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May 2015
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My Diary/Blog for the Month of May 2015

Sunday 31st May 2015
16:37 BST   In comparison with today, yesterday was quite nice. I suppose I could go as far as saying it was nice when judged on it's own merits. It wasn't always sunny, but there was a fair amount of sunshine, and it was appropriately almost warm out - around 20° C. At some point in the night, at midnight if the forecast was to be believed, it all went completely wrong ! The temperature dropped, and it started to rain. It hasn't rained all day, and in truth there have been periods of many hours when I don't think it has been raining, but if it wasn't raining, the sky looked as if it would start at any minute. It has been the most gloomy and miserable day possible (barring the worst days of winter). It's not exactly cold right now. My thermometer says it is currently 19° C now, but either it was a lot colder earlier in the day, or there were one or two reasons why it seemed a lot colder. The first was just the psychological effect of that cold grey looking sky, and/or I was suffering from some sort of illness - and the latter might be a possibility.

 I did feel a bit odd last night, and I am not sure why. I think I assumed that my potato and spinach surprise that I cooked up from a bit of this and a bit of that, was maybe a bit stodgy. I can't say I was in any describable discomfort, but I didn't feel like going out, and I ended up having another night in. I didn't end up doing anything of note all evening, and I think I felt bored enough to go to bed slightly early even by my standards for a Saturday night - i.e. the same time as if I had to get up at, or before 5am in the morning.

 I actually got up at 4am this morning, but eventually I went back to bed, and slept some more. The reason I woke up at 4am after a reasonable nights sleep turned out to be because of a stomach upset. Until mid morning I had a trapped wind sort of pain in my belly. That put me off going out for a walk around the shops for a bit of light exercise, and probably an exercise in spending money on silly things in the 99p or £1 stores, but it didn't stop me doing a bit of laundry. When I had done that, and stopped sweating, I had some brunch. That quietened down the dull ache in my gut, but I can't believe that ache was caused by hunger. I know for sure that some of it was most definitely wind !

 While my gut stopped aching, my chest started aching, although not straight away. It was after I had been laying on my bed reading and snoozing for an hour or two. It was an annoying little ache, and it's position and intensity depended on what side I had been laying on, and for how long. The only cure was to do the opposite of what used to make my angina pains worse, and that was to get moving. I still didn't feel like going out under that terrible looking dark grey sky, but I did have some more laundry that I could do.

 So I've added two more t-shirts, some more underwear, and a mini tablecloth to the three work shirts and a couple of t-shirts I did this morning. One of those t-shirts was fresh on this morning but by lunchtime I had managed to pour dinner down it ! Having just finished that second set of laundry I am sweating like a pig, but I am no longer in any significant discomfort. That will probably come later if I lay on my bed to read and snooze again !

 The trouble is I have to admit I feel a bit bored today. There is stuff I could do, but it is so terribly hard to raise any enthusiasm when it is so dark outside that I have to turn the lights on to read. Today is one argument against not quitting work for a while. At least it gives me something to do, and for a few days a year it can sometimes even be enjoyable (although some weeks can be really hateful). As well as forcing me to do a bit of exercise as I strain my heart muscles commuting for a couple of hours a day, it also brings in some money that I don't have enough free time to spend. So this month, much to my great surprise, I have once again been able to transfer more money to my extra retirement fund savings.

 Last week I had judged that I would just about run out of money today, the last day of the month (and actually pay day), but I found more than my new wages in my account. This will all help towards my next major purchase sometime soon. It worries me that I'll never get to using it for what I want to use it for - gigs - but I still aim to get a proper digital single lens reflex camera one day.
Saturday 30th May 2015
17:21 BST   Yesterday was not exactly as the forecast suggested it would be, but it drew strong inspiration from it. The rain that was forecast to be spread out as mostly showers in the late morning/early afternoon, mostly came down as one torrential shower featuring a bit of thunder and lightning just after midday. Apart from a few light showers, that to all practical intents I managed to dodge, it was essentially dry as I made my way home....but it could have been so very different !
black and white
  This was the scene that greeted me as I approached home after a slightly extended journey home from work. To the north the sky boiled with thick black cloud, but to the west the clouds were white, and fluffy, and broken enough for some sunshine. As far as I can recall, it somehow stayed dry for the rest of the evening. It was probably in the region of 15 or 16° C when I arrived home. This morning the temperature had dropped to 8° C, but it seemed to warm up quite quickly even with it being quite cloudy until 10 or 11am. It brightened up after that, and most of this afternoon has seen plenty of sunny spells. The temperature at the moment is a quite respectable 20° C, but the forecast says it is due to drop quite sharply soon, and by midnight it will be rather cool, and also rather wet. Most of tomorrow will be, or may be, quite cool, and quite wet - at least that was the rather stale forecast that hasn't been updated for 24 hours now.

 I was not happy as I left work, and my happiness decreased as I travelled. The afternoon saw the final phase of my hangover from Thursday nights booze up. For some reason I don't know, and probably don't want to know, it seemed to impact on my chest. The first sign was when I reached out, and down to get something out of my desk drawers. That installed a nasty muscular pain in my side. I can't remember when it started, or when it went away, but I also developed quite strong pain in my left nipple. The two pains were probably unrelated, but you never know....

 The pain in my left nipple, which felt like my mobile phone was not so much pressing against it as it sat in my shirt pocket, but it had actually sunk it's teeth into it ! There is a rapidly diminishing possibility that the pain might have been good news - news that a severed nerve or two, severed during my operation 18 months ago, was finally knitting itself together. It is very easy to imagine these things, and I am probably doing just that, but maybe I do have more sensation in an area that was once quite numb. If that is the case then maybe there is still some sort of hope left that the damaged nerves to my left hand (ring and little finger) may one day recover. Sometimes I almost believe that my left hand is improving, and in one respect it is. It is definitely stronger now than it was a year ago, and maybe even 6 months ago, but the change is so slow that it would seem incredible that it could get even better.

 On the way home from work, maybe because it was getting cold, more of my chest hurt. I sometimes get this thing where it feels like the skin is being pulled tight across my chest. It doesn't seem to interfere with anything, but it does not feel nice. On top of that I seemed to be suffering with a touch of hay fever that also seemed to affect my chest as well as giving me a slightly drippy nose. I never used to suffer from these things when I used to coat all my airways with a good coating of tar and nicotine. I could breath freely in those days.

 To add to my discomfort, there was a signal failure somewhere outside of London Bridge station. This had caused cancellations and delay, and one of the cancellations was for my usual train from Waterloo East. I could have opted to wait an extra long time for the next one, or I could get the first train to Lewisham, and a bus home from there. I opted for the second choice, and suffered standing on a fairly packed train, and a totally rammed full bus that ever so slowly weaved it's way through the horrendous rush hour traffic in Lewisham. I suppose I should feel lucky that I arrived home little more than 10 minutes late, and when you consider that the picture above was taken as I approached home, that I arrived home dry despite not wearing a coat all the way home.

 I had a nice rest when I got home. My dinner was already mostly cooked - it was what I had prepared for Thursday night, but hadn't eaten. All I had to do was to stir in some chilli flavoured pesto sauce, and zap it in the microwave for five minutes. It was actually quite tasty, but it transpired that my estimates of just how big it would turn out were all wrong. I could only eat just over half of it - well I could have eaten more, but by some strange miracle I decided not to. I did have a rather large handful of peanuts a little later in the evening, but that was all I ate last night.

 It is almost probably pure delusion, but it seems that I didn't over eat last night - although to make matters worse, that is judged against an entirely fictional metric. Maybe it could be true though because I didn't feel bloated this morning. If it wasn't for one little problem, I could have reported that I also slept well last night, and that problem was the amount of times I woke for a pee in the night. I don't think my pasta surprise should have been salty - I didn't add any salt, but then again I did add some salty olives, and some very salty anchivies. Add to that the salted peanuts, and maybe I can account for being thirsty last night without invoking high blood glucose levels.

 Some of that thirst disappeared when I stopped drinking ice cold sugar free cola, and went on to cheaper "no added sugar" blackcurrant squash at tap water temperature. That glass lasted the last hour of the evening, and all through the night. There is something delightful about drinking ice cold drinks, even non fizzy drinks, that makes me want to drink them like beer. As well as the loathsome smell of tea, and the unpleasant smell and taste of coffee, hot drinks give me diarrhoea for some unknown reason, and apart from hot gravy drunk from a soup spoon, I avoid them all !

 This morning I did something I haven't done for far too long - I hoovered the living room. I did an exceptionally bad job of it so I don't feel too guilty about it, but at least I got rid of the scary looking spiders web hanging off the side of the TV, and I got rid of all the crumbs and other food detritus from the mat in front of the settee. If you keep your eyes closed it almost looks acceptable in the living room now. Hopefully Aleemah kept her eyes closed when she wasn't watching the DVD playing on the TV  when she visited this morning (and into early afternoon).

 This afternoon I have had some lunch. I read a few pages from a paperback, and I had a snooze that probably lasted a good hour. I am now trying to raise the enthusiasm to go to a gig this evening. The only trouble is that I have a large distraction that may prevent me going out tonight (ideally in just a couple of hours or less now). That distraction is a large bag of spinach that I bought from Aldi this morning.

 I know that spinach shrinks an awful lot once it hits very hot water, but I think I am going to struggle getting through what looks like a mega family pack of the stuff before it starts to wilt. I feel I want to start cooking it now, and maybe I will. I face a three way decision. Do I cook the spinach with pasta, or with potato, or go to the gig ?  Oh decisions, this space.
Friday 29th May 2015
08:25 BST   I never got a chance to check the temperature yesterday afternoon, but it felt quite pleasant, and was probably within a few degrees of 20° C. I think the day was sunnier than expected. I have no idea what weather to expect today. The forecast said there would be some rain later this morning, but the showers would peter out early in the afternoon, and it would be dry, and maybe sunny when I go home from work. However, the clouds that seemed to threaten rain first thing this morning have now dissipated, and it's looking all bright and sunny from my office window. Maybe another bank of cloud will pass over later, or maybe not. Provided it is dry around 4pm I will be mostly satisfied - although it would be nice if it warmed up a bit. It was 12° C when I came to work in my shirtsleeves, and while I was moving it was quite comfortable, but now I am sitting down in my office I am thinking of turning the heater on !

 This morning I am paying the price for a rather good evening. As planned, I met the Thursday night drinkers in The Black Cat pub in Catford - the pub that was formerly known as The Catford Ram before it lost it's licence as a result of a police rain where all sorts of things were found. The brewery, who are now directly running it, seemed to have invested a fair amount of money in getting the place to look clean and tidy again, and to deep clean, and repair the gents toilets. They were exceedingly unpleasant to use in the last days of The Catford Ram. Last night it was almost a pleasure to use them.
the bar at The
                            Black Cat in Catford
Chris and Andy at the bar of The Black Cat.

 The other change is that the beer is fresh and fed through clean pipes ! I am not a great fan of Youngs beers, but the London Stout went down well, although I would still prefer Guinness. I only intended to stay for a couple of pints, but I found myself enjoying the whole experience so much that it was just starting to get dark when I left. It's difficult to say how much beer I drank, but 5 or 6 pints would be a good starting point ! Now the curious thing was that although I was really rather drunk, I didn't feel the need to get any takeaway food, and I didn't even feel the need to cook any dinner once I got home. As I mentioned yesterday, I had left a part cooked dinner in the microwave, and it would only have taken 5 minutes to heat it up and stir the pesto in, but I couldn't be bothered to do that one simple thing. My "dinner" was actually a bag of "Japanese" black pepper flavoured crunchy rice crackers. If they weren't almost dripping with oil they would be quite low in everything, and sort of healthy.

 Wolfing down the whole bag was probably not a wise choice, but at least I didn't feel bloated overnight, or this morning, although I was still burping black pepper flavour when I got out of bed this morning. I don't know what time I got to sleep last night. It was probably not that much later than 10pm, and I probably fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow. With so much beer inside me I needed to pee several times in the night, but everything was OK until 4am. When I woke up to have a pee my hangover was beginning to feel rather bad, and I had a lot of trouble trying to get back to sleep.

 I reckon I got little more than 15 minutes sleep before I was awakened by my alarm going off. I was very tempted to turn over and go back to sleep, but thought better of it. So I got up, and had a shower. That helped a bit, but this was one morning where I decided to take the walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station at a more sedate pace ( not actually slowly, but I didn't put any effort in it). I also took it fairly easy walking from the station to work. I don't know why I don't always take it easy on that walk because rushing like a madman only make me arrive at work a few seconds early. It's hardly worthwhile.

 I do feel a bit better least I thinks it's better. It's certainly different. Eating a couple of sandwiches bought from the Sainsbury's Local shop, around the corner from Earlsfield station - in the opposite direction to work - have helped in some ways. I note that Sainsburys is worse than Tesco. I didn't realise it until I checked the till receipt, but they charge an outrageous £1.29 for a 500ml bottle of Diet Coke. Fortunately I bought two bottles, and they sell two for £2 - so two bottles are as cheap as two bottles from the sweet shop down the road who still sell a 500ml bottle for £1 !

 I think I will be taking things easy when I get home from work today. There is a gig that would be nice to go to if it wasn't tonight, and wasn't in the venue it is in. It's Chris' band The Spiders standing in for a band who couldn't make it to The White Hart pub in Orpington. It's a nice(ish) pub except that it is the wrong shape to make photography easy, and Orpington is a sod to get home from at night. The travelling is a good enough reason not to go, but really I just doubt if I could raise the energy or enthusiasm to go. I might try a bit harder to get to a gig tomorrow night, but tonight it's feet up in from of the TV/PC/Book for a few hours, and then bed nice and early so I can get a good sleep before getting up nice and fresh (I wish !) ready to do a bit of housework before a visit from Aleemah.
Thursday 28th May 2015
08:06 BST   It's Thursday and the weekend is getting close - so is PAYDAY !
this morning's weather
Having the heating on in the train home yesterday was a bit unnecessary. It was 20° C on my thermometer when I got home, and after being pre-heated on the train, it felt quite warm as I walked from the station to home in the sunshine. The weather forecast for yesterday wasn't exactly right, but it was pretty close. I'm not sure about the forecast for today. There has already been one hiccup !

 The screenshot on the left, taken at 06:48 on my mobile phone, shows what the weather was supposed to be like.  The little pictogram for 07:00 suggests some light cloud with a bit of sunshine peeping through the gaps in it. It didn't seem to suggest what I could see out of the train window as my train approached London Bridge station (where it doesn't stop). Admittedly it wasn't a view of Catford, and it was only on one side of the train, but I could see thick black clouds - the type that dump gallons of water on you while thunder and lightning crack and rumble away in the heavens. We didn't get that, but we did pass through a light shower somewhere in the region of Vauxhall on train from Waterloo to Earlsfield.  It is now sunny with a light scattering of white fluffy clouds - which is more like the forecast for 09:00 rather than 08:00. With luck, today should be fairly sunny, and it should warm up to 18 or 19° C from the current 12° C.  The next couple of days are supposed to follow the pattern of the last couple of days, but with maybe a little less sunshine, and a degree or two cooler. It's next Monday that scares me. The current forecast, which will probably change beyond recognition after a few days, say that next Monday will be cold, dark ,and very wet !

 The beans and chick peas I had for breakfast yesterday morning had an entirely predictable effect this morning. Maybe they were helped by my "potato surprise" that I cooked when I got home from work yesterday. It was one of those recipes that are made up as the meal is "constructed". It ended up as a couple of diced potatoes, some spring onions, a few brown mushrooms, some fine green beans, some borlotti beans, and half a carton of tomato passatta. I also added some chilli oil for good measure. It took some time to cook in the microwave oven - maybe 25 minutes, but it was done in two (or was it three ?) stages. I definitely part cooked the potatoes and drained them before adding the other ingredients. It came out quite similar to an Indian mixed vegetable bahji. If I had added a bit of curry powder it would have been almost identical !

 It is difficult to say if it was a healthy meal, or not. It is the potatoes that I am unsure about. Some say that plain boiled potatoes, without lashings of butter (mashed potatoes) or heaps of cheese, and probably more butter (baked potatoes) are fairly innocent, but I still feel dubious about all that carbohydrate. Oh well we'll just have to see what happens after I have used up what was a slightly big bag of potatoes. I won't be having those potatoes every day though. Tonight, assuming I don't get too drunk and buy something terrible on the way home, I have a partly cooked pasta based meal ready to be finished and eaten for dinner tonight. Pasta is another of those unknowns. Once again some say that pasta, particularly wholemeal pasta, is "good" for you in some unknown way. Of course this is probably a meme generated by the Italian pasta marketing board to try and increase sales (just like the probable rumours spread by the potato marketing board !).

 My sleep could have been better if it wasn't spoiled by a couple of dreams. I actually dreamed I was hungry last night. I was in a Co-op store looking for bacon, and I found they sold ready cooked bacon on golden toast with a topping of bubbly melted cheddar cheese. I'm surprised I didn't wake up with my pillow soaked with drool after that dream. That happy dream was almost, but not quite, and antidote for a dream that left me feeling very sad, or depressed, or some similar very negative emotion. I can't remember what, if anything happened in that dream, but I do remember the subject or theme, or whatever it was I was thinking in the dream. It concerned the idea that there were some people, and for some reason I thought university students would be most likely, who could carry their whole world in a small suitcase, and could move from wherever they were, leaving friends, lovers, and family behind for ever to start life from scratch in some far off place. The whole idea of that left me feeling empty, and sad, and very low. I could never do it, and strangely enough, I don't think I have ever known of a case of anyone actually doing anything like that. It makes me wonder where the idea of it came from.

