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

Saturday 31st December 2016
 14:54 GMT

  I am pretty certain that I didn't notice any sunny intervals, or sunny spells yesterday(still trying to work out the difference between the two descriptions), but maybe there was a period of time when it was only medium overcast in the afternoon. Apart from all the condensation it did stay dry - in as much as it didn't actually rain, and it was a tiny bit warmer than previous days. The temperature did it's best to stay on the right side of freezing over night, and this morning it was probably 3 or 4° C. Once again it has been a very uninspiring day - it's been all grey and moody. On the plus side I am seeing 10° C on my outside/upstairs thermometer. That's a whole 2° higher than forecast. Maybe it's because that thermometer is 12 - 15ft above ground. The temperature is not forecast to fall to below 7° C overnight, and tomorrow morning may see the brightest grey skies seen for a few days....then it will rain, and possibly rain quite heavily. A grand start to a new year !

 My attempt to not eat until early evening, and only to drink water yesterday failed miserably. As midday approached my stomach was really growling, and drinking water just made it feel a bit sour. So I gave in and ate two cans of soup. One was a can of Italian (inspired) tomato, peppers, and chorizo flavour, and the other was a German sausage soup. The latter was 98% mushy peas, and a 2% hint of sausage. It was quite nice, but still disappointing sausage-wise !

 I didn't feel that good yesterday, and I am pretty sure it was because I was feeling very lazy. That was mostly because I was quite apprehensive about going out in the cold wet air. I suspect that if I had done I might have felt better instead of worse. One of the problem was that I felt really tired and sleepy, and yet I couldn't seem to relax or get comfortable to have a snooze. I spent a long time laying on my bed with my eyes closed, but my chest felt too sore to let me relax and fall asleep. With hind sight it is probable that I did sleep without realising it. Quite a lot of time passed, and what I though was just my imagination being very inventive was possibly dreaming. The fact that I kept forgetting how a train of thought had started is very suggestive of a dream.

 I can't remember when it was that I got a call from Angela to say that she would definitely be coming here, and would be here by about 5pm, but it most definitely cheered me up. It was more or less exactly 5pm when she arrived, and we had a marvelous time together. It was all very relaxed and unrushed, and Angela didn't go home until after 9pm.

 In theory I should have been feeling really tired by 9pm, but of course I was really buzzing. Also, I shouldn't have felt hungry, but I did, Before Angela came over I did have some dinner, and in an ideal world it would have been more than I should have eaten all night - at least in terms of all the naughty stuff in it like fats and sugars. It was "American style" hot dogs cooked/reheated in baked beans. With the addition of some chilli sauce it was nice enough, but 5 or so hours later I wanted more !

 I probably should have just heated up a can or two of tomato soup, but I munched my way through a medium big bag of gluten free ready salted crisps (I though all crisps would be gluten free, but what do I know). While I munched away I watched some TV. Quite a lot of TV, and didn't go to bed until midnight.

 That was probably good practice for tonight, but I stupidly woke up at 4.40am this morning, and while I tried my best, I didn't really sleep much after that. I did my usual of getting up, taking my medication, visiting the toilet, and checking the internet, and then going back to bed an hour or two later. Once again I probably did get some sleep, but it felt like I was awake for the next few hours. Eventually I decided to get up because my stomach was growling again.

 I felt really hungry - which was stupid after all I ate last night. I also felt incredibly creaky. Once again what I really should have done was to go for as long a walk as I could manage, and possibly a bit more after that. I have a theory that I obviously never tested, that I would feel terrible for the first 10 - 15 minutes of walking, but I would feel better after that. Of course I'll never know now.

 There were two things making me feel lousy. One was the sleepiness, and the other was my chest was aching a lot. Rather than go out walking I eventually, after laying on my bed for hours, decided it was kill or cure time. I still didn't want to expose my chest to the cold wet air outside, despite the fact that it is relatively mild today. I decided to hand wash some t-shirts and stuff. It didn't feel that bad doing it. Not bad at all ! More than not bad - it actually made me feel a lot better.

 I'm not sure if it was a good cure, or whether it had underlying negative effects. As I write about it, a good hour or two later, my chest felt quite weird, but adopting a less slouched posture while typing has improved that a lot. That does sort of reinforce the idea that my chest pain is purely a mechanical problem, and that correct posture, such as when walking, it the correct treatment - although that doesn't quite explain why that cold wet air makes me feel almost asthmatic, and indeed possibly actually asthmatic. In the past I have read that such symptoms often point back to heart disease. I am think that if I get it checked out at the right time, and if it does mean a stay in hospital again while my plumbing is sorted out, I wouldn't have to go back to work until after the winter is over !

The next thing of note to happen today is a new years eve gig at The Back Cat. I think I can stand going out in the cold for that. I've been given two free tickets (normally £5 each) for all my support of the pub (photography and stuff). Angela has one ticket, and currently it seems 50-50 whether she goes or not. She is torn between travelling all the way to Tunbridge Well, where her daughter is singing with the band, or staying local. I hope she will turn up at the Black Cat, but I am prepared if she doesn't.

 We are now running out of 2016 very fast. So there is nothing more illogical than looking back at 27th September 2001 to celebrate it....probably.
Croydon tram at Mitcham
In 2001 the Croydon trams were in standard red livery. This tram seen at Mitcham Junction.
class 455 in Network Southeast livery
Also at Mitcham Junction, a class 455 train in Network Southeast livery going to Leatherhead via Caterham. Back then the service was run by Connex. Now it is run, or frequently not run by Southern Trains Ltd.
class 313 Silverlink train at Willsden
At Willsden Junction the London Overground service has not been invented yet, and Silverlink branded  class 313 trains run between there and Clapham Junction.
Class 165 "Thames Turbo" train at
At Greenford station a class 165 "Thames Turbo" train stands at the terminal platform.
Thames Turbo logo
It's just a memory now - The Thames Turbo logo.
class 150 Silverlink train at Blackhorse Road
It's only now, in 2016, that the Gospel Oak to Barking line is being electrified. In 2001 Silverlink trains ran the service using class 150 diesel trains. This one seen at Blackhorse Road station.
Adtranz class 375 train for Connex
Over at Victoria station is a brand new class 375 train run by Connex on what is now Southeastern trains.
Friday 30th December 2016
 10:35 GMT

  Despite all the sunshine yesterday was a very cold day. I don't think the temperature hit the forecast 5° C at any time. By 9pm the temperature had fallen to -1° C, and it may have fallen even lower, but sometime during the night it warmed up by a few degrees, and at daybreak the temperature was possibly as high as 1° C. The reason for this, and the reason it is now almost 6° C is that some warmer and wetter air has drifted in from the south. As it hit the cold air a fog developed. It is still foggy now, but the forecast insists it will clear at any minute now......It will leave a cloudy and rather wet day, although no actual rain is forecast. The forecast is currently suggesting the laughable idea that there could be a a sunny interval or two around 3pm, and by then the temperature will have risen to a whole degree lower than it actually seems to be now. The temperature is supposed to keep on rising, and 7° C is forecast for 5am tomorrow. The rest of tomorrow, the last day of the year, will be heavily overcast, but at least the temperature could be as high as 9° C. If the forecast for two days time comes anywhere near reality, the new year should start with rain, and a temperature of 8° C.

 I drank nothing but water all day yesterday, and didn't eat until early evening. I did my best to eat healthily in the evening, and to a very limited extent I did - but it really depends on whatever your personal definition of healthy is. Many people saying a dinner of roast winter vegetables might be very healthy. Well they probably had lots of fibre, and some assorted good vitamins and minerals, but the ready made preparation I had included quite a lot of oil and butter. Not only that, but carrots and parsnips can have quite a lot of natural sugar in them.

 I did have an intention that those vegetables would be the only thing I ate yesterday, but inevitably I got the munchies later in the evening. There were many things I could have had, but I think the three little pots of flavoured tuna were probably slightly innocent. I also had a chunk of cheese and some olives during the course of the evening. I think it all still adds up to less than I might have eaten in the evening without considering what I would also have probably eaten during the day. So I guess it wasn't a bad effort for a cold winters night.

 I was indirectly aided in this quest to eat less by a very pleasant visit from Angela. Not feeling bored and miserable is a good way to avoid excess eating. Of course it was a shame when she had to go home, and so early in the evening, but she was acting as nurse maid to her friend. He had been invited to a party many miles away, and Angela volunteered herself to look after him, and get him home as soon as it started to feel too much for him - that could have been quite early because I believe he has only just had another dose of chemotherapy. One sad thing is that I doubt Angela enjoyed herself too much. I know there were several people at that party that she doesn't really get on with.

 I didn't think I went to bed that late last night. I thought it was around 10pm, but maybe I read in bed for longer than I thought because it feels like I didn't sleep at all well last night. I know I had to get up to pee several times in the night. I'm not sure whether to blame that on all the sugar in the carrots and parsnips I ate, or whether to blame it on drinking a lot of tap water.

 Once again I woke up far earlier than I would have liked to.....on the other hand I guess it is good to keep in practice for getting up for work. It feels like I am running out of holiday very fast now, and I'll soon have to start commuting to work again. I hope I feel a lot better than today when I have to do that. I don't feel very well at all this morning. I haven't actually been feverish as such, but I have been feeling colder than I should have.

 I was going to try and avoid eating again this morning, but eventually I gave in and had a couple of cans of hot soup. That has definitely warmed me up, but somehow I still can't face going out in that cold fog. That cold, and wet air seems to really attack my chest. That is probably bad news. Unless it is some sort of infection, it probably means bad news.....or maybe good news. I think it probably would be good news to spent a couple of weeks in hospital having my chest plumbing sorted out. It would certainly be much better than commuting to work in the cold and dark. Of course the downside is that these days I know it would get some people terribly worried - Angela in particular.

 I hope I'll be seeing Angela again today. If I am very, very lucky it will be an early afternoon visit that will go on into the evening. I must confess that I would much prefer it if she came straight here instead of meeting in the pub. It is a bit selfish but I want to keep out of the cold and wet air as much as possible. If I can do that then maybe I'll feel OK about going to The Black Cat tomorrow night for the new years even gig.
Thursday 29th December 2016
 11:05 GMT

  Yesterday stayed bright and cold until just before sunset when mist started to dim the sunlight a little bit. The daytime temperature didn't seem to rise much above 3 or 4° C - the forecast was for 6° C. After sunset the temperature fell until it was minus 2° C at daybreak this morning. The temperature is now in positive figures, but I reckon it's only about plus 2° C right now, and despite it being very sunny, it seems unlikely it will rise much further. The forecast actually says it should hit 5° C today ! After dark the temperature will fall away, but apparently it will not go below freezing - all the heat, if you can call it heat, will be kept in by a thick layer of mist and fog. Tomorrow is forecast to be similar temperature wise to today, but it is going to be a very dull day.
getting foggy
 This was the view towards Ladywell Fields at 15:38 yesterday. In other directions it looked less misty, but the river running through the park is always good for a bit of mist or fog.

 I had a mostly lazy day yesterday. That was probably a bad thing. All the sitting, and laying down left me feeling pretty awful, and a short walk in the 2° C air in the afternoon left me feeling terrible. I was out of the house for little more than 7 or 8 minutes, and I was very wheezy when I got home, and my chest felt very uncomfortable. There is something definitely wrong with me, and I guess it will have to be sorted out sooner or later.

 Some, maybe all of the problem is either caused, or made worse by the amount I have been eating lately. I have had a few clues that my blood glucose level is out of control again. That is not surprising considering how much I've been eating...or maybe what I have been eating. I did try and get things under control yesterday, and met with some limited success.

 I can't remember what I may have eaten in the morning, but it was probably something inappropriate. At lunchtime, for a moderately late lunch, I had a salad. Of course the big lump of brie (or some similar cheese) was not the best thing, and nor was the mayonnaise, but it might have been far, far worse. For my evening meal I ate two packs of salmon and cucumber that I had originally bought to eat with Angela if she had come to visit. If I had stopped there I may have gotten away with it, but I also had several little squares of chocolate, and a big handfull of peanuts. Today I intend to have less.

 I stayed up quite late (for me) last night. I wasn't in bed until almost 11pm (or was it just after ?). The reason for that departure from custom was TV. I was watching it on my PC upstairs so there was far less temptation to snack while in front of the "telly". There were also a few good programmes on. There were some repeats of old QIs and Have I Got New For You, but what caught my attention in the end was a documentary about Fleetwood Mac.

 Having gone to bed so late I should have slept until late this morning, but I woke up as usual between 4am and 5am (I think it was about 4.20am). As per my now usual strategy, I didn't try and fight it, but got out of bed, took all my prescribed pills, wallowed around on the internet, and after an hour or two I went back to bed for the other half of my sleep - nearly !

 This morning I decided I would definitely restrict myself to no more than tap water until at least lunch time. From then on anything could happen. Today, and in not much more than 30 - 40 minutes time, I will be seeing Angela. The chances are that we will go and have dinner in the local Wetherspoons pub. I shall try and stick to a liquid lunch, but after that anything could happen, and a particular difficulty is that Angela needs to leave relatively early this afternoon.

 I can't wait until it gets warmer, or by some miracle, I get to feel much fitter. I have things to do. I have identified the location of several cattle troughs in the local(ish) area, and some a bit further afield. I want to go out and take some photos of them, and now I also want to try and take some more photos of public drinking fountains. I have asked my "spies" for the locations of any known to them. There used to be two, or maybe three in the park behind me, but they have definitely gone. In 2010 I did take a snap of a non working, and slightly damaged one in Beckenham Place Park.
drinking fountain in
                  Beckenham Place Park
Wednesday 28th December 2016
 11:26 GMT

  Time flies when you're having fun, and yet I only remember having a little bit of fun. So what can I remember of the weather ? Sunday was an almost warm day, and there was a bit of sunshine, but I don't recall it raining during the night as the forecast predicted. Monday was grey and cool - maybe just 5 or 6° C at very best - and I think it stayed dry while I was aware of what was happening outside. It's probably just as well it stayed dry because yesterday started out exceptionally cold. The temperature was just under zero at daybreak, and it took a few hours to go positive. It probably ended up in the region of 5° C.
frosty car
 You'll have to use your imagination on the above picture. It is a picture of a frost covered car, but you can't really see the fine fern-like patterns of the ice on the windscreen, but take my word for it that they are there. That is also ice on the bonnet and front lights. The picture was taken at 09:43 yesterday morning ! I haven't been outside to see how frosty the cars were this morning, but my thermometer, reading -1.1° C (minus 1.1°) suggests there would have been a very widespread frost. My upstairs thermometer, which often reads a little higher than the one downstairs (although not every time) says it is currently 2.7° C. It is currently nice and sunny, and the forecast says it will stay that way until sunset. It also says that in little more than an hours time it will be 6° C - that is not looking likely !

 Tomorrow morning is forecast to freezing fog, but it should stay dry, and there should be enough sunny intervals, and sunny spells to very slowly raise the temperature to 6° C again. Sunrise will be at 08:06 everyday for the next 5 days according to the forecast, but at the end of those 5 days sunset will be be at 16:02. That is definitely later than it was near the solstice a week ago. I seem to recall the earliest sunset was something like 15:52. So things are looking up....very, very, very slowly !

 Now, what did I do on boxing day ? I think it might all be coming back to me. I did quite a lot - I think. I took the picture of the frosty car when I went out shopping. I wanted to go to the 99p shop, and to Tesco, but the 99p shop was closed. So I went to the Poundshop to buy some smelly stuff. It all started before Xmas when I bought a thing for heating scented oil from the 99p shop. It is a little ceramic thing that you put a tea light in the botton, and scented oil in a dish shaped bit on top (a picture would be useful here, but I can't be bothered to go downstairs and snap one right now - maybe I'll show a picture tomorrow). Anyhow, the kits come with just 3 tealights, and a very small bottle of oil, and the oil seems to give off all it's scent in just a few seconds. So I wanted more tea lights, more scented oils, and I thought I may as well get a spare ceramic oil heating thingy (it must have a name, but I can't think of it).

 With the 99p shop closed I went to the Pound Shop (or should that be Poundshop ?) where I was sure I could get more tea lights - I couldn't ! Well actually they did have some cranberry scented tea lights, but I thought that would clash badly with lavender scented oil. I bought some anyway. I did find more bottles of scented oil in there, and I bought some of that too. I was still looking for plain tea lights, and I found some in Poundstretcher - for just 99p !  I also bought some flavoured tea lights in there that I spotted. Maybe they will smell nice, or maybe they won't. When I came out I found that the 99p shop had finally opened, and I bought another ceramic thingy, and even more tea lights.

 With the small part of my rucksack bulging with tea lights, and smelly oils and stuff, I went to Tesco to get some shopping. Now I must confess I was hoping that there would be some cheap clearance stuff, but for quite a few years now I have found Tesco, or at least the Catford Branch, to be very tight when it comes to post-Xmas clearance offers. I found some ordinary food with reduced price stickers on it, but nothing exciting (I bought it anyway). So I came away with a bit of food, and a couple of bottles of Diet Coke.

