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

Tuesday 30th June 2015
07:55 BST

  You could probably describe yesterday as a classic summers day. It was warm and dry with plenty of sunshine. The top temperature was probably in the region of 25° C. The only trouble was that it made for a very warm and sticky night. It was around 15° C when I got up this morning, and while I haven't checked the sky every ten seconds since then (and hardly at all while walking to work - you have to watch your feet on Earlsfield's wonky pavements) the sky seems to have been gin clear since daybreak. It is possible that the occasional cloud will drift over from time to time, but there is every chance that the forecast for today is correct - loads and loads of sunshine, and a top temperature of 28° C. Tomorrow could see the temperature hit 33° C, but it could also see the first thunderstorm boil up.

 As predicted, work was a bit boring yesterday. I have no ethical problems with doing almost (but not completely) nothing at work, but some interesting work may have made the day go quicker, but interesting work only crops up now and then, and yesterday I had trouble finding even boring work. However, it did give the chance to do some very light research about digital SLR cameras - although not the in depth research I probably should have done on such an expensive item. The one driving specification was for a lens that would let a lot of light into the camera so I could use it at gigs without using flash.

 Some research I did (while bored) earlier in the year suggested that non-zoom f1.4 lenses were fairly cheap (where fairly cheap still means hundreds of pounds). My theory is that most people want huge zoom lenses, and the sort of lens I wanted were almost thrown away. I think I might have been a bit wrong about that. I had in mind that I wanted a Nikon camera. My little Nikon camera seems quite good, although most of my better pictures have been taken on Canon cameras.

 I was doing most of my research on Amazon, and it wasn't long before I found a nice Nikon camera, and I also found a very nice lens to go with it. The lens had an aperture of f1.2 - and that would have let a huge amount of light in from the dimmest of scenes ! There was only one little catch. That lens was somewhere in the region of £1200, and that was a long way outside my budget. So I looked for a Canon DSLR camera, and a wide aperture lens to go with it. I found both at a price point that didn't make my teeth itch too much. So yesterday I ordered a £250 camera and a £200 lens. That is quite a big investment for me, and I hope it all does what I want it to do....I also hope I don't get carried away buying too many accessories for it. A spare battery will probably be a very useful, if not essential extra, but do I really need a big zoom lens, and a ????????, probably not, but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up buying one !

 To recover from my buying frenzy I went for a quick walk into the park behind work. Armed with my trusty Nikon pocket camera I looked around for something to take pictures of. There wasn't much, but I took a few snaps anyway.
Three trees
I took a very similar shot to this in spring. The two trees on the right of the row of three were just coming into leaf, but the one on the left wasn't. A friend of mine remarked that it looked dead, and it seems it was (and is).
nasty hard and bitter apple
The solitary apple tree by the River Wandle has fruit on it now, and later on the local kids will be climbing over the fence to strip the tree bare....or at least they may do if they have short memories. I don't know what variety of apples they are, but the one I once tried was hard and bitter despite looking ripe. Some people like them like that, but I hate them.
remains of a fire on the river bank
This picture doesn't really capture the small area of devastation caused by a fire on the river bank. At first I thought it might have been an accidental fire, or even vandalism, but 10ft further along the bank was a clue to what really happened.
stump of a recently cut tree
This was the most obvious sign that the tree surgeons had been at work in the area. Other tress had branches lopped off them. I suspect that the nearby fire (plus another similar one further along the bank) was the result of a fire to burn off some of the scrap clippings/twigs/small branches etc.

 I hadn't been feeling all that good in the morning, and I was still feeling slightly off colour when I left work to go home. Mostly I just felt sort of creaky, and that was all the excuse the local buses needed to hide when I passed the bus stop. Walking to the station was probably not a bad idea because I felt better for it, and when I got to Waterloo I was obviously feeling good enough to walk up the escalator. That is the sort of thing I do when it's hot like it was yesterday - although once upon a time, when I was fitter (before I stopped smoking) I used to run up the escalators. It may only have been walking, but I did feel a bit fatigued when I got to the top, but not enough to slow me down as I walked across the link to the platforms at Waterloo East station.

 I felt fairly good walking from the station to home, but I did arrive home feeling a bit hungry. I did my best to not eat too much, but it was still more than I should have considering it was going to be a warm night, and a hot day today. If I could keep my blood glucose levels low I would sweat less, and while I ate more than was needed, I did make a point of eating stuff without any significant amounts of sugar in it. Unfortunately there is always a flaw in these plans, and last night's flaw was pickled jalapeño chillis ! They are not particularly hot, and I ate rather a lot of them. What I didn't take into account was that the cumulative effect of all that chilli would make my head sweat like a fire hydrant.

 I had a particularly awful night last night. I was hot and sweaty all over, and I had to put a towel over my pillow to soak up the sweat. I put the fan on, and that gave too much relief - it felt chilly - but if I covered myself with just a single thin layer of duvet cover I got hot and sweaty again. I ended up thrashing around for half the night, and this morning it feel like I got very little sleep. Today is one of those days where going back to bed instead of going to work would have been absolutely ideal. It would be one argument for retiring from work - but the flipside is that I have a deliciously cool air con unit at work!

 Just writing that last paragraph has me yawning fit to bust ! It's going to be nice in the wash of the icy cold air from the air con unit today, but it is going to be extra nice to go home again. It will be a sweaty journey, but in theory it will make me feel good and energetic. Once I get home I ought to try and eat the very least I can. Then I am going to lay on my bed with the fan playing air over my body, and try to sleep/snooze - even if it is still before 6pm !
Monday 29th June 2015
08:20 BST

  While most of yesterday may have been quite bright (except for the rainy hour in the morning), it was quite disappointing that the evening was quite dull. It was like a month or two ago when it would start to get dark after 7pm. Of course back then it would just get darker and darker until it was fully night, but last night it just stayed a very dull grey for a few more hours before night fell. It seemed to be a warm night, but the day dawned all bright and shiny ! There could be a few times when the sky gets a bit cloudy today, but the forecast, which I think I can believe today, says that it is going to be a warm dry day with plenty of sunshine. Tomorrow is supposed to be even better. It is forecast to be hot ! By hot they mean 26 or 27° C. Some of the more optimistic forecast in the newspapers talk of temperatures of over 30° C later in the week. It seems like summer has finally got started (which will include thunderstorms once the sun has boiled all the moisture out of the ground).

  I felt quite good late yesterday afternoon, and during the evening, but in the end I was not inspired to do anything constructive. About the most notable thing I did was to watch the last ever Jeremy Clarkson + Richard Hammond + James May version of Top Gear on BBC2. The next series of Top Gear will be presented by Chris Evans plus ?????? and ??????. It might be good, or it might be bad, but I doubt it will be as good. Meanwhile, there are persistent rumours that the three ex-presenters have been signed up by ITV to make a rival programme that will be broadcast in the same time slot as the BBC airs Top Gear. What they fail to realise is that having one or more deadly tedious ad breaks in the middle of the programme will ruin it !

 I didn't get to sleep as early as I should have done last night. It was partly because my body clock had shifted in the previous couple of hedonistic days, and partly because I felt rather warm last night. It was too warm to use a duvet, and even sometimes slightly too warm just to cover myself with a duvet cover, but on some occasions it felt just ever so slightly too cool not cover myself with anything. So I had some bizzare dreams which I would imagine I thashed about to a lot, and woke up this morning not feeling too wonderful.

 This morning was definitely one of those mornings where it would have been great to have had an extra hour or two (maybe 3) to make the transition from sleep to the real world. Being able to do that was probably a good part of the reason why I felt so good yesterday. It is hard to be conclusive about how I feel this morning because it all keeps changing. I didn't feel like rushing, and nor did I need to when I walked to the station, and I felt very comfortable doing it. Rushing over the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations felt like hard work, and I couldn't keep up with the front of the pack of commuters. That annoyed me a bit until I realised I was leading the pack of the next fastest commuters. It was strange to see a whole bunch of people getting away from me in front, and yet having another pack of commuters who were only able to keep up, but not overtake me.

 While I was on Waterloo station I took off my rucksack to get my camera out, and when I swung the rucksack back onto my shoulder I seemed to pull a muscle in my right side. That made my walk across the concourse a bit painful. Everything seemed to fall back into place while I was sitting on the train to Earlsfield, but as I started to walk from the station to work I had a mild, but annoying pain between my left breast and shoulder. It was not made worse, but was aggravated by the way I walked - if I walked to fast it seemed to shake it up. So my progress towards work was a bit sedate, but on a bright warm morning that might have even made it more enjoyable (but still boring because it took at least one minute longer !).

 The reason I got my camera out at Waterloo station was because it looked like the CIA were giving a demonstration of their latest water boarding set up.....
I'm not really sure what was going on. There was a young lady strapped down on some sort of turntable while fans blew air onto her goggled face. Maybe the next picture gives some sort of clue.....
...after too many pints of Stella
Maybe this was a simulation of what happens when you drink too much Stella Artois.
Something to do with the Tennis at
                          Wimbledon maybe ?
It could have been something to do with the forthcoming Tennis championships at Wimbledon, but it is hard to imagine the tie up between CIA torture and tennis.

 I think work is going to be a bit boring today. I will be scratching around for work today - if I can be bothered. Maybe, if I am in the right sort of mood, I will go for a long walk around the park at lunchtime. Other than that, I look forward to going home. Once again, if I am in the right mood, I might do something constructive like washing some shirts, but if not, I look forward to another very lazy evening.
Sunday 28th June 2015
15:20 BST

  It seems that the weather forecast is coming back into synchronisation with reality for a while. After most of yesterday being much nicer than the forecast said it would be, forecast and reality almost merged during the early evening. There was still the matter of it being a few degrees warmer than the forecast, but both agreed that it should be cloudy. It was supposed to rain today, and it did so, but much of today has been rather pleasant, and I'm sure the forecast didn't mention pleasant ! It's about 24° C right now - which is four degrees higher than I expected - and that may be the result of it being often bright and sunny. Maybe just an hour of daylight was marred by rain, but a lot of that rain was very light, and the total time that it was so heavy that it would have been unpleasant to stand in it was about 5 minutes - not bad for a day that seemed to be forecast to be disagreeable ! There is hardly any blue to be seen in the sky now, but it remains bright, and almost sunny. It will probably stay like until sunset. Tomorrow is forecast to be mostly sunny, and as warm as today actually is - 24° C.

 I am a little annoyed that I didn't make some sort of effort, even to the extent of throwing out Aleemah a lot earlier, to go along to the Bromley Beer Festival. I knew they had a stage, and I knew there were some people I knew playing on it. I didn't realise just how many musicians I knew would be playing there - it was basically all the Bromley contingent plus I now believe that Chain did a session there too. Even more annoying than that was that if what I believe is correct then Geoff Paice was roped in as bass player - and he and Chris together exceed the sum of their parts !

 Well maybe I didn't get the entertainment that I later realised I wanted, but I still had a pleasant, if rather lazy evening. I also discovered the only kebab shop/takeaway that doesn't automatically provide, or even offer except as a seperate menu item, and salad with a kebab. What I ended up eating for my dinner/supper last night was still very tasty, and it would have been an absolutely excellent choice if I were on the Atkins diet* !  Later on, with my belly still feeling satisfied, but not over full, I went to bed. It took a long time before I actually slept though. I started off reading in bed, and then, at about 11pm, when I was more than ready to fall asleep, I was kept awake by the sound of distant fireworks. Once that was over there was a short lull before some very local fireworks went off just before midnight.

* It was interesting having a quick skim read through the wikipedia article on the Atkins diet that my link points to. I thought I knew something about the Atkins diet, but I had no idea it was so close to the highly successful diet I devised for myself by trial and error back in 1979. Until I ruined it after moving into my own house and spent far too long doing cooking experiments in my own kitchen, I lost about 7 stone, and was the thinnest I have ever been in my entire life. I ought to try to do it again - by following my own rules and hunches again in complete disregard to medical and other opinion.

 Maybe it was the fairly good sleep I had, maybe it was the high protein/low carbohydrate meal the previous evening, maybe it was the thinning out of the my prescribed medication, or maybe it was just because I wanted it to be so, but this morning I must have been feeling quite good. Until I had a snooze at about 2pm, I was having a busy time - once I got up, washed and dressed - which was a rather late 9am. The first thing was to take a little walk.
Electric car
                          charging point in Dogget Road, Catford
 To settle my, and some others curiosity, I walked toward the station to take some better photos of the electric car charging point. Someone had asked me how the electricity was paid for.
tap here with your smart card to buy a
                          charge !
The answer is that you tap the sensor with a contactless card. It is possible that a credit/debit card may work, but a special card can be bought, and topped up with credit from the operators web site
one side showing blue lights, and
                          rated at 7kW
There are two outlets on the charging post. Usually both display blue lights. The A side can provide up to 7kW of power, and is possibly a three phase connection.
the B side showing gree lights
The B side was showing green lights this morning. I am unsure of the significance of the colour of the lights - maybe green indicates someone has left some credit on the charger. The B side may be a single phase connection. It can only provide 3kW. I am unsure if both ports can be used at the same time - the reserved parking space is probably big enough for 2 cars at once.
Catford has two charging points !
For some unknown reason, Catford seems to have two charging points quite close together. My photos are from the one on the left (or west) of this map. The other charging point, which is identical as far as I can recall, is on the lower deck of the multi story car park next to Tesco.

 Once I had done my little photography project I tackled another project that required little physical strength, but loads of emotional strength....well it does for me. I hate doing financial stuff. Paying for beer is usually OK, but even paying money into my bank can reduce me to a shivering wreck - or something like that. I have just felt the first benefit of my old GPO/Post Office Telecommunications/British Telecommunications/BT pension maturing. I only worked for then for half a work life. So my pension benefits are a bit sparse, but still useful. So this morning I paid off my credit card (as I do every month anyway). I transferred some money into my savings account (as I try to do most months), and then there was the big one ! I now officially own my first Premium Bonds ! All I have to do now is to wait to win that £1,000,000 prize - next month would do very nicely, thanks.

 All that financial stuff didn't seem to knacker me, and I did other stuff. I washed the outside of the kitchen and back room windows. If I haven't mentioned it before, there is building work going on next door, and it has generated a lot of dust, and it was bad enough that it brought forward my twice a decade (or as needed) window washing regime. I have also washed a semi-big bath towel, a tea towel, and a flannel, and I have been shopping in Aldi. - And that's why I had a snooze this afternoon !

 I feel I have done more than required for Sunday - a day of rest, or so some say - and maybe I won't do any more, but I keep thinking I might wash a few shirts before the evening takes it's grip on me. I guess I am feeling really rather than better than usual today. It's a shame I can feel like this every day - and to work out the secret behind it !

 Another secret I may never uncover is what it takes to be a great photographer. Some pictures that are technically all wrong can come out looking rather good. The blue lighting gives a strange tint, and the focal point is all wrong, but I find this picture I took last Thursday to be very pleasing.
it's all wrong,
                              but looks so good
Saturday 27th June 2015
16:52 BST

  Despite what the weather forecasters decreed should happen, it was a rather nice day yesterday. The bit of the forecast that said it would get cloudy late afternoon/early evening was reasonably close, but it wasn't quite as dull as the forecast seemed to imply. I think there may have even been a few sunny spells before the sun set. This morning started off far better than I thought it was supposed to, but by 10am it was a bit cloudy, and it did seem that rain might have been possible. That cloud never went away completely, but it was never thick enough to cover all the sky, and there was plenty of sunshine. Perhaps that wasn't so different to the forecast, although once again it was a little warmer here in Catford than predicted. It is supposed to be just 21° C right now, but my thermometers agree to plus or minus one degree that it is currently 25° C. The current theory about tomorrow is that it will either be grey or black, no more the 20° C, and with a very high chance of some showers during the day - a bit like today was supposed to be prior to it actually being a lot better !

 My theory (or was it desire, or was it just prediction) that I would have a quiet night in by myself last night turned out to be uncannily correct !  The only conflict during the evening was between myself and also myself. My evil, or gluttonous, or hedonistic side would have loved to have a takeaway, probably a kebab, last night, but my sensible side managed to over rule it, and I had a very slightly more healthy meal......although it was followed later by a most unhealthy snack ! Maybe a kebab might have been a better option after all....maybe.......

 I think I had a good enough nights sleep last night. Since increasing my booze intake, and cutting down (and since this morning running out of one) on my prescribed drugs, I seem to be starting to feel a bit better in some ways. It is a bit of a paradox that feeling well enough to make life worth living (on some days) is going to kill me or shorten my life, but than again, life is really not worth living if you are not enjoying it. An idea that really pisses of some people. Am I so important that I have to suffer ?

 This morning I had my usual pint of beer for Saturday morning breakfast with Aleemah. After breakfast we watched The Vengeance Of She - the 1968 sequel to the Hammer Horror DVD that she brought along last time. It was while meeting Aleemah at the station that I was able to get the evidence that could go some way to prove that South Eastern Trains are lying scum bags - except of course I can't say that for fear of litigation ! However, I can still doubt the truth of their announcements.

 On most Saturdays, according to the published timetables, we have four trainss an hour towards London from Catford Bridge. Two of those trains go to Charing Cross station, and two go to Cannon Street. All week, particularly while I have been waiting for my train home from work at Waterloo East station, they have been saying that this weekend, because of engineering works near London Bridge station, trains to Charing Cross would be diverted to Cannon Street.
trains to Charing
                          Cross are actually cancelled !
 So, if my arithmetic is correct, that means two trains still going to Cannon Street as usual, and two trains that would normally be going to Charing Cross would be diverted to Cannon Street. Two plus two equals four, and yet there are are only two trains an hour towards London from Catford Bridge today. What happened to the other two ? They have been cancelled, haven't they South Eastern Trains, and your too ashamed to say it !

