't feel that extra food inside of me when I got into bed, but something seemed to stop me getting comfortable, and going to sleep. I thought that after seeming not to get as much sleep as I thought I needed on Saturday night, I would fall asleep quite fast last night, but apparently not. I guess I was asleep by, or quite soon after 10pm, and until the last hours before I was due to get up I slept well. My sleep was quite intermittent for the last couple of hours.

 At some point during the night I had a dream about a blob. It was not a sci-fi horror sort of blob, but some sort of useful sticky ball. As far as I can recall it was useful to prop up a ladder, but there seemed to be some difficulty in how it was coated. It seemed it couldn't be painted, and I concluded it had to be wrapped up in something remarkably like pastry if my recollection is anywhere near correct. Of course that hardly describes anything of that dream, and to be truthful I hardly seem to remember anything from it, but I do remember quite vividly waking up and thinking I should really try and remember that interesting dream. Between then an now it seems most of that memory has evaporated !

 I woke up feeling not to bad this morning. I think I was hoping to feel better, but I have no real idea what sort of better I was hoping to feel, or maybe I do. Perhaps I was hoping to feel thinner in some way. Perhaps I was hoping I would feel brave enough to wear the old jeans that I managed to squeeze into yesterday afternoon, but I don't think I am quite ready for that just yet. There was one thing that did hint that I had managed to eat less this weekend, and that was how little seemed to pass through me this morning.

 In theory I could possibly go out for a walk this lunchtime. It would do me good, but there are several reasons why I probably won't go out. The first two are really just different aspects of the weather - it won't be warm enough, and it will probably be quite overcast by lunchtime. Another reason is that I don't seem to feel like walking fast today. That could be because of the shoes I am wearing, or maybe it is just something else. One idea crossed my mind while I was on the toilet this morning (always the best place for the best ideas), and that was that I ought to rush up and down the stairs here at work once an hour - just like I did when I was a healthy smoker. It would probably be quite good exercise, and if I felt really masochistic I could try and go up and down twice every time...and maybe build up to three or four or more times until I manage to kill myself (like athletes tend to do).

Syfy channel at
                          Waterloo station
This morning the usual spot on the concourse of Waterloo station was taken over by the SyFy channel.
This appallingly spelled TV channel (which isn't available on Freeview so I can't see it) seems to be promoting a series called #12 Monkeys - what ever that is - it'll never replace Blake's 7, that's for sure !
#12 Monkeys on Waterloo station
Sunday 22nd February 2015
16:57 GMT

  After the sun went down the temperature slowly got lower and lower last night, and this morning started with a frost. It was also a gloriously sunny morning, and that sun seemed to quickly raise the temperature from freezing to 10 C, although by that time the sun was mostly hidden by clouds. By 2pm, or thereabouts, it had started to rain, and the temperature started falling again. It is currently just 6 C, but a curious thing is forecast to happen. By midnight it will be back up to 10 C, and the rain will stop. Then the temperature will drop back towards 6 C by the morning. If the rest of the forecast can be believed, the temperature will continue to fall very, very slowly until tomorrow ends at just 3 C. During the day there will be a mixture of sun and showers....or some completely different thing will happen !

 Last night was one of those curious nights where I didn't feel like expending much energy, but didn't feel tired. In fact it seemed to take no effort to stay awake until after midnight, and it was getting close to 1am when I put my book down and fell asleep this morning. If I had slept longer I might have described it as a good sleep, but I was awake far too early, and with no more than 5 hours sleep behind me, I got up and started pottering around.

 By 9am I was ready for action, and I washed quite a heap of stuff. Once that lot was hanging up to dry I had a little time to waste before going to Aldi to get some shopping. Before I had thought up a way of wasting that time I had a phone call from a friend, and he started gabbling away about exciting things like mobile phone coverage, masts, and other stuff that fascinates him for almost an hour. So instead of queuing up outside waiting for Aldi to open, I arrived there at about the most busy time possible - which was a bit frustrating.

 It was probably frustrating being very, very careful about what I was buying, but I succeeded in my aims. Everything I bought was fairly healthy stuff like fruit and vegetables....well nearly everything. The three sandwiches I bought were not exactly perfect, but they did sort of come close to my ideals for one special reason. Instead of taking two sandwiches in to work for breakfast tomorrow, and the same the day after, I only bought enough to take one in tomorrow, and one in the day after....and I had one for a snack when I came back from the supermarket.

 When I got back from Aldi I was feeling sort of OK. That's OK in terms of not feeling excessively knackered, and not aching, but more significantly I was feeling like my trousers were unusually loose - and evidently they were. I tried on a pair of trousers that I have not been able to wear since last summer - or possibly earlier - but definitely before I bloated out as soon as the first hint of winter hit. Those trousers were a little tight, but they were wearable. If I can eat the way I intend to try to eat for the next week or two, and maybe take a few lunchtime walks, I reckon I'll be able to wear those smelly old trousers easily, and maybe some others too. Of course it really depends on the weather being favourable to me, and sadly the next few days could be a bit of a challenge to do anything but pay lip service to my aims.

 This afternoon I've gone into relaxed mode again. I've spent sometime on my bed reading, and I fell asleep for at least 5 minutes, and it could have been much longer - maybe as long as an hour, but definitely no more....I think ! By 4.30pm I could wait no longer for my dinner. I had an experiment to try, and it was as much curiosity that drove me on as it was hunger. The main course of my dinner was salmon with poached eggs and salad. It wasn't quite as good as I hoped, and I don't think I'll repeat the experiment, but it wasn't bad. In theory it should have been sort of healthy, but I have no idea how good or bad it really was. After that I had a "classic fruit salad", or that's what the label said. It had a few orange segments, some melon, and some nasty bitter strawberries. I won't be repeating that experiment either !

 I think my only aim for tonight is to get to sleep fairly early so I can be up and ready to start another week at work on time. It will only be a four day week because I have to take a day off to give some blood samples, and that will probably be on Tuesday. I don't know how, but I have not had to take any days off sick this month (and I'll take Tuesday off as holiday). So I can look forward to a nice big pay packet for a change, and it's only a week away now ! With luck I will be able to transfer a useful amount of money into my saving account this month, although with interest rates now close to zero, it wouldn't really make any difference if I hid it under the mattress. Unfortunately I can't do that with my other savings - it would make the mattress far too lumpy. I had a count up of my loose change collection today, and it is worth a fair bit of money. It is easily enough to get blind drunk on - twice ! One of these days I must visit the machine in Tesco that you pour loose coins into, and it prints out a voucher to exchange for bank notes at the tills - at least I think that's how it works.
Saturday 21st February 2015
19:15 GMT

  The sun managed to come out a couple of times yesterday, but only briefly. Although it couldn't be said to be gloomy, it was overcast for the majority of the time. It would have improved things if it was a little warmer, but the temperature turned out to be quite close to the 6 C that was forecast, and just as forecast, it was pretty much constantly that temperature all day until some time after the sun set. The forecast warned about a possible frost this morning, but it was around 4 C at sunrise. The temperature slowly rose, perhaps helped along by many long sunny periods that started mid morning, and I saw 8 C on my thermometer for a while. It's dropped again now to 5 C, and will probably continue to fall low enough for a frost tomorrow. Tomorrow may start bright, and possibly sunny, but it is forecast to be raining by sunset.

 I could have gone to a gig last night, but I couldn't face the idea of being in a pub without drinking, or at least drinking a lot. It didn't help that I didn't really fancy going out anyway, and I ended up going to bed at about the time I should have been going to get the bus. I wasn't feeling that tired, but I was suffering from end of week fatigue. It was definitely joyous to finish work for the week, and to make my way home.

 I did have an intention to try my very best to eat as little as possible last night. I had in mind the idea of having just a pile of salad dressed with oil and vinegar followed by a couple of bits of fruit. Unfortunately, for some reason, I felt rather chilly when I got home, and I couldn't face such a cold bland dinner. The best compromise was to have some warmed up smoked mackerel with (tinned) peas and tomatoes. For a while that seemed like it might be enough, but then I got the munchies - badly ! I started nibbling on some cheese, and ended up eating far too much of it.

 I suspect the tinned processed peas may have had a fair amount of sugar in them - even though I drained the can well before serving them. Nothing else would have had any significant amounts of sugar in it (as far as I am aware), and that was a pity because this morning my blood sugar level was really quite high. I could have lived with that if I had drunk 4 or 5 pints of Guinness last night, but I didn't - and that is worrying.

 I slept quite innocently, and as far as I recall, quite well last night, and I had a nice lie in. At 7am I decided to get up, and start preparing for two events. The first of which was to go to see the nurse at my GPs surgery. The second was to tidy the place up in preparation for a visit from Aleemah. My appointment at the surgery was for 9.15am. I was there almost 10 minutes early, and I was seen 5 or 10 minutes late. The nurse I saw was not the nice, but stern one who specialises in diabetic check ups, but one of the nurses who seemed incapable of dressing the would on my leg where the surgeons removed the vein for my heart bypass operation 18 months ago. A few inches of that thigh to foot wound/incision refused to heal properly for a long time, and it was only my intervention into it's care that got it to heal. The nurse just didn't know what to do.

 It was quite a shock to see who my nurse was, and it was quite a shock to realise that she didn't seem to know what to do. She didn't check my blood sugar level - which was good because it was so high - and wasn't really interested in it when I volunteered that I was shocked at how high it was. She did take my blood pressure, and she was surprised at how high it was - I wasn't because I was feeling quite wound up, and did nothing to relax myself. However I did persuade her to record a measurement I had taken here at home almost an hour earlier, and I had taken a photo of the meter to prove it.

 One thing I expected did happen. I have to give some blood samples soon. I may have been expecting it but it is still bloody annoying because I will have to take a day off work because the vampires in the attic only work on weekdays. Once the results are in from those blood tests the shit will really hit the fan. Unless my blood glucose level this morning was a glitch, I am getting perilously close to having to inject insulin - which in itself is no problem, but all the rigmarole that goes with it, multiple hospital and or doctor visits, will be a major pain in the arse.

 There was some good news about this morning. Despite what my memory may believe, and also Aleemah remembering me describing it happening, the doctors computer system said I have never had a pneumonia vaccination, and so today I had a second vaccination. That is slightly dubious good news, but the real good news is that to my astonishment the nurse managed a completely painless job in the arm (assuming that the needle actually went in - I was looking away at the time). So that nurse is good for something after all ! One other bit of good news is that it seems I am 2kg lighter than I was the last time I was weighed there - and unlike last time (if my memory is correct) I kept my shoes on, and I had a big handful of loose change in my back pocket. That was most surprising !

 I imagine that my blood pressure dropped considerably when I left the surgery to go home. I certainly felt very different compared to when I went in. I had that lightness of step that you get when you know you have walked through the valley of evil (or something), and come out the other side unscathed (until next time - which will be in about a fortnight). So I strode home, and when I got there I waited for Aleemah to call me to say when she would be arriving at the station. From then on it was the usual - station - pub - 99p shop - and then home to watch a DVD (although the usual would probably be Aldi rather than the 99p shop).

 Once Aleemah had gone home again I cooked some lunch, and put my feet up. I didn't put any effort into making lunch low in anything, and indeed it did have a few things that I really need to avoid except on special occasions - and today was a sort of special occasion - the last meal of a condemned man - sort of. Weekends are a bit tricky, but if the weather can be a bit kind to me I want to try and see if I can knock off another kilogram or two when I see the nurse again in a fortnight. She is a miserable old cow, who seems totally disinterested in how I became this way, or how I can do anything about it, but it would make me feel even more morally superior if I could demonstrate I can change things without her help, and losing belly fat will improve my sensitivity to my own home grown insulin - I wonder if she knows that ? She surely must do, but........