 Apart from the psychic shock to my system, and the shock to my system from that very high fibre breakfast yesterday, I felt tolerably well this morning. To a very limited, and short lived extent, I actually felt quite good, but I burnt out very quickly. The walk to the station seemed to be about as effortless as it can be, and the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo seems to be getting easier and easier recently - particularly the ramp up from the platform to the bridge. I went up that like a rat up a drainpipe this morning. I arrived at the mainline station breathing  a bit heavily, but far from out out of breath. I feel sure I could have easily have carried out a normal conversation without having to stop for air. With that being the case, it makes it hard to understand why the walk from Earlsfield station to work seemed so hard, and why I felt on the verge of breathlessness on the way. Of course having to always watch where you put your feet on Earlsfield's rotten pavements so you don't trip, do make walking around here that much more difficult than most other parts of the civilised galaxy.

 Tonight we are drinking in The Black Cat pub in Catford - which is very handy. The Black Cat is the new name for The Catford Ram, and it has only recently re-opened after the drugs, and stolen property bust that happened earlier in the year. I hear it has changed quite a lot inside, and the stage has been dismantled now. So it will definitely be interesting to have a first hand look, and check that the beer now flows clearly and cleanly like it didn't with the previous dodgy management.
Wednesday 27th May 2015
08:09 BST   I'm not sure how warm I hoped yesterday might get, but I don't think it got that warm. However it was very pleasant, and warm enough for me to open my office window for several hours in the afternoon. I think the top temperature was at least 18° C. Today may be basically similar with the exception that there could be a shower around sunset (9pm - ish tonight). The rest of the day may actually be a little bit sunnier than yesterday, and in consequence it may also be a little warmer - the weather forecast predicts 19° C. It also now predicts that it will become lightly overcast early this afternoon - which is a bit of a shame. Tomorrow should continue in a similar pattern to the last couple of days.

 I have developed a theory that buses are telepathic. They do seem to know when to arrive and when not to arrive - at least the buses that run between work and the station do. If they day was wonderfully warm and sunny, and I didn't have a single ache or pain anywhere on, in, under, or on my body, there would be a queue of buses at the closest bus stop waiting to take me the two stops to the station. If there was torrential rain, I had terrible angina pains, and my feet felt like I was wearing barbed wire shoes, there wouldn't be a bus within a hundred miles of the bus stop.

 Yesterday, after finishing work, I would have caught a bus if there was one there. My shoes had become uncomfortable during the day - not agonising, but a bit unpleasant - and it was one of those occasions when it felt like all my giblets were swinging free inside my loose chest subframe. Of course the buses knew this, and went into hiding. So I had to walk to the station. By the time I got there my feet were numb enough not to be too bothersome, and as usual, walking provided enough movement for my ribs and ligaments to settle in their correct places. That was all just as well because I just missed the lift up to the platform at Earlsfield. I hate going up those three flights of stairs, and 99 out of a 100 times I get the lift. Yesterday I didn't, and had to walk up those bloody stairs. It was knackering, but surprisingly not completely knackers - just mostly knackering ! I had to walk the first quarter of the entire length of the 8 car length platform at reduced speed, but I recovered fast enough to finish at full speed.

 The rest of my journey home from work was just the usual bore, or waste of a big portion of my life etc, etc, etc, but I felt fine. When I arrived back in Catford I decided to pop into the Turkish supermarket. This was principally to buy a bottle or two of Diet Coke, but also to buy a bottle of a particular make of chilli sauce. I can't remember the name of it for some reason, but I recognised the bottle. I also bought some breakfast in there......
today's breakfast
                            - with extra chilli sauce !
 These high fibre snacks are fairly low in undesirables like sugar and calories, and if I remember correctly, they were an integral part of the diet I was on when I was trying to cure my angina prior to my quad heart bypass operation. Whether they actually almost killed me is an unknown, but when I went into hospital I was close to buying smaller trousers, and the blood tests done while I was in hospital didn't show any signs that I was diabetic. So I probably ought to buy more of these for future breakfasts. It's a shame that the little Londis mini-market where I used to buy these in Earlsfield closed down. The only other place I know that sells them is the Turkish supermarket - which is open 24 hours a day so if I was early enough I could buy more on my way to work if I didn't buy them the night before.

 I still haven't got around to my experiments with pasta or potato based, chicken free, dinners yet. I have run out of chicken, but last night I had to use up a Tesco "Finest" sausage and mash ready meal (bought because it had a reduced price sticker on it). It was superior to their ordinary sausage and mash ready meals, but it was still a bit crap. I also used up a bowl of ready mix salad that was getting way to close to the point when it gets sweaty and nasty. I put far too much mayonnaise on it, and compounded the error by having a couple of naughty snacks in the evening too.

 It's not unusual that I feel bloated, and that my gut is even bigger than usual, and maybe that is so, but the tightness of my trousers tells a different story. I was particularly reminded of this, this morning, although the cause of it actually happened yesterday when I put on a different pair of jeans. Going even further back in time by a good few months, I bought two new pairs of jeans. When I tried to put them on I found them to be ridiculously tight - so tight that I couldn't wear them. Since they were bought from the same place, using the same order code as a pair I was wearing most comfortably, I could only conclude that either they had the wrong label in them, or the pair I was wearing had stretched by a huge amount. All I could do, in variable amounts, was to be careful about what I ate, and eventually I could get into those new jeans comfortably.

 Yesterday morning I decided to wear the original jeans that I was wearing before I ordered the two new, and stupidly tight jeans. I am wearing them again this morning, and I can't believe how loose they are !  If I breath in I can almost overlap the button and button hole on the waist, above the flies, by four inches ! It rather suggests there was something wrong with the measurements with those two pairs of too tight jeans - which now fit with maybe an inch, perhaps if I really breathed in, two inches to spare. Where this theory falls down is that I have been feeling really fat and bloated for the last week or six  - particularly when walking, but also when I look at myself in the mirror.

 Being fat and bloated probably doesn't help my sleep, but last night I seemed to sleep quite well again. I was in bed well before sunset, and I might have been asleep by 8.30pm, but I couldn't swear to it. I know I woke up once or twice in the night - at least I think I did - it all seems so dream like now. I know I definitely woke up about 4am because I found it quite hard to sleep after that. When I finally got up, at 4.50am, I felt unusually good. I seemed to have less aches and pains than usual, and it's been like that all morning. Maybe I was distracted from some of the usual aches, pains, and stiffness by a pain in my foot - my right foot. One of the discomforts I felt on my way home last night was some chafing above my right big toe. The area is still tender this morning, and for some stupid reason I am wearing the same type of shoes again. Luckily they are red shoes so the bloodstains won't show !
Tuesday 26th May 2015
08:10 BST   I'm sure that more than one weather forecast for yesterday said it would only warm up to 15 or 16° C, but I definitely saw 24° C on both my outdoor thermometers. It wasn't a very sunny day, but it was probably sunnier than I expected. During the night the temperature fell to 11° C, but by the time I was walking to the station it was 12° C. This is, amazingly enough, in accordance with the weather forecast for today, but that also said it should be a lot brighter this morning, and that this afternoon will be very sunny, although it will get cloudy as evening approaches. The reality is that it is not all that bright at the moment. Earlier on the clouds were very high, and streaky. That let the occasional ray of sunshine through, but since then the sky has turned milky white, and while it's not the sort of sky that threatens rain, it doesn't look very appealing. Most days this week are forecast to be a bit good, and a bit bad - not specially warm, but not cold either - although Friday might be the cooler day, and with a chance of rain.
empty car park
 I meant to show this picture yesterday. This was the view looking back across the car park next to Tesco in Catford when I went for my little trip around the cheapo (Poundland and the 99p shop) shops in Catford yesterday morning.  I don't think I have ever seen it so empty, and by "so empty" I mean completely empty, while Tesco is open and doing business (although probably not a lot of it !).

 I decided it would probably be wise not to attempt to do any more physical things yesterday afternoon. The stuff I did in the morning, the laundry, and the "gardening" seemed quite enough to damage me - and yes I can definitely feel I used a few extra muscles yesterday morning,  this morning ! Instead of wrangling wet linen, or pushing brooms, brushes, and spades around the garden, I opted for furtling software - and some reading and snoozing.

 I finally managed to sanitise all the ID3 tags of all the mp3 files in my substitute-for-a-decent-radio-station memory stick. Winamp now displays the correct band and song title for every track - at least I think it does, or will. Another thing I did on the PC was to rip my new Blu ray disk to a file format that I can easily play on the PC. Somewhere in the signal chain something is too slow for my PC to play a Blu Ray disk straight from the disk. So I ripped it to a mp4 file on the hard disk, and that plays smoothly - although I didn't actually watch that film yesterday. I watched another £1 DVD that I bought the week before. It was Billy Connolly live in Dublin 2002 - and it was very funny !

 I broke my own rules yesterday and ended up eating some chicken. I was intending to avoid chicken, and possibly most meats for a while, but then I considered that the ready cooked chicken legs I had in the fridge would not last forever. So I had them for dinner last night. Earlier in the day I had other naughty stuff like yoghurt coated peanuts. I didn't even dare look at how much sugar that added to my daily allowance of as little as I can manage. I am unsure why I should think it, but taking into account it was like a Sunday, but worse, yesterday, I seems as if I didn't end up eating that much. Of course anything more than a single lettuce leaf is too much a whole day, but there is too much, and there is too much. I think I got by on the non-bold too much !

 Last night combined the worst of my bedroom feeling too warm, and having snoozed during the day, not feeling very tired when I attempted to go to sleep. I didn't have any heating on in my bedroom in the evening, and so it shouldn't have been that warm in there, but the top half of my body definitely said it was too warm. strangely enough, my legs and feet reckoned it was on the cool side. Eventually I got to sleep, and I remember having a few dreams that I was desperate to remember because I thought they were worth recounting, but now I try to do that I find they seem to have evaporated from my mind. Oh well, there will be other, wait a dream is coming back to me.

 I can only recall a tiny fragment of this dream. I'm sure it must be one of those dreams that means something terribly important. In the dream I was clearing off the top of the mantelpiece in the living room. It started with throwing away a couple of old envelopes, and progressed to filling a whole dustbin liner with all the stuff that was on there. If I recall correctly, the idea wasn't to throw it all away, but to sort through and clean the most important stuff before throwing away the rest. It was a most distressing sort of dream - made worse by the knowledge that it is something I really ought to be doing in real life !

 This morning I can definitely feel that I did some hard physical labour yesterday. I am not really in any pain as such, but like a hangover, these self inflicted pains that are easy to account for, do put some of my more common aches and pains into some sort of perspective. If those everyday pains, which I enjoy moaning about whenever I get the chance, were as bad as some of the things I feel this morning, I would probably seek medical attention for them at some point. On the other hand, these new pains are only transitory, and will soon be gone. Although for that short period of time they are stronger, they actually are less bother than the low level aches that are with my any time I am not sleeping or drunk.

 While it might sound like I am on my last legs, and of course that is usually my deliberate intention, I can still raise enough steam to rush about for short periods, and nothing brings me closer to a heart attack that the mad dash over the link from Waterloo East station to Waterloo mainline station. Here's a really crappy video taken from my mini-camcorder clipped to my shirt pocket as I wobbled and weaved through the crowds. It will probably make you seasick, but don't worry about that too much - just look at how many people I overtake (not as many us on a good day, but a few......).
Monday 25th May 2015
11:32 BST   Yesterday's weather was not very spectacular - it was basically a slightly warm, slightly overcast with occasional sunny spells, and - to put it another way - there was nothing good or bad to remember about it ! I think today is going to turn out similar, although today seems like it is going to be a bit cooler, and we will probably lose the last trace of sunshine before the afternoon ends (maybe 4 or 5pm). At least it is supposed to stay dry, and 15° C, which might, or might not be highest temperature today, doesn't feel so bad. Curiously enough, although three different weather forecast all reckon that 15° C will not be reached until late this afternoon, and that the temperature right now should be around 12° C, my thermometer says it is 18° C as I write this !

 I can't with all honesty say that yesterday was a very productive day, but if laying on my bed reading counts, it was quite a busy day ! I did do two physical things. I washed some shirts and underwear, and I went shopping in Aldi. I felt a bit bloated in the morning, and considered that I had probably eaten far too much chicken and other meats recently. So I was very careful about what I bought in Aldi. I don't think I bought any meat at all, but I did buy some fish.

 Once upon a time, maybe 11 years ago, or maybe 20 years ago (I can't remember whether it was during my first period of unemployment, or the second), I was particularly short of money, and for a while I was living on pasta, spinach and tuna. I thought it was a cheap way of eating, although I assumed that all that carbohydrate could be fattening if I got too carried away. I can't recall feeling any thinner or fatter, but a few people remarked that it looked like I had lost weight. I also can't seem to recall if I felt any better or worse for eating it.

 Two of the things I bought from Aldi were some pasta, and a couple of tins of tuna. Tuna is not the cheap cat treat that it was, unfortunately, but some of my meals in the coming week are going to be pasta and tune based. Now I no longer have a working hob, and have to use my microwave oven, I can't make it is such large quantities as I used to, and maybe that might be a good thing. I also bought some potatoes to experiment with. I think I am more dubious about eating potatoes than pasta, but some say that plain boiled potatoes (with the skins still on) are low in some of the worst things, and moderately high in the better things.

  Last night's dinner was boiled potatoes with roll mop herrings. It wasn't one of my greatest culinary successes ! I had a theory that it might work, and maybe it could have done if I had rinsed the herrings to wash some of the vinegar off. Perhaps some butter on the potatoes might have helped too. It would probably have helped too if I had more confidence in the roll mops I used. They had been in the fridge rather a long time, and were right on their "best before" date. I wasn't sure if it was my imagination, or if one of them seemed to be developing a slightly odd flavour. I seemed to survive eating it with no ill effects. So I guess it was perfectly OK.

 I could have easily eaten half of what I ate yesterday - if I was in the right frame of mind - but I could also have eaten double that amount if I was in a bad state of mind. So I guess I did OK, and although I try and deny it to myself, the evidence seems to be that I slept better for it last night. I can't even attribute it to the two glasses of raw, nasty tasting, Whyte And Mackay whisky that I forced myself to drink last night (I've got to use the foul stuff up as soon as possible so I can replace it with some enjoyable Tesco "Special Reserve"). The whisky would only help to get me to sleep, and would have worn off by 2 or 3am, but I slept longer than that.

 I did wake up a few times in the night, once after an interesting dream, but most unusually I was fast asleep when my alarm went off at 5am (because I forgot to tell it that today is a bank holiday). It wasn't long before I was back asleep again after that, and I seemed to sleep soundly until about 7am. I think I almost feel refreshed today !

 The one bit of dream I remember seemed to have no obvious inspiration from the waking world. It concerned trying to get a "thing" working. This thing was a sort of computer and printer - or printers. It was curiously thin, maybe just 4 or 5 inches thick, and designed to be mounted in a standard 19 inch rack. One printer printed onto a narrow till roll type paper. That had jammed, and I managed to free it. Another printer printed on to a roll of white paper about the same width as A4 paper. The third printer of this strange machine seemed to print on what looked like a roll of thin black rubber. There was no evidence of it in the dream, or none that I remember, but I think it may not have been rubber, but something that would be deformed by the print head so it could be used like a large rubber stamp. It was one of those dream that seemed to have no beginning, and no end. It was like someone had played a short clip of film with no clues as to what came before it, and no clue as to what happened next.

 This morning was typical of my mornings these days. It took some time before I felt well enough to consider myself actually alive, but from then on things happened quite fast. Once I was sure my limbs would not fall off, and my chest wouldn't explode, I tackled some laundry I had left soaking overnight. It included some heavily stained t-shirts, and a not very stained double fitted sheet. That lot brought my laundry right up to date - except for 5 heavy duvet covers that I will try and do, one at a time, on a series of hot sunny days, and the filthy, stained with many dinners, t-shirt I was wearing at the time, and the grossly offensive lounge pants I was also wearing.

 Doing that laundry, particularly the sheet, which was not as taxing as a duvet cover, but still a lot to handle, should have been enough to drive me to having a lie down, but it didn't, and I went on to work up quite a sweat cleaning the garden path, or at least part of it. Scrubbing moss off the path uses a lot of energy ! Until the next rain, or perhaps a bird or two knocks some more moss off the roof, the path from the back door to where the garden actually starts, and including the yard and a bit wide strip of concrete at the back of the house, is now almost spotless. On this occasion I also started to push my way down the garden itself. I had removed much of the debris from that path so I could get to the washing line, but I had not bothered to dig down through the litter to the paving slabs. Well I have now - sort of.....for maybe a yard and a bit....perhaps more if you include the bit where I took the top off, but didn't quite reach the bottom.

 I could have done more, but I was starting to get quite sweaty, and knackered. What was worse was that it felt like I had already done enough to trigger some bad back ache later. Luckily enough I don't seem to have any back ache now, and that may have been because as soon as I cooled down I went for a walk around the shops in Catford. I bought some old crap in Poundland, and a bit more in the 99p shop. Amongst the stuff I bought was a metallic violet coloured hair brush. I'll confess that now I have looked at it again at home, it does look a bit girly, but no one is going to see it except me.

 I also bought two DVDs and a Blu Ray disk. I now have two Blu Ray disks in my collection. This second one was a bit more expensive that the first. The first only cost 99p, and it was such a crappy film that I couldn't be bothered to watch it. This new one cost a whole 100p, and I am expecting great things of it - and maybe it might actually be worth watching. It is a sci fi film called "Monsters". Some people moan that there is not enough action in it to be worth watching, but that is a plus point as far as I am concerned. I rarely, if ever, enjoy films that are all special effects, explosions, etc, and no plot. This film looks like it might be sci fi for the intelligent - which I may or not be - depending on which way the wind blows, maybe.

