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July 2015
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of July 2015

Friday 31st July 2015
07:55 BST  

just 9.7 degrees this morning
  It could almost have been a nice day yesterday. The temperature, although poor for July, was comfortable, and it was dry all day, but there were too many clouds around - particularly so in the afternoon when I was hoping the weather forecast would be wrong. Unusually it was right ! The afternoon temperature was probably only a bit over 20 C. This morning has started bright and clear, but look at the bottom figure on the picture on the left. That 9.7 C is the outside temperature at 05:53 this morning. That is pretty low ! Some say that it isn't exceptional for a July morning, and I would say it is not that exceptional for a January morning !

 The weather today seems like it will be similar to yesterday, but there seems more hope that the clouds that are due to form soon will be more patchy, and we'll have more sunny spells than yesterday. The current forecast says the temperature much of this afternoon will only be 20 C, but there could be a brief peak of 21, or even 22 C at 5pm. A lot of tomorrow is looking like it might be overcast, but it could brighten up in the afternoon. Once again, the temperature will be little better than 20 C. So that's August off to a very non-summery start then ! Back to this morning when it was cold enough for a heavy dew !
dew on the wheelie
The top of my wheelie bin spotted with dew drops at 06:18 this morning.

 There were many ways I could have got to The Railway Telegraph pub in Forest Hill after work yesterday. All of them meant travelling to Forest Hill station and walking from there, but depending on my choice the train could approach the station from the south or the north. I opted for the latter direction because it would give me a chance to see the newly rebuilt platforms and infrastructure of London Bridge station. There is still plenty of building work to do yet, and the through platforms haven't even been started on yet, but the terminal platforms are probably complete.

 My journey to London Bridge was a bit convoluted, and I got there later than I hoped - which meant a 20 minute wait for the next train towards Forest Hill. After leaving work, and walking to the main road, I spotted a 44 bus just pulling up to the bus stop. So I jumped on that to go to Wandsworth Town station. That was probably the first mistake. It only added a few, maybe 5 minutes to my journey, but the small delays all added up. From Wandsworth Town station I took a train to Waterloo. It was probably no more than a minute or two, but that train had to wait outside Waterloo station until it's platform became free. Another couple of minutes lost !

 At Waterloo I went down into the tube station, and took the Jubilee line to London Bridge. I can't complain about any delays on that part of the journey - there was even a train in the platform when I got down there, and the doors closed a few seconds after I got on, and we were on our way. I do find it curious how being underground can sometimes distort the impression of speed and distance. The next stop after Waterloo is Southwark station, and that seems to be almost underneath Waterloo East station. Trains from Waterloo East never seem to go very fast to London Bridge, but the tube from Southwark really rattles along to London Bridge, and yet the travelling time seems longer for what seems like should be a similar distance.

 All those little delays, including the time it takes to get into and out of the tube stations, meant that I missed the 16:10 and 16:22 trains that I thought I might have been able to get, and I missed the 16:37 train too. I had about a 20 minute wait before I git the 16:53 train. Nice train thought - it was a class 377 - the same type that Southern Trains use for services to the south coast from London. It seemed a bit extravagant for a simple inner suburban journey between London Bridge and Victoria stations, but I wasn't complaining. 10 or 15 minutes later I was at Forest Hill, and in another 10 minutes I was at The Railway Telegraph pub.
The Railway
                              Telegraph pub in Forest Hill
 It made a change that I was the last to arrive instead of the first. It's a Shepherd Neme pub, and I am not keen on their ales, although I was assured by the others that the Spitfire was rather excellent. I opted for a pint of Whitstable Bay premium lager. I had never heard of it before, although I have enjoyed several fine ales from that brewery, but the lager did not impress me. So for my next two pints I had Hurliman, sometimes known as hooligan, lager, and that was much nicer. After three pints I decided I ought to leave.

 It's only a few minutes walk from the pub to the bus stop, and I was lucky in that I only had to wait a few minutes for a bus. I was even luckier that the South Circular road was flowing freely, and I was back in Catford in little more than 10 to 15 minutes. Along the way, and even when inside the pub, I was assaulted by lovely cooking smells, and I was feeling hungry enough to allow the small amount of booze I had drunk to slightly dull my good sense - but only just. I went into the fried chicken shop and bought the smallest order I have probably ever made there - just three bits of chicken and nothing else at all.

 It was nice to sit down to some hot food as soon as I got home, but I had planned to have more. In particular I was looking forward to trying out the goat cheese and sweet potato pie I had bought from Tesco the day before. The cooking instructions didn't mention using a microwave, but I assumed that was because I microwave couldn't give the nice brown crusty top that a normal oven could. To cook in a normal over they recommended 25 to 30 minutes. I thought I would take a chance on 15 minutes in my microwave oven. That was a big mistake !  I heard the timer go ping ! from the living room, and when I went to the kitchen there was smoke pouring from the microwave. The pie had almost caught fire, and maybe it had. There was no damage to the microwave except for some smoke stain, but as soon as I opened the oven door the kitchen filled with horrible brown smoke. I opened the windows and door to let it dissipate, but I think that smell is going to linger for some time. I'm sure I can smell it on the sandwiches I brought to work this morning, and they were safely shut in the fridge until I took them out this morning. I am still curious as to what a goats cheese and sweet potato pie tastes like, but I think I am going to have to be a lot more careful cooking it if I do buy another.

 I slept better last night, although still not as well as I would like. I didn't seem to have any extended weird dreams, and in fact I can only recall having one short dream. In that dream I was examining a few spots on my left foot. I was trying to work out if they were zits, blisters, warts, or something terrible. The only weird thing is that for me to see my foot in the way I was in the dream I would have to be a contortionist. Eventually I woke up, and then got up 15 minutes early. I don't feel too bad this morning - although I do still feel some bad. My chest seems to have returned to a persistent mild ache rather than the jarring pains I felt a few times yesterday. My stomach feels a bit tender again this morning, although "tender" may not be an appropriate word. It feels a little like hunger pains. It could be my daily dose of aspirin is upsetting my stomach again because I am not taking it with food as recommended. On top of all that I feel like I would now like to go back to bed for another hour or two. Oh well, it's Friday, and the working week is almost over, and it is also payday. So life must be wonderful....musn't it ?
Thursday 30th July 2015
07:52 BST  

  I think that yesterday turned out to be pretty close to how the weather forecast predicted it - or at least my intepretation of that weather forecast. It became quite cloudy during the morning, and then the cloud thinned out in the afternoon. The only thing I am unclear about is to whether we had any significant sunny spells, or whether the cloud just became thin enough for the occasional ray of sunshine, and an overall lighter ambience. I think it was around 21 - 22 C when I got home from work, although there was a bit of a breeze that made it feel a little cooler than that. Today, which started off at 13 C, was forecast to be sunnier than yesterday, but now it seems that may only be the case in the morning, and the afternoon will be cloudy. The top temperature today will be similar to yesterday, but it's reckoned that the breeze will be lighter, and that will make it feel a little warmer than yesterday. Tomorrow may be a lot more sunny, but the temperature won't be significantly different to today or yesterday.

 I remember having some discomfort on my way home from work yesterday, and thinking that pain is a constant companion these days. The trouble is that I can't think what sort of pain it was, or where it was coming from to make me think that. The most obvious pain was from my feet. One day I will learn to throw away cheap shoes that become uncomfortable as the insole, and maybe other bits, deform or break up. Of course the only trouble is that yesterday's shoes colour matched the shirt I was wearing, and I have no seen any replacements in that colour. So I am reluctant to throw those shoes away until they are displaying more wear on the outside, but I think I ought to make a point of not attempting to wear them (and several others) to work, or for other long periods of time. They are still OK for short trips to the shops or pub.

 Despite my feet aching I went home via Tesco. I fancied something nice for dinner, and I couldn't think of anything I had at home, and I couldn't think of anything in particular I wanted from Tesco, but I thought I would spot something while going round the store. I ended up buying rather a lot, and having to lug three carrier bags home. One bag, which I doubled up for safety, had three 2 litre bottles of Tesco own label, sugar free, fizzy drinks. One of them intrigued me. It was called "Dr Fizz", and I wondered if it was based on a Dr Peppers - a drink I am none too keen on. In a way it was, but it was more a marzipan taste than cherry. It is almost pleasant in small quantities, and I think that 2 litre bottle is probably going to last a long while. Luckily it is fairly cheap. Tesco are selling three 2 litre bottles of own brand fizzy drinks for 1.50 (or 55p each). I don't think my wallet will bleed too much even if I end up pouring some of the Dr Fizz down the drain.

 The variability of my broken chest never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday I had practically no background pain from it, and it seemed to be clicking, popping and grinding a lot less. What it was doing instead was to give very brief, but very sharp pains when I performed certain actions. For example, when I stood up after putting a couple of my newly bought bottles of drink in the bottom of the fridge, I had a really sharp stabbing pain as I stood up. Within 5 seconds, or even less, it had gone away again leaving no trace behind.

 One entirely predictable result of visiting Tesco (or any other supermarket), and particularly on my way home from work, was that I ate rather too well last night. The straw that broke the camels back was actually a salad. One of the things I had noticed on the reduced price shelves was a little pot of anchovies - the light coloured, non-salted type - originally from the delicatessen counter. They come in oil, and are rather delicious - and four, or more times cheaper than the little tins or bottles of anchovies you can buy.  I had rather a lot of then on a ready made bowl of salad just dressed with vinegar - and I still have half a pot left to do something with tonight.

 Yesterday evening was not pleasant in one respect. I had eaten more than enough for the evening, and yet after I washed my hair I wanted to eat even more. That's not actually correct. Eating would have been one answer to how I felt. What I really wanted to do was to sit down and relax with a cigarette. I feel sure this was no delayed nicotine addiction reaction, but it was just what felt like an answer to this really powerful feeling I had that I wanted some sort of stimulation. It felt like my head would explode as I craved something unknown. Maybe it was an extreme form of boredom, or frustration, or something else. I ended up having a couple of glasses of whisky, and that helped, but it wasn't a cure.

 That whisky probably helped me get to sleep a bit easier, and I ended up sleeping tolerably well, but I could have wished for a lot more, and more satisfying sleep. At some time in the night I had a long series of dreams, and some bits of those dreams stickm in my memory. The most interesting one was probably a deep condemnation of the current weather. In this dream I was walking back home from a pub that was where Aldi is in real life. The sky was dark, and it started snowing. In a very short time enough snow had fallen to make the pavements completely white. To my annoyance, I couldn't seem to make the camera work in my mobile phone so I could post some pictures of it in the dream version of this blog. Two curious facts emerge from the dream. The first was that it was definitely still July in that dream, and secondly was the interesting fact that I didn't seem to feel cold as the snow was falling. It was almost as if I was viewing it remotely - although I could look down and see my footprints in the snow.

 I got up 10 or 15 minute early again this morning. I would have liked to get up for half an hour, or maybe an hour before going back to bed again in the hope of getting a good few more hours of sleep. I definitely felt quite rough this morning, and I still do now. My chest had gone back to a persistent gentle ache, and that was joined by a gentle persistent ache from my gut. Maybe those anchovies are doing something unpleasant to my digestive system ! A small residue of dissolved soluble aspirin left a slight tingle/taste in my mouth that seemed to make me salivate more than usual (although to some extent or other this is a frequent event when I take my morning dose of aspirin). The aspirin make the blood less sticky as it pumps through the blood vessels of the body. It is unfortunate that if I don't rinse it out of my mouth well enough it makes me salivate a lot more, and that is like one of the precursors to vomiting.

 To add to my misery I also managed to make myself gag as I brushed my teeth. I really did feel that I was on the edge of throwing up. It may have been some of the tightening of my stomach muscles that has left my stomach feeling tender and a bit sore this morning - either than or I am due to explode during a visit to the toilet some time today. It certainly feels bad enough that I only ate one of the two sandwiches I brought to work for breakfast this morning - and that means it is pretty serious ! I'm not sure it was a wise thing to even eat one of them.

 I hope that if my gut is going to rebel it gets it over with before I go home. Tonight, being a Thursday, is booze night. We are drinking in The Railway Telegraph in Forest Hill, and that is going to make for an interesting journey. There are several ways I can get there, although all mean a stiff 8 - 10 minute walk from Forest Hill station. I could walk to Wandsworth Common station, like I used to do some years back when I felt far fitter than I do now, and from there I can get a direct train to Forest Hill, or change at Crystal Palace. Direct trains are only every 30 minutes. So unless I was very lucky I would probably end up changing at Crystal Place. I could also get the train from Earlsfield to Clapham Junction, and then change there to the same train that would call at Wandsworth Common station. Those methods would get me to Forest Hill rather early. So I think I will take a longer route.

  I'll get the train to Waterloo as usual, and the take the Jubilee Line to London Bridge. There are trains at almost random intervals from London Bridge to Forest Hill. If I miss the first it is a 10 minute wait, and if I miss the second choice it is a 20 minute wait. The next one after that is probably a 10 minute wait, but I think there is every reason to believe I should be able to get the first train mentioned (16:22 ?). Getting home from the pub is easy - sort of. If I leave too early the 185 bus back to Catford will be stuck in traffic so long that I doubt I'll get home this month (or that is what it might feel like). I don't want to drink too much so I would like to leave early, but if I stay for maybe 4 pints, the traffic will probably have died down a lot, and the journey home will be far less painful. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to see what happens when I get there.
Wednesday 29th July 2015
08:04 BST  

  Well, here we are approaching the end of, sorry, it just feels like it. It's actually nearly the end of July, traditionally one of the hottest months of the year, and this morning it was just 10 or 11 C (depending on which thermometer is the most accurate). Yesterday, after a slightly less cool start, and with some periods when the clouds seemed to get very thick, did finally reach 22 C. There was even a bit of sunshine, although not much. Today has started bright and sunny, and although the sun was too low in the sky to be felt except in certain places with a less obstructed view to the east, it did feel nice and warm. Thin clouds will come and go all day today (if I understand the forecast correctly) and so the sunshine could be rather intermittent, but the clouds should usually be thin enough that most the day will be bright. However, the forecast warns us that there is a chance of the odd rogue cloud turning up that will be thicker and darker and wetter, and it could drop rain on us. If all goes well the temperature should rise to 21 C today - which is a degree less than yesterday. It could have been higher but air will be chilled by a cold wind from the north today. Tomorrow will probably be similar to today.
early morning sun
                          casting a long shadow
 It may look like a shadow of an amorphous blob, but it is me casting this deep shadow as I get near to work. It demonstrate how bright the early morning sun was, and how low in the sky it was to cast such a long shadow,

 I didn't feel that bad at work yesterday. I had no major aches and pains, but I did have a couple of brief twinges that were quite painful for a second or so. They happened as I made certain moves, and felt like the sharp end of a rib was poking into me. Of course it is always possible that a surgical instrument was left inside of me when I was operated on almost two years ago now. That would explain quite a lot of things, and rather than regard it with horror, I find I quite like the idea of it for some strange reason. Maybe it would be a novelty, and I like novelties. It is a shame that it is hugely unlikely, almost impossible, but even "almost impossible" still leaves room for possible.

 When I got home from work, after a textbook journey home, I had a very unwise, unhealthy,  snack before hand washing four shirts. I wasn't completely sure I should have been doing that, but it warmed me up nicely, and I don't think it caused any harm, although I must I did it because I said that I might do it, and didn't want to let myself down. The fact that I was running out of my favourite shirts didn't enter in it. I still had enough good shirts for another 5 day work week, and enough second choice shirts for another work week. I do seem to have a lot of shirts these days, and all the shirts I've just mentioned are short sleeved one. If necessary I could start to wear the long sleeved shirts. In fact this morning, with it being so cold, I was tempted to put on a long sleeved shirt.

 One thing that did bother me at work was just how easy it was to start to fall asleep while reading stuff on my computer. While I was busy doing other stuff I didn't feel tired, but if I relaxed I felt dreadfully tired. So it was obvious that I should try and get plenty of sleep last night. You might think that if I can start to fall asleep, and on at least one occasion actually fall asleep, albeit very briefly, while sitting at my work desk reading from a computer, it would be been easier to fall asleep while tucked up in bed. Well I would have done, but apparently real life got in the way. Within seconds of getting into bed I was irritated by what seemed to be half a grain of sand. I don't know what it actually was, but it was this tiny grain of something hard that felt like trying to sleep on the tip of a knife blade.

 Sleeping should have been easy after removing that tiny little irritant, but no. The temperature in my bedroom seemed to be back in that annoying spot where it's too cold without the duvet, and too hot with it. So I had to leave one leg and one arm outside the duvet to equalise the temperature. With that done it was time for my floating rib(s) to crunch and grind even just by breathing in and out if I lay in my favourite position. Much of that could be overcome by mind over matter if only my stupid brain could shut up and get on with the job in question.

 It was my brain that was ultimate downfall. It eventually let me get to sleep, and it was probably not responsible for waking me up a couple of times in the night, but it was responsible for not letting me get straight back to sleep again. It's ultimate sin was to instigate a horror dream ! This nightmare started about half an hour before my alarm was set to go off at 5am. It started off OK. I was at work - although I am not sure where. It was a sort of hybrid of several places I've worked at in the past. There was going to be a union meeting, and I was urged to go to it. I hadn't been in any union for 20 years, but if they wanted me to go, then who was I to argue.

 The meeting was in some sort of conference centre - perhaps something like, and maybe inspired by, the Excell centre in Docklands - but there was one major difference in that this place was on a high street, and there was a pub just up the street from it. The significance of the pub was that a band I knew, The Bromley Bastards, were due to play a gig there right after the meeting. Some of the members of the band were actually at the meeting, and I think it might have been them who urged me to go to it. The meeting started and I was immediately thrown out because I was not a member. So I went to one of the bars to kill a bit of time. That is where the dream turned into a nightmare. I was charged 6 for a pint of Guinness (and it was a short measure) ! Faced with such a horror I had to wake up.

 I woke up 20 or 30 minutes earlier than I needed to. In an ideal world I would have been able to go back to sleep again, but I live in a far from ideal world, and all I could do was to get up feeling like another 3 hours sleep would be desirable. Apart from that I feel tolerably well this morning, although I will confess that I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets this morning to reduce some hints of inflammation around my floating ribs, and knackered ligaments. Maybe my biggest complaint is that despite it being very chilly this morning I was able to work up a sweaty forehead far too easily as I walked the walking bits of getting to work. That suggests my blood glucose level is high again. I really must check that the fizzy raspberry and mint drink I was drinking last night was added sugar free, and didn't contain too much natural sugar. Most of the drinks in the same range from Aldi are very low, extremely low, or almost no sugar, but maybe this one was different in some way. I can't think of anything else that I have eaten or drunk that would contain significant amount of sugars in it.