 Tonight, in fact right now as I write this, I should be at a gig. It's one that is easy to get to, and it wouldn't matter if I had many pints of Guinness tonight, but I can't be bothered to get off my arse and go out. Sometimes I find it a bit annoying that I can't be bothered to go out, and also that I now tend not to be bothered about it. For too many months now it has been easy, and enjoyable to stay in by myself, but why stop something that is enjoyable ? 
Friday 20th February 2015
08:32 GMT

  They said it would rain yesterday, and it did ! I think I remember a brief flash of sunlight, but grey clouds filled the sky most of the time, and it rained, and it rained as I walked to the station to go home !!!!! The only positive than can be said was that it was not freezing cold - it was merely very cool, or about 7 C. It was supposed to rain today, but the forecasters decided that the rainy part of the clouds would pass to the south of us. Occasionally it looks like even more of that cloud will miss us. The cloud is very broken at the moment, and the sun almost came out just now. It looks like most of the cloud will be white cloud rather than grey cloud today, which is less unpleasant than it could be, but sadly it is going to be a slightly cooler day. The chart I saw at 5am this morning said the temperature would remain very constant at around 6 C from dawn to dusk, and maybe a bit longer than that. The temperature will drop overnight, and it's looking as if tomorrow may start with a frost.

 It rained during my lunch break yesterday, and so I wasn't tempted to go outside, let alone go for a walk. I wasn't wearing very comfortable shoes for walking, and I possibly wouldn't have gone for a walk even if the sun was blazing down, and it was 20 C or more outside. It was still raining when I left work, and that should have been very bothersome, but for some unknown reason I wasn't that bothered about it. Maybe it was because I had plans and ambitions, or something.

 The grand plan was to get some shopping in Tesco before going around the corner to The Catford Constitutional Club for a drink with the Thursday gang. I was very careful in Tesco to only buy relatively healthy-ish foods. The two packs of sandwiches I bought for this mornings breakfast may have been an exception to that general idea, but they don't really count in the grand scheme of things. (Well they do, but let's not talk about them again !). The general bulk of what I bought was a couple of bowls of ready-mix salads, and several different types of fruit. It was enough to fill two carrier bags, but neither bag was very heavy.

 I was going to say I lugged that lot to the pub, but lugged implies that they were heavier than they were. So I carried those bags to the pub, and selected something to drink. Normally I would have ale, but yesterday I settled on a pint of cider. I chose it because it had the same name as a Pink Floyd song - Cirrus Minor. It was a shame that the Pink Floyd song is infinitely better than that cider ! Even Chris, who is a regular cider drinker, said it was a bit rough, and he couldn't even finish his pint. It actually worked out quite well for me because it made for an easy decision not to drink any more booze.

 I possibly made that cider last an hour before I made my excuses, and said my goodbyes. I had to endure another walk in the rain to get home, and I was feeling quite chilly when I got there. That could have been an excellent excuse to cook up something huge, dreadful, and very tasty, but I somehow stuck to my master plan, and had a rather simple, and almost small dinner. Part one of dinner was a pair of salmon and cucumber sandwiches. In theory they should have been mostly innocent, and even if they were not as innocent as I hoped, the fish should still have been good for me. I followed those sandwiches by some fruit - 3 small and very tart kiwi fruit, and 2 apples. Just to ruin all my intentions, I also had two small "individual" cheese and pickle quiches that I had found on the reduced price shelf for something like 50p each. I don't know why I bought them, or ate them, because they were not terribly nice.

 Like the night before, I quickly went up to my bedroom after eating to avoid further temptation, and where I had a massive desire for a cigarette - which I didn't have, and nor did I have my favourite cigarette substitute of an evening - a very large whisky. What I did was to watch a bit of TV on my PC before going to bed extra early. I was fast asleep well before 9pm again, but I didn't sleep as well as the night before (if indeed I actually slept well that night). One thing I noticed last night was that every time I woke up before midnight (or perhaps a little after) there was a new message on my mobile phone. The phone bleeps when that happens, but I never consciously hear it. All I see is a tiny little white light flashing in the phone when I wake up, but I am thinking that it is the bleep that wakes me up.

 I suppose it was inevitable after getting in so much sleeping time recently that I woke up well before my alarm was due to wake me, and it wasn't worth going back to sleep for just 15 minutes. So I was up earlier than needed this morning. I felt fairly good, but, as ever, not as refreshed as I sometime dream I should be. (I don't think I've woken up feeling really refreshed since I was in my twenties, or thereabouts). That "fairly good" seemed to crumble as I approached work. The mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo stations seemed a little harder than recently, and during the walk from the station to work I couldn't help but think that I was so glad it was Friday because I was starting to feel completely burnt out.

 It would be nice to completely unwind tonight. To somehow find the energy to go out to a gig, and have gallons of booze, but even though there is a microscopically small possibility that I might go out tonight, I definitely won't be necking back pint after pint of Guinness - not with my appointment with the nurse looming tomorrow morning. (Unfortunately Mike, the nurse I'll be seeing does not look like either of the two in the picture you sent me. P.S. I think I have seen the full sequence of pictures that your one is part of !!!). I think I've taken care of myself enough to just scrape through a blood sugar test without mucking about with changing prescriptions, or having to start giving blood and wee samples again. I wouldn't mind that so much if I had spare time on my hands, but when work, plus commuting takes up nearly my whole day, I have little time to spare (and taking time off work either deprives me of money or of holiday time).
manhole cover
I wonder if I should take up a new hobby like manhole spotting ? This magnificent specimen, that would be a good start to any collection, is at the end of the road leading to the business estate where I am working.
Gillette rollerblade
This morning the concourse at Waterloo station was occupied by Gillette.
They have invented an even more outlandish way of doing something simple like shaving.For just a couple of months worth of wages, they will sell you something that looks awful, and will slice through your beard almost as well as the old and original safety razor when backed with a decent shaving foam. Only a blowlamp can give a closer shave !
Waterloo concourse Friday 20th
                          February 2015
Thursday 19th February 2015
08:12 GMT

  The weather forecast for yesterday was typically wrong ! It said that the afternoon would be grey and overcast. The reality was that the whole day was just as sunny as the previous day. On TV last night they said that somewhere in the London Region the temperature went up to 11 C. I have no idea where that was. I reckon that yesterday was cooler than the day before, not hotter. My thermometers said it was a mere 7 C when I got home from work. It probably got a little cloudy during the night - enough to keep the temperature just above the level where a frost could form, but they seem to have gone away again this morning. One nice thing about the lack of cloud last night is that it extended the hours of daylight. I have to admit it was only fading twilight, but it was almost light at 6pm ! Today has started off at 4 C with clear blue skies, but the forecast says it will be raining by about 3pm. That will also be when the temperature peaks at a forecast 8 C. Apparently on Saturday will be a slightly good day in the foreseeable future, and even Saturday is not looking very attractive !

A lunchtime walk
I didn't think the weather would be good enough for it, and even if it was, I didn't think I wanted to go out for another walk yesterday lunchtime, but I seemed to have forced myself to do it. Yesterday was an even longer walk than the day before, but not by much. Only by breaking a habit of a lifetime, and bringing on my next heart attack even quicker, and more importantly by doing the impossible and running, could I have fitted more miles into a short lunchbreak. On rare occasions I will run 30ft to catch a bus, but there is now way I am going to become a jogger running round and round, and round, and round the park with a bottle of warm insipid water in one hand, and a walkman in the other. No, a pleasant walk clutching a camera is what I am best at - or used to be, and maybe will be again.

 Like the day before, I did this walk without a coat on, and this time in a short sleeve shirt. It definitely didn't feel as mild as it did the day before, and if I had slowed down or stopped I am sure I would have felt damn chilly ! Despite that, it was good to feel some sun on my arms and face. Once or twice that sun did feel slightly warm. Maybe the time will come when I can do walks like this, and when not at work, longer walks wearing shorts for even more sun exposure. That assumes I will be able to get into any of my pairs of shorts. I reckon the most generous pair would be rather unpleasantly tight right now, but I guess I have got a couple of months to do something about that, and the weather changes in my favour.

 I think I've wrecked a cheap pair of trainers by adding the load of this extra walking on top of the wear and tear of my normal commuting. My feet were definitely a bit sore on my way home from work yesterday, and I didn't fancy walking through the park like I did the night before - even though it was still sunny in direct contradiction to what the weather forecast predicted. When I got home and examined those trainers I found that the right hand heel padding was starting to break up, and that would account for a lot of the discomfort I was feeling. They would probably be OK for short trips such as local shopping, or a session in a local pub, but I decided I would just throw them away.

 I felt really starving hungry yesterday afternoon, and I was ready to eat a whole horse a little while before I started out for home. On the way home I started to feel less hungry, but I still felt like I wanted a huge filling dinner when I got in. Somehow I managed to resist that, and I actually had a far more moderate dinner compared to most evenings. The only way I could do it was to turn off the TV as soon as I had finished my second course of fruit and a bit of cheese, and go up to my bedroom where food temptation is less.

 I watched the end of the news on my PC, and that was just to see the weather forecast, and then I washed my hair. I let my hair almost get dry while watching one half hour programme on TV (an old episode of M*A*S*H), and then at 7.30pm I turned off my PC and went to bed. I thought I might read for a bit, but in the end I turned off the light, and I think I was fast asleep before 8pm. I didn't seem to sleep as well as I think I slept the night before, but it wasn't that bad. I only have a vague recollection of waking up a few times, and if my alarm had not woken me at 5am I might have slept on for anywhere between a few minutes and a few hours.

 So do I feel wonderful this morning ? Well, not really ! I guess I don't feel particularly sleepy, but I still feel the effects of my excess walking. I guess I am very slowly getting back into practice because the aches this morning are mostly definitely different to the ones I had yesterday morning. This morning there is less stiffness in my thigh muscles, but my knees feel slightly stiffer. My main complaint is probably my feet. I've learnt the lesson so many times that trainers are not good for walking in, that I don't know why I still keep doing it. Of course the problem is that I don't like to wear my hulking great walking boots to work. Other bits of me feel tolerably OK, although I did have to get the later train because I thought my guts felt a bit unstable (they were actually more stable than I thought they were !).

 It was nice getting the later train because my whole journey to work was done in daylight (even if that daylight wasn't full strength daylight for the first 10 minutes). I go home in daylight, and now I come to work in daylight (even if it was because I was half an hour late). The next big milestone will be when I can wake up to daylight. I guess that won't really be long now - every morning dawns a little bit earlier, and although it doesn't seem to change much on a day by day basis, it soon adds up. That's my positive thing done for today ! - No it's not. It's a very positive thing to look forward to a beer after work tonight, although it's also a very negative thing to realise that I have to try to drink as little as possible if I am to achieve my aims of a just passable blood sugar level when I see the nurse on Saturday. I am having some very negative thoughts about that still ! Quite why I should be so terrified about a severe ticking off by a nurse is something I can't explain, but there are nurses and then there are nurses !
Wednesday 18th February 2015
07:48 GMT

  It was so sunny yesterday that it was hard to believe that it was still rather cool, and even cold outside. For just about every hour of daylight the sky was blue, and the sun was shining. The official word was that the temperature went up to 9 C, but it was only 7 C by my reckoning when I arrived home (with the sun still above the horizon, and shining). The sky stayed clear during the night, and this morning started with a frost, but also with a warning of it clouding over later. That warning was a glorious pink and orange sunrise. The temperature this afternoon may be similar to yesterday, but if the forecast is correct, and I hope it's not, the sky will be grey by midday instead of blue. At least it should stay dry today, but tomorrow it is probably going to rain, and every day after that for the next week - maybe.

 It was so beautiful and sunny yesterday afternoon that I just had to go outside to experience it during my lunch break. I only intended to go out for something like 5 minutes. So I went out without my coat, and with my shirt sleeves rolled up. It should have felt quite chilly like that, but with no wind to cause extra chill, it actually felt fairly comfortable. I wonder if the temperature was higher than the official estimate of 9 C. I felt so comfortable, and so cheered by the sunshine that I started walking, and the further I went, the further I wanted to go....up to a limit. I ended up walking 1.1miles (1.79km) - which isn't bad for a half hour lunchbreak.
my walk
That's 1.1miles according to Google maps !
the river wandle
The River Wandle flowing towards Wandsworth and The River Thames.
This is by the nearest entrance of the park to work, and as far as I was going to go.
heading towards Wandsworth
I started walking down the path, and couldn't seem to stop myself.
The Wandle Trail
I've never seen this before. It's by the entrance from Kimber Road.
No fishing
It is rare to see anyone fishing during my lunchbreak, but I have seen a few people.
posh
It's not the best riverside property, but I expect it is still worth a packet !
view of Riverside Business Estate from
                          St George's Park
The business estate in the distance sitting under that lovely blue sky
Foster Way
Foster's Way - explanatory slate tablet set on a small plinth.