 The two DVDs, both costing £1 each from Poundland, may, or may not be good, but I think there is a fair chance that both could be quite enjoyable. One is by Jeremy Clarkson, and seems to be a sort of extension of Top Gear featuring all sorts of car madness. The other DVD is "Shaun Of The Dead" which is a comedy starring Simon Pegg (and Nick Frost). Most of what Simon Pegg has done has been very amusing to the English mind (opinions may vary in the US "give me more explosions" A). All I need to do now is find time to sit down and watch it.
Sunday 24th May 2015
10:27 BST   Friday turned out to be quite pleasant weatherwise.  It stayed dry, and there was a fair amount of sunshine. I can't recall the temperature, but I think it was probably a bit higher than the 15° C I seemed to be expecting. I am pretty sure that yesterday was nothing like any forecast predicted it would be. There were plenty of clouds around, but it was still bright and sunny most of the time, and it was warm. By late afternoon it was 20° C, and it might have been a little higher than that at some point. Even after sunset it was still shirtsleeves weather - but only just, and only for the more hardy ! This morning seems to have started off sunny, and it is an acceptable 17° C now. There seems every reason to hope that it will get warmer - although the BBC's website throws cold water on that theory, and says that 17° C will be the highest it will get, and that by 3pm it will be a degree cooler and raining ! The forecast for tomorrow seems about right for an English bank holiday. A bright sunrise, and then it will go downhill from there. Possibly it will stay dry, but it is going to be dull and cool for the rest of the day - except that forecast is over 24 hours old, and the reality is that it will be somewhere between the hottest day of the year, and the coldest day !

 It was most pleasant to get home from work on Friday. I was feeling OK, but the start of three days off work triggered off the extreme relaxation nerve (or some old bollocks like that). Basically I did nothing of any merit on Friday night. The same could be said about much of yesterday. I was going to go out shopping yesterday, but I didn't need to, and couldn't be bothered to go any further than the corner shop (where I bought a bottle of pop, and a magazine). One thing I did do doesn't sound like much, and in terms of physical or mental effort it wasn't, but it did take up a lot of time in a series of quite small chunks.

 That little task was to sanitise the ID3 tags of the 1000+ song playlist that I am currently using to amuse myself both here at home, and at work. I have decided I want to experiment with streaming songs over the internet like an internet radio station, but I don't intend to start an internet radio station - but I do hope to be able to listen to my music collection, or at least a part of it, while at work or other places. Maybe I'll let a few other people in on the secret too, but not while I am experimenting. One of my aims is to have the artist and song title visible in the distant music player, and for that, if I can do it, I have to make sure the ID3 tags are correct. I've gone through over 500 now and some were riddled with inaccuracies, and many weren't even there. It is a long, slow, and rather boring job, but someone has to do it :-)

 So after "wasting" most of the day by editing ID3 tags, reading, eating, and trying to snooze, I decided I should make extra effort to try and go out in the evening. It took a while to psyche myself to go out, but once I got moving it felt good. I caught the 320 bus to Bromley Market Square bus stop which is practically opposite The Partridge pub where Chain were playing last night. I haven't been to a Chain gig for ages and ages, and it was great to see so many people I knew (often just by name). Unfortunately there were a few problems. It was far too crowded for my liking, and the stage lighting was pointing at my camera instead of the band. I took a few sample pictures, but it was not a good night for photography.
too dark for good
This picture of Guy Harris on the drums, Geoff Paice on bass, and Chris Mayer on lead guitar probably illustrates to lighting problem as well as any other picture. I've forced it a bit to bring out some details, but apart from it's atmospheric look, it doesn't look good to my eyes.
slightly colourful, but not great
A bit more forcing and we can now see Jo Corteen in the gloom.
Jo Corteen
Even more forced brightness and the picture looks quite grainy.
black and white looks better
Converting the picture to black and white helps a bit.
using flash
Using flash was the only way to get a bright and sharp picture, but it loses all the pretty colours, or "atmosphere" from the stage lighting.

 On the whole, I was not happy about the whole experience last night. A pint of Guinness was a rather criminal £4.10. The place was far too crowded for my comfort. The lighting was bad, and because of the crowds I was almost on top of the stage area with no way to circulate. After being there an hour I gave up and went home again. It felt good to go out, and it was good to see Chain playing again, albeit briefly. Waiting for the bus to go home gave me a chance to see Bromley's finest drunks - and there were a lot of them even at 9.30pm !

 In the end I felt quite disappointed by it all. So much so that it drove me into the fried chicken shop on the way home to buy what, in the normal sequence of meals, would be dinner. Giving in to that primal urge added to a rather depressed feeling. That was probably made worse by me feeling rather alert, or the opposite of tired. Ideally I would have just gone to bed, and slept it all off, but I couldn't relax even with the help of some booze. I couldn't be bothered to fight my way to the bar for a second pint of expensive Guinness, and I had to rely on some Scotch when I got home to try and pummel my brain into submission.

 Unfortunately Tesco have (had ?) a special promotion on Whyte And Mackay whisky. It was just £16 for a 1 litre bottle. That's quite cheap, but to my pallet it is still not cheap enough. It is too nasty to get drunk on - although I guess I could have poured lots of diet coke on it to take away the worst of it's taste. There is a clue as to how nasty it is in the screenshot I just took of Tesco's website - they thought it might be worth over £20, and now struggle to get rid of it for £16 ! Hah !!
rough whisky
                                being sold off cheap !
 Eventually I got to sleep, and I seemed to sleep OK until about 6am. I woke up then and took my daily drugs, checked my email, and other stuff. Then I went back to bed and eventually got back to sleep. The first time I got up I felt reasonably OK. The second time I woke up I was clutching the duvet like it was a life buoy or something, and I felt dreadful. It is only now, a couple of hours later, that I think I feel OK.

Maybe it is time to do something constructive. I feel like I should go to somewhere partly deserted after last night. Maybe somewhere on the lesser visited parts of the seaside like Rye, or even between Hastings and Bexhill, but I am not sure if I want to do all that travelling on Sunday service trains (assuming that there are no engineering works blocking the lines - which is a very bold assumption !). Maybe I'll just be happy to go to Aldi, and to do some laundry, but I suppose I ought to take a shower first before appearing before my public.
Friday 22nd May 2015
07:48 BST   Yesterday probably turned out better than expected. There was more sunshine than the forecast seemed to predict, and it may have been warmer too. I didn't get to note the actual temperature, but it was most definitely shirt sleeve weather when I left work, and also when I left the pub rather later than I had intended to. This morning has started out a bit variable, and that probably sets the pattern for the rest of the day. When I first woke up the sky seemed clear, but when I walked to the station the sky was mostly filled with non-threatening thin clouds. Now I am at work the sky looks mostly clear again - at least the small part of it I can see from my office window does. It was 10° C when I came to work (in my shirtsleeves), and the temperature should rise to at least 15° C, and hopefully more - depending on the ratio of sunny periods to cloudy periods. The long, bank holiday, weekend is now looking not so good. I wish they could make a long term forecast, at least 12 hours in advance of reality that can be relied on. Tomorrow may be wet, or sunny, or might snow, or there could be tropical storms and hurricanes. No one seems to know  just what is going to happen tomorrow. My guess is that it will be similar to today, but I would hope for it being even better.

 It wasn't long after I had eaten my sandwiches for breakfast that I developed bad indigestion, or some sort of stomach ailment yesterday morning. It wasn't a bad pain, but it was quite distracting. A couple of antacid tablets may have helped a bit, but essentially I just had to sit it out until it had gone away - sometime around midday if I recall correctly. I felt fairly comfortable after that if I ignore the tightness and/or stiffness of the new shoes I was wearing. They didn't stop me walking, although if I had spotted a convenient bus when I left work I would probably have got it for the two stops to the station.

 While the Thursday night drinking crew were boozing it up in a pub near Bromley, I was heading to The Catford Constitutional Club. I didn't really fancy extending my hour commute by sitting on a bus for 30 minutes to get the pub near Bromley, and Jodi wanted to meet up in Catford to see if I could sort out a phone problem for her. Unfortunately there had been a bridge strike near Eden Park station (the second to last station on the line through Catford Bridge to Hayes in Kent). That didn't effect my train because they were terminating the services short at either Elmers End or New Beckenham station (although there were no announcements made on my train to warn  anyone who wanted to go further). The result of this was that Jodi could not get a train from Elmers End station, and had to get a bus to Catford. The result of that was that she arrived half an hour late, and I had already drunk a pint of beer.
last night's
 I started with half a pint of the Berry Mild Porter, and it was quite nice, but I thought that I wouldn't like any more of it. The White Dragon, a clear wheat beer, tasted awful after the mild, but as the bottom of the half pint glass came closer and closer I began to get the proper taste of it. I then went on to have a full three pints of it - I think. At 5.6% it was a bit strong for an early session on an empty stomach, and I left the pub feeling fairly drunk. Drunk enough to buy a large cod and chips on the way home !

 I never did manage to sort out Jodi's phone. It wasn't her mobile phone, but the charger for a cordless landline phone, and to be completely accurate it wasn't hers, but her parents ! Her dad had tripped over the lead or something, and had snapped the wire from the little "wall wart" charger. I found one which provided the same voltage (6V) and could provide more current than the original. Unfortunately it didn't work, and I suspect the trouble was that the positive and negative were transposed. Still, it was a good excuse for a beer.

 For some stupid reason, probably to do with being drunk, I still felt peckish after eating my cod and chips - and they should have been more than adequate for an evening meal. Maybe I just felt bored after a little bit of excitement/enjoyment in the pub. It was still broad daylight outside, and it didn't feel like bedtime. So I had to force myself to watch a bit of TV, but it did not grab my attention enough. So I had a small, and carefully selected snack before going to bed. I have no idea what time that was exactly, but I think it was just before 9pm. I fell asleep fairly quickly as far as I can recall, and slept soundly for about 5 hours. From then on until just before my alarm would have woken me at 5am, I was half asleep and half awake.

 When I finally rolled out of bed a few minutes before 5am I felt pretty horrible - much worse than the quite mild hangover that I was left with as I came to work. I can't really describe how horrible I felt initially. It wasn't exactly pain, but it was most uncomfortable. Part of it was like that feeling of imminent explosion just before you sneeze. By the time I had been to the toilet, washed my hair, and showered, I was almost back to just a good old fashioned hangover, and I can cope with those. Now, several hours later, I feel relatively OK. I didn't eat any sandwiches this morning. Partly because I ate enough for several days last night, and partly because of how they made me feel yesterday morning. Although I have to confess I did buy, and eat, a bag of cheese and onion crisps when I was buying a 500ml bottle of Diet Coke from an "expensive" little sweet shop on the high street - so it only cost £1 instead of Tesco's blatant rip off price of £1.25 !

 I am very much looking forward to the end of the working day when I can start a long bank holiday weekend. I was hoping it would be even longer, but the rail strike that promised at least an extra day off, and probably two (out of my holiday allowance) has been called off. With luck it has only been suspended, and it will happen at some future date. Many commuters moaned like buggery about the intended strike. I must have been one of the few who was looking forward to it (but only on the understanding that it would not last for more than a couple of days).

 This weekend there are a few things I might do, or I might not do any of them. There is a gig on Saturday night that I think I would like to try and get to. I'm not seeing Aleemah on Saturday, and so I should be able to dedicate the day to mentally preparing myself to an evening out. Now that all the sacks of nastiness have been removed from my back garden I might make use of it for drying some washing if we do manage to have a warm dry day, or it is possible that I might do a bit more tidying up in the back garden. If it does get wet I might do some tidying up indoors. Of course all these things assume that I can be bothered to get out of bed, but I probably will if only to go shopping in Aldi. One thing I will almost certainly do is to add more tracks to my memory stick of music that substitutes for a decent radio station to listen to. I might investigate setting an old PC up to stream all the songs like a private internet radio station. My current playlist looks like this so far....
winamp playlist
1044 tracks lasting at least 70 hours. I reckon I can find at least another 500 tracks to add to that - although it will be scraping the barrel at the end !
Thursday 21st May 2015
07:36 BST   The forecast warned of passing showers, but it was dry wherever I was yesterday. It wasn't a bad day, and for sometime like March it could have been described as quite a reasonable day. My main complaint was that for all the sunshine it didn't seem to warm up much beyond the boundary between merely mild, and slightly warm. I think it was about 15° C when I got home from work. Today should see the top temperature at least a few degrees higher, although once again the sun will have to work hard to achieve that after another chilly start to the day. It was only about 7° C when I left home this morning. All I can see from my office window is clear blue sky, and we have been promised quite a lot more of that today - but not exclusively. It will, or may cloud over from time to time. The forecast for tomorrow suggests it will be a superior day to today. The forecast for the weekend has gone from good to bad, and is now looking semi-good. It will be nice if reality turns out even better than that !
new streetlamp
This picture serves two purposes. The more obvious one is to show how beautifully clear and blue the sky was yesterday morning (and this morning was the same now and then). The main purpose is to show the new streetlamp heads that were fitted to the streetlamps near me a couple of days ago. I think the one opposite my house has been on day and night for a couple of days now. It is so dazzling that it is hard to tell what type of lamp it is, but I believe they are LED based lamps.
new streetlamp
                            head in profile
 Here's one of the new head units in profile. I hope that these light fittings produce less light pollution to the night sky.
old light fitting
Here's a reminder of what the old fittings looked like.

 In most respects I felt far better yesterday that I did the day before. My strained ligaments, tendons, muscles, and whatever in my chest had settled down a lot, and hardly ached at all unless provoked. Unfortunately provoking them was rather too easy sometimes. Reaching up to eye height to grab a very light, three quarter eaten, bag of peanuts out of my kitchen cupboard was enough to send a rather sharp pain through my left shoulder. Other movement would cause other pains, sometimes sharp, and sometimes dull, through different bits of my upper torso. I really must stop throwing really heavy stuff around, and straining all sorts of things that shouldn't be strained !

 There is some good news on that front ! I had a reasonably comfortable journey home from work, and after I got in I washed and put in the rest of the new potatoes I recently bought into the microwave. As soon as I had done that there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find that after what seemed like a very long wait (a fortnight ?) Thames Water had finally sent their contractors along to remove the plastic sacks of nastiness they had scooped out of the sewer from the manhole in my back garden. I was rather glad to get rid of them for the obvious reason that they were not nice to have laying around, but also because I could hardly lift them to move them elsewhere. I now feel there is a good chance that it was taking one of the lightest sacks through the house, to put it in the front garden, was the start of all the aches and pains I have been suffering in the chest area recently. What probably broke the camel's back, or more specifically my chest, was when I swung, and jerked it upwards to get it into the wheelie bin. It was bloody hard work doing that, and I can't imagine just how much damage that might have done to my chest - which is only held together by scar tissue after my operation.
plasic sacks of
                            sewer scrapings 5 minutes before they were
                            taken away
Here are the plastic sacks of concentrated nastiness 5 minutes before they were finally taken away.
They don't look anything like as heavy as they actually were !
 free apples
Another picture from yesterday - The concourse of Waterloo station at approx 7am.
Polish vodka maker giving away
The man on the right was giving away nasty green apples - probably Granny Smiths - teeth breaking hard, and as sour as neat acid. I have since found out that Zubrowka make Vodka, and this particular vodka is traditionally drunk with apple juice (in Poland I think). Yesterday evening they were offering tiny little glasses of what may have only been apple juice, but might have had vodka in too.

 I tried to sleep on my back last night, but failed miserably. I had hoped that it would help my chest to recover a bit faster. As usual I slept on my side, mostly my right side. I seemed to sleep quite well last night, and didn't wake up with any new aches or pains, but neither did I seem to have any less.....Well maybe there is a small improvement in my chest. I haven't managed to provoke it into producing any sharp pains, but some movements still produce a strong ache. The good thing is that these pains, including the sharper ones I was getting yesterday, only seem to last a few moments. I did notice one variation to the usual pains this morning. I suppose I must be putting weight on again because it seemed like I could feel the weight of my belly pulling down on my chest. It was like the very centre of my chest, right where my big scar is, was being gently, and slightly uncomfortably stretched. At least that is how my imagination interpreted what I could feel as I walked across the concourse of Waterloo station.

 I was distracted from all but the worst aches and pains by pains in my feet (or should that be around my feet ?). I am trying a new pair of shoes this morning, and although they are not rubbing or pinching, they do feel really stiff. It make it feel like I have walked triple, or even quadruple the distance I actually have walked. I hope they loosen up a bit during the day or I'll be limping home - except it's a Thursday, and I won't be going straight home. The Thursday night guys are drinking in a pub near Bromley tonight. To go there would mean an extra half hour or so on a bus after travelling for over and hour from Earlsfield to Catford, and I don't fancy doing that. So I'm going to meet Jodie for a quick drink in The Catford Constitutional Club. I reckon I'll probably be home a lot earlier this Thursday - maybe by 6pm, and with only a couple of pints of beer in me. That should be enough for a nice relaxing evening, and an early night - maybe.
Wednesday 20th May 2015
08:10 BST   Most of yesterday was pretty horrible, but there were a few good bits. There was a lot of rain while I was at work, and around lunchtime there were a few claps of thunder. The forecast said that it should have been dry when I left work to go home, and it was, but they cut it very fine. The rain probably only stopped as little as 30 minutes before I left work, and even then there were some very black clouds in the sky. Somehow it didn't rain as I travelled, and for quite a lot of the journey I was followed by a pleasant little ray of sunshine. An hour, or maybe two after I got home, the rain started again, and somewhere not too far away, it was heavy enough for some more thunder and lightning ! During the night all the clouds went away, and this morning it is delightfully sunny with just a few fluffy white clouds high in the sky. Unfortunately the cost of this was that the temperature dropped very low. It was 5 or 6° C in Catford, and the weather forecast on TV last night said that some sheltered places, not that far from here in a countryside sort of direction, may have had a touch of frost first thing this morning. It is forecast to cloud over again today, and there could be a few passing showers, but overall it should be a lot nicer than yesterday. Tomorrow should be even better still with far more sunshine, and temperatures nudging towards 20° C !

