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August 2016
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2016

Wednesday 31st August 2016
07:38 BST

  It was nice and warm and sunny yesterday. I think the temperature may have been around 25° C....or perhaps it just felt like that when walking in the hot sun. Today should be mostly good, but there could be some spoilers. We have already had one. It seemed quite dull and cloudy when I set out to come to work, but it is sunny now. The morning, and the start of the afternoon are forecast to be bright and sunny, but by the time I am on my way home, around 4pm, the clouds could be very thick, and it will be dull and gloomy. There is a small chance that it could even rain during that period. By 6pm it should start to brighten up again, but the temperature will drop a degree or two from a high of 22° C. The forecast for tomorrow says that there will be sunny periods all day, and the temperature should peak around 23° C.

 I felt pretty rotten at work yesterday. Some of it was real, and maybe a lot of it was guilt after eating so much crap the previous two days. As the afternoon wore on I felt better, and I hatched a plan for a sort of penance. I wasn't actually sure I would do it until I was actually doing it - I did not one, but two walks after work, and both involved a lot of hill climbing.  First of all I retraced a route I used to do when keeping fit for my coastal walks - walking to Wandsworth Common station - and then I had a walk around Crystal Palace Park - now that has some serious hills to climb. In fact it is just one big hill !
walk 1 - work to Wandsworth
                  Common station
walk 2 - Crystal Palace Park

 My only annoyance is that the tracking app I used to produce these two traces does not appear to take into account the extra calories burned when walking up a steep hill - or maybe it does and I am just disappointed that so much effort burned so little energy. I know I certainly felt burnt out when I finally got home after these two walks. Of course I took a few pictures along the way.
cricket on Wandsworth
 This was a lucky shot. I took this picture using full zoom, and somehow managed to capture the batsman in this cricket match on Wandsworth Common swinging his bat. I thought I had captured the ball too, but I think the white blur just to the left of centre of the picture is something on the ground rather than a ball in flight. As a rule I can't see the excitement or point of watching (or participating in) sport, but maybe it might be interesting to try and capture a few action shots like this one using more than just my little pocket sized Nikon snapper.
reflections on the pond
 I thought this was a nice "arty" sort of picture of the reflections of the trees in the almost, but not quite still enough, water of this pond on Wandsworth Common. If you click on this picture it will open up a bigger version in a new window/tab.
dinosaur with a hat on
 This was taken in Crystal Palace park, and it shows a dinosaur with a very non prehistoric hat on !

 Walking in the hot sun was very enjoyable, but I was glad when I had finally hauled myself to the very top of Crystal Palace Park, and over the road to the bus stop for a bus back home. I was lucky in that I didn't have to wait more thaqn a few minutes for a bus, and the ride home was quicker than I expected. Going down Sydenham High Street, notorious for being a bit congested,  was fairly smooth, and the only real slow bit was as we entered into Catford itself.

 When I got home I couldn't wait to tuck into some food. It is perhaps a bit ironic that the first thing I ate was part of the original problem - Guinness and Chilli flavour crisps. Fortunately there were not many of them left in the packet, but I did make things worse by dipping them in something very nice, and yet totally evil (it was rather sugary). A little later I had a proper, more healthy meal of salad with some meat slices. Before, and after that I took a look at quite a few more pictures I took. I have a load of pictures of dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park that I ought to do something with.

 By 8.30pm I was feeling really exhausted, and I went to bed soon after that. As I lay in bed I could feel my whole body fizzing. (Fizzing being the best word that comes to mind to describe a sensation that is not really like fizzing at all). I guess it was some sort of adrenaline and endorphin come down. It wasn't long after that that I fell asleep, and I slept rather well. I woke up around midnight, and got up to have a wee - and, I have to confess, check something on the internet - but it wasn't long before I was fast asleep again.

 The only trouble with my sleep was the rather violent dream I had. I seemed to be battling some some of homicidal maniac. I finally defeated this foe by pushing him back onto the knives held by another person. The peculiar thing is that he didn't bleed, and as he fell to the floor he sort of crumbled partly to dust. It was a bit horror film, a bit sci fi film. It was obviously nice to win the battle, well it's nicer than being killed, but it's a genre of entertainment that I don't really care for.

 This morning I felt very miserable. At 5am, when I get up, it was still dark, and it was still a bit murky when I walked to the station. I had a few exciting pains this morning after my extra walking yesterday, and they were like the salt and pepper on my misery. With the 3rd anniversary of my heart repair coming up soon I occasionally wondered if it was all worth it. Then, finally, the sun came out and I guess that it was a little bit worth it.
Tuesday 30th August 2016
07:55 BST

  The weather felt a bit odd yesterday. Unless I was mistaken, the forecast said it would only be about 20° C, and I think my thermometers generally agreed with that, but apart from when I went out to the shops, I felt perfectly comfortable, if not slightly warm, wearing nothing but a pair of slightly skimpy shorts around the house (and even in the garden when hanging some washing on the line). There were occasions when it got quite cloudy, but most of the day was sunny. The temperature fell to around 13° C during the night, and that was because the sky is crystal clear. The forecast says it will stay that way all day, and the blazing sunshine will raise the temperature up to at least decent 24° C, and perhaps a few degrees more if we are lucky. Tomorrow will see cloud back in the sky, but it is forecast to still be quite sunny. The only thing that might spoil it is a shower that is predicted to happen at 7pm.

 For the last two days I have done little of note - except to have a "holiday" from my diet. It was not my intention to eat loads of crap for two days, and I am unsure how I allowed myself to do it. It was a deliberate choice to have some steak for lunch on Sunday, but that was supposed to be a one off treat. I guess it was also deliberate that I had the pork and chorizo burgers on Sunday evening. I should never have bought them in the first place, but having bought them I felt I ought to use them as quickly as possible so I could eat more healthily yesterday. Who's stupid idea was that ? The only proper meal I had yesterday was healthy enough. It was an Aldi ready made egg and potato salad. In an ideal world that would have been all I ate yesterday, but I ate shed loads of snacks and stuff.

 As well as gluttony, I did manage to do some more laundry. Yesterday I washed 3 t-shirts and two pairs of lounge pants. All were quite smelly, and all were sort of chucked in the corner because they were far lower priority than stuff to be worn in public. Unfortunately I did that washing a bit late in the day, and it never managed to completely dry in the 3 or 4 hours it was hanging on the line. I brought it all in an hour or so before dusk, and left it to dry on a clothes horse. I guess it was all dry this morning, but I didn't check.

a £1 Blu Ray disk from the poundshop
 On Sunday I did some shopping in Aldi, and although I bought quite a lot of stuff, it was mostly wholesome, and apart from being perishable (so I have to eat it all quite soon) it was broadly stuff that fits in with my diet. Yesterday I did some shopping in the Sam 99p shop and the Pound shop. It was in one or the other of those that I bought stuff that I really should not have bought. Stuff like peanuts - the crack cocaine of calories !!! I also bought the Blu Ray disk pictured on the left. It sums up all that's wrong with Hollywood these days. Due to some sort of constipation of the creative process they seem to do nothing but remake old, and even slightly old movies - and the remakes add nothing new to the story, and in most cases lost the original plot under a barrage of pointless, and over done special effects. The remake of Total Recall is a good example - brand new in the original wrapping (as far as I can tell), a premium Blu Ray disk for just £1 !

 I'm not sure why I bought that disk. I doubt I will ever watch it, but you never know. The only way I can watch it is on my PC. Thanks to all the improved "digital rights management" - aka scrambling and encoding - Blu Ray disks can only be played on fully licenced players, or fully licenced proprietry software on a PC. No provision is made for players i the open source world, but thanks to some brilliant people who dedicate their lives to undoing what is not supposed to be undone, I can play it on my Linux PC - and I can rip the disk to a more usable mp4 file. Unfortunately, after 4 or 5 solid hours of processing I found I had ripped the version where the director keeps interupting every ten minute to say how he got this or that shot. When I am feeling patient again I might have another go....or I might just watch the original "Arnie" version of the movie !

 My sleep has been crap recently, but somehow I managed to sleep almost OK last night. If I had got a few more hours it might have been better, but I don't feel too sleepy for the moment. What I do feel is bloated and achey after eating all the crap that I ate yesterday and the day before. One effect of it all is that it has taken the edge off my top walking speed. I had no need to rush to the station this morning, and I never tried to push the pace. It took about 20 seconds longer to walk to the station at that pace, but it felt completely effortless. The walk from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station did seem to need an awful lot of effort to try and keep up my normal pace for that bit of my journey.

 It is a shame that I could not do it a lot faster because the trains have been re-timed now that London Bridge station has opened again for trains going to Charing Cross. My train leaves Catford Bridge a minute later, and arrives at Waterloo East about two minutes later. That makes it almost impossible to get the 06:57 train from Waterloo, and this morning I had to get the 07:03 instead. I think that will now be my regular train on average mornings now.

 I thought I was walking at a fairly good pace between the station and work, but I found it difficult to keep up with a girl with a cute bottom who I was doing my best to follow. Maybe I will be able to speed up a little later in the week - it is going to take that long to shake off all the excess of my excess eating. Today I am back to fasting while at work, and I'll be looking forward to my first meal of the day when I get home after work. That will definitely be a salad - possibly with some smoked mackerel. In theory that will be all I eat today, but it is going to be hard work fighting off the temptation of eating a snack or two. Thank goodness I ate most of the opened large packet of Guinness and chill flavoured crisps yesterday, and didn't leave many to probably eat today. If I were really disciplined I would throw away the rest, but I don't like to do that........Oh well, it's all in a good cause !
Sunday 28th August 2016
15:00 BST

  Friday was a perfect summers day. It was hot ( at least 25° C) and dry, but from time to time the sun got a bit hazy. I think there was a shower yesterday, but I can't quite think when it was apart from I'm sure it was before midday. The rest of the day was dry and warm, but there were periods when it was overcast. I would guess the temperature didn't make it to 25° C, but it probably wasn't far short. Today has seen a mixture of sunny periods, but not that many, and a couple of light showers. It still feels rather pleasant just wearing shorts indoors with the windows open. The forecast actually says it should only be 21° C, but it feels better than that. My thermometer, at least the one that seems to over read by a degree or two reckons it is currently 26° C. Tomorrow is forecast to be a degree or so warmer, drier, and sunnier.

 The good news is that I did get to Herne Bay on Friday as planned. It was nice and hot there, particularly so when getting off the air conditioned train ! That made it ideal walking weather - ideal for me. Others may have a different opinion.
just a 7.13 mile walk !
 My walk took me almost as far as the ruined church at Reculver. I got within about half a mile of it when I checked how far I had walked, and decided it would be prudent to turn around before I couldn't make it back to the station. It was a close call because I really did feel knackered when I arrived at the station, but it wasn't that surprising. Even at my peak a 7.13 mile walk would have been the exception rather than the rule, and it is many years since I've had any practice at walking more than an occasional 3 or 4 mile walk.

 To add to me exhaustion was the fact that I had decided to walk to Reculver over the cliffs instead of under them. I feel sure that following the coastline around at sea level is the fastest route, and that is what I did back in 2010 when I walked all the way from Birchington On Sea to Herne Bay. That walk was 9.35 miles ! It might be possible that there is a quick walk across the cliffs, but I certainly didn't find it. I found one steep path up the cliffs that I followed until it ended abruptly in a 40 - 50ft drop into a chasm ! I had to retrace my steps, and try again further along, past the chasm, and see where that path went. It seemed to go a long way inland, and when I finally spied the ruined church again it still seemed miles away.
mud, rubble, shingle, slime
                  and seaweed
 Sometimes I wonder what the attraction of Herne Bay is to the average tourist. Near the town the beach is kept a little better than this picture, but not that much better. At high tide the beach is just shingle with old smelly seaweed on it. When the tide goes out it does reveal some muddy sand that is littered with more seaweed and other detritus. Along some parts submerged rocks are revealed.
the obligatory selfie
 While I had my phone out, and it's camera activated to take the picture of the delights of the beach, I took the obligatory selfie on the left. By some fluke it doesn't show a thin smear of sweat across my brow. I did the entire 7.13 mile walk mostly under a hot sun, and I didn't wear any sun protection. On the whole I got away with it but not as well as when I used to do these walks frequently enough to build up natural protection. My right arm did come away rather red, but the burn wasn't bad enough to notice in any way but by eye. However the back of my neck was not so lucky, although the only way I realised I had burnt it was when I was brushing my hair the next morning - those hair brush bristles felt very sharp !

 It is a long tedious journey to get to Herne Bay, and a doubly tedious journey to get back - made triply worse by the train being very full of noisy kids who were obviously not worked to exhaustion on the beack as they should have been !

 I did feel tempted to have an extra special, very unhealthy meal when I got home - maybe a takeaway or something, but I mostly stuck to my guns and had a salad with a few nibbles later on. I thought I deserved an early night after the day out, and I was on my bed (too hot to get in it) fairly early, but I didn't seem to get much sleep. I think that like many of my nights recently, I got about 4 hours of good sleep followed by chunks of random sleep until I gave up and got up.

 I didn't feel too bad yesterday morning. Apart from the back of my neck, and then only when I was using my hair brush, my sun burn was no bother. The only legacy of that long walk was some aching in my calf muscles, and maybe some in my thigh muscles, but it was the calf muscles that did slightly slow me down when I went out to meet Aleemah for our Saturday morning breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub. I wondered if that long walk in the hot sun the day before had left me dehydrated so I had two pints.......just in case !!!

 At some point yesterday I managed to fit in doing some laundry, but I spent more time photo editing, but only until late afternoon. In the evening I went to a gig to see Life Of Brian playing at The British Legion hall in Hayes (Kent). It was a good gig, but with a couple of annoyances. The first annoyance was that contrary to past custom, or so I am lead to believe, The British Legion decided to charge non members £5 to enter.

 I was fortunate that my £5 was paid by Angela - although I was perfectly happy to pay it myself. One of the reasons I had been encouraged to go was to take some pictures, and so you could say that £5 was my, actually you couldn't really could you.
Life Of Brian
 The other annoyance was that Angela was monopolised by one of my rivals - and one she claims she likes less than me. If I wasn't "being the professional photographer" I would possibly have been able to muscle in...or not. There was no stage lighting of any sort, and there was more light behind the band than in front. That made for challenging conditions that kept me concentrating on what I was doing, but I managed quite a few good snaps even if they were often rather grainy - sometimes giving a soft focus look.

 I'm not sure what time the gig officially ended, but I left in time to get the last train from Hayes station. Until I checked earlier in the day I would have thought the last train was at about 10.30pm, but it was actually at 11.31pm. I doubt the gig went on much longer than that. It's unfortunate that by going home early I was unable to say a proper goodbye to Angela, and that made me a bit sad, but with hindsight I was offered a full kiss on the lips so it wasn't that bad.

 For some strange reason it was a sort of pleasant journey home even if I was dwelling on what I hoped might be rather than what reality was. I have to confess that the disappointment nearly drove me to get a takeaway, but maybe my willpower is stronger than I thought, or maybe I am learning some lessons, and I avoided all the fast food shops. I did have a few small snacks when I got in, but nothing too terrible for my healthy (just slightly terrible !!).

 Once again I had a bit of a good nights sleep followed by more bad sleeping. I estimate I am running on a sleep deficit of 3 or 4 hours now, but I don't feel too bad for it. I currently feel worse for a stomach upset that has come on recently, but maybe has blown itself out. It is possible that it will start up again later on, and that is a worry. I don't know what I could have eaten to bring on the runs, but I know what I have eaten that could bring on the runs later.

 Today I fancied a rather more substantial meal than "rabbit food". I fancied a solid bit of meat. So when I went out to Aldi this morning I bought myself a nice steak. Then I realised I already had a steak, still sealed in it's supermarket packing, in the bottom of the fridge. It had been in there quite some time - quite a few weeks ! When I opened it it had a strong smell, but not a rotten smell. So I cooked it, rather more well done than I would with something fresher, and ate it. It did taste very slightly different, but nothing I would worry about if I didn't know how long it had been "maturing". If there was anything wrong with it I reckon I would soon be vomitting, but it is my other end that was a bit lively earlier on.

 Tonight, quite early tonight, I could go out to another gig. In fact there are two on. The best on is in the worst place, and I think that is the one I will probably try and get to. It is a three band line up, The Belles, Ferdinand's Northern Ferrets, and The Zorbs playing in The Coach And Horses. Photography in that place is difficult at the best of times, and if, as I suspect, it gets busy it is almost impossible. Assuming I actually go out, I could almost be tempted to leave my camera behind, and enjoy the music and the company, but I had better take it and try and get the odd snap as and when..
Friday 26th August 2016
08:39 BST

  Yesterday didn't seem like it was going to be a hot day. The morning was sometimes cloudy, and around midday there was a shower, but it didn't last long. After that the clouds thinned out and there was more sunshine. By mid afternoon it seemed that the day had warmed up as much as it was going to, and that was probably about 25° C. It was probably a rise in humidity that made the evening feel very sultry, and it made for quite a sticky feeling night. Today is forecast to be very sunny with a top temperature of 25° C again. Tomorrow could be a couple of degrees cooler, and there will be some showers during the day, but it should mostly be sunny.

 Things didn't go quite to plan yesterday, but while I missed out one thing, I gained on another. My friend Patricia arrived to pick up her mail later than she was going to, and that didn't leave time to pop over to the Wetherspoons for a quick lunch. Maybe that was just as well because I ended up having more beer than expected in the evening.

