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

Tuesday 31st March 2015
08:07 BST

  For once the weather forecast seemed to be about right yesterday. There was the promised sunshine until it got a bit cloudy in the afternoon, and then, perhaps a little bit earlier than expected, there was a light shower after I got home from work. The forecast temperature, 9 - 10° C was about right too. During the night there was more, and probably heavier rain, but apart from a few minutes here and there of some very light rain, it is now dry, but still very overcast. The main feature of the weather is the wind. It's a bit calmer than it was earlier, but some of the gusts of wind have been very strong. That wind will continue, on and off, until late afternoon when it will gradually blow itself out. Unfortunately it is supposed to stay overcast all day, with the chance of more showers this morning, but the temperature is going to stay very flat at about 10° C. Unfortunately the wind is going to make it feel cooler than that. The only good news about the weather is that the long range forecast for the long Easter weekend is slowly changing from dreadful to almost not too bad, but of course that could change either way in the next few minutes, hours or days.

 I definitely felt pretty crappy for much of the working day yesterday. So crappy that I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets in the afternoon. They either worked far better than I expected, or whatever it was that was ailing me seemed to be wearing off to the extent that I felt quite comfortable going home from work, and I was feeling quite good when I arrived home. That was really rather handy because there was one thing I had to do that I wasn't looking forward to doing.

 That one thing was to deal with some laundry that I had left soaking in bio detergent for 24 hours to try to get out some of those more stubborn stains. The main contenders for this treatment were a couple of grubby dishcloths, but I also added a rather heavy duty hooded polo shirt type top. Manhandling that took quite a lot of energy, and I am surprised I didn't make my floating rib syndrome even worse. Maybe it did the opposite because it doesn't seem to have caused me any annoyance since then.

 It wasn't just finishing off laundry that I did last night. I also swapped two dusty lampshades with the pair that I had given a wash and brush up on Sunday. Admittedly that was a fairly short job, although it wasn't that easy. It is a long time since I've tried standing on my bed, and it must definitely have been before I changed the mattress 3 or 4 (or more ?) years ago. My current mattress is fairly soft, and if it had any padding it would be comfortable to sleep on without the mattress topper that I use, but it is a right bugger to stand on ! I nearly pulled the light fitting off as I stumbled around trying to keep myself upright. The only good fact was that had I fallen over, as I nearly did a couple of times, it would have been a soft landing !

 I ended up eating too much last night. My dinner was a mostly low everything skinless chicken and vegetable stew, but I also ate far too many little cheesy biscuits. They were the little 2p, or even 1p coin sized biscuits, and the trouble with them is that they are very moorish, and they are difficult to put down. To overdo it was a bit stupid when it was only yesterday afternoon when I realised I had finally caught up with myself after my disastrous binge a few Thursdays ago. It was yesterday afternoon when I realised I could do my trouser belt up to the tightest notch again, and this morning it was no effort to do it  - and it was, and has been perfectly comfortable to wear the belt that tight.

 I went to bed last night feeling OK, and I slept mostly OK, but I would have preferred not to have woken up so many times in the night. One of of those occasions I woke up with a sore ear. It was like I had a big painful zit on my earlobe, but there was no hint of any soreness when I got up this morning. It was either a dream, or I had somehow bent the earlobe over, or something, while I was sleeping. When I finally got up at 5am I felt unusually good despite seeming to have a cold. I think it was probably hay fever, and that's why I allowed myself to do something I haven't done since we lost the warm weather last year, and that was to wash my hair.

 Going out in the cool, or even cold wind, with a few rain drops thrown in for good measure, with damp hair while suffering from a cold would be stupid, but that's what I did. As I walked to the station my nose was very runny, and that may have been hay fever - except it is not hay that bothers me but tree pollen in the spring, and some fungal spores in the autumn, and neither bothers me that much - usually. I actually look forward to the hay fever season because that is when my allergies stop ! The other reason my nose was dripping is because I couldn't stop coughing all the way to the station. I had quite a tickly throat, and I guess some of that was from the mucus from my nose which was caused by the coughing that was caused by my nose running which was caused by coughing which was caused by.......well, you get the picture !

 Once I was on a nice warm train, or actually too warm considering I was wearing a semi thick coat, and I had been walking quite fast to get to the station, my nose seemed to dry up, and my coughing stopped - and it hasn't restarted again. It's really only in comparison to yesterday, but I feel really quite good this morning. A few bits are showing signs of wear and tear after nearly 60 years of being worked hard, but most of me still seems to be alive. There are even reasons, well one reason to be cheerful. Last night I dumped almost the entire amount of my bank account into my saving account in the belief that I would be paid this morning. My belief was true, and that is a great relief because if it hadn't happened I would have been in trouble !
hazards in
                          Earlsfield part 97,064
 Continuing the series of hazards on the streets of Earsfield (is it a series ? Was it supposed to be a series ?).... I took the picture above right outside Earlsfield station on my way home from work yesterday. These open manhole/joint box covers could cause a nasty little accident, but it seems that there were once barriers around them, but either the wind, or some of the obnoxious schoolkids from around here have knocked the barriers down. My guess is that these manholes have been left open to disperse gas that has accumulated in them from a nearby gas leak. I have never smelled gas by the station, but there are many places along Garratt Lane where gas can be smelled, and the gas board frequently have the road or pavements dug up to try and fix the problem. There must be a right manky old gas pipe under the road that is full of holes !

 For the next month work will not be terribly pleasant. A test is taking place just 10ft from my desk. It is an accelerated life test of a new pulley or belt, or something, and involves 25 motors grinding away back and forth, making a terrible racket. By the end of the day my nerves may well be frazzled, and by the end of the month I may jump out of the window !
Monday 30th March 2015
08:22 BST

  The rain, that plagued so much of yesterday, gradually petered out during the afternoon, and shortly before sunset there was a very brief glimpse of hazy sunshine that lasted all of about 30 seconds ! It did nothing to rehabilitate a lousy day, but it did herald the start of a short spell of better weather. There probably wasn't any rain last night, or at least none that I was aware of, but the clearer sky did allow the temperature to drop to a chilly 6° C. Unfortunately there won't be enough sunshine to raise the temperature by more than 4 or 5° C, and the wind is coming from a cool direction, but there will be some sunshine today. After a slightly hesitant start it is now gloriously sunny, and the sky, or at least the bit I can see from my office window, is gloriously blue. The forecast says it will cloud over again this afternoon, and it will be raining again a couple of hours after I get home from work. I hope it is a couple of hours after, and not before !!!
sunrise by Canon
I tried to take a picture of sunrise this morning. The picture above shows some pinkness, but the sapphire blue patch of sky I could see just above the roof line of the distant houses was completely bleached out. This picture was taken with my Canon SX210 IS camera, and I did tweak it a bit to enhance the pink sky, and make it a little more contrasty.
sunrise by Nikon
I took this picture with my Nikon S6300 camera, and it didn't overexpose the sky so much. The sky is far pinker, but once again the little patch of blue my eyes could see has just come out as a bright white glow.

  I felt strangely rotten yesterday afternoon. Bit's of me ached in undefined ways - or maybe different bits of me ached depending on what I was doing, and what posture I was in etc etc. Occasionally I did something to distract me from any discomfort, and it didn't really need to be much at all. Maybe some of what ailed me was just boredom, but not all. One distraction was to attempt to wash the two lampshades that I didn't throw away. They are rather plain lampshades except that have a sort of pseudo suede finish. To my surprise they were quite easy to wash, and unlike the last time I attempted to wash a lampshade these two didn't start to disintegrate.  I think one is going to end up in the hall to replace the current one which has several years of dust on it. The other will probably go in the spare room - which has a less dusty, but still dusty lampshade in it.

 The ultimate cure of at least several aches and pains was to do something that I don't think I had done once in the preceding days of March, and that was to pour myself a very large whisky (plus a second one for luck). If it didn't do any other good, it certainly helped me get to sleep within minutes of turning off the light at 9pm. That was quite handy because expecting my body clock to catch up with BST after less than one day may have been a lot to expect. I slept soundly for 5 hours, but from then on my sleep got a bit intermittent. It seemed like I was awake from 2 to 3am, but I probably wasn't, although I did seem to be waking up at half hour intervals. However I felt quite pleased to wake up 2 minutes before my alarm was due to go off - just as I usually do most weekdays. That makes it sound like I have adjusted to BST very quickly, but past experience suggests I will lapse for a few days in a few days time.

 I hope it feels like a short day, or at least a short afternoon today because I am quite keen to go home again - at least I am right now. I've decided that I don't feel very wonderful today. It is partly a continuation of feeling bad yesterday afternoon, and mostly new stuff. Some of it is a bit like 'flu, but it is not severe enough to be that - at least not yet. Some of it was just a typical (for me) early morning stomach upset. I think I am fine now in that respect, but I did miss my usual train because I was sitting on the toilet, with my stomach making gurgling noises while I should have been walking to the station.

 Other than that, my (semi fictitious) "floating ribs" are causing me some discomfort this morning. It is not usually painful, as I have probably remarked before, but it does feel very strange. For instance, as I walked across the concourse of Waterloo station it felt as if the whole skeletal structure of my chest was swinging from left to right, and back again. In one direction that would almost be a click as if it was almost latching in place - except it's not really a click - it's possibly a bit like a dull, muted soft clunk that is felt and not heard.

 On top of all that it feels like I have put on a lot of weight in the last week. Walking seemed slightly harder than usual, and had me breathing quite deeply - almost up to, but not actually short of breath. My elbows seems to hurt this morning, and the right elbow, the one that has taken the most knocks in my lifetime, is the sorest. I think I can put that down to the cold. My office is not that warm yet, and since taking off my coat my elbows seem to be aching more. My stomach feels a bit tender still, but that seems to be getting better now. Other than that, I feel like I'll probably live to earn another days pittance, and maybe I'll even last to the end of the month and payday - which is tomorrow ! I wonder if I have any spare money to add to my savings this month ?
Sunday 29th March 2015
14:39 BST

  Yesterday was definitely better than today despite there being several similarities. Yesterday and today have both seen temperature rise to levels that would be acceptable, but today is a lot more windy than yesterday, and today is a lot, lot wetter ! It is currently 12 to 13° C - which is probably not a bad start to British Summertime, and I guess that the pouring rain satisfies all the clichés about the British summer, but I don't care for it ! If the forecast is correct it should start to brighten up a bit by 4pm, and by 7pm, half an hour before the sun sets today, it could be quite sunny. Tomorrow is supposed to start reasonably bright, and there could be some sunshine before it starts to rain in the late afternoon, but it will probably be a rather cool start - maybe just 5° C.

 I would like to give all the credit to the second mattress topper I put on my bed for what seemed to be a rather good night's sleep, but I am not certain that can claim all the credit. The curious thing is that I woke up at exactly 5am BST instead of 5am GMT. Maybe it won't be a struggle to effectively get up and hour early for work tomorrow morning, and on past experience that would not surprise me. Mornings are rarely a problem, but waiting for the working day to finish when winter time has just started can be a grand annoyance. If I have it the right way round, it should feel like the afternoons are extra short now that summertime has started. All I hope now is that the extra daylight after work will inspire me to do more in the evenings - including going out to some gigs !

 I don't know if it was just defiance in the face of adversity, but this morning I felt fairly good, and went out into the rain for some special shopping. Changing some light bulbs to new very low power consumption LED bulbs has reminded me how dirty and stained some of the lampshades were. So I went out to Poundstretcher and bought some new ones. They had some basic, plain lampshades for just £1.49 each, and I bought 4 of them. While I was out I also visited the new 99p shop, and bought a few odds and sods in there too.

 When I got back I set about changing those lampshades. I decided to just throw away two of the old ones, but I am not sure about the other two. The first two were in quite a poor condition, but the other two might respond to a bit of a clean up, and that might be worth it because they are not quite as plain as their replacements. I don't think I'll be putting all that much effort into cleaning them though. With acceptable replacement being so cheap it is not worth busting a gut trying to clean them without wrecking them.

 This afternoon I feel sort of tired and creaky. It's probably because I spent quite a long time laying on my bed reading. When my eyes started to close I tried to turn over on my side and have a snooze, but it made me feel quite peculiar. I can't really describe what "peculiar" means in this context, but it didn't feel good. It wasn't painful or anything like that, and I guess it was a sort of feeling that comes from a conflict of the mind. On the one hand I wanted to sleep, and on the other I wanted to do something. So I am writing this, but I still feel like sleeping. It's weird.
Saturday 28th March 2015
20:05 GMT

  Not long to wait now for BST to start.....

  There was probably more sunshine that expected yesterday, but it still wasn't much. The afternoon was slightly dull, which is better than very dull, and the temperature rose just high enough to take the worst of the sting out of it. For a while it may have just gone over 11° C. Sometime during the night there was a splash of rain. It wasn't enough to leave any puddles, but the ground definitely looked damp. In some respects today has been quite annoying. The air temperature rose as high as 15, and possibly even 16° C for a while, and it is still 11 or 12° C even now, but the wind made it feel a lot cooler, and a dull overcast sky took even more of the magic away. Tomorrow will be several degrees cooler, and the current forecast says it is going to be a rather wet day. Lovely - not !

 Despite earlier intentions, the idea of me going out last night quickly crumbled away. The rot set in when I went to Tesco on my way home from work. For some stupid reason I decided that I was going to have a Cornish pastie with baked beans for dinner. I might have got away with it is it was just that, but I also ate a few sandwiches. I ended up feeling so bloated that the idea of going out felt stupid. So I ended up having a slightly early night, and I was fast asleep at, I estimate, about 3 songs into Chain's set list !

 It was annoying not being able to test my new Nikon camera at a gig, and it was annoying being not annoyed, and actually enjoying going to bed when I did. Why do I only miss going to gigs in a theoretical sort of way instead of an actual sort of way ? It can't be because I am trying to reduce my beer consumption, because I am not at the moment. My very successful diet, even if it only reduced my waistline a bit instead of the amount of blood glucose level reduction I was hoping for, seems to have blown out for a while. I am trying to be a bit careful at the moment, but it will probably have to wait for another warm, brilliantly sunny day before I got back into the regime properly again.

 Apart from an absurd amount of flatulence, I felt fairly good when I woke up after a very good 8 hours sleep last night. It may have been more than 8 hours because I can't remember waking up in the night more than once or twice, and one of those times was at 5am when I automatically wake up every week day for work. It's probably just as well that I felt reasonably good because that extreme flatulence, and visits to the toilet to try and tame it, made me quite late to meet my friend Aleemah at the station, and I had to rush to get there before here train arrived.

 As usual, we wandered down to the Wetherspoons pub so she could have some breakfast, and as usual, while she drank coffee, and ate her vegetarian fry up, I had a few beers - three halves on this occasion. Wetherspoons are in the middle of one of their 84 times a year beer festivals at the moment, and there were several beers to tempt me - which is why I had three halves instead of the more usual two halves.
the first two beers
My first two half pints of breakfast beer - Hook Norton's "Inspired", and an American beer brewed in a UK brewery somewhere called "Spider Bite". Neither of these were strong - 4.7% and 4.0%
beer number three
My third half pint was this India Pale Ale - brewed in Everards UK brewery by a New Zealander from the New Zealand Townshends Brewery. This was a bit stronger - 5.5%, but not the tastiest. That was possibly the Spider Bite, but I'd have to have a few more pints to be sure - maybe !

  After breakfast we went into Aldi where I picked up useful stuff like toilet rolls, and some meat to go with the piles of assorted vegetables I already have here. I could have bought all sorts of crap while I was in there, but in fact I seemed to only buy stuff commensurate with my quest for less consumption of stuff that raises blood glucose level, and stuff that should enable my waist to shrink a bit if eaten in moderation (and isolation - that being the hardest part). I did allow two luxuries. The punnet of strawberries tasted nice, but not that sweet, although they probably did have some sugar in them. The bag of walnut halves won't effect my blood glucose level directly, but they do have a lot of calories in them, and I will attempt to eat them in small quantities and make them last the week (and pigs might fly !).

 The DVD that Aleemah brought over was rather good. It was The Imitation Game - the movie about the life of Alan Turing. I have a feeling that it was fairly, or even remarkably historically accurate for a movie. Maybe that was because no Americans were allowed to re-write history as they do all too frequently. (I've just checked - the Director, Morten Tyldum, is actually Norwegian !). Having said that, I've just read some convincing statements that say it was rather less historically accurate than I thought. Perhaps it would be fair to say that in condensing the storing so it would fit in a 90 minute film, a certain amount of fiction was added to fill in obvious gaps.