 Back at home I got all houseproud....or something like that. I washed a heap of smelly dishes in the sink, and took out the smelly contents of two rubbish bins. That made everything smell a bit more civilised, and testing the smelly oil heater thing added a pleasant aroma to the living room with a bit of mild overspill into the hall. I also washed the sheets and pillowcases from my bed (plus a few smaller items) and got them hanging up to dry. The final thing (although I am describing this in the order that I remember it rather than by the clock) was to get the hoover out. That only happens rather more rarely than it should do ! As it turned out, my timing was very good.

 Much of my cleaning effort was in the hope that I might see Angela, but it was not to be, and I just did some intensive resting for the afternoon. It was probably a good thing too because some of that hard work, and in particular doing stuff in the cold with no shirt on, really caused me some nasty chest pains. Some of them did feel as if they might have been something more sinister than muscular-skeletal pains, but I still seem to be here, and my chest has settled right down 48 hours later.

 There was the vaguest of plans to see Angela yesterday, but in the end we only talked on the phone for some time. The original plan was to meet our friend, and my neighbour Michael for a quick later afternoon drink in The Black Cat before Angela came back to my place. Unfortunately she was not feeling up to it for certain reasons, and so I brought forward the plans to have a drink with Michael, and we met in the pub at 2pm. While were drinking in there I got a call from my friend Jodie asking what I was up to, and she asked if she could join us. So I abandoned the idea of a quick drink, and stayed for a third pint.

 I think we had just started our third pint when Jodie arrived. She just had a half pint. As we finished off our drinks an idea came into my head - it was probably just a loose connection in my brain or something. Knowing that my house was reasonably clean and presentable, I suggested we all go back to my place via Tesco where Michael could grab something to eat (he had been complaining that the Black Cat doesn't sell food these days), and we could grab a few bottles of beer - or in my case a bottle of Tesco "Special Reserve" whisky.

 It turned out to be a wonderful, spontaneous mini party - just the sort I like. We drunk booze, Michael tuned and strummed my dusty acoustic guitar, and we slowly got pissed. I think it was around 7pm when we disbanded. Michael walked around the corner to his home, and possibly the wrath of his wife ! I walked Jodie to the station and put her on a train home, and then I prepared some dinner. I am not sure my choice of dinner was ideal, but it held the booze down even if it was probably responsible for some heart burn. It was a big greasy pork pie followed by some sweet chilli chicken spring rolls - all bought at reduced price in Tesco.

 I felt a bit rough when I went to bed, and it took me some time to get to sleep, but once I got to sleep I slept well until about 4.30am this morning. I half got up than, but did very little for the next hour or so....or was it two hours ? Eventually I got back in bed, and it seemed to take ages to get back to sleep. I was thrashing around for what seemed like ages, but I think the reality was that I was asleep in well less than an hour - and when I did get to sleep I must have slept very soundly. I was very surprised to see it was 10:20 when I woke up !

 There was stuff I was going to do today, but I feel like I probably won't except for one thing. There seems a very good chance, although it is not concrete, that I will finally get to see Angela late this afternoon. I am wondering if it might be nice to get Michael out again for just a quick drink with Angela and myself, but maybe it won't be. I think I'll be guided by Angela on that score. It is possible that I might get the hoover out again soon - possible but probably unlikely, although there are plenty of places that could do with a bot of a hoover.

 One of the things I was considering doing was to go out and do a bit more of my latest sporadic hobby. It is photographing more of our local heritage. In this case it is horse/cattle troughs. So far I have two in my collection - one good one that is hardly local, and one actually in the borough, but photographed from the top deck of a bus. This all started when Angela and I had one of those "do you remember" sessions - we are of almost exactly the same age, and have live in the same area for most of our lives.

cattle trough in Sevenoaks
Horse trough at the bottom of Downham Way

 The top picture was taken in Sevenoaks in 2010, and it serves to remind me that these once more common water troughs were actually cattle troughs rather than horse troughs. Some were definitely meant for horses though (and many had a trough in the bottom for dogs). The one in Sevenoaks also had a drinking fountain for humans. The lower picture. taken from the top of a passing bus when I was on my way to Bromley just before Xmas is little more than a mile from here (maybe 2 miles), and I suspect that it is actually a horse trough. 150 years ago the area pictured was all farmland, and it is entirely possible that cattle were driven through the streets on the way to the slaughter house - or maybe even milking parlour - but the main road, a continuation of the road from Lewisham through Catford, was a main stage coach route to the coast before the age of railways.

 There used to be at least two horse troughs with less than 10 minutes walk from here. One was outside The George public house - a coach stop on the way to the coast, and one outside The Black Horse And Harrow. The latter was a coaching Inn and only stopped offering beds for the night 20 or so years ago. Both those troughs disappeared quite some time ago. In the case of The George it was when the pub was demolished. In the case of the Black Horse And Harrow I just don't know when. I think there was also a trough outside The Rising Sun pub - built on the site of a coaching Inn for coaches travelling to London. I only have the very vaguest recollection of that one. I shall try and photograph any remaining ones I see before they too disappear.
Sunday 25th December 2016
 17:34 GMT

  Somehow the weather doesn't feel terribly important right now. It could be my hangover, or maybe it is because the weather has been very unremarkable. Yesterday did see some sunshine in the morning, but the afternoon ened up a bit dull, and feeling cooler than the previous afternoon. Today hasn't felt that cold, and the temperature probably hit 13° C for a while this afternoon. It has still been a rather dull day, and I think that there might have been some very light rain around sunset. Some heavy rain is expected just after midnight tonight. Once that is over the temperature will drop, and it will continue to fall during the day despite it being a bright sunny day. Most of the hours of daylight tomorrow will see the temperature a chilly 7° C, and during tomorrow night the tempearture will fall to near zero !

 I didn't go out on Friday night, and I didn't eat all that much either. I can't actually remember what I ate. All I know is that I was predicting I might eat a lot, and I don't think I did. I seem to recall that I was in bed, and fast asleep quite early - possibly as early as 8pm. Maybe I needed that sleep, or maybe not. I think I slept OK, and I think I got up quite late yesterday morning.

 The big thing yesterday was going out to take more photos of stuff happening on the buskers stage in Bromley Markey Square. I have to confess that it was not a terribly enjoyable experience. When I got there I was convinced there was a West Indian singing reggae songs until I turned the corner and saw that it was actually a white man who seemed to have developed a pronounced Jamaican accent.

 He was actually a good singer, and as it turned out he wasn't just a karoake singer because he was singing along to backing tracks recorded by the band he normally fronts. I am not a great fan of reggae music, and it was a relief when it was all over. Unfortunately the next "act", the one I actually went to see, were disappointing for another reason - they sang Xmas songs !

 They Were Gavin Shirley playing the cahoun (a resonant wooden box that is a simple substitute for drums), Vince Pross playing keyboard, and Dawn Pross singing. Normally they would be playing rock and roll of the worst kind, but Xmas songs were even worse ! You can see all the best pictures I took on Thursday, and yesterday right here -

 I had one pint of beer while I was in Bromley, and no more. Quite how that inspired me to get another takeaway last night is a mystery, but it did. I had a hankering for a nice chicken shish kebab, but ended up getting half a peri-peri flavoured grilled chicken with lots of trimmings. It was all the trimmings I ate last night.

 Somehow I went to bed unusually late last night. I was also feeling fairly full. I was probably reading in bed until almost 11pm last night. I expected to sleep until quite late this morning. I tried my best to wedge the idea in my bed that there was absolutely no reason to get up at all today, but events overtook that idea before it had even half a chance to crystalise. I woke up before 5am as if I had to go to work, and my plan then was to read some stuff on the internet before going back to bed again.

 What changed my mind completely was a response to a message I had sent saying that I might go to The Black Cat at midday - if they were open. The response I got was that they had opened at 10am, and a reminder that my ticket (and my plus 1 for Angela) were by the till in the bar. I think I was washed, and dressed, and in the pub shortly after 11am.

 I got a nice warm reception when I got to the pub. My support for the place as a live music venue, which includes all the pictures I have taken there that the pub has used for publicity, earned me a free pint of Guinness, and the two tickets for the new years eve gig. Half the pictures on this page - - were taken by me, and I believe more will be added sooner or later. Some may even be used on the pubs official brewery run web site.
mince pies on the bar of The
                  Black Cat
 After two pints, and no mince pies (there were some on the bar ready for anyone to grab) I made my way home. Once indoors I looked forward to my peri-peri grilled chicken. I put it in the microwave to reheat while I took my outdoor clothes off, and got into clothes more suitable for being a slob in. Then I was just about to tuck into my chicken when the phone rang. It was Kevin returning a call. I had tried to call him earlier to invite him to meet me in The Black Cat.

 He wasn't available when I phoned him because he and his family were at the cemetery paying respects to his parents who are buried there. When I told him why I had tried to phone he was quite interested in going for a drink with me, and suggested that we might meet in The London And Rye pub - which had the advantage (or disadvantage) of being open until 4pm instead of 2pm when the Black Cat closed.

 I put my chicken back in the microwave ready to be reheated again, got back into my outdoor clothes, and was at the pub in record time - about 15 minutes after putting the phone down - and that included crudely wrapping a present for Kevin, and scribbling a Xmas card for him and his family. We only had two pints of quite strong beer in there, but we also had several "one for the road" drinks - three doubles each of Jameson's irish whiskey.

 Now I must confess that I was feeling distinctly wobbly on the way home. If Kevin had not wanted to pop into a Turkish (?) run shop to buy a cigar I would never have gone in there, and discovered that they had lots of interesting stuff. I think I spent about £10 on various foods - some of which I have already eaten. I am not sure about the pack of "turkey bacon" that I bought. It was sort of nice, but not as exciting as I hoped.

 Once I got home I re-zapped my peri-peri grilled chicken, and sat down to eat it. That was definitely very nice, but by the time I had finished it I found a hangover was really kicking in. So I went up to my bedroom, and fell asleep on my bed almost instantly. I have no idea how long I slept for, but I have a theory it was about an hour.

 I woke up feeling pretty horrible, but determined to sit down and write this. My head was really fuzzy when I started writing, and I could barely remember if it had rained or shined when I wrote my notes about the weather. I do feel sort of bettr now, but I don't think I am going to o any more than read, or perhaps watch a bit of TV (if it's not 100% crap as it often is on Xmas day).

 Tomorrow I will probably do a few of the chores that I was going to do today. These included changing the sheets on my bed, and washing the old sheets, and also hoovering in the living room. Whether I actually do these things tomorrow is completely unknown, but at least it is something to aim for. It might even be useful to do them because while it is currently pure fantasy, I think there is a chance that I might see Angela tomorrow. I can always live in hope.
Friday 23rd December 2016
 15:19 GMT

  As far as I can remember, Wednesday's weather was pretty close to the forecast, but there were a few minor changes. It wasn't totally dry in the middle of the day. There was at least one very light shower when it was supposed to be dry, but there was also a short period of time when it wasn't as overcast as it was supposed to be, and the sun almost managed to break through. The temperature was about the current average - say 9° C at best. Yesterday was, as promised, bright and cheery. There was a lot of sunshine until almost sunset, and while the thermometer said it was just as cold as any other recent day, it didn't really feel that cold. Today really has been warmer, 11° C, but it has come at a price. It has been very dull, and while I haven't actually caught it raining, the roads do look wet from time to time. Some heavier rain is forecast for later on, but the clouds should partly clear by tomorrow morning. Tomorrow the temperature will be back down to 8° C, but there might be a brief bit of sunshine in the morning. The rest of the day s forecast to be lightly overcast.

 Work wasn't too bad on Wednesday, and I can't recall any particular discomforts - just the usual ones ! It was still nice to finish work and get away for my 12 days of Xmas holiday. I have hopes, possibly misguided, that this Xmas holiday period will be less boring, and less tedious than most. I won't be seeing much of Angela, but I feel confident I will see her a few times over the holiday.

 I could have gone out to an open mic session in Bromley on Wednesday night. By all accounts it was a very good session, although maybe I would have found all that jollity a bit too sweet for my stomach. What actually happened is that I felt completely drained, and lacking in all energy - mainly because I could be like that, and, in effect, chose to be that way.

 In the spirit of lethargy, or maybe the holiday spirit, I ordered a generous amount of Indian takeaway. I ate a fair amount of it, but had enough leftovers for another small meal, and a major ingredient towards a third meal. The only trouble was that while it was nice, it didn't seem wonderful like it should have. After all, it was supposed to be an exotic treat, bit in that respect it was a disappointment.

 The evening went quite fast - mainly because I was in bed by 7.30pm. I didn't really intend to be in bed that early, and I didn't intend to go to sleep almost instantly. I guess that maybe I really was feeling drained ! I woke up two and a half hours later actually feeling refreshed, but not so refreshed that I couldn't go back to sleep 10 minutes later. I woke a few more times during the night, but essentially I was in bed for 11 hours !

 When I finally got up I decided I ought to do something, and initially that something was to go out for some fresh air, and to get some shopping. My first port of call was "Cash Buster" - another pawn broker/second hand shop. I was mainly looking for photographic gear in there. I did see a little pocket sized Nikon "Coolpix" camera, and if the shop was open I might have bought it....or maybe not - depending on what it felt like.
Cash Buster
A rather grainy picture (because I had the camera set incorrectly after fiddling with it to take a picture of the moon a few days ago) of Cash Busters - another dubious second hand shop !

 While I was out I had another look at Cash Generators, the shop where I bought several useful bits of photographic equipment in the past. It was still shuttered up, and it looks most definitely like they have shut down. That was a bit of a shame because they seemed quite civilized in there - at least from a buyers perspective. I suspect anyone selling anything in there got quite a bad deal.

 My next, and final port of call was Aldi. It was starting to get a bit busy in there. I have no doubt that it would get much busier later in the day as all the Xmas shoppers piled in there, but at 10am it was slightly quieter than the same time on a Saturday. I did my best to fill up my basket with healthy stuff like salad, and a few vegetables, but inevitably I bought some stuff that I ought to try and eat sparingly.

 To keep my mind off the food I had just bought I did some laundry next. It was mostly some work shirts, and a few odds and sods - nothing too taxing. Once that was all done, and hanging up to dry, I allowed myself to put my feet up, and relax for a while. All too soon it was time to go out again. This time it was to go to Bromley to see Rob Todd doing his thing on the busking stage. I think I can admit here, but not elsewhere, that Rob made quite a racket, but he did manage to collect £10 in his guitar case, and he will be matching that figure with his own money, and sending the whole lot off to Shelter - the charity for the homeless. One of his songs, performed rather more musically in the studio, was recorded specifically as a song about homelessness.

Rob Todd at Bromley Market buskers stage
Rob on the buskers stage in Bromley Market Square.

 One of the problem, that turned out not to be a problem, was that Rob's performance was due to finish at 4pm, and that would have left me adrift for an hour before meeting up with the Thursday night drinkers in The Star And Garter pub - conveniently in Bromley too. The answer turned out to be very simple. Rob, his missus, and a few others decided to go to O'Neils for some warm food. They weren't boozing, but I tagged along, and managed to sink three pints before leaving.

three of the
                          Thursday night drinkers
 I had my camera with me for taking pictures of the buskers stage, and it was sensitive enough to take some snaps of my fellow boozers with using flash, and without them realising I was taking them ! In the picture above, Andy is on the left, Paul is in the middle, and the guy whose name I always seem to forget at the crucial moment, like now ! I stayed for just two and a half pints, but that last half pint was a nice (in small quantities) 6.5% porter !

 The traffic getting to Bromley had been very slow, but fortunately it was a bit faster getting home (but not as fast as much later in the evening when all the Xmas shoppers have given up). I was rather looking forward to some food when I got home, and fortunately I had an almost instant solution - reheated vegetable curry and rice. Once again it was pleasant, but uninspiring. That's probably why I also ate the two packs of sandwiches I had bought fom Aldi in the morning. I think I was probably intending to eat those today, but I am not sure when or why. Maybe it just seemed like a good idea to buy them when I did.

 Five and a half pints of booze left me feeling mildly tipsy on the way home, and increasingly hung over in the evening. So like the night before I was in bed far earlier than I needed to be. I tried to get as much sleep as I could, but I probably only managed about 7 hours sleep - one hour less than what I believe to be what I should have got.

 It took some time after getting up to feel like I had really got up, and that I was ready to do stuff. Just after 9am, if I recall correctly, I was washed dressed, and on my way to Pound Stretcher to but some mouthwash, and to the SAM 99p shop to buy some sugar free cookies, and loads of other old junk. Since then I have done a whole lot of relaxing, a whole lot of photo editing, and I have washed a very heavy (when wet) bath towel.

 Now I am feeling very lazy. I could go to a gig tonight, and I really should because Angela will be there, but I haven't made the transition from early nights and early evening to late nights and late mornings yet. With it being so overcast, and dull outside, I pulled the curtains shut at about 3.30pm, and since then it has felt like night - and that bedtime is looming.