 I didn't really do much in the afternoon except have a salad for lunch, and ultimately having a nice snooze. I slept longer than expected, and made myself late for my next "appointment". That was Thursday night boozing time with The Thursday Club. We met in The Bricklayers Arms pub in Beckenham, and I had three pints of quite pleasant Tribute ale.

 The thing about drinking in Beckenham on a Thursday night, and particularly on a Thursday night when I don't have to get up for work the next morning, was that it was easy to walk a hundred yards or so up the hill to The Coach And Horses pub. That is where Geoff Paice hosts his open mic night, and of course I had to go along.

 It was very sultry in the pub, and even more so at the back where the singers and players do their stuff. I expect that they were glad  that they only do a couple of songs before they give way to the next person. Even in that short time some came away from the mic dripping with sweat. To my delight there was one person who turned up who almost stayed cool - but did "glow" a bit.
the lovely Angela
 I have to confess this is not the most glamorous picture of Angela, but I expect that a picture of me taken around the same time would reveal a very soggy mess ! It was most enjoyable seeing Angela again, although "enjoyable" seems to understate it a bit...or a lot. I felt so good that it didn't seem any great hardship to discover I had missed the last bus home. I'm sure the 54 bus route runs later, but none were expected at the bus stop in Beckenham. Fortunately there is a happy ending to this. I don't like having to change buses en route, but it worked well last night. I only had to wait a few minutes for a 227 to take me to Bromley, and when I got there it was little more than a minutes wait until a 208 turned up to take me home.

 It was very hot in my bedroom when I got home, and I could do no more than lie on top of my duvet with the fan blowing on me. It wasn't long before I fell asleep, and I slept well until about half past four. I got up then for a while, but about an hour later (or was it more like 90 minutes ?) I was asleep again, and almost managed to sleep through to 8am.

 I thought I would write this before I did anything else, and now I am probably running quite some time behind schedule - not that there is a real schedule. I was hoping to jump on a train to Herne Bay just after 10pm when all my discounts kick in, but I guess I'll be on a later train now. I hope I can raise the enthusiasm to go to Herne Bay today. I seem to be teetering on the brink of feeling it would be less bother to stay at home, and wanting to go out. I rather expect I will have to force myself to start out in the full knowledge that I will enjoy it once I get moving, and will regret it if I pass over this chance to get to the seaside while it is warm and sunny. Maybe there is another attraction still - I've heard suggestion that it is going to be quite windy at the coast, and that could whip the sea up and make for some good photos. I had better pull my finger out and get going !
Thursday 25th August 2016
11:25 BST

it's me  There is no doubt about it, yesterday was a proper, hot and sunny, summers day ! I have little doubt that the temperature did reach 30° C as was forecast. As 6pm approached the sky became very cloudy, and it looked like the hot afternoon was going to end with a bang ! It seemed to be perfect conditions for a thunderstorm, and maybe there was one elsewhere, but after a while the clouds looked less threatening here, and the evening was dry. It was also still very warm, and rather sticky ! Today feels much fresher. The temperature may still climb to 27° C later, but it is currently closer to 23° C. The sky is not so clear today, but we still have had plenty of sunshine, and there is every reason to hope that these sunny spells will continue all afternoon. Tomorrow will probably see clearer skies, and much more sunshine, but apparently the temperature will only peak at 25° C.

 I didn't feel all that wonderful at work yesterday, and it is hard to describe why. Amongst other things were hints that my "twisted rib" pain is on it's way back. At the end of the day I reached over to turn off the mains to my desk, and my chest clicked painfully - only mildly painful, but it was something I had hoped I had got over. I must admit that since then I have only had the merest suggestion of a bit of light discomfort - just enough to remind me to try and be a bit careful.

 It was surprisingly hot when I left work to go home. Provided I kept moving I felt comfortable, but once I stopped I started to feel rather sticky. Hot sunshine usually energises me, but it is hard to feel energised when dripping with sweat on an airless, steaming hot train. So it took a bit of will power to attempt to run up the escalator at Waterloo. I'm not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing that somebody blocked my path half way up the escalator by standing in the middle of it (probably a bloody tourist !).

 When I finally arrived back in Catford I went home via Lidl. That adds quite a few minutes to my walk home from the station - probably about 20 minutes all told. I was careful what I bought in there, and I didn't buy anything that I prefer not to eat while trying to decrease my trouser size (and keeping my blood glucose, and blood pressure low), but I did buy rather a lot of it. That might have been a mistake because it was all mostly perishable, and will have to be eaten fairly soon. It will force me to eat more than I am trying to do - or waste it.

 Two good things I did get in Lidl were more Red Sun shower gel, and some spray on deodorant. Actually I am not so sure about the latter. It says musk on the tin, and it is musky, but I can't decide if I like it or not. I definitely do like Red Sun shower gel, and maybe many other do because it isn't always available. I found the two bottle I bought lurking at the back of the bottom shelf !

 In theory I was tired after a day at work, but I had some dinner, and went through the motions to go out again in the evening. I think I was secretly hoping that there would be a thunderstorm, but it stayed warm and dry (and sticky), and I ended up on the bus to Bromley. The event was Simon Whitestar's Open Mic at The Partridge pub. It was a rather good evening - but very sweaty in the pub. I was quite happy that for once I was not the only one dripping. Many people had sweat marks on their clothing, and oddly enough seeming to be suffering from it more than I was. Apart from my forehead dripping, I didn't feel particularly wet at all.

 As usual I took my camera along, and managed to get some pretty fair shots considering how dim the lighting was in there. Sooner or later I have another big album to upload to Flickr. There was one unusual picture that I did prepare to show here, and it is the picture of me at the top. I have no idea who the guy was, but he claimed to like taking photos (so where was his camera ?), and he said he should take a picture of me. My camera was basically set up for the conditions in the pub, so I handed it over to him. He took a couple of shots. One was terribly framed, but the one above came out quite well.

 I left the pub a bit early, perhaps 20 minutes before 11pm and closing time, and made my way home. I had drunk quite a few pints of Guinness, but I didn't feel any attraction towards the fast food shops, and went straight home. However I did have a yearning for a nibble when I got in, and I had some fishsticks and some olives. This time I noted that the label on the fishsticks suggests they are fairly benign - probably rather more so than the olives !

 I have no idea what time I went to bed, but I think it might have been getting on for 1am, but I fell asleep quickly, and generally stayed asleep until about 6am. That was rather earlier than I desired, but I got up anyway, and started doing stuff. "Stuff" was mostly photo editing, but I have had a good shower, and I have washed a medium sized bath towel since then.

 Very soon now I will be seeing my friend Patricia, and we will be going for lunch in the 'spoons. Once she has gone home I think I'll try and have a snooze or two before another potentially busy evening. First it will the regular Thursday night drink, and then I may go on to Geoff's open mic night at The Coach And Horses - or I may not.
Wednesday 24th August 2016
07:30 BST

The weather forecast for today also describes yesterday's weather quite nicely - except for the rain in the small hours.
The weather forecast for
                  today, 24th August 2016
 I think I recall a few short periods when an isolated cloud would drift in front of the sun, but yesterday was bright, sunny, and warm. I don't recall feeling hot though. So maybe the temperature didn't quite hit 28° C. The forecast reckons we should hit 29° C today, and that averages out, using some special mathematics that I am not familiar with, to 30° C. (How?). It seems that tomorrow will see some showers, but probably not many, and Friday should be another bright sunny day.

 A combination of things had me feeling really rather good yesterday - but not until after I had left work. I can't recall feeling bad at work, but then again I can't recall feeling particularly good. When I left work things improved a lot. For a start I was free again ! Secondly I was on my way to have a quick beer with my friend Barbara from Cumbria, and a beer after work is always good - particularly when the pub is just outside Waterloo station, and I don't have to do any special, or extra travelling.

 My attempts to get healthier and fitter are paying off, and walking to the station after work seemed to be mostly effortless, although still tedious and boring. When I got to the station I was feeling good enough to ignore the lift, and to walk up the stairs that I have complained about on numerous occasions before. Going up those stairs yesterday was less taxing than usual, and I walked up them a little faster than I have done for many years (possibly ever). I was still half knackered at the top, but once again I managed to walk to the far end of the platform without breaking my step. The odd thing was that while I was walking quite fast, it felt like I had recovered from going up those three flights of stairs while only still halfway down the platform.

psychedelic cow at Waterloo
hello cow !

 Two sights greeted me when I arrived at Waterloo station. One was my friend Barbara, who I was expecting, and second was this rather psychedelic cow, which I wasn't expecting. I knew why Barbara was there. She was there to join me in a quick drink in The Hole In The Wall pub. I have no idea what the cow was there for. Presumably it was promoting something - maybe more insect eating or something.

 The quick drink with Barbara turned out to be three pints of Guinness. I fear I may have dominated the conversation, but it was good to catch up and share the recent news. I must confess I was tempted to suggest having a fourth pint, but sanity prevailed and we stopped after the third. I walked Barbara back to Waterloo station, and directed her towards the escalators down to the Jubilee line. I then ran up the escalator to get to the link to Waterloo East station - and I did run up it from bottom to top at quite a good pace !

 There was more mad stuff later, and not much later. I had just turned the corner of the link onto the bit that runs over the top of the platforms when I heard a Hayes train had arrived. It would probably have been a 30 minute wait for the next one, and so I ran. I ran across the level bit, and then down the slope onto the platform, and a little way along the platform before leaping onto the train with seconds to spare. It raised a bit of sweat, but it didn't feel like I couldn't have run a fair bit more. I have no idea how much more, but definitely more. It is a strange sort of feeling these days.

 I had gone on the train quite near the rear of it, and that gave me a mad idea. The running didn't seem to exhaust me, and standing up on the train didn't feel so bad - and when I say standing up I mean "train surfing". This is where you try not to hold on to anything, and rely on your balance not to fall over, or anything else that would be embarrassing. Some say that all that muscle control as you ride out the bumps, lurches, and swaying, burns a fair few calories, and is good exercise. Well after that I still had energy left to leave the train at Ladywell station, and walk home through the park.

 I must admit it was nice to get home, and sit down again - after I had prepared my dinner. Last night's dinner was a very simple cheese salad without a great deal of cheese in it. Apart from the cheese and mayonnaise dressing, it was just three simple ingredients - little gem lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. I haven't a clue how many calories that lot was, but it was the only thing I ate all day, and once again the scales showed a small improvement this morning. It feels like it proves that Guinness is sort of inert when it comes to counting calories and stuff.

 It wasn't hard to get to sleep, and get to sleep quite early last night, but it was hard to stay asleep. I'm sure I was asleep some time before 9pm, and I slept OK until almost 1am. When I woke up them I had all sorts of problems. My bed felt uncomfortable, my brain wouldn't shut up, and worst of all I suffered a malady that I think I am the only person who suffers from it. It is an itch on the sole of the foot. It can't be scratched in any conventional sense, and while it is ignorable enough when there are other distractions, it starts up again as soon as you lay down and try to get to sleep again. It may have not lasted all that long, but while it did last it left me feeling fully awake, and it was sometime before I was able to get back to sleep. At one point it was feeling like I would never get to sleep, and so it came as a bit of a surprise when I was woken up by my alarm after seemingly having been asleep for at least a few hours.

 I am unsure what I am doing tonight. One plan was to join Angela at the open mic session in The Partridge pub in Bromley. Her daughter, Miranda, usually gets up and does a turn in there, but it seems she is not going tonight, and so Angela wouldn't be going either. One unlikely possibility was to meet Angela for a couple of drinks in The Black Cat, and that seems to be highly unlikely now. I'm think I might go to the open mic session, camera in hand, anyway. I'll know most people there to some degree or another. So I won't feel completely isolated. I am off work tomorrow so I could have a late night, and many pints of beer, but I don't think I want to push it too far - I may be in the right mood to go out walking tomorrow (and if not in the right mood, I ought to force myself to do it. It's good for me !).
Tuesday 23rd August 2016
07:51 BST

dressed for the weather  It felt good to walk to the station in warm sunshine yesterday, but there weren't many sunny periods like that. Quite a lot of the day was overcast, but it was warm and comfortable except on the train going home. It started feeling nasty and humid for the last 5 minutes of the journey for some reason. It was fine once I got moving in the outside air. I am unsure of how warm it got, but the forecast for 24° C sounds about right. This morning, after a clear night, it was a little cool. Estimates vary between 14° and 17° C, but I was comfortable just wearing my shorts. Once the sun had risen properly, which is now ages after I get up, the sky was lovely and blue, and it is supposed to stay that way all day. The temperature should rise to 28° C, and even 29° C is possible. Tomorrow could be very similar. After that the weather will go downhill to make sure we get the traditional wet and windy August bank holiday Monday ! I feel like I am properly dressed for 29° C today (picture on the left)

I didn't feel all that great at work yesterday. It is hard to describe why. I wasn't in any specific pain, but I seemed to ache mildly from the legs upwards. Oh, actually I did have one specific pain, but that was mostly during my journey into work. I was wearing a pair of shoes I had only briefly tried once, and that was possibly over a year ago. I thought I would give them a second chance, and initially they felt OK. The problem was that they were a cheap pair of Converse copies, and I reckon they were designed for Asian feet - which would seem to be less wide, and maybe flatter than western feet. So they rub, grated, and pinched, and all this was made worse by my feet (and ankles) being a bit swollen yesterday.
my poor toe
 Sorry, my feet are not very pretty. You can see the worse damage to my foot on the toe to the right of the big toe. The little patch of grated away skin did sting a bit, and doubly so while it was being worn away as I walked along ! Fortunately I did anticipate problems, and brought a spare pair of shoes with me, and I used them to go home in. When I got home I did something I don't think I have ever done before - I threw those barely worn, but vicious shoes into the bin.

 Apart from throwing those shoes out, the first thing I did was to check my health - and it was good ! I didn't seem to have lost any more weight, but I hadn't put any on. My blood glucose level was wonderfully low at just 4.9 mmol/l, and my blood pressure reading, on my second attempt was 128/85, and that is exceptionally good for me. (My first reading was a fair bit higher, but my doctors have always said to allow a few minutes to pass after the first reading to get over the shock, and relax properly).

 I was sort of busy last night, and that was good because it distracted me from food. I'm not sure how much distraction I actually need though on this occasion. I seem to be getting in the swing of this healthy eating lark. I did nibble on a little cube of cheese when I first got home, but I didn't eat anything else except for a salad. It was quite a big salad with some kiln smoked salmon, but the thing that bulked it out most was a whole little gem lettuce. It is possible that had some interesting effects later. Before I had my salad I washed two pillow cases, and two sheets. Later on, after my salad had settled a bit I washed a duvet cover. I had to leave that duvet cover on a clothes horse in the bath to drip dry overnight, but by this morning it was 99% dry. I've left it hanging on the banister rail to get bone dry during the day.

 The other important thing I did before going to bed was to upload the pictures I had taken of The Short And Curlies performing at The Black Cat on Saturday 13th August. You can view the album here - I'm sort of pleased how most of the pictures turned out. One little thing I also did was to sign up to CAMRA - The Campaign For Real Ale ( There was a nefarious purpose for this. I didn't realise you got a dozen or so vouchers for 50p of a pint of ale in certain CAMRA supporting pubs, plus other discounts when you show your membership card. It seemed the sensible thing to do.
Waterloo station concourse
free ice cream with insects
                  in it !
eat insects !
are you ready
 I'm not entirely sure what was going on at Waterloo station. The umbrella thing over the ice cream cart said The Economist, but I don't think they were advertising that paper. The ice cream cart said "Free ice cream" (behind the man in the grey suit who got in the way just as I was about to take the picture), and the illustration of the little tub of ice cream had an insect logo on it. I didn't actually see any ice cream being given away, but I did read the logo on the back of the young ladies t-shirt. It said "Ask me why eating insects makes sense". I think that maybe they were some sort of eco warriors....or something like that.

 I went to bed early enough last night, but I didn't sleep terribly well. I am not sure what caused it,  I sort of suspect it was the large amount of lettuce I had, but I peed an awful lot during the night. It was quite useful because my feet and ankles were a bit puffy yesterday. This morning I've peed all the excess liquid out, and they are normal again - which is sort of handy when I am wearing shorts, and my ankles are on display for all to see. The other good thing is that when I weighed myself this morning I had lost nearly a whole kilogram. I am now entering the weight range I achieved in an attempt to cure my angina before I had to give up and let the surgeons do it properly. There seems no reason to stop now it is going so well. Unless something happens to really piss me off I should be able to keep this up for the rest of the summer, and maybe a little way into Autumn. From then on I will have to do my best to keep things stable until the weather improves in spring.