 Since Aleemah went home this afternoon, I have done remarkably little apart from eat inappropriately. One of the things I bought on my way home from work last night was a chicken and ham lattice pie that I noticed was marked half price. In theory such pies can not be cooked in a microwave oven, but the puff pastry didn't come out too soggy or stodgy. In fact it wasn't that bad at all - which is more than I can say about the filling. That seemed remarkably tasteless.  I can imagine it being one of the unhealthiest things I've eaten for sometime, and I could forgive myself for that if I had actually enjoyed it an awful lot more than I did !

 I did do one notable thing this afternoon, and that was to finally fit a new mattress topper to my bed. I decided to leave the old, slightly flattened mattress topper in place, and put the new one on top of it. So far I have only laid on it to do a bit of reading, but I think that apart from it being a bit smelly, it is going to be very comfortable to sleep on. The smell is supposed to be some sort of fire retardant chemical that is sprayed on it, and the recommendation is that it is aired for 72 hours before use. I only aired it for 24 hours instead of 72 hours, and I think I might regret it. It still smells rather nasty, and it's probably giving off some cancer inducing chemical smog, but if I don't die tonight it should be much improved by tomorrow night.
Friday 27th March 2015
08:00 GMT

  Hooray - it's Friday ! Sadly, it is not pay day. That is not until next Tuesday.

 After the terrible wet morning it eventually dried out yesterday. By midday, or maybe even a bit earlier, the clouds parted enough to let some sunshine in. It was frequently sunny all afternoon, but there was one short, sharp shower as I waited (under cover) for my train from Waterloo East on my way home from work. That's the second time that's happened there recently. The rest of the evening was dry, and it wasn't terribly cold - just sort of average cold ! There is a bit of thin cloud around this morning but it was not enough to stop it being a rather fine morning - although being only 5° C was not so good. The temperature will climb to a barely acceptable 10° C this afternoon, but we will have lost any sunshine behind thin white cloud later this morning. In fact the sky is looking more hazy than blue even now. Tomorrow could just tickle the very lower reaches of warm with a high of 14° C, but it's also supposed to be a very wet day. So it's yet another useless day !

 I had a very pleasant drink last night. It was only two and a half pints - at least I think it was, but I'm sure I was in The CCC long enough for it to have been three and a half pints. Well I didn't have a trace of hangover this morning so maybe it was just the two and a half. I had intended to go into Tesco before going drinking, but I decided against that at the last moment. Having to carry shopping home might have stopped me going into the chip shop for a large cod and small chips on the way home, but that's what I did. Unlike some previous occasions when too much booze has got the better of me, I didn't eat anything else at all other than the fish and chips (unless you want to be really pedantic and include a splash of tomato ketchup I added at home).

 With the days getting longer, and sunset getting later and later, I am supposed to be gearing myself up to start going out to gigs in the evening, but last night was typical of the current pattern of my life. After eating my fish and chips dinner I watched about half an hour of TV, and then I thought I would get into bed and read for a while. So at 8.30pm, having brushed my teeth etc, I got into bed, opened my book, yawned, closed the book again, turned out the light, and I was asleep in minutes ! In some venues the band would not even have started to play by then ! Going out to gigs is going to take a hell of a re-adjustment of my internal clock ! The clocks changing on Sunday morning, and the extra hour of daylight in the evening should help a bit.

 I seemed to sleep quite well last night - although I did wake up with cramp starting in both legs at one time, and I had to leap out of bed to put weight on my legs before the muscles locked in agonising spasms. I seem to remember having a few dreams that were quite entertaining, and I think one of them had cats in it. In an unusual twist, I was actually woken up by my alarm going off. It's rare that happens, but I had been awake for a while an hour before that, and may have only got back to sleep for little more than half an hour before being woken up again. Just to make a change, I felt almost quite good when I got up. Hardly anything ached at all ! So it was a bit of a disappointment that the walk from home to the station seemed like hard work. On other days I have felt far worse, and yet that walk has seemed fairly easy - but never actually easy. Even when I have gone out for a long country ramble, covering many miles, that walk to the station has always been the hardest part of it !

 Tonight I have the opportunity to go to a gig. Chain are playing in The Mitre Hotel in Greenwich, and it is a very easy venue to get to - a 199 bus from the end of my road stops almost outside the place. The first thing I have to do is to try and stop thinking that I don't like the venue. It is a long narrow pub, and the band play right at the end in such a position that it is hard to watch them (or take photos). It's also usually a very crowded pub, and I dislike crowds at the best of times. Well, if I can overcome all those negative ideas, and I can find the energy, I may get to see Chain tonight, but if not then...... so what ? I've spent so many nights in alone in the last 4 months or so that it seems entirely natural - and that is sort of annoying - in a way.
rotten floorboards
Here's a picture that needs some explanation. Across the centre of the picture is a rotten floorboard. It is not obvious on a flat picture, but on the right is a hole where a great chunk of wood has partly come out, and partly been pushed through. On the left a large area has split, and it looks as if it would only need moderate pressure to push the split right through into the void between the floorboards and the ceiling below. Fortunately this picture was not taken in my house. It is, in fact, the floorboard immediately in front of the door of the cubicle in the gents toilets in The Catford Constitutional Club ! Such are the perils of using a building that lay derelict for over 15 years without spending an absolute fortune on it. Eventually that floorboard will be replaced by one ripped up from a disused room in another part of the building - at least that is what appears to have been the case when another floorboard suffered in a similar way in the gents.
suggestion box
 I though these only existed in movies, but I saw this one at work waiting to be put up somewhere the other day. Oh it's so tempting, so tempting....................
Thursday 26th March 2015
08:21 GMT

  The forecast for yesterday was closer to reality than usual. After the bright frosty start the sun continued to shine, and the day warmed up to a glorious 9° C. At least I think it was about that, although it probably didn't feel quite as cold as that. Just before I left work to go home the sky seemed to divide. One side, and unfortunately it was the west side where the sun was, became very cloudy while the eastern side seemed relatively clear of cloud. So it was both bright and dull at the same time, and while I waited for my train at Waterloo East station some rain fell out of the the clouded side. Fortunately it was very light rain, and within 30 seconds of it falling I was on my train in the dry.

  It was dry as I walked home from the station, but the clouds seemed to thicken. At some time during the night the rain began to fall quite freely. It seems that the weather forecast for today as uncannily started off correctly, and I hope it stays correct for the rest of the day. Right now it is cold and wet - although not very cold - just a finger tingling 5 or 6° C. If the forecast continues to be correct the cloud will start to disperse by midday, and this afternoon could have some sunny periods. It should stay dry until well past sunset, and maybe even later than that. If the sun does it's job the temperature could reach 11° C at it's peak.
Catford Bridge
                          station in the rain
My morning train pulls into a very soggy Catford Bridge station (2 minutes late !).
the great lakes on the pavements of
Another illustration of just how well laid the pavements are(n't) laid here in Earlsfield.
Not just puddles in the occasional dip, but great lakes every 10ft down the road !

  I wanted to buy some Diet Coke on my way home from work, and the most convenient place to get it from was the Turkish supermarket. There are many temptations in there, including their delicious seeded bread, but I resisted most things except a pot of quinoa, corn, and bean salad, a pot of three bean salad, and a pot of chick pea salad (and by pot I mean a smallish container). I also bought a small round of Turkish cheese (at least I think it was Turkish), and a jar of pickled herrings which I hoped didn't have loads of sugar added like the Tesco roll mops in my fridge that may already have passed their use by date because I am reluctant to use them while I am trying to keep my sugar intake down to the lowest I can manage.

 When I got home I prepared my dinner. It was diced lean looking beef in a rich tomato and chilli stock that I had partially cooked the night before, and to which I added all of a small head of brocolli cut into small florets before zapping the whole lot in the microwave for 8 minutes. While that cooked, and then cooled down, I could not resist trying that quinoa and stuff salad pot - never having tried quinoa before as far as I was aware. It was pleasant, but nothing exciting, and I am none the wiser why it should be one of the recent darlings of the advanced foodie anoraks ! That salad pot plus the spicy beef and brocolli stew should have been more than enough for one night, but I couldn't seem to resist eating the chick pea salad pot a little later in the evening. I did manage to save the three bean salad pot to bring to work, and I had it for breakfast just before writing this.

 I seemed to sleep well last night despite being full of beans and stuff. I think one reason may have been that I didn't get any emails or stuff coming through on my phone during the night, and that is very rare. I never hear the phone bleep, but most nights when I wake up in the night I see the little light on the phone flashing to show I've missed something. It's quite good news really because it proves, or at least suggests that it is not the need for a pee that wakes me up most frequently, and that in turn suggests that my high blood glucose may be affecting me less than I thought, and that might mean that it is not so persistently high as I imagine it to be, and that might mean I am clutching at straws !

 I woke up from a very strange, mixed up, but curiously entertaining dream, feeling tolerably well this morning. It's such a shame that the cold, the grey light, and the rain all conspire to make me feel like it should definitely be a duvet day today, but here I am at work. I was feeling quite damp by the time I arrived here, and although one of my work colleagues had turned the heater on for me, and it had taken the worst of the chill off the room, it was still cold and unpleasant, but nowhere near as unpleasant as the train I got on at Catford Bridge - that had no heating on it at all ! Despite my moans about the cold and wet, I seemed to have a lot of energy, or whatever it is that drives me along. It would be totally incorrect to say that it was effortless, but walking, and walking semi-fast, seemed unusually easy this morning. I was even overtaking people going up the slope on the way out of Waterloo East station, and doing it without gasping for breath. Could it have been all the brocolli I ate last night, or was it just the beans ?

 Tonight I have the opportunity to ruin any form of sugar, fat, and calorie intake restriction, although I hope I don't go too far over the top like I did last Thursday. For tonight is boozing night ! I'll be meeting the gang in The Catford Constitutional Club after work, or at least after I get back to Catford. I think I might go in Tesco first though. If I have a couple of carrier bags to carry, and they have some carefully selected tasty, but almost innocent food items in them, I will be less tempted to go into any of the takeaway shops that are within 100ft of The CCC. Maybe tonight I will allow myself 3 pints - but only if it's not 7.4% booze again.......although that was very nice......
Wednesday 25th March 2015
07:54 GMT

  I thought the weather forecast said it would be overcast all day yesterday. It certainly started that way, and it did look like it might stay that way, but for a few hours there were frequent sunny intervals. Unfortunately they didn't last until it was time to go home, although it wasn't particularly dull as I made my way home. I'm sure I felt two individual drops of rain hit my face while going home, but it wasn't a prelude to any noticeable rain, and in fact all the cloud disappeared during the night. The consequence of that was that it is a bright sunny, and frosty morning ! It should be a sunny day, but the forecast is quite pessimistic about the temperature. The last forecast said it would only reach about 9° C today. Hopefully it will be better than that because after that all we have to look forward to is a cold and wet day tomorrow - unless the forecast for tomorrow is corrected (probably half way through the day - and it will still be different to reality !).

 I made a tragic mistake when I got home from work yesterday. I had a yearning to make my dinner more interesting. So I looked around and spotted a packet of instant noodles that I had bought from the 99p shop ages ago. I would have expected them to have a fantastically long shelf life, but when I added them to me turkey and vegetable stew I thought they smelled a bit odd - and they were. I think they had been infused with sesame oil, and that oil had gone off. I don't think it was actually rancid, but the flavour was bad enough to spoil my dinner, and I ended up throwing most of the gravy and noodles away after picking out the meat and large vegetables. The good news is that all the extra cooking, and the tomato purée that I mentioned yesterday, did do it's job, and the meat was a lot more tender, and might have even tasted better.

 Another piece of mildly good news is that I received an order placed via Amazon for some LED lightbulbs. I've been quite happy with the ones I bought from Aldi some time ago, and I think that they are a far better replacement for the traditional tungsten filament lamp than the compact fluorescent light is. I just hope they last longer too. CFL lamps are supposed to have a long life, but I am not so sure that they do last longer than filament lamps. The one in my bathroom may only have lasted 3 or 4 years, and I decided it's replacement would be a LED light. One advantage of LED lamps over other lamps is that they do run cooler, and particularly so compared to a tungsten filament lamp. That is quite useful for my bathroom light fitting because it is under a glass globe that doesn't allow any air circulation to cool the lamp.

 While my spoiled dinner was on it's third cooking sequence I fitted the brand new LED lamp in the bathroom. It was only a 7W lamp, but is brighter than a typical 40W tungsten lamp - the highest power recommended for the fitting. I had selected a cool white colour temperature when I ordered the lamp, and I think that was a good idea - but only sometimes. It is a very cold light, and reminds me of the sort of light you get when it is misty. When viewed like that it is not a nice colour, and it does make skin look a bit grey, but as I found out this morning, it is a perfect match for early morning daylight.

 It's not quite light when I wake up in the morning, but on a bright morning like this morning, it is daylight by the time I am finishing my shower, and of course it's perfect daylight when I walk to the station. This is all rather wonderful - up to a point. In a few days time it will probably just start getting light as I wake up at 5am, but then the bastards who rule the universe do the old switcheroo, and put the clocks back for another hour of darkness in the morning. Of course this does give an extra hour of daylight in the evening, and maybe that will be enough to trigger the start of going out in the evening to see the occasional gig. A lot of it depends on how that extra daylight affects my brain - I have little conscious control over it.
shoddy workmanship
                          causing trip hazard
More pictures taken on Monday showing trip hazards and stuff along the main road between the station and work.
tilted kerb stone
Now I will admit that this tilted kerb stone is on a corner, and only some idiot walking diagonally into the main road would trip over it, but it has been like this for 3, perhaps 5 years. Do Wandsworth council ever do any maintenance of their roads ?
cracked manhole frame
I think this is going to be the last of the series, and it is probably the defect that worries me most. This manhole cover, possibly with a high power mains electricity joint below it, has a cracked frame. It is not obvious in this picture, but there is a gap big enough to put a finger through in the bottom, right hand side of the picture. It looks like if anyone trod on it, it would flip over and fall inwards. In a very worse case, but highly unlikely possibility, that could cut into a cable and cause an explosion, and yet it is completely ignored - now. Last year it had some cones around it. So someone knew about it, but the cones disappeared, and that was it - ignored ! If you ever come to Earlsfield, and probably anywhere in the London borough of Wandsworth, please do watch where you step - your life is in your own hands here in the wild (south) west of London.
Tuesday 24th March 2015
07:57 GMT

  The sunshine probably lasted for longer then had been forecast for yesterday, but it had finished before I left work to go home. It probably helped raise the temperature outdoors a bit, but probably did more for my office that started out freezing cold after not being heated all weekend, and didn't start to feel comfortable until early afternoon. I think the thermometer reckoned that it reached 11° C, but it felt much chillier to me. Whether it was at the forecast time I have no way of knowing, but the puddles in the road this morning prove that it did rain during the night, but it's dry now - although very cloudy. It should stay dry until early evening today, but it doesn't seem like it will be a nice day. It will probably be overcast with no sunshine, and a few degrees cooler than yesterday. Tomorrow looks more promising. It should be sunny, although still rather cool - maybe just 9° C at best.

 After what could be described as a hedonistic weekend, and a not so good morning yesterday, I was feeling quite good when I made my way home from work. My energy levels felt good until I was just 3 or 4 minutes walk from home. At that point I went from easily striding along at a good pace to thinking that I felt knackered in the space of about 5 paces ! I didn't breal my stride, and within another 4 or 5 paces I recovered back to about 78.64% energy (or some such nonsense !). I have no idea what caused it, but my working hypothesis is that it was something lethal, and it will probably kill me anytime in the next 50 years.

 When I got home I immediately set about cooking my dinner - and tonight's dinner too ! Last nights dinner was composed around diced turkey thighs. They are cheap, almost fat free, tough, and not really that nice. I think it is because they are cheap that Tesco don't seem to sell them in smaller quantities, unlike some more expensive meats. So I split the pack in two halves, and had one last night, and I'll have the other tonight. For reasons that I can't really explain, I started cooking tonight's dinner before, and also after last night's dinner ! Last night I had the diced turkey with brown mushrooms and bell peppers, and also rather a lot of ready to use grated smoked garlic.

 After three lots of cooking, tonight's turkey will either be more tender, or it will be like boot leather ! Last night I cooked it with yet more garlic, and with a very generous amount of tomato purée. I'm not sure if it's a valid theory, but I think that the acid in that purée will help to soften the meat as it marinates in it for 24 hours - although vinegar and yoghurt would probably work a lot better, and usually it would be raw meat that is marinated. Oh well, the truth will be revealed tonight. The vegetables cooked with tonight's dinner are sugar snap peas and leek. Hopefully it will be nice and tasty.