 I strongly suspect that before bedtime I will eat some more, and I'll have a couple of big whiskys, but somehow it doesn't feel like I'll be going out. There is still plenty of time to change my mind. I'll just have to see how it takes me at the time. I have no concrete plans for tomorrow apart from a good possibility that I'll be in Bromley taking more pictures of the buskers stage at 2pm. It will be Vince and Dawn Pross on the stage, and they should be worth watching.
Wednesday 21st December 2016
 08:03 GMT

  There was some sunshine yesterday, but I'm not sure there was as much as the forecast seemed to give hope for. Other than that it was dry and rather cool. Maybe the temperature did peak at 7 or 8° C, but it seemed to fall quite fast even before sunset. By 7pm, and maybe even a bit earlier, it was down to 3° C, but that is probably as low as it went because some warmer, and wetter air moved in. At 5am this morning the temperature was 8° C, and it was almost 9° C when I walked to the station at 06:20. Rain is forecast for today, and there was some very light rain, just enough to pepper my glasses, as I walked to the station. The forecast seems certain that the temperature will reach at least 10° C today, but the times when it might, or might not rain, seem to keep changing with every hourly update. The current forecast says there will be a few hours of rain this morning, and then it will stay dry until something like 7pm. From then on it will rain, sometimes quite heavily, into the night. By sunrise, or perhaps soon after, the clouds will break up, and a cool and sunny day is forecast. Current thinking suggest the best we can hope for tomorrow is 8° C.

 Someday will come the day when I feel wonderful again, but it wasn't yesterday, although yesterday was one of the better days. Well, at least I didn't have any temptation to take any pain killers. I did have the occasional twinge here and there, and my chest was clicking and popping as bad as anything, but apart from the momentary twinges, no pain lasted much longer than a second. It all helped to make yesterday feel like a Friday ! I did do some work, quite important work too, but the more important the work completed, the less I feel any hint of guilt about being the laziest bastard at work - EVER !

 Yesterday I said that it was infinitely improbable that I would see Angela last night, but I did leave some wriggle room by also saying that there was still a finite possibility - and so it was. During the morning Angela declared she was feeling frazzled. I merely suggested that I was available after work if she wanted destressing. Late in the afternoon she contacted me to say that it might be nice to meet for a quick drink in The Black Cat when I got back to Catford.

 After two pints of Guinness I suggested that if she didn't need to rush off she could come back to my place where I could show her my "etchings" (which in this case were genuine documents like ancient medical cards from when I was a kid - the latest of which was date 1964, and I think one had a date of something like 1958 !). A couple of hours later a very destressed,  defrazzled, and very cuddled Angela went home !

 Like the night before, I sorted myself out some dinner after Angela went home. We had both eaten a sandwich earlier, but I wanted something more substantial before I went to bed. If I hadn't overdosed on olives it could have been a healthy meal (if you ignore the excessive, as usual, mayonnaise). It was no more than a Tesco ready made "classic salad" (the one without the carrot in it) with some skinless "peri-peri flavoured" chicken. After that I turned off the TV, and went to read in bed.

 I read for a bit past my 9pm deadline, but I don't think it was all that much later when I went to bed. It seems I must have fallen asleep rather quickly because I can't really remember much after turning out the light. It might be that I just can't remember waking up in the night, but as far as I am aware some sort of miracle happened, because the next thing I remember was waking up at 04:50 - just 10 minutes before I would be woken up by my alarm.

 This morning I feel a bit like yesterday - not perfect, but not that bad. Saying that my chest was clicking and popping, and occasionally a little sore is a bit like a stuck record. So this morning I will concentrate on two other things that made me feel less than perfect. For some unknow reason my feet felt sore this morning. It was like I had walked a long way earlier - maybe I went for a sleep walk last night ! Oddly enough, my other discomfort was a mile ache from my right knee - also a sign that I might have taken a long walk. I must look out for reports in the local paper for "Man seeing walking around naked at 2am" or something.

 Today is my last day at work before my extended Xmas break. I won't be back at work until the 3rd January 2017. So today feels like a Friday only worse ! I might have to do some work, but I feel I ought to practice taking laziness to a new level today - not that that is possible. There have been days in the past, quite ssome time in the past, as well as the very recent past, when I have done absolutely no work at all - and been paid for it !

 Tonight there is (in theory) absolutely zero chance of seeing Angela again......I think. So tonight I have to arrange my own entertainment. I have many choices. With no work in the morning I could go to an open mic session in Bromley, but I don't think that's likely. I could still stay up late, and maybe enjoy the rare luxury of a takeaway curry. That sounds tempting, but I could also be sensible. It might be nice to get up early, but after sunrise for a change, so I can go to Aldi (or possibly even Lidl) and get some shopping in before the supermarkets turn into madhouses for the remaining few days before xmas. I could also get a bit of laundry out of the way before I go to Bromley and see the famous Rob Todd terrify the shoppers with thrash guitar playing, and black metal lyrics on the buskers stage in Bromley Market. That is going to be fun - although he does say some of it will be more traditional acoustic guitar style music and singing - but even then I reckon he'll be hitting those strings hard at a great rate !
Tuesday 20th December 2016
 08:00 GMT

  It was pretty grim yesterday. It was cold, although not actually freezing, and it was dull, dull, and duller ! Perhaps it not raining is about the only positive thing you can say about it. Today will see a small improvement - the cloud should thin enough to let a few rays of sunshine through now and then. I've already seen the moon very clearly, and so the idea does seem possible. It will be a few more minutes before the sun creaks it's way above the horizon, and quite some time after that until it might, or might not be visible from my office. Once again it should stay dry, and the temperature is probably going to feel a lot like yesterday - cold, but not finger numbing cold. Most of the day will be just 6° C, but at 2pm, maybe just for a few minutes, the temperature might hit 7° C - according to the recent delusions of the weather forecast. Tomorrow could see the temperature up to 11° C, but the downside is that there will be rain for quite a lot of the day.

 I shot the video above (if you can see it) on my way home from work last night. Pay particular attention to the destinations shown on the display - Clapham Jingle Bells, Deck the Vauxhall, Winterloo ! I guess it brightened up what was otherwise a bit of a dreary commute home. It was only a little while before that, that Angela confirmed she would be coming to see me. That cheered me up immensely after what had been a bland day at work. I guess there was nothing particularly negative about being at work yesterday. Even my aches and pains were mild enough to be ignorable, and forgotten for a lot of the day, but.....well, being at work is being at work, and recently I would prefer to be doing something else than being at work.
box of bottles of beer !
 It was a bit of a mad dash home because I didn't want to be home late. I didn't have to run anywhere when I got off the train at Waterloo, and crossed the link to Waterloo East, but I couldn't afford to loiter. When I got back to Catford Bridge station I made a dash to Tesco to buy Angela a sandwich, plus a few bits and pieces for me. Then I dashed home so I could turn on my Xmas lights, and more importantly, to put some heating on.

 Angela arrived not much more than 15 minutes after I got home, but by then the fan heater in my living room had taken the chill off the room. One of the first things we did was to exchange Xmas presents. It was a bit early, but we opened them. Angela gave me the box of beer pictured on the left. I gave her a 1l bottle of vodka, a necklace, and bracelet and some perfume. I've always been crap at choosing Xmas presents for people in the past, and all too frequently given up because I can't think of anything, but somehow buying Angela's presents seemed easy.

 Angela stayed for a couple of hours, and some serious cuddling went on.... All too soon she had to go, and I had some dinner before preparing for bed. Dinner included two items found in Tesco with a reduced/half price sticker on them. I shouldn't really have eaten either of them - partly because at least one wasn't particularly healthy, and partly because neither was actually very nice. They weren't actually horrible, but they failed to cause any excitement. One was prawns in batter with a sweet chilli dip, and the other was a very posh sounding cray fish tails in some sort of grain with some green leaves, and a chilli and mango sauce. The prawns were OK-ish, although the dip had far too much sugar in it for my needs. The crayfish tails and stuff was amazingly bland and gritty. I think the grain was one of these odd things like quinoa - probably some weed that some mad vegan decided we should all eat or something.

 I could have got to bed a lot later than I did. As I ate I turned on the TV, and to my great surprise there were two things worth watching - both repeats - one of them an ancient, but still good, repeat of The Avengers from back in the 1970s. The other was a rather less ancient QI. I could have been tempted to watch either of them through to 9pm, but I decided it would be better to turn off the TV and get to bed on time.

 As seems annoyingly normal now, though fortunately it only seems to happen a few times a week, I slept through the night in two shifts. I slept well (as far as I can tell) until just before 3pm, and then it took some time to get back to sleep again. I probably slept more than it felt like, but I'm quite sure I didn't sleep well at all when I finally seemed to go back to sleep. The last thing I remember before waking up 15 minutes before 5am (when I intended to get up) was a dream involving my old cat. I was in a kitchen that was obviously my own, and yet had significant differences to reality, when the cat walked in. I knew I had to feed her, and I had to start almost ransacking the place to find a plate and food to put on it. I evidently found both. I have no idea where I put them down, but obviously I did because the next thing I knew was the cat wanted to go out into the garden. The next very odd thing was that the back door was actually a gate, and it seemed I had gained a pet dog too. The dog was guarding the gate, but my cat seemed oblivious to it, and strolled out as if she owned the place - which she probably did !

 This morning I probably feel like I did yesterday morning - creaky, stiff, and with the usual aches and pains. Like yesterday everything is mild enough that I didn't take any pain killers - something I seem to do something like twice a week in the last month or two. My commute into work was no more or no less as tedious as the year in, year out average, and now I'm here at work, and.....I guess I feel mostly OK, but I can't say I feel any joy at being here. Oh well.....looking on the bright side.....we have almost hot the shortest day of the year, and the days will soon start to get longer again (with agonising slowness). Also, I only have to work today and tomorrow and I'll be free, FREE, for a whole 12 days before the cycle starts all over again.

 Tonight I'll be........I have no idea what I'll be doing. Although infinitely improbable, but finitely possible, I may see Angela again. I'll be very happy if I do, but back in the real world I reckon it's more likely that I will wash a couple of shirts, and try to curb my appetite so I can eat nothing but healthy salad and stuff. I suspect the latter is also very improbable, but we can all dream.
Monday 19th December 2016
 07:59 GMT

  Yesterday's weather can be summed up by saying it was cold and gloomy. In theory it was good that it was dry, but I stayed in all day, and so that didn't matter. It probably didn't matter that the temperature was only 8° C at it's best. Today will be little different except that the temperature is only expected to be 7° C. It is currently 6° C, and as I write these words the sun has just risen - not that there is even the merest hint of it in the grey cloudy sky. At sunset the temperature will drop back down to 6° C, and by 3am tomorrow morning it will be just 5° C. Tomorrow may see some sunny periods, but the temperature is still not going to rise above 6° C if the forecast can be believed. Oh well, the shortest day of the year is now just a couple of days away, and after the solstice the days will gradually, oh so gradually, get longer. Today sunrise was at 08:02 - nearly 40 minutes after I got to work - and sunset is at 15:53.

 I didn't feel like doing much yesterday, and yet somehow I managed to achieve quite a few useful things. My thermometer said it was nice and cosy and warm indoors, and yet the gloom outside imparted a chill that seemed to affect more than my brain. It sapped the will to do anything, and enhanced all my aches and pains. There were a few times when my chest developed a few of it's usual post surgery pains, and sometimes I wondered if there wasn't a new one or two.

 Looking back at that it seems amazing that I did anything at all, and yet I did. Most of it concerned tidying up the living room. I seemed to do quite a lot of that. Both armchairs were covered in junk, and now all that junk has been tidied away. The biggest change was cleaning up the mantelpiece. Like any flat surface in my house it had become the dumping ground for all sorts of trinkets, letters, papers, and all sorts of assorted junk. The candles, and the weather station are still there, but the junk, and all the dust has now gone. It is now covered by Xmas cards and some lights.
Xmas cards and lights
 The other thing I did while I spent some time in the living room was to continue my project to transfer video files from a heap of mouldering optical disks (CDs and DVDs which weren't actually mouldering) onto hard disk. It is a slowish process, particularly on a none-too-fast laptop, but I copied 6 or 7 discs, and transferred quite a few gigabytes of date. At the current rate of progress I should have finished this project at about this time next year - the project includes transferring quite a number of analogue video tapes (VHS and Hi8) too, and they can really take a long time !

 I tried to eat healthily yesterday, but failed badly. I only had one proper meal, and that was mostly healthy. It was salad, and only mildly spoiled by having more cheese in it than it needed, and it would have been better if I had used olive oil and vinegar as dressing instead of lashings of mayonnaise. It was some of the nibbles I had that really spoiled my eating for the day. The crisps were bad enough, but I also had chocolate too. In the grand scheme of things I have done far, far worse, but I was sort of trying to do a bit of detox. When I can do it at this time of year it gives me some sort of smug pleasure knowing that everyone else is getting bloated and ill. Oh well, maybe I can do better today.

 The idea that I might see Angela yesterday turned out to be less than microscopic. It was zero with a capital Z. I didn't even hear from her all day. I hope that I will hear something today, and I hope that I will see her after work today, but I have dark feeling I won't - and I am not sure why.

 It would, or could have been sensible to watch some of the video I was transferring to hard disk yesterday. Once or twice I tried turning on the TV for some entertainment, but it seemed like everything that was on was ghastly - or was at the times I checked. It was far more enjoyable to lay back with a book for entertainment (Farmer In The Sky by R. Heinlein). If I didn't have to come to work today I might have read on into the small hours, but I think I managed to put the book down in time to turn out the lights, and get to sleep by, or soon after 9pm.

 I woke up a few times in the night, but I think I slept reasonably well. I woke up feeling slightly refreshed, slightly fragile, but mostly OK. Walking to the station was mostly effortless. I was hoping my train would be a fair bit less full this morning, but I was evidently a bit over optimistic. There were less people on the train, but still enough to use up every seat. I was seated all the way from Catford Bridge, but I stupidly chose a seat where I had to keep squeezing myself up whenever anyone wanted to pass me. That soon had my chest feeling sore.

 I turned all the heating off in my office when I left work on Friday, and it was bloody freezing when I got in this morning. Over an hour later and it is still bloody freezing in here - or at least that is how it feels to me. It's making my arms feel stiff, and is not helping the aches and pains from my chest. To add to the misery even more, everything in here, the desk top, my tools, the arms of my chair, etc, etc, are too cold to touch !

 Tonight I hope to see Angela. If that doesn't happen I will have to find some other way to spend my time. I guess I'll transfer some more optical discs to hard disk, and read more of my book. I am beginning to think that my 12 days away from work this Xmas are not going to be much different to previous years - boring, tedious and lonely. Maybe I am just being too pessimistic. Perhaps only most of them will be tedious !
Sunday 18th December 2016
 08:07 GMT

  Friday's weather was very similar to how it was forecasted. It was mostly grey apart from a brief brighter spell around midday, and the temperature was in the region of 10° C.  Yesterday was very similar apart from two notable differences. I can't recall any sunshine or brightness at all, and late in the evening there was quite a thick fog. The temperature hardly seemed to vary much through the day. It possibly peaked at 10° C again, but the average was probably in the region of 8° C. Today has started very gloomy looking, and my thermometer says the outside temperature is 7° C. The forecast says it will brighten up a bit (but not much), and the temperature will soon be an amazing 8° C - and it will stay that way almost all day. Tomorrow will be dull and gloomy, and just 7° C.

  My works Xmas dinner/party was less awful than I thought it might be. Everybody, except me, left to go to the pub that was the venue for the occasion soon after 12:30. I stayed at work until 2.30pm. I was mostly not working, but I did take in a couple of parcels that were delivered. When I arrived at the venue, which was just 3 or 4 minutes walk away, I found that everybody was still sitting down, but I think they had started their sweet course.

 I claimed a space at the bar in the main part of the pub, and proceeded to start drinking Guinness. Every now and then people would come out the dining room to use the toilet, or go outside for a smoke, and would have a little chat with me. Meanwhile horrible Xmas and other horrible music was being played far too loud for good conversation in the dining room - an opinion shared by quite a few people who came to talk with me. After a few hours I had a small crowd of 4 to 6 people around me.

 I was beginning to think I had drunk enough Guinness, and didn't want to wait any longer when Ainhoha, the Spanish software engineer finally arrived. She had only worked at the company for less than a year before leaving for a more lucrative (I presume) job with Vodafone, and it was only in the last few months that I had got to know her, and I liked her a lot. Evidently she liked me a lot because I was greeted by a big hug when she finally arrived. A few other were hugged too, and were probably hugged again when she or they left. I know I did.
The Shard in lighthouse
 It was 6.43pm when I took the picture above on my way home after the party. The picture is the view from platform A of Waterloo East station looking towards The Shard.  It has been equipped with powerful search lights as a Xmas feature (unless it always does this - I don't think I've seen it at night before). It was quite spectacular, and I wish I had taken half a minute of video of it now.