                              charging point in use
One other noticed on my way to the station - the electric car charging point, a few minutes walk from the station, was actually being used to charge a car. It's not the first time I've seen it happen, but it does seem to be a slightly rare sight.

 Aleemah went home a little before 3.30pm. If she had left somewhat earlier I might have been tempted to go to the Bromley Beer festival that was on in (I think) the Kingswood Recreation Ground. It's not far from The Chatterton Arms pub that I know quite well - probably another 5 minutes walk on top of the five minutes from the nearest bus stop. A bit of beer might have been ice, but I was more interested in seeing some bands that would be performing there. In truth there could still be some on even now, but since Aleemah left I've gone into a sort of relaxed (or lazy) mood. I don't think I'll be doing anything of any significance for the rest of today - except eating ! I haven't eaten that much today. Maybe I might dare to order a takeaway, or maybe I might be sensible again.

 One thing more that I did today was to check a couple of photos I took on two of my mobile phones at the Chain gig on Thursday night. I see some pretty bad photos on "social media" taken at gigs on mobile phones.Many are probably taken on iPhones, or Samsung phones that cost upwards of £500 (if bought outright). I wondered how my cheapo phones would stack up against these super expensive phones. In truth - not that well. On the other hand, would have it been worth it to pay an extra £400 or more just to take some pictures that I can take even better on my camera ?
Chain taken
                                  on the camera in a Motorola G mobile
This lousy picture was taken on my Motorola G (1st generation version) mobile phone. It cost me just over £100 (£110 ?), and is unlocked for any network. A stupidly long exposure time meant the picture was only slightly underexposed, but everything is just a blur. Mega expensive Apple phones give a better picture - but not by much judging by what I see online.
Chain taken on a £70 Alcatel
                                  Firefox phone
The picture taken on my £70 Alcatel Firefox phone used a far faster shutter speed. So there is less blur and more detail, but it was a much darker picture that needed a lot of brightening. That made it come out looking very noisy, and I had to use some de-noising to smooth it out a bit. It's an awful long way from good, but it is usable with enough post-processing. I've certainly seen far worse posted on Facebook (for instance).
Friday 26th June 2015
17:13 BST

  The weather forecast continues mistake south east London with somewhere else with different weather ! Maybe yesterday was a little like the forecast - it was certainly dry all day, and I think it was probably sunnier than the forecast seemed to suggest. One area of dispute was the temperature. It felt much warmer than I thought it would be, but it may have just been fairly humid. At midnight it still felt very comfortable in shirt sleeves. The forecast for today was still saying it would be a dull day with a few showers when I checked it at about 6am. The reality has been very different. There has been loads of warm sunshine today without even a hint of the possibility of a shower. The forecast certainly didn't say the temperature would soar to 27° C (and possibly even 28° C at the very peak. At this very minute the forecast is saying that in the next 45 minutes the temperature will drop 4° C, and it will be dull and cloudy. I don't think the temperature will drop that fast, but it is cloudy right now. Maybe they have got a bit of it right. Tomorrow may, or may not start bright and sunny until 4 or 5pm when it may, or may not cloud over, and it may, or may not be 23° C during the early/mid afternoon.

 I didn't feel all that wonderful after work yesterday, and by the time I had got home via Tesco, eaten a very light dinner, washed my hair and showered, I was feeling really crap ! The hot shower (and shampoo) left me feeling really hot and sweaty, and I also was feeling almost nauseous (not in the sense that I felt I was going to throw up, but something similar). I really wanted to just lay down on my bed and relax or sleep with a fan on to cool me off. Somehow I managed to convince myself that I was going out...and I did. Perhaps it was the inbuilt miser in me that wanted to use my 60+ Oyster card for a free bus ride, or I needed to justify booking a days holiday from work today.

 There was also the lure that Chain had advertised their gig in The Slug And Lettuce, Beckenham, to start at 8pm. Potentially that could have meant that it would also finish a little earlier - which would have suited me fine. In reality the gig started at just gone 9pm, and finished a little after 11pm. By the time I arrived at the pub I was starting to feel a bit better, and several pints of cold Stella Artois lager made me feel a lot better. I think everyone was surprised to see me - including Chris. Like many gigs before hand that I could, and should have got to, I said I would try and get to last night's gig, and he probably thought I would back out at the last minute. I think Jo was very amazed to see me, and was amazed that I was still there at the end - the first time I've been out so late in what must be months and months ! The effort to get and stay there was well worth it because it was a very enjoyable gig (except when I was embarrassed by having "Happy Birthday" sung for me).
Jo Corteen and Chris
Chain in full song.
Chain at The Slug And Lettuce
Kevin, Paul, Jodie and Mark
Kevin, Paul, Jodie and Mark were also there to watch Chain. Mark, who is a guitarist himself, was very complimentary about Chris Mayer's playing.
All Chain's faces and instruments
I did my best to not use the flash on my camera because the pictures can look better that way. Over half the pictures I took without flash, but that meant some fairly long exposures, and if people didn't stay still.....well, look at Chris' right hand ! (You can't - it's just a blur).

 I should blame it on Kevin, and indeed it was his fault for being there even if I instigated what was to happen next. I suggested to Kevin that if we didn't hang around at the end, as he is very prone to do, we could just make it back to Catford for a final pint in the Wetherspoons pub. He needed very little persuasion to do just that, and we arrived in the pub at 5 minutes before closing time at midnight. We ordered a pint and a short (Kevin actually bought doubles or even a triple !) and we had to finish drinking outside as the door was being locked.

 It was nice finish to the day. The temperature had cooled off a bit, but it was still nice and warm, and all my aches and pains were a mere bad memory as I walked home. I even felt good enough to not stop to buy any takeaways...although that was probably more to do with the fact that I had already planned what I was going to have as a post-pub/gig snack, and it was in the fridge waiting for me (not that feeling good or bad, or pre-planning has ever had an effect on my buying of takeaways in the past).

 What I had in mind for my snack was actually rather large for a snack, and I made it bigger by topping it with grated cheese because it looked a bit bland. It was a container of ready prepared noodles with some meat and veg - probably made in the Midlands, but supposed to be "Oriental". I've never had much difficulty shovelling down a whole container full before, but last night I gave up after only eating a half of it. Even so it was getting on toward 2am before I went to bed (I did waste a little time on the internet before that).

 I don't remember much about going to sleep, and I assume that I probably fell asleep very quickly. As far as I know, I slept solidly until my highly trained brain stupidly woke me up at 5am thinking I might want to go to work today. I didn't, and so I went back to sleep until 6.30am. I did partly get up then, but in under an hour I was back in bed, and fast asleep until 9am (or was it closer to 10am ?). Eventually I got up, washed and dressed, but all I did, apart from eat a couple of sandwiches, was to do some photo editing until I received a pre-arranged call from Kevin who was just leaving from an appointment at the hospital. It was a call to find out if I still fancied a lunchtime pint as we had discussed last night. I did, and we met up in the Wetherspoons for two and a half pints. It could easily have been more, but that seemed to be about the right amount to take care of the hangover I had (although it was already half dissipated by then).

 After the booze I came home, had some lunch, and then had a snooze. I don't know how long I snoozed for but I woke up almost feeling refreshed - which was a surprise because I often feel terrible after an afternoon nap with some beer inside me. A couple of hours later and I think I am possibly feeling fairly good. The chances are there could be something going on tonight that I could go to, but I think I fancy a quiet night in. Tomorrow I'll be seeing Aleemah until early in the afternoon. If I was still feeling good, or maybe even semi-good, there might be somewhere I could go tomorrow night.....or maybe not. It is too far in the future to speculate about in now.
Thursday 25th June 2015
07:55 BST

  It certainly got warm yesterday. I think my upstairs temperature sensor (outside the back bedroom window) was saying it was 25° C. The sensor outside the downstairs kitchen window usually reads a degree or so lower than the upstairs sensor, but it depends on the wind and other factors, but even so, if it was only 23° C 4ft off the ground, then it was still a warm day. It's a shame that there wasn't more sunshine though. There was sunshine, but it kept getting interrupted by passing clouds. This morning started off at 13° C, and it was gloriously sunny. It is still forecast to be a completely dry day, and warm (20° C), but if the forecast is correct the sky will cloud over, and stay cloudy for the rest of the day. Tomorrow is still forecast to be nasty and grey with some passing showers, but at least it should still make it to 20° C.

 A couple of my work colleagues kept me talking past my home time yesterday. It was rather annoying, but I managed to shut them up in time to only leave here 5 minutes late (although I would have preferred a little more time to visit the toilet before I left). While all that was bad, it was good that I was near the bus stop just in time to have a free ride to the station. The bus got caught in traffic a couple of times, and I'm not sure if I could have walked there faster or not. On a good day I can get the 15:47 trains. Yesterday I barely had time to leap through the doors of the 15:50 before they closed. The 15:50 train is the last one I can catch if I want a relaxed change of trains at Waterloo East. The next train would mean no time to look around, and the train after that means a mad dash with no guarantee that I would get to the platform in time for my usual train home.

 The rest of my journey home was completely typical. Unless something exciting happens, like a train crash, or the houses of parliament being nuked, it always seems like a complete waste of an hour of my life (or an hour and a quarter, or more, on the journey to work). In theory it should be relaxing. I can still sometimes get a seat on my own, and only on the very rarest of occasions do I have to stand, but even under ideal conditions I can't relax on trains. It is why travelling always tires me out. Staying on high alert all the time really taxes my stamina.

 I can't work out if lettuce has some amazing filling properties, but eating a whole Little Gem lettuce seems to leave me feeling rather full - admittedly after eating other stuff too. Last night was the second night when I went to bed feeling rather full, and still hungry. There is also a possibility that there is something wrong with my gut. A few random pains putting in brief appearances in my gut area hint that something is not quite right.........but I'll wait until the acid dripping alien bursts through my stomach wall and goes on the rampage before doing anything about it. A sticking plaster maybe ?

 I did not feel comfortable in bed, but it wasn't because I was feeling stuffed. It was the continuing story of my floating ribs, and quite alarming felt, rather than heard, noises like twigs cracking when I lay on my side, and again when I turn over to lay on the other side. Then there are assorted aches or pains in my arms or legs, elbows or knees. The problem there is that shifting my posture to relieve one ache causes a different one to appear. Finding the perfect spot can be difficult, and more so when my bedroom is a little warm, and I have to add finding a cool position into the equation.

 Eventually I got to sleep, but rather stupidly woke up at 3am, and then had a great deal of difficulty getting back to sleep, and staying asleep until 5am. It didn't help that I had a terrible nightmare. I dreamed I was in Croydon. It's too complicated to explain why being in Croydon is so terrible. It just is ! In amongst all this terribly gloomy news about how broken and twisted my body is these days, there is some almost, sort of, in a way, good news - just. I haven't mentioned my left hand, and the numbness of the little and ring fingers for some time, but I am happy to report there has been a change, and for the better. From time to time it sometimes seems that I have more, or improved feeling in those fingers.

 They have never been fully numb - which is good and bad. The good is that if they were fully numb it would be too easy to damage them without realising. Fortunately I get a sort of tingling feeling when they are touched, and that is sufficient to warn me of most dangers, but it can also feel very unpleasant. I guess it must have been in the last few weeks that from time to time I've noticed less tingling, and something closer to normal touch. Maybe it is just familiarity, or maybe those damaged nerves are finally starting to regenerate. After all this time it is hard to decide if it is real or just imagined - although there is one other positive measurement. Last year, for instance, it took a lot of will power to ignore the very fierce tingling to trim the nails on those two fingers. It does seem a lot easier now, and even using an emery board on those nails is not that traumatic now. Maybe sometime in the next year or two I shall wake up and realise that normal feeling has returned to those fingers - and also to my left nipple - which was also very numb for a long time - and may be a lot less so now when I come to think of it. Some time ago ( 3,4,5, or 6 months ago ?) it would sometimes feel extremely odd when I put my mobile phone in my shirt breast pocket, and it slid past my left nipple.

 Tonight I have to try and feel pretend to myself that I am fit and healthy. I have booked a days holiday from work tomorrow, and that means I can go to Chain's gig at The Slug And Lettuce in Beckenham, and stay out late, and get drunk ! Maybe I won't stay to the very end, and maybe I won't get drunk, but I do want to go. It would have been nice to do something useful or exciting tomorrow, but the weather forecast doesn't inspire me to even get out of bed. So maybe I can spend half the morning in bed. Maybe I might not even get up until 9am !
Wednesday 24th June 2015
08:39 BST

  There was less sunshine that I was hoping for yesterday, but it was still a fairly pleasant day. It was dry, and even if it wasn't that sunny, it was still fairly bright. The lack of bright sunshine meant that the temperature only went up to something like 18° C instead of the forecast 20° C. The forecast for today was looking quite good, but reality is a bit disappointing so far, but maybe there is still some potential for it to become good. My very first view of the sky was very soon after sunrise, and the sky looked to be mostly clear, but very soon afterwards the sky filled with thin white cloud. Occasionally the sun would poke through, but it has mostly been a bit dull this morning. If the forecast is to be fulfilled then the cloud will have to break up, and let the sun through soon. The forecast implies that by this afternoon there should be some long spells of sunshine, and that is supposed to raise the temperature from about 13° C when I got up to 20° C by the time I go home from work. Tomorrow is forecast to be a couple of degrees warmer, but with less sunshine, and on Friday it might rain !

 In theory I should have been able to get a bus the two stops to Earlsfield station when going home from work yesterday. I felt reasonably OK. My feet weren't hurting, and it was dry and pleasantly warm. Normally that would satisfy all the requirements for a bus to arrive at the bus stop within a minute of me getting to it. Of course there was the little matter of wanting to get a free ride using my 60+ Oyster card. That was obviously a good enough reason for all the buses to hide, and to force me to walk the 0.666 miles to the station.

 I almost wrote that I had a pleasant journey back to Catford, but I could never admit to that. All I can allow myself to say was that it was not an unpleasant journey. As planned, I diverted to Tesco on my way home. I was going to buy a couple of ready made up bowls of salad, but I decided that I ought to buy the ingredients to make up my own salads. So I did that, and I also found all sorts of reduced price stuff that I bought too. Among these items were a wild mushroom and pasta snack, and a Caesar salad snack. I had those for breakfast this morning - which may not have been the most healthy choice, but they were both quite tasty. I also bought a couple of packs of sandwiches which I'll bring to work for breakfast tomorrow.

 Back at home I constructed a very big salad as the main course of my dinner last night. I guess my brain is incapable of imagining what a plate of food is going to be like when I start adding ingredients to it ~or ~ it is quite surprising how high you can pile a plate when just using simple ingredients like lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber. I hardly had room for the half/reduced price potato salad ! My original plan was to have that salad with smoked mackerel, but I chanced upon a couple of pots of reduced price prawn cocktail. So I had a prawn salad with pink goop on it instead of mayonnaise. I also had a few snacks last night, but let's not talk about them !

 Just recently I have increased my dosage of Metformin because over the weekend I did have some stuff with too much sugar in it. I've been taking 3 tablets a day instead of the one a day I believe is sufficient under normal circumstances, or instead the four that the nurse prescribed. When I was taking 4 a day it seemed to aggravate my floating rib syndrome causing what may, or may not be, costochondritus - an inflammation of the ribs or connective tissue in my chest. It doesn't feel like a coincidence that since taking a higher dose of Metformin I have been suffering from worse clicks and pops and stuff from my chest, and more assorted pains in the chest upper torso area.

 I was in quite a bit of discomfort when I got into bed last night. If I laid on one side then various bits of me, legs, knees, hands, elbows, or ears (in any combination) would hurt, and each time I turned over to try the other side my chest would pop, click, crackle, and other felt, but unheard noises. After a lot of experimentation I found the most comfortable position, and managed to get to sleep. I thought I probably slept quite well considering the circumstance, but the amount I am yawning this morning suggests otherwise. (Of course just thinking/writing about yawning makes it 10 time worse.......).

 This morning I still think my lower back is still a bit touchy. It is not giving any pain now, and hasn't for some time now, but I am loathe to test it by doing anything that might aggravate it. Yesterday I did have an extra soreness in my lower front too, but that would seem to have been the result of eating a can of baked beans on Sunday night ! Back to this morning, my most painful area is my right hand side just above waist level. I am unsure how it is connected to my ribs and sternum (both biologically and figuratively), but it does seem that every time my floating rib syndrome plays up I get a pain there too. The only answer would seem to be to keep my sugar intake as low as possible so I can reduce (maybe even eliminate) the dose of Metformin.

 I think the only plan I have for tonight is to attempt to reduce my food intake as low as I can - which may not be any reduction at all, but there's always wishful thinking..... I don't need to wash my hair because that was one of the more positive things I did last night. The only other thing I ought to try for is to get as much sleep as possible. I've booked a holiday off work on Friday, and that means I can stay out late on Thursday when Chain are playing in The Slug And Lettuce in Beckenham. It's a slightly early start (8pm), and hopefully it will be a slightly early finish (11pm ?). If I wasn't so out of practice at staying up late, it wouldn't matter what time it finishes, but I reckon I'll be fading well before 11pm.

 Would you believe anyone who sent you an email worded like this -
As per your request please look attached the application form.
Please fill out all the details and returnit back to us via emailat your earliest convenience.With this information we will be able to help you resolve this issue.
Thank you. "
  - I'm sure that even Google translate is doing a better job at translating Nigerian or Russian than whichever scammer/phisher did this translation. The spelling and grammar is even worse than my blogs when I am rushing to finish them because I ought to be working (or appearing to be working !).
Tuesday 23rd June 2015
08:01 BST

  It started off  wet and grey yesterday, but it didn't last that long. The afternoon, although rather poor for a summers day, was pleasant enough. I went home from work in just my shirtsleeves, and I was very comfortable like that. There was even some sunshine on the way home. In fact there were sunny spells from late morning onwards. I guess it was something like 16 or 17° C when I arrived back in Catford. It was a dry night, and it should be dry all day today, but this morning will be rather cloudy. Eventually the sun should break through, and there could be a couple of extended spells of sunshine this afternoon. That should take the temperature up to a more comfortable 20° C. The next few days are supposed to be warm and dry, but still a bit cloudy.