 In theory, if it is tasty enough, then it should dissuade me from topping it with too many snacks. I had too many last night - at least too many compared to my master plan, but I've done far worse in the past, and at least everything I had should not adversely effect my blood glucose level to any great extent. I still hope that I can continue to reduce my blood glucose level, but maybe it is going to be a slower process than I had hoped for. One thing may speed it up, and that is taking notice of just how much sugar there can be in some squash. I was aware that the bottles not marked "no added sugar" would obviously have more sugar in them, and I attempted to treat them carefully - mostly by diluting them to be far weaker than recommended - but having seen how much some have I took more drastic action - I poured them down the sink !

 The trouble is that I love drinking ice cold drinks - even plain water. I tend to gulp it down like it was beer on a hot day ! I can go through a pint in half an hour, or less, and enjoy it so much that I'll get another. If it is a no added sugar drink then that is not much of a problem, but I may have been inadvertently consuming a lot of sugar, or at least a lot more than I realised, when drinking other types of squash. Once upon a time (15+ years ago ??) just switching from full fat cola to Diet Coke dropped my blood glucose level from way too high to just about text book normal in a matter of a couple of weeks (although admittedly with some careful eating too).

 Apart from cooking, the only notable thing I did last night was to wash my hair. As soon as it was dry I went to bed, and immediately got up again because my stomach started rumbling. An hour later I was comfortable to try and get some sleep, but during that hour I made a discovery. At least I think it is a discovery, but I don't care to repeat the experiment. If my theory is correct, then in the same way that asparagus makes your wee smell weird, samphire makes your poo smell weird, and worse than poo smells any way ! I attribute it to the samphire I ate on Sunday because that is the only "alien" substance I have consumed recently.

 After that unpleasant voyage of discovery I managed to get to sleep, but it must have been rotten sleep again because I woke up early feeling rotten. It might help my sleep if I replaced my worn out mattress toppers with one of the spares I have, and maybe I'll do that tonight, but I don't think that's the only answer. I would probably sleep better if my room was colder, but I left the heater on low all last night because the nights are still very chilly at the moment (and despite what the thermometer says, the days don't feel that much better).

 Anyhow, I woke up feeling stiff and aching. That was both a blessing and whatever the opposite of a blessing is (a curse ?). It was a blessing because it spurred me on to have a hot shower, and get moving. That usually cures the worst of it, as it almost did today. The anti-blessing of it was that I still felt tired, and I would have liked to have got at least my last half hour of sleep before my alarm went off, but it felt too uncomfortable to lay in bed - at least I couldn't find a comfortable position. Now I am at work I don't feel very wonderful. Perhaps doing some work will distract me from how I feel, and maybe even make me feel a bit warmer. It was quite probably inactivity that left me feeling so cold yesterday at work, and by inactivity I mean laziness of the worst (or best) kind ! It's probably wise not to expand on that :-)
yet another trip
                          hazard in Garrat lane, Earlsfield
Continuing with the photos I took yesterday morning - another trip hazard as yet again the paving contractors can't manage to lay decent paving around a joint box that has probably sat there completely stable for the last 50 years.
cable TV joint box sitting proud of
                          the pavement
This cable TV joint box is a relatively recent addition, was still there long before the pavement was relaid for the second time since I started working at my current location 6 or 7 years ago. The cement infill is cracking up, and will soon start to fall out, and the flag stones and bricks at the rear are slowly sinking.
sunken gas stop cock
This picture does not really show just how much the pavement around this gas stop cock access point has dropped. It must be a good 2 or even 3 inches lower than the nearby pavement. It's quite worrying that there is a gas stop cock under than hatch, and it is not far from a stretch of pavement that very frequently smells of gas, and where contractors for the gas board dig up the road or pavement five or six times a year.
Monday 23rd March 2015
08:38 GMT

  The temperature may not have fallen quite as fast as expected last night, and it didn't fall as far as the forecast predicted. The forecast said this morning would be cloudy, and about 4° C. I think it was closer to 6° C, and far sunnier than expected, although the sunshine is a bit intermittent. The forecast has been amended since first thing this morning, but it brings no particular good news. It does admit that will be sunny periods this morning, but they will probably stop before midday. From then on it will be overcast, but the temperature will still rise to a maximum of around 11° C. As midnight approaches it will start to rain, and it seems that rain will continue for much of tomorrow. It's going to be quite chilly too, but there is a small chance of a flash of sunshine as I go home from work. Maybe if I am really lucky it won't rain as I walk to the station. Of course if I am really lucky the weather forecast for tomorrow will turn out to be completely wrong, and it will be a fine day !

 One of the things I forgot to mention yesterday was that I tried the sea bass and samphire that I bought in Tesco on Saturday morning. The sea bass was quite nice, but it didn't seem anything special. I'm not sure about the samphire. The worst thing about it was that some of it seemed quite stringy. I'm not sure if I could grow to like the taste of it. It wasn't nasty, or anything like that, but neither did it excite. I think I'll just note it as a novelty, and move on to something else - maybe brocolli - a vegetable that is nasty but needed - although under rare circumstances it can sometimes be a little bit nice-ish !

 I don't remember much about it, but I guess I slept badly last night. It was almost as if I had a hangover when I woke up this morning. My head felt thick, and bits of me ached. A hot shower sorted out some problems, but it wasn't until I was walking to the station that I began to feel better - and that may have just been the couple of Ibuprofen tablets I fell I needed doing their job. The curious thing is that while I was feeling rough in some ways, I seemed to hardly notice any stress or strain when walking, although maybe that was only true from over halfway from home to the station onwards.

 Some of the aches and pains may be the result of bad/excess eating over the weekend...or maybe not. I seem to be able to get aches and pains with relative ease these days, but I definitely ate badly over the weekend - particularly yesterday. The fish and samphire was very innocent, but I also ate a few bags of those tomato sauce flavoured crisps I bought yesterday morning, and then in the early evening I decided I had a very strong desire for a can of "Meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce". I didn't dare to see what was in that can that I probably should not have eaten, but I bet it probably contained sugar for no good reason, and it probably contained a lot of fat too.

  Oh well, today I starve - at least until I get home from work. I do have one very small apple here with me at work, but other than that there is nothing for me to eat. When I get home I can cook some dinner. I think it is going to be chicken and brocolli, but I have several small packs of meat to chose from, and a whole heap of vegetables - maybe too many to use before they start to spoil. Perhaps if I had bought less meat I could have had a pure vegetable dinner - flavoured with meat stock and plenty of spice, of course !

 This morning I did something I have thought about doing for ages. I took pictures of just how lethal the roads are around here. All the pictures were taken between Earlsfield station, and the side road that leads to where I work. The local council seems to employ workers with no training, and no clue to lay and maintain the pavements, and they make a right hash of it ! The biggest problem seems to be that they lay the paving slabs on sand, and that washes away the first time it rains. So paving slabs wobble and send sprays of icy cold muddy water up your trouser leg when it rains. The worst thing is that they use soft crumbly cement to fill the gap between the paving slabs and manhole covers instead of carefully cutting the stone to butt up against them. Here's a couple of pictures today, and I'll show more tomorrow.
trip hazard 1
The edge of this joint box cover stands about an inch proud of the crumbly cement infill.
Trip hazard 2
Similar to the picture above, but bits of the infill are missing leaving deep holes.
really bad trip hazard
This tactile paving is for the benefit of the blind or partially sighted, but it is no good if it's laid so badly that it becomes a trip hazard. Most of these slabs are loose and move when you tread on them !
Sunday 22nd March 2015

  Yesterday's weather was not very good, but at least it wasn't horrible. Apart from the odd spots of rain in the morning it stayed dry, but it stayed overcast and none too warm all day. Today has been perfectly dry (as far as I am aware), but it has been mostly overcast. Unlike yesterday there were a few sunny spells, and although fairly short lived, just opportune moments when the a gap in the cloud passed over the sun, they did seem to raise the temperature to 12° C. I am pretty certain that didn't appear in the forecast ! The temperature has fallen back to little over 10° C, and will probably continue to drop to give a rather cool start to tomorrow. The forecast says just 4° C, and that there will be thick black cloud - cloud that will also allow some sunny spells in the morning, although how is not explained !

 I didn't do anything of significance last night - except that I seemed to stay up rather late, and I can't really think why that was. I was just pottering around doing a bit of this and a bit of that, and somehow the hours just seemed to slip by unnoticed. In the spirit of rebellion, although I was only cheating myself, I ordered a takeaway last night, but it wasn't quite as rash as it seems. It was a kebab, but it came with rice instead of salad, and I threw away most of the rice. The most negative thing about it was it was a terrific financial extravagance ! The grilled, and mostly fat free meat, was very tasty, but it was an expensive luxury !

 This morning I decided to try and do something useful, and at 10am, the time most shops open on a Sunday around here, I went out shopping. This time the primary objective was not food, but it did include it. For instance, in Poundland I bought a six pack of tomato sauce flavour crisps. Crisps are very naughty, but I am sure tomato sauce is a rare flavour, and so they had to be had ! I also bought a USB memory card reader for use at work. How they make that much electronics and sell it for a mere £1 mystifies me !

 My primary objective was to see if Poundstretcher had any more memory foam mattress toppers. The one I bought a few years back transformed the feel of my mattress, but it seems to be getting a little tired now. I did buy a spare at the time I bought that original one, but I didn't want to use it until I had a replacement for that one. Fortunately they still had some in stock, and like a few years back (it must have been in 2013 as far as I can guess) they were still marked down from £39 to £29. So I bought two of them. I now have three spares, and I shall change the current one sooner or later. Hopefully, in some distant future, maybe in 6 or 7 or more years time, I will be able to get another replacement. Without a topper my mattress can be bloody uncomfortable !

 I managed to do a little housework today. I hand washed 4 work shirts, and some underwear, and I also selected another couple of bags of crap from the back room to throw out. I reckon if I can keep this up I will have the room just about clear before autumn starts ! One of the things I came across at the bottom of a dusty pile was a folder with all my old mortgage documents in it. I thought those documents were elsewhere. So it was good that I realised what they were before I threw them away. I may no longer have a mortgage, but the bank is still storing the deeds to my house as part of the mortgage deal, and I will need the account number if I ever need them before I die. It was interesting to see that my first mortgage payment, back in 1983 was £174, and subsequent payments were £160 a month - until the interest rate went above 15%. I remember feeling that those first payments were crippling, but they are almost small change these days !
The Catford Ram boarded up
 Yesterday morning I went past The Catford Ram pub. A few weeks ago there was a massive police bust there, and drugs and stolen property found. The place was shut down, and the licence annulled (or whatever they do) - News story here. The pub is now boarded up, and a notice has been stuck to the outside giving details of the suspended licence - click on the picture above to see it. The word on the street, or at least from a passing street cleaner, is that the brewery has taken the pub back from the tenant, and if they can get a new licence will be running it as a managed pub. That probably means no more music in there, but the beer should return to being good quality, and terribly overpriced ! That's assuming they can persuade the council to issue a new licence for the premises. In the long term it doesn't matter because the whole area is scheduled for demolition in a year or two.
Saturday 21st March 2015
16:54 GMT

  Thick clouds meant that there was no sign of the sun yesterday morning. On any morning that is unforgivable, but on a morning when there is an eclipse it is absolute treason ! All we saw of the eclipse was just the daylight getting very dim for a while. To make things even worse, it was a beautiful afternoon. The clouds disappeared, the sky was pure blue, and the sun shined. Not only that but it even felt slightly warm despite the temperature only hitting about 11° C. The Gods did their best to correct that accidental afternoon of joy by making today a rotten day. There has been no sunshine today. Fortunately it has almost been dry, although there has been a few spots of rain blowing in the breeze. For a short while the temperature hovered near 10° C, but 8° C is more representative of the day. Oh well, tomorrow should be a little better than today - but not by much if the forecast is correct.

 It was rather glorious coming home from work in the sunshine yesterday. It was nice enough to make me forget that I was starting to get hungry after a day without food - after an evening of far too much food ! As well as a hangover, I could still feel how stuffed I felt in the morning so the hunger pains didn't actually start until about 3pm. Being distracted by the sunshine, and also a curious feeling of well being, helped me to be fairly careful about what I ate last night - although it was not as austere a dinner as it could have been.

 The core of dinner was beef strips initially partly cooked in stock with a lot of tomato puree, and then left to marinate for two nights (it was only supposed to be one). Last night I finished the cooking after adding some bok choi, and a small packet of ready cooked piri piri rice. The latter was the naughty bit, but with it soaking up the stock/gravy, it was terrifically nice. That is basically all I ate yesterday, but it was a big meal by the time I had added all the ingredients.

 I wouldn't have said I slept particularly well last night, or even that I slept for much longer than usual, but I did seem to feel quite refreshed this morning - refreshed enough to do something I haven't done for ages, and that was to go to Tesco a few minutes after they opened at 8am. I was very selective about what I bought in there, and it was nearly all lean meat and vegetables. The only exceptions to that was some sea bass (a none to cheap fish that I don't think I have ever tried before) and a small(ish) quantity of sliced luncheon meat found for just 36p on the reduced price shelves. One oddity was some samphire. It's a salty plant found growing on salt flats, and something I have never tried before. It is supposed to go well with fish. So a forthcoming meal is going to consist of an untried fish with an untried vegetable. Should be interesting !

 Later this morning I met Aleemah for breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub. I had two half pints of ale while she ate her cooked vegetarian breakfast. One of those half pints was rather nice, and it was tempting to have more - but not more of that particular beer. There is currently another beer festival on at the 'spoons, and there were probably another 2 or 3 beers I could have tried. It seems a shame to miss out on them, but I don't think I'll be having more beer until next Thursday....but you never know. Talking of boozing - I can now show some pictures taken on Thursday night.
Chris and Dave
Chris Mayer and an unhappy looking Dave Peru (but he actually was happy !).
Paul, Andy and Chris
Paul, Andy and Chris.
Dave and Alan
A happier looking Dave talking to Alan.
Jodie looking drunk
She looks drunk, and may have been, but mostly Jodie was wincing from the camera flash.
Paul, Andy and Chris
The significance of this picture was that it was taken without using flash in what was a rather dimly lit pub. The exposure time was rather long, so motion blur was always a danger, but my new camera, the Nikon S6300, seems to have taken a nicely exposed picture !
Friday 20th March 2015
08:13 GMT

  I think the only description fit to describe yesterday is grim ! It was a most grey of grey days. Fortunately it didn't rain, and the temperature only cold rather than damn chilly. To sum up - I didn't like it ! Today might see an improvement later on, but it is very dull and overcast right now, and although the clouds make it impossible to see exactly what is going on, the dullness is, or soon will be, enhanced by the moon blotting out up to 85% of the sun. By the time I leave work to go home it might be sunny, and if I am very lucky the temperature could get up to 11° C by then. That is far from warm, but if there is no significant breeze it should feel quite comfortable. It looks like tomorrow may be very mediocre - some sunny periods, but maybe only 8° C - which is quite poor for the first day of spring (according to some calendars, but maybe not all of them).

 After my long rest on Wednesday I felt tolerably well at work yesterday, and I felt quite good as I made my way to the pub after work. Maybe I felt too good because I ended up having a rather good time ! I think I ended up drinking as many as 5 pints of beer, and the last two were rather strong - 7.4%.  That gave me a fierce hunger, and I ate like a pig last night. I think I have now wiped out all the good work I've done in the last fortnight, and now I'll have to start from scratch to try and attain everlasting beauty and health, or whatever the hell it was I was trying to do !

 I have no idea what time I went to bed last night, but I don't think it was that late, and it could have almost have been as early as 8pm. What I do know, or at least I think I know, is that I slept like a log until 2.30 this morning. I don't know why I woke up then, but it took an hour and a half to get back to sleep again. When I finally woke up again at 5am I awoke with quite an impressive hangover. My head was not exactly pounding, but it was not comfortable inside my skull, and my tongue was dry and crusty (almost).  The worst is now over, but I think it is still going to be a rather rough morning here at work.

 A story I meant to tell yesterday was about my Oyster card. It was beginning to get a bit intermittent, and there were cracks appearing in the plastic. It is quite an embarrassment to be among a whole crowd of commuters going through the barriers and have the barrier not open because the card has not been read properly. So yesterday morning I went down into the Underground station in Waterloo station, and found the ticket office down there. I expected it to be a complicated process to get the card exchanged for a nice shiny new one, but it was simplicity in itself, and the job was done in 2 minutes or so. So quick that I was still able to catch the 07:09 Epsom train from platform 1 - which is probably the train I catch most frequently. Sometimes I get the 07:06 to ????????, and sometimes the 07:12 to ??????? (all of which stop at Earlsfield, as do all trains from platforms 1 to 4 as far as I know).
my shiny new Oyster
My shiny new Oyster card.