 Earlier on I had contemplated staying on the train as far as Clock House station, and then getting the bus to Beckenham where Life Of Brian were playing in The Coach And Horses, but it didn't take much drunken mental arithmetic to realise that I would get there far too early. So I went straight home. It is probably just as well that I didn't go on to do any more drinking because I had a bad hangover later in the evening. However, being kept away from food might have been a good idea. I ate an awful lot when I got home.

 If I remember correctly I was in bed, and possibly fast asleep by 9pm on Friday night. I think I slept fairly well, and I was up early the next morning raring to go....actually that might be a slight exageration. On the other hand I did get sort of busy in the morning. As soon as I had showered I put some shirts and stuff in to soak ready for a laundry session later on. I had had a bit of a lie in so by time I was dressed the shops were open, and I went out to do some shopping.

 My first port of call was the newer pawn shop on the main road. I wondered if anyone had tried to raise a bit of money by selling any camera gear in there, but not on this occasion. I then down the road to Cash Generators - the shop where I have bought a couple of good cameras and lenses - but it looks like they may have shut down. That doesn't really surprise me because it always seemed quiet in there. My final destination before home was the new Pound Shop (the one that used to be the 99p shop).

 I went into the Pound Shop for just one item - sellotape - but I knew there would be other stuff I wanted, and there was. I bought a couple of £1 DVDs with SciFi films on them. One of them, the film called "Ejecta" seems to have been universally panned by both the critics and the public. I might have wasted a whole £1 on it. On the other hand it might provide a bit of entertainment on some dreary night.

 The specific reason I wanted sellotape was so I could start wrapping some Xmas presents.  That was my next job. I seem to have a knack of doing an awful job of wrapping if you inspect my work too deeply, but looks superficially OK otherwise. With that done I tackled the worst task of all - washing up all the stuff that was dumped in the sink, and was getting smelly ! It was definitely a rubber gloves job, but I got it all sparkling and clean in the end. The final job of the day was to finish the laundry I had left to soak in the morning. I don't know why, but it seems my shirts need far more rinsing than they used to. Maybe the water is softer at this time of year or something.

 I spent a good deal of the afternoon being lazy. Even my dinner was a lazy preparation. It was basically salad, but I couldn't be bothered to prepare anything elaborate. It was just a couple of sliced (very big) tomatoes, some cucumber, three pickled onions and some very tasty ham. I mainly dressed it with some basil infused rapeseed oil - which was OK, but I am not sure I could detect the basil. A stronger basil flavour would have gone well with the tomatoes.

 One of the things I was going to do in the afternoon was to go into Bromley and take some pictures of a couple of musicians I know performing on the buskers stage in the market square. Unfortunately I just missed a bus to Bromley, and so I decided to go to The Black Cat and find out what was happening in the evening. I had been hoping to see The English Rogues peforming there, but they said the gig was cancelled.

 It was lucky that I walked into the pub just as the manager was about. I asked him what was going on. It seems that he had booked a band for the night without realising that Richard, who generally organises the music, had also book a different band. So there was a gig on, but it was not going to the The English Rogues. The new band was Dee And Brave Soul - decribed as a soul and R&B band. Fortunately R&B was the classic abbreviation for Rythym And Blues rather than the new abbreviation for Drum And Bass (Yes, I know that doesn't work out).

 After doing some intensive relaxation, possible too much relaxation because I felt awful when I got ready to go out, I went to The Black Cat to see this new band. They started with Ben E. King's "Stand By Me", and did it rather well, but from then on they diverged into stuff I had never heard off, and my interest wained. I took some snaps, and quietly excused myself after about their fourth song.
Dee And Brave Soul
 There was talk about a different singer being on his or her way, and that might have been good, or it might have been worse ! There is a spare microphone on the left of the picture above.  To my surprise it was very foggy when I left the pub. I guess I was there for not much longer than an hour, and possibly less. When I walked there I saw no more than a very light mist.

 I stayed up for a good hour or more before I contemplated going to bed. While I reviewed, and edited a few of the 80 odd snaps I had taken I got a bit carried away munching through some "fire grilled" mixed nuts. I only meant to have a few, but they were very, very nice ! I don't think they had any bearing on what came later, but I guess they could have.

 It might have been 11pm, but could have been later, and possibly about the time I might have been coming home on a bus if I had gone on to an alternative gig after I left The Black Cat (an idea that I did consider) when I developed some quite strong stomach pains. I guess it was mostly trapped gas. After 3 visits to the toilet involving much farting, and other stuff, (much other stuff) I felt comfortable again. I would not have liked that to happen while I was trapped on a slow moving bus !

 I'm fairly sure I was fast asleep by midnight, but I only slept for 4 hours before waking up again. I felt uncomfortable in all sorts of way, but not in ways that nvolved a toilet (apart from a small wee). So I got up again. It is the sort of thing I can only do when there is no work in the morning. I spent an hour, maybe 90- minutes, on the internet before going back to bed. I don't think I slept very well from then on, but I did sleep, and several hours seemed to pass by without much effort.

 This morning I feel pretty horrible, and I am glad I don't have to go out today. The heavy grey sky is hardly inviting, and I doubt I will miss much by not going out, and yet it does feel like some exercise might be good. I do feel incredibly creaky right now, and I have an assortment of minor pains. Maybe there is a bit of an ache in my stomach region, and that could develop into another mad dash to the toilet later - or not. I also have the usual pains from bits of my chest, plus one or two that seem less familar. I do wonder if something internal needs some sort of attention from the vet. That could be a project for the new year.

 I think my projects for today are to try and tidy up the living room. If I could get the clutter off the mantlepiece I would have somewhere to display my collection of Xmas cards. It is probably about time I did something with that mantle piece anyway. I also want to transfer more of the date from the clutter of CDR/DVDR optical discs to hard drive so I can throw away those old discs. Other than that, I have plenty to read, and there is a microscopic chance that I may see Angela later.
Friday 16th December 2016
 09:19 GMT

  To my great surprise there was a brief bit of sunshine yesterday, but mostly it was rather dull. It was also dry. As far as I am aware the temperature ranged from about 7° to 10° C. Today the only choice will be 9° or 10° C - with 10° C only available from later morning until sunset. It seems that today, with the small modification of the temperature range, will just be a re-run of yesterday. It will be mostly dull - ranging from mid dull to medium high dull - but there might, or might not, be a brief sunny spell around midday. No sunshine is currently forecast for tomorrow, and the temperature will be a degree or two lower at the beginning and end of the day, but the middle of the day should see 10° C.

  I didn't feel terribly enthusiastic yesterday, but otherwise I felt tolerably OK. My lack of enthusiasm extended to going to meet my fellow Thursday night drinkers. I sort of fancied a beer, but I didn't fancy the extra travelling, and the delay getting home. I still went, and mostly enjoyed myself, but I decided to limit myself to just three pints as I usually do. That meant I went a bit earlier than usual because I arrived at the pub early, and sunk my first pint almost before anyone else got there.

 I think I left the pub at about 6pm, but it took a little while to get home. There were roadworks on Beckenham Hill reducing two way traffic to a single lane controlled by traffic lights. That caused quite a delay. I'm not sure what time I got home, but it didn't seem to take long for it to be 8pm. By then I had eaten my dinner - roasted vegetables, and quite a few ready made sandwiches. After that I had a nice chat with Angela, read some pages from a magazine, and then fell asleep around 9pm.

 I thought I slept well the previous night, but the amount of yawning I did yesterday suggested otherwise. Last night I think I slept badly, and yet at the moment I don't really feel tired at all ! I do know I had lots of dreams last night. One was about arriving at a small railway station, probably on a preserved railway, on a preserved train. The only problem was that the only way to get home was to take a 393 bus to Croydon, and then make my way home from there. I presume the 393 bus exists somewhere, but I don't think it is a route that goes to Croydon, and if it did it would run far more frequently than once every 30 minutes - probably.

 I had other dreams that I attempted to remember, but most have evaporated like most dreams do. I have a vague recollection of one dream that was probably a bit sexy, but I shan't attempt to remember and describe that one. It might, or might not be related to a fragment of dream I remember where I was going up to my bedroom. In that dream my house, at least I assume it was my house, was in a terrible mess. There was a VHS recorder just laying on the floor at the top of the stairs, and when I went into my bedroom I found that someone had set up a bench in there, and there were wood shavings all over the floor. work that one out Dr Sigmond Freud !

Motorhead !
  This morning I feel physically OK - but only judged by recent standards - i.e. bits of me creak and ache, but nothing life threatening. I don't feel so good mentally though. I have a sort of fear or dread, in a mild way, of the work Xmas dinner/party. I'm never good at social occasions, and on previous years I have slipped away quite early. Today I feel like I have to stay late (by my own standards) to see a couple of people who will be arriving late - maybe as late as 5pm. Many people will be partying until the pubs close, and in a few instances possibly later. I won't be partying at all, but I reckon I'll hang around until about 5.30pm.

 I couldn't remember if the email invite said to come in our finest, or fancy dress (or maybe I did), so I came in my finest - Leather biker jacket, black jeans, black trainers, and Motorhead t-shirt. I also tried to put a scowl on my face, but it looks like I am in pain - which I was in a mental sort of way.

 One thing I did do that gave me a very small amount of satisfaction was to come in late. I reasoned that if I was going to be at work late - and it is still work, regardless of whether it is here or in the pub, until I am on the train home again - then I would come in late. I was still up at my normal time, but I had a slightly more relaxed morning before I went out to get a train an hour later than my usual train. It did cost me an extra 90p to travel at peak rate, but maybe that was worth it to arrive at work in daylight.

 We down tools at 1.30pm, and everyone except for me will head off to the pub 5 minutes walk away from here. I'll carry on working - by which I mean doing nothing. I'll give them an hour to finish their meal, and then slowly walk to the pub, and see how few beers I can drink before finally going home. If I was feeling good enough I could go to a gig tonight, but I reckon I'll just go into extreme slob mode when I get home. Once I'm in I won't want to go out. I'll have dinner, have a whisky, and probably go to bed to read. Tomorrow is a new day !

 The more I look at the picture above, the more I hate it. Oh well, it's here now. Maybe next year I can take a better picture.
Thursday 15th December 2016
 08:16 GMT

  It was most definitely sunny yesterday. It wasn't particularly warm though, probably in the region of 12° C, but that sunshine seemed to have profound affects on me. It was about 7° C when I walked to the station this morning. That's probably not bad for this time of year, but the forecast says we are back to average temperatures again for this time of year. From late morning until sunset the temperature is forecast to be 10° C. When I look out my office window it seems like it will be a miracle if it happens, but the forecast reckons the clouds will break up enough to let the occasional ray of sunshine in. The forecast for tomorrow gives a very flat temperature profile. The day is forecast to start at 8° C. It will then rise quite quickly to 9° C before falling to 7° C by midnight and beyond. It will also be extremely gloomy, although it should stay dry.

 All the bright sunshine percolated through to my brain yesterday, and made me feel a mild sort of way. I almost didn't feel pissed off at work ! The sun was almost setting when I walked from work to the station, but it was still very nice. Even though it physically wasn't, it almost felt warm as I walked. It must have been my soul that was warm (although maybe it was my spleen).

 There were no great dramas, or any mad runs getting home, and it was just the usual tedious hour of my life wasted. Just after I got home I received news from Angela that she couldn't come and see me last night. I wasn't really expecting it, and in some ways it was good because I had a few things I had to do, and I did some things I didn't think I would be doing.

Xmas tree with stupidly rushed decorations
 The first thing was to go out again quite soon after I had arrived home. I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up my repeat prescription of all the horrible drugs I take that allegedly lengthen my life. While I was in the neighbourhood I also went to Aldi to buy a few essential, and a few few frivolous items. The one sad thing about going in Aldi was that it seems the French vodka they had a little while ago was just a one off offer. That was a shame because I thought it seemed nice even though I am not really a vodka drinker. Angela, who is a vodka drinker definitely thought it was nice.

 The first thing I did when I got home was obviously to put my shopping away, and the second thing was to prepare dinner. Yet another evening passed when I didn't prepare a huge and sort of healthy salad. I have all the salad stuff I need slowly deteriorating in the fridge, but I had other, meat based, stuff that needed using up first. So I had some liver and bacon, and a rather peculiar pulled beef chilli and rice. I think the latter was a semi posh ready meal bought from Tesco with a reduced price sticker on it. It was nice-ish, but I was a bit disappointed that "pulled beef" was indistinguishable from mince !

 I gave my dinner little more than half an hour to settle in my stomach before washing my hair. It was getting close to needing to be washed, but I didn't think I would do it last night. It must have been the effect of the sunshine during the day. It did seem to energise and enthuse me. I'm sure the next thing I did could only have happened because of that sunshine. I got out my old (artificial) Xmas tree, put it up, and decorated it - badly ! My attempt at tree decoration seemed to be OK while I was standing right up next to the tree, but when I moved back.........

 With the tree up, and with my hair 99% dry it was time for bed. I did two things before I turned out the light. I read for a while, and for some reason I took a couple of Paracetamol tablets. I can't recall feeling any particular aches and pains last night, although maybe my chest felt a bit sensitive. I think I took those painkillers as a precaution. Maybe I made the right decision because it does seem that I slept better last night than I have for ages. I fell asleep very quickly just after 9pm, and I only woke up once in the night for a pee. After I got back in bed I fell asleep very quickly again, and I slept almost up to my alarm going off at 5am. It actually felt like I was awake, but I hadn't opened my eyes when my alarm sounded.

 This morning I do feel moderately good. My chest has given me little discomfort apart from the odd twinge here and there. One strange malady which I can't explain is like an occasional feeling like very mild cramp in my left buttock ! The first time I felt it was while sitting down on the train from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East. I remember it starting, but I can't recall it stopping. I think I just moved position a little and it faded away. I never noticed it again until just now when I started writing about it. There was a definite mild pain in my left buttock...or was there ? On second thoughts it was a pain that started about halfway down my left buttock and ended about three inches beyond where the buttock turns into the leg. I could speculate that it is the result of a trapped nerve, but it's just as easy to write it off as one of those strange things that happen sometimes.

 I definitely won't be seeing Angela tonight, and I reckon I won't be seeing Angela again until next Monday. Tomorrow we have out Xmas dinner and party at work. I will only be paying lip service to it because I want to say hello to a couple of people who left the company this year, and who will be coming along, but I don't think I'll be getting in the party spirit. Even so, I expect I won't be feeling like going out to a Friday night gig after getting home late from work, and on Saturday Angela and I will be going to different gigs. Maybe we can meet Sunday, but it never seems to have happened before. So I hope I'll be seeing her on Monday night. Meanwhile, tonight is Thursday night, and that means meeting up with the Thursday night drinkers in (I think) The Bricklayers Arms in Beckenham.
Wednesday 14th December 2016
 08:15 GMT

  I was almost prepared to say that yesterday was pretty horrible, but then I remembered that, against all odds, the sun did manage to shine quite brightly through a little misty hole in the clouds for at least 10, and maybe even 15 minutes. I seem to remember that there was a brief shower too, but I may be confusing that with the day before. As far as I was concerned it was dry when it needed to be - when I was outdoors. One oddity was that while the afternoon temperature was probably in the region of 9° C, it seemed to get slightly warmer after sunset. My upstairs thermometer was showing 12° C at around 6pm. The temperature did drop again during the night, but not very far. This morning the forecast says it should have been 11° C. I think that was wrong, and it was possibly closer to 9° C. The forecast didn't mention that it would be misty, but it was. Now the sun has risen enough I can see lots of blue patches among the broken cloud. That suggests the rest of the forecast has some credence. It forecasts a nice sunny day with the temperature rising to about 13° C. That is probably not bad - unlike tomorrow. The current forecast for tomorrow shows a very grey day, and the temperature back down at around 9 - 10° C. It's a shame that the forecast I check doesn't show phases of the moon. It looked like a full moon to me.
The moon in a slightly misty
                  sky - Wed 14th Dec 2016
 It's a shame that the mist gave this picture of the full, or close to full, moon a rather soft focus effect.

  I was not happy at work yesterday. It is surprising how small a trigger has to be to leave me feeling very pissed off in these grey winter days. On this occasion I was ordered to prepare an order for some electronic components that will be needed. Once upon a time this was a simple job. Now it involves reams and reams of paperwork, and I just can't be bothered to learn the new proceedure. This order from my boss really annoyed me, and it got me thinking about resigning again. I am still considering it this morning. I chose the very simplest way of getting those components. I went online and ordered them on my own credit card. The order only came to £20, and somehow that seemed a small price to pay compared with the stress of trying to learn a mad system. It's not something I want to make a habit of, but it has allowed me some breathing space.