 I have only one definite plan for tonight. I'll be meeting my friend Ruby who is down from Cumbria to visit London. It's a sort of annual ritual. We'll have a couple of pints together near Waterloo station, and then say good bye for another year (probably). After that it will be time to race up the escalator - I wonder if I can do that with a couple of pints in me - and head for home for another salad - probably featuring a whole little gem lettuce. I wonder if I'll spend another night getting up to pee large quantities every couple of hours ?
Monday 22nd August 2016
07:48 BST

  It wasn't a bad day yesterday, but neither was it that good. It was mostly dry, but there was at least one light shower during daylight hours, and some heavier showers after dark (although I will confess it didn't observe that much). From time to time there was some nice sunshine, but quite a strong breeze blew most of the heat away. It made for quite good drying weather, but was no good for sunbathing ! The top temperature was only about 20° C, and for a lot of the day is was a lot less than that. Today it is supposed to reach 23° C, but I have my doubts. There are also supposed to be sunny spells about now, but it is very grey, and there was unanticipated rain only a little while ago. Maybe the clouds will break up soon and give us the promised sunny spells. The main weather news is today marks the change to some sunnier and hotter days. My electronic thermometers barometric function seems to agree with this idea, and this morning it was showing a little gleaming sun icon. It could reach 28° C tomorrow !

 poster in The Black Cat pubThere was another little delight on Saturday night that I had forgotten about until I checked my phone this morning. Pictured on the left is one of the posters that were up inside and outside The Black Cat. The delight is that the picture used on the poster is one of mine ! Oddly enough, I don't think it was actually an M.T. Pockets gig when I took that picture. I'm quite proud of that picture - although snapping Dan in mid leap was more luck than skill, and, I have to confess, I was prompted when it was about to happen !

 I seemed to spend quite a lot of yesterday going through the pictures I took on Saturday night. I did take an awful lot of them, and it was hard selecting the best of them. Like a few other sets of pictures, I will have to pull my finger out and upload them to Flickr sooner or later. I seem to be almost up to date with my photo editing, and maybe I'll do it tonight. I don't seem to have anything else to do except eat and sleep. My only reservation is that I am not that happy with the pictures I took on Saturday. I wanted to use my Tamron lens so I could get wider angle shots than my large aperture lens. A consequence of that was that I had the camera set to a high ISO number, and many of the pictures are annoyingly grainy.

 As I said, one of the things that will occupy some of my time tonight, although hopefully very little of it, is eating. Yesterday eating took up a little more of my time than it should. I was careful what I ate in terms of what it was, but I found it near impossible to eat as little as I would have liked to have eaten. It's a sort of Sunday effect - Sunday afternoon - the long dark teatime of the soul (as one of Douglas Adam's book was called). It may have been a consequence of the amount I ate that I don't feel too wonderful this morning. It could just be a consequence of the weather changing, but I feel extra creaky this morning, and I have a mild headache as well as a sort of vague stomach ache. I also feel very tired.

 I thought I got at least 7 hours of seemingly good sleep last night, and at any other time, except perhaps in the dark, depressing, depths of winter, that would be good enough, although I would prefer the full traditional 8 hours. I guess the problem is that I still have a large sleep deficit after only getting about 4 hours sleep on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and I seem to recall not getting all that much on Friday night either. Just writing about it make me feel ten times worse !
M.T. Pockets taken on my mobile phone
This picture is of M.T. Pockets at The Black Cat on Saturday night. There is a problem with this picture, and it is looks too good. It was taken on my mobile phone camera, and superficially it looks better than some of the pictures taken on my Nikon DSLR camera, but it is all optical illusion. I had to spend a bit of time with my photo editor to increase the brightness and contrast, as well as make it look sharper. I also shrunk it down to this small size. The original picture, when viewed full sized, looks muddy and smeary. I think my Nikon DSLR produces rather better results, even if they are sometimes a bit grainy, but it is the polishing I can do in the photo editor that makes them stand out from the usual mobile phone pictures you see of bands.

 So my goals for tonight are to eat as little as I can, to upload some pictures to Flickr, to wash some pillowcases and a couple of sheets, and finally to try to get to sleep as early as possible - even if that does mean cutting back on some late evening messaging with Angela. It is good to come to my senses and to not care about a possible negative future, but to enjoy the now as much as possible. Chatting with Angela, even if it by the new fangled medium of text only, is most enjoyable. It makes me feel good inside to hear that I amuse her and make her feel happy.
Sunday 21st August 2016
09:40 BST

  I think that there was probably more rain than I was expecting yesterday. There seemed to be light showers cropping up at all random times during the day - even when the sun was shining - and there were quite a few sunny intervals during the day. One a few occasions the sky turned completely blue for a short while until more clouds blew in. It wasn't a particularly warm day, but on the other hand it wasn't cold either. It felt reasonably comfortable to walk to The Black Cat in the evening in just shirt sleeves in the middle of a very light shower. Today should be dry until after sunset when it won't be dry at all ! Unfortunately it is going to me mostly overcast until we get a little sunshine in the late afternoon. That should see the temperature peaking in the region of 21° C for a few hours, but the morning will be several degrees cooler, and then after sunset it will cool right off in a deluge of cold wet rain! Tomorrow is not looking too bad, and next Tuesday and Wednesday could be delicious - almost hot and sunny !

 I did lots of good and useful things yesterday, and one of the morning important things was that I managed to keep my appetite under good control. It's not so easy not eating when you spend most of the day indoors close to a fridge of goodies ! I did have two snacks prior to my dinner. One was simply a banana. They are almost innocent, but do contain a lot of sugar (as fructose) and if I checked I expect my blood glucose level is not quite as good today. The other snack was a little pot of ricotta cheese stuffed cherry peppers with a packet of ready cooked crispy bacon. That bacon was not a good choice diet wise, but it was already a week after its best before day, and it needed using or throwing away. Using it was better - and delicious ! Dinner was a shrimp salad - a salad that had several quite strong spring onions in it. I could still taste those onions when I was in the pub much later. Luckily there was no one there to kiss !

 Other things I did were two lots of laundry. The second bit of laundry was a medium large bath towel, and they need an awful lot of manhandling when washed by hand ! It was fortunate that I finished that towel during one of the sunny periods, and I could hang it on the washing line to part dry before the next shower passed through. In the evening I went to The Black Cat to watch MT Pockets. More about that in a minute because another two things I did were quite good achievements (in my own eyes).

 In the morning I went to the pub for breakfast with my friend Aleemah. That frequently happens on a Saturday, but what else happened hasn't happened for over three years - I wore my red jeans. They always were a bit tight, and less than a year ago I would have needed industrial equipment to even get the top button anywhere near the hole it is supposed to go through. Yesterday morning they seemed no tighter than they were when I last wore them, and for the hour or so that I had them on they seemed quite comfortable, but I think I'll try and lose a little more weight before I can wear them casually.

 After the success of those red jeans I decided to bite the bullet and wear another pair of jeans, black ones this time, when I went to the pub. Once again they were jeans that I could not even do up maybe as recently as 6 months ago. It was a bold move because I knew I would be drinking quite a few pints, and sitting down for much of the time. Well, maybe they weren't that tight because I was barely aware I was wearing them  most of the time. Having said that, I don't think I would stay comfortable in them if I had to wear them all day at work.

 The gig at The Black Cat last night was M.T. Pockets, and it could only have been a better night if Angela could have been there. Unfortunately here daughter is the singer for Life Of Brian, and they were playing in The British Oak in Blackheath, and naturally enough Angela wanted to support her daughter. Hopefully I'll be seeing her next Saturday when Bouncer are playing in The Black Cat. Bouncer are good in parts, but Angela should provide a most wonderful, and very appreciated distraction from the bad bits of Bouncer.

 It was still a great night last night. M.T. Pockets feature some very talented musicians, and none more so than Dan Murphy. He must be fairly unique among most of the bands I see doing cover versions of songs. Dan does not slavishly try and sound like the well known recorded version of a song (probably the 7 inch single version of many of the songs they played). He takes a song, and plays it his way in his own style - usually a heavy rock version with extra twiddly bits.

 A typical example was when they played Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child". Dan took that song and made it his own, although I suspect the way he played it was actually quite authentically like Jimi Hendrix would play it live - re-inventing it as he played it, experimenting with an extra or alternate note here and there, or adding a little extra bit of tune here and there. In doing so he made a few mistakes, but they didn't matter because it was a wonderfully fresh experience. I think we were probably privileged to hear a unique performance that will never be repeated again, and that we can only feel sorry for the rest of the world that they didn't hear it.
M.T. Pockets at The Black
                  Cat Saturday 20th August 2016
From L - R; Dan Murphy, Dylan Tidman, and Michael Murphy = M.T. Pockets

 I think the gig ended quite late, and I didn't get home until midnight. I was really buzzing, but strangely enough I felt no strong desire to eat anything, and I didn't eat anything at all. That is a very unusual occurence after a gig, or indeed after any session involving quite a few pints of beer (it was 4 or 5 pints of Guinness). I'm not entirely sure how I have managed to achieve this new state of mind, but I'm sure Angela comes into it somehow. It felt great to exchange a few pleasantries with her via text messaging before we said good night and headed to our beds.

 It was well past 1am when I went to bed, and it was a typical case of oh no, I can't sleep followed a few minutes later by, oh, I am asleep (or that is what I would be saying if I wasn't actually asleep). The really stupid thing is that I woke up at 5am and just could not get back to sleep. I've tried several times now, and I just can't seem to fall asleep. If I can't get at least another hour of sleep I suspect I'll have a rotten time at work tomorrow! I can try for an early night, but they don't always work. The trouble is that I feel so alive lately. I wonder why ?
Saturday 20th August 2016
07:59 BST

  Rain was forecast, and indeed it did rain yesterday, but maybe not as hard, nor as extensive as I thought the forecast suggested. I am unsure if it actually finished at 4pm, but apart from a few stray drops as I walked to the station, I was able to take off my raincoat (that I hadn't even bothered to do up) when I got on the train, and I didn't need it for the rest of the way home. I wasn't paying attention to the outside world so I have no idea if it started to rain again later on. It wasn't exactly a warm day, but the humidity made the 19° C seem rather sticky at times. This morning the temperature had dropped to as low as 14° C, and that was because the sky was absolutely clear.There was blue sky from horizon to horizon. Sadly it hasn't stayed that way. Much of today should be dry, but some showers are expected at random times through the day. Some sunshine, although no one knows how much, is also expected. It should be a little warmer today, but possibly by as little as one degree warmer !  It seems the temperature is on the rise again. Tomorrow could see 22° C, with a lot of sunny intervals, and by next Thursday there is wild speculation about it being very sunny, and 28° C !!

 It seems to be the story of my life, or perhaps theme of my life would describe it better, but yesterday was both good and bad. The good is most definitely having the lowest blood glucose level I've had for many years. It was 4.6 - safely above the point when trouble can arise, but towards the lower end of normal, or average. My blood pressure was also nice and low by my personal standards. Probably not good enough for my sadistic doctor, but more or less exactly what I left hospital with 3 years ago after the most careful medication by the finest surgeons and doctors in the land (well they seemed to do a pretty good job when I had my plumbing refurbished). I also measured a definite decrease in my weight.
the red shoes (that are
                  slightly pink)
 Two things made me feel not OK yesterday. The first is pictured above. These red slip on shoes are, or seem to be, identical to some other shoes I have in different colours. Yesterday I remembered why I rarely wear them. I don't know why they are so different to the other pairs, but these are stupidly uncomfortable to walk around in - and there is no obvious reason why ! It feels like they are full of lumps and bumps, but I can't feel anything unusual with my fingers.

 The other thing that spoiled my day was a feeling of fatigue. I could possibly explain that away by it being the end of the working week, and the discomfort from my shoes sapping any desire to be energetic when walking around. I also felt quite sleepy at work from time to time. Maybe that was only at times when I wasn't "fully engaged" with what I could or should be doing. Maybe it was another artifact of those shoes. That would require a very bizarre explanation, but once I got home, and rested my feet, I didn't seem to feel sleepy until it was bedtime.

 It was another evening when I had a hard time fighting the craving for more food. It wasn't that I was hungry. I ate a fairly substantial salad, although 90% of it was "rabbit food". It was just the desire for more sensory input - I guess that would primarily be a cigarette, but a hug and kiss would be good if I were not here alone. I resorted to a couple of small glasses of whisky to see me through the worst of it, but I also had a fairly normal exchange of messages with Angela, and that was a great distraction. It felt good to get back to almost normal after all the upset earlier in the week. I say almost normal because it is obvious I have to kerb my enthusiasm for the future, and to just enjoy her company as and when.

 I had (and here comes those words again) both a good and bad night. It seems like I slept really well last night except from about 1am to 3am when I am not sure I slept at all. I woke up around 1am with cramp in my left leg. After leaping out of bed, and pacing up and down by my bed a couple of times the cramp completely went away, but for some reason I couldn't get back to sleep. My brain just went hyperactive in a completely random way. I wasn't fretting about anything, and my thoughts were not centred around any particular person. Sometimes they were not about any person at all, but about things - buses, trains, cars, computers, electronics at work, telephone exchanges - all completely random thoughts popping into my head. Eventually my brain got tired, and I fell into a deep sleep until just after 6am (although I have a feint idea that I might have opened my eyes to check the clock at 5am).

 I feel good in all sorts of way this morning. It is another morning without any significant aches and pains, and there was good news from my blood glucose meter, and my scales. The last time I did any extensive checking on my blood glucose level I was getting some quite high readings in the morning - often a lot higher than it was before going to sleep - which was always a bit of a mystery. This morning the level was higher than last night, but only by a bit. It was 5.4, and that is right in the middle of the target area ! My scales, although very twitchy, tell me I have broken through another whole number of kilogrammes. The last digit, representing just 100gm, is very twitchy, but if I don't breath I caan just about get a stable reading, and it says my weight has gone down enough grammes for the last digit to fall from point 4 to point 9, and the whole number is one less !

 This morning I have already (hand) washed some laundry, and hung it on the washing line. I may have to bring it in before it is dry because rain is expected, but at least it will have got a head start drying. A little later this morning I'll be meeting Aleemah for breakfast in the Wetherspoons. I'm not sure what I shall do after I've seen her. In an ideal world I would do some serious housework. Many areas need a good hoovering, and I am so bad about it, but I reckon I may end up too busy editing and uploading even more pictures on my PC. Here's one from last Saturday that I only edited last night.
The Short And Curlies
They were The Short And Curlies, and they were rather good. Angela really enjoyed watching them too, and I had my best ever time with her that night. It was because of that I got carried away, and started hoping for a future that may never happen, and then was gently reminded that my hope was definitely premature, and possibly misguided.

 Tonight I have three choices. I could go to The Black Cat and watch the most excellent M.T. Pockets. That is a strong temptation, and I feel I do need to go there to see if I can get Richard, who does most of the gig organisation to get in touch with Whitestar. Whitestar's bass player, Michelle Whitestar is seriously ill in hospital, and the rest of the band don't want to perform as Whitestar without her, but they still want to play at The Black Cat using a different name when their gig is due. It seems Whitestar can't get a reply from the pub to discuss this for some reason.

 My other choice, and once again I am very tempted, is to go to The British Oak in Blackheath where Life Of Brian are playing. I know that is where Angela is going because her daughter fronts the band. My worry is that could be seen as stalking. One other alternative is to go to a bit of both gigs. I don't think I have ever succeeded in doing this before. Maybe I could tonight, but when I think of all the rushing around involved, and the long interval of boredom on the bus between the two venues, I am inclined to think that I won't do the latter. In all probability I will stick with the Black Cat, and just be more patient than I would like to be before I see Angela next Saturday.
Friday 19th August 2016
07:30 BST

  I'm not sure if yesterday's weather was better or worse than expected. Perhaps it was a little bit of both. It was certainly dull while I was at work, but it seemed to brighten up a bit as I got closer to Catford. (Well it would, wouldn't it !). If there was any annoyance it was that it felt rather humid, and that made for a bit of a sticky journey home. The forecast said it would reach 23° C, and maybe it did, but for some reason I think it might have been a degree or two less. The temperature profile for today is forecast to be very flat. It was and will be about 17° C at the beginning and end of the day, and possibly as little as 19° C in the middle. The big feature today is rain, and there could be quite a lot of it. Fortunately it stayed dry just long enough to get to work, and if I am very, very lucky the rain may hold off while I go home, but that does rather depend on the forecast being accurate to the minute - which seems highly unlikely ! Tomorrow is forecast to be wet too, but maybe a tiny bit warmer. I am not too bothered about rain when I don't have to go to work in it, but it could cramp my style if it is raining in the evening.

 I felt really quite tired at work yesterday. It didn't really start until maybe midday, but I found myself nodding off a few times. It seemed a bit odd after getting what seemed like a fair amount of sleep. It wasn't just sleepiness though. I also felt less energetic when I made my way home. I could have been tempted to get a bus, but I decided I would walk to the station. I didn't fancy going up the stairs after that walk, and took the lift up to the platform before doing a quick march to the far end. At Waterloo I forced myself to try and run up the escalator, and it didn't feel too bad. That wasn't too surprising though. I only got halfway up before I was blocked by a tourist who was standing in the middle of the escalator ! Grrr !

 When I got home I nibbled on a small chunk of cheese - to put something a little greasy in my stomach before pouring some beer in it later. Like the day before I checked my blood glucose level, my blood pressure and my weight. They were all very similar, close to identical, to the day before. That was good, but it would have been nice to see a small reduction in weight. Maybe there was, but not unexpectedly, after just one day, it was smaller than the small fluctuations that make the final digit on the display flick around a bit.

 Having done that I put on one of my slightly smaller pairs of jeans, and got ready to go out again. For quite a long time I couldn't get into those jeans. I'm not sure when it was that I could first do them up again, and I am not sure when it was that I dared wear them to go for a quick local drink, but I do know that last night was the first time I have dared travel in them, and then sat down to rather more beer than I intended to drink. Even after a lot of beer they still seemed to feel very comfortable. It is just further bit of proof that I have managed to lose all the weight I put on as a result of not smoking - although that is not strictly accurate because of the negative blip in my weight in the months before I had my operation in 2013. Just before I went into hospital I was on the verge of ordering some new smaller sized trousers. At that point I stopped smoking, and all hell let loose !