 My most significant plan for tonight is to wash my hair. It is feeling quite yucky today, and wasn't terribly pleasant yesterday. I was going to do it this morning, but I was put off when I saw the temperature outside. I didn't think it would be very clever to walk to the station with wet hair while it was so cold. The other thing I ought to do is some washing up. I seem to have neglected it since the weekend, and maybe including the weekend. The only other thing to do is to have another go at getting to sleep early tonight - even if that means bludgeoning my brain to sleep with an excess of whisky !

free coca cola
Monday afternoon at Waterloo station concourse.
free mini tins of coca cola
They're giving away mini tins of Coca Cola (choose from three different flavours).
Ego at Waterloo station
All day yesterday at Waterloo station - Ego !
Who or what is ego ?
I have no idea who "Ego" are, or what they do, but is seemed to be something to do with makeup.
Tuesday 28th July 2015
07:47 BST  

not very good for July, but improving  Yesterday wasn't all bad. 19 C wasn't very good for a July day, but it was comfortable enough, and I didn't need to put on any heating at home. It stayed dry, and the sun came out a few times. Today started at 14 C, but the forecast says the temperature should peak at around 21 C late this afternoon. The best bit is shown in the picture of my radio controlled thermometer - that nice friendly sun symbol ! There may not be much sunshine today, and the forecast warns of thick black clouds, and possibly some rain just before midday, but there will be some sunshine. I even saw some on my way into work. I can see several large blue patches of sky through my office window, but I think a cloud is covering the sun right now. If I am very lucky it will be bright and sunny when I go home from work today.

 It sort of saddened me, as I wrote the previous sentence, that in little more than four months time I will not be going home in sunshine, but in night time darkness. The longest day of the year was five or six weeks ago, and it's been downhill ever since !

 I felt pretty rough yesterday morning, but by the afternoon I was feeling much better. Most of my aches and pains had gone, and I was doing some interesting stuff at work - although a lot of it had nothing to do with work. A year ago, or thereabouts, I acquired a surplus old laptop. It was originally designed to run Windows 2000. It had a small hard disk, not much memory, and a mere 800MHz processor. Occasionally I would get it out and play with it. I managed to install Linux Mint 13 on it, and although slow, it worked reasonably well.

 Unfortunately the DVD/CD drive failed, and the hard disk was getting even more sluggish as it started to report the odd error here and there. So I found a cheap, second hand DVD drive for it that came with no bezel, but works fine, and I splashed out on a brand new solid state hard drive for it. The latter was a bit extravagant, but I chose a fairly small drive, 64GB, and I think it was around 40. The DVD drive and hard disk were delivered yesterday, and I tried them out. They worked well - which is more than I can say for the installation of Debian Linux I installed on it. That worked, but the display was strangely flickery. I am sure that if I tried hard enough I could reconfigure the parameters of the X server to give a clean display, but there is an easier, but probably much slower way of getting the display correct, and that is to clone the old hard disk contents onto the new hard disk, and that is what I will attempt today (in between doing some real work work !).

 It wasn't sunny when I left work yesterday, but it was fairly bright. That didn't inspire me like nice sunshine would have, but I probably didn't need it. I was feeling good in other ways - and I was feeling a little bad in just one specific area - my left foot. For some reason my left foot started to feel uncomfortable. When I got home I found that the shoe had started to chafe one of my toes. This may be because my feet are rarely swollen now, and the oversized shoes I bought when they were swollen are now quite a loose fit. The shoes I have on today are not chafing, but they do feel a lot more uncomfortable than they should.

 My left foot may have been feeling a bit uncomfortable (and my right foot was also very slightly uncomfortable for a different reason), but my legs still seemed to be working well like they had in the morning. My chest was still feeling delicate, and was still popping and clicking when I made certain movements, which can include walking, but it had mostly stopped hurting. That gave me a bit of a boost, and none more so when I was on the platform of Earlsfield station. My train was pulling in while I was only half way down the platform. So I ran ! Not very far, about a carriage length, or 30ft, or something like that, but I ran so I could get into the front half of the train so I could walk to the front to be nearest the ticket barriers at Waterloo. In the morning I would have worried that even a short run like that could have been a death sentence, but in the afternoon it felt totally unnatural, but not very taxing. I was already breathing deeply, or as deeply as my ruined chest allows me to these days, from the walk to the station, but that little run seemed to make no further distance. I sometimes wonder just how many yards I could run if, for instance, I was chased by a lion. I reckon that on a good day I could go at least a hundred yards before becoming lion food !

 That good feeling continued when I got back to Catford. Although my left foot was uncomfortable, it was far from agony, and so I decided I would possibly double my walk back home by going via Poundland to buy some shopping. That was quite successful - although it will be several days before I can see if the 4 pack of toilet paper I bought is good or rubbish. Other stuff that went into my shopping basket were a couple of liquid soaps for the bathroom, some spare toothpaste, a big bag of raw mixed nuts, and another 1 DVD.

 I'm not sure about the DVD. It is half a dozen episodes of a short lived (I think) ITV series called Paul Merton In Galton And Simpson's....... Comedian Paul Merton re-enacts comedy scripts originally written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson for people like Tony Handcock, or TV series like Steptoe And Son. I watched one episode last night, and I think it was a script that was probably originally written for Tony Handcock. It was well acted, a bit funny, but somehow I didn't really like it. I have vague memories of seeing an episode or two when it was originally shown on TV, and I can't recall being enthused enough to watch more. That is quite strange because all the right ingredients seemed to be there, but it just didn't gel. Maybe it was something to do with it being made for ITV instead of the BBC. Apart from a commercial break in the middle, I can't see what the difference could be. Maybe it is just my prejudice against ITV or something equally weird.

 I finally got to go to bed a little bit early last night. I read in bed for a bit, but soon after 9pm I was fast asleep, and I slept solidly for 3 hours, and then I slept solidly for another 3 hours, and then I slept badly for an hour or a bit before giving up and getting up 20 minutes before I needed to. This morning my chest is still delicate feeling, and it is still easy to generate brief pains in the middle, or one one side or another, high or low, by doing simple things like reaching behind me for the toilet paper, or tugging at my shoelaces. While not doing those things it there is no more than the ghost of a pain that is more of an imagined warning not to strain it rather than a real pain.

 So today I have real work to do at work, and I have interesting non work stuff to distract me. If after all that I still feel OK when I get home, and perhaps particularly so if it is sunny, I may take a chance on washing some shirts. Oddly enough, like walking, hand washing shirts (usually) makes my chest feel better - which is strange because it seems likely to be one of the other ways, besides carrying heavy shopping, that I did the damage to my chest superstructure in the first place. Still, you gotta have clean shirts !

At this point there should be a couple of pictures of free samples of the different types of Coca Cola being given away at Waterloo station last night. I think I must have forgotten to upload them to the server. Oh well, maybe I'll show them tomorrow !
Monday 27th July 2015
07:56 BST  

  Yesterday was horrible right up to about 7pm when the sun came out for a few minutes, but it was still cold and damp and horrible. Today is supposed to be slightly better. The BBC have updated their weather forecast web page, and it now says it won't rain today - at least that's what the icons show. The accompanying text says there could be the odd scattered shower at any time, and indeed there was some light rain while I waited for my train at Catford Bridge station earlier on, but there has been nothing since. The clouds are currently covering the whole sky, and probably will all day, but they are fairly light in colour, and don't give the impression that rain is imminent. However they are thick enough to make the day look very dull and depressing. The idea that the top temperature today will only be 19 C hardly fills me with joy, but I guess it is better than today's starting temperature - 14 C.

 It was my intention to get to sleep really early last night, but although I felt tired I also felt too uncomfortable to sleep. So I had a couple of very large whiskies, and fell into a comfortable sleep at about 11pm. That was rather late, but maybe managing to stay asleep for most of the night, but not all, will partly compensate for that. I don't know how much was just me feeling ill, and how much was the autumnal like weather, but I slept under a thick duvet without feeling too hot most of the time. It is perhaps a measure of how cool it was this morning that I turned on the heater in my room when I woke up almost an hour early. I then got back under the duvet, and I guess I slept for another 30 - 40 minutes.

 Once again I feel pretty rough. Some of the initial roughness may have been hangover, but the amount of whisky I had doesn't normally make me feel that bad. Most of the aches and pains were in various parts of my chest, and most of them can be attributed to my damaged ribs, muscles, and ligaments. They tend to go away when I'm standing up straight, and more usefully, when I'm walking. It's when I am slouched over my desk, like now, or in a train seat, that much of the discomfort happens. Certain movements can bring mild stabs of pain from my chest. These include swinging my rucksack over my arm, and a new one that I discovered today, reaching deep into my trouser pocket.

 Despite all these theories about damaged ribs and ligaments, I do feel that there could be an element of some sort of heart trouble lurking beneath that lot, and yet that doesn't seem consistent with how walking, which used to bring on sometimes quite severe angina pains before my operation, seems to cure all my assorted chest pains. It must be because I don't slouch when I am walking - at least I don't think I do. I think I try to keep my back straight, and shoulders level, or whatever they do in the army.

 After spending nearly all day either on my computer, or laying on my bed feeling poorly yesterday, it was nice to walk to the station this morning. The odd thing was that it seemed far easier than of late. The same was true on the mad dash between Waterloo East and Waterloo stations (although I have to confess I stayed in the middle of the moderate pace walkers rather than racing to the front). This morning, for the first time in ages, it did feel that if I kept up the moderate, and not rushed pace that I used between the station and work, I could have kept walking for miles.

 Well I'm at work now, and I think it is going to be a boring and unpleasant day. I am not comfortable just sitting at my desk, but there is little else to do, and nowhere else to go. I guess I'll just have to grit my teeth and endure it until I can go home. I have a funny feeling that the best bit of not being at work will be the journey home - while I am up and walking about. Until then it will probably feel like I'm dying - and maybe I am :-)
Sunday 26th July 2015
18:16 BST  

  It was frequently quite cloudy yesterday, but there was also a fair bit of sunshine. This picture sums it up quite well.
almost black clouds
                          with bright sunshine
 The sun was behind me, and lighting up the buildings, while behind those buildings (and the tree) thick dark clouds broil away. (Broil away - I think that's a saying - sound appropriate even if it's not). It wasn't very warm yesterday, perhaps no more the 21 C if I am generous, but it didn't feel too bad, although the air was definitely beginning to feel cool at 10pm last night. It is surprising that it didn't rain with all that cloud, but I guess it was saving it up for today. There have been some periods when it didn't rain today, or it was too light to be obvious, but the day has to be judged as very wet, and also rather cool. So cool that I currently have the heater on. Tomorrow was forecast to be drier, but still overcast, and not very warm - maybe just 20 C - but at least that is an improvement on 17 C - which was about the very highest temperature seen for a short while this afternoon.

 Yesterday's highlight was Chattfest - a 2 day festival of local bands playing for charity in aid of St Christophers Hospice. I didn't get there until a lot later than I intended - mostly due a to mix up with the times of when a particular band was due to play. I thought The Spiders (starring Chris Mayer on one of two lead guitars) was on at 2pm on Saturday. At the last minute I found out they were due on at 2pm today, and so I didn't need to rush. In many way that was better because I didn't want to hang around there all day waiting for Chain to come on at 9pm. It turned that that was wrong too ! There was a borough council curfew on for 9pm, and Chain were actually on at 8pm, and that suited me just fine. I got there in time to see the last three bands before being able to get home pleasantly early.

 The first band I saw were called Triggers Broom, and as far as I can recall they just did Beatles covers. They were good and competent, but didn't really do it for me. The next band were called Long Way Down, and they were very good. Not only good musicians, but playing some great covers of popular (as opposed to hard core) 1970s punk (stuff like A Town Called Malice). They had a good stage presence as well - something that some musicians don't always understand. I can think of one musician who I am sure closes his eyes at a gig and just listens to drum timings, or whatever. The poor fool doesn't realise he misses out on a lot of the pleasure of live music - mistakes and all !
Long Way Down
Here's Long Way Down on stage.
Long Way Down at Chattfest
I don't think they were posing for the camera.
(This is picture demonstrates what I had hoped to be able to take with my new DSLR camera)

 It was nice to give my new Canon DSLR camera a run under daylight, and although I am still learning how to drive it, I started to get some better pictures than my Canon bridge camera* was capable of - mainly the greater flexibility of focussing. One thing I may have slightly wasted my money on was the f1.4 lens. As I found last Friday night, it does give extra sensitivity under low light, and such a large aperture can give a very shallow depth of field, but having tried it last Friday, and also yesterday, I'm not sure if I really need it.

* bridge camera - a camera that is halfway between a handy snapper and a Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera. It looks a lot like a DSLR, but isn't. One principle difference is that the lens is not replaceable.

 After Long Way Down had finished their set it was time for Chain to take the stage. It was a pleasant surprise to see that Dave Griffiths had been called in to add keyboards to their special Fleetwood Mac covers set. It all added to the sound, and the sound was LOUD ! It is no wonder there was a strict sound curfew at 9pm.
 Chain at
I think this picture should probably have a title something like...The mad, the serene and the bemused ! Dave Griffiths swinging his hair around as he plays the keyboards. Jo Corteen looking very calm, and Chris Mayer looking amazed ! Dave Etheridge is playing the drums behind Chris, and Graham is out of shot playing bass.
Jo Corteen
                                  and Chrisy Mayer at Chattfest
Jo and Chris looking very happy with how the gig was going.

 I guess I got home at around 10pm. It was not a happy bus ride home ! By tradition, the 320 bus always gets to Catford faster than a 208. When I got to the bus stop the countdown timer said I had 9 minutes to wait for a 320, and 11 minutes for a 208. So my favourite bus would arrive first, and rush me back to Catford leaving the 208 choking in it's dust. Except it didn't happen that way ! We were 4 or 5 stops from Catford and the 208 went sailing past us, and we were left choking in it's dust ! Evidently all is not right in the world we live in this weekend !

 When I got home I had a special treat waiting for me. Rather than buying chicken and chips, which I might have done if I had managed to buy and drink more than 2 pints of nasty Fosters lager all night (the bar was stupidly busy !), I had bought some "Southern flavoured", breadcrumbed chick from Aldi, and I had cooked it enough before I went out so it would just need a quick reheat when I got in. With hindsight it may not have been the best treat I could have had. It was unpleasantly greasy, although most of the grease was mopped up by the breadcrumbs that mostly fell off as I ate the chicken. It still gave me indigestion that interfered with my sleep. At 3 am I woke up feeling lousy.

 I don't think I can blame the chicken for all me feelings of lousiness though. I've been feeling pretty bad through the whole day today. I think it is a combination of many things. Some of it was probably something to do with that greasy chicken, but more of it was my "floating rib syndrome", and all that was enhanced by it being a miserable, grey, wet and cold day. I must admit that at one point I was wondering if I was heading for an episode where it might be useful to pack a bag of useful stuff in case another hospital visit was looming, but that has passed now. One of the useful things was to turn the heating on. It was getting pretty cool in my bedroom, where I have spent much of today, but it didn't seem to have got cold enough for the shivers I felt. I've felt a lot better since getting the room nice and warm.

 I wonder if I picked up a chill when I was out getting soaked in the rain on Friday night. It seems likely I am fighting some sort of infection. It would explain some of the shivers earlier, and the sweat as I type this. Maybe not going to the second day of Chattfest todaywas a good idea, or maybe not. Some of the symptoms I've had today, the creaking and groaning, and clicking chest pains are usually cured by walking, but I really didn't feel like walking around today. A better reason for not going to Chattfest today was that because of the rain it was all due to take place inside the pub instead of in the garden. I can imagine that it was packed solid in there, and rather warm and unpleasantly humid in the middle of the crowd. The bar would be impossible to get to by all except the most determined and persistent, and photography would be a nightmare. I think I did far better to stay in the warm (when I eventually gave in and put the heater on), and concentrated on editing photos - of which I had a whole heap to choose from (163 to be precise !).

 Tomorrow I am back at work, and I expect, or hope that I will be feeling OK there, but to do that I must try and get plenty of hours of sleep, and I think I will be going to bed extra early tonight - like very soon now !
Saturday 25th July 2015
09:35 BST  

  It was wet, wet, wet, and eventually cold yesterday ! It was also depressingly dull and grey ! It was the sort of day that needs lots of exclamation marks !!! This morning the sky had cleared up a lot, but at just 12 C it felt very cold. At 4am I had to go and get my duvet because I was shivering ! It is sunny now, and the temperature is slowly rising. After a sunny morning, but slightly dull afternoon, it may only reach 19 C. That doesn't feel much like July, but at least it is a big improvement over yesterday. It's looking like tomorrow will be back to autumn like cold and rain !

 If I was determined to test out my new Canon EOS 1200D DSLR camera, give Jo a very overdue little house warming present, and to get to another Chain gig, I wouldn't have gone out last night. It was really chucking it down as I walked to the bus stop, and while my raincoat kept my chest dry, my trousers were soaked by the time I got there. Thankfully that was the last of the rain, and although very wet underfoot, it wasn't raining when I walked the hundred yards from the bus stop to the pub, and it wasn't raining when I went home. I soon dried off in the pub. It was warm in there, and as it filled up it became rather hot and humid. When I left, just before Chain started their second set, I was feeling damp again from sweat.

 The Mitre pub in Greenwich, where Chain's gig was, is not a great place to practice photography. The stage area is actually a narrow strip along the side of the pub, and the band were almost, as Jo herself remarked, line up like a queue for a bus. That rather limited my view point, but even worse than that was the mood lighting in the pub. Many of the lamps near the band were designed to look "cool" rather than provide light. They had long tungsten filaments that were running at such a low temperature they just provided a weak orange light. Chain did have a small lamp box, but it was on the floor, and barely visible most of the time.

 The lighting was definitely a good test for my camera, and when it did work it worked reasonably well. The "secret sauce" was the ability to take RAW images. These have more information packed in the files than a jpeg image, and by using special software you can correct all sorts of things like colour temperature, and exposure level. You can also do a limited amount of noise reduction too before the final result can be packed into a conventional jpeg file for display on a PC. Here's a half and half picture - on the left is the jpeg version of a picture of Jo, and the right hand side is of the RAW image after colour correction. It is not a great picture, but at least the corrected image shows Jo has normal skin colour, and not an Essex tan !
Comparison of jpeg
                          and raw image
 I took 78 pictures last night, but only 10 or 12 were really usable - and then only just ! I think I will still count it as a success for my new camera. Using the Canon SX40 camera, that I have used at gigs for the last year or more, I would have had to resort to using the flash. That usually gives nice sharp pictures in such low light, but introduces other problems, and of course it is annoying to the band and others having a blinding flash keep going off.

 After my half visit to the gig I hurried home to see what my pictures came out like. I had only drunk one single pint of Guinness, and was quite sober. So I had no problem passing the fried chicken shop on the way, but I did nibble on a smoked pork sausage as I checked out my pictures - and started to learn how to use Ufraw to post-process a few of those pictures. At about midnight I went to bed, and it didn't take long until I was fast asleep. It also didn't take long, about 4 hours, until I woke up almost shivering.

 It seemed like a very cold morning, and I had to get my duvet out of the spare room. At about 4.30am (or was it 5am) I had some hot breakfast - a tin of German meatballs heated in the microwave - and then went back to bed. Despite having a bit of hot food inside me I still felt cold, and it was some time before I started to feel warm, and then almost too warm under the duvet. Eventually I managed to feel comfortable enough to fall asleep, and I may have added almost 3 hours of sleep to the first 4 hours.

 Two things are happening today. The first is that I will shortly be going to get some shopping from Aldi, and the second is that I will be going to The Chatterton Arms pub, just the other side of Bromley, to take some more practice pictures at the "Chattfest" music festival being held in the huge back garden. It's a 2 day event, and while the weather should be OK for today, tomorrow is looking like it will be a washout !