 I was forced to confess that it was my birthday yesterday - mainly because that was the only way to account for my new 60+ Oyster card (which still doesn't work before 6.30am as the man from Transport For London said it should). Mostly it was a very insignificant day - just one day out of 60x365.25 days, or one in 21915 days - and that's pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. One thing was rather less significant though......
feet up and relax !
....This is what was on the front of the birthday card given to me by the company, and of course I don't like to disobey what the company orders me to do ! So yesterday I almost did bugger all at work. The "almost" was because I did actually do about 10 minutes work in the whole day. The odd thing is, is that I feel I will be doing little more today, but I feel no shame !

 It was absolutely typical that when I desperately wanted to get a bus to the station after work, no bus was in sight......actually that is not quite true. I just missed one bus, and the main road was too busy to get across it in time for the next bus. (The two buses were different services whose routes run parallel between here and the station - they try to run very close together because there is safety in numbers around here - possibly). The reason why I was desperate to get a bus was so I could try out my 60+ Oyster card for the first time. I ended up walking to the station, but to my great annoyance, if I had waited for the next bus I would have got to the station 3.638 seconds earlier ! Anyway, the stations barriers accepted my card, and I had a free ride home.

 Except I didn't go straight home, and I didn't go on some amazing free joyride like I really ought to do to abuse my 60+ card. I went to The Catford Constitutional Club to meet Jodie for a quick birthday drink - and it was quick. I had warned Jodie that I only wanted to stay for just two pints. She was still happy with that, and that is exactly what I had. There were two reasons for not having more. The first was that I didn't want to get drunk and end up eating more than I should - which partly worked. The second reason was that I had left a sheet soaking overnight (and through the day) and I wanted to finish washing it.

 This particular sheet was bright red, and it was the same one that left red marks on me if I sweated in bed. The dye in it was really intense, but not very fast. When I do laundry by hand I keep rinsing stuff until the water runs clear and stops foaming. For the red sheet I had to keep rinsing it until the water stopped running red ! The first water to come out was so intensely red that it has dyed part of the shower hose pink, and I now know there are parts of the bathtub which obviously need cleaning because they are red too !

 While I had stayed sober enough to just have (heavily adulterated) salad for dinner, and I didn't have any more booze, I did feel the urge to have something extra before going to bed. I guess I was feeling a bit bored with the TV I was watching to try and amuse myself. I was also very curious about something I had bought last Friday. It was a bar of Guinness flavoured chocolate. I guess it did have a hint of Guinness about it, but mostly it was just a malty filling. It was nice, but a not so nice that I would go out of my way to get more of it - which is fortunate because it was really bad for me.

 It seemed to take a long time to get to sleep last night (but probably wasn't), but once I got to sleep I seemed to sleep rather well. I have no idea what inspired it, but I had a dream that I was on Mars. I'm not entirely sure what I was doing on Mars, but in the fragment of dream that I remember I seemed to be carrying out some sort of experiment that involved lighting something that looked a bit like a firework. I managed to get it lit, but I don't remember any more after that.

 This morning I feel passably OK. My lower back pain has essentially gone now, but I can still feel the area is a bit tender, and I am very conscious that a wrong move could be very painful. The rest of me is just the usual stiff and creaky that seems to have become a way of life in the last year or more. Coming to work was mostly painless, but still a great bother, and I would have preferred to be back in bed - except it is only the exercise I get from commuting that stops me seizing up completely - and that is why I can't quit work like I really want to.

 I have some plans for tonight. I want to get some shopping from Tesco - particularly a couple of bowls of ready mixed salad after I couldn't get any from Aldi that weren't almost compost ready ! I shall have to try and be careful not to buy any naughty stuff - but inevitably I will ! When I get home I really must wash my hair. I should have done it last night, but I couldn't be bothered, and while it wasn't cold, it wasn't exactly warm enough to come to work with wet hair if I washed it this morning. Once my hair is dry enough I can go to bed tonight, and try and have more dreams about being on Mars doing incredibly important scientific work, and ravishing beautiful, half naked, native Martian beauties (probably dressed in the style of 1950s sci fi book/magazine covers !).
Monday 22nd June 2015
08:02 BST

  Yesterday's weather did little to inspire me, and yet it was mostly harmless. It was dry, and warm even if it wasn't bright. The forecast for today has been very volatile. Sometimes they said it would be good, sometimes, bad, and sometimes somewhere in between. On TV last night they suggested that today would not be that bad. I can't remember the exact details, but I wasn't anticipating having to wear a rain coat today. The reality is that there has been a lot of rain this morning, and while it hasn't been cold, it hasn't been warm either. So much for "flaming June" ! This morning the forecast was saying the temperature would continue to drop until it reached 12° C in about an hours time. Then it would rise again to the heady heights of nearly 17° C during a day that will see a lot more showers, and a few brighter (but maybe not actually sunny) spells. The forecasters are trying to cheer us up by saying that the weather will improve during the week, but their guesses don't look that appealing to me.
the cold grey (and
                          wet) way to the station
 This is the sight that greeted me as I walked to the station to come to work.
A very gloomy view looking along the
                          platform at Catford Bridge station
The view in the other direction, looking along the platform at Catford Bridge station, is really gloomy.

  I guess I got a little bored with doing nothing yesterday afternoon - although not until most of the afternoon was over. It was probably foolish considering how delicate my back was (and is) still feeling after I pulled a muscle, or slipped a disc, or whatever on Friday, but I decided I would do some laundry. Leaning over the side of the bath while pummelling t-shirts in bowls of hot soapy water needs a certain amount of finesse (or dare devilry) while you have a sore back, but I managed to wash 4 t-shirts and two pillow cases without doing myself any obvious further injury.

 I didn't stop there. I also did a little more work towards my long term aim of clearing up the back room - and maybe even turning it back into a dining room again. One piece of clutter in there, festooned with cobwebs and heaps of dust, was an old Epson A3 sized printer. It was donated to me many years ago, and I did occasionally use it, but it had a fault that was difficult to rectify (and quite hard to diagnose - although it was obvious with hindsight). One of the rollers inside it somewhere had a dent in it where it was left unused for many years before I was given it. It had the strange effect of slightly speeding up the paper as it passed through the printer, but only about the middle quarter of an inch of a piece of A3 paper. That caused the picture to have a thin band through it. It was passable if it was just text, but it ruined a photo. I hadn't used it in years, and yesterday I decided to wrap it in a bin bag, and throw it, along with a few other bits of junk, into the wheelie bin.

 At the current rate of progress it will be a few or more years before I clear that back room, but at least I am still slowly making progress, and I don't seem to be accumulating any new junk recently. So things can only get better. One day I might even work out where the horrible damp smell comes from every time it rains ! After the torrential downpour we had on Saturday evening, which was so heavy that it even came under the back door of the kitchen, the nasty smell in the back room formed far faster than anything could grow, and yet it smells a bit like mould. It also dissipates very quickly when the rain stops - which is also a mystery.

 If I didn't have to come to work today I might have got drunk last night. I was in a bored and/or rebellious mood - I'm not sure which - probably both - and fancied hitting the bottle. I did have just one glass of whisky, but refrained from any more. It seemed to be enough to give me a reasonable night's sleep - once I got to sleep. I seem to recall having some exciting dreams before I woke up at about 4.40am, but I cannot recall what those dreams were now. what I do remember is that I was feeling quite fragile as I got up. I had to be very careful not to jar my lower back. Provided I kept the right posture it was mostly painless, but it wasn't slow in reminding me if my posture slipped. I was also unfortunate enough to have very volatile guts this morning.

 I took a couple of Ibuprofen pain killers before coming to work this morning, and they seem to be working very well. I don't think I felt a single twinge from my back on the way to work, and I feel quite comfortable now. Not many people know it, but the cure for many types of back ache is walking and not laying down. If I am lucky I will have cured my back ache before I lay down again (until next time).

 Today is my birthday. I don't know how I came to be so old in defiance of all the health warnings, but here I am alive and still kicking....well, just about. It was a surprise to make it through to 30, and astonishing when I was still alive at 40. By 50 it was getting a bit annoying because life was very unexciting. Now at 60, as I slowly go gaga, I am beginning to think along the lines of revenge. Maybe it could be good to make it to 70 just to piss people off. Mind you it is going to be a very long, and incredibly boring wait !

 The day has not started off very well. The fact that it is raining this morning is either proof that there is no God, or that there is a God and the bastard doesn't like me. Not only that, but obviously South Eastern Trains don't like me either. The man from Transport For London assured me that my 60+ Oystercard could be used before 6.30am when I start my journey to work, but at 06:24 it was rejected by the Oyster card reader at Catford Bridge station. So I had to use my old pay-as-you-go Oyster card to come to work. Hopefully I will be able to use the 60+ card on my way home for a free journey.

 Although I was too early to make use of it, and I doubt I will partake on my way home, but there is free beer available on the concourse of Waterloo station today courtesy of the Wadsworth Brewery.
free beer !
I don't think I actually like Wadsworth 6X, but I could probably force myself to drink some for free.....
Wadsworth 6X at Waterloo station
....except I think I'll be having some better beer with Jodie in The CCC after work tonight.
Sunday 21st June 2015
13:19 BST

  The thing that was amazing about yesterday's weather is that we did not have a thunderstorm. It was a mildly warm, but overcast morning. The afternoon saw a few glimpses of sunshine, but also a few light showers. By 5pm it was looking very dull outside. An hour or two later (I forget the exact time) we had the most torrential downpour. The gutters over flowed, and while the heavens opened like a toilet being flushed, there was about half an inch of water on the path outside the kitchen. Some water got under the back door causing a small puddle by the door inside. 10 or 15 minutes later it was all over except for some intermittent drizzle, and that seemed to go away after an hour or so. As far as I am aware, it stayed dry during the night, and it has been dry so far today, but it is rather cloudy. There have been a few sunny spells, and there should be more later (fingers crossed). It has been mild to slightly warm all day (~20° C), and that should continue until nightfall (and maybe beyond). The good news is that the forecast for tomorrow has now changed to be more similar to today rather than a diabolically wet day all day !

 I felt a little weary, or something similar to that, when I went to meet Aleemah at the station yesterday morning. When I got to the station I decided to see what would happen if I presented my 60+ Oyster card to the reader. The letter I got with the card did say I could use it straight away - which was 4 days before I turned 60 - and I wondered if that was true, and what the reader would say. It simply said "Enter" - which was rather boring, but it did confirm that the card was valid and usable.

 They had some nice beer in the Wetherspoons when Aleemah and I went in there for breakfast. One beer in particular, Revisionist Juniper pale ale, made by Marstons brewery, was particularly nice.....although maybe only in small quantities. The half pint I had tasted like it had a hint of ginger about it. Maybe that was from juniper berries, or maybe not, but it made for a nice fresh sort of taste - which was unlike the DVD Aleemah brought along for us to watch !

 The DVD was of the film "She". A little research shows that there have been many films called She, and many of the have been based on the same 19th century novel. The version we saw yesterday was the 1965 Hammer studios version starring Ursula Andress, Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, and.....Bernard Cribbins - a man more associated with comedy than horror. Although it was not exactly a horror film. Some describe it as an adventure film, and parts of it could be described as a love story ! I'm not sure to describe it. Perhaps "bland" comes somewhere near to a description. It was neither boring or exciting. I don't think it enriched my life by seeing it, but neither was it a waste of 90 minutes.

 After Aleemah went home I did give some thought to the idea of going out in the evening, but I either had subconscious premonitions of how filthy the weather would be, or I was just feeling too lazy to bother going out. Maybe the impending weather, some sort of drop in pressure and change in the humidity perhaps, made me feel lazy, or maybe I had just eaten too much in the preceding 36 hours, and I just didn't feel up to going out. The latter idea probably deserves more merit than it might seem to.

 When I went for my long walk on Thursday I was careful what I ate the day before (up to a point), and I didn't anything all day until I got in. The reduced blood glucose level as a result of that made me feel really good - although sadly it could do nothing for my sore feet. Since that long walk I have eaten all sorts of crap in large quantities - large compared to the miniscule amount I should be eating at this time of the year.

 After not feeling like doing much, and succeeding in not doing much at expert levels all afternoon, and into the evening, I then made things worse by ordering another takeaway. This time it was grilled meat and salad - aka a double kebab. I also included a few "snacks" for today in the order. I washed my takeaway down with some bottles of beer that I have had hanging around here too long. One has been in the fridge for about a whole year (I think it was a birthday present) and it was starting to go flat. So it is probably just as well that I drunk that one.

 With a belly full of food and beer I went to bed at about 11pm. I think I slept OK for most of the night, but I was having some very strange dreams. One dream in particular is annoying because I can't remember what the significance of it was. It concerned some sort of code based upon different shoelace colours, and those shoelaces also had coloured ends. (There is a name for the end of a shoelace that was on the tip of my tongue, but it seems to elude me now that I want to write it down). I am fairly sure that the shoelaces were not used as laces in shoes, but I just cannot remember how they were used, and what the significance of the colours were. It all meant something, but what seems to have evaporated from the face of the Earth.

 This morning I felt neither good nor bad - although I would say I was further along the spectrum toward bad than good. I didn't feel particularly enthused to do anything today. So much for all my dreams of abusing my new 60+ Oystercard by going on non stop pointless bus and train rides ! After a while I did raise the energy and enthusiasm to go and plunder Aldi for some diet cola, some sandwiches to take to work tomorrow, some fish fingers, and some other stuff.

 I did have this idea that I fancied fish finger salad for one of my meals today, but it seems possible that Aldi have had had a failure in one of their back room chillers. The bowls of ready made salad which they sell, and which are rather nicer than the similar ones that Tesco sell, were completely disgusting. The lettuce had brown edges, the cucumber looked sweaty, and the whole lot looked very unappertising. At least one bowl was awash with "juice" from where the salad was well on the way to decay. I bought some fish fingers, and they are in the freezer until I can get some decent salad for them to go with - maybe from Tesco during the week.

 One of the very worst things I bought was some frozen yoghurt. It was fortunate that it comes in tiny little pots. It may be low fat, but it is almost pure sugar ! I had one of the two pots I bought, and you can still taste some of the sourness of the yoghurt, and that is the best part. It is a shame they want to ruin that by making it also taste like syrup. In a different reality it could almost be a healthy food, but not the version from Aldi, and probably most other places including the most extreme cud chewing vegetarian health food shops - they probably use sea sugar, or unrefined lumps of sugar cane, but it is still probably a sweetness overload.

 Since starting to write this, which with a bit of research about DVDs and beer has taken quite some time, the sun has come out. There are still many clouds in the sky, but it almost make me feel like I ought to pull some shoes on, and do something, but to be honest, I can't be bothered. I think I may even take a nap soon.......well, I have to try and be fresh for work tomorrow. So I shouldn't strain myself !
Saturday 20th June 2015
08:30 BST

  The weather forecast, or at least my interpretation of it, was wrong again yesterday. Instead of a slightly cool overcast day, which is indeed how it started, it turned into a slightly warm, and bright sunny day. I am unsure of the highest temperature, but a brisk 0.7 mile walk through the park easily raised a sweat. This morning it is rather cloudy, and the temperature is edging towards 20° C (it's about 19° C at the moment). It's not supposed to reach 20° C until 8pm tonight, and that will be after a lot of showers - some of them heavy. The current temperature should be only 14° C. So there is hope that the forecast for showers could be exaggerated...although I guess there will be some at some point. Tomorrow is forecast to be dry, but it is supposed to be cloudy all day, and only 18° C. Monday, when I am back at work, is forecast to be a very wet day. With luck that will turn out to be wrong !

 I expected to have some after effects from my day out on Thursday, but on the whole I felt pretty good yesterday. There were some exceptions to that. My feet still felt a bit battered, and I managed to hurt my lower back - although that was probably completely unrelated to all that exercise and sunshine. The main thing I did yesterday was laundry. I washed 8 shirts plus some underwear - not all at once. I did the first 4 shirts, and then waited an hour or two before doing the second four. They are all nice, fresh and dry this morning.

 Doing that laundry, and some photo editing was all I did until mid to late afternoon. I'm, not entirely sure where the rest of the hours went to, but I didn't seem to feel bored or anything. A little while after 4pm, maybe 4.30pm, I went out to have a beer with Dave from the Thursday night drinking club. He has just retired from work, and was having a drink up in The Ravensbourne Arms pub in Ladywell (or Lewisham depending on where you place the boundary lines).

 It was the perfect opportunity to test my new 60+ Oyster photocard for a free bus ride, but I didn't. I opted for a nice walk in the sunshine through the park. It is a 0.7 mile walk, and maybe I did feel some after effects from the day before then. I think it was mainly my sore feet, but it seemed harder work than it should have been. I was quite sweaty when I arrived at the pub. That was probably a sign that my blood glucose level was a bit high - or it was a sign that it felt very hot in the bright sunshine, and that I had used quite a lot of very hot chilli sauce on my lunch !

 I only had one pint in the pub. I could have stayed for more, but I felt rather out of place surrounded by Dave's previous work mates (and matesses). I only knew one other person there, and he was busy holding court with previous workmates too. So I drank my pint, and slipped away again. Once again I could have jumped on a bus for free, and once again I opted to walk, but this time down the hight street instead of through the park. Although not intended, it gave me the opportunity to take some photos of the war memorial opposite Lewisham hospital. I've walked passed it, or been on a bus going past it so many times, and never taken any photos before, but now I have.
war memorial
                          opposite Lewisham hospital
Three quarters view of the war memorial.
Lewisham war memorial
I am unsure if this is "Lewisham" war memorial or not. There may be one more central, or to the north of the borough too - plus more in places that were once outside the borough.
in memory of VC holders
This is a few tens of yards away from the main memorial. I think it was only erected earlier this year to commemorate those who had won the Victoria Cross for valour.