 At the end of my walk my feet were starting to feel uncomfortable, and I could feel a few muscles very gently complaining. It could easily have walked further, but it was just about the right distance to remind me just how out of condition I am...and yet I seem to recall that similar lunchtime walks would seem a bit like hard work even when I going out for 5 or more mile walks for fun at the weekend (or days off). So maybe I am less out of practice than I thought, although it turns that I probably do need to do an awful lot of practice before I can go walking up and down cliff paths and the like. Just to make sure I was suitably knackered for the day I carried out my threat (to myself I guess) to get off the train, and walk through the park on my way home from work.
Ladywell Fields
These pair of seats used to sit in front of a nice looking pool, but it seems the pool has been drained. Maybe it's part of winter maintenance or something, and it will be cleaned, and reconnected to the river sometime in spring.
the north end of Ladywell Fields
The north end of Ladywell Fields. Ladywell station is to the left of this picture.

 The route I took through the park to home was about 0.72 miles long, and that is about twice the distance from Catford Bridge station to home. When I arrived home I could definitely feel a few muscles starting to complain. Rather strangely it was my thigh muscles that seemed to be most noticeable, although it was my feet that were complaing most of all. I have much better shoes/boots for long walks, but the trainers I was wearing seemed to be better than some. Obviously I was quite glad to get home, but I was also quite glad to have done all that walking in sunshine under a nice blue sky.

 I only burned off an extra couple of hundred calories yesterday, and yet my gut was telling me it wanted an extra 500 or more calories. It made having a controlled dinner rather tricky, and the only option was a sort of compromise. Like the day before, I had a baked potato with cheese, tomatoes, and some black eyed peas. If I had just had fruit after that, as originally intended, I would have been quite happy, but I gave in to having a bowl of what is usually thought of as breakfast cereal. It was more of the Harvest Crunch sawdust oatycrunchystuff, maple syrup and pecans. It is fairly low in most stuff (including pecan nuts) except sugar. It has far too much of that to have any mention of healthy on the box. Later on, while a bit bored watching some TV, I had a small portion of evil peanuts.

 I don't think I am going to achieve much in the way of deceiving the nurse that I am healthier than I really am when I see her on Saturday. I guess I am going to have to prepare myself for a torrent of abuse (said in the most gentle and sweet [laced with cyanide] way !). Last night I went back to feeling like I had eaten too much when I went to bed. Some of it may have been liquid. I've probably mentioned before that I am half addicted to very dilute squash made with freezing cold water. That stuff goes down like beer with me ! So I got into bed, and couldn't find a nice comfortable position, but eventually I got to sleep, and I estimate it was at about 9.30pm.

 I slept fairly well, and woke up feeling tolerably well, and slightly refreshed. My feet and legs had mostly recovered, although my legs did feel a bit stiff as I walked to the station. Curiously enough, it felt unusually easy to walk between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations, and it almost felt like I was just gliding across the concourse to platform 2 where I caught the 07:06 Hampton Court service. When I aarrived at Earsfield my legs became stiff again, and it seemed less than fun to walk to work !

 There is a lovely blue sky right now, but if the forecast is right it will be replaced by grey cloud before my lunchbreak starts. It seems unlikely that I will be enticed out into the park at lunchtime, but you never know. Maybe I might walk home from Ladywell again. I think the main plan for tonight is to wash my hair, but if I feel unusually enthusiastic I might wash a couple of shirts as well. Then I will look forward to getting to bed and dream my troubles away - whatever they are.
Tuesday 17th February 2015
08:21 GMT

  It was horrible yesterday - except for a few minutes when the sun tried to shine in the middle of the morning. The rest of the day was overcast, and just as the forecast predicted, it rained on me as I made my way home. One other very slightly, almost ignorable, mitigating actor was that it was nearly 8 C when I got home. On reflection, it was not a mitigating factor at all -  8 C rain is still cold rain !This morning started with a clear sky, and that allowed the temperature to fall almost low enough for a frost. I measured 2.3 C on one thermometer, and 3 C on the other. The tingling in my hands agreed with the accuracy of my measurements, and they were very similar to the forecast.
pre-sunrise light in
                          the eastern sky
 The clear sky also meant that the eastern sky began to get light some time before sunrise. I took the picture above as I walked to the station, and although it is less obvious in the picture than in real life, there is a definite yellow glow in the distance. By the time my train arrived at the station, 06:33, it was getting light enough to call it daylight. That was rather cheering. Maybe my estimate for walking to the station in daylight that I made yesterday was a little too pessimistic, and it is going to happen by the end of this month and not the next. There is further reason to be cheerful. Today is forecast to be bright and sunny all day. It's a bit of a shame that it is not forecast to get less cold than about 8 C, but maybe the sunshine will warm things more than the forecasters think. Tomorrow could be a bit like today, but more rain is on it's way apparently.

 I felt strangely good as I made my way home from work yesterday. I shouldn't have done because it was pouring with rain, but somehow it just felt like I was closer to healthy than I have been for quite some time. Maybe I mean in less pain than more healthy, but who cares about health provided it doesn't ache too much ! If it hadn't been raining I would have got off at Ladywell station, the station before Catford Bridge, and walked home through the park. Somehow it didn't seem such a great idea in the pouring rain.

 I almost felt good enough to get some way towards achieving the silly idea of eating less, or more healthy, last night. I started off with a baked potato with some tomatoes and a small portion of black eyed peas covered in a fairly light sprinkling of grated cheddar. The cheese would have added rather a lot of calories (and so would the butter that I didn't mention), but overall it was probably not too drastic. I followed that with 6 pieces of fruit - an apple, two kiwi fruit, and three very ripe, juicy, and sweet plums. If I had left it there I would probably have been quite happy, but I wanted more, and I had more. I then had a bowl of maple and pecan Harvest Crunch with milk. It was mostly harmless sawdust, but for a product that is sold as being healthy, it has an alarming amount of sugar in it.

 Whether my selection and quantity of food had anything to do with it, and I have a suspicion that it might have, I seemed to sleep exceptionally well last night. It was 10pm when I turned out the light, and I don't remember much more until gone 3am. If it was, as it seems it might have been, 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep, then it was a bit of a record compared to the last month, two months, 6 months, maybe more ! I had every reason to think that I should have felt rather good this morning, and in some respects I do, but in two important areas I felt lousy.

 Although I didn't feel particularly cold as I came to work, either the cold, or the rain that is coming in a day or so was affecting my legs. They felt sort of stiff and underpowered. I could push them to keep up with everyone else, and do a limited amount of overtaking, on the mad dash between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations, but it felt like unnecessary hard work. With no one to compete with I couldn't raise the enthusiasm to walk any faster than a very moderate stroll from Earlsfield station to work.

 The other thing that bothered me this morning was another twinge of my floating rib syndrome. I think it was when I twisted awkwardly as the train came into Catford Bridge station this morning. When I sat down after getting on board I had a nasty pain in my side for much of the journey to Waterloo East. Fortunately, as usually happens, once I started walking it went away, and it hasn't returned, but it was a less than gentle reminder that there is a muscular-skeletal problem in my chest area still. Ah well, at least the sunshine is nice.


Here's a bit of video showing the sun just poking it's head above the houses as my train pulled into Earlsfield station at approx 07:20 this morning. It was taken through a "less than optically clear" (!!!) train window.....
sunrise
...here's a still picture taken when I got off the train.
Waterloo concourse
A little earlier at Waterloo station - Fry Light (whatever that is) setting up a stand on the concourse.
Fry Light at Waterloo
Another view of Fry Light

 I think I am rather looking forward to going home in the sunshine after work. I suspect that I will need to force myself to do it tonight, but I am going to try and get off the train at Ladywell, and walk home from there. Walking in the sunshine will be more more pleasant than in the pouring rain. I have no idea why I wanted to do it last night ! I don't know if I am going to do, or try to do anything else particularly positive tonight. I guess I'll try and bend my diet in the direction of what I should be doing prior to my checkup at the doctors on Saturday, but by how much I bend it is anyone's guess. Maybe I might also try to get to bed a little earlier tonight (a thought that just came to me as I made a face splitting yawn just now !).
Monday 16th February 2015
08:07 GMT

  There was no doubt about it, yesterday was a pretty good day for this time of year. The sunshine was delicious, and even if it started to fall sharply once it hit close to 12 C, it was rather nice - maybe not "warm" but comfortable. The temperature dropped a lot during the night. It was between 4 and 5 C when I left home to come to work. It could almost have been misty. Maybe it was in some places, but in Catford all I noticed was a slight haze around street lights. It is a shame that the day started off, and will probably continue to be cloudy. Despite the cloud I noticed that the eastern horizon was just slightly brighter than black when I started to walk to the station.

 By the time my train was going through London Bridge station there was a pale imitation of daylight. Had the sky been clear it would have been bright enough to call it daylight. It must be months since I've seen London Bridge in daylight in the morning. Maybe by the end of next month I'll actually be walking to the station in daylight. I'll enjoy that ! Meanwhile, today is forecast to remain cloudy, and by this afternoon those clouds will start leaking. There is a fair chance that it will be raining quite heavily when I leave work, and I don't know why I didn't bring a rain coat ! Or maybe I do. My most waterproof coats are not that warm when the temperature is under 5 C. So I chose a coat that would be slightly warm to come to work in, and that I can do up on the way home. It is also waterproofed with ScotchGard. My head is going to get wet, but my body should stay dry. Tomorrow may be a dry version of today - similar temperatures (peaking at about 6 or 7 C), and just as cloudy.

 Yesterday afternoon I was very lazy, and that was either the cause or the effect of feeling very fatigued. For about half an hour, or maybe longer, all I wanted to do was to lay on my bed with my eyes closed listening to music. It felt too much like hard work to open my eyes, and yet it seemed that I was not feeling sleepy. It was as if I had zero energy left. I guess it was all in the mind because I had no trouble going downstairs, and then coming back up the stairs with a fresh glass of cold squash. Then I lay down again unable to move again - until I wanted to.

 I made a deliberate point of not trying to go to sleep too early last night. My ploy seemed to work. Although I still didn't feel sleepy tired (as opposed to bone weary), it didn't take long to get to sleep when I turned out the light at 10pm. I think I slept quite well last night, and I only woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was set to rouse me because the dream I was dreaming took a turn towards the ridiculous. Being in a lift that would not stop at the floor I wanted was frustrating, but no reason to wake up. This lift would stop at all the residential floors in what was a huge old warehouse, but would not stop at the floor where production work too place because a cable was not terminated with the correct connector. What or where the cable was, was not of any great concern, but trying to find out if I should crimp on a JST R* series connector, or a P series connector was just too annoying, and I woke up.

*Note; we use both these types of connector made by JST at work, plus a few other types, and it seems that I am considered the expert at crimping the tiny little metal crimps onto the wires that go into the connector shells.

 It has taken some time to realise it, but it seems I don't feel too bad this morning. Nothing aches to any great extent, or at least nothing that stands out from the usual background of mild aches and pains. Even my legs and ankles seem unusually lithe, or fluid, or whatever the best description of the lack of stiffness is. If it was just a bit warmer in my office I reckon I would be quite comfortable to fall asleep in from of my PC monitor. I'll probably do that later despite seeming to get a reasonable nights sleep. I guess it's just the soporific effect of being at work.

 Tonight I have only one plan, and it is a plan that is already beginning to crumble even as I think about it. If it was bright and sunny went I got home I might be inclined to try and just have a bowl of oats in milk for half my dinner, and just some fruit for the other half. Doing that every night this week would go some way to making it seem like I am healthy enough to live when I see the nurse on Saturday, but if I get home in the rain I might be more inclined to have a huge, hot, calories packed dinner. Oh well, I just have to do the best I can when the time comes.
Sunday 15th February 2015
15:27 GMT

  It was a shame that yesterday was spoiled by so much drizzle. If it wasn't for that it could have gone down as a nice day - for the time of year. Today sees a grand improvement over yesterday. The biggest change is that today is dry. It's also more sunny, and it has been a little bit warmer. The sun was a bit intermittent this morning because the sky was still very cloudy, but a couple of hours ago the clouds went away to leave a lovely blue sky, and non stop sunshine. It's a bit of a shame that since that happened the temperature has started falling. My upstairs, outdoor thermometer almost made it to 12 C at around midday, and the downstairs one said 10.5 C. Unfortunately the temperature will continue to fall, and tomorrow morning could start off as low as 3 C, and it may only rise as high as 6 C. That will be accompanied by grey skies, and in the afternoon, rain.
blue sky
This is how lovely the sky is looking right now (looking north from my bathroom window).