 I must admit I was a bit reluctant to go out last night. I thought it would be better if I stayed home, ate a small salad, and then battled the cravings for more food, booze, cigarettes, sex, and more food, cigarettes and booze while editing and uploading more photos. As is so often the case, I'm glad I made the decision to go out. The beer was was very nice !! Plus it was nice to have some company and a bit of banter with the lads. I don't have much to brag about, but with several others there who have had a brush with diabetes, and so have some knowledge of the subject, it felt good to say that I had managed to get my blood glucose level right on the target of absolutely normal. Of course after all that beer it would have gone up a lot.....or maybe it didn't. Officially beer is supposed to raise the glucose level in the blood, and I have no doubt that it does cause a spike, but it seems to be a short lived spike - unlike the effect of eating, say, a cream bun.

 When I left the pub after drinking twice the amount intended, I had to run the gauntlet of the high street with all the delicious cooking smells coming out of numerous diverse restaurants and bars. It could have so easily triggered some unwise buying on the way home, but I resisted the chip shop, and fried chicken shop siren call, and went straight home. When I got indoors I couldn't be bothered to go to the bother of preparing a salad, and considered what alternatives there were. I picked a very strange one to be my only meal of the day (plus the small block of cheese I nibbled before going out). I decided to eat a packet of fish sticks. I have no idea how many calories they contain, but I know they contain starch, and that would increase my blood glucose level, but I ate them regardless - all 16 of them ! I did allow one other luxury - a bit of garlic flavoured mayonnaise to dip them in.

 That, regardless of it's nutritional qualities, was probably one of the smallest meals I have eaten for some time, and it was, with that little chunk of cheese, all I ate for the whole day. It will be interesting to see how that, plus the beer, affects my health readings when I get home tonight. Maybe I have had a small, and rather inaccurate preview already. I got on the scales this morning, and I think, but I can't be sure, that it was indicating a small weight loss - maybe as little as 100gm, but that's still something.

 Soon after eating I went to bed, and I think I was in bed close to 9pm. Once again it felt like I slept well. After drinking all that beer I definitely had to get up twice in the night for a large pee, but I was awake barely longer than it took to do the deed, and this morning I didn't have one of those half awake/half asleep sessions for the last hour before I was woken by my alarm sounding. I don't feel like I have much energy this morning, but otherwise I feel quite well again.

 I have some options for tonight, but I think I know what I will actually do. One option is to go and see a Chain gig at The Shirley Park Golf Club. I have even been offered a lift to it (probably from Bromley), but I think it's more likely I will stay in by myself editing yet more photos. One other possible event could be a brief visit from my Argentinian friend Patricia. She still uses my address for some correspondence because it stays constant while she and her partner stay in various rented accommodation when they are in England. There is some mail for her to pick up. If she does pop in today we will probably end up in the pub for a quick drink and a Wetherspoons meal - well she might eat there, but I'll save myself for a salad later (or before, but preferably later when the beer would make me feel extra hungry).

 One other bit of good news....I think I have put out the bridges I started to burn. It is going to be deeply embarrassing when I see Angela next after all that fuss, and it will probably take a while before I am relaxed enough to enjoy all the pleasures that seeing her bring. Even if it is ultimately a road to nowhere, I now take the more balanced view that I can still enjoy the ride.
Thursday 18th August 2016
07:41 BST

  Yesterday's weather was pretty much as expected. There was plenty of sunshine, lots of blue sky, and the later afternoon temperature may actually have been a little bit better than the 24° C forecast. I'm not sure what to make of today.
today's weather - possibly
 The current forecast (above) is quite similar to how it was thought today's weather would be in the forecast yesterday. When I checked it at 5am this morning it had changed to suggest a nicer day with sunny intervals throughout the day. This latest forecast does more closely match what I have seen with my own eyes. The sky was quite miserably grey for much of my journey into work, but there was at least one short period of hazy sunshine while my train was in the Clapham Junction area. Looking out my office window I can see many small patches of blue between the clouds, so there is hope for more sunshine. All I can say about tomorrow is that it is looking to be grim !

 One of the reasons why I write this blog, or diary, or journal, or whatever it should be called, is to get things off my chest. Sometimes it is a cathartic experience, and sometimes it is just a way of recording my banal existence....and sometimes it is just a place to write about the weather. Yesterday it was a cathartic thing, and I felt a lot better for getting my thoughts down on (cyber) paper. I still felt (and feel) a bit sad about the future, but having got my thoughts in order (which you have to do to write them down) I know what I ought to do, and what I'll try and do - and that is to carry on as normal, and accept what affection I can get, when I can get it, and do my best not to imagine any fantasy future. It's not going to be easy.

 I felt mostly OK for most of my day at work, but I still felt the need to push myself a bit harder, to generate some adrenaline, or dopamine on my way home. The funny thing is that I probably didn't...well not much. Once again I ignored the buses and walk to the station almost as fast as I could, and when I got to the station I decided to walk up to the platform. As I have said many times in the past, I really hate those three flights of stairs up to the platform. The biggest annoyance is that the steps are only about 4 inches high, and that doesn't seem to match my step. There is no way I could run up that staircase like I can (and did) run up the escalator at Waterloo station last night. However, as much as I like to complain about it, I did walk up those three flights, and I was only mildly knackered at the top. I was able to continue a fast pace to the far end of the platform without breaking my step once I got to the top of those stairs.

 When I got back to Catford I found I was walking from the station to home a bit faster than usual. It almost felt like I could have run some of the way, but I didn't fancy trying that ! Once I got home I decided to do three things I haven't done for a long time. I checked my blood glucose level, and it was a perfectly normal 5.5mml. That proved my pancreas was still able to function. I then checked my blood pressure. I got 136/80 (if I recall correctly), and that is pretty good for me - particularly when I have secretly halved my normal dose of Bisoprolol because it makes me feel exactly as I have been feeling - more healthy ! I also weighed myself, and although I can't quite remember when I am comparing it to, I was a whole 7kg lighter than some earlier peak. At that time, whenever it was, I was fantasising about losing 40kg. It seems I may be between a fifth and a sixth of the way there - and I think there is more to come.

 I will confess that I nibbled on a chunk of cheese once I had taken all my measurements, but it was enough to keep my stomach amused while I made a start on a long overdue project - selecting and editing photos. I had several sets to choose from, and I selected Chain's gig at The Petts Wood British Legion Hall last Friday (12th Aug). those pictures were taken under very bad light, but I managed to find 25 that were acceptable with a bit of tweaking here and there, and if I have time I will upload them to Flickr tonight.

 Sometimes my pictures come out so well it surprises me. It's a shame that it doesn't happen more often. There was one picture I took of Jo Corteen, at the Chattfest gig a few weeks ago, that she used as a profile picture on a well known social media site. The last I heard was that it had 122 likes. It seems that many admire my handiwork as much as Jo's photogenic face. The picture is on Flickr, and if you click on this embedded version you can view it, and others in high resolution.
 I stopped photo editing after an hour (or was it less ?) to have some dinner. I think I probably overdid the amount of Feta cheese I had with it (by at least double), but it was basically a simple salad. I gave a generous splodge of pesto flavoured mayonnaise. It is a flavour that has recently appeared in Aldi, and it is rather wonderful. The only downside to that salad is that it contained spring onions. They were nice at the time (or I wouldn't have added them) but they did leave an after taste that made me crave more food, or some booze, or a cigarette. At times it was a very powerful craving, but I managed to resist it somehow. In theory, despite the over large portion of Feta cheese, it was suitably healthy, and, once again in theory, were I to check my blood glucose, blood pressure, and weight again tonight, I think they would all be good again. I might even do it.

 I finished my photo editing in time to get to bed, and possibly to sleep, just before 9pm. As far as I can recall, I only woke up once in the night up to 4am, and that was for a brief pee. From 4am, until my alarm went off at 5am, I seemed to be awake quite a lot - mostly because I couldn't seem to get comfortable. It was the usual combination of the bed feeling too hot and too cold and the pillow and mattress seeming to grow lumps that weren't there the night before. Despite that last hour being a bit poor I think I possibly had a good nights sleep for a change.

 I do feel sort of good again this morning, and to a limited extent that might include mentally too. I can't remember when the walk to the station seemed so easy as it did this morning - and I did it without the dubious benefit of dark thoughts distracting me from the effort. I thought that I had done it in real record time, and indeed it is possible that in reality it may have ranked amongst my faster times, but it wasn't quite as fast as I thought at the time - it was the train a few minutes late, and not me shaving off whole minutes of a walk that I could still do in 7 or 8 minutes when I was suffering from angina.

 Despite feeling physically fit(ish), and with a fairly calm mind, and with quite an exceptionally good dash between Waterloo East and Waterloo station, it was still not a great journey into work. There were three things that ruined the ambience (for want of a better word). The first was that it was miserably grey for most of the journey. At one point I thought it was going to rain. The second thing was that there was signalling problems in the Lewisham area, and we arrived at Waterloo east station about 10 minutes late. This was of no practical consequence....or was it ? Maybe it was because without that delay I would have been on an earlier train than the 07:06 from Waterloo. The only trouble with the 07:06 was that it had a flea on it, and specifically it had a flea on the seat that I sat down on. Five minutes after we left Waterloo I felt a sort of itch near my wrist. I looked down and there was a bloody flea having a free meal of my blood ! It is now a slightly squashed flea !

 Tonight poses some problems. It's Thursday, and that means drinking night. Tonight we are drinking in The Partridge in Bromley. I could catch a train direct to Bromley South station by changing trains at Clapham Junction, and then again at Victoria station, but that gets me there quite early even after that appalling walk up the hill that is known as the high street. I am considering going home first, and once I have dumped my bag I could go back out and catch the bus that stops almost outside the pub. I would like to have many pints of delicious Fullers London Pride, or even more delicious, but deadly ESB, but I also want to get home again early and sober enough to do more photo editing. I guess I'll just do whatever feels right at the time.
Wednesday 17th August 2016
07:34 BST

  The weather was rather nice yesterday. It was another dry, warm and sunny day. As seems to be the case a lot recently, I am unsure of the top temperature, but it felt like it was at least the forecast 22° C, and it could have been a degree higher. This morning I think it was about 15° C, and the heating was on in the train I caught at Catford Bridge. That seemed a bit unnecessary. At 06:33, when I caught that train the sky was hazy enough to give very blurry shadows from the rising sun, but now the sky is looking quite blue, and the forecast says we will get uninterupted sunshine until the sun sets this evening. Apparently that will only raise the temperature to 24° C, but I guess that's not bad. Tomorrow will be cloudy until late afternoon, but it is supposed to stay dry, and be nearly as warm as today.

 I feel both good and bad this morning. The reasons are complex, and I don't even understand most of them. The bad started yesterday morning when I got a message from Angela. After feeling so high about how I thought our relationship was going I was shot down in flames ! It would be wonderful to find I have misinterpreted the core part of her message, but it seemed like a well established proceedure for my miserable life. I read it as a prognosis that we would only ever be friends - best friends, but still just friends.

 I've had this happen too many times before, and it burns and burns. I have wasted literally years of my life in the past hoping that circumstances might change. I think in the case of my friend Patricia I pined for her for something like 5, maybe even 6 years, before accepting it was never going to happen. Five years on we are still friends, and spend a few hours with each other a few times a year, and that's nice, but it's not a situation I want to repeat. Cold logic tells me I ought to walk away from Angela now, and never look back, but I can't bear to do that either. Life can be so bloody difficult sometimes. I think it would be nice to have a partner in crime, a lover, a soulmate, but it's only a theory. I may have touched the outer periphery of these things, but I've never really experienced them before. It's been many years now, maybe as many as 40, since it first seemed that my destiny was to walk this Earth alone, and maybe that's better because I have had an awful lot of practice at it.

 After a fairly miserable time at work there was some relief when I left to go home. I decided to distract me from my depression by doing a hard walk to the station. Sod's law meant that a bus was instantly available because I didn't want one, and I didn't use it, but it was a good reminder of how fucked up life can be. I don't think I made the station in record time, but maybe I shaved off a few seconds. I certainly had time to walk the entire length of the platform with a minute or two to spare before my usual train arrived.

 One brief moment of joy was running up the escalators at Waterloo. For some of it, it really was a run, and it felt quite easy - a lot easier than it would have as little as a week ago. It was another indicator that my fitness is improving, and also raised a challenge - could I continue to improve upon it without being able to draw on the inspiration that Angela unknowingly provided ? I think that maybe I can. These things are easier to continue than to start.

 It possibly helped that I felt deeply pissed off last night....or maybe it didn't. More confusion ! Normally when I am pissed off I eat more, but I guess that last night I was pissed off in a different way because I partially lost my appetite...or maybe I didn't. Who knows ? The core of my dinner was pretty much as planned. It was a salad with some cold "kiln smoked" salmon. Maybe I wasn't planning to eat so little with it. In addition to that salad I also ate some stuffed cherry peppers (stuffed with some almost tasteless cream cheese), a small pack of chunks of peppered beef, and a small chunk of cheese. That is all I ate for the whole of yesterday, and I'll be trying to eat as little as that (little by my usual standards) today.

 One thing I didn't hold back on was whisky. I poured my first one soon after I got home, and it was a very large one, but before I finished it I took a break to wash some shirts. It was a peculiar contradiction, but it both felt life was almost over, and that I still needed clean shirts for work. I washed 4 shirts and some underwear before preparing and eating my salad, and the beef and cheese for pudding (I had eaten the stuffed cherry peppers before I started the laundry). Once I had done all that I got down to the serious business of drinking whisky. I really didn't want to do anything on my computer, and so drinking, and reading some pages from a magazine was the sum of my entertainment last night.

 It was a short night evening, The whisky actually did quite a good job at numbing my brain - which even in my pissed state I knew to be unusual. I'm not sure of the time, but I think it was before 8pm that I got into bed, and fell into a deep sleep. That was rather handy, or it would have been if it had lasted longer. It was around half past midnight that I woke up again, and found my brain had started working again. That was bad, and I don't think I really got to sleep again until 3am.

 This morning I have some lower back pain - presumably from sleeping awkwardly while drunk - and of course I have a bit of a hangover. Apart from that I feel quite good, maybe even very good, physically. The walk to the station seemed unusually effortless, although I was distracted by all my thoughts about my love life, or typical absence of it. At Waterloo East I managed to stay more concentrated on rushing across the link to Waterloo mainline station, and I pushed myself quite hard. I continued to push myself as I raced down the escalators,across the concourse, and almost to the end of platform 4 to leap onto the 06:57 train. There was no particular reason to get that train. There are trains every 3 to 5 minutes going to Earlsfield, and it would have made little difference if I had caught one half an hour later, but it felt good to race around like a mad man. Plus there is the sense of wonder that I didn't feel particularly overtaxed when I got on the train and sat down.

 That, plus a possibly record breaking walk from the station to work provided some satisfaction at a time when things to feel good about seem in short supply right now. I might be over the shock of what Angela said (or implied) now - just about - but I still feel very lost, and I don't know what to do. The crazy thing is that I haven't even discussed this with Angela, or even done anything except going a bit quiet. So she doesn't even know how hurt I feel. Maybe "hurt" is not the right word, and despair is closer. The thing is I am scared to start the conversation because I know it is going to be very painful for me, and I know it is going to hurt Angela, and that just makes the whole thing worse ! Oh bugger ! I am going to feel so stupid if I have got hold of the wrong end of the stick, but it all seems so familiar - been there, done that, got the t-shirt. If only it were that simple......
Tuesday 16th August 2016
07:46 BST

  Yesterday was like an early, or late, summers day. It was bright and sunny, and pleasantly warm. As I made my way home from work I speculated that it might even have been slightly warmer than 22° C. The forecast says today will probably see some mildly overcast spells, but it will be mostly sunny. It is even possible that the temperature will hit 27° C - at least I thought that was what the forecast said, but it seems to have changed now. The new forecast says this morning will be the sunniest, and this afternoon will see some clouds that will occasionally obscure the sun. As a result the maximum temperature will only be 22° C again. It sounds pleasant enough, but I was looking for a cherry on top too. The sad thing is that the end of the week looks like it will be rubbish. The prediction for Friday is black clouds and thunderstorms !

 This will put you off your breakfast....
early morning selfie
 The point of this unpleasant picture, taken within one minute of me waking up this morning, is to show one of my new memory foam pillows. It doesn't, although the red thing in the foreground is the pillowcase around the new pillow, but it is the best I can do. The other point of the picture is to illustrate a conundrum. That pillow is both comfortable and uncomfortable, and last night I seemed to have slept quite well on it, but evidently didn't because I seemed to be yawning all day ! I have a feeling today could be similar.

 Apart from yawning, and wanting to go back to bed, I felt pretty good yesterday. I was doing some work that I enjoy, and there was something else. It may be a complete delusion, but I'm cool with that (as they say), but (are you allowed to have two "buts" in one sentence - I think not, but it is done now) I an gaining great strength from my friendship with Angela (whose picture I showed yesterday). Maybe it could be called love. Maybe it should be called love, but somehow that feels dangerous, and I don't know why. Maybe it just seems unreal that anyone could seem to like me so much with so little effort. I've had flings and infatuations in the past, and maybe every time I thought they were different, but this difference seems so much more vivid, and really rather wonderful.