 After taking these photographs I continued down the high street, and did the other thing I was going to do yesterday - shopping. It was not a great shopping expedition - I just had a quick wander around Poundland. As usual, I bought a load of old rubbish - included two DVDs. One was "Battlefield Earth". I knew of it before I bought it, and knew that it wasn't really worth the £1 I paid for it. In some quarters it has been described as the worst Sci Fi film EVER ! Sometimes something that bad just has to be watched ! I also bought the 2005, Hollywood re-imagined version of War Of The Worlds. Some say it is actually a good film, but they are probably Americans who see no reason why the story can't be set in the only country they know - America. It should of course be set in England - Surrey if I recall correctly.

 After wasting my money in Poundland I went home and had some dinner. I had already had some lunch, but I felt ravenous. I ended up eating far too much over after too long a period of time. I should have just had the one meal, and then no more, but I guess I was starting to feel bored, and get snacking. I don't think it felt like boredom at the time, but it did feel like I had some pent up energy, and that I should be doing something useful or creative. Instead I just slobbed around before going to bed - where I didn't feel sleep for ages !

 I probably had a reasonable nights sleep in the end, but if not I will have opportunities to have a snooze or two, or more this afternoon. This morning I'll be seeing Aleemah for a few hours, but after that the world is my oyster - and maybe if the sun does come out, I will use my Oystercard for some pointless bus or train ride. But seeing as it is supposed to be raining this afternoon, I doubt I'll be going anywhere !
Friday 19th June 2015
09:56 BST

  Yesterday was like a summers day. Maybe it was because it was a summers day ! It was bright, dry, and (at times) hot ! I can't put an exact figure on the temperature, but it must have been in the upper twenties. During the night it cooled down, and this morning it is currently 18° C. It has started off, and the forecast says it will continue to be a cloudy, but hopefully dry day. So the temperature is unlikely to rise, and if it does it will probably only be a degree or two.....and of course as I wrote that the sun came out for all of 10 seconds ! Maybe there is hope after all !

 Yesterdays sunshine inspired me to to what I was hoping to do, and that was to go out. I wanted to visit the seaside, and as I remarked yesterday, Sheerness, on the Isle Of Sheppy, is one of the easier, or quicker places to get to. It is not one of those most exciting places to go to, but it satisfied a need. It was one of the first places I visited when I was practising for longer walks back in 2009. In fact it is, or can be, a longer walk than I tend to think it is. Back in July 2009 I estimated had walked about 6 miles, although when I started out I only intended to walk 2 or 3 miles ! Yesterday I only intended to walk about that, and indeed I thought that I was so out of practice that was all I could manage, but I still managed 5.73 miles.
the two halves of my
                          walk (minus a few hundred yards)
 I recorded my walk in two halves, but in doing so I missed out a few hundred yards (or feet, or something). Another recording, on a phone app that is less convenient to show here, showed that I had walked 5.73 miles.

 I took quite a few pictures along the way, and there are too many to show in the usual way here. So on this occasion I'll show shrunken thumbnails. Click on any picture to see a high resolution version in a new tab/window.
looking left
Looking to the left along the seawall....
looking right
...and looking right. I went this way.
A boat some miles away from the shore.
looking left
A boat stacked with shipping containers.
gothic looking pub
A gothic looking pub outhouse.
The Ship On Shore pub
The pub is The Ship On Shore.
Ship On Shore pub
Another view of The Ship On Shore.
safety instructions
Safety instructions - and a lot of them !
Arriving at Minster.
public toilet block
In 2009 this was a clean and well kept public
toilet. Now it is very grubby with no toilet
paper, and no toilet seats !
torture chair
There were many of these instruments of
torture along the sea wall near Minster.
be warned !
You have been warned !

 During my walk I called into The Ship On Shore pub twice. The first time was because I needed a wee, but I did have a delicious half pint of Wells Bombadier ale while I was in there. The second time was because I fancied another half pint, but I also wanted to stop to get my breath back ! I finally arrived back at the station with my feet seriously aching, and to see the back of the train just disappearing in the distance. It would be another 30 minutes before the next train, and there was nothing to do but to limp to The Goat (a free house that doesn't actually seem to serve any decent ales) and have a half pint of Stella Artois to cool me down.

 Having to wait that half hour for the train actually worked out well. I caught the next train to Sittingbourne where I had a short wait for the next train to Bromley South. At Bromley South I had a short wait for a train back to Catford. That last train was rather good ! I never knew there was a service that ran partly fast to Catford before. It may be the only one of the day, but I managed to get it. We raced right through Shortlands station, whizzed through Ravensbourne station, and zoomed through Beckenham Hill station. We did stop at Bellingham. The next stop after Bellingham is Catford, and we arrived there at 16:55 - and that meant that without trying, I had arrived at the perfect time to walk down to The Catford Constitutional Club for the Thursday night drink at 5pm !

 I had a nice time in the CCC. I had three pints of nice ale, and I was given two birthday cards. I would have liked to have stayed longer, but I hadn't eaten any solid food since the evening before, and I thought it was high time I had some breakfast ! I am not sure what I would have eaten if I hadn't been quizzed about it. The first thing that came to me was to say I fancied a Chinese takeaway. It is possible that if I hadn't been quizzed I may have had something slightly healthier out of the fridge, but with Chinese food stuck in my mind I ordered some...well quite a lot if I am honest.

 I have to confess that Chinese food for breakfast at 7pm is rather nice ! I could have eaten a lot more than I did, but I left the Singapore fried rice to have cold for breakfast this morning, and I have a main dish and some egg fried rice for another meal later today. I'm not sure where I got the energy from, but I spent some time editing photos before going to bed last night. When I finally got into bed I couldn't get to sleep at first, but it seems when I did get to sleep I went out like a light. All that fresh air and sunshine made for some very solid sleep. I don't recall anything until I woke up at just gone 5am.

 I took my medication when I woke up, and pottered around for half an hour before going back to bed, and didn't get up again until around 8am. This morning I have a few mild aches and pains, but no worse, and possibly less worse than I have most mornings. Maybe my feet are a little sore still, but I haven't really tested them yet. The top of my head is a little sun burned, and I couldn't but help notice that the hot water from my morning shower stung my right arm a bit where that got a little burnt too. Other than that I feel pretty good considering the ordeal I put myself through. I must do it again soon.

 Today I have no grand plans for long or short walks. I intend to get some laundry done, and to do a little shopping at some point. Late this afternoon, around 4.30pm maybe, there is a retirement drink up that I want to pop along to for a while. It is in The Ravensbourne Arms pub, and the best way to get there is to walk through the park - although now there is a lazier way. When I got home yesterday I found an envelope sitting on the door mat. It contained my over 60s Oyster photocard. It is stil a few days before I am over 60, but the accompanying letter said I can use it straight away. So I can now jump on buses, tube trains, Croydon trams, and the Docklands Light Railway to travel for free 24 hours a day, and jump on most inner London trains services before and after the morning peak (before 6.30am, and after 10am), and travel for free on those too.
Thursday 18th June 2015
08:56 BST

  It was 28° C on one of my thermometers when I got home from work yesterday, but the one that seems to be closer to the weather forecasts read a couple of degrees lower than that. I was indoors all day at work, and it didn't seem as if it was a particularly sunny day, and it didn't feel particularly warm as I made my way home from work, but carrying a few bags of shopping did raise a bit of sweat. Today is supposed to be similar, or better, but either the forecast was wrong, or it is a bit slow getting started. It was nearly 20° C when I got up, and the temperature is rising, but the sun is taking it's time to burn through the clouds. The curious thing is that the forecast says it should be blazing sunshine right now, and yet it should only be 14° C. It reckons we will only hit 20° C at 4pm. Tomorrow is looking like it could be fairly dull and miserable - maybe even wet !

 It was a remarkably quiet day at work yesterday. There was no management around, and basically I did nothing at all, all day ! The only thing of note that I did do was to sneak out 10 - 15 minutes early....except I didn't have to sneak. Just leaving that little bit earlier allowed me to get an earlier train when I got to Waterloo East....and that earlier train is earlier by a full half hour. It was a bit of a mad rush to get it, but it was probably worth it even if it worth it to add a footnote to my life's history....or something. Anyway, it's the first time I have ever managed to get that train. I also did something else that I have been meaning to do for ages.......
my route home
 I always suspected that my route to and from work followed two sides of a triangle, but I had never plotted it on a map before. I used the running app on my Firefox phone to plot the entire journey home (although it actually finishes at Tescos, but that's close enough). It's got slightly wavy sides, but it is two sides of a triangle as I suspected. If I could travel as the crow flies I could almost half the journey. It is possible get a train through Brixton and Peckham, and if everything runs to time, it would save me a whole 5 minutes, and possibly be slightly cheaper, but it arrives at Catford station, and that adds a little to the walk home. That wasn't desirable when I last tried it because that was prior to my quad heart bypass when I was suffering from angina, and at it's worst I had to stop to let the pain die down once or twice when walking from Catford Bridge station. Maybe now I am free from that pain I ought to try it again some day.

 The only problem of coming home via Tesco is that came home with too much tempting food. So my simple camenbert and salad had some slices of peppered beef to it, and I also ate a rather delicious ready made cajun chicken salad as well. The excess amount of almonds I ate actually came from Lidl when I went there Tuesday afternoon. The were very well roasted, and I am going to delude myself that the roasting drove out some of the oil that would account for much of their calorific value.

 One thing I didn't eat, and I am rather glad I didn't having now read what's in it, was any "Franks Diabetic Ice Cream". I've had my suspicions about that stuff for some time. I presume some of their claims must be correct or they would not have been allowed to add a strawberry flavour, let alone keep selling the vanilla flavour with the claims they make for it. Basically it is sweetened with fructose which they claim has a low glycemic index, and so is suitable for diabetics. To a very limited degree that may be true, but it has an awful lot of it in it, and that raises it's calorific value...and it is consuming excess calories that causes type 2 diabetes in the first place. Now I know I will treat that stuff with the respect it deserves.

 I am on holiday today and tomorrow. So far I have had a nice lay in, washed my hair, and showered. What I should be doing next is going out. I think I want to go to the seaside today, but I can't decide where to go. I don't think I am ready for an extra long walk, and maybe not even a long walk. At least there should be trains available to anywhere I fancy - unlike at the weekends when engineering work often isolates whole swathes of the country - unless you are insane enough to want to use a rail replacement bus ! Maybe I might go to Sheerness on the Isle Of Sheppy. It's not terribly exciting, and there are few opportunities to walk that far.
Wednesday 17th June 2015
08:00 BST

  It might have taken until 10am, or maybe just a little bit later, but yesterday turned into a fine summers day. It was bright and sunny with lots of blue skies, and the temperature rose to about 23° C, although in direct sunlight it felt a lot hotter than that. Today started off very nice. It was about 13° C when I walked to the station to come to work, and it was bright and sunny. There seems to be a bit of passing cloud as I write this, but the forecast says it should be a bright sunny day with temperatures as good, or maybe even better than yesterday. Tomorrow might be even sunnier, and even warmer according to the most recent forecast, but Friday is now looking as if it will be very average - which is probably better than some of the more pessimistic forecasts made earlier on, and not as good as some of the more optimistic forecasts also made earlier on.

 On the whole, yesterday was a good day, although there were bits of it I didn't like that much. Yesterday was another confirmation that I am a lousy traveller. I can feel knackered just from sitting on a bus ! Of course the worst part of any journey is the first part, and it felt like hard work walking to the bus stop as I set off to visit the Excel centre for the IFSEC exhibition. The last time I went there was for the Star Trek convention/exhibition/thing, and I went via London Bridge station because of engineering works on the Docklands Light Railway. It is probable that is the fastest way, but yesterday I caught the bus to Lewisham - which was tedious. Then I caught the DLR to Canary Wharf station. I changed there to travel two stops to Poplar station on a Stratford bound train, and from Poplar station I caught the Beckton train as far as Customs House station for the Excel centre.

 I am sure they had rebuilt Customs House station since I was there last. I don't recall having to walk a dogleg to get out of the station before. This doesn't surprise me because Docklands is in a constant state of flux. Buildings seem to go up and then come down again in completely random fashion....or at least that is what it seems like to the occasional visitor. It may be different to those who live there - something I would not like to do ! Anyhow, I was there to see the latest and greatest in CCTV equipment.....No I wasn't ! I was there to be seen by my boss, and others to prove that my day off work was for company business or something. The reality is that I was in and out of the place in under 30 minutes ! I did take a few pictures of stuff being exhibited, but I spent more time in Greenwich on the way home, and took some nice pictures there.
the cutty sark
 I find the glass structure built around the keel (hull ?) of the Cutty Sark to be really ugly and hideous. If you try hard you can try to imagine that the boat is sitting on a glassy ocean, but it is hard to sustain that image in the minds eye.
south portal of the
                          Greenwich foot tunnel
 This is the southern portal of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. I used to love walking through their as a kid - which is a shame because my mum hated it. One thing I have been wondering about for some time is what can you hear in there when it is quiet - if it is ever quiet. I wonder about this since walking through the similar, but longer Woolwich foot tunnel. With the Woolwich free ferry running every 15 minutes or so, hardly anyone walks through the tunnel there, and so it can be very quiet down there. So quiet that it is easy to pick out the sounds of boats passing by on the surface. You can hear their engines, and the wash they produce quite clearly. I assume the same must be true of the Greenwich foot tunnel, but it can get quite busy - and some of the busyness is screaming kids running up and down creating total mayhem !
Another view of The
                          Cutty Sark
Another view of The Cutty Sark sitting on it's glass carbuncle.
Thames clipper boat
One of the Thames Clipper river bus boats going up the Thames towards the city.
photoshoot on the foreshore
Down on the foreshore a photo shoot was taking place. I kept an eye on it in case....well, just in case, but she didn't !
boat moored at Greenwich Pier
Boats moored at Greenwich Pier.
Canary Wharf as seen from Greenwich
Canary Wharf as seen from Greenwich. One of the things about the river is that it twists and turns more than seems obvious when standing alongside it. So Canary Wharf looks to be inland instead of on the river.
model on the foreshore
I used a lot of zoom to take this picture - a picture the real photographer could not take without wading in up to her neck in the river. I reckon I got the better picture - although this is but one example of several I took, and has been cropped, and shrunk down to show here. I think I have better ones when judged in some ways, but this is probably my favourite.

  After spending little more that half an hour in the warm sunshine at Greenwich I waited a mere few minutes to jump on a 199 bus back to Catford. All my travelling had gone fairly smoothly until then, but that bus was so slow, excruciatingly so as it threaded it's way through the traffic and roadworks in Lewisham, that it was the most tedious journey EVER (possibly).  When I got off that bus I felt hot and exhausted. I cooled off a little once I was out in the fresh air, but it felt like hard work to walk towards home - and that is very unusual. Walking to home is usually the best bit of any day out.

 Once I got home I rested for all of 15 minutes, and then I decided to force myself to go out again. It was barely past 1pm when I got home, and I thought I should make some use of my freedom while I had it. I didn't fancy going far, but I did think a walk to Lidl  would be OK. It is at least twice the distance that Aldi is, and almost twice the distance to Tesco. Once upon a time, while it was new and mysterious (new to me that is), it was a joy to visit, but I haven't found anything really interesting in there for a long time. Yesterday was no exception, but I did manage to spend over £20 in there.

 When I arrived home again I decided I just had to have some breakfast, and that put me on the slippery slope. "Breakfast" was an insane amount of Pringles-like, Lidl own brand potato snacks and a big tub of red pepper flavoured humous. That was bad enough, but it wasn't many hours later that I made a huge great Spanish (inspired) omelette. It included the last of the potatoes I had bought almost a fortnight ago. I diced them up and pre-cooked them before adding a diced up smoked pork sausage, a sliced up rather large de-seeded chilli pepper, and three eggs. It was pleasant enough, but I was hoping it would have been rather more magnificent !

 Apart from eating and some photo editing, I did nothing fro the rest of the afternoon, and up until I went to bed. I had some pretty strange dreams last night. I could not work out if I was the victim, or the hero, or the villain, or the cameraman, or the director of a dream that was like a spy/action hero/criminal drama. I certainly seemed to interact with some of the characters, but I always seemed to be isolated from whatever evil deeds, or whatever they may have been doing. Sometimes I seemed to be making it up as I was going along, like a lucid dream, but I can't seem to recall being aware that it was a dream as you would in a real lucid dream.

 This morning it looked like a summers morning as I got up, and that made me feel good. In many ways I did feel good. Nothing much seemed to be causing any annoying discomfort, but of course things could never be perfect. I found my legs didn't want to work very well once I got going. Walking from the station to work was definitely a slog. It doesn't bode well for tomorrow. I have booked tomorrow and Friday off work, and I want to go out on one or both of those days. Tomorrow is most likely because I might end up with a hangover on Friday morning is my plans come to fruition. It is not going to be much good if I can't enjoy walking tomorrow, but maybe not having another Spanish-like omelette will help. Maybe I will only have a Camembert salad tonight like I thought I might have last night until I remembered those pre-cooked potatoes in the microwave.
Tuesday 16th June 2015
08:51 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday said the sun would come out at midday, and to my great surprise, it did !  It also said it would get sunny at 8pm, and it did that too - in a way ! In fact the cloud that had spoiled much of the day began to break up as I made my way home from work, and we had a pleasant evening. I am unsure of how warm it got yesterday. With a strong breeze it felt rather cool in the morning, but the afternoon felt very comfortable. So maybe it was in the region of 17 - 18° C. This morning it is rather cloudy again, but the temperature is already slowly creeping up. I am currently reading 19° C - and that is rather higher than the forecast for little more than 11° C. The forecast says that the sun won't break through until this afternoon, but there seem to be some gaps in the clouds already, and it is getting brighter.....or was...I think the sun has just ducked behind a thicker bit of cloud !  The top temperature today is forecast to be 21 - 22° C, but I reckon it might go higher than that.