 It felt good to do some useful stuff yesterday. Later on in the afternoon I did a few more bits of add tidying up. I didn't have a specific plan, or any particular aim. I would just notice something and tidy it, or throw it away, or put it somewhere else. It was relatively painless to do it, and if I carried on like I did yesterday the place would like like a show home in.....let's see now........maybe about 173 years and 7 months.

 What was slightly painful was doing the second lot of laundry. I had left some things soaking in some bio detergent in the morning - quite a lot of things as it turned out. The main item was a tea towel that had some nasty stains, and I added a couple of t-shirts with dried gravy down the front, and then I thought "what the hell" and added all the other stuff too. Pounding that lot up and down, and side to side, and then wringing it out left me feeling like I had definitely done some hard work by the time it was all hanging up to dry.

 I sometimes feel I have too many clothes, but I can't bear to throw away perfectly serviceable clothes. It seems I have accumulated enough long sleeved shirts for a fortnight or more, and the the same for short sleeved shirts and even more for t-shirts. At the moment, every single shirt I own, except for the one I am wearing right now, is washed, dry, and hung up ready to wear. It was quite a lot of effort to get it that way, but worth it. Worth it in the sense that it made me feel smugly satisfied of a job well done.

 I should have fallen asleep easily last night, but I didn't. Maybe rising so late in the morning made me like normal people, and I wasn't ready to fall asleep until after midnight instead of at 9 or 10pm. I think I probably slept tolerably well once I got to sleep, but I can't really remember much about the night now. Once again I woke up at around 5am this morning, but managed to get back to sleep. It wasn't exactly great sleep from then on, but like yesterday I managed to force myself to sleep more until I gave up at about 8am.

 I haven't done any grand things today, but I have done a little bit more tidying of this and that. The closest thing to doing anything grand was to go to Aldi to do some shopping. Actually there were a few grand gestures involved in that. The grandest of them all was that it felt comfortable to not wear a coat. It did feel a bit cool on the way, but it wasn't bad, and the joy  and freedom of it made up for any small discomfort. Being extra careful not to buy "naughty food" was a bit of a downer, or was it ? Maybe succeeding was actually a positive thing. There was a very good reason to take extra care today, and I'll explain it in a minute.

 It was possibly a small grand gesture, in the most insignificant way, that I tested two things on the way to and from Aldi. The first was a pair of very cheap (3 or thereabouts) plimsoles that I found on Amazon. They stink of tar - which I guess is what they used to colour them in China - but they were really quite comfortable. The same cannot be said about the pair of underpants I wore. I found them at the back of my drawer, and they seemed quite comfortable when I put them on. Unfortunately, by the time I got to Aldi they had slipped down my waist, and were threatening to throttle me where I didn't want to be throttled. It was no wonder they were in the back of my drawer. Now they are somewhere else ! I may be reluctant to throw away serviceable clothes, but I didn't hesitate to throw out those underpants !

 Yesterday morning I got a call from the doctors surgery. They asked if I could attend a proposed appointment next Saturday morning for a diabetic check up. I can, and I will go, but that gives me a week to lose about three or five stone, and convert my blood from treacle into non sweet red stuff. That is why it was so important to avoid buying anything too naughty today. I'm never going to restrain my eating eating in time to more than scratch the surface of the problem, but after the trials of tomorrow's weather, there could be a bit more sunshine later in the week, and it may not be quite so unpleasantly cold (although not a patch on today). The more sunshine the easier it will be to restrict my eating, but a cigarette could do it twenty times better !
Saturday 14th February 2015
12:58 GMT

  I'm trying to think if I can say anything good about yesterdays' weather. Well I suppose it could have been colder, but 5 or 6 C is hardly comfortable. It would have been worse if it rained, but under a filthy grey sky is would hardly have been worse if it did rain. Suddenly I remember that there was a good bit of yesterday - while I waited for my train at Waterloo East station the sun came out. It was quite low on the horizon, but it still managed to cheer things up a bit. Today could be better, a lot better, but it's 9 C, and that is getting close to nearly comfortable for short periods of exposure. There have also been a few short sunny periods this morning. The thing that spoils it all is that it keeps on drizzling. There are periods when it stops, but you never know when it will start again. At the moment the forecast for tomorrow is looking like a small improvement over today. It could get up to 10 C, and there could be more sunshine.

 At the end of work yesterday I was in a sort of ambivalent mood. I didn't feel any great positives apart from leaving work, but I didn't really feel any negatives apart from my right heel still being a bit sore. I'm almost forgetting one of yesterday's positive things. In the morning I had all the symptoms of a head cold - wet eyes, and a running and itchy nose. Maybe it was an allergy to something, but I have no idea what. By 11am it was almost over. At 1 or 2pm it flared up again for 20 minutes, but everything was back to normal after that, and remains so even now.

 I felt I deserved a treat when I got home, and that treat was to be a Chinese takeaway. It was very nice, but maybe I needed treating less than I realised because I will soon be having a fairly substantial lunch of leftover Chinese food ! Of course because I had a takeaway last night, I still haven't had the baked potato with lashings of melted cheese that I was going to have several nights ago. Maybe I'll have that for dinner tonight, and maybe I'll finally get around to breaking open one of the cans of 9% super lager I bought some time ago.

 It is strange how I sometimes get a bee in my bonnet about something or another, and if I can't satisfy that desire straight away I lose interest in it. Generally that only happens when it is something that ought to be available "instantly" (like a can of booze). When it is something that is not instantly available, maybe something that has to be saved for, different rules apply.

 I could have stayed up late last night. I didn't have to get up early this morning, and I didn't have to get up at all if I didn't want to, but I still went to bed fairly early. I think I was probably asleep by 10pm. I didn't sleep that well, or that bad except for the last few hours. Those last few hours took me right through to 8am - which represents a three hour lie in ! It certainly wasn't obvious that I felt good this morning, but it seems that I must have.

 I've been quite busy so far, but I'll be taking a break now for a couple of hours, or maybe until tomorrow ! This morning I hand washed quite a pile of stuff, and I have another bowl of stuff that is soaking in some bio washing detergent to help get out those stubborn understains (as the advert used to say). After hanging the washing up to dry I did all the washing up in the kitchen, and I did some tidying up in the kitchen too. The last thing I did was some tidying up in the living room. In theory that is only half done. I've thrown some rubbish away (including an ancient VCR that I know I am never going to fix), and there are now a few areas that definitely need hoovering, but it's a little tricky to do that with a clothes horse full of damp washing sitting in the middle of the room. Maybe the hoovering is a job that I'll do later if I raise the enthusiasm, or possibly tomorrow instead, but now it's lunchtime !
Friday 13th February 2015
07:54 GMT

  There was no escaping it, yesterday was a very cold, dull and miserable day. I have no idea what the actual top temperature was, but I doubt it was any higher than the pessimistic forecast of 4 C.  Today sees a change for the better, and for the worse. The top temperature today, occurring in the early afternoon as it usually does, could be 8 or even 9 C. The penalty for this is rain. It could rain at almost any time today, and the most pessimistic reading of the forecast means that any time actually translates to most of the time. It seems there is close to zero chance of seeing any hint that the sun is still shining away 93 million miles away in space today. maybe it has gone out, and we would never even know about it (until the oceans and atmosphere freeze !). The forecast for tomorrow keeps changing, but it's not looking good. It might be 8 C, it might rain, and there might be a brief glimpse of sunshine, but if you blink you'll miss it.....

 I was not happy when I went home from work yesterday. The most obvious reason was a pain in my right heel. I didn't mention it yesterday because I thought it was just one of those passing annoyances that has no lasting effects. I was just a hundred yards or so from work when I trod on something sharp. For a brief instant it was very painful, but the pain faded to no more than an itch as I walked that last 100 yards. I checked my shoe when I got into work, and there was no obvious puncture in the heel, and there was no obvious puncture in my skin either. So I forgot about it until I left work to go home.

 I hadn't even left the building when I became aware that my right heel felt quite sore. It was like it was deeply bruised, and that may well be what it was. It made for an uncomfortable walk to the station, and every other place I walked to. The discomfort made me feel very irritated, and I was irritated further when some little shit and piss bag baby decided to start wailing at full volume a few seats behind me on the train to Catford. If it was a band it would be banned from the venue for playing too loud ! To avoid any unpleasantness (like mass murder) I got up from my seat and moved to the next carriage where I had to stand for the rest of the way to Catford.

 I was not happy, not happy at all when I got home. With the lads drinking in Beckenham instead of Catford, I couldn't even drown my sorrows with a few beers. I could have gone to Beckenham myself, but had decided I just didn't want to go there on a cold gloomy evening - and that was before my right heel became quite painful to walk on. So I went straight home feeling quite sorry for myself. I even forgot that I was going to cook baked potatoes, and smother them with cheese. I ended up having a small large dinner last night, and that was partly due to being pissed off watching the news on TV, and going up to my bedroom by about 6.30am.

 There is some good news in all this - sort of. I was preparing to get under the duvet to escape from reality into the pages of a book when an email came through that surprised me. It was from my friend Patricia in Argentina. She is having a fairly good time over there, and I assumed she would have forgotten all about me by now, but apparently not. So instead of retreating from reality I sat down and wrote a long email back to her. While doing so I consumed a couple of very large whiskys, and I guess I was probably a bit drunk when I went to bed at 9pm.

 I slept well until about 4.30am when I woke feeling something was wrong. I tried to go back to sleep, but only had partial success, and I gave up trying to sleep at 10 minutes to 5am. Soon after that I found out what was wrong - I was suffering badly from hay fever - or I had a head cold. My nose was itching like mad, and my eyes were runny. It was a lot like hay fever - except there is a distinct lack of hay at this time of year. It could be an allergy to rain perhaps. I felt a little better once I was out in the fresh air, but even if my nose was running slower, it was still running !

 While being out in the fresh air might have been better for my nose, it was not good for my right heel. It is still quite sore this morning, and it seemed just as painful coming to work this morning as it was going home last night. Now I am at work I can keep the weight of that heel a lot of the time, but I still can't stop my nose itching and running. I evidently have a head cold, but I am not good at diagnosing these things while I am not smoking. I normally associate a head cold with a hacking cough, and near, if not actual pneumonia.As I probably remarked last time I had a cold, it feels odd that I can feel so bad without that hacking cough etc. I shall definitely be looking forward to going home at the end of work, and unless I have some miraculous recovery, I shall be quite happy to dive under the duvet, and not come up until Monday morning !
Thursday 12th February 2015
09:04 GMT

  It seems the pictograms won on the BBC's weather website page. The accompanying text said there was hope that there could be some brighter periods, but it was the relentless pictures of black clouds that turned out to be true. Sadly, today is probably going to be just as dull and miserable. To make matters worse, it will be a couple of degrees cooler today. I reckon that the day started off at almost 6 C. The forecast said it was only 4 C, and in the first couple of hours after sun rise, or about now, it would actually drop to 3 C. A couple of hours later it will, or should, rise back up to 4 C, and then it will stick like that through the day, and into the night. The latest forecast now say that it will rain all day tomorrow, but the temperature might be as high as 8 C.