 In theory I should have been a lot happier when I got home, but I wasn't. I left work something like 5 minutes earlier because I just couldn't be bothered to hang around while I had very negative thoughts about work. The knock on affect of that was that with a bit of running involved I was able to catch the train that runs before my usual train at Waterloo East station. Once again there had been some delays caused by very vaguely identified "signalling problems" somewhere in the UK. The 15:50 train was running about 6 minutes late, and by running down the slope to the platform I just managed to jump on the rear of the train before the doors shut.

 I arrived home about 12 minutes earlier than usual - which was good, but not good enough to calm my troubled soul. It would have soothed my troubled brow if Angela had been able to come and see me, but she is spending a lot of time caring for an old friend who lives alone, and is slowly dying of cancer. In the last few days he has been taken poorly again. At leaqst Angela took the time to phone me up soon after I got home to keep me up to date. It is possible she might see me tonight.

 Last night was the second night when I could have had a large salad, with all the trimmings, for dinner, but didn't. I still had stuff in the fridge that I had bought with reduced price stickers on when I went into Tesco on the way home from work on Monday. I thought it prudent to eat those first seeing as how they would be past their sell by date last night, and possibly on their use by date too. I started off with "blackened chicken on quinoa". It sounded exotic, but in reality it was pretty bland. The next dish was going to be the second Waldorf salad that I mentioned yesterday, but I pulled out the wrong container, and I had coleslaw with West Country Cheddar in it. That wasn't very nice at all. Coleslaw with cheese is normally good, but this stuff was actually very mildly unpleasant for some reason. Perhaps it was going off, but it didn't have a normal going off sort of taste. At least I don't think it did.

 I also had a nibble of this, and a nibble of that during the evening. I feel sure I ate too much, and of the wrong sort of things, and yet I didn't feel full when I went to bed, and this morning I did feel like I had stopped putting on weight, and might have even los an ounce or two in the last week. I felt quite drained last night, and my instinct tells me that I would probably eat more under such circumstances, but it is possible it was the other way around last night.

 I can't remember what time I went to bed last night.I was feeling bored, and mildly depressed, so it was quite early - possibly as early as 7.30pm. Initially it was just to read so I could escape into the world of imagination and adventure (it was a scifi book), but it didn't take long to finish the book, and I have a feeling I was fast asleep by 8.30pm. There is a small possibility it was earlier than that. All I do know is that it felt like I slept solidly until I needed to get up for a wee at just gone midnight. When I got back in bed it felt terribly uncomfortable in all sorts of ways, and my chest was clicking and popping a lot as I moved around. That made my chest sore, and gave the sort of pains that make you wonder if something worse is afoot. I was almost on the point of getting up again to stretch my legs and chest when I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew was that it was 4.45, and almost time to get up.

 In fact it was time to get up according to my bladder. I think this morning is one of the better ones. My chest was less sore than yesterday morning, although it didn't improve so much as I moved around. In fact I had a few mildly painful twinges as I twisted and gyrated in the shower (where "twisted and gyrated" = using the left hand to wash under the right armpit, and vice versa, plus wasshing a few other places that need stretching to reach). One plus point was, as I mentioned above, was that I almost felt like I was microscopically thinner this morning. My waist was no smaller, but my imagination said my gut was slightly flatter. The reality was more like I just felt less bloated, but that's good too.

 I am thinking that I won't be enjoying work today, or perhaps I should say that I will enjoy work even less than usual today. It will be good to be going home again. I do hope I will see Angela tonight, but I am not going to hold my breath. One thing I have to do is to go home via the pharmacy to collect my repeat prescription (note to self - phone pharmacy soon so they can get the prescription ready for me). I think that what I may end up doing is going home first to pick up some bags and my rucksack, and then go round the corner to Aldi after I have picked up my preescription. I'm not sure how all this will fit in if I am seeing Angela. It will be tricky if I we meet in the pub, but I am sure something can be arranged. If I don't see her I might have another go at setting the Xmas tree up. It was something I was going to start last night, but I felt too tired, and too low to do it.
Tuesday 13th December 2016
 08:21 GMT

  Yesterday was most definitely gloomy (but only the weather !). There was one time in the late morning when the sun almost managed to shine, but in reality it was just a very hazy bright area amongst the clouds. Judging from how wet the ground was it must have been raining a fair bit in the afternoon. When I walked to the station there was some very light rain, but it seemed to peter out before I got halfway there. There was some heavier rain when I arrived at Waterloo, but it stopped while I waited for my train at Waterloo East. From then on it was dry - although I have no idea what may have happened once I got home and drew the curtains. I think the temperature may have ended a bit higher than the forecast. My thermometer was reading almost 10° C as much as an hour after sunset. The forecast for today has got steadily worse. Once upon a time some sunshine was forecast, but now it seems that today is basically going to be a re-run of yesterday.

  Yesterday was a very mixed day. Sometimes my chest felt a bit creaky, and sometimes it didn't. Sometimes I felt good, and sometimes I felt a bit gloomy. Sometimes I didn't want to be at work, and sometimes I didn't feel strongly about not wanting to be at work. Whatever the pluses or minuses, it was still good to start going home even if it meant walking in very light rain. I was less impressed when I got to Waterloo East station and found my usual 16:05 train was delayed, and not expected until 16:21 (if I recall correctly). It would have been less irksome if I had not arrived at Waterloo unusually early. Fortunately the 16:17 train was running almost on time, and I was really only delayed by 12 minutes.
Waterloo East station - view
                  from platform A towards The Shard
When I first arrived at Waterloo East station it was pretty gloomy. Looking down the platform I could see The Shard wreathed in misty rain. I was feeling a bit gloomy myself because I had received a text message a bit earlier from Angela saying she didn't think she could see me, but that she would call me later. While I waited on the platform that call came through, and Angela was very unhappy. Very unhappy indeed, but not with me ! She basically told me that she didn't think it fair to lumber herself on me when she was feeling so unhappy, but I said that was nonsense. It was difficult to talk surrounded by people, and after a while I suggested I would call her back once I got home.

 I prepared myself for an unhappy night, but I was no more than halfway home when I got another message from Angela asking if she could see me when I got home. I replied with an emphatic yes, but sort of prepared myself for a different sort of unhappy evening. I then suggested that I could get Angela a sandwich on my way home (I guessed correctly that she hadn't eaten much all day), and after a short hesitation she said yes. I got home at 5pm, and Angela arrived about 15 minutes later. By the time she had had a few cuddles, the sandwich, a large vodka and a cigarette she was relaxed and happy. By the time she went home, over three hours later, we were both very, very happy. It seems our romance, or whatever you want to call it, is back on at full strength. There is no greater feeling than to love and be loved.

 After Angela went home I rustled up some dinner, and it was a bit of a strange dinner. My original plan was to have a big salad, but in the course of buying Angela's sandwich I picked up a few reduced price items. They included a bowl of ready made tuna and pasta, and a Waldorf salad. It was those two items that made up the bulk of my dinner last night. Neither was as healthy as I was aiming for. The Waldorf salad in particular, being part of the Tesco "Finest" range, was full of sugar, salt, fat, and heaven knows what - mainly calories. You wouldn't really expect that from something with salad in it's name. The worst thing is that I bought two of them, and I am not going to let the second go to waste !

 Eventually, and almost an hour later than intended, it was bedtime. I went to bed feeling good, and I think I slept good too.....although I do recall dreaming a lot before I woke up. I can't recall what the dreams were now, but the fact that I can recall so much dreaming, or at least I did when I first woke up, suggests that I was not sleeping all that deeply for a period of time. Of course you can fit in several days worth of imagination in a few minutes sleep. Maybe I was only sleeping very lightly for a few minutes after all.

 I woke up before my alarm again - about 25 minutes early on this morning. My first thoughts were that I may have over done the amount of hugging and cuddling last night. My chest felt rather crushed and sore. Fortunately it only seemed to take a few deep breaths to re-inflate my chest. After that it seemed no worse than any other day. I do love to moan about all my aches and pains, but just on rare occasions I can comment about improvements.

 It was just this morning, as I squeezed toothpaste out of the tube onto my toothbrush that I noticed  that there has been an improvement to the partial numbness that I've suffered to my little and ring fingers of my left hand since my operation in 2013. It seems that my ring finger is approaching normality. Maybe not all the time, and there is still some way to go, but it is definitely far better than it was. The little finger has improved too, but not as much as my ring finger. It is a strange numbness because it is not exactly numb, but more akin to a very, very mild pins and needles. When I feel something with that little finger I can feel the texture of whatever it is, but it is translated into a sort of prickly sensation rather than a smooth feeling. The funny thing is that I noticed the change earlier yesterday without quite realising the significance. I was sweeping some debris off my bench into the waste bin, and I was doing it with the side of my left hand. Some uncounted time earlier that would feel unpleasant, but yesterday it just felt mildly odd. I don't know why I didn't really twig the change then. Maybe it is really possible that I will regain full feeling in those fingers one day. For a long time it seemed like I would be stuck like it for ever, but maybe, and it's a big maybe, that won't be the case.

 One of two things may happen tonight. I think there is a fair chance that I will be seeing Angela again. It is by no means certain at all, and indeed there is a possibility that she will be going out to an open mic night in Bromley, but I think I am in with a fair chance. If I don't see her I might put up my Xmas tree for the first time in years and years. I think there is a chance that I will be able to enjoy a few or more of the days of Xmas this year. It's been a long time since I last enjoyed any of the Xmas holiday !
Monday 12th December 2016
 08:19 GMT

  Saturday was, as the forecast predicted, almost warm, gloomy, and wet ! If I recall correctly, the temperature out did the forecast, and very briefly almost hit 15° C. There was a fair sprinkling of rain through the day, but I think there were spells when it stopped for a while. It was particularly heavy as I walked to the pub at 8pm, but by the time I came out the sky had cleared, and the moon was shining brightly.
the moon at midnight
 The clear sky meant that yesterday morning started off rather cold, but not quite cold enough for a frost. It was also a sunny morning. By 10am the temperature was just over 6° C. There were sunny intervals, or sunny periods (what's the difference ?) for most of yesterday, and the day ended with quite a pretty sunset. The temperature just about made it to a poor 9° C.  Sometime in the night the clouds came back. This morning it is very cloudy, and it has tried to rain at least once. It was surprising that the thick cloud didn't manage to keep the temperature any higher than about 4° C when I got up. The latest forecast says there could be one sunny period at 9am this morning. That seems unlikely because the cloud is so thick and grey that it is still almost like night outside. The temperature could still hit 9° C today, but it is going to be a dull and miserable experience - and it might even rain. Tomorrow should be warmer (13° C), but it is also forecast to be a lot wetter, and, paradoxically, occasionally sunny.

 Much of Saturday feels like a blank. I can't recall doing much at all. In fact I don't think I did much except to spend a fair amount of the day just laying on my bed reading. I did do a tiny bit of tidying up, but not nearly enough, and I did wash out the inside of the microwave oven. It was getting a bit smelly for some reason - something I can't recall my previous microwave oven getting even after it getting a bit grubby inside.

 It wasn't until the evening that I had definite things to do - or thing singular - and that was to go to The Black Cat to watch a Chain gig. It had been some time since I last watched Chain, and it was all very familiar - which was nice, but somehow not quite as exciting as some gigs I've been to recently. I managed to take some good photos, and some not so good photos. I took most of the photos using my Canon EOS 1200D DSLR camera, but I also took a couple with my mobile phone camera. Predictably enough, most of the photos taken on my mobile phone camera were pretty awful, but one out of the five seemed better than a similar one taken on my big camera.

Chain - Black Cat - Sat 10th
                  Dec 2016
Chain at The Black Cat

 The top picture was taken on my DSLR camera, and is sharper, but is also quite grainy. The lower picture was taken on my mobile phone camera. It is a lot softer picture, but there is little grain, and the colour rendition is probably closer to reality.  The camera in my mobile phone, a Wileyfox Spark X, often surprises me. The surprise is how variable it's results are. Sometimes it can pull usable pictures out of difficult scenes, and sometime it can make a complete mess of pictures that should be easy to take. Maybe it is the way I use it. I probably should practice more or something.

 I got home from the pub just after midnight (they were still serving drinks at 11:30pm), and I took the picture of the moon, at the top of the page, on my way home from the pub. It took some time to settle down after the gig, and it took a little while to satisfy my hunger after eating very little since a lot earlier in the afternoon. I treated myself to bacon and baked beans, and it was very nice ! I slept quite well after that, but not for nearly as long as I should have (or at leasted wanted to).

 Yesterday morning dawned bright and sunny. It was till rather cold, but not that cold - or so it seemed initially. My thermometer said it was 6° C and rising. On that basis I threw caution to the wind, and went to Tesco without wearing a coat. It did feel good to be out in the sunshine even if the sunshine seemed ton carry no heat at all. It also felt like I was close to my tolerance of cold temperatures !

 I have been eating far too much lately, and much of that has been bad stuff. While the sun was shining I felt I had the will power to try and do something about it. Instead of bad stuff I bought lots of salad type stuff. It's not going to be a lot of fun eating it on cold miserable nights, but I'll have a go. My two biggest meals yesterday were salad, but I did eat other stuff too. The two worst things were some semi baked mini King Edward potatoes, and a small pack of Sweetfire baby beetroots.

 The potatoes, which came with a sachet of soured cream, were half price when I bought them in Tesco. They seemed like a good idea at the time, but while they were OK, I didn't really enjoy them. Maybe it was guilt that tainted them. All that carbohydrate was the sort of thing I should be avoiding. The beetroots were also not that good for me. They contain a fair amount of natural sugar, but somehow I didn't feel too guilty about eating them.

  After getting back from Tesco I did some barely noticeable tidying up, and then spent hours selecting and editing photos. They will soon be uploaded to Flickr - just like the photos from the previous Saturday will be uploaded there as well - sooner or later. Once again I spent some time laying on my bed reading, and I even managed a small snooze. Eventually it was time for bed, and I managed to discipline myself to go to bed early. Once I tried for it, I was asleep very quickly.

  It is possible that I slept better than I thought last night - but only if the period when it felt like I was awake was actually a dream. My memories of that part of the night are fading away just like a dream, and so I think it may have been a dream that I was thrashing around, and falling in and out of sleep. I think I would feel worse if I had been thrashing around, but I seemed to wake up feeling tolerably OK this morning. Of course my chest still feels sensitive, but on the whole it has been well behaved so far. My greatest discomfort was from very mild constipation - and that was probably more imagined than actual. If I concentrate I can find quite a few aches and pains, but none can make themselves felt through even moderate distraction.

 I have only one plan for tonight - plus a back up plan. In theory I should be meeting Angela, although nothing is set in concrete yet. I am hoping that if we do meet in the pub it will only be for a quick drink before going back to my place for some extra loving. The back up plan, only kicks in if I don't get to see Angela at all. It is to go straight home and sulk ! 
Saturday 10th December 2016
 10:00 GMT

  Maybe, just maybe, the temperature did hit the heady heights of 14° C yesterday, but it didn't seem terribly exciting - although maybe it did have a very subtle effect that I'll mention soon. I made a sort of off the cuff prediction that there might be more than 5 minutes of sunshine yesterday, and there was  - 10 minutes !! Actually it was even longer than that, but because I was indoors with a limited viewpoint through a smallish window, it was not so easy to keep track of it. One thing is for certain, and that was that it was a dry day, and a dry night - although I do fancy there could have been a very brief sprinkle of very light rain around sunrise this morning, but only because the garden path looked like it had become very slightly damp around that time. Move on a few hours and it is, or has been recently raining. It's an almost warm morning with the temperature now up to about 12° C, and heading for 13 or 14° C like yesterday. Unfortunately the most recent forecast says it is going to be very gloomy and rain almost all day. Some of the rain might get heavy. Tomorrow is forecast to be cooler - 9° C - but probably quite sunny.

 I still don't know why I had a sort of gut ache yesterday, It was very similar to hunger pains in some ways, and despite the excesses of the night before it seems it may have been just that. After I had eaten it went away, and has not come back. My other ailment, a crunchy, and sometimes sore chest, was quite intermittent through the day, but it is just possible I may have cured it on the way home from work.

 Last night was one of those seemingly rare times when South West Trains let me down. I am not certain I understood or took in the announcements correctly, but it seems that there was a track problem on one of the branches that caused one train to be delayed (or cancelled), and a train broke down at Wimbledon, the stop before Earlsfield where I was waiting for a train, and also home to a large railway depot - just the sort of place that is rather handy if a train has to break down. It all added up to a much longer wait for a train than usual - probably around 13 minutes.
the moon through thin misty
 While I waited for the train I kept looking at the moon. It was fairly bright against the rapidly dimming sky, but while the eastern part of the sky was nearly clear, it wasn't perfectly clear. The sky was more misty than cloudy. There did seem to be breaks in it, and I was waiting for one to appear in the right place to let the moon appear sharp, but all I could snap was this soft focus, and rather grainy picture.
 The sunset was much easier to capture, and it was rather glorious in all it's pinks, oranges and reds.