 I had some crazy idea that I might do something, or go somewhere after work yesterday. I might even have done it if it were not for a small problem with my shoes - or more specifically my left shoe. I was wearing a previously quite comfortable pair of cheap Converse copies bought from Peacocks. One difference between real Converse trainers and copies selling for a quarter of the price (or less) is that the cheap versions don't appear to have any quality control. So it should not have come as a great surprise when the insole started to de-laminate. It wasn't terribly painful to walk on it, but it certainly didn't inspire me to walk any further than I had to. It was, of course, one of those times where a bus to the station would have been very handy, and one of those times when a bus is nowhere in sight. So I walked to the station as I do everyday that I don't need, or don't want a bus, but one turns up and I get it anyway - maybe once a fortnight, maybe even less frequent than that.

 When I got home I decided to try to avoid eating too much, and to try and eat a better selection of stuff. I had some potatoes that had started to grow, and that influenced my decisions a lot. I cubed a couple of small/medium sized potatoes and quickly cooked them in the microwave (using hardly any water). I then drizzled them with some olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar. I added a handful of baby plum tomatoes, and three diced spring onions. I'm not sure what it was that I made, but it was sort of nice, although it would probably have gone better as an accompaniment to some meat, or maybe cheese. I did have some meat in my second course. It was a ready made chicken and bacon pasta salad from Aldi. It needed some chilli sauce to spice it up, but it was quite nice - although I was scared to look at the salt/sugar/fat etc levels. It had the word salad in the description so it must have been healthy - and if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you !

 I had a good sleep last night....well, mostly good. I didn't turn the light out until 10pm, but I did fall asleep soon after that. I remember waking up once or twice, but it is a very dream like memory. At just before 5am I woke up as usual, but today is a special day, and I cancelled my alarm, and went back to sleep. I got nearly 2 hours extra sleep, and maybe if I wasn't having a nightmare, I might have slept even longer. In this nightmare it seemed as if I had been away from home for a while, and my house was being taken care of by my mum and my younger sister. Somehow one or the other had broken all the plumbing in the bathroom. Everything leaked water, and there was a couple of inches of water on the floor. I managed to cure most of the leaks somehow, and I went back to my bedroom to get dressed for work (or for something), and I found someone had tidied up all my clothes, and I couldn't find anything. As a final disaster, my sister who had been to university, asked me to help pay off her credit card. I was expecting that she would ask for maybe a couple of hundred pounds, but she wanted £4000 ! That seemed like a great time to wake up !

 I am not at work today. It is a sort of grand scam.....well maybe not a scam, and it is entirely "legal". In a little while I will be off to The Excell center where the IFSEC exhibition is taking place. It is a trade show for companies selling security and fire prevention/detection stuff - and that includes CCTV cameras. The company I work for makes the insides of many pan, tilt and zoom CCTV cameras, and we are exhibiting stuff at the exhibition. So all the development department, to which I am attached, and who have worked really hard these last couple of weeks to prepare stuff for this exhibition, have been invited by the management to go along to see our stand (and to spy on our competitors), but mostly to try and collect as many free pens, notepads, and anything free that is available - at least that is my main reason for going. I just hope that after these years of austerity there are still freebies available. It's been an awful long time since I went to one of these industry shindigs, and I came home with pocketfuls of crap.  I've probably still got a few pens from the last one - but after 20 years they are undoubtedly dried out and just uselessly cluttering up the back of some drawer somewhere !
Monday 15th June 2015
08:18 BST

Do you remember "the old days" when waking up on a summer morning, all bright and shiny, would inspire you to do all sorts of stuff ? Well we don't seem to have many of those lately ! Yesterday started grey, and if you ignore the 5 minutes of sunshine late in the afternoon, it stayed grey all day long. About the only saving grace is that it was not chilly. Sometime during the night it must have rained here in Earlsfield, but there was no signs of any puddles in Catford - puddles being the clue for overnight rain here in Earlsfield. However, Earlsfield and Catford share one thing this morning - miserable grey cloud ! The temperature when I walked to the station was 12.5° C, and if it hadn't have been for a strong breeze it might have felt more comfortable than it did. The latest theory is that it should brighten up around midday, and also at 8pm, but at other times the sky will look more like a bad winters day ! The forecast for the coming week gets more depressing every day. The end of the week was once forecast to be hot and sunny, but now the forecast has become far more pessimistic - some intermittent sunshine, and temperatures not much better than 20° C. I've known better days in December !

mug shotFirst some good news. I have just received an email from Transport For London to say that the photo I uploaded to their web site has been accepted for use on my new 60+ Oystercard. I have every hope that I shall have that card in my own sweaty hands next week, and that I can start to abuse it in ways that I can't even think of yet. Actually I probably jest - travelling to and from work is likely to be it's most common use, but I may take a few joyrides on it just for fun (or photo opportunities).

 I wonder how other people get on with uploading photos for Oystercards given the demanding specifications required of them. The greatest stumbling block is probably that they need to be a resolution of 300 dots per inch (DPI). My two mobiles phones both take photos at a resolution of 72 DPI - and I suspect that most people would use a mobile phone to take a "selfie" to upload. It was second nature to me to use The Gimp to scale my selfie to 300DPI. Others might use Adobe Photoshop, but I wonder what everyone does ?

  Yesterday was a very relaxing day - which is a secret code meaning I did bugger all, all day. Well maybe that is not entirely true if you count things like changing the batteries in my laser pointer - which was pointless because I have never had a use for a laser pointer, and probably never will have......although I suppose it does provides tens of seconds of amusement every 3 or 4 months ! I bought it because I think owning a real, albeit tiny and low powered, laser is a must for any sci fi fan.

 Yesterday morning I had what should have been a very tasty breakfast, and as I have already written, I didn't really enjoy it. One possible reason for that was that I was feeling a little bit bloated. For some reason I thought that the pains that afflict various muscles and ligaments in my chest were unusually low, and it was that and the bloated feeling that made my stomach ache - although it wasn't a painful ache. It was just a sort of blah feeling that waxed and waned (where "blah" is a sort of expression that means discomfort without pain - if such a thing is possible). Little did I know that it was just pure bloat - until mid afternoon when the proof and cure occurred at the same time. It was just an ordinary, non urgent, single visit to the toilet when, to turna well know phrase around, the world fell out of my bottom !

 I felt much better after that unprecedented event, and although there was some lingering discomfort as my body re-shaped itself, I was able to enjoy everything else I ate. I had a nice salad - nice despite the ham looking a little worse for wear, but apparently tasting OK. I had a whole punnet of wonderful tasting strawberries. Until now, strawberries have been an unknown quantity. Some have been sweet and ripe, and some have been almost bitter, but the ones I had yesterday were all beautifully ripe and sweet. I didn't have them with cream, but I did treat myself to a rare half pint of unskimmed milk. It was all rather delicious.

 This morning I feel remarkably comparison to how I thought I might feel. My chest feels a bit a bit clicky, and an occasional click can be momentarily sore. Maybe my doctors, whenever I get around to seeing him or her, will be able to suggest a wonder cure for it, but after over 18 months of it, sometimes good, and sometimes bad, I suspect I will be living with it for the rest of my life. The rest of me seemed to be working quite well, but it did feel like a big strain trying to keep up with the fastest commuters on the mad dash between Waterloo East and Waterloo stations. Some time ago I discovered that the front of the train was a lot less crowded than I imagined it would be, and so I now travel near the front, and I get off the train very near the exit ramp now - along with the most athletic commuters - one man even runs all way across the link. Keeping up with, or overtaking other commuters was much easier when amongst the stragglers further from the front of the train !

 I feel I want to do something after work, but I don't know what. If there was some sunshine to accompany all the extra daylight we have now (as we approach the longest day of the year), it is possible. although maybe not likely, that I would go off exploring somewhere. It's the sort of thing I feel I would like to do when I have free travel on my 60+ Oystercard. Whether I will actually do it is anyone's guess. In some ways, today could be a good day for it because it should be a very quite, and probably boring day at work.  All the madness of getting stuff ready for the exhibition tomorrow is now finished, and my manager is at the exhibition location setting stuff up for the start tomorrow. So I can put my feet up ! I could probably find something to do if I really tried, but basically I have nothing to do today. Maybe I should sneak out early, and.............
Sunday 14th June 2015
12:35 BST

  From mid afternoon onwards, yesterday was a mildly pleasant day. It was warm and dry, and after a dull morning it seemed acceptably bright. There was even some sunshine late in the afternoon. The temperature probably peaked at 25° C - which should have felt quite warm - but dropped to something more like 15 or 16° C a few hours after sunset. This morning it had not really dropped much further because the sky clouded over again. It's now only 17° C, and it's a very grey day so far. Maybe it will brighten up later on, or maybe it won't. Some say there is even a 50% chance of rain this afternoon ! The forecast for tomorrow is now almost 2 days old, and rather stale, but it forecasts that tomorrow will be a bit brighter, and a little bit warmer than today. Well that's nothing to get excited about !

 I was expecting my nose to start pouring at any time yesterday. It did try and start on a few occasions, but by late afternoon it became apparent that I was just about over the cold that never really was, and that any left over symptoms were probably just hay fever, and some unnameable, unknown, definitely lethal (maybe after 20 years) malady. With that being the case, and after an afternoon mostly doing nothing but resting, I decided I really ought to make an effort to go out - and I did.

 The official line was that Jo Corteen and Dave Griffiths side project, Night Owl, had been disbanded months ago, but they were playing a gig in The Chatterton Arms in Bromley last night. Maybe it was a prior commitment that they wanted to honour, or maybe a change of circumstances have re-forming seem like a good idea. Who knows, but I gritted my teeth, and endured the tedious bus journey to, and through Bromley, and out to the very, very slightly more civilised side.
Dave Griffiths and
                          Jo Corteen - aka Night Owl
Dave and Jo belting out a song at The Chatterton Arms.
Dave Griffiths playing keyboards
9pm and it's still broad daylight outside - a reminder that it is almost mid-summers day !
Dave and Jo and guitar
Jo with guitar.
close up on Jo Corteen
Close up on Jo.
"artistic" shot of Dave at
                          his keyboards
This is one of those "artistic" shots that occasionally come out right - possibly !

I stayed all through the first set, but decided I was not feeling quite good enough to stay for the second set - although I probably could have. While it was a bit half and half about whether to go then, it soon wasn't ! As I bent down to pick up my camera case I twisted awkwardly, and it felt like I had tied my "floating ribs" in knots. For an instant the pain was so intense it was difficult to breathe. Two seconds later I was merely in a lot of discomfort. I've had that pain many times, and I knew the cure was to take a walk - to the bus stop on this occasion.

 By the time I reached the bus stop 5 or 6 minutes later the pain was 95% gone. It continued to fade into no more than a memory while I was on the bus. That should have made the bus ride sort of pleasant, but it didn't ! When I arrived at the bus stop the Countdown display said the first bus would be a 320, and that it would arrive in 5 minutes. That seemed rather good, but unfortunately a 208 bus turned up even earlier than that. You might think that was good, but it wasn't, and if I had my wits about me I would have waited for the 320 to arrive and got on that. Predictably enough, the 320 overtook the 208 before we even arrived in Bromley High Street, and then left the 208 choking in it's dust as it raced it's way to Catford. Quite why the bus companies time the 208 to take twice as long as the 320 is beyond me. At Bromley Common their routes converge, and they take the same route, stopping at the same bus stops all the way to Catford, and yet the 320 is always faster !

 It was just as tedious on the bus going home as it was on the bus going to the gig, but there was one little bit of experience that made it ever so slightly interesting. It was a good few weeks ago that all the street lights down the local roads were changed to new LED lights, and last night was the first time I have been out well after dark to see how well they work. They do seem to work well. For some reason they retain a hint of orangeness like sodium lighting, but only a hint. I think, or at least I hope, they have less "upwash" of light, and that may mean we get darker skies when their use becomes more widespread.

 One of the things I wanted to do last night, and after 3 pints of Guinness I had drunk enough to do it, was to buy some chicken and chips on the way home. Last night I managed to resist doing so, but maybe only because I had already 90% cooked some Aldi "Southern fried chicken" earlier in the day, and all it needed was a 5 minute blast of microwaves to complete the process. They weren't quite as nice as fried chicken shop pieces, but were possibly very slightly more healthy - probably as a result of being microwave cooked - most of the breadcrumb coating that soaks up so much of the oil/lard/fat/hydrogenated goo fell off as I ate the chicken.

 With some hot food inside me I should have been sleepy, but I was overcome with curiosity about the pictures I had taken. I've been to so few gigs this year that I wondered if I had lost my touch. It seems I haven't, well not completely. There were probably a higher proportion of unusable snaps than usual, but some of that was because I was determined not to use any flash for the vast majority of the pictures I took (I did use flash for a couple just in case....). I ended up selecting and editing 10 pictures before I went to bed, and it was just about 1am when my head hit the pillow. Even then sleep did not come quickly.

 This morning I felt pretty rough, and I don't think I can blame more than half of it on a hangover. Maybe I can blame that chicken for some of the bloat I felt, but it was more than the chicken in reality. It is all the excess eating I've done the last week or fortnight, or month, or year, or..... What I should have done is skipped breakfast, and gone for a walk, but I had breakfast....and I didn't really enjoy it !

 Today I shall probably continue what I have been doing for most of the day up until now - almost bugger all ! I could, and maybe even should, wash a few shirts, but I can't be bothered. I blame the miserable grey sky for de-motivating me. In theory I will be taking a few days off work in the coming week, and I can do some laundry then. I might even feel like doing some after work - stranger things have happened. Back in the real world - I think I am about to lie down and read a magazine.....
Saturday 13th June 2015
15:08 BST

  Yesterday was most definitely very humid - morning, noon and night ! That wasn't always very pleasant, but the day was probably better than I thought it would be. In particular, I didn't come home from work in the middle of a thunderstorm ! I don't think it rained until about 7pm, and even then it was more persistent than heavy. Before that there were occasional bright spells. The temperature may not have gone about 23° C, but the humidity made it feel warmer than that, although for some reason the figure 26° C seems almost familiar. This morning started off very overcast, but quite mild - perhaps no lower than 15° C. The temperature has slowly crept up since then, and it is now 24 - 25° C, but it is only in the last half hour that we have seen any sunshine. A lot of the sky still looks very murky, but there are now some large blue patches as well. The current theory about tomorrow is that it will be a little cooler and a little sunnier - but that is just a theory, and could well be completely wrong.

 I had this theory that I could relax a bit at work yesterday, and in a very limited sense I could - for about an hour ! Apart from that it was all go again as we tried to get everything ready for the exhibition starting next Tuesday. I almost made myself late going home as I rushed to finish the last little job, but I finished it just in time to leave work a few minutes earlier than usual - I thought I deserved that !

 I had started work yesterday morning feeling really dreadful. Some of it I could blame on a hangover, and a lot of it I could blame on a cold that had been simmering for much of the week, but by the afternoon the hangover had gone, and so had the sore throat that had intermittently annoyed me for a lot of the week. By the time I headed for home I was feeling much better, but the strain of fighting the cold, and doing more work than I am currently accustomed to, left me feeling really tired, but I found the energy to detour on my way home, and carry out one little, but important task.
application for over
                          60s Oystercard
 I have finally done the deed - I've completed all the steps to apply for my over 60s Oystercard. With luck it will be delivered in nine days time, or hopefully soon after, and from then on my travel in London should be totally free - apart for some time restrictions. I believe it is free 24 hours a day on TFL run services - buses, tube, overground, Docklands Light Railway, and Croydon Tramlink, but only after 9.30am on National Rail services within the London travelcard zones. What they don't say is that it is free on National Rail before 6.30am. The main reason, beyond just getting the working day over with as soon as possible, that I travel to work on the 06:33 service is that by tapping in with my pay-as-you-go Oystercard before 6.30am I travel off-peak, and save over £2 a day. The man from Transport For London says that I will be able to travel to work for free using my new old gits Oystercard provided I continue to travel at the same time. That is rather handy, and maybe provides a weak, but definite reason to not resign from work just yet - although I'd still like the freedom to bash the new card on frivolous journeys at random times !

 I finally got home from work damp with sweat, and ready to drop about half an hour later than usual. I predicted I would have a smaller than usual dinner, and be fast asleep in bed extra early. I did eat less than usual, but Aldi's "Hong Kong Noodles", while tasty with added chilli sauce, are probably not terribly good for me. However I didn't get to bed early. Maybe if I had drunk some booze I might have gone to bed early, but when it came to it, I just didn't feel terribly tired. Maybe with my cold waning, and with no more pressure from work, I was just feeling a sort of good.

 I think it was probably quite close to 11pm when I got to sleep last night. I slept fairly well, although I did find myself getting up for a while at 5.30am. That was obviously too early (why ?), and after a while I went back to sleep. It didn't feel like I slept that well. So it was a surprise when I realised it was gone 10am ! I decided to get up properly then - but only very slowly. I felt pretty bad at first, but gradually I got the creases out, and by 11am (or was it 11.30am) I headed out to do some shopping from Aldi. The first few minutes of walking felt like painful hard work, and then, as always seems to happen now, everything clicked into place, and it turned into a pleasant, even slightly enjoyable stroll - including carrying the heavy shopping home.