 I felt considerably better yesterday than I did the day before. I had far less aches and pains in my chest area, although the muscles and tendons still felt rather tender. It is the tendons that are most probably the root cause of the pains I get, although in this case I probably overworked a few muscles on Sunday as well. There was no sign of the headache that gently throbbed away on Monday either. The odd thing is that though I felt a lot better, I didn't seem to have the energy I had the previous night when I walked to the station. It felt like the usual boring slog rather than the almost joyous light footed walk of Monday night.

 While that may have not been that good, it was more neutral than negative, and when I factor in the fact that it was mostly sunny when I went home rather than teeming down with rain, like it almost was, it probably made for a good, if not actual enjoyable journey home. On the way I called into Tesco to buy a few things. I was very wary about the prices in Tesco, and I shopped quite carefully. For instance they had a buy two for £2 offer on 1.75l bottles of diet coke. So I bought two of them for effectively £1 each - which is remarkably cheaper than £1.25 for a single 500ml bottle ! Much of what I bought had reduced prices stickers on it. That included a bag of Jersey Royals new potatoes, and the breakfast I've just eaten this morning here at work.
reduced price
                            salmon and cucumber for breakfast
 A 22p saving per pack of sandwiches is not a lot, but we have to remember Tesco's crappy slogan - "Every Little Helps"! I also had a "reduced price" dinner last night.....well a bit of it was ! If I had left out, or seriously reduced the amount of added butter, it might have been a partly healthy sort of dinner. It was mostly new potatoes and peas, but with a few strips of barbecue flavoured skinless chicken thrown in for good measure. The butter increased the fat content from practically nothing to too much, and of course the potatoes made the carbohydrate levels rather higher than I would aim for. The worst bit was that it was not as nice as I hoped it would be. On a scale of 0 to 10 it would only be a 6 or 7 - nice, but not that nice.

 I spent a lot of my spare time after dinner by copying more carefully selected songs to my memory stick which is substituting for a pleasurable radio station here at work. I now have 1045 tracks for Winamp to randomly select for playout. I don't think I have finished yet, but even if I didn't add any more I probably have enough songs to keep me going for weeks without it becoming stale. While copying the songs over I was also watching some TV, but I found it hard to concentrate on. Eventually I gave up and decided to go to bed to do some reading. I read for maybe 30 minutes before I put the book down, turned out the light, and was soon fast asleep. It was probably not much later than 8.30pm when I fell asleep, and it was still light outside.

 I think I slept rather well last night. Maybe not having too many aches and pains helped a lot. That is not to say I was perfectly comfortable in bed. Certain positions made my chest hurt, and other position would make one or both arms hurt - mostly at either the elbow, or wrists, or frequently both ! By 4am it seemed as if I must have had enough sleep. I would have liked to get more, but as much as I tried to sleep I only got a few minutes here and there. When I finally got out of bed I seemed to have less aches and pains than usual. On the other hand, I felt quite tender - all over - although it was my chest area that specialised in feeling tender, and it didn't, and doesn't need much to invoke a few pains. A few minutes ago I made a very simple movement. I reached behind me to scratch my back, and that induced quite a sharp pain to the top of my chest on the far left. Eventually those tendons will heal, and I'll be able to do that without any pain....until at the weekend I do some sort of heavy lifting, and trigger it off all over again. You would think I would learn something from this !
This poster seemed a little strange and out of place when I photographed it this morning. It was on the wall of one of the toilet cubicles at Waterloo station. Normally there are adverts for products aimed very specifically at men. Not too long ago Lloyds Pharmacy had adverts up for Viagra and similar products. Sometime before that Tena were advertising nappies for men (with medical problems rather than strange twisted fetishes). So this advert for Unwanted Pet Week seemed a little out of place. It may be, and probably is, a terribly sexist thing to say, but I would imagine it would get more response in the ladies toilet.

 There was other stuff going on at Waterloo station this morning. I have several pictures to show taken with my Nikon camera, but for now I've only transferred a couple of pictures off my mobile phone - and none of them were of happenings on the concourse of Waterloo station. Those happenings were a much bigger stall staffed with people handing out leaflets for "Visit England", and a stand handing out free nasty hard green apples. I can't recall who they were, and I have not the slightest clue why they were handing out free apples. I was offered one, but turned it down. I think they were the dreaded Granny Smiths apples - hard as a rock, and as bitter as pure acid !

 There were sights to see on the walk from the station to work.......
brutal tree
 For the last couple of days the council, or more accurately, their contractors, have been pruning the trees. It feels like they have left it quite late to do this pruning, and have been rather brutal too. I am sure this tree was covered in green leaves before it was attacked with chain saws. Now it hasn't got a single leaf on it. I expect it will all grow back eventually. Meanwhile, just look at that lovely blue sky. It was certainly very nice this morning if you ignore your own breath condensing as it hits the frigid air as you rush to the station !
Tuesday 19th May 2015
08:08 BST   There was probably less rain yesterday than expected - although with some of the big black clouds floating around it was easy to believe there could have been a lot more. The showers we did have seemed to be more sporadic than the forecast suggested they would be, but they didn't seem to stop until quite close to home time. Maybe they stopped earlier than I thought because the ground seemed fairly dry when I left work. It was about 16° C when I left work, and it was quite sunny. Despite that very pleasant sunshine, there were still some very threatening clouds in the sky, but I took a chance, and went home in shirtsleeves. If it hadn't been just 7° C it would have been a very pleasant morning this morning. The sky was mostly blue, and the day was bright and shiny. Unfortunately it didn't last long. It's still fairly bright, but the clouds are getting thicker and thicker. Showers are forecast for today, and although there could be a bit of sunshine between them, they are forecast to dominate the day, and it is looking like I will have to put a coat on to go home after work even though it should be as mild as yesterday. Tomorrow might (or might not) be a little drier and warmer than today.

 I felt rotten at work yesterday. The headache I had in the morning waxed and waned for a lot of the working day until it finally vanished sometime in the afternoon. That wasn't my only source of pain. I think I may have done some damage to my chest when I did so much laundry on Sunday. My Costochondritus (or some similar ailment) became quite sore during the day, and it seemed to take a long time for the Ibuprofen I took to calm it down. Even after that it was still a bit tender - as I found out on the train home.

 It was actually a relief to start walking to the station at home time. Unlike the angina pains I had before my quad heart bypass operation, walking makes my current type of chest pains go away - and they can go away quite spectacularly. I don't know if  it was just an extra energy boost I got from being free from pain, or if it was something else, plus a few other positive effects, but for the first time in ages I found walking to the station from work to be almost exhilarating. As I mentioned yesterday, I wasn't wearing the most comfortable shoes I could have, but I still felt that I could have carried on walking the extra mile and a half to Wandsworth Common station. I decided I wouldn't do that, and caught my train from Earlsfield station as normal.

 For some reason I didn't feel like racing everybody across the link from Waterloo to Waterloo East station, but then again, I didn't lag behind either. It was while I was on the train, maybe about a third of the way to Catford Bridge, that I was reminded just how sore my "floating rib(s)" could be. I was sitting slightly awkwardly on the side edge of a seat so as not to crowd out the person I was sitting next to. As the train went over some points it gave me a strong sideways jolt, and I felt a sharp stab of pain in my side. It remained painful, although of a lesser intensity to the first 2 seconds, for a minute or two after that.

 I felt perfectly OK when I got off the train, and started walking towards home - except for my feet. Those uncomfortable shoes had decided to be a bit more uncomfortable by then. I don't think it was bad enough to say they were painful, but it did make the walk rather less enjoyable. When I got indoors a strange thing happened. I broke out in a medium strong sweat. It was as if I had been working hard. I don't know what all that was about, but it may have suggested that I had some sort of infection. Maybe an infection was another possible cause of my chest being sore. I also started sneezing a lot, and I didn't know whether to blame that on hay fever or a cold. I'm obviously not a well man, but I seemed to have a comfortable evening, and a fair nights sleep.

 There were various things I could have eaten for dinner last night, and some would have been healthier than others, but only one thing tickled my fancy, and that was lamb rogan josh curry - which is what I had. I think I bought it from Aldi, and it was extremely nice. I am not so sure that the chunks of lamb were not "reconstituted meat", or something, but they tasted good, and were extremely tender. It was that extreme tenderness that makes me suspicious that they were genuine cuts of real meat.

 I did several things last night, but what probably occupied my time most was adding even more songs to the memory stick that I am using to feed Winamp (the old version 2.xx series which just does one thing, and does it well). The 600 or so songs on it yesterday provided a most adequate substitute for Cruisin' Radio - although with an estimated 30 hours of music on there I did have one song repeat once using random playout. Last night I added enough songs to take it over 1000 songs available. I haven't finished yet. Tonight I may add some more Beatles songs, and perhaps some more progressive rock tracks. In theory, I am already at the point where my random playlist will be more varied, and have less repeats than virtually any radio station currently broadcasting. Why did we ever bother with radio ?

 After what seemed like a reasonably good sleep, I woke up feeling semi crap this morning. I am fairly sure it is not the case, but it reminds me of 'flu in some respects. One thing is for certain, and that is that my floating rib syndrome is in full swing this morning. Quite a wide variety of movements from brushing my teeth to doing up my shoelaces causes cracking and popping sounds (sounds which are more felt than heard) from the centre of my chest. It doesn't hurt too much this morning because I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets before coming to work, and they do seem to reduce any painful inflammation quite well. Now I am at work I don't feel very good, but at least today I have dug out the heater again, and I should feel warm today - unlike yesterday where I had to put a jumper on to stop shivering.
Passenger forum
                            being set up
 This morning they were setting up for a passengers forum on the concourse of Waterloo station.
Passenger forum
In the top picture there is just one lady sorting out leafets, and then, a few minutes later, loads of people in light blue high visibility jackets descended on the place. I presume they were managers bravely soliciting the views of long suffering commuters who use South Wast Trains services into and out of Waterloo station.
Visit England
Visit England say these free standing posters that were also on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning.
Monday 18th May 2015
08:06 BST The weather wasn't that bad yesterday. There were plenty of ways it could have been better (mostly involving more, and hotter sunshine), but it was not chilly, and even when it wasn't actually sunny, it was still bright and cheery outside. I forgot to check what the top temperature was, but I would estimate it was somewhere in the region of 16 or 17° C. Today may not turn out as bad as originally predicted...although it is still going to be pretty bad. It was 11° C when I left home to come to work. Before going out the door there had been a brief splash of light rain, but it stayed dry all the way here to work, and it only started raining again after I had been here for over half an hour. Even that rain was not heavy, and seems to have stopped again (or at least it is not hitting the window still). The most recent forecast I saw seemed to say that there would be non stop, moderately heavy rain all morning until the sun broke through in the afternoon. That forecast, that has now got off to a poor start, implied I would be going home in bright sunshine. Now I don't know what to believe - but that is true of most days !

 I had quite a productive day yesterday. I ended up doing three lots of laundry. In the morning I washed four work shirts plus some underwear. In the middle of the day I washed a couple of t-towels, a hand towel, and a small table cloth. Late in the afternoon I must have had a brain attack or something because I decided to wash a duvet cover. It was a moderately heavy one too ! I could have dried any of those things on the washing line, and that would have been particularly useful for the duvet cover because it is virtually impossible to wring it out enough by hand to stop it dripping, but I still feel reluctant to use the garden for anything while there are still 7 bags of sewer scrapings out there. So I hung the duvet as best as I could over the bath until it had stopped dripping. It didn't actually take that long, and then I hung it over the banisters to continue to dry out. I was surprised how quickly it did dry, and I was able to put it away late last night. I feeling I really am making a lot of progress catching up with my laundry. I have nothing small left to wash now (apart from the clothes I am weaaring at the moment), and I only have 5 duvet covers to do. Unfortunately those last 5 are really heavy ones, and are they will be a real struggle to wash and dry !

 Laundry was just one of the things I did yesterday. I also prepared and ate some food. Only one thing needed a lot of preparation, and ultimately it was almost wasted. While I was in Aldi on Saturday, I noticed some pork and chorizo burgers. They sounded like the should have been really delicious. Unfortunately I was badly mistaken. They were almost unpleasant to eat, and I shall definitely not be buying any more of them again ! My other meal, which must have been dinner if the burgers were lunch, was a ham salad dressed with oil and vinegar. So I had one good meal, one bad meal, and I'll draw a veil over what I may, or may not have had for snacks during the day (mainly because I can't really remember anything but a handful of peanuts).
violet shirt
This morning I feel both good and bad - but what's new about that ? All the hand laundry cured me of lots of minor aches and pains yesterday, but of course added a few new ones. It allowed me to get a good sleep for 4 or so hours, and maybe 3 not so good hours. When I finally got up, just 10 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me at 5am, I really only had one thing to complain about, and that was a bit of a headache. That headache slowly shrunk to one place in my head, and became both intermittent and more painful. I guess it is either a cancer, or an aneurysm, so I didn't bother to take anything for it. Sometimes tens of minutes pass by now without me noticing it, but every so often it is like someone pokes a stick in my brain about an inch above my left eye, and in about 2 or 3 inches. It is quite a localised pain, and that is why I am sure it must be something excitingly lethal - or maybe it is just stage one of mental vegetableisation.........

 The only other thing that spoiled my journey into work was my choice of shoes. My purple Converse trainers, chosen to match my new purple/violet shirt (as seen in the selfie taken on platform 1 of Catford Bridge station at approx 6.30am this morning), are getting rather worn now, and are no longer terribly comfortable. They don't pinch, and they don't chafe, but it feels only one step away from walking on gravel with bare feet ! I really ought to throw them away, but I can't, or maybe I just haven't yet been able to do it.

 There was one other thing I did yesterday that I almost forgot about - which is strange considering I did so much of it. It all started when it was announced that Cruisin' Radio was closing down at 5pm yesterday. It was a little internet radio station run by an old mate of mine from pirate radio days. He ran it quite seriously, and paid for enough server bandwidth to serve hundreds of listeners, but he only had a small listenership, and he didn't fancy wasting any more of his own money to run it. It was (paid) advert free (but did include some very old adverts for their entertainment value), and so he never made any money from it, and didn't even intend to as long as it seemed worthwhile to do it ( one of the old traditional pirate values before rap music and greed killed it off).

 Cruisin' radio was my music source of choice while at work, and at home too. I wasn't looking forward to being at work today without some music on so I started copying a random selection of tracks to a 64GB USB memory stick. Then I started ripping selected tracks from a wide variety of CDs. I think I ended up with nearly 600 tracks on the memory stick, and I am playing them in random order even now as I write this. Winamp estimates that there are about 33 hours of music on the memory stick so far, and by tomorrow I will probably have added quite a few more hours - and Windows reckons I've only used about 3 GB of that memory stick so far. So I could end up with thousands of tracks in the end, and that is probably more than Crusin' Radio used to play. I think I have just described what I expect to do tonight, and tomorrow night, and the night after.......
Sunday 17th May 2015
10:38 BST   Friday was a most definite improvement over Thursday. It wasn't a particularly special day, but it was mild enough, maybe with a hint of warmth, to go home from work in shirtsleeves, and of course it was dry. There were sunny spells rather than continuous sunshine, but that, plus the direction the wind was coming from, probably took the temperature up to 15 or 16° C (although for the life of me, I can't remember what the actual temperature was). Yesterday was quite similar to Friday. It was a little overcast in the first half of the morning, but the clouds parted, and the rest of the day was quite sunny. Occasionally a rather dark looking cloud would drift over, but it stayed dry. Once again the temperature was in that sort of no man's land of not cold, but not warm either - the high teens. Today looked like it would be similar again, but the day started quite bright and sunny, and will end overcast. In fact the rather pessimistic forecast says we can only look forward to another hour or so of sunshine, but at least it will be around 16° C again. It's probably best not to even think about tomorrow, or the day after, or even the day after that. Certainly don't think about it unless you happen to carry a lifebouy around with you, or at least a very sturdy raincoat !

 It was a joy when work finished on Friday. I was feeling quite weary. Some of it was probably because I didn't seem to be getting the amount of sleep I wanted, and some of it, maybe a lot of it, was just the effect of working a full 5 day week. Work has been moderately OK recently - at least I haven't had any tantrums of the "here's my resignation, goodbye" type difficulties - something I could do for real now with my lump sum and small pension being due next month. It's not enough to live on easily, but I could, and on the whole, it is probably better than murdering someone (although not as satisfying !).

 The biggest problem with work at the moment is that IFSEC (security stuff exhibition - burglar alarms, CCTV and stuff) is coming up soon, and as in most years, but possibly more so this year, there is a lot of running around like headless chickens going on. We apparently know what new products we want to exhibit, but for some reason we want to exhibit them before they are even properly developed - which is OK under some circumstances, and to some levels, but...... So people are starting to panic, and that really pisses me off !

 I took the video above on my way home on Friday. It shows the Network Rail Track Recording Train racing alongside my train as we approach Vauxhall station on our way towards Waterloo. Unfortunately I seem to have made the video a bit bigger than my network can probably handle. So apologies if it keeps hanging and buffering....on the other hand the wind might be blowing in the right direction, and it will play OK.

 There was stuff I was considering doing on Friday night, but when it came down to it I just could not be bothered. So I had some dinner, watched a bit of TV, and mostly just read before I went to bed. I can't decide it I slept OK or not on Friday night. If I had to get up to go to work I would probably say I slept badly, but with no major rush to get up in the morning I managed to get an extra couple of hours in bed. Eventually I got up, washed, and dressed, and I didn't feel that bad. If I didn't have to meet Aleemah at the station, it is possible I might have gone back to bed again.

beers for
                            breakfast Saturday 16th May 2015
 As usual, our first port of call was the Wetherspoon's pub for breakfast. I found these two interesting beers available, and had a half pint of each while Aleemah drunk her coffee and ate her vegetarian breakfast. Once we were finished in there we went shopping in Aldi. I seemed to buy about twice as much by volume, or by weight, than I had bought in Tesco on Wednesday night, and yet the price at the till was about the same. I could get quite annoyed with Tesco again !