 There is another picture I meant to show on Wednesday (or Tuesday) but didn't. On one of those days I was singing the praises of my new Nikon camera. It really does seem that good things can come in small packets (or whatever the phrase is).
My new Nikon
                              S6300 camera
It fits in the palm of my hand (sort of !) and takes wonderful pictures !
Thursday 19th March 2015
07:53 GMT

  It was very sunny yesterday, but all that sunshine did not raise the temperature that much. I think the highest temperature I saw was 10° C - although I guess even that is worth celebrating considering it was more than was forecast. The latest forecast for today says that there will be thick cloud all day, but it should stay dry with a maximum temperature of a rather poor 9° C. Let's hope that forecast is very wrong ! Tomorrow maybe rather better. The forecast, which could change at any minute, maybe to be more accurate, or maybe to be less accurate, makes it look like tomorrow will be quite similar to yesterday.

 I had a very pleasant time doing almost nothing yesterday - which was all I felt like doing. It was one of those days where I really did need all the rest I managed to get. It did pass my mind that some of what ailed me might well have been the result of my recent diet, and that I needed a temporary input of certain food stuffs........
Mmmmmmmm, chilli beef crisps !

  Maybe it was a very poor excuse, but nevertheless it was a good enough excuse to tuck into the bag of Guinness Rich Beef Chill flavour crisps that I bought from Aldi a week ago, and have been looking for an excuse to test since then. They were very nice, very tasty, but will probably have caused havoc with my diet. I haven't checked my blood glucose level since the weekend when it was a slightly higher after drinking some beer. Until I ate those crisps it might have come back down a bit, but I reckon I will be on insulin injections before the year is out - unless plenty of exercise in hot sunshine helps to improve matters. At least my current diet is capable of shrinking my waistline a bit even if it is not resting my pancreas enough. I am tantalisingly close to doing up my trouser belt one notch tighter on a regular basis rather than just now and then. Once I can do it everytime I do my belt up I will be able to announce that I have lost a full inch from around my waist.

  After a lot of rest, and a semi-fair nights sleep backed up with several snoozes during the day, I guess I don't feel too bad this morning. I would prefer it if I felt a bit warmer. There was no wind when I left home, and it didn't feel particularly cold when I walked to the station. When I arrived at Earlsfield station it seemed to be quite breezy, and while I assume the air temperature was the same as it was in Catford, it felt a lot colder in that breeze. Unfortunately it is very cold in my office this morning. The guy who normally turns my heater on before I arrive didn't bother this morning because he thought I might have been off work for a second day.

 One curious medical thing is that my eyesight seems to have changed recently. I guess my eyeball has changed shape either from a change of internal or external pressure. It could be the result of a change in blood pressure, or blood glucose levels, but there is one other very unlikely, if not impossible reason. Maybe if I am losing fat density around my gut, I will be losing it elsewhere too, and there is a billion to one chance that a reduction in fat around the eyeball is causing the change. In some respects the change is quite useful. I am short sighted, and that means distant things are blurred, but I am sure I used to be far more short sighted than I seem to be now. Unfortunately the change is making my near sightedness worse. Since about the age of 40, like most people, I have become increasingly near sighted. I have to use a microscope to do precision work these days, but until now, unlike most of my contemporaries, I haven't needed reading glasses. Maybe I do now, but I'll see how it goes.

 Tonight I have the opportunity to completely ruin all my blood glucose planning. It's Thursday, and that means it's boozing night. Tonight the gang are meeting in The Ravensbourne Arm - the same pub that Chris and Andy had their retirement do in last week. It would be fun to have a multitude of pints in there, but I guess I had better try and limit myself to just a few.

 A week or two ago I upgraded my phone to Android 5. It is supposed to be better, and faster, and, and.......Unfortunately I don't like the simplified interface with all it's semi meaningless symbols instead of instantly recognisable icons, but there are worse things emerging. This morning I wanted to look at the calendar to judge how far through the month we were so I could see if my finances were holding out. Those bloody fools have ruined the calendar. It always was supposed to be a planner as well as a calendar, but now it is just a planner, and is completely useless for what I want ! All I wanted was just a simple calendar so I could see where we were in the month - something like this...
March 2015
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun

19 20

Wednesday 18th March 2015
10:38 GMT

  Yesterday was an improvement over the day before. There was some sunshine yesterday ! Sadly it was still a rather cool day - at least it felt that way to me even if the thermometer might have just tickled the lower reaches of 11° C at one point. The sunshine has started earlier today - even if it is a bit hazy. The weather forecast suggests the sunshine should not start for a few hours yet, and the temperature now should only be 5° C - I measure 9° C on my outside thermometer right now. Maybe there is hope that it will actually feel warm, rather than just mild, later this afternoon. The forecast for tomorrow says thick cloud all day, and a top temperature of a shivery 8° C. I hope that is very wrong !

 I felt lousy at work yesterday. A lot of the time my office felt cold, and even after what I described as a good nights sleep, I felt really tired. It wasn't weary tired, but real yawning tired. I had plenty of energy if only I could keep my eyes open. For added misery, bits of me hurt or ached. Half an hour before my lunch break I decided to take a walk in the park, and that helped me wake up, and also got a few creases out of aching muscles/joints. I also took some pictures while I was out.
hen duck
A female duck having a sit down on the river bank.
drake and hen
A drake whispering sweet nothings to a hen.
A daisy looking fresh and bright growing at the bottom of a fence.
little blue flowers
I keep wanting to call these forget-me-nots, but I think they are something else.
a golden host of daffodils
A golden host of daffodils.
crocus flower
A crocus flower in full bloom.

 It seems the plants and animals are convinced that spring is here at last, but I still long for even better weather - summer ! After my walk it finally felt warm inside my office, and I felt a bit better, but it was still a great relief when home time came around. It was still dry and bright as I made my way home, but we had lost the sunshine by then. It felt a lot better to be moving than it did sitting around at work, and I OK as I travelled, but I didn't actually enjoy it.

 Once I got home it was the usual - finish preparing dinner, finish cooking dinner, eat dinner, wait a couple of hours, rush to the toilet, rush to the toilet again, and repeat the last item a few times ! In between times I watched a bit of TV, and didn't really do anything worthwhile at all. Visiting the toilet made it difficult to get to sleep as early as I would have liked, and it was probably around that time that I started getting the idea that I fancied a day off work to see if I could shake off the ailments of the day.

 So this morning, after a very average nights sleep, I decided to cancel my alarm, and go back to sleep again. Taking a day off sick is not a great way to pay for my new camera, but I don't think I could face another day like yesterday. Intense resting should help a few aches and pains, but will make some worse. It's a chance I'll have to take. So now it's time to put my feet up again, and maybe alternate between reading and snoozing !
Tuesday 17th March 2015
07:57 GMT

  We're now halfway through March, and the weather is still awful ! It's probably always like this, and I am just a little too impatient for better weather to arrive. Yesterday was a particularly unpleasant day. It was grey, cold, and it kept drizzling during the morning and into the start of the afternoon, but at least it stopped while I made my way home from work. I don't think the temperature even reached 7° C, or if it did it was only by a whisker. Everything was wet and soggy this morning, but it wasn't raining, and the temperature was probably around 6° C. If the great computer has done it's sums right we should be able to look forward to the temperature reaching a far more acceptable 11° C this afternoon, and there should also be some sunny spells. Meanwhile, the only joy is that this morning is slightly less cold, a lot dryer, and a useful bit brighter than yesterday morning.

 I don't know how much to attribute to external factors, such as the rain stopping, and the clouds turning a lighter shade of grey, or just because I was going home, but I felt quite good, almost a parody of fit and healthy, as I went home from work yesterday. One peculiar thing is that it seemed less intensely cold outside than it did in my office for too much of the day. In the morning it was perishing cold, and my small heater was struggling to take the chill off the place. Maybe some of the mild excesses of the weekend did some sort of good. If that was so then it is a shame that they haven't seemed to lasted very long.

 One of the first things I did when I git home was to complete the preparation of my dinner. I had already 50% or more cooked the beef strips that could be called the core of yet another stew, and it also included some onion, garlic, and stuff. I thought that it would be better not to overcook the rest of the vegetables. So I added them before giving the whole lot another 10 minute blasting with microwaves. The added vegetables were some very large mange tout (which would have been very stringy if I hadn't taken the time to prepare them properly), and some pak choi. I'm not sure if pak choi has any particularly good or bad qualities, but I used a whole head of it in my stew - and I over cooked it !

 That stew was hot and filling, and in theory I shouldn't have needed to eat the cheese I over ate, nor should I have needed to nibble on a handful of almonds, but I did do both things - and yet I didn't feel over stuffed. I was able to bend over the bath to rinse and wring out a couple of pieces of laundry that I had left soaking for 24 hours, and also to wash my hair (but obviously not at the same time !). A little after 9pm I went to bed, and it was one of those nights where you lay in bed thinking you'll never get to sleep, but the next thing you know is it's morning !

 Last night was unique in recent history in being the first night that I can't remember waking up at least once in the night. I've got a feeling I probably did wake up at least once, but I seem to have no memory of it. When I did wake up I felt rotten. It didn't feel like I had just slept for about 7 hours. What was worse is that my right knee seemed very painful. I don't think that has ever happened before. Fortunately the pain seemed to go away as soon as I got out of bed. From then on I was OK-ish. Unlike going home last night, this morning I felt very sluggish, and I couldn't manage to do more than just plod my way to work. Another strange fact is that no matter how fast I seem to walk from the station to work, it always seems to take about the same time. It makes me wonder if it is actually worth pushing myself into top gear, or just concentrate on trying to put one foot in front of the other.

 There was absolutely no sane reason for it, but sometimes curiosity is a powerful mistress, and when combined with a bargain it is hard to resist. And so it was that I seem to have bought myself yet another camera. This time it is not an upgrade in the same way that buying my "posh" Canon camera was. That was an upgrade from a pocket camera to a bridge camera - so called because it is a sort of gateway drug to spending loads of money on a full professional DSLR camera - something I still want to do one day. My new camera is an alternative to my Canon pocket/compact camera. It is a Nikon S6300 "coolpix" camera. In some ways it is slightly better than the Canon, but that was not the real reason for buying it (secondhand). When I do feel able to splash out on a DSLR camera, plus a very expensive alternative lens for it, I was considering a Nikon camera, and I wanted to see if I liked Nikon or not. They have, or had, a very good reputation, and finding this cheap secondhand Nikon compact camera seemed like a good way to judge them for myself. It was a horrible grey day for photography yesterday, but I took a few snaps on my way home from work, and I am rather pleased with the results !
Pelco dome camera
This is a Pelco PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) dome camera on platform 3 of Earlsfield station. I took the picture from platform 2 using a fair amount of zoom. The camera seemed to cope with the backlighting rather well, and the anti-shake worked well.
Class 455 train seen at Earlsfield
My train home. It was still moving slowly when I took this picture, but there is no motion blur, and the colours seem nice and bright. Zooming in on the full sized original of this shows very little grain.
Waterloo station concourse
Half the concourse of Waterloo station.
The clock at Waterloo station
This shot was taken from the same place as the long shot above, but this time using full zoom (and some cropping). I'm rather impressed about how well this picture came out considering it was not very bright under the station canopy with just grey clouds above. I think I feel very pleased with my new camera, and maybe when I take the big step and get a DSLR camera it will be a Nikon. Meanwhile my new compact Nikon can happily sit in my pocket ready for action.
Monday 16th March 2015
07:57 GMT

  The weather gets worse and worse ! Saturday afternoon slightly bucked the trend by being occasionally sunny, but yesterday had little to commend it. During the morning there was some drizzly rain, but even when that stopped (at least I think it did) it remained overcast. On top of that it was rather cold. The thermometer might have said it was 7 or 8° C, but it felt cooler than that - particularly indoors. It seemed that anywhere indoors where there was no heating got a lot colder than I imagined it should. Maybe it just seemed that way after the recent spell of fine (for late winter/early spring) weather. Sometime in the night it started raining, and it has been drizzling on and off since then. It has made for a really depressing Monday morning. What a way to start the week !
grey, cold and wet -
                          worse than that, home is 6 miles away straight
                          down the road
 Six miles away, straight down the middle of this cold, grey, and wet road lies my nice warm bed !

 The forecast says it will rain, sometimes hard, but mostly drizzle, until early afternoon. If I am lucky it will have stopped when I go home again, but even then it will still be overcast, and rather cool. The best the forecast can offer is a shivery 8° C. The best that I can hope for is that the forecast is very wrong - for which there are numerous precedents ! Tomorrow should be a better day than today. If the forecast for that has any resemblance to reality it should get up to a moderate 11° C while it pours with rain, and pours with sunshine - both at the same time apparently !

 It took it easy on Saturday afternoon, and went on to get a good nights sleep - at least I think I did. I can't seem to recall anything negative about it so I assume it was good. One curious thing is that I didn't feel the need to eat much. I had a few small luxuries, but on the whole I stuck to my veto on sugars, carbohydrates, and fats - although I was not so strict about the latter. I didn't bother to check my blood glucose level, and I haven't since, but I will tonight. I hope that it will have dropped a little bit, but I'll be happy if it has stayed constant - but there is a tantalising hint that it might have dropped a little.

 I treated myself to some breakfast yesterday morning. It was a grilled steak, and nothing more. The sad thing is that I didn't enjoy it.....well I did enjoy it, but not to the orgasmic heights that I was hoping for. Maybe it needed fried onion and tomatoes plus chips with lashings of tomato sauce to be that wonderful, but it satisfied a need, and that seemed to justify it. I was wondering if it would sit on my stomach, and slow me up, but it wasn't all that long after eating it that I went to get a bit of shopping in Aldi.

 There was hardly anything I really needed in Aldi, and I suppose it was just a convenient excuse to go for a walk, but I did get some useful stuff like shower gel, and sugar free Aldi own brand cola. I also bought a fair few vegetables. I do wonder if I have too many vegetables at the moment. Some will keep for a fair amount of time in the fridge, but many need to be used up fairly soon. Some delights coming up soon include pak choi, the Chinese "cabbage" that I'll be having with beef and mushroom stew tonight, and mange tout that should go well with some chicken tomorrow night. Of course both meals will have more vegetables than that, but they will be the principle ingredients.

 Despite the annoyance of some intermittent drizzle, it felt strangely good to walk to Aldi. I don't know why, or even how, but it just seemed very easy to walk there. It was a bit like a dream where you are fit and healthy or something. Of course I am not fit and healthy, perish the thought, and what I did next proved it, or at the least the consequences of it did. I decided it was high time I did some laundry, and yesterday the laundry included a few heavier items. As well as some shirts, I also had a few other types of tops, plus a large hand towel to wash.

 Towels, when saturated with water can be very heavy, and it seems the same is true for a fleece and thing that I can think of a name for. What do you call a top that is like a very thick long sleeve t-shirt with added decorative buttons. It is less than a jumper or pullover, but much more than a t or polo shirt. Actually, maybe "heavy duty polo shirt" comes closest to a description. Whatever it is, it certainly soaks up a lot of water, becomes very heavy, and is a bugger to wring out - so just the same as the towel and also the fleece.

 The consequence of doing all that laundry, is that my chest hurts - or at least several muscles around the chest now hurt when I do certain actions. It is an "added value" supplement to my floating rib syndrome. I can be perfectly comfortable one minute, and then a small twist in the wrong way causes a great deal of discomfort. If it was my arms and legs complaining I would just be thinking I need more practice to strengthen them, but I am not sure if that will work for my chest. (Actually I can feel some very mild aches from an arm muscle or two, but I consider them to be insignificant). I do wonder if I will ever be free of discomfort from my chest since it was cut in two in September 2013 - probably not if I insist on treating it as if it had never needed to heal. I sometimes think that the surgeon knew what he was talking about when he warned me not to carry anything heavier than 1kg for the first few months after the operation. Carrying something like 10 times that amount back from the supermarket a mere fortnight after coming out of hospital might have been a bit of a mistake !

 I have to confess I was quite lazy yesterday afternoon, but once again I managed to avoid any excess eating - even after topping the larder up with stuff from Aldi. Late in the afternoon I did have a strong desire for a nibble, and I had a very large chunk of red cabbage to scoff on. Later on when I made my dinner, I used less vegetables as a consequence. I did have a few other nibbles during the day, and one, Guinness flavoured peanuts, was probably a bit naughty, but at least those peanuts didn't have any sugar in them.