 Just for a change I had an almost good day at work yesterday. I was still a completely lazy bastard, but I did do some of what I like doing - and that is repairing nice easy faults on circuit boards. Maybe the faults would not be easy for anyone unfamiliar with the circuitry and all it's little foibles, but I've been working on these circuit boards for years now, and I know them like the back of my hand. I took a couple of pictures of the faults on two circuit boards in case our quality department wanted to bash the manufacturers of the circuit boards, but apparently they don't want to do that on this occasion.
capacitor only
                          soldered at one end
This is actually a rather rare fault. During manufacture no solder paste was put on the pad at one end of Capacitor C40. When the board was heated up to melt the solder paste, the molten solder pulled on one end of C40 and it tried to stand it on end. It was at a 45 degree angle when it cooled, and that is how I found it. After a quick resoldering job, and the circuit board worked perfectly.
solder blob
This picture is not so obvious as the last, but the solder in the middle of the picture should be in two discrete blobs. The component that is actually fitted on the other side of the circuit board is one of the few that is hand soldered in after all the other parts are machine fitted. Whoever soldered it used too much solder, and has "blobbed" the two pins together.

  I probably should have felt better when I went home from work, but the grey sulllen skies had sapped all my energy, enthusiasm, and happiness from me. Even buying some shopping on the way home didn't really lift my spirits. Now that it has been decreed that dairy products such as butter and cheese are no longer instant killers, and might even be good for you (in limited quantities), I decided to celebrate by having a big baked potato stuffed with butter and cheese for my dinner last night. Unfortunately it didn't work out quite how it should have done.

 My first mistake was to buy a small bag of stupidly small baking potatoes instead of selecting a couple of the larger loose one that were available just 3 feet away. My next mistake was not realising that the sausage and mash ready meals (there were two of them in my fridge for some reason) were not on their use by date - which was actually today. So although I could still have had my baked potato stuff full of (no longer artery clogging) butter and cheese, I actually had an artery busting double dose of rather mediocre sausages and mash. Ah well, I can have the baked potato tonight - although I don't feel quite so enthusiastic about it this morning.

 In some respects it was frustrating going around Tescos trying not to buy foods that are bad for me. Paradoxically that included the butter and cheese I bought. They may no longer clog arteries, but they are still incredibly high in calories, and I am acutely aware of it when I have them. Fortunately I did purchase two items that turned out to have a lot less calories in them than I expected. They were two more bottles of "No Added Sugar" squash to add to my collection. They were both barley waters, and one was peach flavour, and the other was "tropical" flavour. The tropical was not nasty, but I don't think I'll be buying any more of it. The peach flavour was actually nice, and I will be buying more of it in the future.

 Despite being rather full of sausages and mash (plus some other bits and pieces) I still felt rather cool yesterday evening. So I decided to read my book in bed at 7.30pm. It was nice and warm under the duvet, and by 8.30pm I decided to turn out the light and go to sleep. I fell asleep remarkably quickly, and then had a rather strange night. Usually I sleep very well until 2 or 3am, and then sleep more intermittently until I get up at 5am. Last night it was the other way round. I was first woken up at 10pm by my phone ringing. I was most surprised when I checked the time. I thought I had been asleep for a long time, and that it must be past midnight. Seeing it was only 10pm came as a bit of a shock. I was soon asleep again, but only slept for about an hour before I woke up needing a pee. Once again I fell asleep again fairly quickly before waking up again a little before 1am. I think I probably needed a pee again, but I can't really remember what I did apart from look at the clock (and I can't quite remember the exact time I saw). From then on I slept soundly until I woke up about 20 minutes before 5am. I think I had just got back to sleep before my alarm went off at 5am.

 I probably feel OK this morning. I don't seem to feel particularly sleep at the moment, and nothing really hurts this morning. Of course the little and ring fingers on my left hand are still as numb as they have been since my operation, and my floating rib syndrome is still creaking when I do stuff like pulling up my shoelaces, or other stuff with my arms. Even my feet aren't particularly uncomfortable this morning.

 Yesterday I tried out my new Puma brand trainer socks, and I think I am now beginning to conclude they are as good as the Tesco trainer socks that I originally wanted to buy. I tried them with a pair of cheap Converse like trainers that I usually wear without socks. They were initially comfortable, but became uncomfortable during the day. I found that loosening the laces helped a lot, and by the time I came to take them off when I got home, they were only slightly uncomfortable. I am wearing them again today with another pair of trainers that I always wear sock with (they have a few rough seams inside). So far they seem just as comfortable as when I am wearing Tesco socks.

 Tonight I could go for a drink, and it is 50 -50 whether I do or don't. The difficulty, if difficulty is the right word, is that the lads are drinking in Beckenham tonight. On a mild spring evening, or on a hot summer night, it might even be nice to stay on the train until it gets to Clock House station, and then wander down the hill into Beckenham and the pub. On a cold, grey winters evening I find it hard to raise the enthusiasm to do that, and I feel the idea of being under my duvet with a book to be a possibly stronger lure than some beer. It is possible I'll finally make a decision about it on the train home, or it is also possible that another possibility may arise. I would not be surprised if Jodie contacts me to see if I am going to The Catford Constitutional Club tonight - I wasn't, but I could do....but only for a quick one before I go home and bake a potato !
Wednesday 11th February 2015
07:58 GMT

  Yesterday wasn't as dull as the forecast said it would be, but it wasn't that wrong ! For much of the day the cloud that covered the entire sky was mostly white instead of black, and there was a short period where the sun was almost visible. It was 7 C when I got home from work, and that a degree or two higher than the forecast. The forecast for today continues to be mysterious. The pictograms show black clouds all day, but the written description says it will brighten up during the day. At the moment the sky is looking a very nasty sort of dark grey colour, and that agrees with the pictograms nicely. What doesn't agree is the temperature. The pictograms say it should be as low as 3 C this morning, but both my outside thermometers agreed that it was over 6 C, and close to 7 C when I left home to walk to the station. My hands also think that the temperature is over 3 C - they were cold and tingling a bit, but not going numb.

 Last night was another night where I didn't feel terribly good, or terribly bad. I probably felt terribly bland instead. I managed to raise myself above the ennui twice - once to wash and condition my hair, and once to indulge in some creative cooking. Well, sort of creative cooking. Instead of just microwaving a ready meal, I baked a couple of small potatoes, and a small sweet potato. I was going to use some olive spread on them, but I opened up the tub and found it was going mouldy. That tub is not that old, and has been kept in the fridge. I don't know why it should have grown mould on it when it's predecessor seemed to last several years or more in the same conditions, and appeared to be in good condition when I used the last of it.

 So I threw away the tub of spread, and used butter instead. Maybe that was for the best. After years of being told that butter was bad for you, and stuff like olive spread was not bad for you, the tables have turned, and now butter (and cheese) is not bad for you, and spreads is terrible ! It's lucky that I used to eat hardly any spread, or other man made fats, or I could have had a heart attack because of it.....oh wait, I did have a heart attack in 2013. I wonder what caused that then ? Maybe it was chicken....oh dear, I also had reheated ready cooked chicken thighs as well last night. I wonder if the two apples, and the handful of almonds I also had last night are considered good or bad for you this morning.

 I can't make up my mind if I slept well or not last night. I was asleep by 9pm, plus or minus 15 minutes, and the next thing I knew was waking up covered in sweat - and I have no idea why - unless it was a very delayed reaction to some hot beetroot chutney I had eaten with my dinner. I had turned the heater off before going to bed. So it was quite cool in my bedroom during the night, and I can't recall having any dreams or nightmares that might have induced some sort of panic sweat. Maybe it was my malaria/ebola/syphilis/beri beri/body cancer/erectile dysfunction/lymes disease/psychowatsis/blue tongue/lung and earworms/old age playing up again.

 The next time I woke up I was feeling rather chilly because I had gone back to sleep partly uncovered. That was about 3am, and I decided to turn the heating back on. It was nice and warm when my alarm woke me at 5am. I am most reluctant to say I felt reasonably OK when I got up, but I guess I was. It didn't last long. My legs felt exceptionally stiff, and I felt fairly exhausted when I walked from the station to work. I guess I was just feeling large and sluggish.

 The other strange thing I experienced in the early hours of the morning was a really annoying itch above my left man boob. It was over a part of a slightly larger area that is partly numb since my chest was opened up for my heart surgery in September 2013. It is a really strange sensation to scratch that area. It feels like the numbness is in layers, and I guess it is possible that it really is in layers. I can't really recall if it felt like the itch was on the surface, or below the surface. Nor can I recall at what depth my (light) scratching was not felt, and at what depth it felt quite unpleasant (almost like a sort of tingling sensation). In the spirit of eternal misguided optimism, I think I'll assume the itch was the first sign of some of those damaged nerves recovering, and I will continue to believe that until I have forgotten all about it because nothing has happened !

 It will be nice when today, by which I mean the working day, is over, and I am on my way home again. I have nothing to look forward to when I get home apart from something to eat, and the facility to slouch around, lay down, snooze, sleep, and other good things in life ! I can't even begin to try and imagine that it could be the merest hint of warm, and bright and sunny this afternoon, and so I can't imagine that I will want to do anything useful like washing some shirts. Instead it's just going to be a meaningless night when I'll eat some dinner (probably too much), watch an hour of TV, read in bed for a while, and then go to sleep in the hope I'll enjoy some thrilling dreams. Ah well, winter can't last for ever...can it ?
Tuesday 10th February 2015
07:55 GMT

  The BBC actually confessed on TV last night that they had got the weather forecast wrong yesterday morning......of course it wasn't actually worded as an confession, or an apology, but it was there alright. Early yesterday morning the BBC's website said the world would be covered in thick black cloud. The reality was that it was a bright sunny day that was less cool than the pessimistic forecast said it would be. It was said on TV last night that some parts of London hit 10 C, but the best I saw was only 7 C - which was still 2 or 3 degrees higher than the forecast. Here's hoping today's forecast is wrong as well. The forecast for today is a familiar sounding thick black clouds, and a maximum temperature of only 5 or 6 C.  Maybe today will actually be like that, but there is a chink in the weather's armour already. The forecast says it should be just 3 C for the first few hours of today, but when I left home, nearly two hours ago, one of my outside thermometers said 5.5 C, and the other said 6 C - almost double what the forecast predicted. It is certainly rather cloudy right now, but my impression as I walked from the station to work, was that it was brighter that the forecast made me think it would be. There is some slim hope that those clouds could break up later, and let some daylight/sunshine in.

 All the bright sunshine we had yesterday should have made me feel rather good - particularly so considering that it was an unexpected bonus - but maybe I had already decided I was going to be miserable before the sun came out, and stuck to my guns, or maybe I was just tired. Whichever it was, I didn't feel terribly wonderful when I got home last night. I didn't feel wonderful in any shape or form, and maybe my shoes, which had started out very comfortable in the morning, but quite uncomfortable as I walked from the station to home, didn't help to enthuse me. Instead of getting busy doing stuff, I just ate too much !

 I did have a semi-healthy dinner planned for last night. One course was going to be just tomato salad, and it was possible that I might have dressed it in some oil and vinegar instead of drowning it in mayonnaise. The problem was that I noticed a ready meal in the fridge which had passed it's best before date by two days - and I noticed it while another meal was cooking in the microwave oven. If I had been feeling less unexcited, less bored, less bleurgh, less moody, less "so what", I might have made a different decision, but I was in the mood where I didn't care that much, and ate both meals.

 I probably paid for eating too much when I tried to go to sleep. I went to bed a a bit early because I had felt very tired at work, and when I went to bed it seemed that my extra meal had settled down nicely as much as an hour earlier, but I felt quite uncomfortable as I thrashed around trying to get to sleep. Eventually I did get to sleep, and it may have been that I left the heating off, and allowed my bedroom to get quite chilly, that I seemed to sleep well. At least I think I slept well, but I seem to recall dreaming a lot, and one of the dreams was rather unpleasant. It's not often that I dream about Dracula. In fact I am sure last night was the first time ever. I can't remember too much about the dream, but I do remember that my dream Dracula was a lot older than the usual centuries old Dracula. My Dracula was so old that most of his teeth had come out, and he could no longer bite !

 Ignoring the once or twice I woke up to take a pee in the night, I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me, and I felt pretty rough. Bits of me ached in strange ways. Most annoyingly was that my left elbow ached. I say elbow, but the area was actually rather undefined. It was only a mild ache, but it's persistence made it annoying. In an ideal and fair world it would actually be indicating that some change for the better was happening in my elbow. I once used to believe that changes in that area would indicate that the crushed/damaged nerves that make my two small fingers on my left hand numb were getting better, but not any more. The pain could still be something to do with the nerves as they pass the elbow in the region of the "funny bone", but it could equally be from a blood clot or something else that will eventually kill me.