 After lugging my shopping home we sat down to watch a DVD. It was the next two episodes of the awful "The Celts" DVD that Aleemah brought along. The first two episodes that we watched last weekend did have a few interesting things about them, but as the episodes move out of the past, and into more recent history they are starting to become more like propaganda than a history lesson. Oh well, only 4 more episodes to go. (4 ? Can I really stand that ?).

 I thought I was going to find the energy and enthusiasm to go to a gig last night, but once again it all went wrong. It was partly because I didn't want to throw Aleemah out too early. She was not going home after seeing me, but was going to some event, and it seemed cruel to let her pass some of the intervening time by wandering around the street, and/or window shopping, or whatever. So we chatted for a lot longer than usual, and as we did I missed the early meal (a late lunch) I had planned to have, and I began to feel sort of relaxed or tired. I didn't actually give up on the idea of going out until I realised that so much time had passed that it was 8pm, the time I intended to arrive at the gig, and I was not even washed and dressed to go out ! So I spent another evening on the PC or reading on my bed. With the benefit of hindsight I now realise that I was not as tired as I thought I might be because I didn't put my book down until 11pm, and even then I didn't seem to feel that sleepy - although I did seem to fall asleep surprisingly fast once I turned the light out.

 This morning I woke up feeling "crunchy". My arms, legs, and my chest felt stiff and creaky. Just to make things worse, I decided to toss the one bag of sewer rubble that I had managed to carry through the house into the front garden into the wheelie bin to get rid of it. That really did something nasty to my chest superstructure, and it left me with a nasty pain in my right hand side - the same side as the arm I had used to swing the bag up high enough to get it over the rim of the wheelie bin.

 A couple of Ibuprofen tablets made short work of that pain, and to get a few more creases out I washed 4 shirts and some underwear. I also have some more stuff soaking in bio detergent that I hope will come out clean and fresh when I tackle that before the day is out. The next thing I was thinking of doing was to go for a walk in the park. Maybe I will, or maybe I won't. Midday seems to be approaching fast, and I am feeling like some breakfast may be more enjoyable.
Friday 15th May 2015
08:06 BST   It was disgustingly horrible yesterday. It rained, and it rained, and it rained ! The only very slight, microscopic mitigating fact was that it wasn't icy cold rain. It was 10 or 11° C, and that was just high enough to take the worst of the sting out. I still got very wet going home from work though. This morning started out fairly cool, around 8° C, and everything was all wet and soggy, but it was not raining, and the sun was starting to break through the clouds. A couple of hours later and a lot of the sky is blue. We should have a mostly sunny day today, and the temperature is forecast to hit at least 15° C. Tomorrow could be a couple of degrees warmer, but there will be a few more clouds in the sky, and so less sunshine.

 There was some good news yesterday. It was over a fortnight ago that I ordered some shirts from (via) I didn't realise that I was ordering them from the USA, and was rather surprised when the tracking number that Amazon gave me for the order had the shipment starting off in America. It rather alarmed me because I had a strong suspicion that I would have to pay import duty on the order, and I wasn't sure how that would work when they were being delivered to work. In the end I got stitched up for another £11.57 on top of a none too keen price to start with. Yesterday, after a long wait, and after paying the duty, plus Royal Mail's rip off £8 handling fee (which was part of the £11.57, not in addition to it thank the Gods) online on Tuesday, the shirts were finally delivered. Maybe all the aggro was worth it because they do seem to be quite good quality, and the violet shirt is the exact shade of violet I wanted (as was the yellow and the green).

 It was most unpleasant going home in the rain after work yesterday. It seems the waterproofing on my jacket is already breaking down, and I am sure I don't remember the zip being completely non-waterproof. I ended up with a long streak of wetness down the front of my shirt, and that wasn't pleasant ! It is quite possible that getting so damp has actually had a bad effect on me. This morning I have, in variable proportions, back ache, front ache, left ache, right ache, top ache, and also bottom ache - although the latter is not to be confused with gut ache 9although I have a touch of that too !).

 Last night was booze night, and I met up with the usual suspects in The Catford Constitutional Club for a few hours and a few beers. I think I had three and a half pints last night. I don't know if it was just me, or if it was the beers that were available, but they were all very nice, and all not that nice. I had a pint of a half of Hazlenut Mild. It really did have a hint of hazlenuts about it, and the half pint I had first tasted so good that I went for another full pint. I got three quarters of a pint through that before deciding I didn't like it. The same was true for another beer, but the third was the opposite way round. It tasted nasty at first, and then the more of it I tasted the better I liked it.
                            small room at The Catford Constitutional
There was a small at the CCC last night. Until very recently, the windows at the end of the room, pictured above, were shuttered, and that gave the room a bit of a gloomy air. The reason for this was that the only view was of a dirty pile of rubble and stuff. That has now been cleared, and the shutters opened. The view outside of a brick wall is not that wonderful, but the extra light is nice.
upstairs room at
                            The Catford Constitutional Club
 Another surprise to see the upstairs room open, and ready for business. Occasionally the door would be left slightly ajar, and we would sneak a peek through it. Until recently it seemed to be full of junk, and I theorise that several floorboard were missing where they had been "borrowed" to repair places where the floorboards were crumbling away (such as in the Gents toilet). It looks quite nice in there now, and those end windows (plus one at the side) make it bright and airy in there. Apparently it can be hired for special occasions, but otherwise is just provided as a quiet refuge for when the main bar area gets too noisy. The only problem is that it is a long walk from the bar, but on the other hand it is just a few paces from the toilets !

 I think it was about 7pm when I left the CCC. If it hadn't been cold, grey and raining, I might have been able to resist it, but I thought that last night was one night when I was fully justified in buying some hot food to take home for dinner. In this case it was fish and chips - and it was lovely ! I ate that, watched a bit of TV, and I was in bed before 9pm. Like the night before, it didn't seem to feel like I slept that well, but also just like last night, it was difficult to tell if I was actually awake, or just dreaming it. What I do know was that this morning, more than other recent morning, I definitely wanted to go back to bed instead of coming to work. I probably would have slept if I did go back to bed, but mostly I just didn't fancy all the aggro of commuting on a cold wet morning. I guess it was OK once I got moving, but it was a hard start to the day.

obnoxious garbage
                            on Waterloo station concourse
 My commute did not get any better when I found this obnoxious excreta on the concourse of Waterloo station. I don't like Sky. I don't like footballs. I don't like Sky sport. I don't like sport. I don't like discos and disco dancing with the multi coloured floors, and "Minions" (that can just be seen on the oblique side panel) make me feel nauseous. In short, I think this whole stand should have been obliterated by thermonuclear weapons - at least ! I hope it's not there when I go home or it will ruin my entire weekend !
Thursday 14th May 2015
07:57 BST   It turned out quite nice yesterday. There was blinding sunshine when I was going home from work, and it felt pleasantly warm despite the mercury only saying it was about 18° C. It was, of course, the last hurrah before the weather turned nasty. At this time of year the sun rises and sets far enough round to the east and west that some of the first light, and last light can shine into my north facing bathroom window - but only just ! This morning, as I went to the bathroom after getting up, I could see the east facing wall glowing pink. I couldn't actually see the sunrise from indoors (and I couldn't go outside because I was naked at the time), but it must have been a very red sunrise, and the old saw goes "red sky in the morning, shepherds warning". That definitely agrees with the weather forecast. It might have stayed dry, and a bit bright, long enough for me to walk to the station, and get to Waterloo, but here in Earlsfield it was just starting to rain as I left the station. The forecast predicts that it will now continue to rain, sometimes light, and sometimes heavy, but rarely not at all, until at least midnight, and probably longer. The top temperature today is unlikely to be any better than 12° C ! Tomorrow should be mostly dry, and there should be some sunshine. With luck it will be 3 or 4 degrees warmer too !

 I noticed my chest was getting a bit clicky again yesterday. A wide selection of movements would cause various internal bits of my chest to click, pop, groan, grunt or wheeze (or something like that). It is mostly painless, although not exclusively, and most of the time is no more than a mild annoyance. It didn't interfere with my journey home from work until my train approached Catford Bridge station, and I stood up after quietly reading the Evening Standard newspaper (which is now far less annoying now the general election is over, and it is not just wall to wall news stories about bloody politicians). As I stood up I could feel all the crunched up muscles and ligaments unscrunch and align properly, and for 3 or 4 seconds it was most definitely painful, but the pain had 90% gone before the train doors opened, and was nothing but a memory by the time I exited the station.

 As I think I suggested I would yesterday, I went home via Tesco - and I wish I hadn't now ! Tesco seem to have forgotten that they are trying to entice customers back by reducing their prices (except for a few headline, well advertised, items). I was shocked, flabbergasted, disappointed, and even enraged to find that they were charging £1.25 for a 500ml bottle of Diet Coke. All the little shops around Earlsfield, and, if I recall correctly, even the WH Smiths on Waterloo station, charge just £1 for a bottle. I expect even Harrods doesn't charge much more than £1. Considering it probably only costs about 10p to make a bottle of Diet Coke, someone, somewhere, is profiteering fit to bust, and Tesco must be a deep part of that conspiracy ! I think that on those occasions where I want to get stuff on the way home from work I will have to start using the Turkish supermarket more.

 When I got home, with my blood pressure up at bursting point (or so I should imagine) I felt too angry (or was it just annoyed ?)(or even something less than that ?) I didn't feel too much like doing anything except eating some of the expensive food I had just bought from Tesco, and then relaxing a lot until I went to bed. Of course it may have been because I've had a few bad nights sleep, and I was feeling tired, but I am never one to shirk my responsibility to blame Tesco's high prices for all the troubles of the world. So I decided I didn't feel like doing any laundry, and I didn't even feel like washing my hair - which definitely needed washing.

 It is possible I could say that there was actually a positive outcome to all this. I managed to get to bed nice and early, and I was fast asleep before 9pm. It is difficult to say whether I slept well or not because some of my dreams seemed to be about sleeping and least I think they were ! It is possible that the times I was dreaming about waking up it was not a dream, but reality. Although if it was reality it would mean that I got very little sleep. At least one dream was definitely a dream. In this dream I went to WH Smiths in Catford to buy a record. When I got there I found that they were only open to sell newspapers, and the back of the shop where the records were was in darkness. I checked the time on my phone and found it was 4am, and not 5am as I assumed it was. There were some obvious clues that this was indeed a dream. For a start, the WH Smiths store closed in Catford nearly a year ago now. It is true that they would only open the front of the store to sell newspapers first thing in the morning, but that was from something like 8am, and definitely not at 4am !

 This morning I feel good and bad. My chest felt a bit sore this morning. I expect with all the dreaming I did I was probably thrashing around a lot, and doing some intensive coughing 10 minutes after getting out of bed didn't help either. One ache that I have noticed recently that is a bit peculiar is wrist ache. Even now, both my wrists seem to ache in a sort of arthritic way which probably is not arthritic at all. The very worst ache of all is actually beyond ache and into the territory of pain, and it is my right ankle. A couple of times yesterday, and once this morning when I was halfway between the station and work, my right ankle has got very, very sore - sore to the point that I have to grit my teeth to carry on walking. It feels like a twisted or sprained ankle, and comes on quite quickly, but also goes quite quickly too - maybe after I have walked another hundred yards or so. I am at a loss to even suggest any reason for it at the moment.

 Today would not be a good day to ask for a giraffe burger at Waterloo station - the furries are out in force !
the invasion of
                            the furries starts.....
They would prefer to be called representatives of The World Wildlife Fund, but I think they just like dressing up as furry animals for warped sexual reasons - or so I once read on some long forgotten web page :-)
cute human animals
Looking very cute in her "whatever animal looks like that " onesie !

 By tradition tonight is boozing night. It will almost certainly be pouring with rain after work. So I hope the beer is flowing locally because I don't fancy long walks home in the pouring rain. The Catford Constitutional Club would be most handy, but maybe The Black Cat, previously known as The Catford Ram, has now opened, and would be worth investigating. I did deliberately go the long way round to pass it on my way to Tesco last night, and it was a bit ambiguous. The doors seemed to be open, and there were lights on inside, but the windows still seemed to be covered up inside. Oh well, time will tell.
Wednesday 13th May 2015
08:10 BST   I don't seem to remember it raining yesterday morning, although it may have done so briefly. That wasn't how it was forecast to be, but we did have the sunny afternoon that was promised - although I'm not so sure it was as intensely sunny as the forecast seemed to hint at. Nevertheless, it still ended up a comfortable 17° C - but that didn't last long. The sky was very clear last night, and the temperature fell to a rather chilly feeling 7° C this morning. Some cloud is bubbling up now, but it is not supposed to get thick enough, or last long enough to block all the sunshine, and it should get up to at least 17° C again today. Tomorrow is supposed to be very different ! The top temperature was forecast to be a mere 12° C, and it will be very grey and very wet. That is one forecast I hope turns out to be very wrong !

 I felt tolerably OK at work yesterday, and I had a tolerably good journey home from work. I think I am beginning to believe in the supernatural, or some old gobbledegook to do with those mythical ley lines. It often seems that Waterloo Station must lie on some confluence, or however it is described, of several powerful ley lines (is that even possible in the mythological universe ?). Looking back as far as I can remember, about 6 days, 17 hours, 44 minutes, and 9 seconds, I seem to recall always feeling like I have more energy when passing between Waterloo East and Waterloo stations (in either direction). I have to confess it seems to be very weird, but while it feels good it is difficult to knock it.

 As usual, my energy started running down as soon as my train pulled out of Waterloo East station, and I was back to normal, whatever that is, once I got off the train in Catford, and started walking homewards. When I got to the end of my road I found Thames Water where there. It was the same two guys who unblocked the sewer from the manhole in my back garden last Thursday. I asked them if they had found the source of all the rubble, and they said not yet, but that they were hoping to get access to a manhole in the garden 4 or 5 houses away from mine. Unfortunately the lady who lives there was either out, or not answering her front door. I also took the opportunity to tell them that the sacks of putrid crap they had left in my back garden had still not been collected. They went through the pantomime of pretending to call their controller to make enquiries, and said they would be in touch. Half and hour later they had disappeared......but the sacks of crap remain !

 I made another experimental dinner last night. As I had suggested, I tried black eyed beans (or peas) with rice, and a lot more beef stock than the previous night's experiment. Once again, I threw in some roughly chopped up chilli and bell pepper, and I also added a squirt of tomato purée. Unfortunately it didn't turn out very good. This time I used too much stock so it was too soggy, and the black eyed beans seemed too soft and squidgy compared to kidney beans. Not only that, but I think those black eyed beans were a bit tasteless compared to kidney beans. My thoughts now are that I got it almost right on Monday night, and maybe all that version required was a bit of oil to make it seem less dry.

 I got to sleep earlier than the night before, and I think I slept better last night, but I still felt pretty rotten when I woke up. In the words of Douglas Adams, I felt like a military academy - bits of me kept passing out when I got up this morning. I think some of the cause was down to taking another couple of large doses of Metformin to help counteract the effects of all the sugar in the cheesecake I ate on Monday night (and by large dose I mean the currently prescribed dosage rather than the amount my body seems to tolerate). It was probably a good experiment to prove or disprove my theory that large doses cause inflammation to the scar tissue and other damage to my chest superstructure. Some annoying aches and pains that have restarted seem to prove my theory !

 My supernatural burst of energy at Waterloo station, which seemed to be quite extreme this morning, seemed to have some bad effects. It may have felt psychologically good to have gone racing over the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo stations, and to overtake al but the very fastest commuters, but it seemed to wear me out, and cause other negative things. Once I was on the train to Earlsfield, and maybe a quarter of a mile from Waterloo, I started to cough, and for a while I couldn't seem to stop. Luckily I did have a bottle of water in my ruck sack, and a swig of that calmed things down a bit. When I got off the train at Earlsfield my legs felt like lead. The worst of that wore off by the time I had exited the station, but the walk from there to work seemed harder work than usual.

 Now I am at work my main complaint is that I feel cold, and I can't seem to find the energy to walk two paces across the floor to grab a spare jumper I keep here just for times like this. My brain seems to be working in low gear too because I've only just realised that that my chair is on casters, and I can "whoosh" across the 2.5 yard gap to get my jumper without having to waste the energy walking there !............Unfortunately I had to waste energy standing up to reach the jumper, but I'm now wearing it, and feeling less chilly now.

 Tonight I think I will be doing what I should have been doing 18 months ago, and that is going to buy a small quantity of shopping from a supermarket, probably Tesco. 18 months ago I had not been out of hospital all that long, and I was, I now realise, rather stupidly attempting to buy a weeks work of shopping in one go. In doing so, the weight I was carrying back from the supermarket did some unknown amount of damage to my healing chest. I live with the consequences of that even now, but tonight, like on Monday night, I will buy just a small amount of stuff, and not strain myself taking it home. Of course there are still inherent dangers by doing it this way. Every visit to a supermarket brings temptations that are sometimes difficult to avoid, and I end up eating either more than I should, or stuff that I shouldn't eat when possible, and quite frequently both !