  I have now processed and prepared some more pictures of my day out on the "Ruislip ghost train" last Thursday. Once again, to keep loading times of the web page, particularly the page for the whole month, which is getting huge this month, down a bit, I'm just showing small images that can be clicked for a large screen filling picture. Click away !
Entrance to Marylebone station
Queens Park station with
                                    Bakerloo line trains
Bakerloo line trains at Queen's Park
West Ruislip service from
                                    platform 14
Platform 14 for West Ruislip
class 360 train in platform 12
Class 360 train in platform 12
Interior of class 165 coach
A very non crowded train !
my train at West Ruislip
My train at journeys end
Semaphore signals at Greenford
A couple of the last working semaphore signals in the London area.
British Rail still exists at
Greenford exists in a time warp - even British Rail still exists here !
Eastbound Central line train at
Eastbound Central Line train at Greenford station.
First Great Western train at
First Great Western train pulling into Greenford station.
Class 332 Heathrow Express
                                    train at Paddington
class 332 Heathrow Express train at Paddington station
Baker Street circle line
New Circle line stock leaving Baker Street tube station.
Friday 24nd July 2015
16:44 BST  

This is summer ?
Yesterday's weather wasn't too bad. It was quite cloudy, but it was usually still fairly bright, and there were plenty of sunny intervals - although most of them were probably in the first half of the day. There was no rain, and it was probably in the region of 22 - 24 C.

 Today is rather different. The picture on the left, taken, as the clock says, at 11:56 today, shows the outside temperature to be 18.7 C, but that was the temperature outside the back upstairs window. Outside the kitchen, just 3 or 4ft above the ground, it was closer to 17 C (the official forecast says it should be just 14 C right now).

 The top of the display shows the icon for rain, and that is actually what it has done for almost the whole day so far, and probably all day. Sometimes the rain has been quite light, and sometimes quite heavy. There might have been occasions when it stopped, but it has seemed non stop.

 Tomorrow should be warmer and drier. There should even be some sunshine. Hopefully that will turn out to be true, and that the 2 day "Chattfest", in the huge garden behind the Chatterton Arms pub, will not be a wash out !

 I went on one of my little railway adventures yesterday. I was hoping to go with my friend Kevin, but he wasn't available, and I went on my own. The object of yesterday's outing was to travel on what some (incorrectly) call a ghost train. It is a once a day service over a route that would be used as an emergency diversion by Chiltern Trains. The drivers have to keep their route knowledge up to date so I presume they take it in turns to run this service. The service itself starts from South Ruislip station, from the country bound platform, but actually runs to Paddington station in London.

 Paddington station is home to First Great Western Trains, and also the Heathrow Express service. So Chiltern Trains is a bit of an intruder, and their train is banished to platform 14 in the dingiest part of the station away from all the big "glamorous" trains. With very little fanfare, and even fewer passengers, it leaves at 11:36 to take the scenic route to West Ruislip station. It is taken out of passenger service there and returns back to Wembley Depot.

 My original itinerary was to travel from Catford Bridge on a Cannon Street train as far as London Bridge, and then use the underground to get to Marylebone station where I could get a train to South Ruislip station. The plan had some slack in it, but not enough to overcome the delay cause by signalling problems in the London Bridge area. We were diverted to Charing Cross, and Charing Cross services cannot call at London Bridge until building works there are complete sometime late next year. I did my best to get to Marylebone in time for my train, but arrived just 2 minutes late.

 My only option was to not travel on the incoming to Paddington service, but kill almost an hour, and then get the 11:36 outgoing service. To kill that hour I first walked down to Baker Street station where I spotted one of my heroes - Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes
                          outside Baker Street
 Unfortunately this statue is not modelled on my favourite Sherlock Holmes - the one played by Jeremy Brett in Granada TV's TV series which is generally held to be very faithful to the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

 From Baker Street I took the Bakerloo Line to Queen's Park tube station. There was no particular reason for that destination, but the Bakerloo Line does serve Paddington station. Queen's Park was the final destination for the train I was on, and by noting the time it took to travel to each station I found that the return journey, assuming there were no unforeseen delays, would get me back to Paddington in plenty of time to get my train, but without too much hanging around. 11:36 finally came around, and with just one other passenger on the train, we set off for West Ruislip.
Chiltern train at
                          West Ruislip
After a pleasant journey, here's the train at Journeys end - West Ruislip station.

 Having got to West Ruislip I had to get home again. I had several options, but I thought I would revisit a rather different station on the Central Line. Many Central Line trains begin their journey all the way to Epping, in Essex, from West Ruislip. So there was no problem getting a train to Greenford. The diversionary route I had taken to get to Ruislip runs parallel to the Central Line between Ruislip and Greenford. From there it diverges away from the tube lines. It is also joined by a line that starts from between the tube platforms at Greenford, and that line is run by First Great Western, and runs into Paddington station.

 The other interesting fact about the National Rail lines around Greenford is that they are alleged to be the last manually signalled lines, with traditional semaphore signals, in the Greater London area.  I have pictures to show of these things, but I haven't prepared them yet. The First Great Western Trains service to Paddington only runs at half hourly intervals, and I had a bit of a wait until I was on a train to Paddington - travelling by a different route that incorporates half a dozen stations ( there are no stations on the 11:36 from Paddington until South Ruislip - 3 or 4 stops after Greenford on the Central Line). At Paddington I stopped to take a few pictures of Brunel.
Isambard Kingdom
                              Brunel at Paddington station
Here he is - Isambard Kingdon Brunel sitting in the station he designed - Paddington.

 From Paddington I caught the Bakerloo Line one stop to Baker Street, and from Baker Street I took the Circle Line to St Pancras. I am not sure if I took the most sensible route to do it, but I made my way through the underground warren of Kings Cross (St Pancras) Circle Line station, and then through the above ground, but almost totally enclosed St Pancras station until I reached the Thameslink platforms.

 It was at St Pancras that I saw my first class 387 train. They are brand new trains for Thameslink services joining Luton to Brighton. Maybe one day they will also run through Catford to Sevenoaks too. I took the first train from St Pancras to Blackfriars station. I hadn't seen it since it had been modernised, and the platforms stretched right over the River Thames - with entrances on both sides of the river. I guess it was rather impressive, but it also looked rather big and brash. I caan't help but think that if Network Rail actually wanted to reduce their spending, and in consequence charge less track access charges, which in turn should lower ticket prices (in a sane and rational world - not this one), they could have just extended the perfectly serviceable platforms of the original station.

 Another place where money could be saved would be to not use the secret military stealth technology that made both the pictures I took of the new class 387 trains come out blurry. I took one at St Pancras, and one at Blackfriars, and in both cases the front or rear of the train was blurred. Of course it could have been low light forcing a long exposure time, but I prefer the drama and mystique of secret military technology.

 It wasn't long, maybe 9 minutes, before a Sevenoaks via Catford train arrived, and I was on my way back home to Catford and home. I was a bit thirsty, and a bit hungry when I got in. Quenching my thirst was no problem, but choosing, and sticking to a light breakfast/dinner was tricky. I ended up having some smoked mackerel and tomatoes with lashings* of chilli flavoured mayonnaise.

* Very restrained lashings, obviously !!

 The reason for the light dinner was because it was Thursday, and I only had two hours before I was going out for the Thursday night drinking club. It was very handily in The Black Cat - the pub that was called The Catford Ram for 30 odd years until it went bad and had to be closed down before it was reborn as The Black Cat. It was both a good and bad night. It was bad because Jodie was in a right strop. She was trying to book tickets, a flight, and a hotel for a gig in Glasgow using her phone which had a flat battery, and had run out of data allowance. She was in a right old flap !

 While Jodie wasn't distracting me it was nice to have a few beers with the guys, but it wasn't so nice being goaded into more beer than I wanted. The first time I put up little resistance, but I was bought yet another after a very emphatic no. So I left it untouched on the table and went home. It wasn't the best ending, but there was worse to come. I was still feeling hungry, and the beer just made me feel even hungrier. Worse than that was that it killed what little will power I had left. I went home with an excessive amount of fried chicken and chips. I managed to leave a lot of the chips, but I stuffed myself with chicken before I went to bed.

 This morning I had a hangover, and I felt bloated on top of it. Yesterday contemplated going out again today, but there was no chance of doing anything early feeling like that, and on top of that was the grey sky and rain. It is very hard for me to fight those sorts of negatives. So I stayed in, and somehow I seem to have been very busy today. I am not sure what I have done to keep myself so busy though. I guess editing a huge pile of yesterday.s photos took a long time, as did the uploading and captioning them on a well known social media site. I've also ripped some more music to add to the ever growing playlist on my USB stick substitute for a radio station. I have done a little reading, and I managed a very short snooze, but I just can't account for all the other hours of today.

 Tonight I will be going out to see Chain play in Greenwich. It will be the first real test of my new DSLR camera. Hopefully I'll get some good pictures, but as this will be my first attempt at "driving" the camera for real, I am not expecting too many good pictures this time. All I have to do now is to wash and get dressed, and hope that the rain will be kind to me as I walk to and from the bus stop here and in Greenwich ! Hopefully the pub won't be too hot and too crowded, but I don't think I believe in miracles of that nature !
Wednesday 22nd July 2015
07:50 BST  

  I have a feeling that this summer will not be memorable for it's long hot sunny days, but yesterday wasn't too bad. It was dry, often sunny, and it was pleasantly warm. I think the temperature may have hit 25 C, but a good breeze made it feel cooler and fresher than that. This morning started off nice and bright with a temperature of 16 C. Unfortunately, if the forecast is correct, for much of the day the sky is going to be filled with thin cloud, and the temperature will only reach a rather disappointing 21 C. The latest amendment to the forecast says it may well pour with rain from about 5pm. With luck I will be home before that starts ! Tomorrow looks as if it will be fairly similar, but it could be slightly brighter, and paradoxically a degree cooler.

 Here's the pictures I took yesterday morning while chaos reigned at Waterloo station. When I first arrived there it all looked normal. Varidesk, whoever, or whatever they are, were showing off something like an office on a sparsely occupied concourse. That was just before 7am, and probably about the time all the trains stopped running. From then on the crowds got denser and denser. Click on any little picture for a screen filling hi resolution version.
                                    station concourse
Waterloo station
Waterloo station
Waterloo station
Customer information screen
Customer information screen showing the bad news.
Commuters on South West Trains
Commuters - fousands of 'em !
hundreds waiting for delayed
Hundreds of people going nowhere.
More people waiting for delayed
Loads more people waiting, and waiting and......
hundreds waiting for delayed
The same people but from a different angle.

 It was not a very exciting day at work yesterday. I had to scratch around for things to do, and ended up doing very little - or at least little of a useful nature. So it was very nice to be heading home again, but that didn't go right either. Something happened to my feet during the day. Maybe they swelled up a bit, although it wasn't visually obvious that they had, but my feet were feeling sore when I left work. It was as if the insoles of my shoes had lumps in them. That made me feel lazy, and I didn't want to walk to the station when I could travel for free. Prior it getting my 60+ Oyster card I would just have gritted my teeth and walked, and as I did my feet would learn to ignore the lumps (or just go numb or something), and by the time I had reached the station they would probably be feeling mostly OK.

 Rather than walk, I decided on a free bus ride to the station....but I had a choice of two stations. I couldn't see a bus coming up the hill that would take me to Earslfield station, and so I thought I would try and reprise my journey home via Wandsworth Town station that I did the day before. It was a much fresher day, and the bus and train should have been, and were, less smelly, and that should have made the journey more enjoyable....or at least less unpleasant. Yesterday it all went wrong. I waited far longer for a bus than I did the evening before. That meant I missed the train I got before. the following train was not only a boring class 455, the same as I get to and from Earlsfield, but it didn't get me to Waterloo until exactly the same time as my train was leaving from Waterloo East towards Catford Bridge.

 Obviously I had to get the next train back to Catford, and that means a 19 minute wait. It's not terribly long, but it is a bit of a bore, and it upsets my internal clock (or whatever). Prior to my journey home going all wrong I had been thinking I might go out again to Aldi when I got home, but that extra 19 minutes put paid to that (somehow). Instead of shopping in Aldi I went to Tesco. That did have it's plus points. I had missed the best "reduced price" bargains, but there were still a few cheap things I picked up. A few of them, like the sweet chilli noodle pots, did break my recent avoid avoidable carbohydrates rule, but they were very tasty !

 I was quite surprised how little I spent in Tesco. For a brief time it did look like they were getting serious about reducing their prices to try and lure people back from Aldi and Lidl, but my shopping bills still seem far cheaper when I shop in Aldi. Part of the reason why my bill was so cheap last night was because I took advantage of Tesco's buy three 55p, sugar free, two litre, fizzy drinks for 1 (at least I think it was 1, but it might have been more). I bought a bottle of cherryade, a bottle of limeade, and a bottle of fiery ginger beer. Carrying six litres of drink doesn't leave much room to carry much more, and so I didn't buy that much.

 Compared to how I might eat during the colder months of the year, I didn't eat that much yesterday, but it was more than I would have preferred to. I felt what I can only describe as "edgy" last night. It is hard to describe what that means - it's sort of a melange of boredom, positive and negative feelings, thinking about good things and bad things, looking forward to tomorrow, and looking back at wasted times, and stuff.......... It could only be cured by cracking open a couple of cans of extra strong lager. Perhaps that is not a cure, but it did give me a very pleasant night's sleep.

 This morning I feel good and bad. Some bits of me seem to be working really well, and other bits are falling apart. My legs seem to be working well, but my chest is playing up a lot. It's been doing lots of clicking and popping as I make various movements, and it is a bit sore in places. The thing that is most annoying is how quickly I can get short of breath these days. I don't know if it is related to all the damage I have probably done to the ligaments, muscles and ribs in my chest, or if it is something completely different. It is as if I have put on a lot more weight, and yet my trousers are no tighter, and my gut seems to be overhanging my belt a lot less since I have partly tidied up my diet a bit. Maybe my lungs need a good dose of nicotine to loosen them up again :-)
Tuesday 21st July 2015
09:14 BST  

  There were a couple of things wrong with yesterday. It was dull, grey and nasty, but it didn't rain. It was also very horribly muggy. In some circumstances that would be no more than a mild annoyance, but it makes for a very smelly experience when travelling on public transport. Maybe I was smelly, or maybe I wasn't. I have no easy way to tell, but I do know that many other people were positively rank as I made way home from work. It seemed to freshen up a bit later in the evening- at least I think it did. I didn't seem to feel sweaty in the evening, and I felt comfortable when I went to bed. It seems quite fresh this morning, and although clouds are appearing in the sky now, and the afternoon maybe lightly overcast, there was a clear blue sky when I walked to the station.
clear blue sky at
                          6.15am this morning
  Compare this picture to the one I took yesterday, and marvel at how gorgeous that sky looks ! The day started slightly cool at just 14 C, but it should rise to a pleasant, but not very exciting 23 or 24 C by the time I go home from work at 4pm.

 I felt mostly OK at work apart from a mild feeling of constipation. It surprised me that in that state I fancied doing something unusual after work. I had mentioned that I was going to think of something to do, but I was going to do it after getting home. In the end I couldn't think of anything I could, should, or wanted to do. So I applied some lateral thinking, and came up with something I could do before going home. Travel in London is free for me in the afternoon thanks to my 60+ Oyster card, and so I decided to take the scenic route home - except that it wasn't terribly scenic, and it was quite a smelly experience ! I took the bus from the other bus stop near work, the one on the same side of the main road, to Wandsworth Town station. On the way I saw that bits of the old Youngs brewery still stand, but most of the site is a building site for yet more high rise homes and/or offices. I took some pictures at Wandsworth Town station. Click on any of these small pictures for a screen filling hi resolution picture.
Wandsworth Town
Wandsworth Town station
450041 races through platform 3
                                    at Wandsworth Town station
450041 races through platform 3
island platform at Wandsworth
                                    Town station
Platforms 2 and 3
Wandsworth Town station

old ironwork still doing it's
                                    job perfectly
Wandsworth Town station still has lots of heritage bits and pieces here and there like this ornate iron work bracket.
EMU 458525
My train to Waterloo - a class 458 with no air conditioning (or if it had it it was faulty or not turned on !).
 What surprised me about this little detour to my journey home is that even after waiting for a good few minutes at the bus stop, and then the tedious bus ride, plus the extra station on the way from Wandsworth Town to Waterloo station, I still had time to catch my usual 16:20 train from Waterloo East. I still had a 5 minute wait for it instead of the usual 15 minute wait, but that was OK. The only downside is that tedious bus ride, but it does involve less walking than going via Earlsfield. Unless I really want to keep walking to a bare minimum for some reason, I think I'll stick to going home via Earlsfield so I don't have to get on the crowded and smelly bus.

 I didn't do anything of significance when I got home - although I did some time preparing the photos above, and I guess that may be regarded as significant, but going to bed at 9pm and having another pleasant night's sleep is probably more significant. After 15 - 20 minutes to acclimatise myself to the waking world, I felt fairly good this morning. My two days of constipation came to a very undramatic end this morning - it was as if I had not suffered any problems in the previous 4 days. Everything was back to normal, and that was good because the train service from Waterloo resulted in lots of hanging around doing nothing !

 At 7am, or thereabouts, it seems a person was hit by a train "near Raynes Park", and that brought all the trains to a halt. Had it been running I could have been on the 07:06 train at Waterloo, but I didn't even get on a train until 08:20, and then it took 10 minutes to find a driver for it ! I arrived at work very, very late this morning, and in theory I will be making up the time somehow, and maybe only in my imagination. Tomorrow I will have a bunch of picture taken during my long wait at Waterloo, but I had better go and pretend to do some work now !
Monday 20th July 2015
08:02 BST  

  I still think that yesterday's weather was far better than the forecast for it last Friday. There were a few times when the cloud got thick enough to make the day seemed dull, but each event would only last between 10 and 30 minutes. Overall, it was a nice bright, but maybe a little cool, summers day. I think the top temperature was only 24 C. Today sees a change.
this does not look
                          like a mid July morning !
 This picture, that I took while walking to the station this morning, gives the flavour of today, but it does leave out one important thing. It doesn't show how humid it is this morning - and it's not just me who thinks it is very humid. Even the forecast on TV last night mentioned that it would be a humid start to the day. It was 17 C when I took the picture. By the end of the afternoon the temperature may only be as high as 22 C. The current forecast didn't seem to foresee the little shower we just had, but it does say that this morning will be dull and nasty. There will be a partial respite around the time I am going home from work, but only to the extent that the clouds will be light grey. Then, hopefully at least an hour after I get home, it will rain again. It seems that this, to one degree or another, sets the pattern for the whole week, but if we are prepared to wait a week or two, warm, and even hot sunny days will resume again, and the whole of summer will not be wasted.

 Soon after I finished writing yesterday I had my lunch. I may have slipped once, and then quite badly on Saturday, but yesterday I kept a far better grip on avoiding avoidable carbohydrates. Yesterday's lunch was cheap and cheerful ham trimmings with salad. I drizzled the salad with something I meant to mention the day before. It was fig flavoured balsamic vinegar. I didn't even know such a thing existed until I saw bottles of it in Aldi last Friday. It probably contains a lot of sugar from the figs, but you only use vinegar in small quantities, and it is very nice.