 I felt OK when I got back from Aldi, and it should have been a cue to do something else, but I thought I would stick to my master plan of doing some intensive resting - and restoration. My sore throat may have gone away, but from time to time I have felt quite snotty, and I've even coughed hard enough to hurt my chest once or twice. So I have decided to let the cold do it's worst to get fully over it as quickly as possible. Maybe that has already happened because I don't feel that bad right now. I haven't coughed for several hours, and while my nose still feels a bit stuffy, that could just be a bit of mild hay fever or something. Maybe I am fully recovered, and any residual stuff is just decay as I slowly rot away from old age. When I was a kid, living to 60 was probably a privilege of a few, and those were doddery old gits pushed around in bath chairs reeking of piss, and totally incoherent - unless I remember it incorrectly ! Insanity rules !
Friday 12th June 2015
07:55 BST

  On the whole, yesterday was a satisfactory day. There was a decent amount of sunshine, and it was 20° C when I got home from work after diverting via the pub for a couple of hours. This morning started off at a pleasant 14 - 15° C, and there has been some pleasant early morning sunshine, but much of the sky is covered with clouds - and some of them look very heavy. Rain is forecast for a couple of hours this morning, and then again later this afternoon. Some of that rain could be very heavy, and involve a bit of thunder and lightning. The latest forecast reckons the temperature will only get to about 23° C instead of the 26° C they were predicting a day or two ago. It is also forecast to be very humid, and that is already apparent even though it is still cool. Tomorrow is currently looking like it might be similar to yesterday - not exactly a summers day, but pleasant enough.

 I thought I was going to get away with having a relaxing day at work yesterday, but it didn't happen like that at all. I may not have worked as hard as I did the day before yesterday, but I still worked pretty hard, and it was a great relief when home time came around. In one respect I felt quite good when I left work. I wasn't really aware of most of my usual aches and pains because I was distracted by a big discomfort. My throat felt very raw for most of the afternoon, and possibly during the morning too. I didn't get to feel any relief for it until I poured several pints of beer past it when I got back to Catford.

 I had a nice relaxing couple of pints of "wife beater" (Kronenberg 1664) with some nice company - so nice that it was actually four pints ! I have to confess that left me a bit drunk, and I am a bit confused as to what I did when I got home clutching the fish and chips I bought on the way. I do remember eating the food while watching a bit of TV, and I do remember watching most of an episode of To The Manor Born, and an episode of M*A*S*H, but what I can't remember is if I decided to sterilise my sore throat with some neat whisky while watching TV on my PC. The way I can't quite remember going to bed, and the way I feel this morning, both suggest I did !

 It seemed like I had a good nights sleep last night, but I do remember waking up several times in the night, and I would have loved to turn over and go back to sleep again when I cancelled my alarm five minutes before it was due to go off. Unfortunately I had to come to work this morning. I have to admit I feel dreadful this morning. Much of it is hangover, but my throat is still sore. It is hard to describe exactly how the rest of me feels. I feel light headed, and chest heavy, and gut even heavier, but the light headedness is not dizzyness. It is actually slightly like feeling drunk - and maybe I am - but if I am then I dread to think what my hangover will be like when I finally sober up. In the meantime I also feel a bit nauseous, and close to death. I don't think I'll actually die though - that would be too pleasant right now :-)
Thursday 11th June 2015
08:04 BST

  It is always a problem to remember what yesterday's weather was like when it was rather average. It didn't snow, and it didn't rain. There were no thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, or scorching temperatures. Yesterday was warm enough to be comfortable, and there was enough sunshine to make for an almost happy sort of day. And it was dry. I think it was about 15 or 16° C when I got home from work. I think the sky stayed fairly clear last night, and yet the temperature only dropped to 12° C. It did feel a bit cool as I walked to the station in just my shirtsleeves, but there was some nice early morning sunshine. It seems to may well be a very sunny day, and that should raise the temperature close to 20° C. The forecast for tomorrow keeps changing. At least the fine details change, but the idea that it could be around 26° C, and that temperature could trigger off some huge thunderstorms seems to be a constant. Other than that, it might be a mostly sunny day, or it might be a mostly rainy day. Oh well, in 24 hours we will find out the hard way !

 Lots of me felt pretty good when I left work to go home yesterday, but a few bits didn't. Just recently I seem to be suffering from a very stuffy nose. It's most probably hay fever, although how that should affect me in the middle of the night when the windows are closed remains a mystery. So it's probably something like nasal cancer, or a sub-nasal haematoma, or a sprained nasal hair. To add to the mystery, and add actual discomfort, I also developed quite a sore throat yesterday. It felt dry and shrivelled, or something like that. It was only relieved by frequent sips of drink, or strong booze once I got home. I think I'll blame it on cancer of the elbow because I can't think of a better diagnosis.

 The other bit of my that was a bit uncomfortable was my left foot, or maybe it was my right foot. Actually it was probably both feet, but maybe my left foot was more sore than the right foot. Neither were terribly uncomfortable. I think that maybe my feet had swollen up a bit, and the shoes I was wearing weren't ideal for that situation. It was one of those days where it would have been nice to get a bus to the station, but as I was explaining yesterday, it is one of the immutable laws of the universe that there is never a bus to Earlsfield station when you actually want one ! Had I actually waited at the bus stop I could have got a bus that would have delivered me to the station approximately 30 seconds later than walking there did.

 Despite my shoes not being very comfortable I still went home the long way round via Tesco. I bought a selection of stuff in there - some good stuff, and some bad stuff, and one interesting stuff ! The interesting has only just appeared on the market, and it is on special offer in Tesco right now - so special that maybe it is only available in Catford because it doesn't seem to be available from their online shop. It is Jack Daniels Fire - a hot cinnamon flavoured version of Jack Daniels whiskey. It is very similar to Fireball that seemed to be only available from Wetherspoons outlets once. I suspect many wouldn't care for it, but I think it is wonderful - although the honey version of Jack Daniels would probably have been better for my sore throat (and I have no idea why I didn't gargle with some because I do have a bottle of it ready for such emergencies).

 I sometimes wonder if I really only need 5 or 6 hours sleep. I usually aim to try and get 8 hours sleep if I can. I rarely get a full 8 hours, but on good days I do get close to it - and I still end up yawning at work, and sometimes almost falling asleep in front of my work PC (and sometimes I do nod off for a few seconds). The reason I wonder if all I really need is 5 or 6 hours is because I have this really annoying habit of waking up after 5 or 6 hours sleep, and then finding it difficult to get back to sleep despite thinking that I still feel very tired. This morning was no exception, but with a possible small variation. From about 3am I would alternate between 20 minutes of sleep and 10 minutes of being awake, or maybe vice versa, but it felt like I had finally entered into deep sleep when my alarm brutally woke me up at 5am after about 15 minutes of sleep. If my alarm hadn't gone off I might have even been fast asleep right now...or that is what I would have hoped for.

 This morning I don't seem to feel too bad. My throat is still a little dry and sore, but not as bad as it was last night - at least not yet it isn't. It is possible that my nose is not so stuffy this morning, although it was awful in the night. Maybe I've had a cold and didn't realise it. This could be another disadvantage of not smoking. Whenever I got a cold when I was smoking a couple of packets of cigarettes a day, I really knew all about it. Where this theory falls down is that although my nose felt stuffy, it didn't actually "fountain" like it would with any decent sort of cold, and I don't think the ability of the nose to gush like the Victoria Falls had/had anything to do with smoking, but I could be wrong. So I think I'll fall back on my original diagnosis of strangulated cancer of the spondulicks.

 It's Thursday, and tat means there is a good chance of some boozing going on somewhere tonight. I don't know where yet, but I hope it is somewhere convenient. If it is warm and sunny it could be in the Blythe Hill Tavern again, and that is fairly convenient, although I would prefer either The Catford Constitutional Club, or The Black Cat. I could definitely do with a drink after work - or at least I could have done so yesterday or the day before. I have been working very hard recently - doing in one day what I would try and stretch out to 3, or 4 or 5 days ! This was all in aid of preparing stuff for an exhibition/show that starts next week. All that hard work means I have done the vast majority of my contribution to it, and now all I need to do is give the appearance of working for much of today and tomorrow - while others are still rushing around panicking ! So tonight a drink will be most welcome.....but only a couple of pints - there could still be last minute panics to sort out tomorrow morning. Maybe next week I'll take a couple of days off work, and get blasted on next Thursday night !
Wednesday 10th June 2015
07:51 BST

  It is always a surprise when the weather turns out similar to the forecast, and yesterday was one of those rare days when that happened......or did it ? Maybe there was a little extra sunshine, and maybe the temperature was a degree or two higher, but it was close enough. There was one factor I had not noticed from the forecast, but it became very apparent as I walked from the station to home. It was a rather unpleasant cold wind that seemed to spring up from nowhere. It made the last leg of my journey home feel very chilly despite the air temperature being over 15° C (I think it was 18° C). It cooled down to 11° C during the night, and a rather murky grey sky made for a slightly unpleasant journey to work. If the forecast for today is correct the clouds should soon start to disperse to make way for a very sunny afternoon. It is not forecast to be that warm even if the sun is blazing down all afternoon. It seems the best we can hope for is 17 or 18° C. Friday is currently looking interesting - 26° C, but more black clouds and thunderstorms than sunshine !
hairpin loop to the
 The picture/map above shows part of my walk to the station yesterday, but it could equally be any day that I go to work. The significant thing is just how annoying it can be to think about where I am actually walking, and by that I mean the big hairpin loop at the end of the walk. It takes something like 3 - 5 minutes to cross the railway lines by walking all the way past where I wait for the train outside the station on the road, and then, having crossed over the footbridge, to walk to near the far end of the platform, along the platform. Oh for a pair of wings !

 I started yesterday feeling really rough. After an hour or so at work I felt a fair bit better. By the end of the working day I was feeling rather good, although I didn't really realise that until I left work to head for home. By the time I reach the main road I often feel like I am really out of condition. I am usually breathing heavily, and feeling like I would like a pint of good beer while slouching on the sofa. For reasons unknown, that wasn't the case last night. It seemed almost easy, maybe 12% towards pleasurable. Of course such a change obviously portended a change in reality.......

 If I had broken both legs, had blisters and lesions all over my feet, was having a heart attack, and possibly a brain haemorrhage, while at the same time dying for a pee and/or a poo, you could guarantee that I could wait at the bus stop on the main road until hell froze over before a bus came. Last night, because I was actually feeling reasonably good, and walking didn't seem to be the normal chore it is, a bus just sort of appeared at the bus stop as if by magic. So one the very day when I didn't need a bus I took the bus the two stops to the station. One any other day I would slowly drag my limp and broken body, one agonising step after another, crying with pain all the 0.666 miles to the station. Probably.

 I did my best to eat slightly more selectively when I got home yesterday, and I almost did - which implies I didn't really. I did have a tuna salad, but with far too much delicious mayonnaise, but I also had three chocolate biscuits, and some cheese, and a can of double malt Polish lager. It was a different lager to the one I had the night before. This one was called Varska (I think). It was 6.5% alcohol, so a little lighter than the other one, but it was probably nicer. Many eastern European beers/lager seem to have a rusty taste according to my taste buds, but these two that I have recently tried have definitely been rather pleasant, and didn't have a hint of rustyness about them.

 Maybe it was all the work I did yesterday, or maybe it was the can of Polish lager, or maybe it was just because I went to bed perhaps an hour later than usual, but I seemed to sleep very well last night. I think I feel pretty good for it this morning - or have I got cause and effect reversed...who knows....but the important thing is that I don't feel that bad this morning. It is luxury compared to yesterday morning, but still far short of how I feel I ought to feel. I'm sure I can remember wanting to leap out the front door laughing and singing on my way to work - or was that just a drug induced dream, and reality has always been grim and uncomfortable.

Tuesday 9th June 2015
09:49 BST

  The forecast for yesterday was pretty bad, but reality wasn't nearly as bad. Much of the day came in various shades of grey, but it didn't rain. There were a few times when rain seemed very likely, and that included the time it was forecast for - just as I was going home. It is possible that I felt as many as three microscopic drops of rain hit me as I walked to the station, but no more. The very largest, most threatening cloud seemed to go away just after I left work, and it seemed fairly bright for much of my journey home. The sun even managed to find a few gaps in the cloud, and I had a bit of sunshine on my way home - that was definitely not forecast. I think it was also a few degrees warmer than forecast. Today seems to be quite close to the forecast, and that is not surprising because it was forecast to be very similar to how yesterday actually was - and statistically, today will be like yesterday many more times than it won't. So, with luck, we will see some sporadic bursts of sunshine, and the temperature above 15° C, but probably not higher than 18° C.

 I have often thought that the walk from work to the station is evil, and last night I proved it was !
0.666 miles from
                          work to the station
 Using the running app on my new Firefox OS mobile phone I measured the distance from the exit from work to the far end of the platform of Earlsfield station. I go to the far end of the platform so I can get in the front coach, and so closest to the ticket barriers at Waterloo station. (It's probably a hangover from the days when I would want to get out of the station as fast as possible to light up a cigarette). It seems the distance from work to the far end of Earlsfield station is an exact, evil sounding, 0.666 miles !

 On my way home from work yesterday I called in to the Turkish supermarket to pick up a couple of bits. While I was in there I perused the contents of their booze fridge, and I thought I found the perfect can of lager. It was a Polish brewed lager, and the can had no English on it at all. Amongst all the writing that was in Polish, and often too blurry for my eyes, I spied "WAG 14%". I wondered if that meant 14% alcohol, and so I bought a can. Some research showed that WAG percentages are similar to the "Original Gravity" figure that used to appear on English beers. It refers to the strength of the wort that is brewed into the final product - or the ratio of sugars that yeast converts to alcohol to water. The actual strength of this Polish lager, whose name translates to Oak Tree, is 7% - not quite as strong as "tramp juice" (Special Brew), but quite tasty.

 I didn't do anything worth noting last night - apart from going to bed. I didn't have a very good sleep, and it may have been because I felt quite bloated last night. I guess I ate a lot of food in small quantities or something. I certainly didn't eat any big meals last night. I slept OK until 3am, and from then on my sleep became very intermittent. At some time while I was in bed, and I think it was soon after going to bed rather than soon before I got up, I turned over, and my chest went CRUNCH. Going crunch is not unusual, but going CRUNCH is ! It didn't hurt, but I knew it would have some later effect, and indeed it did. My chest feels a bit more sore than usual this morning, and it is a lot more "clicky" when I perform certain actions.

 On top of that, although the two may be related in some non-obvious way, I felt pretty lousy this morning. Bit of my were aching a lot more than usual, or aches appeared in unusual places. My gut still felt bloated, or perhaps it would be more correct to say it felt like it had been bloated earlier. So I didn't have a very happy journey to work, and in fact if it hadn't been for the need to get stuff done for next weeks exhibition, I would happily have taken the day off sick. In the hours that have passed since then I have improved a lot, but I still don't feel terribly wonderful. I expect I will continue to improve during the day, but it is not easy to relax with all the panic going on around me. I couldn't even start to write this until my manager stopped fussing around in my office. I'm looking forward to next week when the IFSEC exhibition has started, and I can put my feet up, or take days of work, or even go sick if I have so much as a broken fingernail !
Monday 8th June 2015
08:22 BST

  From afternoon through to sunset it was a pretty nice day yesterday. The best of the sunshine was from mid afternoon onwards, and it seemed to stay sunny right up to the point when the sun dropped too low to be visible. 20° C wasn't that warm, but it was most acceptable. It's a shame that today is forecast to only reach 17° C, and that the afternoon is going to be so grey after a rather nice start. It is only 11 or 12° C now, but since sunrise the sky has been bright blue with hardly a cloud in sight. It doesn't seem like it will soon cloud over, and probably rain sometimes around 4 or 5pm, just when I am going home from work, but that is what the forecast predicts. Tomorrow could be even worse ! It might not rain, but it is forecast to be very grey, and the temperature might only reach an early spring like 15° C. That is just not good enough for a June day. I think I should complain to my MP (shame I haven't got one).
washing drying on
                          the line
 Here's some of the results of my hard work yesterday afternoon - washing drying on the line, and within 3 or so hours it did get mostly dry as the breeze gently wafted around it while the sun warmed it. When I took it in just after 7pm there were still a few lightly damp spots on it, but even those spots were bone dry this morning. I couldn't think of anything else satisfying last night, or at least nothing that I fancied doing there and then, and so I had a couple of cans of extra strength lager, and went to bed.

 I had some really weird dreams in the night, but if you don't count waking up half an hour early, I feel I sleep quite well. Two of the dreams that I have some memory of concerned nuclear power. In one dream I was working in a place that had a nuclear reactor that was guarded by armed guards, and with a very strict access protocol - except for me. I seemed to be able to wander around unchallenged, and beyond the nuclear reactor area I seemed to have access to a small warm room which I could sneak into for a snooze.

 The other dream incorporated the two battery operated LED bulbs that I pictured yesterday, except in the dream they seemed to be powered by some sort of radio active substance and/or process. If I recall correctly, one of the bulbs was cracked. I'm not sure if there was anyone else around, or if I was the only one there, but there seemed to be no worry about the cracked bulb apart from the fact that it might fail to light up. Like in the other dream, the radioactive part was almost just a background fact to the setting of the dreams. In the first it was just a convenient way of getting some sort of privacy, and in the second it was just a convenient label for the technology, but beyond that it had no purpose.

 I expected to feel pretty crap this morning. I thought that doing two lots of laundry, with one lot incorporating a big heavy wet towel, would lead to a few extra aches and pains - and it did, but only to a very specialised extent. Most of the time I felt (and feel) not bad, possibly even better than usual this morning, but......Twice I swung my ruck sack over my right arm and threaded my left arm through the second strap, and twice I had some very interesting chest pains for a few minutes as I walked down the road. During those few minutes (maybe just seconds) I could feel my bones and ligaments re-arranging themselves into more comfortable positions after various bits had been dislodged as I put the ruck sack on. Of course that is the poetic explanation for unknown things happening in my chest, and it may not represent reality (if anyone knows what that is).