 Curiously enough, as the ache in my left elbow area starts to wane, I seem to be getting a pain in my right wrist. I feel the only cure for these aches and pains is a lot of sunshine, and plenty of whisky - both to be consumed a long way from work !  I guess I'll survive work, and maybe if I am very lucky I will be cheered up by some sunshine on the way home from work. I must admit that doesn't seem likely as I look out the window, but if miracles do happen I might be inclined to do something useful when I get home. Maybe I'll do something that can't really be described as useful, but is just as important - washing my hair. Oh well, just 12 hours to go, and I'll know the truth of it.
Skoda Fabia on
                          Waterloo station concourse
Skoda were still at Waterloo station this morning. Here's the view looking down from the balcony onto the blue car.
Monday 9th February 2015
07:59 GMT

  I doubt there will be any comparison between yesterday's weather and today's ! Yesterday's weather was rather glorious (for this time of year). It was bright and sunny, and looked warm even if it wasn't really. Although the sun pouring through the windows kept the front of the house warm enough without any additional heating. The forecast for today, that I hope is very wrong, says it will be a degree or two cooler, and that it will seem like the whole world is capped with a thick daark blanket of cloud ! The only chink in the armour is that the forecast said it would only be 3 C, and my two outside thermometers both agreed that it was 5 C. So maybe the temperature might rise to 7 C today. That is far from warm, but at least it makes your fingers and nose tingle less. There are still in hints that it could actually feel mild-ish at the end of this week. So that's something to look forward to.

 I don't know why, but since yesterday I seem to be feeling the temperature differently. Yesterday's sun did warm my bedroom up a fair bit, but I am sure it wasn't really as comfortable as I felt it to be. Then last night I felt too hot under the duvet, and spent a crap night leaving assorted limbs, or other bits of me uncovered. This morning, as I walked to the station, it didn't feel as cold as 5 C should have done, and my train, a South Easern Trains train, which are not noted for the efficiencyof their heaters, felt extremely warm. Maybe the magic was wearing off when I got on the train at Waterloo. SouthWest trains are frequently very warm, but this mornings train only felt very comfortable. The magic just about wore out by the time I had walked here. I entered work with my fingers aalmost numb !

 I forgot to mention that I made another interesting purchase while I was in Aldi yesterday. One of their never to be repeated offers (until next time) was some Converse-alike looking trainers, and to my surprise they almost had them in my size. Well, they had them in my old size, and now that I am on a more appropriate dose of Bisoprolol ( one of my blood pressure control drugs) , and my feet rarely swell up, I can usually comfortably wear my old size again. So I bought a pair to see what they are like. I haven't tried them yet, but I have a feeling that they may be more durable than the ones that both Tesco and Peacocks sell - and that's despite them being even cheaper. Tesco and Peacocks tend to sell their very similar, if not almost identical versions for around 12 per pair. Aldi were selling their slightly better quality looking type for 8 (or 7.99 to be precise). In an ideal world Aldi would get another batch in just as my new pair wear out, but I doubt that will ever happen.

 Last night I made one more feet related purchase. Last week I tried to buy some of my favourite trainer socks from Tesco, but it seems like they don't stock them in winter. So I had a look on Amazon's web site, and found what may be a suitable replacement. The only trouble is they are made by, and carry the logo of Nike. Nike are far too sporty for my liking, and I feel morally repulsed to wear something with their logo on it, but at least that logo should be hidden from public view, and covered in sweat and rotting feet while I wear one of the pairs I bought. Apart from the waste of 13 for the six pairs I ordered (3 black, and 3 white), it would be sort of satisfying if they turned out to be rubbish, and fell apart after a single use. Then I go back to Tesco trainers socks safe in the knowledge that Tesco is better known for obesity than kicking muddy balls around.

 After another long break, there was some action on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning.
Skoda on Waterloo
                          concourse
The view from the balcony of "The New Skoda Fabia" (or so it says on the sign).
The new Ford Tippex ?
The yellow car was on a spot that is rarely used for displays - opposite patforms 15 to 17 (at a guess).
a blue Skoda
On the spot where most of these displays take place was a blue Skoda Fabia.

 After quite a disastrous nights sleep I expect I will feel rather tired at some point today, but at the moment I don't feel too bad. Maybe it is a hangover from yesterday's sunshine, but I might actually feel quite good this morning - provided I overlook a few minor niggles like starting out very farty when I got up. My floating rib seems very floating this morning. It sometimes seemed that half my chest was swinging to and fro as I walked to work this morning, but the good thing is that it was painless. It seems unlikely if the sky stays the same dreary colour all day, but if I continue to feel mostly good when I get home, I may do something constructive instead of just vegetating.
Sunday 8th February 2015
18:10 GMT

  The weather today was supposed to be a lot like yesterday - rather cold feeling, a light shower or two, and some occasional sunshine - and it was and it wasn't ! It was definitely 7 C like it was for a short time yesterday, but today it was 7 C for a quite a few hours, and there was hardly any wind to spoil things. The other change was that it was bright and sunny almost all day. That sunshine pouring through the front windows of the house meant that I hardly needed any heating on today. The very best thing is that it was still light outside at 5.30pm - not full light, but the sort of light I could only wish for when getting home from work at about 4.45pm a month ago.  It's been one of those days where it is fairly easy to believe that spring is on it's way at last !

 I said I would probably just vegetate last night, and that is pretty much what I did......and it was glorious ! Maybe I was feeling a bit of guilt about it this morning because I had a burst of activity once I got up. In theory I got up at 7am this morning. A two hour lie in should have been marvellous, but it took another couple of hours before I felt capable of doing anything more demanding than blinking, or breathing. Maybe it was more than a couple of hours because Aldi doesn't open until 11am, and that was the first major thing I did. I did have a good shower, and I washed my hair before going out to Aldi, but I can't think where the other hours went.

 Just for a change I bought very little in Aldi. I mainly wanted some bottles of pop, and some sandwiches to take to work tomorrow, but I also bought a 2 person Indian meal - and found I couldn't fit it in my fridge. So I had it for Sunday lunch. It wasn't bad, but the portions seemed very small - although I did leave quite a lot of the rice. Just in case it was bigger than I thought, I had a nearly healthy evening meal. It was luncheon meat salad with far too much mayonnaise followed by a remarkably small punnet of cherries, and a couple of small apples. Those cherries are obviously now out of season - a few months back the punnets contained maybe twice as many cherries.

 Before doing all that eating I did the second major task of the day - laundry.  I only did four items, but they were all lounge pants, and they need a fair amount of manhandling to wash and wring out. After the shopping trip, the laundry, and curry for Sunday lunch, it was nice to have a snooze this afternoon - except I didn't really. I lay on my bed, and I read for a while before putting the book down and closing my eyes. I think I may have fallen asleep, but if I did it wasn't for long. I don't know why I couldn't have a nice afternoon snooze. Maybe the idea that extra sleep would be nice was just a figment of my imagination. I bet I can fall asleep in front of my PC at work tomorrow without even trying !

 I did do a little bit of tidying up today, but it was only a little bit, and mostly consisted of putting stuff on top of other stuff. Oh well, at least it reveals a bit more of the floor in the spare bedroom. Maybe all the sunshine today tricked my brain into having spring like faults. The result was that I threw a few things away that I should have done a long time ago. One item was an old tuner-amplifier. In theory, in these modern days, electrical items like that are supposed to be taken to a recycling centre, and I would have done if there was one less than 2 minutes walk from my front door, but there isn't ! If some ecomentalist insists on it going to a recycling centre they can jolly well carry it themselves - it's at the bottom of my wheelie bin under a pile of crap if you want to fish it out.

 I've been playing with some "toys" that I bought from the 99p shop on Saturday. They are electronic tea candles, and they are remarkably life like. They give off a nice warm yellow glow, and flicker as if they were caught in a draught. I spent some time trying to capture the effect on video, but without manual control of the exposure and focus it doesn't really work. I ended up using two of them to make it bright enough so that the camera wasn't too over-exposed, but of course they don't flicker in a synchronised way like real flames would in the same wind. You'll just have to take my word for it that they look much, much more realistic than they do in this video clip.

Saturday 7th February 2015
17:09 GMT

  I have to confess that I was being insanely optimistic to believe that yesterday would be sunnier than the day before. There was some sunshine, but at best it was only an equal amount to the day before. As nice as it was, it didn't do much for the fact that yesterday was another very cold day with an evil wind blowing. There was less wind today, and the temperature did hit 7 C, but it was still unpleasantly cold outside, and it is taking a lot of energy to keep my rooms warm. It's looking like tomorrow is going to be similar to today. A few bright spells, maybe even a little bit of sunshine, and the temperature peaking at 7 C again.

 I felt dreadfully tired at work yesterday. Part of the reason was that I hard did anything, and I hardly did anything because I was too tired to start to do anything. It was a vicious circle that was only partly broken by going home. I went home via Tesco because I was hoping to buy some new trainer socks, but of course they are a summer item, and they didn't have any in the middle of winter ! So I bought a few odds and sods, and went home.

 There was probably lots of things I could have done when I got home, but the only thing I could think of was to have some dinner. Dinner would have been a lot healthier if I had omitted the one third price chocolate doughnuts. The sad thing is that they were not that nice. They certainly weren't horrible, but they didn't fire off any orgasmic neurons in my brain, gut, knees, or earlobes. Maybe they did provide a little extra energy, or something similar, because I did do a little light tidying up before I went to bed.

 I was in bed quite early for several reasons. The most obvious is that I was tired, but that was probably less important than feeling bored, and cold. The boredom was cured by reading the book I had started a few days earlier (Robert Heinlein - Space Cadet), and of course it was nice and warm in bed. I think it was probably about 8.30pm when I got in bed, but I was barely keeping track of time. I may not have read much past 9pm, and I can't seem to remember being awake very long after I turned the light out.

 I slept fairly well until nearly 5am, only waking up a couple of times, but for the next two hours I woke up fairly frequently. At about 7am I gave up trying to sleep, and very slowly started getting up. I think I felt fairly good, but I didn't feel inclined to wash my hair in the cold bathroom even though I had company this morning. Like many Saturday's, my friend Aleemah popped over for a few hours. Although I couldn't bring myself to wash my hair, I did find the enrgy, or enthusiasm, to tidy the place up a bit....just a tiny little bit !

abandoned guitar
I noticed an abandoned guitar on the way to the station to meet Aleemah.
(the picture doesn't really give a sense of scale - it's really a small guitar for kiddies)
beer for breakfast
While Aleemah had her usual vegetarian breakfast with a mug of coffee, I had a half pint of each of these beers. Neither were very nice, but the left hand one was quite strong (6%) - not exactly a breakfast beer, but it did help keep me a little warmer.

 Aleemah brought another DVD with her for us to watch, and it wasn't very entertaining. It was a BBC production, and I think it was called Crooked House, or something like that. It was a load of supernatural twaddle. Aleemah went home at about 2.30pm, and since then I've read another chapter of my book, and done very little else. I think there is a gig I could go to tonight, but to be honest I just can't be bothered to even think about it. I shall just remain in the warm, and vegetate !
Friday 6th February 2015
07:51 GMT

  The worst thing about yesterday was the cold. The mercury may not have dropped that low, but there was a very icy wind that seemed to get into every crevice. Apart from the wind, the other feature of yesterday's weather was how the clouds gathered up into huge black lumps with blue sky all around them. Those black clouds looked very threatening - almost as if they were full of snow ready to be dumped on us, but they usually passed harmlessly overhead - although it seems I just missed a light fall of sleety rain in Catford on my way home from work. I took a picture of those clouds and the blue sky.
blue sky and black
                          clouds
 This the view where Garrat Lane goes through a Z bend in Earlsfield. On a good day I get dazzled by the setting sun just above the roofs of the shops (at this time of year). Yesterday the sun was behind the bank of almost black cloud, but was still able to make the top of the cloud dazzling white.