 I wasn't sure if the magic was still working after a few indiscretions over the weekend (including a pint and a half of beer on Saturday morning with Aleemah), but it seems not that much harm was done - if any at all. This morning I thought that my belt felt a little tighter than usual, but not uncomfortably so. That was caused for concern until I realised it was a bit tighter because I had done it up a bit tighter. It was on the next hole along, and also the tightest possible hole without adding a new one. I could have put on one of my old pairs of trousers this morning, just like I did when I met Aleemah on Saturday morning, but I decided that I ought to make some effort to get some more mileage out of my larger side trousers before I abandon them - maybe for good (but I can't see that happening in reality).

 Maybe losing an extra quarter of an inch around my waist should be reason to be cheerful, but the weather almost seems to over ride that. Still, there are other good things to celebrate about to happen that will provide a few minutes of cheer. Today I expect to take delivery of a little pouch to story memory cards, and also a couple of spare memory cards. It's only a few minutes of excitement, but it all helps !
Saturday 14th March 2015
15:43 GMT

  The weather forecast for yesterday was about right. It was mostly overcast, although maybe not quite as heavily overcast as it might have been, and it was not particularly warm. I think the highest temperature was almost 9° C, or about a degree more than the forecast. Today is nothing like the forecast lead me to expect. The day started off rather cool - just 3 or 4° C, but it warmed up to 10° C, and that is about 3° C higher than the forecast suggested. Another departure from the forecast is that there is far less cloud, or maybe thinner cloud than the forecast seemed to predict, and instead of a shower at 1pm there was sunshine. In fact there has been quite a lot of sunshine today. It is almost nice outside ! Tomorrow is still forecast to be dull, wet and cold. Let's hope that is even more wrong than the forecast for today !

 After a morning where I didn't feel too wonderful (mainly a light, but persistent headache) I started to feel quite good in the afternoon, and it felt like I had quite a lot of energy as I made my way back towards Catford after work. By the time I reached Ladywell, which was first destination, the magic was beginning to wear off, but it was still pleasant to walk across the park, and through the path behind St Mary's church to get to The Ravensbourne Arms pub.

 Going into the pub, and particularly with free beer, was quite a test of will power. The occasion was Chris Mayer and Andy Reany's retirement party - hence the free beer. So I had to go even if I did no more than wish them well, and that is all I did. I stuck to my guns, and only had one single pint. The tragedy was that out of all the beers available, I seemed to pick one I didn't really enjoy. Having conveyed my good wishes, and clinked glasses, I started out to walk home through the park.
daffodils in bloom
 It was pleasant to walk through the park as the sun was starting to set. Along the way I spotted some daffodils in a sheltered spot that were in full bloom - which fitted in quite well with the feeling that yesterday was a bit like spring (today more so). As I walked through the park it didn't feel like I had anywhere near the energy I had earlier, and it made me quite keen to get indoors to have some dinner. A clue to why this should be is included in this picture....
a small apple
                              for breakfast
 This small apple, slightly bigger than a golf ball, yet smaller than a tennis ball, is all I had eaten in about 24 hours as I walked through the park. So it was rather good to get indoors, and after it had been zapped in the microwave for 10 minutes, to eat my dinner.

 Last night's dinner was a beef, mushroom, cabbage and leek stew. With the help of some extra hot chilli sauce, a make that does not use and sugar (as far as I can tell) it was nice, hot, and filling. So filling that it created the usual explosions in the toilet a few hours after eating it. They seem to be a rather unpleasant fixture during this week of very high fibre, very low sugar and carbohydrate meals !

 Maybe if my guts had been stable I might have given some thought to the idea of going to a gig last night. I probably would not have gone anyway, but it would have been a fascinating gig to go to to see how Chain got on without Chris on lead guitar. I have seen a couple of pictures, and a small video clip of last night, and it looks like a gig I really should have gone to, but I was probably already half way to bed before it started.

 I slept rather well - at least I think I did. I'm surprised I wasn't up peeing more than I did because this morning my blood glucose level had crept up a tiny bit - probably just from that one pint of beer. So it's lucky I stuck to my guns and just had that one single solitary pint. Today I am allowing myself a bit of slack for a couple of reasons. Maybe a good one is that this morning I put on a pair of jeans I have been too big to wear for the last 12 months, and this morning they were perfectly comfortable to wear. A fortnight ago I doubt I could do them up no matter how much I struggled !

 So I am rewarding myself a bit for that, but I am still trying to avoid anything with overt amounts of sugar or carbohydrate in it. So basically that means extra cheese or meat, but I have to confess I had 1.5 pints of beer when I met Aleemah for breakfast in the pub this morning ! Of course the other problem is that it is far harder to feel starving when the larder is only a room or two away ! Fortunately all my recent shopping has been for stuff that is "mostly harmless". So I've had a breakfast/brunch of just plain un-dressed mixed salad with a small chunk of cheese. Tonight I think I will be having another beef stew variant. Unlike last night's version, it will have red onion in it, plus loads of garlic (I don't expect to have any visitors tomorrow !). I think I'll leave out the cabbage and leek, and maybe I might see how much sugar there is in a tin of drained (and maybe washed) peas, and throw them into the mix as well.
Friday 13th March 2015
07:51 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was quite reasonable, but it is sad that it was the last day of spring, and now we plunge back into winter ! The great supercomputer, the one that calculates global warming, has got it wrong again !
It's cold !
(Click on the image for a bigger version that should be just about readable)
 There were several good spells of sunshine yesterday, and the temperature rose to a comfortable, if not actually warm, 11° C, but today we begin the slow slide back into winter. It was 6 or 7° C this morning, and initially it looked like the sky would be partly clear, but it has clouded over now. It shouldn't rain (hopefully), but all the cloud is going to keep the temperature down to 9° C or less. The forecast for tomorrow, assuming the grand super computer wizard has done his sums right this time, is for a very dull cloudy day with temperatures peaking at a lowly 7° C. Sunday will be the same except that it will also rain. Another useless weekend !

 Yesterday followed the same pattern as most days this week. During the morning I had a sort of headache, but during the afternoon I felt increasingly better, and I was feeling really quite good by the time I got home. My joy also had a couple of boosts during the day, and the first was during the morning after a visit to the toilet. While doing my trousers up I gave my trouser belt a bit of an additional pull, and did it up on the next notch. It didn't seem uncomfortable, and I left it done up like that for the next couple of hours before my nerve went, and let the belt out to the previous notch incase my legs were turning blue or something.

 The next good thing happened when I got home, and I checked my blood glucose level. My cheese frenzy the previous night did not do any damage, just as I had hoped, and may even have done some good. My blood glucose level had dropped back down below the little blip I measured the night before, and was in fact just slightly lower than the reading the day before that. I am well over halfway towards my goal of getting my blood glucose level back to healthy levels, but it is gruelling work doing it - but it does have it's rewards. My third ego boost (or whatever it was) came when, just for a laugh, I tried on an old pair of trousers that I know I haven't worn, or been able to wear since mid November 2013. I know this, because I found a receipt for a cash machine in the pocket. I think they were the pair of black jeans that I went into hospital with back in September 2013. At that time they were getting quite loose after many weeks of what I am doing now. Uncontrolled food intake after that rendered them unwearable in just a few months - although to be fair, I wasn't in a good position to do much exercise for the first few of those months. Last night I managed to do those trousers up, but only just, and I didn't dare move in case they exploded. Well, it's a start, and if I can put up with the headaches, and other negative feelings, I may be able to start wearing those jeans in another month - maybe !

 I went home via Tesco last night, and avoiding the temptation of a thousand million tasty products was a severe wrench to my sanity chip, but I managed it, and only bought lean meat or fish, and piles of vegetables. In fact the only "luxury" I allowed myself was a 2l bottle of sugar free cherryade - which was rather nice, but only in small, infrequent quantities. Too much of it seemed to be a bit overpowering.

 I only made one stupid mistake in Tesco, but it was one with no significant consequences. I had set my heart of a beef and vegetable stew for last night, but I bought some fresh cod (it is now half price - either because the wholesale price has dropped, or Tesco are doing anything they can to attract their customers back from Aldi or Lidl). That cod would probably have been fine if I kept it in the fridge for a night, and maybe two, but I decided I had better use it as soon as possible. So instead of beef I had cod - which was nice, but didn't satisfy my irrational need for beef. Maybe like the cheese episode, there is something in beef that my body wants. Well it will definitely get it tonight. I prepared, and 75% cooked tonight's dinner last night, and it is waiting in the microwave to be blasted with magic rays for another 10 minutes when I get in tonight.

 I'm not going straight home tonight, but going home via a pub. This will be potentially dangerous, but it is Chris Mayer's retirement drink, and feel I ought to go for at least one pint. My plan is just to have one single pint. I'll just have to see how long I can make it last. My guess is about 5 seconds ! I don't know if I could ever bring myself to do it, but I could stay for a second pint - of water ! I believe pubs are legally obliged to serve tap water for free, but if I were a publican I would be very pissed off if people asked for water instead of beer. So while I don't mind asking for water for others (usually singers or musicians at a gig) I have a sort of fear of asking for water for myself.
Thursday 12th March 2015
08:17 GMT

  I don't know why, but it seems it's just impossible to believe most weather forecasts. Yesterday was not nearly as bad as the forecast predicted. Instead of being lousy it was no worse than not very good. There was a bit of sunshine, which I don't think the forecast allowed for, and it stay dry while I was going home. There were no puddles this morning, but there was a damp smell in the air as if there had been a shower during the night. I guess the best temperature yesterday was probably close to the forecast - about 8° C. This morning the forecast for today seems to have started off fairly close to reality, but it seems completely different to how it was predicted 24 hours ago. Today should end up getting close to slightly warm, maybe 12° C, possibly more, after quite extended sunny periods, or thin white cloud. The forecast for tomorrow looks horrible again, but maybe that will change too in the next 24 hours.

 I felt a bit strange from time to time while I was at work yesterday. It wasn't exactly a light headed feeling, but a feeling that the world didn't always seem quite real. Maybe I had better watch The Matrix for the first time, and see what it's all about ! The other strange thing is that I kept thinking about cheese. It maybe total nonsense, but I've got this strange conceit that if I start thinking about a particular foodstuff, and can't think of any better reason why I should think about it, I assume it is my body telling me it needs something in that foodstuff. We always seems to acknowledge that animals have this inbuilt diagnostic function, so why not humans.

 I felt a bit strange when I was going home from work too, but this was a different kind of strangeness. Some of it may have been that I had expected to be severely rained on while making my way back to Catford, but in fact it was dry. There may have even been a bit of weak sunshine. The other odd thing is that I felt both more achey, and more energetic. I'm not sure how to reconcile the facts that it felt really easy to walk while it also seemed uncomfortable to walk all at the same time ! I got home feeling that I had expended less energy than usual, and that was sort of good.

 One of the first things I did was to grab myself a large chunk of cheese, but before that I checked my blood glucose level. It was a tint bit higher than the night before, and I find that hard to explain. Evidently my pancreas is going to need a far longer rest than I thought it would if it is going to start producing enough insulin to keep my blood glucose level lower while eating more normally. The only way to rest it is to avoid any obvious sources of sugars - and that includes sugar produced as a result of the digestion of carbohydrates. That is why I've been eating like I have for almost the last week. Fortunately cheese is, as far as I am aware, a big source of sugar because I ended up rather a lot of cheese last night !

 Last nights dinner should have been mostly sugar and carbohydrate free - if I interpreted the nutrition information on the packets correctly. It consisted of too many skinless chicken thighs cooked in chicken stock with lots of cauliflower, leek, and a green bell pepper. One problem of buying fresh chicken is that it is usually sold in too larger quantity for one person - and particularly one person on a controlled diet. If it was fresher I could have saved some for tonight, but it had been in it's sealed container in the bottom of the fridge since Sunday, and was just starting to smell very slightly gamey. I felt I had to cook and eat all of it in one go or waste it.

 So I ate too much chicken, and too much cheese. That's not quite so effective at reducing my waistline, but that is just a very desirable side effect of reducing my sugar intake - and that I am sure I did quite well. Tonight I'll see if my blood glucose level has gone up or down. Hopefully it will have gone down again. It will be quite worrying if it has gone up, and will interfere with my plans for at least a single pint of beer, but probably more, tomorrow night.

 I am still unsure if the extra heavy dose of Metformin I am taking is having a powerful effect on my guts or not. Things seemed to settle down until last night. It was a few hours after eating dinner that it felt like I could hear that food gurgling it's way through my guts like some weird plumbing system. I was just about ready to go to bed when it hit the other end - violently ! As happened on Monday and Tuesday nights, I was constantly back and forwards between my bedroom and the toilet until it seemed I was completely empty ! This used to happen occasionally when I was on a similar diet several times in the past, but I don't recall it being quite so dramatic as it has this time. I'm just glad it is happening at a convenient time and place.

 This morning I don't think I feel too bad. I had quite a good night's sleep, although I did wake up annoyingly 20 minutes early. It felt entirely normal walking to the station. I felt quite energetic walking from Waterloo East to Waterloo station, but being energetic seemed to be exhausting ! At least it seemed exhausting at the time, but I seemed to recover in about 5 seconds once I was sitting on the train. Walking from Earlsfield station to work was the usual slog. It's not particularly hard work, but I think the walk is probably just long enough to be completely boring, and that is even truer on the way home !

 On the way here this morning I passed a tree in the grounds of the recently closed Mecca bingo hall. In the tree was a squirrel, and it was making the most peculiar noises. I wasn't sure if it was choking, or calling for a mate, or maybe it was just happy and what I hear was squirrel singing !
noisy squirrel
This was the noisy squirrel.
free beer !
Picture taken at Waterloo station last night - I think that's all that has to be said !
Wednesday 11th March 2015
07:48 GMT

  I'm not sure if yesterday was the non stop sunshine that was forecast, but it was close to it, and that made the identical temperature to the previous day, 10° C, seem far less cool. During the night the temperature fell to around 4° C, and that made for a bit of a chilly journey to work. This morning was forecast to be bright and sunny, but that hasn't yet. There are a lot of blue patches visible in the sky, but it's predominantly cloudy right now. Those blue patches are big enough to give some sunny periods if one of them appears in the right part of the sky, and that is just what has happened ! The forecast says it will cloud over later, and there is a fair chance I am going to get wet as I make my way home from work. It's going to be rather cool rain too. The top temperature for today may only be 8 or 9° C. Tomorrow is looking worse....

 I did wonder if I had been overdoing it yesterday afternoon. There were a couple of times when I felt a bit odd, but I don't think I needed to worry too much. When I got home I checked my blood glucose level, and it had come down, but it was nowhere near enough to leave me feeling wobbly. It is now in single figures (8.9), and if I can get it down to less than 7 I will be most satisfied - particularly if I can keep it there until my next blood test. There is no obvious sign that I am losing weight recently, but I should be, and maybe my trouser belt is just a tiny bit looser....or maybe not. The only definite indicator will be when, and if I move on to the next tighter notch on that belt.

 While making my dinner last night I decided to check some of my assumptions about the sugar and calorie content of the vegetables I was using. I was slightly worried that leeks, being a plant root, might have more sugar in them that I realised, but if anything it was the other way round. So dinner last night was skinless chicken fillets with brocolli, leek, and a nice red bell pepper cooked in low salt chicken stock with a dash of West Indian hot pepper sauce to give it a bit more "zing" ! I forgot to check, but I think that (generous) dash of pepper sauce may have contributed as much sugar as anything else.

 One curious thing that I have never noticed before was just how sweet tasting the first bit of cooked red pepper I tasted. Subsequent bits tasted more and more normal as I ate them. Perhaps that initial sweet taste is an indicator of just how much I have reduced my sugar intake recently. It will be interesting to see what my blood glucose level is like tonight. It was a big dinner last night, and that may count against me, and I did end up nibbling on two little portions of almonds last night, so my blood glucose level may not have dropped much, or at all, but provided it hasn't gone up again I will be happy.

 The only other things of note that I did last night was to trim my beard, and to wash my hair. I did that quite early so I didn't have to wait for it to dry before I could go to bed - and that was just as well because I was in bed semi-early last night, although for the life of me I can't remember quite when it was. What I do know is that I didn't sleep terribly well. I woke up a few times either for a pee or with cramp in one or other of my lower legs. The worst of it was at about 2am when I couldn't get back to sleep because I had a lot of lower back pain. No matter how I twisted and turned I couldn't seem to find a comfortable position to sleep in.