 The only thing that broke my happiness yesterday was when I went to the pharmacy to pick up my repeat prescription. It started off so well. A bus pulled up beside me as I walked past the bus stop, and I jumped on it instead of having to walk. When I got to the pharmacy I was informed that the prescription I picked up was the last I would get automatically without subjecting myself to another review session with the doctor. I'm going to get told off for not providing the blood sample, and urine sample back in mid June, or whenever it was that I deliberately ignored. Another thing that will piss me off is that it will probably be easy to get an appointment, possibly just with a nurse, when I feel quite well and don't want to see anyone - in direct contrast to when I actually need to see a doctor and getting an appointment to see one is nigh on impossible.

 After getting my prescription from the pharmacy I popped into Aldi to buy some stuff. Somehow I drew on the spirit of my earlier happiness, and I was very disciplined in what I bought. I don't think I bought a single thing that was not sort of healthy sounding. I will admit that it did include some shellfish, and there are question marks about the cholestrol levels in shellfish, but at least they are, or I think they are, low in fat, sugar and calories.

 Somehow I avoided any snacking when I finally got home, and waited until I had prepared dinner - a mixed seafood salad with too much (alleged) lemon flavoured mayonnaise, I say alleged because that is what it said on the label, but I didn't notice any lemon flavour in it. After such a good start I ruined it all by having two little sample size tubs of ice cream, although maybe that was not such a terrible thing to end on. Whether it was guilt, or whether I needed a little kick of sugar for my body to realise that dinner was over, or more likely a combination of the two, it seemed to stop me eating any more last night.

 There was stuff I meant to do last night. Stuff like washing shirts, photo editing, and one thing I don't think I mentioned earlier, washing my hair, and I didn't do any of these things. I seemed to spend a lot of the evening exchanging message with Angela - which was much more enjoyable than washing shirts ! (Although I've got wash them sooner or later). Finally it was time for bed, and it didn't seem to take long to fall asleep once my head hit me new foam memory pillow !

 Like the night before, it seemed like I slept well last night. I think I woke up to pee twice in the night, but the memory is so dream like that maybe I was dreaming. I'm not sure if I feel I had enough sleep yet - that usually takes a while yet, but in other ways I do feel unusually good. There are three reasons for this, and I think it may be the third that is the most potent. My growing relationship with Angela is obviously a great source of inspiration. The growing care that I have had with regard to eating recently, despite a few bad "accidents", is having a beneficial effect, and finally a brief reduction in my medication has boosted my stamina. The latter is a tricky problem. The doctors think that all the pills and potions I take are extending my life, but there is still a great attraction to "live fast, die young" - except that maybe, if things develop the way I dream they might, I might have a sort of obligation to live a lot longer than I would have cared for a month ago. Not just an obligation but an actual desire to - that makes a change.

the inconvenient convenience
 It's looking like I will be slightly thirsty again today. For the second morning running the local convenience store is inconveniently late opening again. Luckily another shop on my way from the station to work had one solitary bottle of Diet Coke that I bought, but I would have preferred a second - just in case.

 Tonight I will indulge in more salad for dinner - probably with fish again - maybe some smoked mackerel. I feel I should make some more effort to wash some shirts, and of course there is the ever increasing backlog of photos to deal with. Once that is all done, and I have told Angela I love her, I can go to bed again to get some lovely sleep before I do it all over again tomorrow - sort of !

 I'm not sure if this will play smoothly because the bit rate is fairly high, but served from my own server is the video of the marriage ceremony between Mr and Mrs Bastard - aka Geoff Paice and Patsi Spike O'Shea - featuring Sid the vicar !
Monday 15th August 2016
08:08 BST

  We've had some good weather lately. No day has been more than just pleasantly warm, but it has been mostly bright, and has stayed dry. Most of the recent days have seen temperatures in the region of 22° C, and today will be no exception. In fact the forecast predicts that the temperature will peak at exactly 22° C - but only for about an hour. It will be a degree less than that a few hours either side of that peak, and the temperature tails off either side of that. This morning has started wonderfully sunny, but a little cool feeling. Some cloud is expected that will make the sky a little overcast from time to time, but there will also be many periods of strong sunshine. Tomorrow may be similar, and Wednesday is forecast to be even sunnier, and with the temperature hitting 24° C.

 It's been quite a weekend - and of course it's been an extra long weekend for me with the two extra days I took off work. To resume where I left off last Friday - I decided that it would be silly to attempt to go to the seaside on Friday, and doubly so when I would be off to a late start because I didn't want to jeopardise the evening by not getting back home in time. I still wanted to get some fresh air, and I still wanted to get some exercise. So I went out stalking - stalking for wildlife, and stalking my friend Angela. I was hoping she might go and sit in the park on her lunchbreak, but she wasn't at work on Friday. That was a shame, but I did get some good pictures in the park. All I can show of them at the moment is some thumbnails. Maybe I'll sort some better views out later.
pictures taken in the park
 On Friday evening I went to see Chain playing a special, £4 entry, gig at The Petts Wood British Legion hall. It was really good, but with a couple of caveats. There was no stage lighting beyond a few lights projecting coloured patterns, and that made photography rather challenging. Getting home from Petts Wood is never a great experience. One obvious method is to get the 208 bus from almost outside the venue all the way to Catford - and it is a very long way by bus !  I didn't fancy that at all, and so I left the gig a little early to get the 11:24pm train from Petts Wood station. That train goes to Lewisham station, and only for travelling in the direction of hoime, there is only a short wait for a train to Catford Bridge - except it didn't happen like that !

 When I arrived at Lewisham station I found a broken down train blocking the platform for trains to Catford Bridge. After a while, once the railway staff had checked everyone was off the train, it moved off in time to not significantly delay my train. Unfortunately it had delayed the train before mine - a train going to Dartford. The platform indicators showed that my train, and the Dartford train were due to arrive in just 1 minute - two train arriving at one platform at the same time - a recipe for disaster if ever I've heard one - and it was a disaster. I would swear blind that the platform indicator showed the Hayes train (my train) had arrived first, and I would swear I saw Hayes on the front of the train. So I got on. Just after we moved off the automatic announcer said the next station was Hither Green. It wouldn't be the first time that the announcer has got confused, but unfortunately it hadn't on this occasion. I got off at Hither Green, a station I had stopped at 20 - 30 minutes earlier on my way to Lewisham.

 There is a bus from Hither Green to Catford, but I am unsure where the bus stop is, and I wasn't sure if they ran that late (it was getting on for midnight). It's lucky I have been feeling sort of good lately because I decided to walk home. It is not a trivial walk. The first bit is moderately steeply uphill, and I found that hard going. Once I got to the top of the hill it was downhill all the way home. In all it took at least 20 minutes, and more like 30 minutes to walk home, and in a way it was sort of enjoyable walking through the streets at midnight. It was surprisingly quiet for a Friday night.

 When I finally arrived home I felt a bit peckish. I had passed within 100 ft of an open fried chicken shop on my walk home, but I decided to be semi good and avoid it. What I actually ate was a Tesco ready made curry, and it was very, very nice under those circumstance - nicer than fried chicken ! I can't really remember, but I think I slept well after that. It was just as well that I did sleep well because I had a busy day on Saturday. I had two very important engagements.

 The first thing was to get to Chelsfield where I had been tasked to take some video of the strangest wedding ceremony you have ever seen. It was between two people I know on the music scene - Geoff Paice and Patsi Spike O'Shea. They had legally married 3 weeks earlier in a small ceremony, but wanted to put on a party for all their friends - and they have hundreds (Geoff is a very popular musician - and a really genuine nice guy) - and they wanted to re-enact the wedding ceremony so everyone could enjoy it, but it was done with a twist - a huge one ! It was a fancy dress wedding/party, and the bridge and groom came as vampires. The vicar was a friend of theirs who is both an occasional musician, and professional (I think) actor. Professional or not, he put on a bloody good show as a really weirdo vicar. I'll share the video here sooner or later. It has to be seen to be believed !

 I am not one for big parties (or indeed any parties if I am honest). So after the wedding ceremony I slipped away. Now Chelsfield is on the north down, and it is very hilly around there. It had been a mostly downhill walk from the station, but with a few shorter uphill bits. Going there wasn't too bad, but I was dreading the long, and steep walk up the hill to the station. I slowed down a bit to go uphill, but not that much - maybe 2 miles an hour instead of my usual 3mph for a sustained walk. At that speed it didn't feel too bad at all. I must be getting fitter recently, and I think I know the reason.
the lovely Angela
 The reason is ultimately because I have done my best to be a bit carefull about what I've eaten, and sometimes I have succeeded even if most time I have failed. I've also tried to do a little extra exercise when I can. Doing all this has become a bit easier recently, and it's all thanks to the wonderful angel on the left. She has been so lovely to me, and provides so much inspiration. It is possible I am finally on the verge of another period of proper weight loss. The only fly in the ointment is sh rather likes me as I am. On the other hand I doubt she would like me any less if I lost a few inches from around my waist - and I would like myself a lot more if I did.

 After a few hours rest, and a light lunch, and then some more rest, I was ready to go out again to see The Short And Curlies - and Angela ! It was a very fine evening. The band really knew how to engage with their audience, and Angela was a real angel. There's nothing like a kiss and cuddle to make you feel good - really good - out of this world good. It was a shame it couldn't have gone on much longer, but every evening has to end.

 I met up with Aleemah in the morning for a beer, and to watch a few more episodes of The Outer Limits. When Aleemah had gone I seemed to spend most of the day in front of my PC editing pictures, and editing video. Once again I have a huge backlog of pictures to select and edit, and I wouldn't be surprised if I weren't doing it most evenings this week. At least I got the video edited yesterday. It was basically only top and tailing the clips, and then converting them to a more online friendly format. I think the most important clip should be usable on these pages direct from my own server, and I would have put it up this morning if only I had remembered to upload it to the server. Maybe tomorrow !

 It was nice to get to bed last night. It was all a bit experimental because I was trying out some memory foam pillows. I am unsure about them because they are weird. They feel quite hard, but after a while they seem to fit your head - this is as they are designed to do - and yet they still don't feel that comfortable - but they don't feel uncomfortable either. Of course that is a ridiculous contradiction, but maybe the proof is that I seemed to sleep quite well last night, and even woke up feeling something like fresh.

 Compared to my average of the last few years or so, I actually feel quite good this morning. My feet hurt, and that, to one degree or another, seems to be the new normal now, but I still felt like I had quite a lot of energy. Although to be honest, this is not that unusual on a Monday morning after a restful weekend - although this weekend was anything but restful ! I hope I get a good nights sleep tonight, but before that there are things to do.

 My second priority is to go home via the pharmacy to pick up my repeat prescription of all the pills and tablets my doctor hopes I will take (and I do). I hope it is actually ready to pick up becaus I am still unsure about the proceedure. The GP's computer automatically generates the prescription, and I think I am supposed to phone the pharmacy to remind them to check their PC to print off the prescription. I did phone them on Friday, and had to leave a (probably) garbled message on their answerphone - not so easy to do when you are expecting a human to guide you through reciting the correct mantra to get your drugs.

 I said that was my second priority. My first priority is to be prepared to meet Angela. It is unlikely to happen, but she could contact me to meet after work. Once I get home I really ought to wash some shirts, and then once that is done I can spend a couple of hours at the computer going through photographs (and remembering to upload that video). Then at 9pm, and maybe earlier, and hopefully not much later, I will give my new memory foam pillows another test as I release myself from reality, and enter the dream world. It is rather nice to wake from a dream that seemed to be nothing more than reading a text message saying "I love you".
apple tree outside Catford
                  bus garage
One more picture to finish off with. I took this through the bus window on my way home from Geoff and Patsi's monster/vampire wedding on Saturday. The bus pulled up outside Catford bus garage to change drivers, and pulled up right next to an apple tree. It is a rather strange place to find an apple tree - in what is basically a narrow flower garden between the perimeter fence and the road. I wouldn't be suprised if it grew from the seeds in a discarded apple core tossed there by a waiting bus driver (or conductor). There are plenty of apples on the tree, but they will all be infused with traffic fumes, and probably a bit unpleasant to eat.
Friday 12th August 2016
09:22 BST

  I think that yesterday was better than I was expecting. Maybe there wasn't all that much sunshine, but it was bright and dry, and even in the late evening it was perfectly warm enough for just shirtsleeves. I'm guessing, because I didn't actually check, that the temperature hit the expected 22° C. This morning it was cool and fresh, but the sky is gradually turning from white to blue, and the forecast predicts the sky will be perfectly clear by midday. By early afternoon it could be 25° C, and it will stay bright, warm and dry until sunset. Tomorrow may be a bit like yesterday - warm and day, but not very sunny, and perhaps back to 22° C.

 Yesterday was a nice day, although it ended up on a sort of bad note. Actually, there was a bit of a disaster in the morning too ! I went out specifically to buy some wine glasses yesterday morning. There were none in the Sam 99p shop, and none in Poundstretcher, but the £1 shop had some nice ones - and they were less that £1 each. I bought 4 for £3. Two of them have a smoky coloured glass bowl, and the other two have a pink glass bowl. They also have some blue coloured glasses, and I think I will get a pair of them sometime. While I was going through the previous two shops I bought a few other things, and it was in the Sam 99p shop that I bought to source of my morning disaster.
smelly stuff
I have already written how I had spilled some sauce from a can of mackerel in spicy sauce onto the carpet, and how despite thinking I had mopped it up well, it really stank the next morning. I then gave the area a good scrub with some Dettox. That helped a lot, and while I could still smell it yesterday morning it was quite a mild smell. I was recommended to clean the area with bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), and while I was going around the shops I was going to keep a look out for some, but I saw the stuff pictured on the left, and believed what it said on the tin.

 Maybe there was something wrong with it, and that was why it was in the 99p shop, but a generous sprinkle of it gave off a worse stench than the rapidly dying smell of the fishy sauce. When the fish smell was strong it was like a cat had piddled on the carpet, and when I put that Neutradol stuff down it was like I had piddled on the carpet ! I hoovered it up as quickly as possible after that, but it didn't kill the smell.

 While it was fairly unpleasant it wouldn't have mattered if I didn't have any visitors. Unfortunately I did have an unexpected visitor, and I had to cringingly apologise to my friend Patricia about the unpleasant pongs in the living room. Maybe this is another good reason why I should try and get back to trying to clear up the old dining room so I have a spare room to receive visitors. Of course I don't get many visitors, but there is a way that some sort of disaster makes them suddenly appear.

 I didn't let Patricia suffer too long yesterday, because I treated her to some lunch in the Catford Wetherspoons. I had a lovely couple of pints of beer in there before I saw Patricia onto her bus, and went home to have a quick bite to eat, and a snooze. Funnily enough, my living room was actually smelling much better when I got back. So maybe that stuff does work, and you just have to put up with it's own stench for a short while. Having said that, I can still smell a feint trace of it this morning.

 It wasn't long before I had to go out again for the regular Thursday night, after work, drink. Last night it was in The Greyhound - a Wetherspoons pub in Bromley. It's quite simple to get too. I just need to get a 320 bus from behind Tesco to a stop about a hundred feet away from the pub. The only trouble was that as I passed the bus stand the 320 that had been parked there, started up and drove off to the first bus stop a couple of hundred feet down the road. I didn't feel I could run that far at sufficient speed, and so I let it go, but I did do a fast walk towards a bus stop the other side of the one way system where I have the choice of two routes.

 I can only imagine that the traffic was a bit slow going around the one way system because as I approached the bus stop by a more direct walk the same 320 bus pulled up at the bus stop just far away enough that I missed it there too. Fortunately there was a 208 bus just a little way behind. I got on that, and we chased the 320 all the way to Bromley.

 The Greyhound pub was sort of nice, although like a lot of Wetherspoons pubs the service was a bit slow. I think I had 3 pints of quite nice ale in there, and that took my total up to five pints. I'm not sure how I did it but I drunk those three pints unusually slowly, Maybe it was because I didn't want to rush home to have dinner like I do on most Thursday nights when I go to the pub straight from work. I also had a reason to stay with there a bit longer than usual.

 I decided that I would go on from that drinking session to Geoff's Open Mic Session in The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham. It can be a nice night there, but it is very rare that I can go. I think there was a certain amount of exhaustion after two weekends of music festivals, and it was lightly attended at first, although people were still turning up with instruments when I left there. I have to admit that I still find it a novelty to go out to somewhere where it feels like half the people there are friends.  I know very little about their private lives, and maybe that is true between many people there, but what binds them together is music, and although I don't play a musical instrument, I seem accepted into their inner circle.
Rob Todd in the mirror
 This was one "arty" sort of picture I took last night. Oddly enough it is probably one of the clearer pictures I took last night. When a band actually plays a gig in The Coach And Horses there is often a little extra lighting, but for these open mic nights the brightest light is often from the little lights attached to the sheet music (or notes) stands. Photography is a real challenge in there, but my big lens managed to pull in a few bright pictures even if some of them were a little grainy.

 I was intending to only stay for a little while last night, and after two pints I said my goodbyes, and wandered off to the bus stop - only to see a 54 just pulling away from the stop ! So I went back and had another pint of Guinness - my eighth pint of the day ! The next time I went to the bus stop I got there one minute before the bus did, and I had a smooth ride home.