 The only other thing about my condition this morning is that I am out of condition. I found it impossible to raise the enthusiasm to rush around, and while I didn't move at what you might call a sedate pace, I moved at far from top speed. I think, or maybe I know, that I've put on a bit of weight this weekend. I tried hard during last week to moderate my enthusiasm for eating, but it definitely all went wrong yesterday and on Saturday. In theory I should be eating most carefully tonight, but I don't think it will happen. I have several perishable foods in the fridge that I can't put off eating for too long. Besides which, I am quite looking forward to carefully warming up a couple of Ginsters steak slices. If I can get them to just the right temperature, I reckon they will be like ambrosia - food of the gods !
velociraptors at
                              Waterloo station
Last Friday I showed a couple of pictures of what looked like a delivery of new politicians to Waterloo station. This morning the container was opened, and lo and behold - vicious, biting, self centred politicians !
dinosaurs on the concourse
Sunday 7th June 2015
16:17 BST

  I guess today's weather has been almost a clone of yesterday's weather. The day started very cool, but not actually cold, maybe just over 10° C. It was usually quite bright, but not always sunny. As morning passed into afternoon the periods of sunshine became longer, and the temperature, just like yesterday, seems as if it has stabilised around 20° C. Tomorrow is likely to be a disappointing day according to both the BBC and Accuweather. It is going to be a lot greyer, a good few degrees cooler, and it will probably be raining when I leave work to go home. Deep joy !

 My prediction that I would do nothing last night turned out to be quite accurate. I treated myself to a couple of glasses of whisky, and basically just slobbed around until I went to bed. The booze obviously helped me sleep, but I also experimented with taking the duvet out of the duvet cover so I was cooler in the night. That turned out quite well until 4am when my bedroom had cooled off a lot. I had to try and keep every bit of me covered to stay warm after that.

 I got up in two stages this morning. First of all I got up at 5am as my body is trained to do during the week. I took all my blood pressure and stuff pills, checked my emails, checked some web pages, and finally I went back to bed again. At first I didn't think I would sleep, but the next thing I knew was that it was heading for mid morning !

 I took my time getting up, and it was gone 11am when I went out for a little walk to the shops. I didn't have to go out, but I thought I would force myself to go out for at least a little bit. As is so often the case, once I got moving I began to almost enjoy it - in places. I visited the 99p shop where I stocked up on a spare jar of cocoa butter cream. That was the only stuff that seemed to heal the bottom end of the scar when the surgeons removed a yard of vein for my heart bypass. Maybe it didn't actually help at all, and it was just that I stopped the nurse fiddling with it, and let it heal itself, but that cream did help soften, and sort out the strange scarring that was left from whatever accident the surgeons had while I was anaesthetised (it was like a chemical burn).

 After the 99p shop I went into Poundland where I bought some stuff I shouldn't eat, and I bought some more useful stuff like nice smelly Zoflora disinfectant, and another Jeremy Clarkson DVD (good value for just £1, but no more !). On the way home I felt sort of good, and I thought I might take a walk around the park once I had delivered my shopping home. When I got withing a few hundred years of home that idea seemed to dissipate, and I ended up staying home all afternoon (and I won't be going out tonight either).

 All of a sudden some strange things have appeared in the shops....
battery powered LED
 They are battery powered LED lightbulbs. They look very similar to mains powered LED lights that fit in a normal domestic light bulb socket - at least the one on the left does, although both simulate the Edison screw fitting that is more popular in America rather than the BC (bayonet cap) fitting that is used in the UK. I bought the one on the left from Aldi on Saturday morning. It is rather superior to the one on the right which I bought from Poundland this morning.

 The one from Aldi cost £3.99 if I recall correctly. It came with the single AA battery that powers it, and in operation it has three settings - full brightness, half brightness, and flashing. The single AA battery it was supplied with lasted nearly 24 hours, although the light had noticeably dimmed in the last hour or two. It is principally designed for outdoor activities, and it suggested to could be hung in a tent. One battery would probably last for many nights if used for a few hours as darkness fell. I reckon it would be very handy at home during a power cut.

 The bulb on the right uses 3 AAA batteries, and yet is no brighter. In fact it may be slightly dimmer. I bought it from Poundland this morning for (obviously) just £1, but I had to provide my own batteries. I have yet to do an endurance test on it, but I suspect it may last less than the other one despite using three batteries.  I have no immediate use for either of these bulbs, but maybe they will come in handy one day, or maybe I'll join the Boy Scouts and take up camping or something !

 When I started writing this I was all hot and sweaty after doing some actual physical work. I did two lots of laundry. The first was just 4 work shirts and some underwear, but the second lot involved a medium sized bath towel. Towels get remarkably heavy when saturated with water, and it was manhandling that that put sweat on top of my sweat ! The good thing is that the weather should be good for drying outside. The sun has now moved far enough around the sky to shine straight on to that dripping towel, and the breeze is keeping the air moving over it. It may not be fully dry when I bring it in a bit later this evening, but it may be no more than slightly damp - with luck.

 Oh well, it's back to work tomorrow. I hope that manhandling that heavy wet towel, and the other stuff, has not hurt my chest too much, and that I am not in too much discomfort tomorrow - although past experience suggests I definitely won't come out of it completely unscathed. Tomorrows work could be slightly interesting, and possibly even very slightly enjoyable, but I think I am looking forward to a few days off work once all the panic about the IFSEC exhibition is all in the past. I think the exhibition is now about 9 days away, and once it has started I can put my feet up and concentrate on being the laziest bastard of all at work.
Saturday 6th June 2015
16:12 BST

  High humidity made yesterday morning a very sweaty morning, but the afternoon was more pleasant. The nasty greyness that followed the early morning torrential downpours, dissipated during the morning, and the afternoon was unexpectedly nice and sunny. In the morning I had speculated on the chances of it being dry when I left work, but reality turned out far better than the forecast predicted. I can't remember how warm it got, but it was somewhere in the region of 20° C, and that was better than expected. It was almost a warm night, but the temperature had dropped to 10° C by 5am this morning. Much of the day has been fairly sunny, although maybe not as sunny as had been forecast. It seems to be getting a bit cloudy now, but it is still bright, and the temperature is a very pleasant 20° C. The forecast for tomorrow, which is now almost 24 hours old, says the day will start at 10° C, and after non stop sunshine it will only reach 19° C by 5pm. After that it will start to cool off, and it will get a bit cloudy. Quite what will actually happen is anyone's guess !

  Apart from wearing some medium uncomfortable shoes, I felt strangely OK yesterday. Sometimes I would get a few very short lived aches and pains here and there for some unknown reason, but I felt reasonably robust. Maybe walking in uncomfortable shoes distracted me from worse things. Who knows ? I sort of expected work to be unpleasant, but I felt very tolerant to what I had to do. Maybe it was an effect from my magic shoes or something !

 On the way home from work I called into Tesco and spent rather a lot considering I was just going to buy a couple of items. I seemed to need three carrier bags to bring it all home in, although one carrier bag was dedicated to some cleaning stuff and a bottle of lethal looking weedkiller. I hope that weedkiller will kill off, or at least seriously maim a budhlia bush that started to grow in the most inaccessible place outside my bedroom window. Just before writing this I was leaning out the window as much as I could, and spraying the bush as best I could. I don't know how much weedkiller hit it, or how much just blew away in the wind.

 Other stuff that I bought from Tesco included a ready cooked, hot bacon joint. Compared to a few rashers for breakfast, there is probably quite a lot of bacon on one of Tesco's hot bacon joints, but even so, most of the size of it is nothing but bone. I ate the whole lot together with a grilled vegetable tart - at least I think that was how it was described. It was a seriously expensive item from Tesco's "Finest" range, and I only bought it because it had a reduced (approx half) price sticker on it. It was rather nice though, but probably still not worth the full asking price. I'm not even sure that the reduced price matches the few pennies the ingredients probably cost.

 I went to bed feeling full, but not over full, and not before watching a compilation of old clips on BBC2 from the BBC's "Old Grey Whistle Test" back in the 1970s. It probably says something about modern music that there has been no effort to revive such a well regarded programme. It had it's heyday in the heyday of great music. Watching Argent play "God Gave Rock And Roll To You" back in 1973 brought out some strong emotions - a lot of good ones, but ultimately it left me feeling rather sad. You could say that 1973 was a pivotal point in my life where I choose a path that lead to some good times, but it was ultimately a dead end. I hit that dead end 27 years later, and I seem to have been stuck there ever since.

 The good thing about today is that it is not a work day, and that means I could get up slowly in my own time. I know I don't exactly rush to get ready on a work day, but today I took two or three times longer to make the transition from sleep to conciousness, and I felt so much better for it. Walking to the station to meet Aleemah was not pleasurable, but walking to the station never was - ever - but this morning it wasn't a chore like it is on a weekday morning.

beer for breakfast
                          part 143 
 Here's a composite picture of the two beers I had  (as two half pints) for breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub with Aleemah this morning. The Portobello Star was pleasant without being anything to write home about. The Feral Hop Hog was rather nice. The hops they used in it gave it a very mildly citrus flavour. Some beers using the same, or similar hops can taste a bit like grapefruit to me. That can still be nice, but this wasn't as strong as that, and nicer for being so.

 Aleemah brought along the movie about Steven Hawking, but I didn't fancy watching that. I think it's probably the first time I've turned down one of Aleemah's DVDs. I suggested that we watch Shaun Of The Dead instead. It was one of the DVDs I bought in Poundland last week (or the week before). Aleemah had seen it before closer to it's original release date, but was happy to watch it again. It wasn't quite as good as I had hoped for, but it was still probably worth double what I paid for it (£1) !!!

 Aleemah went home some time ago, and I was supposed to be doing some laundry, but for some reason I can't be bothered to do any right now. I could be bothered to do some cooking though. I added the final ingredient, some corned beef found on the reduced price shelf in Tesco last night, to the potatoes I had cooked in stock with added garlic and chilli way back on Wednesday night. It was all good except for one thing. When I originally prepared those potatoes I added some chilli paste to "zap them up a bit". I really ought to throw that chilli paste away. It is all heat and no taste. Chillies can have a very nice taste as well as being hot, but not these ones, and burning the lips and tongue for no added flavour is a bit pointless.

 Tonight I am doing nothing. There was a gig last night that it would have been nice to go to if I had any energy and enthusiasm left after a day at work with it's soul crushing travelling to and fro, but I don't think there is anything that I would be interested in going on tonight - although maybe I ought to check just in case I feel a sudden burst of energy and enthusiasm - like I used to have years ago.
Ocean Spray at
                              Waterloo station
I didn't get a chance to show these photos taken on Thursday.
Ocean Spray
Ocean Spray were giving away samples of their wares on the concourse of Waterloo station.
Friday 5th June 2015
08:01 BST

  I think that yesterday had the nicest weather so far this year. As the forecast predicted (amazingly !) it was a dry bright day with plenty of sunshine, and the temperature rose to at least 24° C by late afternoon. During the night it all changed. The forecast did pre-warn us of the change, but I don't think even that imagined there would be thunderstorms at 5am this morning. I woke up to torrential rain with many distant, and receding peals of thunder. It had stopped raining when I left to walk to the station, and has remained dry since, but the sky retains an evil greyness about it. More rain, and more thunderstorms are forecast, but there will be dry spells between them. Maybe I'll be lucky to go home in the dry...or maybe not ! Tomorrow should/could see a return to dry sunny weather, but maybe not as warm as yesterday. Meanwhile it's only about 15° C, but the humidity makes it feel very sweaty !

 Catford Bridge to The Blythe Hill
                        TavernSometimes, like this morning, I don't care to walk too far, or too fast. I guess I am just out of practice, although this morning I was slightly handicapped by my choice of shoes. I don't know if it just my feet, or if it is some strange inconsistency in the way they are manufactured, but there is no telling if my feet will find seemingly identical pairs of cheap Converse-like trainers sometimes very comfortable, and sometimes uncomfortable. The pair I am wearing this morning are uncomfortable. They don't appear to be rubbing anywhere, and nor do they seem to be pinching anywhere, but the faster I try and walk, the more it feels like I am walking on an uncomfortable surface. So this morning I have not attempted to break any speed records !

 That wasn't the case last night. I still wasn't trying to break any speed records, but it seemed quite comfortable to walk a tad over half a mile, and quite surprising to realise I was averaging close to 3 mph. That was always my average speed for the long walks I used to do, and hope to do again some day. There were two reasons for this performance. The most obvious one being the lure of beer, and the second one being the hot sunshine. It seems I remain weird in that when others are complaining about the heat, my muscles seems to finally start work properly.

 I would only classify yesterday afternoon as pleasantly warm rather than actually hot, but it was good enough, and it was delightful to sit under a hot sun drinking beer with some good company. I decided that after last week's rather long session, and excess beer with all the follow on effects of that, I would take things a bit easier last night. I just had three pints of a rather pleasant tasting "Hophead " by the Dark Star brewery before going home again. 90% of the walk home, which was a bit longer than the walk there, felt fine, but that last bit started to seem a bit like hard work.

 When I got in I had some very unhealthy dinner, and then I just sort of collapsed - not physically, nor mentally, but intellectually - a sort of medium vegetative state. It wasn't that long before I was in bed, but because I was far from drunk, I didn't go to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Not only that but it felt rather warm in my bedroom. Perhaps it felt humid too - as if it were a foretaste of this morning. So I didn't fall asleep very fast, and I didn't sleep that well.

 This morning I seemed to feel quite hot and sweaty after walking even fairly short distances. I wasn't sure if it was the weather, or if there was something wrong with me, but I think I got the answer when I went into Sainsbury's round the corner from Earlsfield station. They have air conditioning in there, and it felt perfectly normal when I went in there. It wasn't turned up high so it didn't feel chilly in there, but it was enough to make the outside air feel like being hit with a warm wet flannel when going outside the shop again. The rest of me feels tolerably well. I had a few small unexplained pains on the way here, but mostly I just sort of feel end of the week tired. It will feel nice to put my feet up after work - which is a shame because that doesn't make it sound like I'll be getting out to Chain's gig in Greenwich tonight. I wonder if I'll ever get to an evening gig again ?
a fresh crate of
It looks like a fresh crate of politicians was delivered to Waterloo station this morning.
a fresh crate of politicians
Not a very clear picture !
a fresh crate of politicians
Some say it is just some sort of advertising stunt for a TV channel, or a film, but I think we know better !
Thursday 4th June 2015
08:11 BST

  It's difficult to admit it, but I think that they may have got the weather forecast for yesterday about right - but only the one made about 12 hours in advance. It was dry, it was warm, and it was sunny. I'm not sure if it did hit 20° C, but it must have been close to it. The forecast for today says it will be bright and sunny most of the time, and that the temperature should peak at 20° C or more. The forecast for tomorrow is interesting. after saying it would be wet, or it would be dry, or it would be both, the forecasters now seem to have settled on a hot sunny day with a good chance of a rip roaring thunderstorm in the middle of it ! Well I guess that sounds like a typical summers day, so it must be about right !
blue sky in the
This was the glorious blue sky as I walked to the station this morning.
Catford Bridge station at 06:30 on
                          Thursday 4th June 2015
Catford Bridge station at approx 06:30 this morning. The sky was blue, but my camera phone overexposed the picture, and bleached all the blue out of the sky.

Firefox OS desktop
 The pictures above were taken on my new "toy" - An Alcatel 6015E mobile phone running the Firefox operating system. It's a bit like Android, but completely different ! I have to confess that I bought the phone out of curiosity, and it was just cheap enough to sort of justify that. It was just £70 from Amazon, and that price included a 16GB memory card for it.

 Was it worth it ? Possibly not. It arrived in the post at lunchtime yesterday, and so I've been playing with it for less than 24 hours. Some of that time was taken up with charging it, and it seemed to take ages to download a complete system update (about 300MB if I recall correctly). It did a smaller one this morning that took 5 minutes instead of 3 hours !

 I think I am happy with it in all respects except for a few critical ones that will probably stop me using it as my everyday phone. The big problem is a lack of specific applications for it. There are loads of potentially useful applications available for it, and billions of useless things like games, but there are no transport applications at all. No bus times, and no train times - except for some bus timetables for Delhi, and some sort of bus or tram, or train timetables for a London that isn't the UK London where I live (maybe it's an American London, but I wonder if there is an Indian London ?).

 The screenshot on the left is of one of the desktops - it's all very much standard smartphone stuff, hardly different to a million other smart phones.

 Having a new toy to play with made yesterday afternoon at work seem more pleasant than usual, and I felt quite good as I left work and headed for home. I didn't feel so happy when I got to Waterloo and found my train from Waterloo had been delayed. There had been a derailment on a different branch, and that was affecting train coming from Slade Green depot. My train did eventually run. It was over 20 minutes late when it arrived at Waterloo East, and it was only going as far as Elmers End (although that is 4 stops after Catford Bridge, and not a problem for me). Things got quite convoluted because it was due to arrive at Waterloo East one minute later than what would be the next train - and that next train was going to make an additional stop at Lewisham.

 If the information we got as passengers was completely honest and reliable it would have made my next decision very easy, but I had to make a decision without being able to rely on the information I was given. I reckoned that the first train to arrive going to Hayes (Kent), via Catford Bridge, would be jam packed because there hadn't been a service in over an hour. I was right about that, and waiting for the next train, originally shown as being just one minute behind, would let me travel on a half empty train - which it did. If the first train (which if you are able to follow these meandering thoughts correctly you will remember should have been the following service) was going to stop at Lewisham, the second train, the one I was going to, and did get, should have been able to "overtake" the second train, and it would arrive at Catford Bridge first. Sadly that didn't happen. The train I got did not arrive at Waterloo east one minute later, but nearly 10 minutes later. Oh well, I got home in the end, and at least I had a whole block of 4 seats all to myself for a change !