 By the time I arrived at Waterloo it was more or less fully night time, and it was also rather late. That is late in relative terms. In the great outer world 15 minutes, or thereabouts is of no significance unless you have missed one train, and are about to miss a second train. Maybe I am less unfit than I thought because I don't think I have ever run up the escalators at Waterloo so fast before - and it was rather easy !

 Well it was easy for my legs. They seemed in good condition, but the vibration seemed to be tearing my chest apart. I thought it was actually a good test to check that all the recent chest pains were actually muscle/ligament/bones/soft tissue and stuff related and not my heart about to explode. It seems the theory was correct because I am still here, although I did suffer some quite strong pain. The worst was at the top of the escalator where I did a sharp right turn to enter the link to Waterloo East station.

 As I made that turn it felt like the two sides of my chest had parted company. I always had this theory that I had split my newly stapled together (or whatever the surgeons did) sternum bone when I carried far too much heavy shopping home soon after coming out of hospital in 2013. I am assured that would have been impossible, but it did feel like I did it again last night - except it didn't originally hurt the first time. It did last night !

 A bit of chest pain, and being slightly short of breath after running up the escalator, didn't stop me going full steam ahead in a desperate attempt to get the next train to Catford Bridge. If I missed it I would have faced a 15 minute wait - which would not be the end of the world - but I was determined to catch the train that was rapidly approaching the station as I rushed through the link. It was both exhausting and exhilarating too, but the best thing was that I made it. I didn't manage to get on the front half of the train, but I got it !

 The odd thing was that in some ways my chest was feeling better than before when I got on the train, and started to relax a bit. It was almost as if something had popped back into it's proper place rather than popped out. It left some tenderness, and it is still slightly tender this morning, but it definitely feels like it did some good when it all went "twang" at the top of the escalators.

 I have no idea how it could be related in any way, but for some reason, and it may have just been guilt after my excesses the previous night, I didn't feel quite so ravenous as usual last night, and while a lot of what I did eat was just pure crap, I ate less than usual. (Usual for these cold dreary late autumn/early winter days). Perhaps one reason for eating less was because I was contemplating going out to a gig last night.

 The Life Of Brian were playing in The Golden Lion pub in Sydenham last night, and I wanted to go, although evidently not with much conviction. I concluded that, like most Friday nights, I just wanted to be a complete slob once I got home after a week at work. So I changed my goal from going to to getting an early night. I did neither ! After resting for a while I decided that I ought to use the spare time to finish selecting and editing the pictures I took at The Stone Blind gig last Saturday. I didn't finish until about 11pm, but at the end of it I found I had 43 pictures that ranged from "acceptable" to "quite good". All I have to do now is to find the time and patience to upload them to Flickr so everyone can see them.

 By the time I finished photo editing I had gone through the tiredness barrier, and come out the other side. I wasn't super alert, but I had to read until midnight to get properly relaxed before attempting to go to sleep. Once I put the book down, and turned out the lights I went through that process of thinking I would never get to sleep for about 1 minute before I was asleep. I thought I slept really well until I realised that I had only slept for little more than 4 hours. I managed to get more sleep after that, but it was rather patchy.

 So far this morning I have washed some work shirts, and a pair of jeans. The latter certainly needed a bit of manhandling, but I think I did a good job on them. Of course I am still doing my laundry by hand because I haven't raised the enthusiasm to investigate why my "new" washing machine won't pump the water out after a wash,rinse or spin. Somehow it just not seem to be a very high priority job.

 At some point today I ought to go out to a supermarket, but I can't decide which one. If I had been up and dressed a lot earlier this morning I would have gone to Aldi, but I fear it is going to be very busy for a lot of the day now. Maybe I might go to Tesco, but they will have bloody Xmas music on to grate on everyone's nerves, and cause tempers to fray, and misery to be generated, and it too will probably be very busy. Maybe Iceland might be an option.

 One thing I ought to do today is to clean up the living room. At the moment it is a complete mess where I have started to clean it up. That might sound illogical, but part of the clean up process is to transfer loads of date from home burnt CDs and DVDs onto hard disk, and scrap the CDs and DVDs. They are currently scattered on the floor together with a sprawled out bin liner for them, and other crap as necessary. I will try and finish copying that data across today, and maybe even hoover the carpets if I feel really enthusiastic.

 Tonight I have a nice treat. Chain are playing in The Black Cat. I've missed so many of the gigs because I now spend most Saturday's in The Black Cat, but now they are back in my local ! The only sad thing about is that Angela won't be there. She will be supporting her daughter, and The Life Of Brian who are playing in Biggin Hill (or is it Keston ?) tonight. 
Friday 9th December 2016
 08:29 GMT

  Yesterday probably was the warmest day we have had for a week or more, but it was spoiled by the wind. When I left work the wind was not particularly strong, but there was enough of it to make 12° C feel cooler than it was. Maybe the wind died down soon after leaving work because I wasn't really aware of it later, and while it didn't feel warm, there was a sort of absence of cold. Other than that, it was quite a gloomy sort of day, and there was one quite light, and quite brief shower early in the afternoon. A very cloudy night meant that this morning was barely cooler than yesterday afternoon - about 11° C. This afternoon should see the temperature hit 13° C, and apparently 14° C would not come as a great surprise. There is even the possibility of some sunshine - maybe more than 5 minutes of it ! Tomorrow we may start slipping back into winter. The temperature may fall a few degrees, and the clouds even more gloomy, and it might even rain for a bit - or the forecast could completely change at any moment.....It has !! The latest forecast says we could have a couple of hours of sunshine later this morning. Tomorrow is now forecast to be the same temperature as today, but the high of 13° C will last a lot longer. The worst thing is that it will rain all day - from before dawn to well after dusk. Ughhhh !

 My chest felt a bit crunchy yesterday, and I didn't fancy rushing around too much, but I did anyway. I didn't really need to though. It would have made little difference if I had walked to Earlsfield station just a little bit slower. It was handy rushing for a train at Clapham Junction station. I saw a train to Victoria just pulling into the platform, and walked quite quickly to catch it. Strike action on Southern Trains meant their trains were not guaranteed, but I think there was another only five minutes later. At Victoria I had a good 10 - 12 minutes to spare, and had I been feeling bold I could have gone into The International Cheese Shop and bought some exotic cheese. Maybe one day I might pop in there.
Xmas tree at Shortlands
 I was the first to arrive at The Shortlands Tavern, and I discovered a rather pleasant beer in there. I can't remember the name of the brewery, but the beer was called Gothic Dark. It was a special seasonal mild - or so the beer engine handle clip said, but at something like 4.8% it was a bit strong for a mild. It was actually more like a dark seasonal ale which had a quite pleasant dark chocolate after taste.

  I only intended to have three pints last night, but when I checked the National Rail website I found that the train I wanted, at approx 6.30pm had been cancelled. So I had another pint, and left the pub to get the approx 7pm train feeling very slightly drunk. On the way back to the station I took a snap of the Shortlands village Xmas tree. I think it was the same last year, but I took a better snap of it last night. It is a tree made entirely of lights hung from a pole, and I rather like it.

 I have a feeling my train was officially late, but it arrived when I expected it. What I didn't expect was that it would be one of Thameslink's new class 387 trains. I can't for the life of me remember if I knew they were running them on the services from Sevenoaks (serving both Shortlands and Catford stations). The surprising this was that they had an air of being more well used, as in a few frayed ends,  than the much earlier class 319 trains that form most services. It made a pleasant, and what I think were downgraded 1st class seats were quite comfortable.

Thameslink class 387 train at Catford Station
class 387 Thameslink train departing Catford

 I felt starving hungry when I arrived back at Catford. This is the other unfortunate side effect of drinking on an empty stomach. It sort of left my shields down, and I found myself unable to resist the draw of the fried chicken shop. At least I was able to restrict my order to just chicken and chips with no extras. The annoying thing is that I think I have somehow trained myself not to enjoy chicken and chips like I used to. It was nice, but I had far better stuff in the fridge that could have been zapped in the microwave, and ready to eat in minutes. I should really have done that.

 The problem is that I am now suffering from all that excess last night - both the beer and food. At least I think I can blame then for a very poor night's sleep - maybe with a side portion of blame for me leaving the heating on low when it wasn't a very cold night. I think half the reason I was thrashing around in bed was because I was too hot with the duvet over me (and to cold if I threw it off completely). This morning I feel pretty horrible. My chest aches, and a few other bits ache too - including one or more organs in the general area of the belly (but probably just my gut).

 Tonight I have to try and find the energy and enthusiasm to go out. Well maybe I have the enthusiasm, but I do suffer a terrible inertia once I get home on a Friday after a week at work. I just want to be a complete and utter slob. Tonight The Life Of Brian* play in The Golden Lion pub in Sydenham. It is an easy pub to get to - about 20 minutes on a 202 bus from outside Catford Bridge station. I have no idea what the pub is like these days. The last time I went in there was probably in something like 1979. It would have been at lunchtime in the company of workmates, and we would have gone to see the strippers in there !

* It may not actually be The Life Of Brian, but Miranda, Angela's daughter is the lead singer.

 Yesterday I suggested I would show the video of "The Belldrinkers" as it appeared on The One Show on BBC 1 yesterday. Well, here it is. The video bit rate is a bit higher than I usually try and use, but hopefully it won't buffer too much (except here at work where it sometimes feels like we are on dial up internet because someone in the Development department is either watching high definitions movies all day, or downloading loads of naughty torrents !).
Thursday 8th December 2016
 08:14 GMT

  There was always that hope that the slightly higher temperatures may have felt good yesterday, and they both did and didn't. It was more an absence of cold rather than a feeling it was any warmer. It would have helped if it had been a brighter day, but like today will be, it was mostly depressingly gloomy.
this is what today's weather
                  may, or may not be like
 Today is going to be even less cool (which is the pessimistic way of saying it will be very slightly warmer) than yesterday, but like yesterday it is going to be dull, dull, dull, and dull ! Right now, half an hour after sunrise, it is so gloomy that it is not that far removed from still being night time. Oh well, at least it looks like tomorrow may be less gloomy, and maybe Sunday will be semi bright. It's a shame about Saturday. If this forecast holds good for a few days, which I'll admit is highly unlikely, Saturday is going to be a not quite cold, but dreadful day !

 My biggest source of discomfort yesterday was my shoes. I got the usual twinges from my chest, and if I had been sitting down for a long while my legs would get very stiff, but they are such everyday occurrences that I only moan about them for practice. Meanwhile, my fairly expensive (if I recall correctly), genuine Vans trainers, the type favoured by skateboarders, and other unhealthy types who like running around and such like, were actually grinding a bit of skin off my second to little toe on my left foot. I have to confess that was unusual, and I thought I would only be complaining about how they seemed to fit, didn't nip, didn't chafe, and somehow still felt (mildly) uncomfortable to walk in.

 I think my feet became semi numb to any discomfort on the way home from work, or at least they didn't seem to discourage me from detouring via the SAM 99p shop to pick up some bleach, mouthwash and gluten free crisps. yes, gluten free crisps ! I was not aware that crisps had any gluten in them. I thought gluten came from wheat, and probably other cereal crops. So I was curious about how these crisps were any different to any other crisps. Maybe there was one difference - they reminded me of the plain crisps I used to eat as a young kid before the explosion of flavours we get now. Maybe some of those flavours are carried on flour, and that adds gluten to other crisp, or maybe those gluten free crisps were just the product of adventurous marketing - like "The New Ford Cortina - now with less dead bodies in it !!!".

 I did far less than I anticipated doing when I got home last night. Obviously I had my dinner, and as you can probably guess, I wolfed down a not particularly small packet of gluten free crisps, but what took up a chunk of time was the torture of watching "The One Show" on BBC 1 at 7pm. There was one article I wanted to see (and record) on there. It concerned The Belldrinkers. They are based in The Five Bells pub in Chelsfield, and in recent Xmas's they have recorded a Xmas song. This would be of little interest to me except that the man who wrote the words was Dave Griffiths, and he used to occasionally play keyboards for Chain - so I know him. This year their Xmas song was a rather grand production, and using their friends network they managed to do some of the recording, or post production, in the famous Abbey Road studios. It came to the attention of the BBC somehow, and so they appeared on The One Show. It was super tedious watching the stuff prior to The Belldrinkers, and even that only had a mild curiosity factor.

 The good thing was that I did get quite a good recording of the article, and I'm not sure why I have only just thought of sharing it here. Oh well, maybe tomorrow. There were only two other things I did of note last night. One was to wash my hair, and the other was to start reading one of four books I recently bought as insurance against a long boring Xmas break (which might not be quite as boring as I thought it might be). I wasn't in the right mood/I felt too tired to do the one thing I thought I ought to do - editing photos - so I went to bed quite early, and started reading.

 Maybe I was not quite as tired as I thought I was, or maybe the book was too distracting, but it was definitely quite some time after 9pm before I put the book down, and turned out the lights. On the other hand, maybe I was very tired because I can't seem to recall anything after turning the lights out. It was as if I felt asleep almost instantly - I think that was indeed what happened. It seems like, and maybe with the usual caveats it even feels like I slept unusually well last night. I can recall a few hazy memories of waking up, but I might have been dreaming. I finally woke up properly just in time to silence my alarm before it started to sound.
overcrowded rail travel
 I felt strangely OK when I got up, and even brushing my hair, and showering, both actions requiring waving my arms all over the place (sort of) failed to elicit the usual aches and pains. It was just as well that I was feeling moderately good, because this morning I had to endure the crush of another 4 coach train from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East. This morning I was lucky enough to stake out a position right at the back of the carriage rather than being stuck in the doorway. That meant that I was able to grab a seat when the usual reshuffle happened at Lewisham - it's the fist place where a fair number of people get off to change to The Docklands Light Railway. The last time this happened we had to leave some people behind at Ladywell because they just could not force their way onboard. Today we had to leave people behind at Lewisham too !

 While I mostly felt OK, I did get some discomfort from my chest when walking, and I am beginning to wonder if it is just a mechanical thing, such as all the vibration when bounding down the stairs, or if it is something akin to Angina. One of these days I'll get a doctor to check it out, but by then it might be spring. The sun may be out, and I won't be bathing all my joints, ribs, muscles, and stuff in cold damp air !

 Tonight is Thursday night, and boozing night ! The venue for tonight is The Shortlands Tavern - one of the less difficult to get to venues. Well normally it is easy enough to get to, and even easier to get home from, but maybe it won't be so easy to get to tonight. My usual route from work involves getting a Southern train from Clapham Junction to Victoria, and then a train more or less direct to Shortlands station. That could be tricky today because a lot of Southern trains are on strike. My alternative route is simple, but a bit gutty. It's an inevitable crowded London Overground train from Clapham Junction to Denmark Hill, and then a (sometimes) close to crush loaded Thameslink train from there, stopping at every bloody station all the way to Shortlands. Oh well, at least there will be beer there when I get there !
Wednesday 7th December 2016
 08:30 GMT

selfie taken under what should have been a
                steely grey sky, but the camera seems to have it's own
                idea of what sky should look like  Yesterday was not all that bright, but the temperature going up to 10° C was noticeable, and sort of nice - although that did depend on how much wind there was. Mostly the wind was very light, but it was only when it was relatively still that it felt almost, sort of, with a bit of imagination - warm !

 The sun setting ever earlier is still the most annoying feature of the "weather". Obviously it is nothing to do with the weather as such, but the reduced hours of daylight must impact the weather. The second most annoying thing is that my mobile phone camera seems to have a better idea about the colour and intensity of the sky than reality does. The picture on the left is supposed to show what a dull grey sky it was as I waited for my first train home at Earlsfield station last night.

 This morning started off grey (or was grey once the sun had finally started to rise), and it seems there was probably a light scatter of rain before I left home to come to work. I did feel a hint of dampness on my face as I walked to the station, but only for the first couple of minutes. It was probably a little cooler than expected. I was expecting 10° C, but in reality it was probably just a little short of 9° C. That made it feel a bit cool, but not actually cold.

 It seems there is a chance that the sun might break through the clouds for a short while around 11am, but most of today is forecast to be overcast. Nevertheless, the temperature is still expected to rise a bit. Maybe not to 13° C, as yesterday's forecast for today predicted, but 12° C still seems very likely. Perhaps we will see 13° C tomorrow, but it is forecast to be another murky day - probably with no sunshine at all. There might even be a light splash of rain at some random time . Apparently that could happen today as well, but it doesn't feel likely for some reason.

 I was hoping that I might be able to see Angela again after work yesterday, but it was not to be. So I went to Tesco instead. Actually I would have gone to Tesco anyway because I was getting short of some foods. My shopping in there was not remarkable. What was remarkable was what happened when I came out of Tesco. There seemed no obvious reason for it, but it was one of those strange times when I really wanted to light up a cigarette. I can't recall thinking about cigarettes in the previous 24 hours, and nor can I think of anything that may have made me think of cigarettes, like the smell of cigarettes in the air. It was just this notion that seemed to pop up from nowhere in my brain that said I wanted a smoke. Of course I didn't have one - and couldn't anyway because I didn't even have a lighter with me, let alone any cigarettes. By the time I got home, some 6 or 7 minutes later, the idea that I wanted a cigarette had completely evaporated like memories of dreams do after waking up.