 I must admit it was a funny sort of back pain. I couldn't work out if the pain was more from my hips or kidneys (or other close by organs) rather from the bottom end of my spine. It was probably all three ! As my hips crumble away after almost 60 years of service, it seems appropriate that my kidneys should explode, and my coccyx should fall off. Oh well, that's life ! Obviously I did get to sleep again somehow (although why that is obvious is unknown), and I guess I probably only lost an hour or two of sleep through the whole night.

 So now I am wide awake and full of beans....Nah, not really. I would be quite happy to be back in bed right now. It's one of those morning where lots of little things add up to not feeling too great, but some of those little things are not really anything to do with my general health. For instance the shoes I out on are not as comfortable as I thought they would be. Sometimes they are OK, and sometimes not, and I have no idea why. Many of the little aches and pains can be attributed to the cold morning, and a general lack of exposure to sunshine (it feels like Saturday, when I was out in the sunshine for several hours, was ages ago now).

 Tonight will bring more of the same. I have more skinless chicken for dinner, and tonight I will definitely have it with cauliflower plus lesser amounts of other vegetable. Once again I'll probably end up nibbling on some almonds - they are one of the less oily nuts, and some unverified internet meme once claimed that had useful stuff in them. So they are probably the lesser of several other evils - maybe. It is tomorrow that could bring trouble. I am going to have to get some more stuff in for dinner, and that will lead me to the temptations of going around Tesco. Perhaps if I keep my blinkers on I will be OK...

 In theory I could have had booze last night....
Grolch again
Last night Grolsch were giving away free samples of beer on the concourse of Waterloo station - but only a little sip !
It seems they are there again this morning - or they didn't clear up last night. Maybe free beer will be on offer today !
Tuesday 10th March 2015
07:57 GMT

  On the whole, yesterday was grey and miserable. Even more than that, regardless of what the thermometer may have said, it felt cold and nasty (although that could have just been me !). I did notice that the thermometer said 10° C while I was almost shivering, and that was just after sunset. It was a fairly clear night and the temperature was down to 5 or 6° C this morning, but it is forecast to be a sunny day, and by 4pm, when I am going home from work, it is supposed to be 11° C - and still very sunny. That should feel a little warmer than yesterday ! The strange this is that yesterday morning the forecast for today was more grey misery, and now they are predicting that for tomorrow. With luck the new forecast for today, all day sunshine, is correct, and the forecast for tomorrow is wrong again !

 I felt pretty rotten at work yesterday. I ached in many places, and although I was probably too empty for my guts to send me rushing to the toilet, they still managed to ache quite a lot from time to time. So it was a relief to head for home - or it would have been if I had not felt so chilly. I suspect that I might have had a mild fever or something. Once I got home I turned the heating up full blast, and prepared some hot dinner.

 Dinner was one of my healthiest meals for some time. It was a variant on the dinner I had the day before - fish stew with broccoli. This variant used salmon instead of mixed fish, and this time I didn't garnish it with any grated cheese. Later on in the evening I nibbled on 10 - 15 almonds. The stew and the nuts were all I ate last night, and I don't think I could have done much better than that. (Well OK, I could have omitted the nuts, but it was either those or fags or booze).

 I usually eat dinner fairly early, but last night it was extra early, and to reduce temptation I didn't stay downstairs watching TV. I went straight up to my bedroom where I started to read once I had checked my email, and a few web pages. It didn't take long for the warming effect of my hot dinner to wear off, and I ended up putting on my big hairy fleece to keep my body warm - and that was with the heater on high at the time !

 After reading for half an hour or so I watched a bit of TV on my computer, and then I went to bed at 8.30pm. I still felt rather cool even under the duvet, but at 10pm I suddenly felt a lot better, and didn't feel the need to wrap the duvet around me like a tourniquet (or something like that - I can't think of a better word right now). I didn't appreciate it at the time, but that seemed to be the end of my salmonella/dysentery/gallopin' gut rot. At least I hope that was the end of it.

 This morning, after a fairly reasonable, but not perfect, night's sleep, I feel like I am close to fairly reasonable. Most significantly, I had no gut rot and the pains that go with it. Even some of the aches and pains from an overactive weekend seem to be much improved. There doesn't seem to be any improvement in the trouser size changes today, and to assume there would be would by just a bit too optimistic, but I sometimes imagine that there is less overhang of my belt this morning.

 Tonight will see more of the same - but different ! Tonight's dinner will feature skinless and boneless chicken fillets with the last of the broccoli, and cauliflower. I'll probably throw in a couple of small tomatoes, and maybe a diced chilli for a bit of extra flavour. I'll season it with special low calorie white pepper :-) As well as eating I hope I can find the energy and enthusiasm to trim my beard, and wash my hair, but other than that, my main aim is to sleep, and sleep more (It's the safest way of staying out of trouble).
Grolsch at Waterloo
This morning Grolsch were setting up to display their produce on the concourse of Waterloo station.
any free beers ?
I doubt that they are going to give away free beer, but one can always hope.
I think I would have suspended my total veto over anything with more than a trace of sugar in it if I could have had a free pint of breakfast this morning - but only until I had drunk a pint !
Monday 9th March 2015
08:17 GMT

  The weather didn't stick to the plot as outlined by the weather forecast for yesterday. It definitely got cloudy in the afternoon, but instead of rain starting at 3pm, as the forecast predicted, the sun came out again, and it turned into another pleasant sunny afternoon/evening. The temperature seemed to peak a lot higher than the forecast too, but at times I felt rather cool, although there could well have been another reason for that. This morning started off at an almost reasonable 5° C. Initially it seemed to be a bit overcast, and I think this is what the forecast predicted, but now it is bright and sunny - which was not what the forecast predicted. That forecast says that it will definitely rain this afternoon. Let's hope the forecast is as wrong about that as it was about yesterday. The top temperature today should be 11° C, but maybe this unforecast sunshine will warm it up a bit more than that.

 I did my best to hold out for as long as possible before eating yesterday, but by 3pm I was starving. I broke my fast (which is a lot like breakfast) with two apples, one small, and the other a bit bigger, and two small pears. I was a little surprised that it seemed to have the required effect, and drove away the hunger pangs quite well. It was during the afternoon, after having eaten, as I lay on my bed reading, that I began to feel quite cold. I don't think it was just inactivity that caused it. I think I had, and still have a bit of a bug.

 By 6pm I decided it was time for a proper meal, and I cooked up a sort of mixed fish and leek stew. It had a few more ingredients in than just those two, but only for flavouring - including the cheese that I accidently sprinkled it with ! It was all cooked in at least a pint of fish stock. All that liquid made it seem a far bigger meal than it actually was, and it was both tasty and filling without, as far as I know, containing too many calories or sugar (I assume that leeks don't have a large amount of sugar in them).

 The only problem is that having filled my guts with lots of hot water they started to revolt again - just like they did on Saturday night. Fortunately it happened earlier in the evening last night, and the discomfort, and frequent trips to the toilet didn't affect the time I went to sleep. It did pass my mind that it could have been a reaction to the extra dosage of Metformin* I am now taking, but on reflection, and considering that I seemed to have a mild fever earlier in the afternoon, I think it is probably more to do with salmonella than Metformin.

*Metformin - a drug that helps to moderate sugar uptake for diabetics. Also a potential cure for certain types of cancer - or so some researchers think.

 Once I got to sleep last night I slept quite well for much of the night, but I did wake up half an hour before I needed to - which was annoying ! I didn't wake up feeling very good, and I don't feel all that wonderful now. Some of it can be blamed on the damage done during Saturday's walk, and some due to the damage done by doings rather a lot of hand laundry over the weekend. Bits of me definitely ache that don't usually ache, but curiously enough, other bits that often do aches don't seem to be aching much at all this morning. Unfortunately my guts seem to feel very weird this morning. I must be pretty empty this morning, but at times I have wondered if that was so.

 The salmonella, if indeed it is that, plus some moderate eating, has produced some useful results. I tried on a few more pairs of trousers, plus a couple of pairs of shorts this morning. Like the trousers I tried yesterday afternoon, I was able to get in them, and more importantly, do them up with relative ease. I think that they are still a little tighter than I would like for wearing all day at work (for instance), but I could wear them if I wanted to, and that is a major change compared to a some months back when I had to order some over sized trousers. I can't quite remember when that was, but I do know that even the oversized trousers seemed to be a struggle to do up. It is possible that I have lost a whole inch around my waist in the last few weeks. Oh well, only another 8 inches to go and I may just about be able to struggle into the smallest pair of jeans I have ever owned (in adult life). I think I still have them in the back of the cupboard even though they are in a shocking condition. I haven't been able to put them on since 1983, and I wonder if I will ever be able to wear them again, but for now I am heading in the right direction, and the more sunshine there is, the longer I will (probably) be able to keep moving in that direction - maybe !
Catford's new public
                          toilet - maybe a little too public
 This is Catford's new public toilet. Some might say it is a little too public. It appeared in a useful place, about halfway between home and the station, sometime yesterday, or during the night. It wasn't there when I was going home after Saturday's walk.

 There is only one thing on tonight's agenda, and that is food ! I expect I'll do other stuff too, but as I sit here feeling hungry, I can't help but go over and over again the recipe for tonight's dinner. It is going to be poached salmon, poached with broccolli in some fish stock (unless I've run out. In which case it will be chicken stock). That is all I intend to eat tonight, but it's easy to say that while I am at work, 6 miles (as the crow flies) from my larder and fridge. Maybe I'll have more. We'll just have to see.
Sunday 8th March 2015
11:49 GMT

  Yesterday was definitely the best day of the year so far ! It was almost warm, and maybe without the wind it would have felt warm. Instead of warm it was just very, very mild (which is close to warm), and the sunshine was glorious - not quite strong enough to burn, but enough to start to cure the winter paleness. Today, in complete contrast to what the forecast was saying, started as if today would be just like yesterday. This is what the forecast was saying at 9am......
The completely wrong
                          forecast for today
 Maybe the temperature was almost right, but instead of thick black cloud, as the little pictogram depicts, the sky was a lovely clear blue, and the sun was blazing down. For the past hour or two the actual weather has got a bit like the forecast - lots of thin white cloud has appeared in the sky, but the sun is still finding it's way through most of the time. Maybe it will rain by 3pm, or maybe it won't. The current temperature is 13° C and still seems to be slowly rising - maybe if it does rain at 3pm it will be a thunderstorm ! Tomorrow is forecast to be worse than today was forecast. Let's hope that forecast is just as wrong !

 It certainly wasn't the logical thing to do after all the good work I did yesterday, but I decided to reward myself with a takeaway curry (but actually delivered rather than taken away). I chose a restaurant I don't think I have tried before, but it scored 4 stars on "Scores On The Door" according to The Food Standards Agency, and that seems pretty good for an Indian restaurant. The food was very nice, but the portions were small - particularly considering it was quite an expensive order. It was probably good for me that the portions were fairly small, although I did try and choose stuff that I didn't think would have too many mega calories in it.

 A few hours after my tasty dinner I went to bed. After all the hard work, exercise and fresh air I felt like I should have fallen asleep really quickly, but I felt too uncomfortable for that. My first thought was that I was bloated from eating a big dinner even though it wasn't that big, but that was not the case. It must have been something dodgy I ate, possibly even the sandwich with the slightly odd taste that I ate at work on Friday morning, but I ended up having to leap out of bed, and rush to the toilet before I exploded - and that happened several times ! After that I did manage to get to sleep, and on the whole I slept well.

 Like many weekend mornings, I woke up at 5am, as I do every weekday morning, and I got up for a while before going back to bed. I then got another hour or two of sleep before getting up properly. Like yesterday morning, the first thing on the agenda was to do some laundry. I didn't tackle anything big like a duvet cover this time, but I did do a medium large bath towel as well as a few shirts and stuff. Like the duvet cover yesterday, the towel was quite a handful - very heavy when dripping wet, but it's now on the washing line where it has probably almost dripped itself dry.

 With the latest batch of laundry done it was time to go to Aldi to get some shopping. Now that posed a bit of a problem. The problem is that I am terrible at not immediately tucking into at least some of the food I bring back from the supermarket. That's not the name of the game at the moment, and so far I have resisted, but I don't know how long I can last out ! The only saving grace is that I was very strict about what I bought, and in terms of sugar, the very worst thing I bought was either the Conference pears or Coxs apples. I don't think there are any calories in broccoli or cauliflower. So I should be OK there !

 Maybe some of this stuff is paying off earlier than I could have imagined - Since getting back from Aldi I can do up at least four pairs of trousers that I haven't been able to do up since earlier than last summer. Mind you, although I can do them up, I don't think they are quite comfortable enough to wear yet - although I could in an emergency. One pair in particular are significant in as much as they were the same pair I was wearing when I went into hospital back in September 2013. That was a period in time when I considered myself to be a lot thinner than I am now. Of course what I have to remember is that I could do more than just do them up in the first days after I came out of hospital - they were so easy to do up that I could do it with my left hand being incredibly weak and useless at the time. It is going to take a lot more effort before they are that loose again !

 It is very hard not thinking about about eating while not thinking about smoking while not thinking about booze while not thinking about sex - what the hell am I supposed to think about at times like these ? This cruel state of mind could force me to do something drastic like getting the hoover out, but before I do anything silly, I think I'll have a nice lie down with my book.
Saturday 7th March 2015
17:17 GMT

  I'm not sure if yesterday reached the fabled 13° C or not. On the balance of probabilities I reckon that it didn't quite make that, but it was certainly less chilly than recently - recently until today ! Today it definitely hit 13° C, and while yesterday was sunny, today was very sunny ! There was a bit of wind to take the edge off it, but it was almost a foretaste of late spring going on summer ! I might even have caught a little bit of very mild sunburn ! It makes it seem rather tragic that tomorrow is going to be a few degrees cooler, and potentially sunless with the sky capped with thick cloud. Even more depressing is that is the pattern for the next few days after tomorrow too. The only hope is that the weather forecasts for more than 24 hours ahead are usually tragically wrong !

 I felt unusually agile when I left work to come home yesterday. Do I mean agile ? Perhaps I mean I just felt quite good or something. It was all the more surprising considering I thought I was going to my doom ! Once I got home I had about thirty minutes to prepare before dashing out again to see the nurse, and find out the results of my blood tests. The suspense was heightened by an annoying long wait to see the nurse - 20 minutes after my appointment time. When I finally got to see her the news was not as bad as I expected.

 My blood glucose level was very high, but not exceedingly high, and fortunately the only recommendation at this point was to double the dosage of the drug Metformin. I am not convinced that will do as much as being more careful with what I eat, and how much of it, as well as trying to up the amount of exercise I do. All the other things my blood was tested for must have been satisfactory because no mention was made of them. So it looks like I have got of lightly for the time being.

 There was a minor, easily fixed, disaster after seeing the nurse. I called next door to pick up a repeat prescription from the pharmacy. I don't know how they managed it, but the very drug I needed more than anything, Metformin, had been forgotten when they put the package together. So after getting home, and changed into indoor slouch wear, I had to get dressed again to rush back to the pharmacy to track down where my drugs had got too. It didn't take long to sort it out, and I came back home with another bag of drugs.

 It was probably a combination of it getting late, and my appetite starting to wain, and maybe a touch of being sensible, but I abandoned my plan to have a large curry last night. I also cut down on the amount of booze I thought I was going to have. Instead of the mother of all curries, I had a salad with some strips of skinless chicken. I also had more strips of skinless chicken breast either as a snack, or as a desert ! It wasn't too long after having dinner, perhaps an hour after, that I went to bed.