 I am unsure just how much I ate yesterday. I had several snacks during the day and two main meals. It may not have added up to that much, and all of it should have had very few carbohydrates in it. In theory my blood sugar level should be  quite stable in the "normal" region now, but I have to confess I haven't bothered to measure it. The only argument against that is that I don't seem to have lost any significant amount of weight recently - although once again I have not actually taken any measurements to prove or disprove this idea. I certainly don't seem to feel any lighter, and my trousers are no looser, but if I put my imagination into overdrive I could kid myself that the bulge above my waistline could be smaller now.

 I didn't do all that much yesterday, but I felt quite satisfied with what I did do. Yesterday I mentioned that I did a bit of laundry in the morning, but I also did some more laundry in the afternoon. It was just three short sleeved shirts, but it still raised a bit of sweat. What raised more sweat was a few minutes of gardening - although gardening is a bit of a misnomer for what I actually did. The first thing was to sweep up the path along the back of the kitchen. I already had a rubbish sack out there that I had half filled weeks and weeks ago. I managed to fill it with assorted debris, leaves, and a few weeds. That was enough for the back garden.

 It is extremely rare for me to do anything to the front garden, but yesterday I trimmed back the small tree that has been stripped bare, and cut back to almost ground level many times in the past, but it refuses to die. One of these days I will have to try and dig it up, but yesterday I just pruned it back to near ground level. I could have gone further, but I could feel my back beginning to complain, and left it once it was sort of tidy-ish !

 After my explosive dysentry-like illness on Friday evening, and Saturday, I was unsure if I had got over it or not yesterday. It turns out that I had - and with bells on. I didn't go the toilet at all yesterday, and I haven't been today yet. I have to confess that I now have some very mild discomfort, or at least I did have. I think a lot of it was all in the mind while I was worrying about how uncomfortable it would be on the train if things started to move again. Now I am at work, in easy reach of the toilets, it is no longer a worry, but I do hope that something moves soon.

 After my long lie in yesterday morning, I had trouble getting to sleep last night, but once I got to sleep, I slept well again until I woke up at around 3am. On this morning I may have woken up because I was feeling rather chilly. I had the bedroom window open all night, and it is no surprise to wake up feeling chilly when you have been sleeping with no covering at all. After I re-covered myself with the duvet cover I was able to get back to sleep again for a while, but I was still awake again before 5am when I got up. The seasons keep on rolling on, and now I am back to getting up before sunrise. I think it was actually three or so days ago that sunrise moved up to 05:00. This morning it was 05:06, and it feels depressingly close to when I'll be back to walking to the station in darkness.

 This morning, apart from the mild, and often completely ignorable constipation feeling, I feel mostly OK. I have no significant aches, and walking to the station seemed easy enough, but it still leaves me breathing very heavily (but still well short of gasping). It may be that I made a conscious decision not to even try to walk very fast, but the walk from the station to work did seem to feel like it was less effort than usual. I still managed to walk fast enough to raise quite a sweat in the high humidity.

 I don't have any plans for tonight, but I feel I ought to try and think of something to do. I may not have it in abundance, but I do seem to have a bit more energy recently, and I probably ought to force myself to do something. Maybe I might wash a couple of t-shirts, or maybe I could go out again to get some shopping after getting home. In an ideal world I would just have some beers and a fag or ten, but sadly we live in a very imperfect world.

 I made mention that my broadband had died yesterday. That meant this web site was off line for a while, but it was for less time than I feared. I got myself back on line by buying a days worth of internet on my "3" mobile broadband dongle for 2.99 - which is both cheap and expensive considering I only used it for a couple of hours. At least it allowed my to get onto Virgin Media's status page. It acknowledged that a fault had occurred at 11:47am, and that it was estimated they might fix it by 07:50pm. In fact it was fixed around three hours earlier than that, and possibly four.
broadband fault
Sunday 19th July 2015
12:25 BST  

  Yesterday was bright and dry until about 6pm when it wasn't bright, and about 8pm when it started to rain ! The forecast actually said the rain wasn't supposed to happen until this morning, but this morning is bright and sunny ! I am sure the forecast I saw this morning for today was completely different to the forecast for today I saw yesterday morning. That would be fine except that the BBC web page says the forecast was last updated last Friday evening, and so I wouldn't expect it to mysteriously change as if by magic ! Anyhow, yesterday was pleasantly warm, maybe around 24 C, and today will most probably be similar. It is currently 22 C, and although there seems to be an increasing amount of cloud in the sky, the sun is still shining, and may pour in the extra couple of degrees of warmth. I can't comment on tomorrow's weather because my internet connection seems to be down at the moment - although I could guess, and that would probably be as accurate as the official forecast. I reckon tomorrow will be much like today except that if it does rain it will be at a different time to today - probably !

  Aleemah was here a little longer than I expected yesterday, and that delayed me doing some laundry. I was further delayed by another attack of "dysentry" ! It seemed like every time I ate anything it would go racing through my digestive system at the speed of light ! Nothing seemed to happen after my evening meal, and nothing has happened this morning. If I am lucky I am over it, but I won't be confident of that until the end of the day, and maybe not until I'm ready for work in the morning.

 Eventually I tackled some laundry, and it did need a lot of tackling. I washed, by hand because I have still not bothered to repair (or replace) my washing machine, three medium sized towels. Manhandling wet soggy towels takes a lot of energy, and I can end, and did end up very sweaty by the time I had them hanging on the line. It may sound masochistic, but I think this is the reason why I continue to do laundry by hand. Some people pay to go to a gym to get some exercise instead of leading a completely sedentary life. I do hand washing, and continue to go to work everyday when, in theory, I could do neither, and it all keeps me fit (where "fit" means warmer and slightly more agile than a corpse !).
three towels drying
                          on the washing line
 I managed to take the picture above while the sun was still out yesterday. Soon after I took the picture the sky was just grey with cloud, but there was still a light breeze that tried to dry the towels. After they were out for no more than a couple of hours I decided to bring them in to dry indoors because despite what the forecast said, it looked like rain, and half an hour later it did rain. They were still rather damp when I brought them in, but they were bone dry this morning.

 I can't recall feeling bad last night, so I presume I must have been feeling OK. I did tempt fate by having an evening meal, and that didn't seem to spoil my evening, or my sleep. The only slightly negative thing is that I felt quite tired quite early in the evening....or at least it was a bit early for a Saturday night. I think I was probably asleep in bed by 10pm,  and once again I slept rather well. It's difficult to assess these things properly because they are so subjective, but I am tempted to believe that my sleep, these last few nights, has been even better than what I think as being normal for me in the last couple of years. Does that mean something, or is it just one of those things ?

 I had no rush to get up this morning - particularly so since forgetting what it was that I thought I ought to go out and buy. I still got up slightly early, maybe 6.30am (ish), and I stayed up reading some technology news and stuff on the internet (it was working then). After a couple of hours of that I decided to go back to bed. It felt like I was awake more than I was asleep, but a lot of time seemed to pass without me noticing it ! I didn't get up again until gone 11am - and that is amazingly late by my normal standards !

 The first, and so far only significant thing that I've done is some more laundry. I washed a small towel, a mini tablecloth, and a fitted sheet. The tablecloth was rather stained, and the little towel had some blood stains on it. So I had soaked them in bio detergent overnight. This morning I am happy to say that they are all fresh and clean, and hanging on the line to dry. I might find the energy to do some more washing later - I have a few assorted shirts that need washing, but they are far from urgent. If I could be sure of the day staying nice for drying I would tackle one of the big duvet covers, but I think I've left it too late in the day for that.

 I think the next thing I ought to do is to fix myself some lunch. I don't know what I'll do after that. If I remember what it was that I was going to buy today I might go and buy it, but otherwise I will just entertain myself in any way I can - books, TV, but not the internet unless it starts working again without me having to under go the terrors of Virgin Media customer service ! Of course one thing I could do while this web page is not visible to the world is to do something I very rarely do - and that is to proof read it and try to find all the words I have missed out, and all the mispellings and terrible grammar - but only if I can be bothered, and I am not sure I am all that bothered to do anything more than the most superficial.
Saturday 18th July 2015
08:13 BST  

  It was hotter than forecast yesterday, but a persistent light breeze made 26 C feel a lot fresher than it might otherwise have been. It's just a shame that the clouds never really cleared yesterday, and although it was often bright, it was never really sunny for maybe the odd minute here and there. It didn't seem to last long, but there was a glorious red sunset last night - maybe I only noticed as it was ending. It foretold of a bright clear morning, and that is exactly what we have this morning. It's currently 17 C, and the forecast says it will ultimately rise to a rather unsatisfactory 22 C. The reason for that is probably because cloud has already started to bubble up, and late morning, and most the the afternoon will be rather dull again. Oh well, at least there was some sunshine to greet the day. Tomorrow is looking like it will be worse still - cloud and some rain. At least today should be dry (and if it's not I want my money back !).

 Yesterday was a curious day. I am unsure if I was pushing myself to do things that I might not have naturally done, and if I was kidding myself that I was feeling fairly good. My chest continues to be sore, but when I can avoid aggravating it by making unneeded awkward movements, it is placid enough......although it was doing a lot of unwanted clicking and popping as I walked from work to the station. I don't know when that stopped, or even if it did stop, but I can't remember it being very obvious by the time I had walked to the station.

 On my way home I had this cunning plan. The first iteration of it was to buy some smoked pork belly from the Turkish supermarket on the way home, but I remembered that I had seen a comment on the internet somewhere that said Aldi stocked it too. It is incredibly unusual for me to go to Aldi after work, it always has been regardless of my health, but last night I felt up to, and after a brief delay at home as I changed my shoes, and got my shopping bags together, I set off again to walk to Aldi.

 It is only a 5 or 6 minute walk going there (coming back with several bags of shopping slows me down by a minute or two), and so I wasn't bitterly disappointed that the Catford Aldi does not stock any smoked pork belly. In fact they don't seem to stock any smoked, or Polish, or other tasty meats at all ! I was slightly disappointed though, and more disappointed when I saw how much sugar was used in their "barbecue glazed" pork steaklets. I probably should have washed off the glaze before cooking it so that I could continue to avoid an easily avoidable carbohydrates, but I didn't wash it off. That spoiled a good run of very low carbohydrate consumption, but not by a huge amount.

 I don't think it is the way I have been eating recently that was responsible to a rather alarming thing that happened last night. It could be something to do with some chilli sauce that presumably had gone off that I had the night before. (Although any bugs can live in super hot chilli sauce is a mystery to me). This story works better if an arbitrary, but close to reality, time is added. So let's say at 7.30pm I was feeling perfectly fine without a single hint that anything was wrong. At 7.32pm I was sitting on the toilet doing the main headline thing that dysentery is famous for. From the first tiny twinge in my bottom area to what seemed like the end of the world took little more than 30 seconds.

 I am rather glad I didn't go out to a gig or to a pub last night. If I had done I may well have been on a bus by then, and I can't conceive of any way I could have held back the flow ! I had one moderate after shock about 5 or 10 minutes later, and another very minor one perhaps half an hour later. It's weird how is was all done with almost no discomfort before or after the fact. It's also quite remarkable that everything was back to normal when I went to the toilet this morning - apart from the quantity being smaller.

 I had another very good nights sleep last night. I think I was asleep around 10pm, and I only woke once or twice in the night for brief periods. I even managed to sleep beyond 5am. I think it was something like 5.40am when I woke up. After a while I went back to sleep, and slept for another hour or more. Once I decided to get up it didn't seem to take as long as usual to switch my body to day mode. Since then I've felt fairly good. One day I might feel good again, but fairly good is an acceptable feeling for now.

 I am seeing Aleemah this morning so I have had to get up properly this morning. I am not fully dressed yet, but at least I've washed my hair and had a shower - unlike last Saturday when I managed to go through the whole day without doing either ! Later on, when Aleemah has gone home, I think I am going to wash a couple of towels, and hopefully hang them in any available sunshine to dry. If the breeze keeps blowing they should dry OK without sunshine, but it is nice if they feel baked. I don't think I have any more plans beyond that for today. I thought there was a gig on that I wanted to get to, but that turns out to be next week. I guess I'll be making up most of the day as it happens.
Friday 17th July 2015
07:51 BST  

  It certainly brightened up yesterday afternoon, but the sky didn't exactly turn blue. Bits of it were blue, and sometimes the sun shone brightly, but it somehow didn't feel like a sunny summer day. That might happen tomorrow according to today's forecast for tomorrow. It felt warm yesterday, as you would hope it would in July, but I think the temperature was only in the low twenties. It was 20 C when I woke up this morning, but it was also extremely cloudy. I still can't see any patch of blue in the sky bigger than a 5p piece. At this point it is probably easier to cut and paste direct from the forecast itself - It will be a dry but cloudy start after overnight rain, cloud breaking through the afternoon with sunny spells. The brisk southwest winds will make it feel cool in exposed locations. I haven't seen any sign that there was overnight rain, and it is hard to believe that the temperature will only rise by two degrees today, but I will agree that the breeze feels nice and fresh.
 What is it that makes humans want to take and show selfies ? Is it what humans do, or is it an alien trait ? Who knows ? Perhaps I was feeling particularly pleased with myself after a pleasant visit to the toilet, or maybe it was just the way the morning light was catching my face yesterday morning, but I felt inspired to take a selfie - as seen on the left. The only trouble is that I don't seem to look as beautiful as I seemed to be while narcisstically gazing in the mirror. Perhaps I look better in reflected light - it probably makes my vampire features invisible or something.

 I guess I was feeling sort of well yesterday. The sore throat that started the night before, and was still just detectable yesterday morning, faded away sometime during the morning, and I can't say that I had any particular aches or pains after that. I didn't even feel tired for a lot of the time. Of course, while my physical health gave me reason to think that I might live for a few days yet, my mental health took a bashing as the latest and greatest pile of old bollocks was revealed at work during a one hour lecture yesterday. To be truthful it wasn't a complete revelation. We had been told about it, and given the opportunity to investigate it beforehand, but yesterday's lecture was the first demonstration of how it will actually work.

 "It" is a third party provided, cloud based, interactive (plus other buzz words that give HR people orgasms) web site thing where objectives, results and all sorts of complete crap can be uploaded, stored, analysed for "personal development", work progress, and somehow give clues to management as to whether any of us might, or might not deserve a bonus or the sack. I think, but it might just be pure prejudice, that it is some sort of American thing. I see no point in it, and will be doing the absolute bare minimum needed to avoid the more major rows, but I can see a battle of wills coming up. Basically, as far as I am concerned, I am too old, and too jaded to have any more objectives that to get up, come to work, do some work sometimes, and go home again. I really, really can't get excited about anything more than that.

 I don't know why I think that yesterday afternoon was not particularly sunny because I do remember being dazzled by the sun when standing on Waterloo East station waiting for my train. Maybe it was only sunny for a few minutes ! I didn't go straight after getting back to Catford. I went to Tesco where I bought stuff like corned beef and some onions, but also some sugar free cola, and a bottle of Tesco "Special Reserve" whisky - my favourite whisky of all time, and it's a supermarket own brand whisk - fancy that !

 I didn't even go straight home from Tesco. I went to The Catford Constitutional Club to meet up with the Thursday night drinkers. Having my shopping with me gave a good reason to not stay for more than two pints because there was stuff I had to get into the fridge. However it was jolly nice to have those couple of pints, and exchange a bit of gossip. The only downside was that I allowed myself to relax, and that meant that carrying my shopping home seemed like heard work. I just could not bring myself to walk at a decent pace. I doubt I walked at more the 2.5mph instead of the 3mph I usually walk at - even for extended periods of time - or at least I used to. I'm not so sure about it now.

 It is curious how I am feeling a lot better in various way, and last night I could almost describe my sleep as excellent - if judged against the average of the previous couple of weeks - and yet I can't seem to find the energy to raise my output by even a single notch. The problem lies in, or more likely around my lungs. All the anti smoking propaganda suggested that after not smoking you should be able to take in huge lungfuls of air and run marathons with no effort, but it doesn't seem like that. 2 years ago I never used to get mildly breathless walking up the road, but I do now. It feels like I am only running on one lung !

 The problem is most likely that I can't inflate my lungs properly because the muscles that work the diaphragm were damaged during my heart surgery, and I haven't let them heal properly, or the ribs, bones and ligaments they pull against were damaged, and once again I didn't let them heal properly. Whatever the truth actually is, I am a very poor candidate to show the advantages of not smoking. Two years ago I could draw in enough air to almost fully inflate a toy balloon in one breath. Since not smoking (and having an operation that opened up my cheat like a frog being dissected) I would probably need three breaths to blow up a balloon, and it pisses me off a bit. It's nice not having those angina pains, but I sometimes wonder if it was all worth it.

drill for oil here
 Could this be my new headache, or is it something benign ? This "target" appeared on the road outside my house sometime yesterday - at least I assume it did. I didn't notice it when I got home from the pub with my shopping yesterday, but I doubt it would have appeared during the night. It could be where they are going to start taking up my suggestion of fracking for gas underneath Catford, or it could be any of the utilities getting ready to dig up the road to fix, replace or add underground services. Thames Water, or their contractors, have been taking an interest in the sewers near my house, but I am sure the sewer runs under the middle of the road, but this mysterious target is nearer the kerb than that. I guess I'll find out soon enough what it is all about.
Thursday 16th July 2015
08:32 BST  

  I can't remember if yesterday afternoon was sunny or not. That probably means it wasn't, or maybe it just wasn't very sunny, but there was some sunshine. I do know it was warm and dry, and I'm sure I saw 26 C on my thermometer when I got home from work. Today has started at 18 C again, but there is a chance that it will get higher than 26 C by the end of the afternoon, but it will only be as a result of warm winds rather than sunshine. There was as much as a whole minute of bright sunshine as I came to work, but this morning has been generally very cloudy. The clouds should start to thin out, and the forecast reckons we might see clear sky, or clear enough sky for the sun to shine at 4 or 5pm. Then after a few hours of summer late this afternoon it will be back to another dull, and potentially wet day tomorrow - unless the forecast changes, as it so often does over the space of a few hours, again, and again, and again, and again.........

 I was feeling quite reasonably well for most of yesterday, and that was very handy because I spent nearly all day at work attending "technical training". I put that in inverted commas because it wasn't a training course as such, but a couple of guys from a company we have just bought (I think ?) telling us some info about the product they used to make. Some of it was technical, and some of it was about sales and export regulations and stuff. The first guy was quite a quite good speaker/lecturer, and even though a lot of what he talked about was alien to me, he still made it sort of interesting. The second guy, whose presentation was supposed to include far more technical information, and hence should have been more interesting to me, was utterly and completely hopeless. It made for an incredibly boring afternoon. All he said, provided it was backed up with some printed notes, could have been said in 10 minutes, and needn't have lasted a boring 2 hours !

 There was supposed to be a question and answer session at the end, but I walked out on that because I had already stayed 20 minutes beyond my normal home time. In consequence, I didn't get to Waterloo East in time for my normal train, and had to get the next one 19 minutes later. I'm sure I was feeling pretty good at the time, and apart from one bothersome thing, I felt good all evening. So good that after eating my smoked pork belly and fried egg dinner, and giving it half an hour to settle, I felt up to doing some laundry. I washed 3 work shirts, some underwear and two pillowcase covers.