 Going home via Tesco delayed me a little bit, but I still had plenty of time to kill before bedtime. The obvious, and necessary way to kill that time was to do something important, and selecting and editing photos taken on Saturday night was the obvious choice. I took over 1000 snaps on Saturday night, and that is a lot to go through to select the very best of them. One reason why I took so many is that I had my camera set to burst mode. It is very useful to do this when the stage lighting changes so rapidly that it is difficult to anticipate a time when your subject is best lit. So many of the photos are in batches that contain almost identical pictures. On Saturday this idea was made worse by the fact that I had switched off the facility to save each snap as both a jpeg and raw file. Raw files can be more versatile, but take up far more memory space, and I rarely use them. The jpg files are approx a quarter of the memory size of a raw file, and this means that sequences of pictures are taken much faster in burst mode, and that is how I came to take so many snaps - I just held the shutter button down for a second, and the camera took about 10 pictures !

 It is somewhat ironic that on Saturday night I took some pictures that could have benefited from being processed as raw files. Fortunately with so many pictures to start with, there are probably alternatives to all but a few pictures it would be nice to use if they weren't so poorly taken. Last night I think I went through about a third of all the pictures, and from those I selected just 20 that were either well taken, or showed a pose, or something, that was unique enough to show in less than good quality.

 I finally got to bed at gone 9pm, and it was probably getting close to 10pm before I fell asleep. I first woke up again close to 1am, and I felt sort of rotten. I didn't fancy getting straight back on bed after a visit to the toilet (although that was not the reason why I felt rotten), and so I spent 20 minutes or so on my PC before getting back in bed. For thirty seconds there seemed to be no chance that I would ever get back to sleep - and then I was. I woke up just 2 minutes before my alarm was due to go off. That was rather good, and I even felt rather good.

 Of course that feeling didn't last long. By the time I had showered and dressed I was feeling fairly rotten, and coming to work didn't make me feel any better. In several ways I felt even worse. One of the worst ways I felt so bad was also one of the least significant ways. For reasons known only to bits of my brain I have no conscious access to, I am wearing my red Vans trainers this morning. Vans look so comfortable when other people wear them, and yet I find they are uncomfortable in practice. The weird thing is, is that there is no obvious reason why they should be uncomfortable. They don't run anywhere, and the don't pinch anything. The sole feels even with a slight spring in it, and by any metric they should be comfortable, but for some undefined reason they are not. It feels like every step has to be taken with care, and it always feels like the brakes are on when walking. I have no idea why I should be so stupid as to want to wear them today. They would be fine if I just wanted to nip out to one of the local shops, or even the pub, but they just sort of piss me off as a shoe to come to work in.

 Of less significance, but of more annoyance, is my chest. It seemed to be behaving itself when I got up, and I attributed this to the warmer weather. I had the first hints that all was not well when I was showering. I could feel my chest clicking and popping as I moved my arms around to wash here and there (and also when I was brushing my hair). It did become a little painful as I walked to the station, but not when I did the fast march from Waterloo East to Waterloo station platforms. The next time it became particularly uncomfortable was when I was bounding down the stairs at Earlsfield station. That set me up for it to ache all the way to work.

 Now I am here at work there is still a mild residual ache, and past experience suggests it will stay with me for a lot of the day now. Well we are now just coming up to halfway through the working week. So not long to suffer now, and maybe if tomorrow does hit 13° C it will make more than my chest feel better - assuming it doesn't rain. That could make it worse. Of course all this could be a dream. There is evidence that I didn't go home last night, and was stuck on my PC here at work all night. This was the view on a video monitor this morning......
thermal image of myself
 The picture on the video monitor is an image taken by a thermal camera. I definitely recognise myself in this picture, and it was the first thing I saw when I came into my office this morning, or woke up in my office this morning !  In the video image it is the darker colours that are hottest. The black rectangle is my computer monitor, and indeed it is quite warm. Notice how bright it is around my knees. My knees always feel cold when sitting in this office even when the air around face height feels quite warm.

 I would love to see Angela after work tonight, but it will be impossible tonight - at least I think it will be impossible. She is almost certain to be going to Geoff's open mic night at The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham. I would love to go myself, but I can't when I have work in the morning. So it seems tonight I will be selecting and editing yet more photos taken on Saturday night. I have done about the first third so far, and I am wondering if I should ignore the middle third and go straight to the last third. All the best bits happened in the last third of the show. Some of it I have on video, but provided I wasn't too drunk it is possible I took a few good snaps of Stone Blind's grand finale.
Tuesday 6th December 2016
 08:27 GMT

  As the forecast promised, there was a bit of sunshine yesterday afternoon. Even the temperature forecast was about right. It felt chilly, and 6° C feels chilly, and so therefore it must have been 6° C. After sunset the temperature dropped further than I believe the forecast predicted. It wasn't quite cold enough for a frost, but at around 2 - 3° C it came pretty close. If the rest of the forecast for today is approximately right it will stay a bit murky this morning with patches of mist, and a misty sky. Soon after that lifts it will become far more overcast, and the temperture could rise to 10° C. It supposed to stay that high through the night, and tomorrow could end up at 12° C, although it will be an overcast day. The day after might even hit 13° C, but sadly rain is forecast.

  I felt quite excited going home from work because the improbable had turned into the definite. The little itch in the middle of my brain had been right all along even though I hardly dared think about it. I got a message from Angela asking if I would like to meet for a couple of drinks after work. I certainly did !
The crescent moon viewed
                  from Earlsfield station
 As I waited for my train at Earlsfield station the eastern sky was already getting dark as the sun set. The crescent moon looked bright and sharp to my eye, but maybe less so to my camera. It must have been about 18 minutes later that I was standing on Waterloo East station waiting for my train to Catford, and the best view was to the west where the sky was still bright. There were some isolated clouds and they were just lighting up with glorious pinks, oranges and reds.
pink, orange, and red
                      clouds at sunset viewed from platform A at
                      Waterloo East station
 The trouble with this modern world is that there is such a shortage of housing that blocks of flats are springing up on any bit of spare ground, and that spare ground is often by the railway. It really restricts the view from the train, but there is one place just before New Cross station on the train from London Bridge where there is still a good clear view to the west. As we passed that point the sky over in the west was an incredible crimson colour. It was rather glorious, but almost impossible to photograph from a fast moving train with less than transparent windows.

 When I got to The Black Cat I found that Angela had arrived first, and there was a pint of Guinness waiting for me on the table. To my great relief and happiness it seems I have been mostly forgiven for upsetting her, and I don't really know why, but she said she could understand, in principle at least, why I had originally voiced the views that had upset her so much. It was terribly unfortunate that I happened to say them when she was particularly vulnerable, and unable to debate ot explain things to me. Last night she very much appreciated that I had taken the trouble to research something about the topic that had caused the trouble.

 It's all been a bit of a setback, and I would guess we are now back at the stage when we were both about to fall seriously in love with each other - not that either of us have actually stopped loving each other. We ended up staying in the pub for longer than either of us thought we would. I had three pints of Guinness, and Angela had three large vodkas. I guess we were both starting to get mildly drunk by then, but I don't think it contributed much, if indeed anything, to the amount of hugging and kissing that went on outside the pub as we said goodbye to each other. I really love my Angela, and most amazingly of all, she loves me !

 I went home feeling rather good, and rather hungry too. I can blame the Guinness for that. I had a fair bit of curry - Tesco ready meal style - when I got home, and then I attacked some tortilla chips with some strong cheddar cheese, and there was something else I ate that I can't seem to remember for some strange reason. There didn't seem to be much time after that to do anything else of any significance, and so I went to bed. I read for a bit, and was probably asleep a little before 9pm.

 I slept well initially, but as usual I started to sleep less deeply, or not at all from as early as 3am. It was sometime during that latter time that I had a long series of dreamlets that ended up as a sort of nightmare. All the little dreamlets merged into one long story line that, like TV/Cinema drama, involved lots of cuts and scene changes. I think it started off with me being in hospital, but I can only remember snatches of the part where I had recovered from whatever I was in there for, and was getting ready to go home. It was almost like a dream where you are naked, but in this case I think I was wearing a hospital gown. My quest at that point was to try and remember where in the hospital I had left my clothes.

 At one point I visited a ward that was accessed from a door on the high street. It was called the goon ward, and by some strange twisted semantics that only work in dreams, goon was the shortened version of Going Out. I didn't find my clothes in there, but I was distracted from looking for clothes by a new spectacle. One of my workmates was attempting to fly a helicopter. For some reason he was taking off from what was something not too disimilar to a cherry picker, or similar equipment used by builders to access high places.

 It seems there were two rather bizzare ways a helicopter (or helicoper-like thing) could take off from this platform. The first was for the cradle it was in to tip over, and tip it out. The second was bizzare in the extreme. It turned out that the cherry picker (for want of a better name) was jet propelled. So this very narrow, very high, very unstable platform roared off into the distance at huge speed, and as it braked to avoid hitting the building in front of it, the helicopter thing was thrown out. Unfortunately it hit some overhead wires, and my workmate was thrown clear. He landed on his head from about 100ft up, and was obviously terminally broken. I think the dream carried on after that, but I can no longer remember it.
crush loading on the train
Despite bad dreams in those last couple of hours of sleep, I feel semi good this morning. Part of the reason is that I am still on a high after having such a good time with Angela yesterday, but like some recent morning, I don't seem to ache too much. The wost thing was just a mild tendency towards a bit of stomach upset. I wasn't sure I would be comfortable as I came to work, and indeed there were a few moments when the idea of having a toilet handy would have eased some worry, but it would still have probably gone unused.

 This morning was not a good morning to feel bad. Southeastern Trains couldn't manage to find anything bigger than a 4 car train this morning. As I remarked the last time this happened, the journey to work is usually quite a cosy one since they reduced the normal size of the train from 10 or 8 cars to 6 cars. Trying to squeeze us all into 4 cars is just impossible - definitely impossible when we got to Ladyweel station. No matter how hard people tried to push their way on board we had to leave some behind who just couldn't manage to get on.

 One stop later, at Lewisham station, more people got off than got on, and from there to London Bridge station the train was just merely packed rather than packed solid. I took the rather out of focus/motion smeared picture as we were approaching London Bridge station. It doesn't really convey just how crowded it was. I think that was because it was such a high shot. There was indeed still a lot of room on the ceiling, and in the luggage racks, but no one has learned to sit on the ceiling yet !

 I am not sure what I am doing this evening. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw Angela again, although we made no plans along those lines last night. If I am lucky enough to see her, I think there is a chance that we will go back to my place for a sandwich, or some sort of light dinner/snack and an extra cuddle. If that doesn't happen then I guess I ought to pull my finger out and get editing the photos I took on Saturday night.
Monday 5th December 2016
 08:05 GMT

  Saturday was quite typical of recent days. It was bright and cold. The daytime temperature was somewhere in the region of 5 - 7° C. By midnight the temperature dropped to around freezing, and a frost formed. Yesterday was almost the same as Saturday, but I think there was probably even more sunshine. Not that the extra sunshine added any extra warmth to the day. The sky was very clear when I walked to the station this morning, and of course there was another thick frost. The forecast said that mist or even fog would form once that cold air met some slightly warmer and wetter air that is heading our way. It seems to still be very clear now, but maybe that mist or fog might still form. The current forecast still says mist for the next couple of hours. That is supposed to be followed by a few hours of sunshine, but by 2pm it will cloud over. The temperature should climb to about 5° C, with maybe a brief period of 6° C, but as the (invisible) sun sets the temperature will drop a few degrees, and from 8pm to midnight, or beyond, it is supposed to be misty. By tomorrow morning the temperature will have risen again to 5° C. The rest of tomorrow is forecast to be very dull and murky, but that warm(ish) wet air will raise the temperature to 10° C, and keep it there throughout the night. It would almost feel warm in bright sunshine, and no wind !

 Moving around washing machines was not as bad as I expected yesterday. Getting my old one out with just Chris to help me took a bit of muscle, but we got it successfully parked in the front garden before driving over to Kevin's place to pick up the new washing machine. With Kevin to add a bit of muscle it was fairly simple to transport it. When we arrived back at my place a miracle had happened. I didn't have to worry about the disposal of the old washing machine because in the 45 minutes that it was unattended it had been taken away by some unknown "pikey" scrap dealer.

 Somehow Kevin and Chris managed to carry the washing machine through the house, and that made life a lot simpler. It didn't take long to plumb it in, and we gave it a test. I threw in a double duvet cover, added some detergent, and set it off on a cool wash for non colour fast cottons. It all seemed to work, and there were no water leaks. Chris and Kevin then left, and I watched the machine for a bit longer. It all seemed happy, and so I decided to take a chance and pop out to Tesco to get some shopping.

 When I got back with my shopping I found the machine had gone into alarm mode with red lights flashing all over it. This is one of the troubles of modern microprocessor controlled stuff. The "brain" inside spends half it's time checking all sorts of sensors, and if it discovers something it doesn't like it throws a brain storm. In this particular case it couldn't seem to pump the water out. At this point in time I have no idea why, but I have a vague recollection of hearing that machine like this can get upset if they detect the slightest bit of back pressure in the outlet hose. My old machine would do it's best to blow/wash out any small blockage, but this new machine has a nervous breakdown, and goes into a sulk. It could be as simple as a blockage in the output sieve/filter.

 I haven't checked for possible blockages as yet. It is tricky to do when the machine is full of soapy water, and when the filter inspection hatch is at floor level. I'm not sure I can get down that low at any time ! The first thing I had to do was to rescue my duvet cover. That meant opening the door and accepting the flood of soapy water that would gush out. I managed to collect some of it in a bucket, but there was still a big puddle on the floor - and a good reason not to kneel down to open the inspection hatch. Having got the duvet out I bailed out as much soapy water as possible, but there is still a fair bit in there - and still is.

 I had to do something with the washed, but not rinsed Duvet cover, and I did. It took a good 5 or 6 rinses before I was happy that most of the soap had come out of it. It is very hard work hand rinsing and wringing a double duvet cover, and what with man handling the washing machine, I found I had aches in places I haven't had for some time. Oddly enough it didn't seem to cause any extra aches from my chest, and in act my chest seemed to feel better than normal for the rest of the day.

 It didn't seem long before evening started, and I got myself ready to go to the Black Cat to see Stone Blind playing there. I wasn't 100% sure I would be going because I knew that Angela would want to go, and I did offer to not go if my presence would cause her any hardship. She told me not to be silly, and in fact she greeted me quite warmly when she arrived there. To my surprise she was even more warm to me at the end of the gig. We had quite a long hug, and she kissed me on the lips several times. It seems things are slowly thawing between us. Whether we will ever resume our love affair is a mystery, but lately I feel it is no longer an impossibility, just slightly improbable.

 The gig itself was rather splendid, and there was a really friendly atmosphere there. Even Mathew Murphy, the bass player stopped his usual scowling and adopted a big grin - not as big as his brother Dam Murphy's grin though - Dan, the lead guitar player, and lead vocalist on some numbers, was grinning like a Cheshire cat ! There were two sad things towards the end. The first was that some people thought the gig would finish, and the pub close at 11pm, and starting drifting away shortly before then. In fact the gig didn't finish until about 11.45, and they were still serving beer then (I think The Black Cat is licenced to midnight).

 The second sad thing is that I was videoing the last couple of songs. Halfway through the final song, when it was all getting enjoyably mad, I handed the camcorder to Dan, and one of us, probably myself, managed to click the record button to stop recording. We lost what would have been some amazing footage. Fortunately some survived. Here's two clip. the first is the second to last song. It's the weirdest version of Rock 'N' Roll ever, and the second clip is the grand finale !

 I was really buzzing when I got home from the gig - because the gig was so enjoyable, and because the warm way that Angela said goodbye to me (she was also wearing a little silver necklace I had given her as a peace offering the week before). It was possibly the closest I had come to not wanting any food for ages, but of course many pints of Guinness proved my undoing, although I didn't eat that much, and a pack of Tesco chicken and bacon sandwiches was probably a little healthier than fried chicken and chips. I slept quite well afterwards, although not for as long I think I would have liked.

 I did feel that it would have been nice to go out into the bright, but cold sunshine yesterday. Unfortunately I had too much to do. There were the videos to prepare, and I seemed to take an unusually  high number of photographs to review and edit. I did the videos, and I did make a start on the photos by editing just one, but I managed to distract myself by resuming a job I started earlier in the week (or was it the Sunday before). The job was clearing up a pile of assorted stuff stacked up by my TV. Prior to yesterday I had thrown a couple of small pieces of junk away, but I got sort of stuck when I considered all the CDR and DVDR, home burnt disks with TV programmes and movies on them I had accumulated. I decided that it would be better if they were all stored on hard disk instead of heaps of disks in dusty disk holders.