 It was probably 4 or 5 C when I left work to go home via The Catford Constitutional Club. When I left there the temperature had dropped to 3 C, and I reckon the wind had got stronger because I felt devastatingly cold as I walked home (even with three pints of beer in me!). By 9pm, as I turned out the light to go to sleep, the temperature was approaching zero. I expected a thick frost, or even snow this morning, but there was neither, and the temperature had recovered a bit. It was just below 2 C. Today is set to be another very cold day, with that icy wind still blowing, but it should be a brighter day than yesterday with even more sunny spells.

 I began to feel very tired yesterday afternoon. It was partly because I had run out of work that I wanted to do, and I was being lazy. That allowed a night or two of poor sleep to catch up with me, but it was more than sleepiness. It's probably all in the mind, but it sometimes seems that more than 3 days of work wears me out, and I must admit that I would have given anything to go back to bed this morning rather than face working a fifth day ! I perked up a bit once I got moving in the direction of home, and felt 93.877% OK when I ordered my first pint of beer.

 Apart from the obvious disadvantage of it not being that warm in The Catford Constitutional Club, I felt quite relaxed once I sat down with my beer. It was one of those nights when I wished I didn't have to come to work today, and I wasn't trying to moderate my beer intake for health reasons. I could quite happily stayed in there getting drunk, but I stuck to my guns and left after drinking three pints. I couldn't believe how cold it felt outside, and if I had any resolve left it completely crumbled in that cold - I treated myself to fish and chips so I had something hot to eat as soon as I got home - any they were delicious.

 I was home about an hour and a half after I would  normally get there, and in theory I could have done some constructive or creative, but I just couldn't be bothered. I watched the remains of the news on TV, and then watched a couple of half hour programmes before going up to me bedroom. It was not very warm in there, and after 20 - 30 minutes on my PC I decided it would be warmer reading in bed. So I read for a while, and at just gone 8.30pm I thought I would turn the lights out and try and get to sleep. There is a strong possibility that Chris, Andy and Kevin were still drinking at that time. It would have been nice to be with them, but obviously I needed my sleep because I fell asleep quite quickly.

 I awoke again at 2am, and it could have been any of three things that woke me up. There was a message on my phone that would have caused it to bleep once whenever it arrived, and it could have arrived just before I woke up. I needed a pee, but it didn't seem urgent. The third cause may have been the noise of the final demolition of the old footbridge that used to go into the Greyhound Stadium. I don't know if they did something that made an exceptional noise. I had mostly been unaware of the demolition team working at night when the railway was closed. On odd occasions I heard a few dull thumps in the night, but they were barely louder than the sound of my brain working, and that is all I heard while awake last night. Maybe it was a case of all three possible reasons occurring at the same time.

 It took a little while to get back to sleep again after waking up at 2am, but I probably slept reasonably well from then on until my alarm woke me up at 5am. That was a peculiar sensation - I was having a dream at the time, and all I can remember of that dream was a noise. I have no idea what that noise was supposed to be from or about, but what I do remember was the exact split second that I woke up. It was like an abrupt edit in a film. I was acutely aware of the noise in the dream changing to the noise of my alarm clock. Maybe the realisation that I had observed the abrupt change in noise as I woke up startled me so much that I completely forgot what else was happening in my dream.

 Maybe I need to practice my drinking more, or maybe it is not a hangover after a mere three pints that makes me feel rough this morning. It doesn't feel like a hangover. There is no pain in my head, and no mouth like the bottom of a parrots cage, but I do feel weak, tired, aching, and completely disenchanted...or something like that. As I said earlier, I would have loved to go back to bed instead of coming to work. I feel that coming to work was enough energy expenditure for a day, and that I should be magicked home in an instant (like a Star Trek transporter) right now. Sadly I have to do a days work, or appear to do a days work before I can go home. Once I get home I can, and probably will be a total lazy slob - and enjoy doing it ! Unless I get some sort of crazy urge to get some housework done tonight so I don't have to do it in the morning prior to my friend Aleemah visiting for a few hours. I think the idea of doing it tonight is just pure fantasy, but we all have to dream sometimes !
Thursday 5th February 2015
07:50 GMT

  Some of yesterday, mainly around midday, was nice-ish. It was still unpleasantly cold, but it was bright, and sometimes sunny. It all went downhill just before I was due to go home. It became quite overcast, and it was trying to rain (or sleet, or even snow) as I walked to the station. That rain went away, but it was still very overcast, and it stayed that way through the night. All that cloud kept what little heat there was in, and it was around 3 C when I walked to the station this morning. According to the BBC's weather forecast web page at 5am this morning it was supposed to start off cold and overcast this morning. Then around 9am it would start to rain lightly, and that rain would continue on and off until early afternoon when it would brighten up a bit.

 My free morning newspaper, The Metro, has a different slant on today's weather. It predicts that London will get an inch of snow today ! The truth may lay somewhere between the BBC and The Metro. I did feel some very fine rain or sleet on my face when I walked to the station, and here in Earlsfield I saw a few wet looking snow flakes drifting down. Since arriving at work it seems to have got darker outside, and maybe something drastic is about to happen, but there is probably an equal chance that the clouds will be blown away by the chilly air that is blowing in from Scandinavia. That wind is adding quite a wind chill factor, and the plus 3 C is feeling more like minus 3 C at times !

 It may have tried to rain on me when I left work yesterday, and it might have been very overcast and dull as I made my way home, but I still managed to retain a thin rind of feeling fairly OK when I got home - although it was a close run thing, and one of my mates managed to push me close to the edge. He phoned me on the train home, and because I don't like speaking on a busy train, I suggested he phone back later. We agreed that just after 5pm would be a good time. Unfortunately this particular mate has useless timekeeping, and finally phoned me back just after 6pm, and hour late ! As usual, he had a technical question for me, but on this occasion I had absolutely no answer for him. It may have helped if he were able to give me a clear and concise explanation of what was going on, but he always seems incapable of that.....Anyway, I took a couple of pictures on the way home !
TThameslink train
                          going through Waterloo East station
Last night was the third time I saw a Thameslink train going through Waterloo East station towards Charing Cross station.
I have no idea why this train should go there, but it is beginning to look as if it is a regular occurrence at approx 16:10.
The bridge over the railway to Catford
                          Greyhound stadium is now almost gone
Last night this was all that was left standing of the old bridge that was part of one of the entrances to Catford Greyhound Stadium. Demolition work can only be done when the railway is not running. No work appeared to be done last night, but before the upcoming weekend is over, I expect this last fragment will be removed, and then no sign will be left that there ever was a greyhound stadium in Catford. Shame really.

 I might have been feeling fairly good when I got home from work yesterday, but I didn't feel like doing much more than playing with the ancient Toshiba laptop that I have been rejuvenating. Last night I installed Windows 2000 service pack 4, and then set about trying to get it online. I had a working ethernet card plugged into it, but I didn't have a convenient ethernet lead where I working, and so I decided to connect it via WiFi. I managed it OK, but the aggro involved reminded me why I wanted to get Linux running on it. Linux is usually fantastic when it comes to finding drivers for all sorts of peripherals, but Windows makes it a pain in the bottom ! Eventually I found one WiFi adapter card in my collection of junk that worked with Windows 2000. Once I was online I was able to download some useful software, and although the laptop still lacks any anti-virus software, it is essentially ready for use. According to the battery charge indicator, those old batteries still have 2 hours of life in them. I expect that is a gross exaggeration, but I suppose it could be true. Maybe I'll test it soon.

 There was one thing I did last night that did need a lot of self discipline to do - washing my hair in a cold bathroom, and doing it after I had eaten dinner. I'm not exactly sure what I had for dinner last night.....well I know I had a Tesco chicken curry ready meal, but I'm not sure what else I had. I was eating while on the phone to my mate, and while I was playing with the laptop, and I was too distracted to think too much about what I was eating, and how much of it I was eating. That was a bit of a shame, but at least I am still able to wear my new jeans this morning, and after a day to break them in, they are feeling a bit less new, and more ordinary (or something like that).

 I treated myself to a glass of whisky last night, and maybe that helped me get to sleep a little earlier than the night before, and maybe I also slept a bit better too....and yet this morning, I don't feel terribly wonderful. After I had my shower I had a very strong desire to go back to bed. If I didn't have to dress to go to work I would have given in to that desire in a flash. Nothing actually hurts this morning, well not in any significant way, and I am sure so little whisky couldn't possibly give me a hangover, yet I do feel rough this morning. It wasn't just after my shower that I wanted to go back to bed, but also after I exited Earlsfield station. I came through the ticket barriers and out into the lightly falling sleety snow, and I had a strong desire to lay down, or curl up in bed. I don't think that sleep was my ultimate aim, although it would have been wonderful, but I just wanted to lay down in the warm, and relax.

 There is no chance of relaxing after work today. It's Thursday, and it is drinking day ! Thanks to the bus strike that is going on today, the lads have decided to drink in The Catford Constitutional Club again, and that is just fine by me. When the weather is better, and the buses are running, they like to rotate between a few pubs, and that can be awkward for me if the pub is not on my train line. So I am happy that tonight is another Thursday night when I can get off the train home, and divert just a few hundred yards away from my direct walk home to enjoy a pint, or two, and maybe even three ! I've warned the lads that I will probably be unsocial again and leave after just 2 or 3 pints. It may be a lack of beer that has helped me get into my new jeans, and at this cold time of year I need to take every chance I can to try and make these jeans even looser. Anything might help, less food, less beer, or longer walks. It's just a case of grabbing an opportunity when it arises.
Wednesday 4th February 2015
08:02 GMT

 Yesterday morning's snow did not last that long. I wasn't outside to see it melt away, but I'm guessing it had all melted by 9 to 10am. From then on it was a cold, but frequently sunny day. By mid afternoon the temperature was supposed to have risen to 4 or 5 C, but after that it slowly started going down again. There was a possibility of another dusting of snow this morning, and maybe somewhere there was, but nowwhere that I went. The temperature today is going to be similar to yesterday, but no sunshine, none at all, is forecast for today. It is apparently going to carry on as it is now - rather grey and unpleasant. Tomorrow could be just as bad, although there is another slim chance for a light dusting of snow to brighten things up in the morning.

 Yesterday was another day when I felt better than I have recently. So I went home feeling quite good, although maybe not as good as the day before.  One curious thing is that I found myself breathing a bit hard after rushing from the train at Waterloo to the escalators to Waterloo East. It is only a short distance, and I didn't think it should have affected me like that. Just to make sure there was something wrong I walked almost as fast as I could across the link to Waterloo East. It's a far longer walk than from the train to the escalators, and yet I was not breathing any harder. Perhaps I just like the smell of railway stations or something. It will be nice when it is very hot and sunny, and I can see what happens when I push myself far harder - maybe even running up the escalators (although the thought of it right now me want to start panting !).

 I went home via Tesco where I spent a lot of money ! Some of that money went on stuff like a litre bottle of whisky, and two packs of underpants, and some of the money went on buying stuff I shouldn't have bought - but I can't resist a reduced price bargain (even if it is not actually a bargain compared to Aldi or Lidl prices). Amongst the more innocent stuff was some salad, some extra tomatoes, and some ready made sandwiches - the tuna and cucumber for breakfast here at work today, and the cheese and onion for breakfast at work tomorrow.

 I was going to wash my hair before doing anything else once I got my shopping home, but while the living room was tepid, it felt positively freezing in the bathroom, and I decided I would do something else. That something else was to continue experimenting with the ancient Toshiba laptop that I was playing with the previous evening. It was all a bit frustrating, and should have provided a great excuse for cracking open my new bottle of whisky, but that remains unopened. The problem with the laptop is that it can only take a small amount of memory, and I have fitted with as much as I can make reliably work in it. It still leaves little room to install Linux on it, and to make matters worse, I think it has a chipset that is not well supported by Linux.

 I have tried half a dozen different Linux distributions on it with varying degrees of success (or mostly failure). It is quite annoying that I can't install Linux when it is so easy to install Windows 2000 on it (which is what was originally on it). In the long term it doesn't matter what operating system is on it because I can't foresee it getting much use. At the moment it has a fresh installation of Windows 2000 on it, and everything works on it except the graphics - although it is displaying a 800x600 16 colour window OK. It didn't take long to find the correct drivers for the graphics (and all the other chips in it) from Toshiba's archive site, and I will probably install them tonight together with some software. Once it is all running satisfactorily I will take out the hard drive, and replace it with another one so I can do some more experiments in an attempt to get Linux working on it. If that ultimately fails I can put the original hard drive back in it, and just use it as a Windows 2000 laptop (if I ever use it for anything).