  As I raced through Waterloo station I did two things. The first and third (bear with me) was to get my camera out. The second was to use the toilets there (30p a go, but usually clean and dry, and with copious supplies of hot water for washing hands afterwards). Before going to the toilet I took a picture from the balcony.
                            concourse, and a new display just starting
                            to be set up
Some men are just starting to unpack a new display/sales stand.
RSPB on Waterloo Concourse
After coming out of the toilet it was partly erected, and turned out to be the Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds soliciting for funds.
Tuesday 12th May 2015
07:51 BST   Once upon a time the BBC's weather forecast page of their website said that yesterday afternoon would be non stop sunshine. Then they changed their  minds and said it would be cloudy. The reality was the middle way - it was sometimes cloudy, and sometimes sunny ! It was also quite warm. I saw 23.7° C on my upstairs thermometer, although nearer the ground it may have been a couple of degrees cooler. The nights no longer get freezing cold, although they are still rather cool.  This morning it was about 11 or 12° C, and that was just high enough to be on the limits of comfort to come to work in just shirtsleeves - but only just ! There hasn't been any sunshine this morning. At first there was some very high streaky/mottled cloud, but now the cloud is lower and getting thicker. The forecast says it will rain this morning, and that seems very possible, but this afternoon is supposed to be bright and sunny. It should also get pleasantly warm by the time I leave work to go home......although I see the latest forecast says it will only be a mere 17° C. Tomorrow might also have a sunny afternoon with the temperature also a mere 17° C, but it is supposed to be a chilly start to the day - just 8° C. Spring hasn't finished yet !

 It was definitely nice going home with the temperature a nice comfortable 20 - 23° C yesterday, and as seems to be happening a lot recently, I had several bursts of energy on the way. Going up the long staircase from the subway at Waterloo East seemed to need less effort, and I was less short of breath at the top. It was almost like I weighed less, but that can't be the case - particularly considering some of the things I have eaten recently. It must just be my leg muscles getting stronger. I certainly had the energy to stride at a good pace to Tesco, on my way home, and keep up a reasonable pace carrying my shopping home.

 I was not knackered when I got home, but I seemed to have dissipated any excess energy I might have had. The result was that I didn't do anything worthwhile last night. I just ate, watched a bit of TV, read the last couple of chapters of a book, and then got to sleep later than I should have ! In terms of weight, most of what I had bought from Tesco was a couple of 1.75l bottles of diet cola, and four packs of sandwiches. I brought two packs of sandwiches here to work for breakfast, and the other two are intended to be tomorrows breakfast.

 I didn't use anything I bought on my way home for my dinner because I was in an experimental mood. The dinner I put together was fairly nutritionally balanced (probably) and should have been very low in fat. It was my variant on that West Indian dish of peas and rice - except the peas were red kidney beans (which I believe is what the West Indians usually use instead of green garden peas). I included some chopped chilli and a chopped bell pepper, plus a little water and a stock cube. The rice was pre-cooked, as were the kidney beans. So it required very little cooking. When I eat it the peppers were still fairly crunchy. It was quite filling, but it wasn't all that nice. It would have been a lot nicer if I had used much more stock so it was less dry.

 While it was a healthy meal by all normal standards, it wasn't by my standards. The rice was, of course, almost pure carbohydrate, and while it doesn't convert to sugar instantly, over a period of time it is broken down to sugar as it is digested, and depending on how much my pancreas has recovered, it could raise my blood glucose to unacceptable levels. I will never know if it does raise my blood glucose level because the effect will be completely swamped by something far, far worse that I ate last night. I saw this lonely looking cheesecake sitting on a shelf in Tesco marked as reduced/half price, and I felt sorry for it....

 I don't think it was the high levels of sugar in my blood stream, although that could well have played a part in it, but I had a pretty lousy night last night. If the glucose in the blood rises too high you can spend all night peeing as the body tries to get the blood back to normal. That didn't happen, but I did feel hot and sweaty from time to time, and excess sweating can also be caused by high blood glucose levels. However it was also true that it was considerably warmer in my bedroom than usual last night. The day ended quite warm, and my bedroom faces south so it catches any sunshine there is. So I was trying to sleep half under the duvet, and half outside of it, and in doing so I was having all sorts of fights with it in the night. I think I had some quite spectacular dreams last night, but they have all faded from memory now - except for a vague memory that Catford Bridge railway station was also a heli-port !

 This morning I feel like I would have liked to have gone back to bed as soon as I had finished drying myself after my morning shower, or if not that, to have had at least an extra hour to acclimatize myself to being awake before leaving to come to work. I felt, and to a lesser extent I still do feel lousy in a very specialised way. It is a feeling that is far greater than the sum of the usual little aches and pains, and stiffnesses. It's a feeling of what you imagine high blood pressure should feel like (except you can't actually feel high blood pressure). A sort of feeling that the air is crushing you while at the same time you are going to explode - two completely contradictory things, but that's how it feels. I am also feeling rather chilly now I've been sitting at my desk for over an hour now.

 Hopefully the weather forecast contains a grain of truth today, and it will be warm and sunny when I finally leave here to go home again. I haven't got any specific plans for tonight, In fact, when I consider it more deeply, I don't think I have any plans for tonight. I have a vague idea that I might have rice again tonight. Perhaps I'll attempt to perfect my rice and peas recipe - lots more stock, and maybe a different sort of bean tonight - or maybe chick peas. It could be a handy thing to do because if I attempt to live off the tiny pension I get next month, it will make for very cheap meals if I start off with raw/dry ingredients (not pre-cooked rice and tinned beans).
Monday 11th May 2015
09:54 BST   Yesterday afternoon was not bad. The sun became a bit intermittent as the afternoon changed into evening, and finally it became too cloudy to see a sun set. That cloud meant it was a very mild night, and this morning started at a very tolerable 13° C - mild enough to leave my coat off as I came to work. It is still rather cloudy, but the cloud is supposed to lift any minute now (!), and the afternoon should be nice and warm and sunny. If that does happen it should reach 22° C by the time I go home to all those stinking bags of crap extracted from the sewer, and left in my back garden. (That reminds me, I must phone Thames Water soon and find out if they have any clue as to what is going on). Update : The BBC website has now given up on the afternoon being sunny, but they still say it will be 21 or 22° C. Tomorrow should be a lot sunnier, but strangely enough it will be a few degrees cooler !

 I felt good yesterday afternoon and evening. That's not to say that I was free from pain. Some of the lifting and stuff that I did left it's mark on a few muscles, but it felt like I had accomplished a lot over the long weekend. Washing two duvet covers was particularly useful - or will be in the future. By some peoples standards, those who will masochistically bust a gut working from dawn to dusk, would probably not recognise my idea that I had accomplished a lot, but by my personal standards I should have been awarded a medal !

 Having said that, maybe that is not quite right. Although it felt good to have done what I did do, I did feel a specialised form of boredom last night. It was like I wanted to do more or something. It was a yearning to achieve more, or a sort of wanderlust. I think I mentioned it yesterday how I felt the urge to get to the seaside, or into the countryside, building up. To get fitter and weird stuff like that. It's a shame I had to ruin it all by coming to work today !

 I did not get a good nights sleep last night - at least it doesn't seem that way. For a start, I didn't try and get to sleep until quite late, and even then I didn't seem to get to sleep very quickly. I woke several times in the night - although I seemed to get back to sleep easily enough. finally, I woke up, and got up earlier than I needed too. For all that, I don't seem to feel too bad at all this morning. I did have a vague ache that was worryingly a bit like toothache earlier this morning, and maybe if I look for it I can feel a small amount of tenderness one side of my face, but it doesn't feel very serious yet.

 The rest of me feels surprisingly good. I can still feel where I was using my muscles yesterday, but it is nothing drastic. Until I arrived at Earlsfield, and had walked a couple of hundred yards, I seemed to have quite a bit of energy. The race between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline stations seemed a lot easier than usual - almost as easy as when I was on 40 - 50 cigarettes a day. It is almost as if I am recovering from a long illness - sometimes, and sometimes relapsing like when I was halfway between the station and work this morning. That last bit of walking felt very "ordinary" - like I had no "special powers" at all - "special powers" being an alternative name for being ever so slightly fit, and fit being an alternative work for still warm and with a pulse !
Waterloo station
                            concourse 11th May 2015
There were two companies on the concourse of Waterloo station this morning.
buy our business software........why
This was one of the companies. They were trying to promote some sort of business software.
save power at your business, home,
                            igloo, or whatever
This highly suspicious looking, stereotypical Tory looking business man was trying to flog some energy saving idea.

 It would be nice to think I would have to rush home tonight to let Thames Water pick up the stinky bags of stinky crap scooped from the bowels of the sewer that runs through my, and my neighbours back gardens, but such an idea is wildly optimistic. I feel I might go home via Tesco and pick up a bottle of pop, or two, and maybe choose something for an exciting dinner tonight, and something for breakfast tomorrow morning that is a bit cheaper than the sandwiches I bought in WH Smiths in Waterloo station this morning for breakfast. They were very nice sandwiches, but well overpriced because of the store being located in a mainline London railway station - they probably have a very high rent to cover, and thousands of tourists and other travellers to fleece !
They are not
                                all visible, but there are 8 of these
                                stinking up my back garden, and my
 They are not all visible in this picture, but there are 8 of these incredibly heavy plastic sacks stinking up my back garden, and probably my neighbours too ! Even the empty one now has some rubble in it - although I must confess that not all of it came out of the sewer !
Sunday 10th May 2015
14:58 BST I'm not so sure the temperature dropped as fast as I thought it would during the night. It was a little overcast this morning, but it didn't seem to feel particularly cold. By 10am it was certainly comfortable to go out shopping in shirtsleeves, and it was starting to get sunny. The clouds seem to be thickening again now, but the rest of the morning, and these first three hours of the afternoon have been pleasantly sunny. I'm sure the thermometer outside the kitchen window would say it is as much as three degrees cooler, but the one about 10ft higher than that, outside on the back bedroom windowsill says it is currently a rather nice 21° C. The forecast says the temperature will only dip to about 13 or 14° C during the night, and then will climb to a summer-like 22° C by tomorrow afternoon. I guess we are almost leaving spring behind now. It seemed short compared to how long winter seemed to be (to me) this year.

 I didn't raise any enthusiasm for doing any unusual feats of housework last night, and nor did I even consider the idea of going to a gig (although I think there was one I could have got to last night). Instead of all that I spent a pleasurable time watching a DVD of Billy Connolly live in London (2010). I forgot to mention it was one of the things I bought from Poundland yesterday - and it was worth every penny of the £1 ! I also made a mistake in saying the stiff bristled broom I bought from Poundstretcher was £1 - it wasn't. It was £2.99 !

 I guess I must have slept OK last night because I can't think of anything bad to say about it except that I woke up much too early. It would have been perfect if I had to go to work today, but after a while I got back in bed and slept some more. When I eventually got up I felt reasonably good. Just before 10am I tried to ruin that. I thought I would try and move the 8 stinky bags of sewer debris out to the front garden where Thames Water's contractor could pick them up without me needing to be here to let them in. I moved one bag out there. It was the lightest one, and it was still fffffff-heavy ! Not only that, but most of the bags were still dripping obnoxious fluid when moved !

 I definitely didn't want to move them through the house while they were dripping, and I don't think I could even carry most of them, but I did space them out a bit to give them a better chance of drying out a bit. That released a nasty smell so I put plan B into operation, but before that I tested out my new broom by sweeping the path up as far, and beyond the sacks, and shovelled up the pile of stuff and placed it into one of the rubbish sacks. Most of it wasn't sewer debris, but Thames Water can still dispose of it for me !

 Plan B was to take another trip to Poundland (and also the nearby 99p shop - not the one on the high street) where I bought fresh stocks of bleach, disinfectant, rubber gloves etc etc, and also another Billy Connolly DVD. This one is "Live In Dublin 2002". I shall look forward to watching that some evening when I am bored. When I got home I put part 2 of plan B into operation. To counteract the smell from those sacks and their leakage, I used up a whole bottle of disinfectant that I liberally poured everywhere.  I think it helped.

 After I cleaned myself up I treated myself to brunch. It wasn't quite a traditional Sunday morning fry up (I haven't been able to do one of them since my gas cooker was placed out of commission a few years ago, and even when it was working it was actually only an occasional treat), and it wasn't really a lunch. So it was definitely brunch. It was some cheap, but good-ish quality burgers from Aldi with  poached egg and poached baby tomatoes. It was also rather nice !

 I gave brunch a decent time to settle before I tackled another big job - laundering a duvet cover (and a couple of pairs of lounge pants). Ideally I would hang the duvet cover in the garden to drip dry, but until the garden is a bit more sterile I didn't fancy that. So it is on a clothes horse in the bath, and once it stops dripping I'll probably let it dry over the banister rail. I did manage to wring out the lounge pants enough to hang them to dry on a clothes horse in front of the fan heater running on the cold setting in the living room.

 I feel fairly knackered now, but not totally knackered, although I expect I'll feel a few mildly stressed muscles tomorrow morning. It does seem that the days getting longer, and warmer, is having the positive effect that I hoped it would have. I seem to have more energy, and more enthusiasm to do stuff as we head into summer. Of course it could be a self fulfilling prophecy - I believe I should be better so I am.....well maybe, but it seems to work whatever it is. Of course some days do still definitely hurt.......but maybe not as much as they did, maybe........ Now if only I could overcome the inertia against going out in the evenings I could almost declare myself cured, but I think my first priority should be to try and train for some long distance walks - and now the weather seems to be getting more stable, I ought to do it as soon as possible ! 
Saturday 9th May 2015
18:07 BST   Yesterday was brighter and warmer than expected, and the rain, while arriving on time, was a lot lighter, and rather briefer than expected as well. Overall, it wasn't a bad day, although on this occasion it would have actually been useful for quite a heavy downpour to wash away some of the sewage spillage around the manhole cover in my back garden (although now it has dried out it doesn't look as bas as it did). I'm not sure just how warm it did get, but it may well have been 18° C or maybe more. This morning started off quite mild - as May mornings are supposed to in my book! It was at least 10° C, but that was spoiled by it being overcast. It looked as if it might rain, and maybe I did feel a spot or two, but the sun came out late in the morning, and it has been a fine afternoon. The thermometer outside my kitchen said it was 18° C a little while ago, but the thermometer outside the upstairs back bedroom window was saying 22° C ! The rest of this evening should be dry, but the temperature will drop sharply once the sun goes down. Tomorrow will not be as sunny as today, but at least there will be some sunshine. Monday could have even lass sunshine, but temperatures as high as 21° C are forecast. Tuesday is forecast to be very sunny - but only 19° C. Does anyone understand how the weather works ?

 It was nice taking the day off work yesterday. It turned out that I didn't have to take it off after all, but I did make quite good use of my time.  As I suggested I might do, I went out and bought some shopping from Aldi. Then I decided to do some laundry. I (hand) washed two work shirts, two t-shirts, a pillowcase, and some underwear. After that I decided to rest for a while. So with one ear listening out for the call that never came from Thames Water, I lay on my bed and read for a while, and that turned into a short snooze.

  By about 5pm I was contemplating paying a short visit to The Swan pub in West Wickham where Chain were playing. It seemed obvious that Thames Water would not be calling to pick up the sacks of nasty stuff that they promised to dispose of, and I might as well try to avoid eating anything so I would be comfortable to go out, and then..............
Thames Water
                            sewage gulping lorry
......this turned up at 7pm.

sludge gulper -
                            2015 stylee !
 It obviously wasn't a van or lorry to take away those slimy sacks, but at any moment I was expecting a knock on the door, and to be asked if they could open up the manhole in my back garden again. In the end they didn't, and I'm not sure what they actually did because within 15 minutes they had driven off again after apparently visiting the neighbour who lives up the road - presumably the one where the sewer might have collapsed.

 There was still plenty of time for me to go out after they went away again, but in that short period of time I had lost the enthusiasm - but apparently I still had a lot more energy than I imagined. At 8pm I decided to wash a duvet cover. It was a cheap and nasty lightweight one, and so I could almost wring it dry enough to not drip too much, but it needed some pretty strange contortions to do it. I must have been feeling very masochistic, or maybe I had some sort of death wish, because I also decided to wash a medium sized bath towel at the same time. Now they do need some serious manhandling to wring out by hand. In fact it is impossible to do, but I got it down to a slow drip, and left it to start to dry hung over the bath all night.

 All that had laundry was quite enough to kill me several times over, or it should have been, and maybe it did give a stroke or other type of brain seizure because what I did next was completely out of character - doubly so at nearly 9pm on a Friday night. I had this insane idea that I might hoover my bedroom. I made sure I did a poor job of it so I couldn't be accused of being absolutely completely insane, but.........

 I guess I slept quite well after all that. I woke up earlier than I needed to, early enough to go to work, but that was OK because after a while I turned over and went back to sleep. I eventually woke up feeling surprisingly good. After all the laundry wrangling I expected to have a few sore bits on top of the usual sore bits. I could definitely feel that I had worked a few muscles harder than usual, but it was all very mild and mostly ignorable. There are many mornings when I could wish to feel as good when I went off to work !

 This morning I met Aleemah for breakfast and a DVD. This Saturday I didn't drag her around Aldi after we had breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub, but I did drag her around both Poundland, and Poundstretcher. The former was just a speculative visit, and the latter because I was after a specific item. It turned out it was definitely worth going around Poundland. I discovered they had these for just £1 each.......
very poor picture
                            of a proper dimpled beer glass
 Now I must admit I took a really crap picture of this perfectly formed, possibly made in China, traditional dimpled beer glass. I was so overjoyed that I splashed out and bought 2 ! The only fault with them is that they are not officially stamped with "1 Imperial pint", and so can't be used to buy beer in a pub, but I never intended to anyway. In Poundstretcher I splashed out another £1.29 (or was it more ?) on a nice stiff bristled broom that I will used to sweep the garden path.

 The DVD that Aleemah brought around today was, I have to admit, mostly tedious to watch. It was the DVD version of a BBCtv series called The Celts - which may interest Aleemah, but doesn't really interest me - although I have to admit that in the two episodes we watched there were a few interesting facts, but they only took up a couple of minutes of the 100 minutes or so that we watched !  Allemah left a bit later than usual today, at almost 4pm. Since then I've had a bite or two to eat, and done little else. I'd like to find the enthusiasm to hoover the living room now, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe it will come later, or maybe I will have a wonderful, and maybe ever so slightly boring, relaxing evening.