 To facilitate transferring those optical disks to hard disk I thought it might be useful to copy them onto a laptop downstairs rather than lug them all up into my bedroom to clutter that up. It seemed like a good idea to test a solid state hard disk I had found in the road. I can only guess that someone had thrown it away because all the files on it were encrypted. It would have been curious to see what those files were, but I erased the whole disk, and installed Linux Mint 17.2 on it. The laptop I put it on has the maximum amount of RAM already fitted in it, but it is not enough if you try and do too many things at the same time, but apart from that it seems to work quite well for simpler tasks, and of course the solid state disk is a lot faster than a conventional "spinning rust" hard disk.

 Transferring gigabytes of video files across from optical disk to hard drive is a time consuming thing, and I have no idea how long it is going to take to deal with every disk, but it kept me busy for a good chunk of yesterday afternoon. Eventually it was time for bed, and I think I was in bed reading soon after 8pm. I lost track of time, but I think I was possibly fast asleep before 9pm. A lot of my sleep was good. I woke up once or twice in the night, but was soon back asleep again - except for when I woke up at 4am (or thereabouts). I woke up feeling dreadful. Bits of me were cold, and bits of me ached - including my chest and my head. I think I had had a bit of a fight with the duvet ! I did sleep again after that, but only for a few minutes here and there.

 This morning it is a case where I would feel awful by the standards I once enjoyed many years ago, but by current standards I almost feel good. I suspect there is a chance I'll be feeling rather tired now and then during the day, but nothing really hurts - except some of the muscles that got ravaged carrying washing machines, and hand rinsing/wringing the duvet cover. I think I shall look forward to going home from as a matter of principle rather than many more valid reasons. I think there is a microscopic, very microscopic, chance that I might end up having a quick drink with Angela after work. It is very improbable, but not impossible. Sooner or later I must do something with the photos I took Saturday night, and they should ideally take precedence over transferring optical disks (CDR and DVDR disks) to hard disk. Unless there is a complete miracle, and Angela distracts me for most of the evening, which will never happen, I should be able to get some of those photos done.
Saturday 3rd December 2016
 10:24 GMT

  Yesterday was dull, grey, miserable, and cold.....but not as cold as some recent days. It probably was 7° C as forecast. Today is a different kettle of fish. My upstairs thermometer currently reads 6.6° C, and it is sunny. There is just enough sunshine coming through my bedroom window to take the chill off the room. The sunshine is forecast to last until sunset today, but there are supposed to be a few hours around midday when we will only see sunny intervals. The sunshine could push the temperature up to 8° C. If the air is perfectly still, it could almost hint of warmth in the bright sunshine. The forecast says the temperature will drop to just 3° C by tomorrow morning, but it should be another very sunny day with a top temperature of 6° C.

 I was feeling quite moody at work yesterday. My chest was playing up a bit, but I also felt sort of "bleaurgh" - the sort of "bleaurgh" caused by lack of warm sunshine on my bare skin, nice fresh air, and a pleasant walk by the seaside (or something like that). Not being able to go to the occasional mid week gig, and frequent open mic sessions because I have to go to bed at about the same time some of them start so I can get up in time for work in the morning, was also playing on my mind.

 At the moment I have a small pension from my half a (work) lifetime with BT, and I have a fair amount of savings. I could quit work and survive quite well for some years with what I have. After all, thanks to our wonderful government (money grabbing bastards) I only have to try and stay alive for another 4 and a half years now before I draw my meagre pittance of an old age pension. The only thing that stops me quitting work right now is that I know it is good for my physical health. My commute is good exercise, and being at work keeps me out of the fridge and larder. And anyway, who cares about mental health !

 I left work feeling fairly gloomy yesterday. I wondered if I would feel I had the energy or enthusiasm to go to one (or more) of three possible gigs last night. Maybe if I had adopted a more positive attitude it might have tipped the balance, but I was doomed from the word go. Maybe I could have overcome a feeling of tiredness or lethargy, but other things got in the way. One thing I didn't mention along with the weather was that there was some rain last night. I don't think there was much of it. It was possibly just a brief one-off shower, but it was doing it the one time I looked out the window !

 One thing that really got my blood boiling was trying to renew my Senior Railcard. I didn't use the last one nearly enough, but I think the few times I did use it the discounts paid for the cost of the card. If you renew it on line you can get a considerable saving by buying one that lasts for three years. Even if you don't want that option you still get caught up in bloody beaurocracy if you try and renew online. When I bought my first Senior Railcard, almost 12 months ago, I jst walked up to the ticket window of Catford station, and presented my pre-filled form, and paid for it no questions asked.

 In the bright new internet future, evidently using George Orwell's "1984" as a guide to procedure, you have to give some sort of code number from your passport, driving licence or national identity card before you can buy a new Railcard. Which is all very well if you are one of the proles of this bright new future, but I am a citizen of an earlier age, and I don't have stuff like that. So I can't renew my Railcard online, and I can't take advantage of saving money by buying a 3 year card. The whole experience left a sour taste in my mouth.

 From that point onwards, the idea of going out became pointless. I decided to drinks lots of whisky, and then go to bed. The only trouble with that idea is that I felt so pissed off that I didn't actually enjoy drinking, and I had to force down my second whisky, and I couldn't even face the intended third, fourth, or more. One thing I did do was to go online and do a stupid test that has no scientific validity at all, and was just a bit of fun suggested by someone else. By selecting different colours for different things in a picture, the test was supposed to be able to tell if you were a psychopath, or not. The test was evidently complete bollocks when you consider how many people I was actually considering murdering, and what the test said !
I am not a psychopath -
                  allegedly !
 The surprising thing about last night was that I didn't end up in bed a lot earlier than I actually was - or maybe it wasn't. It was getting on for 11pm when I fell asleep. Having got to sleep it seems that I probably slept well. I have the vaguest of dream like memories of feeling like I was going to get cramp in (I think) my left foot, and of going for a pee, but otherwise I slept on right through 5am, and I didn't really wake up until 6am. That is a lie in for me !

 I got up soon after because I had stuff to do. Stuff that included going to the toilet, showering, washing my hair, and getting dressed. There were other reasons too, but I'll keep things in order. Getting dressed was a source of amazement and confusion. I wanted to put on a nice slack and roomy pair of jeans because I have some manual work to do. I selected what I thought was a pair of stretch jeans that I had part abandoned because, to my great relief at the time, getting far too big for me. The trouble was when I put them on I found they were slightly, but not badly tight. I had actually picked up a pair of jeans I was hoping to shrink down into, and despite feeling really fat and bloated recently, it seems I have slimmed down into them. When I finally pulled out the jeans I was actually looking for they were exceedingly roomy, and only a nice tight belt stops them dropping around my ankles !

 Very soon now I will be picked up by Chris (guitarist from Chain, and Thursday night drinking partner), and he will drive me around to Kevin's mum's old house to pick up her old washing machine. Since she died it has become redundant, and it is not very old. We'll be bringing it back here to replace my blown up washing machine. I have had to do a lot of clearing up, and I hope we can somehow thread the washing machines through the narrow path from the kitchen to the front door. I am sure it is going to almost rip my chest open doing this, but it has to be done !

 Things were going on at Waterloo station as I passed through there at 4pm on my way home form work. It looked like they were setting up to give chocolate away to the evening commuters.

Waterloo station concourse
Cadbury's on Waterloo concourse

 Tonight, if I don't kill myself moving washing machines around, I should be going to The Black Cat to see a gig from Stone Blind. It should be an excellent gig. The only problem is that Angela might be there. If she is I feel I ought to leave early after I've taken a selection of photos. I fear my presence will stop Angela enjoying herself, and I don't want to do that. Our relationship may be over for good, but I still care a lot for her, and bizarrely she still tries to care for me, but we have a problem that seems to be irresolvable.
Friday 2nd December 2016
 08:53 GMT

  I implied that I had doubts about whether yesterday would be horribly overcast as the forecast predicted. I am happy to say that those doubts were well founded. Yesterday was brilliantly sunny right up until sunset. The big shame is that the sunshine couldn't raise the temperature much beyond the forecast 6° C (at least it didn't feel that way, although I have no actual proof of what the temperature really was). Eventually the cloud that was supposed to make yesterday so rotten did arrive. It arrived in time to trap what little heat we did have, and so this morning started at 4° C. Eventually the temperature will rise to as high as 7° C today, but that cloud looks like it will hang around all day. It looks horribly gloomy as I look out my office window. The current forecast says tomorrow will see thinner cloud, and there should be some sunny intervals. Just before the sun sets, and the temperature starts to fall again, it might even hit 8° C !

 I did feel strangely OK at work yesterday. It still didn't inspire to work very hard though, and I started having doubts about whether I wanted to carry on working here (or anywhere). That sounds like it has all the ingredients to make the day really drag, but time seemed to pass quite quickly. It didn't feel too much of an awful wait until I was on my way back to Catford for a drink with the Thursday night gang.

 It was a most pleasant drink. We were drinking in The Black Cat, but there were fall back plans to visit The Catford Constitutional Club, and/or The London And Rye if The Black Cat seemed unpleasant. Being as I now consider it to be my local, I was quite happy that everybody seemed quite happy with the place. It was warm, the seating was good, and the beer was relatively cheap - Winter Warmer is just £3.40 a pint, and while it is shadow of it's once mighty self, it was still very pleasant as a dark winter ale.

 The general opinion of what could have been our first fall back pub, The Catford Constitutional Club, was not favourable once it was discussed. It was thought that it would probably be cold in there, but we did learn later that it wasn't. There were worries about what beer they might have, and whether it would be in good condition. Apparently there was one good beer in there - just one ! Two things still remain on the negative list - the seating in there does not favour 6 or 7 people drinking together, and the very narrow bar is still eternally blocked by selfish people sitting on bar stools in front of it. I wish the place would take those bar stools away to discourage the bar being blocked. They would probably serve more beer that way if only they realised it.
 I had two pints of Guinness (£3.50 a pint) and two pints of Winter Warmer (£3.40 a pint) before deciding to call it a day. By then I was feeling quite hungry, and that is never a good idea when lightly inebriated. There were several things I could have done, including rushing home to throw a ready meal or two in the microwave, but I opted for fish and chips. It seems the Broadway Fish Bar (as it was once called if my memory is correct) has changed hands again, and I'm not sure of the competency of the latest people in there, but their cod and chips seemed to be very acceptable when I rushed home, and tucked into them.

 While I ate I watched a bit of TV, and I seemed to finish my cod and chips at about the same time the TV programme ended. That was 8pm, and so I shut the TV down, and went up to my bedroom. After a while I decided to brush my teeth and go to bed. Before trying to get to sleep I read a small, freshly delivered, little club magazine (Cravens Heritage Trains or second link is better on reflection). I probably turned out the lights at 9pm, and I tried my best to fall asleep on my back like I slept for a lot of the previous night. Last night I couldn't seem to fall asleep like that, and ended up sleeping on my side.

 I did seem to sleep quite well, although my sleep got patchy after 3am as it sometimes does. I guess it was after 3am that I had some vivid dreams. One slightly peculiar one, peculiar in as much as I am not sure what could have triggered it, concerned taking some pictures of Angela. She is, in my own opinion, quite photogenic, but the pictures I was taking of her were night pictures, and the pictures were all shadows and silhouettes. I think they were probably very arty, and the "artiness" was further enhanced, maybe pop video style, by the photoshoot taking place on the footbridge over Catford Bridge station. There was one other dream that seemed worth recalling at the time, but maybe it wasn't because I can't seem to recall a thing about it now.

 Maybe it was the booze, or maybe it was just exhaustion, or maybe I actually did have a good sleep, but ignoring the fact that my sleep did get a bit patchy after 3am, it does sort of feel like I slept almost well last night. The only trouble is that because I didn't manage to sleep on my back I managed to crush/crinkle/warp/whatever my chest. From time to time it has been a bit sore. It seems to be OK at the moment while I am sitting here at my PC, but I suspect that if I stood up and walked across the room it would crunch a bit. I'm also getting slightly concerned that maybe it isn't just muscles, ligament and bone that causes all the discomfort. I seem to be suffering from an added "flavour" to the discomfort a short while after exercise. This is unlike the Angina I suffered during exercise, but maybe it is an indication that all is not well. It does seem to be getting worse, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is happening more frequently. The other explanation is that it is just because I am getting fatter again, and it is caused by having to breath too deeply of the cold autumn/winter air while rushing around too fast. Perhaps it will go away again in spring when it gets warmer, and I can control my eating better.

 I could do several things tonight. There are three gigs going on that I could potentially get to. Two are in almost adjacent pubs, and if I went anywhere they could be a good choice. The way I feel at the moment I would have to force myself to go out tonight. It may be that I will just feel too knackered to consider it regardless of the fact that I may have a strong desire just to stay in, try and do a few useful things like washing my hair, and washing a few shirts, followed by several large whiskies and bed. The latter does seem quite attractive even if it's not particularly constructive.
Thursday 1st December 2016
 07:59 GMT

  We seem to be rapidly running out of year now, and maybe that is a good thing because it means spring is getting closer. The current weather does have some similarities to spring. The days are short and cold, and the nights colder still. The big difference is that in spring things should be getting better, and not worse. If, like me, you spend most of yesterday indoors, with the heating on high, and in a room facing south, it would have been a good day. It was bright and sunny, and of course it was warm too, but outside it was cold enough to freeze the nuts off a brass monkey. today will actually be better and worse. It will be better because the temperature is forecast to reach the heady heights of a whole 6° C today, but it will be worse because it will be so heavily overcast that it might well feel like the middle of the night in the middle of the afternoon.......or maybe it won't. At the moment the sky looks to be almost completely clear, and it is only supposed to be partly clear. If the cloud turns out to be thinner than expected then it might not be quite so bad. maybe a bit more sunshine will warm the air up to an amazing 7° C. The forecast for tomorrow is currently saying the cloud cover will be extensive, but fairly thin, and that the temperature could be 8° C.

  Not a lot happened after I wrote yesterday. After dinner, an almost but not quite, semi light dinner, I made a start on clearing up one tiny little corner of the living room. That corner had a pile of CD/DVD carriers (the type that are pages of CD sized pockets in a zip up case) sitting on a box with some old paperwork in it. I grabbed a nice strong bin liner,  pulled on a pair of disposable gloves, and got stuck in - and then got stuck ! All those CDs and DVDs, and there must be well over a hundred of them, have (mostly) either music or video on them. In theory I have hard disk copies of all the disks, but I can't be sure. So I sort of gave up until I can make sure I won't be throwing something away that is unique.

 One of the thoughts that came to me yesterday while I was starting that clean up job, was just how little time I tend to spend in the living room. On a day to day basis I only use it for eating. The rest of my time I tend to spend in my bedroom - it's where my PC is, and is always seems so much nicer to lay on my bed while reading. In theory, if I ever get the back room back in shape as a dining room, I could leave the front room clean and tidy, and only used for those visitors that never visit.

 Last night was yet another night when I could have been in bed nice and early, but didn't. The reason it didn't happen last night was because I got a bit carried away answering an email. I didn't realise how much time was passing as I wrote it, and taking a break halfway through writing it to check out some information on wikipedia didn't exactly speed things up ! Once again it was about 9.30pm when I got into bed. Last night I thought I would have one more go at trying to get to sleep while laying on my back. This was to try and avoid crunching my chest when sleeping on my side. After a while I thought I would never get to sleep like that, and I was on the point of giving up when it was suddenly 3am !

 The chances are that I snored like a jet engine while sleeping on my back, but when I woke up at 3am, for a pee, I actually felt unusually good. It was almost as if I had got enough sleep because I had great difficulty getting back to sleep after that. Evidently I managed to fall asleep at least a few times because chunks of time seemed to pass by unnoticed. The only trouble was that I was then tossing and turning a lot, and so when I give up, and got up, about 15 minutes before I needed to, my chest was aching as usual.

 Although my chest was aching, it was not as bad as many mornings, and I did, and still do, feel somehow rather better than many recent morning. Whether this will last, and whether it can be improved upon, is in the lap of the gods. Maybe it will with a better diet and sunshine one day. The other thing that is a very weird feeling is that I don't seem to have the deep grief I would have expected after my break up with Angela. Maybe the hidden parts of my brain know or believe something about the future that I don't, or it is something else. I guess we were seriously together for two and a half months, and it was so unexpected that it felt like it was a dream. Now the dream has ended I may be treating it like any other dream. We couldn't exist if we mourned every single wonderful dream that evaporated in dawns early light. Oh don't get me wrong, I would dearly love to be back in that dream. It was the best ever, but reality has to trump dreams. So here we are, reality has bitten me on the arse again, and it's nearly Xmas. Ah well, it's still 10 days away from work.

 Once again Thursday has come around, and it's drinking night. I could be tempted to have an extra pint tonight. Tonight the Thursday night drinking club drink in (fanfare !!!) Catford ! It is easy and quick getting home from Catford because that is where I live !! We start in the highly convenient Black Cat, and could go on to either The Catford Constitutional Club or The London And Rye (or both).