 If I had been sensible I would have got off the bus and walked straight home. Once indoor I could have prepared a small snack just to cap the beer off, and then gone to bed. Unfortunately I felt a little drunk, and I couldn't resist going to the fried chicken shop ! I went to bed, possibly just before midnight, feeling quite stuffed.

 I slept fairly well, but I woke up feeling rather fat and bloated, and with a hangover. The hangover is/was of the painless variety, but it still felt like my brain was wrapped in a wet blanket. In theory I am going to the seaside today, but while I know that I would be fine once I got there, I am finding it extremely hard to motivate myself. It is made worse by the idea that there could be a valid reason to not go out for the day.

 Tonight Chain are doing a special, £4 to enter, gig in The British Legion Hall in Petts Wood, and it would be good to go to that. I have doubts I could do both in one day, although there is one thing that could motivate me, but it is very unlikely. I have offered to escort Angela to the gig, but I don't think she is going to go. Even so, it would probably be polite to make sure I am available if she does come to a late decision that she does want to go - and I would hate to miss her if she did go. Maybe I had better go for a walk in the sun somewhere more local, with a lot less travelling time than Herne Bay (which was my intended destination).
Thursday 11th August 2016
08:45 BST

  I was hoping that yesterday's weather would be better than the last forecast I saw for it, but I think that forecast was probably about right. The morning was overcast, and it wasn't until I was leaving work to go home that there were any substantial sunny periods. When the sun did come out it was bright - dazzlingly so while I was trying to read The Evening Standard while waiting for my train on Waterloo East station. It wasn't a particularly warm day, and I think I can only describe it as "comfortable". I think the temperature struggled to reach 20° C. Today may be a little better in so far as the forecast reckons the sun might break through late this morning, but even then we will probably only get short sunny spells every so often through the afternoon. At the moment it is rather dull and miserable. It also feels rather cool even if it is around 15° C. With luck we should see 22° C by mid afternoon. Tomorrow is still forecast to be very sunny, and 24° C for much of the afternoon.

 There were a few times when I felt seriously tired at work yesterday. They were mostly, if not exclusively when I allowed myself to relax too much. I felt fine when I left to go home. I cheated a bit and caught a bus to the station - obviously I didn't need one, and that was why one appeared at just the right time ! Maybe it was the little extra rest I got by taking the bus that enabled me to do something I rarely do - mainly because it is only recently that I have felt capable of doing it. I ran for the train, or more accurately, I ran to get on the front half of the train. Not only did I run, but I ran faster than I expected to, and kept it up for between 2 and 3 carriage lengths. Now maybe that is not a long distance in the grand scheme of things, but it was a fair way for me.

 It felt odd not to feel completely knackered after that little run. I could definitely feel that I had done it, but I was left wondering just how far I could have run if I had pushed myself to the edge. Maybe I'll never know, or maybe some occasion will come along when I can try for a little more. One thing isn't a mystery, and that was that I still had enough energy to briefly break into a run, perhaps just for a few steps, when I did a fast walk up the escalators at Waterloo. Logic tells me that I should capitalise on this and do more to get even fitter, but that would feel sort of unnatural to me.

 When I got back to Catford I did yet more shopping, and this time it was in Tesco. I mainly wanted to buy a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, but of course I bought other stuff too. Some of that stuff was frozen stuff that I have managed to stuff into the freezer to have much later. Other stuff was more perishable, and I'll have to be careful to strike a balance between not eating too much of it too quickly, and watching out for "best before" dates.

 Last nights dinner was a salad and some reduced price sandwiches. Maybe too many sandwiches because I did feel quite full for a while. Later on, when some of it had settled I snacked on a handfull of walnuts while I sat at my PC and edited photos. Photo editing was about all I did last night, but I finally made some progress. I selected and edited photos for an album of The English Rogues gig at The Black Cat on Saturday 30th July. They are now ready for upload to Flickr, and I may do that sometime today. I did upload all 82 photos from Petts Woodstock last Saturday. They are on Flickr, and you can see them here - There are photos of Dread Centre, Big Red Bus, Vince Lightning And The Thunderboltz, Forlorn Hope, Chain, Jason And The Lagernauts, some more pictures of Chain, and Yoka And The Sugarbeats.

 I finally managed to get to bed, and get to sleep before 9pm last night. It might even have been as early as 8.30pm. This time I slept properly, or as near to properly as I can manage these days. I did wake briefly at around 3am, but I was probably only awake for 5 - 10 minutes. After that I did wake several times, but I managed to sleep right through 5am (just) and in a rare treat, I didn't get up until just after 6am - a lie in of a whole one hour !!!

 This morning I feel a bit creaky, and maybe my bottom is a bit precarious, but all these things seem to be settling down now. I have washed my hair, and showered, and once I am dressed I should be ready for anything.....hmmm, maybe that is a slight exageration ! The first thing I want to do is to go to either Poundstretcher and/or Poundland and see what they have in the way of wine glasses. It occured to me recently that I don't seem to have any matched wines glasses any more. Should I get a special visitor it might be nice to have matched glasses.

 I think I am almost ready to receive special visitors again. The little accident I had the previous evening, where I spilled some sauce from a tin of mackerel onto the living room carpet, may not have been as bad as I feared. It was very whiffy when I got home from work last night, but after opening the windows, and scrubbing the area with some Dettox, the smell almost went away. I've just checked it this morning, and it is still a bit smelly. I have been recommended to treat the area with bicarbonate of soda, but I am not sure that will work now the area is dry. Maybe I'll see what treatments might be available on the Pound shop.

 A little later today, once the sun appears, I have a plan to go out for a walk in the countryside. I think I mentioned recently that it seems a long time since I've done my favourite walk from Eynsford station to Shoreham station, and today might be a good day to do that walk. The only trouble is I don't actually feel like it at the moment. Fortunately something has come to my rescue. Halfway through this paragraph I had a message from Patricia. She wants to come and pick up her mail, and maybe we'll go for a quick lunchtime drink as well.
Wednesday 10th August 2016
07:59 BST

  I'm not sure that it was sunny as late in the afternoon as the forecast said it would be, but it wasn't a bad day yesterday. After a cool start it warmed up, and it stayed dry. By 6pm, or thereabouts, the sky looked so cloudy that I am surprised it didn't rain. The temperature probably reached the forecast 20° C. Today's weather has potential to be better than yesterday. The forecast keeps changing. Originally there was going to be a few rays of sunshine this morning, and the rest of the day would be cloudy. That was later changed to cloudy all day long. The latest forecast says that there could be sunny periods from about 5pm. Maybe it will actually be better than that in reality. It's not going to be any warmer than yesterday, and may be cooler. The forecast for Friday continues to improve. The latest forecast has added a degree to the expected temperature, and it is now 24° C with copious sunshine. Even tomorrow, the first of my two days off work, is beginning to look like it won't be too bad.

 I may have been a little premature when I said that my "twisted rib" might possibly have almost healed yesterday. I did two things yesterday that gave me a couple of mild, short lived twinges. On one occasion I reached up for something on a shelf that was a little above head height. The second occasion was when I reached down to "polish" a toilet seat before using it. That little action has always been a potent source of chest (twisted rib) pain since all this business started. This morning my chest is not actually hurting, but feels like it would be easy to provoke it to hurt. I realise that probably sounds strange, but experience has shown me the little signs to watch out for - signs that can't really be described.

 It was nice when work was over yesterday, but I guess that goes without saying. I didn't feel so energetic as the day before when going home, but I still walked to the station here in Earlsfield, and I did that walk that is faster than a walk, but not as fast as a run, up the escalators at Waterloo station. Maybe that exhausted me because I didn't feel terribly keen to walk down to Lidl when I got back to Catford, but I did it anyway. As shopping trips go it was a bit of a disappointment. The biggest disappointment was that they didn't seem to have any Cien (own label) "Red Sun" flavour shower gel, and they didn't have much in the way of fancy tomatoes, but they did have these...
fancy tomatoes
 It's not obvious in this pictures that the middle section contains yellow tomatoes. Sometimes they have packs that contain as many as 5 or 6 types of fancy tomatoes. Some are green (but still ripe), some are yellow, some are orange, and I've even seen some that are purple with green streaks ! The only sad thing is that no matter what they look like, they all still basically taste of tomato !

 I seemed to spend quite a lot of money in Lidl, but the only high priced item I bought was a bottle of their own brand whiskey (which seemed quite nice when I took just one little sip when I got it home). I did wonder if I had wasted my money buying some things. As an experiment I bought some of their own brand combined shower gel/shampoo, and a couple of tins of spray on deodorant. One of the latter seems quite unpleasant, and the other, plus the shower gel, smell like something a builder, or footballer from Essex might wear. I guess they still managed to "pull the birds" when wearing the stuff. So presumably the horrible chemical smell that now adorns my body this morning is not too repellent (although I doubt I'll have to worry about mosquitos).

 The whisky, the bathroom stuff, and the food made for quite a heavy bag to lug back home. It is about a 12 - 15 minute walk from the place, and I was very glad to get home again. Amongst the stuff I bought was a couple of ready prepared salads, and I had one of those for dinner soon after getting home. I had it with "German meat in mayonnaise" - at least I think that was how it was described on the container - it was thin straws of pork with a few odd slivers of cucumber and stuff in mayonnaise. It was rather nice, but not quite filling enough, and I followed that up with some tinned mackerel in spicy sauce eaten straight from the tin with a side dish of stuffed peppers and chillies.

 It was most unfortunate that I had a terrible accident involving that tin of mackerel - I managed to spill some of the sauce on the carpet. I thought I had done a pretty good job mopping it up, but when I went down to the living room this morning.....POO ! It smells a bit like tom cats piddle in there. I hope it will have faded when I get home again today, but I fear I will have to bar all visitors, and get down on my hands and knees and scrub the carpet with....something. Maybe I can use some of my "essence d' Essex builder" shower gel.....or maybe that would be worse !

 As well as going shopping, eating dinner, and making a mess on the carpet, I did a few other things last night. I washed a duvet cover - which was a bit of a handful ! More importantly, I finished selecting and editing the last of the photos I took at Petts Woodstock last Saturday. They are now ready for me to upload to Flickr, and I expect I'll do that tonight. One other thing I did was to go to bed early. I think I was in bed, and fast asleep before 9pm - which was good. What was bad was that I woke up around 2am for no good reason, and it took a couple of hours to get back to sleep again.

 I have no idea why I should have woken up in the first place unless it was because my mouth was a bit dry feeling, but that was easily cured by a simple sip from the glass by my bed. The bigger mystery is why I couldn't get back to sleep again, or alternatively why my bed became uncomfortable all of a sudden, and why I couldn't seem to relax. It is possible that I did fall asleep once, or even several times during that couple of hours, but it felt like I was awake. It also felt like I was just getting the hang of sleeping again when my alarm woke me up at 5am. My last glance at the clock before I fell asleep for that last time suggests I was asleep for a full hour, but it felt like 5 minutes. I think I'll be yawning a lot at work today.

 All I have to do is to get through today and then I have two days off work, plus, of course, the weekend. Like recent mornings, I don't feel too bad today - except for some expected tiredness. Hopefully the day will go smoothly, and there is every reason to think it will do. Beyond uploading the pictures from Petts Woodstock to Flickr, I have no grand plans for tonight, although I expect I'll make a start on editing the two lots of pictures taken at The Black Cat last Saturday, and the Saturday before.

 I don't have any specific plans for my first day off tomorrow - at least not in the day. Being a Thursday it is likely I'll be drinking with the Thursday club somewhere. If I have a lazy day, and manage to get a good nights sleep tonight, I may possibly go on to The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham to look in on the open mic session they have there on Thursday nights. If the weather should change to dry with sunny spells, I might go out for a walk tomorrow. It seems ages since I walked from Eynsford to Shoreham, and I feel I'd like to do it again sooner or later. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow.
If you can see the video you'll see a very regular sight I see on my way home from work. The train before mine at Waterloo East is the 16:12 service to Gillingham, and it is always a 6 car train, and there are always people having to run half the length of the platform to get on it - all squeezing through the first door they come to ! This is actually a mild example. Sometimes there are many more people puffing and panting as they run  along the platform. The silly thing is that if they listened to the announcements, or checked the indicator screen, they would know it was a short train before it even arrived !
Tuesday 9th August 2016
07:43 BST

  Yesterday was pleasant, but not great. As forecast, the morning was bright with plenty of sunshine, but it soon clouded over, There was the occasional brief sunny period later, but for most of the afternoon the sky was a milky color instead of blue. By mid afternoon some texture appeared in the sky in the shape of some darker, and menacing clouds. However it stayed dry, and there were hints the sky was clearing at sunset. The temperature probably hit 20° C - just !
one theory about what
                  today's weather will be like
 Evidently the sky was clearing last night, and this morning, just like the forecast predicted, the sky is gin clear blue, and the sun is dazzling bright. The only downside is that it is a rather bracing 12° C - made worse by a cool breeze coming from the north west - never a warm direction. It looks like it will slowly warm up in the sunshine to a reasonable 20° C, but will soon cool down once we lose the sun - just as I am going home from work ! Friday, which I have booked off work, is still looking good, and there was mention in this morning's paper that next Monday and Tuesday could be really hot as the wind swings around to the south.

 Considering the string of nights without enough sleep I had, I didn't feel all that bad at work. I did fall asleep at my desk once or twice, but only for a few seconds. Other than that, I felt unusually well. I think the only time I felt any pain from my chest was when I was falling asleep in my chair, and I allowed my posture to sag. That seemed to squeeze my "twisted rib" a bit. The pain was actually quite mild, and didn't last long, but it was enough to remind me that I haven't had any real pain from my chest for some time now. Dare I hope that my "twisted rib" has finally healed ? Probably not, but it's nice for a while.

 By the end of the working day I expected to be dead on my feet, but I wasn't. I walked out the door at work hoping that I might see a bus when I got to the main road, but as I walked I found that I seemed to have more vigour than usual instead of less. I would still have caught a bus if there was one handy, but there wasn't, and I walked to the station. I didn't walk as fast I would have liked to have walked, but I didn't hang around, and it seemed to be almost, but not quite effortless.

 I arrived home feeling I ought to try and do something useful, and that turned out to be washing a few shirts and stuff before I even had a bite to eat. It was probably a wise move because I ended up eating less than I would otherwise have done. The core of my dinner was a salad, but I ate other crap as well. Despite the crap it was probably the pack of three little Eccles cakes that were the worst thing I ate - just 6 to 9 mouthfuls, and billions of calories, and tons of sugar. oh well, I'll survive.

 The next thing was to get behind my computer, and play with photos. The first thing I did, although it was of a slightly lower importance than other jobs, was to upload the pictures of Chain taken on the second day of Chattfest 2016 to Flickr. You'll find the pictures right here - After doing that I got stuck in to selecting and editing more pictures of Chain taken at Petts Woodstock 2016 last Saturday. I made fairly good progress, but I only managed to get through about half the pictures I had taken before I decided I really ought to stop and get to bed at a sensible time.

 Considering my sleep deficit, I probably should have gone to bed before 8pm, but being in bed by 9pm was the closest to sensible that I could manage. I think I fell asleep very quickly once I turned out the light. It was one of those nights where I woke up a few times in the night convinced I had had hardly any sleep, but the evidence of the clock showed that I must have got several great big chunks of sleep without realising it. This morning I felt quite lively without any particular aches and pains coming out of the background and into the fore.

 I have come to the conclusion that the best exercise I do is that mad dash to or from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline stations - particularly the morning dash. It seems the ideal length to rush around without getting too knackered. This morning was a case in point. After racing everybody across the link I has a very spirited run down the escalators.... Maybe a little too spirited because I thought I was going to lose control at one point, but I got to the bottom safely, and with plenty of time to spare I carried on walking as briskly as possible across the concourse, and five eighths of the way down platform 4 before getting on my train to Earlsfield. It made me a bit damp, but I still had plenty of breath, and generally felt OK. In fact I felt sort of smug about being able to do it. I guess it is all some sort of natural progression of continuing to recover from my operation, and I suppose I have admit, not smoking for almost three years now. I can also thank Angela for putting an extra spring in my step.

 I think it possible that I might go home via Lidl after work. Earlier this morning there seemed like a good reason to go there, but I can't think what it was now, but I haven't been there for ages, and it's always worth a rummage in there. Two things I will definitely be looking out for are their special variety tomatoes, and their own brand "red sun" flavour shower gel. Hopefully there will be other goodies, but not too many - it is a bit of a long walk home from there with heavy shopping.

 Once I get home, and I've eaten, I will have to get stuck into photo editing again. I have quite a backlog to get through before I start all over again. This coming Friday I hope to do one of two things. If it turns out to be as warm and sunny as is currently forecast, I would like to go to Herne Bay to take a stack of pictures. I would also like to got to see a special Chain gig in The British Legion club at Petts Wood. I doubt I can do both in one day, but you never know. It would be wonderful if Angela were available to join me for either option, but I doubt she will be available. I will have to be patient and wait until Saturday night when I hope she will joing me in The Black Cat for another gig there.
Saturday morning breakfast
 I forgot to show this picture earlier. I had half a pint of each of these fine ales for breakfast last Saturday !
Monday 8th August 2016
07:55 BST

  We've had some pretty good weather recently. Saturday, Petts Woodstock day, was very warm and sunny. I think the temperature reached 24° C, and that's probably a good temperature for an outdoor event. Yesterday wasn't quite as warm, and there were periods when the sky got a bit cloudy. The best of the sunshine, or perhaps the most continuous sunshine was from about 4pm until sunset at 8.37pm (if my memory serves me well). Today it is going to be the opposite.
the weather forecast for
                  Monday 8th August 2016
  There are a few clouds in the sky at the moment, and one of them, a cheeky little bugger of a cloud, keeps sitting in front of the sun. Quite why it has to sit there when 80% of the sky is clear blue is a question for the Goddesses to answer for. It seems that this afternoon is going to be a little grey, and 20° C is a little less than I might have hoped for. At least it looks like it will stay dry (I haven't brought a coat to work). Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a lot sunnier, and a little warmer. If the forecast holds, which on current experience is highly unlikely, Friday is set to be another hot sunny day like last Saturday.