 One quickie - I passed The Catford Ram this morning. It has had a new coat of paint outside, and has gained a new name. Presumably it's new manager has managed to successfully apply for a new licence, and it will be opening soon under it's new name of The Black Cat. Let's hope it wil be a decent pub, and maybe will have some live bands on from time to time - assuming the stage has not been demolished during whatever decorating they have been doing inside.
The Black Cat -
                            the new name for The Catford Ram
Friday 8th May 2015
09:45 BST   I think there were some showers yesterday, but I mainly remember that it was often overcast, and that it was dry when I left work to go home - and stayed dry through the night. The temperature didn't get high enough to get anywhere near warm, but it was sort of mild from the afternoon until sometime after sunset (perhaps in the region of 14 or 15° C). It must be just me, but this morning feels colder than yesterday afternoon, and yet my thermometers suggest otherwise. It is certainly overcast, and is forecast to be so all day. By 4pm the temperature should reach 17° C, and probably more, and then an hour later there will be some showers for a couple of hours. On this occasion those showers could be very useful !

 My feeling of feeling moderately OK when I got to work yesterday did not last all that long. I ate a couple of sandwiches for breakfast when I got there, and for a while after that I felt quite bloated. Happily enough it faded away after about mid morning, and from then on I felt OK, and maybe somewhere near good when I left work to go...not straight home, but for a beer with the Thursday night drinkers in The Ravensbourne Arms in Ladywell/Lewisham.

 Maybe it was the lure of beer that perked me up. It almost made the grey sky ignorable ! One minor annoyance was, and probably always will be, is that even though I travelled in the last carriage of the train, and exited by the end doors, the exit from the platform at Ladywell station is still a short walk away. Like most of the stations on the Mid-Kent line (to Hayes, Kent), the platforms were extended to take 12 coach trains. I am unsure if I have ever seen a 12 coach train use them in the 10+ years since they were extended, but should it ever happen they are ready for it. Unfortunately the stop sign for a 10 coach train, which I was on, is in the same place as for a 12 coach train, and you have to walk a full two coach lengths, plus a bit more to get out of the station. It is not much. It is hardly anything at all, but I still find it annoying ! Fortunately there are other rewards for getting off the train at Ladywell station, and one is to walk through the churchyard.
baby squirrel
  This is not a very sharp picture because I had to use my mobile phone to take it, and then use enlargement instead of zoom to get the subject to look a bit bigger. This is a baby, or at least a very young squirrel sitting on top of a gravestone in the grounds of St Mary's Church. I can't recall ever seeing a smaller squirrel than this one. It also looked to be an unusually light shade of grey. I presume it's fur will darken as it gets older.

 I had a nice drink in The Ravensbourne Arms with the lads, but it was only a brief drink, and that turned out to be a better idea than I had imagined. I left the pub still feeling very sober, and that meant that I could resist all temptations to buy any takeaway from fast food shops. It also meant that I remembered to buy the bottle of salad cream I said I would buy on the way home - One of the subjects of the evening was comparing the virtues of salad cream versus mayonnaise. I bought the salad cream, and some other stuff, from the Tesco Express store on the high street.

 It was not long after I got home that I had a not completely unexpected surprise. During the last week or so a couple of my neighbours had had to call out Thames Water ( or their contractors) to pump out blocked drains. All the evidence started to point to a collapsed sewer under my back garden. I found this very worrying because I assumed it would be rather expensive to get it fixed. It seemed I needn't have worried too much for two reasons. The first is that because it was part of a communal sewer it is maintained directly by the water company just like any sewer under a public road, and the second reason is that the problem turned out to be a good 13 metres away from my property.

 Last night the two guys sent by Thames Water, with their huge lorry equipped with huge tanks of water, huge long hoses, and CCTV equipment, had been called in by my next door neighbour. It was only a day or tow ago that I told her that if they wanted to try rodding the blockage from the manhole in my back garden, they were welcome to try it. I don't think I knew what I was letting myself in for ! Two good things came out of this. The first is that was when they told me that even if the sewer had collapsed under my back garden I would not have to pay to have it fixed (although I would obviously have to suffer, or maybe enjoy, the inconvenience, or the usefulness of having my back garden dug up).

 The second good thing about it was that they managed to clear the worst of the blockage for the first time, and have identified where they think the root of the trouble is. My neighbour had already told me that on recent previous occasions when they had been called to my next door neighbour, and to the next one up the pipe, they had pulled out huge lumps of wet wipes, or similar semi-textile type material. When they were jetting out the pipe from the manhole in my garden, which incidently was fairly dry, and no blocked, they managed to dislodge even more huge heaps of "wet wipes", plus lots of stones, mud, and other rubble.

 That last blockage came from, they estimate, two houses away, and once it was moved there was a huge surge of water down through the bottom of my manhole. With the way now clear they could use their CCTV camera to look along the sewer to see what damage they could find. 15 metres away the camera seemed to enter a junction under a manhole cover, and it seemed to be full of gravel and muck, plus even more wet wipes. To get that far took from about 6pm to 11pm, and the guys called it a day, but they think that once the CCTV recording has been analysed there will be a job to investigate what is going on under that clogged up manhole, and maybe even further up towards the start of the pipe, but apart from the possible need for a power flush from my or my neighbours manhole, they are finished with us - almost.

 I have had to take the day off work today, which is actually quite a nice thing, because at some point today (or else !!!) a man with a van (or something) will be along to pick up the 8 or so plastic sacks of debris pulled out of the sewer. Those sacks are still stacked in my back garden. Hopefully they will have stopped dripping too much obnoxious fluid when they are transported through the house. I think that the guy(s) may also hose away, and possibly disinfect some of the black sludge from around the manhole.

 Apart from it being quite a long night, it was an interesting, maybe even an entertaining night. The CCTV camera was certainly more interesting than most of what was probably on the TV last night (election night !). It was interesting to learn how the sewer was routed behind the houses, and that fact that it was effectively owned and maintained by Thames Water - although presumably they would levy charges if damage was done by deliberately, or by a negligent builder of something, but not by "fair wear and tear". The smell was interesting too - sort of. It was most certainly unpleasant, but it was not the choking, gagging sort of smell I imagined it would be. Compared to some of the smells left behind by the guys in the toilets at work, it was really quite mild !
peering down the
It was still perfect daylight when I took this picture of the guys peering down the manhole.
checking the CCTV
11pm approaches, and finally the sewer is clear enough to send the CCTV camera a long way up the pipe to check for damage. The root of the problem seems to be about 15 metres to the left of this picture, and that takes it past the boundary of my garden, and past next door's garden too.

 Now it is just a matter of waiting until the sacks of unpleasantness are collected, and any cleaning to be to be done - and I have no idea when that might be ! They have my phone number, and I assume they will give me some advance warning as to when they will arrive. So in theory I could pop out to the shops at any time, and I might well just do that soon.
Thursday 7th May 2015
07:42 BST   There were many rain showers yesterday, and some of them were quite heavy, but there were also some sunny periods. For instance it was bright and sunny when I left work to go home - in shirt sleeves ! I only got a third of the way to the station before it clouded over again, and threatened to rain.  Fortunately it stayed dry, and I was treated to several sunny periods during the hour it takes to get home. Unfortunately my luck ran out about 30 - 40 seconds away from home. Not that many raindrops fell, but they were the big ones. The type that can soak you in a about 50 seconds ! I guess that I was lucky to only get slightly damp before getting indoors. The other useful thing was that the temperature was about 14° C, and so the rain was not too freezing !

 Today has started off bright, and often quite clear. The forecast says that most of today will be very lightly overcast with frequent sunny spells. That should warm things up to about 16° C by the time I go home from work today, and I think that today I can be more confident about not putting my coat on. The weather forecasts change very frequently these days, sometimes it seems by the hour, but the last forecast I saw for tomorrow did not look good. It could well be like yesterday - sunshine and rain !

 I guess there is a certain pleasure in defying the weather, and going home without a coat on, and it nearly worked yesterday. I don't really know why it is, but I feel much more comfortable, and on some occasions, far more energetic when I am walking without a coat on (but still carrying the weight of one in my small rucksack). And so it was yesterday. I certainly didn't feel my very best on the way, and I wonder if I ever will again, but for contemporary times I felt pretty good. Having said that, I didn't seem to have any spare energy to walk much faster when it started to rain as I got very close to home.

 I was obviously feeling peculiar when I got in because for the second evening running (or is it longer than that ?) I didn't feel an overwhelming urge to eat the fridge and cupboard dry. I still ate more than what I would have liked to eaten, but it was moderate by some previous occasions. Could it be that the need for cigarette to signal the end of dinner/eating has finally gone away......Probably not completely, but it is not the huge struggle it was 6 or more months ago. There are still too many urges for anything in the loose categories of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll to make surviving on just a bowl of lightly dressed salad possible yet. Maybe some strong angina pains would help - they did last time !

 When I think about it, yesterday evening was a bit of a mixed up evening. I felt reasonably good, and I didn't feel exhausted, and yet I had no inclination to finish the half finished washing up, and no inclination to do any laundry. I didn't even have much inclination to wash my hair, and I had to force myself to do that. It seemed to take a long time to dry last night, and that made me a little late to bed.....or to be more precise.....I was late getting to bed early (if that makes any sense?). I thought an early night might be a good idea after feeling very sleepy for a while at work.

 There are two possibilities to explain the sleep I got last night. Either I had become so sleep deprived that I just had to sleep like I did, or I just had a good nights sleep for a change. After turning out the light I fell asleep quite quickly, and I only woke on two brief occasions during the night. Maybe more significantly, I had to be woken up by my alarm clock (app on my phone). That is very unusual. The first time I woke up was because I had a really annoying itch...or at least I had the itch when I woke up. There is nothing worse, or as unexplainable as an intense itch on the sole of the foot ! It was almost like I had a small cut or something, but on the few other occasions I have suffered this torture I have never seen any physical marks. It kept me awake for 10 or 15 minutes, but eventually I fell asleep again, and then woke again at about 3am. There was no itch this time, but I definitely needed a wee !

 When my alarm woke me I had no itch on the sole of my foot, and I didn't need a wee, but I don't recall feeling all that great. I'm not sure exactly how I did feel - except for one thing. After my shower, and a sort of vigorous towelling, I felt like a lie down, and maybe even a snooze would have been rather pleasant, but sadly work beckoned. I made one mistake when getting dressed, and that one mistake rather distracted me from all but the most significant aches or pains. I wish I had put different shoes on ! The shoes I put on are wonderfully comfortable for sitting at my desk, or even sitting on the train. They are fine for a quick walk to the shops, but they ain't very comfortable for the long-ish walks involved in my commute to work. They don't cause pain or discomfort to any particular bits of my feet, but produce strong discomfort to most parts of my feet once I get into my stride. I might resort to wearing a spare pair I conveniently have here at work to go home in after work - although, with luck, I'll be stopping off for some booze on the way home from work.
graffitti outside
                            Catford Bridge station
 Of course today is pole-axing day (or whatever they call it), and it seems someone in Catford may have not quite grasped the names of some of the political parties, although there could be many explanations for the thinking behind this slogan sprayed on the fencing around the scaffolding that is holding up the fire gutted Railway Tavern pub by Catford Bridge station. Of those many possible explanations, I think I would probably find myself agreeing with most of them !
Wednesday 6th May 2015
07:59 BST Yesterday was not too bad a day. Once the morning rain finished the sun came out quite frequently, and although it was not enough to raise the temperature that much, it seemed pleasantly mild as I made my way home from work. The only thing I could complain about was the wind. Sometimes it was quite strong, and by the time I got home from work my hair looked like I had been dragged through a hedge backwards ! Apparently there could be some far stronger winds around the middle of today. That fact is about the only one that seems consistent across the current and previous forecasts for today. Apart from trees and leaves being blown onto the railways lines (and bringing the world to a halt), and my hair being blown from my head root by root, it's mainly going to be a day of trying to be in the right place at the right time.

 There will be scattered showers, and sunny periods all day long, although there is a chance that the morning will see more showers than the afternoon. So far I have been fairly lucky. It was pouring with rain  a little while before I walked to the station, but it stopped just before I went out. I had a nice bright sunny journey to work, but caught the last 30 seconds of a shower when I arrived at Earlsfield. Until 2 seconds ago it was bright and sunny, but now the sky is clouding over again. In a little while it will probably be sunny again. If I am very lucky it will be bright and sunny when I am going home after work. It's looking like tomorrow may stay dry, but it is forecast to be a much duller day, and yet, paradoxically, it will possibly be 2 or 2 degrees warmer than today. It is currently around 10° C, and the top temperature may only reach 13° C.

 I had a reasonable day at work yesterday, and I felt fairly good as I went home. At Waterloo East I had a little burst of energy as I went up the staircase from the subway a bit, a tiny bit, faster than usual, and felt less knackered at the top. When I arrived in Catford I still seemed to have a reasonable reserve of energy, and I walked to Tesco at a good pace. It wasn't all wonderful though. Having bought enough to need three carrier bags, I started walking towards home, and as I did so I could feel my energy levels dropping quite fast. By the time I was in the kitchen, putting my new shopping away, I felt totally exhausted.

 So I didn't do half of what I thought might be possible....or maybe only a quarter ! I did half the washing up, and no laundry. One other thing I considered doing didn't get done either. That was washing my hair. I thought I might do that this morning, but this morning it was the pouring rain that put me off doing it again. It wasn't all negativity last night. I managed to restrain my enthusiasm for eating quite well. I had bought a lot of half price sandwiches, and some other reduced price stuff. Somehow I managed to avoid eating any of them, and stuck to my basic plan of a large bowl of salad with extra baby tomatoes and some sliced, seedless, chillies to accompany some ready cooked, but cold barbecued chicken wings. That lot wasn't that bad, but I have to confess I did have a few snacks too. So I don't think I'll be tightening my belt anytime soon, but at least I don't have to loosen it.

 I felt tired all through the evening, and if I hadn't wanted to finish a book off I would have been in bed, and hopefully asleep quite early. In fact I was in bed and falling asleep a little later than my usual-ish time of 9pm. I guess, although I haven't checked for ages, that I have my blood glucose level back under control now, and last night, like many recent nights, I only woke in the night for a pee once, and last night (technically this morning) it was at 3.30am. That would not have been a problem if I had managed to go back to sleep again properly afterwards. I now think that I didn't actually wake up for a pee at all, but I just woke up because my brain had some stupid idea that I had slept for long enough.

 If I did not have to be at work today I would probably have got up at 3.30am, and done some reading (book, or more likely the internet) for an hour or two before going back to bed to top my sleep up to the full 8 hours. Unfortunately I couldn't do that this morning, and I just had to lay there until sleep finally caught up with me at about 4.30am. Twenty minutes later I woke up again, and with just 10 minutes to go before my alarm went off, it wasn't worth trying to get back to sleep again. I don't feel tired right now, but I would not be surprised if I spent the whole afternoon yawning !

 I feel both good and bad this morning. Many of the more frequent aches and pains seem very subdued this morning. Maybe that is because I have more tangible aches and pains to distract me. My chest seems very loose, clicky, poppy, creaky, and grindy this morning. It is not painful, but it does not feel pleasant. Earlier on I had some lower back pain, with some pain on the side too. That seems to have evaporated now, but my other annoyance is still there, and that annoyance is, or are, my legs. They seem unusually stiff this morning, and my thighs almost seemed to hurt as I walked from the station to work. I guess it is the wet weather. My mum, and quite a selection of my relatives if I recall correctly, all suffered from stiff legs in wet weather. Now I have caught up with their age I too seem to suffer the same thing. It's lucky the weekend was (mostly) dry or I would never have been able to do all the walking I did then.

 Tonight I really must make some effort to wash my hair. I think I ought to do that even if I barely have the energy to stand. Hopefully I will have a lot more than that, and maybe enough to wash a few shirts. It would be slightly handy to wash a sheet too, although if I do I will have to dry it indoors until this wet weather has finally been replaced with proper warm and sunny weather !
Mercedes Benz on
                            the concourse of Waterloo station
 I took this picture of Mercedes Benz showing off their new car on the concourse of Waterloo station yesterday morning...
Waterloo concourse Wednesday 6th May
....and this one this morning. It's a "CLA Class" Mercedes Benz - whatever that is !
Tuesday 5th May 2015
07:48 BST   Until late afternoon it was a fine day yesterday, but by 4pm it had become overcast, and maybe an hour later there was some light rain. I think there may have been heavier rain later on, but by then I wasn't paying any attention to the big wide outdoor world. Perhaps in compensation for the rain, it was exceedingly mild - maybe even quite warm. I think I saw 22° C on one of my thermometers. This morning it is still very overcast, and there has been some light rain, but at 14° C it is quite mild. Later today the sun should come out, and although it won't, or at least may not, warm up that much, it is supposed to be bright and sunny when I leave work to go home. It's looking like tomorrow will see a mixture of sun and showers through the whole day.