 Last night was another night where I seemed to get to sleep a lot later than I would have hoped for, and woke up earlier than I hoped for. Despite that, I don't seem to feel excessively tired or anything. I was yawning a lot until I had a shower, and maybe for a bit after that, but I didn't feel my eyelids drooping while I was on the train. Maybe this is all because of extra exposure to sunshine (even if a lot of it is through a small office window), or it is more evidence that I was suffering from some strange sort of disease, probably viral, until recently. The big test will come on Friday night. There is a gig on in Greenwich, and if I can find the enthusiasm to go out, it is easy to get to and from.

 One thing that will have contributed to me feeling better is a tiny little amount of weight loss - at least I think I have lost a few grammes. I can't remember when they were delivered, maybe it was early January, but I bought two new pairs of black jeans using the same ordering code as another pair that seemed to be a quite loose fit. For some reason the new ones seemed too tight to do up. Just recently I mentioned I had retried them, and although tight, I could do them up - just. This morning I am wearing a pair of them. The definitely need breaking in, and they are still a little snug, but it is no strain to do them up. They seem to go well with one of the new underpants I bought last night - everything seems very comfortable in the underpants area this morning :-)
Alien (Thameslink)
                          train going through Waterloo East station
Yesterday afternoon was the second time I've seen an "alien" train go through Waterloo East station towards Charing Cross station. As far as I am aware there is no reason why a Thameslink train should ever need to go to Charing Cross, but it has happened twice (to my knowledge) and at the same time. So something is going on.
pugilism at Waterloo station
There are some sort of weird boxing machines on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning. I can only guess it is something to do with a charity, although it could be something to do with politics (I think there are faces on the punchbags).
Tuesday 3rd February 2015
08:47 GMT

  Yesterday wasn't bad...although it could still have been a lot better if it were warmer - a lot warmer ! The good thing was that it was bright, and occasionally sunny. That didn't help the temperature much. It probably didn't get much "warmer" that 4 C, and it may well have been a degree cooler than that as I made my way home from work. During the evening the temperature continued to drop, and it wasn't too much of a shock to find this in the morning.......
 In case you can't play the video, here's a few pictures.
Catford Bridge station with a snowy
                          start to the morning start to the morning
Looking north from the footbridge at Catford Bridge station at approx 6.30am.
snow swirling past a platform light at
                          Catford Bridge station
Snow swirling past a lamp on the down platform.
more snow in Earlsfield
About 70 - 75 minutes later, and the sun has risen (although it's not visible), and the daylight reveals that the snow is slightly thicker in Earlsfield as I walk towards work.

 There is no sign of the sun yet, but the forecast says the rest of today should be quite similar to yesterday. Sometime soon there will be some sunny periods, and the temperature will soar upwards by a whole degree or two ! The high is forecast to be 4 C. It might not (but probably will) be not quite as cold tomorrow morning, but only by a degree or two. It seems we are now truly in the grip of winter until the end of the week, and maybe for longer than that !

 I felt quite good when I went home from work yesterday. I shouldn't have done because I was suffering a small medical calamity. Every now and then a "crater", left over from a carbuncle I had 15 or more years ago, fills up with blood, and then bursts. It may be when I let my blood sugar rise a little too far, or fot may be for some reason I can't even guess at. It is very clean blood, and there is no unpleasant pus, but it does leave my underpants rather unpleasantly damp (for the "crater" is on my inner thigh). It's not exactly nice walking like that, but strangely enough, it didn't impede my walking.

 Not only was able to walk briskly with no trouble, but I could do it without my "floating rib syndrome" causing any discomfort, and my stomach ulcer, or whatever it is/was seemed to be barely perceptible. I arrived home feeling slightly soggy in the undercarriage area, but strangely good. So good that I decided I would do some laundry. There was one obvious item that needed washing, but I did a couple of shirts and a couple of pillow cases too. Then I had some dinner.

 Now I must confess that I had a snack before doing the laundry, and it was a big greasy packet of crisps. Dinner itself consisted of three courses. First on the menu was a plate of salad leaves with some beetroot and tomatoes. I think that satisfied the need for green and vegetable stuff. Then I had an alleged "hot and spicy" chicken tikka curry with rice. I didn't think it was hot at all, and not very spicy. So I didn't eat that much of the rice because I didn't want to dilute the flavour of the curry sauce too much. The final course was a little punnet of blueberries.

 As I ate I watched TV, and I continued to watch TV after I had eaten, but I used a secret weapon to stop me eating more as I sat there watching the goggle box. This secret weapon was not a cigarette, even though that would have worked perfectly, but an old, perhaps ancient, laptop. I can't remember how I got hold of this laptop. I may have been given it, or I may have fished it out of the skip. It's been hanging around at work for ages, and I thought I would take it home to add to my other ancient laptops. This one, in one small respect, is better than the others - the battery in it still retains some charge - even if it is only 5 minutes worth !

 The problem with the laptop is that it does not have much memory in it, and what it does have is about all it is able to support. It makes installing Linux on it a bit tricky. I had several attempts to install Linux Mint on it, but it just chokes on the installer. I think it may also have a tricky chip set in it which adds another dimension to the problem. I may have to bite the bullet and find the patience to use a Linux distribution that is installed from the command line - something like Slackware maybe. 

 Maybe I'll spend more time on that laptop tonight, and maybe I'll do some more laundry, or maybe I'll do nothing. It all depends on how I feel when I get home. So far this morning I feel quite well. I felt slightly hungry on my way to work, but it was extremely mild compared to the gnawing pain I had yesterday morning. I don't seem to have too many aches and pains at all this morning - which is rather strange considering the weather. Sometime I wonder if I have a weird viral infection that pops up every now and then, and then goes dormant, but it could be something to do with my blood pressure, or blood circulation, or....????? Whatever it is, sometimes it makes me feel crap for days, if not weeks, and sometimes I feel a lot better, and on even rarer occasions I feel pretty good. it's all terribly complicated. All I can do is to keep taking the pills, and hope for the best (or something like that).

 Anyway, one bit of good news - I seem to be able to get into the new jeans that I couldn't seem to get into when they arrived some time ago (was it before or after Xmas ?). I find that quite incredible because while I have occasionally tried to be a bit careful about what, or how much I eat, I didn't seem to take any positive steps to get into those jeans. It's been too cold to take positive steps, or at least I thought it was, but maybe I have been more positive than I thought. It will be nice when it's warm enough to walk without wearing a coat, and I can try and get serious about getting a bit fitter !
Monday 2nd February 2015
08:10 GMT

  At a different time of year it could have been the start of a nice day....
sunrise over
                          Earlsfield cemetery
....well maybe not when you take into account that old weather lore - "red sky in the morning, shepherds warning". I took this horribly blurred picture through the train window as my train passed Earlsfield Cemetery just before it pulled into Earlsfield station. Maybe I should have taken a short video clip instead, but at least you can see some of the glorious colours visible behind the blurry trees. In real life it looked much more impressive.

 The reason for the colourful sunrise was that the sky almost cleared again during the night. It was quite overcast as the sun set last night, but at some time in the night the clouds cleared, and the temperature dropped to -1 C by 5am...and then it continued to fall. It is probably about at it's lowest around now, and the forecast said that would be -2 C. The air must have been fairly dry because there wasn't much frost this morning, but all the puddles are frozen solid. The forecast says there will be lots of sunshine today, but it won't do much for the temperature. The forecast reckons the highest temperature today will be mid afternoon when it will be a finger tingling 3 C ! Tomorrow may not be quite as cold as today, but maybe only by a degree or so, and it may well be overcast for much of the day.

 Doing that hand laundry yesterday really made a difference to how bad I was feeling. For the rest of the evening I felt passably OK. I took some care not to eat anything that I thought might inflame my sore stomach, and what I ate might have been slightly low in other things that are not good for me. My evening meal was extremely simple. I had two very small baked potatoes, and a small baked sweet potato. I only know that the potatoes were baking potatoes because they said they were on the bag they came in, but somehow the idea that a potato about the size of an average peach is a baking potato seems a bit wrong to me. There was one other ingredient besides the potatoes, and there is a great deal if dissent about whether it is good for you, or completely lethal. I am talking about butter, and maybe the quantity I used was lethal !

 I read in bed until about 9.30pm if I remember correctly, and then I put my book down, turned out the light, and I fell asleep very quickly. As far as I am aware, I slept solidly until 4am. From then on I hardly slept at all - which was annoying - particularly because there seemed no reason for it. Maybe I just didn't need any more sleep. I felt mostly OK this morning. The walk to the station in the sub zero air was easy enough, as was the walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo station. The only thing troubling me is the dull ache in my belly. It is mild, and yet still annoying. One reason for it being annoying is that it feels like being hungry, and I don't like feeling hungry when it is cold. I've had a couple of sandwiches, and that has reduced the ache a bit, but I guess I'll have to just live with the rest of it. One good thing is that it doesn't feel quite as bad as it did yesterday at times. Maybe the fault is clearing itself up.
Sunday 1st February 2015
14:57 GMT

  I didn't like the weather yesterday. Of course it could have been far, far worse, but cold, grey, and wet seemed quite bad enough for me. The temperature didn't really dip much overnight - maybe it went from 3 or 4 C down to 2 C, but it wasn't cold enough for snow or frost. I haven't been out at all today, so I can't really comment on how it feels, but I know that there were some strong winds this morning,and they would have paradoxically stopped the temperature dipping too low, while making it feel as if it was sub zero ! The wind has dropped a bit now, and after a few hours of brightness, including a fair bit of sunshine, it is now cold and grey again. Luckily it is dry, and it should stay dry for a couple of days. It is currently 6 C (the forecast reckons it should be 5 C), but the temperature will soon start to drop away, and the forecast says it will be -2 C when I get up, and the highest temperature tomorrow, allegedly a sunny day, will be a bone freezing 3 C !

  As I suggested I probably would, I did actually go to bed quite early for a Saturday night, but I did spend about an hour reading. I think I got to sleep a little after 10pm. I'm sure I didn't sleep that well, but I can't seem to remember why now. Maybe it was because I woke up at 5am, and never really got back to sleep after that.....well not deep sleep. I think I snoozed for what might have been mere minutes, but could have been longer, a couple of times before I gave up trying to sleep.

 One significant reason why I couldn't sleep properly after 5am was because I felt really rough. My floating rib syndrome seemed to be generating some spurious pains, and I had a horrible belly ache. It was a very empty, hungry sort of feeling that at a different time I would incorrectly interpret as actually being hungry. In varying degrees it has been going on for some time now, and there could be many reasons for it - ulcer, cancer, more heart trouble, or something completely different. I'll mention it to my doctor the next time I see her (or him) if I remember.

 I did try "treating" the discomfort with some food, but as I thought likely, it didn't make any difference. Initially I had a bowl of oats with cold milk. That should have been neutral enough to not make things worse if it was something like an ulcer. The only trouble was that it was rather cold for a cold morning, and I followed it shortly after with a bowl of hot beef goulash soup. That too didn't make any difference (beyond de-chilling me).

 I have now found a partial cure for that pain, and for the various chest area pains from my (supposed) floating rib(s). It was a bit kill or cure, but after hand washing a long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt, two t-shirts, some underwear, and a medium size bath towel, I actually feel a lot better (sweaty, but better !). It was as if I was suffering from anti (or reverse) angina. The more I relaxed the worse I felt. Once I stirred the blood up by doing some hard manual labour I felt better.  That could be a good clue to perplex my doctor :-)

 There is still a long time to go before bedtime, and I have run out of things to do now. I'll probably almost certainly start relaxing again soon - which might not be sensible, but what the hell ! In the meantime I will think positive thoughts......It's the start of the month, and I've been paid. With that pay I've settled my credit card (actually a bit early, and I could easily spend something on it before the end of it's own special month). Unfortunately they are the only positive thoughts I have, and now I've used them up. Oh well, back to the drawing board !