 That smoked pork belly that I had for dinner was delicious. I think I mentioned trying some last week maybe, and now I have overcome my fear of picking up meat from the Polish (and Bulgarian ?) meat counter that is mostly labelled in Polish with a bare minimum of English on it, I must try more from there. There are some sausages, or at least they look like sausages, that intrigue me. Maybe they are smoked too, I rather like smoked meat and fish. Smoked pork belly is like bacon, but much, much better - in ways that I cannot describe.

 The one thing that bothered me yesterday evening is that at some point, and I can't remember when it was, my throat became sore again. The cold I have just got over started with a sore throat. So I hope I am not going to go through a cycle of that again ! This morning it is still very slightly sore, but I have to deliberately swallow to feel it. Last night, at it's worst, it was very obvious. Even a quick gargle with whisky didn't do anything for it - or did it ?

 I had one of the best nights sleep than I have had for ages last night. I still woke up at the now traditional time of 3am, and I woke up at just before 11pm as well. I think I may have fallen asleep very soon after 9pm, and I seemed to be sleeping so well that if it had not been for a mad motorcyclist outside my house I might have slept beyond 11pm - perhaps right through to 3am - which would have been very nice ! I have no idea what the motorcyclist was doing, or who he was intent on annoying. From what I heard it sounded like he was holding the brakes on the front wheel while spinning the rear wheel as fast as possible. Presumably he would shot off like a rocket, probably doing a wheelie, when he let the front brake go. There is a time and place for doing stuff like that, and it's not outside my bedroom while I am trying to sleep. Therefore I hope the motorcyclist crashes and kills himself !

 There is another boring lecture here at work today, but this one is about some new procedure for performance monitoring, or some old guff like that. Fortunately the lecture should be for less than an hour, and the thing it is about doesn't really concern me because I don't care about it at this end of my working life. All I do these days is to come to work, (sometimes) do some work, and then go home again. I have no goals or ambitions, and hence appraisals, or computer generated graphs of performance, or any crap like that are of no interest to me. If that does not meet my employers expectations they are free to let me go - provided they give me a golden handshake !!!

 This month seems to be flying by. It's halfway through the month, and it's Thursday again. So tonight, in some place I haven't been informed about yet, I expect I'll be having a drink. Hopefully it will be in Catford, and hopefully I can resist staying at the pub for too long, because I want to pop into Tesco before I get home, but once home I shall put my feet up, and then attempt to be fast asleep in bed by 9pm !
Wednesday 15th July 2015
07:43 BST  

  The forecast for yesterday said there would be less rain that the day before, and apart from a localised light shower here and there in the morning, less rain did, as I speculated it might, mean no rain at all.....although there were some very worrying dark clouds hanging about overhead as I left work to go home. It was still dull when I got home, but at least it was a comfortable 22 C when I got there. This morning the temperature was still 18 C thanks to the thick clouds that still dominate the sky. Those clouds are leaking too, but only a fine mist that fogs your glasses, and slowly soaks your shirt. If the forecast is correct, those clouds should start to break up this morning, and the afternoon should be a lot brighter, drier, and possibly sunny too. It is still only forecast to reach 24 C, but I guess that's not bad, and I suppose I ought to make some sort of effort to enjoy it in some unknown way, because tomorrow is, or might be, slightly cooler, and slightly more cloudy, but apparently still dry.

 I came to the conclusion that I wasn't necessarily feeling better yesterday, but that the periods of time when I was feeling better were beginning to equal, or exceed the periods of time when I was feeling bad. Eventually the periods of feeling good, or at least OK, will get so long that there will be no time left to feel bad. I can't see that happening to it's ultimate degree in my lifetime, but even today it could be as much as 80% good to 20% bad. The change that has allowed me to start feeling good is less coughing. There was only one time when I had a serious cough yesterday, and that was after not coughing for several hours, but when I did cough it was a real humdinger of an attempted clear our. After coughing up my spleen and testicles, and turning from pink to blue to purple, it all stopped, and I hardly coughed at all after that. It was nice to give my coughing muscles. ligaments, and assorted chest bones a rest for a while, and that felt good.

  If it were not for one thing I would have felt quite good when going home from work yesterday, and that one thing was technically two things because it was the pair of shoes I was wearing. I remember now why I made a point of leaving a pair of trainer socks in them the previous time I used them. I don't know why it should be considering that they are superficially identical to other pairs that give no, or little trouble, but the pair I wore yesterday went from uncomfortable to agonising ! The agonising was easy enough to cure - a sticking plaster over the toe that was being worn away, layer of skin, but layer of skin, where it was being rubbed by some unidentifiable feature inside the shoe. Even with that bit taken care of they were still just plain uncomfortable to wear. They would be OK for a quick visit to the shops or pub, but I must try to remember to never wear them again to work !

 I guess I must have been feeling pretty good when I got home because I managed to eat almost sensibly. I guess you could say it was a very personally customised version of something you might see in the Atkins diet - quite high in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. It is a formula that I know works well for me if I can keep it up for several weeks - after which it almost becomes second nature. The only change that I know would work better would be to reduce the fat content. The meat I had was processed, and quite a lot of fat came off it when I cooked it. It would have been better if it had started out a bit leaner to begin with, but at least I managed to release a lot of fat while cooking it.

 I went home via the Turkish supermarket again yesterday. I bought some Turkish spicy sausage for dinner tonight, and some three bean salad for breakfast this morning, but I also bought something that is a little dangerous - but also terribly wonderful ! It was a carton of apple and rhubarb juice. It tastes wonderful, but it's (natural) sugar content is a little high. It will be fine if I drink it sparingly, and now I have to juggle the conflicting demands of it's time to expiry to how much I dare drink per day.

 One other thing I did last night, and that was a result of feeling better, was to wash my hair. It would have been nice to do it the night before, but I just couldn't be bothered to do it then. Having to let my hair dry did delay me from getting to bed as early as I felt I should do, but I was in bed just before 9pm, and it wasn't all that long before I was asleep - and for the first time in a week I think I probably slept quite well. It wasn't perfect, but it was noticeable that I recovered from sleep a lot quicker this morning.

 There is probably always one thing that can spoil what should be good, and this morning it was my legs. They seemed heavier than usual as I came to work, and I couldn't find the energy to walk very fast. On a really good day I can walk to the station from home in 6 minutes. This morning I think it took closer to 7 minutes, and I was breathing quite heavily when I got there. It was also the start of some quite strong sweating - at least I think it was sweat because it couldn't rain on me while I was on the train, but outside it was probably the rain that won the race !

 I don't think I have any plans for tonight. It will probably just be dinner, TV and then bed. Hopefully I will sleep OK again with no, or little coughing like last night (although I did need a good clear out when I got up this morning). There is one good bit of news to end least I hope it is good news. If you recall my rant about how my application to buy some premium bonds was being stymied by money laundering regulations, and how I had to prove I wasn't a brother keeper, a drug dealer, or the head of an international crime syndicate who wanted to launder illegal earnings.......Well it is possible I have managed to prove it. One of the possible designated persons who could countersign my two bits of identity and address proof was a director of the company I worked for. Fortunately, being a small company, I managed to get access to one the directors here at work, and he kindly did the business for me. The only problem is that he forgot to write the address of work and his telephone number. I had to add that, and I hope that will be acceptable. If not I will have to go back to my plot of dropping an atomic bomb on the government from a hydrogen filled Zeppelin !
Tuesday 14th July 2015
08:10 BST  

  The frequent showers forecast for yesterday didn't happen. There was the drizzly rain first thing in the morning while I was coming to work, and than at around midday there were a few intermittent light showers. As far as I am aware, the rest of the afternoon, the evening, and overnight, was dry. Once again I am unsure of the top temperature, but I would estimate it was around 23 C - which if I recall correctly, is probably around a degree higher than the forecast. This morning started at 17 - 18 C (depending on whether I quote the upstairs or downstairs thermometer), and there has been some rain. As I walked to the station I thought I felt a drop or two hit my face, but as my train passed through London Bridge station it was obvious they had had a decent shower there. It was dry in Earlsfield as I walked to the station, and it doesn't look like there was any rain earlier, nor has there been any since. Rain is forecast for today, but rather less than the forecast for yesterday. Less than yesterday could mean hardly any at all, but it might be that we get more rain instead. It is almost certainly going to be very cloudy, and although the day started on the edge of warm, it is not supposed to get any warmer than yesterday.
poster at Waterloo East station
 I saw this poster on the wall on platform B of Waterloo East station on my way home from work yesterday. I am not sure I could agree with them that 21.90 for a return ticket is great value!

 Last Friday I went to Shenfield for free on my 60+ Oyster Card. Now that is good value ! Shenfield is very roughly 28 miles from Central London. Whitstable is roughly double that distance. If I could use my 60+ Oyster Card for half the distance, and pay a surcharge of 10.95 for the other half of the journey I might consider it to be reasonable, rather than great value.

 It's not only money, but time too that bothers me. To get to Whitstable from central London takes 2 hours by train, but half the distance to Shenfield only takes 36 minutes (although I have to confess that is by fast train, and my 60+ Oyster Card is not valid on those trains).

 I do find it amazing that it should take so long to get to Whitstable. There are many places where the speed of the train is at least 70mph, and in one or two places it can hit 90mph. In other places the track twists and turns, and the trains have to go slower there, and then they are always slowing down to call at practically every station on the way. For somewhere that in the grand scheme of things is so close, it can be really frustrating visiting the Kent coast.

 I felt pretty lousy during the morning at work. I felt incredibly tired, and bits of me ached - particularly different bits of my chest where I had been coughing a lot. It seems blindingly obvious that I must have bird 'flu - that being the newest plague !
We're all going to
                          die !!!!!!
From last night's Evening Standard newspaper.

 They may say that the risk to the public is very low, but they would say that, wouldn't they ? I'm sure it was near the beginning of last week that a pigeon flew so close to me that it's wing tip almost brushed past me. It seems pretty obvious to me that it must have momentary lost control of it's rudder and elevation while it coughed, and in doing so it gave me bird 'flu. After 6 days of it there could be hints that I am now starting to get better, although there is the alternative, and maybe just as valid, possibility that I am just getting different.

 I did start to feel better yesterday afternoon, and there were times when I felt almost back to normal as I made my way back to Catford. I say Catford instead of home because just as my train was leaving Waterloo East station I received a text message from Kevin asking if I fancied a pint. I did fancy a pint, but I was not sure if it would be a good idea to have one. I felt like I really should go straight home, have a light dinner, and go straight to bed, but the lure of beer was too much. Plus I hadn't seen Kevin for a gossip for at least a few weeks - which inevitably meant I had three pints instead of the single pint I was going to allow myself.

 It was 7pm when I got home, and I was feeling pretty good - and I had only been drinking quite a light beer (3.8%). I was certainly sober enough to be unusually careful about what I ate. I had some microwaved cod in batter. It could have turned out quite nice if I had not half cremated it. I didn't think I had given it a excessive cooking time, but it cooked so much that it partly shrivelled up, and was quite tough. I had that fish with some chilli infused gerkins. Later on I had more of those gherkins as a sort of light snack. For my second course I had a punnet of cherries with a chunk of cheese. I am unsure if those cherries were good or bad for me. They did not taste very sweet so their sugar content may not have been too bad, and of course half the fruit is an inedible stone so I ate less than it appeared.

 After eating comparatively lightly, and after feeling so dreadfully tired in the morning, I would have thought that I would fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow last night. I was wrong, and I just didn't feel sleep at all. It must have been 10.30pm before I fell asleep, but when I did sleep I think I may have slept better than recently. I did wake up once at around 3am with a great soggy frog in my throat that needed quite a bit of work to clear. That was obviously inconvenient, but I think the change from a very persistent tickly throat cough to a much more intermittent throaty cough is an improvement.

 Now I have to confess that I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets when I got up to calm a few aches down, but while they have proved very good reducing inflammation to my ribs, ligaments and muscles of my chest, I don't think they are good enough to make my journey into work more comfortable than the previous few days. There were times when I felt entirely normal, and there were times when I would do something stupid like carelessly swinging my ruck sack on my back and getting a twinge or two from my chest. If only I had put on a comfortable pair of shoes, like yesterday's pair, I could have reported that my journey to work was approaching enjoyable - which of course is total nonsense. Travelling to and from work can never be enjoyable because I say it can't ! Even if I didn't have an insane fixed notion that travelling to and from Earlsfield can never be enjoyable, there is also the fact that it can never even approach enjoyable under a dull and sullen sky. Of course going home on a brilliantly hot day can sometimes feel slightly pleasant !

 Tonight I am going to have another go at moderating my eating pleasure, and I am going to try to get that early night. If I don't get to sleep early tonight, I may have to resort to going home via Tesco tomorrow, and purchase a bottle of the old Scottish sleeping remedy :-)
Monday 13th July 2015
08:23 BST  

  It was most definitely cloudy yesterday, but as far as I am aware, it didn't rain, and it was warmer than the forecast too. Unfortunately I think it was rather humid - at least that is what my disease ridden body tried to kid me was the case. It could have been a recipe for a thunderstorm, but it was a quiet, and seemingly dry night. This morning the temperature had dropped to a still warm feeling 18 C. It stayed dry right up to one minute before I was due to walk to the station to come to work. That raised a dilemna.* Should I, or shouldn't I put on a raincoat. The rain was not that heavy, and I would only get a bit wet, but then again I would also get wet from sweat that would be trapped under the raincoat. The answer was to put the rain coat on, but not to do it up. I took it off once I was on the train, and left it in my rucksack for the rest of the journey to work - including the drizzly walk from the station to work.

* If you think this word is mis-spelled then click on the link to find that technically it is, but maybe a tenth of the English speaking peoples, including me, believe this spelling is what they were taught in schools by very stern English teachers.
drizzly Earlsfield
 Looking back towards the station as I walk to work along a drizzly Garrat Lane towards work.

  The rest of today is going to be very cloudy, and there will be frequent showers - maybe ! Yesterday was supposed to be wet, but turned out dry. Maybe there will be less rain than threatened today. Tomorrow could be a tiny bit better, but it seems that we won't return to blazing summer days until next week when temperature could top 30 C again.....or it might snow !

 There is not much to tell about yesterday - apart from grim tales about the weather. At 11am I went out and bought some shopping from Aldi, and when I got back I tested out a theory of mine. I reckoned that it would be possible to cook fish fingers in my microwave oven. Of course they would never get that shiny glaze that fried fish fingers get, but the breadcrumb coating came out crisp (and gritty), and of course the fish inside was cooked just as well as any other method. On the whole I would say my theory was correct.

 Cooking fish fingers was the only physical creative thing I did all day. Later in the afternoon I ripped some more CD tracks to mp3 to add to my memory stick that, on random play, substitutes for a radio station while I am at work, and also at home. The actual ripping process is simple enough, but editing the ID3 tags to remove incorrect information, and to correct spelling mistakes, is a slow laborious process. Never mind, it's all worth it in the end. I now have a playlist that lasts an estimated 120 hours - or 5 days of non stop music !

 I almost didn't want to go to bed last night because I had a pretty good idea that I would start to feel rough as soon as I laid down.It was 10pm before I went to bed, or an hour later than I should have, and I didn't feel all that wonderful. I started to cough, but less than I expected, and it was not an annoying dry tickly cough. My main form of discomfort was the apparent humidity. I felt very hot and sticky almost everywhere on my body except, for some weird reason, my buttocks. As I lay there hardly covered at all, my face, legs, arms, chest and back felt slightly uncomfortably warm and damp, but my buttocks were definitely feeling cold. I expect that means something terribly important, but I have no idea what.

 I probably slept better than I expected too, but I would loved to have gotten more sleep before I had to come to work. I would also have liked more time to acclimatise myself to the upright waking world before having to even have a morning shower. I don't feel very wonderful today. I am sure I was sweating far too heavily on the way to work (although the rain did add quite a lot to my feelings of dampness). My chest feels very delicate still. Coughing makes it ache across the middle. Reaching out with my left hand can send a burning pain through my left breast, and reaching behind me with my right hand can send a sharp pain through my right hand side. Most of these things are not new, but seem worse than usual from time to time recently - except the pain in my right hand side - when I think about it, it must be a while since that last happened.

 I guess all these things feel worse when you are generally under the weather, and being under dull weather makes being under the weather even more undesirable. At this very moment my only complaint is that I feel like having a snooze on a nice comfortable bed - which probably rules my bed out (although of course it is over an hour away by train right now). Maybe if I find some terribly important work to do today I will feel better.

 I have no plans for tonight apart from a desire to get to bed a bit earlier tonight, and of course the everlasting attempts to moderate my food intake. Tonight, after some careful purchasing in Aldi yesterday, I might stand a better chance of eating what I should rather than what I want, but when, on most days, your only reason for existence is to get home from work for dinner, it is hard to shun the only pleasure of the day.
Sunday 12th July 2015
09:07 BST  

I think I can describe yesterday's weather as warm, sunny, and rather sticky, although the latter may have been because I stayed indoors all day. I can't recall checking my thermometer, but I reckon the top temperature was close to the forecast, and I would guess it was 25 C. During the night it cooled down, and got cloudy. It looks as if there might have been a shower or two during the night, but it is currently dry. It is also warmer than it is supposed to be. My thermometer is showing 22 C now, and that is a bit different to the forecast for today.
the weather forecast
                          for today - Sun 12th July 2015
 It is most definitely cloudy right now, but it is frequently brighter than those dull looking little cloud icons suggest. There have even been a few short bursts of sunshine. The forecast for tomorrow seems to have drastically changed since the last time I looked at it. I'm sure it forecast a return to warm sunshine after a wet day today, but now the forecast says tomorrow is going to be very wet - all day !

 I spent so long arranging all the photos, and writing yesterday, that it seemed like the day was half over before it had begun. Either that or I was just feeling lazier than normal, because it could be said that I didn't get up at all yesterday. There was one time when I pulled enough clothes on to take some rubbish out to the wheelie bin, but for the rest of the day I slopped around in usually no more than a pair of lounge pants. Even worse than that was that I didn't get around to showering or brushing my hair.

 My plans to go out in the evening to try out my new Canon DSLR camera on Chain, while enjoying as much of the gig as I could before having to leave early for the last train, came to nought. The final nail in the coffin was that I accidently got myself drunk late in the afternoon. It all started when I decided that I should try some of the "own brand" Aldi Jaegermeister substitute that I bought a few months ago. To reduce the price of it, as befits a cheap supermarket, it is only 30% alcohol (most booze is 40%), and that made it seem a bit innocent.

 In a way, it was innocent - in so much that it produced a quite slow descent into drunkenness. I stopped drinking it when I was feeling quite mellow, and well before I became wobbly drunk, but it did make me feel very sleepy. That wasn't surprising in the warmth of the late afternoon/early evening, and after many nights of disrupted sleep. So I lay down and fell asleep for about an hour. I wouldn't have attempted to go to the gig after getting drunk, and after waking up I felt too horrible to even think about it.