 Saturday in the park was good, but Sunday was better. Sadly the music was no better, and in some respects far worse, but I did have some company, my friend Kevin, and that made it less boring hanging around waiting for something exciting to happen. Unfortunately it also had a downside. Standing around, not really moving more than 15ft from the beer tent,started causing me some discomfort. I had a little lower back pain, and an old, old, problem started to rear it's head - sciatica. At least I think that is what it is. It's a pain down the outside of the upper part of my right leg, and I believe it is caused by pressure on a nerve. Fortunately it is slowly getting better. It was far, far worse back in 1979 when it used to make waiting at the bus stop for the bus home from work, particularly uncomfortable. In the last 36 years it has become less and less frequent, and less and less severe. I rec kong it will be fully cured about 12 years after my death. It wasn't terrible on Sunday, but I had to leave Kevin for a while and do a fast walk around a bit of the park to get the creases out of my legs and back.
The old bill
                            making sure all rules were obeyed
 One of the reasons to go back to the park for a second day was to take more photos - although the beer tent was a very strong attraction, and there was also the naive idea that there could be some good live music to listen to (there wasn't !). On the whole, the musicians were an ugly bunch, or at least a lot of their music was. I did take plenty of photos of them, but without the horrible music they played they  don't really mean much. Other photos, like this bunch of coppers, are easy to relate to.
pictures of ducks
                            are always good :-)
 I found this duck posing for me on a rock where the river goes between the park and Lewisham Hospital.
I know this is a wagtail, but I am unsure what type it is exactly.
another wagtail
I am unsure if this is another type of wagtail, or a different gender, or if it a different type of bird entirely.
bird on a twig
As far as I can remember this is not the same bird as in the picture above. Maybe one of them is the mate of the wagtail with the yellow under carriage, or maybe not.
lovely blue sky
A long shot of one of the bands on stage, but shown here to show off that lovely blue sky. At this point in the afternoon the sun was so strong that I could feel a mild tingle of sunburn on my arms when I got home.
builder of bars !
This very extrovert character has at least one claim to fame. He was the man who rescued the bar from The Grove Tavern pub in Wimbledon, and converted it into two small portable bars for events like this. It was from his handiwork that they were serving the beer from.

 After testing all the beers from the beer tent, and possibly the strong 6% one twice, we decided that the music had got too horrible, and headed off to the nearby pub - The Ravensbourne Arms. I think we had a pint each in there before heading back into Catford for even more beer in the Wetherspoons pub - The London And Rye. By now things were a bit hazy. I don't think we had much more than another pint and a half, but the half pint was the completely delicious, and rather strong Abbot Reserve beer (6.6% if I remember correctly - which is debatable !).

 Kevin bought some food while we were in there, and the receipt he got for it gave a good hint as to what time we left there. I had got to the park at 1pm, and it must have been 7 hours later when I left the pub and headed home - for some breakfast ! I hadn't eaten at all before then, and all that booze made me ravenous - and stupid. I bought far too much chicken and chips on the way home, and I stuffed myself silly when I got home ! I think I was in bed by 10pm, and was possibly even fast asleep by then.

 The first part of my sleep was wonderful, after three to four hours I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. it was one of those occasions when you feel so bad that you are almost certain that you are about to die, and yet no matter how hard you try you can't seem to manage it ! So I had to endure the aching head, and aching gut while feeling desperately, desperately tired, and yet far too uncomfortable to lie down to try and go to sleep again. After a couple of visits to the toilet I began to feel like I wouldn't fart the duvet off the bed, and probably make a mess in bed too, and that just left the dizziness when ever I laid down and closed my eyes to get over. Eventually I got back to sleep, and had enough patchy sleep to keep me going through Yesterday - the May bank holiday.

 When I finally got up yesterday I didn't feel all that good, although it was mostly just normal hangover feelings. I took things nice and slowly as I became acclimatized to the waking world. After an hour or two I felt ready to tackle some laundry, and I hand washed four short sleeve shirts and some underwear. Once that lot was hung up to dry I basically did nothing - if you exclude a bit of photo editing, and laying on my bed reading. I was sort of saving my energy for an afternoon treat.

 At just before 4pm I went out to meet my friend Barbara from Cumbria at Catford Bridge station. I then took her on the mini tour of Catford. This included a quick beer in The Catford Constitutional Club so she could marvel at it's decrepitness, and marvel at the lushness (?) of the ladies toilet there. Then it was a whistle stop tour of some of the sights of the high street before stopping off at the Wetherspoons for more beer and dinner. All too soon it was time to see Barbara back onto the train to London again, and a few more sight seeing opportunities as we rushed to the station.

 It brought to an end what must have been the best long bank holiday weekend since I don't know when (1970s maybe ???). When I got back I decided that the meal I had in the pub should have been good enough for dinner, and yet I still felt a bit peckish. So while I watched an hour, or so, of TV I had a few snacks of a dubious nature. The chocolate covered ice cream bar was probably the worst things I had. At 9pm I was in bed, and I was tempted to do a bit of reading for maybe half an hour, but decided to turn out the light. It was one of those occasions when you barely have time to finish the thought that you are never going to be able to get to sleep before you are asleep.

 As far as I can recall, I slept solidly until 3pm when I woke up needing a wee. I was soon fast asleep again, and I slept until about 4.40am - at which point it wasn't worth trying to sleep for a mere 20 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. I don't think I slept all that well in the last hour of subjective time - although in reality it was probably less than five minutes. I had this dream that seemed to go on and on. I feel sure it was actually a whole series of short dreams all linked together so that it seemed that one scene would morph into another. For instance I would at one person doing something, look away for a moment, and when I looked back in the original direction the scene had changed. Some of the dream was sexy, and some of it scary, and none of it made any great sense, although it seemed like it was probably enjoyable at the time.

 I almost wished I could have got up even earlier this morning, or better still, that I could have left to go to work a lot later. Anyone, including myself, would assume that I had plenty of time to get my mind and body tuned to face the real world before I left to walk to the station on my way to work, but I definitely felt rather rough when doing so. On this occasion it was not a hangover, although I may have had a hint of one, but my legs seemed to ache, and I had a stomach ache. It's only now I am at work that I begin to feel fairly OK - although I still don't feel like rushing around much. It would probably help a lot if the sun was shining. Just now it seemed to momentarily brighten up, but overall, it remains rather grey outside.

 I have grand plans for tonight - which is easy to say at this end of the day. I think I will go home via Tesco and get some of the shopping I would normally have got over the weekend if I hadn't been too busy. There is a very good chance that will happen. There is a good chance that I will do some washing up when I get home (out of necessity), and a fair chance that I will do all the washing up, but I am a bit skeptical if I will do a bit more laundry sometime this evening. I have plenty of clean clothes, so there is no urgent need to do any laundry, but it would be handy not to get a backlog as sometimes happens.
Sunday 3rd May 2015
10:19 BST The weather on Friday was neither good nor bad in the end. The cold morning gave way to a mild afternoon after some sunny spells. Yesterday started off very chilly (maybe around 6° C) and it was very grey. Gradually it warmed up, and from time to time the sun came out. The early afternoon was shirt sleeve weather, but it did seem to cool off quite quickly around 5pm. At it's best it was probably in the region of 16° C. This morning has started off a lot less cool the the previous couple of days, and the reason for that is all the wet and leaking cloud sitting over our heads. The rain has eased off now, and if the forecast can be believed, the sun will start to come out at midday - which might be very handy. By 4pm it could be as warm as 18° C ! Tomorrow, which a few days ago was forecast to be a complete and utter washout, is now looking like it might be almost reasonable - quite a lot of sunshine through the day, and the temperature hitting 17° C.

 I didn't feel all that wonderful at work on Friday. I went from feeling awful first thing in the morning to feeling reasonably OK for the rest of the morning, and then tired and aching as home time approached. Going home didn't feel too bad, and along the way I learned two interesting things. The first was that the purpose of the pop up pub on the concourse of Waterloo station was as a recruiting attraction for the Army. I believe that they did have some real ales in there, but I have no idea who they served them to -  maybe only those who accepted the Queens shilling !

 The other thing I learned was that something was happening in Ladywell Fields. As my train left Ladywell station I could see funfair type stuff being delivered. As far as I was aware there was nothing advertised to happen in the park, and a search of the internet, and in the local paper didn't give any clues as to what was happening. It wasn't until just after midday yesterday that I found out what it was all about. Meanwhile, I got off the train at Catford Bridge, and hurried home to have my dinner.

 For some reason that I suspect could have been the exercise I got travelling from work I was actually feeling unusually good when I got home. I even contemplated trying to keep myself feeing good in some unimagined way so that I would have the energy to go out in the evening to see Chain playing in Greenwich. So I started out with a light snack rather than dinner, and for a while that felt enough, but like Superman with a piece of red Kryptonite tucked in his outwardly worn underpants, I felt my powers waning as the evening progressed. Maybe I could have done something about it, but I have missed so many gigs now that I didn't seem to care about missing another.

 Having decided I wasn't going out my thoughts turned to dinner again, and I found myself ordering a takeaway. I went for something a little different, and ordered some grilled peri-peri chicken. Being skinless and grilled it is almost healthy, although the stuff I ordered with it was not so good, and is probably best ignored ! The other stuff was to make up the minimum price for free delivery, and it all added up to enough for the leftovers to make for a nice tasty breakfast !

 My sleep seemed a bit lumpy on Friday night/Saturday morning, and I woke up feeling really quite rotten. It was therefore surprising that I forced myself out of the front door before 8am to investigate what was happening in the park (Ladywell Fields). My chest felt quite delicate, and the cold air aggravated everything including my fingers, but it was probably worth it because the more I walked the better I felt. I walked all the way to Ladywell as I did a circular(ish) tour of the northern part of the park. From memory, it is a little bit more than a 1.5 mile walk. On the way I took a few photos....
moorhen and chick
On the bank of the river Ravensbourne I spotted a moorhen and a chick (plus two more that were partly hidden behind some foliage). 
kids play area
 This is part of the childrens play area. It's changed a lot since I last played in there half a century ago ! Back then there was no red and yellow plastic. It was all made of red painted metal or wood. Just beyond the left hand side of the picture was a pyramid shapes structure made from logs that were either bolted or nailed together. That was good fun to play on ! In approximately the centre of this picture, near to the closest boundary fence, was a roundabout - purely drive by boy power ! Just one boy, working really hard, could spin it up enough for it to fling his sister onto the tarmac around it. Now I wonder who that boy could have been.........
Ladywell station
I don't know why I've noticed it before, but there is a gap in the foliage that provides a completely clear shot over the fence to this sign on the platform of Ladywell station.
fairground stuff
This is what I came to investigate. It was definitely fairground stuff, but there was still no hint as to what was going on.
beer barrels
 This provided a big clue that it might be worth coming back later - as did a small stage with PA and some drums on it. So I headed back to home where I had a lie down and a warm up. A little later I was feeling fairly good, and looking forward to going out again for another tour around the park. I had no idea what time anything might start, or even if it would start yesterday. I took a guess that it might start at either midday or 1pm, and so I compromised and went back at 12.30pm. That was a pretty good time. The beer tent was up and running, and it wasn't a terribly long wait before the first musicians were on the stage.

 Having drawn a blank about what was happening when I searched the internet, and also scanned through the pages of the most recent local paper, I finally found a flyer for the event taped to a lamppost not 30ft from the beer tent ! It revealed it was an event in aid of The Jimmy Mizen foundation. You can read more about Jimmy Mizen, and how he died at the hands of a deranged thug on Wikipedia here. I've made a dedicated picture page of a large selection of pictures I took yesterday here.

 I stayed in the park sampling the beers, a half pint at a time, and watching the musicians for a couple of hours, but I started feeling a bit bored. So I took a break and went home for a bit. It is almost unprecedented for me to walk to Ladywell twice in one day, but yesterday I did it three times ! I have to admit that I didn't enjoy my last visit. After a break of 60 - 90- minutes it felt like it was beginning to cool down a bit. I tried the artisanal lager that was on offer, but it wasn't as nice as the ales I had earlier, but there was a far worse problem !

 The singer who was singing when I arrived was a good singer, and he could play his acoustic guitar perfectly well, but his songs were dreadfully depressing - both lyric wise and the way he sung them. He made Leonard Cohen sound positively delightful by comparison ! So I drunk up my lager as fast as I could, and headed back home. That was a disappointment, but I had had plenty of fresh air and exercise, and I was feeling extremely good by then. I was also feeling very tired, but it was a good tiredness. The tiredness that comes of achieving something. Oddly enough, apart from a few complaints from my leg muscles as I approached home for the third time, I didn't seem to have a single ache or pain anywhere else.

 It was of course utter madness that just when I was feeling so good that I should decide to order another takeaway. For a start it was from a rather expensive Indian restaurant, and of course takeaways are rarely healthy. In this case it was not desperately unhealthy because of two reasons. The first was that the main bit of the meal was a tandoori mixed grill, and they are usually fairly fat free. The second was that the portions of everything else I ordered were very small - maybe even tiny for the price I paid for them !

 During the night everything siezed up again, and I felt pretty rotten when I woke up. My chest felt very crunchy, and slightly tight. Having a tight chest is not a good idea, but these days when mine gets tight it does it in a different manner to what I will suggest is the more dangerous way. I've heard it described as tight making breathing difficult, but more often than not it feels like it is the skin across my chest that feels tight. I think it is something to do with my scar tissue, and maybe the damage under the skin that happens during thoracic surgery. It's just another of those things that is annoying rather than painful or debilitating.

 Quite a few hours have passed since I got up, and at the moment the greatest sensation I can feel is mild hunger. I shall ignore that as much as I can because in anther hour or two I am going back to the park to see what's happening, and probably grabbing a few more beers. It is possible that I might be joined by my friend Kevin today. It depends on how he feels, and if he is allowed to get out of, or defer some household tasks he has been asked to do. So more fresh air and frolics for me, and maybe for Kevin too. Let's hope for some more entertaining musicians - if the stage is running today.
Friday 1st May 2015
08:14 BST There were a few times when it became lightly overcast yesterday, but on the whole it was a nice sunny day. It would have been nicer if it had been a bit warmer though. It was definitely chilly in the morning, but late in the afternoon it got up to 15 - 16° C, and that should have felt warmer than it did. Maybe it was just me ! This morning it definitely is cold - no more than 6° C - but the limited amount of sunshine we should have today may be able to double that to 12° C. Contrary to how it was forecast a couple of days ago, it should stay dry today, or dry until after sunset. Tomorrow is still looking like it might be a dull and wet day, and Sunday could be similar, but the more optimistic forecasters are now saying that bank holiday Monday could be bright and warm.

 Yesterday should have been a good day. Lots of nice things happened, but at the end of it I didn't feel all that good. Maybe I was sad that the day was over, or maybe a few aches were getting me down. It was probably a combination of both and something unknown as well. It was definitely a night where I could have smoked a whole packet of cigarettes, and probably a large quantity of whisky too. Maybe some chocolate ice cream might have been good too. In the end I made do with a small tot of whisky and a large handful of salted peanuts.

 After I had got home from the pub, where I had lunch with Patricia, I felt very tired. Not tired in a sleepy sort of way, but like I had been carrying a heavy load or something. I did try to have a snooze, and I think I may have dropped off to sleep for 10 or 15 minutes, but I also felt sort of restless too - which sounds in direct contradiction to the idea that I felt tired or exhausted, and I have no idea how the two things can co-exist, but they seemed to. In some ways it was like I had a cold, and maybe I did.

  I often felt colder than the thermometer suggested I should, and I had quite a few sessions where I was either coughing or sneezing. I thought it was probably just hay fever, but now I wonder if it wasn't. The sneezing and coughing made my chest ache, and I had other aches and pains in a few joints and muscles, and yet I didn't feel ill as such. It felt like my whole body was worn out and decaying (except for my eyes which seem to be in very good working order) rather than something like a cold or 'flu.

 Just before 5pm I found the energy (and/or the enthusiasm) to go out to The Catford Constitutional Club to have a couple of beers with the lads. If I didn't have to come to work today I could have stayed there for many pints, but bearing in mind I had two pints at lunchtime, I decided that it would be best if I just had two pints and leave early - which is what I did. When I got home again I had some dinner, and the main part of that dinner was a ready made cheese and pasta salad that I had bought from Aldi the previous night. It was nice, but it didn't satisfy, and I had some crisps and cheese to top it off (which was very naughty !).

 When I look back at the whole day, I think I probably ate a lot in small quantities spread throughout the day. That could account for some of the stomach ache I suffered this morning, but I don't think I can blame it for a poor nights sleep last night. I assume I had a poor nights sleep because I did feel pretty awful when I got up this morning, and it wasn't until I arrived here at work that I started to feel passably OK - at least I think I do now.

 I don't remember waking up much in the night, but I do, or I did remember a couple of vivid dreams. One concerned flying - on a bicycle ! It was curious that I didn't seem to have any sensation that might be thought of as flying, but I am sure I was on a push bike of some type, and I seemed to be looking down on the countryside as it passed below me. Sometimes there was nothing to give a good idea of the scale of what I was looking down at. Someone was with me, on another bike I presume, and I remember pointing out that one area we were passing over could, when filmed from the right height, look like a ruined city even though it was just a large factory yard (or something like that). The other dream that seemed quite spectacular, and worth recording, seems to have vanished into thin air as do so many dreams.

is it closing or
                            not ?
 This was the view looking down Garrat Lane from just past Earlsfield station on my way home from work on Wednesday. The shop with it's shutters down is where I now tend to buy drinks and sandwiches on my way to work now that the Londis mini supermarket has closed down (which was near the lampost with the security camera on it). Since the middle of the week it has only been opening one shutter in the morning, and the shelves are starting to look a bit bare. I reckon it is going out of business, and I was surprised to see it open this morning. If it does close down I will either have to walk a few minutes in the wrong direction to go to the small Sainsbury's convenience store, or take a chance on a dubious little shop that is at least on the way to work.

a pub on Waterloo
                            station concourse !
 This morning a "pub" has popped up on the concourse of Waterloo station. Apart from it being The Duke Of Wellington, I can't see any branding on anything. So I don't know who is running it, or what they are trying to promote. I am not even sure that they were selling beer this morning, but it seems like a good idea if they are.
The Duke Of
 The Duke Of Wellington from ground level. I now notice that there is something written along the top of the structure on the side facing the platforms, but I can't make it out even from the original full sized photo. It might have given a clue as to what it was all about. What I did notice was that the the painting on the side has that white silhouette of a man in a dramatic pose, and it says "pose here for photos".  I didn't !
look carefully
                            enough and you can see it has optics behind
                            the bar
  It's too dark to see any detail of inside the "pub" in this photo, but it does have a sort of bar in there, and the bar has some optics behind it, but I don't recall seeing any bottles of spirits attached to those optics (although they were probably still setting things up at 7am this morning.)