 I probably slept quite well last night, and that was just as well because I have had a busy day ! I had a decent lie in, but got myself all set for action earlier than usual. By 09:05am I had showered, done some laundry, and done some gardening ! The laundry was a double duvet cover, and it wasn't one of the lightweight cheap and nasty ones either !
duvet cover drying
                          in the garden
 This picture was taken at five past nine this morning, and it shows the duvet cover hanging on the line to dry. It was the first time it has seemed dry and sunny enough to use the line, and it makes doing this sort of laundry a lot easier because I don't have to try and wring so much water out of it, and can just let it drip to it's hearts content over the garden. One thing that is not so bvious from this picture is that I had also done some "gardening" as well. I pulled up enough weeds to half fill a bin liner. Really and truly that should have been enough for one day, but I did more, and the best way to show what it was is with a couple of pictures !

today's walk version 1
today's walk
                                  version 2

 It took a lot of mental effort, but I was determined that I would go out and enjoy the sunshine today - and also take steps to get a bit fitter too. My first possible destination was Sheerness-On-Sea for a walk along the coast, but part of the journey would have been by rail replacement bus, and I wasn't desperate enough to see the sea to use that ! So I opted for what was one of my favourite short country walks - Eynsford to Shoreham. I thought I would track my walk using the Cardio Trainer app on two of my mobile phones. I started them up, and stopped them within seconds of each other, and yet one said I had been walking for 1hr 21minutes, and the other for 1hr and 26 minutes. Both show an identical track, but one thought I had walked 3.43 miles. and the other 3.58 miles. Both agree that I kept up an average speed of 2.5miles per hour. They disagree about the amount of calories burnt, but there could be a good valid reason for that. I may have different body weights entered on each phone. I think I am going to choose the higher one of 592 calories as being the right one.
the green hills
                              of earth (or Kent)
This is 5 - 10 minutes walk from the station, and the first view of open countryside.
frisky horses
Some frisky horses enjoying the sunshine (or something).
Lullingstone Castle gatehouse
I don't think there is an actual Lullingstone Castle, but this is it's gatehouse.

 When I was feeling very fit, in practice (and smoking) I used to regard this walk as a nice stroll, but today it was definitely hard work, and some of the hills got me breathless. I wasn't too surprised that my feet were killing me at the end. I was wearing my proper, wide fitting, hiking shoes, and they always make my feet hurt more than some cheap trainers (but they do physically outlast the trainers by 10 to 1 !). What was surprising was how much my leg muscles were complaining in a few places. They quickly recovered, but it was only on one of my longest walks, the 10.35 miles from Epping to Ongar that I remember my legs muscles complaining before.

 It was very nice to be out in the sunshine, and although the wind sometimes felt a bit cool, that sun was strong enough to give a little colour to my bare arms. I can still just detect it like very mild sunburn even now. That sunshine sustained me enough to get through the day without eating until I had been home for a good hour or two, and even then it was only a snack. I think I am now about to order something that should be delicious enough to distract me from the guilt of spoiling what could almost have been a very low calorie day !
Friday 6th March 2015
08:08 GMT

  I guess that yesterday's weather was an improvement over the day before. It was frequently bright and sunny, although there was one worrying time when it got rather cloudy as home time came near, but most of those clouds went away before I left work. The significant improvement was that the was less wind, and what wind there was didn't seem to come with a chilly sting in it. It didn't feel warm as I went home from work, but neither did it feel cold. Today has started at a quite reasonable 8° C, or about the same as the best of yesterday, but there is a lot of cloud around at the moment. That cloud is white. So while it is thick enough to block the sun, it isn't making the world look too dull. There are a few blue patches of sky to be seen now and then, but later on this morning the cloud will start to dissipate to leave a nice sunny afternoon - which will be rather nice, but even better is that the temperature will start to rise, and the optimistic money is on it rising to 13° C. Whether it does or doesn't we will learn later as is also true of tomorrow. This morning the forecast for tomorrow had reverted back to the idea that it will be a sunny day, and some say the temperature could exceed 13° C !

 I can't recall feeling particularly good as work ended yesterday, but I am sure I didn't feel bad. How much of how I felt was as a result of anticipation of beer is completely unknown....or maybe it was blatantly obvious ! I considered rushing home and changing before meeting the others in The Catford Constitutional Club, but decided to go straight there. I am usually the first there, and with my train home now arriving in Catford four minutes earlier than it used to, I sometimes manage to drink most of my first pint before anyone else arrives, but not last night ! When I got there I found Jodie and Andy were already there, and had bagged a table we could all fit around - just !

 I had a very pleasant three or four pints with the guys (and Jodie) before going home. In a casual disregard for my own health and sanity, I bought a large cod and chips on the way home. I don't know if the chip shop had been extra generous with the chips, or if it was just me, but I found I didn't want to finish them all, and I actually left a few - a very rare occurrence ! With my belly feeling quite full I had to undertake a task before I went to bed that would have been easier without a full belly - and that was to finish washing some underwear that I had left soaking overnight (and through the day). I'm glad it wasn't something bigger like shirts because bending over the bath was not terribly comfortable.

 With the washing done, and hung up to dry, I checked all the usual stuff on my PC, and then went to bed to read for a while. I think I finished my reading, and had turned out the light some time before 9pm. It is possible that I was asleep before 9pm, and the first part of my sleep was pretty good, but later in the night it seemed hard to get comfortable, and I had mild cramp in my legs a few times. Eventually I got up a good twenty minutes early. That was sort of handy because it gave me extra time to wash my hair this morning. It was the first time in ages, maybe since autumn got it's cold grip on us, that I have washed my hair in the morning before going to work.

 This morning I feel a lot like I did yesterday morning - sort of very average. Once again I didn't feel like rushing around, but at moderate rates I didn't feel any particular discomfort - which is sort of annoying because I like to rush around when commuting. It feels like the right sort of thing to do. I guess I must be sort of insane because commuting always feels like a different reality to normal times. It's a reality where it's me against the rest of the world - a race starting with getting off the train, and finishing at the ticket barriers. Good manners are still essential to avoid "incidents", but otherwise it's a matter of all out bloodlust.....or something like that. I could only be bothered, or maybe I was only capable of average performance this morning. Mind you, I still got the 07:09 train at Waterloo. On very, very rare occasions I manage to get the 07:06, but it is far from rare that I get the 07:12, and even the 07:16 on some occasions. So I guess I'm not doing too bad.

 Of course all this concern about performance is greatly enhanced by the fact that tonight I see the nurse to get the result of my blood tests. This could be where the shit hits the fan. It would not be so bad if I felt particularly fit and healthy, even if I wasn't, but it will be particularly irritating to be told that I am falling apart at the seams when I know it to be true. It's far easier to be in denial when you believe it to be true based on the evidence of your own nerve endings. To face the nurse when you know your health is crap makes it hard to say no to their insistence on treatment - treatment that could be unnecessary in the long run if I manage to get back into a healthier lifestyle like I had in the months leading up to my operation in September 2013. I was doing stunningly well then. It's a shame it's all gone to pot since, but maybe I can recover something now that spring is almost here. time will tell.

 No matter what the news is at the surgery tonight, I have a plan for when I get home again. I am either going to celebrate if there is no particularly bad news, or I am going to sulk if the news is quite bad, but in either case I intend to order a hot and smelly Indian takeaway and gorge myself on that while drinking lots of booze ! I'm not sure what I will do if the results are almost inconsequential - maybe just some basic advice or something, although even advice from that nurse will be hard to swallow, and probably produce excess bile ! Oh well, by 6pm I'll know the worst.
Thursday 5th March 2015
08:09 GMT

  Once again it was the wind that spoiled what might have been an almost reasonable day. There was plenty of sunshine, although there was one worrying moment when it became seriously clouded over a little while before I left work to go home, but the worst of that cloud had gone away as I went home from work. It looked like it should have been a lot warmer than it actually was, but it was only about 8° C at best, and the wind made it feel a lot cooler than that. There should be less wind today, but otherwise it seems like today will be similar to yesterday. The weather must be in a high state of flux at the moment - the forecast for the weekend is ever changing. It was forecast to be very good, but overnight the forecast has changed to it being a lot cloudier, and they are not so optimistic about the temperature. Oh well, it's all meaningless from an organisation whose super computers can't always get the forecast for the afternoon right more than 6 and a half minutes before it happens.

 It's only with the benefit of hindsight that I realise I must have been feeling almost OK yesterday afternoon/evening. Going home from work in the sunshine must have affected in ways that I didn't realise at the time. It seemed a very ordinary journey home. It wasn't enjoyable, but nor was it unusually tedious. I mean it was obviously a complete and utter waste of yet another hour of my life, but it passed by without ceremony. It was when I got home that realised something was up.

 As I got changed out of my work clothes, and then nibbled a snack while I checked my email and other stuff on my PC, I felt this urge to wash a few shirts. I had no previous plans to do that, not had I even given it any thought prior to that, but it was useful to wash what I had to stop an accumulation building up. So I washed two work shirts, two t-shirts, and some underwear - and all before I prepared my dinner - not that my dinner needed much preparation.

 Dinner was ham salad featuring rather more ham by a factor of three thousand than appeared in the last ham salad sandwich I had recently - it did have ham in it, but only enough to satisfy the trade descriptions act, and then only if you looked carefully for it ! On reflection I might have added rather too much ham to my salad,  but then again it may have contributed to the unusually modest amount of snacking I did between dinner and bedtime. I did have a very large handful of peanuts, but somehow for something so maddeningly addictive as salted peanuts, I saved at least half the bag for another time - it's not easy putting down a bag of peanuts when they are more addictive than heroin !

 One reason for not snacking more was that I didn't stay downstairs for too long. After dinner I made some of the small cosmetic changes to the appearance of the desktop and applications that I wanted to make to the new installation of Debian Linux on the old Toshiba laptop I acquired some time ago - i.e. it looks very similar to a cross between Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Windows 2000 has the right shape, but is a little too grey sometimes. A hint of Windows XP adds a little colour here and there. I also skinned the Audacious music player to look like version 2.xx Winamp - another enduring layout and a player that just plays music with no mucking about ! One last thing I did before packing up and going upstairs, was to check my conjecture that even though that laptop only has a 600MHz processor, and is quite light on RAM, it is still capable of playing video files. The one I tried was only low resolution (352x288), but VLC player played it without hesitation. I don't think it will be able to handle HD video, but it will probably be OK for DVD resolution files.

 One of these days I must have a long think about what I can do with that laptop. I have no real use for it, and yet is seemed a shame just to throw away working hardware (even the battery has at least an hours life left in it !). Well, that's something to ponder over another day. I didn't waste time worrying about it last night. Up in my room I checked my email again (mainly so I could delete the latest batch of about 25 spam emails offering me the world famous "penis pills" that keep turning up in just one of my email accounts), and I checked a few web pages. Then I considered plugging in my USB DVB-T dongle, and watching a bit more TV, but decided against it.

 It wasn't that warm in my bedroom, and I decided it would be warmer to get into bed, and do a bit of reading. This I did until I got to the end of a chapter. It was still before 9pm then, but I thought I might try and get asleep. Unlike the night before, and maybe because of it, I fell asleep really quickly, and what's more, I slept quite solidly until my phone woke me up at midnight. I dealt with that, and didn't wake up again until 4am when, predictably enough, I needed a pee. I managed to get back to sleep after that, but not that well, and gave up trying at 4.50am.

 This morning was another morning when I felt very average. I had no special aches or pains - just the usual ones - or maybe I exaggerate. Nothing ached that much, but I did, and do feel unusually sluggish. As I walked from the station to work I just could not raise any enthusiasm or energy to walk any faster than a casual stroll. It was almost as if the air didn't have much oxygen in it, and if I tried to walk faster I would have ended up gasping for breath. I never really tried to, and so I don't know if that would have been the outcome. It just didn't feel right to push myself this morning. Perhaps if it had been warmer, or maybe if I had different shoes on......who knows ??????

 Tonight will bring the welcome relief of a few pints of beer on the way home. The Thursday night booze crew are in The Catford Constitutional Club tonight - which is very convenient for me ! I feel tempted to have quite a few pints tonight, but I probably shouldn't - I'm seeing the nurse again after work tomorrow. It probably doesn't matter what state I am in when I see her because it will be all about the results of my blood tests. There is a good possibility that some of the tests will come out very good, but other will be terrible. I am expecting a load of fuss, even uproar about it, and that is going to be terribly tedious. Worse still is that they might want me to submit to all sorts of treatment and tests that will grossly dig into my free time, and work holiday time. I know what has to be done, and I would much prefer to be left alone to get on with it, but once those bloody medical lot get their fangs in you it is so hard and depressing to shake them off. It just makes me ill to have them treat me a lot of the time.
Wednesday 4th March 2015
08:01 GMT

  Yesterday was better than expected. After the early morning rain it stayed dry for the rest of the day, and from mid-morning, or thereabouts, it was nice and sunny. Unfortunately there was a cold wind blowing. It wasn't a strong wind, but it was enough to make the top temperature of 8° C feel about half that. The sky stayed clear through the night, and I could see the moon, that was almost full, or may indeed have been full, shining brightly through the curtains. It made for a cold night, and a cold morning. We narrowly escaped a frost this morning - at least I think we did. The forecast, and one of my thermometers said 3° C, and my other thermometer said 2° C - both too high for a frost, but a few cars I passed on my way to the station had patterns on their roofs which looked closer to melting frost than pure condensation/dew. The rest of today should be dry and bright, but we still have that chilly wind.
Catford Bridge Tavern beer mat 2013
 I had a chance to look at the fire ravaged remains of The Railway Tavern/Copperfield/Catford Bridge Tavern last night. It was nice and bright, and the scaffolders had just about finished erecting all the scaffolding - and what a job they made of it ! Someone is definitely worried about some of the walls falling over. It does make me wonder how a building that seems as damaged as that can ever be properly repaired, but I guess with enough insurance money anything can be.

 Whether a resurrected "Tavern" can ever recapture the atmosphere of the old place is hard to know. My fond memories of the place are probably more to do with it being the first pub I ever frequented - and back in the 1970s I frequented it a lot ! What I can't quite remember is whether it was nice in there, or just convenient. I think that I am more nostalgic for it's brief days as The Catford Bridge Tavern. It was sort of nice in there then, and when it was quiet, the staff really wanted to share an enthusiasm for the place, the beers, and everything else. Obviously they didn't have time for that when it was busy, but I can't think of a time when they were ever surly and miserable (although they must have had their off days like everyone else).
Catford Bridge
That is an impressive amount of scaffolding ! Some surveyor must be really worried about the stability of that part.
The Railway Tavern
The top picture is facing east, and this picture is of more very elaborate scaffolding holding up a north facing wall.

 After taking pictures of the burnt out pub I went to the Turkish supermarket where I filled my rucksack with 4 cans of 9% original, and genuine Special Brew. Although the wind was chilly it was bright and sunny, and I decided I was in no great rush to get home (although I did have a strong reason for not wanting to stay out too late). So I decided to wander around to Tesco and buy a sandwich or two (yes, it was two) for breakfast this morning, plus a few other bits and pieces. Those bits and pieces included two bowls of ready mix salad, and some cheese - quite a lot of cheese in fact ! I think the dream I had yesterday morning where I was seeking out some cheese affected me in some deep way. I found I had a strong desire to buy some cheese in Tesco, and I ended up buying some Cheddar and some Double Gloucester cheeses. Then when I looked on the reduced price counter they had a big block of Cathedral City cheese (basically Cheddar cheese) for half price. So I bought that too. I probably have a dangerous amount of cheese now, but I didn't abuse it last night.

 When I got everything home I had a small snack while I got changed, and checked my email and stuff on my PC. Then I prepared dinner. It was a rather healthy dinner of salad and smoked salmon (at least I think it was all healthy sort of stuff), and it needed to be fairly healthy to counteract the "badness" of the earlier snack ! I did finish of with a small chunk of cheese, but it was small, and I ate no more. A little later I also had a can of 9% Skol lager. It was nice-ish, but would have been better if ice cold, but I felt no desire for a second can, and so my collection of super strong lagers now stands at 11 cans - and may well stand like that for another month, or maybe longer.

 While I didn't feel the need to rush home as soon as I could, I was keen to get home to play with some new toys. I bought a new hard disk for the old laptop I have been playing with. At £20 it just straddles the dividing line between a worthwhile buy, and a waste of money. What was a waste of money was an adapter to use a Compact Flash card as a hard disk. I have tried these before, and while they work electrically they are not easy to fit into a laptop. The new one I bought, that came in the same delivery as the new hard drive yesterday, came with a metal bracket attached that was drilled and tapped to be the same as the mounting holes on a 2.5" hard drive - but only the bottom holes, and of course it turned out that the carrier for the hard drive in the old laptop only used the side holes. So the adapter can't be used in this laptop - but I think I know where I might use it in the future.

 With the new hard drive installed in the laptop I tried, and after a very long while, succeeded in installing raw Debian Linux on it. It was a remarkably slow process, made even slower by having to manually install some firmware for the sound chip from the command line, but by just gone 9pm I had the whole thing working in basic fashion. It still needs some cosmetic changes to make it look like how I prefer a computer to look (basically like Windows 2000 or windows 98), but everything works, and it is fairly usable. The one thing that lets it down is the small amount of RAM that the laptop has. It is just about all that it can physically take, but it is not enough for slick operation. One thing it really chokes on, but does finally manage without falling over, is to load one of my extra long full month web pages with loads of pictures and even a movie or two embedded in it (i.e. February). Also, the 600MHz processor doesn't really have enough grunt to play the embedded videos, although I am sure it would play them as stand alone video least I think it would.