 After that early evening snooze I didn't feel like going to bed early, and it was getting on for midnight before I was asleep in bed. During the day I had felt substantially better than I had in previous days, and I was coughing far less. Laying down in bed, resting my head on the pillow without the suspect towel on it was the big test to see if all my coughing, and feeling ill, was some sort of allergic reaction to the disinfectant that I had rinsed the towel in (or the detergent I washed it in). The results can never be conclusive because I would be getting better from a cold anyway, but the fact is that I didn't cough all that much in the night last night.

 This morning I still haven't stopped coughing completely. First thing in the morning there were several occasions when I needed a light cough or two to clear a small amount of mucus from my throat. Several hours later and I still get an occasional little tickle in the throat that needs a quick cough. Judging by my progress I should be fit again when I am back at work tomorrow - which is sort of annoying after wasting most of two days of holiday plus the weekend being ill !

 I think I am going to be bored today - which is probably dangerous ! I need to go to Aldi to get some shopping, but apart from that I can't think of anything else to do. I guess I could go out, but the forecast weather doesn't make that idea terribly attractive. Oh well, at least this morning I have showered and washed my hair. So the world is my Oyster....and maybe that's a clue that my 60+ Oyster Card, and free London travel could be the answer.....or not.
Saturday 11th July 2015
09:34 BST   Repeating yesterday's opening paragraph with a few minor corrections :-
  Yesterday was a nice day. It was sunny and dry, although at little more than 21 C 25 C it was not a particularly warm day. That should be corrected today. The forecast says it should be a very sunny day with the temperature peaking at 25 C 24 C by late afternoon. The current temperature is just under over 20 C, and the sky is blue. So it's looking like the forecast is about right.

  I can't truthfully say I felt good yesterday because there were times when I didn't feel all that good, and there were a few times when I felt a bit bad, but it was not enough to stop me going out. It was also not bad enough to stop me pushing the boundaries of what I thought I should do. It would also be true to say that at a few points I felt just bad enough to suspend my enjoyment of what I was doing, although as a whole it was very enjoyable, and of course pushing yourself out of your comfort zone - and surviving - feels very good afterwards....for a while.

 What I ended up doing was exploring many, many miles of railways run mostly by London Overground or TFL rail. I have no idea how many free miles I clocked up on my 60+ Oyster Card, but for the 5, or more, hours I was out, I doubt I spent much more than a total of one hour waiting on various railway station platforms. My route is best described in pictures. Click on any picture for a big high resolution picture.

train approaching up platform
                                    at Catford Station
My first train approaching Catford station.
Denmark Hill station
First stop (just around the corner from where I had my heart operation)
                                    car London Overground train pulling
                                    into Denmark Hill station
A 5 car class 378 London Overground train bound for Highbury And Islington
Rotherhithe station platforms
Next stop: Rotherhithe station. It may be brighter and cleaner since London Overground took it over, but it still smells of sewage !
Brunel Museum
Rotherhithe was one place where I left the railway for 10 minutes of exploring. I now know where the Brunel Museum is, and I must visit it one day.
The City Delta craft heading
                                    down river
I think this passenger boat is called "City Delta", and it is heading downstream towards the Thames Barrier.
Wapping river police station
River Police boats tied up at Wapping police station.
Rotherhithe railway station
Rotherhithe station in all it's new London Overground splendour.
Wapping station platforms
Wapping station platforms - also still smelling like a sewer.
Wapping station street view
Wapping station. The circular section at the top is the same diameter as the shaft down to track level.
Gospell Oak station
From Wapping I stayed on the train as far as Canonbury, and did a fast change to a train to Gospel Oak station.
class 172 train approaching
                                    Gospel Oak station
My next train - a class 172 diesel electric - approaching Gospel Oak station.
London Overground class 172
Clean, bright and comfortable, but these London Overground versions don't have a toilet fitted like their cousins elsewhere.
Barking station
At the other end of the Gospel Oak to Barking line lies Barking. It's about a 30 minute trip over occasionally bumpy rails !
                                    stock train at Barking
At Barking my next train was a London Underground D stock train to Upminster.
Interior of D stock District
                                    Line train
Interior of a D stock carriage. Note the transverse seats in the middle of the carriage. A luxury committed to the past in modern Underground trains.
Upminster station
Upminster station - they have rather useful toilets on platform 1 !
Class 317 train approaching
Using max zoom, and showing some heat haze in the background, my next train approaches Upminster - a class 317.
don't use the toilet !!!
I have a strong suspicion that before London Overground used them, class 317 trains were used on Stanstead (airport) Express trains, and so were rather well equipped.
interior of class 317 train in
                                    use by London Overground
This is really rather luxurious (by modern day standards) for a train that just runs a quiet shuttle service between Upminster and Romford with just one intermediate station.
Emerson Park station in London
                                    Overground livery
The intermediate station on what is still very like a quiet country branch line.
Romford LT Rail station
Romford station in TFL Rail livery.
                                    horrible class 315 train
I really don't like class 315 trains. They are uncomfortable, and the seats don't line up with the windows, but this was my next train for the long slow journey to Shenfield.
Shenfield station with it's
                                    slowly decaying brake van
Shenfield station with it's slowly decaying brake van in the distance. That brake van has probably been there, on a cut off siding, for over 10 years, and maybe many more.
Shenfield station street view
The outside of Shenfield station is rather boring, and so is Shenfield itself from first looks. So it was back on a slow, stopping at every station, service back past Romford to Stratford.
Stratford station
I haven't been to Stratford since they started building there for that thing that happened in 2012. I swear I can still smell sweaty jockstraps even now. I would have avoided the place, but it was the most direct way home.

 When I got to Stratford I was able to change to the Docklands Light Railway, and after one change at Canary Wharf station I arrived at Lewisham in time for a 15 minute wait (one of the longest waits all day) for a train back to Catford Bridge.

 When I finally arrived home I was surprised that I didn't feel all that bad. In some ways I actually felt good. It was a huge buzz to have achieved so much, and maybe that off set some of the inevitable tiredness. One of the curious things was that while I was out I seemed to be mostly free of the cold I had. I hardly coughed at all, and my legs felt pretty good and working well. I still had a few twinges from my chest where all the earlier coughing had made some of my "floating ribs" seem quite sore when stressed in certain ways.

 A little bit of the mild negative feelings were most probably mild hunger, and mild to middling dehydration. As per my usual days of old, I went out before having any breakfast, and I didn't drink anything while I was out. I must admit that a pint of icy orange squash went down very quickly, and hardly touched the sides on the way down !  I think I probably over did a few snacks while I reviewed and edited the pictures I took because a bit later I was to order a rather generous amount of Chinese takeaway for a proper dinner.

 I did eat quite generously, too generously in fact, from that takeaway, but I still have a part 2 left for lunch today. I allowed not much more than an hour before going to bed after that meal. It left me feeling quite hot, but somehow I managed to get to sleep fairly quickly. One difficulty, apart from the steamy heat, was that as soon as I lay down I started to cough again, and after little more than an hour or two of sleep I was awake coughing and spluttering.

 It was then that I had a theory, and I am thinking that my theory might have a grain of truth in it. At something like 1.30am I swapped the towel I had over my pillow to soak up sweat on these hot nights. I swapped it for one that had been machine washed ages ago, and put in storage. The towel I've had on my pillow since I started coughing at night was a hand washed one with an extra added ingredient. I really hate it when towels get smelly in the summer, and so I put a little Zoflora disinfectant in the final rinse of the towel when I washed it - just to make sure all the nasty little bugs were dead. It seems to have worked on other towels OK, but maybe it is not a good idea to sleep on them when treated like that.

 Changing the towel didn't make an instant improvement, but I think it made a change. The proof, if there is any proof, could come tonight - assuming I am not just getting better after something as simple as a cold. There is a definite change in my cough this morning. The longer I stay out of bed the less frequent it becomes, but it is also more "throaty" and less dry this morning. Overall, I do feel strangely better this morning. Maybe it was just a cold, and a mild, and at other times almost ignorable allergy to something on the pillow just made it a bit worse......or maybe it's just a brief respite before the full force of SARS, TB, or Ebola, or whatever takes effect !

 Sorting out all those pictures, and quite a few interruptions, means that it is almost midday now (lucky I wasn't doing this at work !).  It's probably time I did something.....but what ? I suppose having a shower and getting dressed would be a good start. Then I could go and do some shopping, and/or do some housework. Possibly the most important thing might be to conserve some energy so I can go out tonight. Chain are playing at The Railway Tavern at Longfield. It's fairly easy to get to - 3 or 4 minutes downhill from Longfield station - assuming the trains are running, and unlike last time I won't be doing it on a cold, dark, winters night. Getting home is less fun. The last but one train (to allow for accidents) is quite early, and I'll have to leave halway through the gig. If the pub is not too packed I should be able to test my new Canon DSLR camera tonight.
Friday 10th July 2015
08:34 BST   Yesterday was a nice day. It was sunny and dry, although at little more than 21 C it was not a particularly warm day. That should be corrected today. The forecast says it should be a very sunny day with the temperature peaking at 25 C by late afternoon. The current temperature is just under 20 C, and the sky is blue. So it's looking like the forecast is about right.

 There were times when I felt reasonably good yesterday, and there were times when I felt a bit rough, and then there was how I felt in the night...... I think it is probably more annoying that this cold (assuming it is a cold) is half and half. Shivering in bed is not very nice, but at least it is very definite, and when you stop it can usually be taken as a good sign that you are on the mend. Yesterday, and this morning, when I feel half good and half bad it is frustrating not knowing if I am mending or not.

 Sometimes fresh air helps, and sometimes it doesn't. Late yesterday afternoon it did feel good to walk to the station to meet Jodie and escort her to The Blythe Hill Tavern where the Thursday night drinkers were drinking. The last time we walked there Jodie complained that it was a bit far, but it is only half a mile, and to be fair she didn't start to moan about it until we were practically outside the pub ! Last night even I decided that I was not that enthusiastic about walking there, and we caught a bus there instead. I doubt I would have done so if I didn't have free travel with my 60+ Oyster card, but it sort of makes you lazy !
The Thursday night
 Here's the Thursday night drinkers sitting around a table in the garden of the pub. From left to right - Andy, Dave, Chris, Alan, Paul and Jodie (I'm behind the camera !). I'm not sure if I really was in a drinking mood last night, but I ended up staying a bit later than I thought I would, and I had about 4 pints of beer. Towards the end I was starting to ache a bit, and I was feeling tired. One of the useful things about staying late (7pm, or a little later) is that the traffic had died down on the main road, and that made it worthwhile getting a bus back to Catford Bridge station. There is a bus stop right outside the pub, and although we missed one bus by 2 seconds, there was another 30 seconds behind it (both different routes, but both going back to the station).

 I left Jodie to get here train back to Elmers End, and I found myself drawn into the fried chicken shop where I regained some will power, and only ordered a moderate sized meal. When I got home I stuffed myself with it while watching some TV. There was an old episode of The Avengers on that entertained me for a while. Note: This was the real British Avengers, and not the cheap plastic American version based up on some scrappy comic from the Marvell publishing house. It was thus enjoyable !

 I went up to bed before it finished, but watched the rest on my PC. At that time I felt really tired - so tired that when the programme ended, and I went to bed, I felt too tired to relax - which I know sounds a contradiction, but it was a fact. I had to rest before I could relax, but eventually I fell asleep, and like recent nights, I slept more or less OK for at least a few hours, but at 3am I woke up feeling dreadful. My mouth and throat were dry, and I couldn't go for more than a few minutes without coughing. From 3am I only slept in small chunks, sometimes as little as 10 minutes, but others as long as 30 minutes, until I just had to give up trying to sleep any more.

 Since then I have washed my hair, and had a shower. That seemed like hard work, but now, as my hair is half dry, I think I feel a little bit OK. I'm now trying to decide what to do today. It's going to be warm so the seaside might be nice, but I'm not sure if I am up to that yet. I think what I might do is go riding around on some trains (maybe buses and/or tubes as well). I can do it for free on my 60+ Oyster card, and there are places I would like to see...or to be more specific, there are some rail routes I would like to explore. For instance the old East London Line tube line has been part of London Overground for 5 (or more ?) years now, and I have never been on the extension from Whitechapel to Highbury And Islington.

 Photo opportunities from modern railway carriages with no big windows to open are few and far between, but maybe I can grab a few snaps here and there. All I have to do now is to try and ignore the aches and pains that hold me back (my chest is still quite sore from all the coughing I've done in the last few days), grit my teeth, and get out into the fresh air. It should be easy......
Thursday 9th July 2015
13:13 BST   By my reckoning the temperature rose to at least 24 C yesterday, and that was 5 higher than the forecast if my memory serves me well ! It was also supposed to be quite a dull day, and for a lot of the time it was, but occasionally the sun did break through, and during the afternoon there were quite a few sunny periods. I don't think the temperature dropped as low as it was supposed to last night, but it was rather cool when I woke up. Since then there have been some dull periods, and some extended sunny periods. The rest of the afternoon is forecast to be non stop sunshine, and that does seem very likely. With all the sunshine I would have expected the temperature to be a little higher than just 19 C, but that is all it is, and that is pretty close to the forecast for today. Apparently the temperature will peak at about 6pm today, but it may only get up to 21 or 22 C. Tomorrow should be even sunnier, and even warmer than today, but nothing exceptional.

 I felt very much better yesterday afternoon. So much better that I decided to wash a few shirts and stuff, and I assumed that doing that would probably make me feel even better going by past experiences. Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. I don't know really. I seemed to feel superficially OK, but I couldn't seem to shake off all the symptoms of the cold I seemed to have. As the evening approached I began to feel rough again.

 I guess I felt a bit reluctant to go to bed last night because I had a good idea how I would feel in bed. In fact I probably underestimated how bad I would feel - at least for a portion of the night. The chief annoyance was the usually, but not exclusively dry cough. It kept me awake in the small hours, and made my chest hurt. There were also times when my nose felt very blocked or stuffy, although at no time has my nose actually started to drip or run.

 I have no idea how much sleep I got last night, but on the first day of the two days I booked off work as holiday, I got up feeling pretty lousy. Once I was upright my nose began to feel just stuffy rather than fully blocked, but I still felt the need to blow it frequently even if it didn't really need it. My cough also mostly stopped once I had been upright  for a while, but it hasn't completely stopped even now - and of course my chest still feels tender.

 I'm not sure how the rest of me feels. I feel as if I should be able to do stuff - even go for a long walk - but I am reluctant to try because the thought of it makes me feel tired. I may be missing a dripping nose, but I think I may be experiencing a non-smokers cold, and I don't like it...or at least I don't like the ambiguity of it. If I had this while I was still a heavy smoker there would be no doubt that I would be feeling unambiguously close to death, and in the extreme, hoping for it ! Instead of that I am teetering on the edge of feeling good enough that I don't want to do nothing, and bad enough that I am unsure if I want to do anything at all.

 I had given much thought to going out exploring today - until I came down with this cold. I had previously mentioned that I was contemplating going all the way to Walton-On-The-Naze to walk back beside the seashore to Frinton-On-Sea. Apart from not feeling up to it today, I am unsure if I want to do it anyway. I did some planning on the National Rail website, and I didn't like the look of what I found. Not only is it still a lousy once an hour service, but the cost of the fares is horrendous !
fares from Stratford
                          to Walton On The Naze
 Paying 25.20 for the pleasure of a couple of miles walk along the sea seems to be very expensive - particularly considering the last time I went, admittedly 5 years ago (doesn't time fly when you are having fun !!) it cost me just 14.20 - and I still have the tickets to prove it !
Stratford to Walton
                          On The Naze in 2010
 Fortunately, if I do eventually go to Walton-On-The-Naze, and maybe if I am feeling a lot better it could even be tomorrow, there is a cheaper option - although it's still the medieval one train an hour service - and that is to use my 60+ Oyster card to travel for free to Shenfield, and buy my tickets from there for a slightly more reasonable 17.90 return. It is only recently, since Transport For London, took over the rail service to Shenfield that Oystercards have been valid so far out of London into the borders of Essex. It's probably the sort of journey I should do more often to abuse make good use of my 60+ Oyster Card !
60+ Oyster Card
My 60+ Oyster Card featuring my most miserable passport type picture pose !

 Although I feel reluctant to do much today, I will be making the effort to go for my regular Thursday night drink. In theory I could stay out late tonight, and maybe I will. I have a strong suspicion that the half to two thirds mile walk to The Blythe Hill Tavern will make me feel better rather than worse, and a good dose of beer will loosen up stiff joints (which I don't really have at the moment), and it will probably help my sore chest in ways I can't even begin to imagine. Not only that, but getting a little, or a lot drunk will distract me from aches, pains and general feelings of not wellness.
Wednesday 8th July 2015
09:36 BST   The forecast for rain was perfectly correct yesterday......although it was a bit of an exaggeration. The rain was little more than a couple of light splashes in the morning, and the afternoon rain was replaced by sunshine. The afternoon turned out to be quite pleasant in a "not quite summer" sort of way - more sort of late spring in feel. Having said that, the temperature did creep up to about 24 C - which is sort of summerish. This morning it is very cloudy, although it has stayed dry so far, and the latest forecast says it should stay dry all day. It also says that it will be a very dull day, and that the temperature will only rise to 19 C - which strikes me as a bit cool for July ! It makes me wonder whose thermometer is more accurate. My thermometer, and my body say it is 21 C right now - although my body's internal thermometer is playing up a bit today. Tomorrow is still forecast to be bright, sunny and warm, and Friday may be a little better than that !

  I felt rough at work on Monday, and I felt rough yesterday, but it wasn't until yesterday afternoon that all the threads started to come together. I don't know precisely when it was, and the first hints may have been in the morning rather than that the afternoon, but by the afternoon I was definitely suffering from a sore throat, and I had started to cough. It was an annoying cough because it felt a bit girly compared to the full throated manly cough I used to have when I was smoking 40 - 50 fags a day. On the other hand it was also annoying because it was still enough to make my chest feel sore.

 It was a great relief to go home after work. Getting out into the fresh air made me feel better, and a bit of walking got some of the creases out of here, there and everywhere. It didn't actually stop my throat being sore, and maybe it actually made it feel a bit more constricted. Fortunately I didn't cough much (or at all ?) on the trains home. All the while I was travelling, and for probably most of the day, tiny little microbes were working on me. Most concentrated on my throat at first, but some worked their way into my brain, and somehow convinced me that I should eat some Turkish sausage.

 Instead of going straight home from the station I went via the Turkish supermarket and bought some sausages. I also bought a couple of little pots of 3 bean salad, and chick pea salad to have for breakfast at work today. One other thing I bought, and I didn't know why, was a big bottle of freshly pressed Cox apple juice. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I completely forgot about it after putting it in the fridge when I got home.

 I could have cooked the Turkish sausages in the electric grill, but I had a hunch that they would cook OK in the microwave oven - and they did. I probably almost over cooked them, but at least that did "boil" off quite a lot of fat from them. I ate them with some chunks of cucumber - and they were very nice. I also had a second course of cheese salad. I washed it down with orange squash, but once I had finished eating I decided I ought to try and sterilise my sore throat with some hard liqueur ! I had one generous glass of cinnamon flavour Jack Daniels, and that didn't seem to help so I followed it with a couple of generous glasses of whisky. That may or may not have helped, but it all helped me to get to sleep quite early in the evening.