 Saturday was rather a fantastic day. The highlight wasn't going to Petts Woodstock, but seeing Angela in The Black Cat, but Petts Woodstock was still rather excellent. Having my "access all areas" back stage pass made the experience far more enjoyable than it would have been otherwise. There were loads of fantastic people there, and I was surprised just how many I knew (even if it was on just nodding terms with them), but unlike the most ardent festival goers I really don't like being in the middle of crowds. Being able to wander to less crowded areas, and on one occasion, being able to use the backstage toilets - proper toilets, not portaloos, was a great joy.

 I think I saw, and photographed, 6 bands in all, and in a day or two I will be uploading a huge photo album to Flickr to show the results of my photography. One strange thing is that I found I preferred taking pictures off the inside stage more than the outside stage. Outside it was bright daylight, and photography was fairly easy (although I stil managed to take many useless, unusable pictures). It was dark inside, but it was colourful too. At first I was dismayed about having to change all the settings on my camera, but it was worth it. A few pictures, and it was just a few, came out really well.

 My original plan was to leave Petts Woodstock at about 7pm, and head directly to The Black Cat in Catford, but by 4pm I began to feel a little bored, although bored is probably not quite the right word. Maybe I just wasn't feeling quite entertained by the band who were on at the time, and I wasn't sure about the next few bands who were due on. The band who were on when I decided to leave early where Yoka And The Sugarbeats. They were one of those paradoxes - they sounded brilliant, and I didn't like them ! The lead singer had an excellent voice, and her backing musicians played really well, but somehome it just didn't gel with me.

 After taking half a dozen pictures of them I wandered off to the station. When I got there I faced a small dilema. I could wait for just over 15 minutes and re-trace my steps back to Catford via Lewisham station, or I could wait 5 minutes to get a train as far as Grove Park, and get a bus from there. I chose the latter, and it was the correct choice because I probably got home at least 30 minutes earlier than I would have done if I had gone via Lewisham. That gave me plenty of time to have a bite to eat, do some photo editing, have a quick wash, and have a rest before going out again.

 I arrived at The Black Cat before Redriffe, the band for the night, were more than half way to setting up. That left a bit of a wait, but it was all worth it. Richard, who looks after all the stage stuff at the pub, had assured me that Redriffe were really good, and they were. I had seen them before, but I think it was only a short visit because I was feeling very off colour when they had been there before sometime in May. In fact it was the 14th May, and upon checking I see I have the pictures to prove it - Before the week is out, and hopefully well before that, I'll have some picture from Saturday night to show.

 Angela turned up about half an hour after I arrived there, and we enjoyed each others company until she was whisked away in a car driven by Gerry, lead guitarist from The English Rogues, who passes Angela's house on his way home.
 It seems a shame that I'll probably have to wait until next Saturday to see Angela again. It feels so good to be in her presence, and kiss and cuddle, even if far too brief, is so rejuvenating ! It's odd how life, well maybe just my life, lurches from dull, boring and pointless to vivid and exciting in just the space of a few weeks. It's almost like being young again. Now if only I could get rid of the aches, and pains, creaks and groans...

 I guess we left the pub, and went our separate ways sometime around 11.30pm. When I git home I should have gone straight to bed, but I was buzzing far too much for that, and I was feeling a bit peckish. I really should not have done it, but I popped a Tesco's curry ready meal in the microwave, and 10 minutes later I sat down to a meal that tasted so wonderful. I probably got to sleep at something like 1am on Sunday morning. In theory I should not have woken up until 9pm, and It would have just about been OK if that had happened, but of course it didn't. I was awake 5 hours later, and ready to get up. I have no idea why I felt ready to get up. it was stupid really, but I got up anyway.

 One reason for getting up early was to prepare for a visit from my friend Aleemah - not that I needed to do much preparation because I had somehow managed to do some useful housework on Saturday morning. As usual it was the same proceedure as when I see her on a Saturday. Meet at the station, breakfast in tghe Wetherspoons pub, and then back home to watch a DVD. We are slowly getting through her huge box set of The Outer Limits. Some stories are good, and some less so. One story was good in concept, but boring to watch, and I think we both dozed off during it at one point or another.

 Once Aleemah had gone home I did some laundry, and then steeled myself for a long sitting at the PC editing photos. I have such a huge backlog of photos to deal with, but at least I managed to almost finish the pictures I took at Petts Woodstock. I just have something like 200+ pictures of Chain's turn on the big stage to go through, and then I can upload a huge album to Flickr. Maybe I'll manage that tonight, or maybe I won't. Once that is done I can tackle two Saturday's worth of pictures from The Black Cat. Oh, just remembered, I still have an album of day 2 of the previous weekend's Chattfest to upload too. (Day one is here -

 I did my best to get to bed early last night, and completely failed ! Maybe I got a bit more than 4 hours sleep if I am lucky, but not much more. The strange thing is that for the moment I don't feel too bad for it. I suspect it is going to make for a long day, but I'll manage. I'll also manage to find the energy in the unlikely event that I get a message from Angela about a quick meeting after work. I have little doubt that would get me buzzing for a while, but I would probably crash and burn afterwards (but it would still be worth it). I guess my only realistic plans for tonight are for more photo editing.
Saturday 6th August 2016
08:49 BST

  The weather was rather nice yesterday. It wasn't particularly warm, but it was dry and mostly sunny, and apart from saying the temperature probably reached 22 - 23° C, that is all that needs to be said about it. It's looking today is still on track to be a warm sunny day, although the sky may become hazy in the later afternoon, and the sun may not return until early evening. The top temperature is still predicted to be 24° C. Tomorrow should be just as warm, but the sun may not appear until midday. From then on it is predicted to be sunny.

 Fridays are good examples of how time can be highly variable. Looking back it seems that my day at work passed quite quickly, but that seems at odds with my memory of it in real time. Some of the dragged, but probably not all. I managed to find sufficient work to make it look like I was busy, but in reality it was easy stuff that I like doing. It probably looked good enough to fool my boss if he only took a casual glance. It might have been more difficult to fully justify it if he had asked for details ! Once again, like yesterday, it was stuff that could ultimately be useful for the company, but it wasn't needed yesterday, and nor will it probably be needed next week - but you never know !

 On my way home from work I called into Tesco to buy more odds and sods. I wanted a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, a couple of fresh sandwiches for today, and some nail varnish remover. Much to the amusement of some I sometimes use nail varnish on my left thumbnail because it seems to grow with a groove down the centre of it, and it tends to split there. So I protect/reinforce it with nail varnish. Recently it has been purple nail varnish, but that was getting tatty. Once I got some nail varnish remover I could remove the old and replace it with a nice powder blue nail varnish. Of course it would be better if my fingernail malady had affected my index finger. Then I could paint it black, and pretend I was the famous Black Fingernail !

 I ate too much last night - particularly when taking into accounts the needs of today - more of which later. On the other hand the ready meal I had wasn't that big. If I was cooking bangers and mash I would have had far more mashed potato, and I wouldn't have had just three half sized sausages. I would have had at least 4 full sized sausages ! Anyway, once I had finished filling my face with bangers and mash, plus rather a lot of other stuff, I finally knuckled down to do some photo editing.

 I still haven't done the photos I took of The English Rogues at The Black Cat a week ago, but I did select and prepare all the best photos of Chain performing at Chattfest 2016 last Sunday. There are other photos that I still have to go through for that afternoon, but I don't consider them as important as the Chain photos. Unfortunately I haven't had time to upload them to Flickr yet, but I may have time to do it this morning, or sometime tomorrow.

 I managed to finish all my photo editing some time before bedtime, but I decided to have an early night instead of staying up and doing more on my PC. Unfortunately that didn't mean I got to sleep early, but at least it gave my eyes a rest. Last night was another of those nights when my brain would not shut up. On the whole it was having good thoughts - picking out the few best bits of the recent past, and projecting them into the future. Eventually I got to sleep, and apart from a short series of really quite odd dreams that seemed to string together as one longer dream (like a series of scenes in a movie), I probably slept OK until a little before 5am.

 Waking up early on a Saturday is always annoying (except of quite rare occasions when it is useful), and I had to get up for a while before going back to bed. Eventually I slept for a while more, but I was rather less happy with my dreams. One dream seemed to feature a tooth falling out. One minute it was in my mouth, and the next minute I am spitting it out in two pieces into my hand ! There was no obvious reason why that tooth should fall out. There was no blood, no pain, no anything. It was just like spitting out a cherry pit. It was still a most unpleasant experience to dream about though.

 This morning I don't feel too bad. In some ways I almost, but maybe not quite, feel good. This is just as well because I have a very busy day ahead of me, and I haven't been idle since waking up either. So far I have done a little bit of washing up. I've knocked some cobwebs down, and done some hoovering, plus I have changed my bed sheets and pillow cases. I still need to wash my hair and have a good shower, and then the real day begins !
Petts Woodstock 2016
 This is what is going to take up quite a chunk of my time today - Petts Woodstock. I definitely want to see Big Red Bus, Chain, Jason And The Lagernauts, and try to take pictures of as many bands as possible. I even have a special wrist band to give me "access all areas" - at least it is supposed to so I can get into all the best positions for photography (and presumably free entry).
access all areas !
 I would like to stay late, and see more bands, particularly Led-Z (who are really good, and will bring the festival to an end in style), but I have grave doubts about my stamina, and I will definitely leave early anyway for another reason. Tonight, Redriffe are playing in The Black Cat. It is easy to get home form there at midnight, and it isn't easy to get home from Petts Wood at midnight (there are night buses, but they are wrist slittingly tedious !). Seeing Redriffe will be nice, but nicer still will be seeing my new friend Angela, and hopefully getting a hug or two. You can't put a price on a hug !
Friday 5th August 2016
07:57 BST

  The weather was a little better than expected yesterday....although maybe only for a brief period of time. It was dry and warm, and there were many sunny periods - the best being while I was in the beer garden of The Blythe Tavern at 5pm. The forecast didn't seem to suggest strong sunshine from a gin blue sky. Sadly it clouded over with some very dark looking clouds a little later. I didn't check, but I wouldn't dispute the forecast temperature of 22° C yesterday. Today should see more blue sky, and more sunshine., although the clearest skies will probably be this morning. It should get a degree warmer today - 23° C according to the forecast. Tomorrow is forecast to be getting into the realms of hot - 24° C - with lots of strong sunshine.

 I felt basically OK at work until home time approached when I began to feel weary. It wasn't until sometime later that I experienced a possible reason for it. Getting back to Catford was mostly OK, but it is a 10 minute, partly uphill walk to the pub we were drinking in, and that walk seemed like hard work. In theory I was going to do lots of stuff when I got home again, or at least I wanted to do lots of stuff, and so I decided I would have no more than two pints of Guinness. The only trouble is that the first two pints went down so well that I stayed for a third.

 After three pints I decided I just had to leave. I couldn't be bothered to walk back to the station, and I waited a few minutes for a bus from the stop right outside the pub. It wasn't long before I was home feeling tired and hungry...and something else. I wasn't sure what that something else was until a little while after I had eaten my dinner. Dinner was far from healthy, but I did discover that Tesco's chicken masala with rice and Bombay potatoes, which was new (I think), and on special offer, was rather delicious !

 After dinner I watched a little bit of TV - basically until a programme I had been watching finished about 15 minutes after my last mouthful of dinner. Then I reluctantly decided that I had to try and make some sort of effort to start selecting and editing photos for upload. As I walked up the stairs to me bedroom I no longer felt hungry, but I still felt a little weary, and the "something else" became a little stronger. About 10 minutes later I was rushing to the toilet where I exploded ! At first I thought it was a delayed reaction to the baked beans I had eaten the day before (or was it the day before that ?), but after my second run to the toilet I decided it was more than baked beans. I think I had some form of mild food poisoning.

 I suspect it was that brewing up that made me feel so weary beforehand. I am just very happy it didn't happen while I was in the pub ! It was all over within about an hour, and I felt much better for it. Unfortunately it ruined any chance of doing any photo editing, and although I felt better, I just wanted to go to bed. I don't think I realised it until I was in bed, and stopped to look at the clock, but I was not really early to bed at all. I don't know where all the evening went.

 We are supposedly at the height of summer right now, but last night there were one or two moments when I thought it might have been prudent to put the duvet back in the duvet cover. There was at least one occasion when I woke up feeling just a tiny bit cool, but on the other hand there were times when I felt quite comfortable with no covering at all. Whether it was the temperature variations, or just something on my mind, is unknown, but I seemed to be mostly awake for the last hour of the night. I thought I really needed to be asleep then, but at the moment it doesn't feel like I needed it.

 I think I feel like I am back to normal this morning. It's not a very good normal compared to even just 10 years ago, but it seems quite normal now. Well, all I have to do is get through today, and then I can go to bed, try to have a nice lie in tomorrow morning, and then the real gruelling action takes place at Petts Woodstock. I think there is a slight change of plan for that. I was going to attempt to stay there the whole day. I didn't think I had enough stamina for that, but I was going to see how it goes. Now I have decided I will definitely be leaving early so I can get back to The Black Cat for about 8.30pm when Redriffe will be playing there. Mostly I want to see someone there.
Thursday 4th August 2016
07:35 BST

  I'm sure that yesterday wasn't quite as dull as yesterday's forecast predicted, but maybe I am confused because one of the few sunny spells predicted happened at the wrong time for the forecast, but the right time for me - when I was going home from work. I'm not sure if the temperature really hit 23° C but maybe it did for a while, although I would have attributed the stickiness to high humidity. Today's weather looks straightforward......
what the BBC think the
                  weather will be like on 04/08/2016
 It looks like there will be a few sunny intervals this morning, and a few scattered about in the afternoon/evening, but you have to check the small print - something I frequently forget to do. It says "Early cloud will break, with some sunny spells likely. However, cloud will soon build again, with scattered showers likely to develop. These possibly heavy and thundery during the late afternoon.", and that casts a completely different complexion on the day ! I cannot see a single rain drop on that chart, and yet it seems we could have a thunderstorm ! Oh well, it's looking like tomorrow could be nice, and Saturday, when I will probably spend far too long taking pictures at Petts Woodstock, looks to be rather splendid (unless the small print mentions that a blizzard is likely !).

 This is a rare admission - I had quite a good day at work yesterday. This was mainly because I was doing what I thought I ought to be doing rather than what I should have been doing. Actually I have no idea what I should have been doing. As far as I knew I had nothing to do, but I sorted myself out an interesting project that helped keep my knowledge up to date, and I know will be useful to the business in the fullness of time. I'll be doing a bit more of it today. It was still nice to escape at the end of the day though !

 The only thing to report about my journey home from work is that there were no Evening Standard papers at Earlsfield station, and I forgot to pick one up at Waterloo station (where I assume they had some). I had nothing to read on the trains home, but it didn't seem to matter. In fact it was nice to re-acquaint myself with the scenery again -sort of. The problem there is that over the last few years so much building work has taken place next to railways that in some places it is like going through a concrete canyon. Most of these building are domestic flats, and many are very close to the railway. This is surprising because if HS2 (England's 2nd high speed line - if it is ever built) has taught us anything it is that living closer than 3 miles to a railway line is instant death, and cows in the same county will spontaneously abort. At least that is what the protesters reckon - many of who probably don't live anywhere near the proposed route of HS2.

 When I git back to Catford I headed straight for Tesco. As anticipated, there were loads of reduced price bargains available. Wednesday's always seem good for that. I bought loads of stuff that I shouldn't have bought - including a packet of two cream horns. They were very nice, but I shouldn't eat for a fortnight after eating them. On the other hand, maybe they did inspire me to slightly less of other stuff, and the main part of my dinner was salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead of being drenched in mayonnaise or some other ready made dressing. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that olive oil and vinegar is more benign than other stuff.

 There was one important thing I should have done last night, but I didn't do it. That was to select and edit photos that I took of The English Rogues playing in The Black Cat last Saturday. I did do other stuff though. One slightly important thing was to upload all the good pictures from day 1 of Chattfest, last Saturday, to Flickr. You can see the results here - I also washed a couple of hand towels and a shirt, plus I washed my hair. That seemed enough for one night.

 I almost managed to get an early night last night, but I was kept up by a phone call. I have been offered a (like) new 3 seater settee, plus a single seat by a friend, and I had to take a few measurements of doorways and stuff to see if we would be able to get it into the living room if I accept it. I'm told it is blue and gold, and I'm not sure I would like that, but I await a picture to see what it really looks like. I have to admit that my settee is getting a bit long in the tooth, and could do with replacing if this potential replacement is OK.