 That laptop made me a little bit late going up to bed, but I probably shouldn't have worried about it too much. Getting it working like that gave me a bit of a buzz, and when I finally got into bed, and turned the light out, at approx 10pm, I could hardly keep my eyes closed (yes, closed !). I don't know what time I finally fell asleep, but I guess it was close to 10.30pm. I think I must have slept quite well, and I only remember a single, almost instantaneous snapshot of a dream as my alarm woke me up. That dream had something to do with leaves, maybe a bowl of salad leaves, but something, and I think it was traffic, could only pass down rows of leaves in one direction. I guess it made sense at the time, but it seems worse than nonsense now.

 I guess I feel mostly OK this morning. The added aches from doing gardening type stuff that I had yesterday morning have gone now, and this morning it's just the usual stiffness and aches, although the ache in my right knee seems to be exceptionally mild lately. My trousers do up just as easily as usual, and yet I do feel either heavier or bigger or something recently. Maybe it is just guilt because I have failed to capitalise on the bit of good work I did a fortnight ago (in preparation to seeing that miserable nurse). It doesn't feel like the right weather to eat less/work harder right now, but there could be hope on the horizon. It seems that warmer weather is on it's way, and the weekend could see temperatures of 13° C - and it might be dry with some sunshine too. It's too early to get too excited about what may, or may not happen, but maybe, just maybe, I might manage to make yet another start to try and get a bit healthier if the weather is fine at the weekend.
Tuesday 3rd March 2015
08:06 GMT

  If yesterday had been twelve degrees warmer it would have been a magnificent day. Most of the day was gloriously sunny, but it was quite windy, and that made even the highest temperature, 8° C, feel very chilly. After dark the temperature dropped back down to around 4° C, and if it wasn't for the blanket of cloud that appeared sometime during the night, the morning could have started even colder. The forecast said it would be raining around 5am this morning - it wasn't. It also said it would be dry again by 6am - it wasn't ! I had a very soggy walk to the station this morning, but it is brightening up quite nicely now. Unfortunately more rain is forecast, and it looks like it could be quite heavy just as I am going home from work. Before the rain washes any warmth away it could get up to 8° C again. Tomorrow may not be any warmer, but it may be drier than today.

 Yesterday was quite a productive day. After my early morning photography session I called work to say I couldn't even get to the station even if trains were stopping there, and then I had some breakfast, or rather too much breakfast. Then I rested for a while before I set about washing two lots of bed sheets, and two pillow cases. One of the sheets was only a single sheet from my spare bed, and I am at a loss to explain why it took so long to wash it. The last person to sleep in my spare bed was Patricia, and that was in 2013 ! (Just after I came out of hospital). I think that sheet was just hidden below a big heavy duvet cover that I am waiting on a nice hot sunny day before I attempt to hand wash it. I did notice that my next door neighbour had some washing out on the line, and I guess it probably dried fast in the wind, but she must have been using super strong clothes pegs to hold it all to the washing line in the face of some of the rather strong gusts of wind yesterday.

 Getting two sheets hand washed in one day probably justifies taking the day off work....well maybe not, but I did more than that. I did some housework too. Even more amazingly, I did some work in the garden, but I can't claim that it was actually gardening as such. The housework mostly consisted of filling another big bin liner with assorted crap - old paperwork, old recordable CDs and DVDs, odd bits of electronic paraphernalia, etc - from just one corner of my back room, and squeezing it into the wheelie bin where it will all be hidden from casual view by a bag of smelly kitchen waste before the wheelie bin is collected.

 The pseudo gardening consisted of clearing the path from the back door to the start of the garden proper (where a lawn used to be, and where one might be again in some undefined future). Over the winter, and last autumn, the path had slowly accumulated some balls of moss that had come from the roof, plus a mat of moss growing on the path. Along with the moss there was some debris from where my friend Lee had fitted my new sink unit - including some old pipe work. I scraped and swept up the moss and other debris, and I also pulled up some weeds that were starting to take hold in a few cracks and crevices. I'm not sure I would want to walk bare foot out there yet, but it looks far better than it did !

 In between these tasks, and eating, and looking at stuff on my PC, I luxuriated by laying on my bed reading or snoozing while golden sunshine poured through my bedroom window. That sunshine felt gloriously warm, and if I hadn't experienced what it was really like outside, and kept reminding myself of it by glancing at my radio linked outside thermometer every now and then, it would have been very easy to think it was a wonderful summers day at times. The reality was that it felt bloody chilly outside in that wind !

 I got to sleep later than I would have hoped for last night, and I also seemed to wake up 20 minutes before I needed to. Maybe that's what sunshine does to you ! None of my dreams seemed to involve smoking last night, although I only remember a bit of one, and an even tinier bit of another. Both seemed to involve food. The first was very strange. I can't recall what lead up to it, or what the circumstances were, but I remember eating fish - whole fish - possibly raw. If it wasn't for the memory of using a fork to stab them, and lift them to my mouth, I would have said it was a premonition of reincarnation as a dolphin or something. What was really odd in hindsight is that they didn't taste fishy, nor did they have any nasty bones in them. In the next dream I had an insatiable desire for cheese, but I seemed to be in a field, and there was no cheese to be found !

 This morning I seem to be suffering from a few aches and pains that I could probably attribute to some of the physical activities I did yesterday. I also seem to feel a bit tired, or weary, but not actually sleepy. I think I would feel much better laying on, in my bed, and reading in the warm. However I seem to have made it into work now, and I won't be laying down for many hours yet - although I may doze off while reading something from my PC screen !

 I have only one plan for tonight, and it is the same one that I would have done had I been at work yesterday - and that I could potentially have done yesterday morning if my hands hadn't started turning blue in the cold morning air as I took the photos of the burnt out pub. It all started on Saturday when Aleemah wanted to buy a loaf of the excellent seeded bread that they sell in the Turkish supermarket. While we were in there I noticed that they had big cans of Special Brew in stock. I can't remember how many weeks ago it was that I became truly upset that Tesco had stopped stocking this particular version of tramp juice, but it was probably in mid January. I managed to find two other types of super strength lager, and bought 4 cans of each, and I still have all eight cans unopened, but I never did get any Special Brew. Well tonight I shall be buying 4 cans on my way home from work, and maybe I might even open one to celebrate owning a small stock of verboten super strength lager.

 I wanted to take a couple of pictures of The Railway Tavern this morning, but it was too dark, too wet, and I needed to get my train. I should be able to get a few snaps on the way home. Sometime yesterday, and there is reason to think it was started late in the day, scaffolding started being erected. Work was still going on this morning, and it is quite an erection they are putting up. From the look of it, it is not for making repairs, but for holding up weak walls. If the building has been damaged to that extent it seems unlikely that it won't eventually be demolished. It's current owners say differently, and also say that that London Fire Brigade are not treating the fire as suspicious (which is a surprise to many) -
Monday 2nd March 2015
08:06 GMT

  Yesterday was rather a lovely day - until sunset ! After a cool start the temperature quickly rose to 10, and maybe even 11° C. The first part of the morning was a little bit cloudy, but it was broken cloud that let the sun shine through quite frequently. As the morning progressed the cloud broke up further, and the afternoon was very sunny. It wasn't obvious at first, but around sunset it started to rain, and before the sky was completely dark it was raining very heavily - so heavily that there was a crack of thunder. After that the rain got lighter, and at some time in the night it stopped. There are a few clouds around this morning, but it is a nice bright morning. It is currently a rather cool 4° C, but it is supposed to warm up to around 8° C by this afternoon. It is also supposed to be raining about now, but the sun continues to shine. Some of that rain is supposed to be wintry, but the forecasters assure us it won't settle - assuming it ever starts !

 There was a bit of a breeze yesterday that made it feel a bit cooler than it was, but I was brave enough to go shopping in just a t-shirt, and no coat....and it felt good ! I was fairly careful not to buy anything with any significant sugar in it (except for fruit), and I tried to avoid anything with too much fat in it, but I did make one extravagant purchase ! Yesterday I mentioned that I had a new months wages burning a hole in my pocket, and so I bought a non food item because I was feeling so flush with money - I bought a pair of terry t-towels for the princely sum of £1.50 (or some small sum like that).

 When I got home, and had put everything away in the fridge or cupboard, I decided I just had to go out again. This second trip was to be to Poundstretcher where I wanted a couple of plastic storage boxes, and maybe a new sheet and matching pillowcases. Before I could get to Poundstretcher I noticed that a new shop had opened where WH Smith's used to be. It was another 99p shop, run by a different company (I think), and of course it had to be investigated.

 It was a little different to the other 99p shop. Maybe it was because it was new and fresh, but it seemed to be a little more upmarket compared to the other 99p shop - not that such a thing is actually possible in the real world, but in my imagination... A lot of what they had in the new shop was similar to what was in the old shop. One item in particular caught my attention. They had plenty of tubs of Cocoa Creme Butter. That stuff was the only thing that made a really useful difference to the scars and other skin disorders that were a result of something they did to my lower left leg while I was in hospital being operated on 18 months ago. I originally bought it from the original 99p shop, but they ran out of it months ago. Now the new 99p has good stocks of it.

 After the 99p shop I went into Pound Stretcher where I bought two storage boxes, a nice pillar box red fitted sheet and matching pillowcases, and some Alberto Balsam apple flavoured shampoo and conditioner. Once I had lugged that lot home I decided it was time for a quite late brunch (it was getting on for 2pm) followed by a lie down. Brunch was a couple of sandwiches and a small portion of dry roasted peanuts. My lie down was primarily to read a few pages from the book I am reading, but it turned into a snooze. I woke up from that snooze feeling dreadful. I think I had slept very awkwardly on my back, and all sorts of things felt cold and aching.

 Later on in the evening news came through that there was a big fire at The Railway Tavern by Catford Bridge station. The Railway Tavern became The Copperfield, and then when that was shut down after police raids for drugs and disorder, it re-opened as The Catford Bridge Tavern under new management, and new leadership. The nasties and idiots were banned or discouraged, and for a while it was a pleasant place to drink. Unfortunately the people running the place didn't own the freehold of the property. That was owned by Tesco, and they wanted to convert it into a food store. They were blocked from doing that by planning laws, and there was also the problem that it became a grade two listed building, and the outside was not allowed to be changed. Eventually news turned up that a new pub company had bought it, and work started to refurbish it, and kit it out as a pub again. Loads of rubble started to appear in skips outside the building, but there was no obvious signs of building inside. Then, late on a Sunday night, it caught fire. That would be highly suspicious of it were not for the fact that 4 builders were in the premises at the time the fire started. So presumably there is not a chance that it was an insurance job, or a convenient way to bypass planning regulations. Oh definitely not.....
east side of the
The view at daybreak of the east side of the pub. Most of the damage is to the roof.
road closed
Catford Bridge station is round the corner on the right of this picture, but the road to it is closed.
Nelgarde Road is coned off
The next road along, Nelgarde Rd is coned off, and has tape across it's far end.
turn around, and come out of the one
                          way road the wrong way
Some one moved the cones on the next road. Thomas Lane, and many cars and lorries went down it only to find they had to turn around, and go the wrong way down a one way street.
the south circular empty except for
                          emergency vehicles
The only time the South Circular (A205) is this empty is usually only early on Xmas morning ! At daybreak on a Monday morning it is usually full of traffic.  I was standing on a traffic island, like the one with the keep left sign, and the traffic light on it when I took this picture. I was just lining up another shot when a woman police officer very politely asked me if I wouldn't mind taking my pictures from the pavement at the side of the road.
inspecting the damage
I suspect the guy with the blue hat may be a building surveyor, or maybe an insurance surveyor.
inspecting the damage
Maybe a few million pounds will fix the damage, or maybe the building is too unsafe to fix.
south face of the pub
the rising sun glints off the windows
Apart from the roof, the building looks intact from the outside. There will obviously be plenty of water damage inside, but that should be easily fixed. If the brickwork is fully intact it should be possible for it to be fitted out again, but will it be ????

 Well that was an exciting start to March, and a cold chilly, finger tingling photographic start to Monday morning. There were still ways I could have got to work, such as getting a bus to Lewisham, and a train from there to Waterloo East, but I didn't fancy all that mucking about. So I phoned work and asked for an emergency day's holiday. Now I have nothing to do but sit back and realx while thinking of what to do today. It is not going to be as mild as yesterday, but it should be sunny this afternoon. Maybe I'll go out to the park, or maybe I'll do some spring cleaning, or maybe something else entirely !
Sunday 1st March
09:45 GMT

  Friday was one of those days where it may have only ended up at 8° C, but long spells mof sunshine made it feel that it was more mild than that. The temperature was a couple of degrees higher yesterday, maybe even 11° C, but we lost a lot of the sunshine, and late in the evening there was quite a bit of rain. This morning has started off nice and bright, and the temperature is already close to 10° C. Like yesterday it will start to rain in the evening...or even late afternoon. The rain is forecast to fall intermittently all night, and tomorrow is supposed to start off wet, and rather cool too ! The pre-dawn temperature is forecast to be just 4° C. Another degree or two less and the rain could almost fall as snow ! Fortunately the sun is due to come out quite early in the morning, and several hours of sunshine will raise the temperature to 8° C.

 I was tempted to walk through Ladywell Fields in the sunshine on my way home from work on Friday, but when it came down to it I couldn't be bothered. A better reason is that I wanted to pick up some stuff in Tesco on my way home. With a careful choice of purchases I almost got my eating back on the straight and narrow on Friday night, but of course "almost" is not the same at actually doing it. Maybe I could claim that I had a moderate sort of evening meal - not exactly healthy, but not too unhealthy either.

 After a moderately good sleep I woke up yesterday morning feeling moderately OK. (Maybe "moderately" is the word for March !). I felt good enough to get the place looking moderately tidy in preparation for a visit from Aleemah. It was almost the usual sort of visit - meet at the station, walk to The London And Rye pub, have breakfast (cooked for Aleemah, and beer for me), and then back to my place to watch a DVD. One variation was a quick visit to Peacocks where I spotted a nice warm coat that is almost identical to one I bought three or four years ago, and that I managed to rip a great big split into the side.

 I guess/hope that it won't be needed now until next winter, but at just £20 it was probably wise to get it while it was so cheap, and while they had my size in stock. I now have to try and convince myself to throw the old coat away. The trouble is that while it is rather unsightly, it is still very warm when the temperature plunges below zero ! It's the sort of coat I should keep if I was to do stuff like work on a car, or roll about in snow and mud - not that I am prone to doing these things, but you never know......
tree things near The
                          London And Rye pub in Catford
The "things" outside that the London And Rye pub, that I have shown before, seem to be just about complete. They still look crap, but it is now an arty sort of crap !
dedications and stuff
One added feature is this "noticeboard" that accompanies the "trees".
I love Catford
It seems some mad person actually loves Catford.
I did once, but I am not so sure about it these days. It's not the same place I grew up in, and not the same place as when I bought my house here, but I still remain here. I was born here, and I'll probably die here !

 I did give some thought to going to a gig last night, but I made the decision not to go. There were too many things stacked against the idea. For a start it was in a pub I am not fond of. It's fairly easy to get to, but to stay late means getting two buses home because the train stop running in a homeward direction stupidly early (although they continue to run on the wrong direction until gone midnight). Another set of reasons are that I have got out of practice of going out in the night, and it seemed perfectly reasonable to stay in by myself, but worst of all it was pouring with rain ! So I stayed in and amused myself in any way I could - reading, TV, playing on my PC, etc.

 One little thing I did do last night was to leave a sheet soaking in some bio detergent overnight. This morning my one single activity has been to rinse that sheet out in about five changes of water, and put it on a clothes horse in the bath until it has stopped dripping. Once it seems to have stopped dripping I'll move it down stairs to continue drying, and then I can have a shower and get up properly !

 My only plan for today is to go and get my weekend shopping from Aldi, but I think I'll leave doing that for a few hours so the first rush dissipates, and it may (or may not) be more civilised in there. Maybe there will be some amazing bargains in there today. It's the first of the month, and I've just been paid. Time to go wild.....or maybe not. I'm still saving for my retirement from work. While I still reckon I could just about live on the pension I'll be getting in June, it will have no slack in it at all, and anything more expensive than a potato will need to come from my emergency fund. That fund is looking bigger now that I could ever have imagined several years ago, but one disaster and it could be gone in a flash ! So I had better curb my enthusiasm for spending this months money, and try and save another few pennies this month.