 I think it was not long after 8pm that I was fast asleep in, or on my bed. As far as I can recall I slept OK until gone midnight, but that was probably just the result of exhaustion. From then onwards I kept waking up with a dry mouth, or coughing, or with my nose feeling blocked, and sometimes sweating - or usually all of those things at the same time.  By 3 or 4 am I must have been running a good fever because I couldn't work out if I was hot or cold. If I covered more than 10% of my body I would start to sweat, and if I left it uncovered I would almost shiver....and all the time I kept coughing.

 The worrying thing about it was that the coughing was making my chest quite sore in the same way that it was sore when I had my first heart attack (the one a week before I called an ambulance back in 2013). The hot and cold business was quite similar too so it brought back a few unpleasant memories. Fortunately there were enough differences to make me think I was unlikely to die for a while. I didn't have a sore throat when I had that heart attack, and my nose didn't feel blocked either. On top of that, the strength of my chest pain was constant and was not modulated by the amount I was coughing.

 At 5am this morning I got up as usual, but I felt dreadful. At 5.30am, instead of having a shower, and preparing for work, I went back to bed. At first I felt too dreadful to go back to sleep, but at some unknown time I did fall asleep, and the next thing I knew was that it was 8am. The first thing to do was to phone work and tell them the "good news". I didn't really want to go sick today because it looks like some sort of sham when I have tomorrow and the day after already booked as holiday, but at 5.30 this morning I didn't care about that.

 After an extra hour or two of sleep I feel a lot better, and when I come to think about it, I don't think I've done any serious coughing since soon after I woke up at 8am. My throat is still very slightly sore, but it is so mild as to be hardly noticeable. I still feel a bit weak (which I think is the best way to describe it), and a couple of paragraphs ago I briefly broke out into a sweat. So I am evidently not cured yet, but I do feel a lot better than I did in the night. I think I shall reserve this morning for a bit of quiet relaxing, reading, or snoozing, and see how I feel this afternoon. Maybe I'll do something constructive this afternoon if I feel up to, but I think it's now time to put my feet up for a while.
Tuesday 7th July 2015
08:22 BST Yesterday was another of those peculiar days where the weather forecast turned out to be quite close to reality. It said it would be a bit dull in the middle of the day, and it was. The rest of the day was bright, although not always sunny. When it was sunny it was very sunny - bright and hot rays of sunshine. The temperature was possibly a degree or two higher than the forecast according to my measurements (that I seem to have forgotten). At 8.20pm it was starting to get dull outside, but the sky still looked nice - in an artistic sort of way - probably.....
the north western
                          sky at 8.20pm on Monday 6th July 2015
.....the only trouble is my picture doesn't seem to capture it too well. Maybe you only get the right ambience when standing in the bath, viewing the sky through a 6 inch high aperture of a partly opened sash window.  After seeing that light cloud in a clear expanse of sky, it was a bit of a shock to find that this morning it is very cloudy, and that rain is forecast to fall quite soon this morning. There could be intermittent showers any time this morning, and more of them this afternoon. It is possible that I could still catch one when I go home after work. This evening should be dry if reality continues to follow the forecast, and tomorrow could be a gloriously sunny day....could be !!!

 I felt lousy at work yesterday. I felt dreadfully tired, and my chest, sides, back, top and bottom all ached in one way or another. It wasn't until lunchtime that the worst of it had worn off, but I was still feeling delicate as I set off to go home after work. Yesterday was a rare day - I actually wanted to get a bus for a couple of reasons, and as I got to the main road I spotted a bus heading towards the bus stop. It was when getting off the bus that I had my last reminder of how delicate I was feeling. As I got off the bus I had to step out a little further than usual, and I landed slightly heavily on my right foot. At any other time it would hardly be noticeable, but on this occasion the shock travelled straight up through my body, and sent a burning pain through my left breast. It may have been the result of the shock re-aligning my ribs and ligaments into a closer approximation of how they should be. Since then I have had no significant aches from my chest sub chassis/underframe/superstructure/whatever.

 It was not all terrible at work. One thing followed by another thing brightened my day up a lot. It almost made coming to work a pleasure. First of all my new Canon DSLR camera arrived, and then half an hour later the extra lens for it arrived. I had a play with it once the battery had charged. I came to the conclusion that for many pictures it would not be a great improvement over my Canon "bridge" camera, but for certain shots it would be a large improvement. The additional lens I bought, with it's large aperture, looks like it is going to handle low light situations much better, and having manual control of the focus could be very handy too. Was it money well spent ? Well I hope it was......although it could easily lead to the slippery slope of buying all sorts of accessories for it. An extra battery, and a lens hood would be cheap, and important accessories, but a nice big zoom lens could be very desirable - and potentially very expensive !
baby, mummy, and
                              daddy Canons
 It's like time is running in reverse. First there was baby Canon - an SX210 IS on the left. Then there was mummy Canon - an SX40 HS in the middle, and yesterday daddy Canon - an EOS 1200D arrived on the right ! The far more worrying thing is that my new camera is classified as a beginners DSLR camera, and there are far bigger, better and hugely more expensive ones out there, but before I start drooling over that I ought to see if I can refine my point and click photography to use some of the new features of my new camera, and see if I can take masterpieces like the picture above isn't !

 Maybe the pictures I took on my way home are better looking, or better composed, or just better than the photo above.....
free chalices
                              for everyone !
They were still giving away Stella Artois chalices (or glasses to most of us) on the concourse of Waterloo station at 4pm yesterday, and this morning they are still set up to give away hundreds more.
what a huge tripod you have
Also spotted at Waterloo was this photographer with this extra tall tripod. I couldn't work out what he was taking pictures of. His camera seemed to be pointed at the super wide (50ft ?) TV screen type advertising screen, but I am not convinced it was pointing high enough for that. Oh well, I suppose he knew what he was doing even if I didn't.

  I initially made some effort to eat lightly last night, but that didn't last long. I even made things worse by drinking a can of super strength lager a little while before going to bed....although while it may have had the equivalent of a lot of sugar in it, it also probably was beneficial to my sleep. I made sure I didn't attempt to stay up much beyond 9pm, and I was asleep quite soon after that. I'm not sure I slept better in terms of quantity - only missing out on work, and going back to bed would solve that - but I think I thrashed about a lot less last night, and I seem to ache less this morning.

 I still felt dreadfully tired as I got myself ready for work, and I sometimes wondered where I found the energy to stand up. It felt like I wanted to lay down again straight away, but it was mostly all in the least I assume it was. Coming to work didn't seem to be taxing, and I forgot to faint or collapse as I assumed I probably should do at some point. The more I think about this, the more I yawn ! What I ought to concentrate on is trying to think up a way to describe how I felt as I walked from the station to work. Once I got into my stride it felt like I could walk at that slightly moderate pace for miles. It felt like slightly hard work, and laying down would have been a nice option, but it was like that after 10 seconds of walking, and was no worse by the time I got to work. I guess nothing makes any sense these days.

 The good news is that I booked Thursday and Friday off work this morning. That means I may go out exploring somewhere on one or both days. I still have a walk from Walton On The Naze (with or without hyphens) to Frinton On sea (also with or without hyphens) on my to do list, and maybe I'll do one one of the days. To that end I really ought to be watching my diet from this very minute so I am not bloated and farting on Thursday morning. The bad news is that I have some work to do at work today, and the worse news is that I had probably get working on it soon !
Monday 6th July 2015
08:07 BST   It came as a bit of a surprise as to how much it cooled down during the night after a pleasantly warm day yesterday. It was just 13 C when I woke up this morning - which felt remarkably chilly. It was also noticeable how the days are getting shorter again now. At 4am it was still rather dull because sun rise was not until 04:51 this morning. Most of the morning has been sunny, but every so often some expansive patches of thin cloud drift over, and obscure the sun. That will probably be the pattern for the rest of the day - although the cloud may be a bit more persistent around the middle of the day. It is not supposed to be a very warm day today, although I hope it gets a bit higher than the forecast for a mere 21 C. Tomorrow should see a small improvement, but it ain't going to be high summer weather !

 Nothing much happened yesterday evening. My "dinner" was freshly shelled peas followed by fresh strawberries. This was as I said it would be yesterday, but at the last moment I decided to have some "Frank's diabetic vanilla ice cream" with the strawberries. I'm not sure if they complimented each other or not. I washed it all down with some (mostly) sugar free fizzy Kiwi and Raspberry (flavour) drink from Aldi's "Jive" range.

 It was a little weird yesterday night. I thought I was feeling tired until I got into bed early (and by into I really mean onto). While part of my brain contemplated whether I was tired or not, I used another part to read a book. With hind sight I now realise that I should have tried harder to feel sleepy because reading until gone 10pm, or getting on towards 11pm was not a great idea - particularly when I woke up at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep again. The reason I woke at 4am was because I was sleeping uncovered with the window open, and my room temperature had dropped to the point that I was shivering with cold !

 I covered myself up, and maybe I did manage to fall asleep for a few minutes, but to all intents and purposes my sleep finished at 4am. The only good thing was that it gave me a bit of extra time to try and feel comfortable enough to come to work. When I first woke up I had all but seized up, and even now, 6 or 7 miles away (as the crow flies), and 4 hours later, I don't feel very wonderful. It's hard to describe just how I feel, but it feels pretty awful, and it feels like I should by laying down and not sitting at my desk. I guess the feeling will eventually pass as it usually does, but it will pass a lot quicker if my new camera turns up this morning. That should be a great distraction from everything !

 As I painfully dragged myself to work I saw new stuff at Waterloo station (although at Waterloo I was really feeling the best I have all morning). Once again it was Stella Artois who were centre stage on the concourse. They really are flogging their tie in/sponsorship with the Wimbledon Tennis club where the championships are taking place.
Roll up, roll up,
                          get your free chalices here.
Looking quiet while the last bits of setting up take place......
Wimbledon chalices are here
....then 5 minutes later all hell breaks loose as people queue for their free Stella Artois, limited edition, Wimbledon chalice.
Sunday 5th July 2015
17:02 BST   After the Friday night storms, yesterday was a very nice day. It was bright and sunny for most of the time, and while it wasn't hot it was certainly nice and warm. I think the temperature peaked at around 25 C. After sunset it cooled down quite quickly, and sleeping was a lot easier. This morning was very dull, and for a few hours it was wet from a succession of moderate showers. The afternoon was much nicer. There was no rain, and many sunny periods. It's currently 25 C, but a moderate breeze is making it feel fresh. Tomorrow is forecast to start, and probably finish sunny, but the middle of the day will be a bit dull. As a consequence the temperature may only rise to a puny 21 C !

 It is strange how I felt so rough first thing yesterday, and yet after doing some relatively hard, and if not exactly hard, some very sweaty work - aka hand laundry - I felt so good. The feeling persisted all day. I mentioned that I did all the washing up, and emptied the rubbish bins yesterday, but after that I did other stuff. One thing was to fill a dustbin liner with a load of old paperwork. Much of it was old circuit diagrams/repair manual for audio visual equipment. It seemed like a good idea to hoard these when I was in the trade over 10 years ago, but I have never used them, and I am unlikely to use them ever. It is still a bit of a wrench to throw away "knowledge" though.

 I did take a rest after that lot, but not for long. It was such great weather for drying clothes that I did some more hand laundry in the afternoon. It included some towels, and a I hung most of it out in the garden to dry. It wasn't bone dry when I brought it in 3 or 4 hours later, but it was pretty close to it. That was the last of the physical work that I did, but I still felt very alert and had to find little jobs to do on the PC, and stuff like that to stop me getting bored.

 There was only one problem with how I arranged yesterday....or at least it was a sort of problem the way the day unfolded...or something like that. I had a succession of small snack rather than proper meals, and mid evening I got stuck between the notions that I had eaten enough, and was not particularly hungry, and the notion that I had not eaten dinner, and the day was running. It was all a bit stupid, and I knew that even as my stomach and brain argued about it. In the end I ordered a takeaway that I could split between a late dinner, and breakfast this morning - quite a late breakfast as it turned out.

 It was much easier to sleep again last night, and I think I probably got two quite long periods of sleep. After all the sleep I lost during the hottest nights last week, I feel I should have probably got at least 10 hours sleep last night, and/or the night before. I'm not sure if I even managed a full 8 hours in total last night, but it was probably close enough, and I woke up not feeling tired - just quite crappy - and that's crappy in any sense except that involving the toilet.

 The cure was the same as yesterday. I did some more hand laundry. This time it was just some work shirts. Had it not been raining I would have tackled one of the heavy duvet covers that I have been saving for when I feel amazingly strong, and when the sun is blazing down so I can hang it out still dripping, and know it will dry by the end of the day. Once again a bit of physical labour made me feel a lot better, although maybe not as much as yesterday. Tomorrow the cure will have to be going to work - boo !

 I did have some vague notion that I might go out today - perhaps just a couple of visits to the shops, but possibly to somewhere further afield. Te rain put paid to any ideas like that, but once it had stopped in the early afternoon I did  go to Aldi to pick up a few bits and pieces. I don't know why I did it, but I foolishly bought a pack of 4 cup cakes topped with some thick pink goo (allegedly strawberry flavoured). It was a folly to buy them, and an even bigger folly to eat them.

 The may have looked nice, but to my palate they were just over sweet tastelessness. I didn't enjoy that at all, and the sugar just made me feel very peckish. I've since eaten some other crap that should have been used sparingly over a couple of days. Now I can't have any proper dinner if I stick to the plan. All I should have for dinner is some fresh peas straight from the pods, and some strawberries. Eating the peas should be fun, and I assume that I will like them like I did many years ago (30 ?). Some say that peas contain a lot of starch, but I feel sure that I can survive that !

 Tomorrow could be a good and bad day. Even the bad part has a good part because without the bad there can't be the good. To explain in a more sane way.......Tomorrow I have to go to work - which is bad, but without going to work I won't be able to pick up at least one parcel, and hopefully two - which if they arrive will be good. I am expecting delivery of at least the wide aperture lens for my new Canon DSLR camera. It won't be much good without the camera, but I think there is a fair chance that will turn up tomorrow too. All I'll need then is an artistically lit gig to go to, to see if I am a good cameraman or a complete failure !
Saturday 4th July 2015
13:28 BST   Yesterday ended in a bit of a bang, but before that it was very pleasant. There was a lot of sunshine. The temperature probably went up to something like 25 C, but there was a nice breeze to make it feel a bit fresher. Without that breeze it might have felt unpleasantly humid. It was a pleasant night to be outside, walking to and from stations, and very pleasant to be safely at home in advance of about 11 - 11:30pm when all hell let loose. Although the centre of it always seemed to be around a mile away, maybe half a mile, we had a terrific thunderstorm. For a while there was some very heavy rain, and for a lot longer either side of that, there was copious lightning, and the thunder rattled the fillings in my teeth.

 It took until 1am this morning before that storm had moved away enough to show only some very distant flashes, and barely heard thunder. The rain had also stopped by then (I think). This morning dawned bright and fresh. I think the temperature had dropped to a fresh feeling 15 C, but it didn't stay that low for long. It's been a nice bright and sunny morning, and the temperature is already up to 25 C. It will probably be hotter before it starts to cool down again around 6 or 7pm, but if I doesn't cool down that much then I reckon we could see another storm tonight - although the weather forecast says not. Tomorrow may be a rather dull day, and a lot cooler too. Perhaps just 22 C, and there could be some rain in the late morning.

 I felt pretty awful at work yesterday. I couldn't read anything on my PC for more than 5 or 10 minutes before my eyelids would start to droop. There were a few times when I actually fell asleep for a few seconds. Not only that, but I felt a bit stiff and achey. It was a miracle then that I managed to keep myself alert, and feeling reasonably OK when I got home after a stress free commute home. The reason that I forced myself to feel alert and OK was that I really wanted to go out last night. On Thursday, with Chris acting as a courier, I was given a very nice birthday present by Jo (of Chain) and I wanted to thank her personally at Chain's gig.

 Before all that there was what was happening earlier in the day at Waterloo station. It started about the time I arrived there on my way to work in the morning....
Stella cider van on
                          Waterloo station
Parked on the concourse, but unattended, was this van whose sign writing offered a few hints.....
free samples of fruit cider at
My next view was at 4pm and they are giving away tiny free samples of cider...
Man with a big lens takes a picture of
                          someone getting a free sample of cider
A man I know who knows all about cider says it was not cider but something more similar to urine (although I can't remember his exact words !).

 I didn't stop to queue for any free samples, but made my way straight home via the Turkish supermarket where I bought a couple of cans of strong(ish) Polish beer that I may enjoy tonight. I also bought the ingredients for an unusually light dinner - chick pea and three bean salads. Well maybe their later effects may not be that light, but they seemed to fill a hole with over filling it last night. I then washed my hair, and had a shower, and I was almost ready to go. The only difficulty was not to get too relaxed while I waited for my hair to dry.

 Somehow I managed to keep the faith, and set off to get the 8.06pm train to Eden Park. The gig was actually in West Wickham, but it is a bit of a trot up a hill from the station. The lazy way is to go as far as Eden Park station, and then get the bus which stops right outside the pub. Once upon a time this would have cost extra money, but thanks to my 60+ Oyster card the whole journey was free. I arrived at the gig relatively free from sweat - which was nice, and wouldn't have happened if I had walked up the hill !

 The only trouble with The Swan in West Wickham is that I hate the place. All the football shirts pinned to the ceiling make me feel nauseous ! Not only that but the acoustics of the place never seem to be very good. The band is squeezed into a small space, and always seem to be hidden behind mic stands. The lighting is all wrong for photography, and.......well I am sure there are other things I don't like, but I can't think of them for the moment.
Chain on stage
                              at The Swan, West Wickham
 This poor picture, where they all look miserable, was the best I took that shows the complete band. On the far left, Jo Corteen, and on the far right, Chris Mayer. Ravi was on duty for the bass guitar, and Gavin played the drums. Gavin very rarely plays for Chain, and may have only played for them once before. I think I am safe to say it here, but I didn't really like his drumming. I have a suspicion that a fellow drummer would say he was very good, and I can't fault his timing, but to my ear it sounded rather mechanical. I prefer a more fluid style even if it has more (technical) mistakes. It sounds warmer and more human to me.

 I arrived at the pub at about 8.40pm, and by 9.50pm I left. I had already decided that I would leave early, and stuck to that plan even though I was beginning to feel good and enjoy myself thanks to consuming a couple of pints of beer. I don't know if it was just stubbornness to stick to my earlier plan, based on the idea that I should have been feeling knackered, or if it was some sort of sixth sense in operation.

 It felt rather nice walking down the hill to the station in the warm night air. I slightly misjudged my timing in the bet way, and had 10 minutes to wait for the train once I got to the station. I travelled back to Catford in an empty carriage, and when I got there I somehow suppressed all urges to buy any takeaways for a late night supper, and walked straight home. I guess I could have chanced an extra hour out, but only by the skin of my teeth, because it could hardly have been more than an hour after arriving home that the heavens opened, and the road outside briefly looked more like a canal as the lightning flashed across the heavens, and the air vibrated to each boom of thunder.