 My new phone spent a considerable amount of yesterday evening downloading a huge system update. So I had to do other things while it did that. One thing was to eat dinner. It was supposed to be some amazing concoction based upon the potatoes I had 90% cooked the night before, but I couldn't be bothered with that. I had a ready made fish pie instead, and it was very small, and it didn't seem very tasty. So I also had a steamed fish, potato and green beans ready meal (only 300 calories if I recall correctly). I also wasted some time watching a bit of TV.

 Eventually the phone completed the download, and I held my breath while it rebooted. Fortunately the upgrade went OK, and from then on I could start to configure things. I set it up for a couple of my email accounts. Added loads of contacts, and fiddled with a bit of this, and a bit of that until I realised it was getting absurdly late, and I should have been asleep an hour ago ! It was very difficult getting to sleep while I was excited. Most nights are deadly boring, but last night was one of the rare exceptions.

 It think it was past 11pm before I was asleep, and I didn't sleep that well. I had a horrible dream about a water leak. I had gallons of water pouring into my hallway from no obvious, or even possible source ! I was quite surprised that when I woke up from that nightmare I hadn't peed the bed, nor did I have any urgent need to have a pee. I guess it was just one of those house falling down nightmares that probably affect all property owners from time to time.

 This morning I don't feel all that bad. Maybe it is the change of weather, but I don't seem to have any annoying aches and pains this morning. That's not to say that nothing creaks and groans this morning - plenty of bits do that, but the level of pain is minimal. My legs definitely feel a bit creaky this morning. It seemed impossible to walk as fast as I prefer - particularly so when walking from the station to work. That's one of those walks that is so bloody boring that you want it to be over in seconds, but without growing wings it is impossible. So you slog it out - sometimes fast, sometimes slow, and this morning it was somewhere between.

 It is quite possible I will be drinking tonight, but I don't know where yet.  I hope that we are drinking somewhere local tonight or I might drop out and be forced to drink a can of 9% lager at home instead....or not. I don't think I want to do anything like travel into Bromley tonight, but I might be prepared to walk half a mile from the station in the wrong direction to The Blythe Hill Tavern for a couple of pints - and no more than a couple tonight ! There was a suggestion that on the next warm and sunny Thursday we would be drinking there, and it should be delightfully warm and sunny at 5pm tonight.
Wednesday 3rd June 2015
07:55 BST

  Once again the weather forecast was at odds with reality yesterday. I was expecting a cold, wet, grey, miserable day, and indeed it did start like that, but by the afternoon it was fairly bright, and it had stayed dry for most of the morning. By the time I left work to go home it was quite a decent sort of day. It was definitely rather breezy - a very strong breeze ! - but that breeze seemed to be bringing in warm air, and it almost felt warmer outside than it did in my office where I had had the heater on all day. If I recall correctly, 20° C was showing on my thermometer when I arrived home.

 The forecast for the next few days has changed yet again. Today should be warm and sunny. It started off at 13° C, but it was rather dull. The sky is clearing now, and it does look like it could be a warm sunny day with a top temperature of 20° C (or maybe even more) if the sun can stay out. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be bright and approaching hot. The forecasts for Friday, and the weekend have been going up and down like a yo-yo. Some days they think it will be cold and wet, and on other days they think it will be hot and dry. The current forecast is sort of half way between the two. It's all a devious plan to claim that the forecasts are completely accurate, and at 07:59 on Friday I am expecting them to make a completely accurate forecast for 08:00....and it might even hold good until 09:00, but I won't hold my breath that it will still be right at midday !

 Maybe it was the change of weather, maybe it was something totally transcendental, but I felt curiously OK, almost good, when I went home from work yesterday. I had been feeling a bit rough in the morning, and had taken a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to calm things down, but they don't last that long. I can't even attribute it to the beer I had last night (unless my subconscious had already decided on it without informing me first). Whatever it was gave me a sort of lightness of mind, and that gave me a lightness of step - or was it the other way around ?

 I went home via the Turkish supermarket again yesterday. I'm not sure what was the most important item I wanted when I went in, but I decided I wanted more Tzatziki, and a couple more pots of bean salad. Then I thought it might be a good idea to see if they still had any cans of genuine 9% Special Brew left to replace the one I had drunk on Monday night. They had, and so I bought a replacement and a spare. I also noticed they had another 9% super lager. It was Kestrel, a well know awful pissy lager in it's usual form, but I took a chance that the 9% version may have had some decent flavour (it did).

 When I got home I cooked a potato, spinach, and salmon casserole*, and I kept the recipe of this one quite simple with just a bit of stock, garlic and chilli sauce to add to the other three ingredients. It was pleasant, but not exciting. So for tonight I have prepared, and pre-cooked the potatoes with more garlic, chilli paste, and beef stock. Obviously that won't go with fish, and I don't have any beef to add to it. I guess it might end up as potato and beans tonight. I feel quite excited about the possibilities for it, but of course on most days food is my one single pleasure that makes life worth living.

*Casserole - well it was cooked in a Pyrex casserole dish so I guess it must have been a casserole even if it was completely different to any casserole we have heard of before !

 After I had finished dinner I shut down the living room and went up to my bedroom and PC to watch a bit more TV. While doing so I had to satisfy my curiosity about that Kestrel super lager. It was quite nice, but I didn't think it was quite as good as the original Special Brew. The only way to be sure was to also drink a can of Special Brew to make sure, and yes, Special Brew is nicer, but not by a great extent. In even the merest of emergencies either would be completely acceptable, but where there was a choice I think I would stick with traditional Special Brew.

 After drinking two cans of extra strength lager I was obviously starting to feel the effects of the booze, but with nothing more to do except go to bed, that didn't matter, and it may have been a good thing. I certainly got to sleep faster last night than I did the night before, and to some extent I may have slept better, but it did give rise to a couple of strange dreams. I was possibly fast asleep by 8.30pm last night. At 1am this morning I woke up - twice, or was it three times ? The first and/or second times I was still asleep when I woke up ! I had a dream, at least I think it was a dream, that I woke up feeling still very sleepy, and I didn't want to get up and go to work. I am pretty sure the next part of the dream was that the first part was actually a dream, and that now I really had woken up, and it was time to check my clock. As I looked it I seemed to realise that something was wrong, and that I ought to really wake up - which is what I did - I think ! Having ascertained that it was only 1am I didn't have to panic about getting up while feeling so sleepy, and I turned over and went back to sleep again.

 The next dream, that probably happened as 5am approached, was about a new camera, possibly in a new mobile phone. I was trying to copy the pictures to my PC, but different pictures seemed to come off the device. The dream seems very hazy now, and I can't remember the details of the dream, I do recall that it was a most perplexing dream that left me feeling very frustrated. Maybe it was a premonition of a potential problem coming up in real life. In real life I have just wasted some money on a new "toy". It is a rather cheap, but possibly rather well specced mobile phone running the Firefox operating system. I have to confess that I bought it for it's novelty value rather than having any great need for it, but in theory it is a better phone than I currently have - and that is rather good for a sub-£100 phone - and one great advantage is that it can take a micro-SD card, and I can fill that up with pictures, music files, or any other crap that I currently have to store on the limited internal memory of my current phone. It should even be possible to replace the Firefox operating system with Android if needed.

 I ordered this new phone from Amazon, and it should be delivered here to work today. I opted for free delivery, and that meant a wait of 3 - 5 working days - and it seems not a day before ! Let's see if I can reproduce the tracking details for my parcel...

Shipment details

Latest update:

Sunday, 31 May 04:27
Parcel arrived at a carrier facility
Croydon, GB
Carrier: Amazon Logistics
Saturday, 30 May 19:39
Parcel left the carrier facility
Saturday, 30 May 19:15
Parcel arrived at a carrier facility
Saturday, 30 May 09:24
Parcel arrived at a carrier facility
Hemel Hempstead, UK, UK
Saturday, 30 May 06:00 Parcel arrived at a carrier facility
Friday, 29 May 11:54
Parcel has been handed over to the carrier and is in transit
Bad Hersfeld, DE

 The sharp eyed may spot that my parcel originated in Germany, and then it was shipped to Hemel Hempstead in the UK. From there it was shipped back to Germany, and from Germany it was shipped to Croydon back in the UK. This is really weird ! Is this some dodgy tax thing that Amazon are well know for ? Is it something I should worry about ? Will all this extra travelling reduce my new phone and it's packaging to a mere pile of pulp ? Well, some time today, and I am guessing around midday, I will find out - after all a semi-fit postman could walk from Croydon to here in well under a day. When I was at my fittest it would only have taken me about 4 hours !
Tuesday 2nd June 2015
07:50 BST

  The weather forecasts seem to be more and more erratic these days. A man with a piece of seaweed can make a more accurate forecast than a super computer the size of a small village - or so it seems. Yesterday was a good example of getting it all wrong. There were no showers in the afternoon, and although it may not have actually been very sunny, and it was barely warm, it was mostly fairly bright. It was certainly nothing to get excited about, but it was not offensive in any way.

 Yesterday, based on what the forecast seemed to say about today, I suggested that today could be better than yesterday. I was wrong because the forecast was wrong. Today has started off rather grim. It may be 12 or 13° C, but the sky is the colour of slate, and it has been raining. It now seems highly likely that it will be like this for most of the day. The only hope is that the brief (slightly) bright spell shown in the forecast for around 4pm turns out to be right. The one thing the forecast did get right was, but only a few minutes in advance of it happening, is the wind. it's going to be quite blowy for a few days or more.

 The forecast for the end of the week, and into the weekend, has suddenly changed too. Maybe it is because the train strike, which I was counting on so I could have a day off work on Friday, has been called off. A day or two ago a heatwave was forecast with temperatures maybe hitting 30° C on Friday or Saturday. Not any more ! The best we can hope for is now forecast to be 22° C, and there is as much chance of rain as sunshine.

 Life during the working week has been rather unexciting for the last 5, 10, 15, ? years. Some days some things happen, but not lately. I'm not sure if it's like being on a treadmill, or being in prison. I imagine the cycle of eat - sleep - work - eat - sleep - work must be similar for both. Of course this is the reason that I spend so much time saying how I slept, what I ate, and how many aches and pains I have. It is a complete summary of my life on most days - and today may, or may not be a typical day.....but was yesterday ?

 I felt quite odd yesterday. I can't really explain why, or even what those odd feelings were in any clarity. My chest felt odd in a sort of vague way. Some pains seemed to be missing, and a strange sort of pain so high up that it was almost in my neck was a novelty. The oddest thing of all was that my appetite seemed to be all awry. I did, and didn't feel hungry at the same time. I had some bean salad that I bought on my way home from the Turkish supermarket. That was supposed to be a little snack to amuse my stomach while I cooked a potato, spinach and fish ghoulash *.

* The use of the word ghoulash here has nothing to do with cookery or reality. It is just a word plucked out of the aether to make a simple dish appear sophisticated......or something.

 The only thing was, I suddenly found I didn't fancy cooking that, or indeed anything. So I had a bag of quite hot chilli flavoured crunchy potato snacks (a bit like crinkle cut crisps) that I dipped in a small tub of Tzatziki. The yoghurt and cucumber really sucked the heat out of those crisps. That really should have been all I wanted, or needed to eat last night, but after a while I fancied more, and the simplest thing I could think of was to have a couple of apples and a rather larger lump of mature Cheddar cheese that I probably ought to have ate. The apples were not sour, but also weren't very sweet. So they shouldn't have raised my blood glucose too much.

 There was one other thing I did last night that was out of the ordinary. Some months ago, quite early in the year I think, but I can't remember exactly when, I had a random desire for a can of 9% Special Brew. Unfortunately there were moves to either ban the stuff, or to water it down, and Tesco had jumped the gun and had already stopped stocking it. That pissed me off greatly. After a week or two I found some cans in a small shop, and bought four cans of it, and over the next few days I added four cans of two other super strength lager because all these extra strong beers were facing a ban of some kind. Since then I haven't had the urge to drink any until last night. I only allowed myself one can of the (now) precious substance, but it satisfied the craving until next time - which could be tonight, or it could be in 6 months time. who can tell.

 Having filled myself up with junk food, and drunk some 9% super lager, I went to bed. It may sound like I should have fallen asleep easily after that lot, and maybe I did in reality, but it didn't feel like while I was trying to get to sleep. Maybe it only lasted a couple of minutes, or maybe it lasted for the full 20 minutes that it felt like, but during whatever period of time it was I cursed my pillow for being half an inch too high and too low at the same time. Cursed the fact that one arm outside the duvet felt too cold while the one under it felt too hot. Cursed all the new lumps in my mattress that weren't there the night before, and wondered why my big left toe had suddenly started to feel painful in a way that I couldn't identify. Then I fell asleep, and probably slept slightly better than many nights.

 This morning I feel pretty crap (although my left big toe feels perfectly OK again). It was a morning where the more I did, the more my chest would seem to click and pop, and ultimately start to feel sore. It was a morning where I decided that a couple of Ibuprofen tablets might cure the inflammation that was starting to become annoying. It was also a morning where I felt it imperative to come into work no matter how rough I felt because staying at home would just make me feel even worse. So here I am at work, sitting down with the heating on because it is still bloody chilly this morning despite it being summer (or very close to it depending on which date you believe in).

  I feel tolerably comfortable physically, but I don't feel what you might call happy at the moment. The fact that the little pot of puy lentils and couscous that was going to be half my breakfast had a faulty seal, smelled a bit funny, and had to be thrown away is one tangible reason for feeling depressed this morning. The horrible grey sky, and the cold, is probably another good reason. Maybe there are other reasons too, but I don't know what they are. All I know is that I would prefer to be walking along near the sea under a very hot sun....and maybe swigging from a can of ice cold Special Brew (although in reality I drink nothing more than plain water while walking, and not much of it until I've finished walking).
Monday 1st June 2015
07:54 BST

  In meteorological terms, today is the first day of summer, although in astrological terms the first day of summer is still three weeks away. So, how are we doing. Yesterday was awful, awful, awful - until it wasn't ! After a day of dull grey skies, that felt cold even if it wasn't in reality,  the clouds slowly parted, and the last 3 hours of daylight were bright and sunny. I was safely in my warm and dry bedroom, isolated from the outside world, but it still made me feel good ! This morning has started off rather chilly feeling (little more than 9° C), but it was bright and sunny and cheerful. sadly it won't last, and even now the blue sky seems to have been largely replaced by a white mistiness. If the forecast is correct it will be raining in a few hours time, but it may brighten up by 4pm, and even if not sunny, it should be dry by then. Unfortunately it may only be a cool feeling 14° C. Tomorrow may be a little better, but Wednesday is supposed to show a major change for the better, and by Friday temperature could be approaching a very comfortable (except for sleeping) 30° C !

 I can't give all the credit to yesterday evening sunshine because it started to happen before then, but I'm sure that sunshine helped me to feel rather good in the evening. So good that I forgot about being bored, and pissed off. I was also free of any significant pain, aches, etc. This was rather good, but it did have one drawback. Instead of feeling tired I felt very alert, and it's not easy getting to sleep on time when feeling like that. At some point in the proceedings I seemed to make matters worse by deciding I had to wash my hair, and that meant I had to delay trying to go to bed while my hair dried.

 On reflection, I think I fell asleep a lot quicker than it seemed at the time. I don't recall any particular reason why I shouldn't say I slept well last night, but I do remember one event that wasn't very good. I'm not sure when it was, but at some time in the night I was half awake, and I decided to turn over. As I turned from laying on my left side to my right side there was quite a crunch from inside my chest. It wasn't painful, but it felt like either something had broken, or something out of place had reseated itself. I think it was probably neither of those, but I can't think of any sensible suggestion as to what it actually was.

 Such events are commonplace now, although last night's did seem a little more extreme than usual. Fortunately it didn't cause any problems at the time, although it might have left a legacy for this morning. Apart from my guts being rather volatile this morning, I felt rather good when I first got up, but as soon as I started to brush my hair, bringing one or the other hand above my head to do it, my chest soon became quite sore. Some of the soreness is probably also a legacy of doing the hand powered laundry I did yesterday, but I feel sure that crunch in the night didn't help. A couple of Ibuprofen tablets have killed the inflammation, but the superstructure of my chest does seem to be very rattly this morning.

 As I came to work this morning I felt a mixture of feeling unusually good, and a bit rough. I guess it was that I felt unusually good from the waist down, and from the neck upwards, but my chest felt a bit rough. My back and sides felt perfectly normal. I guess I also felt a bit hungry too. There was a sort of emptiness in my gut that was not always that pleasant. In point of fact it was probably less to do with hunger, and more to do with the volatility of my guts that I mentioned earlier. It was probably rather good that I had managed to deal with that before I left home to come to work - although there were a couple of occasions when I had my doubts about that. I've now had a couple of Sandwiches bought from the Sainsbury's Local shop in Earlsfield, and my gut now feels satisfied.

 Like everyday at work I will be glad when this one is over - although at this time there is no special reason to enhance that feeling. Maybe there will be later on.... I have no special, or even vague plans for tonight. It could be a boring evening, but if it is bright, and hopefully sunny as I make my way home from work, I could be inspired to find some things to do. I did make a little bit of progress in adding some songs to my substitute-for-a-radio-station-memory-stick over the weekend, but there are loads more I can do, and as yet I've made no moves to start to play with a streaming server to stream a huge random selection of songs to my work PC, and maybe elsewhere. I have sort of imagined some of what I might do, but sooner or later I am going to have to get the hardware together to do it, and maybe tonight will be the night when that will start to happen....or maybe not !