 I guess it was about 9.30pm when I got to bed, and I was fast asleep quite soon afterwards. I guess I probably slept quite well, and I know I slept well enough to need waking up by my alarm clock app on my mobile phone. This morning I feel tolerably well, and all the usual aches and pains, creaks and groans, are very mild again. Even my guts seem very calm, and that seems good but strange after the can of baked beans I ate the other night. I am quite surprised they haven't made their presence felt in the usual way.

 Tonight I should be doing lots and lots and lots of photo editing, but it's Thursday, and I am going for a drink after work with the usual Thursday night drinking club. What I ought to do, and maybe I'll achieve it, is to just have a couple of pints before rushing home to start that photo editing. I have sandwiches in the fridge that I bought from Tesco last night, and I could have those for dinner while I sit at my PC selecting and editing photos. Or I might just get drunk instead !
Wednesday 3rd August 2016
08:02 BST

  I don't think we were expecting rain yesterday afternoon, but there was a shower that lasted something like 20 minutes. The rest of the day was, as expected, sometimes dull, and sometimes very dull, although it did seem to brighten up a bit a couple of hours before sunset. The top temperature was probably the expected 21° C. Yesterday, the forecast for today said it would be quite a bright day with many sunny intervals, but it's different this morning.....and then reality stepped in....
The weather forecast for
                  today at 06:10
 This is how it was thought the day would go today. It's a pity it didn't include 6am, nothing changed at 7am.
the reality of the weather
This was the reality a minute later. The clouds do not look white and fluffy - they look dirty grey ! Ten minutes later there was a shower. It was a very light shower, and maybe it only lasted a few minutes (I got on my train before it finished), but it was enough to spot the newspaper I was reading, and the forecast definitely didn't prepare me for it. The forecast has been revised again since I took my screenshot, and it shows a little less sunshine, and the temperature only reaching 22° C.

 In one respect it was a horrible day at work yesterday. That particular thing was training ! I was hoping to be sacked for not doing two "essential" training courses, but the deadline was extended again, and I kept being nagged, so I did them. They were online, computer based, interactive training courses. The first was about electrical safety, and didn't contain any pertinent information I hadn't seen before - many, many, many times before - the first time was probably on 16mm film shown in the BT training school cinema ! The second one was about fire safety, and that one did have some new information that I had seen many times before, and in far better detail in the years since fire regulations were "harmonised" with the rest of Europe (when escape signs changed from a nice friendly, but urgent red colour, to a meaningless green colour).

 I don't think I agree with everything shown in the fire safety training session. For instance they were adamant that the only oxidiser was Oxygen, but Chlorine and Fluorine are very powerful oxidisers that will sustain a very, very nasty fire without any oxygen being present. I'm not sure I completely agree with their emphasis on only using the correct type of extinguisher on a fire. For something like a paper or wood fire anything that will cool or smother will help - even weeing on the fire ! It was also the session with the worst grammar....
read what it says very
 This is a sneaky screenshot taken with my mobile phone camera from the PC screen. Read the speech bubble very carefully, and see if you can spot the extra word !!
never open a fire door -
                      even during a fire - it's the rules !
 Some instructions could have done with an exception added. To my brain, which is probably quite warped, "Fire doors must be kept closed at all times" implies that they should never be opened - even when there is a fire !! I must apologise to anyone who is in the same building as me when a fire breaks out - you are probably going to die. I'll make sure those fire doors stay closed even if I have to stand in the flames to hold them closed !

 I think each training session was estimated to last no more than 45 minutes. I tried to rush through them as fast as possible, and spent no more than one second to think of answers, and yet I think they took nearly an hour of tedium to get through - and hour that felt like two hours ! I felt so irritated by them that I have essentially recorded them as having taken the whole morning to get through.

 It was great to escape and go home when home time finally came around. It was an uneventful journey home. In fact it was a very bland journey. I did walk up the escalator at Waterloo, but it was only a medium paced walk, and that is also true for the rest of the bit of the journey where I walk. I felt quite tired when I got home....well maybe "tired" is a bit extreme, but I definitely felt no sparkle, no I ever have these things ? Maybe it was the dull weather, or maybe it was the enormity of what I had to do in the evening.

 The first thing I did was to have a light snack of olives and some cheese, and then before I had my main meal, I finished the laundry I had left soaking during the day. Fortunately it was stuff that rinsed out easily with just three or four changes on water, and it wasn't all that long before I had it hung on the clothes horse in front of the fan to dry overnight. Then I prepared my dinner. There are times when you just fancy a change, and dinner goes off at a tangent. Last night was one of those nights, and I had a dinner I very rarely have - maybe as little as once a year. It was bratwurst sausages (frankfurters, or slightly posh hot dog sausages) with baked beans. It was all very unhealthy, doubly so in the large portions I had, and sadly not terribly wonderful ! I mean it was nice, but not orgasmically nice, as was desired.

 With dinner out of the way I could concentrate on photos. Before doing any photo editing I decided to copy the pictures I had taken on the second day at Chattfest, the Sunday, onto my PC. There were nearly 500 of them, and heaps of them were rubbish. I don't know if it was the changed lighting at the gig, or if I was just feeling exhausted at the end of a 4 gig session of photography, but I seemed to lose most of my photography skills. Fortunately with so many pictures to choose from I can find enough good ones to fill a reasonable sized album.

 Once I had reviewed those photos I returned to the photos I had taken on day one. There were plenty of good crisp looking pictures to choose from, and I was fairly selective about what I used (for a change). This selection included pictures from "Speedo", "Moss", and Triggers Broom" - no, I have no idea who these musicians are either ! It all took less time than I expected, and in theory I could have uploaded them, plus the pictures of M.T. Pockets that I had prepared the night before, to Flickr, but I decided I would rather have an early night instead of what would inevitably be another late night !

 Of course it didn't happen quite that way. I almost made it to bed when my curiosity grabbed me - and I'm glad it did. One of the things I wished for when taking snaps at Chattfest was a wider angle lens. So I sat down to give my lenses a good hard stare. I had taken my large aperture fixed lens, and my Nikon 55 - 200 lens to Chattfest, and neither of these is particularly wide angle. Had I taken my Tamron 18 - 200 lens then I would have had a wide angle lens ! Oh well, we live and learn, and while my investigation stopped me getting to bed early, it also stopped me spending money on a lens I now realise I don't actually need.....although I still rather fancy getting a fisheye lens some time.

 I didn't think I slept all that well last night, but I don't feel all that bad this morning. I seem to be back to feeling this sort of new normal that I tried to explain some days back. In other words some of the bits that creak and groan still creak and grown, but nothing hurts that much, and I have an average sort of energy. Quite what will happen when last night's baked beans get further into my system is anyone's guess, but my guess is that it won't be pleasant. Until then, I feel ok (which is more bland than OK in capital letters.

 Tonight is going to be almost the same as last night, and which was almost the same as the night before - eating, laundry and photo editing. One variant tonight will be that I will pop into Tesco on the way home. That probably will mean my dinner is going to end up big and unhealthy, but it might not. It all depends on what reduced price stuff I see on the shelves. Like a fool, I just cannot resist an apparent bargain even if it is not really a bargain at all - and is bad for me !
Tuesday 2nd August 2016
07:55 BST

  After the bright start yesterday turned dull, and then it turned wet. The first shower happened around 3pm, and that was earlier than expected, but the rain didn't really start in earnest until 6pm (or maybe a little bit earlier). The rain then continued right through the night, and didn't stop until I was half way to work (although it was already very light by the time I left home). I am unsure of the temperature yesterday. It was basically "not cold". Maybe it reached 20° C, but only just. This morning it was 15° C, but the dull skies and wetness made it feel cooler than yesterday morning despite it being a degree less cool. It is apparently going to vary between dull and very dull today, but the rest of the day should be dry, and at 21° C a little warmer than yesterday. Tomorrow may be a few degrees warmer, and there could be some sunny periods.

 It was busier at work than I anticipated yesterday. So I didn't get the rest I wanted - although that would have been impossible because I wanted to rest in bed with my eyes closed ! I suppose it wasn't a bad day at work, but it was a bad journey home. Just like a week or two ago, there had been a broken down train somewhere down the line that was causing delays and cancellations. From my perspective it was the long queue of trains waiting to get a platform at Waterloo that caused the longest delay, and it was a considerable delay too ! On a normal day I arrive at Waterloo at about 4pm, and have a 20 minute wait for the 4.20pm train from Waterloo East station. Yesterday I had little more than a 7 or 8 minute wait for the next train from Waterloo East for home - the 4.39pm.

 I got home about 20 minutes late, and while that is not terrible in the grand scheme of things, it was a bit of an annoyance when I had so much to do last night. First up was to prepare dinner. The main course was a curious variant on a famous dish - so famous that I can't remember it's name ! In simple terms it was fried eggs on cheap smoked salmon flakes on salad with a suitable amount of garlic mayonnaise (and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper). It was rather nice, but would have been better if I hadn't massacred the fried eggs. They weren't conventionally fried because I don't have a frying pan. I cooked them in my mini oven using a foil tray with a dollop of butter in it. They would have been fine if I had kept an eye on them instead of setting a rather too generous cooking time on the timer.

 After dinner, and not before, which would have been more sensible, I washed some shirts and stuff. I had left them soaking through the day, and all I had to do was the rinsing, but the rinsing is the hardest part with multiple changes of water. Maybe I should have hung them out in the pouring rain to rinse. They would probably have been well rinsed, and possibly dry(ish) by the time I get home from work today. I actually dried them on a clothes horse in front of a fan overnight.

 Once the washing was out of the way I got down to selecting and editing some photos for upload. I had to take some care doing it because they were going up against a pro photographer. Not a real competition, but just a matter of pride. He is not really a gig photographer, and I think my pictures have the edge on his. I'm sure if our roles were reversed and I was taking photos in studio conditions at The Tate Gallery, where he works, his pictures would far outshine mine. Last night I was only concentrating on one band - M.T. Pockets, and their performance at Chattfest last Saturday. Here's a taster.
M. T. Pockets on stage at
                  Chattfest 2016
 From left to right - Dan Murphy on lead guitar, Dylan Tidman on drums, and Steve Pitt on bass guitar. This picture looks a bit gritty after cropping and shrinking to fit here, but the full size version looks nice and crisp. Once I've finished selecting and editing photos from the rest of the day I will upload them to Flickr where they can be seen in all their (hoped for) glory.

 Tonight is going to be the same as yesterday except for one hoped for difference - no trouble on the trains. Once I am home I'll have dinner. It will probably be another fishy salad, but with no fried eggs this time. I'll follow that with some fruit. I have some beautifully ripe English plums, and they tasted delicious yesterday. Hopefully they won't be over ripe tonight. I could have eaten them all last night, but I doubt I would have got off the toilet this morning if I had done so. After eating, or maybe before, if I am sensible, I have more laundry to do, and then, once eating and laundry is out of the way I can start photo editing again.

 Hopefully I'll finish it a little bit earlier tonight. I was hoping for an early night last night, but it turned into a late night. Perhaps in some form of compensation I was rewarded with a very entertaining dream series last night. It had all the makings of a TV series, or maybe an up-to-date 1950's Sci Fi movie. It concerned an alien invasion of worms that got into the brain, and controlled their victims. Fortunately, from humanities point of view, the worms were very sensitive to alcohol, and a stiff boozing session would kill them. The worms soon learnt about this, and guided their victims away from alcohol. In part one I was helping a couple who had boozed away their worms escape. It was vitally important to protect them because they still had residual memories of the worms intentions, and hopefully, their vulnerabilities. In part two we were in Ireland where whisky was easier to find, and a safe area had been established and the fight to rid the world of these aliens started. In part 3.....I think I woke up before my brain could write the script for parts 3 to 6 (or the second series !!).

 This morning I feel like an extra hour or three in bed might have been a nice idea, but I don't feel too bad. I probably feel mostly good, but I would hate to admit it. I feel the need to moan about something, and today it is going to be my feet again. My choice of shoes this morning is a mix of good and bad. Wearing them has made my right foot less uncomfortable, and made my left foot more uncomfortable. Having balance feet is probably a good idea, but it would be useful if they were less sore. On both feet it is the ball of the foot that is my Achilles heel (if you'll pardon the anatomical (s)mash up !).
Monday 1st August 2016
07:47 BST

  It was definitely more sunny yesterday morning compared with later in the day, but the sun did come out a few times in the late afternoon. There were also times when the clouds seemed quite thick and threatening, but fortunately it stayed dry, and while it was far from hot, it was very comfortable in just shirtsleeves. This morning has started the coolest it has been for quite some time. It was just 14° C, and despite it being the start of August it gave plenty of hints of Autumn. It will warm up later on, but because we now seem to have lost some nice early morning sunshine, it will not warm up that much. It may not even reach 20° C. Apparently there could be a light shower any time this afternoon, and heavy rain is forecast for this evening. It will continue right through the night, and halfway through tomorrow morning !

 It's been quite a weekend ! Yesterday saw my fourth music session in two and a half days, and yet more Guinness was consumed. I didn't feel quite as good as I did earlier, or at least not until the Guinness cut in. I think the eggs and bacon I had for breakfast yesterday laid a bit heavy on my stomach for a long time. If I was having a lazy Sunday it would have been a delicious way to start the day, but maybe on an active day I should have had half the amount of bacon, and one less egg.

 There was only one significant thing I did in the afternoon while waiting to go out, and that was to upload all the pictures I took on my Thursday morning walk up to Mountsfield Park, through Mountsfield Park, along Hither Green Lane, down through Lewisham Park, and finally to the Lewisham War Memorial before walking home again. They can all be found on Flickr - I've added some captions to explain many of the pictures, and you'll find those captions under the picture - if in album view you'll need to click on an individual picture. When viewing a single picture you can click on that picture to expand it to see some of the finer detail.

 At 4pm it was time to leave for my fourth music session - day two of Chattfest at The Chatterton Arms. It felt longer, but I waited less than 10 minutes for a bus, and I was on the long tedious journey to, and through Bromley. By the time I arrived at the pub, and had bought myself a pint of Guinness, The Scorchers had started their set outside on the stage in the beer garden. I feel sure that someone had said that Chris Mayer, lead guitarist for Chain, was part of the band, and that was why I wanted to get there in time to see their set, but that wasn't the case. The only member of the band I knew was the drummer, John Sutcliffe.

 The Scorchers turned out to be very competent, but somehow unexciting. However they were luxury compared to the next act. Kate Sparkes was no Kate Bush, although she could sing. It was the fact that she was a "karaoke artist", singing solo to a backing track, and singing songs that I didn't like, or didn't like in the style that she sang them in, that gave me daark thoughts about demanding my money back ! Eventually, after what seemed like an eternal wait, and one that included several cock ups because she couldn't control her own iPad, the source of her backing tracks, it was time for the grand finale as Chain took to the stage.

 I've been very lazy spending too many Saturday nights in the highly convenient Black Cat instead of travelling a bit further afield to see Chain playing, and it has been some time since I last saw them. In one respect that's bad, but on the other hand I think it increased my enjoyment even more when I saw them last night. It was a fantastic finale. There wer people dancing and singing along, and even the governor of the pub put his neck on the line by agreeing to a quick encore even though they had passed the 8pm noise curfew time.

 It was a great end to a great weekend. As expected, there were plenty of people there I know - not that well in most cases, but we are all part of a larger family - sort of. There was even my mate Lee there. For some reason he only lacked a tie to be dressed for the opera instead of a rock gig. I don't know if he was trying to impress his girlfriend, but if she has any sense he failed !! There was one little surprise when I left the pub......
pony and trap outside The
                  Chatterton Arms
 It's not every day you see a pony and trap waiting outside a pub, but there was one there last night. Presumably it was to take someone home - maybe someone who had drunk too much to drive a motor vehicle. This is technically illegal, but I am sure I recall a case that made the news when a defendant proved to a judge that his horse was in charge, and knew the way home better than he did. I think he might have been a milkman who drove a horse and drey.

 Once again I was lucky enough to only have a short wait for a bus home. On this occasion it was a 320, and it always seems that they are faster than the 208 - and particularly so at about 9pm on a Sunday when the traffic is light. At the end of my bus ride a good thing happened. I was the last one on the bus, and the bus driver didn't realise I was waiting to get off at the final stop by Catford Bridge station, and he whizzed past thye stop. For some people that could have been bloody annoying, but for me it was wonderful. I got the driver to stop and let me off the bus much nearer home as he drove through the side roads to get to the bus stand behind Tesco.

 Not only was I half way home, but it also avoided the temptation to celebrate the end of a great weekend of mostly well controlled eating by buying some chicken and chips. I was a bit peckish when I got home, but what I had was mostly better for me than chicken and chips. I had a ready made egg and potato salad first, and then spoiled things by eating a small packet (of three) small Eccles cakes. Soon after that I went to bed. And soon after that I fell asleep.

 On the whole I slept fairly well, but I would have been happier if I had gone to sleep an hour earlier, and slept later, but for now it seems I had enough. This morning I have a mild headache, but otherwise I seem to feel reasonably OK. There is nothing else I can really moan about.....well I could force myself, but perhaps I'll give it a rest for a day or so. Hopefully I'll be feeling good when I get home again because I should have a very busy evening. I've got laundry to do, and stacks and stacks of pictures to review and edit for upload. I hope I can get all those pictures done before I take a cartload more next Saturday at Pettswoodstock (I've been given an access all areas pass, and so I shall go snapping crazy...or something).