 I had a two part sleep last night. It was probably around 1am when the storm had moved far enough away to allow me to sleep, and I think I slept very soundly for 3 or 4 hours. I got up for a short while before going back to bed for another 3 or 4 hours of slightly lumpy, but pretty good sleep. It was getting on toward 10am when I had showered and dressed, and I was feeling pretty awful - although I can't really describe what was so awful.

 I certainly didn't feel up to, or even capable of (hand) washing 5 shirts, some underwear, a hand towel, and two tea towels, but that is precisely what I did - and apart from feeling very hot and sweaty with some understandable aches in my arms, I felt really rather good for it. So good that I also did several days worth of washing up, and I empted a few rubbish bins.  Apart from writing this, that brings me up to date. I have a feeling I might do some more laundry before the day is over, and I might go shopping somewhere, but neither are important, and I might do no more today, or I might not. Maybe I'll have some lunch and try to decide if I am coming or going !
Friday 3rd July 2015
08:04 BST   It was a bit cooler yesterday, but the big change from recent days was rain. I think it was sometime between 11am and midday that there were a couple of light showers, and there was another very light shower a little after 5pm. Those showers hardly made any difference. The raindrops barely had time to wet the pavement before they evaporated again. The rest of the day was about 75% overcast, and 25% sunshine. The top temperature was somewhere in the region of 25 - 26 C. During the night the temperature fell to 15 C, and with a perky breeze it felt quite fresh as I came to work. The forecast says it will be a sunny day, but the temperature will only rise to around 26 C. The day is supposed to end with a bang ! The forecast does not want to commit itself to any particular time, and so it does show any icons for rain this evening, but the write up does warn of severe thunderstorms brewing up tonight. Maybe we will get enough lightning to make it look like a nuclear holocaust, and hail stones the size of ducks eggs, and flash flooding.....or maybe it will be a damp squib ! Tomorrow is looking like it will be a fine day, although one similar to yesterday.

 A series of nights of poor sleep had me feeling very tired at work yesterday - although a lot of it was just boredom. As well as the struggle to keep my eyes open, I was also intermittently suffering from a slightly stiff feeling back. That was almost certainly the result of sleeping with the fan playing directly on my back the night before. I tried to avoid that last night, and my back feels mostly OK today. It is possible that I slightly over did the air con in my office yesterday, and it was a pleasure, maybe a slightly short lived one, to get out into the warm sunshine as I walked to the station.

 That walk to the station was not entirely pleasurable. Yesterday was one of those days where a bus to the station would have been desirable, but there is never a bus there when I need one, and I walked as usual. The reason why getting the bus would have been nice was that I was still suffering from where my new trainers had ground away the skin on the side of my right heel. I had stuck a sticking plaster over the wound, and until that came loose it did provide perfect protection. By the time I got to the pub the plaster was almost off, and it felt like my heel had been rubbed with stinging nettles.

 The pub was The Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham, near Ladywell - just 5 or 6 minutes walk from Ladywell station - and it was the venue for the Thursday night drinking club. I had three and a half pints of nice beer in there, and a few mouthfuls of a rather unpleasant beer. The unpleasant beer had gone off in some way, and we sent three pints of it back to the bar to be exchanged for nice beer. I believe the bar staff did that with hardly a grumble - which make a change to some pubs I've been in before. I don't think it was the bad beer, but after three and half pints, which was really all I intended to drink, I began to feel a bit off colour.

 I think it was a combination of tiredness, the discomfort from the wound on my heel, and at that time one other mystery thing. I could have, and probably should have, caught a bus to the end of my road, but I decided I would walk home. It was hard work, and a big relief to finally get home. Once I was home I had some dinner. It was mostly salad like stuff, although it also incorporated smoked sausage ! During and after dinner I watched some TV, and then I went to bed. I think it might have been as early as 8pm when I lay down. To my surprise I fell asleep very quickly, although the real surprise was waking up to find it was gone 10pm. I don't think I had even realised I had fallen asleep until I saw the time.

 With the night a lot cooler, I slept better than previous nights, and while it was far from perfect sleep, and definitely not for periods longer than a couple of hours at a time, I reckon I probably got at least 6 hours sleep. It is possible that I might have slept even better if my mystery ailment had come to a head earlier. It was after getting up at 5am that the nature of my mystery ailment revealed itself. I went to the toilet, and it seemed almost normal. Once I had finished I went and sat at my PC. 10 seconds later I was rushing to the toilet again. Having finished that I sat at my PC again, and this time I lasted at least 30 seconds before I had to rush to the toilet again ! That was the last time anything major happened - until I got to work.

 I was still feeling a bit strange, particularly in the stomach area, when I came to work, but on the whole I felt fairly good, and most of the common aches and pains were very much at a background level. After arriving at work I began to feel a little, or perhaps a little odder, and once again it was my Ebola fever, or East Nile disease (not to be confused with West Nile disease), or Dehli Belly, or whatever playing up again. Since I started writing this piece I have had to break off twice to visit the toilet. I can't be 100% certain, and I would probably be foolish to believe so, but I think I am now empty, and have voided the creature from the black lagoon, or the alien from Alpha Centuri, that has been festering in my guts since some time late yesterday afternoon !

 Today is probably going to be another mostly boring day at work, but I have ascertained that it should be OK to take next Thursday and Friday off work if the weather is looking good. If the weather is good, and I am feeling in the right frame of mind, I may re-visit Walton-On-The-Naze, and from there walk back to Frinton On Sea station (which is nowhere near the sea !) via the sea front (plus a mile inland via the village). That's something for me to look forward to in the future. In the nearer future I am hoping to somehow find the energy and enthusiasm to go to a pub that I hate, to watch probably no more than the 1st set of Chain's gig at The Swan in West Wickham.

 It's a shame my new DSLR camera hasn't arrived yet (although the lens could arrive today). Tonight would be a chance to try it out - if I get there - although one of the reason I dislike the pub is that it is so hard to find a good position to take pictures without stepping on somebody's toes (or worse). It's a lousy layout in an often too crowded pub that is made a million times more unpleasant by all the football shirts pinned to the ceiling, and all the other foolballist stuff dotted around the place - plus, of course, all the footballing fans who inhabit it. Did I ever mention I detest, completely loathe, really hate with double plus venom, anything to do with football ?
Thursday 2nd July 2015
08:05 BST   For once the forecast was spot on - at least as far as the temperature was concerned. The forecast said it would be 33 C, and that is exactly what it was - on my downstairs thermometer when I got home from work. The thermometer outside the back, upstairs bedroom actually said 36 C. The thing the forecast did not get right, or at maybe my interpretation of it, was that there were some fairly long periods when the sunshine became hazy as the sun went behind some thin clouds. It took until 10.30pm last night before the outside temperature dropped below the temperature inside my bedroom, and I could open the window to let that slightly cooler, and much fresher air in. It was still 20 C when I got up this morning, and that is two degrees higher than the forecast.

 That forecast also said that it would be cloudy this morning. From time to time I have seen some clouds drift across the sky, and as I type this I can see another patch of light cloud about to drift across the clear blue sky. The forecast goes on to say that by midday the cloud will be so thick that it looks black, and it will rain until 4pm. By 3pm the temperature will have hit it's peak of 23 C, and it will stay like that until 9pm. It will be rather annoying if it is raining at 4pm as I make my way home from work, and it will be doubly so if there is enough heat to brew up a thunderstorm - which the forecast does admit is a strong possibility. I have brought a waterproof coat, but I may not bother to wear it if it is raining. On far cooler days than today could be at it's worst, it sometimes gets so sweaty under that allegedly breathable waterproof skin that I sometimes seem to get wetter from sweat on the inside than rain on the outside.

 I guess I was one of the lucky ones yesterday. The air con in my office kept the temperature at least 10 degrees cooler than outdoors, and even more than that in the production area. It seemed like a furnace there. Once I left work, and ventured outside, the heat hardly bothered me. I got predictably sweaty, which may have been offensive to others, but I enjoyed that heat - although it was a little too hot to attempt to run up the escalators at Waterloo station - but I still walked up them at a reasonable rate.

 The only major downside of the heat was that a chain of events left me with a bit of my right heel being left with no skin on it. I was wearing a brand new pair of Converse Hi trainers. They looked to have a few subtle changes in construction to my older versions. One minor change was a sort of area of stiffening on the heel. I can't see exactly what is causing it, but it may be a slightly raised area of stitching that started rubbing away the skin on the side of my right heel. I guess it was made worse by my feet, like most of my body, getting damp with sweat (except for my forehead where the sweat was pouring out !). It was a good enough injury to scare away any buses at Earlsfield - although the heat was enough to do that anyway. Walking to the station started to become uncomfortable, and walking from the station to home (actually via Tesco) was getting unpleasantly painful. It was a huge relief to get those trainers off when I got home. The only good thing is that the blood did not soak through to the outside. It wouldn't look good on pure white trainers !

 I suppose it was a typical shop in Tesco. I was very careful to only buy the healthiest of full price products, and was carelessly stupid about buying stuff with reduced price stickers on it. The two half price Tesco "Finest" sausage rolls I bought were probably the sort of thing I shouldn't be buying in this weather, or at any other time, but at least they satisfied a strange craving for sausages without having to buy and cook a pack of greasy "bangers" (although for some unexplained reason, it was a plate of greasy "bangers" that I really desired.

 I did buy a lot of salad based stuff that included a ready made apple and cheddar salad. I hadn't seen anything like that in Tesco before. If I had not used the sachet of very syrupy sauce that came with it, it would probably have been fairly low in most things, but that sauce probably had more sugar in it than I would have liked. It wasn't bad as a ready made salad, but I don't think I'll be buying another. As I munched my way through it I couldn't help but think of the huge profit they must be making on it. I can't recall the price, but it may have been over 2 - which is an impressive markup for what was probably little more than 50p worth of ingredients !

 Two other things I bought in Tesco were two bottles of squash - one orange, and the other lime. I was probably a bit dehydrated after my sweaty journey home from work, and I continued to (slowly) sweat indoors. Between getting home and going to bed I must have drunk 3 pints of chilled water flavoured with either the lime or orange squash. Either went down very well ! During the night I drunk sugar free cola that started off cold and fizzy, and was warm and flat by the morning ! Maybe I was more dehydrated than I imagined because for all that liquid in, not much came out as pee. Most of it came out as sweat.

 Despite the sweatiness, I probably got more, and better sleep than the previous night or two. That may have just been the result of exhaustion, or it may have had something to do with putting different pillows on my bed with a doubled over thick towel on them to soak up the sweat. Putting the fan on full blast probably helped as well. There was one thing beyond the heat and sweat that kept me awake at one or two points during the night, and that was a letter I received that really pissed me off.

 A little while ago I applied online for some Premium Bonds. The online application process did mention that my identity would need to be verified, and that it would usually be done during as part of the sign up process. So I went through the sign up process, and gave them my bank details, and transferred a lump of money to buy a block of premium bonds. Soon after this process I received an email to say my application was OK, and that my block of Premium Bond numbers would be entered into the draw at the beginning of this month. That was yesterday, and it is possible that I may have already won One Million Pounds ! But there is a problem.......

 Our lovely government is a complete lap dog to the United States. It is well known that the biggest drug dealer of all is the CIA, and they will do anything to protect their interests in Afghanistan poppies and the heroin they produce. To stop anyone muscling in on the deal they invented some rules for banks - not just theirs, but ours, and under threat of nuclear retaliation, most of the rest of the world too. They are so paranoid that they have to trace every penny that moves through the worlds banking system in case someone buys some poppies from an independent vendor. So every bank account has to be owned by a verified customer, and bizzarely that includes investing in premium bonds. So the Premium Bond people have written to me to confirm my address and identity - which I can't do. I am of a generation whose parents and grandparents fought two world wars just so we didn't have to carry identity papers with us, and I haven't got any. So I am livid that these jumped up civil servants, in cahoots with American secret agents, are coming between me and my 1 Million pound prize that I so richly deserve !

 I think I am looking forward to a little drink tonight. I hope the Thursday night drinking club is drinking in Catford, or somewhere nearby tonight. I guess I'll be hearing from Paul, the de-facto social secretary, about where we are drinking sometime this morning. If it is anywhere except Catford, I hope it is not raining too hard as I make my way to the venue. Since starting to write this the sky has really clouded over, and rain does look very likely now. At least it will make for a fresher day, and hopefully a fresher night !
Wednesday 1st July 2015
07:54 BST   As far as I can recall, yesterday's weather was exactly as forecast. That must be a first ! I don't think the sky was completely cloudless from dawn to dusk, but any cloud that did appear was thin, and didn't hang around very long. In consequence the bright sunshine drove the temperature up to a very nice 28 C. This morning there are quite a few clouds around, but they are of the high altitude variety, and quite patchy. Occasionally they will dim the sun, but the forecast says there will be a lot of sunshine again today, and with the addition of some warm air being blown in from Spain/France, the temperature is predicted to reach 33 C ! It's going to be a very sweaty afternoon, but I think I am looking forward to it. The only fly in the ointment could be that those high temperature could brew up a thunderstorm...although the forecast makes that far more likely tomorrow when more serious clouds are predicted.

 There were times when I felt dreadfully tired at work yesterday. This was the result of very poor sleep the night before. Fortunately, although it goes against the grain to say this, I found I had some work to do, and that relieved some of the boredom that had my eyes drooping as I sat reading stuff on my work PC. I'm not sure why I didn't find, or make the time to take a walk in the park yesterday. A bit of fresh air might have been nice, but then again it is rather nice in my office with the air con going full blast !

 Once I left work to go home I began to feel a lot better. In fact it wasn't long before I was feeling really rather good (relative to my average for the last 6 months - which was about three steps from death !). That should have been a cue for a whole host of buses to turn up because I didn't need one - although now I get free bus travel on my 60+ Oystercard, I would have taken one anyway. In truth, if I had arrived at the main road 30 seconds earlier, and had been able to cross the road to the bus stop, I could have had a choice of two buses to take me the two stops to the station.

 I must have been feeling rather good at Waterloo station because yesterday I came quite close to running up the escalators. The day before I walked up the escalators, but at a slightly sedate pace. Yesterday it was a fast walk, and maybe this afternoon, with the temperature around 33 C, I am hoping my legs will be working well enough to actually run up that escalator. I can only do these things while others are wilting in the heat around me. Of course since I haven't smoked for approaching 2 years now, I only get a fair bit out of breath at the top instead of hardly out of breath at all when I was on 40 fags a day.

 It was another sign of feeling good that I had a little adventure on the way home from Waterloo East station. I had heard that signalling problems at London Bridge were causing some delays, but at the time my 16:20 train was still reported as being on time. However the 15:50 train was running very late, and I had 2 minutes to decide whether to get it or not. Ordinarily there would have been no need to make a decision, but on this occasion the first stop the train would make would be New Beckenham - three stops after Catford Bridge. I decided to take a gamble that I might be able to get to New Beckenham, and then get a train back to Catford Bridge before the next train from Waterloo east would get there.
New Beckenham
My hopes were soon dashed when we passed two trains in quick succession near Lower Sydenham station. The chances of a third train appearing without a considerable wait were very low.
Train about to call at the down
                          platform of New Beckenham station
 This train from Cannon Street called at the station while I waited for the delayed 16:33 train to Cannon Street.
Late running 16:33 Cannon St service
                          arriving at New Beckenham station
What should have been the 16:33 to Cannon Street finally arrives at New Beckenham 15 minutes late.

 It was a gamble, and it didn't pay off. The 16:20 from Waterloo East departed at least 10 minutes late (maybe 15), and the train I was on from New Beckenham passed it at Lower Sydenham. Had I waited at Waterloo East I would have got home 3 or 4 minutes earlier - which in the grand scheme of things is probably completely ignorable, and probably outweighed by the entertainment of a little micro-adventure !

 It was nice and cool feeling in my living room when I arrived home. I had left the curtains closed all day, and that had kept the sun out. The back of the house was cool too - relative to the 28 C outside. That wasn't the case with my bedroom. Once again I had left the curtains closed to keep the sun out, but heat rises, and it felt warm up there. I was very tempted to open the window, but upon checking my thermometer I saw that it was still one degree cooler than outside. So I kept the window closed, and put the fan on full.

 I was feeling quite comfortable at first, and some ice cold water, and just salad type stuff for dinner kept me feeling comfortable. Then I made a big, and rather stupid mistake. I felt peckish while watching some TV, and I started munching on a large packet of salt and vinegar crisps. It was stupid to even buy them, and it would have been stupid to eat them at any time, but on a hot night, and so close to bed time, it was madness. By the time I went to bed I had gone from being mostly dry to sweating like a pig.

 It was another night of damp pillows and poor sleep - although not quite as poor as the previous night. When I went to bed the air outside had cooled to a couple of degrees below the oven that was my bedroom, and it was time to open the window, and (very unusually) leave the curtains partly parted. Together with the fan going at full speed, it started to approach comfortable enough to get a few good periods of sleep - maybe 3 or 4 hours in total. I guess I could add a couple of hours of bad sleep to that to make a total of not enough !

 I remember that twice last night I turned over in bed to the sound of my ribs/ligaments/chest sub chassis cracking and popping. As I am sure I have added before, these noises are not so much heard as felt. What I felt could best be imagined as a handful of twigs snapping beneath the skin (and bones). It doesn't hurt when it happens....well not straight away, but it can leave a soreness or tenderness that is easily provoked into mild pain when certain mechanical actions happen. That tenderness, plus a few brief pains when doing stuff like twisting around to grab the toilet paper from off the cistern behind me, was just about the only thing wrong with me when I set out to come to work this morning.

 Now I am at work I can add that my legs were in that mood where they didn't really want to go that fast. Now the only problem with that is that it is boring to lengthen my walk to work by nearly a whole minute ! A few things happened that added some cheer to my commute into work. I managed to get a brand new ticket wallet to replace the exceedingly scruffy one that my Pay-As-You-Go Oystercard is in. On the scale of "cheer" that is vanishingly low, but it's still a positive thing.

 One thing that was good, but is now a negative thing is the food I bought from the Sainsbury's Local shop around the corner from Earlsfield station. I thought I would have a couple of little snack type salad-like things instead of sandwiches (I should have had nothing really - particularly in this hot weather). I found the Persian chicken snack to be hard to like. It wasn't actually nasty (except for the pomegranate seeds in it), but I didn't really care for it. The worst thing is that it had far more calories in it than I imagined, and the amount of sugars in it was almost lethal ! That is really going to make me sweat in this hot weather. The cottage cheese and couscous tasted better, but was still far from exciting, and once again the calorific value of such a small snack was a lot higher than I would have guessed, and once again there seemed to be a lot of sugar in it. I cannot imagine why it would have that amount of sugar in it. I think I am going to have to be very careful with food from Sainsbury's in future.

 Tonight I am probably going to make the fatal mistake of going home via Tesco. At least I know more about their food than I do about Sainsbury's, but I doubt that will stop me buying something terribly inappropriate if I see it with a reduced price sticker on it. I am mainly after salad stuff, and drink. Perhaps I'll get some more squash so I can keep a couple of glasses made up, and chilled in the fridge. The only problem with that is I tend to drink iced squash (or plain water) like beer - but with no guilt - except guilt that several pints just before bed time is going to wake me up more often than I would like when I am struggling to stay asleep because of the heat !